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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Bash at the Beach 1997

November 17, 2014 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Bash at the Beach 1997  

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Scheduled Card:
1. Mortis and Wrath vs. Glacier and Ernest Miller.
2. WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Ultimate Dragon vs. Chris Jericho (c).
3. Masahiro Chono & Great Muta vs. The Steiner Brothers.
4. Lucha Libre, Six Man Tag Match: Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza, & Lizmark Jr. vs. La Parka, Psicosis, & Villano IV.
5. Career Match: Kevin Sullivan vs. Chris Benoit.
6. WCW United States Championship: Mongo McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett (c).
7. Scott Hall & Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Mystery Partner.
8. Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair.
9. The Giant & Lex Luger vs. Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman.

• Very short but jarring opening promo with clips of Luger and Giant yelling about how they won’t take what the n.W.o and particularly Hogan and Rodman had been dishing out, while audio of Mean Gene is played randomly in the background. WCW never was any good at these. Serious question: What’s the best WCW video package ever?

• Tony is in full shill mode and is drifting toward becoming the caricature he would later self-parody a couple of years later. He proclaims that tonight will TRULY HAVE ONE OF THE BIGGEST MATCHES IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SPORT! He’s joined by Brain and Dust both sporting lais and Hawaiian shirts. Brain has been hunting down people in the back all day to see who will be DDP’s partner tonight, but no one’s talking. It could be Raven, Sting, Larry Z, or recent debutee Curt Hennig but he can’t get a word in. Last Monday, Flair offered Hennig a spot in the Four Horseman, but also no word so far. Dust spits some bars about the origins of the n.W.o a year ago and tonight, Rodman may lead them on to defeat in their anniversary.

Mortis and Wrath vs. Glacier and Ernest Miller. Glacier had his PPV debut earlier in 97 and was slotted right into a never-ending feud with James Vandenberg’s freak show stable that has been going on for about 6 months at this point. Tenay would ambush commentary and allege Street Figher-esque backstory going back years between Vanderberg’s goons and Glacier, but no one much cared. Two months back at Slamboree, Glacier would get the boots put to him after a quick DQ but would be saved by the kicks of WORLD KARATE CHAMPION Ernest Miller. Cat’s involvement went nowhere for weeks, so Glacier was left lying again by the heels at GAB. Glacier decided he needed a partner and called on Miller. They would tag up a few times going over noted WCW Executive Committee favorites like High Voltage and Jerry Flynn and Mark Starr, though they would fall to Psicosis and Silver King by DQ after the heels jumped them in a match that literally no one cared about. Time for the blowoff.


• It’s a pier 4 brawl to start as the heels jump them before Glacier and Cat can even bask in the cold glow of Glacier’s snowflakes. Glacier dumps out Wrath and Mortis shitcans Cat. Mortis smacks him, so Glacier goes to the GnP to a pop. Glacier with a few elbows in the corner and catches Mortis trying up and over and crotches him. Glacier flips him off the ropes with a kick and then Wrath awkwardly stands him place, so Cat can flip off the top and kick him to the floor as well. Glacier goes to the kicks as Dust proclaims they are fighting FIYAH WITH FIYAH! Cat in and Glacier with the Sub Zero sweep to complete the MK hackery. Cat with a roundhouse on Mortis for 1, 2, kickout. Mortis begs off to tag in Wrath which is a “very smart maneuver” according to Tony. Wrath in with a few elbows while Tenay reads off Cat’s football pedigree including NFL stints with Falcons, Jets, and Patriots which sounds like horseshit – all I can find is training camp mentions. ANYWAY, Wrath goes to the chops but Cat ducks under for some kicks and a pump kick as the crowd is rowdy early. Cat charges in but gets spun around for a backbreaker. Wrath walks the ropes for a second rope elbow but whiffs. Cat brings in Glacier and Wrath no sells to taunt and gets dropkicked down. Tenay: “WELL, HOW BOUT THAT?! THE CAT INCORPORATES A DROPKICK INTO HIS REPERTOIRE!” Cover gets 1, 2, no. Wrath tries a trip so Mortis can work over Glacier at the pass but Glacier sniffs it out and dumps Kanyon and the crowd eats it up. Wrath though floors Glacier with a pump kick and trashes him to the floor. Wrath with a SENTON OFF THE APRON! Wrath goes spelunking and comes up with a chair and Mortis lands a SUPERKICK INTO THE CHAIR ON GLACIER’S FACE! Man, that looked brutal. Back in, the crowd gets behind Glacier as he fires up in the corner with an ugly rolling back kick or some shit. Wrath floors him with a LARIATO as Brain and Tenay continue to tip toe around the nonexistent history but palpable tension between Vandenburg and Glacier.

• Brain reminds everyone that Glacier is still undefeated and even Tony ignores him because no one remembers. Wrath and Mortis hit a BEAST powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for nothing as Cat breaks it up. Wrath takes a while but finally sets up a reverse Boston Crab and Mortis in with a guillotine leg drop while he’s in the hold. Mortis says it’s over and wants a Moonsault by Glacier rolls under. Crowd wants the hot tag but Wrath cuts it off taking out Cat. Cat, like a dick, no sells and springboards in and just starts shitkicking both of them which should draw a DQ but the ref is too busy watching to care. A couple of Feliners later and no one even cares there wasn’t a tag. Glacier mounts for the 10 in the corner while Cat dumps out Wrath and the ref is in completely over his head. It’s like this is his first day on the job and he thinks it’s a shoot but doesn’t realize he has any actual power, so he just politely trying to make suggestions but everyone’s ignoring him and the whole match is falling apart. Glaicer with a DDT on the Mortis and the crowd is still into it amazingly. Vandenburg puts a chain on Mortis’s boot in the confusion. Glacier covers for 1, 2, foot on the ropes. Vandenburg distracts only to get punted to the floor. Mortis lays out Glacier with the loaded boot and covers for 1, 2, 3 to take it at 9:52 for Glacier’s first pinfall loss.

