wrestling / Video Reviews

The Great American Bash (7.26.1986) Review

October 28, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Dusty Rhodes Ric Flair Great American Bash 1986
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
The Great American Bash (7.26.1986) Review  

-I couldn’t review just one show and ignore the other. Here’s the other Great American Bash card WWE Network unearthed.

-It’s July 26, 1986.

-We’re in Greensboro, NC. The Coliseum is sold out and damn, it sounds sold out too.

-Your ring announcer is the underrated Dr. Tom Miller. No commentary for this one. I still think it’d be neat if WWE Network brought in Tony and David and gave them a refresher on what all the angles were at the time so they could record new “old” commentary.

SAM HOUSTON vs. “Mr. Electricity” STEVE REGAL

-Houston reverses an Irish whip and the crowd pops like the World Title just changed hands. Houston follows that with a slam and I swear, if you showed this to someone who’s never seen wrestling before and gave them no frame of reference, they’d just assume Sam Houston was the biggest star of the ’80s.

-Side headlock by Houston. He gets whipped into the ropes and Regal connects with a forearm to the skull, and the crowd has never seen such a dastardly deed. Regal suplexes him, Houston pops out, crowd screams with relief. This is why I don’t follow the modern product. This stuff SOUNDS like wrestling, and I don’t get that out of anything that’s happened since I finished high school.

-Chinlock by Regal, and he tells Earl Hebner to hurry up and ask because he knows Houston has had enough. Hebner checks and Houston screams “NO!” Regal elbows him down for two. Regal reapplies the chinlock. Houston starts to fight out but Regal cuts him off with a series of rights. He tries for a suplex but Houston reverses. Monkeyflip and a backdrop by Houston for two. Bulldog looks to finish, but Regal puts on the brakes and shoves Houston into the corner, pinning him with a foot on the ropes. Oooooh, crowd didn’t like that. 1 for 1. Crowd tattles on Regal post-match and the referee confronts him. He denies everything. Great bit by Houston, as he goads the crowd into chanting Regal’s name, which gets Regal to step into the ring, and Houston wins a fist fight handily until Regal just gets out of there and declares that Houston is nothing.

-Brown and Bart start. Hiptoss and flying headscissors by Brown. Bart gets pinballed in the babyface corner. Bart tries to get something going, but Brown leapfrogs over an attempted backdrop and slams Bart down. Stallion tags in and works the arm over. Including a GREAT spot where he applies an armbar from a standing position and stomps Bart’s face repeatedly while tightening his grip. It looks cooler than I can make it sound.

-Everybody tags and Barbarian decapitates Brown on a clothesline. Press slam follows, and a signature boot to the face. Nobody ever did that as good as the Barbarian did it. Most wrestlers just allow the other guy to run face-first into their foot. Barbarian lunged so it looks like he was actually applying force and kicking them in the face. Bart tags in and drops the leg. That works so well he heads to the top and does it again. Brown rolls out of the way and hot tags Stallion, who tonight is this company’s #2 babyface, right behind Sam Houston.

-But he misses a charge and gets suplexed by Bart, and a diving headbutt by Barbarian gets the three-count. 2 for 2. Pretty entertaining for a squash.


-Paul Jones is doing his army man act, but apparently couldn’t get his luggage to the building because he’s playing army man while wearing a JC Penney polo shirt.

-Baron snapmares Manny down and rips at his face. A series of elbows follows, and Baron starts to climb the turnbuckles, but Manny pops up and yanks him back down to the mat. Series of chops and a kneedrop by Manny. Nice spot as Manny pretends to be going for the glove just to sucker Baron into running into the corner, and Manny does a backflip back down and elbows him. Backbreaker, and Baron is already showing signs of being out of gas.

-Baron chokes Manny out while the crowd starts chanting “bald-headed geek.” Baron climbs the ropes again but Manny stops his progress just by giving him a shot to the nuts, then dadbodyslams the Baron off the top rope. Manny “hits” an elbow, but it visibly misses to the point that even this white-hot crowd doesn’t react to it.

-Manny misses a corner charge and Baron clamps on the claw. Manny bleeds but hangs in there. Baron releases the hold and goes for the glove. He gets it this time, puts it on, and sends Manny into the ropes to reapply it, but Manny ducks it and counters with a flying burrito for three. 3 for 3. But it’s the NWA so the heels beat the shit out of him after the bell. Earl Hebner actually rescues Manny on this one, as Baron sends him into the ropes for the claw again, but Earl pulls the ropes down and breaks Manny’s fall so he lands gently on the floor and lives to fight another day.


-Because 1986 was a different time, Precious gets heel heat by demanding that the fans not smoke while Jimmy is wrestling. As with the Charlotte match, Wahoo gets tired of waiting and whips Gorgeous Jimmy with the strap. Tonight’s added twist is that he also slaps Precious on the ass with it to a big pop.

