American Bash 1998
June 14, 1998
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
at the big summer PPV which originally gave us everything between the
first War Games and the worst major PPV of all time, so it’s hard to
say what to expect here. There’s a double main event with Sting vs.
Giant for control of both tag titles and an actual tag match of
Hart/Hogan vs. Piper/Savage with Piper and Savage agreeing to fight
each other after it’s over. Hopefully the lower part of the card can
save the top guys again. Let’s get to it.
opening video is a seizure inducing series of videos of the people in
almost all the matches with various patriotic symbols in between.
announcers talk about the main events a bit.
talks about the Giant vs. Sting tag title match. Apparently Giant
will pick Disciple if he wins both belts. That’s quite the team.
the announcers preview match #7 (really 8th) match in the
Booker vs. Benoit series. We get a video of the original seventh
match from Thunder where Bret Hart tried to give Benoit the match but
Chris didn’t want to win it that way. Booker agreed to another match
tonight, winner take all.
T vs. Chris Benoit
winner gets a TV Title shot tonight against Finlay. Feeling out
process to start with Benoit hooking a very quick armdrag to take
over. Booker might have a bad knee coming in after the match on
Thursday but he comes right back with an armdrag of his own. Benoit
bails to the floor and it’s right back to a standoff a few seconds
later. Booker grabs a hammerlock to take Chris down before hooking a
half nelson into a rollup for two. Benoit fights up and cranks on a
hammerlock of his own, only to be elbowed in the face.
is sent into the corner and peppered with more forearms before
charging into a boot to the jaw. Chris will have none of that and
takes out the bad knee with a dragon screw legwhip to get his first
real advantage. They head to the corner for some WOO inspiring chops
from the Canadian before he elbows Booker in the face for two. We
hit a chinlock on Mr. T. as Tony compares Booker vs. Benoit seven
times to Finlay fighting guys like High Voltage. There’s a snap
suplex for two on Booker as things slow down a bit.
belly to back superplex is countered into a cross body for two but
Benoit comes right back by stomping Booker down and putting on
another chinlock. Booker fights up again but a hard knee to the
stomach puts him right back down. Benoit drapes Booker’s ribs across
the top rope for two but doesn’t seem sure how to follow up. Back to
the chinlock as the fans immediately start cheering for Booker again.
Off to a surfboard hold with Benoit’s knees in the back but Booker
fights up and scores with a powerslam.
goes up but Benoit steps to the side to avoid a spinning cross body
ala Samoa Joe in a nice counter. A Crossface attempt lands right in
the ropes so Benoit goes right back to the chinlock. Booker elbows
up and hits an enziguri to put Benoit back down. There’s the snap
spinebuster followed by a flapjack, allowing Booker to spin up. The
missile dropkick is broken up with Booker getting crotched on the
top, allowing Chris to superplex Booker down in a great looking
guy can immediately follow up though until Benoit gets a very delayed
cover for two. Here are the rolling Germans but Booker breaks it up
before the third. Instead Benoit busts out the dragon suplex for a
very near fall. Booker is sent into the corner and tries the
spinning sunset flip but Benoit is still in the middle of the ring in
a nice bit of psychology. Benoit suplexes him down again and hits
the Swan Dive but still can’t cover. Booker comes back with a side
kick to the back of the head, setting up the missile dropkick for the
100% clean pin.
B. This would have been better
with a minute or two cut out to lower the chinlockery levels, but
even with them this was a great opening match and a perfect way to
fire up the crowd. It’s one of those matches where both guys come
out looking great though I would have liked to see Booker win more.
