–Eric Bischoff and Dusty Rhodes are in the booth and they are live from Dayton, Ohio. Since this is the night of The Great American Bash tonight’s broadcast functions as the pre-show. Rhodes is in complete hard sell mode, telling fans that if they are going to buy anything in their lives, they must buy the pay-per-view.
–Opening Contest: Harlem Heat (w/Sister Sherri) (26-3-2) defeat the Fantastics (0-4) when Booker T pins Tommy Rogers at 6:46:
WCW wanted to use the Rock N’ Roll Express in the Fantastics spot but as was noted in the June 11 backstage notes, the Express declined over booking and pay issues. The Heat had beaten the Fantastics two times before, once on WCW Pro and another time on WCW Worldwide earlier in the year. Stevie Ray is also sporting a t-shirt underneath his tights to obscure the effects of a motorcycle injury. Tommy Rogers has to cheat and hit Booker T in the back of the head to receive a hot tag and the Fantastics come close to winning after a Rogers moonsault, but Stevie Ray breaks that up and Booker T does his own aerial maneuver to give the Heat their fifth straight victory. The crowd loves the Harlem Hangover. Rating: **
–Gene Okerlund interviews the Heat and Sherri. Sherri is tired of WCW’s favoritism toward the Nasty Boys and the Heat say that they want their titles back.
–Sergeant Craig Pittman (22-0) beats Chris Kanyon via submission to the Code Red at 2:16:
Kanyon was a physical therapist-turned professional wrestler who was trained by the Fabulous Moolah and Afa. He did some squash matches for the WWF in early 1995 before jumping over to WCW and filling that same role and his size and abilities quickly got him promoted out of that role by the end of the year as we will see later. Pittman does his usual gig of working the arm to set up the submission, but cameras miss the finish because WCW is hyping the towering Paul Wight, who gets shown at a second consecutive pay-per-view.
–Bischoff interviews WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel to get an announcement about WCW Champion Hulk Hogan and Vader. Vader wastes no time interrupting, telling Bockwinkel he is “tired of his shit.” This causes a surprise appearance from Hogan, who attacks Vader from behind until Sting, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Dave Sullivan, and Jimmy Hart intervene.
–Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck (w/Colonel Robert Parker) (11-4) defeat Barry Houston & Frankie Lancaster when Slater pins Houston after a double fist at 3:50:
Bischoff tells fans that Hogan and Vader are tearing up the locker room as Slater and Buck annihilate Houston. Lancaster tries to save his partner, but he gets owned by the heels. That does not stop him from trying to break up the final pinning combination by awkwardly trying to wrap up referee Randy Anderson, but the three count is logged anyway.
–Call 1-900-909-9900 to find out who might be in Randy Savage’s corner for tonight’s main event!
–Okerlund interviews Parker, who says that his team is getting overlooked for a tag team title shot. He calls Sister Sherri a “floozy” and says that Slater and Buck could take out Harlem Heat. The Heat and Sherri come out, with Sherri saying that Parker is a piece of “Kentucky friend chicken” and that Slater is an “outdated cowboy.” Sherri challenges them to a match. Parker accepts but at a future date and he proceeds to force himself on Sherri, earning a right hand for his efforts.
–Bischoff tells Okerlund that Commissioner Bockwinkel has decided that Harlem Heat will face Slater and Buck on the pay-per-view telecast. Vader interrupts the announcers, breaking a chair and saying that he wants Hulk Hogan in the ring. The show goes off the air before we find out if Hogan will answer Vader’s challenge.
The Last Word: WCW did a major tease for Hulk Hogan-Vader on this show, largely because they worried the planned main event of Randy Savage and Ric Flair would not draw enough eyeballs. In true bait and switch fashion, though, WCW would not have a Hogan-Vader match at The Great American Bash, causing Dave Meltzer to call it the promotion’s “sleaziest come-on to date.” Nevertheless, this pre-show was an exciting hour of television and maintained a hot Dayton crowd throughout.
Up Next: The Great American Bash ’95!
And if you want to read what was happening in the WWF as a companion to this series of WCW reviews, check out my e-book on Amazon. $4.99 for an electronic copy of the e-book or $26 for the paperback copy, which provides more than 800 pages of reviews, statistics, and angle breakdowns of the WWF in 1995!