Thursday, 11 October 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Bash at the Beach 1998

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Event poster
July 7, 1996 
The Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida

Since its inception in the 1980s, it had always been Starrcade which had held the distinction of being World Championship Wrestling's answer to Wrestlemania. Yet it's probably fair to say that Bash at the Beach was an event just as important to the company during the Monday Night Wars. 

After all, it was at this event in 1996 that Hulk Hogan famously revealed himself to be The Third Man, kickstarting the New World Order angle that would catapult WCW to the most successful period in its entire history.

The following year, WCW looked to further its popularity by having Hogan, now the company's resident bad boy, team up with another infamous ne'er-do-weller in the form of basketball star, Dennis Rodman. 

Fast forward twelve months, and 'Rod the Bod' was back for another summertime fling with Hogan and the nWo.







Here's what went down when the two teamed up to face DDP and Karl Malone on what was becoming well-established as one of WCW's biggest events of the year.

Summer Madness

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
We began our show tonight with one of WCW’s famously terrible opening videos recalling the big matches on tonight’s card.

Clearly, the company were paying so much money for Lanny Poffo to sit at home that they couldn’t afford a decent production team to make their opening videos.

Anyway, from there we went to our usual trio of Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, told us just how important tonight’s show was.

Then, after Mean Gene Okerlund took some time to encourage us to call 1-900-909-9900 (kids, get your parents’ permission) it was onto our first match.

Raven’s Rules
Saturn vs. Raven (w/ The Flock)

Regular Retro Pro Wrestling readers will know that I’m sometimes overly generous with my match reviews.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
You may also remember that I normally talk highly of Saturn’s matches too.

His outing with Kanyon at the previous month's Great American Bash 98 was hugely enjoyable, and he’d had some good matches with the likes of Chris Benoit and Booker T earlier in the year.

But this?

This was just awful.

Saturn seemed off a step throughout the whole match, whilst Raven seemed to just kind of be there.

That It was bad enough to begin with, but then Nick Patrick got squashed in the corner (ref bumps in No DQ matches. Why?) and things quickly went from bad to worse.

At one point, Saturn put Raven on top of a table. Tony Schiavone accidentally called it a chair and was mercilessly mocked by Tenay and Heenan.

That was funny, and probably the best part of the whole match.

What wasn’t funny was that Saturn then set up another table on top of the first and headed to the top rope. Kanyon then came out and pulled Raven to safety.

In one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in all my years writing these reviews, Saturn waited a good few seconds after Raven was gone, looked at the empty tables, and waited a second longer, and then jumped through them anyway.

Dumb.

In the ring, Kanyon hit Raven with the Flatliner.

Some other stuff happened, but honestly, this was such a mess that none of it mattered.

Eventually, Raven hit the Evenflow DDT and this one was over.

You know what? As if all that wasn’t disappointing enough, the WWE Network dubs over Raven’s awesome Come as You Are rip-off theme with the squawking ravens theme he had in WWE.

Rubbish.
Your Winner: Raven

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Mean Gene interviews Eddie Guerrero
Up next, Mean Gene brought out Eddie Guerrero to hype his upcoming Hair vs. Hair match with nephew, Chavo Guerrero Jr.

For reasons that didn’t make much sense, Chavo had apparently first booked himself into a match with Stevie Ray, so Eddie -who was never not entertaining as hell- devoted his promo time to warning Chavo that Stevie was going to destroy him, after which he (Eddie) would merely come in, hit the frog splash, and give his nephew a haircut.

Kidman (w/ Lodi) vs. Juventud Guerrera

Now, this is more like it.

Wrestling in his first ever pay per view match, Kidman tore it up with Juventud Guerrera in a match that was non-stop fun from start to finish.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Billy Kidman faced Juventud Guerrera
Where the previous match was sloppy, messy, and embarrassing to watch, this was tight, crisp, and an absolute joy to watch.

Unfortunately for Kidman, making his PPV debut didn’t mean a win. He was hit with Juventud’s awesome 450 splash and lost the match.
Your Winner: Juventud Guerrera

Out in the ‘internet location,’ Lee Marshall tried to act cool and talk about how everyone wanted to get rowdy rowdy and bowdy bowdy with K-Dog.

Konnan used this as an opportunity to put over his Wolfpac brethren before going off on a tangent and questioning Marshall about his terrible choice in beach shirts.

