Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida
Throughout his time in World Championship Wrestling, Hulk Hogan's biggest and most game-changing moments had occurred at Bash at the Beach.
No one who was around at the time could ever forget Hogan being revealed as 'The Third Man' and pledging his allegiance to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash at Bash of the Beach 1996.
Two years before that, Hogan had made his in-ring debut for the company at the first-ever Bash at the Beach PPV, dethroning Nature Boy Ric Flair for the world heavyweight championship.
So it was perhaps entirely appropriate that tonight, Hogan would make his last on-screen appearance for WCW at would prove to be the last ever Bash at the Beach.
Talk about things coming full circle.
In 1994, there was no Bash at the Beach and no WCW Hulk Hogan. After tonight, there would once again be no WCW Hogan nor Bash at the Beach.
Here then, is a look at the fitting conclusion to Hogan's WCW run.
The Cat Has NO Time for The Young Dragons
Kaz Hayashi, (Jimmy) Yang, and Jamie-San (a masked Jamie Noble) stood around like something out of a goofy Kung Fu comedy, with The Cat insisting that he didn't have time to play with them. Undeterred, the Dragons attacked Miller anyway.
Quite why they did this was never explained.
Pyro, camera shots, and a welcome from Tony Schiavone followed, after which he and his colleagues Scott Hudson and Mark Madden got ready to call all the action.
World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Lieutenant Loco vs. Juventud Guerrera
I should also point out that Lieutenant Loco was the champion but Juventud Guerrera came out with the title belt because this was WCW and the company LOVED that gimmick so much.
With all that nonsense out of the way, what we were left with was a perfectly acceptable cruiserweight title match. Both men would have better outings with other opponents, but this was decent enough in its own right.
At various points, both men's stables tried to come out wearing Halloween masks as a means of (poorly) hiding their identity but were seen off by the officials, leaving Chavo to get the win over Juvi.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Lieutenant Loco
Out in the back, Commissioner Miller was seen talking to a beaten-up Yung Dragons, insinuating that he had escaped their clutches and beaten them up.
They were interrupted by WCW Champion Jeff Jarrett, who marched into Miller's office accompanied by a woman dressed as the valkyrie Brünnhilde from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. I've no idea what that was about, but I'm assuming it had something to do with the line "it ain't over until the fat lady sings."
Anyway, Double J wanted to know why his scheduled opponent, Hulk Hogan wasn't here yet, but all Miller could say was that the Hulkster would definitely be taking part in tonight's show.
World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship Handicap Match
Before the bell, Big Vito claimed that his original opponent was supposed by his own partner, Johnny The Bull. The Bull, however, was out of commission, so Terry Funk was supposed to be his opponent, but Vito had destroyed him on Nitro, leaving Ernest Miller no choice but to book him against a 'Mystery Opponent.'
WCW Hardcore Champion Big Vito vs. Screamin' Norman Smiley & Ralphus
Since Vito was in such a good mood, he announced that he'd take on both he and Ralphus in a handicap match. Not that it made much of a difference.
Much as he had done back at Slamboree 2000 in Smiley's match against Funk, the former head of Jericho Personal Security kind of just wandered around aimlessly, occasionally coming in to tap his opponent on the head with a trash can.
At one point, Ralphus was about 20 feet away from the action and still managed to fall on his ass and cut his head open. This isn't one of those times when I exaggerate to get across how fake a move looked. I mean, Ralphus was so far off in the background that he was almost off-camera, and yet he still managed to fall and bleed.
Poor Ralphus, he really was a disaster of a human being.
You have to feel bad for the guy too, because it was he who ended up costing his team the match. Vito sent Smiley away in an elevator then found Ralphus at ringside, beat him up and then propped up a table and rested the big guy against it. He splashed him from the top rope through the wood and this one was, mercifully, over.
Your Winner and Still WCW Hardcore Champion: Big Vito
That contract was on the line in a match against Kevin Nash.
Across the way, Nash cursed his way through a sombre promo with Mean Gene Okerlund in which he reminded Goldberg that he was the only man to ever really beat him.
