WCW Great American Bash 1996 | WCW Sunday Night RetroView

Next up on the journey towards the creation of the nWo is WCW Great American Bash 1996. Yes, I know I am skipping Slamboree 1996, but in honesty I am not a fan of the Lethal Lottery concept. 

So instead we are traveling back to the show before the formation of the industry changing group. Starting off the show is a video package preparing us for the action to come. 

WWE Network - WCW The Great American Bash 1996
[Photo: WWE Network]
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan begins the video saying his team of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson is ready for Macho Man Randy Savage’s team of NFL star Kevin Greene and former Chicago Bear Steve Mongo McMichael. 

Flair and Arn Anderson are next and they claim they’re going to win which is followed by clips of Lex Luger and the Giant addressing their upcoming WCW World Title Match. 

After the National Anthem is played we are welcomed to the show by Tony Schiavone and Dusty Rhodes. They talk about the main event to come and the absence of Heenan. 

WCW Great American Bash 1996
Tag Team Match
The Steiner Brothers vs Fire & Ice

The Steiner Brothers vs. Fire and Ice: Great American Bash 1996 | WWE
Photo @WWE

Schiavone lets us know that with the current rivalry between these two teams being as intense as it is, there must be a winner in this contest. It has to be said, Scott Norton and Ice Train are an impressive, physically imposing team. 

Scott Steiner and Ice Train begin the match, pure power versus power. As per usual with a Steiner Brothers match, we get an early show of force by Rick and Scott that sends their opponents scurrying from the ring. 

The Steiner pose elicits a bevy of cheers from the live crowd. All four of these guys are physically impressive. Each is able to pull off an impressive throws and slams. Midway through the match, Norton catches Scott Steiner as he comes off the top rope and plants him with a slam. 

Norton was an underrated beast. This is a really solid tag team match but it ends with possibly the most awkward Frankensteiner by Scott Steiner to Scott Norton. Fun opening match between four brutes 

Winners – The Steiner Brothers

We get a brief Mean Gene Okerlund interview of Kevin Sullivan about his Falls Count Anywhere Match with Chris Benoit before the next match. 

WCW Great American Bash 1996
WCW United States Championship Match
Konnan © vs El Gato

PPVs Viejos: Great American Bash 1996 | 16 Junio 1996 - TIM Wrestling
Photo @TIMWrestling

Konnan comes out and still hasn’t made his transformation into gangster Konnan but we’re getting closer to that moment. 

El Gato tries his best to make this a competitive match, but its obvious from the outset that Konnan was going to win this match. That conclusion comes when Konnan hits a Alabama Slam, finishing off a less than memorable encounter. 

Winner – Konnan

Mean Gene is now joined by Sting and they discuss his upcoming match with Lord Steven Regal. Sting makes fun of Regal and questions his manhood because he’s from England. 

WCW Great American Bash 1996
Diamond Dallas Page vs Marcus Alexander Bagwell

WCW The Great American Bash 1996 ~ Retro Pro Wrestling Reviews
Photo @RetroProWrestlingReview

DDP enters first with his Diamond Bowl ring in tow. It’s fun watching the lead up to him becoming the People’s Champion of WCW. Bagwell sprints to the ring, sending DDP fleeing to the outside. 

The critical mistake by Bagwell turning his back gives DDP the early advantage. Bagwell had a ton of potential when he was part of the American Males with Scotty Riggs. He also has the fans’ support in this match, they respond kindly to each move he pulls off. 

We get a classic “using the ropes during an abdominal stretch” segment from Page. Such a classic wrestling spot especially when the ref kicks the bad guys had away from the ropes. The end comes when DDP hits the Diamond Cutter. 

Dusty Rhodes and the crowd reaction shows just how popular the Diamond Cutter was becoming at this point. DDP was really disliked still but his finisher gets a positive reaction from everybody. 

Winner – Diamond Dallas Page

Joining Mean Gene next is the Giant and Jimmy Hart. Gene asks about Jimmy Hart’s relationship with Lex Luger and asks the Giant about his title defense against Luger and the Torture Rack. The Giant promises a chokeslam is coming Luger’s way. 

WCW Great American Bash
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Dean Malenko © vs Rey Mysterio Jr.

Review: WWE Network's 100 Best Matches: #60 Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio ( WCW Cruiserweight Title, WCW Great American Bash 1996) – Hammy Reviews
Photo @HammyReviews

Historic match here as this is Rey Mysterio Jr. ‘s WCW debut. Mike Tenay joins the commentary team to give the fans a perspective on Rey Mysterio Jr. Both men enter and it’s all business. 

Sidenote: Prime Dean Malenko was on another level. 

