Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Great American Bash 1998
Date: June 14, 1998
Location: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
We’re at the big summer PPV which originally gave us everything between the first War Games and the worst major PPV of all time, so it’s hard to say what to expect here. There’s a double main event with Sting vs. Giant for control of both tag titles and an actual tag match of Hart/Hogan vs. Piper/Savage with Piper and Savage agreeing to fight each other after it’s over. Hopefully the lower part of the card can save the top guys again. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is a seizure inducing series of videos of the people in almost all the matches with various patriotic symbols in between.
The announcers talk about the main events a bit.
Gene talks about the Giant vs. Sting tag title match. Apparently Giant will pick Disciple if he wins both belts. That’s quite the team.
Now the announcers preview match #7 (really 8th) match in the Booker vs. Benoit series. We get a video of the original seventh match from Thunder where Bret Hart tried to give Benoit the match but Chris didn’t want to win it that way. Booker agreed to another match tonight, winner take all.
Booker T vs. Chris Benoit
The winner gets a TV Title shot tonight against Finlay. Feeling out process to start with Benoit hooking a very quick armdrag to take over. Booker might have a bad knee coming in after the match on Thursday but he comes right back with an armdrag of his own. Benoit bails to the floor and it’s right back to a standoff a few seconds later. Booker grabs a hammerlock to take Chris down before hooking a half nelson into a rollup for two. Benoit fights up and cranks on a hammerlock of his own, only to be elbowed in the face.
Benoit is sent into the corner and peppered with more forearms before charging into a boot to the jaw. Chris will have none of that and takes out the bad knee with a dragon screw legwhip to get his first real advantage. They head to the corner for some WOO inspiring chops from the Canadian before he elbows Booker in the face for two. We hit a chinlock on Mr. T. as Tony compares Booker vs. Benoit seven times to Finlay fighting guys like High Voltage. There’s a snap suplex for two on Booker as things slow down a bit.
Benoit’s belly to back superplex is countered into a cross body for two but Benoit comes right back by stomping Booker down and putting on another chinlock. Booker fights up again but a hard knee to the stomach puts him right back down. Benoit drapes Booker’s ribs across the top rope for two but doesn’t seem sure how to follow up. Back to the chinlock as the fans immediately start cheering for Booker again. Off to a surfboard hold with Benoit’s knees in the back but Booker fights up and scores with a powerslam.
T goes up but Benoit steps to the side to avoid a spinning cross body ala Samoa Joe in a nice counter. A Crossface attempt lands right in the ropes so Benoit goes right back to the chinlock. Booker elbows up and hits an enziguri to put Benoit back down. There’s the snap spinebuster followed by a flapjack, allowing Booker to spin up. The missile dropkick is broken up with Booker getting crotched on the top, allowing Chris to superplex Booker down in a great looking crash.
Neither guy can immediately follow up though until Benoit gets a very delayed cover for two. Here are the rolling Germans but Booker breaks it up before the third. Instead Benoit busts out the dragon suplex for a very near fall. Booker is sent into the corner and tries the spinning sunset flip but Benoit is still in the middle of the ring in a nice bit of psychology. Benoit suplexes him down again and hits the Swan Dive but still can’t cover. Booker comes back with a side kick to the back of the head, setting up the missile dropkick for the 100% clean pin.
Rating: B. This would have been better with a minute or two cut out to lower the chinlockery levels, but even with them this was a great opening match and a perfect way to fire up the crowd. It’s one of those matches where both guys come out looking great though I would have liked to see Booker win more. Still though, very few complaints here.
Chavo is on the internet and says he needs the punishment that Eddie will give him tonight.
Saturn vs. Kanyon
I believe this is Kanyon’s first match under that name. Someone comes out in the Mortis gear but the real Kanyon sneaks in behind Saturn and gets two off a rollup. A neckbreaker gets the same as Kanyon starts fast. Saturn gets stomped down in the corner as Kanyon still has his vest on. An electric chair into a faceplant gets two but Kanyon has to deck Kidman off the apron. There’s a clothesline to put Saturn on the floor as this is all Kanyon so far. Saturn trips him up though and scores with a slingshot splash for no cover.
Kanyon gets back up and hits a kind of Fameasser out of the corner as Lodi, Riggs and Horace are all on the floor. Saturn kicks him to the floor for a triple team from the Flock, followed by a BIG dive over the top to put everyone down. Nick Patrick throws the Flock out and Kanyon is whipped into the barricade (called the post by Tony) to injure his ribs. Back in and Saturn kicks away at the head and puts on an ankle lock. Off to something resembling Cattle Mutilation but Kanyon gets his feet in the ropes.