With a wry Smile, Nash promised to do it again tonight.
David Flair is a Two-Timing LowlifeNext, we got a video package looking at the feud between Daffney and Miss Hancock. The two had been feuding because David Flair was a two-timing low-life and had been cheating on Daffney with Hancock.
The two would compete in a 'Wedding Gown Match' next.
Wedding Gown Match
Miss Hancock (w/ David Flair) vs. Daffney
Dressed in a wedding suit, David Flair got involved very early on. As did referee Slick Johnson. The result was that we got four people chasing each other around the ring and occasionally grabbing each other.
Daffney and Stacy ripped off Flair and Johnson’s pants. Crowbar got involved to help Daffney and took his own pants off.
‘This is pretty funny.’ said Tony Schiavone.
It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t entertaining, and it certainly wasn’t sexy, not even when Miss Hancock cost herself the match by saying screw it and putting on a striptease.
The only funny moment was Slick Johnson, Crowbar and David Flair all sat down in the corner of the ring, enjoying the show.
Your Winner: Daffney
Afterward, everybody threw cake at each other and made a big mess. I mean, bigger than this pile of garbage already was.
Out in the back, The Cat wandered through the corridor, voicing his concerns about Hulk Hogan being AWOL.
Oriental music played and The Jung Dragons were seen hiding in the background.
That wasn’t funny either.
Where is Hogan?As the ring crew tried unsuccessfully to clean up the cakey mess at ringside, the announcers expressed their own concerns about Hogan and gave us the same bit about Hogan’s links with Bash at the Beach that I’d given you at the start of this review.
Eventually, the ring crew said screw or and just flipped the messy ringside mats over.
World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Perfect Event (‘Perfectshawn’ Shawn Stasiak & ‘The Event’ Chuck Palumbo) vs. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke)
No sir, I enjoyed the heck out of this one.
The longest and best thing on the card so far, the action here was solid. Not spectacular, not groundbreaking, certainly not must-see, but solid, decent and perfectly acceptable as a tag team match.
Best of all, it was one of the very few WCW PPV matches to occur around this time with a clean, no-BS finish.
No outside interference, no weapons (Stasiak brought in the Lex Flexor but didn’t use it), just a solid team match with a good old fashioned finishing move and a three count.
After a lengthy battle, that finishing move came in the form of a powerbomb/Doomsday Device combo courtesy of Kronik, earning Bryan Clarke and Brian Adams the gold.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Kronik
Out in the back, Jeff Jarrett and his opera singing friend (known as Screamin’ Mimi) warned The Cat that he’d cause trouble and ruin the show if Hogan didn’t appear.
Miller was trying his best to sort things out, but once again got attacked by The Jung Dragons.
Admittedly, this was starting to get old, but it was also so ridiculous you couldn’t help but laugh.
‘Positively Kanyon’ vs. Booker T
Meanwhile, Booker T had ditched the G.I. Brain thing and was now just good old’ Book.
The two gave us another solid match, albeit one without a clean finish.
After several minutes of compelling action, Jeff Jarrett stayed true to his word and screwed with the show by waffling Booker with a guitar.
Kanyon then hit the weakest looking Diamond Cutter ever and won.
Your Winner: Kanyon
Backstage, Mike Awesome was chatting up Screamin’ Mimi but was interrupted by Pamela Paulshock, who wanted to know about his upcoming US title match.
The joke here was that Awesome found Mimi way hotter than the smoking hot Paulshock. It would have been way more convincing had he not continually looked down at her boobs throughout the promo.
Speaking of Pamela Paulshock, can I just say how much I enjoyed her performances?
No, it wasn’t to do with the fact that she was an attractive woman (though it helps), but because she was one of the few backstage interviewers to have come along with a genuine personality, like a modern-day Missy Hyatt.
I enjoy her get-in-the-wrestlers-face approach immensely.
Also, there was this line from Madden:
"You know who the fat girl's favourite wrestler is? Shane Douglas...She thinks he's The French Fries."
