The SmarK Rant for WCW Bash at the Beach 1997–07.13.97

The SmarK Rant for WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 – 07.13.97

OK, after a week off, it’s time to get back on the Attitude Era Trolley, Jackson! As usual, I remember almost nothing about this show, so it’s all new to me.

Live from Daytona Beach, FL, drawing a sellout 7851 and a disappointing buyrate of 0.78 (or about 150,000 buys). They really thought the Rodman thing would pop a big number for them, but it just didn’t. Rodman was paid $750,000 for the show, as well, which pretty much destroyed any profit from the show.

Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Dusty

Glacier & Ernest Miller v. Mortis & Wrath

Whatever the heels were using for entrance music has been overdubbed with very generic rock music. I’m amused by the ring announcements for the babyfaces, as Glacier is from a mysterious Shaolin temple in Japan, and Ernest Miller is from Atlanta. Big brawl to start and Glacier beats on Mortis and crotches him on the top rope, and the faces double-team with KARATE for two. Miller gets the shine on Wrath as Mike Tenay recaps his football career, including a run with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But which team of monks did Glacier play football with? Double dropkick from the babyfaces on Wrath gets two and Glacier grabs a headlock, but he goes after Mortis and walks into the big boot from Wrath. Glacier hits the floor and Wrath actually somersaults him off the apron, and then Mortis superkicks a chair into Glacier’s face. That’s the kind of the spot that should have been left for a finish, which was always kind of Kanyon’s problem. Mortis pounds away in the corner and Wrath sneaks in with a lariat for two. Double team powerbomb gets two, but Miller saves. Wrath gets an odd-looking reverse Boston crab and Mortis comes in with a legdrop for two off that. Moonsault misses, but Wrath cuts off the tag and Miller just comes in and throws kicks regardless. The ref doesn’t really seem to care and everyone brawls, but Glacier is still the legal man. He DDTs Mortis for two, but Vandenberg saves and puts a chain around Mortis’ boot, and a superkick finishes at 9:48 to end Glacier’s undefeated record. Of course, none of this ever paid off or led anywhere. Hell of an opener, though, way overdelivering past what anyone expected. ***

Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Ultimo Dragon

They trade hammerlocks on the mat as Dusty explains that Dragon needs to win the title back, but takes about 3 minutes to get to his point. He is truly Adam Sandler’s Excited Southerner come to life. Jericho throws chops in the corner, but Dragon gives him the headstand kick out of the corner and puts him down with the kick combo before going to the chinlock. Jericho blocks a rana attempt with the double powerbomb and follows with a senton for two off that. Jericho with a delayed suplex for two. Backbreaker as the idiot crowd chants “We want Syxx”. No, you really don’t. Dragon fights back with a backdrop suplex, but Jericho moonsaults him out of the corner for two. Butterfly powerbomb gets two. They fight to the top and Jericho dropkicks him to the floor and follows with the springboard dive, but comes back in with a dive off the top and lands on Dragon’s feet. They fight to the top again and Jericho dumps him to the floor again, but follows with a dive and gets dropkicked on the way down. They’re really struggling to get onto the same page here for some reason. Jericho keeps cutting off Dragon’s spots and slowing it down. Jericho tries another springboard dive and misses, and Dragon hits him with the Asai moonsault. Jericho does the last second dive into the ring to beat the countout, where Dragon snaps off the rana for two. Handspring elbow, but Jericho catches him with the cradle and Dragon reverses to his own for two. They do pinfall reversals and fight on the floor again. Back in, Jericho with the Lionsault for two and they just can’t get it together, with Jericho obviously getting frustrated by the lack of crowd reaction and match issues. Jericho misses another Lionsault and Dragon gets a dragon sleeper, but Jericho quickly fights out. Dragon goes up with a moonsault and they’re just losing the thread all over the place, and finally Jericho reverses a rana for the pin at 12:51 to retain. Dave really loved this match and gave it ****1/4, calling it one of Jericho’s best matches ever, but we’ve seen SO many better matches from Jericho in the years since and this one just never clicked for me and looked really clunky to me at times, and I just can’t go that high. They both worked hard, though. ***1/4

Mean Gene finds Raven and Stevie at ringside, and Raven gives us some “Edgar Allen Poe gibberish” in response to Gene’s questions, and then smacks Stevie around for spoiling a “big announcement” on Nitro.

