NWA Great American Bash 1990 7/7/1990
Written By: Matt Peddycord
NWA Great American Bash 1990: The New Revolution
July 7, 1990
The current NWA Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Ric Flair (5/7/1989)
U.S. Champion: Lex Luger (5/22/1989)
World Tag Team Champions: Doom (5/19/1990)
U.S. Tag Team Champions: Midnight Express (5/19/1990)
World Television Champion: Arn Anderson (1/2/1990)
Your hosts are Good ol’ JR & Grandpa Bob Caudle! This would be Caudle’s last NWA PPV.
Brian Pillman vs. “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel
I’m only speculating that Ole Anderson had something to do with the rehiring of Landell. It’s a fair speculation too. Pillman chops and dropkicks Landel to the floor to start. Wow, Landel’s looking pretty pudgy here. Then again when your whole career is centered around a guy who isn’t known for his good physique, you probably aren’t going to do much about that anyways as long as you’re getting paid. Back in, Landel blocks a sunset flip and counters a crossbody out of the corner with a backbreaker. Pillman chops back, but misses with a dropkick for two. Landel blocks a hiptoss attempt and levels Pillman with a clothesline that gets a mild face reaction for 1-2-NO! Slugfest leads to a Landel chinlock. Landel hits a suplex and then rolls through a crossbody for 1-2-NO! Pillman tries a rollup off the ropes, but Landel doesn’t fall for it and then backdrops Pillman to the apron. Pillman catches himself though and surprises Landel with a flying crossbody for 1-2-3. (9:29) Nice little story there. **
Captain Mike Rotunda vs. The Iron Sheik
Rotunda is a naval captain now. Wonder why THAT didn’t work? Surely it was like, a booze cruise. Sheik attacks from behind as usual. Rotunda comes back with a sunset flip, and a dropkick puts Sheik on the floor. Back in, Sheik rakes the eyes to take over. Gutwrench suplex gets two, followed by the abdominal stretch. Rotunda hiptosses out, but Sheik stays on top of things with a back suplex for another two. Rotunda gets dumped and brought back in with another suplex, but then he counters a butterfly suplex into a botchy-looking backslide for 1-2-3. (6:46) Typical Sheik match. ½*
Solie is standing by with Harley Race! Boy, there’s nothing like starting up nine year-old feuds!
Doug Furnas vs. Dutch Mantell
Furnas is the “World’s Strongest Man” as far as 1990 goes in WCW, but we all know Kazmaier would take that nickname in ’91. Furnas is better known for his work in Japan than in the states. He had a nice run in ’96-’97 in the WWF, but his WCW run was very short-lived. As for Mantell, well, he’s a VERY hairy Texan. Caudle mentions, “You don’t know where his hair begins or where it ends!” Anyways, he’s probably better known for his managerial and behind-the-scenes roles than for his wrestling even though he’s held a BUNCH of regional titles throughout the ’70s and ’80s. During the ’90s, he managed Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw and the Blu Brothers as Uncle Zebekiah, did color commentary in SMW, and currently works as a writer for TNA the last time I checked. Furnas starts off with shoulderblocks and press slams to punish Mantell. He even executes a dropsault (take that, Paul London!) to put Mantell on the floor. Back in, Furnas works the arm, but Mantell cheapshots him to take over. Mantell avoids a flying splash and then drills Furnas with a short-arm clothesline for 1-2-NO! They go to the floor where Mantell gives him another short-arm clothesline. Back in, Mantell gets a snap suplex for two. He grabs an armbar and cheats by grabbing the tights for leverage. Ref sees it and they get into a scuffle, so Furnas rolls him up for two. Furnas hits a powerslam for two. Mantell cheapshots him again, but then wanders around into the SNAP BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX for 1-2-3. (11:18) Not bad, but you could tell Furnas was pretty green in there. *
Cornette cuts a great promo on what he thinks will happen tonight. Although he says it in much more dramatic fashion than I will, he says Flair and his Midnight Express will retain their belts. He’s sticking to his guns, that’s for sure!