Stevie Ray vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr

In keeping with the summer theme, Chavo Jr. Came out wearing a rubber ring and brandishing a water pistol. He then proceeded to infuriate Stevie Ray by dancing about the place and striking poses.

I won’t lie, Crazy Chavo was super entertaining and actually pretty funny.

Eventually, Chavo offered his opponent a handshake, only to submit the moment it was accepted.
Your Winner: Stevie Ray

You see, by submitting the moment Stevie Ray touched him, Chavo had ensured he was still 100% for his match with his uncle, therefore ruining the plans of Eddie Guerrero, who had expected to go in against a beaten-up Chavo.


Hair vs. Hair Match
Chavo Guerrero Jr. Vs. Eddie Guerrero

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Eddie Guerrero hurts nephew Chavo Guerrero
Chavo’s comedy capers continued in the early going of this match and were equally as entertaining.

Then, Eddie decided he’d had enough of his nephew’s playing and beat the life out of him.

What followed was a very solid match that ended when Chavo tried to cut Eddie’s hair but Charles Robinson stopped him.

The distraction allowed Eddie to roll up his nephew and get the win.
Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Afterwards, Chavo snatched the hair shaver from Eddie and began to shave his own hair like a lunatic.

This freaked out Eddie and he ran off.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I really enjoyed this version of Chavo.

Disco Inferno (w/ Alex Wright) vs. Konnan (w/ Kevin Nash & Lex Luger)

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Disco Inferno gets bowdy-bowdy
This was billed as a special bonus match, but it really wasn’t much of a match at all.

After Disco Inferno and his sometime tag team partner Alex Wright mocked Konnan’s usual opening call-and-response promo, Konnan himself came down, completely ignored it, and just did the same promo anyway

What followed was about a minute and a half of nondescript action, culminating in the referee getting distracted by Lex Luger putting a Torture Rack on Alex Wright outside the ring.

This gave Kevin Nash the chance to sneak in and Jackknife the bejeezus out of Disco.

Konnan slapped on the Tequila Sunrise, the ref turned around and this one was over.
Your Winner: Konnan

Moving on...

The Giant vs. Kevin Green

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: The Giant faced football star Kevin Greene
Last seen on a WCW PPV at Slamboree 1997, football star Kevin Greene made his annual summertime stop at the company for a match with The Giant.

This had originally been scheduled as a tag match pitting Greene and Goldberg against Giant and Curt Hennig, but since Goldie had gone on to win the title and Hennig had become his first challenger, we had this instead.

For what it was, this certainly wasn’t bad.

Kevin Greene may have been an ‘outsider’ who only dabbled in pro wrestling during football’s off-season, but he always seemed to put a lot more effort in, and to take the craft a lot more seriously, than many of his fellow crossover stars.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t an amazing match by any stretch, but Greene and Giant were able to work to each other’s strengths to put on a passable performance before the man who would one day become The Big Show picked up the win.
Your Winner: The Giant

Meanwhile, on WCW.com, Curt Hennig told Lee Marshall that experience was all he needed to dethrone new champion, Goldberg.

Chris Jericho = Buyrate

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: James J. Dillon confronts cruiserweight champion Chris Jericho
Next, we were supposed to have a Cruiserweight Championship match pitting reigning champion Chris Jericho against arch-rival Dean Malenko.

However, as a recap was quick to show us, that match was now off the cards. Dean Malenko had gotten himself suspended by breaking the terms of a no-contact agreement he and Jericho had entered into with JJ Dillon and the WCW Executive Committee.

Never one to disappoint his legions of Jerichoholics, Lion Heart made his way out to the ring anyway, promising to do a little song and dance routine for the audience.

It was at that point that ‘Jojo’ Dillon arrived on the scene, admitting that maybe he had made a mistake by not booking the champ in a match.

Jericho was absolutely priceless in his response, pulling hilarious facial expressions which had this writer laughing out loud.

Really, however, the last laugh belonged to Dillon, who said that, if Jericho wanted it, he had a match lined up for him against ‘a local wrestler who hasn’t wrestled in six months.’

Believing this meant a quick-and-easy outing against ‘a no-name jabroni,’ The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla accepted and even requested that the match remain No Disqualification, as per the original terms of his planned match against Malenko.

Dillon agreed and introduced the local wrestler who hadn’t wrestled for six months, the returning Rey Mysterio Jr.

No Disqualification World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship:
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Chris Jericho
Wearing a knee brace almost as big as him, Rey Mysterio Jr challenged the man who beat him for the Cruiserweight title back at Souled Out ‘98 in a match that fell short of that earlier outing in terms of quality.

