We continue our series looking at the history of The Clash of the Champions, taking in Clash of the Champions XXXI. Held on August 6, 1995, at Ocean Center in Daytona Beach Florida in front of 4,039 fans. The show drew a 3.5 on TBS.
The last Clash took place in January and now it’s August, so this was the longest break in between events. The world of pro wrestling in 1995 in so many words was a mess. WCW and WWF were both struggling, attendance was down across the board and ratings were as well. Here in WCW, Hogan was embroiled with an endless number of members of Kevin Sullivan’s Dungeon of Doom who vowed to kill Hulkamania once and for all!
This Clash took off immediately with the opening match of Sting & Road Warrior Hawk vs. Meng & Kurasawa w/Col Robert Parker.
Michael Buffer kicked things off with some nonsense about Meng, “He was discovered by WCW working as bodyguard” or something like that.
Sting defeated Meng in the finals of the U.S. Heavyweight Championship tournament at Great American Bash in June. Kurasawa was a big deal in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but right now he’s a hired gun for Parker’s Stud Stable. The match itself is mostly filled with Hawk being kicked and chopped by Meng and Kurasawa but doesn’t sell anything. Understand the Road Warriors weren’t the biggest sellers, but this was kinda ridiculous, considering who was dishing out the punishment including Kurasawa hitting a wicked backdrop type move on the floor. Hawk powebombed the hell out of Kurawasa while Sting entered the ring and hit a clothesline from the top onto Meng. All four guys are in the ring, as Hawk hit a big clothesline and then is followed by a Stinger Splash. Sting and Hawk give a somewhat modified and very sloppy Doomsday Device on Kurawasa for the win. After the match, Kurawasa grabbed hold on Hawk’s arm and “snapped” it. The best is that during this serious situation, Sting’s music is playing.
Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan went over events that took place before Clash of the Champions on Main Event as Hogan took on Kamala before the Dungeon of Doom attacked him until Sting and Savage came to the rescue of The Hulkster. Hogan was set to enter the actual Dungeon of Doom cave. Amazing.
Mean Gene is in the back with Col. Parker, Dirty Dick Slater, and Bunkhouse Buck talking about beating up and romancing Sister Sherri in their match later.
The next match is Diamond Dallas Page w/Diamond Doll (Kimberly Page) vs. Alex Wright. For some reason, Wright had no music whatsoever and his reaction was about as silent. This is a pretty good match as Wright is pulling out of all types of high flying manoeuvres, while DDP counters with some rough and tumble moves. Fast forward to 2016-17 and someone should tell Ty Dillinger that he stole the “10” gimmick from DDP and Diamond Doll as she held a 10 sign outside the ring and would flash it on a good move. DDP hits a swinging neckbreaker, but can’t put away the “Das Wunderkind.” Wright hit a spinning kick and high knee for a near fall. DDP falls to the floor as Wright attempted a splash to the floor but failed miserably as Page moved out of the way and Wright hit the floor very hard. DDP threw Wright back in the ring and covered him for the victory. A Very good match, it would be another year until DDP would really take off but he was so much better than he was just a few years earlier.
Okerlund is in the back with Ric Flair and Arn Anderson as they hype up their handicap match against Vader.
Brace yourself for this next match as Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff challenged for the WCW TV Championship against…The Renegade.
Who does he remind you of? Hmm.
The Renegade debuted in WCW in June and won the TV strap in his first match against Arn Anderson. This was such a damn mess. Now at this time, there was an urban legend that there were two Ultimate Warriors, so maybe they were trying to play that up. Renegade ran to the ring and is immediately kicked in the sternum by Mr. Wonderful. Orndorff almost looked pissed off that he was in the match with this ripoff. The crowd is not buying any of the crap from Renegade as some are booing him. Orndorff continued to keep The Renegade from entering the ring as he beat up him on the apron. The Renegade slingshotted himself onto Orndorff and nabbed the pin. This was so mid-1995 WCW. Ugh.