• Few minutes too long for the gimmicks and the feud. The heels are superior enough to the faces as, ya know, wrestlers that it’s almost depressing they have to kick their ass the whole match and then wait around to get kicked in the face. Glacier barely qualifies as a wrestler and Cat doesn’t. They’re just a couple of gis in singlets, but at least, Glacier executes the idea of being a wrestler; Cat came off energetic but incompetent. At least that played into the booking of the finish though and the crowd was into it. **1/4

• DDP is in the back at the WCW INTERNET POSITION which is a tech guy with a lai and a laptop on a folding table. User “I Love Cows” wants to know who DDP’s mystery partner will be tonight. DDP scoffs at the name and the question saying it might as well be his DDD – Diamond Dallas Dad – sitting right behind him.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Ultimate Dragon vs. Chris Jericho (c). Jericho is the enthusiastic babyface with no Pearl Jam yet but a belt, at least. Syxx won the cruiserweight strap from Stinko Malenko back in February 97 and then did nothing with it for FIVE MONTHS including no PPV title defenses and no matches until April, but he did show up to work a few Nitros in April and June. Syxx then dropped it unceremoniously to Jericho at a house show on Saturday Nitro, a free Internet-exclusive audio show. Dragon is coming off a face turn and a break away from Sonny Onoo and defeating Psicosis last month.

• Tony says it was a big victory for WCW to get a belt away from the n.W.o even though it was never aired except in audio form on the internet. Though here is Jericho losing clean in 5 minutes by submission to Syxx a week before winning the belt.

• Jericho with a go behind to start. Dragon gets a rope break and then takes down Jericho. Jericho floats into a hammerlock, but Dragon drops down again into top position. Dragon with a hiplock so Jericho switches to a headscissors. Dragon kips out for the NOT YET OVER ECW STANDOFF! Another go behind but Dragon shakes it off and lands on his feet out of a backdrop attempt. Jericho tries a monkey flip and again Dragon lands on his feet. Dragon tries one and Jericho CARTWHEELS OUT! WOOOOO! Dragon with an arm drag and Jeircho comes back with one. They both whiffs on spinkicks and dropkicks. SECOND ECW STANDOFF! Crowd at least perks up a bit for that one. But holy shit, that was an awesome sequence. Jericho pulls Dragon into the corner for chops as Brain and Dust talk about Rodman and the n.W.o. Dragon dropkicks Jericho down out of the turnbuckle handstand. Dragon goes to the kicks and takes down Jericho and a few DR FG’s. Dragon slows things down with a nerve hold and a reverse triangle choke. Brain: “These two men have an enormous amount of respect for each other.” Tony: “I think Mike’s covered that, actually.” Dust: “Yeah, he covered it. You wanna win when the bell’s ringin’. He covered that and…um… what you said ’bout, ya know, you can’t win him, you gotta be him, he’s gotta be the champion.” Brain: “WELL, YOU THREE TALK AND I’LL GO GET SOME POPCORN! If you don’t mind. You guys wanna lock up?” Dragon then releases to kick the shit outta Jericho’s head. Dragon with a baseball slide but Jericho catches him in the DOUBLE POWERBOMB! Senton gets 1, 2, no.

• A vocal contingent chants for SYXX as Jericho hits a hanging vertical suplex. Jericho covers for 1, 2, kickout. Jericho follows up with a backbreaker that he bridges into a submission. Tenay pipes in to bring up that Jericho won the title after an impromptu match after Syxx had already wrestled Mysterio. Way to put over the new champ. Tony: “What will the n.W.o do during this match? Maybe something? MAYBE NOTHING?! AND IF NOT, WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN STORE FOR LATER ON TONIGHT?!” Thanks for that. ANYWAY, Dragon with a head of steam but runs into a sleeper that he counters out of nicely with a back suplex. Dragon tries a flip up and over that Jericho ducks under and counters with a SWEET MOONSAULT! YEAH! The crew though continues to ignore everything to talk about the card. Assholes. Jericho hooks the leg for 1, 2, 2.99. Jericho with a Tiger Driver. 1, 2, still no. Jericho wants a superplex while Dust sniffs paint and compliments Tenay on the name, “Tiger Driver”. They jockey for position up top and Jericho tries a dropkick but ghosts Dragon who falls to the floor anyway. Not sure what that was all about. Jericho though follows up with the double jump plancha to the outside. Tony: “Brain, you and I both know Jericho–” Brain: “Yeah, he’s stupid.” Tony: “HE’S A FIGHTER!” Brain: “Oh.” Tony: “At the biggest wrestling PPV EVER with Dennis Rodman and Hollywood Hulk Hogan on the card, it’s very important for Chris Jericho to get a 1, 2, 3, I would think.” Yes, Tony just speculated that Jericho wants a victory to impress Hogan and Rodman due to the stature of the event. Back in, Jericho with a scoop slam and goes for a second rope elbow but eats boot. Dragon tries to put him up top but they jockey for position and Jericho dumps him to the floor. PLANCHA! NO! DROPKICK COUNTER! These two are countering the hell out of each other. Dragon tries a suplex on the floor but Jericho counters to a snap suplex on the floor. Dust: “You gotta be able to counter with your good counter move by putting the guy away. Counter, use your counter to get a victory. Everybody say, ‘Well, he countered him and that was a good move and he came back and did that move.’ Sooner or later, you gotta put a guy away or put him in a position to either uncle him or put him out.” Thanks for that.

• Jericho tries another double jump plancha but Dragon ducks and Jericho eats floor. Dragon does the 619 fakeout and then kicks Jericho away for the ASAI MOONSAULT! Count gets to 9 as Jericho predates the Cena selling by not moving and then racing in under the ropes at the last millisecond. Back in, Dragon sends off Jericho for a rana for 1, 2, foot on the ropes. Dragon wants the handspring back elbow but Jericho catches and counters into LA MAGISTRAL! NO! LA MAGISTRAL FROM DRAGON! ONE, TWO, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM! Dragon again lands on his feet out of a backdrop and wants the Dragon Suplex. NO! Jericho drops down and rolls him up for 1, 2, no. Dragon roll up for 1, 2, no. Dragon with a standing switch and they both tumble out to the floor after countering each other to death. On the floor, Dragon hits the enzuigiri as the count gets up to 8 again and again Jericho beats it at the last second. Dragon tries to suplex him back in but Jericho lands on his feet. Dragon tries to trip him up but LIONSAULT! 1, 2, 2.999. Tony: “Dragon looks tired here.” Brain: “I know. He’s draggin’.” Tony: “…. Yes, he is.” ANYWAY, Jericho tries another Lionsault but Dragon cuts him off with a dropkick. NICE! Dragon says it’s over and wants a Tiger Suplex. Dragon tries a Dragon Sleeper but Jericho drops down only to eat a LARIATO. Dragon hits a moonsault off the top. He tries another Dragon Suplex but Jericho switches to a Tiger Driver. Dragon ranas through but Jericho rolls into a sunset roll up for 1, 2, 3(!) to retain at 12:55.

