A Collective Review of WCW Great American Bash 1996 by Lance Augustine

TJR Wrestling

Welcome back to the TJRwrestling retro WCW reviews where we are reviewing every WCW Pay-Per-View during the Monday Night War era. I just covered WCW Slamboree 1996, and it was a clunker. I have also covered all of the other events leading up to this one and you can check those out here in our WCW PPV reviews section.

Right after Slamboree, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash made their WCW debuts. They were Razor Ramon and Diesel in the WWF and making the jump to WCW was a huge deal at the time. Hall showed up eight days after the show, and Nash followed soon after. They took over the program and ran roughshod all over WCW. They are building to a big match at the next show, Bash at the Beach, but the two have been appearing every week leading up to this event as well. In the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer called this show one of the best WCW has ever produced so let’s watch and find out for ourselves.

This is what one of the posters WCW made for this show.

Here’s what the VHS looked like.

WCW The Great American Bash 1996
June 16th, 1996
Baltimore, Maryland

The show opens with Bobby Heenan going back to ringside and being the manager for the team of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson as they take on Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Kevin Greene who is being accompanied by “Macho Man” Randy Savage. We also hear from the teams themselves, as well as Lex Luger and The Giant who will go one on one for the WCW Heavyweight Title tonight.

Tony Schiavone and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes are on the call for tonight. The go down to the entranceway where a serviceman is holding the American flag and the United States National Anthem is played. Tony and Dusty put over the double main event for tonight before going down to the ring for the first match of the night.

The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) vs. Fire and Ice (Scott “Flash” Norton and Ice Train)

Both of these teams are babyfaces at this point so it’ll be interesting how the crowd reacts.

Scott and Ice Train start the match off with Scott taking him into the corner and hitting some high knees. Ice Train comes back with an arm drag that sends Scott to the mat. Scott hits a shoulder block but Ice Train takes him down with a chest bump and covers him for two. Norton hits the ring and The Steiners take both men out before doing their signature pose. Norton and Rick make tags into the match and Norton immediately starts taking him out with some elbows and a clothesline. He hits Rick with a shoulder block that almost sends him flying out of the ring. Rick comes back with a clothesline and a Belly to Belly suplex. He tags Scott back in and he hits a dropkick. Scott comes off the ropes but Norton takes him out with a Samoan Drop. He makes the tag to Ice train and he hits Scott with a suplex followed by a belly to belly suplex for a two count. He continues pounding on Scott and throws him to the apron. Rick comes in the match to try and break it up but Ice Train continues and hits a splash in the corner. Scott gets the boot up when he tries a second time and hits Ice Train with a belly to belly suplex. Scott hits a clothesline but Ice Train takes him out and makes the tag to Norton. Scott drops Norton directly on his head with a suplex as he comes in, and hits a double ax to the outside. Scott comes off the second rope, but Norton catches him and takes him down with a Powerslam. Norton hits a Short Arm Clothesline and stomps away on Scott. He makes the tag to Ice Train who continues to wear Scott down. Ice Train covers after a clothesline but only gets a two count. Norton hits Scott with a Shoulder Breaker and locks him in an armbar and Rick tries to break it up but Norton isn’t fazed. He finally lets Scott out and hits another Shoulder Breaker, but Rick comes in with a clothesline and a German Suplex. He takes out Ice Train as well and all four men are in the ring. Ice Train takes out Scott then goes over to help Norton out, and they hit Rick with a Powerbomb/Splash combo. Norton picks Rick up and they go to hit the Steiner’s finisher, but Scott pushed Ice Train off the ropes and Rick takes Norton out with a DDT. Rick makes the tag, and they pick Norton up for the Steinerizer, but Ice Train breaks up the pin. Rick takes out Ice Train while Scott hits Norton with the Frankensteiner and he pins Norton to pick up the win. The match went 10:29.

Winner(s): The Steiner Brothers
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: That was a fun and above-average tag team match. Both of these teams bring the power and they hit each other with everything they had. These two teams would also face each other multiple times in the coming months and was one of the better tag team rivalries in WCW. Scott Steiner was in absolute peak form here and was very athletic for a man his size, and Rick did his part to pick up the win for their team. Norton and Ice Train worked well together, and both of them were built like houses, not that that means much. Norton hitting the Shoulder Breaker on Scott is normally it but Scott fought out, and The Steiners came out on top. It was a very good way to start the show.

