Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Monday, 27 February 2017

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: Event poster
August 10, 1996
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota

Largely criticized as being little more than an excuse for Eric Bischoff to indulge his love for motorcycles, WCW Hog Wild 1996 served as the first PPV featuring Hollywood Hulk Hogan as a fully fledged villain. 

So, quite why the original VHS cover for this event still features The Icon in all his red-and-yellow babyface glory is anyone's guess, but hey, let's not bogged down in details. Instead, let's focus on tonight's show, a free, open-air event held as part of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which would see Hogan, now leader of the industry-changing new World order, looking to dethrone The Giant for the WCW Championship.

Would he succeed? Would the nWo continue the reign of destruction they'd waged on World Championship Wrestling ever since the infamous night of Hogan's heel turn back at Bash at the Beach 1996?

Let's cut the intro here and find out together, shall we?

Welcome to Sturgis 

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' HeenanOur show tonight began with an opening video which focused not on the superstars of WCW nor any of the matches taking place, but instead on Sturgis itself and the popularity of the biker rally. After shots of women flashing their bras and riding almost bare-assed down the street (this from a company who had spent the past month's worth of Nitro shows in residence at Disney), we were taken to our commentary team, which tonight would consist of The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

As the trio began hyping tonight's matches, two things quickly became apparent:

  1. Schiavone looked ridiculous in his "biker costume" (complete with fake tattoo)
  2. The sound of the Sturgis crowd revving their engines was going to be a big distraction, drowning out the commentators and getting pretty annoying, pretty quickly. 
With that out of the way, it was on to our first match. 

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio vs. Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) 

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW - Ultimo Dragon Challenged Rey Mysterio Jr. for the Cruiserweight title
With Iron Mike Tenay joining the commentary team, Rey Mysterious successfully defended his cruiserweight title against Ultimo Dragon in a spirited, though somewhat disappointing match. 

Of course, that's not to say there was anything wrong with it, but given the caliber of the performers involved, it's fair to say that your reviewer set his expectations perhaps just a little too high. 

Indeed, whilst this wasn't the captivating cruiserweight classic we might have hoped for, it was a decent, straight-forward opener with a couple of cool spots thrown in for good measure. 
Your Winner and Still WCW cruiser weight champion: Rey Mysterio Jr. 

Out in the crowd, Mean Gene Okerlund, looking just as ridiculous in his fake biker costume as his broadcast colleagues, shilled the WCW hotline before the announcers went back to telling us how cool Sturgis was. 

Scott 'Flash' Norton vs. Ice Train 

True story, for a time when I was maybe eight or nine years old, ITV, one of the main broadcasters here in the UK, showed WCW's Disney Studios shows on Saturday afternoons. During this period, for reasons which are largely unfathomable to me now, Ice Train was my absolute favourite wrestler. 

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: Ice Train had a grudge match against Fire & Ice partner, Ice Train
Here, my one-time hero sought to gain revenge on his former Fire & Ice tag partner Scott Norton after flash turned on him a few weeks earlier on Nitro.

Not that he would have much success tonight. 

Earlier in the evening, on WCW Saturday Night, 'Train had apparently gotten himself caught up in the conflict between his manager Teddy Long, and WCW Champion The Giant (Long's other charge, Sgt. Craig Pittman had lost a match against The Giant on Nitro) after which both he and Long were chokeslammed by the champ). That hadn't ended well for Ice Train, who also found himself on the wrong end of a Giant attack, and was forced to wrestle this grudge match with his arm and chest heavily bandaged. 

Naturally, his adversary took full advantage of this, working over Train's arm with a series of submission holds which, quite frankly, bored the pants off your writer. 

After a short bout, the referee decided that Ice Train could no longer continue, and this snore fest was over. 
Your Winner: Scott Norton 

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: Ric Flair promised revenge on the nWo
In a brief interlude, we were next shown a recap of a sit down interview with The Nature Boy Ric Flair which had originally played out earlier on WCW Saturday Night. 

The clip saw Flair promising revenge after the nWo attacked his best friend, Arn Anderson two weeks ago on Nitro, and vowing that the Four Horsemen would do whatever it took to rid WCW of the New World Order. 

Up next, we were given a look at the official WCW Hog Wild 1996 merchandise.

WCW HOG WILD 1996: Jimmy Hart shilling epic merchandise
The voiceover man assured us that the t-shirt and denim jacket were the coolest items of clothing around, though one look at them was enough to assure you that this wasn't the case. 

