Great American Bash 1997
Date: June 15, 1997
Location: The MARK of Quad Cities, Moline, Illinois
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It HAS TO be better than Slamboree. I mean it has to be. The main event here is Savage vs. DDP in a falls count anywhere match. Also since last week's battle of the football players match went so well, we're repeating it here. Now one good thing about WCW at this point is that the matches got time, as in the shortest match on this show is nine and a half minutes long. On the other hand, the shortest match on this show is nine and a half minutes long. Let's get to it.
The opening video is about AMERICA. DDP has chased the American Dream (not Dusty) which is a nice idea actually.
We also have the Outsiders defending against Piper/Flair.
Psicosis vs. Ultimo Dragon
This is the revenge match for Dragon after he dumped Onoo and Sonny brought in Onoo to fight for him. Dragon sends him to the floor and the crowd is hot. Back in Psicosis takes him to the mat but gets knocked to the floor almost immediately. In the ring again Dragon tries a leapfrog but Psicosis punches him out of the air. Dragon one ups him by dropping an elbow on Psicosis as he hits the mat. There's the handstand in the corner and here come the kicks.
The crowd is WAY into Dragon here. Psicosis takes over with a clothesline and walks around a lot. The crowd energy alone is making this show feel better than the previous one. Psicosis gets guillotined on the top rope but as Dragon tries to dive on him he injures his knee. Sonny adds in some kicks to keep Dragon down. Psicosis punches him into a 619 position but with Dragon facing up. Psycho hits a guillotine legdrop down onto the Dragon and barely misses the apron.
La Majistral gets two. Dragon rolls to the floor and Sonny fires off more kicks, but this time Dragon blocks him. He sets for a suplex but Psicosis makes the save. Back in dragon hits some more kicks and almost knocks a horn off of the mask. They both try rollups with Dragon kicking him into the aisle where he hits the Asai Moonsault. That thing is gorgeous. Tombstone in the ring gets two.
Psicosis gets sent to the apron and comes back with a slingshot cross body to send Dragon to the floor. HUGE dive over the top takes Dragon out. Back in (I've been saying that a lot) Dragon rolls forward into a rana but it gets countered into a sunset flip for two. Psicosis tries a moonsault press but Dragon dropkicks him out of the air. Super rana looks to set up the tiger suplex but he goes after Sonny instead. The distraction lets Psicosis hit a springboard missile dropkick for two. Dragon sends Psicosis into Sonny and the Dragon Sleeper gets the tap out.
Rating: B. I liked this one as they were flying all over the place. Dragon was a lot better than I remembered him being and his last few matches have probably been the best ones of the PPVs. I'm not sure why he didn't become a bigger star than he was in WCW, but maybe it was the language barrier issue?
Harlem Heat vs. Steiner Brothers
The winners are #1 contenders which makes me laugh. Stevie and Scott get us going and it's power vs. power. They collide off the ropes and no one moves, so Scott hits him in the face with a forearm. When all else fails, HIT HIM IN THE HEAD. Stevie kicks him in the face to take over. Another boot misses so Scott throws him over in a suplex. The Steiners clear the ring for a bit and Stevie wants Rick.
Ray pounds him down and it's off to Booker, but he wants Scott. Rick won't leave so Booker doesn't get what he wants. Ok now he does and Scott shoves him into the corner. Booker breaks up a test of strength and tries a headlock. That gets him nowhere so he tries a full nelson. Scott easily breaks it but takes a knee to the ribs to slow him right back down. Butterfuly powerbomb gets one for Steiner.
Off to Rick again who wants to brawl. The brawling doesn't work so he goes to the Steiner bread and butter of a suplex. Scott comes in for a gorilla press but he jumps into a boot. Spinarooni sets up the Harlem Side Kick and Booker clotheslines Scott and himself to the floor. Scott sends him into the barricade to take over and they head back inside. Rick comes in again and goes outside also, but this time Stevie powerslams him on the floor to give Harlem Heat the advantage.
Rick is in trouble now as Harlem Heat lulls Scott in. They hit a modified Hart Attack (Harlem Side Kick instead of a clothesline) called the Big Apple for a delayed two. Rick catches a kick into a powerbomb/suplex kind of move to put both guys down. Hot tag brings in Scott and the ring is cleared quickly. A top rope Frankensteiner puts Stevie down...and here's Vincent to hit Stevie so that the Steiners lose and the Outsiders don't have to face them.
