WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review

WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review
Date: June 14, 1998
Attendance: 12,810
Location: Baltimore Arena

Well a mixed month it was with Nitro and Thunder as I saw perhaps the best Nitro episode in all my time which was then followed with the worst Nitro I had ever seen the next week. This particular episode had Dennis Rodman (why Jesus, why?), prostitutes and six segments with Hogan and Bischoff and had me clawing my eyes out. Chris Benoit and Booker T have had a best of seven series to determine the #1 contender for the TV Title and it is definitely a must see, for not only the first six matches, but the typical WCW screwy ending to the decider. I also have to give a shout out to Kidman vs Juventud Guerra on the good Nitro as it was given 12-14 minutes and in my eyes was a MOTY candidate. Sting has joined the Wolfpac along with Lex Luger, because you know, Nash was never involved with the nWo black & white. Unbelievable!

The card doesn’t look great but Jericho and Malenko should steal the show. Savage and Piper will go at it after their tag team match in which they are partners. I want to see how this pans out WCW, I really do.

It’s the three amigos in Tony, Mike and Brain.

#1 Contender Match to the TV Title: Chris Benoit vs Booker T

The thing that pisses me off the most is that the best of seven series between the two over the month before has come to nothing as they are right back where they were a month ago. I doubt they can really come up with something new and fresh in what is about their 12th meeting for 1998. Quite extraordinary.

Winner will go on to face Fit Finlay later in the night. Both boys start off with a couple of arm drags as Booker takes him down with an arm bar and a quick roll up for two. Follows up with a couple of quick elbows which I think legitimately connects with the face. Benoit fires back with a couple of chops which slaps the sweat straight off of booker’s chest. Wow they were MASSIVE. A snap suplex gets a very close two count before attempting a back to belly but its reversed into a cross body by Booker which finds him a 1 count.

Benoit goes back to the mat after a couple more loud chops (seriously, they have to absolutely kill) but Booker gets a second win and plants him with a powerslam. Heads up top but a spinning cross body finds him eating mat which allows The Wolverine to head back to the mat and apply a rear choke hold. A third wind this time as Booker is back on top with an enzaguiri and spinebuster as he heads up top but Benoit is up and nails him with a superplex. Benoit up and puts on a couple of german suplexes but the third has Booker fight back, only to get planted with a full nelson suplex which gets a very close two! FANS ARE UP AND ABOUT! A short arm suplex and heads up top for the headbutt and nails it! 1-2 NO! Benoit with a few chops before he is whipped into the corner and eats a Harlem Sidekick before receiving a missile dropkick for the 1-2-3. Fuck me dead!

Rating: ***½ WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?  Good opener and the crowd was into it heaps but it was the wrong result in every single god damn way. Why must they continue to bury arguably their best wrestler on the roster to allow another title match between Finlay and Booker? Are we on fucking repeat or something? It’s the exact same title match we saw on Nitro 5 weeks prior. Match was a little slow but picked up quite a bit towards the end and Benoit was over big time with the crowd. WCW misses another opportunity here. No surprise!

Saturn vs Mortis Unmasked

Kanyon doesn’t come through the entrance and surprises Saturn from behind with a quick roll up for two before planting a spinning neck breaker for another close count. Saturn is thrown into the corner but Kanyon gets him on his shoulder and slams him with a stomach breaker. Sweet move! Flock is already out but he cleans up Kidman and Lodi quickly before throwing Saturn to the outside. Why are they so intent on breaking the flock up?

Lodi distracts the ref while Kanyon plants a Billy Gun style finisher before the Flock drag him out of the ring and pounce upon him. Saturn shows no mercy and cleans up everyone going to the floor. Nick Patrick sends the rascals to the back but no doubt Raven (who hasn’t been seen yet) will have some sort of impact. Mark it down!

Back in the ring and Mortis is thrown into the ropes and runs into a leg lock of some sorts before applying a heap of pressure on the jaw. Gives him a dick squasher on the middle rope before a springboard clothesline takes them both to the floor. Back in the ring and the chair is now involved as Perry uses it as a launching pad to plant a high dropkick to the face of Kanyon and then follows it up with a chair, rope, moonsault combo which fetches a close two count. Whoa that was nice! Saturn whips Kanyon into the ropes but bounces back with a side Russian leg sweep before suplexing him from the apron for a close two count once again. Kanyon is definitely the goods in the ring. Goes for a springboard elbow drop but misses and gets up to cop a spinning neck break for yet another near fall.

