[Note: The following is based on the commercial video for Great
American Bash 1990: New Revolution. 4 of the minor matches were cut
from the tape for time considerations.]
The Netcop Retro Rant for Great American Bash 90.
– Live from Baltimore, Maryland.
– Your hosts are Jim Ross and Bob Caudle.
– Opening match, US tag titles: The Midnight Express v. The Southern
Boys. The Southern Boys, Steve Armstrong and Tracy Smothers, would
become better known as the Young Pistols. They had two principle feuds:
This one and with the Freebirds. Guess which one I liked better. I
consider this match required viewing for all new wrestling fans.
If you’ve never seen the *real* Midnight Express in action (ie, Sweet
Stan and Beautiful Bobby) and are wondering why everyone loves them so
much, run out and rent this tape. This is a jaw-droppingly great match.
Just when you thought the Midnights were on the verge of being done for
(okay, they were, but go along with me for the sake of argument) they go
and pull this thing out of their bag of tricks. This is also the match
that turned the ‘Boys from heatless slackjawed yokels into serious title
contenders. That’s no mean feat. Midnights have their own built-in
fanbase here, getting solid babyface reactions a lot of the time. Cool
moment: Stan Lane and Tracy Smothers have a martial arts duel, drawing
super heat from the fans. It’s cool shit like that, out of nowhere, in
the middle of a match, that set the Midnights apart from everyone else.
The sustained heat here is incredible. Smothers plays Ricky Morton, as
the Midnights get to show off all their cool stuff. Cornette and Lane
bolted to form SMW in November of 1990, so this is basically the swan
song for the Midnights and they make it count. Armstrong gets the hot
tag and goes nuts, and the ‘Boys hit their finisher with the ref
distracted. Chaos ensues: The Midnights hit the Rocket Launcher, just
get two. Ref is distracted again, and the ‘Boys do the old switcheroo
(in what is usually a sure-fire match ender) and get a two count.
Smothers is up and ready to finish Eaton, but the ref is distracted with
Armstrong, and Lane nails a bee-yoo-tee-ful savate kick right to the back
of Tracy’s head from the apron, and Eaton cradles him for the pin.
Magnificent. ****1/2 The crowd is nearly breathless after that one.
Cornette called it one of the best Midnight Express matches EVER,
– Gordon Solie interviews the Freebirds. I know it’s not politically
correct to make fun of effeminate males, but they just looked soooooo
faggy in this time period. I mean, really now, mascara and eye shadow?
And the sequined outfits? And people thought Goldust was shameless…
– Big Van Vader v. Tom Zenk. Hey, it’s Tom Zenk, how appropriate after
that last interview. And don’t blink or you’ll miss Vader killing him
in his WCW debut. Steam-spewing helmet and all. Vader didn’t really
make any kind of notable impression in WCW until late 1991. Big splash
for the pin. * Always good to see Vader in the early years, though.
– Solie interviews the Horsemen.
– The Fabulous Freebirds v. The Steiner Brothers. Thank god Zenon is at
the bar tonight so I don’t have to listen to him yelling “Yeah,
Badstreet USA! Crank it!” when the Freebirds come out. The Freebirds
are useful in exactly two areas: Selling the Steiners’ offense and
pissing off the crowd. They excel at both. Steiners pummel the Birds
for 5 or 6 minutes, which is good, but then Jim Garvin gets into the
match, which is very very bad. Hot tag, Frankensteiner, but ref is
otherwise occupied. Garvin DDTs Scott while Rick belly-to-bellys Hayes,
and since the Steiners are the butchest team in the match, Scott gets to
pin Garvin for the win. A better Birds match than usual, thanks
entirely to the Steiners’ godliness at this point in history. ***
– Arn Anderson, Barry Windham & Sid Vicious v. Paul Orndorff, Junkfood
Dog and El Gigante. The lowpoint of the show. This is Gigante’s debut,
so if you ever invent a time machine and need to know when to send the
assassin back to kill him, this is it. Luckily he doesn’t so much as
touch anyone in this match. But the Horsemen still cower every time
they get near, because he’s 7’7″. Welcome to the internal logic of
wrestling, folks. The “Dudes with Attitudes” basically no-sell all of
the Horsemen offense while the fans scream for Sid to get in (poor
souls), until a melee breaks out and Sid tosses JYD over the top rope
for a DQ. *1/2
– Gordon Solie interviews Flexy Lexy.
– US title match: Lex Luger v. Mean Mark (w/ Paul E. Dangerously).
