Place to be Network Rewind Series: WCW Bash at the Beach 1996

From the fine folks at Place to be Nation, listen to the podcast that discusses one of the most influential PPV’s in the history of professional wrestling. This podcast also features Scott Keith as a special guest so click on the link below and give it a listen.

http://placetobenation.com/place-to-be-network-rewind-series-bash-at-the-beach-1996/

 

 

 

 

 

The SmarK Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1996

The SmarK Rant for WCW Great American Bash 96 – 06.16.96 Upgraded from my Roku Streaming Stick to the brand new version of the Roku 3 today, and everything is blazingly fast now. Except for the WWE Network, which immediately crashed the Roku when I tried to fast-forward something. Because of course. Live from Baltimore, MD Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Dusty Rhodes. I totally forgot about the goofy SNME-style promos before the show, actually. They were definitely ripping off aspects of the WWF presentation style around this point. Fire & Ice v. The Steiner Brothers Ice Train overpowers Scott for two, but the Steiners clean house. Norton works on Rick, but he gets suplexed for two and Scott adds a dropkick. Norton of course is merely inconvenienced and beats Scott down, allowing Ice Train to come in for more punishment. Corner splash misses and Scott suplexes him out of the corner, then he suplexes Norton and nearly breaks his neck. He’s got a pretty thick neck anyway, I’m sure he wouldn’t have even noticed. Norton bails and Scott tries a flying bodypress in the ring, but Norton catches him with a powerslam for two. Train comes in and works on the shoulder, with Norton adding a shoulderbreaker into an armbar. Rick repeatedly kicks Norton in the face to break that up and I’m sensing some tensions here. Another shoulderbreaker, but Scott manages to tag Rick while on Norton’s back and Rick runs wild with clotheslines. Fire & Ice double-team Rick with a powerbomb into a splash, however, and they try a Doomsday Device, but Scott breaks it up and they get the flying bulldog on Norton for two. Scott with the Frankensteiner on Norton to finish at 10:31. Kudos to Flash for taking that thing. Good hard-hitting match to start. *** US Title: Konnan v. El Gato Gato is no Joe Gomez as far as challengers go. As always, I remind you that El Gato is Spanish for “Pat Tanaka”. This was typical WCW weirdness, as they decided to book a match between Konnan and a masked man named El Gato, but had no real idea of who would play the part. So instead of getting any actual Mexicans, they found Tanaka at whatever waffle house he was wrestling out of in 1996 and gave him the gig instead. And they’re not even TRYING, as Tanaka is just wearing his usual gear with a Tiger Mask gimmick stuck over his trademark hair. Gato uses his South American martial arts to take Konnan down with armdrags, but Konnan puts him down with a clothesline for two. Gato gets a superkick for two and a sunset flip for two, but Konnan takes him down and works on the leg. Konnan puts him on the floor with a powerbomb, and then finishes with a jackknife slam back in the ring at 5:57 to retain. Just a Nitro match. ** Sting goes on a huge rant against Steven Regal and his prissy mannerisms, but then completely loses his train of thought mid-promo in a funny goof and Gene has to give him a minute and jumpstart him again. That was definitely live. Lord of the Ring match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Marcus Bagwell They immediately fight to the floor and Bagwell sends Page into the front row, but DDP cuts him off on the way back in. Bagwell starts working on the arm as Tony relates a backstory about a film student finding DDP homeless on the campus of his college and then giving him the money to enter WCW again. So was that the payoff the benefactor angle? Bagwell dumps him and follows with a dive, but goes up and gets crotched as DDP takes over. Backbreaker gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Page with the abdominal stretch and some sort of half-hearted piledriver for two. Bagwell comes back with a pair of atomic drops and a slingshot clothesline for two, but a blind charge misses and DDP gets two. Bagwell comes back again with a headscissors, but DDP drops him with the Cutter at 9:36. You can see them building up the “out of nowhere” aspect of that move and really getting it over. **1/4 Pretty dull stuff here. WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Rey Mysterio Jr. For those keeping track, this is where the show really takes off. This is of course Rey’s PPV debut, on par with a Joe Gomez although without the longevity or career highs to follow. They do the stalemate sequence to start and start pulling out the awesome lucha gymnastics as Dean bumps to the floor. Rey with the springboard dropkick, and back in for a sunset flip out of a knucklelock. Dean dumps him and tries a baseball slide, but Rey casually slides back in to avoid it. Back in, Dean goes to work on the arm with some vicious stuff, but Rey walks the ropes and dropkicks out of it. Dean puts him down with a clothesline out of the corner for two and goes back to the arm with a hammerlock slam for two. Dean really cranks on the arm as this stays on the mat for way too long. Dean stomps him down and starts on the arm again. What an odd choice of a match style for REY MYSTERIO to debut with. Even WWE knew enough to have him go out there and fly all over the ring when he started. Butterfly suplex gets two. Dean goes back to the arm, but Rey finally makes the comeback and puts Dean on the floor before following with an insane somersault plancha halfway up the aisle. Back in with a springboard dropkick for two. They trade pinfall reversals for two and the West Coast Pop gets two. They fight to the top and Rey takes him down with a rana for two, and reverses a backbreaker attempt for two. Dean blocks another rana attempt with a powerbomb and pins him with his feet on the ropes to retain at 17:55, however. Those last few minutes were CRAZY. **** Meltzer kind of buried the match, despite giving it the same rating, noting that Rey’s cred was pretty much shot now because he lost his debut to a midcard guy. BURIED. And he spelled his name wrong, listing it as “Oscar Gonzales”. DOUBLE BURIED. Big Bubba v. John Tenta They brawl outside to start and Tenta throws him into the stairs and then works him over in the corner. Bubba finds an international object and slugs Tenta down for two, then follows with an enzuigiri for two. Tenta tries a slam and falls back, and Bubba smothers him for a while. Bubba goes up, however, and Tenta powerslams him for the pin at 5:31. Unfortunately, this feud MUST CONTINUE. DUD Falls Count Anywhere: Chris Benoit v. Kevin Sullivan They immediately do a crazy brawl into the crowd and up the stairs, ending up in the men’s bathroom. Dusty is just in his glory here, as this is literally the greatest thing he’s ever seen, culminating with them fighting over a urinal and a woman in the men’s bathroom. Sullivan shoves Benoit’s head into the extra toilet paper and they get into a vicious slugfest before heading down into the arena again. Sullivan just dumps him down the stairs and chucks a chair at him at ringside. Benoit retrieves a table and they take turns whipping each other into it, but Benoit sets it on the top rope and they fight on top of it. And then from there, Benoit finally puts him away with a superplex at 9:52 to a huge pop. Can’t really go with the full monty any more, but it was still a great brawl with non-stop action, that set a template for Vince Russo for years afterwards. Not to mention it was Dusty’s finest hour as a commentator, even as he lost one of his oldest friends the day before. Now that’s a pro. ****1/4 Benoit goes for the beatdown, but Arn Anderson makes the save…and then turns on Sullivan and kicks the shit out of him as well. And that was an awesome payoff, too. Meanwhile, the newly rejuvenated Horsemen cut their victory promo, and they wouldn’t be done yet tonight. Apparently Benoit has now “earned his stripes” with the Horsemen and is set for life with them. Sting v. Lord Steven Regal At this point I switch to the iPad for various reasons, and the quality is pretty iffy on it tonight. Also, has anyone commented recently how “The Man Called Sting” and “Steinerized” are basically the same song? Because they totally are. This was actually a pretty fantastic little feud built up on Nitro and WCWSN, with Regal being all kinds of a British super-dick and Sting being all “America is awesome, derp derp” and damn if it didn’t work great. Sting attacks to start, but Regal takes him down and pounds him with forearms, but Sting fights him off and Regal goes to argue with the front row for a bit. Thankfully the crowd is aware of their location in the USA and informs Mr. Regal. Back in, Steve offers a heartfelt handshake and smile, Sting THRUSTS HIS CROTCH at him. Is this how America treats visiting dignitaries and great men like Mr. Regal? No wonder he hates all the fans. Regal takes him down and rubs his knee in his face, then goes into a cobra clutch and pounds away with forearms. Regal controls him with a full nelson, but Sting takes him down with a sunset flip for two. Regal, who is a great professional wrestler, makes faces while fighting the move and threatens to take out his frustrations by punching the referee in the face at the same time. Regal was on another level of greatness at this point. Unfortunately we’re getting close to the point where he indulged in the drink and got fat and lazy for a long time. Regal with a dropkick for two and he goes to a headlock, but Sting suplexes out. Regal stays on him with a wacky armbar while yelling at the bloody fools in the front row and using the ropes. MULTITASKING~! Sting comes back with an abdominal stretch, but Regal slugs him down and shows his dance moves. Regal puts him in a headscissors and gets two off that, and he goes back to cranking on the arm. Sting fights up, so Regal hits him with rabbit punches (Dusty: “He needs to hit him with that open hand…NO NOT YOU, REGAL!”) and Sting goes down again. Regal goes for a crossbody out of the corner and Sting hits him with a dropkick with AWESOME timing and makes the comeback. They fight to the top and Regal takes him down with a butterfly suplex for two and hooks in the Regal Stretch, giving him the quality demoralizing trashtalk at the same time. Finally he just beats on Sting in the corner with backhands, and Sting has HAD ENOUGH. Sting beats the hell out of him with an awesome camera angle in the corner, but Regal blocks the Stinger splash with double knees. Sting isn’t taking more of Regal’s shit, however, and just hooks him in the Deathlock (with Regal kicking and screaming the whole way) to finish for good at 17:10. LOVED IT. Regal was just an insufferable dick the whole time and Sting got his revenge. FOR MURICA. **** Ric Flair & Arn Anderson v. Steve McMichael & Kevin Greene Most people were expecting a by-the-numbers celebrity trainwreck, which makes what we got all the better. The crowd already hates Mongo and some dudes managed to bring in a huge “Mongo Sucks” sign on a bedsheet. They’re not wrong. Arn does some football drills with Mongo and that goes badly for him. Tony relates a conversation with the football players, where he learns that rattlesnake hunting is a profession in Texas. Dusty is flabbergasted. “Of course! We all hunt rattlesnakes in Texas!” The football team does a beatdown on Arn in the corner at Savage’s behest and the Horsemen regroup, and Kevin Greene comes in for his debut. Greene is having a blast and Flair comes in and matches energy with him, then waits for Greene to go into the three-point stance and kicks him in the face. Greene comes back with shoulderblocks, however, and the Horsemen run away again. And this time Savage kicks Flair’s ass and tosses him back in. Flair is so great that he actually makes two green rookies look like killers and makes the crowd cheer for them. Mongo tags in and Arn pulls back from Flair’s tag in a funny bit. Mongo keeps overpowering Flair as they keep it simple and effective, and Mongo no-sells the chops and does his own, then adds a backdrop as Flair is just bumping like crazy here. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, and we get stereo figure-fours from the football players as the crowd goes crazy for it. The women all head back to the dressing room after an argument and Arn finally turns the tide with a cheapshot on Mongo, and the Horsemen go to work. Mongo gets dumped and Bobby gets his shots in, and back in Flair goes low and drops the knee to make sure the heels get no sympathy from the crowd. Kevin Greene as the babyface who is incredulously angry at the rampant cheating is just amazing for someone having his first match. The Horsemen cut off the tag to continue building sympathy for Mongo as face in peril, but he rams the Horsemen together off an atomic drop and makes the hot tag to Greene. Powerslam on Flair and you can see Flair leading him through the positioning for the next spot, but doing it totally naturally. Greene suplexes him in from the apron, but Arn clips him from behind like a dick and goes after the knee. The Horsemen cut off the ring and Flair tries the figure-four, but Greene reverses into a small package for two. Flair stays on him with the kneecrusher and this time gets the move, complete with help from Arn in the corner. Finally Savage can take no more of these shenanigans, but Chris Benoit joins us and beats on him. And then the evil women return with newly glammed out Debra and the Halliburton case filled with cash, which Mongo considers carefully…and then hits Greene in the face with it. Flair gets the pin at 20:50 of an insanely entertaining tag match. ***1/2 And the Four Horsemen are complete again! We get an epic beatdown of Randy Savage and Kevin Greene for good measure. Mongo was a terrible worker but fit in perfectly with the group as a character. Given that everyone assumed it would be the usual goofy match and celebrity going over Flair formula, this was awesome. This would have been the capper on any other PPV as it is. But wait, there’s MORE! Eric Bischoff brings out the invading Hall and Nash, so that WCW can formally answer their challenge. Bischoff still won’t use their names, which is another nice touch. So the match will happen at Bash at the Beach, and Bischoff specifically asks if they work for the WWF, trying to get the lawyers off his back. Bischoff promises the reveal the WCW team on Nitro, so Hall kicks him in the gut and Nash powerbombs him off the stage and through a table, which has the crowd freaking out. This was amazing on so many levels, not the least of which was that Bischoff had never been touched to that point, and it was the first acknowledgement that Bischoff was the guy in charge of the company, a year before Vince came out as owner of the WWF on TV. Needless to say, I was losing my shit at this point and this was one of the biggest angles in the history of the company. It was suddenly a totally different atmosphere, with two guys who weren’t playing by the arbitrary rules of the wrestling “universe” coming in and just doing what they wanted in ways that fans didn’t know how to react to yet. It was DIFFERENT and off-putting and suddenly made everything must-see and dangerous. Really, the World title match should have been stuck in the middle of the show somewhere because nothing was going to top that, but they go ahead with it anyway. WCW World title: The Giant v. Lex Luger Really, these guys have no hope of following anything that came before. Luger slugs away on the Giant to start and clotheslines him to the floor, then does a clumsy leap onto Giant’s back with a sleeper. Jimmy Hart tries to break it up with the megaphone, but Sting comes out and chases Jimmy to the back. Giant beats Luger down in the corner to escape and whips Luger around the ring, as Luger somehow grunts even louder when he’s selling than when he’s on offense. Giant puts him in a body vice and tosses him down for a surfboard and the crowd is just totally dead. Can’t even blame them. Giant slowly pounds away on the back. Lex makes the comeback with the offense grunts instead of the defense grunts and pounds away on the Giant, who charges and ends up laying on the top rope somehow. Luger uses that contrived position to put him in the Rack, but Giant falls on top of him and finishes with the chokeslam to retain cleanly at 9:30. I think with hindsight they should have put the title on Luger here and passed it to Hogan that way, since it would have ripped the hearts out of the fans that much more and Luger had earned it anyway. *1/2 The Pulse If not for the main event, this is the greatest PPV in WCW history and probably one of the greatest of all-time, period. As it is, it sits comfortably below Bash 89 on my list. Taken with Bash at the Beach three weeks later, it’s a hell of a one-two punch that nearly destroyed the WWF in the process and really, probably should have. Strongest recommendation!

Bash at the Beach 1999

Bash
at
the
Beach
1999
Date:
July
11, 1999
Location:
National
Car
Rental
Center,
Fort
Lauderdale,
Florida
Attendance:
13,624
Commentators:
Bobby
Heenan,
Tony
Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re going in a new
direction at this point in WCW as the promotion has gone from really
boring to freaking insane in the course of a few weeks. A good chunk
of this show was booked within the last few weeks and knowing the
stories isn’t likely going to help me get through it. Let’s get to
it.

I’ve
actually seen this show far more often than I should as I found it at
a Blockbuster for $2 when I was about thirteen. It took many years
to suppress those memories but here we go again.
The
opening video is a wordless montage about the four men in the main
event. I mean, if there’s one story that doesn’t need a verbal
explanation, it’s one about Savage and Sid trying to kill Nash and
then the heroic champion kidnapping and potentially raping Gorgeous
George, causing Savage to throw her out of their dressing room with a
side plot of Sting potentially driving the Hummer that nearly killed
Nash and then Nash changing the rules of the tag match so that
anyone, including his partner, can pin him for the title. Also for
some reason they air the video then show it about five more times as
a very fast speed.
Tony
says the tag match tonight started as a tag match. It was once going
to be Sting/Nash vs. Savage/Sid in a tag team match, but it’s now
Sting/Nash vs. Savage/Sid in a tag team match. No that’s not a
misprint.
After those words of
wisdom, Schiavone explains the junkyard match and the boxing match
before throwing it to Gene for a Hotline ad.
Mike
Tenay is at the junkyard, which he knows about because his sources
told him where to go. Apparently there’s going to be a ring of cars
with a bunch of obstacles to get around and the first person to jump
over a fence and escape wins. This company is rapidly becoming more
of a parody of wrestling than an actual wrestling promotion.
Video on the Cat vs.
Disco Inferno. Cat had a kickboxing match with Jerry Flynn and lost
via DQ so Flynn took him down in a brawl after the match. He and
Disco had a dance off a week earlier, making the kickboxing stuff
completely pointless.
Disco Inferno vs.
The Cat
The
original stipulation was the loser could never dance again but that
has since been dropped. The lawyers must be working overtime as the
match was announced three days ago and the stipulation was never
mentioned on Thunder. Miller rants before the match and wants
another dance contest before we get going. He demands that the
people all vote for him or else he’ll beat them all up. Tony
explains that he’ll lose because he threatened the fans because WCW
thinks we’re rather thick headed. Disco dances for about two seconds
before Cat goes after him and we’re ready to go.
Inferno
starts like a kitchen of fire (not enough for a whole house) and
sends Miller sliding out to the floor. Back in and Cat nails a few
kicks, so Disco just tackles him to the mat and hammers away. Some
atomic drops from Disco set up some miscommunication on what looked
to be his swinging neckbreaker.
Cat comes back with a
kick to the head and walks around as Sonny gets in a few shots of his
own. Those are as effective as you would expect since Sonny, a
legitimately accomplished karate fighter, is a manager and therefore
incapable of hurting anyone. Back in and Disco grabs a quick sunset
flip for two but gets his head kicked off again.
Another kick misses
though and Disco legsweeps him down, setting up a middle rope elbow
for two. Cat rakes the eyes and puts on the shoe, only to have Disco
take it away and blast him in the face. Sonny’s distraction makes it
only a two count though, allowing Cat to put the shoe back on and
kick Disco for about the fifth time for the pin.
Rating:
D.
This really was the best thing they could think of to start a show?
It’s really hard to care about a match with no build, no value and
nothing beyond basic moves. The fact that it had Ernest Miller in
there made things even less interesting. It’s not even a horrible
match or anything, but there’s just no reason to care about something
like that.
Judge Mills Lane won’t
put up with any garbage tonight and will chase Bagwell or Piper if
need be.
We
recap the TV Title match. The video starts with Van Hammer surviving
against Disco Inferno because the referee was down and a handful of
tights. Then Flair saved Hammer from getting put through a table by
banning hardcore matches, allowing Hammer to hit Hugh Morrus with a
table and drive him through it. Somehow that earned him a TV Title
shot here.
TV
Title: Rick Steiner vs. Van Hammer
Keep
in mind that there really isn’t a face in this match as there’s no
reason to like either guy. Steiner comes out first for no apparent
reason. They trade hard shots to the face to start and Steiner is
knocked out to the floor. Steiner goes into his new standard of just
driving someone down to the mat and ripping at their face a lot.
Back up and Rick hammers away before taking Hammer outside to send
him into the barricade.
Rick
hits a horrible looking DDT on the exposed concrete and covers on the
floor to continue getting on my nerves. Back in and Hammer hits him
low, only to have Rick punch him in the face to take over again.
They head outside one more time with Hammer nailing him in the head
with a chair before taking him back inside for the Alabama Slam for
two. Steiner bites him between the legs, punts him in the same spot
(referee just watches him) and hits the Steiner Bulldog to retain.
Rating:
F.
Rick Steiner has reached the point where he’s an embarrassment.
Between never selling anything from a chair shot to a low blow,
there’s just nothing Hammer (who isn’t the guy you want carrying a
bag of groceries, let alone a PPV title match) can do. What WCW saw
in him other than name recognition I’ll never know, but if someone
thinks he’s skilled in the ring, they have no business being in
charge of a wrestling company.
We
get an overhead view of the junkyard, which really just looks like a
parking lot with a bunch of cars stacked up in a circle. The winner
gets a trophy but Tenay can’t answer who is going to be in the match
because it’s unsanctioned.
We recap David Flair
being named US Champion, meaning we just see the segment again.
Again, weren’t the Flairs fighting months ago about David siding with
Torrie and having his father hold him down? Now David has ten women
around him (including Torrie) and his dad made him US Title. That’s
a big jump in the span of five months.
US Title: Dean
Malenko vs. David Flair
David
is defending of course and comes out with Torrie, in a very pushed up
tied off top, shirt that might be nine inches long, and a black
cowboy hat. Ric, Arn and Asya are here too but Johnny Boone is
refereeing. Tony says David hasn’t been impressive in all of his
title defenses. You know, all one of them.
Dean of course throws
him down with ease and stomps away in the corner before planting
David with a suplex. Ric comes in but gets decked as Dean puts on
the Cloverleaf. Anderson nails the referee with a spinebuster,
allowing Robinson to take over as referee. Dean Cloverleafs Asya but
Ric nails him with the US Title to give David the pin.
Rating:
F.
Dang it this was just long enough to grade. As I said in the Nitro
review, I get the idea they’re going for here, but wasn’t there
another scrub you could put in there instead of Malenko? I know Dean
isn’t going to be headlining a PPV anytime soon, but he’s the kind of
guy that should actually be the US Champion. This kind of story is
good in the right circumstances, but WCW isn’t in a place where they
can turn yet another title into a joke and keep beating their midcard
guys into the ground, even in a match that doesn’t end anywhere near
clean.
Long
recap of the Rednecks vs. the No Limit Soldiers, complete with the
full I Hate Rap video. Barry Windham is such a talented drummer that
he just scares the drums into playing themselves because he certainly
isn’t hitting them. This includes a lot of shouting HOOTY HOO, which
amazingly enough didn’t get the rappers over. Master P. is long
gone, apparently saying that there weren’t enough of “his people”
in the audience for the night the angle took off. That would be in
P.’s hometown in New Orleans if you aren’t big on guys who shout like
owls.
No Limit Solders vs.
West Texas Rednecks
Swoll, B.A., Rey
Mysterio Jr., Konnan
Curt Hennig, Barry
Windham, Kendall Windham, Bobby Duncum Jr.
Elimination
tag, which I believe is the first explanation of the rules for this
match. The best part of this: the camera comes back to the arena
early, showing ring announcer David Penzer counting the fans down on
when to cheer. Tony fails at covering for him by saying that he was
saying hi to his five family members in the audience. The levels
that this company falls to when trying to cover their mistakes is
astounding. Heenan redeems things a bit by saying that the Soldiers’
problem could be solved if they just put a light in their closets.
Rey and Konnan make sure to shout a lot before we’re ready to go.
Mysterio
and Barry get things going with the Cruiserweight Champion getting
hammered down in the corner. Rey comes back by sending Barry into
the corner and getting two off a split legged moonsault. Off to
Hennig vs. B.A. with Armstrong nailing a dropkick before trying to
talk some trash. Thankfully that goes nowhere as it’s off to Duncum
before the big Swoll comes in with a bad looking clothesline. Swoll
hammers on Duncum but Kendall comes in with a cheap shot to take
over.
Kendall
misses a charge into the post so Mysterio comes in without a tag.
Naturally the referee is fine with this. Kendall tries to beat the
rules into him but Rey nails him with a springboard seated senton to
knock both Kendall and Duncum out to the floor. Back in and it’s
Konnan vs. Hennig before Rey hits another springboard seated senton
on Hennig. Duncum and Hennig both get hammered in the corner until
it’s Swoll ducking Duncum’s cross body for two in an awkward
sequence. Rey adds a springboard legdrop and Swoll pins Bobby.
The other Soldiers,
Chase and 4×4 (who makes Ezekiel Jackson look like David Flair) beat
up Duncum in the aisle because they’re heroes. Barry and Konnan
hammer away on each other until Curt comes back in for a double
clothesline. Off to BA as the Rednecks keep control with Curt
nailing a quick HennigPlex to make it 3-3. Mysterio tried to dive in
for a save but came in too fast and basically started crawling in
slow motion for no logical reason.
So it’s Konnan getting
beaten down now with Kendall hitting a bad looking lariat and a
slightly better looking slam. He misses a middle rope knee though
and Konnan hits a rolling lariat of his own (called a DDT by Tony),
followed by the facebuster for two. Rey dropkicks Kendall into a
horrible “rollup” for the pin on Kendall. Barry DDTs Konnan for
two as 4×4 and Chase beat up Kendall.
Everything
breaks down with Barry going to the floor…..and being carried off
by Chase with Konnan following. For some reason this isn’t a DQ and
both guys are counted out. So it’s Hennig vs. Swoll/Mysterio. Swoll
comes in for some incredibly sloppy offense as Barry comes back in.
Curt tries to bail but 4×4 stops him in his tracks. Back in and
Swoll hits his stupid palm strike to the chest before bringing in Rey
for the Jimmy Snuka/Andre the Giant big splash off the shoulders for
the pin.
Rating:
C-.
Swoll is horrible. Like he’s really, really bad, to the point that
he can barely throw punches correctly. I understand that he was
really new at this, but as WCW should have learned over the years,
that’s why he shouldn’t be on a major show like this. The Soldiers
continue to act entirely like heels here, just like they have for
most of this feud.
The
announcers chat for a bit about the rest of the card.
We get Hak’s challenge
for the junkyard match.
Junkyard
Invitational
Ciclope, Jerry Flynn,
Johnny Grunge, Hak, Horace Hogan, Brian Knobs, Hugh Morrus, La Parka,
Lord Steven Regal, Fit Finlay, Rocco Rock, Silver King, Squire David
Taylor, and Mikey Whipwreck
They’re in a junkyard,
first person to climb over a fence wins. The place is huge so
there’s almost no way to see more than four or five people at once
unless you go to a helicopter shots. Public Enemy (a surprise) flips
a car over as I’m only going to be able to call big spots. There are
barrels of fire everywhere. Jerry Flynn puts an electrical cord into
an engine to make sparks fly out. Knobbs dives off one car for an
elbow onto King on the roof of a van.
Finlay
hits la Parka in the ribs with a bumper as Dave Taylor hits Morrus in
the head with a trashcan lid. The annoyed look on Morrus’ face as he
just keeps walking is rather amusing. The camera shots are only
lasting about ten seconds at most so it’s hard to call much of
anything. Jimmy Hart is running around in a yellow shirt and a hard
hat. Rocco Rock is thrown into the window of a van. Morrus dives
off a car with an elbow onto Rock because they’re already repeating
spots.
I
think Ciclope dives off a car onto about six guys before they start
throwing things at each other instead of doing anything coherent.
Finlay goes Captain America by blocking a punch with a trashcan lid
and hitting Horace in the face with it. Brian wraps Taylor in a tire
as we’re waiting on someone to try and win. Rocco and Horace make
the first trip over with Horace making a last second save to keep
Rock from escaping.
Silver King is bleeding
from the arm as this just keeps going. Taylor has to dance out of a
tire before Knobs and Hak put Finlay in a car. A forklift pops up
and takes the car over to the crusher but Finlay gets out to prevent
death. Of course the forklift hasn’t been seen all match until this
point. Then another car blows up and Finlay climbs over the fence to
win.
Rating:
N/A.
This wasn’t wrestling, and quite frankly I’m really not sure what it
was. Why in the world WCW thought this was a good idea is beyond me
and I’m sure the live audience is going to be THRILLED after having
sat there for fifteen minutes waiting on this to end. On top of all
that, Finlay would hurt his leg soon after this at a house show (in a
hardcore match of course) and be out for months, making the whole
thing worthless. I can’t imagine he’s the only one to get injured in
this mess either.
We
recap the Triad vs. Saturn/Benoit. They fought each other, then they
fought each other some more, then they had some singles matches, now
they’re having a title match. For some reason we get a bunch of
clips of the eight man tag from Nitro which doesn’t seem to be going
anywhere, other than a boxing match. They’re trying to tie this into
the old vs. new feud, which doesn’t even seem to be a thing anymore.
Tag Team Titles:
Chris Benoit/Perry Saturn vs. Jersey Triad
The
Triad is defending. Kanyon starts on the floor as Saturn and Page
slug it out in the middle. It’s Saturn taking over with a bunch of
right hands before knocking Bigelow and Kanyon off the apron for good
measure. Off to Bigelow vs. Benoit as the announcers call Benoit an
uncrowned champion. Hasn’t he been a three time champion by this
point? Bam Bam gets dropped into the middle buckle and sent out to
the floor for a meeting with his partners.
Back
in and Kanyon fights out of a suplex from Saturn and knees him down
against the ropes. He grabs the referee to block a German attempt,
only to have Benoit chop him into a t-bone. Back to Benoit for the
decapitation clothesline followed by a Liontamer (which he used
before Jericho). A double clothesline drops Kanyon for two more as
the challengers stay in full control. Benoit stomps Kanyon down in
the corner and starts in on his leg.
Saturn
drops a top rope legdrop for two but Page comes in without a tag to
take over, sending Saturn to the floor for a triple team to take
over. Bigelow comes in for a big suplex and a falling headbutt for
two. Back to Kanyon after Bigelow uses Flair’s “how much time is
left” trick. Kanyon drops a leg for one of the slowest two counts
I can remember in a long time. The fans get distracted by something
in the crowd so Bigelow puts Saturn in a chinlock.
Kanyon
comes back in but gets crotched on the top, setting up a belly to
belly superplex from Saturn. Benoit gets the hot tag and goes after
Bigelow, only to have Page take him down with a top rope clothesline.
Page is VERY pleased with this move, running out to the floor and
celebrating like a mad man, even climbing onto the barricade. Back
in and Page gets two off an elbow drop before it’s off to Bigelow for
some fat man offense.
Page
comes in again and runs Benoit over for two with Saturn making the
save. We get a front chancery from Page but Benoit drives him into
the corner for the hot tag, which of course the referee doesn’t see.
That wicked sitout powerbomb from Page is good for two. Benoit
finally suplexes Kanyon down but Bigelow breaks up a hot tag attempt.
Bam Bam misses the moonsault though and we FINALLY get the hot tag
to Saturn (which the camera doesn’t catch).
Saturn
cleans house with suplexes and clotheslines Page and Kanyon out to
the floor. Everything breaks down again and Saturn hits a top rope
splash, followed by the Swan Dive from Benoit but Page comes in off
the top for the save. Saturn loads Page up with the Death Valley
Driver but Kanyon throws powder in his face, only to have it get in
Page’s eyes too, causing him to Diamond Cut Kanyon. Bigelow makes
the save but Benoit Germans Page for a VERY close two. Page throws
in a metal trashcan as the referee gets bumped. He hits Kanyon by
mistake but Bigelow comes in for a 3D on Saturn to retain the titles.
Rating:
B+.
Give that match a less messy finish and it’s a classic. There was a
lot of good stuff in here and the majority of it was due to how much
time they were given. Everyone was allowed to get in there for
awhile and the fans bought into the idea of two guys trying to fight
against the big cheating team. They gave it a great effort and the
whole thing just worked. Really good stuff here, though not enough
to save this disaster of the show.
Clip of Judge Mills
Lane agreeing to referee the boxing match. That’s all of the recap
because there was no reason for this to be a boxing match other than
Piper barely being a wrestler anymore.
Roddy Piper vs. Buff
Bagwell
Big
time boxing referee Mills Lane is referee here to try to make people
care. In case you’ve never seen him, just picture Mr. Strickland
from Back to the Future. Piper has Flair in his corner. Buff’s
gloves are actually labeled “Buff’s Left” and “Buff’s Right”.
Bagwell sees Flair in Piper’s corner, so he has someone to have his
back: HIS MOM, “Judge Judy” Bagwell. And I give up. Seriously
it was bad enough when this was boxing instead of Piper just doing a
freaking job for Bagwell like he should be doing, but now BUFF’S MOM
IS HERE???
Flair
gives Bagwell a chance to leave but Buff reminds him of the pin off
the Blockbuster a few weeks back. You know, when Flair put Bagwell
over in the middle of the ring in the whole point of this entire
story. The rounds are two minutes long here. Piper sticks his chin
out to start until Buff hammers him into the corner. The fans are
dead at this point if you couldn’t guess. Bagwell tees off on Piper
(well, as much as he can BECAUSE HE ISN’T A BOXER) to end the first
round.
Flair
sprays something on Piper’s gloves in between the rounds as this
continues to fall apart. Piper hits a few jabs to the face and
Bagwell’s eyes are burning. He gets punched down in the corner as
Judy brings over a sponge to try and clean Buff’s eyes out. Back up
and Piper wildly swings until Buff knocks Piper down in the corner in
an identical sequence from Piper vs. Mr. T. thirteen years ago,
because that’s what this is supposed to be….a tribute to I suppose?
Piper gets up as round two ends.
I’m
going to pause for a second here and give you a bit of context to
what is about to happen. Fifteen months ago, WCW was still in
control of the Monday Night Wars and hadn’t lost a night in the
ratings in nearly two years. Their last win was about nine months
before this. Yeah they were in trouble, but it’s not like they were
so desperate for something good to happen that they had to go insane.
A few weeks back, Buff Bagwell hit his finishing move and pinned Ric
Flair in the middle of the ring on Nitro, which should have been the
start of a huge push for him. After all that, I give you the third
round of this boxing match.
Piper
jumps Bagwell in the corner and attacks Bagwell early, so his mother
Judy gets in the ring and bites Piper’s ear. She then dumps the spit
bucket over Piper’s head as Buff punches Flair off the apron. Buff
goes up and hits the Blockbuster on Piper as Judy holds Flair on the
apron, allowing Buff to pin Piper for the win. Judy chases the
President of WCW around the ring after the match.
Rating:
G.
As in below an F and for GOOD FREAKING GRIEF THEY REALLY COULDN’T
COME UP WITH ANYTHING BETTER THAN THIS??? Piper wasn’t capable of
doing a five minute match and doing a job for Bagwell? Does WCW
really think that it’s important enough to protect him from taking a
fall in a wrestling match that they’ll let him take a fall in a
boxing match? Read that sentence back and see how insane it sounds.
Now throw in Judy Bagwell and more hijinks than an episode of Looney
Tunes and you see what happened to WCW in the summer of 1999.
We
recap Nash/Sting vs. Savage/Sid. Savage being a woman beater and
Nash potentially raping George is glossed over. On the other hand,
the Fake Sting attacking Nash, causing Nash to go after Sting, even
though the real Sting came out to beat up the Fake Sting, is left out
with only the Fake Sting beating Nash down being shown. For some
reason Nash wanted this to be a tag team match where anyone,
including his partner, could pin him for the title. Again, this
isn’t mentioned in the video. We’ll also ignore Nash saying he saw
Sting driving the Hummer before we see that happening in the package.
WCW World Title: Sid
Vicious/Randy Savage vs. Kevin Nash/Sting
Nash
is defending in what is more like a handicap fatal fourway than a tag
match if that makes sense. In theory Sting can only pin Nash for the
title, meaning it’s basically one on one on two. Thankfully Tony
mentions the whole Sting can pin Nash and the real Sting coming out
during the entrances. Yes, we’ve reached the point where Tony
Schiavone is having to cover for the production team’s goofs.
George
(living up to the gorgeous moniker tonight) comes out in sunglasses
but takes them off to reveal a black eye as she goes to stand in
Nash’s corner. The reason for the black eye isn’t explained because
that really wasn’t something that should have happened, nor is it
even referenced by the announcers. Savage and Sting start but Randy
sees George changing corners and freaks out. Sting uses the chance
to deck Savage and the fight is slowly on.
Off
to Sid to face Sting as Tony explains the rules, making this match
even more confusing that it was in the first place. Sting quickly
knocks Sid out to the floor but Nash isn’t interested in tagging. So
in theory, if Nash doesn’t get pinned, he doesn’t lose the title?
It’s not like we’ve ever gotten a clear answer to that, though to be
fair I doubt WCW thought it that far through. Sid and Savage start
double teaming Sting with the big man putting on a bad looking camel
clutch.
Savage
comes in and spits at the champ, but thankfully doesn’t hit his hair.
Sting finally rolls away and makes the tag to Nash for all the usual
offense. He has Savage in trouble but gives Sting a very hard tag to
get out. Sting takes it outside and splashes the barricade before
Savage takes him back inside for some choking. Tony points out that
almost no one has tries to pin Nash yet, making the whole stipulation
rather pointless.
Sid
hooks one of the lamest chinlocks I’ve ever seen on Sting, who is
nice enough to go down to the mat in a heap. Granted he might have
fainted after hearing some of the nonsense they actually aired on
this show. Sting fights up again and does the falling low blow spot,
allowing for the hot tag off to Nash.
Everything breaks down
and the girls come in, only to have Sting splash both of them plus
Sid. Savage and Nash get splashed at the same time, allowing Sid to
plant Sting with a chokeslam. George gets in and low blows Nash
(SHOCK AND AWE, SHOCK AND AWE), setting up the big elbow from Savage
for the pin and the title.
Rating:
D-.
I wonder if they bothered to tell everyone else in the match about
the whole Sting can pin Nash rule, because it was NEVER attempted and
was a complete non factor. George’s face turn (can you even call it
that?) lasted all of twelve minutes, meaning she’s picking the woman
beater over the kidnapper and potential rapist. I can’t believe I
just had to type that, so I’ll wrap it up by saying it’s a horrible
match.
Overall
Rating:
F.
The fact that a REALLY good twenty three minute Tag Team Title match
is needed to bring this show up to a failure tells you all you need
to know. This show had eight matches. One of them was a joke with
David Flair needing an army to beat Malenko, one wasn’t wrestling
because it was a big fight in a junkyard, and one was a boxing match.
Two of the others were matches that belonged on Thunder at best,
another one was a boring elimination tag, and one MADE NO FREAKING
SENSE.
This show blew my mind
in ways that I honestly didn’t think were possible. Just let some of
this stuff sink in for a few minutes. Roddy Piper apparently can’t
be trusted in a five minute match, we can’t have a DQ anymore because
Rick Steiner wouldn’t be able to have a match break 10 seconds if we
did, and we have to drop stipulations that are made less than three
days before the match. WCW is dying before our eyes and it’s kind of
amazing to see in a morbid way.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Great American Bash 1999