• Phenomenal match that really could got over the hump as a MOTYC classic with some crowd heat or a commentary crew dialed in. Dragon and Jericho were throwing out all the stops with high spots galore, counters, false finishes, and just really a lot of given and take from both guys. Just a really good match if almost tone deaf in multiple ways. ****

• Scheme Gene wants your money tonight for the WCW Hotline and he promises to reveal if DDP’s mystery partner is in the building tonight. If he’s not, stay on the line, because Gene will scour the arena finding him while you’re on hold. Also, Gene finds Raven and Stevie Richards and he wants a word with Raven. He asks if he’s going to be DDP’s partner but only gets some “Edgar Allen Poe gibberish” in response. Stevie mentions a big announcement tomorrow night on Nitro, but Raven smacks him around before he can say anymore. The next night, Raven would reveal nothing and Stevie would try to mention a WCW contract and again Raven would abuse him.

Masahiro Chono & Great Muta vs. The Steiner Brothers. Tony complains about how the Steiners were expecting their title shot against The Outsiders tonight, but no such luck. See, with Vincent’s help, HH won a shot for the belts back at GAB, but due to the interference, there was a return match on Nitro. After some mistimed Sherri involvement, the Steiners won the match and the shot and well, that was 3 whole weeks ago, brother, and the Executive Committee doesn’t move that fast. WCW would save that encounter for a non-title match coming up at the WCW Saturday Night taping. The Steiners wouldn’t get their shot until Road Wild. Instead, tonight, they are getting n.W.o Japan members Chono and Muta. The two teams traded a few wins in June on free TV, so this is apt. It’s rather unfortunate Chono and Muta come out to some generic stateside music when Chono has some of the bossest music of all time. Before these shots, Muta hadn’t been in WCW since 95 for one match against Orndorff and one match against Austin in 94, so this is rare indeed.

• They come to blows at the bell and the heels shitcan out the Steiners like a couple of jobbers. I love it. The whole situation is reminiscent of one of my favorite JR calls ever at Clash IX with Gary Hart’s crew turning on Funk after losing to Flair. THEY PEARL HARBORED ‘EM, TONY! The Steiners gear up and mount the top rope for a few clotheslines to clean house. Muta is nonplussed and gimmicks up for the camera. Chono, on the other hand, gets into a rather intense shouting match with the front row. Scotty and Muta to start. Scotty ducks a kick and goes to a headlock. Muta sends him off and Muta eats a shoulderblock. Scotty runs into a boot in the corner and goes down. Decent MUTA chant gets going as he chokes Scotty around. Muta rolls under a leap frog and kicks down Scotty. Scotty cuts off Muta with a Tiger Driver and a GO-rilla press slam. Crowd loves it while he waffles Chono off the apron. Rick in and he barks Muta out of the ring. Rick bites the ropes, so Muta brings in Chono. Rick goes to the headlock and a shoulderblock on Chono. Chono goes to the eyes and he tries to plow over Rick who no sells. Chono AIN’T HAVING THAT SHIT and rakes the eyes and KICKS THE SHITTA OUTTA RICK! HIP STRUTTING TIME! FRONT DOUBLE BI! WOOOOOOOOO! Chono, though, follows up with a knuckle lockup and you can imagine how that goes. Chono kicks him again and tries a suplex. No go so he elbows Rick. Rick whiffs on the next spot, so they repeat it for a backdrop. Chono goes back to mouthing off with the humanoids and tags in Muta again to go at it with Scotty. Brain: “Dusty, what do you think Rodman will wear in the ring?” Thanks for that. Muta tries to waffle Scotty from behind but it blows up in his face. Scotty puts Muta up top and Chono is back up for an Electric Chair.

• Muta plants him with the Handspring Back Elbow and a SWEET bulldog. Muta drops an elbow and tags in Chono. Chono – Tony: “One of the toughest kickers in our sport.” – kicks around Scotty. Scotty avoids the double team for a super belly to belly suplex off the top. Tag to Rick and he plows over Chono and Muta. He plants both with suplexes. Bulldog off the top on Muta. He covers but Chono breaks it up. Chono with another yakuza kick on Rick but he shrugs it off for another backdrop suplex. Scotty with a belly to belly on Muta and he heads up top. Chono cleans his clock, so Muta can FRANKENSTEINER STEINER! YEAHHHHHH! Rick shitcans Chono, but walks into a DSLW. Rick no sells to block the handspring back elbow with a nice German Suplex that folds up Muta. Rick covers for 1, 2, broken up by Chono. Muta’s the only one in the match that isn’t completely gassed, so he leaps into a rana from Scotty. Rick covers but Chono pulls the ref. Mickey Jay gets him an earful. Unfortunately, after arguing with the ref, Chono is left standing there just watching his partner get pinned because Scotty forgot to hold him off. Classic. Scott DDT’S MUTA OFF THE TOP! HOLY SHIT! 1, 2, 3 for the Steiners at 10:41.

