Rock Star Gary reflects on WCW Great American Bash ’92

Live from Albany, GA

Airdate: July 12, 1992

Attendance:  8,000 (4,000 paid)

Hosted by Jim Ross & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Who will win the NWA World tag team title tournament? Will Vader dethrone Sting for the WCW World title? Let’s find out!

Prior to the first match, we revisit Clash XIX when the MVC defeated the Steiners to advance to the tournament semifinals. In addition, on 7/5 in the Omni, the MVC defeated the Steiners again—this time to become WCW World tag team champions.

According to Tony Schiavone, Akira Nogami suffered an eye injury and will be replaced by Shinya Hashimoto. Here is the tournament bracket coming into the show:

From the black locker room, Eric Bischoff interviews WCW Executive Vice-President “Cowboy” Bill Watts. According to Watts, the top rope is in play for the NWA tag team tournament but isn’t during the WCW World title match.

Match 1 for the NWA World tag team titles (quarterfinal): (unseeded) Jushin “Thunder” Liger & “Flyin’”Brian Pillman versus (unseeded) Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat & Nikita Koloff

Highlights:

  • Interestingly, there was no ramp from the entrance to the ring; however, the heels and babyfaces came from separate entrances. Gotta love kayfabe.
  • After Koloff placed him atop the top turnbuckle, PIllman jumped down to the mat and dropkicked him.
  • He then attempted the ten-punch count-along, but Koloff immediately countered with an inverted atomic drop.
  • With Pillman in the corner, Koloff charged yet applied the brakes before coming up empty.
  • Regardless, PIllman rolled him up for 2.
  • Liger tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Koloff.
  • As Pillman tagged in, he supplied more BOOM to Koloff.
  • Liger tagged in again and gave Koloff even more BOOM.
  • Yeah, right, Coach. Enjoy retirement.
  • Shortly after, Liger dropkicked Koloff and took him down to the mat with a shoulder block.
  • Koloff rebounded with a back elbow to Pillman and tagged in Steamboat.
  • Upon dropkicking Pillman, Steamboat brought Liger in for a double noggin knocker.
  • Pillman then leap-frogged Steamboat twice but got caught on a third attempt with an inverted atomic drop.
  • When Steamboat clotheslined him, Pillman retaliated with one of his own.
  • Liger tagged in, and the light-heavyweights hit a double dropkick on Steamboat.
  • After Koloff tagged in, he slammed and gave Liger a back elbow.
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides while Pillman backdropped Steamboat.
  • As Pillman elbow-dropped him, he got 2.
  • He then dropkicked Steamboat for another 2.
  • When Liger tagged in, he gave Steamboat a series of kicks followed by a backbreaker.
  • He then hit a moonsault.
  • Can Liger and Pillman advance to the semifinals?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Liger then delivered a tombstone piledriver for another 2.
  • Next, he gave Steamboat a somersault senton but couldn’t get 3.
  • Steamboat came back with a belly-to-back suplex and tagged in Koloff.
  • After Koloff kicked him in the midsection, he elbow-dropped Liger three times for 2.
  • He then put a knee into Liger’s midsection and tagged in Steamboat.
  • Upon giving Liger a series of backbreakers, Steamboat hit a running powerslam for another 2.
  • Koloff tagged in, and the heavyweights delivered a double back elbow to Liger for a 1-count.
  • As Ventura blatantly plugged Predator, Steamboat tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Liger.
  • He then hooked a somersault roll-up for 2.
  • When Pillman tagged in, he backdropped Steamboat and dropkicked Koloff down to the concrete floor.
  • After a slam, PIllman got another 2.
  • Liger tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and delivered a missile dropkick.
  • As Liger hit a handspring clothesline, he only got a 1-count.
  • Koloff tagged in and gave Liger a flying shoulder block.
  • When he slammed Liger, he signaled for the Russian sickle.
  • On the other hand, Pillman interjected himself by dropkicking Koloff.
  • He then tagged in and delivered another pair of dropkicks for 2.
  • After attempting a cross body block, PIllman got caught, but Liger dropkicked him atop Koloff.
  • Speaking of Koloff, he sent Pillman over the top rope to the apron, but referee Mike Adkins didn’t disqualify the heavyweights.
  • As Pillman gave Koloff a springboard clothesline, he mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a missile dropkick.
  • Steamboat then came in but received a dropkick from Pillman.
  • Can Pillman and Liger advance this time?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Koloff then reversed a cross corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • When Pillman hooked a sleeper, Koloff countered with a jawbreaker.
  • While Ventura admired Koloff’s choice of hairstyle, tags were exchanged on both sides.
  • Liger then delivered an enziguri for 2.
  • After Liger missed a dropkick, Steamboat got 2.
  • Liger then hooked a backslide for 2.
  • As PIllman tagged in, he gave Steamboat a springboard cross body block for another 2.
  • Steamboat then hooked his own backslide and got 2.
  • When Steamboat reached for a tag, PIllman delivered a belly-to-back suplex.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Steamboat inadvertently crotched him.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, Pillman attempted a cross body block, but Steamboat used momentum to land on top.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Steamboat and Koloff advanced.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Outstanding match with great high-flying by both PIllman and Liger as well as counter-wrestling by Steamboat. In addition, the Albany faithful ate it up with a spoon.

