Sunday, November 9, 2014
So, as the grand return of “Random Network Reviews”, I come back with Bash at the Beach 1996. Lucky that my randomizer landed on this because it’s a historic show. For those who somehow have no clue why it’s historic, it’s the infamous night that the nWo officially formed. SPOILER ALERT! Wait, I did that part too late. Anyway, I’m interested in saying for sure exactly how the rest of the show is since most people only remember the important ending. The main event, for those unaware, pits Sting, Lex Luger and Macho Man against Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and the mystery third partner who will be invading WCW.
For being a company with an endless budget to sign stars, WCW has the worst production company in wrestling history. WWE had and still has a top notch team and even ECW had promo videos that worked perfectly for them. WCW’s stuff looks low budget, has terrible stock music and just everything is bad. Commentary tonight consists of Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes.
An ambitious start considering how unknown these guys were at the time to the general audience. They start the match with some mat wrestling as I see a half crab, bow and arrow and cross Armbreaker within the first moments. Also of note, Mike Tenay joins commentary for this match because he can call the moves and the other guys can’t. They basically admit this, which is sad. They show off athleticism with some springboard moves before Psychosis hits a dive to the outside which blows the commentator’s minds. Back inside, Psychosis hits a leg drop and then a guillotine leg drop that Dusty claims he was going to call but Tenay beat him to it. Sure, Dusty. Psychosis applies a head scissors to wear down Mysterio. They fight to the apron and Rey catapults Psychosis into the ring post before snapping off a hurricanrana that drives the crowd wild. Rey goes back to working the leg so he can ground Psychosis. Rey ties him up in the corner and dropkicks him as Tenay continues to be the MVP of commentary. Drop toe hold and another head scissors from Psychosis puts him back in the driver’s seat. He then lays out Rey outside and hits a top rope senton and again, the crowd has no idea this awesome style existed. Back inside, Psychosis hits an enziguri and Heenan is confused at how Tenay knows the names of these moves. Rey turns things around with a cartwheel that gets him on his opponent’s shoulders and he snaps off another hurricanrana. He hits a springboard dropkick and then a leaping hurricanrana from the top rope, taking Psychosis off the apron. Rey gets a near fall with a springboard moonsault before a springboard dropkick takes Psychosis outside. Rey follows with a twisting Asai moonsault and Heenan is again confused, calling it an Asai hip toss. Back inside, Psychosis counters a springboard hurricanrana with a stiff powerbomb for two. Psychosis sets up Rey on the top for a top rope Outsider’s Edge of sorts, but Rey reverses into a gorgeous top rope hurricanrana to finally win.
My goodness, the rest of this card has a long way to go to even come close to that. One of the best openers that I’ve ever seen. Go out of your way and watch this now. Two guys going balls to the wall and stealing the show.
Mean “BY GAWD” Gene interviews the United States Champion, Konnan and asks him to explain the finish to the previous match. Konnan does so and is like “seriously guys? I have to explain this?” He stumbles a bit through a promo on his match with Ric Flair tonight.
What’s a Carson City Silver Dollar match you ask? Obviously it’s a match where you have to retrieve a sock filled with silver dollars from a pole in the corner. A sock that looks like a condom by the way. Tenta has no music and is bald except for the right side of the back of his head. We get slow paced action, and I use the term action in the loosest possible way. Tenta steps on Bubba and tries the climb. The sock is FAR too high up for anyone not named The Giant to reach. Bubba hits a poor looking back suplex and climbs. He is standing on the top rope and is still maybe another Big Bubba and a half away from reaching. Tenta stops him and tries again but realizes how far away he is, so he decides to unhook the pole. Wise move since WCW stupidly placed the sock absurdly high. Bubba gets a belt and chokes Tenta out. He then ties Tenta up to the ropes and whips him with the belt. Tenta cuts himself loose after kicking Bubba and cuts the stuff holding the pole in place. Big Bubba stops him and makes Jimmy Hart climb the pole. Hart looks scared for his life since the top of the pole is like six stories up. He retrieves it but Tenta takes out Bubba, gets the sock and lays out Bubba with it to thankfully end this.
