WCW Great American Bash 1990: The New Revolution
by Scrooge McSuck
- Hey, haven't I recapped this show before, and not too long ago, too?! Well, yes and no... but mostly yes. While I have recapped it recently, that was the Turner Home Video version, which cuts out most of the undercard, so here's the whole deal: The Pay-Per-View version, complete and uncut, except for the music. Have I mentioned how awesome the WWE Network is?
- Originally broadcast on Pay-Per-View on July 7th, 1990, from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, MD. Jim Ross and Bob Caudle are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted, and Gordon Solie is hanging around conducting interviews, but I'll mostly be ignoring them.
Flyin' Brian vs. "Nature Boy" Buddy Landell:
I'm curious how Pillman went from a solid push in the midcard and title contention to jerking the curtain with a loser like Landell. Must've been Ole Anderson telling these young, great workers to go fudge themselves. They trade bitch slaps, chops, and rights until Pillman sends Landell to the floor with a pair of dropkicks and a hip toss. Landell to Pillman: "You want some more of me?!". That was pretty funny, to be honest. They trade wristlocks as J.R. goes on about Pillman's professional football career (he lists Pillman as playing for the Buffalo Bills, despite being a pre-season cut... I guess that counts?). Landell blocks a sunset flip with a shot between the eyes, then counters a body press with a back breaker. Landell shows off with some ugly posing and the WORST Moonwalk in the history of the world. Pillman remains the aggressor, constantly missing and Landell getting near falls from it. Landell snapmares him out of the corner and grabs a chinlock. He takes Pillman over with a suplex, but has the balls to sell being tired despite being 6-minutes in. Landell with a clothesline, and both are down again. Whip, Pillman with a body press, and Landell rolls through for two. Pillman misses a clothesline, landing on the ramp, but recovers quickly, scales the ropes, and hits the top rope body press for three at 9:52. ** A little long for where they were taking it, but perfectly acceptable wrestling.
Captain Mike Rotunda vs. The Iron Sheik:
Who in their right mind would book this for a Pay-Per-View?! Neither man gets an entrance, just "currently in the ring" introductions. One year later, both men would be in the WWF with fresh gimmicks: Irwin R. Schyster and Col. Mustafa. Useless tidbit: These two were opponents at WrestleMania the First. Sheik only looks very out of shape, compared to grossly out of shape as the decade moved along. At least the geniuses in the WWF had the brains to put a singlet and pants on his quickly deteriorating physique. Rotunda scores an early near fall from a sunset flip. Rotunda with a slam and dropkick, sending Sheik to the floor. S-T-A-L-L, what does that spell? An Iron Sheik match, in 1990. ON PPV. Back inside, Sheik with a gutwrench suplex for two, followed by a spectacularly bad abdominal stretch, complete with Sheik damn-near losing his balance. He's sucking wind hard, despite doing very little in the match. I never noticed before, but Sheik kind of reminds me of Bald Bull from the Punch-Out video game series. Stuff happens, Rotunda with a back slide... and that wins it at 6:47?! Who, EVER, wins with a back slide?! (Editor's Note: Kerry Von Erich over Ric Flair, for one) -* Match was atrocious, and poor Mike Rotunda had to go out there and look like a Jobber to try and get Sheik's ancient ass over.
Doug Furnas vs. "Dirty" Dutch Mantell:
Well if it isn't the Human Chia Pet himself. Younger fans know Mantell better these days as Zeb Colter, Real American and Xenophobic hero to all who appreciate good promos. Furnas is YOUR "World's Strongest Man" of 1990, so no surprise he didn't get over (or didn't care to stick around the cespool that was WCW). He actually gets a solid pop, to my surprise. People think Albert had a hairy back? Mantell's body is hideous in comparison. Mantell grabs a headlock to start, but Furnas doesn't budge on a shoulder. Furnas' shoulder tackle does work, sending Mantell to the floor. A long criss-cross sequence ends with Furnas throwing Mantell across the ring with a press slam. Mantell with some bitch slapping, and well-timed hiding in the corner. Furnas returns the favor, whips him to the corner, and connects with a friggin' AWESOME dropkick. Furnas focuses on the arm, but misses a splash from the top, allowing Mantell to take over. Mantell with a short-arm clothesline for two. He dumps Furnas to the floor and hits another clothesline. Snap suplex for two, and Furnas is kicking out with gusto. I think we get the point he's strong. Whip to the ropes, and Furnas comes back with a diving shoulder tackle, followed by a powerslam. Criss-cross, Furnas somehow outsmarts Mantell, and finishes with the belly-to-belly suplex at 11:18. *1/2 It had it's moments, but it was neither very good, nor very bad. I hate matches like that, but it was watchable.