“Wildfire” Tommy Rich vs. Harley Race
Rich upset Race to win the NWA World title back in ’81. Even though Race won it back a week later, he wants some more revenge. This was so counterproductive, it’s not even funny. Of course, you can’t tell Ole that. Don’t get me wrong, Race is one of the best ever, just not in 1990. Rich works the arm and posts Race, but then Race comes back with the High Knee and then a PILEDRIVER. Rich sells the move too much and falls out to the rampway. Race hits a suplex out there before heading back in the ring. Rich clotheslines Race out for some brawling. Back in, Rich delivers a flying fist drop for 1-2-NO! Race goes low and hits the BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX for 1-2-NO! Slugfest puts both men on the floor again. Back in they go and Rich hits a flying crossbody block, but Race rolls through for 1-2-3. (6:32) The point to this was? *
Paul E and Mean Mark are standing by with Gordon Solie now. Dangerously starts off saying that Flair is the best ever. Another heel manager putting over Flair! What a shocker! Oh yeah, and Lex Luger is going to LOSE!
NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Southern Boys
The Southern Boys were Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong dressed up in cheap-looking Confederate army uniforms with Confederate flags printed on their tights. In other words, a gimmick for a face team that’s 130 years behind. Clearly Maryland could care less for these guys. It doesn’t help that they’re facing the best tag team ever in the Midnight Express. This is definitely one of the best matches of the ’90s and a true standout match in the legendary career of the Midnight Express. The Midnights attack first, but the Southern Boys gain the advantage and punish Eaton with double-teams. Eaton slows the pace down and corners Armstrong for some closed-fist action. Eaton heads up top, but Armstrong slams him down. Armstrong follows up with a monkey-flip and a dropkick. A flying clothesline puts Eaton out on the floor for a breather. Back in, Smothers tags and nails Eaton into the Midnights corner. Smothers tries to catch Eaton coming off the ropes for a powerslam, but Eaton puts on the brakes and jabs Smothers in the gut. How often do you see that?! Smothers now out-quicks Eaton and fights back with some karate! Eaton has enough of that and tags in the former karate teacher, Stan Lane! Out of nowhere, Smothers and Lane do a karate standoff! Haha. Lane catches Smothers in the face a couple times, drawing some awesome face pops from the crowd. Lane proceeds to kick away at Smothers, but then turns away for the big knockout savate kick when Smothers blocks it and kicks Lane down. Eaton runs in and he takes a savate kick! Crowd goes ballistic! Smothers and Lane go back to wrestling, so Lane thumbs out of a hammerlock and tags in Eaton. Smothers remains one step ahead of Eaton and dropkicks him out to the floor. Smothers goes out onto the apron, flips BACK into the ring, and drops Eaton with a sliding kick through the ropes. The Midnight Express are sick of this and try a double-team whip into the corner on Smothers. He avoids the splash in the corner and baits the Midnights in for a HIGH flying crossbody block from Armstrong! That was awesome. The Southern Boys try the double-pinfall spot on the Midnights, but when that doesn’t work, they just give the Midnights a DOUBLE-NOGGIN KNOCKER instead. The action settles and turns into the Midnights’ favor once Lane gets a blind tag and tosses Smothers out to the floor. Smothers tries to get back in, but he gets shoved from the apron SPINE-FIRST into the guardrail. I thought that only happened in WCW/nWo Revenge, not in real life! Back in, Smothers takes an atomic drop into a Bobby Eaton-style backbreaker. Talk about working on your back. Smothers attempts to fight back, but Eaton drills him with a clothesline. We see more sadistic work on the back of Tracy Smothers as the Midnights deliver the leapfrog/backbreaker move that Benjamin/Haas use today. After Lane karate, Eaton tags and hits the ALABAMA JAM (guillotine legdrop)! Eaton doesn’t cover though and tags in Lane instead. Smothers gets a desperation sunset flip, but it only gets two. Eaton tags and catches Smothers with a swinging neckbreaker and then throws Smothers out to the floor just to be a jerk. Back in, Lane hits a butterfly suplex for two. Smothers gets sent back out to the floor, but then pulls Eaton out from the apron. He heads back in to possibly tag Armstrong, but Lane is there to meet him with a clothesline. The Midnights go for a double-backdrop, but Smothers counters and rolls them over to set up the HOT TAG TO ARMSTRONG! The Southern Boys deliver their finisher to Lane (Smothers lifts up the opponent, Armstrong delivers a missile dropkick) Since there’s no name for it, we’ll just call it the SHOT ON FORT SUMTER. Smothers doesn’t get out of the ring in time for the ref to count though. Armstrong heads up top again, but Eaton walks over and shoves Armstrong down. He makes this look SO freakin’ easy. That sets up the ROCKET LAUNCHER! It connects and the ref counts this time even with Lane and Smothers in the ring! Cover, 1-2-NO! Armstrong got a shoulder up! Cornette and Lane argue with the ref, so the Southern Boys switch. Smothers surprises Eaton with an inside cradle, but Lane breaks it up at the VERY last second. Lane gets nailed out onto the apron, but still manages to catch Smothers with an enziguri! Eaton cradles up Smothers and gets 1-2-3! (18:16) Just an amazing match that showcases the best of what the Midnight Express had to offer. Plus, you’ve got a credible new tag team in the Southern Boys who will quickly be changed into the Young Pistols to garner more national looooove. ****¾
The Freebirds cut a ridiculous promo alongside Gordon Solie. Hayes says something like, “There’s nothing with four wheels we can’t drive, and nothing with four legs we can’t ride.”