Back in the black locker room, Bischoff interviews the Steiners who cut a decent promo on the MVC.

Match 2 for the NWA World tag team titles (quarterfinal): (unseeded) Freebirds versus (#2) Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto

Highlights:

  • As Hase tagged in, he mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Garvin.
  • Hashimoto tagged in while the Albany faithful chanted “U-S-A.”
  • Upon slamming Garvin, Hashimoto got 2.
  • Hayes tagged in but ate a back elbow from Hashimoto.
  • When Hase tagged in, he slammed and gave Hayes a somersault senton for 2.
  • He then delivered a gutbuster to Hayes and tagged in Hashimoto.
  • After he hit a spinning heel kick, Hashimoto didn’t receive a count thanks to interference by Garvin.
  • He then gave Hayes a fallaway slam with a bridge for 2.
  • As Hase tagged in, the Japanese duo double-teamed Hayes while Garvin distracted referee Nick Patrick.
  • They then had some unfortunate heel miscommunication, and each received a stinging left from Hayes.
  • Hot tag Garvin.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, Hase leap-frogged Garvin, and Hashimoto delivered a thrust kick.
  • Hase then hooked a Northern Lights suplex and pinned Garvin.
  • Hashimoto and Hase advanced.

Rating: **

Summary:  The Albany faithful had no clue how to respond to Hase and Hashimoto’s wrestling acumen, but neither did the Freebirds.

Schiavone then interviews Watts who holds the NWA World title belt last held by “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. As Hiro Matsuda, representing New Japan Pro Wrestling, receives the belt, Watts name-drops Flair as the previous champion. Wow! I didn’t think he’d do that considering his WWF affiliation. Nonetheless, he hopes to have the new NWA World champion face Sting to have only one world champion.

Match 3 for the NWA World tag team titles (quarterfinal): (unseeded) Barry Windham & the “Natural” Dustin Rhodes versus (#6) WCW US champion “Ravishing” Rick Rude & WCW World TV champion “Stunning” Steve Austin (w/ Madusa)

Highlights:

  • Austin hooked a backslide and got 2 on Windham.
  • As Windham leap-frogged him, he nailed Austin.
  • He then escaped a leg scissors and slapped the taste from Austin’s mouth.
  • When Austin got too close, he ate a bionic elbow from Rhodes. Meanwhile, the Albany faithful gleefully chimed in with a “buh.”
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides while Rude gave Rhodes a cross corner whip yet ate boot on his follow-through.
  • Upon giving Rude a lariat, Rhodes followed with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Rude then attempted a tombstone piledriver, but Rhodes reversed it and PLANTED him for 2.
  • As he hit a pair of elbow drops, Rhodes attempted a splash but ate knees.
  • Austin tagged in, got reversed on a cross corner whip, but exploded with a clothesline for 2.
  • When Rhodes reversed an Irish whip, he put a knee into Austin’s midsection.
  • He then hooked an abdominal stretch, but Austin escaped.
  • After Rhodes reapplied it, he tagged in Windham.
  • Speaking of Windham, he mounted the top turnbuckle, delivered a clothesline, and got 2.
  • Austin then reversed an Irish whip and backdropped Windham.
  • As Rude tagged in, he gave Windham a belly-to-back suplex followed by a forearm smash for 2.
  • Austin tagged in, placed Windham atop the top turnbuckle, joined, but got head-butted down to the mat.
  • When Windham hit a cross body block, he got 2.
  • Madusa then got up on the apron while the heels cheated in their corner. SNEAKY!
  • After Rude tagged in, he mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a missile dropkick for 2. Amazing!
  • He then piledrove Windham for another 2.
  • As Austin tagged in, he mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Windham.
  • He then gave Windham a vertical suplex but couldn’t get 3.
  • While Ross and Ventura pondered Uncle Paul’s absence from ringside, Rude tagged in and slammed Windham.
  • He then provided the Albany faithful with his patented swivel.
  • When Austin tagged in, he tossed Windham down to the concrete floor, leaped from the apron, and nailed him with a forearm smash.
  • Back in the ring, Windham came back with a knee to the midsection but ate a boot to the face. Consequently, Austin got 2 with his feet on the ropes.
  • He then hooked a rear chin lock and put his feet on the ropes again. Clever!
  • While Rhodes distracted referee Randy Anderson, the Dangerous Alliance double-teamed Windham.
  • Austin then backdropped Windham and attempted a slam.
  • Conversely, Windham countered with an inside cradle for 2.
  • A double clothesline then put both wrestlers down on the mat.
  • After Austin delivered a belly-to-back suplex, he tagged in Rude.
  • Windham then reversed an Irish whip and gave Rude an inverted atomic drop.
  • As Windham missed a clothesline, a head-on collision occurred.
  • Hot tag Rhodes.
  • When Rhodes delivered a lariat to Austin, he dropkicked Rude over the top rope to the floor.
  • Austin then reversed a cross corner whip, but Rhodes leaped to the second turnbuckle.
  • Afterward, he hit a flying back elbow for 2.
  • All four wrestlers were in the ring while Windham gave the Dangerous Alliance a double noggin knocker.
  • As Rhodes followed Rude down to the concrete floor, he made Rude HIT THE POLE.
  • Austin then attempted a piledriver on Windham, but Rhodes mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a lariat.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Rhodes and Windham advanced.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Another excellent tag match where the tag formula kept the Albany faithful glued to the match. Personally, I blame the Dangerous Alliance’s loss on their lack of guidance from Uncle Paul.