Great
American Bash 1999

Date:
June 13, 1999
Location: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore,
Maryland
Attendance: 11,672
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby
Heenan, Mike Tenay 
Reviewed by Tommy Hall 
To
say this show doesn’t sound thrilling is an understatement. We’ve
spent weeks getting ready for Nash vs. Savage with antics ranging
from makeup to human waste to attempted murder. Other than that we
have Rick Steiner no selling against Sting for the TV Title and more
of the mess that is the Tag Team Title scene. Let’s get to it.

Master P. and the No
Limit Soldiers arrive. Curt Hennig pops up and says how much he
loves him and asks how much he loves him. P. signs a CD for him
(which one of his guys just had in his pocket) and Hennig breaks it.
The Soldiers all start jumping up and down and shoulding what sounds
like “Hoody who” in high pitched voices. This is a southern
promotion for a show in a southern city and they expect Hennig to be
booed here?
The opening recap video
shows us a stupid Savage vs. Nash feud.
Tony
and the announcers explain who Master P. is and call him the biggest
entertainer of our time. We hear about the main event as well.
We
recap most of the matches on the card. Well at least it cuts into
the main event time. They even go back and cover the hardcore match
twice.
Hak vs. Brian Knobs
I
sit corrected: this is a kendo stick match and Knobs is officially
part of the First Family. So why did he say he had to think about
it? Tony calls this a kendo stick hardcore match because they can’t
even keep their stupid gimmicks straight through a single entrance.
Brian has promised Mrs. Nasty a birthday win today so let’s get rid
of the sticks and have a real hardcore match. So in the span of 90
seconds we’ve gone from kendo stick to kendo stick hardcore to
hardcore. I know it doesn’t matter but it sounds like WCW has no
idea what they’re doing.
Brian
wants to throw away the weapons but Jimmy throws him a trashcan for a
cheap shot. Knobs hits him in the head with a trashcan lid and
there’s the Pit Stop. Hak stops a charge with two boots to the face
and blasts Knobs with the trashcan. It’s ladder time but Knobs comes
back with a trashcan shot of his own. He gets decked by the ladder
though and Hak hits a slingshot….something onto the ladder onto
Knobs.
Hak gets thrown into
the ladder in the corner and a few more ladder shots put him down.
The advantage only lasts a few seconds as you would expect but Hak’s
Swanton only hits ladder. Jimmy holds up a chair but Hak sends him
face first into the steel, setting up a kendo stick shot for the pin.
Rating:
F.
We waited thirteen minutes for the matches to start and this is the
best they can give us? The only positive about this is the match
wasn’t even six minutes long, which is way better than the usual
lengths that we have to sit through. It’s still bad though and I’m
tired of seeing these disasters.
Hugh Morrus comes out
and helps beat down Knobs.
Piper
is in the back when Buff comes up to thank him for giving him the
ball. He has a big match tonight (against Disco Inferno) and
promises to have Piper’s back tonight against Flair. Buff leaves and
Piper mutters about stupid kids. Lines like that defeat the purpose
of Piper as the mentor to the young guys. He should be thrilled with
where the future is going instead of being annoyed with them for
saying they’ll have his back. Also, is a match with Disco Inferno
“getting the ball” when you had a US Title match last month?
Mikey Whipwreck vs.
Van Hammer
Bonus match. Mikey
gets shoved down a few times but comes back with some armdrags.
Hammer chokes him to take over and drives a knee into Mikey’s ribs.
A middle rope slam sends Mikey flying as the fans think this is
boring. Hammer gets two off a delayed vertical suplex and a legdrop
before we hit the abdominal stretch. Nick Patrick finally catches
him holding the ropes so Hammer throws Mikey to the floor. Mikey
goes throat first over the barricade but he comes back with a legdrop
to the back of the head and a plancha. Back in and Hammer catches
him in a spinebuster, setting up a cobra clutch slam for the pin.
Rating:
D-.
Somehow that was eight and a half minutes long. To recap, we can’t
get Booker T. on this show but there’s time for Mikey Whipwreck vs.
Van Hammer. Mikey is one of those hires that never made sense. He
won like two matches in his six months with the company, even though
WCW knew he was banged up when they got him. Eh whatever you can do
to screw with ECW I guess.
Disco Inferno vs.
Buff Bagwell
In
case you didn’t get enough of it on Nitro I guess. They start fast
for a change by trading kicks to the ribs until Disco grabs a
neckbreaker to send him outside. Back in and Buff kicks him in the
ribs a few times, setting up a swinging neckbreaker of his own. Buff
cranks on an armbar and starts a DISCO SUCKS chant. An early
Blockbuster attempt sends Disco running to the floor and Buff says it
was that close.
Back
in and Bagwell flips him off (some hero) so Disco nails him with a
Stun Gun to take over. Disco chokes on the ropes so Tony
congratulates all the recent high school graduates in the country.
Ok then. More slow stomping in the corner from Inferno followed by a
dancing middle rope elbow for two. Disco goes up for the same spot
but Buff moves (that might have been some miscommunication as Tony
made a big deal about Bagwell not moving the first time) and starts
his comeback.
Some
right hands look to set up the Blockbuster but Buff takes too long
and gets crotched. They head outside and Disco hits the Last Dance,
only to take too long dancing to allow Bagwell to beat the count.
Back in and the Macarena Driver (exactly what it sounds like) is
countered with a backdrop. Buff hits some really basic stuff and
goes up for the Blockbuster. Disco ducks away but Bagwell doesn’t
bite and hits the Blockbuster for the pin. Nice little callback
there.
Rating:
D+.
Of all the guys that WCW never pulled the trigger on, Bagwell might
surprise me more than anyone else. He was young (29 here), an eight
year veteran, had a great look and a good finisher, yet he never won
a singles title in WCW. That’s not even factoring in the whole
broken neck story. He’s a good example of a guy that could have been
something but instead we’re stuck with the Steiners as the midcard
champions and Nash vs. Savage for the World Title. Bagwell never
would have carried the company or anything, but there’s no reason he
couldn’t have gotten the US or TV Titles a few times.
We
recap the battle of the musics. Again, WCW was stupid enough to
think that the country boys would be the heels in this story.
DJ
Ran wastes our time and brings in Master P. and the No Limit
Soldiers.
Curt Hennig/Bobby
Duncum Jr. vs. Rey Mysterio Jr./Konnan
Tenay
actually picks rap. We also get the debut of Rap Is Crap as the
cowboys’ theme song. I have no idea why A, Mysterio is Cruiserweight
Champion is he never defends the thing and B, why he and Konnan come
out wearing gas masks. Tenay tries and fails at getting me to care
about Master P. The rappers jump Hennig for talking trash about
Master P. and the cowboys are quickly dispatched. P. gets in a cheap
shot to the back of Curt’s head because that’s what good guys down.
We
get down to an actual match with Mysterio dropkicking Hennig to the
floor and nailing a plancha but diving into a backbreaker from
Duncum. A big powerbomb plants Rey again and Hennig slams him down
as well. Rey takes the Bret Hart chest bump into the corner and the
cowboys keep things slow. The referee misses the hot tag to Konnan
and takes him to the floor, allowing Bobby to send Mysterio hard into
the barricade.
Back
in and Curt hits a perfect dropkick to Rey’s jaw and spits at Konnan
to draw him in. Bobby crotches him against the post and Rey is in
big trouble. Hennig does a Rude hip swivel and it’s quickly back to
Duncum. Rey crawls through the legs and tags Konnan which the
referee sees but “he didn’t see it” so it doesn’t count.
Hennig
gets two off a suplex but Rey moonsaults over him and scores with a
dropkick. Now the hot tag brings in Konnan as everything breaks
down. There’s the Bronco Buster to Curt and he fights with Konnan on
the floor. Cue Barry Windham to nail Konnan but Master P.’s
bodyguard Swoll jumps the barricade and nails Duncum, setting up a
slingshot legdrop for the pin.
Rating:
D+.
This was pretty dull and the ending was messier than it needed to be.
The idea doesn’t work either as the country boys are far more
popular with WCW’s fan base but we’re supposed to cheer for rappers
who jump up and down and shout HOODY WHO for some reason. But hey,
at least Master P. is on the show right?
The
cowboys destroy the rappers post match.
The
announcers talk about what we just saw and we look at a replay of it
to waste even more time.
Cat
vs. Scott Norton
Sonny
has a briefcase with him. Actually scratch Norton as Horace comes
out to complain about getting hit with the crowbar on Thursday. Time
for a replacement.
Cat vs. Horace Hogan
Horace
says Miller couldn’t even beat himself and the fight is on. Cat gets
beaten down in the corner and choked with a boot before they head
outside. That goes nowhere so Miller kicks him in the face back
inside. Miller slams him down and throws Horace outside for some
kicks from Sonny. Back in and Horace hits a slam of his own and
drops an elbow for two. A splash gets two more but Sonny gets up on
the apron for a distraction. Horace sees through it and backdrops
Miller to the floor. In the confusion, Miller gets his sparkly red
shoe from the briefcase and kicks Horace senseless for the pin.
Rating:
D-.
Oh come on man I already had to sit through this on Thunder. Isn’t
that enough for WCW? I knew things were going to get bad around this
time but no one told me I was going to have to sit through this match
twice in four days. Miller needs to turn face soon and Horace needs
to turn to another career.
We
recap Piper vs. Flair. Piper is old, Flair is crazy (actually just
more evil than anything else) and they’re fighting for control of the
company.
Roddy Piper vs. Ric
Flair
Flair
has Asya and Arn with him. They trade chops to start and Piper takes
over with some lefts to the face. We get a delayed Flair Flop and
Ric begs off in the corner. The slowest backslide this side of the
last Piper match gets two and Flair gets punched to the floor. Back
in and Piper bites Flair’s nose, followed by even more of his weird
punches. Ric finally gets in a low blow to get a breather and things
slow down even more. Anderson gets in a shot on the floor and Asya
adds a rake of the eyes.
There’s
another low blow from Flair but a sunset flip sends his trunks down
as usual. Ric gets slammed off the top and Piper nails Anderson for
bad measure. I can’t say there’s anything good, even a measure, in
this match. Back in and Roddy puts on a sleeper but Flair quickly
breaks it. Anderson trips up Roddy so Flair can nail Piper with a
foreign object. Piper is up at two but there’s the Figure Four.
Bagwell comes out to break up Anderson’s interference and goes in,
drawing the DQ.
Rating:
F.
Gah. Seriously just gah. This was another mess with Flair having to
work down to Piper’s level and Piper just being awful. I have no
idea why WCW insists on keeping Piper out there when the fans don’t
care and the stories go on and on. Piper and Flair had a great feud
seventeen years ago. We really don’t need to see it again here and
this match is good proof of why.
Post
match Piper nails Bagwell, making this whole feud TOTALLY POINTLESS.
Bagwell gets whipped with a belt for good measure. So yeah, Piper is
in league with Flair and Anderson, presumably for daring to challenge
the status quo.
DJ
Ran. Again.
We recap Sting vs. Rick
Steiner who are fighting…..actually I have no idea why they’re
fighting. My best guess is Goldberg is out making a movie though.
Sting vs. Rick
Steiner
This
is hardcore and non-title for no apparent reason. Sting scores with
an early clothesline and they head outside to start brawling. That’s
a bit too boring though so they head inside where Rick nails some
forearms to the back. A pair of atomic drops don’t have much effect
on Steiner and they head outside again. Tony says there must be a
winner.
Steiner
hits Sting with a chair and then a beer. Sting comes back but the
Stinger Splash hits the barricade. A piledriver on the exposed
concrete gets two and somehow doesn’t break Sting’s neck. Back in
and Rick gets two more off a release German suplex, followed by the
chinlock. Rick cannonballs down onto Sting’s back and gets two off
an elbow drop. Sting finally gets his knees up to crotch Rick and
some Vader Bombs actually keep him down.
The top rope splash
connects for two and Sting is all fired up. He nails the Stinger
Splash and puts on the Deathlock but Rick crawls under the ropes.
They fight to the internet location and into the back where Tank
Abbot is waiting…..with two dobermans and a rottweiler who attack
Sting. They take Sting down as security runs in like a bad shot from
an action movie. Rick is declared the winner as the fans just rip
this apart.
Rating:
F-.
Three dogs. Three dogs. THREE DOGS. Next. Please.
The
Steiners say Rick pinned Sting off camera because WCW was too scared
to air it. They own WCW, Baltimore sucks, etc.
We recap the Triad
against Saturn/Benoit. The easiest version: Kanyon was in league
with the Jersey boys the whole time but Benoit and Saturn beat Kanyon
and Page for the titles on Thunder.
Tag Team Titles:
Chris Benoit/Saturn vs. Kanyon/Diamond Dallas Page
The
announcers are joking about pyro after Sting WAS NEARLY MAULED BY
DOGS. That’s a long running problem with commentators: they have the
attention span of drunken gnats. Someone must get in their ear as
they start talking about how terrifying a moment it was but assure us
that Sting was dragged away from the dogs. Benoit runs Kanyon over
to start and Page isn’t pleased. The champs clear the ring with
clotheslines and Benoit stands…..well not very tall actually.
It’s
off to Page vs. Saturn with DDP taking a few slams. Everything
breaks down again and the champions easily dispatch the Jersey boys.
That’s not enough for them though as they go outside to beat up
Bigelow before snapping off overhead belly to bellies on Page and
Kanyon. Bigelow trips Benoit to the floor and sends him into the
barricade to get the first advantage. Kanyon gets two off a middle
rope Fameasser and Benoit is in trouble. Back to Page whose
powerbomb is countered into a sunset flip but Benoit gets kicked
right back down.
The
helicopter bomb gets two on Benoit and it’s back to Kanyon, but he
misses a moonsault. The hot tag brings in Saturn for a frog splash
on Page. Saturn hammers on Page in the corner but Kanyon takes him
down with an electric chair faceplant for two. Things settle back
down with the challengers hitting a nice sequence into a Russian
legsweep from Kanyon and an elbow drop from Page. Saturn grabs a
sunset flip but Kanyon tags out on the way down and holds Saturn’s
head so Page can come in off the top for the save.
Back
to Kanyon for a front facelock into a swinging neckbreaker. A sitout
Dominator from Kanyon gives Page two but he misses a charge into the
corner. It’s finally enough for the second hot tag to bring in
Benoit for some much needed house cleaning. Kanyon takes the Rolling
Germans for two but Page makes the save.
We get the old school
dragon suplex for a VERY close two and Benoit hits the Swan Dive,
only to have Saturn dive into the Diamond Cutter. Cue Dean Malenko
to try and help Saturn back in but the distraction lets Bigelow come
in to lift Benoit up for a super Diamond Cutter. Kanyon’s
unconscious body is put on top for the pin and the titles.
Rating:
B-.
I’m so glad they gave us that three day reign before the Triad got
the belts back. As usual the (mostly) old guys get the win and the
titles while the (mostly) young generation is laid out. In theory
this sets up a six man at least which should be good, but knowing WCW
it leads to Benoit, Saturn and Malenko jobbing for months.
Dean gets laid out too.
We
recap Savage vs. Nash. Savage wanted a title shot so he put lipstick
on Nash’s face, called him a stupid person and tried to have him
crushed with a Hummer. Don’t you see the logical progression of
events?
WCW World Title:
Kevin Nash vs. Randy Savage
Nash
is defending and powers Savage into the corner to start, showing
absolutely no injuries from being crushed by a Hummer six days
earlier. Wait scratch that as he winces a bit after a clothesline in
the corner. The impact is kind of lost though when he picks Savage
up for a side slam three seconds later.
Randy starts going
after the ribs and knocks Nash to the floor so the girls can get in
shots of their own. Back in and Savage drops the big elbow for two.
Nash comes back with Snake Eyes followed by a big boot and the strap
comes down. The girls all interfere and get dispatched but SID
VICIOUS runs in and attacks Nash for the DQ.
Rating:
F.
The main event of a pay per view didn’t even make it seven and a half
minutes. Actually that’s a bit better than the alternative of
watching these two fight any longer as it’s clear that Savage has
nothing left in the ring. Sid interfering was a big surprise as he
hadn’t been seen in a major wrestling company (unless you count ECW)
since 1997. Nash not selling the ribs for the opening part of the
match brought it down but you can’t expect Nash to sell and toss his
hair at the same time.
Overall
Rating:
F.
If I’ve ever seen a less interesting or worse show, I can’t recall it
off the top of my head. There was one good match, three matches that
should have been on Nitro or Thunder (one of which was) and Sting
being attacked by dogs. Say that out loud and see if you think it’s
stupid. Couple that with the horrible main event and there isn’t
much to feel good about.
The
problem here is much more than the wrestling being bad. This show
died because there’s nothing interesting going on. Nothing on here
makes me want to tune in to see what’s coming. It’s all the old guys
dominating and the young guys getting beaten down. In theory that
should set up a good story, but I have no faith in WCW to pull that
off. Hogan’s return looms over everything too and that might make
things even worse. I’m not sure how, but it could. This was one of
the worst shows I’ve ever seen and I didn’t see much hope.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Beau James Birthday Bash!