Kanyon now on top with a back elbow and then follows up with another variation of maybe a death valley driver (?) but rather plants him on his stomach. Some more variation as Kanyon picks him up in a torture rack position before planting him with a somewhat reverse diamond cutter. WOW! Mortis goes for the flatliner but walks into an overhead suplex and now Saturn is on top. Goes for the Death Valley Driver but Kanyon holds onto the rope but cops a sweet sidekick. Both men head up top but stumble and both go to the floor in what may have been a botched spot. Whilst this is happening, two ‘wrestlers’ enter the ring dressed as Mortis and begin pummelling each other (what is going on?). Saturn jumps off the middle rope but Kanyon applies the flatliner for the 1-2-3.

After the match, Kanyon is DDT’d on the mat by one of the Mortis’s before the Flock w/ Raven begin brawling with Saturn.

Rating: ***½ Well this was a bit of a surprise. The moves and variations in this match were something I had never seen before but there was barely any build up towards these manoeuvres. If they had built the crowd some more and had a bit of suspense going, this could have easily been a 4+ star match. There was absolutely no point in TWO Mortis dressed persons coming out and fighting for no apparent reason as the final touch would have been enough.

Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko (c)

This was easily the best thing going in WCW at that point of time. Some of the conspiracy video’s shown on Nitro involving Jericho and the belt was stuff dreams are made of, absolutely hilarious!

Jericho with some serious heat as this one begins with both men clothes lining each other before a spinning heel kick by Jericho has him with the early points. Tries to capitalise on the early advantage but receives a german release suplex for a quick two. Malenko with the suplex which allows him to slow things down with a surf board submission move. Dean attempts a baseball slide but Jericho gets out of the way just in time before launching himself to the floor with a crossbody. Back in the squared circle and both men apply quick sleeper holds but the man with 1004 holds ends up with the advantage. Powerslam and a missed lionsault allows Malenko to gain the ascendancy and drives him face first into the mat. Malenko takes things up top and is going for that gutbuster of his (it’ll kill a man one day) but Jericho responds with the frankensteiner but gets a near fall after a near 10 count. A quick succession of pin falls but Jericho applies the Liontamer but the man of a thousand holds marches his way to the ropes! Again a quick succession of flips and reversals (The Ice Man does that incredibly well) and this time the Clover Leaf is on but Jericho this time reaches the ropes. Jericho bounces up straight away and hits him with a back breaker before pounding on him in the corner. “Just like your dead father, you’re nothing!”. Malenko snaps and grabs a chair and plants some very poor shots with it and the winner by DQ, Chris Jericho! Malenko keeps pounding down and takes him backstage and eventually into the street near the traffic. HAHA!

Rating: **½ The finish absolutely killed this. Things were building quite dramatically towards the end and the Nitro like finish and brawl is something nobody wanted to see. As there was no champion before the match, I suspect that Jericho is now the champion and what a disaster. Potentially another good match with the foundation they had built at the start but it ends in disappointment.

Juventud Guerrera vs Rhyse

So it’s Juvi going against a 7 ft woodchopper. Why couldn’t they have given us another Juvi and Kidman matchup! C’mon WCW!

Juvi tries with a couple of quick blows but Rhyse continually throws him off with distain. Starts working on the knees with a couple of quick kicks and heads up top to jump on the back of Rhyse. Seriously watching Rhyse ‘wrestle’ is like watching that giant troll from the first Harry Potter movie trying to apply a few moves. Juvi should just grab a kendo stick and ram it up his snoz!

Some more toying around and Juvi is all out of ideas... before resorting to the DICK SHOT! HELL YES! Why isn’t there more of that going around? This just makes the bully resort to punching and then follows it up with a suplex as Juvi is up just before the 10 count. From a normal suplex? HUH? Rhyse wants the chair and goes to clean up Juvi but the chair is stolen. Juvi goes up top and goes for a hurricanrana but is caught on the shoulders. Van Hammer makes his way onto the apron and wallops Rhyse with a chair and flips him over for the 1-2-3!

Rating: * - This sucked pretty much. No typical Juvi high flying and just a couple of crotch shots gets him the cheap win. I really want 6-8 minutes of my life back please WCW.

