Thursday, 13 June 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Great American Bash 1999

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Event poster
June 13th, 1999
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland.

There's no doubting the legendary status of Macho Man Randy Savage. Undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time, Macho's intensity, ring-work, charisma and flamboyance helped make him a household name who was every bit deserving of any main event spot he happened to find himself in.

Unfortunately, this was World Championship Wrestling in 1999, so when Savage did find himself in a main event spot (possibly the last real one of his career), it involved terrible booking, horrible angles and a whole lot of literal crap.

Since returning to the company as the referee of the main event at Spring Stampede 1999, Savage and his new harem of women (Madusa, Gorgeous George and future Molly Holly, Miss Madness) had transitioned from a bizarre feud with referee Charles 'Little Naitch' Robinson and Ric Flair into a main event title match that was set to go down tonight.





Yet while a Randy Savage main event may have still been a draw at the tail end of the millennium, the build-up to it left it feeling like little more than a mid-card comedy bout.

No idea what I'm talking about?

Let me take you back to Baltimore, Maryland in the summer of 1999 where everything will be explained.

Curt Hennig is Bowdy Bowdy

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Curt Hennig confronts Master P and the No Limit Soldiers
Our show began with Master P arriving at the arena in a limousine, flanked by his No Limit Soldiers.

Before the rap artist could make it very far into the building, he was welcomed by Curt Hennig, who claimed that he was not only the biggest Master P fan in the world but that he was also bowdy bowdy.

20 years later and I still never learned what that means.

Bowled over by Hennig's fandom, Master P signed a copy of his album for him which Curt, being the dastardly heel that he was, proceeded to destroy.

This heinous act prompted the No Limit Soldiers to chase after Hennig, squawking like birds as they did so.

Hennig was, as ever, an absolute riot here.

Savage and Nash Will Fight Tonight

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan
Remember me saying that the build-up to tonight's main event was terrible?

It was basically weeks of Savage and Kevin Nash pouring sludge on each other and destroying each other's cars.

While I'm sure there were some people who were into it, the video package that we got next made it look like a bad comedy job that was only missing a cameo from Henry Godwin.

After that, we got our usual intro from Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

The trio led us into a second video package, this one detailing the rest of tonight's card.

To be honest with you, just watching this video, I can't help but feel like I'm in for a long and terrible time in writing this review.

Still, I'll try not to judge anything before I see it, so let's get on to our first match, shall we?

Kendo Stick Match
Brian Knobs (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Hardcore Hak (w/ Chastity)

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Brian Knobs (w/ Jimmy Hart) faced Hardcore Hak
Prior to the bell, we were shown a quick video package which told us that Brian Knobs had joined Jimmy Hart's reformed First Family of Wrestling and was feuding with Hak over who was more hardcore.

Making his way to the ring Nasty Knobs then took to the mic to tell us that, since it was Mrs Nasty's birthday, he was dedicating the match to her and wanted to duke it out with Hak using only fists and no "sissie" weapons.

This, of course, was a rouse.

As Hak asked the crowd whether or not he should surrender his kendo stick, Knobbs picked up a trash can and wallopped the former ECW star with it.

From that point on, we got your typical late-90s hardcore match which basically meant a succession of weapon shots leading to the finish.

Speaking of the finish, it came when Hak levied Knobs with a kendo stick, which was literally the one and only the weapon was used in what was dubbed a 'kendo stick match.'

Not that I'm complaining.

Though WCW hardcore matches were pretty formulaic, they were at least entertaining. Indeed, it was pretty fun to see Knobbs and Hak just smash each other with garbage cans and ladders for a few minutes.
Your Winner: Hardcore Hak

Post-match, Knobs' First Family teammate Hugh Morrus came down and helped the Nasty one to avenge his loss. The two hit a spiked piledriver on Hak before dumping a ladder onto him which Morrus' then moonsaulted onto.

Buff Thanks Roddy

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Buff Bagwell and Roddy Piper catch up backstage
Out in the back, Buff Bagwell caught up with Rowdy Roddy Piper, thanking the WCW Commissioner for giving him a match against Disco Inferno later on tonight.

To repay the kindness, Buff volunteered to watch Piper's back in his match against Flair later but Hot Rod, naturally, said he didn't need any help.

Though short, this goofy little segment was actually pretty fun to watch.

Mikey Whipwreck vs. Van Hammer

When you think about all the star power and all the talented workers that WCW had on its roster at the time, you have to wonder why this is the match they decided to go with on a major PPV.

Still, it could have been worse.

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Van Hammer takes on Mikey Whipwreck
Van Hammer had ditched the tye-dye-wearing hippy gimmick and was now embarking on something of a push, clocking up wins left and right as WCW tried to replicate their 'push the big guy with an undefeated streak' system that had worked so well with Goldberg.

