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There were just three weeks between the end of the Great American Bash pay per view and Bash At The Beach. And you'd be forgiven for thinking that Nitro should be an all guns blazing television show. In reality things were actually quite flat... with the exception of a barn burning angle at the conclusion of the June 24th show, even the stuff involving Hall and Nash felt a little like it was treading water which, in a number of ways, it was.
Still the angle that concluded June 24th was fantastic. Hall and Nash charged the ring with baseball bats through the crowd and generally caused the level of havoc that the angle required. Their opponents, announced the week prior, were the facepaint-clad team of Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Sting. Also in the "draw" for that match were World Champion The Giant, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan (who WCW presumably figured we'd forget, why else would they play video packages for him on Nitro every couple of weeks?)
Much like how history will perceive the show, the rest of the build was fairly long existant. There were the continuation of a few feuds from as far back as Slamboree, including The Taskmaster and Chris Benoit, and even John Tenta vs Big Bubba. Anyway, on with the show.
Psicosis vs Rey Mysterio Jr
Christ – what a match. WCW parachuted in Mike Tenay to help out on commentary, who's great in this role. We've seen great Mysterio/Psicosis matches in ECW previously, but this was every bit as good aided by WCW's production values. There's probably too many unbelievable stunts to single many out, but a lovely springboard hurricanrana into pin by Mysterio and another one off the top rope taking Psicosis off the apron to the floor were big highlights. Psicosis sets for a Razor's edge off the second rope, Mysterio reverses it into a reverse-a-rana and picks up the win. Fantastic stuff.
Big Bubba (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs John Tenta in a “Sock of Silver Dollars” on pole match
On TV previously, Bubba had won a match after hitting Tenta with a sock filled with silver dollars, he laid in a few of those shots after the match too! That's what lead to this match, and it should be said this pole was a good 20ft long! Of course, neither Bubba nor Tenta were capable of getting up the pole, so after Bubba tied up Tenta in the ropes using tape, he sent Hart up the pole. Hart got up the pole, but in the mean time Tenta cut himself free and slammed Bubba. When Hart returned to the turnbuckle, Tenta took the sock and levelled Bubba with them to win the match. Just about enough going on to stop this match sucking.
"Diamond" Dallas Page vs "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in a Taped Fist match for the "Lord Of The Ring" Ring
About the level of match you'd expect these two to have. Some middle of the road action with Duggan getting his usual pro-USA reaction. The action spills to the outside, then Page low blows Duggan with the middle rope as he was getting back in the ring before hitting the Diamond Cutter for the win.
The Public Enemy ("Flyboy " Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) in a Double Dog Collar Match
Back when these two first brawled on pay per view at Superbrawl, I said they could just have this match forever and I wouldn't mind. Five months on I'm not sure I disagree with that assessment. Sure, there are criticisms over a lack of selling (of which there could be about the opener too), but these four guys just beat the piss out of each other for about ten minutes. They brawled up to the staging area that was covered in sand, before returning to the ring and twice failing to break a table (no mean feat given how heavy each of the four guys are. Eventually Grunge gets hung over the top rope, and the chain creates a clothesline that Rock gets sent into. That is enough for the Nasties to pick up the win (I can't recall a time they don’t win this match). Fun brawl.
Disco Inferno vs Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Title.
I'll be polite and call this an odd match on paper. Malenko, a guy who was clearly being shown as a guy with a lot of credibility but zero character, was being put up against Disco Inferno, a guy with a bit of a character and zero credibility. But I'll be damned if this wasn't a fun match. Malenko controlled it for the most part, but Disco hung on in there. The story they were telling was that Disco was trying to put away his antics in the hope of capturing gold. Twice he hit a big neckbreaker, both times delaying to celebrate/dance delaying the opportunity to get the pin. Eventually Malenko submits him in the Texas Cloverleaf – not bad this, at all.
Joe Gomez vs Steve “Mongo” McMichael (w/ Debra)
Nowhere near long enough to push DDP/Booty Man for the worst match of the year, but this was horrid. Mongo wins it with a tombstone. Ugh.
