wrestling / Video Reviews

Dark Pegasus Video Review: The Great American Bash ’87

September 27, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Dark Pegasus Video Review: The Great American Bash ’87  

Great American Bash ’87
by J.D. Dunn

  • July 4, 1987
  • Live from Atlanta, Ga.
  • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross.

  • Wargames: Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, & JJ Dillon vs. Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal, & Paul Ellering.
    Oh yeah! Here’s the deal if you’ve never seen a Wargames. It’s two rings surrounded by a giant cage. One guy from each team starts, with a new guy coming in every five minutes. They flip a coin (always won by the heels) to see which team gets to have another man come in first. Once everyone’s in there, it becomes a five-on-five “I Quit” match. Anderson starts with Rhodes and Rhodes dominates. That’s pretty typical for a Wargames. Usually, the babyfaces dominate when it’s a fair fight, but the heels wind up getting the advantage because they won the coin toss. It’s no different here. Rhodes puts Anderson in the figure-four with 20 seconds to go. Tully Blanchard is next and Dusty releases the figure-four so he can defend himself. He does okay for a while, but the numbers overwhelm him and the Brainbusters work on Dusty’s ankle. Tully uses a figure-four while Arn holds him. Animal is next and he tosses Tully into the second ring. The heels are on the run with a bunch of stuff going on that makes it hard to recap. Flair comes in next and mocks the crowd with a fake humping. The heels dominate again, but I couldn’t begin to tell you how. Rhodes hits Flair with a desperation clothesline. Nikita comes in and the crowd goes WILD. Crowd just loves all the babyfaces actually. Nikita goes ape on Tully Blanchard. Dusty hits a dropkick on…someone. Luger hits Koloff with a powerslam. Flair and Blanchard spike piledrive Nikita. Animal levels Luger with a clothesline. Too much insanity! Fastforward to “the Match Beyond” portion as all ten men are in there at once. I’m not even going to try to recap. JJ Dillon gets cornered and the faces beat him within and inch of his life until he surrenders at 26:00. One of the all-time great brawls. *****

  • Non-Title: Barry Windham vs. Rick Steiner.
    Windham is the Western States Heritage Champion, a meaningless vanity title to give the midcard something to do. Steiner was A) awesome, and B) Eddie Gilbert’s muscle, which just made him more awesome by association. At this point, Steiner and Gilbert were part of the UWF invasion that fizzled out. We’re JIP to Steiner hitting a lot of suplexes. He tries to suplex Windham from the apron to the ring, but Windham rolls him up on the cover at 2:31. Bad finish. Looked about [**]

  • July 18, 1987
  • Live from Charlotte, N.C..
  • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Bob Caudle.
  • U.S. Title, Cage Match: Nikita Koloff vs. Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon).
    Luger was the hot young thing in wrestling, having just joined the Horsemen. Nikita was still a Russian but not evil anymore. He’s got a neck brace on from injuries sustained in the Wargames match. We’re JIP to a test of strength. That goes nowhere. Luger backs off, and JJ tells him to go after the neck. Yeah, Luger was *really* dumb. Luger goes after the neck. At least he’s smart enough to listen to orders. He tries to put Koloff out with a chinlock. Koloff starts to fight back, but Luger blocks his charge and hits a neckbreaker. The fans shriek in horror. Luger rips off Koloff’s neck brace and goes for a piledriver, and they’re really freaking out now. Koloff backdrops out of it, though. Luger applies the Full Nelson. Maybe he’s not so dumb. Lots of clipping takes us to the 30-minute mark, condensed to about 10. Luger goes back to the chinlock. Koloff backs him into the buckle, though. Nikita gets fired up and pummels Luger with mounted punches. Luger whips him to the opposite corner, but Nikita explodes with the Sickle. Oh, but Earl Hebner gets knocked down in the process. Dillon sneaks in a chair. Luger whacks Nikita with it and puts him in the Torture Rack. Nikita is out, so Earl declares it a submission at 13:30 (shown). Not sure why Dillon waited for the ref to get bumped. They spent the whole match emphasizing it was No DQ. Whatever works, I guess. The match was slow and plodding because there was so much Luger offense, but the psychology and storyline were outstanding. Realistically, it’s hard for Nikita to be the sympathetic babyface, but they pulled it off with the injury. **1/2

  • Back to July 4 at the Omni.
  • Texas Death Match: Dick Murdoch (w/Eddie Gilbert) vs. Steve Williams (w/Magnum T.A.).
    Murdoch was Gilbert’s hired flunky to break Williams’ arm. We’re JIP to Murdoch trying to re-break Williams’ arm with a wristlock, but Williams fights out of it. Gilbert distracts the ref while Murdoch grabs the ring wrench and smashes it into Williams’ arm. Murdoch continues to work the arm, but Williams fires back with rights. Murdoch side steps his charge and sends him into the post. Murdoch comes off the top, but Williams just holds up his cast, knocking Murdoch silly. Murdoch can’t answer the bell at 3:25 (shown), and Williams gets some revenge. [**]

  • After the match, Murdoch destroys Williams with a chair, but Magnum tosses in his cane, and Dr. Death is able to make his own save.
  • Six-Man Tag: The Freebirds vs. Ivan Koloff, Manny Fernandez & Paul Jones.
    Crockett missed out on a boatload of money by not feuding the Freebirds and the Horsemen. This would be close to the last appearance of the original group. Buddy Jack would head back to World Class. Terry Gordy would go to Japan (which worked out well for him). Hayes would stick around and form a new Freebird faction with Jimmy Garvin. The Freebirds totally dominate (even Hayes!). Gordy finishes Jones with a big elbow drop at 3:11 (shown). [**]

