WCW Great American Bash 1997 6/15/1997
Written by: Scott Keith
– Live from Moline, IL.
– Your hosts are Tony, Bobby and Dusty.
– This may or may not have been the last WCW show I ever ordered. I distinctly remember not seeing this show live, but I can’t find it in my tape collection anywhere, so I’d assume that I didn’t order it. At any rate, I don’t remember ANYTHING about this show so if I ever did watch it I probably wasn’t paying a terrible amount of attention.
– Opening match: Psychosis v. Ultimo Dragon. Psychosis has Sony Onoo with him, after the bitter split between Dragon and Onoo. Yeah, I don’t remember, either. Psychosis is in blue, which looks weird. Crowd is pretty pumped here. Tons of stalling to start, and Psychosis gets the advantage by punching Dragon low on a leapfrog. Dragon’s HANDSTAND OF DEATH leads into the kick combo to a big pop. Isn’t it amazing how WCW could get these guys so over and then piss it all away with the Alex Wright title reign? Psic can stall with the best of them. I understand the necessity, but it’s really annoying. Dragon misses a pescado to give Psyc the advantage again, and Sonny Onoo makes sure. He sets up the ultra-contrived guillotine legdrop on the ropes, and then stalls some more. Dragon comes back with a handspring elbow and then a contrived headscissor-reversal spot sends Pyschosis to the outside, which sets up the quebrada. Brainbuster and STIFF tombstone gets two. Pyschosis comes back with something off the top which knocks Dragon out of the ring, and he follows with a tope con hilo over the ringpost. Nice stuff. Back in the ring and Dragon snaps off a rana for two, and Psychosis rolls through for two. Pyschosis tries a running moonsault, but gets dropkicked on the way down. Crowd is way into this stuff. Top rope rana and Tiger suplex looks to finish it, but Onoo distracts him long enough for Pyschosis to hit a leg lariat off the top for two. Sonny kicks the wrong guy and Dragon slaps on the Dragon sleeper for the tap-out. Dull start, hot finish. ***1/4
– Harlem Heat v. The Steiner Brothers. The winner of this match will be first in line for the Outsiders to duck. Sherri is looking plumper than a Ballpark frank. It looks okay on her, but she was fired soon after this. It’s always fun to go back and watch Booker T carry his team. Scott Steiner is built like Scott Norton at this point. Sure, Eric, I’ll bet he’s not on steroids and he’s never failed a drug test. RIIIIIIIIGHT. Amazing fun fact: All four guys went on to become TV champion at some point, and two of them went on to lead the nWo. Absolutely nothing worth noting occurs for about the first 10 minutes. Lord help me, but I think that if Scott is properly recovered from his back injury when he comes back, they should push him to the main event. At this point, he’s better than the rest of the stiffs up there anyway and he’s gotten nicely in tune with his gimmick. Rick Steiner ends up playing Ricky Morton . Best spot of the match: Stevie Ray bearhugs Rick and Booker literally jumps 10 feet in the air and sidekicks Rick. I mea, WOW. Scott gets the hot tag and chaos ensues. Then in an ending that I always hate with a passion, Vincent runs into the ring and elbowdrops Stevie Ray, to give them the DQ win. See, the nWo doesn’t want to face the Steiners, or something. In reality, the Outsiders didn’t really want to face ANYBODY so they kept having various combinations of Harlem Heat, the Steiners, and others do “#1 contender” matches that went nowhere while they posed on Nitro. Harlem Heat never got the title shot as far as I know. *
– Gonnad v. Hugh Morrus . This was during Gonnad’s highly unsuccessful gangsta rapper look period, before his went nWo4life. I so cannot be bothered to care about this one, but there’s some kind of Dungeon of Doom backstory here or whatever. K-Dong runs through his usual moves of insufficient doom~. Oh, and restholds, gotta have those. Did you know that there’s actually a book called “Crowd Killing for Dummies?” Okay, sure, I’ve never seen it, but by deductive reasoning you’d have to come to the conclusion that it exists after watching this match. Gonnad has the gall to try a Herb Kunze Stump-Puller at one point, which coincides with a rather noticeable “boring” chant outbreak in the crowd. Both guys are noticeably winded after a marathon 8 minutes or so. Morrus gets something vaguely resembling a powerslam and goes for his moonsault, but Gonnad pops up, knocks him off, and hits one of the worst german suplexes I’ve ever seen. He supposedly applies the Tequila Sunrise but it looks more like he was pulling back on Hugh’s leg. It’s still enough for the submission. Oh, man, this was 17 different kinds of bad. I mean, seriously, this was just BRUTAL to watch. -*1/2
– Mean Gene notes that someone having problems with their current organization might show up on Nitro the next night. That would be Raven, so you don’t have to call the hotline. The Pubelic Enema comes out for an interview, which Gene ruins by cutting in on Johnny Grunge’s cue. Mark Madden was right — these guys are nothing without Paul E. scripting their interviews. The gist of the interview is that they don’t like Harlem Heat.
