The SmarK Retro Repost – Great American Bash ’91

The Netcop Retro Rant for The Great American Bash 1991.

A word before we get started: Many times over the past few years on

RSPW, I and many others have read newer posters state that such-and-such

a PPV is the “Worst one ever!” I assure you, whatever a given is, it is

not the Worst PPV Ever. nWo Souled Out was extremely bad, but it had a

**** ladder match. WWF King of the Ring 1995 was pretty wretched, and

certainly the worst WWF PPV, but there was at least one match over **.

No, the title of the “The Worst PPV Ever” has always fallen on, and

shall always fall on, WCW’s Great American Bash 1991, aka the Flair

Protest Show. There is no comparison to anything else, it is, without a

doubt, the biggest and most insulting waste of three hours ever to be

called a wrestling program.

Let this be a lesson to future generations of posters: Don’t watch this

show, even to see how bad it could be. It’s just not worth it, no

matter how cool your friends say you’ll be. Take up smoking instead.

On with the rant.

– Live from Baltimore, Maryland, where wrestlers can’t even shave in the

morning for fear of the Maryland State Athletic Commission stopping

their morning routine due to blood.

– Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross, with the debuting Eric

Bischoff doing interviews.

– Opening match: PN News & Beautiful Bobby Eaton v. Stunning Steve

Austin & Terry Taylor (scaffold match). And they waste no time in

tanking the whole f*cking show. Who could actually be STUPID enough to

start a major PPV with a SCAFFOLD match? The whole dynamic of these

things is that all four guys end up crawling around trying not to fall

off and kill themselves. That tends to limit the action. I have no

idea why it was even signed. It’s also “capture the flag” rules,

meaning no cool 20 foot falls to the mat. I can’t even describe

properly how BORING this match is. Crowd is just dead, and I mean DEAD,

by the end of this mess. Bobby Eaton grabs the flag and goes back to

his corner, and there’s ZERO reaction from the fans, since they’re

probably waiting for someone to fall off to end it. Quite possibly the

worst opening match in PPV history. -**** I mean it, it was THAT bad.

– Eric Bischoff interviews Paul E and Arn Anderson. Arn is the ONE guy

I would NOT want to be around at that time.

– The Diamond Studd (w/DDP) v. Tom Zenk. Scott Hall looks very roided

up and thick here. Zenk has good energy for, oh, 5 seconds, and then

the Studd puts it in under-drive with the usual kicks and punches. Hey,

yo, survey says…this match bites. Crowd drops off like flies.

Sooooooooo sloooooooooow. Zenk drags DDP into the ring and beats him

up, which enables Studd to get a belly-to-back suplex for the pin. 1/2*

This crowd is just merciless tonight in their Flair protest, basically

not popping for *anything*. Oh, well, at least it’s not Kevin Nash.

– Oz v. Ron Simmons. Oh, f*ck, it’s Kevin Nash. Oz has Kane’s pyro to

bring him out. This is just after Simmons’ singles push started. He

gets one of the few actual pops of the night. Crowd doesn’t bother

popping for anything in the match, however, and with good reason. The

match is a big, steaming bowl of fresh suck, with lightly seasoned suck

sauce, and a side of suck salad. Lumber, lumber, kick, punch, yawn.

Simmons manages to get a reaction by clotheslining Big Sexy the Giant

Killer out of the ring. Simmons with three shoulderblocks for the pin.

DUD.

– WCW’s Top 10 this week:

1. Lex Luger

2. Barry Windham

3. Sting

4. Steve Austin

5. Bobby Eaton

6. Arn Anderson

7. El Gigante

8. Diamond Studd

9. Ron Simmons

10. Johnny B. Badd

– Robert Gibson v. Ricky Morton. If you’ll recall from Clash XV, Morton

turned on Gibson and joined the York Foundation. Morton hasn’t even

bothered to change his RnR Express tights or grow an evil goatee. This

was WCW’s pathetic attempt to push Morton as a singles wrestler 6 years

too late. Crowd is actually pretty pumped for this to start. Morton

kills it, of course, by stalling nonstop for the first few minutes.