Mean Gene makes his first appearance of the night is joined by Jimmy Hart and The Taskmaster. He will be taking on Chris Benoit tonight in a Fall Count Anywhere match. Sullivan says that isn’t about anybody but him and Benoit. He says that he knows Benoit is a member of the 4 Horseman, but that won’t save him tonight. Sullivan says that just like he took out Brian Pillman, he will be taking out Chris Benoit tonight.

WCW United States Title Match
Konnan (c) vs. El Gato

Konnan takes the early advantage with an armbar but El Gato fights his way out. He kicks Konnan in the side and takes him down with a Dragon Screw. El Gato kicks him in the chest and takes him down again with an armbar. Konnan reverses course and takes El Gato down with a very athletic arm drag. He follows that up with a clothesline for a two count. El Gato comes back with a superkick and gets a two count. He chops Konnan and locks on a submission hold. Konnan makes his way back to his feet and hits the ropes and attempts a Hurricanrana, but El Gato counters into a Powerbomb for two. Konnan rebounds and locks El Gato in a leg lock before picking him up and hitting a bulldog. Konnan hits a rolling clothesline but El Gato kicks out at two. He throws Konnan to the outside, but Konnan comes back and hits a Powerbomb on the floor. El Gato rolls back in the ring, but as he does Konnan hits a variation of the Alabama Slam and bridges over to pin him to retain the title. The match lasted 6:03.

Winner and STILL WCW United States Champion: Konnan
Match Rating: 2/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: The whole thing was just alright with not a lot going into it. It seemed like they didn’t click that well and Konnan had to reposition himself multiple times to hit certain moves. This was the genesis of a lot of stars from Mexico coming in, and this match was an example of that. Konnan was very instrumental in making that happen, so from that standpoint, it was cool to see El Gato here. At no point in the match did I think he would actually win the title, though.

Gene is joined backstage by Sting. Sting says that Gene is trying to stir him up and that tonight he is going to show Regal what it’s like to be in WCW. He makes fun of the way people in England drink tea and said that he is from America, and tonight he is going to know that. Sting says that he knows Regal is a fantastic wrestler, but tonight he is going to straighten out who the best of the two wrestlers are tonight.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell

Last month at Slamboree, DDP won a battle royal to win the Battlebowl Ring, and the title of “Lord of the Ring”. For those who might not know, Marcus Alexander Bagwell went on to become Buff Bagwell.

Bagwell charges to the ring which sends Page fleeing to the outside. He turns his back for a second which gives Page the opportunity to come in and toss him through the ropes to the floor. Page hits a double ax off the apron and beats on the chest of Bagwell. He counters and drops Page throat first on the top rope, and continues to take the fight to him on the outside. He clotheslines Page over the guardrail before bringing him back in the ring and hitting a cross body for a two count. Bagwell hits a series of knees to the back and brings Page up to his feet as he has his arm locked in a hammerlock. Bagwell hits Page with an elbow and continues working on him on the mat. Page attempts a comeback, but Bagwell snuffs it out with an elbow and a dropkick that sends Page to the outside. He follows him out with a splash over the top. Bagwell rolls Page back in the ring and climbs up top, but Page hits the ropes and crotches him. Page continues to kick the back and chest of Bagwell and hits an elbow. He picks him up and hits a Gutbuster for a two count. Page follows that with a cradle suplex but only gets a two count again. He shoots Bagwell into the ropes and locks in an abdominal stretch and uses the rope as leverage. The referee finally catches him in the act and takes his arm off which gives Bagwell the chance to hit a hip toss. Page maintains control though and hits a Flapjack for another near fall. Bagwell fights back with a shot to the midsection, and Page goes to hit an elbow but misses. Bagwell hits multiple Atomic Drops and an elbow that takes Page to the mat. Bagwell hits a flying clothesline for a near fall. He works Page into the corner, but Page comes back with an elbow. Bagwell reverses a Sidewalk Slam into a head scissors and tries to give Page a Fisherman Suplex, but Page blocks it. He uses that to hit a Diamond Cutter on Bagwell to pick up the win. The match lasted 9:39.

