Classic Wrestling Review: The Great American Bash ’91

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

The Great American Bash

July 14, 1991

Baltimore Arena

Baltimore, Maryland

Two weeks before this event, tensions finally came to a head between Ric Flair and Jim Herd. Neither man could agree on plans for the world title or Flair’s future. Herd finally had enough and fired Flair, but WCW never repaid the deposit that Flair had made on the Big Gold Belt. Therefore, Ric took the title with him. WCW had already planned a Cage Match between Flair and Lex Luger for the Great American Bash, so they had to scramble to fix this mess. They stripped Flair of the WCW title, but the NWA still recognized Flair as champion. It is because of this that the two titles are split and they never merged again before WCW completely cuts off ties to the NWA in 1993.

WCW then decided to insert Barry Windham into the WCW Title Cage Match. This would throw plans for the PPV into disarray because Windham was supposed to be in a six-person tag team Cage Match. They announced the change on television and the fans became both confused and angry. As you will see on this show, they were quite vocal about their displeasure. Wait, wrestling fans are being vocal and negative? I don’t believe it!

The show opens with a running camera shot through the fans outside the arena. The cameraman approaches the ticket window and asks for two tickets. He takes them without paying and enters the building. Did WCW just reveal that they’re giving away free tickets? I don’t think they thought through this opening very well.

Then, they show a shot of the arena and we see the scaffold is constructed around the ring. Yes, they are doing another scaffold match and you won’t believe who they roped into doing it.

Capture the Flag Scaffold Match: P.N. News & Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. Stunning Steve Austin & Terrance Taylor (w/ Lady Blossom)

Here he is! This is the PPV debut of one of the biggest stars in the history of wrestling, Steve Austin. At this point, he’s fresh out of WCCW in Dallas and the USWA. He is calling himself Stunning Steve because of the long blonde hair he had at the time. He’s accompanied by his wife, Lady Blossom. She’s the one who famously helped him come up with the Stone Cold moniker by telling him to drink his tea before it became stone cold. Austin had won the TV Title from Eaton not long after Eaton won it. That explains why Eaton and Austin are in this match, but I have no idea why they chose their respective partners. Why would you choose P.N. News of all people? Also, Austin isn’t a member of the York Foundation, so why choose Taylor?

Cappetta explains that you can win this match by either capturing your opponent’s flag or pushing them off the scaffold. Something tells me that we won’t see the latter. They added the flag stipulation because most of the participants weren’t comfortable taking the big bump. I would imagine only Eaton would have accepted those rules. News and Eaton enter first and thankfully News doesn’t rap. Cappetta introduces News as a rap master. I’m not a fan of rap, but even I know that’s ridiculous. Austin and Taylor enter next, while Jim Ross welcomes everyone to the show. Sadly, he’s joined by Tony Schiavone on commentary instead of Dusty. Then, they show a fan in the crowd who has a sign telling Lady Blossom his hotel room number. I have a feeling she didn’t take him up on the offer.

The competitors spend much of the first few minutes crawling around and being too scared to move. They reluctantly swipe at each other, while a fan yells, “Be careful!” Finally, Austin and Eaton go for a test of strength and Steve kicks him, but Eaton rams Austin’s head into the platform. Austin dangles on the edge, so he waves Taylor over for help. Taylor and News face-off and Terrance goes down, so News lays on him for a moment. All four men carefully switch places and start fighting on the ends of the scaffold where it’s safer. Austin tries to knock News off the platform and Taylor helps, so Eaton uses the opening to simply grab the flag. The bell lightly rings, despite Eaton not reaching his end of the platform, so Austin climbs down and grabs some hairspray from Blossom. He then returns and sprays Eaton and News in the eyes, while Cappetta announces Eaton & News as the winners.

This was awful. I don’t know why this feud warranted a scaffold match. If they weren’t going to do the big bump, then why do the match? Everyone was too scared to do anything and the ending was botched. This is not a good sign for the rest of the night.

Winners: Eaton & News (6:19)

After the match, the competitors climb down and Taylor stumbles into the ring. Austin & Taylor start to leave, but they decide to attack instead. News hip tosses Austin, so he and Taylor give up the attack and leave.

Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone then properly welcome everyone to the show. They talk about the controversy surrounding the WCW Title and Ross says that Flair is no longer champion. Tony claims that Flair turned down WCW’s most recent offer, so there will be a new champion crowned tonight. It sounds like they’re subtly trying to paint Flair as the bad guy in this situation.

