Wednesday, June 29, 2022

WCW Great American Bash 1989

Expecting some other show? Sorry, kids, I didn't watch it for reasons outlined previously. But I did watch another great wrestling show... this one from the ol' NWA/WCW days.

Wargames! Flair vs. Funk!

I've never seen this one, kids. I've heard good things. Always been curious about this one and with Blood & Guts II on the horizon tonight, I'd figured this would be a good primer.

We open the show with a 14-man "King Of The Hill" Battle Royal (their words, not mine), in which you have "fourteen" guys in two rings and whoever wins gets a bunch of money. Everyone is wearing crowns for some reason, which makes me wonder what the "King Of The Hill" gets if he wins. This one is hard to follow because apparently the Network version is clipped to fuck. All I know is that Sid and Dan Spivey - the Sky Scrapers - are the last two guys in and manager Teddy Long declares they'll split the winnings. Fair enough, I suppose.

And then the video quality gets better... maybe that was a home video thing?

Brian Pillman defeated "Wild" Bill Irwin in a short but entertaining little match. Brian did his high-flying stuff and Irwin held his own. If not for the battle royal, this would've been a perfectly acceptable opening match for the card.

The Sky Scrapers (Sid & Dan Spivey) defeated The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace) in a short but relatively inoffensive match. Big guys did big guy things, Shane and Ace got beat up, everyone was into Sid... no, really, it's absolutely insane to see the crowd reacting to Sid as wildly as they did here. It's like Hogan slamming Andre in comparison.

* May or may not be like Hogan slamming Andre in comparison.

Jim Cornette defeated Paul E. Dangerously in a Tuxedo match, which is the male equivalent of an evening gown match - whoever strips the other dude to their underoos win. These guys were basically managers, but bless them, they were intent on beating the shit out of each other and that's exactly what they did. Yes, this was played for laughs, but they were aiming to put on a fight worth a damn and for what it was, this was great.

The Steiner Bros. defeated The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan & Mike Rotunda) in a Texas Tornado match, which meant no tags; just four dudes beating the ever loving piss out of each other and this was tremendous. I kinda wish it lasted a little longer, but on the other hand, this was fine as was and the worst (or best) was still yet to come.

We have the TV Title match with Sting defending the title against The Great Muta in a battle of painted faces. Muta is a killer here and Sting is the plucky good guy. The match was great, but the finish confounded me, as it looked like Sting had won with a slide, but another ref pointed out something and Muta would end up with the title. Wikipedia listed this as a double pin, but either way, the finish baffled me somewhat and put a damper on an otherwise entertaining little match.

United States champion Lex Luger defeated Ricky Steamboat via DQ when Steamboat shoved the ref aside to beat the piss out of Luger with a steel chair for said DQ, shortly after Luger teased using said chair on Steamboat... and Steamboat was supposed to be a good guy. As such, Luger retains the title. This was a great match and one of the few times where the DQ finish made sense because Luger had demanded this be a regular match, which meant DQ were a thing and thus played into the finish. When wrestling does these little things to make the finish more worthwhile, it's quite fun.

And speaking of fun, it's da WARGAMES! Ten men, two rings, one cage... and yeah, this was a lot of fun. I actually liked the promo before the match where the Midnight Express were just talking and all of a sudden, you had Dr. Death Steve Williams "fly" by like he's Superman with a goofy smile on his face. It's such a random thing that it made me laugh. I wonder if Cornette ever saw this and if he did, did he throw a fit because this seems like the sort of thing he'd shit on AEW for?

The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express & Steve Williams defeated Terry Gordy, Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin & The Samoan Swat Team in WARGAMES! A lot of guys come in, a lot of guys get beat up, and the finish comes when Hawk submits Jimmy Garvin with a sort of submission that looks like a hangman's noose. Kind of a cool little finish, but also kinda on the nose, which I'd imagine is why not many people would use this as a finish today. Great match, though I was generally surprised by how clean this Wargames was. Usually, somebody gets cut open around here and that didn't happen... then again, considering the main event, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised because...

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair defeated Terry Funk in a fucking brutal, bloody affair to retain the title. Two guys hate each other, they beat the piss out of each other, they eventually bleed, and finally Ric pins Funk with a cradle reversal. I thought this was the I Quit match that they had, but turns out that comes along later at one of the Clash Of The Champions shows. In any event, this match was tremendous and the post-match was even better, with Muta coming out to mist Flair in the eyes, prompting Sting to come out and make the save. Flair surprisingly does NOT turn on Sting here. After all that, a bloodied Flair cuts one HELL of a promo to end the show.

You know what? This was a pretty good show. The big matches more than delivered their weight in gold and even the undercard had some fun stuff, even if most of it was shorter than Hornswoggle. Some people like to compare GAB '89 to Wrestlemania X-Seven and I don't know if I'd go that far. However, I have no qualms about considering this one of the better WCW shows I've watched. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

Next week continues the WCW fun, but we're venturing into a new world in need of order from an outsider perspective, armed with a razor and sided by Big Daddy... nobody is going to get that.

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