Still though, very few complaints here.
is on the internet and says he needs the punishment that Eddie will
give him tonight.
believe this is Kanyon’s first match under that name. Someone comes
out in the Mortis gear but the real Kanyon sneaks in behind Saturn
and gets two off a rollup. A neckbreaker gets the same as Kanyon
starts fast. Saturn gets stomped down in the corner as Kanyon still
has his vest on. An electric chair into a faceplant gets two but
Kanyon has to deck Kidman off the apron. There’s a clothesline to
put Saturn on the floor as this is all Kanyon so far. Saturn trips
him up though and scores with a slingshot splash for no cover.
gets back up and hits a kind of Fameasser out of the corner as Lodi,
Riggs and Horace are all on the floor. Saturn kicks him to the floor
for a triple team from the Flock, followed by a BIG dive over the top
to put everyone down. Nick Patrick throws the Flock out and Kanyon
is whipped into the barricade (called the post by Tony) to injure his
ribs. Back in and Saturn kicks away at the head and puts on an ankle
lock. Off to something resembling Cattle Mutilation but Kanyon gets
his feet in the ropes.
is crotched on the ropes and a springboard clothesline from Saturn
puts both guys on the floor. Saturn throws a chair into the ring as
apparently this is Raven’s Rules. Perry uses the chair as a
springboard for a dropkick in the corner and a Sabu Triple Jump
Moonsault gets two. Saturn tries a sunset flip but gets caught in
midair with a northern lights suplex for a close two. Saturn comes
right back with a swinging neckbreaker for two of his own and we hit
get back up with Saturn getting suplexed down and then dropped throat
first across the top rope. A jumping back elbow to the jaw puts
Saturn down and a fireman’s carry flapjack gets another near fall.
Kanyon’s downward spiral is countered into a half nelson suplex from
Saturn but the Death Valley Driver is escaped as well.
kicks Kanyon in the face but he loads up a superplex instead of
covering. Kanyon fights back and both guys get crotched before
falling out to the floor. Cue the guy who played Mortis
earlier….and another guy in a Mortis mask as well. The Mortises
(Mortisi?) slug it out and brawl to the floor as Kanyon hits a quick
downward spiral for the pin.
B. Take two guys who can do a
ton of moves in the ring and let them beat the tar out of each other
for fifteen minutes. The pair of masked guys near the end had me
worried but thankfully they didn’t do anything but throw Saturn back
inside. Kanyon had a ton of potential as the guy just showing off
every night but like everything else in WCW, that wouldn’t get very
of the Mortises holds up Kanyon’s arm but pulls him into a DDT. That
one is Raven but we don’t get to see who is under the other hood.
Raven says Saturn had one job but couldn’t even do that right so
here’s the Flock for the big beatdown. Saturn will have none of that
though and fights them off, including a suplex for Raven.
recap so far, we’re about 45 minutes into this show and two of the
matches have been GREAT. You’ve had Benoit, Booker, Saturn and
Kanyon tearing the house down and firing the crowd up over a match
for a shot at the lower card title and a story that makes little
sense. These guys are tearing the house down, but how long would it
be before any of them got anywhere? Nearly two years, with Booker
and Benoit becoming world champions because the original choices for
champion were unavailable. It’s amazing what politics and idiocy can
do to a company.
recap Malenko vs. Jericho since Slamboree. Basically Jericho has
been demanding the title back because Malenko wasn’t announced as an
entrant in the battle royal and saying Dean was letting his dead dad
down. Malenko agreed to give up the title for a shot against
Jericho. Chris freaked out because he wanted to be handed the title
instead of having a match for it.
Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho
title is vacant coming in. They stare each other down before
charging into a double clothesline. Jericho pops back up and hits
another clothesline to take over but Dean comes right back with a
German suplex. Malenko stomps Jericho down in the corner as Chris
screams like a coward. Jericho gets up a boot to stop a charging
Malenko before putting on a headlock. Malenko rolls out of a quick
Liontamer attempt and gets two off a suplex. Dean puts a knee in
Jericho’s back and pulls on his arms to give us more screaming.
whips him into the corner for a Flair Flip, but Jericho takes it two
steps further by hitting his head on the post and getting caught in
the Tree of Woe. Jericho falls out to the floor but slides back in
to hit a pescado to the floor to take over. Back in and a suplex
gets two for the blonde before it’s off to a sleeper. Dean fights
out but gets suplexed back down for another two.
is getting frustrated at not being able to finish Malenko so he
chokes Dean on the top rope. A slam sets up the Lionsault but
Malenko rolls away to get a breather. Malenko comes back with a leg
lariat and a rolling cradle for two. A middle rope facejam out of
the corner gets another close two and Dean puts Jericho on the top.