• These guys were on fire. Just a perfect mix of dickish heel work, power moves, distractions using the ref, and the Steiners kept to suplexes and shoulderblocks to fire up the crowd. Just a perfect 10 minutes of pounding and pulverizing the hell out of all 4. ***1/4

Lucha Libre, Six Man Tag Match: Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza, & Lizmark Jr. vs. La Parka, Psicosis, & Villano IV. Only “story” here is that Psicosis and now La Parka are in Sonny Onoo’s stable. Brain: “You call them luchadors?” Tenay: “Luchadors.” Brain: “Sounds like a pair of tight pants you wear during a bull fight.” ANYWAY, Psicosis and Lizmark to start. Psi grabs a headlock and gets suplexed over, while Tenay explains rudos and tecnicos. Lizmark kips to his feet to escape a headscissors to crickets. They shove it out and Lizmark kips up again. Garza flies off the top with an armdrag as Dusty tries to learn Tenay some American-style lucha libre. Lizmark alley oops off Garza to dump off Psi. Villano is in to get some heat with loud chops. They botch a whip reversal and then repeat it so Garza can leap into some boots. They go through the knuckle-up so Villano can armdrag Garza off the top. Another flip and another armdrag and Garza dropkicks him to the floor. Garza wants a moonsault off the apron but he whiffs only to land on his feet and backbreak Villano in a nice spot. Parka in and Juvy headscissors him down. Juvy goes for the armdrag special but Parka blocks and he’s instantly more over with him than the rest of the match. Juvy alley oops up and ranas him but no one cares. He steamrolls Juvy but gets launched out to the floor. Juvy follows up with the anti-Newtonian rana. Sonny Onoo can’t handle that kind of blatant disregard for the laws of gravity and kicks him in the face. He wants another but Parka eats it. Parka moves in for the waffle but Onoo flashes some cash and all is good with the rudos. Psi in to jump into a turnbuckle and fall on his face. Lizmark backflips for no reason and Parka, the most astute of the crowd, just punches him in the back of the head. Unfortunately, his team can’t live up to his Chairman of WCW standards and Psi knocks him on his ass accidentally.

• The rudos implode and Garza crossbodies Parka and Juvy follows with a double foot stomp. Brain: “Tony, I’LL GIVE YOU $100,000! WHO’S LEGAL?!” Tony: “Parka is legal.” Brain: “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!” Dust: “HE AIN’T ANYMORE!” The tecnicos clear the ring for the stereo planchas in triplicate. Back in, Psi cuts off Juvy with a dropkick. Psi then DROPS HIM ON HIS FUCKING HEAD with a top rope Code Red that doesn’t get enough height or rotation and just drops straight down. That looked GNARLY. Parka in and Juvy tries a springboard rana on Psi who almost drops him. Monnsault from Garza and another from Bizmark all for 2 counts. The rudos collide again and the faces apply the Star submission – double wishbone with 4 men. Parka breaks it up with a Torture Rack backbreaker. The heels still can’t get on the same page and it’s Psi and Garza left. Now, it’s the missed splashes in succession spot as every guy in the match both misses and avoids a dive off the top. They all prep a Tower of Doom but the two Electric Chairs get broken up and Villano wipes out off the top. Poor Dust is speechless. Dust: “I… ain’t ever… Know what I mean? I ain’t ever.” Standing moonsault from Lizmark gets a 2 count. He shitcans out Villano for a splash. Time for Park’s 360 body press to the floor. Juvy leaps off Garza’s back for a splash and Psi is backdropped to the floor. Corkscrew plancha from Garza off the top. Dust: “HE GOT ALL FIVE OF ‘EM! … PIN ONE OF ‘EM!” BUT WAIT! VILLANO V HAS COME OUT! The rudos play mistaken identity and hide V4 on the floor. V5 plows over Garza for a few 2 counts. Of course, Villano V is the weak link for a reason. He bumps Psicosis and then jobs for the whole lot of them to a dropkick and a moonsault at 10:07.

• This was the lucha-est lucha match that ever lucha-ed. The missed dives in succession, the landed dives in succession, the plethora of armdrags and headscissors and moonsaults, etc. Outside of the spots, the only note of minor interest was the heel miscommunication and Parka seemingly more interested in trying to work a stiffer, no-nonsense style which at least I appreciated. **1/2

• Post-match, Tony reveals his displeasure with having to labor through moonsaults while Hogan’s limo might be circling the building. Tony: “Don’t take a breath one on that one because that was…[searching for the diplomatic adjective]… spectacular. You get to a point where you say, ‘JUST PIN SOMEBODY!’ and finally they did.”

• He follows up by revealing he’s more excited for the upcoming Benoit/Sullivan retirement match and of course, Dusty is all about that as well.

Tony: “Now, we’re going to go to the OTHER side of the spectrum—“

Career Match: Kevin Sullivan vs. Chris Benoit. Benoit spent the last few months going round and round with Meng and finally got over the hump against him at GAB. After going through the monster, Benoit wanted the head of DOD, whom he had already defeated back at SB VII in a San Francisco Death Match that was borderline shit. Although the two had also met at GAB 96 in an AWESOME falls count anywhere match, so who knows what to expect here. Sullivan is accompanied by Jacqueline and Jimmy Hart, although he and Jacqueline are jacking their jaws on the way to the ring, so expect some miscommunication.

• Benoit slowly paces to the ring and they both come out slugging. Dusty is beside himself: “BROTHER, THEY ARE DUKE-ING IT OUT! NAIL ‘IM!” Sullivan gets the advantage but Benoit comes right back. Lots of potatoes to be had and Sullivan suplexes Benoit out to the floor. Sullivan trashes him into the guardrail and pulls it apart, so this must be no DQ? Jackie goes to work on Benoit, while Sullivan rearranges the rail for another whip into it. Benoit monkey flips Jackie on the floor, but she lands on her feet(!) and Benoit eats more rights. Benoit goes low on both and tosses Jackie into Sullivan. Sullivan tries to throw Jackie ONTO Benoit but whiffs and just throws her on the ground. Jackie takes offense, but Sullivan ignores to throw Benoit into the set of beach bum paraphernalia. Dusty: “UH OH! THERE GO THE BOYS IN THE SURFBOARD HOUSE!” Sullivan waffles him with a lawn chair and a few surfboards. Benoit is covered in sand as Jimmy Hart climbs the lifeguard tower. Benoit fights off Sullivan to topple Hart and the stand all the way over as the crew races to out-bad-pun each other. Dusty: “THERE IS NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY, TODAY!” Brain: “SUNSCREEN WON’T HELP YA NOW, WILL IT?!” ANYWAY, Jackie waffles Benoit from behind with another chair as it’s basically 3-on-1. They slug it out with receipts and receipts for receipts being exchanged before Sullivan kicks him in the nads. Sullivan preps and delivers a piledriver on the floor. Sullivan finishes him off with the double stomp and now it’s time for more plunder. He blasts Benoit with an entrée dish. Benoit no sells to bring him back to the ring. Benoit with a lefty LARITO. Sullivan dumps him out and Jimmy Hart chokes him around. Sullivan gathers him up and atomic drops him on the ringpost. Nice.