"Wildfire" Tommy Rich vs. Harley Race:
This could be a Main Event anywhere... in the South. In 1981. Seriously, the pre-match hype for this is the fact that Rich had defeated Race for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship back in 1981, holding the title for about a week. Race was definitely near the end of his in-ring carer at this point, and Rich never did anything for me, so this should be quite a chore to sit through. Rich quickly grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with shoulder tackles. Race surprises Rich with a clothesline, but misses an elbow. Rich with a slam, followed by a headlock takeover. Race fights free, only to meet the post, shoulder-first. Rich works the arm until Race nails him coming off the ropes with his signature running high knee. Race with a piledriver, over-sold enough for Rich to land outside the ring. Race with a snap suplex on the ramp, followed by a knee across the forehead. Rich mounts a comeback, sending Race over the top with a clothesline. Rich follows, slamming Race on the floor. He brings Race back in with a suplex, and comes off the second rope with a fist drop for two. Race with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Short-arm clothesline and a knee drop, followed by a swinging neck breaker. Rich retaliates with a fist to the midsection and a running knee lift. Race with a headbutt to the gut, and a dive takes both men over the top, to the floor. Rich goes to the top rope for a body press, but Race rolls through, and it's enough for the three count at 6:32. *** I didn't expect this to be that good in my wildest dreams. Seriously, Rich was total GARBAGE at this point, and Race had been out of main-stream for over a year at this point and advancing in age, and they both went out there and busted ass for the short amount of time they were slated.
WCW U.S. Tag Team Championship Match:
(Beautiful Bobby & Sweet Stan vs. Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong)
The Midnight Express © (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Southern Boys:
This is where the Turner Home Video version of the show begins. The Express won the titles from Flyin' Brian and the Z-Man at the last Pay-Per-View, Capital Combat (Return of Robocop!). The Southern Boys are a fairly fresh team in WCW, but I don't recall much of what they've done, other than a long (and dull) program with the Fabulous Freebirds. The Express dump the challengers from the ring to start. Back inside, they retaliate, with less positive of crowd response. Lockup to the corner, Eaton with a cheap shot and a scoop slam. Eaton heads to the top, but gets slammed off. Armstrong with a monkey flip, followed by a series of rights and a dropkick. Armstrong with a clothesline from the top rope, as the crowd chants for Eaton. Smothers tags in, and works the arm. He rips off Lane's playbook and uses a crescent kick to his advantage. Whip to the ropes, and Smothers with a back drop. Lane tags in and shows off his karate moves, to crowd aproval. Smothers manages to fend off both Express members, and it's strategy time outside the ring. Back inside, and Lane with a drop toe hold, but Smothers counters with a hammerlock. Lane with a rake of the eyes and tag to Eaton, who walks into an arm drag. Eaton with a cheap shot in the corner, but Smothers comes back with a slingshot kick for two. Eaton takes a walk, and tastes a basement dropkick for his troubles. The Express double-up on Smothers, but Armstrong gets the tag and comes in with a double cross body for two. The Express finally get control of the action, with Lane illegally tossing Smothers over the top rope, behind the referee's back, of course.