Big Boss Man vs. Earthquake might have been a decent money match back in 1991 in the WWF. Here, it was terrible. Slow, plodding and dull with a dumb gimmick and an even dumber setup for the gimmick.
Post-match, John Tenta takes out the silver dollars and lays them on Bubba’s closed eyes. I guess Bubba is dead. Commentary reminds everyone that Eric Bischoff is missing and they basically beg him to reach out if he can. So that’s possible murder and kidnapping on the same night.
Mean “BAH GAWD” Gene interviews Sting, Macho Man and Lex Luger, the team in tonight’s main event. They’re all in Sting face paint and Macho Man steals the show. He speaks first and kills before Luger stumbles through his part to the point where Macho shouts “WHAT’S THE POINT?!” Sting does fine but goodness, Macho Man is the greatest.
I don’t know if they built it up during the prior weeks but Dusty Rhodes calls Jim Duggan the “master of the taped fist”. I had no clue. DDP wasn’t quite a star yet but he was still like 45 years old here. He tries to shoulder block Duggan but fails and oversells by falling all the way outside. Being a heel, DDP rakes the eyes and tapes Duggan’s legs around the corner. It’s a taped fist match DDP, not taped feet. This guy is a total rule breaker. Nick “World’s Greatest Referee” Patrick unties Duggan but that allows DDP to wail away on him. Duggan no sells and starts to beat the hell out of DDP as Dusty starts speaking in gibberish on commentary. They brawl outside for a short while. Also, they’re fighting for a ring that DDP won in Battle Bowl or something like that. Schiavone calls it one of the most prestigious things in our sport, but I’ve never heard of this ring. DDP tries to climb up top but gets crotched and Duggan brings him to the mat hard. Duggan and his 80’s offense smashes DDP into the turnbuckle ten times. DDP then uses the rope to his advantage and hits the Diamond Cutter to win.
Abrupt ending to a match that wasn’t great. DDP tried his best and I could tell there was some potential there but Jim Duggan sucks so hard.
Jim Duggan attacks DDP after the match as Tony Schiavone exclaims “Yes! Hit him while he’s down.” God forbid a heel did this, he would be the scum of the Earth in Tony’s eyes.
More from Mean Gene backstage as he interviews The Giant, Jimmy Hart and Kevin Sullivan. This is just weird. The Giant says that Sullivan isn’t the weak link as Sullivan does strange movements. I’d like to point out that I never found Sullivan interesting in the least. Gene also badmouths Hart before sending it to Lee Marshall and his mustache at the entrance of the arena with Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson. It’s Anderson and Benoit against Giant and Sullivan and if a member of the Horsemen can get the pin a member of the team gets a World Title shot. Anderson delivers his usual good promo and Benoit talks about being silent and violent. I much preferred their stuff to the Dungeon of Doom stuff.
First things first, no clue why this isn’t just called a tag team dog collar match and is instead a four man dog collar match. Like it’s a Fatal Four Way or something. Jerry Saggs is tied to Rocco Rock and Brian Knobbs is connects to Johnny Grunge. Once things start they instantly go outside and we get what Dusty calls the “Double Trouble Bash at the Beach Bubble”, which is a split screen so we can see both sides of the action. The graphic behind the split screen is just the worst kind of production. They fight to through the aisle as Knobbs knocks out Grunge with an inflatable shark. Yup, and Grunge sold it. Saggs tries to one up Knobbs by hitting Rock with a surfboard. Schiavone, in his infinite wisdom, shouts “YOU CAN DO A LOT MORE WITH A SURFBOARD THAN YOU CAN WITH A SHARK”. We get a near fall on the surfboard as well as this is just ridiculous. Rocco climbs a lifeguard seat and hits a slow front flip off of it onto Saggs. They continue to just bash each other with various weapons. The split screen of bad production makes this tough to enjoy but the guys are at least trying. Rocco puts Saggs through a table in the aisle. The split screen ends as they’re back in the ring and Rocco goes to put Saggs through a table, but Saggs pulls him by the chain off the top and he bounces off the table instead of going through it. Saggs lays Rocco on the table and leaps off the second rope but it still doesn’t break. Saggs sends Rocco off the ropes and he gets tied up badly. They hang Grunge by the chain and send Rocco into it, clotheslining him with it to end it.