Big Van Vader vs. Tom Zenk
As most of you know, this would be Vader’s NWA debut. This just has Ole Anderson written ALL over it. Vader has his cool headgear with him that shoots out steam. He also has his old mask on too. He just completely kills Zenk with some of his usual stiff offense including a splash off the ropes for the win. (2:16) ½*
Arn, Ole, Barry and Sid say they’re going to rid of the world of these dudes with attitudes. Oh yeah, and that Sting guy too.
Rick & Scott Steiner vs. The Freebirds
Who knew the Freebirds would have so much in common with Boy George? This is probably the most flaming I’ve ever seen them. They’re complete with multi-colored eye shadow and glittery pants and glittery suspenders. The Steiners lost the NWA tag belts in an upset to Doom back in May at Capital Combat and so this is just the match for them to get their heat back. The Freebirds dump Rick and double-team Scott, but he avoids DDTs from both guys just as Rick runs in and clears the ring of them with Steinerlines. We then see Scott run by and floor them with a double-clothesline. Alright, here’s where the stalling goes down. Rick hits a Steinerline, it leads to more stalling. Entertaining stalling though, as the crowd chants vulgarities at the shiny Freebirds. Rick bites Hayes on the butt, so Garvin tags in and wrestles with Scott. Scott delivers a pair of hiptosses and clears the ring of the Freebirds again. Hayes back in. He corners Scott for some blows, but Scott catches him for a tiger driver. Garvin runs in and takes a tilt-a-whirl slam. Man, Scott was good once. Rick tags in and powers Hayes down with a powerslam. Garvin nails Rick coming off the ropes for Hayes to knock him out to the floor with the infamous left jab. This gets Rick beat down pretty good out on the floor to be rolled back in for a 1-2-NO! Hayes hits the Bulldog for 1-2-NO! Garvin tags in for a chinlock and works that for a while. Garvin heads up top, but Rick nails him on the way down and then heads up himself and delivers a flying bulldog. Well, kind of. Scott gets the tag and press-slams Hayes all around the ring and on top of Garvin. Next up, it’s FRANKENSTEINER time! Garvin comes in and drops Scott with the DDT as soon as he gets to his feet. He covers, but he’s not the legal man. While the ref is with Garvin, Rick sneaks in and delivers an OVERHEAD BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX! Scott covers for 1-2-3! (13:45) Hey, the Freebirds used minimal restholds to make for an above-average Freebirds match, the Steiners maintained their dominance, and the crowd’s constant amusing involvement in the match gets this an extra ¼*. ***¼
Arn Anderson, Barry Windham & Sid Vicious vs. Paul Orndorff, Junkyard Dog & El Gigante
It’s Sting’s random new buddies better known as the “Dudes with Attitudes” taking on ¾ of the Horsemen. Just imagine Great Khali as a mildly charismatic babyface and you’ve got El Gigante. I know, that’s really stretching it. Luckily for us though, he sees as little ring-time as possible. Crowd wants Sid, so Arn gives them what they want against Orndorff. He overpowers Mr. Wonderful, stiffs him down with a clothesline, and poses. Sid misses a running leg drop though and that causes the Horsemen to attack. Orndorff clears the ring of them with hiptosses. Sid blocks when its his turn and won’t go down in a backslide until JYD comes in and sneaks a headbutt on the dude. Geez Sid, its just a backslide. That gets two. Arn tags in and corners Orndorff, but he fights his way out as El Gigante and JYD enter in the ring to scare off the heels. While the Horsemen review their game plan on the floor, Orndorff pulls Arn back in the ring for some JYD offense. The guy sells absolutely nothing while Anderson and Windham both retreat to their corners once they get too close to Gigante. Orndorff gets a tag and beats on the Horsemen before going for a PILEDRIVER on Arn, but Windham comes off the top for the save. All three Horsemen work on Orndorff until he catches Windham with a forearm and tags in JYD again. He ends up getting triple-teamed and tossed out over the top-rope, which calls for the DQ. (8:54) Post-match, Gigante finally gets his feet wet and clears the ring of the Horsemen. Real dull stuff, but it puts Gigante over and that’s really all they seemed to be going for in this one. *
Lex Luger stands by with Gordon Solie. He says “Mean” Mark is going to get IT and that tonight is the night for Sting to win the belt. He called it!