Kanyon is crotched on the ropes and a springboard clothesline from Saturn puts both guys on the floor. Saturn throws a chair into the ring as apparently this is Raven’s Rules. Perry uses the chair as a springboard for a dropkick in the corner and a Sabu Triple Jump Moonsault gets two. Saturn tries a sunset flip but gets caught in midair with a northern lights suplex for a close two. Saturn comes right back with a swinging neckbreaker for two of his own and we hit the chinlock.
They get back up with Saturn getting suplexed down and then dropped throat first across the top rope. A jumping back elbow to the jaw puts Saturn down and a fireman’s carry flapjack gets another near fall. Kanyon’s downward spiral is countered into a half nelson suplex from Saturn but the Death Valley Driver is escaped as well.
Saturn kicks Kanyon in the face but he loads up a superplex instead of covering. Kanyon fights back and both guys get crotched before falling out to the floor. Cue the guy who played Mortis earlier….and another guy in a Mortis mask as well. The Mortises (Mortisi?) slug it out and brawl to the floor as Kanyon hits a quick downward spiral for the pin.
Rating: B. Take two guys who can do a ton of moves in the ring and let them beat the tar out of each other for fifteen minutes. The pair of masked guys near the end had me worried but thankfully they didn’t do anything but throw Saturn back inside. Kanyon had a ton of potential as the guy just showing off every night but like everything else in WCW, that wouldn’t get very far.
One of the Mortises holds up Kanyon’s arm but pulls him into a DDT. That one is Raven but we don’t get to see who is under the other hood. Raven says Saturn had one job but couldn’t even do that right so here’s the Flock for the big beatdown. Saturn will have none of that though and fights them off, including a suplex for Raven.
To recap so far, we’re about 45 minutes into this show and two of the matches have been GREAT. You’ve had Benoit, Booker, Saturn and Kanyon tearing the house down and firing the crowd up over a match for a shot at the lower card title and a story that makes little sense. These guys are tearing the house down, but how long would it be before any of them got anywhere? Nearly two years, with Booker and Benoit becoming world champions because the original choices for champion were unavailable. It’s amazing what politics and idiocy can do to a company.
We recap Malenko vs. Jericho since Slamboree. Basically Jericho has been demanding the title back because Malenko wasn’t announced as an entrant in the battle royal and saying Dean was letting his dead dad down. Malenko agreed to give up the title for a shot against Jericho. Chris freaked out because he wanted to be handed the title instead of having a match for it.
Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho
The title is vacant coming in. They stare each other down before charging into a double clothesline. Jericho pops back up and hits another clothesline to take over but Dean comes right back with a German suplex. Malenko stomps Jericho down in the corner as Chris screams like a coward. Jericho gets up a boot to stop a charging Malenko before putting on a headlock. Malenko rolls out of a quick Liontamer attempt and gets two off a suplex. Dean puts a knee in Jericho’s back and pulls on his arms to give us more screaming.
Dean whips him into the corner for a Flair Flip, but Jericho takes it two steps further by hitting his head on the post and getting caught in the Tree of Woe. Jericho falls out to the floor but slides back in to hit a pescado to the floor to take over. Back in and a suplex gets two for the blonde before it’s off to a sleeper. Dean fights out but gets suplexed back down for another two.
Jericho is getting frustrated at not being able to finish Malenko so he chokes Dean on the top rope. A slam sets up the Lionsault but Malenko rolls away to get a breather. Malenko comes back with a leg lariat and a rolling cradle for two. A middle rope facejam out of the corner gets another close two and Dean puts Jericho on the top. Jericho is able to fight out of the super gutbuster and hook a top rope hurricanrana. A very quick cover gets two for Chris but his powerbomb is blocked by right hands.
Jericho rolls through the cover into a regular Boston crab but Malenko quickly makes the ropes. Dean tries to jump over Jericho in the corner but gets caught in an Alabama Slam. Jericho still can’t hook the Liontamer so Dean grabs the Cloverleaf. Chris gets to the ropes even faster than Dean did and grabs a quick butterfly backbreaker. Jericho slaps him in the face and says Dean is nothing, just like his dead father. That’s enough for Dean and the brawl goes to the floor where Malenko cracks Jericho with a chair for a DQ.
Rating: B-. Logical but frustrating ending aside, this is the third straight good match of the night. Malenko snapping is a great thing to see and Jericho being forced to shut up and wrestle is always worth a look. This feud has been really solid and Jericho using his brain to take away Malenko’s calm was really smart.