Fair play, that was probably his only genuinely funny contribution to pro wrestling.
World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Mike Awesome
She wasn’t the only part of Steiner’s gimmick to have gone. For vague, nefarious heel reasons, The Cat had declared that the Steiner Recliner was now a banned move.
At first, it didn’t seem to matter. Steiner ana Awesome still tore it up a wild and thoroughly entertaining brawl, giving us a match that was even better than their last outing at Spring Stampede 2000.
Towards the finish, however, The Cat came down and, after inadvertently kicking Awesome, insisted that he would strip Steiner of the title if he put Mike in the Recliner.
Stupidly, Scotty did it anyway and lost the title.
Your Winner by erm. Disqualification: Mike Awesome
That was such a dumb finish to an otherwise good match that I had to go on Wikipedia to find out what the actual result was.
Apparently Awesome won by DQ, but whether or not that made him our new champion was unclear as of that moment.
Taking out his frustrations, Steiner murdered Awesome with a wicked T-Bone suplex.
Then, after more time-killing meanderings from the announcers, we went down to the graveyard.
Superbrawl 2000, The Demon was no longer simply a Gene Simmons impersonator but was being billed as the personification of Dale Torborg’s dark side.
The Demon (w/ Aysa) vs. Vampiro
Whatever he was, he journeyed into a graveyard for a cheesy, cringe-inducing non-match with Vampiro in which the only way to win was to make it out of the graveyard and back to the arena.
Had they played this tongue-in-cheek like Matt Hardy would do years later with the Broken Universe stuff, it could have been glorious.
Had they gone all-in with the violence factor and gritty realism of say, Undertaker and Mankind’s Boiler Room Brawl at Summerslam 1996, it could have been very compelling.
As it was, they did neither.
Instead, the two just kind of staggered around the fake graveyard, hitting each other and occasionally shouting at each other.
At one point, Vampiro threw Demon into an open grave then ran off with Aysa.
Moments later, Demon caught up and found Asya rocking back and forth as though something traumatic had happened.
As he went to check on her, Vampiro pulled him into the lake for a bit of a splash about then ran off again.
Eventually, Demon caught up, but Vamp spat some Muta-like mist in his face then stuffed Mr Torborg in a casket and dumped the casket into the open grave.
With that, Vamp just kind of walked away.
Yuck. This could have been so good. Instead, it was so, so stupid.
A Franchise Guarantee
Don’t want to do that? Just listen to Shane Douglas’ promo instead.
Speaking to Mean Gene, The Franchise guaranteed to defeat his former partner Buff Bagwell in their upcoming match.
I’m not certain, but this sounded like Douglas’ best attempt at cutting a babyface promo.
Buff Bagwell vs. The Franchise Shane DouglasOk, so maybe it wasn’t, because Douglas was definitely still a heel here.
Like so many of the matches World Championship Wrestling presented around this time, this was a good wrestling match ruined by a convoluted finish.
Bagwell and Douglas battler back and forth in an intense brawl until Torrie Wilson strutted to ringside with her boobs practically hanging out of her top.
At first, she slapped Douglas, but that was just a ploy to gain the trust of Buff, who she then kicked squarely in the bollocks.
Revealing her true colours, Torrie helped Shane keep his word by beating Buff Daddy.
Your Winner: Shane Douglas
Post-match, Wilson and Douglas made out.
Nobody wanted to see that.
The Chosen One is Ready for The HulksterBackstage, Hollywood Hulk Hogan was seen walking, ready to face Jeff Jarrett.
Elsewhere in the arena, Jeff insinuated to ‘Jurassic Slap Ass’ Mean Gene Okerlund that Hogan had made a lot of enemies during his WCW tenure and this would somehow come into play tonight.
World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
Though I don’t really remember them, apparently all kinds of rumours were floating about around this time that something dodgy would go down involving Hogan and Jarrett.
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan
If you hadn’t already caught wind that something was up, the fact that a Hulk Hogan world title match was plonked at a place in the card with an hour left to go should have given you a clue.