NWA U.S. Champion Lex Luger vs. “Mean” Mark Callous (w/Paul E. Dangerously)
This would be the zenith of Mark Calloway’s NWA push throughout the spring of ’90, as four months after this show he would debut in the WWF as the Undertaker after he was deemed “unmarketable”. Luger works the arm to start and then hits a crossbody block for two. Callous comes back with a mean leapfrog and a mean big boot. Callous hooks on a mean Fujiwara armbar and then goes OLD SKOOL (yeah, he even did it back then) on Luger. Luger fights back with punches, but then misses a clothesline up against the ropes and flies out to the floor. Callous drives Luger’s face into the steps and the announce table (which is literally just a fold-out poker table back in these days). Back in, Callous ducks low and Luger gets a desperation sunset flip for two. Callous gets right back on top of him though and hits a mean suplex, but Luger NO-SELLS. Luger hits a bunch of clotheslines and hoists Callous up in the TORTURE RACK! This looks to finish, but Luger swings Callous’ feet into the ref and kicks him down. Meanwhile, Paul E jumps in the ring and blasts Luger with the HUMONGOUS cell phone. That’s just mean! He wakes up the ref as Callous covers for 1-2-NO! Callous goes for his finisher, the HEART PUNCH, but Luger kicks him away. He nails Paul E who’s up on the apron and drills Callous with a running clothesline for 1-2-3. (12:09) That was such a ’90s style match. Awkward spots aside that went unmentioned, it was still a fun match. Much more fun than that six-man tag, which is hard to screw up. **
Earlier today, Gordon Solie met with Sting. Something that’s rarely done in today’s wrestling world – Sting puts over Flair as a great champion. His knee is back to 100% and he’s ready to walk that aisle. WOO.
NWA World Tag Team Champions Doom (w/Teddy Long) vs. Rock ‘n Roll Express
A title match for the RnR’s makes a lot of sense here. They’ve beaten the Midnights and the Freebirds in big match situations since their return, so it’s only fair. As usual, the Express use their speed and tandem offense to piss off the two big men to start. Gibson finally gets cornered and beat on pretty badly for a couple minutes. Gibson comes back with a knee-lift on Reed and makes the tag to Morton. Morton does okay against Doom until he gets caught off a rollup on Reed and gets nailed in the back of the head with a forearm from Simmons. More Doom domination. Reed hits an elbow drop off the middle rope for two. Morton elbows out of a chinlock and into a backslide, but the ref is busy with Simmons and that only gets two. Simmons tags and hits a standing powerslam for another two. Reed tags in to reapply the chinlock and then tosses Morton out to the floor just to be a meanie. Back in, Reed ducks low and pays for it, but doesn’t make the much-needed tag and gets dropped with a powerslam. Reed tries a running splash, but Morton pulls up the knees to block and finally makes the HOT TAG TO GIBSON! All four men in the ring now, which signals the finish is near. Teddy Long gets up and climbs on the ropes to yell at Reed for some reason, so Gibson gives Reed an enziguri kick into Long and flips him into the ring as Reed falls out to the apron! Gibson picks up Teddy Long and shoves him down, but then turns around into a FLYING SHOULDERBLOCK from Reed for 1-2-3! (15:41) Sort of slow because of too much Butch Reed, but this was like Rock n Roll Express 101. Also, there weren’t enough tag team games that the RnR’s are famous for to make me want to watch this match repeatedly. At the same time, Doom is definitely being pushed as legit. 2 legit 2 quit, if you will. **½
Ric Flair interview: To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man. He says tonight in Baltimore, he will be THE man. WOO.
