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Random Network Reviews: WCW Bash at the Beach 1997

April 19, 2017 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 Image Credit: WWE/Peacock
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Random Network Reviews: WCW Bash at the Beach 1997  

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997
July 13th, 1997 | Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida | Attendance: 7,851

The biggest, most popular era in WCW history. The nWo was reaching the one-year mark together, Hulk Hogan reigned as WCW Champion and the pop culture phenomenon that was Dennis Rodman was set for a Pay-Per-View main event. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like this gained a ton of press outside of the wrestling world, which could have greatly helped WCW. The show reportedly did just an 0.89 buyrate, which was about the third highest of the year for the company. This is the 4th Bash at the Beach event.

Things open with the usual poorly produced WCW video package before the commentary trio of Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes take over.

Mortis and Wrath w/ James Vandenberg def. Ernest Miller and Glacier in 9:48
I know they didn’t quite fit in with the realism that a lot of other WCW stuff had, but I always liked Mortis and Wrath. Their theme is pretty great too. This starts hot and Glacier forgoes all martial arts skills and just punches Mortis up. Miller, who was incredibly bland until his James Brown stuff, comes in a bit late on a springboard knee, and it looks awkward. Mike Tenay joins commentary to help call things. The action is pretty quick here. It’s weird that Mortis wears a mask but Wrath takes his off when the match starts. Mortis superkicks a chair into Glacier’s hear on the outside. Glacier continues to take the heat, including a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo that causes Miller to break up the pin. Miller is tired of waiting for the hot tag and just comes in to kick the hell out of his opponents. Glacier nearly wins but Vandenberg wraps a chain around Mortis’ boot and puts his foot on the rope. Glacier kicks Vandenberg but takes a chain assisted superkick from Mortis and that gives Glacier his first loss. Surprisingly fun opener here. All four guys brought it, especially the winning team. Lots of cool offense and a hot crowd. ***

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Chris Jericho (c) def. Ultimo Dragon in 12:56
Not only does Dragon get scored of his pyro, but WCW production has his nameplate as “Ultimate Dragon”. Oh man, this is still white meat babyface Chris Jericho. His attire has all sorts of colors. I dig the feeling out process. They have similar game plans so it’s interesting to see. Jericho gets the biggest early spot with a powerbomb and does LITTLE BOY SENTON for two. He also gets two on a moonsault and tiger driver. They go up top and Jericho whiffs on a dropkick to send Dragon outside. Commentary does a good job covering it up though. Jericho tries a cross body out there but Dragon greets him with a midair dropkick. Jericho avoids some Dragon spots outside but eats the Asai moonsault. Back inside, Dragon outmaneuvers Jericho for a near fall with a cradle. Dragon again dropkicks Jericho in midair, but this time on his Lionsault attempt. They go into a series of counters that sees Dragon reverse a butterfly bomb into a hurricanrana, which Jericho rolls through into a pin and retains. Really good match here that might have benefitted from a hotter crowd. Fast paced, some good counters and fun spots. ***¾

Mean Gene plugs the WCW Hotline before going over to interview Raven, who is in the front row. Gene is wearing leis like this show is in Hawaii or something. Raven speaks in circles as always. Stevie Richards drops the scoop that Raven will make an announcement on Nitro tomorrow. Due to that, Raven beats him up.

The Steiner Brothers def. The Great Muta and Masahiro Chono in 11:38
A win here apparently gets the Steiners a shot at the Outsiders and the Tag Team Titles. Muta and Chono represent the nWo. The Steiners clean house quickly, but the Asian contingent turn things around. Scott is already huge and you can see that it is affecting his in-ring ability. Muta and Chono take some breaks to mess with the Steiners’ heads. Chono tries a cheap shot from the apron, but Scott no sells and whacks him. They do break up Scott’s super belly to belly and nearly work a heat, but Scott fires up and still hits the super belly to belly on Chono. Scott just loves suplexing the world. Imagine early 90’s Scott against Angle, Benoit or Lesnar. Frankensteiner connects and they do a damn Doomsday Device DDT! Chono literally just watches the pin as his team loses. Fine match, with some hard hitting stuff. It looked like Chono and Muta didn’t seem too interested at times and things felt jumbled at times. **¾

Hector Garza, Juventud Guerrera and Lizmark Jr. def. La Parka, Psychosis and Villano IV w/ Sonny Oono in 10:08
Mike Tenay left for the last match but is back for this one. He hypes this as a Lucha style match, so tags aren’t needed. This thing just moves at a crazy pace. Garza shows off his athleticism and power, finishing a quick sequence with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Juvi and La Parka have some fun in the ring. They would stick around in WCW often. Oono gets in a cheap shot and accidentally hits La Parka. La Parka gets in his face but Oono flashes money and all is right in the world again. The babyfaces all hit dives to the outside at the same time for a cool visual. Psychosis nearly murders Juvi with a sunset flip bomb in the corner. The spots come at a non-stop pace that is too much to consistently type up. Villano V shows up to pull twin magic with Villano IV and gets near falls on Garza. It backfires because he takes the loss to a Garza moonsault. A lot of fun. No psychology or anything like that, but that’s fine because this was supposed to be a highly entertaining spectacle to showcase the Lucha style and it succeeded in that aspect. ***¾