Courtesy of Joe Briggs superfan Josh Rose (a.k.a. Joe Briggs), here is the main event of last night’s Southern States Wrestling Beau James Birthday Bash!

Not only did Joe Briggs and Jake Booth somehow survive the six-man war just a few days earlier, but on this night they would do battle over the most prestigious trophy in wrestling.  And to my utter amazement, Briggs carried Booth to a two-star match with a shocking conclusion!

It’s also good seeing Daniel Bryan up and about, bringing his own chair to watch the match ringside.

July Classics: WarGames – Bash ’89

A tournament was held to fill the vacated World Tag Team Championship, with the final round coming down to The Midnight Express and The Fabulous Freebirds. During the tournament, The Road Warriors and The Samoan SWAT Team were interfering in each other’s matches. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams was brought into the mix by Jim Cornette to give The Midnight Express an ally against the three-man Freebirds team. So with all this fussin’ and a-feudin’ goin’ on, what is a logical blowoff? WARGAMES!

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xtts75_wargames-7-23-89_sport


WarGames 7/23/89 by f100003570148919

July Classics – Ricky Steamboat vs. Lex Luger – Bash ’89

On the 6/10/89 edition of World Championship Wrestling, Lex Luger complained of being held back, and thought he was worthy of a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship over the likes of Ricky Steamboat or Terry Funk. At Clash VII, Luger made the save for Steamboat when Funk attacked the Steamer with a microphone, but then promptly turned on The Dragon, once again becoming a heel. On World Championship Wrestling, Luger cut a promo saying that he turned on Steamboat because he was tired of making the fans happy, and wanted to prove that he was better. So this match for the United States Championship was signed for Bash ’89.

NOTE: The Network does not have a milestone marker for anything from Bash ’89, and I already posted the link to that show a few days ago, so here’s the Dailymotion version.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xz8iw7_31-89-07-23-lex-luger-vs-ricky-steamboat-great-american-bash_sport

July Classics: Sting vs. The Great Muta – Bash ’89

At this point, Sting was the future of WCW, and coming into this match he was the World Television Champion. The Great Muta was managed by Gary Hart, and they had challenged Sting to something called a “Dragon Shi” match. When Sting accepted the challenge, Hart claimed that Muta wasn’t ready. Sting’s friend, Eddie Gilbert, stepped in and accepted the challenge. At Clash VII, Muta was set to demonstrate “Dragon Shi”, when Gilbert appeared and in response to Muta’s mist, threw a fireball that was meant for Gary Hart into a jobber’s face. Finally, Sting vs. Muta was signed for Bash ’89 for the TV title, and this was the result. NOTE: no Network link for this match because there’s no milestone marker. But if you want to watch Bash ’89, I highly recommend you do so here’s the link for the entire show:http://network.wwe.com/video/v31589169

Here’s a copy of the match itself:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x17n813_sting-vs-great-muta-tv-championship-match-nwa-wcw-great-american-bash-1989_sport

July Classics: The Fantastics vs. The Midnight Express – Bash ’88

At Clash I, The Fantastics had thought they won the United States Tag Team Championship, but the decision was reversed. They got a rematch on the 5/14/88 edition of World Wide and won the titles, and this is The Express’ title rematch. Jim Cornette is strapped into a straitjacket and locked in a cage that is above the ring in order to prevent interference.

http://network.wwe.com/video/v31355167/milestone/31370367

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1991

The SmarK Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1991 Live from Baltimore, MD Your hosts are Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone and a whole lot of bad vibes. Scaffold match: PN News & Bobby Eaton v. Steve Austin & Terry Taylor So this kind of sums up all the problems they were having, and the match was hilariously dissected by Steve Austin on his podcast recently, as the people who built it made it too narrow for anyone to pass each other. Hell, I was watching the product weekly at this point and I couldn’t even tell how they ended up with this ridiculous combination for an opener. Would a normal tag match or two singles matches been too much to ask? So let me attempt to describe the “action” here. The guys line up single-file along the scaffold because they can’t go around each other, and Austin crawls around on his hands and knees menacingly while trying not to tumble to his death. The next highspot sees News laying on Taylor after a test of strength before the guys move as fast as humanly possible to the safe zones at the ends of the scaffold and pair off there. And thankfully, Bobby grabs the heel flag (sorry, did I not mention that you have to capture a flag to win the match? Because you totally did.) but Steve Austin sprays him in the face with hairspray. The announcers are remarkably unconcerned about someone walking around blind while 30 feet in the air, as Jim Ross is like “Wow, he’s blinded, that kind of sucks.” And then the match is just over and the babyfaces win at 8:00 for no adequately explored reason. Hell of a way to kick off the PPV! -**** Jim Ross explains that, yeah, Ric Flair is “no longer considered the WCW World champion” but we’ve got a hell of a show anyway! Lex Luger and Barry Windham, folks! How can that not be awesome? Meanwhile, Paul E. Dangerously and Arn Anderson cut a promo while they take the scaffolding down. Also, they’re now in a mixed tag match against Missy Hyatt and Rick Steiner for some reason. The announcers continue filling dead air while they take the stupid scaffolding down. The Diamond Studd v. Tom Zenk DDP with a mullet, plus bedazzled fanny pack, could not be any more clichéd 90s wrestler unless he was wearing Zubaz. WCW’s crack camera crew shows Zenk standing at the top of the ramp with his harem of cheerleaders, all of them standing there looking bored until it’s time for the entrance, at which point they all excitedly come down to the ring like they were excited the whole time. WCW, ladies and gentlemen. Zenk and Studd quickly brawl to the floor as I should point out that Scott Hall has “Stud” on his tights instead of “Studd”, which would be his name at that point. Because, you know, WCW. They slug it out in the ring and Studd gets an abdominal stretch, and judging by Hall’s physique DDP must have his fanny pack stuffed with steroids for him. Zenk tries a comeback and gets chokeslammed, and this would seem to set up the big finisher they’ve been hyping, but instead Zenk gets a sunset flip for two. Studd keeps punching and kicking, but Zenk hits a superkick and they continue this war on the floor. Back in, Zenk with a missile dropkick and he beats on DDP for some reason, allowing Studd to hit a backdrop suplex for the pin at 7:00. Not exactly a dominant PPV debut for the Diamond Studd. And they were actually TRYING for god knows what reason. How can I bash this show if the wrestlers are gonna make an effort? Some people are so selfish. Hall was probably too drunk to even realize Flair was gone anyway. ** The Great and Powerful Oz v. Ron Simmons OK, now I’ve got something to work with. No one ever accused Kevin Nash of trying too hard at anything ever. Ironically, back then he was dying his hair to make it MORE grey. So true story, Turner had recently purchased the rights to show Wizard of Oz on TBS, and wanted a wrestling character tie-in to take advantage of the brand. And this is what the combined brain power of Kevin Sullivan and Dusty Rhodes came up with: Kevin Nash in neon green tights. So Mr. Oz puts Ron down with a big boot, but Simmons takes him down with drop toehold and I think Nash tears a quad on it. They’ve found his one weakness: Taking simple bumps! Oz continues staggering around the ring until Simmons clotheslines him to the floor while one poor bastard keeps trying to start a “boring” chant. Oh, buddy, you have no idea what you’re in for later, you should save that. So with Nash having done his highspot for the match, they head back in for a test of strength. JR’s analysis: “It would favor the taller guy, unless the smaller guy is stronger.” So the test of strength favors the stronger guy? Fascinating. Oz with a sideslam for two and the Great Wizard (wearing slacks and sneakers underneath his mysterious robe) gets a cheapshot in. And now it’s time for Nash’s other highspot, the BEARHUG. Simmons thankfully escapes that predicament and comes back with shoulderblocks…which finish at 8:00. See? Nash’s one weakness, the simple bump. And that was that for Oz, never to be seen in the business again. * Wait, he went on to be World champion? Multiple times? WHAT THE FUCK, WRESTLING? The WCW Top 10! This WCW Top Ten and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this WCW Top Ten in error please notify the system manager. This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this WCW Top Ten. Please notify the sender immediately by WCW Top Ten if you have received this WCW Top Ten by mistake and delete this WCW Top Ten from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. If you’re Ric Flair you’re pretty much fucked already, legally speaking. 10. Johnny B. Badd 9. Ron Simmons 8. Diamond Studd 7. Terrance Taylor 6. Arn Anderson 5. Bobby Eaton 4. Steve Austin 3. Sting 2. Barry Windham 1. Lex Luger And the World title, of course, is vacant. Ricky Morton v. Robert Gibson Some might have argued that the Rockers’ breakup was the most memorable of all-time, but I would argue that…wait, no sorry, I wouldn’t actually argue that. My bad. This was awful and no one wanted to see it. Also, Morton is still wearing the same tights despite the team breaking up, which I call Tito Santana-itis. IT’S A REAL THING. Look it up on Alexandra York’s word processor! Could she access Gopher on that thing, I wonder? They brawl on the ramp to start and Gibson gets a slam in the ring, sending Morton flailing to the floor in terror. Morton gets some advice from the computer, and it turns out to be an e-mail notifying him of late child support payments. Back in, Morton stalls as I ponder whose bright idea it was to take the most effective babyface in the history of tag team wrestling and TURN HIM HEEL. So Gibson slugs away, but Morton sends him into the corner to take over and goes to work on the injured knee. Yup, the dream clash of the Rock N Roll Express is one old dude working the knee on the other old dude. Jim Ross notes that he’s not an orthopedic surgeon, but that could be bad for Gibson’s surgically repaired knee. Whew, I was about to go put a guy wearing a leg brace in a figure-four on his advice, but at least now I can’t sue JR. So this match keeps happening and it’s literally all Ricky Morton working on the damn knee while they lie on the mat. So after ELEVEN MINUTES of that, Gibson tries a comeback, but Morton is still working on that damn knee. Alexandra York is so bored that she’s sexting Dustin Rhodes on her computer and people are literally sitting at ringside and yawning. Finally, Gibson tries another comeback, but Morton dodges a dropkick and…you guessed it…goes back to the knee. People are so bored that they start chanting for CM Punk, which is weird because he would have been in elementary school at the time, but obviously the crowd had enough time to collectively build a time machine and travel forward 20 years to watch good wrestling before returning to be annoyed by this shitty match all over again. And then after literally 15 minutes of Morton working on the damn knee, York distracts the ref and Morton just hits Gibson with the computer for the pin at 16:27. Some dude in the front row is so irritated by that stupid finish that he tosses garbage at the ring. Who booked this shit? DUD Elimination tag match: The Freebirds & Badstreet v. Dustin Rhodes & The Young Pistols Dustin’s pre-match promo where he says absolutely nothing is a thing of beauty. Thankfully he got much better at them and evolved beyond yelling “WE’LL SHOW YOU SOMETHING ABOUT ELIMINATION SIX-MAN TAG MATCHES!” while pointing at the camera. Dustin clears the ring with elbows as everyone bumps for the Knight of Nepotism long before he was any good. The Freebirds quickly take over with a cheapshot, giving Jimmy Garvin plenty of time to stall. They literally stand around posing while even the announcers question why Tracy Smothers is stupid enough to let them do it instead of, you know, hitting them. The Pistols bring Badstreet in and Steve Armstrong puts his own masked brother on the floor. Badstreet returns the favor and Garvin gets a cheapshot on Smothers and go to work on him. Hayes with a sleeper as I ponder WCW logic: The Freebirds need a third guy, so instead of getting another Freebird they put Brad Armstrong under a mask. Like, was Buddy Roberts REALLY asking for that much money? And Garvin doesn’t disappoint in sucking, going right to a chinlock. Badstreet comes in with a neckbreaker for two, but Smothers makes the alleged hot tag to Armstrong and it’s BONZO GONZO. Steve tries for Badstreet’s mask, but Hayes DDTs him and gets the pin at 13:47. And then he immediately throws the eliminated Armstrong over the top and gets DQ’d. Er, why? Never mind. I don’t really care. So now it’s just a total mess and Garvin DDTs Smothers for the pin at 15:19. Dustin then eliminates Garvin with a lariat at 15:32 and finishes Badstreet after a decent little sequence with a bulldog at 17:00. Why was this even elimination rules? *1/2 Bounty match: The Yellow Dog v. Johnny B. Badd The Yellow Dog actually brings a yellow dog to the ring with him, because WCW. Speaking of which, at this point the screen goes black and there’s a disclaimer from the Network that there was technical difficulties and this was the most complete version available. Dammit, we almost lost this match! And someone saved it. WHY? The Dog gets a suspiciously Pillman-like dropkick and chops Badd to the floor, and then a Pillman-like crucifix gets two. I’m starting to suspect that this mysterious yellow-clad figure is not who he represents himself to be. Badd attacks him on the floor and they slug it out in the ring, where the Dog botches a crossbody attempt. Good thing it’s not Brian Pillman because that would be embarrassing for him. Badd goes for the mask with no success, but the Dog comes back with a backdrop suplex. He goes up with a high cross, but Teddy Long runs in for the DQ at 6:00. Yeah. So this happened. * Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff goes to interview Missy Hyatt in her locker room, which seems a tad inappropriate. So Eric actually goes into the shower, clearly knowing that she would be naked, and he’s all shocked when she freaks out and kicks him out. And yet instead of getting fired for sexual harassment, he was made Executive VP two years later! Only in America. Lumberjack match: Black Blood v. Big Josh What is with all the shitty stipulation matches tonight? Josh is of course from the North Woods, although where in the North and which Woods are never specified. You might be thinking “Oh, Billy Jack Haynes v. Matt Borne, this should be decent” but OH HOW WRONG YOU WOULD BE. Black Blood is apparently a literal executioner, carrying a bloody axe to the ring after guillotining someone in France. Do you have to check that thing at the airport? Well, clearly now you would, but I guess it was a simpler time before 9/11. DAMN YOU TERRORISTS, robbing hard-working executioners of the ability to carry their tools. I feel like that’s the reason why the gimmick was dropped, because all things being equal he would have been World champion had the hassle of carrying the giant axe from city to city not overcome him. So anyway, Josh slugs away and the lumberjacks randomly brawl with each other. You know, if House taught me anything, it’s that Black Blood in his urine would indicate kidney shutdown, so perhaps Mr. Blood should see a doctor. Maybe that’s why the gimmick failed? And is Black Blood any relation to Ricky Steamboat? So Blood grabs the axe, apparently wanting to literally decapitate Big Josh to win a wrestling match, but luckily Josh gets a small package after assistance from Dustin Rhodes for the pin at 5:41. Ah, the old beheading trick, oldest heel move in the book. If only Henry VIII’s wives had known that you could small package the executioner to evade beheading, history would look a lot different. I believe his finisher was called the Robespierre, or at least should have been. DUD El Gigante v. One Man Gang Kevin Sullivan is working double duty tonight, seconding Gang as well as Oz. He was supposed to also be in Black Blood’s corner but was apparently too busy getting his skullet teased for this. I should note that even Big Josh gets a harem of women to accompany him, whereas Gigante gets four midgets as his posse. Thankfully, Kevin Sullivan beats them up. Gigante uses the WORLD’S LARGEST CLUBBING FOREARMS while poor Gang has to bump for him. Gigante misses a “charge” and “sells” it by staggering around like a drunk guy, allowing Gang to use a wrench to take over. Yes, an actual wrench. Why not just grab Black Blood’s giant bloody axe and use that instead? Unless airport security already made him check it with the baggage. DAMN YOU TERRORISTS! I remember when you could carry an Uzi on with you and then buy ammunition from the Skymall while doing coke with the hooker/stewardess. DAMN YOU TERRORISTS. I may be remembering it wrong, granted. Gang hits a splash and goes up and then stands there waiting for Gigante to remember his mark and slam him off. Line? Oh yeah, it was “WAAAAGH!” Gigante puts the claw on Sullivan, but Gang gets a bunch of powder, or salt, or something according to Tony, which Gigante kicks back in his face for the pin at 6:30. Shit, I bet those fascist airport guards wouldn’t let him carry that bag of blow on the plane with him, either. DAMN YOU TERRORISTS! -** Negative stars are starting to lose all meaning for me. Russian Chain match: Sting v. Nikita Koloff This actually was the one match on the show with good heat and backstory to it, so of course they ruin it with one of my least favorite stipulation matches. So yeah, they brawl around the ring and Sting manages two turnbuckles before Koloff clotheslines him and takes over on the floor. Sting runs him into the post, but Koloff wraps the chain around his arm and drops elbows on Sting. We get a dull heat segment and Koloff drags him around for three corners before Sting breaks it up. They do a silly bit where they fight in a bearhug and end up touching two corners at the same time, and then both guys go to the nuts, which kind of an allegory for this fucking show. And then both tumble into the third corner at the same time, because WHAT THE FUCK, but Koloff breaks it up and we’re still at 3 each for some reason. Sting dives in and knocks Koloff into the turnbuckle to give him the win at 11:50. Even by the low standards of the gimmick match this whole thing made no sense. * WCW World title, cage match: Lex Luger v. Barry Windham The dead space before the match just allows the crowd to get good and pissed off and chant for Flair, as it was now readily apparent that Ric Flair was not going to show up. Oh, and they spell Windham’s name wrong in the pre-match graphic. Because WCW. And the belt appears to be an old Western States title belt with “World Heavyweight Champion” superimposed via cheap gold plate. Because WCW. And now the hostility really starts from the crowd, as they unload with both barrels because WE WANT FLAIR. Man, that Flair, what a petulant child, leaving like he did just because Jim Herd wanted to cut his pay in half and dress him like a gladiator. So on the bright side, people liked Lex Luger, so at least they’d have a top babyface after this, right? They do the feeling-out and this crowd is just ready to HATE the match like they’re John Cena and Randy Orton. Slugfest and Windham gets a backdrop but the crowd would really rather see Flair. They continue having a match and Windham goes up with a flying elbow that misses, but Luger comes back with the clotheslines for two. The cage has played absolutely no part in the match thus far, by the way. Powerslam sets up the Torture Rack, but Windham manages to use the ropes and counter out, then hits a backdrop suplex as the crowd starts to get into it against their will. They fight to the top and Windham fights him off and follows with a top rope clothesline for two. Back to the top and a missile dropkick gets two. And now one of the great miscalculations in WCW history, as Harley Race and Mr. Hughes head to ringside, and Luger piledrives Windham for the pin and the title at 12:20. This was apparently supposed to be a heel turn for Luger, but fans cheer it anyway. And Luger of course went to be a giant flop as heel champion before leaving for the WWF in 92. Match was pretty decent despite the atmosphere and hostile crowd. But really, a heel turn in a main event where you should send the angry fans home happy? *** The Real Main Event: Missy Hyatt & Rick Steiner v. Paul E. Dangerously & Arn Anderson Thankfully, Paul is the one to break out the Zubaz and thus confim that it’s 1991. This was also pretty mind-boggling as the Maryland commission didn’t actually allow mixed gender matches so Missy wasn’t allowed to have any real involvement in the match. And indeed, Murdoch and Slater kidnap her, thus leaving Rick at a disadvantage. Without, you know, Missy Hyatt to depend on. They actually try a match for some reason, with the heels double-teaming Rick for a bit, but he quickly finishes Paul E. with a clothesline at 2:00. Pretty sure half the crowd had emptied out by then anyway. DUD JR & Tony recap all the carnage to end things. Tony notes that they’ve made a statement tonight. Oh, that they did. The Pulse Gotta say, it was bad no doubt, but not the giant flaming car wreck I remember from the 90s. I have actually seen much worse shows and would downgrade this one from Worst Of All-Time like it usually gets. It’s legendarily bad, sure, but the crowd was into some of the stuff and some of the guys were trying at least. It’s at best #2 behind Heroes of Wrestling on the list of most atrocious crapfests ever put on PPV. Now there’s some exuberant praise for you.

Bash at the Beach 1996

Scott,

I'm watching Bash 96 in its entirety for the first some since I watched and live and pooped myself. I was 13!

Now, I was genuinely shocked at the time when Hogan strolled out and revealed himself, but was was the smark atmosphere like around this time? Did everyone assume Hogan, or was there a list of like 5 legit possibilities that some smarks figured would happen?

Sidenote, I started watching the WCW PPVs after this last week and it's super off seeing Hogan not yet perfect the Hollywood character. Also, seeing Dibiase just about everywhere. Also, Heenan saying Piper was in the best shape of his life at Starrcade 1996. But what do I know, people in theses crowds were losing their shit for Piper at these PPVs.

I feel like we discussed the Hogan deal recently, but yes, we absolutely knew it was going to be Hogan, but we didn't think they'd actually have the balls to pull the trigger.  There was no other serious candidates aside from some wild speculation about Bret Hart and the like.  
The Piper deal was weird in that he didn't have any specific value left for the WWF, but working with the other dinosaurs in WCW made sense since they hadn't really run of those matches on PPV before.  Like, if WWF had Hogan and Savage still, they could exploit those nostalgia matches, but with only one piece of the puzzle there wasn't any point.  So yeah, there WAS still money in Piper, but only under the specific circumstances that WCW was creating.  That's why I always found it weird that Vince was so personally offended by Hall and Nash leaving in 96, as though he had huge plans for them or something.  They were basically slagging Nash for being the lowest-drawing champion of all time and making fun of Hall for his substance problems, and suddenly there's huge money to be made with them?  I guess, as Cinderella once told us, you don't know what you've got until it's gone.  

Klassic Kayfabe-Killing Video of the Day: NWA Behind the Bash 88 part 1

For those who’ve never seen it, this is a very famous home video shot by Jimmy Garvin backstage during the Bash 88 tour with the Crockett crew fucking around and performing while being on what can only be charitably described as a very concerning amount of blow.  It’s a far cry from the video games and script rehearsals of today’s shows.