C’mon, Uncle Paulie, don’t get frustrated. I’m your favorite nephew.

From the red locker room, Bischoff interviews Vader with Race. Vader’s ready to take Sting’s “most prized possession.” Let’s hope Mrs. Borden wasn’t watching.

Ross then shills Halloween Havoc ’92 on 10/25 LIVE on PPV. Order NOW!

Match 4 for the NWA World tag team titles (semifinal): (unseeded) Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat & Nikita Koloff versus (#4) WCW World tag team champions the Miracle Violence Connection

Highlights:

  • After a leap frog, Steamboat hip-tossed Gordy.
  • Williams tagged in while Ross mentioned that Williams was the final UWF World champion.
  • Shortly after, Koloff gave Gordy a pair of shoulder blocks but couldn’t take him off his feet.
  • A quick resolution by Koloff came in the form of a dropkick.
  • Shortly after, Williams clotheslined Steamboat for 2.
  • Steamboat then attempted a crucifix, but Williams sandwiched him in the corner to counter.
  • As Gordy tagged in, he slammed Steamboat twice.
  • He then blocked a hip toss and delivered a clothesline.
  • When Williams tagged in, the MVC gave Steamboat a double shoulder block for 2.
  • Williams then hit an elbow drop for another 2.
  • While Koloff distracted referee Mike Adkins, the MVC delivered a double suplex to Steamboat.
  • Williams tagged in, caught Steamboat on a cross body block, and gave him a backbreaker for 2. According to Meltzer, Steamboat’s ribs were legitimately injured during this maneuver.
  • After Gordy tagged in, Steamboat delivered a modified DDT.
  • Koloff tagged in, gave Gordy a series of shoulder blocks, but missed a flying version.
  • As Williams tagged in, he guillotined Koloff with the top rope twice.
  • Gordy tagged in, but Koloff reversed a cross corner whip only to come up empty on his follow-through.
  • When Gordy hooked the STF, Ross hyped the upcoming NWA World title tournament and named-dropped Masahiro Chono.
  • Williams tagged in and hit an elbow drop.
  • Next, he hooked a Boston crab while the Albany faithful chanted “Ni-ki-ta.”
  • Shortly after, Williams powerslammed Koloff for 2.
  • He then attempted the Oklahoma Stampede, but Koloff escaped.
  • After a mid-ring collision occurred, Steamboat tagged in to a lukewarm response. Cue ominous music.
  • He then rammed the champions together and gave Williams a belly-to-back suplex.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, Steamboat mounted the top turnbuckle and chopped Williams.
  • He then mounted the opposite top turnbuckle, but Gordy shoved him into a waiting Williams.
  • As Williams sandwiched Steamboat in the corner, he followed with a modified spinebuster.
  • 1-2-3.
  • The MVC advanced to the finals.

Rating: **

Summary:  Lots of mat wrestling and the sluggish pace took the Albany faithful completely out of the match. While the catch-as-catch-can style and move-countermove strategy are wrestling staples, some elements of entertainment are necessary for popular engrossing. Needless to say, but this match did not excite me in the least. It would have been better if the MVC played heel characters.