• Sullivan drops him again on the rail right in front of Raven and crew and kicks him in the stone one more time. They fight back into the ring for Benoit to box him in the ears and suplex him for 1, 2, feet in the ropes. And yet the entire match has been a brawl, so rope breaks shouldn’t matter, but no one cares. Sullivan takes over by biting Benoit in the ribs, so Benoit bites him in the ear which the crowd gets behind. Benoit uses the ear attack to set up the CC. Sullivan gets the ropes. Another CC and it’s MOARROPEBREAK! Benoit stomps a mudhole and Sullivan is toast. Sullivan fights back and floors Benoit. He puts him up top in the Tree of Woe. He lands a few brutal running knees on Benoit. Jackie brings in an old-school wooden chair and turns on Sullivan with El Kabong. Benoit frees himself and lands the diving headbutt for 1, 2, 3 to win it at 13:12.

• A violent, satisfying melee that is way better than the San Francisco Street Fight and all of Benoit’s brawls with Meng. It’s pretty awesome for the first half, but once Benoit grounds him with a CC that lasts for the better part of 3 minutes, the match loses some of its steam and never fully gets it back. Believe it or not, the stipulation mostly held as Sullivan only wrestled one more match in WCW at Starrcade 1999 ¬in an 8 man tag. ***1/4

• Post-match, Jimmy Hart tries to shame Sullivan but it backfires as Sullivan quasi turns face in retirement. Brain and Dusty give him the hard sell on commentary as he walks to the back.

WCW United States Championship: Mongo McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett (c). In another SB VII rematch, talk about the feud that won’t end. Back in Feb, Debra didn’t so much turn on Mongo as she just didn’t give a damn whether Jarrett or Mongo won and cost Mongo the match. With the victory, Jarrett got a spot in the Horsemen. FF to May and Slamboree where Jarrett was wrestling the match of a lifetime going blow for blow with Malenko but Mongo would pull Debra away from ringside and cost Jarrett the US championship. Later in the night, the fuse to the powderkeg was lit, but Jarrett delayed the fireworks by staying true to the Horsemen and helping Mongo defeat Reggie White. That was short-lived though as the feud stretched out another month into GAB where lightning would not strike twice and Jarrett “accidentally” waffled Mongo with the Haliburton causing him to lose to Kevin Greene. Even Flair who had feuds of upwards of 20 years each with Sting, Hogan, Luger, Dusty, Steamboat, etc. had had enough of their bickering and kicked Jarrett out of the Horsemen. This would finally be the war to settle all the scores (until it was extended into a tag feud at Road Wild and another rematch at Clash 35).

• On the way to the ring, Mongo summarizes the above paragraph of backstory and angle development: “JEFF JARRETT, YOU SHOULDA NEVER JUMPED IN MY CHILI, BABY!” Thanks for that.

• As always, Jarrett has some of the worst gear of all time. Mongo steals the gold and poses pre-match to a decent response. Not satisfied he does it at another corner and gets an equally lukewarm reception. There’s always a bit of a funny meme through these matches as Dusty on commentary can’t decide if Mongo’s name is “McMichael”, “McMichaels”, “MacMichael”, or “MacMichaels”, so stay tuned. ANYWAY, Jarrett gets the belt back and now he poses to BIG heat, which makes Mongo’s face pittance that much more… pitiful because he can’t even get a full blown pop against a hated guy who tried to steal his wife while wearing shitty wrestling attire.

• At the bell, Mongo leads the fans in a raucous rendition of JACKETTSUXJARRETTSUXJARRETTSUX. Jarrett peels out to the floor to stall some more. They trade wristlocks and Jarrett does a circle around him before tossing Mongo with a trip. WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! STRUTTING TIME, BABY! Jarrett reclines over the top turnbuckle and revels in it. Mongo shoots in with the worst double leg of all time barely bending at the hip and Jarrett easily goes behind him. Mongo counters to a waistlock but Jarrett elbows out only to run into a BOSSMAN SLAM! CHOP BLOCK! Jarrett bails out to sell the knee like a pro as these guys are cooking. Back in, Jarrett stupidly agrees to a test of strength and Mongo brings him to his knees. Jarrett hip checks him to escapes but runs into a HIGH KNEE! SHITCAN HIM OUT! JARRETT TUMBLES TO THE FLOOR! Jarrett though trips up Mongo and brings him to the floor for a shot into the stairs. Mongo counters and Jarrett takes the softest bump into the rail imaginable. Mongo chokes him around with a camera cable and drops a few elbows that Dusty tries to spin into a transformative experience for Mongo learning the ropes. Dust: “I’ll tell ya what. That move right there. There’s been a lot of tape watchin’ by Mongo MacMichaels. That move there. That elbow with the guy draped across the apron was used by the late, my partner, Dick Murdoch.” ANYWAY, Mongo can’t quite press slam Jarrett and just drops him for a few LARIATOS. Mongo with an UGLY powerslam for 1, 2, 2.99. Mongo tries a high knee in the corner but eats post. OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT THE KNEE! Jarrett awesomely mocks the 3 point stance and clips Mongo’s knee. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! ANOTHER CHOP BLOCK! FIGURE FOUR TIME! BUT WAIT! DEBRA IS ON THE APRON! Jarrett “steals”/is given the Haliburton. Mongo tries to block but eats two briefcase waffles and he’s out for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 6:55.

• Helluva lot of fun to be had. As usual, nothing masterfully technical or artistic, but Jarrett is an artisan of the cheap heats and is professional enough to take Mongo through his paces. Mongo for his part is enough of an arrogant shmuck to play the perfect patsy frontrunner just long enough to tear up his knee and lose his girl and match at the same time. And the knee/knee mirror psychology was just interesting enough to get us through 6-ish minutes. **3/4

• Post-match, Debra confirms the turn and joins up with Jarrett.

