WCW/nWo: Great American Bash 1998

WCW/nWo: Great American Bash
June 14, 1998
Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Arena

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (4/20/1998)
WCW U.S. Champion: Bill Goldberg (4/20/1998)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: vacant (6/4/1998)
WCW World Television Champion: Fit Finley (5/4/1998)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: vacant (6/11/1998)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Bobby Heenan.

  • Best of Seven Series – Match 7: Booker T (3) vs. Chris Benoit (3)

Since Booker T technically won the best of seven series against Chris Benoit on a cheap disqualification ending thanks to a chairshot from Bret Hart, Booker T refused to take the TV title match that way. JJ Dillon “wiped the slate clean” and removed the result from the annals of history so that we could have ONE MORE MATCH between these two guys. Because they wrestled so much in the first half of 1998, this in fact the final meeting between Chris Benoit and Booker T in WCW. They go tit-for-tat to start with armdrags and hammerlocks. Booker catches Benoit with a pair of back elbows, but Benoit fires back with a dragon screw leg whip and chops Booker in the corner. Booker escapes a chinlock and runs the ropes with Benoit, but leapfrogs and turns around into another chop. Snap Suplex gets two. Benoit goes back into a chinlock. When Booker fights up, he runs into a knee and gets hung out to dry. Benoit is just destroying Booker with the running clothesline and those chops. He pulls back on the arms of Booker, but Booker comes back with a desperation powerslam. Booker tries his flying body press, but Benoit moves out of the way. Here’s another chinlock segment. Booker comes out and enziguris Benoit to begin his spinebuster and flapjack comeback. SPINAROONIE! Benoit crotches Booker up top for a nasty superplex, but can’t make the cover in time and only gets two. Here comes the Hat Trick of Germans! Booker stops the third one, but gets caught with the DRAGON SUPLEX for 1-2-NO! Baltimore thought it was over. There’s a nice moment when Booker tries the twirling Jack Brisco rollup spot only for Benoit to see it coming and destroy him with another chop. He connects with the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT, but once again Benoit cannot make the cover in time. Booker reverses a corner whip and Benoit goes in for the chest-first bump. As Benoit staggers backwards, Booker grazes him with the Harlem Side Kick and then catches real good from the front. Booker then heads up top and delivers the MISSILE DROPKICK for the win. (16:20) Our esteemed commentators tried to push the knee injury story, but you never saw Booker sell the knee or Benoit really go after the knee. This seems like a hard one to book for a number of reasons. They already know each other very well after seven matches, so it seems unlikely either wrestler would make a mistake. You also have to consider the winner has to be able to competitively wrestle later in the show so you can only take this match so far for the next match to be believable. Either way, I can’t say this match was much different than the other seven even with twice as much time given. Benoit gets a whole bunch of offense and Booker makes his comeback. Baltimore seemed to be 60/40 Benoit, too. ***¾

