DVDs - VGames - Books RETROSPECTIVE OF THE COMMON FAN: Review of WCW's Great American Bash 1995 PPV
Jul 4, 2014 - 10:14:29 AM
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By Jimmy Eaton, PWTorch Common Fan specialist
Happy Independence Day to all our American readers out there and a very Happy Fourth of July to all of our other readers in various countries around the globe! It's been a while but I have a valid reason for the long absence, I assure you. I'm happy to announce that my wife and I are expecting our first kid in November. It's gonna be an awesome girl so any advice on how to make wrestling a good influence is greatly appreciated! Actually, I just thought of it. I'll show her the Attitude Era when she's about three. Great, never mind, no need for advice anymore. I'm sure nothing could go wrong with that.
Anyway, back to some nostalgia with the very first PPV I ever saw as a kid. My dad took me to my uncle's house where we, along with my cousins, watched this gem. All I remember is being (Spoiler Alert) REALLY upset with Ric Flair as a 9-year-old. Let the fireworks begin!
Great American Bash 1995
1 - ALEX WRIGHT vs. BRIAN PILLMAN
This was a really surprising opener. I don't remember Alex Wright being more than passable to good in the ring, but I did recall some fun matches. Lo and behold, this was one of them. Greatly helped by Pillman, the match has some excellent nearfalls and great selling on commentary by both Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan. Fun high-risk spots, too. The crowd was into the action for most of the match, especially with Brian being the hometown boy from Cincinnati. For the record, the show was taking place in Dayton, Ohio.
WINNER: Alex Wright just short of 16 minutes via pinfall. Really fun opener that set the tone early. Some nice, fluid sequences. (***)
2 - DAVE SULLIVAN vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE - "Arm Wrestling" Match
This was a pretty big dud. But, DDP did play his heel part crazy well, trying to put over the segment as best he could. The crowd seemed to be at least semi-interested yet I would imagine without the lovely "Diamond Doll" that probably would not have been the case. Dave played the coward as best he could too but it wasn't much else than a filler segment to make the good guy cheered and the bad guy booed. Welcome to Wrestling 101 folks. Dave scored the win after an accidental bump from Kimberly caused Page to loose his footing, and the arm wrestling match. I recall David having a bunny too in this angle, but I think it was prior to this PPV.
WINNER: Dave Sullivan. (N/A)
3 - "HACKSAW" JIM DUGGAN vs. CRAIG "PITBULL" PITTMAN
Not much to this match here, except to put over how much of a maniac Pittman is. Remember his super feud with "Cobra"? Well, I do! But not many other people do. That was to come later in the year. Regardless, Duggan did his usual fan-friendly offensive moves before Pittman got DQ'd when he didn't break his armbar submission finisher.
WINNER: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan via DQ in about 8 minutes. (*)
4- HARLEM HEAT vs. DICK SLATER & BUNKHOUSE BUCK
This was a match that was made just before the show went on the air after some words were exchanged between Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri on the pre-show. Not a bad match and I remember seeing these two teams more often then not as a kid. It was odd seeing two heel teams, but the crowd seemed to be into the action. Both managers were the main focus, though. I love how Bobby Heenan was (Spoilers) on commentary talking about their love for each other before that angle even started. Great foreshadowing there. And speaking of that, another spoiler is that they got married. Almost. Come on, it's a wrestling wedding. But that happened later on at the August Clash of the Champions. Can you tell yet that I've been really watching a lot of the WWE Network? Getting back on track, not a bad match for one just shy of ten minutes.
WINNER: Harlem Heat via pinfall in about 8 minutes. (**)
5- THE RENEGADE vs. ARN ANDERSON - TV Title match
Ah, the Renegade. WCW's attempt at the Ultimate Warrior. It was sad that Renegade died a few years after this, as unfortunately he'll most likely be remember for this Warrior knock-off. I've seen worse guys in the ring, but it just never clicked with me even as a kid. Jimmy Hart and the commentators tried their best to make him look good every chance they got, though. Arn Anderson was also fantastic in his match with his selling, trying to make The Renegade seem like a powerful, unstoppable potential champion. After a relatively short match (safe to say because of the very green Renegade), Arn Anderson was a victim of the top rope splash of doom.