Bash at the Beach 1998

Bash
at the Beach 1998
Date: July 12, 1998
Location: Cox
Arena, San Diego, California
Attendance: 10,095
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan 
Reviewed by Tommy Hall 
Tonight
is all about the celebrities as the main event is DDP/Karl Malone vs.
Hollywood Hogan/Dennis Rodman. We’ve also got football player Kevin
Greene vs. the Giant in what was supposed to be a tag match. Their
original partners are in a world title match as new champion Goldberg
defends against Curt Hennig. The midcard matches should be solid,
meaning this has potential to be something good. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video focuses on the three major matches tonight with some
shots of the beach cut in as well.
The
set is the usual intricate beach setting with sand, lifeguard towers
and beach balls. The announcers wearing hula shirts is a nice touch
as well.
We
get an intro from the announcers, bragging about all the media
attention the show has been getting. Nothing wrong with that.
Gene,
in a white tuxedo, hypes up the hotline.
Raven
vs. Saturn
Under
Raven’s Rules of course. Saturn is in trunks now instead of jeans.
Raven of course has Riggs and Lodi with him, the latter being dressed
like Hat Guy. Saturn meets him in the aisle to start and whips Raven
into the barricade very hard. He chokes Raven with the shirt and
takes it inside for the first time. Saturn slips on the top for a
bit but comes back with a quick missile dropkick to put Raven down.
An ankle lock is quickly broken by Raven grabbing the ropes, even
though there are no rules so there’s nothing the referee can threaten
Saturn with.
Raven
avoids a legdrop and hits a quick knee lift to put Saturn down for a
breather. It’s already table time (Tony: “He’s got a chair.”)
but Raven gets crotched while trying to suplex Saturn over the top
and through the table. They head to the floor with Raven hitting the
Russian legsweep into the barricade for two, even with Raven’s feet
on the ropes. Raven’s sleeper is countered by a jawbreaker and both
guys are down again. Saturn is up first for some kicks in the corner
and a suplex to take over.
Now
it’s chair time (complete with jokes from Heenan at Tony’s expense)
with Saturn hitting a spinning springboard legdrop onto Raven onto
the chair for two. Saturn takes out Riggs and Lodi but crushes Nick
Patrick in the corner with a springboard leg lariat in the corner.
Out to the floor again with Raven being bulldogged into the steps.
Saturn
sets up another table next on top of the original with Raven in
between but here’s Kanyon to turn on Saturn, pulling Raven out from
between the tables. We hit the shades of gray as Kanyon takes Raven
inside and gives him the Flatliner onto the chair. Riggs rolls in
Saturn and puts Raven on top for two. Saturn comes back with a Death
Valley Driver to Riggs but the Even Flow is enough for the pin for
Raven.
Rating:
C. The match was fun but as
usual, they’re not actually going anywhere with all this stuff. So
many of the feuds just go in circles and that doesn’t help anyone at
all in the end. Kanyon and Saturn need to do something soon to
capitalize on all these awesome moments they’ve had but it seems like
they’re going to be doing the same stuff they’ve been doing for
months.
Here’s
Eddie to talk about Chavo’s match with Stevie Ray before his hair vs.
hair match with Eddie. This is the first mention of Stevie being
involved in the PPV, which might be a good idea. Eddie says Stevie
is going to destroy Chavo and Eddie will pick up the pieces.
Juventud
Guerrera vs. Kidman
Wasn’t
this supposed to be Juvy vs. Reese II? Kidman looks much cleaner
than usual. They lock up to start with Kidman taking over with a
headlock. Both guys hit the ropes a few times and they flip to a
stalemate. Kidman gets chopped against the ropes and takes down by a
headscissors. Lodi pulls Juvy to the floor for a quick beating but
Kidman takes out his Flock mate on a dive. Guerrera slides back in
and hits a HUGE dive to take both guys down.
Back
in and Kidman slams him down before taking it right back to the
floor. Juvy is dropped throat first across the barricade but Kidman
misses a charge off the apron to send himself crashing into the
barricade as well. They head to the apron with Juvy hitting a sunset
bomb to slam Kidman onto the floor again. The fans of course get on
Lodi instead of paying attention to the match.
Juvy
throws him inside again and stomps Kidman in the corner a bit before
loading up a top rope hurricanrana. Kidman counters with a low blow
and a top rope sitout spinebuster for a big crash and two. Back up
and Kidman chops away but gets rolled up for two. They head to the
corner again and Kidman gets crotched on the top rope, allowing Juvy
to hit a springboard hurricanrana for a close two. Kidman’s middle
rope bulldog gets the same and they trade rollups for two. The Juvy
Driver gets two but Kidman slams him down to set up the Seven Year
Itch. Juvy rolls away at the last second though and it’s the 450 for
the pin.
Rating:
B-. Good match here as you
would expect from these guys. It’s nowhere near their best but it’s
better than Reese vs. Juvy would have been. This would have been a
good choice for the opener as the fans got into it, even though a lot
of their heat was directed at Lodi. Fun stuff.
Konnan
is on WCW.com, talking about his family eating fish tacos.
Stevie
Ray vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
This
is a result of a one off conversation between these two on Nitro.
Chavo has a Super Soaker and an inflatable duck around his waist.
Eddie comes out to watch so Chavo dedicates the match to him. Chavo
avoids contact for awhile before offering a handshake. Stevie shakes
his hand…..and Chavo submits. For some reason, Stevie is mad even
though he won.
Time
for the hair vs. hair match and Eddie is livid.
Eddie
Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Loser
gets a haircut. They lock up to start and Eddie leapfrogs him, only
to be bitten on the tights, sending him out to the floor. Back in
and Eddie asks the referee to look at the injury but Charles Robinson
is just fine thank you. Now Chavo wants to dance a bit. A
frustrated Eddie kicks the turnbuckle and injures his foot, sending
him out to the floor. Eddie throws in a chair but Chavo sits down in
it and asks Eddie to come in. Things settle down a bit and Eddie
gets on his knees to ask for a handshake. Chavo takes his hand and
pulls Eddie into a clothesline as we actually get going.
Eddie
hides in the corner at the referee’s knees but gets bitten again as
the comedy continues. Eddie finally dropkicks the knee out and sends
Chavo into the corner to take over. Some shoulders to Chavo’s back
in the corner have him in even more trouble and a gutbuster puts him
down again. A low dropkick sets up a slingshot hilo to stay on
Chavo’s back and the nephew is in trouble. There’s the Gory Special
in the middle of the ring but Chavo gets his legs free, only to be
clotheslined right back down.
We
hit a camel clutch on Chavo for a bit before Eddie fires off some
chops against the ropes. Chavo avoids a dropkick and scores with a
tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to put Eddie down. Eddie pulls the trunks
to send Chavo to the floor and pulls back the mats. The brainbuster
is countered though and Chavo suplexes him down onto the exposed
concrete. Back in and Chavo goes up again but gets crotched down,
setting up an Eddie superplex to put both guys down.
Back
up and Chavo launches Eddie over his head and face first into the
turnbuckle but Chavo’s frog splash hits knees. Eddie’s tornado DDT
(Chavo’s finisher) puts Chavo down and Eddie goes for the scissors.
That’s not cool with Little Naitch so Eddie tries the frog splash to
a similar result. Now Chavo goes for the scissors but the referee
takes them away, allowing Eddie to get a rollup for the pin.
Rating:
B-. To no surprise, this was a
good match. Chavo has grown up a lot in this feud and the matches
are getting better and better every time. I’m digging Chavo being
crazy yet brilliant with stuff like the handshake submission earlier.
He’s gone from nothing to an interesting character which was the
idea all along.
Post
match Chavo grabs the electric clippers and shaves his own hair off.
He offers to cut Eddie’s as well so they can be twins. Chavo: “You
don’t want to cut my hair? What a psycho!” Chavo cuts his own
hair and shaves the whole thing off.
We
get an odd few moments during the haircut as Tony talks like the main
event is up next before going into a full recap of Jericho vs.
Malenko. Instead of either of those, we get this.
Disco
Inferno vs. Konnan
This
is a bonus match and Disco is officially from FUNKYTOWN. Before the
match, Alex and Disco imitate Konnan in an unfunny bit. Nash and
Luger come out with Konnan which is some serious overkill. They’re
just a comedy tag team guys. Nash and Konnan do their full entrances
and talking bits as we’re clearly filling time now.
Konnan
takes him down with ease and stomps on Disco’s back. An X-Factor and
the rolling lariat put Inferno down again but Wright pulls him to the
floor for an attack. Luger Racks Alex, allowing Nash to Jackknife
Disco. Konnan puts on the Tequila Sunrise for the easy submission.
That’s three people interfering in a two minute match with no
backstory for those of you keeping track. This is why we needed
another NWO group?
Kevin
Greene vs. The Giant
Greene
is very fired up here. He rolls away from Giant to start and sneaks
in a slap to the face. Giant growls at him so Kevin bails to the
floor. Greene kicks the ropes to crotch Giant as they come back in
before pounding away in the corner. The fans are into this and it
helps that Greene could probably get a job on his looks and charisma
alone. Giant catches him in a bearhug though and spinebusts him down
to take over.
A
Goldberg chant starts up so Giant pounds Greene in the head out of
anger. Back up and Giant chops away as Tony talks about the Georgia
Dome show getting 39,919 people. Every source I can find says it was
over 40,000, so why would WCW understate it? I’ve never understood
that.
Anyway
Greene snaps Giant’s throat across the ropes but gets headbutted
right back down. They head to the floor with Giant going face first
into the barricade a few times before heading back inside. Kevin
hits a top rope forearm to drop Giant for two and it’s time to go for
the knees. That lasts about two seconds before Greene charges into a
chokeslam in the corner for the pin.
Rating:
C+. That’s on a very adjusted
scale considering that Greene isn’t a wrestler. Factoring that in,
this was some very impressive stuff. Greene looked completely
comfortable out there and there wasn’t a single time there where he
looked lost. If he wasn’t an incredible football player, he had a
career in wrestling for sure. Entertaining stuff here again.
Hennig
says Goldberg doesn’t have the heart to beat him.
We
recap Jericho vs. Malenko with a video from Nitro, showing Malenko
getting handcuffed for attacking Jericho after the insults about
Dean’s dad.
We
still don’t know who Jericho’s opponent is tonight so he comes to the
ring with a cane while wearing a top hat as he promised to do. He
teases a softshoe but here’s JJ to interrupt. Dillon thinks he might
have made a mistake about Jericho, but we have an opponent. He
hasn’t been in the ring in six months, but it’ll be a No DQ match
like it was supposed to be with Malenko. Jericho: “Bring out the
jobber!”
Cruiserweight
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey
is clearly limping on the way to the ring but has a VERY muscular
physique. Rey fires off forearms in the corner and dropkicks Chris
into the ropes. Jericho bails to the floor for a breather but comes
back in to go after the bad knee. They head up the aisle and fight
on the lifeguard’s before Rey hurricanranas him down onto the
“irritating” (Tony’s word) sand.
Back
in and Jericho rolls through a high cross body for two before hitting
something like a top rope powerslam for no cover. Jericho grabs a
chair and goes after the knee but spends too long mocking Rey,
allowing Mysterio to get in some shots to Jericho’s knee. The West
Coast Pop is badly botched to the point it looks like a powerbomb on
Rey. He bails to the ropes to avoid the Liontamer but here’s the
suspended Dean Malenko. The distraction lets Rey snap off a
hurricanrana for the pin and the title.
Rating:
D+. This didn’t work very well.
It’s not a horrible match but Rey looked very rusty out there. The
crowd was happy to see him, but they booked themselves into a corner
with Dean. He needs to get his revenge on Jericho and be done with
it but this just extends the story out even longer. Hopefully Rey
gets better with some more ring time.
Post
match Dean chases Jericho to the back and Arn Anderson slows Jericho
down, allowing Malenko to get in some shots.
TV
Title: Booker T vs. Bret Hart
Booker
is defending after being goaded into the match by some Bret chair
shots. Bret gets taken to the mat but comes back with right hands to
the face to take over. A snapmare gets two for Booker and he sends
Bret out to the floor. Bret comes back with a whip into the
barricade and we head back inside for the first shots at Booker’s
braced knee. Booker grabs a quick spinebuster for a floatover two
count but Bret backdrops out him out to the floor.
Back
in and Bret stays on the knee before getting two off a Russian
legsweep. Booker gets stomped down in the corner but comes back with
a quick side kick and the flapjack. There’s the Spinarooni but
Booker doesn’t snap to his feet as he usually does. The missile
dropkick gets two as Bret gets his foot on the ropes. Bret goes
outside and grabs a chair to stop a diving Booker for a DQ.
Rating:
D+. Well that happened. Really
there isn’t much else to say about this match. The match was just
there with Bret doing some stuff, Booker coming back, then Bret
ending it with the chair. Bret is probably at the top of the list of
guys who were wasted in WCW as he went from WWF Champion to losing in
a lower card title match inside of eight months. That’s impressive
even by WCW standards.
Bret
goes after the knee with the chair and cracks it over the exposed
knee cap. He hooks the Heartbreaker around the post and Stevie Ray
takes his sweet time in making the save.
Video
on Goldberg’s big night on Monday.
WCW
World Title: Goldberg vs. Curt Hennig
No
Rude for the challenger tonight. Goldberg runs him over to start and
hits a kind of release belly to belly, sending Curt into the corner.
Goldberg uses his legs to take Hennig down and Curt bails to the
floor. Back in and Goldberg charges into a boot in the corner but
Hennig gets caught in a gorilla press powerslam. Curt goes after the
knee with a chop block and some cannonballs. The HennigPlex gets two
and it’s the spear and Jackhammer to retain the title.
Rating:
D. You know all those other
Goldberg matches? Read whatever I said about any of those and swap
out whatever that opponent’s name for Curt Hennig.
We
recap the main event without words. Basically the basketball players
don’t like each other because they played in the finals twice in a
row and Hogan said some stuff about Page that DDP didn’t like.
Diamond
Dallas Page/Karl Malone vs. Dennis Rodman/Hollywood Hogan
Page
and Malone have matching attire, which look like they jumped into a
vat of hot glue with their jeans on. They come out to some hip hop
song that keeps saying “feel the bang.” Malone looks like he’s
been carved out of granite while Rodman is in a t-shirt and jeans.
The basketball players get us going but first Hogan has to take off
Rodman’s glasses. Rodman runs to the ropes to hide and the fans are
all over him. That works so well that they do it a second time. A
test of strength doesn’t happen as we hit two minutes into the match.
Rodman
grabs a headlock but bails to the floor when Malone charges at him.
Off to Hogan for a posedown with Hollywood getting frustrated.
Malone hooks a kind of standing chinlock (imagine a left arm Rock
Bottom but he clasps his hands together and squeezes) before slamming
Hogan down. We’re five minutes in now and it’s off to Page. DDP
gets Rodman and shoves him down off a lockup. A shoulder puts Rodman
down again as the stalling continues. They spit at each other and
Rodman armdrags him down. Somehow we’re seven minutes into this
match.
They
hit the ropes a bit and collide to send both guys down. Back to the
headlock by Rodman but Page reverses into one of his own. The fans
are clearly getting restless. Rodman leapfrogs Page twice and they
collide again to give us more laying down. Malone comes in and kicks
at Rodman, sending him over to Hogan for the tag. Karl hooks a top
wristlock and shoves Hogan to the mat. Hogan complains of a hair
pull and Rodman gets in a cheap shot to get to the whole tag match
idea for the first time.
Hogan
chokes a lot and slams Malone down before raking the boot over
Malone’s eyes. Rodman comes in with some elbow drops before it’s
back to Hogan for a chinlock. Here’s Rodman again for some double
teaming and a belly to back suplex from Hogan. Hollywood misses an
elbow though and it’s hot tag to Page. DDP comes in with a top rope
clothesline to Hogan but a cheap shot from Rodman lets the NWO take
over again. Hogan chokes away in the corner with his boot followed
by a running clothesline.
Rodman
comes in for a double big boot and more choking before it’s back to
Hogan for right hands in the corner. Page hits a quick elbow but
Rodman breaks up the tag attempt and puts on a front facelock.
Malone plays cheerleader on the apron and we get the unseen and
phantom tag tropes to space the match out even more. The big boot
puts Page down but he avoids the legdrop and it’s hot tag off to
Malone.
Clotheslines
all around put the NWO down and they both get slams. There’s a
double noggin knocker followed by Hogan’s head going into the buckle.
A big boot drops Hogan and it’s off to Page for a running Diamond
Cutter (Hogan landed on his hands, making the move look horrible).
Malone Diamond Cuts Rodman but Disciple sneaks in with a Stunner to
Page, giving Hogan the pin and a face pop for some reason.
Rating:
F. This was about what you knew
it was going to be, though it could have been FAR worse. Malone was
clearly taking this seriously which is more than you can say for most
celebrities in matches. Rodman looked like your usual celebrity
wrestler: decent at the one or two really basic moves he used but
pretty worthless otherwise. I’ve read before that this was
originally booked to go nearly an hour, which makes me shiver in
fear. I guess Hogan needed this win as a thank you for the
mainstream attention he brought in?
Malone
gives Disciple and the referee Diamond Cutters (good ones too) and
the NWO celebrates like this is a big deal.
The
announcers talk a bit to wrap things up.
Overall
Rating:
C. This is the WCW PPV
formula but a better version than usual. The earlier stuff is mostly
good while the main events cripple it, though Goldberg’s match was
what the fans wanted to see and was executed as well as it could have
been. The problem with the company is the same as always though: the
main stories aren’t going anywhere. The tag match doesn’t change
anything here and everyone involved in it now needs to start a new
story. It’s a good show overall, but as usual turn it off before the
main event.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Great American Bash 1998

Great
American Bash 1998
Date:
June 14, 1998
Location:
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Attendance:
12,810
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
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.

The
opening video is a seizure inducing series of videos of the people in
almost all the matches with various patriotic symbols in between.
The
announcers talk about the main events a bit.
Gene
talks about the Giant vs. Sting tag title match. Apparently Giant
will pick Disciple if he wins both belts. That’s quite the team.
Now
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.
Booker
T vs. Chris Benoit
The
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.
Benoit
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.
Benoit’s
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.
T
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
crash.
Neither
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.
Rating:
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.
Chavo
is on the internet and says he needs the punishment that Eddie will
give him tonight.
Saturn
vs. Kanyon
I
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.
Kanyon
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.
Kanyon
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
the chinlock.
They
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.
Saturn
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.
Rating:
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
far.
One
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.
To
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.
We
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.
Cruiserweight
Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho
The
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.
Dean
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.
Jericho
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.
Jericho
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.
Rating:
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.
Dean
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.
Eddie
begs Chavo for forgiveness and for Grandma to get him out of this.
Juventud
Guerrera’s music starts but stops after a second so the announcers
can talk about Jericho having a claim to the Cruiserweight Title.
Video
on Juventud Guerrera who won’t give up. By this I mean him walking
around ancient ruins in Mexico.
Juventud
Guerrera vs. Reese
Standard
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.
Reese
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.
A
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.
A
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.
Rating:
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.
Eddie
Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
This
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
hands.
Back
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.
Back
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
the referee.
The
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.
Chavo
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.
Rating:
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.
We
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.
TV
Title: Booker T vs. Fit Finlay
Booker
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.
Some
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.
Booker
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.
Booker
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.
Rating:
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.
US
Title: Konnan vs. Goldberg
Hennig
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.
Post
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.
I’m
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.
Roddy
Piper/Randy Savage vs. Hollywood Hogan/Bret Hart
This
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!
To
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.
Disciple
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.
Hogan
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
steel.
The
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.
Rating:
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.
Since
that wasn’t enough though, IT’S A RODDY PIPER DOUBLE FEATURE!
Roddy
Piper vs. Randy Savage
Bret
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.
Tag
Titles: Sting vs. Giant
So
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.
Giant
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.
We
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.
Rating:
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.
Overall
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.
If
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.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

The Only Review of The Great American Bash 1989 That You’ll Ever Need

I’ve decided to take a trip through the classics. First stop, The Great American Bash 1989.

The video I got actually
has the pre-show on here, where they use to have the countdown and everything.
Awesome stuff. I’m actually into the pre-show, because it’s explaining the
feuds. I only know the deal with Ric and Funk. There’s an awesome, AWESOME moment
when Missy is talking shit to Gary Hart, Eddie Gilbert and Great Muta, and at
one point she says Hart is no man, so Muta sprays the green mist into her face,
and as she’s howling in pain, he just causally saunters around like “deal
with it, bitch.” Fantastic. Moving on to Luger and Steamboat, we see a
classic example of what I was talking about in my most recent Happy Hour article.
Luger turns on Steamboat and goes to get a steel chair. When the crowd
understands what’s abut to happen, you can literally hear people shrieking,
like Luger is about to use a monster truck as a catheter on Steamboat. The
Glory Days indeed. 

Battle Royal

So, everyone comes out with crowns. Get it, battle
royal? Man, you KNOW that bullshit was all Herd. I find this to be really
stupid because a good chunk of the undercard is involved, leaving one to ask: why
wouldn’t the people paired in matches just attack each other? Nothing
interesting happens, and it’s boring the hell out of me. 
The Skyscrapers win at around 9 minutes | *

Teddy Long gives an interview on behalf of his
tag-team, the Skyscrapers. How fitting, Teddy managing a tag-team. Good God, he
use to look like he had 75 teeth in his mouth, and each one was around 3 inches
long. He looks like the Goblin King or something. 

Brian Pillman vs. Will Bill Irwin

Bob Caudle, the announcer working with Ross,
states that “Brian Pillman has a real future, barring any serious injury.”
Sounds about right. The match starts off in Pillman’s favor, as he pulls off
about 5 drop-kicks. Irwin soon turns it to his favor, and he constantly taunts
Brian by screaming “C’mon, FLYIN’ Brian! Why don’t cha’ FLY! FLYIN’
Brian!” He’s actually rather entertaining. The two work together pretty
well, as Irwin is an old school type of guy. He’s not trying to do anything
flashy, he just wants to hurt you. Beating Pillman down, he keeps him there
with punches, kicks, suplexes and bodyslams. At one point, he actually grabs
Brian and throws him into the other ring. However, once he turns to jaw-jack
with the ref, Pillman flies from one ring to the other, splashing Irwin and
getting the three. A meat and potatoes opener that was hinged on the flashes of
Brian’s cruiserweight offense, and the entertaining Wild Bill, who wants to
know why the ref is bothering him when he’s simply trying to choke a man. 
Pillman hits the crossbody on Irwin for the pin at
10:18 | **3/4

They introduce Jason Hervey as a ring announcer.
What the hell? Wasn’t he also a guest judge for one of Flair’s matches? Too bad
he’s not in character, as I’d love to see him call someone a butthead. Wayne
was always the man. 

The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Skyscrapers

I grew up as a WWE guy, and only recently have I
been dipping into the NWA library, so this is the first time I’ve ever seen The
Dynamic Dudes, and wow. I once said the recent DX was the lamest tag team of
all time, yes, even lamer than the American Males. But The Dynamic Dudes? Holy
shit. They get some kid from the audience to throw a Frisbee with because it’s
dynamic. Spivey controls the first portion of the match, and it takes the
dynamic double moves of Shane & Johnny to get him off his feet. Once Sid
tags in you can hear from the crowd immediately that he isn’t long for tag teams.
Seriously, he tags out and within a minute the ENTIRE arena is chanting
“WE WANT SID!” Hopefully Spivey doesn’t feel too bad. The Cape Fear
remake is a few years away, just be patient. Sid back in for a moment, crowd is
happy. Sid tags out, and the crowd boos the hell out of that, starting another
“WE WANT SID!” chant. It’s pretty incredible that he wasn’t made
champion pronto. Finally, after having their asses kicked the whole match, John
starts getting some dynamic offense in, but Spivey cuts that short. He delivers
a power bomb, but with both of them being sweaty, John is damn near dropped on
his head, Pillman style. Very dynamic. The match was an extended squash, but
it’s worth seeing simply for the crowd’s reaction to Sid, it’s incredible. 
Spivey power bombs John for the pin at 9:14 | *3/4

We get an interview with Cornette about his tux
match. 

Paul E Dangerously vs. Jim Cornette – Tux Match

Heyman’s entrance music is the theme from
Halloween. That’s a great piece of music and I’m surprised other wrestlers
haven’t used it. Heyman quickly goes for the cheap heat by throwing
powder in Cornette’s eyes, followed immediately by beating up Corny’s knee with
his phone. Cornette said that before the match, he told Paul which knee it was
that was injured, so that way they could work Corny’s real injury into the
match. Well, Paul immediately forgot and kept beating the wrong knee, even
though Jim kept saying “Other knee! Idiot!” So, Paul just started
beating up both. Honestly, I usually hate these kinds of matches, but Paul and
Jim are both so good at what they do, with such passion and love for the
business that they make this really entertaining. The crowd is all sorts of
into it too. Easily the best tux match of all time, which I’m sure both Paul and
Jim are very proud of. 
Cornette strips off Paul’s tux for the win at 6:22
| **1/4

Gary Hart is interviewed, believing Muta will
continue his undefeated streak and take home the TV title.

Kevin Sullivan & Mike Rotunda vs. The Steiners
– Texas Tornado Match

The Steiners come out to Welcome To The Jungle,
which blows away their eventual “Steiner Line!” theme, second only to
Sting as the lamest music in WCW history. The match doesn’t last long, but what
we get is one of the harder-hitting matches I’ve ever seen. No surprise when
you’ve got The Steiners in there, but Sullivan and Rotunda are giving as good
as they get. A lot of mayhem in a short period, all chalking up to a decent
brawl. 
Scott hits a flying crossbody on Sullivan, pinning
him at 4:22 | **

We get an interview with The Stinger. He respects
Muta, and delivers one of the blandest promos of all time. 

The Great Muta vs. Sting [C] – WCW TV Championship

The crowd goes insane for Sting. This match has
without a doubt the most exciting first few minutes I’ve ever seen. From Sting
jumping from one ring to another and off the top-rope clotheslines, to Muta’s
flips, kicks and moonsaults. It really needs to be seen to be given justice,
it’s great. This match was all about speed, cramming a 20-minute match into
almost 9 minutes. However, it wasn’t quick just for the sake of it. Muta was
bringing it to Sting as hard and as fast as he could, with Sting having little
to no problem keeping up, and throwing it right back in the Great One’s face.
Superb stuff that definitely was not seen during this time. The end sees Sting
hitting Muta with a belly to back suplex and going for the pin, only for the
ref to count three despite Muta having his shoulder up. He and Gary Hart run
off with the belt while the crowd chants bullshit. 
Sting & Muta are both counted down at 8:40 |
***3/4

Luger does an interview where he says the DQ rule
must be waived, or no match at all. 

Ricky Steamboat vs. Lex Luger [C] – WCW US
Heavyweight Championship

The crowd seems to be chanting “Steroid
freak!” at Luger. I find that funny, considering backstage he was probably
comparing brands of Winstrol with Steamboat. Ricky tries to put away Luger
quick, and when that doesn’t happen, he goes for some quick offense, only for
Luger to simply cut that BS off with a knee lift to the face. From this point
on, neither one holds momentum for very long, as they beat the hell out of one
another at every given opportunity. The end sees Luger bring a chair in, which
Steamboat turns on him in one of the worst examples of business exposing.
Regardless, Steamboat gets a hold of that chair and goes ape shit. He throws
the ref Tommy Young to the outside and pummels Luger. Pretty cool to see
Steamboat actually lose control. I didn’t love this as much as others, because
I felt it really would have benefited from an extended finishing sequence.
Still some good stuff. 
Steamboat is DQ’ed at 10:26 | ***3/4


The Freebirds are interviewed, and they look
absolutely RIDICULOUS. This whole promo is like the zenith of why pro-wrestling
is made fun of. 

Wargames – Freebirds & Samoan Swat Team vs. Road
Warriors, Midnight Express & Dr. Death

Seriously, what the fuck is up with the Freebirds?
Who the HELL is gonna be afraid of two guys in fingerless, white satin forearm
length gloves, golden sequin tank-tops and white spandex pants? I’d be afraid
that they’d think I was really cool, and keep pestering me to join their
Cinderella tribute band. It’s Jimmy and Bobby starting. Bam Bam comes in next,
followed by Dr. Death. The Doctor is wearing yellow trunks and boots with red
knee pads. Are you kidding me? That’d be like me heading to the ring with a
giant sequin cape that said Acho Man. I will give Doc his due, as he military
presses Bam Bam 8 times. Samu is next to enter. Well, technically Jimmy
Garvin’s perm is next, as it’s triple the size it was. Animal is now in for the
good guys. Fatu soon follows. Sweet Stan is after that, PS and Animal are the
last for their teams. I gotta say, I’m disappointed there’s no blood. That’s
the whole point of the War Games. From here on out, it’s what you expect,
without any blood. I found it to be a pretty enjoyable brawl, but you can tell
the difference between The 4 Horsemen and The Freebirds and Samoan Swat Team.
There was never any doubt that The Road Warriors team were coming out on top. 
Road Warrior Hawk causes Garvin to submit with a
Hangman at 22:18 | ***1/2

Ric Flair interview. It’s incredible what they
did. Funk destroyed Flair and what did they do? They kept Ric off of TV, and
kept him from wrestling for two months. There’s absolutely no way that would
happen today. They would have had Ric back the next day, while Funk went on a
losing streak. 

Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair [C] – WCW World
Heavyweight Championship

Right off the bat, Flair gets the best of Funk
with chops and rights and lefts. Funk, being awesome, just loses his mind over
this, and people BELIEVE IT. I mean, you see a fan talking shit to Funk, but
then backs off when he sees Funk may try him. Oddly enough, at one point Funk
attempts to suplex Ric, and Ross calls it a piledriver. Later, Funk goes to
piledrive Ric, and Ross calls it a suplex. Flair starts working on Funk’s
receipt by working on his neck, at one point piledriving him, and causing Funk
to run in a circle like Homer with something written on the back of his head.
Flair soon slaps the Figure 4 on Terry, giving you reason to believe it’s almost
over, but then Funk turns the tide when he smashes Ric with the branding iron,
busting Flair open. He soon has Ric in the center of the ring, dropping him
with neckbreakers, and screaming at Flair to say I quit, while Gary Hart
screams “Get the pin! Get the pin!” He doesn’t want the pin, he wants
Ric to quit. He doesn’t just want the title, he wants Flair’s dignity, it’s
awesome stuff. That’s a heel. He eventually gets busted open with his own
branding iron at the hands of Flair. Ironically, despite the old school
brutality of the match, it ends with a roll up on Flair’s part. It’s a hell of
a match, one that I prefer to their I Quit from Clash. They went out there and
showed you that you don’t need weapons, and light-bulbs, and all sorts of other
shit to create a brutal atmosphere. You need a purpose and passion. 
Ric Flair defeats Terry Funk with the roll up
at 17:23 | ****1/4

Afterward, Muta shows up to help Funk pummel the
hell out of Flair. Sting eventually shows up, giving us our main event for
Havoc. It’s great because they keep brawling all over the arena. Even when Ross
and Bob are doing their wrap-up, the 4 of them just come raging by with Flair
swinging Funk’s branding iron. Awesome. 