Rating: D+. This was pretty much a long TV match with a bad finish. It makes sense on paper, but there wouldn't be a tag title match, at least not on PPV that I can remember. It was around this time that the titles became a prop as without anyone defending them, the Outsiders being called the best team made no sense. You had a bunch of teams that wanted them which helped, but with the titles never being defended they stopped meaning anything.
Vincent takes the Steiner Bulldog post match.
Hugh Morrus vs. Konnan
More fallout from last month. Konnan is a rapper now. Brawl to start and Morrus takes over with some forearms to the back. A running dropkick puts Konnan down again. Hugh heads to the floor for no apparent reason and is slammed into the steps. Back inside now for some chinlockery. Now it's a modified crab as this match slows way down. Morrus sends him to the floor again to take over but then throws him right back inside.
Spinwheel kick gets....Morrus sitting on his knees and then a cover for two. Now off to a Fujiwara Armbar and a bad one at that. Gutwrench suplex sends Konnan flying as they don't like leaving holds on for that long. Back to the armbar which Konnan easily breaks and doesn't sell at all. Clothesline sets up a stump puller of all things and then off to a headscissors.
This is one of those “let's lay on the mat for most of this match” matches. Konnan lets go of the headscissors and puts on a cross armbreaker. Morrus won't bother to sell it either so Konnan kicks him in the head. Morrus is laying there so Konnan gives up on it and they get back up. Back to the armbar attempt but Konnan escapes. A rollup goes badly so Morrus loads up the moonsault but he stands there for an hour and a half, allowing Konnan to crotch him. A bad Tequila Sunrise gets Morrus to pass out instead of giving up.
Rating: F. Oh MAN this was bad. They laid around a lot, they didn't do anything at all, NO ONE was selling anything and the story wasn't interesting at all. Nothing to see here at all and the match was just horrible. This was one of those things that you forget about in WCW: horrible midcard matches like these.
Gene talks about how someone is having issues with his employer and might show up on Nitro tomorrow. Someone was, they did show up on Nitro, it was in two weeks, and his name was Raven.
Public Enemy doesn't like Harlem Heat.
Glacier vs. Wrath
Mortis is handcuffed to the post here. Wrath takes him into the corner and fires off elbows and chops but Glacier comes back with slaps of his own. Some kicks send Wrath to the floor and there's a dive over the top by Glacier. I'm stunned by seeing him do more than just kicks and strikes. Still on the floor and Wrath is sent into the steps. Things stay slow as Glacier jumps off the apron for a shot to the back which gets two back inside.
Corner splash misses for Glacier and it's in the corner Mortis is chained up in, so Mortis trips him. Wrath loads up a powerbomb but drops back to hot shot Glacier on the top rope. Off to the chinlock which eats up a little time. Glacier gets up but misses a cross body and falls to the floor. Back inside a top rope clothesline gets no cover. Glacier tries to choke him but gets shoved back down.
A Vader Bomb elbow misses and Glacier comes back with a backdrop. There's a spin kick and a jumping back elbow for two. A suplex puts Wrath down and he goes up but gets crotched. A superplex puts both guys down but Mortis gets up to distract the referee. James Vandenberg offers distraction #2 and Mortis throws in a chain. Glacier catches it, right hand, pin.
Rating: D. This was one of those matches and feuds that just kept dragging on and on and on. Ernest Miller was brought in last month and he didn't make things any better either. Nothing to see here other than a filler match and not a very good one at that. I think this ended soon after it though.
Glacier gets cuffed to the rope and it's a triple beatdown.
Women's Title: Akira Hokuto vs. Madusa
Title vs. career here. We actually get a Candy Devine reference as WOMEN'S WRESTLING EXPERT Lee Marshall talks about his AWA days. Hokuto starts in control and sends Madusa across the ring by the hair. She chokes Madusa in the corner and then in the middle of the ring. Total squash so far. Off to a chinlock less than two minutes in. A piledriver kills Madusa even further but she comes back with a reverse mat slam to take over.
There are a pair of dropkicks which gets two. Marshall is talking about something called Johnny Taco's Gym in Las Vegas. Hokuto comes back with choking and a slam/suplex kind of move. More choking follows and Hokuto shrugs off a kick to the head. A modified suplex sets up a figure four attempt but Madusa gets to the rope.