Mysterio and Jericho would have many classic matches over the years, but unfortunately, this one wasn’t one of them.

Sure, it was a decent effort, but it lacked a certain spark that made so many other Jericho/Mysterio bouts so spectacular.

At one point the two briefly, and I mean briefly took advantage of the No DQ stipulation to go for brawl onto the Bash at the Beach set.

There, Mysterio planted Jericho into the sand, prompting Tony Schiavone to deliver the line of the night.

‘That sand may be a soft landing, but the thing about sand is it’s certainly going to be irritating.’

I wonder if any wrestler had tried to win a match by irritating their opponent before?

Anyway, a few short minutes later, Dean Malenko arrived on the scene, putting Jericho off his game and allowing Mysterio to counter The Walls of Jericho and roll up his opponent for the three count.
Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr.

Post-match, Dean Malenko chased Jericho to the back and beat him up, totally distracting from Mysterio’s big return championship win in front of his hometown crowd.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Champion
WCW World Television Champion Booker T vs. Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Bret Hart challenged Booker T for the cruiserweight championship
Despite first saying that he was only helping the nWo but not actually a member, Bret Hart came down for his TV title match to the classic nWo theme, which I suppose makes him a certified member at this stage of his career.

From the outset, this one had all the makings of a really good match, with both champ and challenger holding nothing back and performing the kind of work that made both of them certified legends.

Yet just when it was looking to go from good to great, Booker dove through the ropes to the outside and smashed head-first into a Bret Hart chair shot.
Your Winner via DQ and Still WCW TV Champion: Booker T

Afterwards, Bret destroyed Booker T’s knee then slapped him in the ring-post-figure four.

Roughly 500 hours passed with Bret applying this hold before Booker’s brother, Stevie Ray sauntered down to ringside.

Bret merely got up and walked off, whilst Stevie Ray looked on at his brother with disgust and disappointment.

A heel turn wasn’t far away.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg vs. Curt Hennig

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Curt Hennig challenged Goldberg for the WCW ChampionshipWith a nasty cut in his forehead from apparently headbutting a locker too hard during his pre-match ritual, Goldberg headed out to make his first title defence in a match where the outcome was never in question.

Curt Hennig was one of the greatest pro wrestlers in history, but here he was just another piece of cannon fodder for the champ to destroy in a couple of short minutes.

Inevitably, a spear and a jackhammer put the champ at 112-0.
Your Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Goldberg

You know, this is the first WCW PPV I recall watching where the company did video packages for most of the big matches just like the WWF had done -and continue to do- on a regular basis.

Such a video preceded both that title match and our upcoming main event.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman (w/ The Disciple) vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Karl Malone

WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: DDP & Karl Malone faced Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman
At Bash at the Beach 1997, Hogan and Rodman had teamed up to face Lex Luger and The Giant.

This time they were back against Diamond Dallas Page and another basketball player, Karl Malone.

For the record, there’s still 32 minutes left to go on this show, and this is a match featuring two non-wrestlers and an ageing Hulk Hogan.

If you thought half an hour sounds long, just try sitting through it, it felt at least three times as long.

I never thought I’d say this about a match involving DDP, but this main event was utterly atrocious.

It was painfully slow, featured several decades of stalling in the early going, and saw a drunk-ass Dennis Rodman sloppily fumbling his way through some horrible offence.

All in all, this match had no redeeming features whatsoever.

I would say that the only good thing about this match was that it ended, but even that was spectacularly bad: The Disciple hit a stunner on DDP to give the bad guys an unnecessary win.
Your Winners: Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman

Post-match, Karl Malone, who, along with DDP, did actually look decent in this match, hit Disciple with a Diamond Cutter, then took out his frustrations by hitting referee Charles Robinson with the same move.






And that, ladies and gentlemen, ends one of WCW’s worst shows of 1998, if not of all time. 

Top and tailed by two truly appalling matches, everything in between that wasn’t Eddie/Chavo or Kidman/Guerrera ranged from disappointing to dreadfully boring.

Given how good WCW has been a year or two prior, it’s sad to see the company in such a poor state.

Recommendation: Avoid Bash at the Beach 1998 at all costs unless you’re having trouble sleeping, in which case it makes for a good anaesthetic.




1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
  8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
  9. WCW Slamboree 1998
  10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
  11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
  12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
Other Bash at the Beach reviews
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