Then he spends the next 20 minutes working on Gibson’s knee. Good

psychology, but it’s boring as shit and that’s the LAST thing this DOA

crowd needs right now. It’s so weird watching Fonzie ref down the

middle now. I think everyone was expecting a more Rock N Roll Express

type of match and we get this shit instead, a point which JR makes,

although in a more diplomatic sense. I guess it wasn’t a technically

unsound match or anything, but literally 90% of it is Morton working on

the knee. I’m so bored I’m nearly dropping off by the end. Gibson

mounts an ill-advised comeback because as he’s crawling back into the

ring after a sort-of brawl on the rampway, Morton tags him with the

laptop and pins him. Yay. *

– The Young Pistols and Dustin Rhodes v. The Freebirds and Bradstreet

(six-man elimination). Wanna know how bad the tag situation in 1991

was? The ‘Birds have both the US and Six-Man tag titles. Brad

Armstrong is 5000% better than both Hayes and Garvin combined, so of

course we never get to see him here. Instead most of what he does is

running around outside and pissing off the faces with his Ultra-Rudo

act, which I dig more than anything that WCW produced in this time

period. The Freebirds waste copious amounts of time trying to get the

crowd to do ANYTHING. No dice. Hayes & Garvin of course proceed to

ruin another perfectly good match by somehow managing to drag another

team down to their level of crap. Match goes almost to the finish with

no elimations, then suddenly Steve Armstrong, Michael Hayes, Tracy

Smothers and Jim Garvin all go in rapid-fire succession, leaving Dustin

against Bradstreet. Guess who wins that one. Hint: It was with

several atomic elbows and a bulldog. *1/4

Note: We’re now about halfway into the show and my highest rating is

*1/4. And that’s just because of Brad Armstrong’s performance. And

this was supposed to be the show that started a new era for WCW?

– The Yellow Dog v. Johnny B. Badd. Johnny’s initial push continues

here. The Yellow Dog is Brian Pillman in the usual dipshit Dusty angle.

Johnny was playing it totally gay here. This was basically his first

PPV appearance, keep in mind. Nothing match, full of armdrags and the

ocassional Pillman dropkick. Teddy Long runs in for no good reason and

tries to attack Pillman, thus earning a DQ. The crowd is out of it, as

usual tonight. * Pillman was not just half-assing it, he was

half-assing the half of an ass he brought with him. Can you blame him,

though?

– Lumberjack match: Black Blood v. Big Josh. Blood is Billy Jack

Haynes. This was not a smart idea on WCW’s part, I’ll say that much.

Kick and punch and the usual screwy stuff involved with a lumberjack

match. And still Black Blood tries to rise above the convuluted booking

and actually makes a match out of it. I guess no one told him about

Flair. A big brawl ensues, and Dustin Rhodes whacks Black Blood with an

axe handle, allowing Josh to get the pin. *3/4 I just can’t give it **

in good conscience. It actually got the crowd going.

– One Man Gang v. El Gigante. Well, that didn’t last long. Kevin

Sullivan gives a long, rambling interview that kills the crowd again.

Gigante carries four midgets to the ring. Stupid, stupid, stupid. El

Gigante is the worst “mainstream” wrestler, ever. Period. One Man Gang

beats on him with a cast iron wrench for 5 minutes and he can’t even

sell *that* without screwing it up. The crowd is having a collective

nap. I’m surprised they haven’t walked out yet. Gigante can’t wrestle,

talk, sell or act. His whole thing is that he’s really, really tall.

OMG actually carries a match (not out of negative stars…oh, lord,

no…) and loses it after having his own powder kicked in his face.

-**

– Russian Chain Match: Nikita Koloff v. Sting. This was a super-hot

feud at the time, so maybe it’ll wake up the crowd. Nikita, however,

didn’t anything worthwhile in his entire 91-92 WCW stint, so don’t count

on anything good here. Sting’s entrance finally gets a big pop out of

the crowd. As a sidenote, I have yet to watch a Russian chain/Indian

strap/Dog Collar style match that really made me say “Wow, I never

realized how good that style of match could be.” This is no exception.

The gimmick overwhelms the wrestling, which is basically kicking and

punching with the chain, and not very convincingly. Plus, having seen

dozens of Sting matches, I can safely say when he’s dogging it, and he’s

definitely got it in low gear here. You know when WCW is hammering the

point of it being a brawl, because there’s always ballshots galore.

Four of them in this case. The referee is very lenient with the whole

“breaking of momentum” thing, in this case letting them fight

extensively in between touching corners. They touch 3, and then Sting

Stinger splashes Koloff into the fourth, giving Koloff the win. Bad

matches happen to good wrestlers, I guess. *

– WCW World title match: Barry Windham v. Lex Luger.

At this point, I feel the need to break into a bit of an essay about

this match.

I think that those who refer to the Bret Hart fiasco as the sleaziest

event in modern wrestling history are overlooking this match.

