WCW: Bash at the Beach 1997

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WCW: Bash at the Beach
July 13, 1997
Daytona Beach, FL
Ocean Center

The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/10/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Jeff Jarrett (6/9/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (10/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Steven Regal (5/18/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho (6/28/1997)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes.

  • Glacier & Ernest Miller vs. Mortis & Wrath (w/James Vandenberg)

Mike Tenay joins us for commentary to make sense out of the first half of the show since we have Tony “Oh my goodness!” Schiavone, Bobby “no regard for their bodies” Heenan, and Dusty “OH BOY, HE LOLLY WALLOPED HIM” Rhodes around. What starts out as a big brawl continues as Glacier shows some fire (hope he doesn’t melt!) by beating the heck out of Mortis while Wrath and Miller settle on the apron. Wrath tries to attack Glacier, but Miller springboard kicks him to the floor. Total Elimination on Mortis gets two. Tag to Wrath, he slows down Miller with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Wrath walks the ropes, but misses the elbow drop. Glacier gets a tag as both he and Miller are overpowered. Wrath turns back around and takes a DOUBLE DROPKICK! ROCK AND ROLL WILL NEVER DIE! Mortis causes a distraction allowing Wrath to nail Glacier with a bicycle kick to send him to the floor. Mortis punishes Glacier with some guardrail action leading to a cannonball splash by Wrath! While Miller is filibustering with the ref, Mortis superkicks a chair into Glacier’s face when he’s up against the ringpost! Holy crap. Back in, Glacier makes a very brief comeback as Wrath turns him inside out with a clothesline. Powerbomb and neckbreaker combo on Glacier gets 1-2-NO! Wrath applies an inverted Boston crab! Where has this guy been? With Glacier prone and unable to defend himself stuck in the hold, Mortis legdrops him from the second rope. Mortis calls for a moonsault, but completely misses. Wrath stops the hot tag and goes for the DEATH PENALTY, but Miller decides it’s a hot tag anyways and unloads on Mortis and Wrath with all kinds of kicks. I don’t know if he messed up his cue or what, but this match has broken down. Wrath and Miller head to the floor while Glacier hits Mortis with a DDT! While the ref is busy with the guys on the floor, Vandenberg wraps a chain around one of Mortis’ boot. Glacier knocks Vandenberg off the apron with the CRYONIC KICK, but then turns around and gets met with a LOADED CRYONIC KICK from Mortis for the 1-2-3. (9:48) For those who care, this would be Glacier’s first pinfall loss in WCW. I am totally blown away by this one. I expected nothing from it, but this delivered in spades for me. All action, cool moves that you’ve never seen, and the crowd was into it. I see it as the big finale to the “Blood Runs Cold” angle as everybody just kind of moved on to other things. ***¼

  • WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon

Dragon did all of his best work in WCW as a cruiserweight and I wished he had left the TV title alone because it seemed to hurt him more than it helped elevate him since it was no longer a title anyone took seriously. Some fancy feeling out stuff to start. They even go for some of the same kicks at the same time to show how well they know each other to come to a stalemate. Our esteemed commentators talk about what the nWo will do tonight: something or nothing is the result they have come to. Dragon does the headstand on the top turnbuckle and gives Jericho his patented kick combo. Jericho fights back with the Double Powerbomb. C’MON BABY! Back senton gets two. Jericho keeps working on the back of Dragon, but he lets Dragon run the ropes too much and takes a back suplex. Nice spot as Dragon does a floatover in the corner and Jericho runs through that and hits Dragon with a moonsault press for two. They both head back to the top and Jericho tries to dropkick Dragon down to the floor. Although he whiffs on the kick, Dragon still sells and falls to the floor. Schiavone and Heenan do their best to cover that up, which is pretty easy by saying Dragon falling to the floor is a better end result than taking a dropkick to the floor. Jericho makes up for it by leaping off the top for a plancha onto Dragon. Back inside, Jericho eats a boot on the way down from the top. Over to the corner, Dragon looks to finish with his Dragonrana, but Jericho dumps him back onto the floor. Poor Dragon. Jericho leaps again, but flies down into a dropkick! Well, sort of. Back to the apron, Jericho attempts his springboard plancha and misses. Dragon makes him pay with an Asai Moonsault! Back in the ring, Dragon somersaults and jumps back up to his feet to nail Jericho with a hurracanrana. That’s incredible. Jericho catches the Handspring Elbow though and throws Dragon down to apply La Magistral cradle, but Dragon rolls through and gives Jericho one of his own for 1-2-NO! Rollup sequence lands them both back on the floor. Back in after an enziguri kick, Jericho flips out of a suplex and delivers the Lionsault to Dragon’s back as Dragon evidently thought Jericho was just running the ropes in a nice subtle moment. Prawn hold won’t get the pin though. Another Lionsault fails as Dragon stands up and dropkicks him in mid-air. Jericho finds the ropes to stop the Tiger Suplex and then knees out of the Dragon Sleeper. Dragon knocks him silly with a clothesline and stuns him with a Moonsault. Jericho still manages to counter a Dragon Suplex and goes for a butterfly powerbomb, but Dragon rolls through into a hurracanrana, which Jericho rolls through *again* for the pinfall to retain the Cruiserweight title! (12:56) For whatever reason, the crowd wasn’t into this one. This was really good and I like the story of two guys knowing each other’s offense. Not to sound snooty, but they did have a better match in Japan before their time in WCW that Tenay really didn’t get a chance to talk about. Some of the moves didn’t hit properly and I normally don’t mind that too much because it feels less choreographed that way, but it happened a few times too many here. I still liked this match more than I have the few other times I’ve seen it. On the July 22 Nitro, Dragon would be rewarded with his second and final TV title reign. ***¾

Gene Okerlund goes over to Raven in the front row to ask if he’s going to be DDP’s mystery partner. Stevie Richards is there, too. Raven won’t even acknowledge Okerlund’s presence at first, but then stands up and spouts off some Edgar Allen Poe to break his silence. He then relates the question Gene asks to his childhood somehow. It’s a stretch, let me tell ya. Stevie Richards gives us something more substantial by spilling the beans about an announcement Raven will make tomorrow night on Nitro. Once that’s said, Raven knocks him down and popcorn goes flying. Gene is absolutely disgusted, but I’m sure intrigued a little bit by getting something of a scoop!

  • Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Great Muta & Masahiro Chono

Just a quick note: Mike Tenay leaves and comes back for the next match for whatever reason. If the Steiners get through Muta and Chono, they can face the Outsiders for the WCW tag titles. Chono and Muta dump out the Steiners only to be met with STEREO FLYING CLOTHESLINES. Steinerlines clean house on nWo Japan. Some stooge looking like Arn Anderson’s retarded cousin gives Chono a hard time. In the ring, Scott starts off with Muta. He gives Muta a butterfly suplex and a press slam. Tag to Rick, Muta doesn’t know what to think of him and bails before tagging Chono. A little bit of no-selling from Rick here until he gets nailed with the YAKUZA KICK. Rick catches Chono with a powerslam causing Chono to head back out to the floor to jaw with that fan. He tags Muta who is dominated by Scott. When Scott goes for the belly to belly superplex, Chono helps out with an electric chair drop. Handspring Elbow sets up the bulldog, which leads to the Muta twisting elbow drop. Tag to Chono, he gets caught up top for a Belly to Belly Superplex! Hot tag to Rick, he dishes out Steinerlines and Belly to Belly Throws. STEINER BULLDOG to Muta! Cover, 1-2-NO! After Rick takes Chono to the floor, he gets posted, allowing Chono to nail Scott when he’s up top. Muta brings him down with the Hurracanrana. Schiavone and Rhodes chastise Heenan for cheering on the heels. Whoops. Even after a year of this angle, some habits never die. Anyways, Rick catches the Handspring Elbow and throws Muta away with a release German suplex. In comes Chono, the ref is busy trying to break up what he’s doing with Rick. Meanwhile, Scott drills Muta with the FRANKENSTEINER. Rick jumps on the pin for 1-2-NO! Chono pulls the ref by the leg. While ref Mickey Jay is yelling at Chono, Muta gets the STEINER DDT. That’ll finish off anybody. (11:38) A lot of hard-hitting action as you would expect from the Steiners with these Japanese fellas, but just a mess of a match most of the time. I just don’t think Muta or Chono had any interest in getting over in the US anymore. Let’s be honest about Muta, he hasn’t cared about doing that since 1989, and I’m not convinced Chono ever did. **

  • Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza & Lizmark Jr. vs. Villano IV, La Parka & Psychosis (w/Sonny Oono)

These guys won’t be abiding by American lucha rules, they will be competing under NORMAS DE LUCHA LIBRE MEXICANO! I don’t think lucha play by play in general reads well, so I won’t waste my time getting bogged down in each and every big move, so I’ll just give some general thoughts. This is the WCW debut of Lizmark Jr. You kids who watched Lucha Libre USA on MTV2 may remember him as the champ on that short-lived program. Sonny Oono is representing both La Parka and Psychosis right now. While La Parka is holding Juvi, Oono kicks La Parka by mistake, causing a temporary problem between the two until Oono flashes the almighty American dollar at him. Pretty cool spot as all the rudos are piled on the mat allowing Juventud to springboard splash all three of them. After a triple dive, Psychosis gives Juventud a sunset flip powerbomb onto his neck for a nearfall. While Lizmark and Garza apply La Estrella to Psychosis and Villano, La Parka hoists up Juventud into a bow and arrow submission onto his shoulders only to drop him onto Lizmark. People start missing dives here and there. It looked like we might see our first TOWER OF DOOM spot, but it ends up looking like a chicken fight. Lizmark dropkicks those guys out and then handspring moonsaults onto Villano for two. They start up taking turns for dives on each other ending with Hector Garza’s TORNILLO. Villano V comes out for a twin switch and gets pinned with Garza’s standing moonsault. (10:08) Entertainment value is the key here because this was void of all psychology and yet a very entertaining ten-minute stunt show. I wish I understood the Mexican lucha libre style a bit better to maybe explain why zero psychology is okay, but unfortunately at this moment in time I cannot. I really want to get into it and understand why some people think El Dandy is the greatest worker of the ’90s, I just haven’t. Still a really fun match though. ****

Good night, Mike Tenay. Your services of contributing common sense are no longer needed.

  • No-DQ Career Match: Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan (w/Jacqueline & Jimmy Hart)

Loser leaves WCW. With the US/Canada angle in the WWF, I wonder if there were *any* rumors of Benoit defecting? Sullivan and Jacqueline don’t seem to be getting along. I don’t know if that stemmed from something on Saturday Night or what. This is a brawl right from the word go. Sullivan gives Benoit a suplex to the floor and then opens up a part of the guardrail in the aisle for some violence. While on the floor, Benoit kicks both Jackie and Sullivan where the sun doesn’t shine. Benoit heaves Jackie onto Sullivan as this has become a cartoon tornado fight where people are getting sucked into the fight and thrown away. They fight over to the beach set where Sullivan whacks Benoit with a surfboard. A cabana gets turned over. As Jimmy Hart is standing on a lifeguard perch, Benoit turns that over to send him crashing through something else we can’t quite see. Sullivan gives Benoit a piledriver in the aisle and then follows with the DOUBLE STOMP. Back to ringside, Sullivan drives Benoit’s balls into the ringpost and then atomic drops him on the guardrail right in front of Raven. So much ECW happening right now. In the ring, Benoit starts biting Sullivan on the ear which may or may not be a Mike Tyson reference. Sullivan fights through the CRIPPLER CROSSFACE for over two minutes. Sullivan takes Benoit’s punches and fires back with some of his own. He ties up Benoit in the tree of woe and charges with the knee THREE TIMES. Now Jacqueline finds a wooden chair and gets into the ring. When Sullivan asks for the chair, Jacqueline breaks it over his head! She is officially done with that guy. Not like it was necessary, but Benoit comes off the top with the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT for the win to end the 15 month-long feud and the career of Kevin Sullivan. (13:11) Well it’s not Paul Jones and Jimmy Valiant, but that’s a pretty long feud by modern day standards. Afterwards, Jimmy Hart chastises Sullivan for letting the Dungeon of Doom down, but he gets scared away by Sullivan. He’s either teary eyed or got some sawdust in his eyes from that chairshot. This was an ECW brawl all the way with better visuals and camera work. ***