Just to prove how 'cool' they were, the company had Jimmy Hart of all people feature in the commercial.

I don't know about you, but when I think of cool, the last person I think of is the Mouth of the South.

Finally, after more talk about how great Sturgis is, it was back to ringside. 

Battle of the Bikes
Bull Nakano (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Madusa

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: Madusa beat Bull Nakano in a Battle of the Bikes
In a rematch from their Summerslam 1994 encounter, Madusa and Bull Nakano locked up in a match in which the winner would be allowed to smash the loser's motorcycle with a sledgehammer.

As dumb as it such a stipulation may sound (especially since Nakano didn't seem to give a damn about her bike), you have to hand it to WCW, it did work. 

For the first time on the show, the crowd really came alive, rallying behind Madusa and taunting Bull Nakano with chants of 'USA! USA!' 

The crowd involvement seemed to help too, in turning this short little bout into the most enjoyable one on the card up to that point. 

The ending however was a tad confusing; Nakano hit a suplex and seemed to pick up the win, after which Sonny Onoo picked up the sledgehammer and went after Madusa's bike. Madusa gave chase, was declared the winner (apparently she'd raised her shoulder and Nakano hadn't) and proceeded to attack Nakano's bike. 
Your Winner: Madusa 


WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: Steiner Brothers play on the internet
Backstage, the Steiner Brothers were chatting to fans online via Compuserve (remember that?) until Rick Steiner found a "game" and wouldn't let Scott play on it.

The two began playfully jostling behind two laptops, neither man seeming all that concerned with their upcoming WCW tag team title shot against Harlem Heat.

If that sounds weird, believe me, that's because it was.

Dean Malenko vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth)

In between my Bash at the Beach 1996 review and tonight's show, I watched every single Nitro and clued myself in as best I could on the storylines taking place at the time. That includes the ongoing rivalry between The Four Horsemen and The Dungeon of Doom, which somehow saw Jimmy Hart hiring Dean Malenko to take out Chris Benoit once and for all.

WCW Hog Wild 1996 REVIEW: Jimmy Hart paid Dean Malenko to take out Chris Benoit
Despite this, I just can't tell who -if anybody- is supposed to be the babyface in this story. As far as I can tell, it's all just a bunch of heels hating on each other. You know what? If that's what it took to produce matches like this, then I'm all for it.

Yes, I'm aware of what Benoit did, and no, I'm not in the camp that thinks he should still be revered by fans after the crimes he committed, but for the sake of these reviews, I've decided to just judge Benoit's matches on their own merit,and as such, I'm happy to report that yes, this one was a good one.

A true 'wrestling' match in the purest sense of the word, The Crippler and The Ice Man atacked each other with everything they had in a gruelling, hard fought contest that was spoiled only by a general lack of interest from the Sturgis crowd.

Despite this, the two kept going, first wrestling each other to a time limit draw, and then taking the match into not one, but two five minute over-time periods. In the second of these, Woman got involved, allowing Benoit to roll-up Malenko for a somewhat anti-climatic finish.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

After more shots of the live crowd, it was straight on to our next match.

World Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray w/ Sister Sherri & Col. Parker) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick &  Scott Steiner)

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: Harlem Heat defended the tag titles against the Steiner Brothers
Just when it looked as though the subdued crowd had possibly fallen asleep for good during that last bout, Booker T, Stevie Ray, Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner certainly did a terrific job of waking them up again with a fun, by-the-numbers bout for the tag team titles.

Getting the crowd pumped up in a way that they hadn't been all night, both teams went at it in a hard-hitting battle that was made all the more enjoyable thanks to the excitement generated by the live audience.

Just when it looked like The Steiners may have secured the victory, Col. Parker and Sister Sherri got involved, the latter blasting Scott in the face with white powder, and the former drilling Steiner over the head with a cane. That was enough for Booker T to make the cover, get the count, and win the match for his team.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat

Up next, we were shown footage various WCW superstars riding to Sturgis, along with more generic shots of people riding through the streets on bikes. You know, just in case you hadn't already figured out that this was a biker ralley or something.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Ric Flair (w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth) vs. Eddie Guerrero 

WCW HOG WILD REVIEW 1996 - Ric Flair defended US title against Eddie Guerrero
For the second pay per view in a row, United States Champion Ric Flair had one of the best matches on the show, this time in a solid defence against future legend, Eddie Guerrero.