No Disqualifications Career Match: Chris Benoit def. Kevin Sullivan w/ Jacqueline and Jimmy Hart in 13:11
These guys have been feuding for over a year at this point. They brawl right from the start. Jacqueline gets involved and whips Benoit into a guardrail outside. Benoit responds by launching her vagina-first into Sullivan. The fight goes up by the beach themed entrance. Jimmy Hart climbs a lifeguard’s chair and Benoit shoves it over. They make it to the ring and Sullivan bumps horribly on a clothesline. As they tussle in the ring, Benoit resorts to biting Sullivan’s ear. Heenan quips that he really is the wolverine. Benoit applies the Crippler Crossface but Sullivan doesn’t want to give up his career. The referee does the arm raise spot and Sullivan is alive on the third one. Sullivan continues to survive and no sells some chops. Commentary hammers home the “heart” of Sullivan, making the outcome obvious. Jacqueline gets a chair and Sullivan wants to use it but she gets pissed at him and breaks it over his head. Benoit hits the headbutt and ends Sullivan’s career. This was going very well until the Jacqueline involved finish. Benoit should have just ended Sullivan on his own. Still, I liked this and it felt like a good ECW brawl. A fitting way to end a lengthy rivalry. ***¼

Jimmy Hart gets in Kevin Sullivan’s face after the match, so Sullivan pushes him on his ass.

WCW United States Championship: Jeff Jarrett (c) def. Steve McMichael w/ Debra McMichael in 6:57
Oh, this sounds all sorts of bad. They stall a lot in the early stages. Mongo gets the early upper hand with his power advantage. Jarrett turns things around for a short time outside but Mongo decides not to sell and beats him up more. In the ring, Jarrett does a few three point stances and clips Mongo’s knee to embarrass him. He goes for the Figure Four but Debra gets on the apron. It’s all a ploy so she can slide the briefcase into the ring. Jarrett levels Mongo with it twice and retains. It’s a Mongo vs. Jarrett match, so you just know it’s bad. Just all kinds of dull and uninteresting. ¼*

There is a lengthy backstage promo from Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman.

Randy Savage and Scott Hall w/ Elizabeth def. Curt Hennig and Diamond Dallas Page w/ Kimberly in 9:36
DDP reveals his big mystery partner as Curt Hennig. It is Hennig’s WCW in-ring debut. Since they’ve feuded for most of 1997 coming into this, DDP and Savage go right after one another. DDP is sporting his trademark taped ribs look. Once DDP frustrates him and sends him packing, we get Hennig and Hall going at it. Hennig doesn’t seem too interested in working. He looks way uninterested. He nearly yells “NOW THAT’S PERFECT” before remembering that he is no longer Mr. Perfect. DDP ends up taking the heat, full of cheap heel tactics from Savage and Hall. They do the hot tag to Hennig, but the crowd gives it zero response. They don’t care at all. They flub a key moment where Hennig turns on DDP. Instead of DDP hanging onto the ropes and accidentally causing Hennig to fall outside, it all just comes off awkward and Hennig just strikes him and leaves. Outsider’s Edge and Macho Man elbow keep DDP down. More of an angle than a match. The angle wasn’t very interesting or good though. DDP was clearly the only guy who cared in this one. ¾*

Roddy Piper def. Ric Flair in 13:27
Piper’s WCW run is horrible. He was old, out of shape and way past his prime wrestling against old, out of shape and way past their prime guys. Piper gets in a big right hand early, causing Flair to take a powder. Once back inside, Piper lights him up, so Flair turns it around and starts beating on him. Props to these guys for going pretty hard. Flair goes after Piper’s knee. Each time it looks like Piper is going to turn things around, Flair low blows him. Flair tries for the win about six straight times with his foot on the ropes. When it fails, he hilariously yells “SHUT UP” at a fan who tried to snitch on him. Flair fails the top rope spot and Piper puts him in the Figure Four. Flair goes to cheat but it backfires, so here are Mongo and Benoit. Benoit tries the headbutt and misses, opening the door for Mongo to tombstone him. So, Mongo turned face earlier for nothing? Piper is still able to kick out. He fires up and puts Flair in the sleeper hold and Flair passes out. This absolutely surprised me. I expected a total stinker and it was actually good. Flair dragged Piper to a good outing and Piper nailed his comeback spots. ***

The Giant and Lex Luger def. Dennis Rodman and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan w/ Randy Savage in 22:19
Dennis Rodman was pretty much a perfect fit for pro wrestling. Hogan handles the first few minutes as they’re building up the anticipation of Rodman actually wrestling. Hogan teases it a few times. When Rodman does get tagged in, the place erupts. Rodman stalls, but once he locks up, he arm drags Lex and the place absolutely explodes. Luger gets hot and forces them to retreat, but once back in, Rodman shoulder blocks him down. Hogan comes back in after Luger clotheslines Rodman. They end up working heat on the Giant. Yes, I was surprised too. I know Luger was next in line for a title shot, but the Giant taking heat is just weird. Luger gets the hot tag but his run doesn’t last too long. They end up doing another hot tag to Giant. Sting shows up and he’s clearly about seven feet tall and steps over the top rope. He whacks Giant with the bat and leaves Hogan alone. The commentators FULLY believe that was the real Sting and not obviously Kevin Nash. Luger still manages to make Hogan submit to the Torture Rack. About as good as one could expect considering the four men involved. Rodman played his role well and had the crowd in the palm of his hand. **

Luger goes Torture Rack crazy and gives it to Rodman and Savage as well. The heels leave and talk smack to the camera to keep their heat, while Luger checks on Giant.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Okay, this was much better than I expected. Outside of a lull in the middle featuring two bad matches, everything else hits the mark. The undercard really delivers. You get a surprisingly good opening tag, a solid Steiners match, Benoit and Sullivan in a good ECW style brawl and two cruiserweight matches that steal the show. Piper/Flair is miles better than it should have been in 1997 and the main event is fine for the spectacle that it was supposed to be. A thumbs up for this WCW event.