Jericho is able to fight out of the super gutbuster and hook a top
rope hurricanrana. A very quick cover gets two for Chris but his
powerbomb is blocked by right hands.
rolls through the cover into a regular Boston crab but Malenko
quickly makes the ropes. Dean tries to jump over Jericho in the
corner but gets caught in an Alabama Slam. Jericho still can’t hook
the Liontamer so Dean grabs the Cloverleaf. Chris gets to the ropes
even faster than Dean did and grabs a quick butterfly backbreaker.
Jericho slaps him in the face and says Dean is nothing, just like his
dead father. That’s enough for Dean and the brawl goes to the floor
where Malenko cracks Jericho with a chair for a DQ.
B-. Logical but frustrating
ending aside, this is the third straight good match of the night.
Malenko snapping is a great thing to see and Jericho being forced to
shut up and wrestle is always worth a look. This feud has been
really solid and Jericho using his brain to take away Malenko’s calm
was really smart.
isn’t done and takes Jericho to the back, ramming him into various
things along the way. They go outside the arena with Jericho being
rammed into a mailbox. They get too near the traffic and security
steps in, so Jericho sprints across the street and into another
building. Jericho is announced as the winner via DQ.
begs Chavo for forgiveness and for Grandma to get him out of this.
Guerrera’s music starts but stops after a second so the announcers
can talk about Jericho having a claim to the Cruiserweight Title.
on Juventud Guerrera who won’t give up. By this I mean him walking
around ancient ruins in Mexico.
Guerrera vs. Reese
giant bully vs. scrappy little guy story coming into this. Guerrera
prays before the match starts and we get a LONG staredown. Juvy
tries a right hand but is easily sent backwards into the corner. He
charges right back and scores with some shots to the face but Reese
shoves him right back down. Guerrera bails to the floor and gets
Reese to chase him, only to slide back in and try a dive. Reese
pulls him out of the air and tosses Juvy back inside but the small
man kicks at the knee as Reese gets back in.
grabs Juvy by the head and holds him back to show just how much
bigger he is than Guerrera. Juvy goes up and tries a choke before
ripping at his face. Reese goes down to one knee where he still
comes up to Guerrera’s shoulders. The big man finally just drops
back to crush Juvy and the beating begins. There’s a backbreaker
with Juvy being bent over Reese’s knee like a toy.
HUGE beal sends Guerrera across the ring and Reese stands on his hair
and pulls on Juvy’s arms. There’s the bearhug with Reese shaking
Juvy around like he’s made of paper. Reese lets him go so Juvy kicks
him low a few times, which is legal since Reese is in the Flock ala
Saturn earlier. In a smart move, Reese drops down to a knee to punch
Juvy in the face.
vertical suplex puts Juvy down but he climbs up the referee to beat
the ten count. Now Reese gets a chair but referee Charles Robinson
pulls it away. Juvy goes up top for a hurricanrana but gets caught
in midair. Lodi has the referee for no apparent reason and Van
Hammer pops up to blast Reese with the chair, allowing Juvy to flip
him over (even more awkwardly than you would imagine) and get a pin
with Reese’s shoulders only about four inches off the mat.
C+. They were THIS close to
hitting this out of the park but the ending didn’t quite work. The
hurricanrana looking terrible and the pin being a disaster brings
this down but that’s about its only problem. They had the crowd
right where they wanted them and could have blown the roof off if the
underdog won like he should have. Hammer coming in was fine as if
Juvy overcomes too much it becomes comical which is the wrong idea.