With the sun setting on Sturgis and the crowd now finally alive, both men went at it in an exhilarating, see-saw battle which up to this point was your writer's favourite match on the entire show.

After plenty of back-and-forth action, Woman once again got involved, giving Ric Flair the assist by pulling on his arms for extra leverage as he held Guerrero in the figure four. Apparently passing out due to the pain, Guerrero lay on the mat, shoulders down, and was pinned.
Your Winner and Still WCW United States Champion: Ric Flair

Somewhere out in the arena, Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart and WCW Champion The Giant about the latter's upcoming match with Hulk Hogan. Hart warned Hogan not to fall over "because nobody will be there to pick you up," whilst Giant himself spoke about how Hogan had betrayed WCW, and how it was up to The Giant himself to end Hulk once and for all.

Sting & Lex Luger vs. The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash)

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: The Outsiders faced Sting and Lex Luger
Though the ambiance of being outdoors in the dark did lend a certain aesthetic appeal to this match, the actual in-ring action did nothing -and I mean *nothing*- to warrant anybody ever watching it more than once.

To say it was boring would hardly be doing it justice. Honestly, from the moment it started to the moment it finished, it seemed as though neither Lex Luger, Sting, Scott Hall, nor Kevin Nash actually wanted to be there. All four men simply showed up and did as little as they possibly could to get through a dull, lifeless bout.

Thankfully, Luger and Hall eventually put us out of our misery when the former picked up the latter for a torture rack. Referee Nick Patrick got in the way, coming up short on the reeving end of Hall's boot and taking a tumble. In a move which must have seemed bizarre at the time -but which now makes plenty of sense with hindsight- Patrick "accidentally" chopped Luger around the back of the leg, causing Hall to fall on top of him.

One very fast three count later, and this one was finally over.
Your Winners: The Outsiders 

With all that over and done with, it was on to our main event of the evening.


World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW Champion The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan

WCW HOG WILD 1996 REVIEW: Hulk Hogan defeated The Giant for the WCW Title
Perhaps the four men in our previous match should have been watching closely as The Giant and Hulk Hogan locked up in the final match of the evening. Why? Because this was a perfect example of how to do very little and actually make it work. 

Indeed, whilst the last match had seen the two tag teams sleep-walk their way through things with all the passion and emotion of a dead tree, Hogan and Giant actually made what little work they did do look like it matters. 

Hogan played the cowardly heel role to perfection, stalling for as long as possible and doing everything he could to avoid actually getting involved with the champion, before finally both men ended up trading the advantage in a heated test of strength. 

It may not have been much, and it certainly wouldn't qualify this for "classic match" status, but it certainly worked, and was at least reasonably entertaining. 

Towards the finish, The Outsiders returned to the ring, only to get planted by the champion. This however, was enough to distract the referee long enough for Hogan to grab the title, drill The Giant with it, and win the match.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Champion: Hollywood Hulk Hogan

WCW HOG WILD 1996: The Booty Man brought a birthday cake for Hulk Hogan
Post match, The Booty Man with two men carrying a birthday cake for Hogan. Presenting it to the new champion, the man formerly known as Brutus Beefcake played up his real-life friendship with Hogan and implied that he was the much-talked-about fourth member of the New World Order. 

Man, was he ever about to be disappointed. Hogan took to the mic, first hyping his upcoming title defence against Ric Flair at Clash of the Champions, then turning his attentions to Booty Man and, after declaring his love for the erstwhile Barber, ordering Hall and Nash to attack him. 

"If that's what I'll do to my best friend," he yelled. "Imagine what I'll do to you, Ric Flair."

Finally, in a historic moment, Hogan took black spray paint and defaced the WCW title belt with the nWo logo, bringing the show to a close as he, Hall, and Nash ushered in the new era of the New World Order.

Though WCW Hog Wild 1996 may have been only marginally less historically important than the game-changing Bash at the Beach '96, the show was certainly far superior from an in-ring stand-point. The two main event matches may not have been up to much, but Flair/Guerrero, Harlem Heat/Steiners and Benoit/Malenko all made this one well worth the watch. 