• Meanwhile, Gene Mene offers up hotline specifics: “There are a number of men here tonight who do not have contracts.” Thanks for that.

• Hogan and Rod the Bod the God himself cut a promo. They mainly say each other’s name several times in succession and mention they will tear apart Daytona Beach. Annoyingly, the n.W.o music is playing through the background the entire time. I know these promos get some credit for being against the norm and a nice change of pace, but they just come off as incoherent and repetitive nowadays.

Scott Hall & Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Mystery Partner. Savage and Page had been battling for the better part of the year including epic street fights at SS and GAB (and they would have another at HH). Macho got the big win at GAB after an Outsider’s Edge and a belt shot courtesy of Hall. The next night on Nitro because Nash and Syxx were busy with a mini-feud with Mysterio, DDP challenged Hall and Macho to a tag match at the next Bash, BATB. For a few weeks, DDP would jaw with the n.W.o with no logical partner appearing. In the main event on July 16, he and Giant and Luger battled The Outsiders and Macho to a no contest. Sting would descend from the rafters to help DDP fight off the n.W.o as Curt Hennig simultaneously debuted on Nitro, sending the non-existent watercooler talk all abuzz with whether or not, Sting or Perfect or maybe even Raven would be the mystery partner. On the go-home show, Macho would look to squash La Parka but who only get Diamond Cutted by the La Parka-dressed DDP in an electric moment. Let’s go to it.

• n.W.o out first and DDP comes out alone and Brain wants the scuttlebutt from Tony.

• Brain: “Quick, quick, who do you think, Tony? GIMME ONE! GIMME ONE!”
Tony: “I’m not going to say… because I don’t know.”

• Poor Tony then blushes and fumbles his words because Turner was notorious for its short leash on profanity, but the monkeys in the truck missed the memo and showcase a sign that reads, “Savage – Hogan’s Bitch.”

• Tony: “WITH AN EXPLOSION THE ONE AND ONLY DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE—[Sees the sign on his monitor]–….[Clears throat and quite possibly pulls his collar out and loosens his tie as he starts sweating]… arrives on the scene here.”
Dust: “Man, we all just a-waitin’. We tongue-tied.”

• ANYWAY, the mystery partner is finally revealed as Curt Hennig.

Scott Hall & Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Curt Hennig. DDP has the chronic taped up ribs that would only be healed by the power of DDPYoga in later years. DDP and Macho to start. Macho catches a kick and spins DDP around for the usual DISCUS LARIATO spot, but Macho ducks under so Page lands the LEFTY LARIATO. Nice change up. Page floors Macho who bails out to the floor to regroup. He grabs anything not bolted to the floor in anger. Macho throws some shrubbery into the ring or something and then Page pantomimes fucking it in retaliation. I’d call that a net loss for Page. Savage hocks a loogie but misses and Page spits on him and hits it much to the crowd’s delight. Macho regroups and brings in Hall. Hall wants Perfect. Hall tries to make fun of his weight but Perfect BLOCKS THE STOMACH RUB! OH MY, TONY! Hall flicks the toothpick, so Perfect spits his gum at him. Well, clearly, these guys have established that they all can spit and throw international objects with damn fine accuracy, but on with the Greco-Roman pugilism.

• Lockup goes nowhere, so they break it up with shoves. Perfect with a go-behind and a smack for Hall. After more theatrics, Perfect with a few shots and a knee lift and hall staggers into an atomic drop. He flops into the turnbuckle and then another atomic drop. Perfect plows over him again and the crowd just isn’t feeling Perfect’s shine. They just aren’t ready to accept a guy into this spot who hadn’t been seen since 93 and with another company at that. Perfect with the perfect neck whip but still no reaction. Page in and immediately gets a DDP chant. He locks up Hall for the Neutralizer and then he WAFFLES MACHO WITH THE HAYMAKER! Hall comes back with a corner clothesline and Macho attacks in retaliation behind the ref’s back. Hall tells Page to suck it and tags in Macho. Macho goes to the eye and chokes him around and well, he’s spent and brings Hall back in. Hall goes to the ribs with a knee, but it’s mostly lots of choking. Another shot to the ribs as the crowd tries to rally Page. Hall isn’t having it and shitcans him out for a shot into the stairs. Dust: “THEY ARE REALLY A-WHIPPIN’ HIM LIKE A DOG, NOW!” Back in, Hall covers for 1, 2, no. Page with an inverted atomic drop and so much for RnR because he tags Hennig right in. Page sells by stretching on the ropes, so Macho sends Perfect into the ropes, taking out his ribs as well. Perfect is pissed and just waffles the shit outta Page and takes a walk, leaving Page by himself. Dust wants to know if he’s joined the n.W.o but no one knows. Outsider’s Edge on Page. Macho interrupts his ascent to spit on Kimberly and finish Page with the Macho Elbow for 1, 2, 3 at 9:40.

• While you knew the blood feud between Macho and Page would continue and that this was just a detour, it’s tempting to feel that this is a disappointment. Page gets Hennig out of semi-retirement and in his first match back turns on his partner. Not exactly the stuff of legend. And yet, I love it, because it’s entirely logical that Hennig would be antsy about this burgeoning union. He’s barely de-oxidized the ring rust off his singlet, before DDP is costing him in a marquee match and well, Perfect just doesn’t have the time for that less-than-Perfect tag team work. **3/4 almost all for character work and booking.

• Perfect would stay face, more or less immediately aligning with Flair and the Horsemen, and go on to defeat Page at Road Wild. He would get Arn’s spot in the Horsemen officially, until of course turning on them at Fall Brawl.

• Getting spun away from the n.W.o into a side feud with Hennig and then losing seemed to temporarily derail Page’s rise up the card. He would be fine, trading then US title for the next several months, but he always seemed to be stuck in dead-end feuds with guys doing nothing else either, Giant, Bret, etc. In the spring of 98, he found another red-hot vehicle with the Raven/Benoit triple threat feud and of course main evented Bash 98 with Malone against Hogan and Rodman.

