Bash at the Beach 1996 was the most important event in the history of World Championship Wrestling. Originally, I was going to say it was “arguably” the most important, but if you really think about it, they were under a lot of pressure to deliver a memorable moment at the end of this show and they succeeded in doing that. If they failed, who knows how much longer the company would have existed.
Going into Bash at the Beach 1996, the big question was: “Who was the third man on the side of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall?” Nobody really knew. I wasn’t reading about wrestling on the internet at that point, so I’m not sure what people were saying about it. I don’t recall having a guess as to who it was going to be either. It was a legitimate surprise to me.
It’s a show that I’ve seen a few times although I don’t remember the last time I saw it. I remember watching it live at a friend’s house because so many of us were interested in seeing what was going to happen in the main event. It was the talk of the wrestling world.
This is getting posted just a few days before the 20-year anniversary of the most important show in World Championship Wrestling history. Why was it so important? Read on to find out.
WCW Bash at the Beach
Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida
The opening video package showed clips of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash wreaking havoc with their “hostile takeover” of WCW while showing the WCW guys Sting, Lex Luger & Randy Savage trying to fight them off. It was a pretty basic video.
The announce team of Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes welcomed us to the show.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psychosis
This was Rey’s second month in WCW. He was only 21 years old at this point and Psychosis was 25 years old. Both guys wore masks. They added Mike Tenay to the commentary team for this match. Heenan: “One of them has hair like Peg Bundy.” That was funny – he means Psychosis because Rey has a shaved head.
Mysterio with an armbar early and then Psychosis did an armbar of his own. They did this incredibly fast sequence where they avoided moves and Psychosis nailed a spin kick. Psychosis hit a suicide dive over the top on the floor. Psychosis with a bodyslam and then a guillotine leg drop off the top gets two. He used that as a finisher sometimes. Hard clothesline by Psychosis. Leg scissors by Psychosis. They battled on the apron with Rey sending Psychosis into the post. Rey with a hurricanrana on the floor. Mysterio with a springboard hurricanrana gets two. That’s something he used as a finisher for a lot of matches. The announcers were talking about the main event. Mysterio with a dropkick into the turnbuckle gets two. Psychosis with a leg scissors, then back to their feet and Psychosis hit a stun gun. Reverse DDT by Psychosis. Mysterio was on the floor, so Psychosis went up to the top rope and hit a senton splash onto Mysterio on the floor. They make these crazy moves look so easy.
Psychosis with an enziguri kick to the head as Heenan wondered how Tenay got all these names for the moves. Mysterio with a cartwheel onto the shoulders of Psychosis, then a headscissors and a springboard dropkick on the apron. With Psychosis standing on the apron, Mysterio up top and hit a hurricanrana to take down Psychosis on the floor. What a move! So good. Mysterio with a springboard moonsault gets two. Dropkick by Mysterio, then a springboard dropkick to the back sent Psychosis to the floor. Mysterio nailed a twisting Asai Moonsault off the middle rope onto Psychosis on the floor. Mysterio’s leg hit the guard rail, which looked bad. They got back up to their feet, Mysterio did a springboard attack in the ring and Psychosis caught him with a sitout Powerbomb for two. Psychosis sent Mysterio stomach first into the turnbuckle. Psychosis was seated on the top rope, he set up Mysterio for a Splash Mountain…but Rey turned it into a hurricanrana off the top! One…two…three. Mysterio wins after 15:18 of incredible action. Huge pop from the crowd for the finish.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio Jr.
The crowd was on their feet giving them a standing ovation for the finish. It’s pretty incredible to see that reaction after they really weren’t known going into it.