Next time on Retro Pro Wrestling, I'll cover the Clash of Champions match which saw Hogan make his first title defence against Flair, followed by Fall Brawl 1996, featuring nWo vs. WCW in War Games. Until then, thanks for reading, and be sure to come join me on Twitter @Retropwrestling.http://twitter.com/retropwrestling

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

WCW BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 PPV REVIEW

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - EVENT POSTER
July 7, 1996,
Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida

It was one of the biggest and most historic events in the history of World Championship Wrestling, if not in the history of modern pro wrestling itself. On this night, at the company's annual summer-time show Bash at the Beach, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall would form the nucleus of one of the sport's most formidable factions; the New World Order. 

Yet whilst we all remember what went down in the final moments of the show's historic main event, the rest of Bash at the Beach 1996 seems to have been largely forgotten about.

Is that an indicator as to the quality of the rest of the show, or is it simply that the birth of the nWo was so important that it would have overshadowed even the most stacked of undercards?

Let's find out together as we go back to the summer of 1996 and relive the night that pro wrestling changed forever.

Bash at the Beach: The Hostile Takeover (with a bit of Seal)

Remember that song Crazy by Seal? It was awesome, right? I certainly think so, and so too, apparently, did somebody working in WCW's production department at the time. At least, that's the only reason I can think of as to why they used a rip-off  sound-a-like production theme version of that song as the soundtrack to a neat compilation video highlighting the destruction caused by Kevin Nash and Scott Hall since their arrival to the company.

"Never before in the history of our sport has there been a night like this one!" began Tony Schiavone, what would normally be his stock hyperbole being right on the money for once. 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - COMMENTARY TEAM
For tonight's show, Schiavone would be joined by two legends of the game, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and 'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes. The commentary team were also flanked by security guards, though it wasn't made clear whether that was due to a genuine concern on behalf of their welfare, or to play up the idea that those dastardly Outsiders might attack them at any moment.

Whatever it was, the security guards didn't get into the conversation as the trio speculated on who the Third Man may be in tonight's six-man main event, and informed us all that, whoever it was, the energy backstage, was at an all time high. 

With that, it was on to the ring for our first match. 

Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Psychosis took on Rey Mysterio in the opening match
It was at this point that 'Iron' Mike Tenay joined the commentary booth, which in this writer's mind, instantly made this one more enjoyable. 

Like hearing Jim Ross passionately calling an Attitude Era main event, there's just something about hearing Tenay call a cruiserweight match that is oddly comforting to someone who grew up watching wrestling at this time. 

Commentary aside, the in-ring action between two of WCW's top high-fliers was just about as good as you might imagine it to be.

Starting slow by trading predominantly mat-based offense, both men built up an entertaining and often intense opening contest with each high spot coming more dramatic than the last. Fittingly, this fine start to the show ended in spectacular fashion when Rey Mysterio Jr. reversed a top-rop crucifix powerbomb attempt by Pyschosis into a hurricanrana, hooked the leg, and got the three count.
Your Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr. 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Konnan speaks to Mean Gene about his US Title Defence Against Ric Flair
Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke to reigning US Champion Konnan about his upcoming title defense against The Nature Boy Ric Flair. Konnan, who hadn't yet become the gangsta-style figure he'd be better known for in WCW, promised to take out any member of the Four Horsemen that got in his way, and to retain his title no matter what.

Carson City Silver Dollar Match Big Bubba (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. John Tenta

21 years after this event took place, your reviewer still has fond memories of World Championship Wrestling thanks to matches like the previous opening bout, and for others featuring the likes of Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Steven Regal.

That said, it's hard to give WCW too much praise when you remember that the company charged people money to watch Big Bubba and John Tenta fight for a sock of silver dollars on a pole.

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Big Bubba (w/ Jimmy Hart) faced John Tenta in a Carson City Silver Dollar Match
The complete opposite of the earlier Mysterio/Pyschosis clash, this was slow, cumbersome and stupid, especially when it became immediately obvious that both Bubba and Tenta were too fat to actually climb the pole.

Instead, both men had to work around their disadvantage, Tenta by attempting to lower the actual pole, and Bubba sending up his manager Jimmy Hart to retrieve the sock full of dollars. Hart did just that, only to find the former Earthquake waiting for him. Tenta grabbed the dollars, nailed the one-time Big Boss Man with them, and scored the win, putting an end to a bout which was as dumb in its premise as it was tedious in its execution.
Your Winner: John Tenta 

Post match, Tenta poured the dollars onto Bubba's head, which I suppose was some sort of consolation prize.

