The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Great American Bash 95
– Live from Dayton, OH, home of The Rick.
– Your hosts are Tony & Bobby.
Opening match: Brian Pillman v. Alex Wright.
This is a face v. face match at this point, although the crowd is solidly behind Pillman. Wristlock sequence to start, and Pillman turns it into a headscissor takedown. Dropkick and Pillman goes to an armbar and works it. Wright comes back with a really sad looking flying headscissors and takes over. He goes low accidentally and gets another headscissors, but Pillman takes him down and puts him into a Gory Special. Really awkward stuff. Pillman gets yet ANOTHER headscissor takedown, but misses a dropkick and gets put into a Boston crab. Wow this is bad. Tony’s claims of “not a seat to be had in the building” are somewhat contradicted by the large number of empty seats on the camera side of the building. Wright gets a pair of rollups, but Pillman gets sick of him and starts chopping, then takes him down with an armbar again. Wright dumps him, so Pillman yanks him out and beats on him, finally showing some fire. Back in, they exchange chops until Pillman knees him, and then blocks a splash with his knees. More chopping and we hit the chinlock. Do you sense a draw coming? Gutbuster gets two. He drops Wright on the top rope and tries a suplex back in, but Wright reverses and Pillman takes one his patented bumps to the floor. Wright baseball slides him, drawing MAD heel heat, and follows with a pescado. Back in, Wright goes up with a missile dropkick for two. Pillman dumps him and follows with a tope suicida, but dives from the apron and takes his patented chin-bump to the railing. Back in, Wright goes up again, but whiffs on the bodypress and everyone is out. They both try a dropkick and miss. Pillman puts him on top, but his suplex attempt is blocked, and Wright gets his bodypress for two. Pillman fakes a knee injury, and then “recovers” to dropkick Wright coming off the top, for two. Pillman goes up top himself, but gets crotched in dramatic fashion. German suplex gets two. Pillman sunset flip is blocked by the pin at 15:23, which instantly turns Wright into the biggest heel in Ohio. Probably not the desired effect, but Pillman gave it the old college try. ***
– Arm-Wrestling contest: Diamond Dallas Page v. Evad Sullivan.
For those who blocked this out of their minds, this match is “a date with Kimberly” v. “Sullivan’s pet rabbit, Ralph”. On the bright side, it keeps Equalizer from wrestling. Sullivan wins the arm-wrestling match, hilarity would result later on.
– Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Craig Pittman.
Pittman had one of the all-time great quotes in a promo around this time: “The beatings will continue until morale improves”. Duggan is replacing Marcus Bagwell, who was suffering one of the all-time funniest injuries — his calf implants ruptured during a match. Yes, CALF implants. Stalling to start and Duggan hiptosses Pittman, but gets wristlocked. Choking follows. Pittman charges and goes flying out, allowing Duggan more time to stall. Pittman trips him up and wraps the knee around the post a couple of times, and they roll around on the mat like a couple of girls. Pittman goes to a half-assed kneebar, which the crowd has no idea what to make of, and pounds away. Duggan makes a comeback, but gets taken down and kneebarred again. Trying to use Duggan to put over a shoot-wrestling style would seem to be not the brightest idea ever. Pittman goes to a spinning toehold, but Duggan shoves him out and makes the comeback. A bodyslam buckles his knee, but he gets the three-point stance clothesline, which Pittman promptly no-sells and grabs a cross-armlock, but Duggan makes the ropes. Pittman won’t release, so it’s a DQ at 8:11. Why the HELL would a supposed shoot-fighter work the knee for 8 minutes and then try for a submission with an armbar? This was, as JR would say, a distinct clash of styles. *1/2
– Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater v. Harlem Heat.
Booker promises to “break ’em up real proper-like” on the way to the ring. The Heat clear the ring to start, and Stevie Ray starts with Slater and slams him. Buck gets some of the same, and the ring is cleared again. The Heat work Buck over in the corner and Booker hits a sidekick. Stevie goes to a facelock, and Booker gets a dropkick, as Buck tags Slater back in. Slater takes Booker down and they exchange hammerlocks, and Stevie comes in for a slugfest. We hit the chinlock. Booker comes in and misses an elbow, but comes up with a spinarooni and elbow. Amazing how WCW totally missed the marketing potential of that one move. Slater slugs on Stevie, to no effect, but a cheapshot in the corner turns the tide. Buck gets a big boot for two. Stevie clotheslines both of them, and makes the hot tag to Booker. Dropkick to Slater, forearm for Buck gets two. Crowd is totally dead. It’s BONZO GONZO and Parker pushes over a small-package, and Sherri rolls them back for the pin at 8:45. That was some kind of devastating small package. *1/4
– World TV title: Arn Anderson v. The Renegade.