Lane follows, and sends Smothers into the security rail. Cornette gets a token racket shot in, as well. Smothers crawls to the apron, and knocked off, into the security rail. Back inside, Lane with an atomic drop, followed by an Eaton back breaker. Smothers with comeback attempt #1, but Eaton kills it with a clothesline. Lane with a leap frog splash across the back. Lane with a snapmare, and Eaton covers for two. Smothers with another comeback attempt, and this time a rake of the eyes halts it. Eaton with a scoop slam, followed by his signature leg drop from the top rope. Lane comes in, and Smothers surprises him with a sunset flip for a two count. Eaton in, and we get a double-team knee lift and swinging neck breaker. Eaton slingshots Smothers back into the ring, and Lane follows with a underhook suplex for a two count. Eaton tries to do the slingshot again, but Smothers returns the favor, sending Eaton to the floor... no DQ? Lane helps his cause though, wiping Smothers out with a clothesline. Smothers takes another beating, before finally making the hot tag to Armstrong, who lays into anything walking. Armstrong with a noggin-knocker, followed by a shoulder tackle on Lane for a two count. Smothers with a slam on Eaton, as Armstrong nails Lane with a missile dropkick. Armstrong goes to the top again, but Eaton throws him off. Lane with a slam and Rocket Launcher, but that only gets two. Smothers does a partner switch and cradles Eaton for another two count. Whip to the ropes, and Lane with a kick to the back of the head, allowing Eaton to cradle Smothers for the three count at 18:12. ****1/2 It's almost impossible for the standard heel-formula of the Midnight Express to fail, and much like Capital Combat, their opponents brought their working boots too, and we were treated to an excellent tag team encounter. It's amazing how hot the WCW tag team division was for such a long period of time, constantly producing excellent matches.
The Z-Man vs. Big Van Vader:
This is Vader's debut in WCW, and yes, he does have that awesome elephant mask that spews steam. I remember as a kid being freaked the hell out by Vader. Him, along with the Undertaker, literally scared me and I almost couldn't stand watching them because of how intimidating they were. Z-Man goes from co-holder of the US Tag Titles to cannon fodder in less than two months. I'm pretty sure Ole Anderson didn't like him, either. Vader dominates early, pounding away on Zenk like you were tenderizing a steak. Vader crushes him in the corner with an avalanche, and lays him out with a short-arm clothesline. Zenk throws a desperation dropkick, but Vader no-sells it. He complete the destruction, finishing Zenk off with a big splash at 2:16. * Short and sweet squash that did it's job. Too bad Vader was barely considered a part-time worker for WCW, never really committed to a full schedule until the following Fall. I don't think Zenk would go on to do much of anything the remainder of his career.
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Fabulous Freebirds:
(Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Michael P.S. Hayes & Jimmy Jam Garvin)
If there's one thing I could do without, is any more Fabulous Freebird matches, and I mean the Hayes and Garvin version, of course. Both teams are coming off big losses at the last PPV, with the Steiners dropping the World Tag Team Titles to Doom. The Freebirds sneak attack and toss Rick out, then double team Scott. Garvin drops him across the top rope, and the Freebirds with a double clothesline. Scott fends off a DDT attempt and tags out to Rick, who lays both Freebirds out with clotheslines. Scott with clotheslines of his own, as Jim Ross tries to give us some detail on why these teams are fighting. Stalling, and the crowd with a politically incorrect chant directed towards Garvin. Back to the action, Garvin controls with rights, but Rick shrugs it off and nails him with a clothesline for two. Hayes tags in, and plays to the crowd. Rick acts like a dog and bites his ass in retaliation. Scott with hip tosses and dropkicks to both men to clear the ring, again. The Freebirds continue to use every stalling technique in the book, triggering a "Freebirds Suck" chant. Hayes with a boot to the midsection of Scott, following by clubbing blows. Whip to the ropes, and Scott surprises Hayes with a double underhook slam. Garvin tags in, and gets taken out with a tilt-o-whirl slam. Rick with a side headlock, followed by a powerslam. Whip to the ropes, and Garvin with a knee to the back to finally put the Steiners in trouble. Garvin with a clothesline, followed by a double suplex. Hayes with a slam and running bulldog for a pair of two counts. Garvin takes a cheap shot at Scott on the apron, before settling in with a chinlock. Rick with an escape attempt, but Garvin maintains control and continues to work the hold. Rick escapes again, and meets the knee coming off the ropes. Garvin heads to the top rope, and takes a gist to the midsection. Rick with a second rope bulldog, and both men are down. Scott pounds away on Hayes and takes him over with a powerslam. Double clothesline connects, followed by a Frankensteiner to Hayes, but Garvin wipes Scott out with a DDT before he could go for a pin. Rick comes in, lays Hayes out with an overhead belly-to-belly, and puts Scott on top for the three count at 13:45. ** Dull match that had it's moments and a hot finish, but damn was there a lot of stalling from the Freebirds.
