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Dark Pegasus Video Review: The Great American Bash ’88

October 14, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: The Great American Bash ’88  

The Great American Bash ’88
by J.D. Dunn

  • July 10, 1988
  • Live from Baltimore, Md.
  • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross.

  • NWA Tag Team Titles: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Sting & Nikita Koloff.
    Sting failed to wrest the World Title from the Nature Boy, so he got shunted back down the card a bit to vie for the tag titles with whichever partner wasn’t doing anything. Enter Nikita. Sting and Nikita clean house early, and Sting hits Arn with a pescado to a HUGE pop. This crowd is on FIRE, popping for virtually everything the faces do. The faces isolate Blanchard and work over his arm. We’re clipped to the Horseman in control after Dillon cheapshotted Nikita. Arn’s pump-splash meets Nikita’s knees, and Sting gets the hot tag. Sting is a house of fire, press-slamming Tully and bulldogging Arn. He grabs a sleeper on Arn with about a minute left to go. Sting blocks a sunset flip from Tully and gives him a Stinger Splash. SCORPION DEATHLOCK! Nikita tackles Arn as the bell rings at 20:06. Much better as a full match than as a clipped one. I should have reviewed the whole thing for the Horseman DVD. ***1/4

  • U.S. Tag Team Titles: The Fantastics vs. The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette).
    Talk about your disappointments. The Midnights and Fantastics had a ****+ match on TV and then a near ***** match at the first Clash. This, however, is neither of those. Corny is straightjacketed and locked in a cage and gets 10 lashes with a belt if the Fantastics win. He tries to bribe his way out of it. I would complain that the entire pre-match portion being included while the match is cut way down, but Corny’s antics are actually much better than the full match (which you can find online). We’re clipped to Fulton dominating until Lane powerslams him on the concrete. Rogers accidentally takes out the referee, allowing Lane to pass a chain to Bobby Eaton. Eaton plasters Fulton with it, and the MX win back the titles at 2:16 (shown). The Fantastics track Corny down and give him the lashes anyway. [**]

  • Tower of Doom: Jimmy Garvin, Ron Garvin, Steve Williams & The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. Kevin Sullivan, Al Perez, the Russian Assassin, Ivan Koloff & Mike Rotunda (w/Paul Jones & Gary Hart).
    You might remember the Tower of Doom making an appearance on Nitro in late 2000 where Vince Russo infamously won the WCW Heavyweight Title. Trying to explain it is like trying to explain the plot of Memento without sounding like an idiot, but here goes: There are three cages stacked on top of one another, each cage getting smaller as they go up. Everyone starts at the top of the cage and fights their way down to the bottom with the winner being the first team to exit the cage, which is padlocked with Garvin’s wife Precious holding the key. Why Precious? Well, Kevin Sullivan was an evil bastard who hypnotized her into becoming one of his sex slaves (in theory). Oh, and did I mention the only way to get down to the next cage was to wait for a trapdoor to open and let you drop down? Ron Garvin and Ivan Koloff start off, fighting way up in the arena lights. Koloff accidentally throws powder in Rotunda’s eyes, allowing Garvin to drop down to the next cage. Ronnie can’t do anything, though, because the next trapdoor hasn’t opened. That leaves Dr. Death in there alone with future teammate Rotunda and Koloff. Williams holds his own until the next interval is done and drops down with Koloff on his shoulders. Ronnie makes it down to the next cage and walks out. Al Perez and Road Warrior Hawk slip down into the second cage, but neither Williams nor Koloff can make it down into the next cage. Perez and Animal sneak through to the bottom during the next go-round. This is goofy. Precious lets Animal and Perez out. The Assassin and Koloff drop down, but they stop to wait and doubleteam Hawk instead of walking out the door. It’s a good idea in theory, but Hawk blitzes them with a double clothesline and walks out. The Russians figure there’s no reason to hang around, so they walk out. Williams pummels Rotunda, drops down, and walks out. That leaves Sullivan and Rotunda to work over Jimmy Garvin in the second tier. Rotunda makes his way down as Sullivan grabs Garvin’s legs to keep him in the second cage. That leaves it as a one-on-one match in the cage while a big brawl erupts on the outside. Precious is rooting for someone, but we don’t know who it is! Garvin starts working over Sullivan’s leg, which is a neat idea in theory, but they both make it down to the final cage, turning it into a normal WWF-style cage match with the first man to escape winning. Garvin drops Sullivan with a brainbuster and asks for the key. Precious hesitates and then unlocks it for him. Sullivan makes one final dive, accidentally knocking Garvin to the floor for the win at 21:18. D’oh! But that’s not all. Sullivan locks himself in the cage with Precious and attacks her! “SULLIVAN IS DERANGED!” screams Jim Ross. Sullivan tries to strangle her with his wrist tape screaming that if he can’t have her, no one can! Finally, Road Warrior Hawk is able to climb all the way back up and drop back down through the cages to hit Sullivan with a lariat to a HUGE POP! Not exactly a lot of wrestling going on, but it certainly wasn’t boring. The best way to look at it is as a piece of the Sullivan/Garvin/Precious puzzle, and it’s certainly trashily entertaining on that level. ***1/2