They'd already tried it with Wrath, but then that got derailed by Kevin Nash, so it looked like Hammer was next in line.

He even wore the same kind of singlet as Wrath as he went toe-to-toe with jobber Mikey Whipreck in a match which, while not terrible, had no place on a Pay Per View.

The sole highlight came when Hammer delivered a delayed vertical suplex from the second rope. That was also just about the only time that the crowd didn't chant about how boring the match was.

After a whole bunch of tedium, Van Hammer predictably picked up the win, marching onwards with a push that would ultimately go nowhere.
Your Winner: Van Hammer

Moving on

Disco Inferno vs. Buff Bagwell

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Buff Bagwell faced Disco InfernoThough hardly a catch-as-catch-can classic, you've got to give Disco Inferno and Buff credit for playing to their strengths in order to deliver a pretty entertaining match.

Disco was flawless in his role as the cowardly heel and served as the perfect foil for the super popular Bagwell.

Buff himself was no slouch and played his part of the beloved fan favourite all the way to the inevitable victory.

Watching this, you could easily envision Bagwell getting a solid main event run if things had turned out differently for World Championship Wrestling.

All in all, a fun match and a good effort from both men.
Your Winner: Disco Inferno

Up next, we took a look back at the rivalry between the West Texas Rednecks and the Filthy Animals, even though I'm not entirely sure either group were actually using those names at the time.

If you recall, this came about because Curt Hennig and Bobby Duncam Jr. thought that rap was crap but Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. didn't.

Curt Hennig & Bobby Duncam Jr. vs. Konnan & Rey Mysterio Jr.

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Konnan and Rey Mystery Jr of the Filthy Animals
For reasons that were never explained, Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. came out wearing gas masks. It was an odd sight that this out-of-touch old-timer can only assume had something to do with hip-hop.

The two then shook hands with Master P and his posse (who were sat in the front row) before locking up with Hennig and Duncum Jr. in what was the best match on the card so far.

There are times in plenty of tag team matches when the whole 'babyface in peril' routine gets really tiresome. Thankfully, Hennig and Duncum were entertaining enough and Mysterio (the face in peril) talented enough to ensure that never happened here.

That whole section of the match was marvellous fun to watch, while everything before and after it had the crowd fully fired up.

After a very enjoyable contest, Barry Windham came out from the crowd to help the West Texas Rednecks. That prompted Master P's bodyguard SWOL to jump the rail and blast Duncam Jr., allowing the good guys to get the win.
Your Winners: Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr.

Afterwards, security escorted SWOL, Master P. and his whole entourage backstage while Curt, Barry, and Bobby beat up on the victors.

Ernest 'The Cat' Miller (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Horace Hogan

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller w/ Sonny Onoo
Up next, we got more PPV-calibre wrestling as Ernest 'The Cat' Miller strutted to ringside with Sonny Onoo by his side.

If you only do yourself one favour today, make it this one:

Go to the WWE Network and check out the ridiculous music they replaced The Cat's original theme with. Honestly, it sounds like a bad demo of a kid's song about happy clowns and birthday cake.

With that theme making his whole entrance look really silly, Miller came out expecting to fight Scott Norton.

Instead, Horace Hogan turned up and announced that he was going to fight Miller instead, giving us no explanation as to why.

The match itself is better than you probably expected, but only if you expected it to be the worst thing ever.

In other words, some parts of it were actually pretty entertaining but, you know, it was still The Cat vs. Horace Hogan so nobody really cared.

Eventually, Sonny Onoo helped The Cat put on a loaded slipper which he used to kick Hogan in the face with and win the match.
Your Winner: Ernest Miller

Post-match, The Cat bust a move until Hogan chased him off.

This was followed by a look back at the ongoing battle between Ric Flair and Roddy Piper for control of WCW.

That match was next.

Match to Determine the Presidency of WCW
Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ Arn Anderson & Aysa)


WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair
Back at Slamboree 1999, Rowdy Roddy Piper had defeated Ric Flair, taking Flair's WCW presidency from him in the process.

Immediately after the match, Piper fired Flair.

Just one month later, not only was Flair still competing, but he was also still the WCW President, with Piper now in a Commissioner role.

Tonight, the two would go head-to-head to hopefully settle the matter of WCW presidency once and for all.

There's no doubt this match will have its critics. It was basically two ageing grapplers working a bunch of safe spots, but for this old-school fan, that's precisely why it was so good.

In full-on heel mode Flair was true to form as The Dirtiest Player in the Game, using all manner of underhand tactics (and interference from Arn Anderson) to counter babyface Piper's no-nonsense brawling style.

It was a very effective approach, one that produced as good a match as you were going to get from two skilled veterans at this stage of their career.

Towards the finish, Anderson got involved but Buff Bagwell -true to his word- ran in to help Piper.

