It’s time for the Great American Bash, a show which was moved under the radar from Philadelphia to Albany in Georgia just a month or so beforehand. In something I find extremely stupid and ridiculous, much like a lot of Bill Watts time in charge of WCW, they decided to do two title changes at the Omni before this card, only showing the finishes of those matches on television. In one, they had Brad Armstrong beat Scotty Flamingo for the light heavyweight title. No big deal. In a much bigger deal, Steve Williams and Terry Gordy beat the Steiners for the WCW tag titles. Way bigger deal. It’s a joke, really. They hyped those Omni cards so hard and local fans didn’t give a shit. Of course, this Bash show would also be hurt by WCW running PPV’s every month. WCW actually had to give away cheap and free tickets to the event. So, let’s check it out.
– July 12th, 1992, from the Civic Center in Albany, Georgia
After the excellent video to start the show, Tony Schiavone leads us into the event. He’s with Magnum TA in a hosting role, and called this one of the biggest events ever. You don’t say. They also showed us the Clash 19 main event, where Doc and Gordy beat the Steiners. Schiavone then announced that Akira Nogami would be replaced with Shinya Hashimoto. Makes for a potentially better match, I suppose. Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura are the commentators, and Eric Bischoff is with Bill Watts in the locker room. This is a bit of overkill, they should have been on to the matches by now.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament Quarterfinals: Ricky Steamboat and Nikita Koloff vs. Brian Pillman and Jushin Liger
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a hell of a way to start the show. That being said, it’s nothing short of insanity to have a tag team tournament on PPV with only one singles match. The buyrate for GAB ’92 reflected this. The chapter markers spoil the event, just in case you’re watching this after reading the review. Bill Watts explained that NWA rules aren’t the same as WCW rules, so wrestlers can jump off the top rope. Whatever, I don’t care. They couldn’t have picked a better opener, but somebody’s going to have to work as the heels.
Match Review: Both teams shake hands, and Pillman will start with Nikita. Pillman tries to evade locking up, and when they finally do, Nikita picks Pillman up and throws him across the ring. Pillman tries the headlock again, but Nikita sends him into the ropes and runs him over. Pillman comes back with a drop toe-hold, then Nikita picks him up and puts him on the top rope. Pillman jumps off and dropkicks Nikita, but Nikita comes back with an inverted atomic drop. Nikita misses a charge to the corner, so Pillman rolls him up for 2. Liger tags in and comes off the top with a punch, then wrenches the arm for a while. They exchange tags for a while doing that, then Nikita throws Liger into the ropes, only for Liger to dropkick and shoulderblock him down. Pillman tags back in, but Nikita elbows him and brings in Steamboat. Steamboat dropkicks Pillman, brings Liger into the ring, and hits them with a noggin-knocker. Steamboat then throws Liger to the outside, and I think Liger was supposed to accidentally dropkick Pillman. But, he didn’t. Steamboat takes Pillman down for an armbar, then catches Pillman with an inverted atomic drop. An arm drag follows that, and down Pillman goes again. Pillman hits Steamboat with a clothesline to stop that mess, and tags in Liger for a double dropkick. Nikita tags in after that, and picks Liger up for a big bodyslam. A back elbow follows that, then Pillman comes in there. Steamboat does too, taking Pillman down with a headlock. Pillman gets up, backdrops Steamboat, and drops an elbow for 2. Pillman dropkicks Steamboat for another 2 count, then takes him down with his own headlock. Liger gets in there and gives Steamboat a backbreaker, then goes up top for a MOONSAULT that gets 2. The crowd reaction to this shows how dumb the top rope rule was. Liger picks Steamboat up and drops him with a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER for 2, then there’s a ROLLING SENTON for 2. Steamboat comes back with a back suplex, then tags in Nikita for a big boot to the gut and elbow drops that get 2. Nikita goes to a chinlock, which Liger fights out of only to get kneed in the gut. Steamboat tags in, gives Liger his own backbreaker, and follows with another. And another! Finally, he picks Liger up for a running powerslam that gets 2. Nikita tags in for a double elbow that gets 2, then it’s back to the chinlock. Liger gets up and tries to tag out, but Nikita stops that. Steamboat tags in, hits Liger with a fist from the top, and gets 2. Liger kicks Steamboat to stop a backdrop, and there’s the tag to Pillman.