  • WCW TV Title: Mike Rotunda (w/Rick Steiner & Kevin Sullivan) vs. Sting.
    This was from an earlier show (the same one with the “other” Wargames). Steiner and Sullivan try to hop in the ring, so Sting takes them out. Rotunda tosses Sting to the floor where Sullivan takes a few cheapshots. Lots of Rotunda chinlocks follow until Sting catches him going up top and slams him off. Rotunda tries to escape into the next ring (which was set up for a scaffold match), but Sting FLIES over the top rope to get at him. That brings Steiner and Sullivan in for the DQ at 8:18. Good. Not great. *3/4

  • NWA U.S. Title: Barry Windham (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes.
    Rhodes was the champion until he accidentally hit Jim Crockett with a baseball bat and was stripped of the title and suspended. Of course, any time Rhodes gets suspended, his alter ego – the Midnight Rider – shows up and wreaks havoc. His evil pupil Barry Windham won a tournament to crown a new champion, so we get this match. Rhodes tries to end it early with a crossbody off the top. Windham kicks out and rolls to the floor for two. Rhodes stays on top with jabs to Windham and an elbow for Dillon. To the floor, Windham tries a piledriver, but Dusty backdrops him over and clotheslines him on the concrete. Windham cheapshots him and fires away, but Dusty slams him on the floor again. Windham comes back yet again, slapping on THE CLAW! Dusty fights up to the top rope, but Windham yanks him back to the ring with THE CLAW! Dusty elbows his way out of it and goes for the figure-four, but that exposes his head, so Windham simply reapplies THE CLAW! Dusty climbs the ropes again and shoves Windham into Referee Tommy Young. Dusty drops the Bionic Elbow, but there’s no ref. Dillon starts to sneak in, but Dusty chases him off. Dusty’s friend Ronnie Garvin runs down AND PUNCHES RHODES OUT! Windham reapplies the hold as Young recovers and counts three at 15:56. Windham did a lot of bumping around, and there was good psychology revolving around the Claw. Dusty’s physical limitations dragged the match down quite a bit, and this would be his last really big singles match in the NWA before heading to Titanland. The Garvin turn was a total shocker. **3/4

  • In the back, Garvin accepts a briefcase full of money from JJ Dillon and Gary Hart.
  • NWA World Heavyweight Title: Ric Flair (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Lex Luger.
    This is the usual Flair/Luger stuff to start with Flair throwing everything he has at Luger only to have Luger no-sell. Flair gets into a physical altercation with Tommy Young, but Young seeks refuge behind Luger. Luger press slams Flair twice and locks in a bearhug. Flair runs to the outside and rakes Luger’s eyes to take control. Back inside, Flair works over Luger’s ribs. Luger gets two off a clothesline and crotches Flair on the top. He misses a dropkick, though, and Flair gets a breather. Flair clips the leg and applies the figure-four. Luger squeals but turns it over. A clothesline sends Flair to the floor, but it’s from “Flair’s momentum.” Yeah, don’t want to screw the fans with a stupid finish like that. **COUGH** Luger catches Flair on top and slams him to the mat. A backslide gets two, and they both go over the top. Flair apparently hurts his leg but is well enough to toss Luger headfirst into the post. Dillon follows up, sending Luger into the post again. Back in, Luger powerslams Flair and finishes with the Torture Rack at 23:45, picking up the win and the title. Yeah right. Instead, the frumpy old State Athletic Commissioner interrupts and stops the match for blood loss, handing the title back to Flair on the screwiest of screwjobs. Good match until that point with Flair doing his usual and Luger just trying to keep up. The match has obtained a kind of infamy as indicative of the stupidity the NWA engaged in during the late 1980s. ***1/4
  • The 411: A nice little Memory Lane trip but not much more. The Flair/Luger match is basically every Flair match with Sting, Luger or Nikita. The lone draw for the PPV is the Tower of Doom, which is more worthy for its storyline sense and exoticism than for actually being a good match.

    Mild thumbs down.

    Final Score:  5.5   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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