This Renegade push wouldn’t last long as he would lose the TV title to DDP in September and would then move onto an enhanced talent as he would stick around WCW until 1998. Sadly, in 1999 Richard Wilson would die from a reported self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Vader is in the back with Mean Gene as he hyped up his match tonight. Vader’s voice cracked a couple times, so now you know it’s VADER TIME!
They show a promo for Fall Brawl ‘95: War Games
They recapped the feud between Harlem Heat and The Stud Stable with the overlapping storyline between Col. Parker and Sister Sherri.
The stipulation for this “Five Men and a Lady match” of Harlem Heat w/Sherri vs. Stud Stable (Bunk&Slater) w/Parker is that if Heat won the match, they get a rematch for the WCW World tag-team championship.
Sherri is so underrated, she was so good with her facial expressions and movements in the ring. You don’t hear her name come up as much as it should today when discussing all-time greats. Booker T hit a breakdancing move aka the spinaroonie after missed an elbow drop. Sherri smacks the hell out of Slater from the apron.
As they came back from commercial, Schiavone hyped up the premiere of WCW Monday Nitro on TNT in a neat moment hearing them talk about it.
The crowd is chanting for Sherri to enter the ring, pretty cool because for the longest time she’s been a heel from her days with Macho Man in the WWF. Harlem Heat hit a double suplex and then they tag in Sherri and the crowd absolutely exploded! Sherri leg dropped Col. Parker in his jump rope and hit a flying crossbody block on Parker. Sherri then hit her head on the map after she missed a second crossbody block. Sherri went back up to the top and hit as Heenan called it a “Flying liplock” off the top rope as she violently kissed and straddled Parker for the win! Sherri continued to jump all over Parker all the way to the back. Really entertaining match and angle. This would go on for awhile as Parker and Sherri would later marry in a hilarious segment.
Hogan is talking to Okerlund talking about The Dungeon of Doom and “Andre’s Son” aka the soon to be Giant (Paul Wight). Hogan talks about his heritage including “The McMahon’s” (cough-cough).
Nice segment as Macho Man talks to a kid from MDA. Sounds like Macho Man did a lot of great things like this with charities, etc during his career.
From that nice moment, we go to…IT’S NOT HOT! This film should be preserved by the National Film Registry:
Schiavone and Heenan hype up Monday Nitro as they go Head to Head” in one of the first acknowledgements of the Monday Night War.
It’s main event time as Arn Anderson & Ric Flair take on Vader in what Buffer said was “the first two on one match in WCW history.” That can’t possibly be right, is it? This was Big Van Vader’s first run as a face. As expected, Arn started the match doing all the work for Flair as took the brunt of the Vader’s hard lefts and rights. Flair continued to encourage Double-A but was in no hurry to enter the match. Arn even gave a quick glance at his long-time friend. Arn hits an awesome spinebuster on the massive Vader. Flair then enters the match but the momentum doesn’t last long as Vader hits consecutive press slams on the Nature Boy. Flair fell out to the floor who then grabbed Buffer’s chair to distract the ref as Arn clipped Vader’s knee inside the ring. Arn and Flair double teamed Vader to set up the figure-four leglock. Vader escaped the figure-four and then went to work on Flair including a splash and a two-count. Vader went to the top and hit a splash from the top rope, but Arn broke up the pin attempt. All three men are in the ring as Vader power bombed Arn for the win as Flair just watched while laying in the ring.
After the match, Flair and Anderson are arguing for one of the first times ever.
Just as it looked like the show was over, Hogan, Sting and Macho Man come out to declare war on the Dungeon of Doom! Hogan isn’t sure where Vader stands and Vader tells them nobody tells him what time it is as we are out of time for this edition of Clash of the Champions.
This would be the last Clash before Monday Nitro premiered and everything would change. Lex Luger, of course, would show up at the first Nitro and immediately get thrown into the Hogan-Dungeon of Doom storyline. Hogan was not getting the crowd reactions that WCW had thought he would and would soon put him in a black, which would be a precursor to a whole new world in 1996.
You can read all previous ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited’ pieces here.