Analysis: ****1/2 Wow, what an amazing match. I remember it as being a classic back when it happened, but watching it again twenty years later makes me appreciate them even more. This was so damn good. It’s even more impressive when you think about how they were in their early 20s and they were this good at such a young age. There was a bit of a slow start to it, but when they picked up the pace it reached another level of greatness. While there wasn’t much of a storyline going into it, Psychosis worked like more of the heel while Mysterio was the babyface fighting from underneath. This was one of the best PPV opening matches ever. Mysterio was one of my favorite wrestlers alive during his first couple of years in WCW in 1996 and 1997. I liked him in his WWE run too, but he was unlike anybody we had ever seen before in North American wrestling when he was having matches like these in WCW in the mid-1990s. He changed the game and influenced so many people.
The US Champion Konnan was interviewed by Gene Okerlund. Konnan faces Ric Flair later in the show. Konnan noted that Flair has people watching his back, but Konnan will be ready for him.
Carson City Silver Dollar Match: Big Bubba Rogers (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. John Tenta
There’s a steel pole with a sack loaded with silver dollars. Rogers was Big Boss Man in WWE and Tenta was Earthquake. Rogers is the heel here.
Tenta stepped on his throat early, but Rogers came back with some punches. The announcers wondered how Tenta could climb the pole. Rogers with an uppercut punch. Tenta slammed Rogers off the top. Tenta tried to climb, so Rogers gave him a back suplex. Rogers was crotched on the top rope and then Tenta squashed him on the top. Tenta looked very tired. Bubba choked Tenta with a leather belt. Tenta sold it like he was passed out. Rogers used athletic tape to tape Tenta to the middle ropes. Rogers nailed him with punches using the belt. Rogers started to cut some hair of Tenta and then Tenta nailed a low blow punch. Tenta cut himself free and he cut a strap holding the pole. Rogers with a double leg takedown spinebuster. Rogers told Hart to climb it. Tenta attacked Rogers from behind and gave him a powerslam. Hart got the bag of silver dollars. Tenta grabbed it from him. Tenta hit Rogers in the face with the bag of silver dollars and he covered for the win. The crowd cheered.
Winner by pinfall: John Tenta
Post match, Tenta dumped the silver dollars on Rogers.
Analysis: * Bad match that had a predictably slow pace. Giving them nearly ten minutes was too much because they just didn’t do enough to fill the time. Rogers had control for most of it, but then Tenta was able to come back, outsmarted Hart and knocked out Rogers to win.
The announcers talked about the main event again.
Sting, Randy Savage and Lex Luger were interviewed by Gene Okerlund. They all had Sting face paint on. Savage said they’re going to take out the outsiders. Luger said they are prepared. Sting talked about how the unknown gives him goosebumps. Sting said they’re pumped and ready to go.
Analysis: A solid promo from the babyface team talking about how they are ready for the main event.
Taped Fist Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Page is the heel and Duggan is obviously the face. Page has a ring for being the Lord of the Ring as well. Duggan with a shoulder tackle sent Page out of the ring. Page taped the bots of Duggan together. The ref took the tape off, so while that happened, Paige took the wrist tape off Duggan’s hands. Duggan nailed Paige with fists leading to some over the top bumping by Page sending him to the floor. Duggan sent Page into the guard rail and then nailed a body slam. Duggan brought Page back into the ring with a suplex. Page took him down with an armbar. Duggan slammed him face first off the turnbuckle, rammed his head into the turnbuckle and nailed a clothesline to send him over the top to the floor. When Duggan went back into the ring, Page kicked the rope to crotch him. Page hit the Diamond Cutter for the pinfall win after 5:39 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Diamond Dallas Page
Post match, Duggan taped his fist and nailed a punch to knock out Page. Page keeps his ring although they didn’t do a good job of putting it over. That was just a way to have Duggan get his heat back.
Analysis: *1/2 Page was the newer wrestler on the rise while Duggan was the veteran there to put him over. A year later, Page was one of the most popular guys on the roster. He was much better as a face.
The Giant (Big Show) was the WCW Champion and he was interviewed along with Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart by Okerlund. Sullivan said he’s not the weak link while Giant said that Sullivan isn’t a weak link. Giant said he’s the World Heavyweight Champion and always will be.