Dean isn’t done and takes Jericho to the back, ramming him into various things along the way. They go outside the arena with Jericho being rammed into a mailbox. They get too near the traffic and security steps in, so Jericho sprints across the street and into another building. Jericho is announced as the winner via DQ.
Eddie begs Chavo for forgiveness and for Grandma to get him out of this.
Juventud Guerrera’s music starts but stops after a second so the announcers can talk about Jericho having a claim to the Cruiserweight Title.
Video on Juventud Guerrera who won’t give up. By this I mean him walking around ancient ruins in Mexico.
Juventud Guerrera vs. Reese
Standard giant bully vs. scrappy little guy story coming into this. Guerrera prays before the match starts and we get a LONG staredown. Juvy tries a right hand but is easily sent backwards into the corner. He charges right back and scores with some shots to the face but Reese shoves him right back down. Guerrera bails to the floor and gets Reese to chase him, only to slide back in and try a dive. Reese pulls him out of the air and tosses Juvy back inside but the small man kicks at the knee as Reese gets back in.
Reese grabs Juvy by the head and holds him back to show just how much bigger he is than Guerrera. Juvy goes up and tries a choke before ripping at his face. Reese goes down to one knee where he still comes up to Guerrera’s shoulders. The big man finally just drops back to crush Juvy and the beating begins. There’s a backbreaker with Juvy being bent over Reese’s knee like a toy.
A HUGE beal sends Guerrera across the ring and Reese stands on his hair and pulls on Juvy’s arms. There’s the bearhug with Reese shaking Juvy around like he’s made of paper. Reese lets him go so Juvy kicks him low a few times, which is legal since Reese is in the Flock ala Saturn earlier. In a smart move, Reese drops down to a knee to punch Juvy in the face.
A vertical suplex puts Juvy down but he climbs up the referee to beat the ten count. Now Reese gets a chair but referee Charles Robinson pulls it away. Juvy goes up top for a hurricanrana but gets caught in midair. Lodi has the referee for no apparent reason and Van Hammer pops up to blast Reese with the chair, allowing Juvy to flip him over (even more awkwardly than you would imagine) and get a pin with Reese’s shoulders only about four inches off the mat.
Rating: C+. They were THIS close to hitting this out of the park but the ending didn’t quite work. The hurricanrana looking terrible and the pin being a disaster brings this down but that’s about its only problem. They had the crowd right where they wanted them and could have blown the roof off if the underdog won like he should have. Hammer coming in was fine as if Juvy overcomes too much it becomes comical which is the wrong idea. This was a tightrope to walk and they almost pulled it off.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
This is the match I’ve wanted to see more than any other after seeing the buildup. Eddie tried to turn Chavo into an Eddie clone and kept tormenting Chavo when he couldn’t get it right. Chavo finally snapped and completely turned the tables on Eddie, sending his uncle running scared. Chavo is all ticked off to start and slaps Eddie in the corner, causing the uncle to pound him in the face. Eddie takes him down with a trip but Chavo gets on top and pounds away with right hands.
Back up and Chavo rushes at Eddie but gets dropped face first on the top turnbuckle. Eddie misses a charge into the post though and Chavo rams him into all three buckles in a corner a total of about 15 times. Chavo drags him around the ring by the hair and dropkicks him down, sending Eddie out to the floor. He tries to walk out but Chavo is still ticked off. They head back in where Eddie kicks the rope into Chavo to take over.
Back in and Eddie works on the arm for a bit before sending Chavo to the apron. The nephew goes up top and tries a flip attack but lands on his feet, only to run across the ring and go up top for a moonsault press, good for two. Eddie sends him right back into the corner and out to the floor as this has been very physical for the first six minutes or so. Back inside and a brainbuster puts Chavo down, but Eddie slaps him in the face to make Chavo snap again. Chavo chases Eddie around the ring until Eddie gets back inside and hides behind the referee.
The distraction lets Eddie get in a shot to the knee and Chavo stops cold. A dropkick to the knee sends Chavo down in a heap so Eddie puts on a figure four. Eddie yells at the fans and lets the hold go before putting on the Gory Special. Again Eddie lets go of the hold and kicks Chavo in the face to set up a camel clutch. The fans chant for Goldberg so Eddie lets go of the hold to act as a conductor. There’s an over the shoulder backbreaker but Eddie spins him around and drops Chavo down to the mat for no cover.
Chavo blocks a slam and LAUNCHES Eddie over the top in a backdrop. A big running dive completely misses Eddie as Chavo jumps too high but it looked great. Now the fans want Flair because a good match with a good story isn’t good enough for them anymore. Back in and a bulldog gets two for the nephew but he takes WAY too long setting up a frog splash, allowing Eddie to shake the ropes to bring him down. Eddie’s frog splash misses though but he still blocks a tornado DDT. Chavo is sent to the floor so he springboards back in for a tornado DDT and the stunning upset pin.
