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/

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.  

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

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

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: WCW Beach Blast 1993

The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Beach Blast 93 (2012 Scott sez:  Apologies in advance. This one is another terribly written rant when really the show deserves much more care and attention in terms of ripping it apart.)  – Live from Biloxi, Mississippi – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura – Worth nothing: The pre-game show features the infamous “Masters of the Powerbomb v. Superpowers” mini-movie in its entirety. If you don’t know what this was, you don’t want to, believe me. (As featured on Are You Serious!)  Opening match: TV Title: Paul Orndorff v. Ron Simmons. I think I was off making dinner for myself when this was on, but Zenon tells me it was pretty crappy. Simmons is DQ’d for throwing Orndorff over the top rope.  (Quality wrestling reviewing in 1997, ladies and gentlemen!)  – Okay, now I’m back… – Marcus Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio v. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce. As always, I remind you that the Texicans migrated north to Arkansas and became the Godwinns. Tons of stalling. Not much resting, surprisingly enough, just nothing the least bit fancy. Your typical “establishing” match to build heat for Bags and Scorps. It saddens me greatly that if Buff’s career is over, then this is his legacy.  (Actually that would put this into 1998 if we thought Buff’s career might be over.) Jesse makes lawyer jokes to kill time (What do you call 400 dead lawyers at the bottom of a river? A good start. What do you call a busload of lawyers with one empty seat going off the edge of a cliff? A tragedy.) (Jesse learned to love the legal system a bit more once he took Vince to the cleaners over royalties, I’m thinking.)  Bagwell makes the hot tag and they finish off the Texicans with a belly-to-back suplex leading into the Firebird/450 splash from Scorpio. Not bad. **1/4 Worldwide hit type of affair. – Paul Orndorff introduces us to the Equalizer. Thanks, man. – Erik Watts v. Lord Steven Regal. Those of you who are newer fans might recognize Watts as Troy of Techno Team 2000. (Those of you who are now newer fans probably read that last sentence like Lisa reading “Yahoo Serious Festival”) Those of who were on the ‘net back then recognize him as “that fucking little talentless bastard of Bill Watts.” (In all fairness, I’m pretty sure he is the legitimate son of Bill Watts, not a bastard.)  Either way, it’s valid. Watts got a mega-push based solely on the fact that daddy was Executive Vice-President of WCW at the time, despite showing no talent or over-ness with the fans. Watts knows amateur wrestling, so we get a boring mat wrestling match. And I do mean *boring*. Watts can’t do *anything* even vaguely aerial, and he has the muscle tone of Jimmy Hart with a gawky figure to boot. He belonged in the undercard of an indy promotion at that point, not on PPV against a legitimate wrestler like Steve Regal. Watts goes for the dreaded STF early, and Dundee pops him with the umbrella and Regal rolls him up for the pin. He should’ve won clean, but what the hell. *1/2 (Now of course Watts would get buried in developmental hell as wannabe movie star Lucas McQueen until he quit the business out of frustration.  So maybe their system DOES have an upside.)  – Jesse interviews His Lordship. – Maxx Payne v. Johnny B. Badd. Ahem. This is the result of Payne blasting a lethal dose of…er…confetti in Badd’s face with the Badd-blaster. Badd’s visage was so scarred by this that he had to wear an exceptionally gay looking mask to cover himself. Geez, Mark, I would’ve went with the scars and taken my chances…oh well, at any rate it boggles my mind that they used to *pay* people to think this stuff up.  (In all fairness, they didn’t get paid very WELL.)  Payne is no longer playing the psycho, but rather just your average embittered guitar player. (And boy did he EVER get embittered in real life later on.  Daryl Peterson did a documentary on his own years ago, where he took his own footage from his brief WWF time and basically exposed the entire locker room as a bunch of drug addicts and general scumbags.  I think the movie was called “The Thing That Should Not Be” or something and lawsuits were of course filed over it.)  