I didn’t hate this. It was a fun match with some entertaining spots but the finish came off weird.
Because this is WCW, commentary says this match settled nothing, tune into Nitro tomorrow and everyone continued to brawl. They then go back to discussing who the mystery third man will be in the main event. We cut to Gene Okerlund in the back and man, they must be paying him a ton because WCW uses him so often. He literally says a lot of nothing and that was useless.
Disco Inferno talks about dancing before the bell. Dean Malenko has such badass theme music. Anyway, Malenko is pissed and throws Disco out of the ring instantly. He takes him back inside and gets a near fall before continuing to pound away. Malenko hits a brainbuster that literally made me leap from my seat. That should’ve been it but Disco kicks out. The Champion continues to beat the hell out of Disco for a while. Dean has targeted the leg because I guess he really doesn’t like Disco’s dancing. Commentary has completely given up on trying to call the match as they just keep talking about the main event. Disco finally gets offense with a series of punches and the EDDIE GILBERT hot shot! Dean gets serious and attacks him outside again. Back inside, he works him over with another submission. Disco reaches the ropes and hits a neck breaker that Schiavone calls a “jawbreaker”. No Tony, you’re wrong. Malenko fights back and tries the Texas Cloverleaf but Disco pulls him into a small package for two. Malenko gets pissed, hits a tiger bomb and puts on the Cloverleaf this time, making Disco give up.
Tony Schiavone calls it a classic, but that’s giving it too much. It’s not bad and allowed Disco to show resilience.
Mongo is the worst Horsemen of all time and nobody should even debate that. Mongo slaps Joe Gomez around and seems like he should be the heel. Gomez gets a near fall with a cross body and he doesn’t look Hispanic at all. This is incredibly dull so far. Mongo hits a backbreaker that looks like crap for two. He applies a camel clutch and then a sleeper hold that Gomez counters with a jawbreaker. Mongo oversells it in a negative way. Mongo tries a figure four shortly after but it’s stopped with a small package for two. Why is this still going on? They trade punches until Gomez hits two dropkicks in a row. They totally botch a sunset flip sequence before Mongo hits a Tombstone to win.
Who the hell thought this should be on Pay-Per-View? And get nearly seven minutes? Fire him immediately. This sucked hard.
Mean “BAH GAWD” Gene is back and he’s interviewing Ric Flair backstage along with Miss Elizabeth and Woman. Elizabeth looks tremendous here. Flair’s promo is gold as usual and he sings “La Cucaracha”.
Early feeling out sequence that Konnan wins and Woman is already upsetting me with her yelling. Konnan gets Flair in an early rest hold and Schiavone says that Flair is in the best shape of his life. Not too sure about that one. A signature short punch from Flair turns the tide a bit but Flair ends up eating the back body drop in his usual way. Woman is awful. Konnan locks in a surfboard before they trade chops. Things spill outside and Elizabeth gets knocked down but is up quicker than most wrestlers. Konnan goes up top, Woman shakes the bottom rope and that somehow causes Konnan to fall. Even worse, this is RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REFEREE who doesn’t call it. Good ol’ Nick Patrick. Woman does interference that makes sense by low blowing Konnan behind Patrick’s back. Even though Flair is in control, he continues to use Woman to cheat. Flair works Konnan with rest holds for a few until he rallies behind the crowd and we get the Flair fall. Konnan hits a springboard dropkick as Woman continues to be the worst. Nick Patrick has the gall to stop Konnan from using a closed fist after allowing Woman to cheat in front of him. Konnan applies the Figure Four but Flair, being the master, gets out. Konnan tries a pin but Elizabeth distracts the official and Woman stands on the apron FOREVER before hitting Konnan with her heel. Flair covers with his feet on the TOP rope and gets the three.