  • Saturn vs. Kanyon

Kanyon comes out to his Mortis theme and get-up. OH WAIT! That’s not Kanyon! Kanyon is actually in the ring behind Saturn! You know this would have been cooler had they not been doing the same thing back and forth with Glacier and Saturn on Thunder. Kanyon ducks a shot from Saturn to start and rolls him up for two. He beats him down into the corner and delivers an electric chair drop facebuster. Kidman and Lodi are seen coming out to distract Kanyon as Saturn comes back. Saturn misses a corner charge though and takes a Rocker Dropper from the middle rope. Kanyon does so many moves and most of them could be finishers. Since they are just moves, they don’t mean anything. Horace and Riggs head down to help out Kidman, but Saturn doesn’t want their help beating up Kanyon and dives on all four of them. Ref Nick Patrick has enough of the Flock and sends them back to the dressing room. Saturn brings Kanyon back into the ring with the Cesaro superplex. He applies an anklelock out of nowhere and Kanyon makes the ropes. He even puts Kanyon in an early version of the Cattle Mutilation, but Kanyon reaches the bottom rope. Saturn crotches Kanyon onto the top rope and then delivers a springboard clothesline to take them both to the floor. Back inside, Saturn sets up a chair and springboard dropkicks Kanyon in the corner. He even channels Sabu and delivers the TRIPLE JUMP MOONSAULT for two. Kanyon catches Saturn slingshotting himself into the ring for a northern lights suplex. Cool move, but it gets zero reaction. Kanyon escapes a chinlock with a back suplex followed by a hotshot. They go through a bunch of rollups on the mat. Kanyon delivers a fireman’s carry flapjack for two. He attempts a torture rack neckbreaker, but can’t hold onto Saturn and does what he can to just not break Saturn in two. Kanyon tries the Flatliner, but Saturn blocks and hits a Half Nelson Suplex. Kanyon avoids the Death Valley Driver, but eats a superkick. They head up top where they both crash and burn to the floor. Kanyon bounces off the ring apron and splats on the floor. Meanwhile, two fake versions of Mortis show up and punch each other out of the ring. WHAT. Saturn gets caught coming off the top rope into the FLATLINER as Kanyon thankfully gets the three-count. (14:48) Afterwards, what we thought was the fake Mortis hired by Kanyon turns out to Raven who EVENFLOW DDTS him on the floor. Raven takes off the mask to reveal himself. As the Flock head down to ringside, Raven parts ways with Saturn once and for all and leaves him behind to get beaten up. Unfortunately for the Flock and for Raven, Saturn cleans house on them and holds his arms up high. I tend to agree with Bobby Heenan here. It took him 5000 moves to beat Saturn and that’s a tad ridiculous. The crowd didn’t really care much considering Kanyon isn’t over yet and Saturn doesn’t really have much of a connection with the fanbase either to help the crowd get behind Kanyon to see him beat Saturn. Plus, this got way too much time. If they had booked a shorter brawl and a FEW of Kanyon’s innovative moves, it would have meant more and this may have gotten over. I believe there was a guy at that time who was getting over HUGE with that exact same style of booking. **

  • Vacant WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho

So Chris Jericho is here to get his cruiserweight belt back after getting “screwed” by Dean Malenko at Slamboree. Malenko had given up the belt on Thunder because he was tired of Jericho’s whining about the conspiracy against him. It doesn’t make any sense to me either. Jericho reacts to the fact that this crowd thinks he sucks to start. Once they touch, they clothesline each other at the same time, but pop right back up. Jericho pounds and kicks Malenko up against the ropes, but Malenko fires back with a release German suplex. Jericho grabs a headlock and runs over Malenko with a shoulderblock. Too much posing and posturing though. Malenko hits a vertical suplex as we head to the mat. He pulls back on Jericho’s arms for a bit. When Jericho gets up, he does a Ray Stevens corner bump and fakes hitting his head on the top of the ringpost to sucker Malenko into trying a baseball slide. On the floor, Jericho kicks Malenko in the head and catches him with a pescado. Back in, Jericho delivers the vertical suplex and “C’MON BABY” pin cover. After they trade sleepers, Jericho slams Malenko for the Lionsault and misses. Malenko goes to the corner for the ten-count punch and slams Jericho down on his face for two. Up in the corner, Jericho elbows Malenko trying the Super Gutbuster and hurracanranas him down, which looks real good. Malenko punches Jericho down during a powerbomb spot and lands on top for a nearfall, but Jericho rolls back and applies the LIONTAMER. Unfortunately, Malenko quickly reaches the ropes. Jericho has lost it. He is so obsessed with winning that he nearly slugs the ref when he doesn’t get the decision he wants. Jericho catches Malenko trying a floatover in the corner and slams him down for another shot at the Liontamer, but Malenko escapes and applies the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF. This time Jericho reaches the ropes. Jericho stuns Malenko with the butterfly backbreaker and abuses him in the corner. While slapping Malenko around, Jericho tells him that he’s nothing – just like his dead father. Well, that’s enough to make Malenko snap. It wasn’t as awesome as what he did at Slamboree, but a fiery Malenko beats up Jericho to the floor and hits him over the back with a chair for the weak DQ. (13:51) The fight continues as Malenko beats Jericho out of the building onto Hopkins Plaza. While they had a great feud, they just never that *classic* together. **½

They air a video of Juventud Guerrera contemplating things alone walking around in where we can only assume is somewhere in Mexico. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL ABOUT THIS?