– Oh, joy…
– Glacier v. Wrath. The one talented worker of the bunch — Mortis/Kanyon — is handcuffed to the ringpost as per the stips. See, the Evil Manager of the Curious Oddities, James Vandenberg , stole the Sacred Helmet from Glacier, because it’s the Oddities’ sworn duty to destroy Glacier, and Glacier gets his power from the Helmet. But lucky for him, the THREE-TIME KARATE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, Ernest Miller , jumped out of the audience at Slamboree and joined his side the month before this. As a sidenote, Miller eventually got over with a totally new gimmick, Mortis got over with a totally new gimmick, and Wrath got over with a totally new gimmick. Glacier, the focal point of the angle, recently sold his armor to Kaz Hayashi for $20,000 and is currently debating a new gimmick. Mike Tenay reels off these Boon-Tobian so-stupid-they’re-funny backstory references for all the guys (apparently, and this news to me, Mortis used to be a pro wrestler, but he was too brutal, so he got suspended a lot and ended up doing pitfights in Taiwan, where he met up against Glacier and some mysterious circumstance occured that turned them into longlife nemesissessess. No, really, the Iron Professor told me, so it’s true, right?) Things I don’t get: Vandenberg does the Cornette mat-pounding to get the crowd into it, but he’s going bang-bang-bang, which only works if the face has a one-syllable name (“Let’s Go Bret!”) or a three-syllable name (“DDP!” or “Rock And Roll!”). Glacier has two syllables so you have to pound the mat like bang-bang (“Gla-Cier!”) in order for it to work. The match runs about 10 minutes but damned if I’m gonna call any of it. Furthermore, Tenay informs us, Mr. Vandenberg is the curator for the Museum of Medical Abnormalities. I wonder if that’s in the same town as that huge ball of rubber bands. Wrath pulls out his somersault dive off the apron, thus impressing the hell out of the crowd and becoming the only guy in this feud to be even vaguely over. The camera actually misses the winning superkick from Glacier, which is just par for the course for this whole mess. The Oddities handcuff Glacier to the ropes and he raises one leg (in a scene reminiscent of a dog about piss on someone’s lawn) in order to defend himself. Beatdown results. This was 15 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. 1/4*
– WCW Women’s title match: Akira Hokuto v. Madusa. If Madusa loses, she retires. Lee Marshall the Drooling Idiot joins us for “expert” commentary on women’s wrestling. Are there really any more Lee Marshall jokes that I could make which could top the laugh any one of us could get by calling him up and asking how his business ventures are going? Be sure to note that you’re waiting anxiously for his first movie. A hair-pulling segment allows the cameraman to lecherously focus on Madusa’s cleavage for a good minute. Yeah, sure, the WWF invented the art of titillation, right. Madusa pulls hair to come back. Lee tries to show off his boxing commentary skills. It’s okay, Lee, WCW once gave an announcing job to a retarded kid, so as long as you don’t drool on the microphone you’re not in danger of losing your job. The fact that Mr. Marshall was actually NOTICEABLY bad, even compared to the rest of WCW’s announce team, to the point where they had to fire him is pretty telling. Case in point: In a pathetic attempt to be of ANY use, Lee uses the one previous job he had before as a reference point: The AWA. See, TEN YEARS AGO, Madusa suffered a dislocated knee, so Lee makes a point of telling us that. Wow, Lee, that’s great, but what about the hangnail that Mike Enos got in 1989? How come you never brought that up during *his* matches on Thunder? Madusa sells the knee injury off and on, occasionally popping up for an acrobatic move that no one with a knee injury could possibly do. Can’t really fault the psychology, but who gives a shit about the women’s division? Then, to just totally waste all of the match buildup, Hokuto finishes it with a Northern Lights Bomb (Snow Plow). Hokuto was the one and only Women’s champion, as the title was sent back to Japan after this and never heard from again. Madusa “retires” because of the loss. **
– Mean Gene, bastion of sensitivity, swoops in on the injured and crying Madusa and points out that “her career is finished, toast, over”. What a fucking lowlife. Crowd even starts chanting “Leave her alone”.
– Death match: Meng v. Chris Benoit . Benoit rocks my world by hitting a tope suicida as Meng saunters down to the ring. Just beautiful timing. Benoit hits the swandive and crossface right away, but Meng powers out. Check this out: Benoit goes for a figure-four, but Meng reaches up to block it, but Benoit blocks THAT by grabbing the arm and turning it into the cross-face again. Man, he’s ON here. Tony: “In a death match, you have to break on the ropes”. So what’s the ref gonna do — disqualify you? It’s a friggin DEATH MATCH. Meng gets control and Chris bumps like a beach ball for him. But still, despite not doing anything, Meng still has to rest. Meng actually pulls out a frog splash, but there’s no pins. Benoit makes it up at 9. Benoit does a Shawn-esque oversell of a Meng sidekick and they fight outside the ring. Back in and a german suplex gets an 8-count, then another gets a 7-count. Meng comes back with the TONGAN DEATH GRIP OF DOOM, but Benoit runs out of the ring to escape. They fight outside the ring again. More resting from Meng back in the ring. He misses another frog splash and Benoit gets the cross-face again. Meng escapes and he gets it again. Meng is just refusing to sell the move. Benoit tries it again. Hello, isn’t the point to get a ten-count? Well, whatever. Meng holds on for about two minutes but passes out and Benoit gets the submission victory. Benoit tried like nuts but it’s fucking Meng, so, you know. **1/4 Benoit and Meng do a double-stretcher job. Showing that he can’t sell a stretcher job, Meng falls off the gurney halfway to the dressing room.