This was a tightrope to walk and they almost pulled it off.
Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
is the match I’ve wanted to see more than any other after seeing the
buildup. Eddie tried to turn Chavo into an Eddie clone and kept
tormenting Chavo when he couldn’t get it right. Chavo finally
snapped and completely turned the tables on Eddie, sending his uncle
running scared. Chavo is all ticked off to start and slaps Eddie in
the corner, causing the uncle to pound him in the face. Eddie takes
him down with a trip but Chavo gets on top and pounds away with right
up and Chavo rushes at Eddie but gets dropped face first on the top
turnbuckle. Eddie misses a charge into the post though and Chavo
rams him into all three buckles in a corner a total of about 15
times. Chavo drags him around the ring by the hair and dropkicks him
down, sending Eddie out to the floor. He tries to walk out but Chavo
is still ticked off. They head back in where Eddie kicks the rope
into Chavo to take over.
in and Eddie works on the arm for a bit before sending Chavo to the
apron. The nephew goes up top and tries a flip attack but lands on
his feet, only to run across the ring and go up top for a moonsault
press, good for two. Eddie sends him right back into the corner and
out to the floor as this has been very physical for the first six
minutes or so. Back inside and a brainbuster puts Chavo down, but
Eddie slaps him in the face to make Chavo snap again. Chavo chases
Eddie around the ring until Eddie gets back inside and hides behind
distraction lets Eddie get in a shot to the knee and Chavo stops
cold. A dropkick to the knee sends Chavo down in a heap so Eddie
puts on a figure four. Eddie yells at the fans and lets the hold go
before putting on the Gory Special. Again Eddie lets go of the hold
and kicks Chavo in the face to set up a camel clutch. The fans chant
for Goldberg so Eddie lets go of the hold to act as a conductor.
There’s an over the shoulder backbreaker but Eddie spins him around
and drops Chavo down to the mat for no cover.
blocks a slam and LAUNCHES Eddie over the top in a backdrop. A big
running dive completely misses Eddie as Chavo jumps too high but it
looked great. Now the fans want Flair because a good match with a
good story isn’t good enough for them anymore. Back in and a bulldog
gets two for the nephew but he takes WAY too long setting up a frog
splash, allowing Eddie to shake the ropes to bring him down. Eddie’s
frog splash misses though but he still blocks a tornado DDT. Chavo
is sent to the floor so he springboards back in for a tornado DDT and
the stunning upset pin.
B. I can’t believe I’m saying
this but this has been an AWESOME show so far with good match after
good match. This was the perfect blowoff to the story with Chavo
showing he was learning the entire time, but not in the way Eddie was
hoping for. He’s gone from a generic cruiserweight to an interesting
character who just pinned a former US Champion clean. Good stuff
here, as has been the case all night.
get the Piper vs. Savage confrontation from Nitro to remind us that
the last hour and forty five minutes of awesome are going to be
brought down into the abyss very soon. Given that there are five
matches left and about an hour to go, things are about to get very
screwy in a hurry.
Title: Booker T vs. Fit Finlay
doesn’t have any elbow pads or gloves on here which is a weird look
for him. There’s an undefined extended time limit over the usual ten
minutes here. Booker sends him into the buckle to start followed by
an awkward looking clothesline. A kick to the face gets two for
Booker but he misses an enziguri, allowing Finlay to hook a leg lock.
Back up and Finlay forearms his way out of a headlock, only to have
Booker come back with a flying forearm for two.
chops put Finlay on the floor but he comes back in to block an ax
kick and go after the leg again. There’s a half crab followed by a
regular crank on the leg to keep Booker in trouble. Finlay slams the
knee onto the apron and wraps it around the ropes for good measure.