Next, they go to a newcomer, Eric Bischoff. He’s with Paul E. Dangerously and Arn Anderson. Eric briefly talks about how the Baltimore Orioles recently pitched a no-hitter, but he says it pales in comparison to the excitement of tonight. I somehow doubt that. Eric then talks about the mixed tag team cage match and calls it a dangerous situation. I see what you did there Bischoff. Stop it! Paul E. quotes Arn Anderson by saying there’s always a bottom line. Backstage, Steve Austin jots that down in a notebook. Dangerously then tells Missy Hyatt that the bottom line is he’s already made a phone call and it’s not to one of the thespians she’s seeing behind Jason Hervey’s back. Wait, are Hervey and Missy really dating? What an odd pairing. Paul E. continues by saying his phone call guarantees that Missy is through in WCW. Then, he addresses Rick Steiner and says Rick could break him in half—if there was anybody else with him, but his partner is Arn Anderson. Arn speaks next and says that if Steiner had his way, he’d knock out Arn and have his way with Paul. (OH, MY!) Arn says that’s wrong and if you lock them up like criminals, they will commit a criminal act. He says it won’t be jaywalking or petty theft. It will be aggravated assault. He also says that the Steiners’ indestructibility went away when Scotty put his arm in a cast. He finishes by warning Missy that he will make a woman out of her if she sticks her head through the ropes. Both men’s promos were great. Arn stumbled slightly at the end, but the intensity and verbiage were still there. On a side note, this begins the pairing of Heyman and Anderson that will lead to much better things by year’s end.

Ross and Tony then talk about the rest of the card, while some smoke drifts into the frame. Is something on fire? I know this show is a hot mess, but I didn’t think it was literal.

The Diamond Studd (w/ Diamond Dallas Page) vs. Z-Man

DDP leads the Studd to the ring and Dallas is wearing a bedazzled fanny pack with his initials on it. It’s probably the most 90s thing I’ve seen in WCW. Tony talks about Studd’s finisher, the Diamond Death Drop. He calls it the DDD. Why didn’t he call it the 3D? Then, DDP selects a woman from the crowd to remove Studd’s entrance gear, but Dallas tells her not to stick her hands anywhere they shouldn’t be. He also tells her to reach in and give it a big ol’ tug, so he’s sending mixed signals. Next, Z-Man enters and he’s surrounded by women. I wonder how much they paid them to feign interest in this goof. Zenk gets halfway down the ramp when he decides to leap into the ring and hit both DDP and Studd with a double clothesline.

The match starts off hot, with the Studd sending Zenk to the floor and into the guardrail. The Studd then hits an axehandle off the apron and rolls Z-Man into the ring. Zenk keeps trying to fight back, but Studd chokes him and chops him in the corner. Zenk fires back with clotheslines and a cross body, but Studd cuts off the comeback and locks him in an abdominal stretch. He uses the ropes for leverage until Nick Patrick catches him. Zenk hip tosses the Studd, but he misses an elbow drop and the Studd chokeslams him. Zenk finally fights back with a crescent kick that sends the Studd to the floor. He returns the favor from earlier on the guardrail and sends Studd inside before Zenk hits a sloppy missile dropkick. DDP tries to distract him, so Zenk pulls Dallas into the ring and attempts to kick him over the ropes. DDP can’t quite make it, so he stumbles through them instead, but the Studd uses the opening to hit a bridging back suplex for the win.

The match started strong, but it didn’t take long to grind to a halt. These two did not have good chemistry and the match became slow and uninteresting. Scott Hall has a ways to go before he becomes the polished performer he is later in his career and Zenk—is Zenk.

Winner: The Diamond Studd (9:00)

Ross and Tony then talk about the upcoming match between Ron Simmons and Oz. Jim says they don’t know a lot about Oz, but they know about Simmons. Tony tries to reference the previous match by making a pun about Simmons being a stud, but Ross sandbags him. Ross talks about Oz having the Wizard in his corner, but Jim looks like he’s dying inside having to discuss this gimmick.