Bagwell's interference caused the referee to ring for the bell. Frustrated at the DQ, Hot Rod promptly decked his rescuer then ran to get a leather belt while Flair and Anderson held Bagwell in place.

From there, Piper teamed up with the two men he'd been battling for the last fifteen minutes in order to beat the hell out of Bagwell.

Yet there was to be no real alliance. At least not yet.

Flair was declared the winner, then simply walked off with Anderson and Aysa, leaving Piper in the ring.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Ric Flair

Up next, we were shown a video package for the upcoming bout between Rick Steiner and Sting.

Falls Count Anywhere Match
WCW World Television Champion Rick Steiner vs. Sting

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Rick Steiner vs. Sting
As far as I know, Steiner's TV championship wasn't on the line here. Not that it would have made much of a difference.

This whole thing started off fairly well as a decent, albeit mostly uneventful match. The two battled back and forth in the ring for so long that you started to wonder if they'd forgotten the whole 'Falls Count Anywhere' thing.

Alas, they hadn't.

Though to be honest, it might have been better if they had.

Eventually, Steiner and Sting left the ring and brawled up the ilse to the back, where Tank Abbott was waiting to choke Sting out. At this point, the camera shook a little and the whole show very clearly cut to a pre-recorded segment in which The Steiners set some angry dogs on Sting.

The camera shook some more, mostly to hide the fact that the dogs weren't doing much more than jumping up at Sting for cuddles in the same way that my dog does after I return home from a long day.

It looked stupid.

Like really, really stupid.

The continuity was terrible. The thousand and one camera cuts both made you dizzy and made no sense, while at one point Sting, who had been wrestling for ten minutes, had a fresh coat of face paint despite the fact that half of it had just been sweated off in the match.

If there were was ever an award for the most ridiculous finish to a match ever, this one would probably take it because, yes, that was the finish.

Rick and Scott Steiner walked back out to the ring where Scotty announced that Rick had won by pinfall but that the whole thing was too graphic for WCW to show on TV.

Referee Scott Dickinson reluctantly raised Steiner's arm, and that was that.
Your Winner: Rick Steiner

Expect it wasn't, because The Steiners then spent several minutes bragging about how good they were and calling Baltimore 'the shittiest town in the US.'

To be fair, the actual promo was far better than anything that happened in the actual match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Champions
WCW World Tag Team Champion Chris Benoit & Perry Saturn vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Chris Kanyon (w/ Bam Bam Bigelow)

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Chris Kanyon celebrates a WCW tag team title victory for the Jersey Triad
Prior to this one kicking off, we were shown a video package which outlined the somewhat complicated story of how the match came together.

It was too longwinded to go into here, but basically involved Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn forming a makeshift team that Thursday on WCW Thunder and beating Bam Bam Bigelow and Diamond Dallas Page for the titles, after which Kanyon turned on Saturn to form The Jersey Triad with Bigelow and DDP.

The story wasn't the only thing that was long.

This was by far the longest match on the card, but all four men used their time well to create a solid, dramatic contest that was just about the best thing on the show.

After a very good effort, Dean Malenko came down to help a fallen Perry Saturn but honestly looked like he was holding him back, preventing him from getting in the ring. Meanwhile, Page hit Benoit with the Diamond Cutter, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winners and New Tag Team Champions: DDP and Kanyon

Post-match, The Jersey Triad beat up on Malenko and celebrated with their new titles.

Finally, after one last video package recapping the Savage/Nash rivalry, it was back to our main event.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Madusa, Miss Madness and Gorgeous George)

WCW Great American Bash 1999 - Sid Vicious returned to WCW and laid out Kevin NashThis main event was complete trash.

The legendary Macho Man Randy Savage was a shell of his former self, and champion Kevin Nash could barely move.

For the duration of this seven-minute abomination, the only real signs of life came from Madusa, Miss Madness and Gorgeous George who continually ran interference.

Finally, this whole terrible thing came to an end when Sid Vicious made his return to WCW and attacked Kevin Nash, probably looking to get revenge for his loss to Diesel back at In Your House 2 four years earlier.
Your Winner via Disqualification and Still WCW Champion: Kevin Nash

Afterwards, Sid powerbombed Nash then helped Savage to the back as the show came to an end.





On the whole, I feel bad for Savage. Though I know he had appearances in TNA, this was basically his last big run and it sucked. Thankfully, when we think about the man himself, we tend to overlook this time in his career and focus on all the top quality performances he did give us.

As for The Great American Bash 1999? Well, some of the matches were better than I expected, but between the awful main event, the sheer ridiculousness of the Steiner/Sting debacle and a whole bunch of what was essentially filler, the show mostly failed to deliver.

Maybe track down the tag team title match if you have a spare twenty minutes to kill, but otherwise avoid this one.



1999 events reviewed so far
Other WCW Great American Bash reviews: 

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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.