Pillman backdrops Steamboat and dropkicks Nikita off the apron, then slams Steamboat for 2. Pillman applies a headlock, which is a bit of a surprise, but that’s how things go sometimes. Liger tags in again and heads up top, coming down with a dropkick. Liger hits Steamboat with a handspring forearm for 2, but Steamboat’s able to get out of there. Liger kicks Nikita a lot, but Nikita shoulders him down. Nikita follows that with a flying shoulder, and slams Liger again. Pillman comes in and dropkicks Nikita from behind, then tags in legally. Pillman hits Nikita with two dropkicks, which get 2. Pillman then goes for a cross body, and Liger dropkicks him on top, but the referee won’t count. Pillman nearly goes over the top, but he skins the cat to the apron and flies in with AIR PILLMAN. Pillman heads up top and nails Nikita with a MISSILE DROPKICK, kicks Steamboat out of the ring, and covers Nikita for 2! Crowd bought that. Nikita then eats a boot on a charge to the corner, and Pillman gives him a really sloppy botched sleeper from the second rope, with both men falling down. Pillman applies the hold now, but Nikita uses a jawbreaker to get out of it. Both guys make tags, and Liger hits Steamboat with an enzuigiri for 2. Liger follows that with a missed dropkick, and Steamboat gets 2. Steamboat goes for a hip toss, but Liger counters with a backslide for 2. Pillman makes a blind tag, comes in with a cross body, and gets 2. Pillman takes Steamboat down with a headlock again, and Steamboat bridges to a backslide…or not. Blown. The backslide goes on for 2, but the crowd noticed the mistake. Pillman drops Steamboat with a back suplex, then he heads up top. Steamboat backs into the ropes to crotch him, then Liger gets in and grabs him. All four wind up in the ring, Pillman gets up for a cross body from the top, and Steamboat reverses it for the victory at 19:25!
My Thoughts: These guys were shooting for a classic, and my review of this match exhibits that, but they just came short. There were a few badly blown spots and the referee sucked. Those were the most noticeable things. Despite the blown spots and the overall confusion in the match, it was still pretty good. The crowd was all over this match, and it had great heat. Of course, these matches do often present the problem of the teams never having worked together. I think that’s the case here with the blown spots. Otherwise, solid work, and a hall of a lot of fun. ***1/2. Everyone carried their share of the load, too. If the spots had come off, it would have been a classic.
Before the next match, the Steiner Brothers were interviewed. They weren’t used on the show at all other than this. That’s so dumb, and makes no sense. I don’t know if WCW even knew what they had in the Steiners, although Scott was starting to become a worse worker in part because of his musclebound build. They said that they weren’t done with Williams and Gordy, which was about all they could say.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament Quarterfinals: Hiroshi Hase and Shinya Hashimoto vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (WCW US Tag Team Champions)
Pre-Match Thoughts: The likelihood these teams will work well together is very slim. Being realistic, of course. It’s hard to know, but the Freebirds weren’t good workers at this time nor arguably any other, and their opponents were great workers. The obvious problem with this match is that unless the Japanese team worked an extremely heel style, it wouldn’t be easy for them to get heat. Working a heel style is un-Japanese.