  • July 18 again.
  • $100,000 Lights Out, Barbed-Wire Ladder Match: Dusty Rhodes (w/Barry Windham) vs. Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon & Dark Journey).
    The $100,000 is hanging above the ring. This is a rare appearance for DJ managing Tully. She’d be gone by the end of the Bash. We’re JIP to Dusty rubbing Tully’s face in the barbed-wire. Clipped ahead to Dusty elbowing Blanchard off the ladder. He stops and comes back down for more brawling. Tully slips on a loaded glove and clocks Dusty. I guess JCP absorbed Dibiase’s black glove before he went to the WWF. He nails Dusty with it, and Dillon nails the ref. Dusty hulks up, though, and knocks over the ladder. He climbs up and retrieves the money at 7:14 (shown). Looked very awkward. I don’t think Dusty was really built for ladder matches. [*]

  • NWA Heavyweight Title vs. One Night With Precious, Cage Match: Ric Flair (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious).
    Garvin turned face when the Midnight Express lit a fireball in Ronnie Garvin’s face. Flair didn’t consider Jimmy a top contender, but he offered to put up the title if Garvin offered a night with Precious. We’re JIP to Garvin laying in stiff chops to Flair’s chest. Flair responds with “the Great Equalizer.” Down where? Down there! Clip ahead to Garvin putting Flair in the figure-four. Flair: “Oh shit!” Flair makes the ropes but gets rolled up for two. They trade vicious chops. Flair begs off and suckers Jimmy in. He kicks him low and tries to ram him into the cage, but Jimmy tosses Ric instead. Garvin pummels Flair and catches him going up. He yanks down Flair’s tights. Did not need to see that. Flair takes another beating and pleads for JJ. On a simple leapfrog, though, Jimmy screws up his knee, and that gives Flair the opening he needs. Ronnie Garvin comes down to root for his brother/stepson/cousin/nephew. Flair fires off a few kneebreakers and offers to hump Ronnie in the mouth. Captain Stonewash doesn’t have much to say about that in reply. Jimmy rolls over and screams, “Ronnie, I busted my knee.” See, we don’t even need Schiavone. Flair continues to work the knee. I believe we clip ahead a little to Jimmy making the big comeback. He and Flair slug it out on the top rope, and Flair crotches himself. Flair still has the wherewithal to apply the figure-four. Some dumbass fan tries to climb in and gets his ass kicked by Ronnie. Jimmy passes out from the pain at 15:31, handing Flair the match… and a night with Precious. Jimmy was not a very good wrestler, so Flair just plugged in the formula and went with it. **1/2

  • Flair’s date with Precious turned out to be a big flop for him. See, he had JJ Dillon hiding in the hotel room closet with a camcorder so he could tape all the sweaty clenches, but it turned out that his date was actually Ronnie Garvin in drag (why do all big NWA angles involve Ronnie in drag?). Garvin knocked out Flair and tossed Dillon in the pool. The angle is so fondly remembered that the WWF repeated it with Lita, the Hardyz and Dean Malenko.
  • NWA World Tag Titles: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express (w/Big Bubba Rogers).
    Corny is not at ringside, so the Midnights are flustered for the bulk of the match. This is also the Lane/Eaton version of the Midnights, not the Eaton/Condrey version. The clipping screws this one up a bit because we don’t get Gibson playing face-in-peril. The R&R just destroy the Midnights until Gibson goes for a flying headscissor and gets his throat snapped on the top rope. Cue the comeback. The Rock ‘n’ Rolls hit the double dropkick, but Bubba hops in and hits the Bossman Slam. Eaton covers, but Bubba left his hat and sunglasses in the ring. Tommy Young sees them, knows something’s up, and disqualifies the Midnights at 7:23 (shown). [***3/4]

  • Wargames II: Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Hawk, Animal & Paul Ellering vs. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, Tully Blanchard & War Machine (w/JJ Dillon & Dark Journey).
    You’d think that the heels would have the advantage this time because, not only do they not have their pussy manager to submit for them, they have subbed a big mean-looking masked man named War Machine (Ray Traylor). Arn and Dusty start, just as they did the first time. Dusty dominates and goes for the figure-four. Arn punches him in the face to block. Yeah, that’d do it. Dusty punches him back and locks in the figure-four. It’s meaningless, other than keeping Arn down and weakening him for later. Dusty lets go so he can defend himself when the faces lose the coin toss. War Machine comes in next, and Dusty asks him to step into the opposite ring. Arn catches up with them, though, and the heels beat the bookerman down. Hawk comes in next to even things up. Lots of brawling. Flair comes in and applies the figure-four on Hawk. Nikita comes in but gets piledriven. He no-sells, even though he was wearing a neckbrace and selling for Luger only a few weeks earlier. Nikita kicks righteous ass until Tully comes in. He goes after Dusty. Animal makes it four-on-four and keeps catapulting Blanchard into the cage. Luger is the last man in for the Horsemen. Things look bleak, but Paul Ellering evens up the sides. You wouldn’t think that is a big deal, but Ellering is a certified genius (no really) and brings in a spiked wristband. You better have a cure for face-stabbin’, cuz youze gettin’ stabbed in the face, bitch! The War Machine winds up submitting at 22:40 amidst all the chaos. Too chaotic to follow in points. It was fun to watch, but man that’s a lot of brawling. It lacked the freshness of the original too. Still, in any other year, this would probably be a MOTYC. ****1/4
  • The 411: Hey, you gotta love Wargames. Those two matches are worth it if you can find a copy of the show. The other matches… eh, not so much. The R&R/Midnights is good, but if you've seen one… you know the rest. Still, a great example of quality NWA wrestling.

    Thumbs up.

    411 Elite Award
    Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

    article topics

    J.D. Dunn

    Comments are closed.