WINNER: The Renegade to become the NEW TV Champion in about 9 minutes via pinfall. Huge kudos to Double A here making up for downsides of the very green Renegade. It managed to be passable between this and the superb commentary of "The Brain." (*3/4)
6- THE NASTY BOYS vs. THE BLUE BLOODS - WCW Tag Team Championship
Man, I remember my dad loving the Blue Bloods. "Lord" Steven Regal was amazing in this role and "Earl" Robert Eaton was great, too. Some fantastic old school wrestling with the fans loving the "Nasty" style of the Nasty Boys. By nasty, I mean pretty sloppy. But, The Blue Blood sold like champs. After some botched interference from the Harlem Heat, the Nasty Boys ended up getting the win, much to Sister Sherri's dismay.
WINNERS: The Nasty Boys via pinfall to RETAIN the championships. (**)
7 - STING vs. MENG - WCW United States Championship Tournament Finals
Well-fought match with Sting playing the underdog from the start. Meng was put over like a monster, including breaking out of the Scorpion Death Lock. I really want to start a petition to bring back surfer Sting. It's for my childhood.
WINNER: Sting via pinfall at about 13 minutes to become the NEW United States Champion. Really fun match, one that sticks out in my mind as a kid that made me a fan of Sting, who played the underdog role brilliantly. (**1/2)
8 - RIC FLAIR vs. "MACHO MAN" RANDY SAVAGE
The Macho Man was accompanied to the ring by his father, Angelo Poffo. They did a nice job explaining the back story to the match and even brought up why Savage, a good guy, cost Alex Wright, another good guy, his match in the U.S. Title Tournament. Flair came out to a good chunk of heat and after some stalling, the match pretty much turned into a brawl. Some fun sequences, a lot of back and forth with Flair using his heel tricks to get the occasional flurry of offense.
When Macho had the match won with the top-rope elbow, he was distracted just enough for Flair to steal Papa Slim Jim's cane and deck Savage with it. And seriously, he wailed him with it. Home run style. I'm shocked Savage wasn't knocked out. Maybe he was. It just looked painful and pretty darn real.
WINNER: Ric Flair via pinfall in about 15 minutes. Flair being Flair here, watching it back he played the role with his usual excellence, especially with Lanny Poffo at ringside. Well done and while I hated it as a kid, it was still a good story that seemingly was just a place holder until Hogan returned a month later at Bash at the Beach to take on Vader in a cage for the title. They hyped this a lot throughout the show. (**1/2)
OVERALL: This wasn't a bad show. In fact, I really enjoyed it as I took a trip down memory lane. It has a few really solid matches with only the occasional dud. The drama in the main event was great with Randy Savage playing the avenging son really well. The opener was a nice showcase of the younger talent WCW had at the time and the commentary throughout the show I thought was great with one of my favorite teams, Tony Schiavone and Bobby "The Brian" Heenan. "Mean Gene" Okerlund was great too in backstage interviews. This show should probably only garner a 7.0, but I'm giving it a bump for the sake of my childhood. (7.5/10) is my final score but remember kids, the points don't matter. I'll close by taking the mind of a dog every Fourth of July:
Be safe and thanks for reading!
Agree? Disagree? Have an nostalgic show you want me to review? Tweet/Post suggestions to me and keep the debate rolling on Twitter- @TheCommonFan
Jimmy occasionally writes a Retrospective/Perspectives of of the Common Fan column for the Pro Wrestling Torch on nostalgia/independent scenes and other happenings in the world of wrestling. He can be found on Sean Radican's Wrestling Community Audio page/show yapping about independent wrestling too from time to time. Speaking of which, be sure to "Like" the Radican's Wrestling Community Page! www.facebook.com/SeanRadicanRWC
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