Analysis: Giant was still very early in his career and had a long way to go with his promos. He improved a lot in WWE.
Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson of the Four Horsemen were interviewed by Lee Marshall. Anderson talked about how the outsiders are going to have a rough road against Sting, Luger and Savage. Anderson talked about how they’re going to chop down The Giant. Benoit said they’re going to finish off the Dungeon of Doom.
Four Man Dog Collar Match: Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)
I forgot how bad the Nasty Boys theme song was where they sang the song. It’s awful. They were the faces. They used dog collars to tie up the guys around their necks. It’s a tornado rules type of match where pinfalls count anywhere. Knobs was locked up with Grunge and Sags was locked up with Rock.
They brawled on the floor early on. The broadcast showed split screens because the action spilled all around the ringside area. Sags crotched Rock on the guard rail while Knobbs fought with Grunge by the sand that was by the entrance. Knobbs even attacked with an inflatable rubber shark. Sags hit Rock with a surfboard. Knobbs nailed Grunge with a chair to head. Grunge with a bulldog into a chair. Rock climbed a lifeguard stand and jumped onto Sags – it was about six feet high. Knobbs beat on Grunge with the surfboard again. A table was set up in the aisle. Sags nailed a piledriver on Rock on the floor. Knobbs hit Grunge in the head with a trash can. Sags leaned over the table, so Rock jumped off the guard rail and put him through it. Knobbs covered Grunge for two. Sags worked on Rock by the ringside area and Knobs was there with Grunge too. Sags was put on a table, Rock went up top, Sags rolled off and Sags yanked on the chain so Rock landed on the table that didn’t break. Schiavone said it was “incredible” even though the table didn’t break. Sags put Rock on the table, then Sags tried to drive him through a table and the table didn’t break again. I laughed. That was unintentionally funny. The crowd had no reaction for a lot of this. Knobs hung Grunge by the ropes, Sags threw Rock into the chain and then Sags dropped an elbow for the victory after 11:25 of action. Weak finish. The crowd barely reacted to it.
Winners by pinfall: The Nasty Boys
Post match, Rock nailed an uppercut low blow on Sags. Grunge nailed Knobs in the back with a chain. Rock put Sags through a table on the floor, but they didn’t even show the spot live. Public Enemy left as the Nasty Boys were down.
Analysis: *1/2 That was a poor brawl. It was a garbage brawl, literally at some points. I assume one of the table spots was going to end the match, but it didn’t break, so they kept going. Since ECW was gaining a lot of popularity at this time, WCW signed an ECW team in Public Enemy and brought them in to brawl with the Nasty Boys. It was different than anything else on the show, so at least it stood out. I just didn’t find it to be that entertaining.
Gene Okerlund was backstage standing by police officers. He said he was hoping to talk to one of the Outsiders, but it’s not happening. Okerlund kept talking about how we were part of history.
Disco Inferno made his entrance. The disco ball is above the ring. He’s wearing an orange jacket and tights. He said he knows everybody came to see the Disco Inferno dance and after he wins the Cruiserweight Title, everybody is welcome to his disco dance party.
WCW Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Disco Inferno
Malenko was intense early on as he tossed Disco into the barricade at ringside. Malenko with a clothesline and then a leg lariat gets two. Dusty: “He must not like to dance.” True. Malenko with a brainbuster gets two. Malenko grounded him with a leg grapevine. Malenko with a back suplex and then a leg hold submission. Malenko applied a STF like submission. The crowd wasn’t into the match very much. Malenko got a rollup at two. Disco came back with some punches and an uppercut. After five minutes of Malenko on offense, Disco was on offense with a stun gun. Disco nailed a front face Russian legsweep that Jeff Jarrett would later use and call The Stroke. Malenko got the momentum back as he applied another armbar to keep Disco grounded. They showed the capacity crowd, which is silent during this match. Malenko used the rope to assist on a leg drop. Disco with some elbow strikes to the head, then he blocked an attack off the ropes and he nailed a neckbreaker for one as Malenko got his foot on the ropes. Disco with a back body drop for two and a swinging neckbreaker plus dancing for two. Malenko with a springboard dropkick off the middle ropes. Malenko went for the Texas Cloverleaf, but Disco caught him with a cradle for two and then Disco hit a clothesline for two. Malenko with a clothesline. Disco held onto the ropes to avoid a dropkick. Malenko with a knee to the gut, double underhook Powerbomb and Malenko with the Texas Cloverleaf submission for win at the 12:04 mark.