And WCW wonders why they were only drawing 500 people per show at this time? Punch and kick match that ends with a Badd bodypress (in both senses of the word) off the second rope for the pin. 1/2* – WCW World tag title: The Hollywood Blonds v. Arn Anderson & Paul Roma. The Blonds are using the NWA tag belts here, because the WCW and NWA versions were interchangeable until September when the NWA officially died. Austin & Pillman are hilarious as they antagonize the fans and play awesome heels. As usual with all things Roma after 1990, it stinks when he’s directly involved. I think the man was born without a personality. Roma plays Face In Peril as Pillman wrestles with a wedgie. Crack kills, Brian. Hot tag to Anderson, who assume the Face In Peril role and the match really takes off until the end. Anderson gets the hot tag to Roma again, who’s the House O’ Fire. Spinebuster by Arn, and it’s not looking good for the Greatest Team Ever. Only a two count, however. Arn is escorted out and Roma rolls up Austin, but Pillman pushes them over and…Blonds win??? *** – Why the question marks? Because in 1993, WCW taped extensive footage of Roma and Anderson being the tag champs around this time, so RSPW just naturally assumed that Beach Blast would be the card where they took the titles. When it wasn’t, it produced one of the biggest collective “What the hell?” reactions ever heard on the newsgroup. The ending is assumed to have been changed to “swerve” us, which would be the first example of Mr. Bischoff doing so in a long line of examples of it. Roma and Anderson went on to win the titles at the following Clash, but WCW’s cutesy booking shot itself in the foot, because Brian Pillman was injured and had to be subbed for by Steve Regal, which produced the ridiculous situation of Regal and Austin defending the tag titles! (In the post-Russo era, this stuff all just looks normal somehow.  Oh yeah, two people who aren’t the champions defending the belts, whatever.)  – US Title match, Ironman challenge: Dustin Rhodes v. Rick Rude. Most falls in 30 minutes wins. This was a horrible feud as Rhodes was pushed to US title status on the strength of nothing but his father’s position as Executive Producer (ie booker) of WCW. The US title was held up for months as these two battled in boring matches over the belt, and the title was devalued immensely because of it.  (Not as much as Santino has devalued it.)  It never really recovered, IMO. Rude wins the first fall, Rhodes wins the second. The rest is utterly slow and boring until the big finish where Rhodes hits all of his stuff and Rude keeps kicking out. Time expires, so it’s a screwjob ending on top of everything else and the belt is vacant another couple of months. *1/2 This is why overtime in the Michaels-Hart match at WM12 was a *good thing* (I…wouldn’t go that far.)  – NWA World title match: Barry Windham v. Ric Flair. An okay match, which is basically Flair’s big return. Everyone knew Flair was going over here (again, footage of Flair as champion was taped for this time period at the Disney tapings, and WCW wasn’t about to pull another swerve). Bizarre ending as Flair quickly hooks the figure-four on Windham, who grabs for the ropes and ends up getting counted down for three! Que? The crowd doesn’t even realize Flair has won the title until the ref breaks the hold and raises his hand! **1/2 I still don’t get that ending… (Clearly I was getting bored with recapping this show at this point.)  – Main event: Vader & Sid v. Sting & Bulldog. Oh, yeah, after seeing Cheetum the Evil Midget blow up Sting’s boat, I’m pumped for this! (At least Cheetum wasn’t revealed as the anonymous GM two years after the fact.)  Sting and Bulldog have matching coats. Minimalist power stuff here, then stalling from the heels to start. Really bad match. Bulldog hot tag Sting, who takes on both guys but gets nailed by a Sid clothesline after an apparent brain cramp (gee, should I stay in *my* half of the ring or go antagonize Sid?). He becomes Face in Peril. Quick hot tag to Bulldog, who gets stomped by the heels again. Heh. Vader was drawing some serious face heat by this time. Vader pump splashes Bulldog, then debuts the Vadersault! Sting barely makes the save, then Bulldog pulls a crucifix out of nowhere for the pin. Boo! **, mostly for Vader’s work. That moonsault spot really should have ended it. How can you top it? The Bottom Line: Not terrible, but nothing actually worth going out of your way to see. The Disney tapings really fucked with WCW’s booking and it shows with cheap swerves like the tag title match and non-suspense in the Flair-Windham match. Recommendation to avoid Blash Blast ’93. (Also recommendation to avoid reading this rant again.)