Rating: B. I can’t believe I’m saying this but this has been an AWESOME show so far with good match after good match. This was the perfect blowoff to the story with Chavo showing he was learning the entire time, but not in the way Eddie was hoping for. He’s gone from a generic cruiserweight to an interesting character who just pinned a former US Champion clean. Good stuff here, as has been the case all night.
We get the Piper vs. Savage confrontation from Nitro to remind us that the last hour and forty five minutes of awesome are going to be brought down into the abyss very soon. Given that there are five matches left and about an hour to go, things are about to get very screwy in a hurry.
TV Title: Booker T vs. Fit Finlay
Booker doesn’t have any elbow pads or gloves on here which is a weird look for him. There’s an undefined extended time limit over the usual ten minutes here. Booker sends him into the buckle to start followed by an awkward looking clothesline. A kick to the face gets two for Booker but he misses an enziguri, allowing Finlay to hook a leg lock. Back up and Finlay forearms his way out of a headlock, only to have Booker come back with a flying forearm for two.
Some chops put Finlay on the floor but he comes back in to block an ax kick and go after the leg again. There’s a half crab followed by a regular crank on the leg to keep Booker in trouble. Finlay slams the knee onto the apron and wraps it around the ropes for good measure. Booker comes back with the spinning sunset flip out of the corner for two, only to have the champion come back with another leg crank. He wraps Booker’s knee around his neck ala the Brock Lock before going off to a kind of half Liontamer.
Booker rolls away and just pounds Fit in the head with right hands, only to have Finlay come right back with a shin breaker and another leg hold. They head outside again where the referee has to stop Finlay from getting a chair. The knee is wrapped around the post and Finlay hits a Vader Bomb for no cover. Instead he yells at the crowd and kicks Booker’s knee even more but stops to yell at the fans.
Booker comes back with a spinwheel kick and a powerslam before hitting the ax kick. He spins up so Finlay clotheslines him inside out. The tombstone from Finlay is countered into an AWFUL looking sequence where Booker was supposed to backflip into a tombstone of his own, but instead he fell down and got covered for two. Back up and Finlay misses a charge into the “post”, allowing Booker to hit a kneeling piledriver (Finlay was facing forward but Booker dropped to his knees like a tombstone) for the pin and the title.
Rating: D+. And there goes the really good match streak. The match wasn’t horrible but you can only watch Finlay lay on Booker’s leg and pull on the ankle so many times in thirteen minutes. The ending was HORRIBLE too with the sequence being botched and the ending coming out of nowhere. Also Booker not selling the knee at all after coming in with a bad knee and having Finlay work on it for ten minutes was inexcusable. I think everyone knew Booker would win here after taking the series, which made him look like a star.
US Title: Konnan vs. Goldberg
Hennig and Rude are with Goldberg’s dinner tonight. Goldberg is now from Parts Unknown instead of Atlanta. To say the place has gone nuts is an understatement. Konnan is easily shoved to the floor and wants to know what that was. Back in and Goldberg grabs a headlock followed by a botched roll thru into a legbar. Konnan grabs a rope and gets two feet up in the corner to stop a charge. Not that it matters as the spear and Jackhammer make Goldberg 100-0.
Post match Hennig and Rude turn on Goldberg and join the Black and White. That’s the best move as neither of the fit with the Wolfpack at all. Luger and Nash come out for the save.
I’m going to pause for a minute here and recommend that you go do something else. So far this has been an excellent show with logical booking, good matches and hard work from almost everyone involved. No more good can come from the remaining parts of this show. You would be better off being stuffed inside a bag and beaten with large wooden clubs. I might recommend going to a blind dentist with Parkinson’s Disease for a root canal. Or better yet just go watch the first two hours of this show again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you keep going.
Roddy Piper/Randy Savage vs. Hollywood Hogan/Bret Hart
This is the real main event though we’ve been promised Savage vs. Piper post match as a “bonus”. Savage is Wolfpack, Hogan is Black and White, Hart is technically NWO but never made it official and Piper is one of the last heroes remaining in WCW. He might be the only one in the main event picture actually. Sign in the crowd: Savage/Piper vs. Hart/Hogan: WELCOME TO JURASSIC PARK!