Winner by submission: Dean Malenko
Analysis: *** That was a pretty good technical wrestling match, which is no surprise when Malenko is involved. The crowd was dead for a lot of it mainly because they didn’t do a good job of establishing who the face and heel was. If they did a better job of that they would have had a more engaging crowd. It was just a competitive match with Malenko in control for much of it. Disco got some offense in, but I don’t think anybody thought he was going to win.
Steve McMichael (w/Queen Debra) vs. Joe Gomez
This won’t be a good match. McMichael was the heel that was part of the Four Horsemen. McMichael nailed forearms early on. Gomez came back with a cross body block. McMichael pounded on him again. McMichael nailed a low blow mule kick that the referee didn’t see. Schiavone mentioned this is McMichael’s third match. Gomez did a jawbreaker to counter a sleeper. The crowd is silent for this match. McMichael nailed a neckbreaker for a two count. Gomez did an inside cradle for two. McMichael missed an elbow drop, Gomez with a back body drop and McMichael hit the ropes because they don’t have good ring awareness. Gomez nailed three chops and then two dropkicks. They missed up a pinfall sequence. Gomez ran the ropes, McMichael caught him and dropped him with a sloppy Tombstone Piledriver for the win after 6:44 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Steve McMichael
Analysis: -* Bad match as expected. Why give them over six minutes? It should have been three minutes. McMichael was a poor in-ring performer while Gomez never really won matches, so it was essentially a squash match that went longer than it should have.
Ric Flair was interviewed in the locker room by Gene Okerlund. Flair had Miss Elizabeth & Woman with him. Flair talked about how he’s going to be the man with the US Championship. Elizabeth talked about how he she had a lot of money and Woman mentioned how they’re going to have a big party. Flair talked trash to Macho Man about how Elizabeth will never be back home with him. Woman was flirting with Gene to distract him. Flair ended it talking about taking home the US Title.
United States Title: Konnan vs. Ric Flair (w/Miss Elizabeth & Woman)
This was early in Konnan’s WCW run. They shook hands as the match began even though Flair’s a heel. Konnan with a dropkick and a slap to the face. Slow pace early with Konnan hitting a shoulder tackle. Konnan with a back body drop and then the surfboard submission. Konnan with a press slam. There’s another press slam, then a clothesline and a clothesline over the top sent both guys to the floor. Konnan dove on Flair on the floor and it almost hit Elizabeth, who went down. When Konnan was on the top rope, Woman shook the ropes and Konnan fell down. Flair hit the running knee drop for two. Flair distracted the ref, so Woman went into the ring and kicked Konnan in the balls. That was a thunderous kick to the groin there. Really well done. Schiavone put it over in a big way. Elizabeth distracted the ref, so Flair tossed Konnan to the floor and Woman gouged the eyes of Konnan. Flair with a delayed suplex for two. Flair with a chinlock. Konnan came back with some chops and punches in the corner leading to the Flair face first flop.
Konnan sent Flair into the corner for the upside down bump and Konnan hit a dropkick off the middle ropes. Flair with a fist to the head to counter a sunset flip. Konnan counted the Figure Four with a small package for two. Konnan applied the Figure Four leglock, which led to Flair making it to the ropes. Konnan with a suplex for two. Flair hit a back elbow. Flair up top, so Konnan slammed him off the top as Dusty said Flair had a bad habit of taking too long. That’s another way of saying Flair does that spot every match. Konnan tumbles through into a clothesline for two. Konnan went for a pinfall, Elizabeth distracted the ref, Flair with an atomic drop on Konnan, Woman was on the apron and she hit Konnan in the head with the heel of her shoe. That looked pretty bad. She barely grazed him. Flair covered with his feet on the top ropes and a lot of people cheered just because Flair is awesome. The match went 15:39.