  • WCW U.S. Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael (w/Debra)

Some Memphis stalling to start. Mongo spikes Jarrett with a Bossman slam and clips the knee before we’re back to the floor for more stalling. Back in, McMichael wins a test of strength and then levels Jarrett with a knee strike. Back to the floor, this time Jarrett baits Mongo out for some ringside brawling. In the ring, McMichael with press slams and powerslams Jarrett for two. Next up, Mongo runs his knee into the corner. Jarrett clips the knee a couple times trying to embarrass Mongo. When Jarrett calls for the Figure-Four, Debra is on the apron distracting the ref. As she takes the ref into the corner, she hands Jarrett the Halliburton briefcase. Mongo blocks the first strike with his forearm, but realizes how much that hurts. Jarrett whacks him again this time square on the noggin for the 1-2-3. (6:57) Afterwards, Jarrett and Debra embrace and celebrate their big win. Since they wanted to make Mongo babyface, they had to get him to ditch his wife somehow who was getting booed whenever she spoke. Either way, this wasn’t very creative. If I was booking, I would have already made the switch to try and generate some interest for the match, but NOOOOOOO. First real stinker of the night. ¾*

  • Curt Hennig & Diamond Dallas Page (w/Kimberly) vs. Scott Hall & Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth)

This is Hennig’s in-ring WCW debut as a mystery partner for DDP. It’s already a weird relationship because they seem so distant with each other. Almost as if Hennig is regretting this partnership. There’s a lot of spitting, chewing, and toothpick throwing to begin things. Interesting tidbit: DDP managed Curt Hennig and Scott Hall once upon a time. Hennig softens up Hall for a while allowing DDP to come in and deliver the Pancake Slam. Page nails Savage to get him riled up. He pays for it as Hall follows DDP into the corner for a clothesline and Savage is right there to give him more of that. Tag to Savage, he nails the Flying Double Sledge. Savage works the neck and tags out to Hall who works the ribs. When he tries to come back, DDP gets yanked out to the floor for a ride into the steps courtesy of Savage. Back in, DDP hits a quick inverted atomic drop on Savage to lead into a HOT TAG TO HENNIG. I’m kidding, this crowd doesn’t care less about Hennig. While DDP is hanging off the apron, he’s holding himself up by pulling on the top rope. The spot that was supposed to go down was Hennig flying over the top rope due to Page, but it could not have come off much worse. Savage has to kick Hennig out to ringside. Nevertheless, the angle must go on. Hennig nails DDP back into the ring and walks out on his partner. The crowd chants DDP while Hall and Savage put him away with an OUTSIDER’S EDGE followed by the MACHO ELBOW for the win. (9:36) Just another lazy angle in a mediocre match at best. *½

  • Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair

Flair displays a very calm, serious demeanor going into this match. Piper peppers him at the start to send Flair running. Back in, chops are exchanged and Piper comes out on the winning end as Flair Flops. There’s the Flair Flip and Piper clotheslines him off the apron. Piper backdrops him on the floor and smashes his head on the ringpost. Back in, Flair clips the knee and works him over to set up the FIGURE-FOUR. Piper psyches himself up and reverses the hold. Swinging neckbreaker by Piper gets two, but then Flair uppercuts the balls. WOO! As Flair beats on Piper, Piper dares him to keep on punching. That fires up Piper for another comeback. SLEEPER HOLD by Piper, but Flair quickly counters with a jawbreaker. Cover with a foot on the top rope, 1-2-NO! Shut up, fat boy. Flair heads up top and we all know what happens next. Piper locks in his own Figure-Four, but Flair manages to reach the ropes. Out comes an international object from Flair’s tights. Piper blocks the blow and steals the taped knux away from Flair only to nail Flair himself! Seeing his boss is in trouble, Mongo sprints down to ringside to distract ref Mark Curtis while Chris Benoit appears and tries to hit Piper with the Swandive Headbutt. Instead, Piper moves and Flair gets wiped out. Now while Mark Curtis goes over to get Benoit out of the ring, Mongo spikes Piper with a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER. The damage is done, so they split. Flair rolls over on top of Piper for 1-2-NO! They get into another punch exchange that ends with Piper grabbing the SLEEPER HOLD. Flair doesn’t counter this time and goes away to dream land as Piper picks up the win. (13:27) You can take it for what it was. They really didn’t need the overbooked finish. After the crazy match Benoit was in and the heartbreak Mongo should have suffered earlier in the show, you wouldn’t think these two would be brought back out to do anything else. **