– Steve MacMichael v. Kevin Greene. We want Pupp–oh, wait, sorry, that was just reflexes. Greene blitzes Mongo to start. Good thing Jim Ross isn’t calling this, we’d never hear the end of it. Debra looks…different somehow. I can’t put my breasts, I mean, finger on it. Mongo is working heel here, even though he’s been a babyface for the past few months. But hey, it’s the blowoff for a feud that started a year before, so who am I to question? Best worker of the match: Kevin Greene’s mom, who whacks Mongo with a purse when they fight outside. Sign this woman! Who’s bright idea was it to let these two go without an actual wrestler in there to call the match for them? To be fair, both guys are trying hard here, but neither guy has any business being on a major PPV to begin with. They run through their arsenals, and then, oops, neither guy knows what to do. So we get choking and kicking and punching. This is just turning into a train wreck. Jeff Jarrett runs in with a haliburton, but hits Mongo by mistake and Greene gets the pin. By the way, Greene has the worst entrance music. Ever. Hands down. Oh, wait, I guess it’s the Carolina Panther ‘s fight song. I’d like to note that no Canadian fan of any pro team would ever be caught dead singing a fight song, but that’s probably what seperates us from the Americans. Well, that and about 5% of alcohol in the beer. *1/2, but I’ve seen much, much worse. For instance, Steve MacMichael v. Reggie White from the previous month.
– World Tag Team title match: Big Poochie & Alka-Hall v. Roddy Piper & Ric Flair. Someone should make a compendium of Piper’s “catchphrases that didn’t catch”. I.C.O.N., Reality Check, all the hits would be there. Crowd is hot for this one. The two talented workers — Flair and Hall — start out. Flair does the Flip, right into Nash’s boot. Well, that’s one wrestling move for Nash, I suppose. Hall seems pretty wasted. The champs have their way with Flair and pose a lot. Piper gets a hot tag and puts Hall in the sleeper, but Hall crotches him to retake control. Syxx interferes freely, prompting Flair to chase him to the dressing room. He never returns. The Outsiders do an extended squash on Piper, and the pinfall is academic after the Edge. This would set up Flair’s heel turn, which would lead to a Flair-Piper match on the next PPV, and then Piper left to do movies or whatever so WCW simply forgot the whole thing and turned Flair face again. Politics — aren’t they fun? DUD
– Main event: Diamond Dallas Page v. Randy Savage . Brawl to start, and DDP pulls a pescado out right off the bat. This is a rematch from Spring Stampede, in case you care. Savage was still nWo4life. DDP with a forearm off the top and the crowd approves. Choice bump from Savage as DDP dumps him over the top. They fight into the crowd and the brawl is underway. DDP tosses Savage into a concrete wall, and then through a door to the lobby. Savage is bumping like a madman. They fight back to ringside again and DDP takes a nice bump to the stairs. Liz helps out, giving Savage a handful of powder which ends up in DDP’s eyes. Fans start chanting for STING of all people to help DDP out. Savage gets tired of the referee so he nails him and piledrives him for good measure. Another slugfest. Mark Curtis comes out to take over refereeing duties and gets tossed over the top by Savage. Savage goes after Kimberly, and Nick Patrick (ref #3) comes out to protect her. DDP tries to escape back to the dressing room, and Savage follows. A picnic area is set up in the back (yeah, right, that’s likely) and of course it gets destroyed. This is like an episode of Batman or something, with bizarre props turning up out of nowhere. Back in the ring and DDP posts Savage. DDP with a pancake, but Savage counters with a jawbreaker and we’re back to the floor again. Savage goes for a piledriver on the floor, but Patrick stops him so Savage beats him up, and a planted photographer to boot. DDP nails Savage with a chair, but back in the ring Savage gets a lowblow to block the Diamond Cutter. DDP gets it o try #2, but all the refs are wiped out. Scott Hall runs in to interfere and Savage uses the tag title belt to wipe out DDP. Hall hits the Edge on DDP and Savage drops the big elbow to finish it. I suppose a clean finish was too much to ask? Call it about **1/2
The Bottom Line: This show got reasonably good reviews on the ‘net at the time, but I can’t really imagine why because I had the peak match as the opener, with everything else being mediocre or worse. It was basically just your average 1997 nWo lovefest show, nothing more, nothing less.
Recommendation to avoid.