Winner by pinfall and new US Champion: Ric Flair
Analysis: **1/2 That was a solid match with Flair cheating to win, which is what he did so many times. This time the cheating involved the women helping him to get the title. There were distractions by Elizabeth and Woman got physically involved several times. Konnan’s offense was okay in terms of getting the crowd behind him, but it really didn’t work that well. Flair cheating to win is what he did, so that finish is fine.
Gene Okerlund was backstage outside of a room where he claims The Outsiders were inside. He claimed the third man was in there, but he couldn’t hear who it was. Okerlund said that the third voice sounded familiar although he didn’t know who it might be. Heenan told Okerlund to bribe the cops – Gene didn’t want to. Back to the ring.
Analysis: I like the ongoing theme of trying to guess who the third man was with the Outsiders even though they didn’t say any names. It really put over the main event as a big deal.
The Giant & Kevin Sullivan (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Chris Benoit & Arn Anderson
As Benoit and Anderson walked to the ring, Giant and Sullivan attacked them from behind. Steve McMichael showed up to attack Giant from behind with the briefcase. The bell rang as Benoit and Anderson worked over Sullivan. Giant was back on the apron. Benoit sent Sullivan into the guardrail, then Sullivan pulled Anderson out of the ring and sent Anderson into the guardrail. Benoit and Anderson continued to work over Sullivan in their corner. As Anderson went for a DDT, Giant nailed a clothesline and Sullivan covered Anderson for a two count. Benoit was back in there working over Sullivan. Giant went into the ring, caught Benoit and tossed Benoit into Anderson. Sullivan gouged the eyes of Benoit to slow him down. They did this slingshot spot with Sullivan sending Anderson into Benoit on the top rope. Hot tag to the Giant, who battled with Anderson. Meanwhile, Benoit and Sullivan went brawling over to the announce desk by the entrance. Giant nailed a suplex on Anderson in the ring. Sullivan slammed Benoit on the set where the announcers were. Giant choked Anderson and hit the Chokeslam for the win after 7:59 of action.
Winners by pinfall: The Giant & Kevin Sullivan
Analysis: *1/2 That was a weird match since all four guys are heels, so it’s not like people watching this should be that happy when Giant got the hot tag. Giant was so limited at this point in his career that they tried to limit the amount of time he was in the ring. The match was all about that tag to Giant, who cleaned house once he got in there and won the match for his team. It was a basic story that worked, but it was still a boring match.
Post match, Benoit jumped on Sullivan by the beach set that was near the entrance. They went back into the ring with Benoit dropping Sullivan with a belly to back suplex off the top rope. Woman went into the ring tell Benoit to stop. He didn’t stop. The Giant walked back to the ring. Benoit left along with Anderson and Woman.
Analysis: The story here is that Woman was legitimately married to Kevin Sullivan. That’s why she was yelling at Benoit to stop. Of course this led to the real life divorce between Woman and Sullivan while she went on to marry Benoit. Sadly, that’s a story that didn’t end well and most people reading this know it, so I’m not going to get into it.
A video package aired about the “Hostile Takeover” of WCW from when Scott Hall showed up on Nitro on Memorial Day, then Kevin Nash showed up a few weeks later and the war was on. Then it led to Nash giving WCW President Eric Bischoff a Powerbomb off the stage at Great American Bash that led to Bischoff going through a table.
Analysis: The video package wasn’t great, but it was 1996 so they can be forgiven. WWE was much better at building up matches with video packages.
They brought out legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer for main event matches, so he did his “are you ready” routine and it’s fair to say that this crowd was very ready for it.