Mean Gene Interviews Team WCW 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Randy Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger faced The Outsiders
Backstage, Okerlund spoke to the three men who would be representing WCW in tonight's Hostile Takeover match: Sting, 'Macho Man' Randy Savage, and 'The Total Package,' Lex Luger. 

You know, it was only during this interview that I actually realised that Hall & Nash were not referred to be name, and hadn't been so throughout the whole broadcast up to this point. 

Instead, the three good guys (who all wore Sting-style face paint as a sign of solidarity) referred to their opponents simply as 'they' and basically promised to send 'them' packing back to where 'they' came from. 

It may have only been a small thing, but it really did make the whole story come across as being more legitimate than it actually was. 

Taped Fist 'Lord of the Ring' MatchDiamond Dallas Page vs. 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan

We're watching tonight's show on the WWE Network, meaning Diamond Dallas Page has a rip-off version of his Smells Like Teen Spirit rip-off for theme music, but that isn't the only interesting thing about page's appearance. 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Diamond Dallas Page faced Jim Duggan in a taped fist match
Here in mid 1996, the man who would go on to be WCW's People's Champion, was still working as a cigar-chomping heel, complete with turquoise tights and arrogant swagger. Not that either appeared to do him much good as he defended the 'Lord of the Ring' award that Page had won at that year's Slamboree

DDP was roundly battered from pillar to post by Hacksaw Jim Duggan, only managing to turn the tables for a brief period by cutting the tape from Duggan's wrist and wrapping him around the ring post. 

Duggan made a comeback, working his usual smash-mouth style in a match which was just about watchable. 

Eventually, Page pulled a Diamond Cutter "From Outta Nowhere" to keep his ring, only to get smashed in the mouth by Duggan after the bell. 
Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Dungeon of Doom including Kevin Sullivan and WCW Champion The Giant
Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed The Dungeon of Doom members Kevin Sullivan and WCW Heavyweight Champion, The Giant about their rivalry with The Four Horsemen.

Though neither man made the greatest deal of sense, the general gist of their promo was clear: They didn't like the Horsemen and would beat them up in their upcoming match.

Offering a retort, Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson spoke to Lee Marshal out on the entrance way, promising to finish off their adversaries once and for all.

Four Man Dog Collar MatchPublic Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Nasty Boys 

Before the action could get underway, referees were assigned to ensure that both teams were connected by the dog collars which gave the match its name. Rocco Rock and Jerry Sags were both bound by a chain between their individual dog collars, as were Johnny Grunge and Brian Knobs. 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Public Enemy vs. Nasty Boys terrible split screen
What was then supposed to ensue, was a wild, chaotic brawl, a frenzied, hard-hitting battle that would serve as a violent respite from the traditional 'wrestling' on the show. 

For the most part, that's exactly what this match delivered. At least, I think it is. The majority of the bout was filmed in double screen, with Rock and Sags doing their thing on one screen and Grunge and Knobs duking it out on another. 

The end result was that this ended up being quite difficult to watch. Doing so, you found your eyes darting back from one side of the split screen to the next, not really able to keep up with the action in a way that would allow you to become emotionally invested. 

It came as something of a relief when both teams finished their lengthy walk up the ilse and came back to the ring, were we could finally watch them battle it out on a single screen, but unfortunately the damage had been done by this point, and I can't honestly say I cared much when the Nasties used the chain to clothesline Rocco Rock and pick up the win. 
Your Winners: The Nasty Boys

Afterwards, the carnage continued, with Public Enemy gaining some measure of revenge. 

A Word With Mean Gene 

Backstage, Mean Gene stood by the locker room of The Outsiders, threatening to go 'right to a lawyer' should either of them dare to touch him. Not that this was ever going to be an issue. Neither Hall nor Nash emerged from their dressing room, leaving Okerlund to  basically give us some hype for tonight's main event and speculate on the whereabouts of Eric Bischoff, who had gone AWOL since being attacked by The Outsiders.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship Match
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Disco Inferno 

On entering the ring, Disco Inferno invited us all to the 'Disco Dance Party' he would be throwing after winning the cruiserweight title. Not that he'd have much chance for getting on down tonight. 

Defending champion Dean Malenko marched to the ring, slapped the snot out of Disco, and proceeded to beat him all the way around the ring. 