Konnan vs Ric Flair (w/ Woman and Miss Elizabeth) for the WCW United States Heavyweight Title
Flair's greatest hits, as much of his matches are these days. Konnan will only improve in front of the eyes of the audience with matches like this and, while it was by no means a run away success it was another decent Konnan match. Konnan dominates, Flair stays in control usually thanks to interference from one of the women outside. We end with a massively long distraction from Liz, which enables Woman to hit Konnan with her shoe. Flair goes for a pin, puts his foot on the top ropes and that'll do that.
Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson vs The Giant and The Taskmaster
The story going into this match, beyond the rivalry between Benoit and Taskmaster, was that if either Benoit or Arn could get a pin on The Giant then they would get a title shot against him the following night, they needn't have bothered. The match was pretty forgettable (Sullivan took of it for his team, and he's really past it). Eventually Taskmaster gets a tag to Giant, which gets a huge pop. Taskmaster and Benoit brawl up to the sand on the stage, Giant chokeslams Arn and picks him up for the three.
Afterwards Benoit's attack on Taskmaster continues, Woman comes out to try and stop him – Giant returns, sees Benoit and Woman leave together and carries Taskmaster to the back.
The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash – although not yet by name) and a mystery third partner vs Randy Savage, Lex Luger and Sting.
We start 3 vs 2, with the first two men in the ring being Luger and Hall (imagine how much of a throwaway match that would've been in the WWF a year prior!). Sting charges at Luger and Nash in the corner, hitting a Stinger splash that sends Luger to the outside and, apparently, spark out. That's the last we'll see of Luger tonight, it's 2 vs 2.
The action at this stage is good, but a bit of a mess from a storytelling perspective, particularly as it's one of those situations where everyone knows a finish can't happen until the third guy arrives. Sting plays the babyface in peril, vaults over Hall and finally gets a hot tag to Savage. With the ref distracted, Nash low blows him and out walks Hulk Hogan – his first appearance on WCW television since early April.
And, as you've all seen, Hogan walks into the ring as Hall and Nash scarper to the outside, before looking around and dropping the leg on Randy Savage – after fifteen years as the biggest babyface in the industry, Hulk Hogan finally turned heel. He does it again, then ushers Hall and Nash into the ring; they high five, Hogan drops the leg for the third time and Hall counts the pin. All that's left for Hogan to do now is cut the most important promo of his career.
Read More: Why Hulk Hogan Had No Choice But To Be The Third Man
The fans begin to pelt the ring with garbage, it's quite the site come the end of the show as there's so much of it. A fan tries to jump into the ring, Nash punches him to the ground then Hall throws some worked kicks (well, I suspect the kicks were legit but he was stamping with his other foot like they were worked).
Hogan tells Okerlund he needs to tell the fans to shut up if he wants to hear what he has to say. “The first thing you’ve got to realise, brother, is that this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the New World Order of wrestling, brother. These two men right here came from a great big organisation up North, and everybody was wondering who the third man was. Well, who knows more about that organisation than me, brother? I made that organisation a monster, I made people rich up there. And when it all came to pass, Hulk Hogan got bigger than the whole organisation, brother.”
Someone actually lobs a drink at Hogan. Hogan says “I’m bored. That’s why these two guys, these are the men I want as my friends. They’re the new blood of professional wrestling. We will destroy everything in our path, Mean Gene”. Hogan tells the fans to stick it, “if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn’t be here”. “What you gonna do when the New World Organisation runs wild on you?” The ring is covered in rubbish. Schiavone tells Hogan he can go “straight to hell” as the show goes off the air.
Score Rating: 8/10
Go Back And Watch: I think I enjoyed this card top to bottom a lot more than most. Above the barn burning opener there's some really watchable action in the middle, particularly the Nasties/Public Enemy and even Disco/Malenko. That being said, the last half an hour is must watch. It's an angle executed to near perfection.