WCW Bash At The Beach 1996
July 7th 1996
-From Daytona Beach, FL. Our hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, and Dusty Rhodes.
Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey offers a handshake but gets shoved away. Rey scores first with an arm drag. They trade submission counters until reaching a stalemate. They quicken the pace until Psychosis knocks Rey to ringside with a spin kick, setting up a dive over the ropes. Psychosis takes control of the match, hitting a scoop slam and leg drop. Psychosis continues to roll with a guillotine leg drop. Rey eventually counters with a monkey flip, on the apron, into the ring post! Hurricanrana off the apron by Mysterio! Rey delivers the West Coast Pop for a near fall and drop-kicks the knee to signal a new strategy. Psychosis limps as he administers a drop toe hold and applies a head scissors. Psychosis targets the neck, tossing Rey into the ropes and guard rail! Flying senton splash off the top rope to the floor by Psychosis! The crowd is disappointingly quiet as Psychosis nearly wins it with an enziguri. The fans get behind Rey as he makes a comeback, nailing a hurricanrana off the top rope to the apron! Rey attempts a twisting Asai moonsault resulting in a bad landing on the guard rail. Back to the ring, Psychosis counters a springboard attempt with a sit-out power bomb. Rey counters a top rope Razor’s Edge with another hurricanrana and scores the win at 15:14. This was an incredible opener that holds up really well over time, ****.
Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.
-Gene Okerlund interviews U.S. Champion Konnan backstage. Konnan has to face Ric Flair and his entourage tonight and warns Flair to keep his men far away.
Carson City Silver Dollar match:
A sock filled with silver dollars is hanging from a pole and I’m starting to think I’ve watched too much wrestling. The thought of either of these guys climbing a pole seems somewhat absurd. Bubba is reluctant to fight and Tenta clears the ring quickly. They take turns trying to climb the pole and keep getting knocked down, including a devastating back superplex by Bubba! Tenta decides to take the pole down rather than climb, but Bubba chokes him with one of the straps. Tenta gets tied to the ropes and is helpless as Bubba pummels him down. Bubba prepares an impromptu haircut, but Tenta fights back with a low blow. Tenta uses the scissors to lower the pole, but Bubba ambushes again, hitting a spinebuster variation. Hart climbs the pole for Bubba and gets the sliver dollars, but Tenta takes it from him. Tenta clocks Bubba with the silver dollars for the win at 8:50. They tried so hard and took some big bumps, but this was dull stuff. Pole matches are almost never any good, *¾.
Big Bubba (with Jimmy Hart) vs. John Tenta
Winner: John Tenta
-Mean Gene interviews the team of Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage, all of whom are sporting face paint. Savage doesn’t care who Hall and Nash’s third man is, because it has to be somebody and that person is going to get hurt. Luger says they’re prepared for the six-man, their actions will speak louder than the Outsiders’ words. Sting is pumped up and ready to go. Complete baby face goodness here.
"Lord of the Ring” Taped Fist match:
DDP pulls the hair to reverse a headlock but gets knocked to ringside. DDP spits his gum at Duggan and snaps his neck on the ropes. DDP tapes Duggan’s legs around the ring post, allowing a beat down. Duggan quickly escapes and clubs Page out of the ring. Duggan suplexes DDP back into the ring but Page blocks a second suplex. Duggan trips Page on the top rope and slams his head into the canvas. Duggan slams Page into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him back to the floor. Page nails the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere for the win at 5:38. The match was fine, **.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Jim Duggan
Winner: Diamond Dallas Page
-Duggan puts Page down with a closed fist to gain the moral victory.
-Mean Gene interviews Kevin Sullivan and World Heavyweight Champion The Giant backstage. Giant sticks up for Sullivan against accusations that he’s the weak link in the Dungeon of Doom. Giant plans on making some “horse stew” out of the Four Horsemen.
-Lee Marshall interviews Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson on the stage. Anderson issues a warning to whoever Hall and Nash’s mystery man is before getting to personal business. He’s ready to chop down the Giant. Benoit says the Horsemen have tolerated the Dungeon of Doom for far too long and are going to finish the fight tonight.