Match Review: Hase and Hayes start, and Hayes goes straight into gimmick work. Haha. Well, Hayes is going to try to get the crowd into this. They lock up, and Hase goes to a wristlock. Hayes gets out of that, so Hase takes him down with a headlock. Hayes reverses to a head-scissors, and Hase gets out of that. Hase goes for a takedown, but Hayes rolls him over for 2. Garvin tags in, as does Hashimoto, and it may be time for some KICKING. Garvin applies a headlock, but Hashimoto uses a drop toe-hold to get out of it. Hashimoto uses the headlock now, then brings in Hase for an elbow from the top. Garvin trips Hase to break a wristlock, but Hase’s able to tag out. Hashimoto lands some hard kicks, then picks Garvin up and slams him for 2. Hayes tags in, tries to work on the arm, and hits it about 15 times to show the people that. Hashimoto spikes Hayes’ throat, then chokes him and chops him. He hits Hayes with a back elbow, then brings in Hase for a bodyslam. He lands a rolling senton for 2, then picks him up for a gutbuster. They trade chops for a bit, then Hashimoto tags in for more heavy kicks. Hashimoto hits Hayes with a spinning wheel kick for 2, then he signals for his finish, I guess. He drops Hayes with a fallaway slam and bridge for 2, then goes to the chinlock. Hase tags in for some double team kicks, which does get a little heat. Hayes throws Hase into his partner, but Hase comes back with a knee. Hayes replies with double left jabs, then Garvin gets in there for forearms. He slams both guys, then clotheslines them. All four guys are in there now, and the fans want to see the DDT. Instead, the referee kicks Hayes out of the ring, Hashimoto kicks Garvin in the face, and Hase follows with a NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX for the win at 9:16.
My Thoughts: I thought this was an awfully bad idea. Hase and Hashimoto weren’t over even slightly, and the crowd did not care at all. Not only that, but the Freebirds weren’t very good. I’m not sure that matters. In any case, having Hase and Hashimoto on this show could only be topped by them doing Chono vs. Muta at Starrcade. *, as the match wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound.
Now it’s time to talk about the NWA Championship Tournament. Bill Watts says it’ll be held in Tokyo, and a new champion will be crowned. They have the BIG GOLD BELT! They actually mentioned Ric Flair! Watts said that his name will no longer be on the belt. That was a surprise. Watts wanted them to unify this title with Sting’s title, judging by his comments. That didn’t happen.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament Quarterfinals: Rick Rude (WCW US Champion) and Steve Austin (WCW TV Champion, w/Madusa) vs. Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the only one of these tag matches that combines an ongoing issue with the tournament concept. It’s like…somebody actually took something into consideration when making this match. That’s hard to believe, is it not? A fan in the crowd had a sign telling Madusa what room he was in at the ever classy Holiday inn. What a guy! To say Rhodes and Windham were over like rover may be an understatement. Austin looks funny without knee pads.
Match Review: Windham and Austin begin the match, and Austin shoved Windham back into the corner. Windham comes back with an arm drag, then Austin gets after him with some punches and elbows. Austin goes for a backslide, which gets 2. Austin grabs the tights and rolls Windham up for 2, but Windham comes back with a big TAPED FIST RIGHT HAND. Hilarious how Jesse won’t stop complaining about that. It’s like he cares about what he’s watching. Novel. Windham takes Austin down with a headlock, but Austin reverses only for Windham to hit him with a slap. Dustin nails the guy with a BIONIC ELBOW, and Austin heads out to the aisle. Rude tags in for the first time, and so does Dustin Rhodes. Rude lands forearms, then misses a charge to the corner and Dustin clotheslines him. Dustin follows up with a back suplex, then arm drags Rude and holds onto the arm. Rude gets up and drives the shoulder into Dustin, then takes him down for a chinlock. Rude continues with some knees, then picks Dustin up for a TOMBSTONE only for Dustin to reverse it for 2! Those two