  • The Giant & Lex Luger vs. Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman (w/Randy Savage)

He may not have been interviewed by Barbara Walters as being one of the most fascinating people of 1997, but he sure was popular. While appearing a few times in WCW over the past two years, Dennis Rodman finally makes his in-ring debut. A lot of standing and messing around to start. Hogan looks to soften Luger so Rodman can come in. They trade headlocks as Lex scares Hogan with his muscles. Even though Lex is clearly not weakened, Hogan forces his hands and tags out to Rodman. They do the right thing with Rodman at first – essentially have him be hesitant to hook up with Luger. He should have tagged out right there. Next thing you know though, he locks up with Lex and gives him an armdrag. It’s one of the simplest moves in wrestling and our esteemed commentators are crying CONSPIRACY. Dusty says there’s a ring in a barn somewhere and he’s got the best in the biz around him. True, and the crowd loved it, but let’s not overdo it quite yet. It wasn’t a Jack Brisco armdrag by any means. Lex gives Rodman his receipt with a bunch more armdrags that are nothing to write home about and he’s got more than ten years under his belt. After Rodman retreats, Hogan runs in and takes the same punishment only to retreat to the floor as well. After they lick their wounds, Rodman returns to shove off a headlock to leapfrog and shoulderblock Luger down. SOMEBODY CALL THE LAW! They do it again and this time Lex drills Rodman with a clothesline. Tag to Hogan, now he means business. Time to bring the Giant into this. Hogan beats him into the corner, but then Giant NO-SELLS a corner clothesline. He calls for the Chokeslam and Hogan heads out to the floor to be with his buddies. Back in, Hogan thumbs the eye and grabs a headlock only to then receive a big atomic drop. Now Hogan tags out. Rodman starts to leapfrog the Giant, but he’s caught in a bearhug and then inverted atomic drop. Giant choke lifts Rodman into the air, but Hollywood nails Giant from behind. Once Rodman recovers, they start to double-team the Giant with a double-clothesline and a double hiptoss. Okay, that was pretty cool. Hogan and Rodman both cover the Giant at the same time, but only get two. HOT TAG TO LEX! He wants the Bionic Elbow on Hogan, but Rodman catches him with a kick from the apron which staggers him into a big punch from Hogan. They work over Lex for a while and just when they think he’s done, they party over in their corner. Meanwhile, Lex tags Giant, who destroys them both. Hey look! Here comes Sting! He seems much more big and sexy than usual! Rodman gets rid of the ref, but Giant goozles him for a CHOKESLAM. Fortunately for Rodman, the much taller than usual Sting is there to whack Giant with the ball bat before he can complete the move. After Sting leaves, Hogan and Rodman encounter some heel miscommunication, and Lex picks up Hollywood in the TORTURE RACK. Ref Nick Patrick appears and calls for the bell signaling that Hogan has given up! (22:19) Uh oh, Lex is in Rack Mode. Once Lex drops Hogan, he racks Rodman and Savage too. Not at the same time, of course. As the nWo leave defeated, Hogan reminds us that Luger was not the legal man, and he is in fact correct. Entertaining for a few moments in there and just plain silly everywhere else. They would do the same match next year except with TWO basketball players instead of just one. My feelings toward both of them are pretty much equal. *½

Final Thoughts: This is certainly the classic WCW case where you have a very solid undercard and the rest of the card does whatever. The main event is a step above what we’ve seen with Hogan on PPV since it’s such a spectacle. If you lived in the ’90s and you remember who Dennis Rodman is, you might be interested to see this match at least once. In terms of someone coming from the legitimate sports world into wrestling, his appearances could never hold up to the likes of something like Ali vs. Inoki since Muhammad Ali was the greatest athlete of the 20th century to where Rodman is more of a flash in the pan when it comes to his celebrity. Anyways, slight thumbs up to Bash at the Beach 1997, as it’s the best WCW PPV of the year to date.

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