  • Reese (w/Lodi) vs. Juventud Guerrera

Reese bullies Juventud around. No surprise there. He tries to dive on Reese and gets caught. No surprise there. Guerrera jumps on his back for a sleeperhold. No surprise there. The bullying continues for a while. Juventud kicks Reese in the nads. Reese goes for a pin and lets up on Juventud because he wants to win by a ten-count. When Guerrera won’t surrender, Reese brings a chair in the ring. Juventud tries his flying headscissors and gets caught, but Van Hammer appears and whacks Reese with the chair to knock the big guy over so that Juventud can get the REALLY CHEAP three-count. (8:46) They will do something similar in another 6-8 months with Rey Mysterio. It’s coming. Van Hammer carries Juventud out in his arms like they are totally friends in real life. Tenay asks us if we can believe what just happened. The answer is yes. Yes, I can. ½*

  • Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Eddie’s micromanaging of his nephew’s career as somehow made him psychotic. This is their first showdown together. Eddie is super reluctant to face him for some reason. Chavo slaps Eddie across the face to get this one going. He absorbs some chops from Eddie and backdrops him. Eddie catches him trying a corner charge and launches him onto the steel turnbuckle connector. Eddie takes the same bump and scrapes his shoulder. Chavo then turns psychotic. He smashes Eddie’s face on the buckle a bunch and drags him around by his hair. Chavo decides to give him a couple headscissors moves and Eddie bails, but Chavo brings him back in the ring. Eddie is there to kick the ropes into Chavo’s balls though to turn the tide. He applies an armbar, but Chavo uses the ropes to maneuver away from the pressure and armdrags Eddie over. Chavo goes into his father’s playbook and hits the MOONSAULT PRESS for 1-2-NO! They go to the floor where Eddie dumps Chavo headfirst into the ringsteps. Back inside, Eddie delivers the Brainbuster and stands over Chavo yelling at him until Chavo pulls an Undertaker and goozles Eddie. He chokes Eddie back down on the mat until ref Mickey Jay pulls him off. Eddie bails out again and causes Chavo to give chase. Once Eddie is back in the ring, he hides behind Mickey Jay so that he can dropkick Chavo in the knee when he’s not looking. Eddie applies a FIGURE-FOUR (WOO!) for a bit. Chavo escapes a Gory Special, but Eddie swats away a dropkick and then dropkicks Chavo in the mush. Eddie puts Chavo in a camel clutch and then gives him a whirly bird slam to continue to damage the back. However, Chavo comes back and backdrops Eddie to the floor for a somersault plancha. There’s some undeniable “WE WANT FLAIR” chants just like we saw seven years earlier at this show. Chavo hits a Springboard Bulldog for 1-2-NO! He looks to mock Eddie with the Frog Splash, but Eddie pops up and shakes the ropes to cause Chavo to crash and burn. Chavo sits up to avoid the real Frog Splash and snaps Eddie’s neck on the top rope from the Tornado DDT spot. With Eddie staggered, Chavo hits the Shinjiro Otani SPRINGBOARD TORNADO DDT and gets the upset win over his uncle. (14:46) They could have built to that finish a little better with more nearfalls, but whatever. They must have been running short on time. Either way, a decent match and easily Chavo’s best singles match to date in WCW. ***

  • WCW World Television Championship: Fit Finley (c) vs. Booker T

Booker hits the Hook Kick early on Finley. He tries an enziguri, but Finley ducks and goes right after the knee with a stepover toehold. Booker comes back with the Jumping Forearm for two. He looks for the Axe Kick hoping to put Finley away, but they try to do the spot where Finley catches the kick and dumps him to the mat. Once Finley gets a hold of the leg, he doesn’t want to let go applying hold after hold. He even takes Booker to the floor and wraps his leg around the post. Great work from Finley, but the crowd just isn’t interested and would rather watch somebody get thrown out of the building. Booker makes his superman comeback with the Axe Kick. He SPINAROONIES up, but gets leveled with a clothesline when he stands up. It looks like they wanted a tombstone reversal to end the match, but it never works out and Booker settles for a regular piledriver (as he drops to his knees) to get the win and regains the TV title. (13:14) Afterwards, Stevie Ray comes out to wake his brother up and celebrate with him. Slow-paced work, but definitely solid up until the botched finish. **

  • WCW U.S. Heavyweight Championship: Bill Goldberg (c) (99-0) vs. Konnan (w/Curt Hennig & Rick Rude)