love that spot. Dustin drops some elbows on Rude, but eats knees on a big splash. Austin tags in, drops some of those knees, and STOMPS A MUDHOLE in him. Austin clotheslines Dustin for 2, but Dustin knees him low and returns the favor with some LOADED BOOT KICKS. Dustin puts Austin back in the ring, then goes to an abdominal stretch. Austin reverses with a hip toss, but Dustin’s able to put it back on. Windham tags in and flies off the top with a clothesline, which gets 2. Austin replies with a backdrop, then tags in Rude. Rude drops Windham with a back suplex, then measures him up for an elbow smash that gets 2. Austin tags back in, puts Windham on the top rope, and goes up only for Windham to headbutt him back to the canvas. Windham uses a cross body for 2, with Madusa getting on the apron. Now Rude grabs Windham’s hair, pulls him to the canvas, and tags in. Rude goes up top, and comes down with a MISSILE DROPKICK for 2. Rude picks Windham up and PILEDRIVES him, but Dustin breaks up the cover. Rude tags in Austin for a double axehandle from the top, then he picks Windham up and suplexes him for 2. Austin goes to the chinlock, then uses a drop toe-hold when Windham gets out of it. Rude tags in and rams Windham into the buckle a few times, but Windham returns the favor. Rude slams Windham anyway, then swivels his hips. Rude goes to a front face-lock, but Windham backdrops his way out. Austin tags in and cuts Windham off, stomping on him again. He throws Windham to the floor, and Dustin has to help his buddy get back in the ring. Austin stops it anyway and throws him in instead, but Windham uses that to knock Austin around for a bit. Eventually he runs into a boot, and Austin covers with his feet on the ropes for 2. Austin applies the chinlock, and puts his feet on the ropes again. Rude switches in and takes Windham down for a headlock, and the referee wants Rude out of there. Austin tags in, backdrops Windham, and sits on him for some punches. DIRTY PUNCHES. Windham cradles Austin up for 2, then they each land clotheslines at the same time. Austin picks Windham up for a back suplex, then tags in Rude once more. Windham hits Rude with an inverted atomic drop, then goes for a clothesline and they run into each other.
Dustin MAKES THE TAG, and he goes to work on Austin big time. BIONIC ELBOW, RUNNING CLOTHESLINE, and a dropkick sends Rude over the top. Dustin lands a back elbow from the second rope on Austin, then everyone gets in there. Dustin and Rude go to the outside, right as Austin goes for a PILEDRIVER. Dustin goes up top, hits Austin with a clothesline, and covers him for the victory at 19:16! Great touch with Madusa throwing her shoes at Windham and Rhodes after the bell rang.
My Thoughts: I really liked this match too, even though it was a little too long. I actually rewatched the finish while typing this out. Dustin’s hot tag and entry to the match was fantastic. The crowd was all over his big blows, and pretty much everything he did in general. Son of the son of a plumber was a hell of a thing to connect him with fans. Not only fans in general, but remember what I said earlier. THESE WERE THE COMMON MEN. Austin loved to use chinlocks and that’s how he bridged the time. Solid work, and I’m not tired of the constant use of the matches between these guys. Regardless, it’s probably for the best that was coming to the end. ***1/4.
Eric Bischoff is in the back with Big Van Vader and Harley Race for an interview, which sounds like it could be awesome. Harley said that Vader was past the point of ready. Vader said some things too, and cut a great promo. HE FEARS NO MAN. HE FEELS NO PAIN.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament Semifinals: Steve Williams and Terry Gordy (WCW Tag Team Champions) vs. Ricky Steamboat and Nikita Koloff
Pre-Match Thoughts: Knowing what all the matches were, this does sound like the one that should be the best on paper. I’m looking forward to the inevitable power spots between Nikita and his opponents. Could Nikita really no-sell everything against these guys? I want him to just to see what happens. Steamboat and Nikita looked tired after their earlier match, can’t deny that. With the way these matches were booked, they’d have to go 40 minutes in total at the least.