Paul Orndorff, El Gigante, and The Junkyard Dog vs. Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, and Sid Vicious:
Ugh, Sting's Dudes With Attitudes, complete with Main Event push for the Junkyard Dog. In 1990. Anderson is the reigning TV Champion, for those who care about that sort of thing. Anderson and Orndorff start, but Sid tags in immediately and chokes away. Sid misses a leg drop, and Orndorff sends him out of the ring with a dropkick. Anderson and Windham run in and are taken over with arm drags. Orndorff goes for a back slide, and JYD helps out to get Sid over for a two count. Anderson pounds away on Orndorff, but El Gigante tags in to scare the fecal matter out of everyone. Ross makes the comparison of Gigante to Andre the Giant, which I guess is OK in kayfabe era because he didn't appear on WWF television between WrestleMania VI and the weeks leading to WrestleMania VII. JYD with headbutts to Anderson, then does the same with Windham. Anderson and Windham take turns working JYD over until he decides to no-sell a DDT. He blocks a slam and a suplex attempt, and takes Windham over with one of his own. Orndorff manages to fend off all three Horsemen, noggin-knocker to Windham and Sid, and a clothesline to Anderson. Orndorff goes for the piledriver, but Windham breaks it with a double axehandle. The crowd chants for Sid, and gets him... for a chinlock spot. ARE YOU SERIOUS!? Orndorff escapes, but gets taken down with a powerslam for a two count. Windham tags in, and a suplex gets two. Orndorff takes more punishment before making the hot tag to the JYD, who cleans house until Sid turns the tide, again. The Horsemen casually dump the Dog over the top rope for a cheap DQ at 8:53. El Gigante comes in and throws everyone out of the ring, because he still couldn't do anything else. 1/4* Match was a complete mess. Orndorff vs. Anyone was watchable, but JYD sucked that much.
WCW United States Championship Match:
Since our last WCW PPV, Mean Mark has traded in Theodore Long for Paul E. as his manager, and I guess wiping the canvas with Johnny Ace was good enough to make him a top contender. Lockup to the corner, and Luger gives a clean break. They battle over a wristlock, and another clean break in the corner. Lockup, and Luger clamps on a hammerlock. Mark escapes with a drop toe hold, but Luger slips right back to the hammerlock. Luger takes Mark over with an arm drag, who in turn complains about hair pulling. Mean Mark with a cheap shot and whip to the corner, but he misses a charge, allowing Luger to work the arm some more. Whip to the ropes, and Luger comes off with a cross body for a two count. Luger with an arm drag, then back to the armbar. Whip to the ropes, and Mean Mark whiffs on a clothesline, before laying Luger out with a big boot. At least he didn't repeat the spot. Mean Mark with punching, followed by choking across the middle rope. Mean Mark works the arm for a good long while, then whips out his only good spot... the rope-walk clothesline across the back of the head. Luger comes back with rights, but misses a charge and goes flying over the top rope. Bob Caudle with a McCarver-ism of all, describing the security rail: "That's a metal cage around the ring, which is steel." What the fuck does that mean? Back to the "action", and Luger with a sunset flip for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Luger misses yet another charge, leading to a slugfest. Mean Mark takes Luger over with a suplex, but Luger no-sells it. Luger comes off the ropes with a trio of clotheslines. Torture rack attempt, but Mean Mark "accidentally" kicks the referee. Paul E. runs in and KO's Luger with the cell phone, but that only gets two. Mean Mark with a short arm clothesline, but the heart punch fails, and Luger with yet another clothesline to pick up the three count at 12:09. * There was some decent moments, but this baby dragged like heck. Probably the last notable appearance of Mean Mark in WCW.