Decent match, but too much nonsense interference. Nothing special.
Gene “Hardest Working Man in WCW” Okerlund is at the door of The Outsider’s locker room trying to listen in.
So, Ric Flair wrestled as a heel but the other Horsemen worked as faces on this show? Classic WCW. A brawl starts in the aisle between everyone and the Horsemen have Mongo appear to bring The Giant out. The Horsemen are alone with Kevin Sullivan, which is smart. Giant comes down shortly after, so this didn’t accomplish much. Sullivan and Benoit fight in and out of the ring and I can’t get over how much I dislike Sullivan. The Horsemen are beating the hell out of the Taskmaster, so I guess the Dungeon of Doom are somehow faces. Anderson and Benoit work the heel tag team like it’s their job as they cut the ring in half and keep Giant out of there. The Horsemen go for a spike piledriver but Sullivan counters with the WORST SLINGSHOT IN HISTORY. He tags in Giant and fights with Benoit to the back. Well, they don’t fight, they just walk together with no resistance. Giant beats up Anderson in the ring and Chokeslams him to wrap this up.
The tag formula made sense to isolate Kevin Sullivan but this was totally dull.
The Giant and Jimmy Hart exit, leaving Kevin Sullivan to take a beat down from Chris Benoit. So much for teamwork eh? Woman walks down shouting for Benoit to stop pounding on The Taskmaster. The Giant comes back out, so Benoit leaves with Woman.
We’re taken to more terrible production videos hyping the show before going to Michael Buffer. I hate Buffer and he sucks at everything.
Of course, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash arrive alone with no third man. Pretty much right off the bat, Lex Luger is taken out, probably because he’s the worst worker in the match. That effectively makes this a basic tag team match. As things calm down and Luger is stretchered out, Sting and Hall wrestle while Nash and Macho are on the apron. Sting is aggressive as hell before Nash and Macho get tagged. Dusty shouts something about “WHOBADNOW WHOBADNOW WHOBADNOW?” which made less sense because Nash was the one beating on Savage. They try and sell the WCW team as being picked via a “lottery”. Sure, it just so happened that these three were pulled and not Joe Gomez or Super Calo. The Outsiders now isolate Sting and work the tag formula. Tony Schiavone wants to see Nash and Hall get injured, which is something he never calls for. Sting just gets worked over for what seems like a ton of time. However, Savage gets the tag and the place blows up. He does usual hot tag stuff and tosses Hall outside before hitting him with a double axe handle. Hulk Hogan is here! He walks to the ring leading to the infamous “WHOSE SIDE IS HE ON?!” remark from Bobby Heenan. Hogan drops the leg on Savage and officially turns heel, crushing the dreams of children everywhere. He high fives Hall and Nash before hitting another Leg Drop on Savage.
The match was all about anticipation. Everyone was waiting for the third man and the match dragged because of it.
Commentary is beside themselves as the New World Order is officially formed. Tony Schiavone says this has been pre-meditated since Hogan’s arrival in 1994. Hogan cuts a long promo about his heel turn and, while he looked uncomfortable here, he would grow into a fantastic heel.
Overall: Understand this, the show isn’t amazing but it is damn historic. The opener is phenomenal and the main event is must see from a historical perspective. There are two terrible matches in Tenta/Bubba and Mongo/Gomez, but the Cruiserweight Title is good and the US Title match is solid. Go out of your way to watch the opener and the ending. Next time on will be