We even got Michael Buffer calling this our ‘main event of the evening.'
Buffer called out Jarrett first. The champion took forever to come out and, when he did so, he was following behind Vince Russo.
Hogan came out next, by which time Jarrett had walked back up the ramp. Taking to the microphone, Hogan demanded that The Chosen One get in the ring so that he could powerbomb him in tribute to his buddy, Kevin Nash.
Jarrett did so, but instead of locking up with Hollywood, simply lay down for him.
Yep, this was like the Fingerpoke of Doom all over again, except, you know, without the actual finger poke.
Looking confused and bewildered, Hogan took to the microphone and uttered the last words he would ever utter on WCW TV:
‘Russo, is this your deal? You know, this is why this company is in the damn shape it’s in, because of bulls**t like this.’
Looking dejected, Hogan put his foot on Jarrett and Slick Johnson counted the three.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan
The last shot of him on WCW TV was of him waking backstage while some kids carried the title belt and Vampiro walked into the arena, ignoring Hogan entirely.
All the while, the announcers fumbled over themselves trying to explain that this wasn’t how the match was supposed to go down without actually coming out and saying ‘you know it’s all fake, right?’
The irony was that this whole thing actually was planned.
The idea was that he would return later in the year claiming to be the real champion and go up against whoever the heel champion happened to be at the time.
That, of course, would never happen, and we’d have Vince Russo‘ upcoming promo to thank for it.
But first, more Vampiro.
The Dark Circle Has Been Completed
No, I’m not sure what that meant either.
The fans chanted for Sting, but Vamp claimed that, just like Dale Torborg, Sting was now dead.
Sting himself wasn’t so sure of that.
Taking a play directly from The Undertaker’s book, Sting had several Druid-like creatures wearing Sting masks and hoods wheel a coffin down to ringside.
When the coffin opened, somebody who clearly wasn’t Sting but who the announcers lied and told us was Sting popped out of it.
The lights went dark, the opening riff of Metallica’s Seek & Destroy played and was quickly replaced by Generic Creepy Music 124.
When the lights came back on, Vamp was having a nap in the coffin.
Goldberg Wants to Destroy The OutsidersStarrcade 1998, Bill Goldberg finally looked to get revenge on Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the outcome of his match with Nash on that show.
Tonight, he promised to beat Nash from pillar to post and then destroy Scott Hall’s contract right in front of him.
The funny thing was, Scott Hall hadn't appeared on WCW TV since that February’s Superbrawl 2000 show and had already left the company months ago following an incident on the company’s March European tour.
Fun fact - I was at one of the shows on that tour.
Vince Russo Kills Hulk Hogan’s CareerHere’s that promo in full:
"Three weeks ago, I left WCW and quite frankly I didn’t know if I was gonna come back. And the reason I didn’t know if I was gonna come back or not is because, from day one that I’ve been in WCW, I’ve done nothing, nothing, but deal with the bulls**t of the politics behind that curtain.
"The fact of the matter is I’ve got a wife, I’ve got three kids at home and frankly, the fact of the matter is I don’t need this s**t.
"But let me tell you the reason why I did come back. I came back for every one of the guys in this locker room that week in and week out busts their ass for WCW. I came back for the Booker Ts. I came back for every single guy in MIA. I came back for the Animals, I came back for Jarrett. I came back for the guys behind that curtain who give a s**t about this company. And let me tell you who doesn’t give a shit about this company that god damned politician Hulk Hogan. Because let me tell you people what happened out here in this ring tonight.
"All day long I’m playing politics with Hulk Hogan because Hulk Hogan tonight wants to play his creative control card and to Hulk Hogan that meant that tonight in the middle of this ring, when he knew it was bulls**t, he beats Jeff Jarrett. Well, guess what- Hogan got his wish, Hogan got his belt and he went the hell home. And I promise everybody else or else I’ll go in the god damn grave you will never see that piece of s**t again.
"But I also... I sat out there in the people just like you and I know you paid good money to be here tonight and nobody is gonna be ripped off here tonight.