Psycho Chavo Guerrero vs Eddie Guerrero

Chavo before the bell even rings sends out a fiery slap before Eddie pushes him off and this one is officially underway. Lots of back and forth action as the family rivalry continues to boil over. It really is something you’d see on Maury Povich! A quick succession of head scissors from Chavo has Eddie rattled and forces him to the outside to regroup. “Imagine the Guerrero family back home watching this. Not knowing who is going to win and who is going to come by outside and steal the wheels off the house” The Brain is the shit!

Eddie is working on the arm before Chavo bounces back with a buckle fake before going to the other and landing a massive moonsault but gets only two. Things now head to the floor where Eddie throws him head first into the steal steps. Back in the ring and the brainbuster slams him down which is followed by some slaps that bring Chavo back to life. Some choking evolves from this but Micky James gets Chavo off which then leads to some ring-a-ring-a rosie around the ring. Eddie hides behind the ref but then smacks Chavo in the knee to gain the ascendancy. The Figure Four is then followed by the Gori Special as Eddie is in complete control on the mat.

“Wasn’t Chavo in a detention centre?” “No you Lame Brain, you’re lying once again!” “I’m just saying what I’ve heard.” HAHA, Bobby my boy! 

Eddie with the spinning sort of powerbomb and a powerslam but Chavo is up and sends Senoir Guerrero to the outside. Chavo launches himself over the top with a Rey Mysterio like risk which was pretty cool. Back in the ring and some mat stuff before a springboard bulldog gains a near fall. Junior heads up to the top rope but Eddie is up and springs into the ropes but Chavo lands on the apron in what may have been another botched effort. Eddie goes up top anyways and aims for the frogsplash but Chavo makes the move and gets out of the way. Chavo goes for his Tornado DDT but slams Eddie on the top rope before getting a springboard variation of the DDT for the win!

Rating: ***¼ Again not bad stuff in this one and the Brain on commentary was at his quick witted stuff as usual. Eddie played the possum role quite well but I’d have liked to have seen some more high risk Lucha style in this one. Chavo getting the win tells me this family feud will continue!

Recaps of Piper and Macho on Thunder.

TV Title: Booker T vs Fit Finlay (c)

Booker T has certainly earned his pay check tonight.

Back and forth action is the flavour of the month before Booker springs off the ropes to nail a rather cool forearm before springboarding to the outside with a cross body. Back in the ring and Finlay is quick to pounce on the leg and works on it extensively. Booker comes back with a quick roll up attempt but Fit goes straight back to working on the knee. After a weird one legged crab, Booker comes back once again to get some punches in but a knee breaker has Finlay firmly on top.

Begins playing to the crowd a little and waving to some hot babe in the front row... who wouldn’t? Booker though is quick to pounce on this opportunity and a powerslam followed by the axe kick has the spinarooni out in full force but the minute he hits his feet, is laid out with a running clothes line. Signals for the tombstone piledriver and picks him up, but Booker reverses it and gets him in the tombstone position but messes it up and drops him in yet another botch. Tries to pick him up but once again loses his balance. I think we’ll forgive him as he has wrestled in two matches. Anyways a normal piledriver (which may have done some damage to Finlay) and WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: **½ Nothing special at all here. Majority of this was Finlay working on the knee and a couple of late spurts by Booker picked up the win. Most of the matches so far have had messed up moves which is very disappointing but still a pass from these two. I hope to never see Stevie ray so close to Booker T ever again. The guy is a cancer!

U.S Title: Konnan vs Goldberg (c)

Say what you like about Goldberg but the crowd just instantly comes to life when his music hits. May not have the best ring skills but he was an absolute force in the WCW days and  they pushed him to the moon. One of the few smart things Bischoff did in my opinion.

Goldberg begins by just shrugging him to the outside of the ring and if this was Nitro, this would be a 1 minute match tops. Konnan goes for a kick but Goldberg no sells and spears him into the middle of next week. Jackhammer and DA MAN is 100-0! Doesn’t have to be on Nitro then afterall. Afterwards, Henning and Rude help Konnan up only to attack him from behind. Wolfpac comes out and they scatter!

Rating: SQUASH – Just your typical Goldberg match up. But what an excellent decision to move Henning back into the nWo Black and White. Has absolute zero face following but with Rick Rude, makes a pretty decent heel in a heel group. Wasn’t rocket science!

Ad for Bask and the Beach 1998. Seriously 1998 so far in PPV infomercials have been the worst I have ever seen. I seriously advise you to check these out, they are beyond stupid.