-So Jimmy puts the strap on and Wahoo immediately just whips the hell out of him. Jimmy tries to run away, Wahoo yanks him back in, and I’m a little surprised they’re doing this because it seems to me from looking at a map that it’s completely feasible that fans would attend both the Charlotte and Greensboro shows.

-So Wahoo just keeps whipping and whipping, while I keep watching him whip, although I see no signs of a ney ney from Wahoo at this juncture. And Jimmy stops the onslaught exactly the way he did in Charlotte, with a front facelock. They go to the floor and Jimmy pulls back with his end of the strap, forcing Wahoo to stumble into the post, and you don’t have to ask Wahoo twice to blade for that.

-Garvin rams Wahoo into the barricade and brings him back in to start the tour of the turnbuckles. Garvin touches three before Wahoo kicks him away. Wahoo wraps the strap around Jimmy’s face and applies pressure, and now Jimmy is a good and bloody mess. Wahoo tries to finish the match, but Precious reaches in and trips him to stop his progress. Jimmy heads to the top rope, Wahoo yanks on the strap to bring him down, he binds Jimmy’s hands and uses his head to touch the turnbuckles. Precious frantically starts hitting Wahoo with her bottle to try to stop his progress, but Wahoo ignores every shot and touches the buckles to win. 4 for 4. Even though this was pretty much the same match, I somehow liked this one better than the Charlotte match.

TAPED FIST MATCH: RON GARVIN (with Wahoo McDaniel) vs. TULLY BLANCHARD (National Champion, with JJ Dillon)

-Another rerun from Charlotte. Rules again: All normal wrestling match stuff is legal, both men have their fists taped, the match will be a series of three minute rounds, you must knock your opponent down for a count of ten, TKOs don’t exist.

-So exactly as they did in Charlotte, Tully tries to attack before the bell, but Garvin backdrops him and connects with the taped hands of stone, so Tully is already unconscious before the bell. And it doesn’t get anywhere near the reaction it got in Charlotte, so I’m sure some fans attended both shows.

ROUND ONE: Tully is barely awake when the bell sounds and Garvin is just toying with him, throwing light punches while Tully struggles to get his robe off, and Tully goes down while still wearing his belt and robe. Tully gets to his feet and Garvin targets the torso. Tully is so woozy he goes after Earl Hebner, then collapses for a count of nine. He gets to his feet but he’s already bleeding. There seems to be some confusion about the time limit for the rounds because we just got two consecutive one-minute warnings from Dr. Tom. Tully goes down again but at the count of seven the bell sounds, so Tully will live to see Round Two.

ROUND TWO: Kind of. He’s splayed out in the middle of the ring, totally motionless as the bell sounds. JJ dives in and jostles him to break the count, and he gets sternly reprimanded, to establish for the fans that seconds can’t try to help revive their men. Garvin just goes nuts on Tully with shots to the face, then yanks him by the tights up to his feet and punches him some more. Tully is so dizzy he swings at Hebner again, and Garvin just knocks him down one more time for a four-count. Tully slumps in the corner with ten seconds remaining, so Garvin just punches him a few times to run out the clock.

ROUND THREE: Tully suckers Garvin into charging and gets out of the way, so Garvin hits the corner. Tully finally starts landing punches and Garvin is bleeding. The action goes to the floor and Wahoo helps with a very illegal double-team, atomic-dropping him into the hands of stone on the concrete, and Tully is out on the floor as the round ends.

ROUND FOUR: JJ throws water on Tully to revive him and get him back in. Fisticuffs are attempted but Tully can’t maintain his balance and he collapses. JJ tries to climb in the ring but the referee stops him. And now we get A DIFFERENT FINISH, as JJ runs over with his bucket of water and flings it in Wahoo’s face. Referee gets distracted and JJ tosses a weapon into the ring. Tully gets one good shot with the weapon in his hands and both men are out. Referee does the count on both men, but Tully gets to his feet at 8, Garvin is still out cold at ten, and Tully’s your winner! Hot damn! 5 for 5.


-Winners of this one are #1 contenders for the Tag Team Titles.

-Arn shoulderblocks Robert Gibson down and taunts Ricky. Gibson dropkicks both Andersons and Ricky heads in for a fight. Arn falls out of the ring and Ole retreats to the corner. Arn steps back in and has a small hardway cut from something or other as he demands that Ricky tag in. Arn slugs him a few times, but Ricky faceplants him and follows with a DDT and Arn does a great sell of that as he rolls out of the ring. Back in, he headbutts Ricky and hammers on him, but Ricky catches him coming off the ropes in a drop toehold. Robert tags in, slingshotting himself on top of the leg and then applying a toehold, so Arn is getting his leg worked over in Anderson-like fashion, like a cat burglar being caught by the very person who was trying to catch him.