Ron Simmons vs. Oz (w/ The Wizard)

Oz still gets his elaborate entrance, with a castle backdrop and pyro, but they’ve ditched the monkey. I guess they got tired of cleaning up his little surprises. Ross does his best to talk about Oz’s agility and athleticism in an attempt to distract everyone from the gimmick. Is he talking about the same Kevin Nash? I don’t recall him being very agile. Simmons enters next and I’m sure he had something to say about being stuck in this match. If only he had a singular word to express his displeasure.

The two of them fight into the corner a couple of times for a clean break, while a fan yells at the ref to move. Unfortunately, Oz then grabs a very long headlock, while Tony talks about their powerful legs. Then, both men trade shoulder blocks until Simmons hits a drop toe hold. Oz awkwardly takes the bump and I can practically hear his quads screaming. Oz returns fire with forearms, while a fan yells, “BORING!” Ron ends up getting a boot up on a corner charge and takes Oz out of the ring with three straight clotheslines. Oz returns and demands a test of strength that Ron reluctantly takes. Oz kicks him to get an advantage, but Simmons responds with a back drop. However, Ron misses a dropkick and Oz wears him down with weak forearms and kicks before hitting a side slam. He even throws him outside and distracts the ref so the Wizard can kick Simmons. Ron tries a sunset flip back inside, but it’s blocked. Then, Oz tries a bear hug, but he quickly changes his mind and tries a clothesline. Ron ducks and hits a dropkick before hitting a couple of running tackles. He then decks the Wizard and hits a running shoulder tackle for the win.

I agree with that fan. This was boring. Nash is still quite green and they sadly wrestled at his pace. Jim Cornette may hate on Nash for his limited moveset, but Nash definitely used to be worse. I felt bad for Simmons. This isn’t a good way to begin his solo run.

Winner: Ron Simmons (7:55)

Next, Ross and Tony talk about the match between Richard Morton and Robert Gibson. Ross says they were like brothers and Tony says they know each other well enough to predict each other’s moves. Then, Tony gives us the current WCW Top Ten.

10. Johnny B. Badd

9. Ron Simmons

8. The Diamond Studd

7. El Gigante

6. Arn Anderson

5. Beautiful Bobby Eaton

4. Stunning Steve Austin

3. Sting

2. Barry Windham

1. Lex Luger

I’m guessing that Steve Austin will drop a couple of spots after that earlier match.

Richard Morton (w/ Alexandra York) vs. Robert Gibson

The Rock n Roll Express have exploded! Robert Gibson returned from injury only to find that the York Foundation was recruiting Morton. At Clash of the Champions, Gibson tried to talk Morton out of joining, but Ricky punched his long-time friend and gave him a piledriver. Ricky joined the group and changed his name to the more sophisticated, Richard Morton.

Gibson enters first to a surprisingly weak reaction. I don’t think fans truly wanted to see this tag team breakup. They aren’t sure what to make of it. Morton enters next with Alexandra York. He might have changed his name, but he still dresses the same and has the same hair. I know he’d never do it, but he should have cut his hair for this role. Cutting his mullet would have been the most heelish act of all! Morton takes off his jacket and tosses it behind him, but it hits York and she seems annoyed.

Gibson attacks Morton on the ramp and they brawl into the ring. They trade punches in and out of the ring and Morton tries to scurry to the ramp, but Gibson slingshots him back inside. Gibson catches Morton on a reversal and slams him, so Richard regroups with Alexandra for more data. Richard returns and asks for a handshake, but Gibson is having none of it. Morton finally takes control when he pulls Gibson into the corner and then rams his leg into the post. Robert curses loudly before Morton continues the attack on the leg. He rips open Gibson’s tights to get at the knee-brace and locks Gibson in leg holds. Gibson tries to fight back with a sunset flip, but it doesn’t work. Then, Morton locks Robert in a Figure Four. He holds it for a while until Gibson finally turns the move. Richard makes the ropes, but Gibson is slow to release the hold. However, Morton is up first and continues the attack on the leg. Gibson desperately fights back with punches and even biting, but the attack continues until Gibson finally hits a DDT. He follows with a back drop, but his knee buckles. Eventually, Gibson slams Morton when he goes to the top and they fight to the ramp. They attempt dropkicks at the same time and miss, so Alexandra distracts the ref. Morton uses the opening to grab the computer and smash it over Gibson’s back before covering him for the 3.

I liked the storytelling and psychology of the match, but it kind of dragged. I expected something more exciting from these two. I understand what they were going for, but it wasn’t thrilling. Also, the finish was kind of flat.

