Friday, July 28, 2017

WCW Great American Bash 1996

Now this is a show I remember loving and haven't seen in ages - probably since the late '90s watching it on my VHS version taped off of TV. Having not seen any SNME then, it's amazing how they just totally ripped off that style of intro for this show - and it works. Just having quick sound bytes explaining everything is fine, and I like Heenan being a manager of sorts for one last show. Heenan is a perfect chickenshit against COACH MACHO and Greene and Mongo. Flair and Arn are energetic and stoic, while Luger brags about being the Total Package. This is wacky broad comedy - and some of it works.
We get a song to start things off along with a salute - I dig that. Fire and Ice face the Steiners. WCW IS IN FACT WHERE THE BIG BOYS PLAY. Thanks Tony. This isn't exactly smooth. The super bulldog hits perfectly, but Ice Train makes a save and then Steiner powerbombs himself going for the rana and that wins it. Yeah...probably should've reversed those two things. Kevin Sullivan cuts a promo on Pillman backstage. Konnan faces El Gato, Pat Tanaka as a Hispanic.These two are incredibly sloppy and Konnan hits a few cool things - like a sunset bomb to the floor, the rolling lariat, and an Alabama slam ends it.
Sting cuts a gay baiting promo with Regal with Gene joining in on DDP faces American Male Bagwell. Bagwell goes for the suplex, but DDP hooks the rope and cutters him to end it. Rey comes down to face Dean in a match that was so good, it launched his career in the U.S. Sure, he'd been at the AAA PPV - but that didn't lead to anything for him, or anyone other than Spicolli getting a gig in the U.S. This one match made him a commodity in the U.S.
Tenay is on commentary, thank God. Both Dean and Rey have outstanding themes. Lots of matwork from both guys here. Dean opts to work on the arm instead of the leg to start things off. Rolling Kimura by Dean - awesome! Tenay talks about Rey getting a shot here due to the a Pena show recently and Rey hits a variety of slick offense - including the best springboard somersault dive I've ever seen. Rey goes for a corner rana, but gets powerbombed down and Dean uses the ropes to end it. Outstanding match.
Luger chats with Gene, and has both belts and cuts a darn fine babyface promo. This is right around the time he's a pure heel, but a face whenever Sting is around - and it's probably his best actual character work. Biker Big Bubba is out to face Half-Shaved Tenta. Oh Jesus. I love Ray, but these two just had zero chemistry. They plod and do very little until Bubba hits a back suplex. Okay, that was cool. Tenta hits the powerslam and wins it. Steve and Kevin and their wives are backstage and Kevin warns everyone WE'RE COMING HARD! WE'RE COMING HARD! YEAH! All righty then.

It's time for the falls count anywhere match between Benoit and Sullivan. Well, this is gonna be weird. We get a then-rare walk and brawl all over the place DEY IN THE MENS ROOM! Benoit takes a bathroom door to the shoulder. DOOR TO THE HEAD OF BENOIT. Well, that makes this that much more awkward. THERE IS A WOMAN IN DA MENS BAFROOM! Then they fight near doorway and Sullivan hits him with some paper towels. They fight down the steps before Benoit sets up and a table bridge on the top rope and gets the win with it. Well, that has aged well.
Horsemen and the Dungeon brawl and the Horsemen win it. Arn cuts a hell of a promo for Chris Benoit, tying in the history of the horsemen, and the history of war into all this. Regal and Sting are up, with this being a huge step up for Regal. Tony talks about the hostile takeover of WCW being rumored. Oh my yes, that's coming up. Stinger has dark hair and somewhat subdued neon colors. Regal grinds away with five billion holds before losing to the deathlock.
Flair and Arn come down with Heenan and Tony puts over Heenan's history as a manager. Greene and Mongo get a Monday Night Football knockoff theme, which is fine and doesn't have to be dubbed over. Mongo is in blue and orange, which is just an odd combo. He keeps his renowned nipple-high shorts. Greene gets to work with Naitch, and is having a blast. MONGO SLAMS FLAIR OFF THE TOP! Double figure fours on the heels. The wives bicker with Liz and Woman. Savage and Arn brawl before Benoit comes down to beat up Savage. Debra comes down with Liz and Woman, in a gown and the Haliburton. There's a horseman shirt and a ton of money in the case, which he uses to bonk Mongo. Now, I'd forgotten about some of this - I remember the case shot, but it comes off here like the Horsemen had a Plan B - bribery, and it worked. The Horsemen beat up Savage and Greene.

Now it's time for history. Biscoff is here saying he wants "the guys". This is so brilliant because they use the WWF's own Wrasslin War Room names, which no one owns, and use the "carve them up" line before Hall gut shots Eric and Nash hits the powerbomb. Oh, and now it's time for the main event. They have a match. Luger gets the rack off the corner, but crumples and the chokeslam ends it. The table stuff with Eric should've closed the show.


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