Showcase Showdown: For all the people who claim
that this PPV is the greatest of all time, I can’t fault them. It’s a damn good
show. From top to bottom, I was entertained with everything. It delivered
beyond my expectations. Now, I didn’t love it as much as some, but the
difference is negligible, really. The main event really delivered, and was
easily the highlight for me. Flair and Funk went out there and kicked the hell
out of each other, really selling the fact that they both wanted each other
dead. Fantastic stuff. For the few out there who were like me and hadn’t seen
the show, it’s definitely worth it. For those feeling lazy, then I recommend
just watching Flair vs. Funk, it’s fantastic and unfortunately gets lost in the
shadow of their I Quit match. The PPV’s subtitle is The Glory Days, how
appropriate.

As always, much respect and adulation to my editor, Steven Ferrari. I met Steven when I was young.. H couldn’t have been more than 28 or 29 at the time, but he was already a legend. He’d walk in the door and everybody
who worked the room just went wild. He’d give the doorman $100 for opening the door.
He’d shove hundreds in the pockets of the dealers and guys who ran the
games. I mean, the bartender got $100 for keeping the ice cubes cold.Str8 Gangster, No Chaser
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WCW In 2000
– Recently updated with the infamous Bash at the Beach 2000. You know
what’s shocking? The PPV is GOOD. No joke, it’s seriously good, and
features the best match of WCW’s 2000 year so far.
Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol.1
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Bash At The Beach 1997

As usual, this was written several months ago so if I’m missing something, it’s because I hadn’t seen the Nitros leading up to this show.
Bash
at the Beach 1997
Date:
July 13, 1997
Location:
Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida
Attendance:
7,851
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
I’ll
be doing the three Bashes in a row and then probably just doing
individual shows again for awhile. It’s 1997 and the unofficial
anniversary of the NWO being formed. This was in that weird period
for WCW as everything was setting up for Sting vs. Hogan, but at the
same time it took forever to get there because we waited 9 months
between Sting’s moment of showing he was WCW and the actual match.
The main event here is Luger/Giant vs. Hogan/Rodman. As in Dennis
Rodman. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video is Luger ranting about the NWO and how Rodman has been
all mean to them and jumped them a few times.
The
announcers talk a bit and apparently Page has a mystery partner for
later that is either Curt Hennig, Sting or Raven.
Mortis/Wrath
vs. Ernest Miller/Glacier
These
four seemingly had more matches on PPV than I can count. Glacier is
all ticked off to start and spears down Mortis so he can pound on
him. He looks at Wrath and freezes him somehow so that Miller can
hit a springboard dropkick to take the big man down. Off to Miller
vs. Wrath now as we’re told Miller played for the Falcons and
Patriots. I can’t find any evidence of this anywhere else and I’ve
never heard of it otherwise. Why does that not shock me?
Miller
fires off some kicks but gets caught in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker
but a middle rope elbow misses. Glacier comes in and hits a double
dropkick with Miller to Wrath for two. Glacier goes to the floor
where Mortis beats him up a bit. Wrath hits a pretty nice running
somersault off the apron to take out the ice enthusiast. He finds a
chair to put against Glacier’s head so Mortis can kick the chair
into Glacier’s head into the post.
Back
inside now for Glacier vs. Mortis. Heenan says there’s something
between these two in the past but Glacier doesn’t want to go into
what it is. Wrath comes back in and they hit Beer Money’s DWI for
two. ROH fans will like this as Wrath throws on a Billy Goat’s
Curse and Mortis drops a leg at the same time.
Mortis
misses a moonsault and Miller comes in illegally to help Glacier.
Feliner (Trouble in Paradise) takes out both heels. Everything
breaks down and Glacier gets a DDT to put Mortis down for a delayed
too. James Vandenberg, the manager of Mortis/Wrath puts a chain on
Mortis’ foot so a kick to the chest ends this for Glacier’s first
loss.
Rating:
B-. Better match than you would expect here and I liked it for
the most part. Mortis is more commonly known as Kanyon and he can do
some interesting stuff. Wrath was shockingly good here too and is a
guy I’ve always liked a little so that’s a nice perk. Also,
notice how much better it is with guys to compliment the martial arts
guys. You get a much better match.
Cruiserweight
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon
Jericho
is champion. He’s a face and hasn’t been champion long. I think
Dragon is also but I’m not sure. To the shock of no one they start
on the mat. Neither guy can hit a kick so they lock up again.
Dragon does his handstand in the corner and of course no one can
touch him as he does that. There are the kicks from Dragon and he
puts on a nerve hold but just for a few seconds.
Jericho
counters Dragon’s offense into a double powerbomb and a senton
backsplash gets two. The fans want Sting. Just another five months
for that guys. Jericho works on the back before the speed things up
a bit. Moonsault press gets two for the Canadian as does a tiger
driver. I’m not sure what happened here but they both go up to the
top and Jericho tries a dropkick which clearly misses by about 8
inches but Dragon drops to the floor anyway. The announcers say he
missed it and that Dragon fell to avoid it but it looked like a
botch.
Anyway
Jericho hits a plancha and they go back in. A rana by Dragon out of
the corner doesn’t work as he gets shoved to the floor. Jericho
dives on him but gets caught by a dropkick in a cool looking shot.
Snap suplex on the floor has Jericho in trouble, yet he was back in
the ring first. Dragon gets him to the floor and hits the Asai
Moonsault to put both guys down.
Back
in the ring and both guys try La Magistral but can’t get the pin.
They speed things way up into some pinfall reversal sequences but
Jericho counters a Dragon Sleeper attempt and they both go outside.
Back in again and Jericho hits a Lionsault to the back for two.
Another Lionsault attempt is countered by a dropkick and Dragon tries
both his finisher with no success. Muta style moonsault gets no
cover for Dragon and Jericho counters a powerbomb counter into a
sunset flip to retain.
Rating:
C+. This was actually kind of a mess. Far more of a collection
of spots than a coherent match with any form of a story or anything
like that throughout it. It’s certainly good and the big spots
were cool, but I’m not sure if they really had this planned out all
that well. They just kind of missed here.
Gene
comes to the ring to talk to Raven. He asks Raven about being DDP’s
mystery partner so Raven recites a poem. Stevie Richards pops up and
mentions an announcement Raven has tomorrow on Nitro, earning him a
backhand slap from Raven. The announcement might have been the
formation of the Flock but I’m not sure.
Steiner
Brothers vs. Masahiro Chono/Great Muta
They’re
NWO Japan and if the Steiners win they’re #1 contenders….again.
WCW has this really annoying habit of having teams (usually the
Steiners) win title shots “somewhere down the line” but they
never actually got them. The Japanese dudes clear the ring rather
quickly so the Steiners go up top and hit a pair of clotheslines to
send the foreigners to the floor. Chono gets in an argument with
some guy at ringside before we get this going.
Scott
and Muta get us going. Scott pounds away and Muta is like boy please
and kicks away. Steiner finally gets his butterfly powerbomb to take
over and hits a gorilla press to send Muta outside again. Off to
Chono and Rick, whose eyes look all freaky. Chono gets annoyed with
the bug eyes and hits a SICK Mafia kick to put Rick down.
Test
of strength results in a kick to Rick’s ribs and they switch off
again. Scott likes to pound Muta on the back. Belly to belly
superplex to Muta doesn’t work as Chono grabs an electric chair
drop and Muta hits the handspring elbow to take over. Chono goes up
and he winds up taking the aforementioned belly to belly to put both
guys down.
Hot
tag Rick who hits belly to bellies on both guys. Steiner bulldog
gets two. Scott goes up as the illegal man and gets caught in a rana
by Muta. Rick by in and gets caught in a leg whip by Muta but
manages a suplex for two. Everything breaks down again and while
Chono argues with the referee, a super DDT (Rick puts him on his
shoulders so Scott can hit a DDT off the top) ends Muta.
Rating:
D+. Match was another mess with no flow to it at all. The
Steiners were so bored/boring by this point that it was unreal. They
had beaten every team in existence and there was no one left to
challenge them. Since the Outsiders were allergic to wrestling I
suppose, this was just another waste of time and it was pretty clear
the Steiners didn’t care at all.
Juventud
Guerrera/Hector Garza/Lizmark Jr. vs. La Parka/Psicosis/Villano IV
Ready
for some pointless lucha libre for the sake of only having lucha
libre? Onoo is with Parka and Psicosis. This is under lucha libre
rules, meaning if you go to the floor someone else on your team can
come in sans tag. Lizmark and Psicosis start us off as Tenay tries
to explain rudos vs. technicos. Juventud’s team is technico here.
They do some speed stuff and then Villano and Garza come in because
they feel like it.
Things
speed up and after this point I’m really not going to try to keep
track of what’s going on because the point of it is to go
completely insane for awhile. Sonny tries to kick Juvy but he moves
and the kick hits La Parka instead. The power of money keeps him
from mauling Onoo. Psicosis misses a running dropkick and the rudo
team has an argument.
Juvy
hits a springboard triple splash for two and all three technicos hit
stereo planchas as the referee literally ducks and covers in the
corner. Juvy tries a springboard cross body but Psicosis gets
something like a dropkick up to block it. They go to the corner and
Psicosis gets something like a sunset bomb on steroids for two. They
do some more insane stuff and Garza gets a moonsault press for two.
Everything
breaks down again as some heels collide. We get the four man move
called the Star that never got over in America. Basically they’re
all on the mat and have leg locks on someone while two guys get in
the middle and do a move. It’s WAY too contrived to look good at
all. Five man Tower of Doom is broken up and everyone goes to the
floor.
Lizmark
is the last one out with a big dive to Villano. Air Juvy (love that
move) and again I can’t keep up with this at all. Garza hits his
HUGE corkscrew plancha to take out everyone else. Villiano V comes
out and switches with his brother but gets caught by a missile
dropkick and standing moonsault for the pin by Garza.
Rating:
B. This is a hard one to grade because from an American
standpoint, it was an insane mess but from a lucha libre standpoint,
I’d think it was rather good. It certainly was exciting and got
the crowd going again, but at the same time this kind of stuff
happened about once a PPV for WCW. This was one of the more fun ones
though.
Kevin
Sullivan vs. Chris Benoit
This
is a career match and is out with Sullivan. No Woman though.
Sullivan hasn’t wrestled in three months and Benoit is a Horseman.
You figure the ending out. This is the final match of a feud that
has gone on for a year now and it’s another slugfest which was done
best the first time and has gone downhill ever since. Sullivan
suplexes him to the floor and it’s a brawl already.
They
tear apart a piece of the guardrail and Benoit suplexes Jackie. She
of course no sells it because she’s Jackie and can take moves from
men so she’s tough and should be on TV for the next 10 years right?
Benoit is finally like screw this and tosses her at Sullivan then
pounds on him for awhile. She interferes again because she can I
guess. Jackie needs to get hit by a bus. Seriously.
They
fight up to the set and Benoit goes through a surfboard house. I
don’t think this is No DQ but who cares I guess. Benoit has sand
all over him. They destroy most of the set and Sullivan is thrown
into a tree. Sullivan takes a beach chair to the head and Jackie
hits Benoit again. Seriously, go away. They fight to the other side
of the set and keep punching each other.
Sullivan
hits a Piledriver in the aisle and since it’s been 18 seconds since
Jackie did something, she drops some elbows. Kevin gets a garbage
can lid shot to Benoit’s lid but it just fires Chris up. And never
mind as he gets sent to the floor so Jimmy can get some shots in.
Benoit gets hung upside down with his back to the apron and Sullivan
chops away even more.
Back
in and Benoit pounds away on him even more. Sullivan bites his
stomach so Benoit bites Sullivan’s ear. Crossface goes on but only
gets two arm drops. Heenan says this show has the largest audience
in the history of PPV. I won’t even start on that one. Benoit
pulls him back to the middle and puts it right back on but can’t
get it full.
The
hold is broken so Chris kicks him a lot. Now he chops him a lot and
Sullivan is a face somehow. He Hulks Up for lack of a better term
and puts Benoit in the Tree of Woe. Three running knees hit him as
Jackie gets a wooden chair. Jackie pops Sullivan with the chair for
no apparent reason other than to give herself a reason to yell some
more. Swan Dive ends Sullivan’s career.
Rating:
C-. The problem for this comes down to one thing: they had the
same match for a year straight. Why in the world would I want to
watch another big brawl between these two so many times over and over
again? It’s not horrible but we’ve seen it such a ridiculous
amount of times that no one cares. Also, WAY too much Jackie time
here.
Sullivan
gets some big sendoff by the announcers like he was some great guy or
something.
US
Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael
Jeff
is champion here. They both pose with the belt to waste some time.
It should be noted that Jarrett is about as popular as George Wells
was. If you’re saying “who?” to that name, you’re getting
the point. There’s a reason he would be back in the WWF in about
three months. Jarrett takes him down to start and struts to waste
some more time. He is from Tennessee after all.
He
wastes too much time though and walks into a Bossman Slam. Mongo
takes out the knee so Jeff heads to the floor a bit longer. For some
reason Jeff accepts a test of strength with a big power wrestler.
What could go wrong with this? It’s pretty clear Mongo has no idea
how to actually pace a match or use psychology or anything like that
at all but he’s not messing up every move anymore.
Out
to the floor and Mongo goes into the steps. That doesn’t seem to
hurt him and Jeff goes into the railing to further injure the knee.
Mongo chokes him with a cord and we head back into the ring. Weak
gorilla press is followed by a powerslam for two. Mongo misses a
knee in the corner and now Jeff uses a football tackle on the knee.
There’s a second one and Mongo is down. He sets for the Figure
Four but Debra gets up on the apron, “accidently” gives Jarrett
the case and he hits Mongo with it….in the arm. He tries again and
hits him in the head for the pin to retain. Debra leaves with Jeff.
Rating:
D. The lack of psychology and anything remotely resembling it
hurt this a lot. Mongo would get the title in a few weeks so it’s
not like this mattered that much. Jarrett and Debra would go back to
the WWF soon enough so we didn’t have to put up with this feud much
longer. Jarrett got better with age but at this point he wasn’t
nearly as good as he’s known as today.
Hogan
and Rodman say nothing of note.
Scott
Hall/Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page/???
Hall
is a tag champion but is teaming with Savage here because Nash is
busy at a taco festival I suppose. The partner is likely either
Raven, Hennig or Sting. It’s pretty clearly not going to be Sting
because it would be too big of a waste for his return.
Raven….probably not due to it being kind of a big jump up for him
in the card. Hennig was more or less the default pick and it turns
out he is in fact the partner. This is his WCW debut in the ring,
because he popped up on Nitro for no apparent reason other than to
make sure this wasn’t an actual shocking debut at the PPV.
Page
vs. Savage starts us off which is one that’s hard to screw up based
on how obsessive they were about setting up matches beforehand. Page
sends him to the floor and Savage stalls some more. There’s a
bunch of stuff in the ring for some reason and Savage doesn’t want
to fight. Not sure what it is but the referee keeps wiping it off
the mat. Off to Hall vs. Hennig now and they look at each other a
lot. They go to the corner and Hennig actually gives a clean break.
Both
combinations seem more interested in seeing how long they can go
without actually getting into a full on match. Curt hits an atomic
drop and Hall does his hop selling. Back to Page so he can hammer on
Scott a bit. Page gets beaten down and it’s the NWO in control.
Since it’s a match between 1996 and 1999, Page has bad ribs. Out
to the floor and the beating continues. Hall gets a discus punch for
two.
Back
off to Savage as Page gets a right hand in. Page kind of falls down
and it’s ice cold tag to Hennig. Granted the match is like seven
minutes old at this point so it’s not like he was in peril long.
And since this is in 1997, Hennig of course turns on Page and leaves
him to the wolves known as Hall and Savage. The beating goes on for
awhile and the big elbow ends it. Hennig wouldn’t officially join
the NWO for a few weeks after pretending to join the Horsemen.
Rating:
D+. Total meh match here as the whole thing was about going from
debut to the turn (if you can actually be one way or the other after
five minutes) in under ten minutes, which is pretty wasteful but
they’re trying at least. Hennig would join the Horsemen soon
enough and then the NWO because that’s what everyone did, minute
the Horsemen part I guess.
Roddy
Piper vs. Ric Flair
Because
the fans were BEGGING for it! WCW really doesn’t help themselves
with the lack of recaps. I have no idea why most of these matches
are happening and it’s totally random as to whether or not you get
a recap of it. Even a quick sentence can sum up a lot of stuff. To
the shock of no one, this is more of a brawl than a match. Piper
beats the tar out of him to start and sends him to the floor.
Back
in and Piper chops away in the corner and Flair is looking like a
clueless putz. No idea if Flair is face or heel here. Piper hammers
away in the corner and there’s a Flair Flip in the corner. Flair
eats post and Piper chops away some more. I don’t think he’s
done anything but punch or chop. Back in again and Flair gets a shot
to the knee to take over. Figure Four goes on and Piper reverses it.
Roddy
actually gets a swinging neckbreaker for two. Wouldn’t have
expected that one. Low blow takes the Canadiscot down and it’s
back to the knee. That doesn’t work either so Piper fires off
punches and kicks Flair’s leg. Out to the floor again which
doesn’t last long. Back in Flair gets a jawbreaker to quickly
break up a sleeper.
After
a bunch of two counts Flair goes up and you know how that goes.
Figure Four goes onto Flair and is broken rather quickly. Illegal
object from Flair is stolen by Piper and Flair goes out. Here are
the Horsemen and Piper of course outsmarts them until Mongo of all
people is able to piledrive him. That only gets two and Piper Hulks
Up. Sleeper ends this which is supposed to be some big deal, even
though WE HAVE NO IDEA WHY THEY’RE FIGHTING.
Rating:
C+. Well I can’t really say it sucked, but is there any real
point in having these guys fight? It’s not a bad match and is
actually kind of good, but the time hurt it as this got nearly 15
minutes and with Piper only being able to chop and punch, how good
can it really get? Also, no Malenko, Guerrero or Mysterio on here,
but they get 15 minutes. And people wonder why this company went out
of business.
Dennis
Rodman/Hulk Hogan vs. Lex Luger/The Giant
I
get that Rodman was a legit big draw and at the time he was an A-list
celebrity so it’s not as stupid as it sounds like now, but what
does this accomplish from a storyline perspective? Oh that’s
right: it keeps Hogan from having to defend the title so he can hold
it even longer. Buffer says tens of millions of people are watching
this around the world. Savage is out with the heels here.
Luger
and Hogan start and I’d expect Hogan to wrestle more in this match
than he has in the past five weeks combined. They go to the mat and
it’s just ugly. We put the camera on Andrew Galotta (boxer) and
Rodman’s agent for awhile. Not much contact so far as Hogan is
stalling a lot, mainly because were twenty five minutes left in the
show when the bell rang.
The
first major contact is a shoulder block by Hogan about three minutes
in. Luger hits one as well and by hits I mean you can see a good
three inches between their arms. Hogan hammers him down and it’s
his usual heel stuff. He asks the fans if they want Rodman to come
in and it’s pretty clear Rodman is the most popular guy in the
building. Hogan goes over and makes the tag and it’s time for the
announcers to overhype everything like never before.
Rodman
is in sunglasses here. He stalls like Larry Zbyszko dreams of and
they lock up. Rodman gets an armdrag and the reaction from the
announcers (the WCW ones mind you, as in the ones that HATE the NWO)
makes the one when Sting won the title later in the year pale in
comparison. I mean they lose their minds because Rodman hit an
armdrag. Luger armdrags both guys twice and the overreaction is just
stupid. Have these guys never seen a Ricky Steamboat match? This is
proving why the match is stupid, right here.
A
leapfrog and a shoulder block by Rodman (meaning a basketball player
is capable of jumping and leaning his arm forward) are hailed as
“flashes of brilliance” by Tony. The guys on Tough Enough have
flashes of brilliance in their second episode then. A single
clothesline sends Rodman looking for a nurse and it’s off to Giant
vs. Hogan. They proceed to do a basic Nitro match for a few minutes
as no one cares with no Rodman in there.
Rodman
offers to come in and fight the Giant and plays face because he
doesn’t know any better. He tries more leapfrogs and then we
realize that it’s stupid to try to jump over a guy called THE
GIANT. Heenan loses his mind because his apparently new sexual
object of desire known as Rodman is in trouble. If you were new to
this product and heard the commentators, you would swear Hogan and
Rodman were the good guys.
Hogan
and Rodman get a double clothesline to Giant and Rodman breaks up
Hogan’s pin attempt for some reason. Hot (and unseen) tag brings
in Luger but Hogan takes him down pretty easily. Savage interferes
and this is rapidly getting boring. There’s the legdrop for two
and ZERO reaction from the crowd and announcers. This is the Hulk
Hogan legdrop and it got no reaction. Maybe Hogan should try a
leapfrog. Actually that would get a reaction.
Back
off to Rodman as this slows down even more. There’s the foot choke
in the corner which gets a bigger reaction than the Hogan legdrop.
Another unseen tag brings in Giant but this one doesn’t count for
some reason. Giant comes in anyway and here’s Not Sting. He hits
Giant with the bat and everyone thinks he’s NWO. Pay no attention
to the fact that he’s maybe an inch shorter than Giant and comes in
over the top rope. Hogan accidently hits Rodman and the Rack ends
Hogan finally.
Rating:
F+. Totally awful main event but the announcers overreacting is
pretty funny stuff. In short, Rodman isn’t a wrestler so he’s
not really at fault here. I mean, would you turn down probably a
minimum of six figures for twenty minutes of “work”? He just
took a check and did his thing out there to a huge reaction. That
being said, this proves nothing and the whole thing was just a mess
because we had to protect Rodman (again not his fault).
Luger
Racks Rodman and Savage post match.
Overall
Rating: D. This was a hard one to grade. It’s
certainly a low level show and that needs to be kept in mind. This
show wasn’t about having a good show but rather having a big
buyrate due to Rodman. It’s definitely not the worst show ever but
it shows a lot of what’s coming for WCW and how things would start
falling apart. They clearly weren’t trying that much here and they
wouldn’t do much next month either because it was in front of a
bunch of drunk bikers. Bad show, but for different reasons than
usual.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Great American Bash 1997