"The Total Package" Lex Luger © vs. Mean Mark (w/ Paul E. Dangerously):
WCW World Tag Team Championship Match:
(Ron Simmons & Butch Reed vs. Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
Doom © (w/ Theodore R. Long) vs. The Rock N' Roll Express:
As mentioned earlier, Doom won the straps from the Steiners at Capital Combat, so this is their biggest defense yet. It's also the last hurrah for the RnR Express, as their time as a team was coming to an end, and anything after this was just two men not knowing when to let it go. Stalling to start. Simmons overpowers Gibson, then shows off by posing. They exchange blows until Gibson surprises Simmons with a roll up for a two count. Reed tags in and falls victim to a slam, followed by an elbow drop. Reed with a side headlock on Morton, followed by a pair of shoulder tackles. Gibson with the blind tag, and a double shoulder tackle from the RnR takes Reed off his feet. Double arm drag to Simmons. Gibson goes for a hip toss, but Reed lays him out with a clothesline. Doom with a double back elbow on Gibson, and Simmons follows with a slam and high impact leg drop. Reed tags back in, and while the referee is distracted, tosses Gibson over the top rope. Gibson comes back in with a sunset flip for a two count, but is quickly over-matched, again. Reed with a swinging neck-breaker for two. Gibson surprises Reed with a knee lift and tags out to Morton, who applies a sleeper and rolls Reed up for a two count.
Simmons reverses the tide with a clothesline from behind, and now Ricky Morton gets to play face-in-peril. Whip to the ropes, and Reed with a clothesline, followed by an elbow drop for a two count. Reed and Simmons take turns pounding Morton into a jelly. Morton with continuous attempts to make the tag, but the tag team of Doom keep the pressure on. Reed with a second-rope elbow for a two count, then some resting with a chinlock. Morton with a back slide for two. Simmons with a slam and slingshot beneath the bottom rope for two. Morton surprises Simmons with a cradle for a two count, but he's running out of steam. Simmons with a powerslam for yet another two count. Reed with a sledge from the middle turnbuckle, followed by fist drops for a two count. Morton gets tossed out of the ring and punished by Simmons and Long. Back inside, and Morton nails Reed across the back of the head with an elbow. Simmons tags in and slams Morton for two. Whip to the ropes, and Morton boots Simmons, but still can't make the tag. Reed with a powerslam, but a splash meets the knees, and Morton FINALLY tags out to Gibson, who hammers away on Simmons. Gibson with a fist to the midsection and facebuster, followed by a dropkick for two. Morton comes back in and everyone brawls. Gibson with an enziguri to Reed, knocking him into Long in the process. Morton hammers away on Simmons, but Reed finishes him off with a top rope shoulder tackle for the three count at 15:40. **1/2 The ending was a bit of a mess, but solid action throughout. Nice to see logical booking by having the aging RnR Express put over the new Tag Team Champions in convincing fashion.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match:
It's the match that should've happened months earlier, if not for an untimely injury put Sting out of action for most of 1990. Through a common goal, Sting and Flair became allies in the Fall of 1989 in their wars with Terry Funk and Great Muta, which somehow made Sting a member of the Horsemen (babyface version). However, Sting won the Starrcade Iron Man Tournament, earning a shot at Flair's title, and refused to pass it off, signaling the Flair heel turn and having Sting turfed from the Horsemen. It was during a Clash of the Champions where Sting, looking for revenge, injured his knee climbing a cage, and so it's been five months of waiting and now Sting is back, ready to go, ready to kick off the next generation of WCW. Sting has the Dudes with Attitudes at ringside, the Horsemen are banned, AND Ole Anderson has to be handcuffed to El Gigante. Who booked this, Vince Russo? Oh, wait, it was Ole Anderson, I forgot. Sting is sporting an awesome red, white, and blue attire to go with the holiday.