Winner: Richard Morton (17:03)

Eric Bischoff is with the Young Pistols and Dustin Rhodes. Eric says they’re moments away from these men facing the Freebirds & Badstreet. Tracy says they’re three thoroughbred racehorses right here, but he pronounces here as, “Hee-yah.” He also says they’re not coming for a wrestling match. They’re coming for a fight. Steve then explains how an elimination match works before saying, “Look out Fat Daddy Stink because you’re the only one left!” Dustin then speaks and he’s trying way too hard to sound like his dad. He calls this the greatest night of his career and says they’re going to show the Freebirds what six-man elimination action is all about.

Elimination Match: Dustin Rhodes & The Young Pistols vs. The Fabulous Freebirds & Badstreet (w/ Big Daddy Dink)

After Fantasia helped the Freebirds win the tag titles, WCW became worried about Disney suing them over the name. They quickly changed Fantasia’s name to Badstreet. He has ditched the feathers, but he still has a black mask. Oddly enough, they never acknowledge that Badstreet is Brad Armstrong. The two of them are treated as separate characters.

The Freebirds and Badstreet enter first and Big Daddy Dink steals Z-Man’s gimmick of inviting the cameraman to follow them down the ramp. They’re announced as both the tag champs and the six-man tag champs. Geez, why don’t they give the Freebirds all the belts? There is also a funny moment when Cappetta introduces Badstreet in an annoyed sounding voice. It seems that Gary doesn’t like the gimmick. Dustin & The Pistols enter next and there’s a cool crane camera shot of them. I will say one thing about this PPV. The production values have improved. Before the match, Garvin looks into the camera and says it’s not their fault. He’s stealing Snitsky’s gimmick!

Dustin and Hayes start the match and both of them take turns strutting around the ring. Dustin’s team quickly gets the advantage on the Freebirds, so they regroup on the outside. The Freebirds try some double teaming, but the Pistols soon take them out with stereo flying shoulder blocks off the top. Hayes tags Garvin, who demands Tracy and gets him. However, the Freebirds take a moment to pose for the fans. The Pistols maintain control until Badstreet low bridges Tracy and Dink attacks him on the floor. They keep sending Tracy out of the ring and Garvin sarcastically apologizes for it. Hayes keeps cutting off Tracy’s comebacks with hard left hands to the face and illegal swapping with Badstreet. This continues until Hayes goes for a DDT and gets back dropped. Steve tags in and dropkicks the Freebirds. The Pistols hit a double shoulder block on Badstreet and go to unmask him, but Hayes stops it and he and Badstreet hit a double DDT to eliminate Steve. (Elimination: Steve) However, the ref sees Hayes back drop Tracy over the ropes and disqualifies him. (Elimination: Hayes) Hayes is furious, but he leaves. Garvin enters the match and Tracy fights back to tag Dustin, but the ref misses it. Badstreet and Garvin then hit Tracy with another double DDT and eliminate him. (Elimination: Tracy) Garvin makes the mistake of celebrating, so Dustin hits a running clothesline to eliminate Jimmy. (Elimination: Garvin) Badstreet jumps Dustin and hits him with a flying axehandle and elbow drop for 2 before they trade punches. Badstreet attempts another axehandle, but Dustin punches him and hits another running clothesline. Dink distracts the ref, so Dustin only gets 2. Dink then tries to enter the ring, so Dustin hits Badstreet with a running bulldog and kicks Dink in the process. Then, he covers for the win. (Final Elimination: Badstreet)

This was a pretty good match. It had some fun spots. It was a little odd that all the eliminations were done rapidly at the end. I think they could have spread them out better, but it was still not too bad of a match.

Winners: Dustin & The Pistols (17:10)

Ross and Tony talk about the remaining matches and they discuss the upcoming match between Johnny B. Badd and the Yellow Dog. Ross says that both men have complex personalities. That’s one way of putting it.

Bounty Match: The Yellow Dog vs. Johnny B. Badd (w/ Teddy Long)

Brian Pillman’s feud with Barry Windham escalated to a Loser Leaves WCW Match that Pillman lost. In the tradition of Mr. America, Charlie Brown, and The Midnight Rider, Pillman returned under a mask and called himself The Yellow Dog. A bounty was placed for anyone who could successfully unmask Pillman and prove it was him. If Pillman were to be unmasked, he would have to leave WCW. So, Johnny B. Badd is here to try and collect that bounty.