Great American
Bash 1997
Date: June 15, 1997
Location: The MARK of
Quad Cities, Moline, Illinois
Attendance: 9,613
Commentators: Bobby
Heenan, Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It HAS TO be better
than Slamboree. I mean it has to be. The main event here is Savage
vs. DDP in a falls count anywhere match. Also since last week’s
battle of the football players match went so well, we’re repeating it
here. Now one good thing about WCW at this point is that the matches
got time, as in the shortest match on this show is nine and a half
minutes long. On the other hand, the shortest match on this show is
nine and a half minutes long. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is
about AMERICA. DDP has chased the American Dream (not Dusty) which
is a nice idea actually.
We also have the
Outsiders defending against Piper/Flair.
Psicosis vs. Ultimo
Dragon
This is the revenge
match for Dragon after he dumped Onoo and Sonny brought in Onoo to
fight for him. Dragon sends him to the floor and the crowd is hot.
Back in Psicosis takes him to the mat but gets knocked to the floor
almost immediately. In the ring again Dragon tries a leapfrog but
Psicosis punches him out of the air. Dragon one ups him by dropping
an elbow on Psicosis as he hits the mat. There’s the handstand in
the corner and here come the kicks.
The crowd is WAY into
Dragon here. Psicosis takes over with a clothesline and walks around
a lot. The crowd energy alone is making this show feel better than
the previous one. Psicosis gets guillotined on the top rope but as
Dragon tries to dive on him he injures his knee. Sonny adds in some
kicks to keep Dragon down. Psicosis punches him into a 619 position
but with Dragon facing up. Psycho hits a guillotine legdrop down
onto the Dragon and barely misses the apron.
La Majistral gets two.
Dragon rolls to the floor and Sonny fires off more kicks, but this
time Dragon blocks him. He sets for a suplex but Psicosis makes the
save. Back in dragon hits some more kicks and almost knocks a horn
off of the mask. They both try rollups with Dragon kicking him into
the aisle where he hits the Asai Moonsault. That thing is gorgeous.
Tombstone in the ring gets two.
Psicosis gets sent to
the apron and comes back with a slingshot cross body to send Dragon
to the floor. HUGE dive over the top takes Dragon out. Back in
(I’ve been saying that a lot) Dragon rolls forward into a rana but it
gets countered into a sunset flip for two. Psicosis tries a
moonsault press but Dragon dropkicks him out of the air. Super rana
looks to set up the tiger suplex but he goes after Sonny instead.
The distraction lets Psicosis hit a springboard missile dropkick for
two. Dragon sends Psicosis into Sonny and the Dragon Sleeper gets
the tap out.
Rating: B.
I liked this one as they were flying all over the place. Dragon was
a lot better than I remembered him being and his last few matches
have probably been the best ones of the PPVs. I’m not sure why he
didn’t become a bigger star than he was in WCW, but maybe it was the
language barrier issue?
Harlem Heat vs.
Steiner Brothers
The winners are #1
contenders which makes me laugh. Stevie and Scott get us going and
it’s power vs. power. They collide off the ropes and no one moves,
so Scott hits him in the face with a forearm. When all else fails,
HIT HIM IN THE HEAD. Stevie kicks him in the face to take over.
Another boot misses so Scott throws him over in a suplex. The
Steiners clear the ring for a bit and Stevie wants Rick.
Ray pounds him down and
it’s off to Booker, but he wants Scott. Rick won’t leave so Booker
doesn’t get what he wants. Ok now he does and Scott shoves him into
the corner. Booker breaks up a test of strength and tries a
headlock. That gets him nowhere so he tries a full nelson. Scott
easily breaks it but takes a knee to the ribs to slow him right back
down. Butterfuly powerbomb gets one for Steiner.
Off to Rick again who
wants to brawl. The brawling doesn’t work so he goes to the Steiner
bread and butter of a suplex. Scott comes in for a gorilla press but
he jumps into a boot. Spinarooni sets up the Harlem Side Kick and
Booker clotheslines Scott and himself to the floor. Scott sends him
into the barricade to take over and they head back inside. Rick
comes in again and goes outside also, but this time Stevie powerslams
him on the floor to give Harlem Heat the advantage.
Rick is in trouble now
as Harlem Heat lulls Scott in. They hit a modified Hart Attack
(Harlem Side Kick instead of a clothesline) called the Big Apple for
a delayed two. Rick catches a kick into a powerbomb/suplex kind of
move to put both guys down. Hot tag brings in Scott and the ring is
cleared quickly. A top rope Frankensteiner puts Stevie down…and
here’s Vincent to hit Stevie so that the Steiners lose and the
Outsiders don’t have to face them.
Rating: D+.
This was pretty much a long TV match with a bad finish. It makes
sense on paper, but there wouldn’t be a tag title match, at least not
on PPV that I can remember. It was around this time that the titles
became a prop as without anyone defending them, the Outsiders being
called the best team made no sense. You had a bunch of teams that
wanted them which helped, but with the titles never being defended
they stopped meaning anything.
Vincent takes the
Steiner Bulldog post match.
Hugh Morrus vs.
Konnan
More fallout from last
month. Konnan is a rapper now. Brawl to start and Morrus takes over
with some forearms to the back. A running dropkick puts Konnan down
again. Hugh heads to the floor for no apparent reason and is slammed
into the steps. Back inside now for some chinlockery. Now it’s a
modified crab as this match slows way down. Morrus sends him to the
floor again to take over but then throws him right back inside.
Spinwheel kick
gets….Morrus sitting on his knees and then a cover for two. Now
off to a Fujiwara Armbar and a bad one at that. Gutwrench suplex
sends Konnan flying as they don’t like leaving holds on for that
long. Back to the armbar which Konnan easily breaks and doesn’t sell
at all. Clothesline sets up a stump puller of all things and then
off to a headscissors.
This is one of those
“let’s lay on the mat for most of this match” matches. Konnan
lets go of the headscissors and puts on a cross armbreaker. Morrus
won’t bother to sell it either so Konnan kicks him in the head.
Morrus is laying there so Konnan gives up on it and they get back up.
Back to the armbar attempt but Konnan escapes. A rollup goes badly
so Morrus loads up the moonsault but he stands there for an hour and
a half, allowing Konnan to crotch him. A bad Tequila Sunrise gets
Morrus to pass out instead of giving up.
Rating: F.
Oh MAN this was bad. They laid around a lot, they didn’t do anything
at all, NO ONE was selling anything and the story wasn’t interesting
at all. Nothing to see here at all and the match was just horrible.
This was one of those things that you forget about in WCW: horrible
midcard matches like these.
Gene talks about how
someone is having issues with his employer and might show up on Nitro
tomorrow. Someone was, they did show up on Nitro, it was in two
weeks, and his name was Raven.
Public Enemy doesn’t
like Harlem Heat.
Glacier vs. Wrath
Mortis is handcuffed to
the post here. Wrath takes him into the corner and fires off elbows
and chops but Glacier comes back with slaps of his own. Some kicks
send Wrath to the floor and there’s a dive over the top by Glacier.
I’m stunned by seeing him do more than just kicks and strikes. Still
on the floor and Wrath is sent into the steps. Things stay slow as
Glacier jumps off the apron for a shot to the back which gets two
back inside.
Corner splash misses
for Glacier and it’s in the corner Mortis is chained up in, so Mortis
trips him. Wrath loads up a powerbomb but drops back to hot shot
Glacier on the top rope. Off to the chinlock which eats up a little
time. Glacier gets up but misses a cross body and falls to the
floor. Back inside a top rope clothesline gets no cover. Glacier
tries to choke him but gets shoved back down.
A Vader Bomb elbow
misses and Glacier comes back with a backdrop. There’s a spin kick
and a jumping back elbow for two. A suplex puts Wrath down and he
goes up but gets crotched. A superplex puts both guys down but
Mortis gets up to distract the referee. James Vandenberg offers
distraction #2 and Mortis throws in a chain. Glacier catches it,
right hand, pin.
Rating: D.
This was one of those matches and feuds that just kept dragging on
and on and on. Ernest Miller was brought in last month and he didn’t
make things any better either. Nothing to see here other than a
filler match and not a very good one at that. I think this ended
soon after it though.
Glacier gets cuffed to
the rope and it’s a triple beatdown.
Women’s Title: Akira
Hokuto vs. Madusa
Title vs. career here.
We actually get a Candy Devine reference as WOMEN’S WRESTLING EXPERT
Lee Marshall talks about his AWA days. Hokuto starts in control and
sends Madusa across the ring by the hair. She chokes Madusa in the
corner and then in the middle of the ring. Total squash so far. Off
to a chinlock less than two minutes in. A piledriver kills Madusa
even further but she comes back with a reverse mat slam to take over.
There are a pair of
dropkicks which gets two. Marshall is talking about something called
Johnny Taco’s Gym in Las Vegas. Hokuto comes back with choking and a
slam/suplex kind of move. More choking follows and Hokuto shrugs off
a kick to the head. A modified suplex sets up a figure four attempt
but Madusa gets to the rope.
Madusa comes back with
a spin kick to the boobs and a series of kicks to the ribs. A small
package gets two for the champion. Madusa comes off the top with an
ax handle but blows her knee out in the process. Marshall again
talks about AWA women’s wrestling and an old injury from ten years
ago. Modified surfboard works on the knee some more as this match is
better than most of the others on the show so far.
Now it’s up to a full
surfboard and Madusa is in trouble. That gets released because it’s
a very hard hold to keep up and Hokuto goes up. Madusa comes back
with a Stratusphere and the suplex but the cover is delayed so it
only gets two. Another German suplex attempt is countered into a leg
bar.
One of the things you
don’t see very much in this company in this era is time between
moves. It’s just going from one move to another which takes a lot of
getting used to. The leg bar stays on for awhile and is followed by
a guillotine legdrop attempt but Madusa moves out of the way. German
Suplex gets two and it’s back to the knee. A top rope splash hits
knees but Madusa can’t do anything because of the knee. A Snow Plow
by Hokuto ends this. The retirement of course didn’t last.
Rating: C-.
This was the best match of the night probably other than the opener
but that’s not saying much. Just boring overall but the story of the
knee injury helped a lot. At the end of the day though, who cares
about the women’s division in this era anyway? This is the end of
the Women’s Title anyway.
With Madusa being taken
to the back and with her career being over, Gene pops up to say that
her career is toast and puts a mic in her face. The fans chant LEAVE
HER ALONE. This was a dick move even for Gene.
Chris Benoit vs.
Meng
This is another death
match, meaning you can win by submission or knockout. Benoit takes
it straight to the floor and chases Jimmy Hart off. Back in Benoit
immediately tries the Crossface but Meng lifts him up to break it. I
don’t think the hold was all the way on yet. Benoit tries it again
and this time gets it on, but Meng makes a rope and when you think
DEATH MATCH, you think rope breaks.
They slug it out and
Benoit escapes a powerbomb. Benoit suplexes him over the top and to
the floor which isn’t as impressive as it sounds. Back in Benoit
goes up with his back to the ring but Meng kicks the foot out and
Benoit is caught in the Tree of Woe. A kick to the face gets about
seven for Meng and a spinebuster gets about five. Kick to the face
is followed by a modified Dragon Sleeper but Benoit bites the hand to
escape. That’s smart.
The idea here is that
Benoit can’t hurt him but he keeps trying. Meng chops him down again
and hits a top rope splash for seven but Meng kicks him right back
down. Benoit is knocked to the floor but he reverses Meng into the
barricade. Back in the ring Benoit hits the German suplex to put
Meng down for eight. Benoit throws on another German because the
first one worked so well. This one gets about six.
Benoit kicks him to the
floor and….does nothing at all. Meng gets back in and hits an
atomic drop to take over. There’s the Death Grip but Benoit dives
over the top to break it up. They slug it out on the floor and Meng
takes over with a headbutt. Off to a chinlock as Dusty is talking
about breathing apparatuses. Heenan: “Well thank you Quincy.” A
suplex puts Benoit down but a middle rope splash misses.
The Crossface goes on
but Meng gets a rope. Benoit immediately puts it on again but Meng
makes the rope one more time. Meng pounds him down but gets caught
in a Dragon Screw Leg Whip and then the Crossface goes on for I think
the fourth time this match. This one is closer to the middle of the
ring too. After about a minute and a half Meng blacks out to give
Benoit the win. Dusty says this is an historic moment. How exactly
is this historic?
Rating: C.
Not bad but for the most part it was Meng not selling anything for
awhile until Benoit held him in the Crossface for forever. It wasn’t
bad but when I think DEATH match, I think something a little more
violent than this. It wasn’t bad but it’s being overblown a little
bit too much.
Post match they both
get taken out on stretchers. Why in the world would Benoit need
help? He had the Crossface on for like two minutes at the end. They
only have one stretcher so this takes awhile.
Watch Bash at the
Beach!
Kevin Greene vs.
Steve McMichael
Great. MORE football
players wrestling. Greene charges the aisle and it’s on quickly. He
mounts McMichael and pounds away so Steve heads to the floor. Mongo
pulls him to the floor and yells at some fans in Greene jerseys. Oh
it’s his parents. MAMA HITS HIM WITH A PURSE!!! Mongo stomps him
down coming back in and Greene is in trouble. He can sell better
than Meng can for what it’s worth.
Neckbreaker puts Kevin
down for two. Greene comes back with something like a Thesz Press
but charges into a backbreaker. Kevin takes him into the corner and
rains down punches but Mongo drops him and hits a dropkick for two.
Mongo hits him in the corner but Greene kicks him in the chest to
break it up. Top rope clothesline gets two.
Time for some choking
but Greene has to break it because of Mongo being in the ropes. A
big clothesline puts McMichael onto the floor and Greene follows him
for some stomping. A kind of Stinger Splash misses and Mongo chokes
some more. Here’s Jarrett with the briefcase but he hits Mongo in
the back of the head by mistake. Greene gets the easy pin.
Rating: D+.
It wasn’t as bad as the White match as Greene at least has a tiny bit
of experience. Mongo continues to be horrible though and the match
was bad as a result. The ending was more about pushing the Horsemen
split which had been going on for almost six months at this point.
Bad match but not terrible I guess.
Madusa is having her
knee looked at.
Tag Titles: Roddy
Piper/Ric Flair vs. Outsiders
So that #1 contenders
match last month really didn’t mean jack did it? Flair and Hall
start things off and there’s a toothpick to the face. Flair gets
punched down but comes back with chops to send Hall to the floor.
Back in Flair is Flipped in the corner and runs the apron right into
the big boot from Nash which gets two. Off to Big Kev who pounds him
down and gets a side slam for two.
Hall adds in some
cheating but the distraction lets Piper hit a low blow to bring in
Piper. Piper hooks a quick sleeper on Hall but it’s easily broken
and Hall crotches him on the top. With both guys down, Flair beats
up Syxx on the floor. Flair fights him up the alley as Piper gets
up. There’s no one to tag so it’s two on one. This was supposed to
tease a Flair heel turn. Off to hall who pounds away and slaps Piper
on the back of the head a lot. Roddy says bring it on but he gets
Nash instead, resulting in a bunch of knees to the ribs. Big boot
puts him down and it’s off to Hall for the Edge to retain.
Rating: D.
There was a lot of laying around for a lot of the match and the
ending was pretty stupid. Flair was supposed to turn heel but Piper
bailed to Hollywood so the turn didn’t go anywhere. This was nothing
of note and Flair going up the aisle with Syxx seemed pretty stupid
for Flair to do. The ending was more or less a squash anyway.
Diamond Dallas Page
vs. Randy Savage
Falls count anywhere.
Buffer calls it lights out, which has meant a bunch of things over
the years. Liz looks great tonight but Kimberly looks a bit better.
Page comes in through the crowd and it’s on. A quick cutter attempt
doesn’t work and Savage heads to the floor. Page dives on his but
the ribs are still bad so it puts both guys down. Back inside Page
takes him down with a clothesline and another off the top.
Back to the floor and
they go into the crowd with Savage in control. They fight up towards
a concrete wall and then through a door into the concourse. Page
gets a crutch and waits for Savage to come back through so he can
break the crutch over his back. Back to ringside with Savage hitting
something like a spinebuster to further mess with Page’s ribs. Page
gets a weapon somehow but Savage has powder to slow him down.
Page manages to hit him
with whatever he had and both guys are down. Savage gets up first
and takes the tape off of Page’s ribs. For no apparent reason he
piledrives the referee and Page has an opening. He hits a headbutt
but Randy goes right back to the ribs. A second referee comes out
and is tossed as well. Savage sends him to the floor and goes after
Kimberly but referee #3 (Nick Patrick) makes the save.
They fight up by the
stage and there’s a VIP picnic area which they destroy. Dusty freaks
out because there’s a barbecue pit. Page wins the battle of the
smoked meat and it’s back to the ring. Savage gets crotched on the
post and pancaked. The Cutter is countered by a jawbreaker and they
head outside again. Savage loads up a piledriver on the exposed
concrete but Nick Patrick makes the save and gets decked as a result.
Savage snaps (into it),
sending Patrick into the barricade and beating up a photographer.
Page comes back to send him into the steel and they go back in. A
low blow stops the Diamond Cutter but another attempt at it connects.
Both guys are down so here’s Hall. Page fights him off but Savage
clocks him with Hall’s belt. The Outsider’s Edge lets Savage hit the
elbow for the pin.
Rating: B-.
Pretty solid brawl here but at the end of the day, so what? It’s
certainly better than their Spring Stampede match and since Page won
the first one I have little problem with him losing here. The NWO
stuff was annoying but you knew it was coming. Pretty decent main
event though and certainly the best in months.
Overall Rating: C-.
Definitely the best of the trio here but still nothing all that
great. It’s light years ahead of Slamboree but then again what
isn’t? Hogan would be back the next month to actually wrestle on pay
per view but unfortunately it was with Dennis Rodman in a tag match.
Anyway, decent show here but there’s nothing worth seeing at all.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Luger as Bash Victim

Hi Scott, hope you are well.
 
Your recent Bash review and the resulting discussions got me thinking about about who, and what, came out of that show taking it on the chin. The fans, WCW, the fans, the World Title, the fans, Flair & Herd, and the fans. But I would argue that there was another victim in all of that, which would send him into a bad headspace which would last far too long. I speak of the guy who got the title itself, Lex Luger.
 
Throughout the 90s, Luger received the reputation for being lazy, untalented, and unmotivated (outside the gym), an assertion I'm not going to argue. However, from 1988 to mid-1991, Luger delivered the goods in a lot of big match situations. He was a part of many good to great matches with numerous different opponents, not all of them world-beaters, which doesn't happen by accident.
 
Flair is the obvious first pick (Bash '88, Starrcade '88, Wrestlewar '90, Capitol Combat '90, Clash XII), but he also had fine matches with Steamboat (Bash '89), Pillman (Havoc '89, Clash IX), Windham (Chi-Town Rumble), Dan Spivey (Wrestlewar '91), good tag matches such as Luger & Windham vs. Tully & Arn (Clash I), Luger & Sting vs. Tully & Arn (Crockett Cup '88), Luger & Sting vs. Steiners (Superbrawl I), and even a solid singles bout with Tommy Rich (Clash VIII)! There were probably some good TV matches during that period as well (the six-man on the WCW DVD comes to mind).
 
During that period, Lex was very over, moved up the ladder, and displayed some patience for his time to come (he didn't flee). Though not highly skilled or a big ring general, Luger certainly gave it the good old college try in his big matches, and found a good heel persona. Admittedly, he was never a great face, but at least he found one side that could work for him.
 
And then, after years of Flair being on top, and Sting having an opportunity that didn't do good business, it was clearly Luger's time to be given a chance. So what happens? Flair, the guy who had been THE man in the company for years, who Luger had jobbed for more than once, refuses to do the same, in effect saying that Luger wasn't worthy. Rather disillusioning I'd say. And Luger must have known that there was no way the fans were going to accept him given the situation. No wonder his motivation went in the toilet.
 
I'm not saying he would have become one of the greats of the decade, but to look at his work before the Bash debacle, and what he did after, it's not hard to see that there was a big change. He got to see the ugly side of business politics, and probably figured there was no point in doing more than necessary, since it was obviously other factors which could make one a top guy. Sometimes, it can only take one big thing at one important time to make a huge difference.
 
Thoughts?
 
Take care,
 
Jon
 

Oh, Bash 91 destroyed him for good, no doubt.  That was supposed to be where Flair put him over once and for all and made him into a superstar, and of course it just didn't happen.  Then the giant limited date contract killed his motivation to improve, and the motorcycle accident was probably the finishing touches.  Ironic that his biggest victory would be what cemented his reputation in the business as an also-ran, but unfortunately that's what it amounts to.  

