Thursday, 5 March 2020

PPV REVIEW: The Great American Bash 2000

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - event poster
June 11, 2000
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland

Say what you will about Vince Russo's reputation as a booker, with the oft-reviled writer at the helm, World Championship Wrestling spent the first half of 2000 enjoying their best run of PPV shows in years.

Sure, the horrible finishes and blatant disregard for standard pro wrestling tropes had made the previous month's Slamboree 2000  a frustrating and perplexing experience, but much of the in-ring action had been solid and the show as a whole left you with the smallest amount of hope that the company might yet be able to turn things around.

Of course, it speaks volumes about the state of WCW at the time that the show -featuring WCW World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette in the main event- had so many things wrong with and yet was still better than a lot of the company's recent output, but honestly, at this stage in the game, being able to say anything positive at all about the company was nothing short of a miracle.





Would Russo and WCW be able to continue their hot streak, or would it be back to nonsensical, frustrating, terrible business as usual?

Let's head to the Baltimore Arena to find out as World Championship Wrestling presents The Great American Bash 2000.

Goldberg is Back...But Also Not Booked

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Scott Hudson, Tony Schiavone, and Mark Madden called the show
What do you do if you're WCW and you have your hottest homegrown star, Bill Goldberg, returning to action after an injury?

Book him in a high-profile PPV match in order to generate interest and PPV buys?

Of course not, that would be logical and sensible.

If you're WCW, you have him return to much fanfare and save former rival Kevin Nash from a Rick Steiner/Tank Abbot beatdown. You then book Nash in the PPV main event for the world title and run an angle where Goldberg, the red hot star, is not only not booked in a match but is banned from the arena.

#BecauseWCW.

Tony Schiavone reminded us of all this nonsense before we cut live to the arena, where wimpy-looking policemen stood by, ready to arrest Big Bill if he dared show up.

This segued into our opening video package which told us about tonight's matches. Besides the Nash/Jeff Jarrett world title fight, we'd also see Ric Flair promising to retire forever (lol) if he lost against son David Flair, and Vampiro taking on Sting in a 'Human Torch' match in which the only way to win was to set your opponent on fire.

Pyro and crowd shots followed, accompanied by our official greeting from Schiavone and fellow announcers Scott Hudson and Mark Madden.

With that, it was right onto our opening contest.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Leuitenant Loco (w/ General Rection, Major Stash, Corporal Cajun, and Major Gunns) vs. Disco Inferno (w/ Konnan, Rey Mysterio Jr., Juventud Guerrera, and Tygress)

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Konnan and Disco Inferno of The Filthy Animals
This was about as chaotic a mess as you could possibly get in four short minutes.

Prior to the bell, General Hugh G. Rection (Hugh Morrus), had his men Major Stash (Van Hammer), Corporal Cajun (Lash LeRoux), Major Gunns, and Cruiserweight Champion Leitenant Loco (Chavo Guerrero) fall in line. Chavo took to the microphone and pulled out a toy grenade that he threatened to use in his match.

Geddit? Cos he was loco!

Sigh.

Disco Inferno then came out wearing an LA Lakers uniform and accompanied by The Filthy Animals, who had taken in Disco Inferno for reasons which weren't really made clear.

The resulting match could have been a good one but with eight people at ringside, there was too much going on to really tell.

At one point, some crazy old man in an old-school military uniform came down to the ring and "had a heart attack" when Konnan yelled at him.

Back in the ring, Juvi -now doing his impersonation of The Rock- got up in the ring and tried to hit Loco with a People's Elbow. He missed, giving Corporal Cajun to get in the ring, blast Disco and drape Chavo's arm over Disco in full view of the referee.

The referee didn't care and counted the fall anyway.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Leutnenant Loco

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Major Gunns with her major gunsYuck. The only good thing about that match was Major Gunn's ass.