Sure, Disco got some offense in there, but this was basically an exhibition to showcase the in-ring prowess of Malenko, and though that didn't make for the greatest match in the world, this one was certainly entertaining enough for what it was. 

Predictably, the champion retained thanks to the Texas Cloverleaf. 
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko 

With no time for a break, it was directly on to our next match.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael (w/ Deborah) vs. Joe Gomez

According to the commentary team, this was only the third match ever for Mongo McMichael, and boy did it show. His short battle with Joe Gomez consisted mostly of punches, kicks, and chops, with the former Chicago Bears star dominating most of the action. 

Though certainly not the worst match in history, there was nothing about this one to make it must see viewing. Naturally, Mongo picked up the win thanks to the Mongo Spike.
Your Winner: Steve McMichael

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Mean Gene interviews Ric Flair with Miss Elizabeth and Woman
Backstage, Mean Gene interviewed Ric Flair, who was flanked by Horsemen valets Miss Elizabeth and Woman. Whilst Ric styled, profiled, and boasted about how much he and his stable mates would dominate tonight's show, Okerlund mostly flirted with Woman, pretended not to, then flirted again. Sad as it may sound, the sight of Mean Gene and Woman touching each other up totally distracted from Flair's usual charismatic delivery, though I did manage to pay attention long enough to hear him promise to win the US title

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Match
WCW U.S Champion Konnan vs. Ric Flair (w. Woman & Miss Elizabeth)

Leave it to the Nature Boy to finally give us an exciting match after a night of so-so outings by his contemporaries. 

Though Flair had plenty of far better matches under his belt, compared to the rest of tonight's card, his U.S title match with Konnan was five-star stuff and -up to this point- definitely deserved match of the night honours. 

Not that Flair did all the work. Reigning champion Konnan was no slouch either, taking it to the challenger with a combination of power-based offense and submission holds. 

Unfortunately for the Mexican star, even his best wasn't good enough to keep Woman and Miss Elizabeth from getting involved. Indeed, just when it looked as though the champion would retain, the latter distracted the referee whilst the former drilled Konnan with her shoe. 

One three count later, and we had ourselves a new United States champion. 
Your Winner and NEW U.S Champion: Ric Flair 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Mean Gene speculates on who the third man is
Backstage, Mean Gene continued to speculate on who the mystery 'Third Man,' might be, even going so far as to suggest that he'd heard a familiar-sounding voice behind the closed door of The Outsider's dressing room, but also insisting that he was unable to place said voice.

As Okerlund went off to ask a few security guards whether they had any idea, it was on to our next match.

The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Chris Benoit) vs. The Dungeon of Doom (Kevin Sullivan & WCW Champion The Giant w/ Jimmy Hart) 

This one turned ugly before it even got t o the ring. As Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson made their entrance, The Giant, Kevin Sullivan, and Jimmy Hart all attacked. This brought out Mongo McMichael, who nailed The Giant with his briefcase.

The man we'd go on to know as Big Show gave chase, leaving Sullivan to take a beating, something which would continue even as The Giant returned and the match got underway properly. 

I say 'match,' let's be honest, it was barely that. Sullivan got his ass handed to him at the hands of both Horsemen, before the giant finally got the tag and won the match for his team. 

Afterwards, Benoit continued to batter on the Taskmaster, forcing Woman to come out and plead with him to stop and, eventually, for The Giant to make the save. 

This was a weird one to watch for a couple of reasons: 

1) it was only half way through the bout that you realised The Giant was the company's top champion, that's how little it was mentioned
2) Kevin Sullivan, at least in this writer's eyes, has always been the conniving, dastardly heel, so putting him in the "babyface in peril" role was an odd choice that elicited absolutely no sympathy whatsoever. 

Just an odd match that this fan in particular was glad to see end. 
Your Winners: The Giant and Kevin Sullivan 

Prior to our main event, we got another look back at the hostile takeover carried out by The Outsiders. This was essentially the same video as we got at the start, albeit slightly extended. When it ended, it was down to Michael Buffer, and our big match. 
Hostile Takeover Match

The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) vs. Sting, Lex Luger, and 'Macho Man' Randy Savage 

WCW REVIEW - BASH AT THE BEACH 1996 - Scott Hall - Kevin Nash - The Outsiders
In terms of actual in-ring quality, I doubt anybody is going to count this one as a five-star classic, but in terms of storytelling, in terms of set-up, and in terms of execution, you can hardly fault it. 