The Steiner Brothers v. Great Muta & Masa Chono

Although they played up all the US media in attendance for the Rodman match, this one actually had more mainstream attention in Japan, with New Japan shooting the match for their TV. The Steiners quickly hit top rope clotheslines on the nWo to clear the ring and Scott beats on Muta, but runs into a boot in the corner. Muta throws some kicks, but Scott hits the butterfly powerbomb and gorilla press to send the Japanese team running again. Back in, Chono comes in against Rick and grabs a headlock, then decides to just use the Yakuza kick. They do the test of strength, but Rick powerslams him and Chono bails again. Scott tries a superplex on Muta and Chono cuts him off with a german suplex. Muta with the handspring elbow and bulldog out of the corner, and he drops the power elbow. Chono goes up and Scott fights back with a belly to belly off the top and it’s hot tag Rick. Rick throws suplexes, and I like the touch from Chono where he yells “OH NO!” like a movie villain before taking the move. Scott with the belly to belly on Muta and he goes up to finish, but Muta brings him down with his own rana. Muta tries the handspring on Rick and gets suplexed as a result, and a blown up Scott hits the Frankensteiner on Muta for two. Steiners finish Muta with a top rope DDT at 11:32 to earn their title shot at the Outsiders. This was pretty fun and Muta seemed motivated for once. ***

Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza & Lizmark Jr. v. La Parka, Villano IV & Psicosis

La Parka wins the internet with his sombrero gear. I’m sensing a glorious trainwreck on the way. Lizmark takes Psi down with a headlock while Tenay explains “rudos” and “technicos”. Garza alley-oops Lizmark into a dropkick on Psi, but Villano comes in and blocks a Garza charge with a mule kick. Garza comes back with flying armdrags and puts IV on the floor, then follows with a backbreaker out there. Back in the ring, Juvy hits Parka with a headscissors, but Parka counters it and then points to his head to indicate his intelligence. And of course, Juvy monkey-flips him to the floor and follows with a dive. Sonny Onoo gets involved, but he hits Parka by mistake and then quickly bribes him with cash to make peace. Back in, the rudos double-team Lizmark but Parka keeps screwing up and the rudos end up in a pile with the technicos splashing them for two. Everyone lands on the floor and all three babyfaces hit them with dives and this shit is CRAZY. Juvy tries a springboard bodypress back in and Psi dropkicks him to block, and they head up for a top rope sunset bomb from Psi that gets two. And then we get a wacky series of the babyfaces hitting bodypresses on the heels one after another, setting up the rowboat spot while Parka hits Juvy with a backbreaker in the middle. Psi goes up and misses a splash, and then everyone tries flying splashes and everyone misses, one after another. Tremendous! Everyone gets sent out and Lizmark splashes IV for two and then dumps him and follows with a dive, followed by Parka hitting a corkscrew dive, and then Juvy LAUNCHING himself over the top with a springboard plancha, and Psi gets backdropped onto everyone, and Garza finishes it off with the corkscrew dive. And then we up the wackiness as Villano V runs out and switches with his masked brother, hitting a legdrop on Garza for two, but Garza comes back with a springboard missile dropkick and standing moonsault for the pin at 10:00. This was hilarious and exhausting in a good way. ****1/4

Career v. career match: Chris Benoit v. Kevin Sullivan

Of course, at this point we didn’t really 100% know all the weirdness behind the scenes with these two. Sullivan and Jackie are already arguing on the way to the ring, foreshadowing that twist. They immediately slug it out and fight to the floor, where Jacqueline gets involved and doubles on Benoit with Sullivan. So Benoit tosses her at Sullivan and they fight to the beach set where it’s INTO THE SURFBOARDS. Benoit takes out the Tiki hut and poor Jimmy Hart gets knocked off the lifeguard chair, but Jacqueline hits Benoit with a lounge chair to turn the tide again. Sullivan piledrives him on the concrete and follows with the double stomp, but Benoit fights back and they head into the ring for the first time in the match. Sullivan tosses him again and now Jimmy Hart gets some shots in before Sullivan runs Benoit into the post and crotches him on the railing in front of Raven. It’s like the passing of the torch for enigmatic cult leaders! Back in, Benoit fights back and drops him on the top rope, then follows with a snap suplex for two. Sullivan gets desperate and bites him in the ribs, but Benoit bites the ear in response. Who knew Chris Benoit would have such a mean streak in him? Crossface time, but Sullivan won’t pass out and we get an extended run of Sullivan fighting out of the hold that really slows the match way down. Benoit keeps fighting with chops, but Sullivan slugs him down again and hangs him in the Tree of Woe for a running knee. Jacqueline brings in the dreaded balsa wood chair, but turns on Sullivan and breaks it over his head, which allows Benoit to finish with the diving headbutt at 13:14 and end Sullivan’s career once and for all. A crazy brawl that unfortunately didn’t sustain over the entire match, but it was nice to see Benoit finally get to move on with his life. Well, you know. ***1/2