The Yellow Dog enters first with an actual dog in tow. He’s even billed as being from the Kennel Club. I have to give Pillman credit for going all-in on this gimmick. Johnny B. Badd comes out next. No, not in that way! He poses on the stage, but they play the wrong music so he stands there frozen until they correct it. Ross then mocks Badd, but he tells the viewers not to judge the package by its wrapping. He even sings the praises of Badd’s boxing background, while the cameraman catches a glimpse of Vlad the superfan in the crowd. Then, the screen goes black. The WWE Network claims there are technical difficulties, but this is where they edit out the part where Pillman yells that Badd is gay and leads the crowd in an unfortunate chant.

The two men lock-up and soon trade slaps before Badd hits a hip toss and slam. The Dog answers with his own hip toss and some chops, so Badd bails outside and hugs Teddy. When Badd returns, the Dog leaps into a crucifix position and turns it into a sunset flip, but Badd then blocks an O’Connor Roll and sends the Dog to the apron. The Dog returns and dropkicks Badd outside, but Dog makes the mistake of going after Long and gets clotheslined. They return to the ring and Dog misses a springboard cross body, so Badd answers with a flying sunset flip for 2. Badd then attempts to remove the mask, but Dog hits a jawbreaker. Badd responds with a high-knee, but Dog hits a German suplex and follows it with a spinning wheel kick and flying cross body. Teddy Long finally has enough and chokes the Dog, so referee Nick Patrick calls for the bell.

This was decent, but it was kind of slow. They had to wrestle at Badd’s pace instead of Pillman’s and it hurt the match. Johnny was still green at this point. It also didn’t help that the match had a lame finish.

Winner: The Yellow Dog (by DQ) (6:00)

After the match, Yellow Dog fights off Teddy Long, but Badd punches Dog out of the ring. Pillman tries to go after them, but Badd and Long bail out of the ring and leave.

Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff is backstage. The tables have turned because now he’s being asked to enter Missy Hyatt’s locker room and interview her. Missy’s attendant enters first and reads Missy a love letter from Jason Hervey. Eric enters the room and the attendant doesn’t seem too bothered that he’s there. Bischoff hears Missy in the shower and says to himself that he loves his job. He opens the door and sees Missy grabbing a towel, so he announces his presence. Missy freaks out and yells at him to leave before throwing stuff at him. Eric claims he has bad timing as he leaves the room. Then, they cut to Ross and Tony, who laugh at him. Ross also mocks the fact that Missy is taking a shower before her match instead of after it.

Lumberjack Match: Big Josh vs. Black Blood

This next match is a Lumberjack Match, which is fitting for Big Josh. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to make it Josh’s signature match. For those who don’t know, a Lumberjack Match means wrestlers surround the ring. Their job is to make sure the action remains in the ring, by rolling the wrestlers back inside when they land on the floor. These matches almost always devolve into a big melee. The lumberjacks for this match are The Hardliners (Dick Slater & Dick Murdoch), Bobby Eaton, P.N. News, Dustin Rhodes, Black Bart, and the Junkyard Dog.

Josh enters first and there’s something different about his bears. I can’t quite figure out—oh, they’re women. Well, that’s different. I guess WCW decided having live bears was a bad idea. I’m sure Josh didn’t complain about having women instead. Tony jokes that they feed the girls well in the north woods and Ross says they’re quite healthy. Black Blood enters next. He’s dressed like an executioner and carries a comically large axe. He’s the newest member of Kevin Sullivan’s stable. Sullivan is listed in the graphic as accompanying Blood, but he’s clearly not there. The man under the Black Blood mask is Billy Jack Haynes, who isn’t quite as jacked as he used to be.