"So Hulk Hogan now has the WCW belt. And Hulk let’s refer to it as the Hulk Hogan memorial belt cause from here on in that belt don’t mean s**t. Because there will be a new WCW belt and as far I’m concerned that belt still belongs to the one guy that busts his ass week in and week out in the middle of this ring and you people can love him and hate him and he don’t screw anybody back there and that’s Jeff Jarrett.
"Now hold on a minute- Jeff Jarrett is still the official WCW champion but he will defend in this ring tonight. And he will defend that title against the son of a bitch back there who for fourteen years has been busting his ass for WCW and can’t get a god damn break because of the Hulk Hogans and I’m talking about Booker T. Booker T and Jeff Jarrett are the two reasons why I’m in this damn stinkin' business to begin with. So tonight in this ring for the WCW Title two deserving guys Jarrett and Booker will compete for the WCW belt and they’ll tear this god damned house down. And Hogan you big bald son of a bitch- KISS MY ASS!"
The most noticeable thing about this passionate, profanity-laden speech from Russo is that it was genuinely one of the best promos to feature on WCW programming in ages.
Personally, I could have done without all the swearing, but if wrestlers back then -or even now- could have delivered a promo with even a tenth of that intensity and believability, it would have made for awesome viewing.
If you couldn’t be bothered watching the video, the other noteworthy thing was that Russo booked Jarrett vs. Booker T for tonight.
Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg
Scott Hall’s Contract on the Line
As he made his way from the locker room, Big Sexy stopped to ask one-time nWo member Scott Steiner is he’d watch his back.
Steiner refused, being too busy getting his freak on with Midajah, but then he and his woman came out to ringside a few minutes into the match.
Honestly, you could smell the heel turn a mile away.
The actual Nash/Goldberg action wasn’t half bad and was more or less exactly what you’d expect from the pair of them.
Predictably, however, Steiner turned on his long-time friend. Goldberg hit a spear and a Jackhammer, and Scott Hall’s WCW career was officially over months after he’d already left the company.
Your Winner: Goldberg
I say that, but when you think about it, this was a smart way to actually explain why we’d never see Hall again on WCW TV rather than having him do that mysterious thing that so many wrestlers before him had done and just randomly disappearing, never to be mentioned again.
Booker T Will Take His OpportunityBackstage, Booker T claimed that he didn’t really know what was going on, but would take his opportunity when he could get it and walk out with the gold tonight.
World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T
It was interesting to note the number of empty seats on the hard camera side of the ring by this point. Clearly, plenty of people had just about had enough of WCW's nonsense and gone home. A shame, really, because they missed a really good main event.
Sure, it began with something of an ominous cloud hanging over it, a certain sense of "this is only happening because something controversial went down earlier," but Jarrett and Booker worked hard to move past that and give us the best match of the night by a thousand miles.
It was dramatic, it was captivating, and even though it had an unnecessary ref bump, it was everything you'd want from a high profile title match.
In the end, Jarrett came off the top with the guitar, but Booker blocked it and hit a Book End. Slick Johnson ran in because Billy Silverman had been KO'd in the corner, and three seconds later we had the best 'new world champion' moment any company had produced since Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 14.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Booker T
I mean seriously, this was such a feel-good moment. The remaining crowd all raised the roof for Booker, the champ himself was overwhelmed with emotion and almost cried, and your writer, watching at home, got goosebumps.
Whatever else had happened at Bash at the Beach 2000, that's how you close a show - with a deserving champion standing tall after a tremendous, tremendous effort.
Speaking of tremendous effort, that's mostly what WCW had produced here. Not that it was a flawless show. It was more like A+ for effort, C+ for execution. For all the decent wrestling, for all the moments like Booker T winning the title and that incredible Vince Russo promo, there were dumb Graveyard matches, too many run-ins, and David Flair dropping his pants.
This, ladies and gentlemen, was the last ever Bash at the Beach show, and for better or worse, the world of professional wrestling would never forget it.
For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see: