Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We Are At War: WCW Great American Bash 1998

I wish I had been as Gonzo as Savage was here watching this show.
[This is from the historic Nitro when EVERYONE was plastered, 6/8/98]

WCW Great American Bash, June 14th,1998

Booker T vs. Chris Benoit, the winner faces Fit Finlay for the TV Championship later tonight

This was apparently the final match in a Best of Seven series, and they showed a video package before the match detailing how we got to this point which included a fuck finish, on Thunder, that was scratched from the record books on Booker's request [Thunder Recap Count= 1]. We're getting deep into WCW stupid, now. It was a good opener, both men were very good and deserved better even at that point. Benoit in particular was really hot with the crowd. They were into every chop and german suplex, so of course he lost to a missile dropkick from the top rope.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/2
It was fun, but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it like Benoit/Finlay last month.

Kanyon vs Saturn

Another really fun match, almost like all the quality on these WCW shows are skewed to the undercard. Month after month, I keep wondering why Saturn never got beyond the mid-card in either WCW or WWE. Kanyon himself wasn't bad, much larger than I remember him being as well. They took it to each other the whole match, busting out a lot of moves that are commonplace in today's Indy scene and NXT. Kanyon especially was the prototype to the standard Indy wrestler stereotype of today, sans dives.
Then the Bullshit happened. Oh God, the Bullshit.
So the match is coming along fine, until Mortis showed up. Mortis, being Kanyon's old gimmick, proceeded to throw Saturn from the floor back into the ring. Then, a second (or third?) Mortis appeared, and the two...Morti?...began to brawl. In the process, we almost missed Kanyon winning with I think was a second rope Samoan drop? After the match, one of the MK ripoffs unmasked to show himself as Raven, who laid Kanyon out and berate Saturn. Saturn, in turn, rushed Raven and proceeded to murder the Flock that came in around him. Hopefully we get Saturn and Raven next month. I really like Saturn on these PPVs

Meltzer Rating: **1/2
Again, like the last match this was an above average affair. I wouldn't have gone out of my way for it, but I'm not upset that I watched it.

Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko for the vacant WCW Cruiserweight Championship

Dean surrendered the title on Thunder so that he could get another match with Jericho and settle Chris' conspiracy theories once and for all [Thunder Recap Count=2]. The crowd was hot for this match, maybe more hot than for anything else on this show. Jericho was detested by the crowd, and they were ecstatic every time Dean got offense in. It was a very good, basically plotted out contest, all that can be expected from these two athletes. We had a bullshit finish,but as stupid as the Mortis twins that showed up earlier. Jericho berated Malenko at one point, bringing up his dead father. Dean snapped, as you do, and began beating the ManShitPissFuck out of Jericho, eventually causing a disqualification. Dean beat Chris yon to the outside of the arena and out onto the street, which was a cool visual.

Meltzer Rating: ***
Fun match, a good way to, I can only assume, continue the story into next month. We'll see if that holds up.

Juventud Guererra vs Reese

Juvi was being pushed at this time, supposedly. Can't fucking tell from this show, as he and Reese put on what is easily the most boring match I've seen in a long time. Reese didn't sell, Juvi tried very hard. There wasn't anything that could be salvaged from this. And the ending came with a chair shot from a third party (Van Hammer, for profiling purposes) , and a school boy.

Meltzer Rating: -*

Chavo Guerrero vs Eddie Guerrero

 This match felt like KUSHIDA/Takahashi after the last one. It started out great, fast paced and action packed. Chavo took control early and had it for a solid 4-5 minutes. If that pace had kept that way for the whole match, I can only imagine where the match could have gone. Unfortunately, Eddie had to slow the pace down to get the heat in. It was good heat, and it led itself to a really good comeback blitz by Chavo. Finishing sequence was awesome, with uncle and nephew giving it their all until Chavo won with a Tornado DDT.

Meltzer Rating:***
A very fun match. Might have to rewatch it, once I can start it cold.

Booker T vs Fir Finlay for the WCW TV Championship

A continuation of the story from earlier, Finlay was Booker's second great hurdle of the night, and it turned out to be just as good as the PPV's opener. Finlay was perhaps more underrated than Benoit, but even today he still does not get as much recognition as he deserves. The two had a decently long match, centered heavily around Finlay using the Tombstone Piledriver, which eventually led to his demise. Booker would put him away with an unconventional Piledriver on his part, as I believe he seldom used the maneuver. Shame that the TV title was a practically dead belt at this point, but the matches for it so far have been hot.

Meltzer Rating:**1/4

Goldberg vs. Konnan for the WCW United States Championship

 It was short. Felt like less than a minute, but I suspect it went somewhere around 1:45. Goldberg's entrance took longer than the match itself. Which was most likely for the better. Goldberg was sloppy and explosive, which is how I like my Goldberg.

Meltzer Rating: 1/2*

Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper and Randy Savage

The average age in this match was ~43 with Hart being the youngest. How did this company get so far ahead in the world of wrestling with 'marquee' matches like this? I swear that 40% of the offense in this match consisted of back and eye rakes. Hogan got the heat on Piper (A sentence my brain refuses to attempt to compute), and the babyfaces eventually got the momentum going back for them when, and I make none of this up, Savage put a chair on Piper's stomach, so that when Hart went to headbutt Piper's gut, he smacked the chair with his head. All for naught, as the now fucked up Savage's knee, and a Sharpshooter ended it. Score one for the Good Guys.

Meltzer Rating: DUD

Roddy Piper vs Randy Savage

Immediately after, Savage on one good leg attacks Piper to start their match, and manages to get a flying elbow off, before Piper uses a Figure Four to make Savage tap out for the second time in approximately 10 minutes.

Meltzer Rating: DUD

Sting vs The Giant, the winner gains possession of both WCW Tag Team Championship belts

The Giant was a part of the now Hollywood, and smoking a cigarette. Sting was part of the now Wolfpac, and had historically bad face paint. put them together, and we get a really boring, 6 minute Main Event. They did the best they could, but there was almost nothing that the two of them could do. Sting hit the Death Drop three times to put The giant away, walking away with both tag titles. [He later gave the other half of the titles to Kevin Nash]

Meltzer Rating:1/4*
Sting Deserves Better

Will this company just fucking die?
Oh, does...

(All Dave Meltzer Ratings taken from the June 22nd issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter)

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