In the annals of bad ideas, this one deserves its own wing. Renegade (aka “Rent-A-Gade”) was of course Hulk Hogan’s answer to Ultimate Warrior, since Warrior didn’t want anything to do with Hogan at this point. So they decided to try pushing some clown in Warrior facepaint and see if they could get him over. Now then, keep in mind this is the company that couldn’t get RIC FLAIR over and you’ll understand why it didn’t work. Renegade no-sells Arn’s offense to start and shakes his head a lot. Perhaps to keep the hair out of his face. Kevin Nash should have sat him down and had a talk with him about proper hair-care and conditioning. Renegade goes to the headlock and growls a lot, indicating either raw fury or constipation. If it’s the latter, I wouldn’t wanna be the guy facing him when the Metamucil kicks in. Back to the headlock, but Arn reverses to an abdominal stretch, which Renegade promptly reverses. The crowd is not buying this. Arnzuigiri is no-sold, and Renegade looks to his gods for inspiration (of course, they later told him to shoot himself, so maybe they’re not the best people to ask) and Arn, realizing that destiny is against him, bails. Back in, Arn works him over in the corner, but he still won’t sell. Sleeper, but the power of Renegade flowing through his veins (generally injected two or three times a week via a needle in the ass) allows him to reverse. Arn tries choking him out, but the oxygen stopped flowing to his brain long before this match, so that has no effect either. We hit the chinlock, but Renegade fights out and growls again. Arn catches him with the spinebuster, popping the crowd bigtime, but it gets two. Renegade atomic drops him and they collide, allowing Arn to go up and get brought down again with a samoan drop. Renegade goes up, hits a flying splash, and gets the title at 9:06, thrilling roughly 0.5% of the crowd. There’s actually a guy at ringside with his face painted like Renegade. Geez, Rick, how drunk did you have to be for THAT to sound like a good idea? Paul Wight looks on ominously from the front row, as if thinking to himself “I hope I never end up as much of a joke as this moron” So much for that plan. -*
– WCW World tag titles: The Nasty Boys v. The Bluebloods.
Big brawl to start and they pair off in the ringside area and beat on each other. In the ring, Sags pounds on Regal and gets a corner clothesline, and CLUBBERIN CLUBBERIN THEY BE CLUBBERIN TONY! They give Regal a Pitstop (the ancient ancestor of the Stinkface), and the Earl of Eaton gets one as well. Regal’s facials are hilarious. We start proper as Sags and Regal start, and Sags slugs him down. A chase outside allows the Bluebloods to jump Sags, but Regal gets pounded in the Nasty corner outside. Back in, Sags pumphandles Regal for two. Knobs gets tossed after a cheapshot, however, and the Bluebloods work him over for a while. Sags charges in to defend his partner, but Regal drops an elbow on Knobs and works the count. More beatings in the corner, but Eaton misses a charge and crotches himself. Hot tag Sags, and he powerslams Eaton and drops a knee. Sags gets caught in the heel corner again, however, and beaten down. Sags hits the railing, and back in Eaton comes off the top with a kneedrop for two. We hit the chinlock. More exciting action in the heel corner, as Tony resorts to listing the history of the Bash PPV. Hot tag Knobs, who powerslams Regal for two. Collision and Regal hits the floor, as Stevie Ray and Sherri run out and distract the ref, as Booker hits the Harlem Hangover on Knobs. Sags counters with an elbow, however, and Knobs gets the pin to retain at 15:08 that I’ll never get back again. *
– US title tournament final: Meng v. Sting.