-Arn rakes Ricky’s eyes to break free from the torture. Ole rams Ricky into the turnbuckle and hammers away, but Ricky fights him off by kicking his knee repeatedly. Ole does a tremendous “Oh shit!” sell as he realizes exactly the same thing is about to happen to him, so sure enough they start dismantling Ole’s leg as the crowd chants “Break it! Break it!”

-Arn tries to help but Ricky isn’t having it and comes in to fight him off. Express applies simultaneous figure fours on both Andersons and the crowd nearly riots out of happiness, but it’s the wrong combination of legal and illegal men in both holds so Hebner breaks them up and the match goes on. Arn knocks the wind out of Gibson with a shot to the gut and follows with a stomachbreaker. Ole heads in and just unloads stomp after stomp on Gibson’s shoulder. Gibson throws punches with the good arm and manages to roll to his corner to tag Ricky.

-Ricky takes on both Andersons but gets overwhelmed quickly. Hopefully he won’t be in the ring too long though. Well, technically he doesn’t because he gets sent out to the floor. He gets up to the apron and Ole targets Ricky’s still-tender face. Ricky ends up on the floor again and Ole finds a camera that some careless photographer left on the floor and uses the strap to press down on Ricky’s nose. Back in the ring, the Andersons keep working the arm, cheerfully oblivious to the time warnings from the ring announcer.

-Armbar is applied by Ole. Ricky hangs on. Kneedrop by Arn. Ricky hangs on. Arn throws Ricky to the concrete. Ricky goes back up to the apron and rams Arn into the turnbuckle. Ricky comes off the top with a bodypress with his last ounce of strength, but Ole prevents the pin and Ricky has missed his window to tag out. Arn misses a corner charge and lands nuts-first on the turnbuckle, and Ricky makes the hot tag with thirty seconds left in the match. Gibson takes on both Andersons and applies a sleeper on Arn, but time expires before the referee can check the arm, and we have a draw. 6 for 6. What more can I say than I sat through 20 minutes and then felt sad that it was over?

HAIR VS. HAIR: “Boogie Woogie Man” JIMMY VALIANT (with Manny Fernandez) vs. PAUL JONES (with Baron Von Raschke)

-Jones gets off to a hot start and puts boots and knees to Valiant, and Valiant sells everything like Yosemite Sam. I still don’t get how THIS guy got over in THIS territory. Valiant actually manages to blade from knees to the back somehow, and Jones pulls a weapon out of his tights and takes some shots with it for a two-count. And then Valiant gets his hands on the weapon and gives the fans a chance to savor the poetic justice in effect here as he jams it repeatedly into Jones and renders him a bloody mess.

-Baron gets on the apron and Valiant chokes him out while Jones pulls out the loaded glove from earlier tonight in a nice callback, but Valiant pulls out a coal miner’s glove match in a nice callback to never. Valiant makes contact with his glove first, but the referee’s distracted and Shaska runs in with a chair to knock Valiant out cold, and Jones rolls over and gets the pin. 6 for 7.

-Post-match, a bunch of faces storm to the ring to plead the case, but Paul Jones’ Army shows up and threatens a rumble, and Sandy Scott forces Valiant to take his medicine and get his head shaved. He shares a tearful hug with Manny before sitting in the chair, which is a nice touch and a reminder that this guy was capable of being more than a clown.


-Magnum got stripped of the title for inciting some violence while the Russians were trash-talking his mother, and then for slapping NWA President Bob Giegel while Giegel was formally reprimanding him for it. But to make Nikita, #1 contender, earn the belt, the vacant title is being contested in a best-of-seven series. Right now, Nikita is up 3-0 so Magnum needs four straight wins, starting tonight, to get the belt back.

-Nikita stares him right in the face and counts to three to start off. Magnum surprises him with a shoulderblock and Nikita retreats to shake it off. Back in, Nikita tries a side headlock. Magnum fights out and turns it into a top wristlock, but Nikita gives him a yank of the hair and gets him back down on the mat. Magnum slips free and turns it into a hammerlock, but Nikita gets to his feet and rams Magnum into the corner. This match has a nice flow to it so far.

-Nikita elbows him down. He starts targeting the ribs with a series of kicks and snapmares him for a one-count. Chinlock by Nikita. He goes for the sickle but Magnum ducks and bodypresses him for two, with Nikita kicking out by benching him to the floor. Nikita posts him and Magnum is bleeding and I remain convinced that if Magnum could have continued wrestling, the top of his skull would have just popped off like a beer cap in 1989 or so.