Ric Flair © vs. Sting:
Lockup, and Sting shoves Flair down. They exchange "woo's" before Sting settles in with a side headlock. Flair with chops in the corner, and Sting naturally no-sells them. Sting whips Flair to the opposite corner, throws him over with a press slam, and sends him to the floor following a hip toss and dropkick. Sting follows, taking him over on the ramp with another hip toss. Sting clotheslines Flair back into the ring, but falls victim to the old thumb to the eye trick. Flair with a snapmare, followed by the knee across the forehead. Flair with a delayed suplex, but Sting no-sells, lays out Flair with a series of clotheslines, and comes off the top rope with a body press for a two count. Flair begs off and rolls outside, but is blocked by the Steiners. Flair returns to the ring and kicks the surgically repaired knee, and now his chops are having an effect on the challenger. Whip to the corner, but Sting comes bursting out with a clothesline. Flair avoids an elbow drop and goes for the Figure-Four, but Sting kicks him off. They battle over a knuckle-lock. Sting wins that easily, so Flair thumbs the eyes and chops away some more. Flair throws Sting to the outside and follows with more chops. Back inside, and Flair goes back to working the knee. Sting responds with a series of rights and a hip toss, but he misses a dropkick.
Flair goes to work on the knee with his usual arsenal. Sting fights Flair off and manages to slap on his own version of the Figure-Four! They take it to the floor, again, with Flair laying in with more chops. Whip into the rail, and Sting no-sells. Back inside, and Sting with a series of mounted punches. Flair kicks him low and heads to the top, but to the surprise of maybe three people in the world, Sting recovers and slams Flair off. Whip to the ropes, and Sting blocks a hip toss with a back slide for a two count. Flair kicks Sting's leg from under him again, and goes back to working the knee. Flair with a snapmare and boot to the face, just for the hell of it. Flair calls for the end, but Sting kicks away the Figure-Four a second time. Sting fights Flair off with rights, takes him down with a press slam, and comes off the ropes with a clothesline for a two count. Sting with mounted punches in the corner, followed by another clothesline. Sting brings Flair back in the ring with a suplex for another two count. Whip to the corner, Stinger Splash, and the Scorpion Deathlock is applied. The Horsemen hit the ring, but the Dudes with Attitudes stand in their way. Flair makes it to the ropes to force the break. They battle near the ropes until Flair takes Sting down and covers with his feet on the ropes, but only gets two. Sting with a school boy for a two count. Flair with a headlock, and Sting counters with a head scissors. Sting bridges up from a pin attempt and backslides Flair for another two count. Sting sends Flair to the corner and misses a running knee, meeting the buckle instead. Flair goes for the Figure-Four a third time, but Sting counters with a small package, and Sting finally wins his first World Championship at 16:04 to a monster pop. ***1/4 Not the best encounter between the two, but considering Sting had missed nearly half-a-year of action, it's understandable. Unfortunately, Sting was left with ZERO challengers, and the company quickly fell back into trusting Ric Flair with the ball as 1991 approached... sounds awfully familiar to a situation in the WWF at the same time.
Final Thoughts: It's another winner from WCW, although you can see the cracks in the foundation. With a shallow pool of draws to fill the top of the card, Sting's run would lead to disappointing programs, notably with the infamous Black Scorpion. The Tag Team division and a solid Main Event carries the show, but the undercard has some nice little gems sprinkled in there, as well. The Freebirds drag things down, the U.S. Title Match kind of blew, and anything to do with the Junkyard Dog at this point was a waste of time, but it's not enough to drag the entire show down. Solid Recommendation, but as a "passing of the torch" moment goes, it was just as successful as the Ultimate Warrior several months earlier: Nice try, but there was no effort in moving forward, and we were stuck with the same old stand-by when it failed to draw money.
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