Speaking of whom, the Misfits in Action beauty stripped down to her bikini top in the post-match so that she could give the crazy old man mouth-to-mouth and revive him from his heart attack. As a thank you, the geriatric lunatic got up and sexually molested her.

Meanwhile, out in the back, policemen assured Eric Bischoff that the area was secure and everything was going according to plan. Ernest Miller was also there but did nothing of note.

Mean Gene Annoys the Mamalukes

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews The Mamalukes
Backstage, the s**t-stirring Mean Gene Okerlund caused trouble among Big Vito and Johnny The Bull.

First, he offended them by calling them The Mamalukes (they wanted to be known as the Paisans), then, after giving the two a brief moment to talk about their upcoming tag match against Kronik, he caused trouble by questioning which one of them was really the WCW Hardcore Champion.

Big Vito wore the belt, but Okerlund wondered whether it was really Johnny The Bull who should be recognised as the champion.

This was entertaining enough, though didn't really add much to the show.

The Mamalukes (Big Vito & Johnny The Bull) vs. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clark)

This one started off as a reasonable effort match but soon disintegrated into a mess.

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Big Vito refused to take off the Hardcore Championship belt for The Mamalukes match with Kronik
Despite Big Vito caring more about the hardcore title (which he refused to take off), he and Johnny The Bull held their own against the veteran team of Bryan Clark and Brian Adams until Clark tossed Vito's title out of the ring.

The big man left the ring to get it, leaving Johnny The Bull to botch his way through a sloppy closing segment in which he looked completely lost and messed up a top rope moonsault.

Not that it mattered. Kronik soon planted him with their High Times finisher (a double chokeslam) and this one was done.
Your Winners: Kronik

This meant that Adams & Clark were now the number one contenders to the tag team titles currently held by Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Palumbo.

Page Has Something Special for Mike Awesome

Backstage, Diamond Dallas Page spoke to Pamela Paulshock's boobs about his upcoming Ambulance Match with Mike Awesome.

DDP, who I think was supposed to be the babyface here, called Paulshock a bimbo before disputing her claim that Awesome was a career-killer. Tonight, the Master of the Self High-Five promised that he had something special in store for Awesome.

Ambulance Match
Mike Awesome vs. Diamond Dallas Page

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviewed Diamond Dallas Page
Yes, this was in retribution for Awesome throwing Chris Kanyon off the top of the cage back at last month's Slamboree 2000. Yep, Awesome had 'killed' Kanyon's career.

Naturally then, Page's "something special," was Kanyon himself, who wore a halo and had to be pushed out onto the stage in a wheelchair. He stayed there while Dallas went to war with Awesome in what was a decent but by no means spectacular brawl.

At one point, Page's ex, Kimberley came to the ring and bashed Dallas across the back with a lead pipe, but she was dragged to the back by Miss Hancock for reasons which were never explained.

DDP made a comeback, giving us the highlight of the match when he hit the Diamond Cutter on Awesome from the top rope. The former ECW star was placed on a stretcher and wheeled up the ramp, but before he could be put in the ambulance, Eric Bischoff's music hit and he levelled DDP with a chair. While all this was going on, Kanyon made a miraculous recovery, standing out of his wheelchair, throwing off his halo and hitting DDP with a better-looking Diamond Cutter off the stage than the one Page himself had just used.

The #BecauseWCW of it all the continued when Kanyon helped the man who had 'killed' his career win the match by loading Page onto the stretcher.

Awesome and Kanyon had a great match back at Slamboree, and Page could turn it up a notch when he wanted to. Taking those two factors into consideration, this could have been a great match, but it sadly was not to be.
Your Winner: Mike Awesome

After Page was driven out of the arena in the ambulance, the announcers talked over what we'd seen so far, killing time until Booker T could zip line his way to the ring. I guess WCW were really going all out with this f**k you Owen Hart stuff, weren't they?

