wrestling / Video Reviews

The SmarK Retro Repost – Great American Bash ’91

July 16, 2002 | Posted by Scott Keith

The Netcop Retro Rant for The Great American Bash 1991.

A word before we get started: Many times over the past few years on
RSPW, I and many others have read newer posters state that such-and-such
a PPV is the “Worst one ever!” I assure you, whatever a given is, it is
not the Worst PPV Ever. nWo Souled Out was extremely bad, but it had a
**** ladder match. WWF King of the Ring 1995 was pretty wretched, and
certainly the worst WWF PPV, but there was at least one match over **.

No, the title of the “The Worst PPV Ever” has always fallen on, and
shall always fall on, WCW’s Great American Bash 1991, aka the Flair
Protest Show. There is no comparison to anything else, it is, without a
doubt, the biggest and most insulting waste of three hours ever to be
called a wrestling program.

Let this be a lesson to future generations of posters: Don’t watch this
show, even to see how bad it could be. It’s just not worth it, no
matter how cool your friends say you’ll be. Take up smoking instead.

On with the rant.

– Live from Baltimore, Maryland, where wrestlers can’t even shave in the
morning for fear of the Maryland State Athletic Commission stopping
their morning routine due to blood.

– Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross, with the debuting Eric
Bischoff doing interviews.

– Opening match: PN News & Beautiful Bobby Eaton v. Stunning Steve
Austin & Terry Taylor (scaffold match). And they waste no time in
tanking the whole fucking show. Who could actually be STUPID enough to
start a major PPV with a SCAFFOLD match? The whole dynamic of these
things is that all four guys end up crawling around trying not to fall
off and kill themselves. That tends to limit the action. I have no
idea why it was even signed. It’s also “capture the flag” rules,
meaning no cool 20 foot falls to the mat. I can’t even describe
properly how BORING this match is. Crowd is just dead, and I mean DEAD,
by the end of this mess. Bobby Eaton grabs the flag and goes back to
his corner, and there’s ZERO reaction from the fans, since they’re
probably waiting for someone to fall off to end it. Quite possibly the
worst opening match in PPV history. -**** I mean it, it was THAT bad.

– Eric Bischoff interviews Paul E and Arn Anderson. Arn is the ONE guy
I would NOT want to be around at that time.

– The Diamond Studd (w/DDP) v. Tom Zenk. Scott Hall looks very roided
up and thick here. Zenk has good energy for, oh, 5 seconds, and then
the Studd puts it in under-drive with the usual kicks and punches. Hey,
yo, survey says…this match bites. Crowd drops off like flies.
Sooooooooo sloooooooooow. Zenk drags DDP into the ring and beats him
up, which enables Studd to get a belly-to-back suplex for the pin. 1/2*
This crowd is just merciless tonight in their Flair protest, basically
not popping for *anything*. Oh, well, at least it’s not Kevin Nash.

– Oz v. Ron Simmons. Oh, fuck, it’s Kevin Nash. Oz has Kane’s pyro to
bring him out. This is just after Simmons’ singles push started. He
gets one of the few actual pops of the night. Crowd doesn’t bother
popping for anything in the match, however, and with good reason. The
match is a big, steaming bowl of fresh suck, with lightly seasoned suck
sauce, and a side of suck salad. Lumber, lumber, kick, punch, yawn.
Simmons manages to get a reaction by clotheslining Big Sexy the Giant
Killer out of the ring. Simmons with three shoulderblocks for the pin.

– WCW’s Top 10 this week:

1. Lex Luger
2. Barry Windham
3. Sting
4. Steve Austin
5. Bobby Eaton
6. Arn Anderson
7. El Gigante
8. Diamond Studd
9. Ron Simmons
10. Johnny B. Badd

– Robert Gibson v. Ricky Morton. If you’ll recall from Clash XV, Morton
turned on Gibson and joined the York Foundation. Morton hasn’t even
bothered to change his RnR Express tights or grow an evil goatee. This
was WCW’s pathetic attempt to push Morton as a singles wrestler 6 years
too late. Crowd is actually pretty pumped for this to start. Morton
kills it, of course, by stalling nonstop for the first few minutes.
Then he spends the next 20 minutes working on Gibson’s knee. Good
psychology, but it’s boring as shit and that’s the LAST thing this DOA
crowd needs right now. It’s so weird watching Fonzie ref down the
middle now. I think everyone was expecting a more Rock N Roll Express
type of match and we get this shit instead, a point which JR makes,
although in a more diplomatic sense. I guess it wasn’t a technically
unsound match or anything, but literally 90% of it is Morton working on
the knee. I’m so bored I’m nearly dropping off by the end. Gibson
mounts an ill-advised comeback because as he’s crawling back into the
ring after a sort-of brawl on the rampway, Morton tags him with the
laptop and pins him. Yay. *