-Magnum barely makes it back in and Nikita gets two from a back suplex. Chinlock by Nikita, and Magnum’s face is just covered. He makes it to his feet and whips Nikita into the corner to break the hold. Magnum makes a big comeback as Greensboro learns to have hope again, but then Nikita boots him down. Backbreaker by Nikita gets two. Nikita flings him out to the floor, and then does it again. Ivan takes a cheap shot while he has an opening. Magnum makes it back in and Nikita throws him out one more time, with Magnum hitting his head on the stairs on the way down. Magnum gets up to the apron and slingshots himself over the top rope. Nikita tries to block the attempted sunset flip, but Tommy Young kicks the rope, Nikita loses his grip, and Magnum rolls him up for three, and the arena goes nuclear. Holy shit, what a great reaction. 7 for 8. The Russians are just disgusted after the bell.


-Cornette is billed at 196 3/4 pounds. He grabs the mic and tells Baby Doll to show some guts and agree to start the match herself, and Cornette agrees to start the match for his team. It’s a cunning ruse for Eaton to take a cheap shot, but Baby Doll shocks everybody by armdragging him, and Cornette gets the hell away from her and lets Dennis Condrey start the match. Animal comes in for his team. Condrey shoulderblocks him and manages to hurt himself.

-Hawk press slams him and Baby Doll adds a slap to the face, and Condrey retreats. Eaton falls victim to a double backdrop and tries to tag Cornette, and Cornette runs up the turnbuckles to avoid making that tag. So Eaton is trapped in the ring and Animal gives him snake eyes. Eaton wants out again and Cornette again runs to the top rope, so he tags Dennis Condrey instead. Well, that doesn’t go well so Bobby’s back in the ring. He gets slapped by Baby Doll and Animal tries to finish him off, but Bobby raises his knees to block a splash.

-Eaton goes to the top of the cage and hits a flying elbow, but Animal hangs in there for a two-count. Clothesline by Condrey, but Animal gets a foot on the ropes so he’s still in it. Eaton tags in and Animal immediately beheads him with a flying clothesline and makes a hot tag. Dropkick and a tackle by Animal for two. Everyone ends up in the ring and Cornette tries to run away from Baby Doll, but she manages to pull him down from the top rope and knocks him out with one punch for three. 8 for 9. I liked it, and as a bonus, it gave Cornette a magnificent story about how pissed off Ole Anderson was when he learned that Corny and Baby Doll got paid more for this event.


-Flair at this point had held the title for two years and eight months, and they promoted the Great American Bash tour by saying that Flair would be defending the NWA Title against “18 different challengers.” In reality, they were just rotating him between four opponents in different cities, but as far as the average fan knew, he was wrestling 18 different challengers in title matches on this tour. So they pretty much had to have a title change here or else the entire babyface half of the roster would be dead in the water.

-They take turns strutting around. Dusty connects with one left hand after another and Flair retreats to the corner, looking just slightly concerned. Dusty wrings the arm and gets Flair on the mat. Flair tries throwing a chop, Dusty throws one back and Flair retreats again, demanding that Dusty come face him over there. So Dusty comes to the corner and Flair immediately cowers and makes the referee step in.

-Sleeper by Dusty. Flair survives and gives Dusty a shot to the gut to finally get something going in this match. He whips Dusty into the wall and Dusty is lacerated. Flair smells blood…because Dusty is in fact bleeding, I guess…and starts targeting the leg. Figure four is applied. Dusty reverses, but they roll into the ropes and Tommy Young breaks the hold.

-Dusty shocks the arena with a clothesline out of nowhere for two. Flair tries running to the top of the cage, but Dusty meets him up there and rams him into the top of the corner. Flair climbs down to get away but Dusty fires him into a wall to get that blood flowing. Cheese grater for good measure. They wind up on the top of the cage again and Dusty headbutts Flair hard enough that Flair loses his balance and crotches himself on the top rope.

-Dusty winds up for a punch but Flair moves and Dusty hits the wall. But then Flair goes to the top rope despite overwhelming evidence that he shouldn’t, and Dusty slams him off. Figure four by Dusty. Flair survives, and Dusty unloads on him with chop after chop until Flair does the flop. They fight for a backslide and Dusty gets two. Clothesline and a big elbow for two more. Flair tries running up the turnbuckles one more time and comes off with a bodypress for two.

-Dusty recovers quickly and throws him into the wall for two. Elbow by Dusty misses. Flair tries to slam him, but Dusty leans back and turns it into a cradle…for three, and the crowd was NOT expecting this! Dusty Rhodes is the World Champion, and all of the babyfaces head back to the ring to congratulate him, while Flair is left in the corner, totally ignored, which is sort of poetic given how he won the title in November 1983…in a cage, surrounded by babyfaces, while the older champion was left alone and ignored. That’s art, y’all. 9 for 10.

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
Watch this. And have some friends over too. That was a damn good card.

article topics

Adam Nedeff