Booker comes back with the spinning sunset flip out of the corner for
two, only to have the champion come back with another leg crank. He
wraps Booker’s knee around his neck ala the Brock Lock before going
off to a kind of half Liontamer.
rolls away and just pounds Fit in the head with right hands, only to
have Finlay come right back with a shin breaker and another leg hold.
They head outside again where the referee has to stop Finlay from
getting a chair. The knee is wrapped around the post and Finlay hits
a Vader Bomb for no cover. Instead he yells at the crowd and kicks
Booker’s knee even more but stops to yell at the fans.
comes back with a spinwheel kick and a powerslam before hitting the
ax kick. He spins up so Finlay clotheslines him inside out. The
tombstone from Finlay is countered into an AWFUL looking sequence
where Booker was supposed to backflip into a tombstone of his own,
but instead he fell down and got covered for two. Back up and Finlay
misses a charge into the “post”, allowing Booker to hit a
kneeling piledriver (Finlay was facing forward but Booker dropped to
his knees like a tombstone) for the pin and the title.
D+. And there goes the really
good match streak. The match wasn’t horrible but you can only watch
Finlay lay on Booker’s leg and pull on the ankle so many times in
thirteen minutes. The ending was HORRIBLE too with the sequence
being botched and the ending coming out of nowhere. Also Booker not
selling the knee at all after coming in with a bad knee and having
Finlay work on it for ten minutes was inexcusable. I think everyone
knew Booker would win here after taking the series, which made him
look like a star.
Title: Konnan vs. Goldberg
and Rude are with Goldberg’s dinner tonight. Goldberg is now from
Parts Unknown instead of Atlanta. To say the place has gone nuts is
an understatement. Konnan is easily shoved to the floor and wants to
know what that was. Back in and Goldberg grabs a headlock followed
by a botched roll thru into a legbar. Konnan grabs a rope and gets
two feet up in the corner to stop a charge. Not that it matters as
the spear and Jackhammer make Goldberg 100-0.
match Hennig and Rude turn on Goldberg and join the Black and White.
That’s the best move as neither of the fit with the Wolfpack at all.
Luger and Nash come out for the save.
going to pause for a minute here and recommend that you go do
something else. So far this has been an excellent show with logical
booking, good matches and hard work from almost everyone involved.
No more good can come from the remaining parts of this show. You
would be better off being stuffed inside a bag and beaten with large
wooden clubs. I might recommend going to a blind dentist with
Parkinson’s Disease for a root canal. Or better yet just go watch
the first two hours of this show again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you
if you keep going.
Piper/Randy Savage vs. Hollywood Hogan/Bret Hart
is the real main event though we’ve been promised Savage vs. Piper
post match as a “bonus”. Savage is Wolfpack, Hogan is Black and
White, Hart is technically NWO but never made it official and Piper
is one of the last heroes remaining in WCW. He might be the only one
in the main event picture actually. Sign in the crowd: Savage/Piper
vs. Hart/Hogan: WELCOME TO JURASSIC PARK!
the shock of no one, it’s a stall fest to start. It’s Hogan vs.
Piper to get us going but Roddy spits at Bret. Hogan backs into the
corner so Piper calls time out before jumping him for our first
contact about two minutes in. Hogan gets poked in the eyes and has
his bandana taken off to reveal a bald head. Off to Savage who rams
Hogan face first into the buckle before it’s back to Piper for some
biting and right hands.
hits Piper in the back with the world title to give Hogan control.