Madusa comes back with a spin kick to the boobs and a series of kicks to the ribs. A small package gets two for the champion. Madusa comes off the top with an ax handle but blows her knee out in the process. Marshall again talks about AWA women's wrestling and an old injury from ten years ago. Modified surfboard works on the knee some more as this match is better than most of the others on the show so far.
Now it's up to a full surfboard and Madusa is in trouble. That gets released because it's a very hard hold to keep up and Hokuto goes up. Madusa comes back with a Stratusphere and the suplex but the cover is delayed so it only gets two. Another German suplex attempt is countered into a leg bar.
One of the things you don't see very much in this company in this era is time between moves. It's just going from one move to another which takes a lot of getting used to. The leg bar stays on for awhile and is followed by a guillotine legdrop attempt but Madusa moves out of the way. German Suplex gets two and it's back to the knee. A top rope splash hits knees but Madusa can't do anything because of the knee. A Snow Plow by Hokuto ends this. The retirement of course didn't last.
Rating: C-. This was the best match of the night probably other than the opener but that's not saying much. Just boring overall but the story of the knee injury helped a lot. At the end of the day though, who cares about the women's division in this era anyway? This is the end of the Women's Title anyway.
With Madusa being taken to the back and with her career being over, Gene pops up to say that her career is toast and puts a mic in her face. The fans chant LEAVE HER ALONE. This was a dick move even for Gene.
Chris Benoit vs. Meng
This is another death match, meaning you can win by submission or knockout. Benoit takes it straight to the floor and chases Jimmy Hart off. Back in Benoit immediately tries the Crossface but Meng lifts him up to break it. I don't think the hold was all the way on yet. Benoit tries it again and this time gets it on, but Meng makes a rope and when you think DEATH MATCH, you think rope breaks.
They slug it out and Benoit escapes a powerbomb. Benoit suplexes him over the top and to the floor which isn't as impressive as it sounds. Back in Benoit goes up with his back to the ring but Meng kicks the foot out and Benoit is caught in the Tree of Woe. A kick to the face gets about seven for Meng and a spinebuster gets about five. Kick to the face is followed by a modified Dragon Sleeper but Benoit bites the hand to escape. That's smart.
The idea here is that Benoit can't hurt him but he keeps trying. Meng chops him down again and hits a top rope splash for seven but Meng kicks him right back down. Benoit is knocked to the floor but he reverses Meng into the barricade. Back in the ring Benoit hits the German suplex to put Meng down for eight. Benoit throws on another German because the first one worked so well. This one gets about six.
Benoit kicks him to the floor and....does nothing at all. Meng gets back in and hits an atomic drop to take over. There's the Death Grip but Benoit dives over the top to break it up. They slug it out on the floor and Meng takes over with a headbutt. Off to a chinlock as Dusty is talking about breathing apparatuses. Heenan: “Well thank you Quincy.” A suplex puts Benoit down but a middle rope splash misses.
The Crossface goes on but Meng gets a rope. Benoit immediately puts it on again but Meng makes the rope one more time. Meng pounds him down but gets caught in a Dragon Screw Leg Whip and then the Crossface goes on for I think the fourth time this match. This one is closer to the middle of the ring too. After about a minute and a half Meng blacks out to give Benoit the win. Dusty says this is an historic moment. How exactly is this historic?
Rating: C. Not bad but for the most part it was Meng not selling anything for awhile until Benoit held him in the Crossface for forever. It wasn't bad but when I think DEATH match, I think something a little more violent than this. It wasn't bad but it's being overblown a little bit too much.
Post match they both get taken out on stretchers. Why in the world would Benoit need help? He had the Crossface on for like two minutes at the end. They only have one stretcher so this takes awhile.
Watch Bash at the Beach!
Kevin Greene vs. Steve McMichael
Great. MORE football players wrestling. Greene charges the aisle and it's on quickly. He mounts McMichael and pounds away so Steve heads to the floor. Mongo pulls him to the floor and yells at some fans in Greene jerseys. Oh it's his parents. MAMA HITS HIM WITH A PURSE!!! Mongo stomps him down coming back in and Greene is in trouble. He can sell better than Meng can for what it's worth.
Neckbreaker puts Kevin down for two. Greene comes back with something like a Thesz Press but charges into a backbreaker. Kevin takes him into the corner and rains down punches but Mongo drops him and hits a dropkick for two. Mongo hits him in the corner but Greene kicks him in the chest to break it up. Top rope clothesline gets two.