Match Review: Steamboat and Gordy start, and WCW chooses that time to plug their 900 line. Gordy has Steamboat in a headlock, but he fights out only for Gordy to run him over. Gordy takes him down with the headlock, but Steamboat gets out for a hip toss. An arm drag follows that, so Doc tags in. Steamboat arm drags him, and keeps the armbar going. Doc gets out with a drop toe-hold, then they exchange reversals until Steamboat drops a knee on Doc’s arm. They make the ropes, and it’s time for amateur wrestling. Steamboat rides Doc for a little while, then Doc gets up and tags out. Steamboat fights out of the wrong corner, then tags in Nikita. Nikita works over Gordy’s arm for a bit, but gets trapped and has to use a drop toe-hold to take down Dr. Death. They wind up in the corner, and Nikita dodges a charge only for more chain wrestling. This does look fairly legitimate. Gordy tags in, and the two behemoths collide twice, then Nikita takes Gordy down with a dropkick. Doc tags in and trips Nikita, dropping him on his head for 2. Doc goes to a body-scissors, then Nikita reverses to a front face-lock. Gordy tags in, and so does Steamboat. Steamboat hits Gordy with a double chop, then takes him down with an arm drag. Doc tags in for a clothesline, then covers for 2. Back to the amateur wrestling again, with a standoff taking place at the end. Steamboat goes for a crucifix, but Doc backs him into the corner and crushes him. They trade chops with each other, but Doc takes over and tags in Gordy for a bodyslam. He slams Steamboat a second time, but Steamboat comes back with chops, only to sadly get clotheslined again. Doc tags in for a double shoulderblock, and that gets a 2 count. Doc drops an elbow for 2, then Gordy tags in and pulls Steamboat to the mat for 2. Time for a front face-lock, but Gordy switches out after a double suplex that gets 2 for Doc. Referee notices they didn’t tag, smart guy. Gordy gets back in there, and Steamboat lays in some big chops. Doc makes a legal tag this time, and Steamboat goes for a cross body only to get caught and hurt with a backbreaker. Funny how Jesse would make a comment about that, not knowing. But yeah, Steamboat’s ribs got messed up. Gordy tags in, but Steamboat DDT’s him and Steamboat crumples to the mat from pain.
Nikita tags in, and runs over Gordy a few times. The crowd does not care at all. Gordy dodges a shoulderblock and covers for 2, then Doc tags in and drops Nikita throat-first on the top rope. Soc does it a second time, then applies a head-scissors. He lets go and Nikita kicks him in the face, but Gordy stops a tag and drops Nikita for an STF! Doc tags in and drops an elbow on Nikita, then he knees him in the face a few times. Time for a Boston crab. Nikita tries to get out, but Doc makes a tag before that can happen. Gordy goes back to the STF, then tags out and Doc runs Nikita over from behind. Doc powerslams Nikita for 2, then he picks him up for the OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE only for Nikita to push off and collide with him. Nikita finally makes a tag out, and Steamboat comes in with some punches, but the crowd is burned out on this match. Steamboat drops Doc with a back suplex, then heads up top. He’s trying, I’ll say that much. He hits Doc with a chop from the top, then goes up there again, only for Gordy to push Steamboat into Doc’s hands. Doc decides to give Steamboat a SPINEBUSTER STAMPEDE, and that’s going to get the pin at 21:39. Williams and Gordy are in the finals!
My Thoughts: This match was slower than hell. I’m trying to think of something nice to say about this because everyone involved is a good worker, but I got nothing. Bill Watts wanted a certain style in his matches. Williams and Gordy worked exactly as Watts wanted. It’s hard to criticize the wrestlers for that, because there was no lack of effort. It was just a matter of this match not being good. *1/2, and I could go way lower. One has to question the wisdom of putting a whole bunch of matches of this length on PPV. Not only that, but this style wasn’t going to get any heat nor were the people going to accept it. The amateur wrestling portion was too long.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament Semifinals: Hiroshi Hase and Shinya Hashimoto vs. Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham
Pre-Match Thoughts: At least there’s a reason for the fans to care about this match. I don’t remember how it goes, but what I’m thinking right now is that it can’t be as slow as the last match or there will be a problem. However, given the style clash, it’s likely it would be. I think that’s the most rational way of looking at it.