US title: Jeff Jarrett v. Steve McMichael

There’s no way they’re going to follow that one. Mongo warns Jarrett “You should have never jumped in my chili, baby!” while making his entrance. Sorry, I don’t speak dumbshit, is that an actual saying? Do people often go around jumping in other people’s chili in the Carolinas? Because if so, I guarantee I’m never ordering chili should I ever visit that state. Mongo steals the belt and showboats with it, as Dusty notes that you should never start the parade before it’s time. Tell that to Maple Leafs fans. So we get a bunch of stalling from Jarrett to start before he takes Mongo down with a wristlock and struts. Mongo slams and follows with a three point stance to clip Jarrett and put him on the floor, prompting more stalling. Back in for the test of strength, but Steve puts him on the floor yet again with a clothesline and yes indeed, more stalling. They fight out there and Mongo chokes him out with the cable and drops an elbow on the apron (THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING!). Back in, Mongo with a shitty gorilla press and he hurks Jarrett over with a powerslam for two. Blind charge misses and Mongo hurts the knee, which allows Jarrett to take out the knee. Debra gets involved and Jarrett “steals” the briefcase, nails Mongo behind the ref’s back, and gets the pin to retain at 7:00. So then Debra reveals that she’s been with Jarrett all along, and she even followed him to the WWF when he left! This was complete junk. ½*

Mean Gene has the scoop on people with no legit reason to be at the show, who are backstage WITHOUT CONTRACTS. The answer is Rob Van Dam and Dory Funk Jr, in case you want to save the $1.99 per minute to find out.

Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman say “Bro” and “Brah” a lot and brag about how such a huge audience is watching tonight. Not so much.

Randy Savage & Scott Hall v. Diamond Dallas Page & Curt Hennig

The big reveal of Hennig as the mystery partner falls incredibly flat, considering he had already debuted with such a nothing run-in on Nitro. Bobby declares that Curt is in “the best shape of his life” while his gut is hanging out on the way to the ring. Like, come on, Curt. Given how much money he had to walk away from in order to get this contract, the least he could do is get in shape. Page slugs away on Savage in the corner to start and Macho bails while people throw garbage in the ring for some reason. Back in, Hall wants Hennig, and it’s the battle of the former AWA tag team champions! Hall even scores some quality trashtalk by pointing out the difference in abdominal definition. Well, a couple of years later and Scott would have no place to complain, but he’s got a point here. Hennig gets a kneelift and the announcers are falling over themselves to point out how great Hennig looks, although he really, really doesn’t. Hennig with the necksnap and he almost declares it to be PERFECT but then catches himself. Or maybe he was waiting for the crowd to finish it for him, but good luck there. DDP comes in with the pancake on Hall and pounds him with elbows in the corner, but Savage gets a cheapshot to put the heels in control. Double axehandle and Savage works him over in the corner, then Hall chokes him out and goes to work on the ribs. Page gets tossed and sent into the stairs, and back in for more heat from the heels. Hennig gets a theoretical hot tag, although really no one cares, and they do a spot where Page accidentally pulls down the top rope, but in reality botches the spot and Hennig bumps to the floor for no reason. And then he turns on Page and the nWo finishes with the Razor’s Edge and flying elbow at 9:30. Hennig looked terrible here and immediately turning him was a really dumb idea, which of course bore no relation to where they were eventually going with Curt anyway. Anyway, the match sucked and was a huge disappointment after the great Savage-DDP angles and buildup for the mystery partner. *

