PPV REVIEW - WCW The Great American Bash 1997

WCW The Great American Bash 1997 - Event Poster
June 15, 1997
The MARK of the Quad Cities, Moline, Illinois

That The Great American Bash is the only WCW Pay Per View that WWE decided to revive once they bought out the company likely speaks volumes about a great idea this event was. 

Take the best that your company has to offer, present them in some blockbuster matches and present the whole thing with a good deal of American patriotism, and you've got all the makings of a successful event.

Yet as we all know, having a great idea doesn't always equal greatness once that idea is brought to life.

So, was The Great American Bash as good as it could have been? Was putting Diamond Dallas Page in the main event the best way for WCW to present the best that it had to offer?

Let's head down to the Quad Cities to find out.

America, Land of the Free 

WCW The Great American Bash 1997 - Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Our opening video tonight played up the patriotic theme of The Great American Bash, painting Diamond Dallas Page as the American Working Class Hero in his battles with his main event opponent, Macho Man Randy Savage.

This took us to our regular trio of Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, who got us looking forward to not only Savage/Page II (which they now told us was no DQ), but also our big tag team title match pitting Champions The Outsiders against The Nature Boy Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper.

From there, it was off to ringside and on to the first of our nine-match card.

Special Respect Challenge Match
Psicosis (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Ultimo Dragon 

WCW The Great American Bash 1997 - Psicosis & Sonny Onoo
The goofy name of this match didn't actually mean anything, it was just something WCW often did on PPVs to make every match seem more important than it was.

Basically, Sonny Onoo had turned on Ultimo Dragon at the previous month's Slamboree 1997 and had then hired Psicosis to apparently teach Dragon a lesson.

Silly name aside, this was a fairly fun opening contest. No, it wasn't the best Cruiserweight bout ever, but it had some entertaining spots and was a good way to kick off the show.

In the end, Psicosis went to whip Dragon into the ropes, where Onoo was waiting to kick his former charge, but Dragon reversed the whip and Psicosis got a boot to the mush.

Ultimo Dragon then applied the Dragon Sleeper and this one was over.
Your Winner: Ultimo Dragon 

Out in the back, Chris Benoit was being interviewed by some geek for WCWwrestling.com.

I'd love to tell you what Benoit was saying, but I could barely hear him over the sound of the geek typing on a laptop that was bigger than my house.

Match to Determine Number One Contenders to the WCW Tag Team Titles
Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray w/ Sister Sherri) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) 

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Sherri leads Booker T & Stevie Ray - Harlem Heat
Though certainly nothing out of the ordinary, this was as good as you'd probably expect from two teams with as much experience as Harlem Heat and The Steiners.

A solid, hard-hitting contest came to an end with The Steiners looking as though they had the whole thing won. Then, randomly, Vincent (of all people) came down and got involved, costing Rick and Scott the match by DQ:
Your Winners and Number One Contenders to the WCW Tag Team Titles: Harlem Heat 

Afterwards, Rick and Scott beat the hell out of Vincent. Tellingly, none of Vince's nWo colleagues came out to help him.

As random as it seemed, the announcers told us that this was the perfect example of The Outsiders trying to control things and handpick their opponents, preferring to fight Harlem Heat over The Steiner Brothers.

Konnan vs. Hugh Morrus

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Hugh Morrus faced Konnan
Konnan had turned on Hugh Morrus after they lost to The Steiner Brothers at last month's WCW Slamboree.

The two had been at war ever since, culminating in a match that was as sloppy as it was tedious.

You know, I used to think I was a fan of Konnan, but the more I watch him the more it almost looks as if he genuinely didn't know how to wrestle and was making it up as he went along.

Not that such a crappy looking performance stopped him from winning. Morrus got knocked out on the turnbuckle and couldn't respond when Konnan locked on the Tequila Sunrise, so this was over.
Your Winner: Konnan 

Next, we went to Mean Gene Okerlund for our regular reminder to call the WCW Hotline.

Gene hinted that somebody -he couldn't say who- might be joining WCW on the following evening's Nitro broadcast after falling out with his current employer. It turned out to be Raven, but apparently not for a few more weeks.

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Mean Gene interviews The Public Enemy
From there, Gene welcomed The Public Enemy, who cut a ridiculous and dumb promo in which they bemoaned the fact that they had been overlooked for a WCW Tag Team title shot and vowed that they would get one sooner rather than later.

To end this utterly annoying segment, Johnny Grunge and Flyboy Rocco Rock went into the crowd to erm 'party.'

The whole thing was cringe-worthy and not entertaining in the slightest.

Mortis must be handcuffed at ringside
Wrath (w/ James Vanderberg & Mortis) vs. Glacier 

This was probably one of the best matches Bryan Clarke ever had.

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Glacier faced Wrath
I'm not saying it was amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but it was certainly compelling, with both Glacier and Wrath working hard to keep you invested from start to finish.

Speaking of the finish, James Vanderberg kept referee Nick Patrick distracted by fighting him for the keys to Mortis' handcuffs. Meanwhile, Mortis himself threw a chain into the ring, only for Glacier to get hold of it and waffle Wrath with it.