Blood jumps Josh and they fight into the corner before Blood throws Josh to the floor. The heel lumberjacks immediately attack him, but Josh fights his way back into the ring. Blood throws him outside again, but the babyface lumberjacks gently help him back into the ring. Josh returns and hits a hip toss, dropkick, and a double throat chop that sends Blood outside, where the heels let him rest. When Blood returns, Josh sends him to the mat and does the Log Roll on his belly. Josh sends him to the floor again and the faces roll him inside, but when Blood sends Josh to the floor, the faces let him rest. A brawl nearly breaks out among the lumberjacks over this, but they remain calm. Blood suplexes Josh back inside, but the calm breaks and the lumberjacks brawl. Meanwhile, Blood hits a facebuster, knee-drop, and a leg drop, but Josh raises his boot on another attempt. The two men then trade chops and Josh boots Blood in the face on a charge, but another brawl erupts outside. Blood hits a German suplex, but the ref is distracted by the brawl, so Blood grabs his axe. He tries to hit Josh, which I’m pretty sure is attempted murder. Dustin Rhodes spots him and whacks Blood in the leg with Josh’s axehandle, so Josh rolls up Blood for the win.

This was a slow match. The lumberjacks were more interesting than what was happening in the ring and that’s never a good thing. I know it’s been a while since we’ve seen Billy Jack, but he was good last time I saw him. What happened? Is it the gimmick that’s limiting him or just time and injuries?

Winner: Big Josh (5:39)

Ross and Tony then talk about the next match between El Gigante and One Man Gang. Ross claims that Gigante has improved both his English and his wrestling skills. I somehow doubt the latter.

Kevin Sullivan leads One Man Gang to the ring by a chain, as Cappetta announces this as a “Come as you are battle of the giants.” Eric Bischoff then stops them for a word and asks what they’re trying to prove. Sullivan says that he and Gang climbed the plateau of fear, swam through the river of the dead, and went to a temple to speak with the lady with a third eye. He then rambles about banshees building death wagons, which are waiting for El Gigante. What is he blathering about!? This was weird.

El Gigante vs. One Man Gang (w/ Kevin Sullivan)

Gang and Gigante have been feuding since Superbrawl and things have escalated to the point that Sullivan and Gang shaved Gigante’s head. To be fair, Gigante needed a haircut. The mullet he had was awful. Now, these two will face each other and I do not have high hopes for this match.

Gigante makes his entrance and he’s accompanied by some dwarves. They have their faces painted like Kevin Sullivan and One Man Gang and one of them is riding on Gigante’s shoulder. Ross jokes that one of them might have a third eye. They enter the ring and the dwarves chase Gang and Sullivan around, while Kevin tries kicking at them. Ross then quips that Gang looks like Gulliver.

The two men brawl and Gang attempts to leave, but Gigante throws him back inside and hits him with forearms. Gang attempts some shoulder blocks, but he bounces off of Gigante, who then shoulders Gang into the corner. However, Gigante misses a charge and Gang hits a jumping clothesline off the turnbuckles. Sullivan then hands Gang a wrench, which he uses. Sullivan tries to use it too, but Gigante forgets the spot and ignores him. Gang uses it again on Gigante’s knee before throwing it to the floor. The cameraman gets a shot of it, so Sullivan tells him to go away. Gang starts attacking the knee and then has to push him into position for a splash, but Gigante powers out of the pin. Gang answers by snapping Gigante’s head on the ropes and climbing to the top rope. Sadly, he has to yell, “Come on,” at Gigante because he’s out of position, so Gigante wanders over and slams Gang into the ring. He then hits a surprising suplex, but Sullivan climbs onto the turnbuckles. Gigante attacks him and locks him in the Iron Claw, but Gang breaks it. Sullivan then hands Gang some powder, but Gigante kicks it into Gang’s face and hits a clothesline for the win.

This match was slow and awful. Who thought it was a good idea to pair these two against each other? I don’t know what Ross was talking about. It appears that Gigante has gotten worse at wrestling.

Winner: El Gigante (6:13)

Ross and Tony then talk about the Russian Chain Match between Sting and Nikita Koloff. Tony says it will be a brawl, which favors Koloff. Ross brings up the backstage altercation from Superbrawl, which apparently gives Tony flashbacks.

Then, they show a recap video for the Sting/Koloff feud. They show clips from Superbrawl, which include Koloff’s interference and the backstage fight. Next, they show Nikita attacking Sting on both WCW Pro and Clash of the Champions. At the Clash, Nikita followed up his attack by threatening a young Sting fan. The kid’s mom jumped in front to protect her son.

Russian Chain Match: Nikita Koloff vs. Sting

This match is a Russian Chain Match, which is basically a strap match. It has the same rules of having to drag your opponent around and touching all four corners. There seem to be ten different variations of this match in wrestling and only a handful of different finishes that are ever used.