– The Young Pistols and Dustin Rhodes v. The Freebirds and Bradstreet
(six-man elimination). Wanna know how bad the tag situation in 1991
was? The ‘Birds have both the US and Six-Man tag titles. Brad
Armstrong is 5000% better than both Hayes and Garvin combined, so of
course we never get to see him here. Instead most of what he does is
running around outside and pissing off the faces with his Ultra-Rudo
act, which I dig more than anything that WCW produced in this time
period. The Freebirds waste copious amounts of time trying to get the
crowd to do ANYTHING. No dice. Hayes & Garvin of course proceed to
ruin another perfectly good match by somehow managing to drag another
team down to their level of crap. Match goes almost to the finish with
no elimations, then suddenly Steve Armstrong, Michael Hayes, Tracy
Smothers and Jim Garvin all go in rapid-fire succession, leaving Dustin
against Bradstreet. Guess who wins that one. Hint: It was with
several atomic elbows and a bulldog. *1/4

Note: We’re now about halfway into the show and my highest rating is
*1/4. And that’s just because of Brad Armstrong’s performance. And
this was supposed to be the show that started a new era for WCW?

– The Yellow Dog v. Johnny B. Badd. Johnny’s initial push continues
here. The Yellow Dog is Brian Pillman in the usual dipshit Dusty angle.
Johnny was playing it totally gay here. This was basically his first
PPV appearance, keep in mind. Nothing match, full of armdrags and the
ocassional Pillman dropkick. Teddy Long runs in for no good reason and
tries to attack Pillman, thus earning a DQ. The crowd is out of it, as
usual tonight. * Pillman was not just half-assing it, he was
half-assing the half of an ass he brought with him. Can you blame him,

– Lumberjack match: Black Blood v. Big Josh. Blood is Billy Jack
Haynes. This was not a smart idea on WCW’s part, I’ll say that much.
Kick and punch and the usual screwy stuff involved with a lumberjack
match. And still Black Blood tries to rise above the convuluted booking
and actually makes a match out of it. I guess no one told him about
Flair. A big brawl ensues, and Dustin Rhodes whacks Black Blood with an
axe handle, allowing Josh to get the pin. *3/4 I just can’t give it **
in good conscience. It actually got the crowd going.

– One Man Gang v. El Gigante. Well, that didn’t last long. Kevin
Sullivan gives a long, rambling interview that kills the crowd again.
Gigante carries four midgets to the ring. Stupid, stupid, stupid. El
Gigante is the worst “mainstream” wrestler, ever. Period. One Man Gang
beats on him with a cast iron wrench for 5 minutes and he can’t even
sell *that* without screwing it up. The crowd is having a collective
nap. I’m surprised they haven’t walked out yet. Gigante can’t wrestle,
talk, sell or act. His whole thing is that he’s really, really tall.
OMG actually carries a match (not out of negative stars…oh, lord,
no…) and loses it after having his own powder kicked in his face.

– Russian Chain Match: Nikita Koloff v. Sting. This was a super-hot
feud at the time, so maybe it’ll wake up the crowd. Nikita, however,
didn’t anything worthwhile in his entire 91-92 WCW stint, so don’t count
on anything good here. Sting’s entrance finally gets a big pop out of
the crowd. As a sidenote, I have yet to watch a Russian chain/Indian
strap/Dog Collar style match that really made me say “Wow, I never
realized how good that style of match could be.” This is no exception.
The gimmick overwhelms the wrestling, which is basically kicking and
punching with the chain, and not very convincingly. Plus, having seen
dozens of Sting matches, I can safely say when he’s dogging it, and he’s
definitely got it in low gear here. You know when WCW is hammering the
point of it being a brawl, because there’s always ballshots galore.
Four of them in this case. The referee is very lenient with the whole
“breaking of momentum” thing, in this case letting them fight
extensively in between touching corners. They touch 3, and then Sting
Stinger splashes Koloff into the fourth, giving Koloff the win. Bad
matches happen to good wrestlers, I guess. *

– WCW World title match: Barry Windham v. Lex Luger.

At this point, I feel the need to break into a bit of an essay about
this match.

I think that those who refer to the Bret Hart fiasco as the sleaziest
event in modern wrestling history are overlooking this match.