NWA World Champion Ric Flair vs. Sting
This is the long-awaited blowoff match to part II of the Sting/Flair feud. The story goes like this: Sting joins up with the reformed Four Horsemen and beats Flair in the Ironman tournament finals match at Starrcade and asks Flair for a title shot. That sends Flair over the edge and gets Sting beat up and kicked out of the Horsemen for good. So bad in fact, the Horsemen destroy Sting’s knee and try to put him out of wrestling. Of course as we all know now, it was all just an injury cover-up, as Sting had legitimately tore a tendon in his knee as he tried to climb a cage at the Clash X. After months of rehab, Sting is back and wants revenge. That leads us to where we are right now. Sting not only has the “Dude with Attitudes” surrounding the ring to keep anybody from interfering during this match, but he also has Ole Anderson freakin’ handcuffed to El Gigante to prevent any tomfoolery whatsoever. Oh yeah, and it’s also no-DQ. To say the odds are solidly in Sting’s favor would be the understatement of the year. Flair puts Sting in the corner to start, but Sting NO-SELLS the chops and delivers a military press. Flair wants out, but the Steiners stand in his way. Flair turns around into a hiptoss and a dropkick and rolls out onto the elevated walkway, but Sting follows him out and hiptosses him before giving him a clothesline back in the ring. Flair begs away and pokes Sting in the eye to set up the snapmare/knee drop combination. Flair hits a delayed suplex, but Sting pops right back up and drills Flair with clotheslines. He heads up top and catches Flair with a flying crossbody for 1-2-NO! Flair rolls out successfully this time and slows down the pace. He re-enters and goes right after the previously injured knee. Flair chops away, but Sting explodes out of the corner with a clothesline. Sting misses the jumping elbow drop and Flair goes for the FIGURE-FOUR, but Sting kicks him away. Flair fires back with a forearm and tosses Sting out to the floor to send him rolling around on that knee. Back in, Sting wobbles around on one leg and punishes Flair with a hiptoss, but then whiffs on a standing dropkick. Flair goes back to work on the knee, but then misses a rolling knee drop. Now Sting has Flair in the FIGURE-FOUR, but Flair quickly grabs the bottom rope! They go to the floor again for Flair to whip Sting into the guardrail, but that has no effect on the Stinger! Flair cowers back into the ring and gets pummeled. Flair goes low and heads up top, but that never ends well for heel Flair. Sting gets a backslide for 1-2-NO! Sting turns his attention to the ref, allowing Flair to clip Sting in the back of the knee. Flair tries for another FIGURE-FOUR attempt, but Sting kicks him away again. Flair tries more chops in the corner, but Sting NO-SELLS them as well! Sting’s chest looks BEAT. Sting hits the military press for two and then heads over to the corner for the ten-count corner punch. He whips Flair across for the Flair Flip and nails him as Flair runs down the apron. Suplex back in gets two. Sting looks to put Flair away with the STINGER SPLASH and the SCORPION DEATHLOCK as the Horsemen come down. The Dudes with Attitudes stop them at the pass. In the ring, Flair refuses to quit and reaches the ropes. Flair tries to gets a cheap win by shoulder-blocking Sting from the apron and sliding in to cover with his feet clearly on the ropes. Scott Steiner quickly runs by and yanks Flair off of Sting. Flair looks at Steiner and gets rolled up for 1-2-NO! Headlock/backslide sequence follows as Sting gets 1-2-NO! Flair begins to get frustrated as he repeatedly chops at Sting and finally gives up and goes to his knees to beg for Sting to leave him alone. Classic. Sting whips Flair into the corner and charges in with a knee, but Flair avoids the contact as the crowd collectively shrieks as they sense what is about to happen next. That’s right, the FIGURE-FOUR! Oh wait-NO! Sting counters with an inside cradle for 1-2-3! NEW WORLD CHAMPION! (16:06) The Baltimore Arena EXPLODES in a moment possibly no one there will ever forget. A classic match and one of the very few classic, timeless moments in WCW history. It was a rare time in WCW where they actually gave the fans what they had been begging to see and that’s witness Sting defeat Ric Flair for the gold. To show just how great a professional Sting is, after the match he puts Flair over as the greatest world champion ever. As JR would say, “That’s class.” ****
Final Thoughts: If you disregard Sting’s actual title run which was marred by the terrible Black Scorpion angle and battling guys like Sid Vicious on major shows, his title win was as good as it could get and that’s what you see here. Aside from that, nothing is outrageously bad excluding the six-man tag, which was truly disappointing with the deteriorated JYD who wrestled way too much of that one. The Midnights/Southern Boys match is must-see material, as it’s one of the best tag matches ever. I’m giving this one a thumbs up as the NWA is on a roll now with three straight PPVs that rocked the free world.