A feeling out process begins the match as the two trade arm holds and reversals leading to an applause from the crowd. Mysterio gets the first strong take down with a spinning arm drag, sending Malenko ring side to reevaluate his plan of attack. 

Both men show how well prepared they are by displaying various counters. Malenko eventually centers the focus of his attack on Mysterio’s arm. Each time Rey begins to gain some momentum, Malenko is quick to bring it to an end with a vicious attack. 

But, Mysterio being the fighter he is, will not stay down. Something that impresses Tony Schiavone on commentary. Midway through the match, for the second time, Schiavone mentions the possible hostile takeover currently taking place in WCW. 

Something that comes into playing shortly on this show. In the ring, Malenko is still wearing down Mysterio, this time with an arm bar. Late in the match Mysterio gets his speed going and tops off a plethora of moves with a front flip off the top rope onto Malenko standing ringside. 

Mysterio gets a extremely close two count after hitting a Frankensteiner, a move that excites Dusty Rhodes one commentary. The finish comes fast and furious as Malenko gets the win with a rope assisted pin following a power bomb. 

First of more than a handful great matches between these two. 

Winner – Dean Malenko

Lex Luger is in the back being interviewed by Mean Gene. Luger is calm and not yelling like usual as he is all business tonight while he olds the Television and Tag Team titles. 

WCW Great American Bash 1996
Grudge Match
Big Bubba Rogers w/ Jimmy Hart vs John Tenta

John Tenta vs Big Bubba Rogers, WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 - video Dailymotion
Photo @DailyMotion

Dusty Rhodes sums up the contrast in styles of the previous match and this one. Saying the two guys in this one are two big uglies. The man formerly known as Earthquake comes out and the two begin fighting at ringside. 

This is a basic case of two huge guys beating the crap of out of each other while Jimmy Hart screeches ringside like only he can. It looks like its going to be a quick victory for Bubba when he uses an illegal object to knock down Tenta but Tenta kicks out at two. 

Tenta gets the win with a slam after catching Bubba’s  leap from the top turnbuckle. 

Winner – John Tenta

Mean Gene is joined by Mongo McMichael and Kevin Greene and their wives. Okerlund talks to the NFL stars about a gameplan. Mongo and Greene give a football jock promo before they are joined by their coach Macho Man Randy Savage. 

The Macho Man makes a few football puns before declaring his guys are psyched to the max and ready for a win. After the Mean Gene interview is a wild Falls County Anywhere Match between Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan. 

The next Mean Gene interview is with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Benoit along with Woman and Miss Elizabeth. 

WCW Great American Bash 1996
Sting vs Lord Steven Regal

Sting vs. William Regal: Great American Bash 1996 | WWE
Photo @WWE

Sting starts this match red hot, hitting Regal with a flurry of offense early on. This takes the fight to the outside before Regal turns the tide when they get back in the ring. When Regal holds the advantage a “USA” chant fills the arena. 

The contrast of personalities works wonders in this match. 

Sidenote: Prime Steven Regal was one of a kind. 

Regal’s hard hitting strikes and painful submission attempts puts Sting in peril throughout the match. Dusty Rhodes explains that he’s breaking down Sting. Sting is absolutely decimated by Regal’s vicious offensive attack which only makes the fans get louder in their support of the Stinger. 

As per usual late in the match we get a patented Sting fire up and he unloads with a pair of drop kicks. Regal quickly turns the tide with a suplex from the top turnbuckle. This allows him to apply the Regal Stretch. Unable to make Sting submit, Regal angrily releases the hold. 

Regal makes the mistake of chopping Sting in the chest which angers and fires up the former WCW Champion. With momentum on his side, Sting applies the Scorpion Deathlock and Regal quickly submits. Great physical match between these two. 

Winner – Sting 

We get a preview video for the next WCW Bash at the Beach before Michael Buffer takes over in the ring.

WCW Great American Bash 1996
Tag Team Grudge Match
Ric Flair & Arn Anderson w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth vs Mongo McMichael & Kevin Green w/ Debra McMichael and Tara Greene

A Collective Review of WCW Great American Bash 1996 by Lance Augustine – TJR Wrestling
Photo @TJRWrestling

Flair and Anderson make their way out first and with the ladies by their sides look like a million bucks. Their coach Bobby “The Brian” Heenan comes out next and he receives a solid ovation from the audience. 

The NFL stars come out second decked in their team jackets and colors. They even have their own country song as entrance music. Their coach Macho Man Randy Savage comes out last and he gets a huge reaction from the crowd. 

Schiavone announces that Savage will be reinstated to wrestle the following night on Nitro and will take on Ric Flair. Arn Anderson and Mongo McMichael begin the match. 