• Post-match, DDP gets an ovation from the fans as they chant his name. Crazy stuff.

Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair. THE WAR TO SETTLE NO SCORE! These two have been palling around since the bicentennial when Flair needed backup and a drinking buddy against Jack Veneno in Puerto Rico. Piper moved into GCW and JCP in the early 80s and started his feud/friendship with Flair. The last marquee match between the two of them was probably in late 91/early 92 in WWF. For a little more recent history, going into SB VII, Piper spent a week in Alcatraz and almost lost his mind prepping for Hogan. Piper would win the fight, but lose the match after Macho Man’s interference. For the triangle team battle royal or some shit at Uncensored, Piper felt his back was against the wall, so he wrestled a few “shoots” (see: works) against John Tenta and some nobodies on Nitro to get his team together. Flair came to his rescue and said the Horsemen were on his side. By Horsemen, he meant Mongo, Benoit, and Jarrett, sans Flair or Arn. The n.W.o, of course, would win that match as well, leaving Piper reeling. The WCW troops finally get a measure of revenge at Slamboree when Flair, Piper, and Kevin Greene would take down the Outsiders and Syxx. But that victory was short-lived as Flair took a powder at GAB leaving Piper all alone against The Outsiders for the tag gold. He, of course, lost. I’m surprised Piper hasn’t kicked Flair’s ass before now for all of this. On Nitro, Piper wanted to break bread and bury the hatchet, so Flair and the Horsemen put the boots to him. OK, then.

Brain: “This is like seeing Ali and Frazier. It’s like seeing the Celtics and the Lakers. Great tradition right here in front of us.”
Dust: “Yeah, I don’t buy that thing that—they’re—that somebody is past their prime or whatever. THEY ARE IN THEIR PRIME!”

• Piper grabs a headlock for the usual and jumps on Flair with some GnP. Piper gets him into the corner for more fisticuffs and Flair bails out to regroup. Back in, Flair tries to beg off and slide into some chops. Piper switches and smacks him around. Tony: “THE FIGHTER IS PIPER!” Thanks for that. Flair with a delayed Flop off a smack. Flip in the corner and Flair runs into Piper’s unassuming arm that’s unfortunate collateral damage for the whole charade. Flair is facedown on the floor and I’m seriously hoping that he gets a 0.5 Muta spritzer going off Piper’s open handed smacks and body punches, but no dice. Instead, Piper no sells a BLATANTTHUMBTOTHEEYE for a backdrop on the Flair. Piper posts Flair and brings him back in. Flair tries to beg off but Piper drops to both his knees and promptly gives Flair the 3 Stooges eye poke. High comedy. 3 minutes in and Flair’s got nothing. Not even Hogan completely no sells Flair’s cheap heat arsenal. Flair clips the knee and Piper is instantly a cripple, but at least it plays on the ominous hip scare revealed back at WW3. Anyway, AND NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL, 48 YEAR OLD FLAIR IN HIS PRIME STYLE! Piper eggs him on as Brain makes Piper sound like a geriatric warrior on commentary. For some reason, Flair switches knees working the left then right leg, but no one cares. Flair gets into a shoving match with Mark Curtis for the greatest hits and then goes back to Piper’s left knee. Piper tries to pull down Flair trunks from the front for the unprecedented (in wrestling, at least) FULL FRONTAL NUDITY!

• Thankfully, Flair no sells pornography for the FIGURE FOUR! WOOOOOOOOOOO! Piper Alcatrazes up to a good reaction and turns it over. Flair goes back to the eye but gets spun into a neckbreaker for 1, 2, 2 ½. Piper tries to choke, but Flair goes back to the pornography route by punching Piper in the dick. Dust: “DIRTY TACTIC! DIRTY TACTIC!” Piper can’t get to his feet, so Flair works him over in the corner. Piper Hulks again up to ignore the knees and knockdown Flair with a combo. He drops a knee with the BLATANTLOWBLOW which Dust tries to mask as a shot to the “traspesius thing”. Backdrop and Piper shitcans Flair out. Back in, Piper wants the Sleeper but Flair immediately counters with a slick jawbreaker. Flair starts working a bunch of covers with the top rope for leverage. The fans get on him, so Flair gives them a little hip thrust and “SHUT UP, DAMMIT!” ANYWAY, Flair heads up top and gets slammed off. F4 from Piper. Brain pops a few blood vessels selling this as a potential finish, but no one’s buying. Flair gets the ropes and pulls out the loaded knucks. Brain: “A hand protector.” Dust: “THAT IS NOT A HAND PROTECTOR!” Piper steals them and waffles Flair instead. BUT WAIT! NEVERMIND THAT SHIT, MONGO MACKMICHAELS HAS COME OUT! BENOIT! Benoit distracts and Mongo spikes Piper with a BEAST TOMBSTONE! Flair drapes the arm for 1, 2, 2.999999999999. Dust: “I’LL BE DAMNED!” Final Hulk up from Piper as he no sells everything and pulls Flair back into the Sleeper to a HUGE pop. Flair can’t escape and he’s out at 13:27.

• Given Piper’s general apathy and disregard for basic performance standards or psychology in all of his matches with Hogan in 96 and 97, it’s a minor miracle Flair was able to weave this together. Flair went heel on Nitro and followed it up here which was the perfect route to go. They kept most of Piper’s shoddy, surrealistic brawling to the shine and let Flair hand him his ass, both hips, and both knees for a while. The interference was perfect as was Piper’s final comeback. Shocking state of affairs I know. ***1/2

The Giant & Lex Luger vs. Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman. Rodman first appeared as a manager/hype man for Hogan back at Bash 95 as a face, so at least, there’s a bit of continuity there. He was suspended for the entire NBA season in 96-97, so Rodman decided to take Billionaire Ted and Grima Bischoff up on their checks. He sauntered out in the main event Uncensored as a member of the n.W.o to help eliminate Piper in the battle royal and spray paint Luger at the end of the night. He reappeared the night after GAB with Hogan to challenge Luger and Giant to a tag match in the main event. Of course, it was a swerve, and it was another spray painting for Luger and Giant. They demanded revenge and a match at BATB.