After refusing to unveil their third man, Hall and Nash (who were referred to by their names only once in the entire match) went on the attack, taking the fight straight to the WCW loyalists. This paid off better than expected. As Nash and Luger brawled in the corner, Sting attempted a Stinger Splash on The Outsider, but inadvertently sent The Total Package crashing to the outside, knocking him unconscious. 

As a stretcher was brought out for Luger, the announcers reminded us over and over again that it was actually Sting who caused Luger's demise, subtly planting the suggestion that maybe -just maybe- the third man may have working from the inside. 

Not that any such suspicions lasted long.

The remainder of the match saw Sting serving as whipping boy for Hall and Nash, before finally making the hot tag to a fired up Macho Man. Sadly for Savage, his comeback wouldn't last long, and he was promptly dropped to the canvas by The Outsiders.

Then, my friends, then it happened. 

Hulk Hogan arrived on the scene, and with one leg-drop to the prone Macho Man, changed the course of World Championship Wrestling, and indeed of the entire mid-late 90s era of professional wrestling. 
No Contest 


With the ring filling with garbage, Hall and Nash moved about the ring, taunting the irate fans by pulling Hogan's signature posing as the man himself cemented his history making heel turn in an interview with Mean Gene. 

Gene Okerlund: Hulk Hogan, excuse me. Excuse me. What in the world are you thinking? 
Hulk Hogan: Mean Gene the first thing you gotta do is to tell these people to shut up if you want to hear what I've gotta say. 
Gene Okerlund: I have been with you for so many years for you to join up with the likes of these two men absoulutely makes me SICK to my stomach! And I think that these people here and a lot of people around the whole wrestling world have had just about enough of this man and this man and you want to put yourself in this group? You've gotta be kidding me 
Hulk Hogan: Well the first thing you've gotta realize brother is that this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the New World Order of wrestling brother. These two men came from a great big organization up north and everybody was wondering about who the third man was. Well who knows more about that organization than me brother? 
Gene Okerlund: I've been there and done that. You have made the wrong decision in my opinion. 
HH: Well let me tell you something, I made that orgainization brother! I made the people rich up there. I made the people that ran that organization rich up there. And when it all came to pass, the name Hulk Hogan, the man Hulk Hogan got bigger than the entire organization brother! And then Billionaire Ted amigo, he wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan. Well Billionaire Ted promised me movies brother. Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars. And Billionaire Ted promised me world caliber matches. And as far as Billionaire Ted, Eric Bischoff and entire WCW goes, I'm bored brother. That's why I want these two guys here, these so called Outsiders, these are the men I want as my friends. They are the new blood of professional wrestling and not only are we going to take over the whole wrestling business, with Hulk Hogan, the new blood and the monsters with me. We will destroy everything in our path Mean Gene. 
Mean Gene: Look at all of this crap in this ring! This is what's in the future for you if you want to hang around the likes of this man Hall, and this man Nash. 
HH: As far as I'm concerned, all this crap in this ring represents these fans out here. For two years brother! For two years, I held my head high. I did everything for the charities. I did everything for the kids. And the reception I got when came out here, you fans can stick it brother. Because if it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn't be here. If it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis. And if it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, all of these "Johnny come latelys" that you see out here wrestling wouldn't be here. I was selling the world out brother while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school. So the way it is now brother, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organization of wrestling brother, me and the new blood by my side. Whatcha gonna do when the New World Order runs wild on you? Whatcha gonna do? 
Mean Gene:  Tony, Dusty, Bobby, Dammit let's get back to you!
Tony Schiavone: All right. We have seen the end of Hulkamania. For Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, for Dusty Rhodes, For "Mean" Gene Okerlund, I don't know...I'm Tony Schiavone. Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell! 



And that was all there was to it, one of the most historic pro wrestling events of the 1990s, if not ever, coming to an end with Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall standing tall in a sea of garbage. 

At the start of this review, I questioned whether the fact that most of us only remember the Bash at the Beach main events says anything about the quality of the rest of the card. Having finally sat through the rest of this show, I can safely say that yes, it does. Apart from two notable exceptions (Rey/Juvi and Konnan/Flair), almost everything about this event was either boring, average, or just poor. 

Still, thanks for taking time out of your day for reading. I look forward to catching up with you again for our next review. 

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.