The Outsiders team of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash made their entrance. Buffer didn’t say their names. The announcers were freaking out why there are only two guys instead of three men. The announcers didn’t say their names either.
Gene Okerlund went into the ring. He asked Hall and Nash wondering where the third man is. Hall said that their third guy is there and he’s ready. Nash confirmed that he’s there while noting that they have enough to handle it right here.
Analysis: I remember when they wouldn’t say their names and it would bother me. I guess it was just done to put over the idea that they were outsiders that are not welcome in WCW. It just made for an awkward situation where they didn’t use names to address the wrestlers.
The WCW trio of Sting, Lex Luger and “Macho Man” Randy Savage walked out together to Sting’s music. As I mentioned earlier, they were all wearing Sting face paint.
Sting, Lex Luger & Randy Savage vs. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & ????
Hall with some punches with Tony calling him “this outsider” instead of saying his name. Nash had Luger in a headlock, so Sting nailed a Stinger Splash. Luger sold it big time as he was out on the floor. Hall and Savage brawled on the other side of the ring. The match stopped with Luger out on the floor. Medics came down to the ring to put Luger on a stretcher. Replays showed the bump again. It was just a regular bump by Luger. They just sold it like a big deal.
Analysis: It was a way to write out Luger so that they could make it an even two on two match although The Outsiders obviously have a third man.
The match reset with Tony mentioning their names are Hall and Nash. Hall nailed Sting with a slap, so Sting came back with an atomic drop and a bulldog. Nash dropped Savage face first on the top rope. Savage with a clothesline for two. Nash tagged in with an elbow and forearm smash on Savage. Nash elbow, Savage avoided enough of it and brought Sting into the match. Sting with a dropkick. Nash powered out of a sunset flip and dropped Sting to the mat. Hall with a fallaway slam on Sting for two. Nash with a boot to the face. Sting came back with a dropkick to the knee to knock down Nash. Hall got in there, he punched Savage and Sting did an inside cradle. Schiavone was talking about how he’s not usually for injuries, but he’d be okay with it in this case. Hall with an abdominal stretch. Nash did an abdominal stretch too. Hall back in there with a clothesline on Sting for two. Savage kept trying to get in there, but the ref held him back because it wasn’t legal. Nash with a sidewalk slam on Sting for two. Sting fought back, staggered Nash with punches and Sting leaped over Nash to tag in Savage. Wow what an ovation for the hot tag! That was crazy loud.
Savage with a double axehandle on Hall, then he tossed him into Nash and Savage pounded on Nash with fists. Savage with the double axe off the top onto Hall on the floor. Another double axe by Savage on Hall in the ring. The ref was checking on Hall, so Nash hit a double uppercut low blow on Savage. All four guys were down.
Hulk Hogan entered the arena. Huge ovation. Tony and Dusty excitedly said “Hulk Hogan is here” in a very excited way and Heenan asked: “Yeah, but whose side is he on?” Dusty wondered what he was talking about.
Hogan went into the ring. He ripped off his shirt as Hall and Nash left the ring. Savage was in the ring along with the referee. The whole place was standing. Hogan went against the ropes and he dropped the big leg drop on Savage. Then he dropped another leg drop. Hall and Nash went into the ring to high five Hogan. Schiavone wanted the locker room to empty to kick Hogan’s rear end. Hogan tossed the referee out of the ring. Hogan hit another leg drop on Savage. Hall counted fall although it’s not official. Hogan celebrated with Hall and Nash.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: *** The match was pretty good with a lot of intensity thanks to the story that surrounded the match. Sting did a great job as the face in peril while Savage was on fire as soon as he got in there. Writing Luger out made sense because it became more of a regular match. If you did the same kind of match with it being 3 on 2 it would have been more difficult. As for the finish, it was incredible live and still is to this day. More thoughts on it later.
