RETRO EXPRESS: CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS #33 – HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (C) VS RIC FLAIR FOR THE WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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Howdy! We’re changing things up a bit with this post. The last episode of WCW Monday Nitro I reviewed was building up the main-event of WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII which was Hollywood Hogan vs Ric Flair. Now I never watched the last Clash of the Champions they did in January 1996 and I didn’t really wanna watch this one either. However, I did want to watch the main-event for a few reasons:

  1. Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair was a pretty big dream match at the time so whenever they wrestled each other, it was pretty much considered a big deal.
  2. This would most likely tie-in to the current New World Order storyline.
  3. This was the first ever Hogan vs Flair match where Hogan was the heel and Flair was the babyface…. that is HUGE.

I watched The Giant and Hogan from Hog Wild and I found it so surreal to see Hogan wrestle a “Hulk Hogan” match as the heel with Giant running wild on him. How is a babyface Ric Flair vs a heel Hulk Hogan going to work? I couldn’t help myself so I watched this match as part of this series.

Think of this as a bonus match review, as we’ve done before, as part of the Retro Express WCW series!

 

Hollywood Hogan (c) vs Ric Flair w/Woman and Miss Elizabeth for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

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Tony Schiavonie at commentary did an excellent job in hyping up this match. He broke down the entire storylines of both these men from the moment when Hulk Hogan arrived in WCW in 1994 up until this point. Now Ric Flair is being cheered against the “low-life” Hollywood Hogan as Bobby Heenan referred to him as. It creates the contrasts to the men these two were two years ago to the men these two are now.

Hogan was still cheered as a babyface as he came down and ripped off his shirt though. The Giant nameplate was still on the belt. Hogan slicked his forehead for some reason. Flair then responded by slicking his own hair back to big “woos” from the crowd.

They locked up as Ric took over with a confident look on his face. Hogan knocked down Flair with a shoulder block. Hogan positioned Flair on the top turnbuckle and when the referee was dealing with Hogan, Flair got in a cheeky slap to the face. Hogan wrestled Flair to the ground and worked on the arm which did not look good. Flair then chopped away and punched at him as Hogan got upset on the outside, Hogan threatened to punch a female fan who was giving him all kinds of hell!

Hogan won the test of strength and Flair bit at Hogan to take control ofthe match. They had a few spots where they were on totally different pages.

Ric Flair pulled off a big delayed suplex to Hogan which is quite a feat of strength. Hogan then HULKED UP as Flair punched away as the fans went crazy. Hogan did his whole babyface Hogan comeback. Hogan then missed the Leg Drop and Flair capitalised with the Figure Four Leg Lock as Heenan commanded that Flair breaks Hogan’s legs! Hogan threw down the referee Randy Anderson as he was locked in the hold.

Then the Outsiders ran down and the nWo beat down Flair. The Horsemen and Sting and Lex Luger chased away the nWo as Tony believed Hogan had given up. Flair was declared the winner via disqualification.

Flair and Sting pushed each other as Hogan yelled from the entrance ramp. Hogan posed with the belt as Dave Penzer officially declared Flair was the winner but was not the champion.

Exciting at times but an otherwise dull typical Nitro main-event at Clash of the Champions.

Match Rating: *3/4

 

I shouldn’t be surprised that this match was as big of a let-down despite the interest and build towards it. This is hero Ric Flair versus villain Hulk Hogan. Who could have imagined that we’d ever see this in a wrestling ring? What happens? Instead of building this up for, I dunno, Starrcade or some other big pay-per-view, they rushed towards putting it on television in this TBS special. Because WCW wanted to protect both men (for multiple reasons probably), they had a typical disqualification and it was bothersome.

If not already established by the last edition of Nitro, I guess this accomplished the goal of perhaps “tightening” the unity between the Horsemen, Luger and Sting but it didn’t really seem to accomplish anything for the future. A big match they could have built on and delivered at a bigger stage going to waste at a Clash of the Champions event and producing a non-finish.

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

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