Koloff waits patiently on the stage until Cappetta introduces him. He still doesn’t have music. I guess they didn’t want to use the old Soviet national anthem. Sting then enters and both men get special graphics of their names on the screen. These were only used for the last couple of matches. The two men enter the ring and are attached at the wrist to a long chain.

They circle each other and briefly tug on the chain before getting in each other’s face. They shove each other and trade kicks, but Sting gets the advantage. He sends Koloff into the corner, so Nikita bails outside. Sting follows him and rams him repeatedly into the guardrail. They head back into the ring, but that doesn’t last long. Soon, they’re outside again and Sting chokes Nikita with the chain. He also whips him with it and sends him inside where Sting touches two corners before Nikita stops him. Then, Nikita returns the favor by sending Sting outside and into the guardrail, but Sting fires back and sends him into the post. When they return to the ring, Nikita gains the advantage and drops a few chained elbows. He eventually misses one and Sting pulls the chain up into Koloff’s crotch. Then, they start trading eye-rakes before Koloff touches three corners with his head, but Sting stops his momentum. Koloff answers with a bear hug, but both men start fighting into the corners. They touch three corners and Randy Anderson says it counts for both men. Sting manages to hit a hotshot, but Koloff fires back with a Russian Sickle. Sting holds Nikita back and recovers before attempting to leap over him to hit the final corner. However, Koloff touches it first and gets the win.

This was a good intense brawl and I surprisingly liked it. I don’t usually like these types of matches, but this one had a decent finish and some good action.

Winner: Nikita Koloff (11:38)

The fight continues after the bell. Sting hits an atomic drop on Nikita and then pulls the chain into his crotch again. Sting then frees himself from the chain and leaves. I guess he had to get back his heat.

Next, while they prepare the cage, Ross introduces a video package for the main event. The narrator says there will be a new WCW champion crowned. They show the Big Gold Belt, so I guess WCW had hoped to get it back before this event. That didn’t happen. Then, they talk about Luger’s physique and power moves, while showing clips of Luger winning matches. They also talk about Windham’s talent and dangerous moves, while showing clips of Barry. The narrator tries to call this the mother of all wrestling wars. I will give WCW credit for trying to make this match sound epic, but it doesn’t work.

They go back to the arena and we see the cage lowering, but it looks like they’re having trouble. The cage looks like it’s about to fall, or at least come apart. It’s quite symbolic for this event. Even Ross says it’s fitting, but I don’t think he meant it that way. Tony then tries to talk about the match, but the fans chant, “We want Flair!” Ross talks about Windham and mentions that the Four Horsemen are no more. Then, Tony talks about how Windham hasn’t had a title shot since 1987. Ross and Tony go back and forth over who will win. Tony is insistent that Windham will win, which kind of telegraphs the ending. These two are doing their darnedest to put over this match. Bless their hearts.

Cage Match for the vacant WCW Title: Lex Luger vs. Barry Windham

Windham enters first and the graphic misspells his name as, “Windam.” Poor WCW can’t do anything right on this show. To make matters worse, they show a close-up of the temporary WCW Title Belt. They commissioned a new one, but it wasn’t ready yet.

Look at that thing! It’s hideous! Why would they get a close-up of it? It’s one of Dusty Rhodes’ old Florida belts, with some new name-plates plastered over the old logos.

Luger enters next. He’s still the U.S. Champ, but his belt isn’t on the line. He gets a graphic of his name too, but it is spelled correctly. He reaches the ring and his music ends, which is the cue for the fans to start chanting, “We want Flair.”

They circle each other and then trade ineffective shoulder blocks before blocking each other’s suplexes. Windham tries a test of strength, but Luger slaps away his hand and goes back to the shoulder block. Then, they trade slams and Luger misses an elbow before they also trade punches. The fans chant, “We want Flair,” again. You can see the look of sadness on both men’s faces. They fight back and forth and Luger blocks a Figure Four attempt. He then hits an atomic drop and locks Windham in a sleeper. Barry breaks free and grabs his own sleeper, but Luger sends him into the corner. Lex follows it up with a DDT and goes to the top rope, but Windham slams him because someone has to do that spot. I think they’re risking more Flair chants. Windham also goes to the top, but he simply misses an elbow drop. Luger follows up with some clotheslines and a powerslam before signaling for the rack. He gets Barry up, but Windham pushes off the cage wall and hits a back suplex on Luger. He recovers and tries to hit Windham with a superplex, but it’s blocked and Barry hits a flying clothesline. Barry continues the attack with a back drop, clothesline, and a one-legged missile dropkick, but none of them get more than a 2 count. Then, Harley Race and Mr. Hughes arrive at ringside to everyone’s confusion. Hughes distracts Windham, while Race tells Luger, “Now’s the time!” Race motions for Luger to use the piledriver, so Lex obeys and gets the win!