So rumor has it that this was supposed to be the night Goldberg lost via DQ in order to kill the streak, but thankfully Eric Bischoff put a stop to it. It’s not too long before Goldberg hits the Spear and the JACKHAMMER for win #100. (1:58) Goldberg is noticeably shouting and pointing at Hennig, which may just be him working or he could be shooting on him. Either way, that’s all she wrote. After the bell, Curt Hennig and Rick Rude attack Konnan and reveal they have turned to the nWo Hollywood side. Kevin Nash and Lex Luger run down to clean house since they have nothing better to do tonight. ½*

  • Randy Savage & Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart & Hollywood Hogan (w/The Disciple)

This is the last we will see of Randy Savage wrestling on a PPV for an entire year. Even though they don’t get along, Piper and Savage work together to beat up on Hogan for the first couple minutes. It takes a belt shot from the floor by the Disciple to turn the tide in the favor of nWo Hollywood. Piper becomes face in peril for a while. Hogan and Hart do all they can to antagonize Savage. There’s a false tag spot. When Bret goes to headbutt Piper in the groin, Savage slides a chair in so that Bret will headbutt the chair. Oh my. Hot tag to Savage, and the match breaks down. Savage and Piper run the heels into each other. As Savage goes up top for his Macho Elbow, Hogan whips Piper into the ropes causing Savage’s leg to give out. Disciple gets his hands on Piper while Hogan wraps Savage’s knee around the ringpost. Piper manages to get away from the Disciple and goes after Hogan. Meanwhile, Bret grabs Savage and applies the SHARPSHOOTER for the submission. (11:42) This was just awful. It had to be the worst PPV match Bret Hart had been associated with up to this point in his career. *

Roddy Piper isn’t interested in fighting Randy Savage afterwards until Savage turns around and slugs him. You shouldn’t have done that, pal. Ring the bell.

  • Randy Savage vs. Roddy Piper

Savage chokes Piper and punches him down for the MACHO ELBOW, but his injured knee hit the mat on the way down. He decks the ref, which allows Piper to low blow him without any consequences. Piper applies a figure-four (WOO!) and another ref calls for the bell forcing Savage to submit TWICE in one night. (1:38) And that’s that. N/R

  • Vacant WCW World Tag Team Championship: Sting vs. The Giant

Giant smokes a cigarette on his way to the ring to begin that gimmick. He blows smoke in Sting’s face after the bell and gets a slap to the face for his troubles. Sting is debuting the red and black tights here tonight. Giant charges at him in the corner and flies up to the top buckle to be kicked and take the Stinger Splash. Sting tries another one, but Giant brings his boot up. Giant beats up Sting in the corner. As Sting goes on the move, he tries a crossbody block only for Giant to completely no-sell. He follows up with a HUUUGE snake eyes on Sting. Sting bites out of a bearhug though and takes the knee out with a low dropkick. Giant staggers to the corner and takes a pair of Stinger Splashes. As Giant wobbles out of the corner, Sting grabs him for a big slam. Giant powers out of the Scorpion Deathlock, but Sting dumps him with the SCORPION DEATHDROP for 1-2-NO! Sting avoids the CHOKESLAM and hits another SCORPION DEATHDROP, but Giant will not stay down. They go to the corner, but Sting avoids a corner charge with both feet and delivers a SUPER SCORPION DEATHDROP to finally get the win. (6:40) So now Sting holds both the WCW world tag belts. Who will he pick to be his partner?! Will it be LEX LUGER? Will it be KEVIN NASH? DDP? KONNAN? Tune in tomorrow night on Nitro to find out! *½

Final Thoughts: It felt like this show had a good build going to it, but the Great American Bash did not deliver. The middle portion of the show was actually hard to get through as the crowd just didn’t care and neither did I. I can appreciate Sting trying to end the show on a high note as he seemed to be full of energy due to being in a town that has always loved him, but it definitely wasn’t going to save the show. If you’re a huge Booker T fan, this might be the show for you as he went thirty minutes here. The Benoit/Booker match was really good, but nothing they hadn’t already done several times over on Nitro and Thunder over the last couple weeks. Otherwise, I don’t see a ton to recommend. There was also some really bad wrestling like the Juventud/Reese match and the Tag Team Match from Hell. I’m going with thumbs down for the Great American Bash 1998.


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