Schiavone gives a small bit of foreshadowing when he tells the story of asking Mongo why he went to Green Bay, the Bears biggest rival, in the final years of his career and Mongo’s response was “money.”

Mongo gets the early advantage by challenging Anderson to line up in a three point stance before he barrels over him. Anderson shows his intelligence moving out of the way during the second three point face off. 

The entertainment picks up when Flair and Greene, the two more charismatic competitors in this match, get in the ring together. Flair tricks Greene into getting into a three point stance before hilariously kicking him in the head. 

Greene responds with a pair of shoulder blocks sending both Horsemen reeling. Flair storms off after Greene mocks his strut, only for Savage to physically bringing him back to the ring. 

Mongo gets tagged back in leading Flair to beg for mercy. Flair tries multiple times to shoulder block Mongo to no avail. What makes this match work is the physicality and lack of experience of Mongo and Greene is carried by two of the very best in Flair and Anderson to give the fans an entertaining contest. 

Photo @TheArmBarExpress

The crowd goes beszerk when Mongo and Green apply Figure Fours to both Flair and Anderson. This leads to the devilish women, as Dusty Rhodes calls them, Woman and Elizabeth to chase the football wives to the locker room. 

Back in the ring, Flair and Anderson have finally taken control of the match. A vicious clip to the back of Kevin Geene’s knee really allows the Horsemen to inflict some damage. 

Flair eventually locks Green in the Figure Four which is assisted by Arn Anderson outside the ring. Savage interjects but he’s attacked from behind by Chris Benoit. With Green still locked in the Figure Four, Debra McMichael makes her way back out with Woman and Elizabeth. 

Dressed in a fancy dress, Debra opens the metal suitcase for Mongo and inside it is a Horseman shirt with a ton of cash. Greene sees this develop and yells for Mongo to help him but Mongo responds by hitting Greene in the head with the suitcase. 

This shocking development allows Flair to get the three count. 

Winners – Ric Flair & Arn Anderson

After the match the beat of Savage happens before Mongo puts on the Horseman shirt solidifying the groups fourth member. A handshake between Mongo and Heenan absolutely disgusts Tony Schiavone. 

Eric Bischoff is at the entrance ramp ready to address the interruptions that have occurred on the past few Monday Nitro episodes. He invites out the guys behind the interruptions and Scott Hall and Kevin Nash make that iconic slow walk out to join him. 

Bischoff has a few questions for the two outsiders. He tells them they got their match and it will be at Bash at the Beach. Bischoff then asks if they work for the WWF and they both respond with a no. 

Hall then asks if their three guys will be the Nacho Man, the Huckster before telling Billionaire Ted to break out the money for their opponents. 

The Way We Was: WCW Great American Bash 1996 | Ring the Damn Bell
Photo @RingTheDamnBell

He then alludes to himself and the big man and their mystery partner. This is where it gets real exciting, Hall punches Bischoff in the gut before Nash power bombs him off the ramp way through a table. 

Bischoff is attended to by WCW officials as Hall and Nash make their exit. Schiavone sells the seriousness of the moment by leaving the commentary area to check on Eric Bischoff. What an iconic moment leading to one of the biggest moments in wrestling history.

WCW Great American Bash 1996
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
The Giant © w/ Jimmy Hart vs Lex Luger

20 Best WCW PPVs Ever | Cultaholic Wrestling
Photo @Cultaholic

Luger is introduced by Michael Buffer; he shows immediate concern before checking on Bischoff. The Giant comes out to his green light entrance and he makes a quick glance at Bischoff being tended to before heading to the ring. 

Luger hits the Giant with a flurry of forearms before clotheslining him over the top rop. Impressively, the Giant lands on his feet before using his power to pull Luger out of the ring. 

Luger tries to hit the Giant with everything including a sleeper hold. Jimmy Hart looks like he’s going to hit Luger with his megaphone but is stopped when Luger’s tag team partner Sting runs him off. 

The Giant’s methodical approach controls the majority of this match, tossing Luger around the ring numerous times. Late in the match Luger gets some momentum going with a handful of running forearms before finally getting the Giant down to one knee. 

The Giant finds himself in a precarious position after a failed corner splash leaves him laying on the top turnbuckle and ropes. In a prime position Luger signals for the Torture Rack before lifting the big man off the ropes. 

The weight proves to be too much as the Giant comes crashing down on Luger’s head and back. One massive chokeslam later and the Giant is still WCW Heavyweight Champion. 

Winner – The Giant

Schiavone promise fans an update on Eric Bishoff and answer to Hall and Nash on the next night’s Nitro as the show fades to black. 

So we’ve finished another solid WCW show but now we’ve hit THE MOMENT in WCW history as next time I take a look back at Bash at the Beach 1996 and the formation of the nWo.