July PPV Countdown: WCW Great American Bash / Bash At The Beach 1996

TWO, TWO, TWO rants for the price of one! With all the rhetoric from WCW about how the nWo just might reform on Sunday, we might as well head back to when they formed for the first time, as WCW puts on one of the best one-two punches in PPV history with the famous Bash-Bash combo of 1996. ROLL FILM! – Part One: The Retro Rant for Great American Bash 96 – Sgt. Craig Pittman presents the American flag to start out. – Live from Baltimore, Maryland. – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Dusty Rhodes. Tony offers condolences over the death of Dick Murdoch, and Dusty blows it off. – Opening match: Fire & Ice v. The Steiner Brothers. Fire is eventual nWo B-teamer Scott Norton, and Ice is the big fat black guy Ice Train, aka Jeff Jarrett’s limo driver. Special stipulation: There must be a winner. I wish that stip was in all matches. Juice Train controls Scott with some power stuff to start. He’s really, really, terrible, btw. Think D-Von Dudley on juice. (D-Von did get a lot better.  Although I have to wonder what “D-Von Dudley on juice” is supposed to be compared with.  D-Von NOT on juice?)  Norton gets on my nerves by no-selling a bunch of Rick’s stuff. Rick hits a killer clothesline and belly-to-belly for two, however. Scott tags in and hurts his shoulder to become Ricky Morton. Crowd is getting into it for some reason. Scott comes back and nearly does the world a huge favor by breaking Norton’s neck on a backdrop suplex. Oh well, maybe next time. Norton comes back by no-selling some stuff to move into his only useful mode: Offense. Anyway, Rick gets the hot tag, but Fire & Ice end up hitting their powerbomb splash combo for two. Scott makes the save. They go for a Doomsday Device, but Scott makes the save again. Steiners get the super bulldog but Train makes the save. Scott hits a massively ugly Frankensteiner on Norton for the pin. No resting makes Scott happy. **1/2 – Mean Gene interviews Kevin Sullivan, who runs down Brian Pillman. – US title match: Gonnad v. El Gato. El Gato is of course Spanish for “Pat Tanaka”. This was absolutely the low point for the US title, as Gonnad brought the luchadores into WCW and was given a heatless run as the US champion as his reward.  (Yeah, well, the ends justify the means, I say.)  This is also, by the way, exactly the reason why I hate him so much. (But his radio show is pretty entertaining.)  This is a boring mismatch as Gato controls with some dull submission moves. The first big spot comes as Gato is on the ring apron and Gonnad sunset flips to the floor, thus powerbombing Gato on the floor. He must have injured himself badly on the move, because we go into the ring FAST and Gonnad finishes it with a rollup. *1/4 – Sting has a special message for Steven Regal. He was halfway between hyperactive goofball and long-haired weirdo at this point. He’s wearing pink and black facepaint…is this a secret plot with Bret Hart? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FOUND OUT! – Blood Runs Cold promo.  (See, they were running these promos all the way back in 1996!  Glacier didn’t even DEBUT until 97!  And you thought the WWE Network was a longshot.)  – Lord of the Ring match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Marcus “Not Buff” Bagwell. (Something something Gandalf.)  Bagwell was in the last vestiges of the American Males period before turning heel. Brawl outside the ring to start, and Bagwell controls when he get into the ring. Bagwell hits a nice pescado (standing slingshot over the top rope to a guy on the floor, for the benefit of someone who e-mailed me about it recently). Bagwell blows a move off the top and DDP takes over. I mean “blows” in the storyline sense, not the “smart” one, btw. Oh no, it’s the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF SEVERE DISCOMFORT! You can break a nail with that. Tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Bagwell comes back with a both-ways-atomic-drop combo. DDP’s exaggerated selling is ridiculous. Bagwell slingshots into the ring with a clothesline for two. I like Stan Lane’s version better. Bagwell runs into an elbow on a blind charge, and DDP gets a couple of twos with his feet on the ropes. Bagwell comes back again and tries the fisherman’s suplex, but it’s about 7 inches away from the ropes so DDP holds on to block, then applies the Diamond Cutter for the pin. Eh. **  (DDP was still a few months away from respectability as a worker yet.)  – Giant interview. Pretty clichéd stuff. – WCW Cruiserweight title match: Deano Machino v. Rey Mysterio Jr. This is Rey Jr’s debut. Tenay is doing commentary and notes that this is the first ever meeting between these two. Tony wonders if Rey can live up to the hype. Yeah, whatever happened to that Rey Mysterio guy, anyway? Slow matwork start, then we GO BABY GO! Rey armdrags Dean to the floor, then debuts his springboard dropkick. Beautiful sequence allows Rey to hit a sunset flip, but Dean rolls through and slingshots Rey out of the ring. Rey moves out of the way of a baseball slide. Dean viciously injures Rey’s arm and then goes to work. Rey walks to the top rope and dropkicks out of an armbar, then does a flip out of a powerbomb, only to get clotheslined for two. Malenko continues working on the arm as Tenay mentions Eddy Guerrero beating Jushin Liger to win the Best of the Super J tourney for 1996. Never did get a copy of that show, oddly enough. More vicious working on the arm. Tony begins a grand tradition by talking about the nWo (not called such yet) during a cruiserweight match. Sigh. Fans are getting restless with all the mat work. Malenko turns it up with a butterfly suplex for two, then goes back to the arm, pissing off the fans. Rey finally counters and sends Malenko to the floor, then nails a somersault tope to wake up the crowd. He springboards back in with a dropkick for two. They do a complex pinning reversal sequence that ends with Mysterio getting two. Mysterio gets the rana-rollup for two. Malenko catches him on the top rope, however, but Mysterio hits another rana off the top. Malenko goes for a tilt-a-whirl but Rey falls on top for two. Malenko powerbombs Rey and puts his feet on the ropes for good measure and gets the pin. Now *this* is the character that Dean needs to go back to. **** Great debut for Rey. – Big Bubba v. John Tenta. Bubba is dressed like a gay biker.  (Yeah… “dressed like”…) The issue here is that Bubba shaved half the hair of Tenta to boot him out of the Dungeon of Doom. Compelling stuff, folks. Yup. Yessiree. You betcha. Bubba was actually halfway motivated at this point. But then, half of sucky is still sucky. Tenta catches Bubba with a powerslam and gets the pin. –**  (A double death match.  Boo.)  – Mean Gene interviews Team Football: Steve MacMichael and Kevin Greene, along with wives Debra and whoever Kevin’s wife is. How unbelievably apropos for the bizarre world of wrestling that friggin’ DEBRA would become the biggest star of them all. – Falls Count Anywhere: Chris Benoit v. Kevin Sullivan. (Hey!  Why wasn’t this one on the Falls Count Anywhere DVD?)  The Horsemen were seemingly falling apart at this point, with Sullivan trying to recruit Arn Anderson for the Dungeon, and Pillman departing for the WWF. So Benoit took over for Pillman against Sullivan. We go fighting into the crowd right away, and fight up the stands. Boy, do you get the idea that these guys don’t like each other? Sullivan drags Benoit up the stairs and they fight into the men’s room. He slams a stall door in Benoit’s face as Tony and Dusty nearly have a coronary. Vicious shots with the door. Dusty is truly in his glory here. Tony: “HEAD FIRST TO THE COMMODE!” Benoit comes back and slams Sullivan into the doors as Dusty reels off his famous catchphrase: “There’s a lady! There’s a lady in the men’s bathroom!” Sullivan dumps a bag of toilet paper on Benoit and then a garbage can gets involved. They fight back to the stairs, and Tony notes that if someone falls, they fall bigtime. As if on cue, Benoit takes a shot to the head and then gets tossed down the stairs. Sullivan kicks him square in the nuts for good measure, then crotches him on the railing. Benoit returns the favor. He retrieves a table from below the ring after a couple of tries, and sets it up in the corner. Sullivan misses a charge to the corner and hits it…and it doesn’t break. Wow, high quality. Benoit puts it on the top rope, but gets backdropped onto it. They fight to the top, and Benoit gets a superplex, for the pin. HUGE pop for that. Benoit slaps Sullivan around, and Arn Anderson runs out to make the save…then turns on Sullivan! Horsemen beatdown ensues and the roof nearly blows off the place. 10 points for effort, plus several million for originality. *****  (Vince Russo would beat this formula into the ground over the years, but this was the first and best iteration of it in mainstream wrestling.)  – Gene the lecher cuddles with Woman and Liz, then interviews the reunited Horsemen. Bobby Heenan managing the Horsemen is just so…right. It’s a shame it was aborted after the nWo thing started. But wait, there’s still only THREE Horsemen, isn’t there? – Lord Steven Regal v. Sting. Sting and Luger were the tag champions at this point. Regal goes right to work with dickish submission moves after getting kicked out of the ring. Sting comes back so Regal rolls up and badmouths the fans. Regal offers a handshake to Sting with a big goofy grin on his face. Regal’s facial expressions are priceless. (I feel like William Regal v. Joseph Park would be the greatest feud in the history of wrestling for just that reason.)  They trade some stuff, with Regal retaining control. Regal looks to be wrestling a lot stiffer than usual for some reason, just generally being a jerk. Regal works on the arm and neck, and builds to finally hitting the Regal Stretch. Sting breaks and makes the Superman Comeback, hitting the Stinger Splash and deathlock for the submission. This was pretty much Sting’s last good match. ***3/4  (I must have been forgetting about the DDP match in 99.)  – Ric Flair & Arn Anderson v. Steve MacMichael & Kevin Greene. The Horsemen are “coached” by Heenan, while the football players have Randy Savage. Mongo had been doing color commentary on Nitro before this. Crowd starts a “Mongo sucks” chant. Tony relates a story about Mongo signing with Bear arch-rivals the Packers for the money, a bit of foreshadowing that is nearly unheard of for WCW announcers. Arn and Mongo do a three-point stance, which leads to a drop toehold from Arn when Mongo charges. Smart move. The football players get AA in the corner and stomp him. Greene tags in and spazzes out, while the Horsemen calmly stall. Total mind-games from the Horsemen. Flair tricks Greene into going into the three-point stance, then kicks him in the head. Great stuff. Greene cleans house with shoulderblocks and the Horsemen bail. Savage drags them back. Greene dominates Flair with clotheslines, looking pretty okay. Mongo tags in and dominates Flair, looking less okay. He puts the figure-four on Flair and the place explodes. The wives and the Horsemen women nearly get into a catfight, but they run back to the dressing room. In the aftermath, Mongo gets beat on by the Horsemen and his knee injured. Crowd starts a “weasel” chant for old times’ sake, so he obliges with a cheap shot on Mongo. Mongo chokes out Flair, who retaliates with a ballshot. This is so classic. Horsemen with a double suplex on Mongo for two. Mongo atomic drops Arn into Flair and makes the hot tag to Greene. Greene cleans house, again looking decent. Flair flips right into a big boot from Mongo. Greene celebrates like a goof, so Arn clips him from behind and pounds on his knee. Flair goes for the figure-four and Greene cradles for two. But inevitably Flair does get the move, and Arn lends a helping hand. Benoit hits the ring to attack Savage as Greene fights to escape. Debra returns from the dressing room with the Devilish Women, wearing an evening gown and carrying the infamous Haliburton full of money. Mongo thinks it over for a minute, then takes the money and wallops his partner, allowing Flair to get the pin. Wild, wild, booking and that took more balls than I thought anyone in WCW had. Horsemen Beatdown #2938 proceeds full steam ahead on Randy Savage, with Heenan calling the shots. Mongo is thus officially inducted as the Fourth Horseman. The crowd, who was cheering the heels at the beginning, completely turns on them by the end. Just absolutely brilliant. Match sucked, of course. ** – Then, in the moment that completely turned WCW from an also-ran into the #1 force in sports entertainment, Eric Bischoff brings out the Outsiders, who still aren’t even named at this point. Crowd chants “Diesel” at Nash. Bischoff sets up the six-man at Bash at the Beach, with the Outsiders and a mystery partner against Randy Savage, Sting and Lex Luger. Bischoff refuses to name the WCW team members, however, so Nash powerbombs Bischoff THROUGH A TABLE! This is still so glorious to watch today. Massive heat for Hall and Nash because of this. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the nWo era, as all the old guard of WCW are systemically flushed away and the WWF refugees literally take over, on-screen and off. – Main event, WCW World title: The Giant v. Lex Luger. Luger is the TV champion and half of the tag champs at this point. The crowd is notably distracted after that last bit. Lex runs right into a big boot to start. Luger comes back with a series of clotheslines, sending Giant to the floor. He hammers away and applies a sleeper, so Jimmy Hart jumps onto the ring apron to try to nail Luger. Sting comes out to stop him and chases him back to the dressing room. Giant escapes and s.l.o.w.l.y works over Lex. Luger makes the comeback and tries the rack, but his back gives way and Giant hits AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATHECHOKESLAM for the pin. * – Part Two: The Retro Rant for Bash at the Beach 96. – A video montage set to a rip-off of Seal’s “Crazy” (which would have had SOOOOO much more effect if they had used the real song) starts us off. – Live from Daytona Beach, Florida. – Your hosts are Tony, Dusty and Bobby. – Opening match: Rey Mysterio Jr. v. Psychosis. Some matwork to start, and then they say “fuck this wrestling shit” and Psychosis pulls out a tope con hilo to get it going. He hits a legdrop, and then goes to the top and gets the guillotine legdrop, but amazingly it only gets two. Running clothesline gets two. Primo spot as Rey is laid out on the apron, and when Psychosis runs towards him, Rey alley-oops him into the ringpost, then pops up and hits a rana to the floor. Back in the ring and Rey snaps off the rana for two. Back in the ring, and when Rey goes for a leapfrog Psychosis goes with the momentum and dumps Rey onto the top rope. Rey goes to the floor, and Psychosis hits an eye-popping spot, delivering a MAN-SIZED senton from the top rope to Rey on the floor! Back in the ring and Rey does his fake-out, then rana’s Psychosis to the floor, hits the springboard dropkick, then finishes it by coming off the top rope and hitting a rana on Psychosis on the way down. Amazing choreography. Back in the ring, and Rey dropkicks Psychosis out again and follows with a quebrada (Asai Moonsault). Rey goes for the rana to finish, but gets powerbombed for two. Psychosis rams Rey into the turnbuckle chestfirst and sets up Splash Mountain, but Rey reverses into his rana for the pin. Crowd goes nuts. This would be one of the three greatest openers ever, along with Liger v. Pillman from Superbrawl II and Owen-Bret from WM10. ****3/4 – Gonnad promises to keep his US title away from Ric Flair. – Big Bubba v. John Tenta. In a monumentally stupid booking decision, this match is scheduled after the awesome opener. See, there’s a pole, and it’s got a sock full of silver dollars, and whoever gets it can use it. As exciting to watch as it sounds. And then, to really build the excitement, the pole is about 20 feet high, so neither guy can climb it. Tenta tries to disconnect the pole from the ringpost, but that doesn’t work, so Bubba finds a roll of tape and tapes Tenta to the ropes, then whips him. Who booked this shit? Then, in yet another Amazing WCW Coincidence ™, Bubba pulls out a handy pair of scissors (you can take an eye out with that!) to cut some of Tenta’s hair off. But Tenta gets them, cuts himself free, and tries to cut the pole loose. That doesn’t work either, so Bubba sends Jimmy Hart up the pole, which of course backfires as Tenta gets the SOCK OF DOOM and nails Bubba for the pin. Foot apparel figuring into booking wouldn’t be seen again until Mankind, for good reason. -*** – The Idiots speculate on the identity of the mystery man. – Mean Gene interviews Team WCW. Sting has bizarre yellow and black facepaint…could this mean a secret alliance with the Killer Bees? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT!  (Never not funny.)  – Taped Fist / Lord of the Ring match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Duggan leads a USA chant to throw evil foreigner DDP (from Scumsylvania) off his game. DDP’s evil plan to tape Duggan’s feet together doesn’t work, and a slugfest erupts. They fight outside the ring. The Idiots talk about DDP’s troubles and his benefactor. You know, it would have been SO easy to just toss in a throwaway line during the nWo’s recruitment speech for DDP about how Dibiase rescued him from the gutter and how he should be grateful for it. But instead, we get the alternative: Nothing. (It could have been HORNSWOGGLE!) Duggan clotheslines DDP around the ring, but makes the fatal error of climbing back into the ring without seeing what DDP is doing. DDP kicks the middle rope, crotching Duggan, and then executes the Diamond Cutter for the pin. Nothing to see here… * – Dog Collar match: The Public Enema v. The Nasty Boys. Rocco Rock is chained to Sags and Knobs gets Johnny Grunge. We get the, ahem, Double Trouble Bash at the Beach Bubble (to quote Dusty) to split the screen. They all immediately go brawling outside the ring, thus rendering the dog collar stip meaningless. Knobs and Grunge go fighting on the beach set, and Knobs hits him with…an inflatable shark. And Grunge sells. If it wasn’t WCW, he probably would have bladed off the shot, too. Tony: “You can do much more with a surfboard than you can with a rubber shark.” I can’t make up quotes like this. Rocco hits a flying body attack off the lifeguard’s chair while Knobs beats on Grunge with a chair. This is truly the epitome of “mindless brawl”. Sags gets a nasty move with a piledriver on the concrete, and of course a table gets involved. Sags gets put on it and Rocco comes off the railing to put him through it. They fight into the ring, and Sags finds another table. Once again, Sags gets put on it, but moves this time and Rocco bounces off the table…which doesn’t break. Holy shit that looked painful. Sags puts Rock on the table and loads up the Shitty Elbow by wrapping the chain around his arm, and AGAIN the table doesn’t break. Damn, that table is tougher than Steve Williams. (Sadly, the table also got cancer and died a few years back.)  The Nasties clothesline Rock with the chain and Sags pins him. Ugly, ugly ending. Someone better fire that table. Fun match besides the ending. *** As an epilogue, Sags is FINALLY put through the TABLE OF DEATH by being tossed off the top.  (You gotta finish the job!  Just like the Christian-Orton match from MITB last year.)  – Cruiserweight title match: Dean Malenko v. Disco Inferno. This is Disco’s PPV debut. This is also the match that turned Disco into an RSPW golden boy. (Boy that sure didn’t last long.)  Dean cranks on Disco, kicking his ass from one end of the ring to the other. Vicious brainbuster that would end the match in any other universe only gets two. I think the hairspray layer in Disco’s hair protected him. Backdrop suplex and then Dean goes to work on the knee. Deano is just being vicious. Snapmare and dropkick to the back of the head gets two. Dean goes to the STF and gets a sunset flip for two. More shitkicking from Dean. Disco finally comes back with rights off a Dean error. He guillotines Malenko on the top rope, but checks the hair before going for a cover. That’s pretty much it for the Disco offense, as Dean takes him out of the ring and rams him to the railing, then back into the ring for a crucifix-like submission move. Disco fights it and *barely* makes the ropes. Dean gets a springboard legdrop for two. Disco comes back again with a series of elbows, and hits a Rude Awakening, but again checks his hair before covering, and Malenko makes the ropes. Backdrop for two. Swinging neckbreaker, but now he dances and that costs him the title as it only gets two. Malenko promptly comes back with a springboard dropkick and applies the Texas Cloverleaf, but Disco small packages for two. Clothesline for two. Malenko with his own clothesline, and they fight over a backslide. Malenko breaks and hits the Tiger Bomb, which leads into the Cloverleaf for the submission. Ended up being a tough, tough match for Dean. ***3/4  (Clearly Disco’s best match ever, so he peaked pretty early in his career.)  – Gene the Lecher interviews Kimberly, wearing nothing but a Bash at the Beach towel. Kimberly, not Gene. Call now to order. – Joe Gomez v. Steve MacMichael. This is *so* not a PPV quality match. See, the problem with Mongo is that he makes a good heel, but the nWo thing turned everyone not associated with them into de facto babyfaces, and he had no idea how to play that role properly. Boring bathroom break match which Mongo finishes with his shitty tombstone piledriver. Way too long. DUD – Ric Flair delivers an interview that is damn near giddy. Gene the Lecher makes innuendo-laden remarks towards Woman. – US title match: Gonnad v. Ric Flair. This was such a glorious match for me to watch. The go-go boots SO WORK on Liz. Anyway, Gonnad controls the early going as Woman shrieks at ringside. I would HATE to be the Sullivans’ next door neighbor, especially if they had sex on any kind of regular basis. At what point did Gonnad go from power wrestler to mat wrestler? He’s using a lot of slams and clotheslines here. Flair ends up on the floor and the Devilish Women console him, and Gonnad follows him down with a bodypress off the apron…taking down Liz with Flair! YOU BALD-HEADED WANNABE GANGSTER BASTARD! She seems to be okay, luckily. Woman knocks Gonnad off the top rope to give the advantage to Flair. Just for insurance, Flair chats with Nick Patrick and Woman wanders into the ring and kicks A FIELD GOAL on Gonnad’s gonads. Entire crowd goes “Ohhhhhhhhh” in sympathy pain. More shenanigans lead to a series of two counts for Flair. Man, that was like the best ballshot I’ve ever seen, and it’s all the more glorious when it’s Gonnad getting it. Gonnad makes the comeback and Flair does all his heel stalling tricks. Flair’s figure four attempt gets reversed for two. Gonnad gets his own figure four on Flair…and a bad one at that. Hasn’t he ever done one before? Gonnad with his THREE AND A HALF MOVES OF DOOM and a cradle, but Liz is up on the apron, and Woman nails him with the SIZE SEVEN OF DEATH, and Flair pins him with his feet on the ropes, just to be Flair. Flair wins the title for the first time since about 1980. **1/4 – Mean Gene tries to weasel his way into the Outsiders’ dressing room, but no go. – The Giant & Kevin Sullivan v. Chris Benoit & Arn Anderson. (Benoit and Anderson probably should have ended up with the tag titles.  They seemed like a perfect combination for that.)  The heels attack from behind in the aisle. Mongo decks the Giant from behind, and Giant chases him back to the dressing room, leaving Sullivan two-on-one against the Horsemen. I don’t like those odds. Giant makes his way back to ringside after a short time. The storyline is that everyone knows the Horsemen are dead if Giant gets tagged in, so they keep Sullivan in their corner. Dull match as Kevin gets battered nonstop. Finally, Sullivan escapes a spike piledriver and hot tags Giant. Sullivan and Benoit fight to the back, leaving Giant against Arn “Dead meat in an about 15 seconds” Anderson. You guess the rest. *1/2 Meanwhile, Benoit hits a dive onto Sullivan from the broadcast location. Then they head back to the ring and Benoit continues the abuse, but Woman calls him off. This turned into the soap opera angle with Benoit and Woman that ended up going nowhere thanks to the nWo.  (Well, eventually there WAS a payoff for it…) – And finally, the match that changed everything, the one mystery partner that actually lived up to the hype… – Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage v. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & ???? Nash has got a beer gut bigger than all outdoors. All three of the faces are wearing face-paint in a show of unity. Tony is finally forced to put names to Nash and Hall in order to call the match. Big pier-six to start, and Luger gets KO’s almost immediately in the chaos. He is taken back to the dressing room, leaving Sting and Savage against the Outsiders. Odd booking, probably a swerve to make the smarts think that Luger would be the Third Man. The Outsiders proceed to decimate Randy Savage. It’s so sad to see the Wolfpac fighting like this. Ugly spot as Savage hurts his neck on a botched elbowdrop from Nash. Sting comes in to take over the Ricky Morton role. The Outsiders run through their usual offense. Sting is just getting creamed. Finally he gets the hot tag and Savage goes nuts, tossing Hall out of the ring and pounding on Nash. He hits the axehandle out of the ring and then again back in, but Nash lowblows him. And then….Hulk Hogan comes out. He rips off the shirt, clears the ring…and legdrops Savage. We have our mystery partner. This was possibly the single most shocking thing I had ever seen in wrestling at the time.  (And while I was watching it, my girlfriend called me just to talk!  Thank god for VCRs)  The nWo destroy Savage and then Mean Gene comes out for The Interview as the ring fills with trash: MG: Hulk Hogan, excuse me, excuse me, what in the world are you thinking? HH: Mean Gene, the first thing you need to do is to tell this people to SHUT UP if you wanna hear what I got to say! MG: I have been with you for so many years…for you to join up with these two men absolutely makes me sick! And I think that these people here and a lot of other people around the world have had just about enough of this man here [Hall] and this man here [Nash] and you want to put yourself with this group? You’ve gotta be…kidding me. HH: First thing you gotta realize, brother, is this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the New World Order of wrestling, brother! These two men here came from a great big organziation up north, and everybody was wondering who the third man was, well who knows more about that organization than me, brother? MG: I’ve been there, I’ve done that…and you have made the wrong decision, in my opinion. HH: Well lemme tell you something…I made that organization a monster…I made the people rich up there…and when it all came to pass, the name Hulk Hogan, the man Hulk Hogan, got bigger than the whole organization, brother. And then Billionaire Ted, he wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan, amigo. Well, you know, Ted promised me movies, brother, Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars, Billionaire Ted promised me world calibar matches! Well, as far as Billionaire Ted goes, Eric Bischoff and the whole WCW goes, I’m bored, brother. That’s why these two guys here, the so called Outsiders, these are the men that I want as my friends, they’re the new blood of professional wrestling, and not only are we gonna take over the wretling business with Hulk Hogan and new blood, the monsters with me, we wil destroy everything in our path, Mean Gene. MG: Look at all the crap in this ring! That’s whats in the future for you if you want to hang around with this man Hall and this man Nash. HH: As far as I’m concerned, all this crap in the ring represents these fans out here. For two years, brother, for two years I held my head high, I did everything for the charities, I did everything for the kids, and the reception I got when I came out here, you fans can STICK IT, brother, because if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan you people wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis. If it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, all thse Johnny come lately’s you see wrestling wouldn’t be here. I was selling the world, brother, while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school. So the way it is, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organization of wrestling, brother, and the new blood by my side, whatcha gonna do when the New World Organization runs wild on you? WHATCHA GONNA DO? MG: Tony, Bobby, Dusty, let’s get back to you. Tony: All right, we have seen the end of Hulkamania. For Bobby the Brain Heenan, for Dusty Rhodes…I don’t know. I’m Tony Schiavone. Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell. We’re outta here. Straight to hell. [slams down headset] End of show. The Bottom Line: That, my friends, was probably the pinnacle of WCW’s creative powers, and the show that signalled the start of a year and a half of ratings dominance. Only now can the nWo finally be declared dead and buried, three years later. From that point on, EVERYTHING centered around the nWo, as they introduced new members, punked out WCW wrestlers, and just generally wreaked havoc until finally everyone got bored of it and started watching the WWF. If only Hogan hadn’t poked his nose into the angle, it could have been the greatest ever. Oh well. Strongest recommendation for both shows.

July PPV Countdown: WCW Bash At The Beach 1995

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Bash at the Beach 95 – Live from Huntington Beach, CA. – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby. – This is of course from the beach, with no actual seating. WCW made various claims from between 50-100,000 people, but actual attendance (free, to boot) was about 10,000. The setup looks kinda like Road Wild, except with phony Hollywood beach bunnies instead of racist redneck bikers. It certainly looks unique.  (Meltzer kept harping on this one during a recent radio show, noting that AAA was having a giant show in the same city at the same time, and he wondered why no one from WCW wanted to go watch the show and scout for talent instead of partying with the Hollywood phonies.  I guess not everyone appreciates lucha libre as much as strippers and blow.)  – US title match: Sting v. Meng. (Today we went to a festival in the park with a friend, and while there that friend ran into another friend who happened to be a Tongan.  Tattoos and everything.  It took a lot of self-control to keep from asking him if he was related to Haku.)  This is a rematch from Great American Bash. They go right for the test of strength to start and that goes nowhere. Meng pounds away and they slug it out, but Meng no-sells it all. I think they missed a major opportunity in not booking Meng v. Renegade at this point. Not an opportunity to draw money or anything, but an opportunity to amuse me. And that’s the important thing. (I never really got why they switched Meng’s character abruptly from suit-wearing badass to CRAZY TONGAN WILDMAN without any explanation.  I mean, I know in wrestling that sort of thing is common, but you’d think that sort of drastic personality shift would indicate personal problems.)  Meng hammers away in the corner and grunts a lot. Choking follows. Lots of it. Legdrop gets two. Meng goes to the NECK-MUSCLE MASSAGE OF DEATH, but Sting reverses to an armbar. Meng’s attempt at a suplex is blocked and they do more jockeying, and that goes nowhere. Sting’s clothesline is dramatically no-sold, in case we missed the point when he didn’t fall down. Sting is aghast. What acting. Meng goes up and misses a headbutt from the middle, which allows Sting to get the Scorpion Deathlock. Col. Parker distracts Sting and he lets go like an idiot, and Meng tosses him. Suplex back in gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Meng works on the back in the laziest manner possible as Tony makes his ridiculous claims about the crowd being the largest in WCW history. Meng goes to the abdominal stretch and we get lots of crowd shots. Sting gets a sunset flip for one, and Meng gets his own, which Sting blocks with a bad-looking butt-splash. Everyone is out. Meng is up first and we get a Boston Crab as the psychology is just all over the place. Pick a body part and stick to it. Sting makes the ropes, which of course tricks the heel into thinking the match is over, and a missed elbowdrop allows Sting to come back. Backdrop suplex and clotheslines follow. He clips Meng and gets a Thesz Press for two. Rana gets two. Cross-body gets two. Stinger splash is blocked by a thrust kick, which gets two. Meng goes up again with a big splash for two. And once again he thinks it’s over, and this time gets rolled up for the pin at 15:30. This was How to Bore the Crowd 101. ** Hawk saves Sting from any further abdominal stretching. – World TV title: Renegade v. Paul Orndorff. Criss-cross to start and Orndorff takes him down and pounds away. He goes up and hits boot on the way down, and Renegade comes back and dumps him. Orndorff lands in the sand which, as Tony notes, is very abrasive to the skin. (Oh Tony, you were like a neverending supply of running jokes for our group back in the day.)  Back in, Renegade works a headlock and pumps up the crowd. Okay, just the headlock. He gets an alleged dropkick that ends up 0.8 Watts, and Orndorff bails and tosses sand in Renegade’s face. Well, now you KNOW you’re watching a classic. (However, Renegade sent away for Charles Atlas’ bodybuilding course and became a real man afterwards!)  Back in, Orndorff gets a side suplex and goes to the chinlock. Orndorff gets his own dropkick and stalls, then decides to go for the piledriver. Sadly, Renegade escapes and gets ANOTHER 0.8 Watts dropkick, and then ANOTHER one. This guy really needs to learn how to throw a dropkick. (That was the least of his problems.)  Powerslam fails to excite the crowd, and when Orndorff tosses Renegade they CHEER. WCW should have taken the hint. This isn’t even a hardcore crowd, it’s casual beach dwellers, and even THEY hate the guy. Back in, Renegade escapes a suplex and gets a backdrop suplex for the pin at 6:11. Crowd boos that one out of the building. Or off the beach, as it were. Orndorff punks him out and piledrives him, which turns him face with the crowd. Renegade doesn’t even have the decency to sell it, popping right back up with a flying bodypress. –*  (At least it’s not Kamala v Jim Duggan.)  – Kamala v. Jim Duggan. (Fuck!)  And here I thought the show could only get BETTER after that last match. Thankfully Duggan is here to save us from any potential Ugandan invasion forces. This was during the early days of the Dungeon of Doom, when suspense was running high as to who the newest members would be, and when I say “high” I mean as in “drugs were needed to enjoy this angle”. They slug it out and Duggan wins that battle. Kamala won’t go down. A clothesline drops him, but he comes back with some chopping. Duggan tries a slam, and gets pounded. Choking follows. Into the bearhug, and Duggan misses a charge after escaping. Into the PURPLE NURPLE OF DEATH, but Duggan slugs out and bites to come back. Clothesline and Duggan slams him, which is about the one impressive thing in the whole match, and the three-point stance puts Kamala down. Zodiac runs in behind the ref’s back, knocks Duggan out, and Kamala gets the pin at 6:06. I don’t know what was more astounding – that Kamala actually got a serious push, or that no one figured out Zodiac was Brutus Beefcake. DUD – Diamond Dallas Page v. Evad Sullivan. Don’t even get me started on the rabbit. Sullivan attacks to start and suplexes DDP in, but Page backs off. Atomic drop and clothesline set up a suplex, and Dave is pumped. He stops to put the moves on Kimberly, however, and gets stomped down by DDP. Page pounds away, but misses a charge and crotches himself. Sullivan comes back and slugs away. Clothesline and he wants whatever, but goes after Max Muscle and gets hit with the Diamond Cutter at 4:26. This gets nothing and likes it. DUD  (It’s the parade of Hogan hangers-on and wannabes!)  – Normally I wouldn’t bother with pre-match promos, but Jerry Sags quotes Frampton in between screamed clichés, so he earns a spot in the recap as a result. – WCW World tag title: Harlem Heat v. Nasty Boys v. The Bluebloods. The crowd is chanting for the Heat, so Booker tells them to shut up. It’s a pier-nine brawl to start (after a complex coin toss that was supposed to set the Nasties & Heat as the starters) and the Nasties clean house. Knobs and Booker start proper, and Booker pounds away and chokes him out. Knobs ventures too far into the wrong corner, and Regal tags himself in. Booker takes him down and superkicks him, and Stevie Ray comes in for more pounding. Eaton tags in and gets backdropped and bails, which allows Sherri to get her shots in. Back in, Stevie gets a sideslam, but Eaton tags Sags mid-move and the Nasties do some CLUBBERING, CLUBBERING, THEY BE CLUBBERING in the corner. Knobs headbutts Stevie low and they go after the leg. Sags decides to tag Regal in, so Stevie makes the comeback and the Heat work Regal over in the corner. Booker goes to the Blueblood corner and gets pounded, however. Knobs comes back in and misses a charge, but Regal subdues Booker. Knobs clotheslines Booker for two. Nasties double-team Booker for two. Regal slaps him around and drops a knee, then tags Sags back in again. Sags promptly turns on the Bluebloods, and they brawl for a bit, allowing Booker to tag Stevie back in. Sags & Stevie slug it out, but Eaton comes in and takes over for Sags. The Bluebloods work Stevie over in the corner, and Knobs comes in with an elbow and a splash for two. Booker comes in and gets a sidekick on Knobs for two. Stevie comes in with a kneedrop, and Regal tags himself in and goes after Knobs. Bluebloods work Knobs over in the royal corner, and Bobby comes off the top with a knee for nothing, as Booker saves. Regal Stretch, but Sags saves. Stevie gets tagged back in and hammers on Knobs in the corner, and Booker gets tagged by Regal, which prompts Knobs to suddenly make the comeback out of nowhere. Regal hammers him down again, but Knobs blocks a sunset flip with a buttdrop, and Sags gets the hot (?) tag and cleans house. Everyone brawls and Regal gets splashed by a bunch of people, and apparently Stevie Ray was in the pile and thus gets the win at 13:10. What a stupid finish. Match dragged on and had absolutely no flow to it. *1/2 – Lifeguard match: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair. This would be a lumberjack match, except with lifeguards mixed in. Nyuk nyuk. Savage knocks him down and pounds away to start, and a trio of clotheslines put Flair out. The lumberjacks put him back in, but Savage chokes him out on the apron. Savage pounds away in the corner, but Flair gets an atomic drop out of the corner and starts chopping. Savage gets tossed and the babyface lumberjacks gently put him back in, and Flair chops again. Blind charge hits elbow and Savage slugs away and knocks Flair down with an elbow. Flair Flip and he heads out and back in via the lumberjacks. Savage gets tossed to the sand and thrown back in. Suplex back in is blocked, and Savage suplexes Flair to the outside. Back in he goes. Tony notes that Savage’s suplex was not a deliberate toss over the top. I’d say SUPLEXING a guy over the top is pretty deliberate, but the rule says that you BOTH have to be in, which is why it’s not a DQ. Just in case your teacher ever puts that on a pop quiz in history class. Flair takes over with a sleeper, but Savage sends him into the corner to escape. Flair chops away and tosses Savage, which SHOULD be a DQ, but I guess this is no-DQ or something. Back in, Flair comes off the top and collides with Savage in a weird spot, and Savage whips Flair around and slugs away. Sleeper is reversed by Flair into the kneecrusher, and goes to work on the leg. Savage keeps fighting back, but hits boot on a charge and NOW! WHOO! WE GO TO SCHOOL. Figure-four, but Savage reverses pretty easily. Flair gets a delayed vertical suplex for two. Savage comes back and slugs away, and Flair goes out again and makes a run for it, only to be caught and brought back. Back in, Savage backdrops him and gets the axehandle, but AA comes in and distracts the ref. Flair charges and gets backdropped over the top, but Arn comes in again and DDTs Savage. Flair gets two. Savage gets a backslide for two. Charge hits elbow and Flair goes up top, gets slammed, and the big elbow finishes at 13:53. That was so predictable that I typed the finish like 30 seconds before it happened. Match was nothing special and lacked emotion – it just felt like a couple of guys doing their usual match. **1/4 – WCW World title, cage match: Hulk Hogan v. Big Van Vader. Since Hogan is involved, this is pinfall, submission or escape. Hogan attacks and sends Vader into the cage to start, and chokes him out with the t-shirt. Double axehandle and he slugs away, but Vader won’t go down. They slug it out and can’t ram each other into the cage, until Vader finally wins that battle. He keeps pounding Hogan, but gets rammed into his own mask, which Hogan then proceeds to use as a weapon. More punching. Vader comes back with an avalanche, however, and goes up for a pump splash. Back up for another go, and that gets two. Vader spears him into the cage and keeps pounding away. Drop suplex and Vader goes for the door, but Hogan recovers and sends Vader into the cage. He tries a slam, but gets pounded back down again. Vader goes back up, but misses a senton bomb and Hogan comes back. Corner clothesline and Hogan tries another slam, but Vader falls on top and gets two. We hit the chinlock, and Hogan comes back with a clothesline. He still wants the slam, however. He gets it, but hurts his back. Vader comes off the middle rope with a splash and gets two. Hulk-up time, as he no-sells a trip to the cage and comes back. Vader eats the cage a few times and it’s the big boot, but Zodiac tries to get into the cage, only to be foiled by Dennis Rodman. Hogan drops the leg, poses, and then does it again. Sure, just totally emasculate the guy, why don’t ya? Hogan climbs, but gets caught by Vader, who then falls off and allows Hogan to exit at 13:09. Real bad. * This was also Vader’s final WCW PPV, as he left for the WWF shortly before Fall Brawl. The Bottom Line: Well, Savage-Flair was a major disappointment, and was pretty much the only match on the show even close to “worthwhile”, so that pretty much makes this the usual WCW disaster of epic proportions. (Man, how did I forget about THIS one in my list of horrible PPVs?)  Strong recommendation to avoid.