Match Review: Dustin and Hase tease a test of strength, but instead they lock up and break clean in the corner. Dustin takes him over with a fireman’s carry, then brings in Windham to work on the arm. Windham goes to an arm drag, and when Hase breaks free, he wants to test their strength. The two collide with each other, and Hase eventually bridges up from the bottom position and kicks Windham in the face. Hashimoto tags in, and he wants to test their strength too. Windham takes him over with a suplex, then tags in Dustin. Hashimoto runs him over with a shoulder, and when Dustin tries to do the same, he can’t. They fight over a top wristlock, and Hashimoto takes Dustin down for an armbar. Hase tags in, applies a hammerlock, and takes Dustin down with it. These matches are SLOW. Windham tags in and comes off the top with a punch, then uses a hammerlock slam. Windham takes Hase down with a headlock, but Hase bridges out with a hammerlock reversal. Hashimoto tags in, and nails Windham with a back elbow. He applies a head-scissors and armbar, but Windham gets up anyway. Dustin tags in, and business needs to pick up. He hits Hashimoto with a BIONIC ELBOW and takes him down with an arm drag, then uses a wristlock. Dustin breaks the hold, then starts working Hashimoto with punches and elbows which finally pops the crowd. Hashimoto goes to the eyes, then lays in some kicks, leading to a bodyslam. Hashimoto hits Dustin with a spinning wheel kick, then Hase tags in for a SPIKE PILEDRIVER. Dustin gets up and gets in some offense, but Hase blocks a backdrop and tags out for a double shoulderblock. Hashimoto drops an elbow, tags out, and and trades chops with Dustin. Hashimoto tags back in, and Windham runs into the ring to attack both guys. About time this match gets something going. Anyway, Hashimoto hits Dustin with a knee to the gut, and suplexes him for 2. Hase tags in for a double suplex, then puts Dustin in a Boston crab. Windham breaks the hold, but Hase dishes out a belly to belly suplex on Dustin. Hase goes up top, and down he comes with a double knee drop that misses. Dustin clotheslines Hase, and there’s the tag. Windham grabs Hase and hits him with a back elbow, then picks him up for a suplex that gets 2. Windham powerslams Hase for 2, then puts him in abdominal stretch. Hashimoto runs in and gets clotheslined, which leads to all four being in. Dustin leapfrogs over Hase and windham clotheslines Hase, which leads to the pinfall and victory at 14:55.
My Thoughts: This match was too long again, with the crowd not giving a damn at all. It was what it was. They shouldn’t have booked so many matches with this pace, some variety was needed. I thought it was worse than the last one, actually. *1/4, and I will definitely never watch these two matches again.
Before the title match, Ron Simmons is there for an interview. He’s talking once again about becoming the world champion. Sting is the champion, right? Doesn’t this make Simmons kind of a heel?
Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. Sting for the WCW Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I understand why this wasn’t the main event, but knowing the booking, it really should have been booked as the main event. This is also one of my favorite matches and I’m happy to be checking it out again. The crowd was very obviously not remotely expecting what was about to happen. Vader’s gimmick is unsurpassed as far as I’m concerned.