To the shock of no one, it’s a stall fest to start. It’s Hogan vs. Piper to get us going but Roddy spits at Bret. Hogan backs into the corner so Piper calls time out before jumping him for our first contact about two minutes in. Hogan gets poked in the eyes and has his bandana taken off to reveal a bald head. Off to Savage who rams Hogan face first into the buckle before it’s back to Piper for some biting and right hands.
Disciple hits Piper in the back with the world title to give Hogan control. Yeah remember the guy that has been beaten up like he’s in a Three Stooges short is world champion. Bret gets the tag and hits a few forearms before bringing Hogan back in for right hands. Piper staggers around and won’t go down so Bret cheats a bit to get him on the mat. Bret comes back in for a Russian legsweep and the middle rope elbow for two.
Hogan chokes Piper from the apron but Piper comes back with one of the worst small packages ever. He flails his arms and tags Savage which doesn’t count for no apparent reason so Hart puts on a front facelock. Piper makes another tag which doesn’t count due to Patrick not seeing it, allowing for another double team. Savage comes over with a chair and puts it on Piper’s chest so Bret’s headbutt hits steel.
The hot tag brings in Savage and the pop from the fans pales in comparison to pretty much any given pop of the night so far. Hart and Hogan stop Savage pretty easily, only to have Hogan deck Hart by mistake. Everything breaks down and Savage goes up for the elbow, only to have his knee give out. Hogan and Piper head outside where Hogan wraps Savage’s leg around the post. The Sharpshooter goes on and Savage is done.
Rating: F. I would pay big money to be in the production meetings to hear Hogan and Bischoff explain why Hollywood should be pushed so hard. These matches aren’t even acceptable or decent. They’re absolutely horrid with no redeeming value whatsoever and making the entire promotion look like a joke. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Hogan is coming off like the Honky Tonk Man. He wrestles glorified comedy matches, gets destroyed for good chunks of them and then survives through some sort of shenanigan. I knew these matches were bad but I didn’t realize how horrible they really were.
Since that wasn’t enough though, IT’S A RODDY PIPER DOUBLE FEATURE!
Roddy Piper vs. Randy Savage
Bret still has Savage in the Sharpshooter when the bell rings so Randy is pretty much done already. Wait or was that the closing bell for the opening match? Gene comes in to talk to Piper but he helps Savage up instead, only to have Macho punch Piper. Savage chokes him down and actually hits the elbow but Piper, superhuman that he is, gets to kick out at two. The referee gets punched out so Piper hits Savage low and pokes him in the eyes. A figure four makes Savage quit for the second time in five minutes with his finisher only getting two in between. That’ll teach him for getting cheered.
Tag Titles: Sting vs. Giant
So if you haven’t been following the Nitro and Thunder reviews leading up to this, you’re a schnook. Go read them now. Anyway, Sting and Giant won the belts when Giant joined the Black and White. Sting turned down an offer to do the same and is in the Red and Black, but the titles were held up because Giant tried to replace him with Brian Adams, leading to this match. The winner gets to pick his new partner to be the tag champions.
Giant smokes a cigarette on the way to the ring to get the fans to boo him. He blows smoke in Sting’s face in the corner but misses a charge into the corner, allowing Sting to fire off kicks to the ribs. The Stinger Splash lands on a boot though and Giant sends him to the floor. Back in and Sting’s cross body just bounces off of Giant so he lifts Sting up into a gorilla press, LAUNCHING him face first into the buckle. That looked awesome.
We hit the bearhug for a good while as we’re almost out of PPV time. Sting bites his way out of the hold and dropkicks the knee out. A Stinger Splash to the back and one to the front have Giant in trouble and there’s a slam for good measure. The Deathlock goes on but Giant easily powers out of it. Instead a Death Drop gets two and Sting blocks a chokeslam. Another Death Drop gets another two but a Death Drop from the middle rope is enough for the pin and the titles.
Rating: D+. It wasn’t a masterpiece but this was better than most recent Nitro main events. This felt like a dark match to send the fans home happy and there’s really nothing wrong with that. It ends the stupid titles in two camps story and lets Sting pick a partner later on. In a word, this was acceptable.
Overall Rating: B. If you cut out the tag match and put in ANYTHING else, this is one of the best PPVs WCW ever put on. Everything ranges between very solid to acceptable at worst and most of the booking makes perfect sense. That tag match really hurts it though because it’s just so horrid.
If I were booking this show, I would have thought about putting Goldberg on last. It’s a B-level show and the last match was just less than seven minutes long and for the tag belts. Make Goldberg vs. Konnan a five minute match for the US Title and do the Hennig/Rude turn the next night on Nitro. On top of that it was to make him 100-0. That would send them home happy. Shockingly good show here though, embarrassing real main event aside.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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