July PPV Countdown: WCW Bash At The Beach 1994

The SK Retro Rant for Bash at the Beach 1994 (This was written during the weird transitional time for me between Wrestleline and 411, when my stuff was getting what I would consider more proficiently-written, but I was still in a strangely gleeful state of mind about the death of WCW.  Of course, now I think we all wish that they had stuck around, even if they probably would have morphed into TNA eventually anyway, and it makes rants like these ones seemed overly, I dunno, mean at times.)   Whereas before WCW was run by a bunch of no-nothing bozos who couldn’t tell their asshole from their elbows, at least they were the no-nothing bozos deemed to be the authority by Turner. And if someone did something that was deemed TOO exceptionally stupid by someone higher up, you could always fire him and replace him with another Turner beancounter who would be guaranteed to screw up just as bad, but probably for less money. And then came Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. See, once Hogan came into the picture with this show, the problem was no longer the guys supposedly in charge, it was now with the locker room itself thanks to Hogan’s incessant political favors for his longtime friends. While WCW could in the past (and did) fire guys like Bill Shaw, Bob Dhue, Bill Watts and even almost Bischoff a couple of times, now they had Hogan under an iron-clad longterm contract and couldn’t just jettison him despite completely disrupting the locker room without providing anything in terms of tangible money returned until 1997. So that makes this an interesting show, because while it was the beginning of an era for WCW where they actually had some mainstream exposure, it was also a larger tradeoff for the cancer that Hogan brought to the previous work ethic displayed there by the people he displaced. Was it worth it in the long run? Well, you don’t see WCW around these days, do you? In fact, for anyone else in the future who gets into any kind of argument with one of the remaining WCW lemmings, I’d recommend pulling that particular trump card out and watching them squirm. Good fun for everyone.  (Obviously Bischoff ended up having just as much of a negative effect on the fate of the promotion as Hogan did with his own Boogie Nights-like decline into debauchery and forgetting his roots and all that, but Hulk certainly didn’t help.)  – Live from Orlando, Florida. Tony declares it a “capacity crowd”, but suspiciously the gate was only a little over $100,000 and their last PPV only drew 5,000, so smart money says that there was enough paper to keep Barrimundi’s fire going through the biggest flood season.  (Whatever that reference was, it’s so obscure now that I had to Google “Barrimundi” to try and figure out what the fuck I was talking about.  It’s some sort of fish, so I have no clue what the context was 11 years ago.  Anyone clue me in?  Anyway, a quick check of the Observer at the time shows that in fact, no, WCW made a shit-ton of money on this show FOR REALZ, with close to 10,000 paid and 14,000 total in the building.)  – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby, plus Jesse here and there. – Opening match, TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Johnny B. Badd. It was supposed to be Sting, but he’s injured, which WCW explains in typical WCW fashion by having Sherri give him an EYERAKE OF DOOM and thus put him out of action. Good thing she didn’t do something REALLY devastating like hit him with her shoe, or else he might still be on the shelf today. A sign at ringside has “Johnny” spelled as “Gonny”, thus leading me to believe WCW planted it themselves, since southern fans would tend to forget that second “n”. Wristlock sequence to start, won by Badd. Badd works the arm and Regal begs off. Regal works the mat for a bit, but gets rolled up for two and begs off again. Badd armdrags him and Regal stalls. He works a headlock on Badd, but Badd goes back to the arm. Regal bails. Back in, Regal hits a chinlock, but gets reversed to a hammerlock. Regal suplex is blocked with a wristlock, but Regal takes over with a headbutt and dropkick. Badd keeps working that arm, however. Big celebrity sighting of the night: Chris Lemmon! If you don’t know who he is, don’t worry, because that’s part of the joke, see. (It just kills the joke when you have to explain it.)  Badd dropkick gets two. Flying headscissors and hiptoss follow, and he hits the PUNCH OF DEATH to send Regal scurrying outside. (Marc Mero should come back for a match against Big Show, and the big spot can be them punching each other at the same time for a draw.)  Badd follows with a pescado and sunset flips back in for two. Regal reverses the pin in an awkward spot and gets the win at 10:45. Odd finish, to say the least. **1/2 – Mean Gene presents Antonio Inoki with a plaque, thus drawing the ire of Lord Regal for reasons never adequately explored (…for some reason), which leads to a match on the next Clash that sucks.  (Inoki was there as a favor to Hogan.  Naturally.)  – Vader v. The Guardian Angel. (Failed gimmick #2 for the former Bossman.  This one was actually a clever idea, although I wonder why they didn’t do something like a Walking Tall thing where he starts taking the law into his own hands vigilante style?  That might have been pretty cool and fit with his real life redneck persona.)  It feels like we had some variation on Vader v. Ray Traylor on every WCW show in 1994. Vader attacks to start and hits a spinkick (!). Angel ducks a lariat and suplexes Vader, then slams him with ease. Lariat and Vader bails. They brawl outside, where Vader gets control, thanks to Race. Vader pounds away, but Angel fights back…and gets clobbered. See ya. Vader goes up for a sunset flip, but Angel sits on him to block. Feel the overwhelming power of Bossman’s ass! Vader gets a short-arm clothesline, and goes to an STF?!? Angel fires back but gets slammed and Vaderbombed. Vader wants the moonsault, and actually hits it, but can’t cover. Race comes in and gets killed. Weak ref bump allows Vader to get a supposed nightstick from Race that looks like one of those canes that blind people use. (Perhaps he stole it from the referee.)  Angel of course steals it, the ref sees him with it, and calls for the DQ at 8:00. Ye gods, what was the point of that? ** Didn’t really gel as well as their usual match here. – Dustin Rhodes & Arn Anderson v. Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck. Dustin needed a partner to take on the Parker stable, so he asked…Arn Anderson? What’s wrong with this picture? This match, by the way, is the reason why I often refer to him as “Duh-Stin”. (That catchy-phrase never really caught.)  Arn & Buck start, but Buck wants Dustin. Funk comes in to take his shots, but gets sent to the floor. Back in, Funk chops at him and lays in the badmouth. Dustin dumps him over the top, however, while the ref’s back is turned. The heels regroup, but Rhodes gives both an atomic drop. Funk suplexes out of a headlock, and Buck ducks a Rhodes bodypress and Dustin goes flying out of the ring. Funk lays in the boots out there for fun. KICK HIM, KICK HIM LIKE A DOG! (Funk and Buck were a really fun team that would have torn up Memphis in the 80s.)  Back in, Buck gets a Funk-assisted abdominal stretch. Funk gets a standing neckbreaker for two. Piledriver gets two. Rhodes gets pounded in the corner and Buck hits the chinlock. CLUBBERIN, CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN, TONY! Dustin fights out of the corner with bionic elbows. Backdrops for the heels! Double noggin knocker! Lariat for Funk! HOT TAG ARN…and he turns on Dustin. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Funk gets the easy pin on Rhodes at 11:37. It should be noted that in the original telecast, WCW’s crack camera crew actually missed the fateful DDT that Arn delivered to Rhodes, but they fixed it for the commercial release. Match sucked aside from the finish, of course. *1/4  (Yeah, but I was marking out so much for that heel turn.  Shame that Flair was having his balls chopped off by Hogan, because Flair/Arn/Funk/Buck v. Dusty/Dustin/Nasty Boys at Wargames would have been AWESOME fun.  The one we got was pretty good too, but a proper Flair/Arn/Funk version of the Four Horsemen kicking the crap out of a second generation of Rhodes?  Sign me up!)  – US title match: Stunning Steve Austin v. Ricky Steamboat. Austin blindsides him to start, and attacks the knee, but Steamboat chops him. Austin meets the post, and Steamboat does the UT ropewalk to work the arm. Sadly, he doesn’t yell “old school” first, thus lessening the impact of the move. He then goes the Anderson playbook and hammerlock-slams Austin. Slugfest and Austin goes up, but Steamboat dropkicks him off and lays in the shots as he’s hanging upside down. Back in, Steamboat goes arm-draggin’. Austin fakes a knee injury off a leapfrog, but Steamboat isn’t buying. Hiptoss and dropkick, and Austin bails. He asks for time to heal his crippled knee, but MIRACULOUSLY recovers as Steamboat nears the ropes, and he yanks him out to beat on him. Back in, Steamer goes to the sleeper off a footrace and gets a rollup for two. Back to the arm. Austin goes low with that darned trick knee, however. (No wonder he wore that knee brace for the rest of his career!) A suplex and three clotheslines follow, but Steamboat won’t stay down. He finally does a crazy, delirious selling job that results in him drunkenly falling out of the ring. Austin suplexes him back in for two. Steamboat reverses a suplex and cradles for two. Armdrag and back to the arm for Steamboat. He drives some knees into Austin’s arm, boring the crowd. Collision on a leapfrog puts Steamboat on top for two, but Austin catches a HUGE spinebuster and drops a knee. He goes to the 2nd rope and drops another knee, but Steamboat gets up, wanting more. Slugfest and Steamboat catapults him into the ringpost for two. Austin nails him, but Steamboat wants more. More chops, but Austin backdrops him and hits a neckbreaker for two. Steamboat escapes a rear chinlock, but Austin clobbers him for two. He works that pinfall attempt, getting about 12 two-counts. Steamboat bridges out and mule-kicks Austin. Austin chokes him out on the ropes, then takes Steamboat limp arm and waves “Hello, everybody!” to the camera in the funniest moment of the night. Man, remember when Austin actually had a sense of humor? (Luckily he has one again now that he doesn’t have to put up with all the bullshit of wrestling and is financially set for life.)  Austin comes off the ropes, but walks into his own stungun. He bails and they fight off the apron, but Steamboat takes a header into the railing. Ouch. Austin charges and hits the ringpost facefirst to one-up him. Back in, Dragon hits the FLYING KARATE CHOP OF DOOM and a backdrop. Double-chop gets two. Austin dumps him, but Dragon skins the cat back in and chops away. Austin dumps him again, same result. Steamboat cradles for two. Small package gets two. Rollup gets two. Austin freaks out and tries a tombstone, which is reversed, reversed by Austin, and reversed again by Steamboat to complete the move. Steamboat goes up, but Austin pulls the ref in the way…and Steamboat doesn’t want the DQ. He should have taken it, because he hits a bodypress, which is rolled through for the pin at 20:16 by Austin to retain. Great match, though. ***3/4 (The Clash rematch where Steamboat wins the title is of course even better, although it ends Steamboat’s career.)  – World tag team title: Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan v. Pretty Wonderful. I guess the theory here is that they didn’t want Hogan to have to follow that last one. It must be a terrific feeling for Orndorff, who drew tens of millions of dollars with Hogan in the 80s, to be setting the table for him in a heatless tag title match while Hogan is making more millions by working 10 matches a year. (And he had all that nerve damage from wrestling Hogan with a bad neck night after night in the 80s.  And then Orndorff got CANCER!  Life really did suck for him.)  Megastall to start. Orndorff does some posing between armdrags, annoying Sullivan. Jack & Roma go next, and Roma stalls and dominates. Jack bites to take over. Oh, c’mon, at least follow your own internal logic, guys: The camera showed several clear shots of Jack before the match…with his teeth OUT. Fans pop for it anyway, but that’s WCW for ya. (The elderly fanbase in Orlando could relate, I guess.)  The champs double-team Roma, leading to more stalling. Orndorff pounds on Jack, and they brawl out, which proves to be a mistake. Back in, Orndorff bails again. Back in, Sullivan gets his shots in the corner, and Jack works on the arm. Pretty Wonderful nails him in the corner, however, and beat on him for a bit. Sullivan comes in and rams both guys headfirst to the turnbuckle a few times…at the same time. Cool spot. Double-stomp on Orndorff gets two, and he works the arm. Fans get bored and do the wave, so Jack hits the facelock. Roma & Sullivan slug it out, but Orndorff piledrives Sullivan for two. Roma fucks up a top rope elbow but still manages to pull it off for two. Sullivan is apparently YOUR dwarf-in-peril as Orndorff unleases the dreaded BOOGIE-WOOGIE ELBOW OF DOOM. Sleeper, but Sullivan breaks. Roma drops an elbow for two. Sullivan misses a hot tag chance and Roma hits the chinlock. Orndorff misses a blind charge, but Roma gets a running forearm to maintain control. Roma misses a Money Shot, and now it’s the hot tag to Jack. Double-arm DDT for Orndorff, no ref. Roma trips him coming off the ropes and holds his leg down for the Orndorff pin and the title at 20:14. Ludicrously long match that played completely against the strength of Jack & Sullivan in order to showcase the un-over and un-interesting Pretty Wonderful. See, but they had a REALLY good name, so WCW felt that it was in their best interest to push them to the moon. God knows that Cactus Jack guy probably wouldn’t ever draw a dime in his life anyway. *  (I guess Pretty Wonderful had that mainstream look they were going for, I dunno.  Another weird bit from the Observer:  WCW was so pissed off about Jack spitting on the tag belt in ECW that they flew Brian Pillman in for the show, with the intention of having him substitute for Jack here in losing the belts if Jack’s ongoing injury problems were too much or they just wanted to get rid of him.  So Pillman and Sullivan almost ended up being tag champions for a night.)  – WCW World title match: Ric Flair v. Hulk Hogan. Hogan gets a good pop, but not a 100 million-billion-zillion dollars a year pop, if you know what I mean. Besides, the fans were mostly freebies, and they always cheer for Hogan historically. For those not familiar with the backstory here, well, there is none really. Flair was this huge mega-face for WCW before they decided to hotshot a non-sensical heel turn in order to give Hogan a big heel to squash in his debut match. If I’m booking, I do Hogan/Flair v. The Nasty Boys for name value as a tag team main event and then have Flair turn on Hogan to set up Fall Brawl, but WCW wanted the buyrate NOW and didn’t think of things like logic or the future. (To their credit, they did a HELL of a buyrate for this show and made $3 million more than I’ll ever see in my bank account, so who am I to talk?)  You know how a kid will get $10 as a gift and come home with an extra-large Slurpee and $8.50 worth of Pokemon cards, then wonder where his $10 went to? That’s what WCW was like here, shooting their wad on the very first PPV in a desperate attempt to justify all the money they had spent. And while this show did a decent 1.0 buyrate, (The biggest in their history, so that’s a fair bit more than “decent”) the very next show did a laughable 0.5 buyrate without Hogan, showing that he had very little effect on the promotion as a whole. Shoving to start, won by Hogan. Flair stalls, and dodges Hogan’s punches, drawing a noticeable face pop from the Flair faithful. Flair goes to the hammerlock and and holds a wristlock. Hogan uses an armbar takedown (!) and Flair bails and hides out behind Sherri. Back in, Hogan slugs away and hits the cross-corner clothesline. Big boot misses and Flair bails again. He gets a cheapshot back in and chops at Hogan. Kneedrop misses as Hogan no-sells and punches away. Sherri trips him up and Flair sends him out. They brawl and head back in as Flair comes off the top with an axehandle. He hits the kneedrop, Hogan no-sells again. Flair uses the ropes for two. Hogan gets a clothesline for two, so Flair hits the chinlock. That lasts a while. Hogan comes back, Flair Flip follows, and they head out. Suplex on the floor, and Hogan suplexes him back in. Legdrop misses, Flair goes for the figure-four, blocked, blocked again, blocked a third time. Hogan’s generosity in even allowing the champion to TRY the move is breathtaking, what a guy. Suplex by Flair, Hogan no-sells. Big boot gets two, ref is bumped. Sherri splashes Hogan off the top as Nick Patrick takes over. Figure-four finally gets applied, and the crowd goes NUTS, as the actual paying customers do their damnedest to drown out the Hogan fans. Hogan makes the ropes without expending too much effort, but Flair keeps at the leg. Hogan no-sells…AGAIN…but runs into an elbow. Flair goes up, but Hogan no-sells that elbow and slams him off. Hogan gets his own bad figure-four as Mr. T removes Sherri from ringside. Overbooked, much? Flair then pulls out brass knuckles and KO’s Hogan…for two. Hulk up, and you know the rest. Hogan gets the title at 21:51. Hogan treated Flair like a jobber, but Flair’s usual broomstick formula match managed to make it a worthwhile excursion, better than I remember it from the initial viewing in 1994. ***1/4 Hogan’s no Vince Russo in the ring, though. – I officially stopped watching WCW at this point, boycotting the promotion until November 1995 in protest of the Hogan Love-In. And in fact, the WWF was getting so bad by this point that if it hadn’t been for ECW and SMW, I would have quit watching wrestling entirely until something decent came up again. The Bottom Line: WCW needed an all-around blowaway show to really justify the Hogan investment, and this wasn’t it. They also needed to maximize Hogan by letting him give the rub to a bunch of the undercard would-be stars, and this show didn’t do that, either. As a result, they all left for the WWF, who are still in existence today, while WCW is not. And it’s really as simple as that, folks, when you break it down. The show itself is watchable with a couple of good matches in the main event and US title match, but everything else is the usual marginal WCW pap for this era and isn’t worth the rental. Mild recommendation to avoid.  (Yeah, it’s interesting from certain aspects, but just not a very good show overall.) 

July PPV Countdown: The Great American Bash 1992

(2012 Scott sez:  And now…the Bill Watts era.)  The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1992 – Live from Albany, Georgia. – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Magnum TA, Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura. – Eric Bischoff interviews Bill Watts to start, who defends the “off the top” rule and basically wishes everyone in the NWA tag title tournament good luck.  (Funny that Bill was already on the defensive about his stupid rule changes at this point.)  – This is very much a special interest show:  It features the NWA World tag team title tournament and a World title match between Sting and Vader, and nothing else.  The first round of the tournament was held at Clash 19 a few weeks previous to this show, and as well Steve Williams and Terry Gordy fought the Steiners in a quarterfinal round match on that same show, which was won by the MVC (Miracle Violence Connection, their Japanese team name.), sending them to the semi-finals on this show. Opening match: Brian Pillman & Jushin Liger v. Nikita Koloff & Ricky Steamboat.  Good enough choice for an opener, but it has two distinct portions:  The portion involving Ricky Steamboat (which ROCKS) and the portion involving Nikita Koloff (which SUCKS).  I wish I could have seen Ricky Steamboat v. Jushin Liger before Steamboat retired.  Not much to say about this one, back and forth with good action until Pillman tries a flying bodypress and Steamboat rolls through for the pin.  ***  (Oh yeah, it’s 98 Scott all right.)  – I should mention that Jim Ross had managed to oust Dusty Rhodes as the booker at this point, so everything is clean no matter how boring it may be. – The Freebirds v. Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto.  The tape I’m watching cuts out almost the entirety of this match, but it’s the Freebirds AND Hashimoto in the same match so it’s safe to say it sucked. (Professional wrestling reviewing at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.  Although to be fair this was before the days of Youtube where you could just look something up if you tape cut out.)  The Japanese team shows up later in the night so I guess the ‘Birds jobbed here (yay!), which is good because I hate their guts. – My tape cuts back in just in time for the intros to… – Rick Rude & Steve Austin v. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes.  This would be approaching the zenith of the Windham-Rhodes team.  The Dangerous Alliance was in decline, as Rude spent all his time with Austin and Madusa instead of Paul E.  Decent enough match, everyone was pretty much at the top of their game at this point.  Rude even pulls off a top-rope dropkick!  Interesting note:  Rude is US champion and Austin is TV champion at this point.  Rude lost his belt to Dustin Rhodes and Austin lost his to Barry Windham (albeit briefly and before this match).  Life is funny sometimes, no?  Long headlock sequence in the middle really kills this one.  Hot tag to Dustin, who cleans house.  Austin tries a piledriver on Windham, but Rhodes is the legal man and comes off the top with a clothesline for the pin on Austin.  ***  Lots of goofy graphical effects interject themselves for some reason.  (I saw this one a few years ago on 24/7 or Vintage Collection or something, and it’s pretty badass, like ***1/2 – ***3/4) – Bischoff interviews the Van They Call Vader and Harley Race, in preparation for Sting. – Semifinal #1:  Nikita Koloff & Ricky Steamboat v. The Miracle Violence Connection.  Williams & Gordy were in the midst of the monster push of a lifetime here, and had recently beaten the Steiners to win the WCW World tag titles.  Bill Watts just LOVED these two.  (Who didn’t really?  You put Steve Williams and Terry Gordy together and get them to beat the piss out of people, what’s not to love?)  Extended armbar here. The crowd dies here and never really gets back into it for the rest of the night.  Mat wrestling exhibition.  This is why WCW fired Jim Ross as a booker in the first place.  (To be fair, I don’t think Ross ever had THAT much power, since Watts was really the main decision maker.  JR certainly had his ear, though.)  Really long and dull match.  Blame WCW for the onset of 6 match PPVs, as this one goes about 20 minutes plus. Semi-hot ending has Steamboat going for the bodypress, but Gordy pushes him off, into the arms of Dr. Death, who Stampedes him for the academic pin.  **  (Another one I saw later where I short-shrifted the original viewing.  Outside of the dull middle portion, this was a hell of a tag match, again a ***1/2 affair.)  – Semifinal #2:  Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v. Shinya Hashimoto & Hiroshi Hase.  Man, this is a no-nonsense PPV.  Just bang-bang-bang, one match after another.  (Wrestling is SERIOUS.  No fancy stuff!)  The arena is so dark it looks like Hardcore Heaven.  Dustin v. Shinya is the closest the world ever got to Dustin fighting his father.  (I don’t know what Shinya Hashimoto did to piss me off.)  Bad match which gets marginally better when Hase is in.  Hot tag to Windham about 15 minutes in, who beats up Hase and then nails the lariat for the pin.  *1/2 – Tony & Magnum interview Ron Simmons. – WCW World title match:  Sting v. Big Van Vader.  Vader still has that goofy helmet.  Setup:  Vader splashed and destroyed Sting in the Omni a few months ago.  Big staredown to start.  This is match #2 in a series of about 40,000, the last of which occurs at Fall Brawl 94 to quietly end one of the longest running feuds in wrestling.  This is like the prologue in a long novel, as Sting has yet to really meet Vader in a meaningful match and doesn’t realize what he’s getting into.  Sting starts out smart, sticking and moving fast, but gets dumb and never recovers.  Vader crushes him.  He even puts Sting in the Scorpion Deathlock at one point.  Vader is mauling Sting like a grizzly, with stiff rights and clotheslines.  Sting makes a comeback, but it takes as much out of him as it does Vader, and Sting isn’t in great shape here to begin with.  Sting hits a fallaway slam, but it takes forever for him to execute and you can tell he’s out of gas and the end is near for him. German suplex (barely) for 2, Stinger splash, and again, but Vader drops down on the second one and Sting slams his head into the ringpost.  He’s bleeding and is a walking dead man and everyone can just feel it.  He takes a couple of big shots at Vader, but he just casually steps aside and Sting falls flat on his face and stays there.  Vader picks him up and powerbombs him, but it’s just a formality because Sting wasn’t getting up to begin with.  The three count is academic.  Vader claims his first WCW World title, and the crowd is in SHOCK.  ****1/4  This is one of the best fucking matches I’ve ever seen.  Vader just absolutely dismantled Sting here, and Sting’s gotta be the biggest company man ever, because he did the mega-job, getting the crap kicked out of him for the cause of putting Vader over BIGTIME.  This is the match that *made* Vader.  (That’s how wrestling used to work, yes.  A big star puts over a guy who they want to be a big star and makes him into a big star too, and then they fight again for EVEN BIGGER MONEY.  Like Chael Sonnen v. Anderson Silva II.  I think Aries-Roode should rip off the finish from the first Silva-Sonnen fight, with Aries beating the hell out of Roode for 15 minutes before getting trapped in a triangle choke.)  – Bischoff interviews the new champ. – NWA World tag team title final:  Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v. Steve Williams & Terry Gordy.  Ole Anderson is the referee here, proving if anything that there *is* a job he can do worse than booking.  (High five!  Anyone?) I always thought the NWA tag titles looked better than the WCW ones.  The Steiners come down to ringside, but get chased off by WCW security.  I can appreciate the attempts from Ross & Watts to push mat wrestling, but it’s sooooo boring to sit through it.  Crowd is dead silent throughout after that last match basically ripped out their heart.  Eyebrow-raising moment:  Mongo’s name gets dropped in reference to Steve Williams’ football career.  This is a slow, deliberate match which is 99.99% controlled by the MVC.  Headlock, armbar, submission moves…just about as basic as you get.  Dustin makes a hot tag to Windham, who immediately gets caught in a headlock and becomes the Face in Peril in Rhodes’ place.  Hot tag #2 to Rhodes, who becomes Face In Peril in Windham’s place.  God forbid the crowd should be excited about anything here. Windham never gets hot tag #3, as Williams goes for the Oklahoma Stampede, but Windham comes in and dropkicks Rhodes on top.  (If I were booking it, that’d be the ending right there…underdog win and poetic justice in one.)  Williams easily kicks out, however, ruining the fans’ night by ripping Rhodes’ head off with a clothesline and pinning him to become the first and last NWA World tag team champions, unifying them with the WCW version right out of the gate.  *1/2 The Bottom Line: Aside from Vader-Sting, this was an utterly pointless waste of time. The MVC were already WCW World champions at this point, there was no need to put the NWA World titles on them as well!  Let a babyface team take them, like the Steiners, and then build to a big unification match. (I was just going to say that!  Thanks, 1998 Scott.)  Instead, we get boring MVC win after win, as they take out everyone and capture all the gold in one night and send the fans home bored and unhappy.  Wrestling is not a sport to watch the better team win with superior athleticism.  In the real world, Williams & Gordy were the best team in the field and would have won with solid mat wrestling, true.  In the wrestling world, however, the better team rarely wins, and even more rarely with mat wrestling.  The Steiners should have won this tournament to set up the big blowoff between them and the MVC that Ross was pushing all night.  It never happened. Wrestling is not the real world, and when it tries to be the results are a dull show like Bash 92.  For Bill Watts/Jim Ross wrestling “purists” however, I’m sure this show is exactly what anti-screwjob factions are screaming for.  If nothing else, I’d like to warn y’all that clean, basic mat wrestling is generally boring as hell.  As an interesting note, Williams & Gordy went on to lose the “Unfied” titles to Windham and Rhodes, the very team they beat to unify it.  (The cat burglar has been caught by the very person who was trying to catch him!)  Recommended for Sting-Vader, but not really much else unless you’re a big MVC fan.  (Don’t be a hater, 1998 Scott.  There was some SWANK tag team wrestling on this show and I’ll take a three-hour PPV of clean finishes and basic wrestling these days seven days a week and twice on Sunday.  This is another one I wanna YouTu…er, I mean, watch when a legal WWE authorized DVD copy comes out…and see if it the show looks any different to me now.)