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Showing posts with label War Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label War Games. Show all posts

Thursday, 1 April 2021

EVENT REVIEW: NWA The Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review
July 16, 1988 
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina

What we're about to review today isn't the 1988 Great American Bash PPV event that featured Luger vs. Flair for the title.

Rather, it's an event recorded from The Great American Bash tour that was filmed and uploaded in its original form onto the WWE Network, meaning no announcers, no exciting opening video packages, just raw footage of the matches as they took place.

If you want to read about the PPV, you'll find that Great American Bash 1988 review here.

Otherwise, let's head down to Greensboro for a night of NWA action.






Rip Morgan & NWA Western States Heritage Champion Larry Zybysko vs. Bugsy McGraw & White Lightning Tim Horner

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Larry Zybysko
No fancy intros or special introductions for what is essentially a recording of a house show.

Instead, we got a cold open with Bugsy McGraw and future Smoky Mountain Wrestling star ‘White Lightning’ Tim Horner making their way to the ring.

There, they were met by Western States Heritage Champion Larry Zybysko and Rip Morgan, the latter of whom broke out the traditional New Zealand Haka while McGraw bounced around the ring like a loon.

To be honest, yours truly didn’t have high hopes for this match but it turned out to be a great deal of fun.

Teddy Long was our referee and he apparently enjoyed himself so much that he’d become a life long fan of tag team matches.

Not that you could blame him.

All four men worked hard to deliver a short, explosive opening contest which ended after Tim Horner finally got the hot tag from McGraw and cleaned house.

Lightning by name, Lightning by nature, Horner scored a flash pinfall over Morgan in seven minutes ten seconds, the official time given to us by a young, moustachioed ring announcer by the name of Tony Schiavone.
Your Winners: Bugsy McGraw & Tim Horner

With two rings set up for our main event War Games match, Ronnie Garvin demanded that his next match take place in the ring other than the one officially designated to him.

There was no reason for it, but Garvin had just turned heel a week earlier at the actual Great American Bash ‘88 PPV so this was a good way to show fans that he was now a Grade A d**k.

Ron Garvin (w/ Garry Hart) vs. The Italian Stallion

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Rugged Ronnie Garvin
For further d**kishness, Garvin demanded that he be announced as a former world champion and then feigned an ankle injury in the first ten seconds of the match.

Of course, this was just to lure in The Italian Stallion so that he could punch him out with his famous ‘Hands of Stone’ before sitting on The Stallion’s chest and beating him in what Schiavone told us was 35 seconds.
Your Winner: Ronnie Garvin

Post-match, Garry Hart lambasted the crowd for daring to boo his man and called them hypocrites.

Dick Murdoch vs. Gary Royal

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Dick Murdoch
There will be modern-day fans who dislike this match for being little more than forearm shots and a headlock, but personally this long-time wrestling fan enjoyed it immensely.

After letting Gary Royal put him in a headlock for the first minute of the match, Dirty Dick Murdoch soon gained the advantage and simply bullied his opponent for the next five minutes.

He threw him in the corner and hit him with forearms, argued with Teddy Long (the only official for all three matches so far), took Royal to the outside and did the same again.

The action was slow and methodical but it really presented Murdoch as a brute and a bully and was far more entertaining than some folks would give it credit for.

At the end of six minutes and 59 seconds (thanks, Tony), Murdoch dropped Royal on his noggin and pinned him with a wicked sh*t-eating grin on his face.
Your Winner: Dick Murdoch

Moving on

Non-Title Match
NWA Florida State Champion Rick Steiner vs. Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Jimmy Garvin & Precious
I’m not saying pro wrestling isn’t legit or anything, but it certainly seemed like Tony Schiavone was making up the match times as he went along.

He called this one in five minutes, twenty-five seconds even though it lasted less than three.

Rick Steiner attacked from the opening bell, Ronnie Garvin made a comeback. Kevin Sullivan came down to help his Varsity Club teammate, Garvin saw him off and got a pin from out of nowhere.

It was barely even a match.
Your Winner: Jimmy Garvin

Can you believe that was our fourth match on this card and we’re barely past 25 minutes?

The New Zealand Sheepherders (Luke Williams & Butch Miller w/ Rip Morgan) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - New Zealand Sheepherders vs. Rock 'n' Roll Express
Unfortunately, we didn’t get another Haka from the New Zealanders which would have been cool. Instead, we got them pointing at the New Zealand flag a lot and calling the Americans scum bags before Ricky Morton invited them to kiss some Rock & Roll ass.

With the pre-match banter out of the way, both teams engaged in what was easily the best -and the longest- match on the card so far.

Ok, so it wasn’t nearly as long as Tony Schiavone made it out to be (I’m starting to wonder if Schiavone’s watch was dodgy), but it was still a good 14 minutes of old-school tag team action that had the crowds roaring at every possible turn.

Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson were -as usual- insanely over with the NWA audience while Luke & Butch were reviled in equal measure.

That meant that everything they did got a huge ovation, all of which made for seriously engaging viewing.

After battling against the odds (with Rip Morgan running plenty of blatant interference), the Rock & Roll Express picked up the predictable, but nonetheless satisfying, victory.
Your Winners: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

Up next, Garry Hart led another man into battle.