Meng was transitioning from bodyguard to THEMONSTERMENG at this point. Speaking of Meng, just to clarify something I wrote in a recent Feedbag, Rick Steamboat said on an episode of Observer Live in early 2000 that he was bored by his WWF tenure in 1991 and basically went against the agents, doing 20 minute matches with Haku (Meng) on house shows around the horn as his way of protesting his stalled push and having what he generally considered **** matches in the process. I personally didn’t see them, but I’d consider Steamboat to be more of an expert on the matter than I. Meng no-sells Sting’s stuff, but gets dropkicked out and stalls. Back in, Meng chops away, but Sting goes to the eyes and slugs away. Another dropkick, but Sting charges and misses and ends up on the floor. Oh, the irony. Back in, Meng does some choking and gets a sitout powerbomb for two. Being WCW, sitting out is not as lethal as today. Were this present day, rest assured Sting would be dead. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Meng goes to the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF EXCRUTIATING AGONY, the only submission hold where you come out of it feeling better. Sting bails and Parker kicks the s--- out of him, getting offense 10x more impressive than Meng in. Back to the nerve hold. Sting escapes and hammers away, but gets nowhere. Backslide battle results in Sting hitting him with a butt-butt, an odd choice of offensive moves to be sure, which Meng no-sells and proceeds to go up for a flying headbutt. That gets two. Backdrop suplex is reversed for two. Sting clotheslines him three times and faceplants him, and gets an atomic drop to set up a Cactus Clothesline. They brawl outside, where Meng headbutts the post, and head back in for a Sting fistdrop and Scorpion Deathlock, but Meng casually powers out. Sting goes up for a flying clothesline and a flying splash that gets two. Leaping DDT gets the pin at 13:36. That was certainly out of nowhere. I can see how they were going for the Vader storyline there, but Meng is like a foot shorter than Vader and not as credible, and besides which Sting should have lost if they were trying to build Meng as an unkillable monster. Match was decent thanks to Sting, if boring as all hell most of the way. ***1/4
– Ric Flair v. Randy Savage.
This is an old-fashioned grudge match, as Flair attacked Savage’s father, Angelo Poffo, at the Slamboree PPV and pissed him off something awful. Believe it or not, this feud actually boosted buyrates for WCW during this period and carried the company at house shows. Savage attacks Flair and they brawl out, and Savage backdrops him on the floor. Ah, good old blood feuds, something sorely lacking these days. Savage gets sent into the post, however. Flair kicks him into paste on the floor and they head back in, where Flair starts chopping. Kneedrop, but Savage keeps fighting back. He pounds away in the corner with rights and chokes Flair out as Heenan babbles about the Houston Rockets. Flair asks for time out, but Savage jumps him and keeps pounding him. Flair decides to retreat, so Savage hits him with a pescado and just kicks the ever-loving crap out of him on the floor. Back in, Flair tries to head up, but gets slammed down. Savage goes for a piledriver, then changes his mind and whips Flair into a Flair Flip, then follows him out and pummels him again. Flair headfakes him by going after daddy, and then goes low to drop him. Kneecrusher on the railing and Savage is hurt. Back in, Savage keeps fighting, but Flair clips him right on cue and goes to work on the leg. Flair drags him out, but gets reversed into the railing. Back in, Flair goes to the figure-four to end the rally, making sure to grab the ropes. Savage reverses it and keeps slugging away, but the knee is shot. Flair goes back to it again as an easy way to regain control, and heads up for a splash that misses by a mile. Savage keeps fighting and slugs back, and nails Flair in mid- bodypress for two. Savage goes up and gets the flying elbow, but picks Flair up. BAD IDEA. He grabs a ringbell (a nice nod to history which is totally ignored by Tony) but the ref takes it away. Savage heads back up as Flair bails, and he goes crashing into the railing when he leaps after Flair. Somewhere along the way Savage has opened a pretty big gash on his nose, and Flair goes right to it. Flair goes after Angelo and steals his cane, but Savage comes to the rescue. In the ring, Flair waffles Savage with the cane for the pin at 14:40. Well that was pretty abrupt. Match was going pretty good there as a wild brawl before they just kinda ended it. ***
The Bottom Line:
This show actually did a pretty decent Hogan-less buyrate, at 0.51 (decent for the time), and actually isn’t as bad as history seems to have made it out to be. That Renegade debacle pretty much gave it a bad rep, but honestly there was a few good matches in there and it’s worth a look if you find it laying around the attic or something.