Match Review: Vader tries to intimidate Sting, who gets in his face and talks trash. They lock up, and Vader doesn’t break clean. He smacks Sting around, then hits him with a short clothesline. Sting rolls to the outside, as Vader taunts the champion. Sting comes back with his own clothesline, but Vader doesn’t sell it. He catches Sting on a cross body and throws him to the canvas, then nails him with forearms. Vader misses a charge to the corner, so Sting picks him up with a big back suplex. He clotheslines Vader over the top right after that! Huge pop from the crowd. Vader slowly gets back in there, and wants a test of strength. They work the crowd with that for a while, before finally engaging. Sting pokes Vader in the eye, then stomps on his feet and levels him with a right hand and a dropkick. This is awesome. Sting tries to suplex Vader in from the apron, and does so for 2! Sting charges at Vader, but Vader runs him over to stop the momentum. Vader whiffs on a clothesline, so Sting kicks him to the canvas and rolls him up for 2. Vader takes a break, gets back in there, and sits on Sting during a Sting sunset flip attempt. Vader drops an elbow on him, then a second one follows. Vader splashes Sting for 2, then picks him up by the neck and drops him to the canvas. Vader applies a stepover toe-hold, and eventually grabs the other leg for a SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Sting powers out, but he’s messed up. Vader hits Sting with some big rights, then lands the clothesline. Vader yells that the match is over, so he picks Sting up and powerslams him for 2. Sting comes back with some punches, and hits Vader with a rolling kick to the head! Sting follows that up with a DDT, then shoulders him out to the apron. Vader gets up first and goes up top, which makes no sense because he’d be disqualified. Sting kicks him, then picks Vader up on his shoulders for the SAMOAN DROP of a lifetime. Sting’s cover gets 2, then he tries a German suplex and gets elbowed in the head. Vader picks Sting up and kicks the referee, right as Sting dishes out the German suplex for a delayed 2 count. Sting dropkicks Vader into the corner, and hits him with the STINGER SPLASH. Sting does it again, but overshoots his jump and hits his head on the post. His blading was quite obvious. Vader covers Sting for 2, as this crowd is starting to believe Vader can win. So, Vader dodges Sting’s punches, and signals for the finish. POWERBOMB, and we have a NEW WCW CHAMPION after 17:17.
My Thoughts: This one definitely holds up in every single way. These guys were absolutely perfect for each other, and they put on the best matches of both guys careers in this series. Vader bumped well for Sting, Sting bumped well for Vader, and it was such a good match. The storyline in this match was pretty much perfect as well. Sting hitting the post on the Stinger Splash made a lot of sense, given that he was on his big comeback and Vader was bent down at the time of the move. I bought it. The crowd did not really know how to react to this. Some of the fans wanting Vader to win and cheering for him didn’t surprise me. I haven’t seen all the Sting/Vader matches, but of the ones I have, this is my favorite. ****1/2 and every wrestling fan has to have seen this. Great workers put together great stories, who’d have thought. Putting the title on Rom Simmons right after this was a massive mistake. After Vader’s win he should have been pushed very hard.
Vader was in the back for an interview, and Harley Race says that this match wasn’t shocking at all. THIS WAS PROOF. I think it’s funny that they transitioned the title over to Vader when he wasn’t that established in the company, but sometimes that works.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament Final: Steve Williams and Terry Gordy (WCW Tag Team Champions) vs. Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’ll be glad when these tag team matches are over. Sorry, but I think this tournament concept was pretty much terrible. It was insane to run this match after a title match that Vader won definitively. Oh great, Ole Anderson is the referee. For fuck’s sake. Lots of empty seats in the arena after that title match, maybe they’re just getting food. The Steiner Brothers walk down to the ring for a fight, but Ole Anderson keeps them out. That sucks.