Yeah remember the guy that has been beaten up like he’s in a Three
Stooges short is world champion. Bret gets the tag and hits a few
forearms before bringing Hogan back in for right hands. Piper
staggers around and won’t go down so Bret cheats a bit to get him on
the mat. Bret comes back in for a Russian legsweep and the middle
rope elbow for two.
chokes Piper from the apron but Piper comes back with one of the
worst small packages ever. He flails his arms and tags Savage which
doesn’t count for no apparent reason so Hart puts on a front
facelock. Piper makes another tag which doesn’t count due to Patrick
not seeing it, allowing for another double team. Savage comes over
with a chair and puts it on Piper’s chest so Bret’s headbutt hits
hot tag brings in Savage and the pop from the fans pales in
comparison to pretty much any given pop of the night so far. Hart
and Hogan stop Savage pretty easily, only to have Hogan deck Hart by
mistake. Everything breaks down and Savage goes up for the elbow,
only to have his knee give out. Hogan and Piper head outside where
Hogan wraps Savage’s leg around the post. The Sharpshooter goes on
and Savage is done.
F. I would pay big money to be
in the production meetings to hear Hogan and Bischoff explain why
Hollywood should be pushed so hard. These matches aren’t even
acceptable or decent. They’re absolutely horrid with no redeeming
value whatsoever and making the entire promotion look like a joke. I
can’t believe I’m saying this, but Hogan is coming off like the Honky
Tonk Man. He wrestles glorified comedy matches, gets destroyed for
good chunks of them and then survives through some sort of
shenanigan. I knew these matches were bad but I didn’t realize how
horrible they really were.
that wasn’t enough though, IT’S A RODDY PIPER DOUBLE FEATURE!
Piper vs. Randy Savage
still has Savage in the Sharpshooter when the bell rings so Randy is
pretty much done already. Wait or was that the closing bell for the
opening match? Gene comes in to talk to Piper but he helps Savage up
instead, only to have Macho punch Piper. Savage chokes him down and
actually hits the elbow but Piper, superhuman that he is, gets to
kick out at two. The referee gets punched out so Piper hits Savage
low and pokes him in the eyes. A figure four makes Savage quit for
the second time in five minutes with his finisher only getting two in
between. That’ll teach him for getting cheered.
Titles: Sting vs. Giant
if you haven’t been following the Nitro and Thunder reviews leading
up to this, you’re a schnook. Go read them now. Anyway, Sting and
Giant won the belts when Giant joined the Black and White. Sting
turned down an offer to do the same and is in the Red and Black, but
the titles were held up because Giant tried to replace him with Brian
Adams, leading to this match. The winner gets to pick his new
partner to be the tag champions.
smokes a cigarette on the way to the ring to get the fans to boo him.
He blows smoke in Sting’s face in the corner but misses a charge
into the corner, allowing Sting to fire off kicks to the ribs. The
Stinger Splash lands on a boot though and Giant sends him to the
floor. Back in and Sting’s cross body just bounces off of Giant so
he lifts Sting up into a gorilla press, LAUNCHING him face first into
the buckle. That looked awesome.
hit the bearhug for a good while as we’re almost out of PPV time.
Sting bites his way out of the hold and dropkicks the knee out. A
Stinger Splash to the back and one to the front have Giant in trouble
and there’s a slam for good measure. The Deathlock goes on but Giant
easily powers out of it. Instead a Death Drop gets two and Sting
blocks a chokeslam. Another Death Drop gets another two but a Death
Drop from the middle rope is enough for the pin and the titles.
D+. It wasn’t a masterpiece but
this was better than most recent Nitro main events. This felt like a
dark match to send the fans home happy and there’s really nothing
wrong with that. It ends the stupid titles in two camps story and
lets Sting pick a partner later on. In a word, this was acceptable.
Rating: B. If you cut out the
tag match and put in ANYTHING else, this is one of the best PPVs WCW
ever put on. Everything ranges between very solid to acceptable at
worst and most of the booking makes perfect sense. That tag match
really hurts it though because it’s just so horrid.
I were booking this show, I would have thought about putting Goldberg
on last. It’s a B-level show and the last match was just less than
seven minutes long and for the tag belts. Make Goldberg vs. Konnan a
five minute match for the US Title and do the Hennig/Rude turn the
next night on Nitro. On top of that it was to make him 100-0. That
would send them home happy. Shockingly good show here though,
embarrassing real main event aside.
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