Time for some choking but Greene has to break it because of Mongo being in the ropes. A big clothesline puts McMichael onto the floor and Greene follows him for some stomping. A kind of Stinger Splash misses and Mongo chokes some more. Here's Jarrett with the briefcase but he hits Mongo in the back of the head by mistake. Greene gets the easy pin.
Rating: D+. It wasn't as bad as the White match as Greene at least has a tiny bit of experience. Mongo continues to be horrible though and the match was bad as a result. The ending was more about pushing the Horsemen split which had been going on for almost six months at this point. Bad match but not terrible I guess.
Madusa is having her knee looked at.
Tag Titles: Roddy Piper/Ric Flair vs. Outsiders
So that #1 contenders match last month really didn't mean jack did it? Flair and Hall start things off and there's a toothpick to the face. Flair gets punched down but comes back with chops to send Hall to the floor. Back in Flair is Flipped in the corner and runs the apron right into the big boot from Nash which gets two. Off to Big Kev who pounds him down and gets a side slam for two.
Hall adds in some cheating but the distraction lets Piper hit a low blow to bring in Piper. Piper hooks a quick sleeper on Hall but it's easily broken and Hall crotches him on the top. With both guys down, Flair beats up Syxx on the floor. Flair fights him up the alley as Piper gets up. There's no one to tag so it's two on one. This was supposed to tease a Flair heel turn. Off to hall who pounds away and slaps Piper on the back of the head a lot. Roddy says bring it on but he gets Nash instead, resulting in a bunch of knees to the ribs. Big boot puts him down and it's off to Hall for the Edge to retain.
Rating: D. There was a lot of laying around for a lot of the match and the ending was pretty stupid. Flair was supposed to turn heel but Piper bailed to Hollywood so the turn didn't go anywhere. This was nothing of note and Flair going up the aisle with Syxx seemed pretty stupid for Flair to do. The ending was more or less a squash anyway.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage
Falls count anywhere. Buffer calls it lights out, which has meant a bunch of things over the years. Liz looks great tonight but Kimberly looks a bit better. Page comes in through the crowd and it's on. A quick cutter attempt doesn't work and Savage heads to the floor. Page dives on his but the ribs are still bad so it puts both guys down. Back inside Page takes him down with a clothesline and another off the top.
Back to the floor and they go into the crowd with Savage in control. They fight up towards a concrete wall and then through a door into the concourse. Page gets a crutch and waits for Savage to come back through so he can break the crutch over his back. Back to ringside with Savage hitting something like a spinebuster to further mess with Page's ribs. Page gets a weapon somehow but Savage has powder to slow him down.
Page manages to hit him with whatever he had and both guys are down. Savage gets up first and takes the tape off of Page's ribs. For no apparent reason he piledrives the referee and Page has an opening. He hits a headbutt but Randy goes right back to the ribs. A second referee comes out and is tossed as well. Savage sends him to the floor and goes after Kimberly but referee #3 (Nick Patrick) makes the save.
They fight up by the stage and there's a VIP picnic area which they destroy. Dusty freaks out because there's a barbecue pit. Page wins the battle of the smoked meat and it's back to the ring. Savage gets crotched on the post and pancaked. The Cutter is countered by a jawbreaker and they head outside again. Savage loads up a piledriver on the exposed concrete but Nick Patrick makes the save and gets decked as a result.
Savage snaps (into it), sending Patrick into the barricade and beating up a photographer. Page comes back to send him into the steel and they go back in. A low blow stops the Diamond Cutter but another attempt at it connects. Both guys are down so here's Hall. Page fights him off but Savage clocks him with Hall's belt. The Outsider's Edge lets Savage hit the elbow for the pin.
Rating: B-. Pretty solid brawl here but at the end of the day, so what? It's certainly better than their Spring Stampede match and since Page won the first one I have little problem with him losing here. The NWO stuff was annoying but you knew it was coming. Pretty decent main event though and certainly the best in months.
Overall Rating: C-. Definitely the best of the trio here but still nothing all that great. It's light years ahead of Slamboree but then again what isn't? Hogan would be back the next month to actually wrestle on pay per view but unfortunately it was with Dennis Rodman in a tag match. Anyway, decent show here but there's nothing worth seeing at all.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com