Post match, Hall and Nash were doing some Hogan-like ear salutes to the crowd. Fans tossed garbage into the ring. Savage was getting helped out as if he was destroyed by that attack even though it wasn’t that bad. The WWE Network version of the broadcast edited out the part where a fan tried to get into the ring, but was destroyed by Nash and security.
Hogan was in the ring with Hall and Nash as Gene Okerlund entered the ring with him. Here’s a transcript of the interview with the promo.
Okerlund: “Hulk Hogan, excuse me, excuse me, what in the world are you thinking?”
Hogan: “Mean Gene, the first thing you need to do is to tell these people to shut up if you wanna hear what I got to say!”
Okerlund: “I have been with you for so many years…for you to join up with these two men absolutely makes me sick! And I think that these people here and a lot of other people around the world have had just about enough of this man here (points at Nash) and this man (points at Hall) and you want to put yourself with this group? You’ve gotta be kidding me!”
Hogan: “First thing you gotta realize, brother, is this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the New World Order of wrestling, brother! These two men here came from a great, big organization up north. Everybody was wondering who the third man was, well who knows more about that organization than me, brother?”
Okerlund: “I’ve been there, I’ve done that…and you have made the wrong decision, in my opinion.”
Hogan: “Well lemme tell you something…I made that organization a monster…I made the people rich up there…and when it all came to pass, the name Hulk Hogan, the man Hulk Hogan, got bigger than the whole organization, brother. And then Billionaire Ted, amigo, he wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan. Well, Billionaire Ted promised me movies, brother, Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars and Billionaire Ted promised me world calibre matches! As far as Billionaire Ted goes, Eric Bischoff and the whole WCW goes…I’m bored, brother. That’s why these two guys here, the so called Outsiders, these are the men I want as my friends, they’re the new blood of professional wrestling, brother, and not only are we gonna take over the whole wrestling business with Hulk Hogan and new blood, the monsters with me, we will destroy everything in our path, Mean Gene.”
Okerlund: (Points at garbage in the ring) “Look at all the crap in this ring! That’s what’s in the future for you if you want to hang around with this man Hall and this man Nash.”
Hogan: “As far as I’m concerned, all this crap in the ring represents these fans out here. For two years, brother, for two years I held my head high, I did everything for the charities, I did everything for the kids, and the reception I got when I came out here, you fans can STICK IT, brother. Because if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis. If it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, all these Johnny come lately’s you see wrestling wouldn’t be here. I was selling the world, brother, while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school. So the way it is now brother, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organization of wrestling, brother, and the new blood by my side, whatcha gonna do when the New World Organization runs wild on you? WHATCHA GONNA DO?”
Analysis: He messed up at the end there as he said “organization” instead of “order” two times.
Schiavone on commentary: “I’m Tony Schiavone. Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell. We’re outta here. Straight to hell.”
The show ended with a picture of Hogan in the ring raising the arms of Hall and Nash by his side.
Analysis Of Main Event Storyline
That main event angle was so good. I give credit to all of the performers for puling it off, for Eric Bischoff coming up with the idea. I know people might rip on Bischoff for it because he got the idea from a storyline in Japan, but so what? It worked better than anybody could have imagined and it was the spark that WCW needed to become a bigger company. This angle, more than anything else WCW could have done, led to them challenging the WWF while eventually passing them as a bigger company for nearly two years.
Let’s break it down by mentioning the key players.
Hulk Hogan – Nobody else could have been in that spot and done that angle the same way. Hogan is the biggest reason why the New World Order worked so well. He was the best choice for it. It worked so well because Hogan was the biggest name in the WWF for a lot of years and there were people that legitimately thought that Hall & Nash were sent there by the WWF to take over WCW. That’s how the angle was presented in its original form. If they put Sting in that spot (that was a rumor), it wouldn’t work as well because he had no history with the WWF at that point. Hogan fit the angle better than anybody else.
Another factor that really worked was the fact that Hogan wasn’t on WCW TV when Hall debuted two months before this. He had no affiliation with Hall or Nash. He was out filming movies and TV shows at the time, so when he came back at this event, the immediate thought was that he was there to stop Hall and Nash. Instead, he sided with them as he dropped the leg on Savage.