Match 5 for the NWA World tag team titles (semifinal): (#2) Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto versus (unseeded) Barry Windham & the “Natural” Dustin Rhodes

Highlights:

  • Windham tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Hase.
  • Seriously, one could hear a pin drop in the Albany Civic Center due to the silence of the crowd.
  • Not THAT kind of pin!
  • Windham then gave Hase an Anderson slam.
  • As Hashimoto delivered a back elbow, he continued to bore the Albany faithful with a headscissors/fujiwara arm bar combo.
  • Rhodes tagged in and gave Hashimoto a bionic elbow.
  • When Hashimoto slammed him, he gave Rhodes a spinning heel kick.
  • Hase tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and the Japanese duo delivered a spike piledriver.
  • GET OUT THE SPATULA!
  • Hashimoto illegally tagged in, and the Japanese duo gave Rhodes a double shoulder block.
  • Shortly after, all four wrestlers were in the ring while Hashimoto buried a knee into Rhodes’ midsection.
  • He then gave Rhodes a vertical suplex for 2.
  • As Hashimoto face-planted Rhodes, Hase tagged in, and the Japanese duo double-suplexed Rhodes.
  • Hase then hooked a Boston crab, but Windham made the save.
  • When Hase hit a release German suplex, he mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a double knee drop.
  • Rhodes then delivered a lariat and tagged in Windham.
  • Upon giving Hase a back elbow, Windham gave him a vertical suplex for 2.
  • He then powerslammed Hase for another 2.
  • As Windham applied an abdominal stretch, he nailed an incoming Hashimoto.
  • All four wrestlers were in the ring again while Rhodes leap-frogged Hase.
  • Windham then caught Hase with a lariat.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Windham and Rhodes advanced to the finals.

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  The Albany faithful woke up at the end as the American babyfaces sent the Japanese duo packing.

Schiavone then interviews Ron Simmons who will have his eyes glued to the upcoming World title match.

Match 6 for the WCW World title: Sting (champion) versus Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race)

Highlights:

  • While Vader made his entrance, his mastodon helmet shot steam upward.
  • Vader manhandled Sting in the corner and delivered a short-arm clothesline.
  • As Sting came back with a clothesline, it didn’t faze Vader.
  • He then attempted a cross body block, but Vader caught and shoved him down.
  • When Vader gave Sting a cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Sting then delivered a belly-to-back suplex followed by a clothesline.
  • After Sting clotheslined Vader over the top rope to the concrete floor, Vader took his time before re-entering the ring.
  • Sting then stomped on Vader’s foot and nailed him sending him down to the mat. Methinks Sting’s been watching too many cartoons on TBS.
  • As he dropkicked Vader, Sting hit an enziguri.
  • With Vader on the apron, Sting suplexed him back in for 2. Wow!
  • He then charged but ate a running body block.
  • Upon delivering a pair of big boots, Sting hooked an inside cradle for another 2.
  • Vader then reversed an Irish whip, but Sting attempted a sunset flip.
  • Suddenly, Vader SQUISHED him.
  • When Vader gave Sting an elbow drop, Ross and Ventura subtly mocked the WBF.
  • Vader then hit another elbow drop followed by a splash for 2.
  • Upon releasing Sting from a standing choke, Vader applied the Scorpion death lock.
  • Will Sting submit to his own finisher?
  • No, he ultimately powered out to escape.
  • Vader then clotheslined and powerslammed Sting for 2.
  • Upon making another comeback, Sting hit an abisegeri. Unfathomable!
  • He then gave Vader a DDT but couldn’t capitalize.
  • Next, a shoulder block by Sting sent Vader to the apron.
  • Vader then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Sting upset his balance.
  • While Vader was straddled across the top rope, Sting placed him on his shoulders and delivered a Samoan drop for 2.
  • He then attempted a German suplex, but Vader blocked it.
  • As Vader delivered a belly-to-back suplex, Sting’s legs knocked referee Randy Anderson down.
  • Sting then gave Vader a German suplex with a bridge.
  • Since Anderson was dazed, he was out of position and could only count 2.
  • Sting then dropkicked Vader into the corner and hit the Stinger splash.
  • With Vader in the opposite corner, Sting attempted a second Stinger splash.
  • Unfortunately for Sting, he overshot Vader and inadvertently head-butted the steel cable connected to the top turnbuckle.
  • Sting was OUT COLD.
  • When Sting fell down to the mat, he was also BUSTED OPEN.
  • Can Vader win the title here?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Upon whiffing on a right, Sting fell limp to the mat.
  • Vader then gave Sting a powerbomb.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: ****

Summary:  The Vader era has begun! Actually, with the WCW title, Vader became the first to win World titles in four countries. The other titles were from IWGP (Japan), CWA (Europe), and UWA (Mexico). For the most part, Vader demolished Sting throughout the match. Inevitably, it took Sting knocking himself out so that Vader could pin him. Furthermore, Sting did a marvelous job of making Vader here.

