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THE SPECIALISTS
Nostalgia Review: GAB 1988: Flair vs. Luger; Windham vs. Dusty Rhodes; Sting/Koloff vs. Anderson/Blanchard

Jul 8, 2008 - 6:05:34 AM
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By: Brian Hoops, Nostalgia Specialist

This week's look at nostalgia takes us back 20 years to the NWA promoted Great American Bash PPV. The PPV was held in Balitmore, Maryland on July 10, 1988 in front of 14,000 fans. The NWA had run successful Great American Bash tours in 1985, 1986 and 1987, however this was the first Great American Bash PPV. The show drew a buy rate of 2.2; while this appears to be an excellent number, the WWF summer time PPV, SummerSlam drew a 4.5.

The announce team is Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone

1. The dark match saw Rick Steiner and Dick Murdoch team to defeat Tim Horner and Kendall Windham.

2. Sting and Nikita Koloff wrestled Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard to a time limit draw in a match for the NWA World Tag Team title. This match started hot and then settled into a theme of Sting and Koloff maintaining the offensive advantage with Blanchard and Anderson making the match with the awesome bump taking ability. Sting had Blanchard in the Scorpion Death lock when the bell rang as the time limit expired. A very good match.

3. The Midnight Express of Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane, accompanied by Jim Cornette defeated the U.S. Tag Team Champions; the Fantastics of Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers in 16:23 to win the titles. This was a great match that saw Eaton hit Fulton with a chain and cover him for the pinfall.

4. In a Tower of Doom match; the Road Warriors, Steve Williams, Jimmy Garvin and Ron Garvin defeated Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda, Al Perez, The Russian Assassian and Ivan Koloff in 19:55. The Tower of Doom was a double high steel cage. The teams had to enter from the top of the cage and work their way down the cage and finally out of the cage. The first team to leave the cage completely was the winner. Precious held the key to the lock on the cage door. Final two competitors after everyone else had left the cage were Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan. Garvin made it through the door to give his team the victory, however Sullivan then was in the cage with Precious and the door was locked. Garvin and Road Warrior Hawk climbed to the top of the cage and climbed down to rescue Precious.

5. Sting defeated Mike Rutondo by disqualification in a match for the NWA World TV Title. Mike Rotundo was the champion after winning the title from Nikita Koloff in January of 1988. The match was decent with solid action from both guys, however the finish was lame as Rick Steiner ran in to cause the DQ win for Sting as Sting had Rotundo in the Scorpion Death Lock.

6. In a match for the NWA U.S. Heavyweight Title, Barry Windham defeated Dusty Rhodes to retain the title in 15:55 after Windham pinned Rhodes. Rhodes won the championship at StarrCade 1987 and held it until May, 1988 when he was stripped of the title. Windham won a 7 man tournament by defeating Nikita Koloff to capture the U.S. title. This was Barry Winham's only U.S. Heavyweight Championship. Windham and Rhodes worked well together and were having a solid match, until Windham put a clawhold on Dusty for over 5 minutes and it seemed as if time stood still. A ref bump allowed Ron Garvin to run into the ring and knock Dusty out, then Windham applied the claw hold again and pinned Dusty's shoulders to the mat.

7. Main event of the evening saw NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Ric Flair defeated Lex Luger in 23:55. Flair came into the match as the 6 time NWA champion, having last won the belt at StarrCade 1987. Luger had never won the world's title and was being pushed as Flair's biggest challenge for the title. Flair was really, really good in his role of being the great champion, while at the same time bumping for Luger's power moves and making Luger look good. The match was great right up till the end. Flair and Luger both went to the floor and both Flair and JJ Dillion posted Luger. Luger had a small cut and only a small amount of blood, however the ref stopped the match due to excessive blood loss and awarded the match to Flair. Luger had Flair in the Torture Rack when the ref stopped the match, making fans believe that Flair submitted and Luger was the new champion. It was another Dusty finish that tried to swerve fans and ended up with fans turning on the product instead.

Summary: There was nothing outstanding or memorable on the show other than it was the first ever GAB that was broadcast on PPV. Several of the matches were good, however the booking in the final two matches really derailed any positive momentum the PPV had going.

I hope you enjoyed this week's look at wrestling nostalgia. Please email at bhoops@iw.net if you have any questions or comments and visit http://www.midwestmarketsolutions.com/blog.php?author=1 to view my blog site.



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