A three count later and this one was over.
Your Winner: Glacier 

Afterwards, the evil trio handcuffed Glacier to the ropes and attacked him until all he referees ran out to the rescue.

World Championship Wrestling Women's Championship
WCW Women's Champion Akira Hokuto (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Madusa 

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Akira Hokuto w/ Sonny Onoo
The deal here is that if Madusa loses, her WCW career is over.

The All-American fan favourite up a valiant effort against her Japanese rival in a decent match, but it wasn't enough to save her career.

Akira Hokuto worked over the challenger's leg for the majority of the match before finally pinning her in what would be the last WCW women's championship match we would ever see.
Your Winner and Still WCW Women's Champion:  Akira Hokuto 

Afterwards, Mean Gene acted like the biggest dick in the world by bugging both Madusa and one of the guys helping her to the back for an interview.

Both blew him off, but Mean Gene kept following them, yelling down the mic about how Madusa's career was over and prompting the crowd to chant 'Leave her alone!' 

This was good advice because Okerlund looked like a hugely insensitive asshole here.

Death Match II
Chris Benoit vs. Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) 

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Meng with Jimmy Hart
With his real life partner and former manager Woman now presumedly retired, Chris Benoit went up against Meng in a return Death Match, a sequel to their previous outing at Slamboree.

Much as with that earlier match, anyone expecting barbed wire and blood galore here would be sorely disappointed.

In WCW, a Death Match apparently meant your standard no DQ, Last Man Standing outing.

Honestly, it's kind of impressive how many different ways WCW could come up with to present a no DQ style contest.

Unfortunately, this one lacked the intensity of their earlier battle and as such tended to drag on in places. Still, it was a reasonable effort, if not exactly the kind of thing anybody would want to rush out and watch.

In the end, the two paid homage to Wrestlemania 13's Bret Hart/Steve Austin ending, with Benoit applying the Crippler Crossface and Meng never actually giving up but instead passing out.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit 

Afterwards, they put Chris Benoit in a neckbrace and wheeled him off on a stretcher, but apparently, that was the only stretcher in the building because we then had to wait for five hours whilst they brought it back to take Meng out on it too.

Somehow, Meng fell off the stretcher and had to be hurled back onto it whilst Mean Gene Okerlund ranted and raved on the mic.

Okerlund shilled the Hotline some more before we went to our next match.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael (w/ Debra McMichael) vs. Kevin Greene

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Debra & Steve 'Mongo' McMichael
A whole year after turning on him at WCW Great American Bash 1996, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael faced retribution from fellow football star Kevin Greene in this simple yet mostly enjoyable outing.

Neither man broke new ground in terms of innovation, but by working some basic spots and playing to their strengths, both were able to deliver some decent entertainment.

In the finish, Jeff Jarrett ran out to hit Kevin Greene with the Halliburton but waffled Mongo instead.

Jarrett then stormed off in frustration whilst Debra McMichael yelled at him.

Greene made the cover and this one was over.
Your Winner: Kevin Greene  

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Madusa gets her knee checked out
Backstage, we saw Madusa, still sobbing with pain, having her knee checked over.

Tony Schiavone told us that if it was serious then Madusa wouldn't be able to compete for months. Schiavone then quickly remembered that we'd seen her retired by Akira Hokuto, and tried to save face.

He failed.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash w/ Syxx) vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper & Nature Boy Ric Flair 

This was slow, dull and lifeless, apart from one key spot where Ric Flair got into a brawl with Syxx on the outside.

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - nWo Wolfpac
The two fought all the way to the back, leaving Rowdy Roddy Piper alone to face Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

More tedium followed, then The Outsiders won and I just about woke up to watch the rest of the show.
Your Winner: The Outsiders 

Prior to the main event, Michael Buffer introduced the Quad Cities' own Mickie Jay as our referee and gave us some pretty fireworks, which was nice.

Falls Count Anywhere
Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberley) 

Finally making all the previous mediocrity worth sitting through, this stellar main event delivered on just about every level.

Upping the ante from their earlier No DQ bout at WCW Spring Stampede 1997, Macho Man Randy Savage and Diamond Dallas Page waged an all out war against one another, brawling all over the arena in a fight that was just utterly thrilling from start to finish.

Savage was at his most insane best here, taking out several referees and a photographer, and almost taking out Kimberley too.

Not that being bat shit crazy was enough to keep Diamond Dallas Page down.

DDP held his own throughout the match, but the arrival of Scott Hall in the finish made this into a handicap and that was more than Page could handle.

An Outsiders Edge followed by a Savage elbow drop finished off the match and the show.
Your Winner: Macho Man Randy Savage 

I feel like I've said this about a WCW show before - the opening match was great fun, the main event was awesome, but everything in between ranged from the passable to the piss poor. Watch for the Savage/Page outing and the ongoing rise of Diamond Dallas Page into a bonafide superstar, but otherwise, Great American Bash 1997 is not essential viewing. 

1997 events reviewed so far:

  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
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  1. Why didn't they give Madusa the Women's Title? Way to kill that division.