This match was slow but decent. However, the cage barely factored into what they did. They had a regular match that happened to take place inside a cage. The stipulation seemed wasted. On a side note, Lex Luger has finally reached the top, but it’s too little, too late. They should have given him a run earlier. Now, his win is surrounded by drama and he’s apparently turned heel.

Winner: Lex Luger (New Champion) (12:25)

Harley and Hughes enter the ring and Race raises Luger’s hand. Hughes stands watch, in case Windham tries to attack, but Barry lays there and stares in confusion. Jim Ross says he can’t explain why Harley Race and Hughes were there. He also speculates on whether Hughes left the York Foundation.

Mixed Tag Team Cage Match: Missy Hyatt & Rick Steiner vs. Arn Anderson & Paul E. Dangerously

There is still one match left. I’m guessing they put this last so the fans wouldn’t leave with the sour taste of no Ric Flair. The storyline behind this match is that Paul E.’s frustrations led him to start mistreating Missy Hyatt. She finally had enough and enlisted the Steiner Brothers’ help. Dangerously answered by naming Anderson and Windham as his partners. This was originally supposed to be a six-person tag, but Windham was moved to the main event and Scott Steiner suffered a legit arm injury.

Paul E. and Anderson enter first and Cappetta introduces Dangerously as the Psycho yuppie from New York. Ross talks about how they don’t have much time left on the broadcast, which means this will probably be short. Missy and Rick enter next and we see that Missy has dyed her hair dark. I guess she’s trying to look serious for this match. They reach the ring, but a couple of dicks arrive and grab Missy. What!? I wasn’t being crass. Dick Slater and Dick Murdoch (The Hardliners) grabbed Missy. They throw her over their shoulders and head to the back with her, so Rick is left alone with Anderson and Dangerously. Paul E. tells Steiner to wave goodbye, so Rick threatens Paul E., who screams loudly.

Rick and Arn start the match. Anderson tries to ram Rick into the cage, but he blocks it. He then shoulder blocks Anderson and hits a powerslam before threatening Paul again. Arn takes advantage of the distraction and knees Rick in the back, but Steiner reverses a whip and grabs a bear hug. Paul E. grabs his phone and jumps off the top to break the hold. Dangerously then holds Rick for Anderson to hit, but Steiner breaks free and nails Arn with a Steinerline. Then, Rick turns his attack on Paul E. and slams him before hitting Dangerously with a Steinerline for the quick win.

This was short and largely pointless. The reason Missy was removed from the fight was that WCW learned shortly before this show that the Maryland Athletic Commission doesn’t allow inter-gender matches. Oh, WCW. You just can’t catch a break with this show!

Winners: Rick Steiner & Missy Hyatt (2:08)

Ross and Tony recap the night and Ross speculates about Luger’s relationship with Race and Hughes. Tony then says that WCW made a statement with this night. They did, but it wasn’t a good one. Then, Ross plugs Halloween Havoc before saying goodnight.

The Good:

– The Chain Match and the Elimination Match weren’t bad.

– Some of the production values have improved.

The Bad:

– Pretty much everything else.

– There were a lot of bad matches.

– This show was a mess.

Performer of the Night:

I think it’s a tie between Sting and Nikita Koloff. They were motivated to have a good match, despite all the drama in the air of this show. Almost everyone else seemed deflated by the vocal crowd and poor quality of this event.

Final Thoughts:

This show was bad. It’s disappointing because Superbrawl was good. Flair leaving deflated this company for a bit and it would take a few shows before they found their footing again. Some people consider this the worst PPV ever. I wouldn’t go that far. There are far worse, but it is still pretty awful.

Thank you for reading. Be sure to follow the Facebook page here and the Twitter page here. I post regular updates, goodies, and reader challenges on the Facebook page, so I hope to see you there. I look forward to your feedback.

My next review will be SummerSlam ‘91.

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
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