• Hogan and Luger to start. Dust and Tony talk strategy about whether to start with Rodman’s ear rings or nose rings when trying to take him down. Hogan decides he’s going the 70s gaijin route and gets Luger off his game with a WRESTLING HOLD! Back to reality as Luger continues into a hammerlock for a few torques. Hogan begs off for a rope break. We get a LONG cutaway to boxer Andrew Golota who was most famous for throwing more low blows, particularly against Riddick Bowe, than Ric Flair. Hogan poses a bit and flicks some sweat at Luger. Luger throws Hogan off and flexes in response, but Hogan claims a hair pull. A criss cross and Hogan bowls over Luger with a shoulderblock and MOARPOSING. Luger can’t be disrespected like that and takes down Hogan who TAKES A BACK BUMP! More of that famed Japan workrate from the big man. Luger then poses…TWICE! Hogan has never gone up against posing like this before and wants another rope break. Hogan’s done with the most muscular and instead hits a front, single bi and waffles Luger in the meantime. Hogan then plays pickaboo putting his hands over Luger’s eyes and sending him off for a clothesline. Hogan whiffs on an elbow drop and Luger scoop slams him down. Hogan hasn’t worked a match in 6 weeks and only 2 in the last 5 months and well he’s worked up a sweat, so it’s time for Rod the Bod. Lots of stalling follows wherein Hogan keeps pulling Rodman over to the counter to discuss the master plan.

• HOGANSUXHOGANSUXHOGANSUXHOGANSUX! Fans want to see Rodman lock it up, so FINALLY he does and ARMDRAGS LUGER DOWN! Crowd explodes for that. Rodman struts his stuff but Luger armdrags him down and Hogan is in to eat a few as well. Rodman finally loses his do-rag and shades in the scuffle. After a meeting of the n.W.o minds, Rodman is back in for a leap frog(!) and a shoulderblock on Luger. Crowd is eating it up. Dust: “SOMEBODY CALL THE LAW! SOMEBODY! CALL! THE! LAW!” Two more leap frogs but a Luger-line later and Hogan’s back in. Giant tags in and the crowd is FEELIN’ IT! There is just so much trash being thrown at the ring. Most of it isn’t accumulating like a light snow but it’s impossible to ignore. Hogan pantomimes that he’s going to press slam the Giant and throw him over the top rope. Instead, Hogan opts for rights and choking. Giant tries to fire up but Hogan ignores, so Giant ignores that for the CHOKESLAM…TAUNT! Hogan takes a breather to get pelted with more garbage. Hogan with another test of strength tease and goes to Giant’s eyes. He uses the closed fists but Giant drops him with an ugly atomic drop. Rodman comes in and drives Giant off but leaps into a Bearhug and another atomic drop. Giant then spanks Rodman a few times and the crowd just loves every minute of it. Giant preps the ChokeSlam but Hogan clips the knee from behind to take over. Hogan breaks out the right hands and choking as the garbage is starting to pile up a bit. Double clothesline gets nothing as the ref is busy with Luger. Hogan hits quite possibly the weakest, sloppiest, most careless FOOT TO THE FACE EVER and Giant ain’t going down for that shit. But he will take a flip bump for a double hiptoss. That was impressive as hell.

• Rodman and Hogan both cover Giant at the same time and the ref still counts for 1, 2, power kickout. Hot tag to Luger and he takes down everyone except the referee which isn’t good enough for Dusty. Dust: “GO AHEAD AND HIT THE REFEREE! HELL, HIT ‘EM, ALL!” Rodman gets the boot up and paralyzes Luger from the neck done just based on audio evidence. Hogan lands a back suplex for 1, 2, 2 ½. Hogan hits the Atomic Leg Drop for 1, 2, 2.999 and at some point since turning heel, everyone stopped caring about Hogan’s finish because the crowd is silent, but I digress. Crowd fires themselves up though for a LUGERLUGERLUGER chant. Rodman elbows Luger a few times and takes a bow. He’s learned from the best as he chokes (Hogan) and then shoves the ref (Flair). Luger tries a tag, the ref doesn’t see it, and everyone ignores the most basic psychology of the blind tag and just keeps going. Giant kicks down the heels and sets up the coconut. BUT WAIT! STINK HAS COME OUT! Rodman bumps the ref with a few headbutts. Stink blasts Giant with the bat and no one is surprised except the crew. Luger fights off the numbers and RACKS HOGAN! HOGAN GIVES UP AT 21:32!

• Super bloated and could easily drop 5-10 minutes without missing a beat. It’s seriously about 10 minutes of stalling, circling, and very basic interactions with Rodman and then breathers to regroup. Still, though, you have just an amazing sports entertainment spectacle. Rodman couldn’t exactly main event mania or anything, but a tag match with the vets (and Giant) handling the heavy lifting was perfect. It’s no wonder they went double or nothing the following year at BATB with Rodman and Malone, because Rodman plays his role perfectly here and the crowd eats up everything involving him. Also, while Hogan is protected like no other, this was the second time he had submitted to Luger in a month, and he would do it again before Road Wild the following month for the strap. Good long range storytelling, even if it did end with Hogan regaining the belt 6 days later. There’s plenty of sloppy wrestling on display in this match and Hogan barely hits the mat in 20 minutes as usual, but all of that is secondary to just how spectacularly the match clicks with the crowd on a story level. ***1/2

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The final score: review Very Good
The 411
A highly underrated show and on a short list of best WCW PPVs of the Nitro-era. For once, the big main events come through with entertaining matches and clean finishes. Luger gets to make Hogan submit clean as a sheet on a major PPV. Somehow, Rodman's appearance managed to live up to the hype in a staggeringly competent and effective TWENTY MINUTE TAG MATCH with two guys known for coasting and Giant. Flair took all of Piper's bad habits and trapped them in a match structure that allowed them to work and somehow be logical for Piper's best match since the early 90s and possibly his last good match ever. As usual, the undercard comes through in spades as well with an awesome Jericho/Dragon match, a good Steiners tag match, etc etc. Dive in.

article topics :

Bash at the Beach, WCW, Jack Bramma