This match was not only a lousy match, but Barry Windham was not even a
contender to the title at the time. The promised match had been Ric
Flair v. Lex Luger, a match which had literally been building for more
than a year, and maybe even for three years depending on your point of
view on the matter. It was to be Ric Flair dropping the WCW World
title, finally, to Lex Luger, after years of being chased by Luger and
screwing him out of the title with every means of cheating known to man.
Everyone knew it, in much the same way everyone knew Lex Luger was
walking out of Detroit as the champion the night he faced Hulk Hogan for
the title.

But Flair’s contract was almost up in 1991, and they wanted him to job
the title to Lex Luger and ride into the sunset as a manager. Or ride
into the sunset as a babyface. Or whatever he wanted, just for less
pay. But dropping the title to Luger was absolute. Flair refused, and
Jim Herd, instead of reasoning with him and offering him big money to do
a single job before going to the WWF or wherever, simply fired Flair
outright and took the WCW World title back, leaving Flair still the NWA
World champion and thus shattering the lineage of the longest lasting
World title in history, beyond repair.

So what did the fans get for their hard-earned money on PPV? Lex Luger
v. Barry Windham for the vacant title, in a match where 99% of the
audience knew in advance Luger was going to win, if only because he had
to. They made the ridiculous decision to push Windham, who had been
wrestling exclusively in tag matches with Arn Anderson for 8 months
previous, as the #2 contender to the title and somehow deserving a title

As one final slap in the face to the fans, WCW didn’t even have another
copy of the World title ready in case someone did what Flair did. They
took the old Western States title, slapped a piece of metal over the
“Western States” part and wrote “World Champion” or something on it. It
was the most self-parodying and bush league move ever seen from a
federation that would grow to make an art form out of fucking up.

As Luger and Windham made their entrances and the cage was lowered, the
fans now suddenly came alive. Not out of excitement for this garbage,
but in defiance of the sudden erasing of their champion, by loudly
chanting “WE WANT FLAIR!” at every opportunity. It was the most energy
shown by the crowd the entire night.

Jim Ross and Tony Sciavone doggedly ignored the howls of protest from
the fans, but sleep with the dogs and wake up with the fleas, WCW. You
brought it upon yourselves. Ask Vince about it.

Barry and Lex went out and half-assed a match that was half-assed to
begin with, in sympathy for Flair, although Luger seems to try harder
because we all know he doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself.
The announcers try to build Windham as a babyface, but WE WANT FLAIR!
Kind of hard to build him up as a fan favorite when they’re chanting for
the biggest heel in the business.

The match goes on with no real flow or psychology, and then Harley Race
and Mr. Hughes come out as one last way to ruin the whole experience.
Race yells at Luger that “now is the time” and Luger suddenly regains
all his energy and pins Windham after a single piledriver to win the
World title. Luger has now turned heel, for no real reason, after being
built as a babyface for months. The fact that Harley Race would
involve himself in this speaks volumes. Luger carries the belt back to
the dressing room to continuous chants for Flair with no real
enthusiasm. What a joke. What a sad, pathetic joke and the worst
possible way to start off the “new era” of WCW, without Flair. By 1993,
the fans would be so loudly and passionately screaming for the man they
*really* paid to see that WCW would have no choice but to sign him


– Paul E. Dangerously & Arn Anderson v. Missy Hyatt & Rick Steiner.
Speaking of sad, pathetic jokes, we’ve got about 3 minutes of airtime
left at this point and another cage match to go. Everyone comes out and
the Hardliners kidnap Missy Hyatt, thus depriving the fans of seeing her
beat up Paul E., which was the whole point of having this crappy mixed
match to begin with. Anderson and Steiner half-ass it for a minute or
so, and then Paul E. foolishly tags in, gets clotheslined by Rick, and
pinned. And that’s it. End of show.

The Bottom Line:

It was the worst of times. WCW somehow managed to scrape even more off
the bottom of the barrel, sinking lower than 1990’s Black Scorpion
fiasco by turfing out their #1 guy and putting on the single worst show
in the history of wrestling PPVs. There wasn’t a single redeeming
factor about this show, not one match you could point to and say “This
is the reason to watch this show.” It was just bad in every possible
manner from start to finish. About the best match was the World title
one, and when your hottest match tops out around **1/2 it’s time to take
a serious look at where your federation is going and who’s running the

Do I recommend watching the show? Yes. Without a doubt.

Because that way, the next time someone reviews a show by any federation
and calls it the worst PPV ever, you can say “Fuck that, I’ve seen WCW
Great American Bash 1991″ and that should be enough to shut up just
about anyone.



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Scott Keith

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