Match Review: Doc and Windham start things off, and tumble into the corner where Ole makes them break cleanly. We start with the amateur wrestling, with Windham going behind Doc only for Doc to take him down. Gordy tags in, as does Dustin, and I’m just now noticing how big these four guys are. Really big may be an understatement. Gordy and Dustin go into the ropes, and Gordy takes Dustin down with a German suplex. Gordy goes for the leg, but Dustin lands a bunch of BIONIC ELBOWS to put him down. Windham tags in, and locks up the FIGURE-FOUR! Gordy makes the ropes and tags out, after which Doc takes Windham down with a belly to belly suplex. Windham grabs on and holds the arm, which gets reversed. Windham reverses that with an arm drag, then they make the ropes and Doc knees him in the face. Gordy tags in, clotheslines Windham in the corner, and covers him for 2. Dustin tags in, trips Gordy, and drops an elbow on the leg. Dustin keeps working the leg, but Gordy scoots over to his corner and tags out. Doc takes Dustin down with a headlock, and Dustin returns the favor, keeping the headlock on for a bit. They then fight over a wristlock, until Doc grabs the hair to pull Dustin down. Dustin gets up and rolls Doc up for 2, then goes to the arm drag. Doc makes the ropes, and I’m wondering why I’m reviewing this match at this point. Gordy tags in, traps Dustin in the corner, and trips him. There goes the STF again, which Dustin gets out of to apply a sleeper. Gordy tags out and Doc comes off the top with a double axehandle, then goes to a chinlock. Dude. Dustin breaks it with a jawbreaker and goes to a victory roll, which gets 2. The crowd is getting restless. Gordy trips Dustin again, and puts him in a Boston crab. Windham breaks it, but Doc tags in and powerslams his partner for 2. Windham finally makes a tag in thanks to a drop toe-hold by Dustin, and he backdrops Doc. Windham clotheslines Gordy, and suplexes Doc for 2. Windham follows up with a gutwrench suplex for 2, and applies a sleeper. Doc rams Windham into the buckle to break it, and Windham hits the post too. Gordy gets in there for a suplex, which gets 2. Gordy clotheslines Windham for 2, and goes to a chinlock. Windham back suplexes his way out of it, then kicks Doc in the head a few times. Doc grabs his foot to stop a tag, then makes his own tag. Gordy comes in with some elbow drops, missing the last one and tagging back out. Doc applies an abdominal stretch of sorts, then tags out only for Gordy and Windham to run into each other. Both guys make tags, and Dustin lands some BIONIC ELBOWS until Doc attacks him from behind. Doc applies a boring front face-lock, then knees Dustin in the gut. Gordy tags in, clotheslines Dustin again, and covers for 2. Dustin gets caught in the heel corner, getting beaten up a bit. Doc grabs him for the OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE, but Windham dropkicks Dustin on the top for 2. Dustin gets up and dodges a splash from Doc in the corner, then he goes for a bulldog only for Doc to push him into Gordy. Doc hits Dustin with a huge clothesline, covers, and becomes an NWA TAG TEAM CHAMPION at 21:01!
My Thoughts: This match was too slow, just like the others. They didn’t really build to a finish, merely worked a regular match that was slow and boring. The style that Doc and Gordy were working just wasn’t going to get over in the United States. These matches were long to get over the grueling nature, for the sake of filling time, and I don’t like that at all. They also put the belts on a team that wasn’t able to get heat, so this was idiotic. 3/4*.
Doc and Gordy have an interview to close the show, and in typical Doc fashion, it isn’t that good.
I did something rare for me and watched this show in only two sittings. That may have been a mistake. This card was extremely poorly paced, and having the heels go over in the two big matches was a horrendous idea. I don’t see any way to get around that, but whatever sending the fans home happy is…this was the opposite of that. The matches on this show were just far too long for this era, and it was the same guys showing up in those matches. I can see why the crowd burned out on the show. I can also see why attendances didn’t pick up when Watts was in charge. I’m going to see what’s next in the Watts era by watching the matches leading up to Clash 20. I have no expectations, and I’m not too happy about what I just watched, so hopefully it’s better.
Wrestling Time: 2:02:49. This was a very wrestling intensive show, as I made clear about. It was too far to that extreme.
Best: Vader vs. Sting. How could it not be?
Worst: The tag matches all being of the same pace, the same booking, the same style. It was rivalring WrestleMania 4 come the end.
Card Rating: 5/10. I cannot in good conscience recommend this card, but there is about an hour’s worth of good matches here.