Al Perez (w/ Garry Hart) vs. Brad Armstrong

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Al Perez vs. Brad Armstrong
You know, I’ve never noticed before how much Al Perez looks like he could have been Seth Rollins’ older brother.

Here, he took on Road Dogg’s actual brother Brad Armstrong In a weird match that was clearly designed to give the fans a breather after the excitement of the Sheepherders/R&R Express match.

Things went incredibly quiet as Armstrong took control in the early going, even though his simple approach of working over Perez’s arm was effective.

Outside shenanigans courtesy of Mr. Hart later turned the tables and put Perez in control, at which point the fans really came alive for the first time in the match.

After more decent yet unspectacular action, Hart grabbed Armstrong’s leg on a suplex attempt allowing Perez to fall ontop of just opponent for the Uno, dos,tres.

Bunkhouse Handicap Match
NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton, Sweet Stan Lane and Jim Cornette) vs. The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 -Jim Cornette
Anything goes according to our man Schiavone, but referee Tommy Young makes both teams go to their corner and enforces tags because logic.

The Fantastics wanted Jim Cornette to start the match but, naturally, the cowardly manager was having none of it.

What followed was a fun match with a hot crowd and a simple story that added a touch of humour to an otherwise basic tag match.

When they were getting their butts kicked, The Midnight Express continually reached to their partner Jim Cornette hoping that he’d tag in, but he flat out refused. This irritated Sweet Stan Lane and Beautiful Bobby Eaton so much that they threatened to punch him.

Naturally, James E. then wanted to tag in when his men were in control and even wanted to score the match-winning pin despite Beautiful Bobby having it all taken care of.

This ended up costing the Midnights the match as the Fantastics kicked out, fought back, and, when Cornette accidentally threw powder in Bobby’s face, they beat him up and won the match.
Your Winners: The Fantastics

This fan honestly expected Sweet Stan and Beautiful Bobby to turn on Cornette after the match, but no such luck.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World Television Champion Mike Rotunda (w/ Rick Steiner and ‘Games Master’ Kevin Sullivan) vs. Sting

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Mike Rotunda vs. Sting
Sting
was easily the most popular dude on the roster so far on this show and was also the only guy to get actual entrance music.

Unfortunately, that popularity alone wasn’t to secure him a title victory despite putting on a valiant effort against Mike Rotunda.

Early in the match, Rotunda’s team mates Rick Steiner and Kevin Sullivan got involved but Sting whooped their butts so referee Tommy Young let it slide.

Then, after a decent match, they got involved again only this time Young had decided that enough was quite clearly enough and threw the match out.
Your Winner via DQ: Sting (Mike Rotunda retains)

Post-match, Rotunda and Steiner began pushing and shoving one another until Kevin Sullivan broke them up.

Skywalker Match
The Russian Assassin & Ivan Koloff (w/ Paul Jones) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Scaffold match
Skywalker match = scaffold match.

We were getting into main event territory now which meant that everyone got music, but if you were expecting a bit of Iron Man for The Road Warriors you’d be disappointed. Generic Rock Theme #1234 was the order of the day here, at least on the Network.

As far as match quality goes, this was certainly one of the better scaffold matches the NWA had presented.

It was certainly better than the Road Warriors outing against The Midnight Express back at Starrcade 1986 and better than the second scaffold match we saw back at Starrcade 1987 between the Midnights and The Rock & Roll Express.

This was mostly thanks to the efforts of Ivan Koloff, who had no problem tripping himself up on the platform and pretending to almost lose his balance umpteen times. It was a masterful  job that saved this from being just another ‘dudes stay on the edges of the platform where it’s safe and punch each other until eventually dropping to the ring.’

To be fair, that’s precisely what Road Warrior Hawk and The Russian Assassin did, but at least Koloff made things interesting in his pairing with Animal.

Alas, making things interesting wasn’t enough to win the match.

He and the Assassin both took unremarkable bumps back to the canvas to lose the match.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

Afterwards, Hawk, Animal, and Paul Ellering all beat up on Paul Jones

War Games
The Four Horsemen (NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair, Barry Windham, NWA World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, and James J. Dillon) vs. Lex Luger, Dusty Rhodes, Paul Ellering, Dr. Death Steve Williams, and Nikita Koloff

This was a solid match well worthy of main event status and, despite getting pretty chaotic once the ring filled up, remained compelling from start to finish.

Dusty Rhodes and Arn Anderson kicked things off and both bladed within about two minutes because of course, why wouldn’t they?

From there, more bodies entered at regular intervals to create a wildly entertaining brawl that raged on all the way through to The Match Beyond where Rhodes finally put James J. Dillon in  a figure four to win the match.
Your Winners: Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff, Steve Williams, and Paul Ellering

Post-match, the triumphant heels walked off into the sunset while the Four Horsemen checked on their fallen comrade.







For the most part, the Greensboro stop on the Great American Bash 1988 tour was better than it perhaps looks on paper. While only a few bouts really stood out as anything special (Sheepherders vs. Rock & Roll Express, Fantastics vs. Midnights and the main event War Games match), everything else was at least decent enough to make watching this show an enjoyable experience.

Personally, I would have liked WWE to have brought in some guys to record a commentary track in order to enhance the overall presentation of this event, but that’s a small niggle that takes nothing away from what was generally an OK show all-round.



Other 1988 events:
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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.