Winner: Diamond Dallas Page
Match Rating: 2.75/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: This had some back and forth action that had me entertained for most of the match. Page was on a roll at this time, and played his heel character well. Hitting the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere wasn’t anything new, and he perfected long before Randy Orton coined the phrase. Bagwell did well here also, but he was a far cry from what he would become several years down the road. The crowd was pretty into everything they were doing and overall the match was a solid effort by both men.

Gene is backstage with Jimmy Hart and The Giant who is the WCW Heavyweight Champion. Hart says that everyone is worried about beating The Giant, but the only person not worried at all is The Giant. The Giant says that Luger will find out tonight why he is the champion, and Luger is sadly mistaken if he thinks he can beat him. He says he has beaten Hogan, Savage, and Sting, and that Luger is next on the list. The Giant says that he will be leaving tonight with the title that he came in with.

WCW Cruiserweight Title Match
Dean Malenko (c) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

Mike Tenay joins the broadcast booth as he always did for matches involving Lucha Libre wrestlers. This was Rey Mysterio in the beginning stages of his hall of fame career.

The match begins with both men feeling each other out. Malenko works on the arm but Mysterio fights out and hits Malenko with a leg sweep. Malenko gets back to his feet and takes Mysterio down with a drop toe hold. Mysterio gets back to his feet and there is a fast pace back and forth exchange with Mysterio taking him down with an arm drag. Malenko gets on the apron and Mysterio takes him down with a dropkick that knocks him to the floor. He gets back in the ring and both men are at a stalemate. Malenko takes Mysterio down by the legs and slingshots him to the outside. Malenko comes out after him but Mysterio slides back in. Malenko jumps back in the ring and kicks Mysterio in the shoulder after a brief exchange. He continues stomping on the arm and hits a Hammerlock slam that does more damage to the arm. Malenko takes him over and locks in an armbar. Mysterio gets to the ropes and slides to the outside of the ring. Malenko follows him outside and slams his arm into the guardrail before rolling him back in the ring. Mysterio gets back to his feet and hits an impressive dropkick off the top. He throws Malenko into the corner and charges in but Malenko hits him with a huge clothesline for a near fall. Malenko locks Mysterio in an armbar again but this time he is always locking up the neck. He picks him up and works him into the corner and hits a dropkick to the arm. Malenko slides out of the ring and continues to work on the arm of Mysterio. He hits Mysterio with a suplex with his arm pinned back and covers him for a two count. Malenko hits a Nothern Lights Suplex and Mysterio lands on his arm. He throws Mysterio into the ropes but Mysterio comes back with a dropkick. Malenko keeps the advantage as he rolls through and continues to lock up the legs and arm of Mysterio. Malenko locks Mysterio in a Surfboard submission and rolls it into a pin for a two count. Malenko rolls Mysterio into another armbar and just continues to keep the arm isolated. Mysterio makes his way back to his feet but is taken right down again with a suplex. Malenko covers him for a two count. Malenko hits a Double Underhook Suplex and gets another near fall before grabbing the arm again. He throws Mysterio into the ropes but he reverses course and throws Malenko to the outside. Mysterio hits a baseball slide and comes outside with a Springboard Splash that takes Malenko out. He tosses him back in the ring and hits a Springboard Dropkick for a near fall. Malenko picks him up for a powerbomb but Mysterio fights out and both men exchange near falls. Mysterio comes off the ropes with a Hurricanrana and hooks the legs for two. He throws Malenko into the corner and goes up top but Malenko cuts him off. The two battle on the top with Mysterio taking him out with a Frankensteiner off the top rope. Mysterio hits a crossbody block and damn near pins him. That was a hell of a near fall. Mysterio goes up for another Hurricanrana but Malenko reverses it into a powerbomb and gets his feet on the ropes to win the match and retain the title. The match went for 17:50.

Winner and STILL WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko
Match Rating: 4/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: Wow, what a hell of a battle. Malenko worked on the arm of Mysterio for most of the match and Mysterio did a great job working from underneath. Malenko was always known as a great ring technician and he showed it off in this match. He also showed he could hang with the younger cruiserweights and both men had a standout performance. Mysterio was just scratching the surface of what he would become, and he hit a lot of great and athletic moves throughout. Was it the best cruiserweight match? No, but it was still damn good.

Gene is backstage with “The Total Package” Lex Luger. Luger says that he is doing the interview out of respect for WCW but his mind is on the goal tonight. He says The Giant is a force, but so is he. Luger says that he takes a lot of pride in all the accomplishments he has had in WCW. He says The Giant thinks he is invincible but that’s when people start to make mistakes. Luger says that tonight he will ass another title to his shoulder.

Big Bubba (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. John Tenta

Bubba and Jimmy Hart come down to the ring with locks of Tenta’s hair that they cut off on Nitro.

Bubba starts the match off quickly and attacks Tenta on the outside. They get in the ring and Tenta sends him flying out. He throws Bubba into the steps at ringside. Tenta throws Bubba in the ring and kicks him in the chest. He works him into the corner and hits him with some shots to the head. He charges in but Bubba catches him with a right hand. Bubba puts something on his hand and he takes Tenta out with it. The referee checks Bubba after he suspects foul play but comes up empty. Bubba hits an Enziguri and hits multiple knees to the back of the head. He hits Tenta with an uppercut and covers him with his feet on the ropes but the referee catches him. He chokes Tenta and continues to lay the boots to him. Tenta comes back with some shots to the head and throws Bubba into the corner. Bubba gets an elbow up and slides outside to wrap the leg of Tenta around the post. He starts to choke Tenta with his singlet and slams him in the corner. Bubba picks Tenta up for a belly to back suplex. Hart gets on the apron as Bubba comes off the top rope but Tenta catches him and slams him down to pick up the win. The match was 5:24.

Winner: John Tenta
Match Rating: 2/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: That was a standard big man match featuring a lot of high impact moves. Bubba actually had some athletic spots and was always nimble for his size. He was actually on the offensive for most of the match with Tenta getting a few spots in as the match was winding down. Tenta winning here was payback for Bubba and Hart cutting his hair, and he got his redemption by taking a chunk out of Bubba’s beard.

After the match, Tenta grabs the scissors and he threatens to cut off the hair of Jimmy Hart. Bubba gets in the ring, and he cuts his beard.

Gene is backstage with Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Kevin Greene who are joined by their wives, Debra McMichael and Terry Greene. Mongo says they are coming to get Flair and Anderson tonight. Greene grabs the mic and says they are coming hard in this goal-line situation. Randy Savage comes up the Gene and he says they are going to take Flair and Anderson out tonight. Savage says he is in the huddle and this is the winning team tonight.

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Chris Benoit vs. The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart)

The Taskmaster rushes to the ring and Benoit meets him in the aisleway and the two start brawling. He slams Benoit’s head into the steps at ringside, but Benoit fights back and both men exchange blows to the head. They go into the crowd and make their way through the arena. Benoit hits Taskmaster with some stiff shots to the head, but he fights back and they continue making their way up the stairs. The Taskmaster throws Benoit into the wall and they fight into the men’s room in the arena. He slams Benoit’s head with the stall door and continues throwing him into it. Benoit starts to fight back but it doesn’t last long and The Taskmaster is back on the offensive. Benoit regains composure and both men continue beating on each other. He slams Benoit’s head into a storage door and beats him with a bag full of paper towels. Benoit gets back to his feet and starts to choke The Taskmaster with the bag. Benoit hits him in the head with a trash can and continues pounding on his head. They work there way back into the arena, with Sullivan knocking Benoit down a flight of stairs. Benoit gets to the bottom of the stairs and gets back to his feet. Both men exchange blows, and The Taskmaster crotches him on the guardrail. They are back at ringside, and Sullivan hits Benoit in the head with a chair. Benoit comes back with the chair to the head of Sullivan, and he throws him into the guardrail. Benoit grabs a sketchy looking table from underneath the ring and chops Taskmaster on the chest. Benoit puts the table in the ring and sets it up in the corner. He tries to throw Taskmaster into the table, but he reverses it and Benoit is sent flying in. He sets the table up on the top rope and puts Benoit on it. Both men get to their feet and Benoit hits a huge Superplex off the table. He covers Taskmaster and picks up the win. The match lasted 9:58.

Winner: Chris Benoit
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: That was a straight-up brawl. Anyone who knows the history between these two probably would guess a lot of this was a shoot fight. Fighting into the crowd and in the men’s room was different for the time in WCW, and both men took an ass whipping. Benoit being sent flying down a flight of stairs looked stiff, and the table he pulled out from underneath looked like a normal table an office would use. It is rare for a Superplex to finish a match, but it got the job done for Benoit here. A Falls Count Anywhere match ending in the ring was a bit weird though. It was a pretty fun match to watch overall though.

After the match, Benoit continues pounding on The Taskmaster as the referees and Jimmy Hart try to pull him off. Arn Anderson runs down to the ring and he is the one to be the voice of reason for Benoit. He turns around and kicks The Taskmaster himself and both men continue to lay the boots to him. The Dungeon of Doom comes down to the ring, but Benoit and Anderson slide out and walk to the back before they get there.

Gene is backstage with Woman and Elizabeth but is soon joined by members of The Four Horsemen. Arn Anderson says that tonight Chris Benoit earned his stripes and will be a member of the Horsemen. He said now The Horseman and The Dungeon of Doom are now at war. Benoit grabs the mic and says he warned Sullivan of what would happen if he messed with him. Flair takes the mic and says that McMichael and Green are doomed tonight. Bobby Heenan is last to talk and he mentions that he isn’t scared going into tonight. He has all the confidence in the world that his team can get the job done.

Sting vs. Lord Steven Regal (w/Jeeves)

Sting is one half of the WCW Tag Team Champions along with Lex Luger.

The bell sounds and Regal charges in but Sting moves. He works on him in the corner before sending him over the ropes to the outside. Sting hits a back body drop on the floor before rolling him back in. Regal recovers and hits Sting with a few uppercuts and a knee to the head. He stomps away on Sting and slaps on a headlock. Sting throws him into the ropes and takes Regal down with an arm drag. Regal gets back to his feet and gets out of the ring to regroup. Back in the ring, he tries to shake hands with Sting but he is having none of it. Regal shoots in and sweeps the leg and tries to pin Sting to the mat. He locks him in a chicken wing and hits a few vicious elbows to the head. Sting fights back and hits a Sunset flip for a two count. Regal quickly gets back to his feet and takes Sting down once again. Regal works him into the corner and hits an uppercut which has Sting reeling and he follows that up with a dropkick. Sting fights back and hits a suplex and tries to regain his composure. Regal is the first one up, though, and hits Sting with another shot to the head. Sting gets back to his feet and sends Regal into the ropes but both men take each other out with a shoulder block. He locks Sting in an armbar and reaches for the ropes for leverage. Sting mounts a comeback and puts Regal in the abdominal stretch but he quickly gets to the ropes. Regal punches Sting in the head and it knocks him back down to the mat. He works on the fingers but Sting gets back to his feet and starts to fire up. Regal hits a thumb to the eye that slows that down, and puts Sting in a Double Underhook. He throws Sting into the corner but he reverses it and hits a dropkick. Sting with a clothesline, and goes up top but Regal meets him there and hits a throw. He puts Sting in the Regal Stretch but Sting gets to his feet and fires up again. Sting hits a flurry of offense and goes for a Stinger Splash but Regal gets the knees up. Regal charges in but Sting hits him with a back body drop. He puts Regal in the Scorpion Death Lock and Regal submits. The match went for 16:30.

Winner: Sting
Match Rating: 3/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: Regal was in control for probably 3/4 of the match and had Sting locked down pretty good. Sting tried to mount a comeback a few times throughout the match, but Regal always seemed to have his number. Regal was such a great technical wrestler and knew how to stretch guys out. Sting hit all the usual spots towards the end and made Regal tap out to the Scorpion Death Lock. Was it a masterpiece? Not a chance. I do think it was a solid effort by both men though, and the match did the job they set out to do.

There is a commercial for WCW Bash at the Beach 1996, which would go down as one of the most important Pay-Per-Views in wrestling history. I won’t spoil it in case you don’t know why, but you do know why.

“Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Arn Anderson (w/Woman, Miss Elizabeth, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Kevin Greene (w/”Macho Man” Randy Savage, Tara Greene, and Debra McMichael)

McMichael and Greene are both NFL players making their wrestling debuts. McMichael went on to have a solid career in WCW and Kevin Greene wrestled a few more matches after this.

A giant “Mongo Sucks” sign is shown on the hard camera. You probably aren’t wrong. McMichael and Anderson are the first two in the ring for their teams. The lockup with neither man gaining an early advantage. They both get in three-point stances and McMichael takes him down with a shoulder block. Anderson takes him down with a drop to hold and starts driving his head into the corner. He throws him into the other corner, but McMichael gets the boot up and shows some agility by hitting a dropkick from the second rope. Greene comes in and both men start stomping away on Anderson, who slides out of the ring to regroup. He has a huddle with Heenan and Flair before getting back in the ring. McMichael makes the tag as Anderson tags Flair in as well. Greene and Flair circle the ring with Flair getting the advantage with a kick to the head. He puts Greene in the corner and hits some chops. Greene comes exploding out of the corner and takes Flair and Anderson out to the floor. Flair retreats up the ramp, but Savage is in pursuit and catches him to bring him back to the ring. Greene with a back body drop on Flair and hits a few clotheslines. He makes the tag and McMichael charges to the other corner and Anderson drops down to the floor. Flair comes off the ropes but McMichael takes him out with a few shoulder blocks. Flair works him into the corner and hits some chops, but McMichael isn’t fazed and takes him down with an arm drag. Flair gets a finger to the eye and goes up top, but in classic Flair fashion, McMichael throws him to the mat. McMichaels puts Flair in the Figure Four and as Anderson comes in to break it up, Greene takes him down and puts him in a Figure Four as well. Woman rakes the eyes of McMichael and it causes him to break the hold. All four women walk to the back yelling at each other, as Flair and Anderson double team McMichael. Flair throws him to the outside, and Anderson lays the boots to him. Savage comes around for the save and gets McMichael back in the ring. Flair hits some more chops as McMichael grabs him by the throat. Flair hits a low blow behind the referees back and he makes the tag to Anderson. They continue double-teaming McMichael, but Greene comes in and makes the save. Flair throws him into the corner, but McMichael comes surging out with a clothesline. Flair quickly makes a tag to Anderson, but McMichael hits him with an atomic drop. He slowly goes to his corner and makes the tag to Greene who takes out both men. Flair does his flip over the corner spot and McMichael hits him with a boot on the apron. Greene brings him in with a suplex, but it is short-lived because Anderson takes his knee out with a chop block. Savage and the referee check-in on Greene as Flair makes the tag to Anderson. Greene struggles to get to his corner, but Flair and Anderson are there to cut him off. Flair goes for a Figure Four but Greene rolls him up for two. Flair takes his knee out again, and this time The Figure Four is locked in. Savage takes Anderson off the apron and that brings Benoit out. Both men take out Savage as Elizabeth, Woman, and Debra McMichael come back down to ringside. Debra has changed into a dress and hands Mongo a briefcase with a Four Horsemen shirt in it, as well as some money. Mongo takes the briefcase and hits Greene with it. Flair covers him to pick up the win after 20:51.

Winner(s): Ric Flair and Arn Anderson
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: That was actually a pretty solid match for a couple of guys who hadn’t wrestled up until this point. Greene showed a lot of fire and hit some high impact offense. McMichael joining The Horsemen here was a big deal at the time, and he went on to be in the group for a while after this. Flair and Anderson were great as always, and really elevated guys that were pretty green, no pun intended, at the time. Savage and Heenan being the “coaches” for both teams was a nice touch and added a little flavor on the outside. The match was just entertaining all around.

After the match, McMichael stops Savage from attacking Flair and The Horsemen beat Savage down. McMichael puts the shirt on and The Horsemen pose in the ring.

Scott Hall and Kevin Nash are Interviewed

They throw it to Eric Bischoff who is at the top of the ramp. He mentions that since May 27th they have had several interruptions on Nitro. Bischoff says that he knows they are there, and that it is time to give them the answers they are looking for. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash make their way out beside Bischoff and he tells them that the WCW offices say the match between them and WCW is a go. He says it’ll be at Bash at the Beach, but he asked them if they work for the WWF, which they both say no. Hall says to forget about the past they just want to know who their opponents will be. He makes fun of Savage, and Hogan before telling Bischoff to get Turner to break out the checkbook. Bischoff turns to Nash, but Hall takes the mic away from him and wants an answer. Bischoff says he will tell them tomorrow on Nitro, but Hall has heard enough and he hits Bischoff in the stomach. Nash picks him up and hits a Jackknife Powerbomb through a table that was at the corner of the stage. Hall and Nash pose on the ramp as people rush to the aid of Bischoff. Hall says the big boys just left the building.

Collective Thoughts: This was a huge moment that changed the future of the company forever. Hall and Nash making an appearance here lead people to believe they were “invading” WCW which is why Bischoff asked them the question point-blank. That was a huge bump for a non-wrestler to take, and kudos to Bischoff for being man enough to take it. This was huge for the time because Halla and Nash were both near the top of the card in the WWF, and this was the first big defection, other than Luger, to ignite The Monday Night Wars. Excellent segment for what it was trying to accomplish.

They continue to check on Bischoff and bring out the stretcher. Tony and Dusty are speechless and Tony leaves the broadcast booth to tend to Bischoff. It’s main event time.

WCW Heavyweight Title Match
The Giant (c) (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Lex Luger

Luger’s music hits and he starts to make his way to the ring, but stops to check on Bischoff. Michael Buffer is here for the introductions.

Luger charges in to start the match but The Giant takes him out with a boot to the face. Luger fights back with some shots and takes him over the top with a clothesline. Luger comes out after him but The Giant presses him over his head and tosses him back in the ring. Luger comes back with some more offense and puts a sleeper on The Giant. Jimmy Hart gets up on the apron, but Sting comes down and takes him out of the picture. The Giant tosses Luger over his back and throws him into the corner. The Giant puts the boot in the throat and hits a Sidewalk Slam. He brings him out to the middle of the ring and just tosses Luger to the mat. The Giant puts Luger in a Surfboard and yells at him to give up. Luger hits a jawbreaker that breaks the hold and tries to pick him up for a slam, but The Giant is too heavy and he falls on Luger. He picks Luger up to the top rope and continues pounding in his back. The Giant hits a blow to the chest and charges in but Luger ducks out of the way. Luger comes over the ropes with a dropkick and takes The Giant out in the corner. Luger hits him with everything he has but The Giant won’t fall. He takes his knees out and he goes down to one. He pushes Luger away and tries a splash in the corner, but Luger moves, and The Giant gets stuck on the rope. Luger motions for the Torture Rack and gets The Giant up, but he can’t keep him there and drops him. The Giant hits the Chokeslam and pins Luger to retain the title. The match went for 9:21.

Winner and STILL WCW Heavyweight Champion: The Giant
Match Rating: 2/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: That was a standard Giant title defense with the other guy trying everything he can to get the big man up but never succeeding. Luger was on the defensive for most of the match, but when he signaled for the rack, the crowd blew up. Luger was really over at this time, and he would be part of the huge main event the next month at Bash at the Beach. The Giant was dominant around this time, and he went through every challenger WCW threw at him. This wasn’t a technical classic, but it did its job of putting The Giant over more as an unstoppable champion and having him run through everyone in the WCW main event scene at the time. A good way to end the show.

Overall Show Grade: 8 out of 10

It has been called one of the best Pay-Per-Views WCW ever produced and I don’t think that statement is far off. Considering the last two shows we reviewed as part of this series were absolute stinkers, this was a breath of fresh air. There were just so many quality matches from start to finish that it is an enjoyable show to watch. The opening tag match between Fire and Ice and The Steiner Brothers had some good stuff in it, as well as the Malenko and Mysterio match which was really good. Did the show have filler matches? Yes, but I don’t think it took away from the overall product. Eric Bischoff taking the huge bump through the table was an awesome spot, and I give him kudos for doing it. This PPV was the start of a string of shows that put WCW on the map and catapulted them into competition with the WWF.

What did you think of WCW The Great American Bash 1996? Loved it? Hated it? Was too busy watching WWF at the time? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Take care of yourself and take care of each other. I will be back soon with some more Collective Thoughts.