This match was not only a lousy match, but Barry Windham was not even a

contender to the title at the time. The promised match had been Ric

Flair v. Lex Luger, a match which had literally been building for more

than a year, and maybe even for three years depending on your point of

view on the matter. It was to be Ric Flair dropping the WCW World

title, finally, to Lex Luger, after years of being chased by Luger and

screwing him out of the title with every means of cheating known to man.

Everyone knew it, in much the same way everyone knew Lex Luger was

walking out of Detroit as the champion the night he faced Hulk Hogan for

the title.

But Flair’s contract was almost up in 1991, and they wanted him to job

the title to Lex Luger and ride into the sunset as a manager. Or ride

into the sunset as a babyface. Or whatever he wanted, just for less

pay. But dropping the title to Luger was absolute. Flair refused, and

Jim Herd, instead of reasoning with him and offering him big money to do

a single job before going to the WWF or wherever, simply fired Flair

outright and took the WCW World title back, leaving Flair still the NWA

World champion and thus shattering the lineage of the longest lasting

World title in history, beyond repair.

So what did the fans get for their hard-earned money on PPV? Lex Luger

v. Barry Windham for the vacant title, in a match where 99% of the

audience knew in advance Luger was going to win, if only because he had

to. They made the ridiculous decision to push Windham, who had been

wrestling exclusively in tag matches with Arn Anderson for 8 months

previous, as the #2 contender to the title and somehow deserving a title

shot.

As one final slap in the face to the fans, WCW didn’t even have another

copy of the World title ready in case someone did what Flair did. They

took the old Western States title, slapped a piece of metal over the

“Western States” part and wrote “World Champion” or something on it. It

was the most self-parodying and bush league move ever seen from a

federation that would grow to make an art form out of f*cking up.

As Luger and Windham made their entrances and the cage was lowered, the

fans now suddenly came alive. Not out of excitement for this garbage,

but in defiance of the sudden erasing of their champion, by loudly

chanting “WE WANT FLAIR!” at every opportunity. It was the most energy

shown by the crowd the entire night.

Jim Ross and Tony Sciavone doggedly ignored the howls of protest from

the fans, but sleep with the dogs and wake up with the fleas, WCW. You

brought it upon yourselves. Ask Vince about it.

Barry and Lex went out and half-assed a match that was half-assed to

begin with, in sympathy for Flair, although Luger seems to try harder

because we all know he doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself.

The announcers try to build Windham as a babyface, but WE WANT FLAIR!

Kind of hard to build him up as a fan favorite when they’re chanting for

the biggest heel in the business.

The match goes on with no real flow or psychology, and then Harley Race

and Mr. Hughes come out as one last way to ruin the whole experience.

Race yells at Luger that “now is the time” and Luger suddenly regains

all his energy and pins Windham after a single piledriver to win the

World title. Luger has now turned heel, for no real reason, after being

built as a babyface for months. The fact that Harley Race would

involve himself in this speaks volumes. Luger carries the belt back to

the dressing room to continuous chants for Flair with no real

enthusiasm. What a joke. What a sad, pathetic joke and the worst

possible way to start off the “new era” of WCW, without Flair. By 1993,

the fans would be so loudly and passionately screaming for the man they

*really* paid to see that WCW would have no choice but to sign him

again.

WE WANT FLAIR!

– Paul E. Dangerously & Arn Anderson v. Missy Hyatt & Rick Steiner.

Speaking of sad, pathetic jokes, we’ve got about 3 minutes of airtime

left at this point and another cage match to go. Everyone comes out and

the Hardliners kidnap Missy Hyatt, thus depriving the fans of seeing her

beat up Paul E., which was the whole point of having this crappy mixed

match to begin with. Anderson and Steiner half-ass it for a minute or

so, and then Paul E. foolishly tags in, gets clotheslined by Rick, and

pinned. And that’s it. End of show.

The Bottom Line:

It was the worst of times. WCW somehow managed to scrape even more off

the bottom of the barrel, sinking lower than 1990’s Black Scorpion

fiasco by turfing out their #1 guy and putting on the single worst show

in the history of wrestling PPVs. There wasn’t a single redeeming

factor about this show, not one match you could point to and say “This

is the reason to watch this show.” It was just bad in every possible

manner from start to finish. About the best match was the World title

one, and when your hottest match tops out around **1/2 it’s time to take

a serious look at where your federation is going and who’s running the

show.

Do I recommend watching the show? Yes. Without a doubt.

Because that way, the next time someone reviews a show by any federation

and calls it the worst PPV ever, you can say “Fuck that, I’ve seen WCW

Great American Bash 1991″ and that should be enough to shut up just

about anyone.

Later.