Boot Camp Match
G.I Bro vs. WCW Tag Team Champion 'PerfectShawn' Shawn Stasiak

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Booker T as G.I Bro faced Shawn Stasiak
I should mention here that Booker was working as G.I Bro, the gimmick he'd used when he first broke into professional wrestling and had revived here so that he could for some reason be part of the Misfits in Action stable.

Meanwhile, Shawn Stasiak was the WCW tag team champion but was fighting Booker T here for reasons which were never explained. Not content with stealing Curt Hennig's gimmick, 'PerfectShawn' dressed up in camo -face paint and all- for this boot camp match.

In case you were wondering, Boot Camp is basically Last Man Standing, beat-the-ten-count rules.

At first, the whole thing started as one of the better matches on the card but soon turned into one, long, sleeper-hold-filled snooze fest that elicited a loud "boring" chant from the Baltimore faithful.

Towards the end, Stasiak's tag team partner, Chuck Palumbo, came out with a flex bar he'd stolen from Lex Luger. The duo used it to beat up G.I Bro and got a nine-count, but apparently, the WCW tag team scene was so poor that its champions could be single-handily beaten up by one dude.

That dude was Booker T, and he won the match.
Your Winner: G.I Bro.

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Kanyon
Out in the back, Kanyon was seen rummaging through some clothes. I'm not sure if they were his, or if his recent injury meant that he'd fallen on such hard times he had to steal them from somebody else's suitcase.

Either way, we'd never find out for sure because he was accosted by Mean Gene, who wanted to know one thing:

Why?

Because Eric Bischoff visited Kanyon in the hospital more than anyone else and told him that all he had to do to get DDP's spot was to take him out. Gleefully, Kanyon gloated about doing just that, but Okerlund wasn't so sure the former Mortis had achieved his goal. After all, we were shown Page breaking out of the ambulance, punching a defenceless EMT (remember: DDP = babyface), and going off.

As he wandered into the parking lot, Goldberg made a subtle and discreet entrance in a huge monster truck with his name branded on it.

Back in the arena, Kanyon didn't seem too bothered by any of this, and declared himself to be "Positively Kanyon."

Hmm, doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

Tables Match
The Franchise Shane Douglas vs. The Wall

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Shane Douglas faced The Wall in a stupid tables match
You want a straight-forward wrestling match with no gimmicks? Well, this WCW, so f*** you.

And f***  you, Baltimore, because The Franchise Shane Douglas is a heel who hates you...

...or maybe he isn't.

Before the match, Douglas cut a confusing promo in which he started off by calling the crowd 'Baltimore pieces of s**t'.

Years later, the WWE Network would leave that line intact in all its uncensored glory. Douglas then took a moment to take shots at Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, because he was physically incapable of opening his mouth without the Nature Boy's name coming out of it.

That, however, wasn't the confusing part.

The confusing part was that Douglas then decided that this was going to be a "Best of Five" tables match, and then appealed to the audience, turning to them and asking "Would Baltimore like to see that?" with all the enthusiasm and excitement of a babyface.

Then again, this was WCW, so I don't know why I'm surprised by such nonsense, or why I'm surprised that the announcers couldn't figure out that a "best of five" match meant that the first man to put his opponent through three tables won the whole thing.

Once the match got started, Douglas mostly got his ass kicked by The Wall and was chokeslamed through two tables in a matter of minutes. Whenever he did get in some offence, Douglas played to the crowd and received the obligatory EC-DUB! chant in response. I guess the Baltimore crowd really didn't mind being called pieces of s**t.

To be fair, the spirit of ECW was strong in its former champion tonight. Having gone through two tables, The Franchise made a miraculous and almost instantaneous recovery, luring The Wall out of the ring to a spot by the entranceway where two tables had been set up with a ladder placed in front of them. It was as though it was purposefully set up so that somebody could be pushed off the ladder and crash through the two tables or something.

Did I mention there were TWO tables? Of course, I did, because this was important, and also very obvious. There were two tables. Predictably, Douglas climbed to the top of the ladder. The wall chased after him with his back to the TWO tables and choked him out. As he did this, the announcers pointed out -several times- that there were only TWO tables.