Piper and Savage vs Hogan and Bret Hart

It’s not even the main event but still, Hogan must have Michael Buffer doing the announcing duties. It’s the usual Hogan coward stuff before Piper is tagged in and dishes out a couple of atomic drops before laying into him in the corner. Disciple though makes the interference with a title shot to the back of Piper. Hart is in and what a travesty it is seeing him in the ring alongside Hogan and up against Piper. Macho Man is alright but Bret should be so far up the pecking order for the World Title, it’s not funny.

Hart drives home the elbow from the second rope as Hart and Hogan are working unison quite effectively. Piper wraps Hart in an inside cradle very slowly before getting in his own cradle for another close count. Savage once again makes the tag but the ref continues to not see it. Savage grabs a chair and comes around the ring and throws the chair onto the chest of Piper before Hart hits his headbutt and WHAMMO! HAHA! That was actually pretty clever.

Savage makes the hot tag and it is defused pretty quickly but Hogan runs all over Hart with a clothesline. Macho powerslams Hart and heads up top for the Elbowdrop but just somehow falls off the top. What? “It looks like his knee just gave out!” Ok WCW. He was moving pretty freely just a moment ago but a bit of altitude and the knee just can’t stand up to it. Get fucked. Hogan slams his knee into the ring post and Hart puts on the Sharpshooter and that’s it. Your winners, HH&H!

Rating: *¼ What a cheap ending. People pay money for this and this is what they want to dish out. Please, get Benoit, Malenko, Jericho, fuck I’ll even take Fit Finlay in the high upper card please as this shit has just gone on far too often. Match was slow, no one was interested and Bret Hart should head to the indies. If it ain’t the WWF, then you have no future elsewhere.

After the match, Piper picks up Macho Man but Randy attacks instantly and we are straight into the next one.

Roddy Piper vs Macho Man

Savage plants Roddy instantly and is all over him with a powerslam. Savage heads up top and nails him with the elbow drop. You see what I mean? He couldn’t do it at 90% fitness but at around 30%, he is able to launch himself and complete the move? You expect me to believe this? Finally makes the pin but Piper is out at two. Savage lashes out on the ref and just knocks him out for no reason. HA!

Piper gets him on the mat and applies the figure four leglock as Micky J makes his way to the ring. And this one is over!

Rating: FAIL – No point whatsoever and with the PPV running overtime as it was, this could have been saved for another night or never at all. Wasn’t long and the previous bout made it very obvious Macho was not going to get the win. But how weak does it make him look? Tapping out twice in the space of five minutes? Sweet booking.

For both Tag Team Titles: Giant (c) vs Sting (c)

Well the outcome of last month’s PPV with Sting and Giant winning the titles comes to this. nWo B&W vs Wolfpac for control of the Tag Team titles. Giant is puffing on a dart in the ring and is met with an open hand slap from the Stinger. “Don’t you know how dangerous second hand smoke is?” Brain is seriously in some top form tonight.

Giant runs at sting but lays himself out on the turnbuckle. Sting hits a giant stinger splash (no pun intended) and then tries to follow up with another but meets the big boot of Giant. It isn’t ‘The Giant’ no more, it’s just ‘Giant’ for some illogical reason. A 500lbs elbow drop off the rope and then drops him on his head in the corner to be firmly on top. Sting seriously needs to keep the white face paint. The red looks like shit.

A couple of stinger splashes again before he picks the giant up for a POWERSLAM. NICEEE! Puts on the scorpion death lock but Giant powers out instantly. Doesn’t matter though as a death drop gets a very very slow two count. Giant signals for the choke slam but Sting is able to get on the death drop again but it’s another near fall. Up again and another death drop from the second rope this time fetches the win and the TAG TEAM TITLES!

Rating: *** - Not a bad main event for the time it was given and it’s what was required. A long match between these two would have been very boring like most Giant matches are that go over 10 minutes. I don’t know about you but I’d love to see Sting choose Psicosis or Silver King as his partner. We’ll have to wait til Nitro obviously to find out who he chooses.

PPV Rating: **
Nothing special this PPV and there was really no stand out match. Most matches in the undercard had a significant botch at a rather important time, two Booker T matches is not really the life or spark the crowd needed in a TV title bout and seeing Hogan and Hart battle in the ring together was very disheartening. No DDP, Raven, Rey, Nash, Hall or any other of the luchadores and I’d have to say this PPV fell flat. Goldberg is due to win the title soon though so I'm looking forward to what the next PPVs’ will dish out. I know I’ll end up disappointed though.

Thumbs marginally down.

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