Ric Flair v. Rowdy Roddy Piper

More WCW weirdness here, as they did the breakup angle and feud to build up to this, and they both got over with it, and then it was all immediately dropped right after the match and Flair turned babyface again. They immediately slug it out and Flair runs away, and back in for an exchange of chops that again goes badly for Ric. Piper slugs away in the corner and Flair does a flip to the floor, but recovers with an eye poke before Piper runs him into the post and continues beating on him outside. Back in, Piper gets his own eye poke, so Flair clips the knee and beats on the leg for a while before getting the figure-four. Piper reverses as the crowd goes crazy, but Flair pokes the eye again. Piper manages a neckbreaker for two and goes with a blatant choke, but Flair goes low to escape that. Piper slugs him down and drops a questionable knee (“Right on that tras-pes-ious thang” in Dusty’s words) and they fight to the floor again. Piper continues brutalizing him with chops and gets the sleeper in the ring, but Flair goes low and gets two with his feet blatantly on the ropes. Flair goes up and Piper slams him off and gets his own figure-four, but Flair escapes and finds an international object in his tights. Piper steals it and hits Flair, but now the Horsemen run in and Mongo spikes Piper with the tombstone while Benoit takes the ref, and that gets two for Flair. Flair goes back to throwing chops and Piper has had enough and they fight it out while Mark Curtis swings away with them in a funny bit, and Piper gets the sleeper. Flair has no counter this time and he’s out at 13:19, complete with three arm drops. Tremendously fun and heated old school match, probably Piper’s best in WCW and maybe his last great one ever. I honestly can’t remember another one he had afterwards that was any good. ***1/2

Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman v. Lex Luger & The Giant

Randy Savage is with the heel team tonight, apparently there as a failsafe in case Rodman self-destructed and they needed someone to work the match. Michael Buffer’s ridiculous introduction are prime nonsense, with stuff like “Lex Luger’s world famous RACK OF DOOM” and talking about how Rodman is “the famous bad boy who is as bad as he wants to be, and he wants to be the baddest…” and it goes on like that for what feels like three paragraphs. Hogan starts with Luger to start and it’s a whole lot of nothing, with Hogan doing all the ga-ga and claiming hairpulls in between simple headlocks. Hulk chokes him out and gets the corner clothesline, but misses an elbow and finally tags Rodman in, 5:00 into the match. More stalling and ga-ga and Rodman gets an armdrag and draws a huge reaction from the crowd and the announcers. It’s an ARMDRAG. Jesus. So more stalling and this time Luger gets the armdrags and the heels bail and stall and stall and stall. To his credit, Rodman looks totally credible out there and has star presence. Back in, Luger with a headlock, but Rodman does a leapfrog and shoulder tackle and the announcers are like “HE’S BEEN EXTENSIVELY TRAINED BY HOGAN!” I mean, again, credit to Rodman for what he did, but if an elite level NBA star couldn’t do a damn leapfrog, there’d be an issue. So finally, 11:00 into the match, Giant comes in against Hogan and this crowd continues to be easily impressed. Hogan chokes him out in the corner and brings in Rodman, but Giant hits him with an atomic drop and chokes him out, which allows Hogan to sneak in and kick the knee behind the ref’s back. So Giant takes the beating and they keep it super, super simple for Rodman while tagging in and out. Hulk hits the big boot, but can’t hiptoss him, so Rodman comes in for a double-team version and that gets two. Hot tag Luger, but Rodman hits him with a cheapshot from the apron and Hogan gets a backdrop suplex for two. Legdrop gets two. Interesting that Hogan allowed his own finisher to be killed off as a part of the heel character, since he never beat people with it as Hollywood and really didn’t have a finisher, period. Hogan and Rodman stop to trade hugs and Giant gets another hot tag and runs wild, but now “Sting” is here and he’s incredibly tall and has spectacular hair, but questionable knees. So “Sting” turns on Giant and hits him with the bat, but Hogan gets caught in the RACK OF DOOM and submits at 21:20. Tony is sure that we’ll be seeing this on every TV station and news report tomorrow. That really wasn’t the case, at least in Canada, but maybe it was different in the US. In the Observer, Dave joked that Rodman was probably the best worker in the match, and he wasn’t far off. *1/4 The match was pretty bad, but it had AMAZING heat, so at least that spectacle aspect somewhat saved it.

The Pulse

A very enjoyable show overall, carried by the undercard as usual for WCW, but Flair v. Piper is something of a lost classic as well. I’d call it well worth a look on the Network.