Shane then produced some brass knuckles from his tights and punched The Wall with them. This caused The Wall to blatantly jump backwards and crash through the TWO tables.

That would even the score, right? Two tables a piece? Next man to put his opponent through a table wins?

Nope.

This was WCW, so f**k you, we're now going to say that The Wall went through three tables and Shane Douglas is the winner.
Your Winner: Shane Douglas

Afterwards, the people Shane Douglas had called pieces of s**t applauded him. The Wall then grabbed referee Slick Johnson by the throat and chokeslammed him through a table.

We then got a replay of the finish, with the announcers blatantly ignoring the fact that there were only two tables set up and pretending it was three.

This company, honestly.

Out in the back, Hulk Hogan pulled up in his car and headed to the arena. The Hulkster was adorned in full 'Hollywood' regalia, complete with massive black and white boas.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship 'Asylum' Match
WCW United States Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Shakira & Midajah) vs. Tank Abbot & Rick Steiner

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Scott Steiner faced Tank Abbott and Rick Steiner
By this point, I'm starting to think that WCW could have cancelled this whole show, put up a screen that just said "F-U" for three hours, and it would have still been somehow more entertaining than the show Great American Bash 2000 was turning out to be.

To begin with, I'm not even sure if this was actually for the US title. I'll go ahead and say that it was, because why not? It's not like anything actually mattered here.

Then, we were told that the 'Asylum' match was Scott Steiner's signature bout so, to make things fair, Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff had made it a handicap match, with Rick Steiner joining Scott's original opponent, Tank Abbot.

A UFC-style circular cage then descended into -not around, but into- the ring, as Tank and The Dog Faced Gremlin beat up on Big Poppa Pump.

It was tedious, but it did at least get a little interesting when Tank Abbot pulled out a chain, only for Rick to urge him not to use it. The former UFC fighter seemed to oblige but then destroyed Rick with the chain.

Scotty made a miracle comeback, blasted Abbot with the chain and locked on the Steiner Recliner for a win inside about three minutes.

This was some piece of garbage.
Your Winner and Still WCW US Champion: Scott Steiner

Out in the back, Ric Flair turned up in a limousine with his whole family (including a young Charlotte Flair) in tow. In a case of terrible continuity, Goldberg's monster truck pulled up in the background and the announcers acted like it was the first time we'd seen it.

Blood is Thicker Than New Blood, Dude

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Mean Gene interviews Hollywood Hulk Hogan about his match with Billy Kidman
After a promo recapping the intense rivalry between Hulk Hogan and Billy Kidman, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed The Hulkster about his upcoming match. Addressing the stipulation that he would have to retire if he lost (yes, just like Flair), Hogan dismissed it and claimed that he and Mean Gene would last forever.

On the subject of his nephew, Horace Hogan, being the special guest referee, Hogan insisted that blood was thicker than New Blood, dude.

Finally, Hogan addressed his wearing of the Hollywood attire, claiming that he had to change with the times. Changing the times for Hogan meant going back to something that had worked for him four years previously.

This was pretty good, old-school stuff from Hogan, and certainly one of his better promos.

Billy Kidman vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan

Special Guest Referee: Horace Hogan

Hogan even came out to the classic nWo theme, which was pretty cool.

Meanwhile, special guest referee Horace Hogan was now friends with Kidman, despite being on Uncle Hulk's side only four weeks earlier at Slamboree.

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Hollywood Hulk Hogan attacks Billy Kidman
That aside, this was a better match than a lot of people give it credit for. Yes, it was mostly just Hogan destroying 'flea market champion' Kidman for the better part of ten minutes, but compared to the utter abomination that the rest of the show had been, it was a refreshingly straight-forward and enjoyable contest.