After the match, Simmons, Koloff, and officials assisted Sting from the ring.

Back in the red locker room, Bischoff interviews the NEW World champion. According to Race, Vader is the “king of athletes, king of wrestling, and the MAN…” As you would expect, Vader is ecstatic about his victory.

Match 7 for the NWA World tag team titles (final): (#4) the Miracle Violence Connection versus (unseeded) Barry Windham & the “Natural” Dustin Rhodes

Highlights:

  • Ole Anderson was the special referee for this match and sent the pesky Steiners back to the locker room.
  • Sorry, Scott. I meant pesto. Want some pasta?
  • Although Rhodes was in the ropes, Gordy delivered a release German suplex.
  • Windham tagged in and hooked the figure-four leg lock on Gordy.
  • Will Gordy submit giving the titles to the Texans?
  • No, Gordy made the ropes.
  • Williams tagged in and gave Windham a belly-to-belly suplex.
  • While Ventura covered for the solemn and utter silence of the Albany faithful, Gordy tagged in, gave Windham a cross corner whip, and followed with a corner clothesline for 2.
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides when Ross name-dropped Steve “Mongo” McMichael.
  • As Gordy tagged in, he hooked an STF until Rhodes escaped and applied a sleeper.
  • Williams tagged in, mounted the top rope, and gave Rhodes a double axe handle.
  • When Williams hooked a rear chin lock, Rhodes countered with a jaw breaker.
  • He then hooked a cradle for 2.
  • After Gordy applied a Boston crab, Windham made the save.
  • Williams tagged in and delivered another double axe handle.
  • As he hit a powerslam, Williams got 2.
  • Windham tagged in and backdropped Williams.
  • When he gave Gordy a lariat, Windham suplexed Williams for 2.
  • He then gave Williams a gutwrench suplex for another 2.
  • After Windham hooked a sleeper, Williams countered by practically sending Windham over the top turnbuckle into the ring post.
  • Gordy tagged in and suplexed Windham for 2.
  • As he clotheslined Windham, Gordy got another 2.
  • To counter a side head lock, Windham delivered a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Gordy then gave Windham a series of elbow drops but missed the last one.
  • When Williams tagged in, he hooked a modified abdominal stretch.
  • Gordy tagged in, but a mid-ring collision occurred.
  • Hot tag Rhodes.
  • Williams then cooled off Rhodes with another double axe handle.
  • After Gordy tagged in, he clotheslined Rhodes for 2.
  • Williams tagged in, gave Rhodes a cross corner whip, attempted the Oklahoma Stampede, but ate a dropkick from Windham.
  • As Rhodes covered Wiliams, he couldn’t secure a pinfall because Gordy distracted Anderson. How dastardly!
  • All four wrestlers were in the ring while Williams charged Rhodes in the corner but came up empty.
  • When Rhodes attempted a bulldog, Williams shoved him into Gordy.
  • He then clotheslined Rhodes who provided a 360° sell. Woohoo!
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE NEW CHAMPIONS!

Rating: **

Summary:  B-O-R-I-N-G main event where the Texans looked outclassed by the smooth yet methodical teamwork of the MVC. Within the span of a week, the MVC have captured both the WCW and NWA World tag team titles.

After the match, Schiavone and Magnum T.A. interview the NEW NWA World tag team champions.

To finish the show, Ross shills Halloween Havoc ’92 again.

Conclusion:  Due to a union strike in Philadelphia, PA, this show was relocated to Albany, GA at the last possible moment. With results like this, one would figure they were decided with the Philly faithful’s love for heels and hatred for babyfaces in mind. The venue change didn’t alter the booking, but the Albany faithful didn’t provide the reaction WCW had hoped.

In addition, the Watts era with plenty of mat wrestling and limitedhtt aerial moves made some of the matches on the show almost unbearable. On the flip side, the opening, the Dangerous Alliance versus Windham/Rhodes, and the WCW title matches are all must-see viewing.

Hence, while I caution those who haven’t seen this show about the increased amount of mat wrestling, I recommend this show for its historical value and the aforementioned three **** matches.

Buyrate: 0.40

Stay tuned for WWF Summerslam ‘92!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202). Also, please be sure to check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com.