Four Man Dog Collar match:
Rock is tied to Sags and Grunge is attached to Knobbs and they all spill to ringside for the opening brawl. Rock gets crotched on the barricade while Knobbs tries to bury Grunge in the sandy beach set by the stage. Beach-themed weapons come into play, as do the always reliable steel chairs. Rock gets pulled off of a lifeguard tower by the collar! Rock foolishly climbs back up and Sags pulls the entire tower over. Meanwhile, Knobbs and Grunge have been brawling on the boardwalk, bouncing a surfboard off each other’s skulls. Rock suffers a piledriver on the concrete! Rock comes back and puts Sags through a table with a bulldog off the barricade! The fight hits the ring with all four men attempting to use a table. Sags pulls Rock off the top rope and he bounces off an unbreaking table. Sags wraps the chain around his arm and smashes it into Rock, again failing to break the table. Knobbs hangs Grunge over the ropes, and Sags whips Rock into the chain for a sick clothesline. That finishes Rock at 11:24. I didn’t want to like this, but it ended up being loads of fun, with a nice amount of creativity thrown in, **¾.
Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags)
Winners: The Nasty Boys
-Public Enemy play sore losers and beat down the Nasty Boys. This feud will live to see another day.
-Gene Okerlund is being guarded by a pack of security officers while speculating on who the third man could be.
-Disco Inferno, the most 90’s looking 70’s guy ever, dances to the ring for his match. He invites the fans to his disco dance party.
Malenko charges to the ring and slaps the grin off Disco’s face. Malenko tosses Disco over the ropes and continues the assault on the floor. Back to the ring, Malenko is relentless, nailing a Brainbuster for a 2 count. Saito Suplex by Malenko leads to a grapevine ankle lock. Dean picks apart the leg with an assortment of holds and attacks. Dean counters an Irish whip, nearly pinning him with a sunset flip. Disco finally gets some offense in, connecting with a series of blows. Face buster by Disco gets a 2 count, but Malenko retakes control with a whip into the steel barricade. Disco is in complete survival mode as he very animatedly attempts a comeback. Disco blocks a double ax handle and nails a neck breaker. Disco stupidly dances instead of making a quick cover after another neck breaker, allowing Malenko to nail a springboard drop-kick to the head. Disco counters the Cloverleaf with a pinning predicament and nails a hard clothesline for a convincing false finish. Dean is starting to sweat and nails a Tiger Bomb to set up the Texas Cloverleaf for the win at 12:03. This started out as a complete slaughter and became pretty compelling when Disco started teasing an upset. All-around entertaining match here, ***.
Dean Malenko © vs. Disco Inferno
Winner and still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko
Joe Gomez vs. Steve McMichael (with Debra and Peppy the Poodle)
McMichael attempts to get over his new mean streak with backhand chops. Gomez fights back, hitting a cross body for a 2 count. McMichael takes control with stomping, kicking, punching, you know, usual greenhorn offense. Gomez survives a Camel Clutch and applies a Sleeper, but McMichael counters with a chin breaker. Reverse neck breaker by McMichael isn’t enough, and Gomez nearly steals the win by countering a Figure Four attempt. Mongo misses an elbow drop and Gomez counters a power bomb. Gomez puts together a string of attacks and they have an ugly exchange of sunset flip counters. McMichael finishes Gomez off with a Tombstone Piledriver at 6:43. This was a clunker that dragged the show to a screeching halt, DUD.
Winner: Steve McMichael
-Mean Gene interviews Ric Flair, Ms. Elizabeth, and Woman backstage. Flair is on some sort of caffeine high and crows about all the success the Four Horsemen are enjoying, including his pending U.S. Championship victory. Mean Gene asks Elizabeth about the after party at the hotel, and it turns out Woman was hoping he’d come for a special “private party.” Okerlund says he has a prior commitment, mostly because he doesn’t approve of Woman’s friends. Flair continues raving about the Nature Boy way of life. Amusingly awkward segment here.
United States Championship:
Flair offers a sincere handshake but also condescendingly pats Konnan on the shoulder. Konnan holds his own against Flair, knocking him off his feet. It seems to be hitting Flair that he’s in a tougher fight than he was counting on. They engage in a nice display of chain wrestling. Flair starts throwing chops, but Konnan retaliates with a surfboard stretch! Flair begs for mercy as Konnan pummels him and gets dumped to ringside. Konnan delivers a shoulder block off the apron that also knocks Elizabeth over. Woman shakes the ropes to knock Konnan off the top rope. Woman follows with a blatant low blow and Konnan is left rolling on the canvas. Elizabeth distracts the ref while Flair serves Konnan to Woman for yet another assault. Flair suplexes Konnan back into the ring and picks him apart Nature Boy-style. Konnan fights back, stealing the Figure Four, but Flair gets the rope. Elizabeth distracts the referee while Woman nails Konnan with her spiked heel shoe. Flair capitalizes with a rope-assisted cover for the win at 15:36. The action itself was solid enough, but this was all about the outside shenanigans, **½.