Throughout the match, Kidman spent half the time growing increasingly frustrated at his 'friend' Horace's commitment to calling the match down the middle and the other half getting his ass kicked. Sure, at one point he gained a brief bit of offence and even went to DDT Hogan onto a chair, but Hogan's head stopped about two feet away from the chair, making the whole thing look stupid.

In the closing stretch, Hogan hiptossed Kidman through the announce table in what was the best move in the match. That brought out Torrie Wilson, who had been having her troubles with Kidman and decided to settle their domestic dispute by handing Hogan a pair of brass knuckles.

Hopefully, they weren't the same pair that had been down Shane Douglas' tights earlier in the evening.

Kidman got hold of the International Object and took out Horace, but got a low-blow from Torrie. That allowed Hogan to put on the knucks, blast his opponent and win the match.
Your Winner: Hollywood Hulk Hogan

Post-match, Hulk and Horace reunited as the announcers reminded us that Hogan's win meant he earned a title shot at Bash at the Beach. That, my friends, would only spell trouble.

Speaking of trouble, back in the dressing room, Eric Bischoff was seen yelling at a policeman for not keeping the arena secure enough from Goldberg.

A Word With The Flairs

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviews Vince Russo and David Flair
Elsewhere in the arena, Pamela Paulshock got in an unexpected burn on David Flair.

"David, good luck in retiring your father Ric Flair tonight, because you're gonna need it," said the backstage interviewer, drawing the ire of both Flair and his manager/surrogate father, Vince Russo.

Doing all the talking for David, Russo ranted and raved about how badly David was gonna hurt his dad in what turned out to actually be a pretty decent promo.

Not that it was anywhere near the level of the Nature Boy's promo. Speaking live to Mean Gene  Meeeeeeean WOOOO! GENE, The Nature Boy promised to style, profile, and walk that ilse en route to destroying his eldest son.

David Flair (w/ Vince Russo) vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - A young Charlotte Flair (top-right) in the audience with her family to watch Ric Flair vs. David Flair
It says a lot about this show that a David Flair match was the best thing on it, at least up to this point anyway.

Obviously, the quality was all down to Ric walking his eldest son through the whole thing as David himself was barely competent.

The two put on a decent couple of minutes that got a little weird when Russo handcuffed Ric Flair's hands together. Referee Charles Robinson allowed that but had a problem with David using the ropes for leverage in a figure four.

At that point, Reid and Ashley (Charlotte) made their PPV debuts by getting involved. Reid hit Russo with a low blow and stole the keys so that Robinson could set Nature Boy free, after which Ashley used those same keys to handcuff Russo's arms together.

Back in the ring, Ric slapped the figure four on David and this one was over.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

Afterwards, Flair chopped the bejeebus out of Russo, prompting to Russo to call Ric's kids 'bitches' and promise to end Flair's career himself on the following evening's Nitro broadcast.

A quick video recapping the Sting vs. Vampiro rivalry followed, then it was time for the two to lock horns.

Human Torch Match
Vampiro vs. Sting

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Sting lights the torch for his Human Torch match with Vampiro
Sting started the match stood atop the 'Nitrovision' (titantron) and lit a torch, telling Vampiro that if he wanted to fight him, he'd have to follow him up there.

Vamp initially refused and looked horrified at even the mere suggestion of climbing up there. Sure, setting people on fire he had no problem with, but climbing a 45ft platform?

That was too much for Vampiro.

At least it was for the first three minutes, after which he willingly climbed up there anyway once The Stinger abseiled down and got in the ring for a quick brawl.

Once both men were safely back on top of the platform, we got thunder and lightning sound effects as the arena lights flashed on and off. Seriously, you thought The Fiend's red light was distracting in 2019?

Those matches are the picture of clarity compared to this.

After a few minutes of hardly anything happening, the lights went completely dark so that Sting could trade places with a stuntman. I think that's what happened anyway. I mean, there's always the possibility that in the few seconds of absolute darkness, Sting gained about 50 lbs and had a haircut. Fake Sting got set on fire, then stood at the edge of the tron, took a deep breath, then took the fakest 'professional stuntman' dive down onto a concealed inflatable mattress below.