His promo after the match was outstanding. Telling the fans to “stick it” was so unlike anything Hogan had ever said or done in his career. He was the biggest face in professional wrestling for about 12 years before that moment, so for him to say that meant a lot. If John Cena were to turn heel in WWE today it might have a significant impact on things, but it won’t be like what Hogan did. I thought this was the defining moment of his career.
Hogan’s actions in this match and his promo after the match was the best performance of his career. I know people can argue for other things, but this tops them all.
Scott Hall & Kevin Nash – They played their parts well. They were true heels, they put fear into everybody they interacted with and the NWO worked so well because they came to WCW immediately after being key guys in the WWF for years. When Hogan walked down the aisle, they got out of the ring, let him do his thing and then celebrated with him. It was exactly as it should have been.
Randy Savage, Sting & Lex Luger – I think they played their parts well. Sting took a beating, Savage was on fire making the comeback and poor Luger was written out fairly early because they wanted to make it more of a traditional tag match. The crowd believed in all of them. It was smart for the company to pick three former World Champions like them because they have more credibility.
My only complaint about the angle is that I thought Hogan should have dropped the leg on Sting since he was the face of WCW more than Savage. Even though I love Savage, he was only in WCW for about a year while Sting was the true top face of the company. I guess they did it this way to set up some Hogan vs. Savage matches soon after this, but it would have felt more right if it was Sting in Savage’s spot.
The announcers – This was the best performance of Tony Schiavone’s career. His outrage when Hogan did the turn was perfect. I liked his lines at the end of the show too. It felt real and genuine instead of his over the top shtick that he did in the later years of WCW likely because he stopped caring. Rhodes did a good job of getting mad too.
Heenan’s line wondering “whose side is he on?” about Hogan is something that bothered a lot of people. I think it was just done because the Heenan character never liked Hogan, so he was just staying in character by questioning him. The other two guys were happy to see him while Heenan wasn’t sure what it meant. It didn’t bother me that much.
Gene Okerlund – Great job by Gene just like Tony. He did the post match in-ring interview and expressed anger towards Hogan because of all the time they spent together. It was easy to sympathize with Gene, who was the voice of the betrayed fans in that moment.
Eric Bischoff – He wasn’t on the show, but I’m sure he was beaming as he watched it in the back. Bischoff taking the Powerbomb through the table from Nash at the Great American Bash one month earlier was a huge moment that put over how serious The Outsiders were. A few months after this, Bischoff became the NWO leader.
To wrap it up, here are some Hulk Hogan comments talking about the angle.
Hulk Hogan: “I was thinking I knew I was going to piss everybody off. I knew it. I didn’t know if it was going to work as good [as it did]. I knew I was going to get heat for flipping everybody off, but when [the crowd] started throwing stuff into the ring, when Kevin [Nash] and Scott [Hall] and I were standing there with ‘Mean’ Gene, when they started throwing bottles and paper and everything into the ring, I knew it worked then.” (Radio Yorkshire)
I’ve been critical of Hogan for many years about a lot of different things, but with this storyline he was fantastic.
Call the whole thing a 7 out of 10.
It wasn’t the greatest show from top to bottom, but I loved Rey vs. Psychosis so much. The main event angle is historically so important that it’s worth checking out whether you’ve seen it before or if it’s been a while since you have watched it.
As for the rest of the card, there are some stinkers on there like McMichael/Gomez, Rogers/Tenta, Page/Duggan and Nasty Boys/Public Enemy. Things like Malenko/Disco and Flair/Konnan are okay matches, but they weren’t that special. I think the undercard could have been a lot better.
Check out some of my other recent Retro PPV reviews including ECW One Night Stand 2006, King of the Ring 1996, ECW One Night Stand 2005, No Way Out 2004, WCW Starrcade 1997 and plenty more.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]