Before the urns, evil brothers, casket matches, 2 WWF titles, costume
changes, deaths, resurrections and Inferno matches, there was only
“Mean” Mark Callous, a two-bit big man who could walk the ropes. WCW
considered him unmarketable and dumped him unceremoniously a month after
this match, figuring it a futile gesture to bother resigning him. This
is the same governing body that thought the Black Scorpion was a good
idea. In November of 1990, Vince McMahon made them look like the idiots
they were by repackaging Mark Callous and debuting him at the Survivor
Series in a gimmick that would literally change the face of wrestling
forever. He seems to do that sort of thing a lot, doesn’t he? And thus
was the Undertaker born of WCW’s usual collective corporate
boneheadedness. As for this match, well, just imagine if Lex Luger and
Undertaker fought tomorrow, then imagine them 8 years younger, and
you’ve about got it. Punch, kick, armbar here. It’s so weird seeing
Mark display actual emotion and move-selling. Given his abilities in
both areas, I can say without fear of contradiction that the Undertaker
is the perfect character for him to play. Luger with 3 clotheslines and
the Rack, but the ref gets bumped and Paul E. whacks Luger with the
phone and revives the ref. Only a two count, then Luger pops up, nails
both Mark and Paul E. with rights, then clotheslines Mean Mark and gets
the pin (?). *1/2 Kind of an anti-climactic move to get the win with,
no? A good looking clothesline from Luger for once, though…
– Solie interviews Sting.
– NWA World tag team title: Doom v. The Rock N Roll Express. How
deeply fitting that the last gasp of greatness for the Midnight Express
should come on the same card as the last gasp of greatness for their
eternal rivals, the Rock N Roll Express. Shakespeare himself couldn’t
have written more perfectly suitable irony. Robert Gibson banged up his
knee shortly after this match and the team degenerated into what you see
stinking up WWF Shotgun on the weekends. By Bash 91, Morton and Gibson
were fighting each other. This, by contrast, is an excellent way to end
the Rock N Roll legacy in the NWA, as they symbolically allow Doom to
step into the “legend” area. Reed & Simmons had become incredibly
improved as a team at this point, in stark contrast to the lumbering
dolts who debuted under masks at Havoc 89. Doom controls this one, with
Ricky Morton playing…uh…well…Ricky Morton. Doom beats on him like
he’s their bitch. The Baltimore crowd is almost ECW-ish, completely
turning on the Rock N Rolls as Doom gets more and more offense in.
Morton does get several near falls in, keeping the pace up. A Reed
chinlock slows it down a bit. Here’s why the top rope rule used to be a
good idea: The heels would toss the face over the top with the ref
distracted, and the face would sell it like he’d been shot. That’s
good, old-school wrestling tactics. The fans would eat it up, too, and
they do just that here. Reed misses a splash and Morton hot-tags
Gibson. Katie, bar the door, it’s a pier-six brawl! Hey, Gordon Solie
is in the building, how can I *not* use his cliches? Chaos ensues, of
course, and Reed hits Gibson with a shoulderblock off the top as Gibson
is beating up poor Teddy Long. Doom retains. Great match! ****
– Solie interviews the runner-up in People’s Online Beautiful People
– NWA World Title match: Ric Flair v. Sting. You know the setup,
right? Sting is invited to join the Horsemen in 89 so Flair and his
cronies can leech the youth factor from him, but Sting is STUPID enough
to actually challenge Flair for the title *and* trust him not to
retaliate. What a maroon. The Horsemen turn on him like ugly on Dionne
Warwick and destroy his knee, putting him on the shelf for months and
turning Lex Luger into a babyface again in the process. This is the
blowoff match. And how overbooked can you get? No DQ, no countout, The
Dudes with Attitudes are around the ring to keep the Horsemen out, AND
Ole Anderson is handcuffed to El Gigante. They must have gotten Flair
drunk before he agreed to sign *that* lop-sided a deal. I miss Sting.
The real Sting, not the bum who’s been sitting in the rafters and
letting his muscles atrophy for months on end. This was *supposed* to
be the match where Sting was introduced to the world and Flair faded
into the sunset. He would of course go on to win 7 more World titles
after this. Ring psychology: The Horsemen killed Sting’s knee, and
even the marks remembered it, so when kicks him there, they all gasp in
fear. This is like the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of the
Flair-Sting series. Flair works on the knee and goes “Whoo” a lot.
Sting comeback, but Flair destroys the knee and builds to the
figure-four. Crowd is oddly quiet even for the Sting offensive
portions. Sting comeback, and he seems unsure of what the script is.
Kinda weird little segment, actually. Anyway, he gets his shit together
and gives Flair the Stinger splash, which is always a good start, and
puts him in the Scorpion deathlock. Flair escapes as the Horsemen and
Dudes with Attitudes brawl on the rampway. Crowd can sense the ending
is near and start to buzz. Token wrestling sequence (bridge, backslide,
you know the routine) leads to Stinger splash #2, but Flair moves and
Sting crashes into the turnbuckle…knee first. The crowd gasps like
Flair is the villain in a movie serial and Sting is Penelope. Flair
(Nyah-hah-hahhaha…all he needs is a moustache to twirl) goes for the
figure-four, but Our Hero does the done-to-death inside cradle to
reverse it, and gains his first World title in the process. And the
crowd goes BALLISTIC. Wow, they were really saving that sucker up.
*** For a really outstanding Flair-Sting match, see the first Clash of
Champions in 1988, or Clash 27 in 1994 where they unify the two World
The Bottom Line: Cartoonish main event aside, this was a terrific
effort on WCW’s part to kickstart the Sting title reign. So what the
f*ck happened? WCW went completely into the tank between this show and
the debut of the Dangerous Alliance in late 1991. Still, a commendable
effort all around for this one. Highly recommended.