As I write this, I've been watching professional wrestling for 28 years and that was easily the fakest thing I've ever seen.
Your Winner: Sting

Afterward, the announce team acted as though the terrible fall by 'Sting' had all but killed him. Again, F-U, Owen Hart.

"This is not wrestling anymore," said Scott Hudson.

He wasn't wrong.

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviews grey-haired Eric BischoffThere is No Surprise

Is it just me, or does Eric Bischoff look a little like his former opponent, Jay Leno in this picture?

Here, we saw him confronted by Pamela Paulshock, who interrupted Bischoff's phone call by sticking her boobs in his face and demanding to know what the mystery surprise was that he'd been promising throughout the show.

Furious, Bischoff claimed there was no surprise after all and send Paulshock packing.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Kevin Nash

As I write this, there are about 25 minutes left on this show. Look, I like Kevin Nash, and I don't mind the odd Jeff Jarrett match, but do I want to see them wrestling each other for 25 minutes?

WCW - The Great American Bash 2000 - Kevin Nash challenged Jeff Jarrett for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Heck no.

Thankfully, I wouldn't have to. Some of that time was wasted by WCW Commissioner Ernest 'The Cat' Miller coming out and announcing that some 'celebrities' would be involved in the match.

Those 'celebrities' were basically The Filthy Animals, who were filling in such roles as guest 'bell-ringer' and 'timekeeper' while Miller declared himself to be the 'special ring enforcer and referee.'

Yawn.

Still 20 minutes to go.

The action got underway with Jeff Jarrett taking an approach that no wrestler before him had ever thought of:

Attacking Kevin Nash's legs.

He worked over Big Sexy's giant pins for a good few minutes. Not a single person cared. This wasn't just because it was incredibly boring, but because everybody was waiting for the inevitable Goldberg appearance and spent most of the match looking out to the entrance for him.

Eventually, the combatants managed to capture the audience's attention when referee Micky Jay took a ref bump, giving us the only enjoyable part of the match with the Filthy Animals running interference and The Cat playing 'Evil Referee,' only for Nash to defy the odds and beat the hell out of them all.

Predictably, Goldberg did show up.

He hit the ring, sized up Jarrett, and then SWERVE! He hit Kevin Nash with the spear. This was also very predictable when you consider WCW's recent track record of doing the STUPIDEST THING POSSIBLE at every opportunity.

Goldberg's involvement allowed Jarrett to cover Nash. Big Bill revived Micky Jay long enough to make the count, and this was done.
Your Winner and Still WCW Champion: Jeff Jarrett

Post-match, Bill Goldberg posed with Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo to close the show.






Throughout all the years that I've been writing these reviews, I've found that the best way to approach a bad show is with humour. Mock it a little, have fun with it, make a joke about all the weird, ridiculous and awful things that happen in the name of pro wrestling.

Yet, as I've learned the hard way today, there's only so long you can do this before it stops being funny.

By the summer of 2000, World Championship Wrestling had stopped being funny.

At Slamboree, I mentioned how there had at least been some decent wrestling, even if it was overshadowed by lousy creative decision making.

However, Great American Bash 2000 didn't even have decent wrestling to save it from being one of the worst shows of all time. I don't say that lightly, either.

Since I started Retro Pro Wrestling, I've reviewed every WWF PPV from Wrestlemania 1 up to Judgement Day 2000. I've reviewed every WCW show from Superbrawl 1996 onwards, and I've even reviewed the terrible disaster that was Heroes of Wrestling 1999. Out of all those shows, I can't think of many -if any- that have infuriated me, disappointed me, and made me want to quit this whole thing any more so than this one.

Honestly, the only reason I would advise you to go anywhere near this mess is to see Charlotte Flair before she was Charlotte Flair.

Everything else basically just "because we're WCW, so f**k you.'



For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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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.