Konnan © vs. Ric Flair (with Ms. Elizabeth and Woman)
Winner and new United States Champion: Ric Flair
-Mean Gene’s search for the third man continues. He’s figured out that the third man is someone we all know very well. Bobby Heenan encourages Okerlund to spy on the Outsiders’ locker room door, but he doesn’t have the nerve.
Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit vs. WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant and Kevin Sullivan (with Jimmy Hart)
The Giant and Sullivan attack the Horsemen during their entrance. McMichael runs in and cheap shots The Giant, prompting him to chase him out of the building, leaving Sullivan alone against Benoit and Anderson. The match officially begins with Benoit picking Sullivan apart. The Giant returns and waits for a tag. Sullivan whips Anderson into the barricade, but Benoit doesn’t let him build any momentum, hitting a power slam. The Giant catches Anderson with a clothesline from the apron, allowing a Sullivan near fall. Giant enters and catches Benoit in mid-air and tosses him into Anderson. The Horsemen keep Sullivan isolated until he counters by catapulting Anderson into Benoit on the turnbuckles. The Giant gets the hot tag and chases after Anderson while Benoit and Sullivan brawl to the broadcast area. Giant choke slams Anderson for the win at 7:58. This was a bit of a mess, *.
Winners: The Giant and Kevin Sullivan
-The match is over, but Benoit and Sullivan aren’t finished by any stretch of the imagination. Benoit dives onto Sullivan in the sand pit and directs him back to the ring. Benoit is covered with sand as he nails a back superplex. Woman marches to the ring and tries to talk Benoit down (all of this is pretty uncomfortable to watch in hindsight). The Giant returns for the save and Benoit backs off.
-Michael Buffer introduces Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, noting that the third man is missing. Mean Gene enters the ring and grills them about the whereabouts of their partner. Hall and Nash say the man is here and ready, but they don’t need him just yet.
Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and THE MYSTERIOUS THIRD MAN vs. Lex Luger, Sting, and Macho Man Randy Savage
We have an apparent handicap match underway as Nash and Hall go it alone. Hall tosses his toothpick at Luger, sparking a fight. Luger turns his back to attack Nash, allowing a Hall ambush. Sting and Macho Man help clear the ring. When Sting hit the Stinger Splash on Nash, he accidentally knocked Luger out cold, taking him out of the match. As Lex is stretchered out, the match restarts as a normal 2 on 2 tag contest. Hall slaps Sting’s face, prompting an aggressive retaliation. Savage tags, but gets caught in the jaw by Nash’s boot. Savage dodges an elbow drop, but Nash is ready for Sting and knocks him down. Sting’s sunset flip fail and he eats a double choke slam. Hall tags and plants Sting with a fall away slam for 2. Hall whips Sting into a big boot from Nash. Sting drop-kicks Nash’s knee but Hall prevents a tag. The Outsiders wear Sting down with abdominal stretches and cheat whenever possible. Sting manages to force a hot tag to Savage, who cleans house on the Outsiders. Nash ends Savage’s hot streak with a low blow. At this point Hulk Hogan marches to the ring to make the apparent save. Hall and Nash back off, but Hogan TURNS HEEL by dropping the leg on Macho Man! HOGAN IS THE THIRD MAN! Hogan joins Nash and Hall in beating up Savage and pinning him at 17:44. The match was below-average for a pay-per-view main event, but the finish is something of legend, **½.
Winners: Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall
-The ring fills with garbage as Hogan, Nash, and Hall celebrate their victory. Mean Gene storms into the ring and demands to know what’s going on. Hogan says the fans have got to “shut up” if they want to hear from him. Hogan coins the name “New World Order” for their group, symbolizing the future of professional wrestling. Hulk complains that he made the WWF rich but he became bigger than that organization. He is only here because “Billionaire Ted” promised him riches and worthy matches. Instead, Hogan became bored, leaving him with no other choice than to take over the entire sport. Hogan says the “crap” in the ring represents the fans, because for the last two years they rejected him while he was doing charities playing hero, so they can all stick it. Hulkamania is dead, long live the n.W.o.!
Final Thoughts: Thank heavens for the cruiserweights and n.W.o. angle. They provided the action and drama to make this a worthwhile event. Bash at the Beach is dragged down by significant filler and a lack of compelling World title program, but is required viewing for anyone wanting to relive the late 90’s boom period. Thumbs up for the historical significance.
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