The Great American Bash ’96

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

The Great American Bash

June 16, 1996

Baltimore Arena

Baltimore, Maryland

News & Notes: I covered much of the build for this PPV in my Nitro review. I won’t spend too long on this intro. There are a few things I need to discuss, but that is it. The first bit of news is the introduction of coaches to the football vs. wrestling match. The Horsemen recruited Bobby Heenan to coach their team. Everyone questioned Heenan because he claimed he retired from managing. Bobby said he isn’t managing Flair & Anderson. He’s coaching them! It’s different! Mongo & Kevin Greene realized they needed someone in their corner. Greene had an epiphany while snapping into a Slim Jim. He suggested asking Randy Savage to coach them. WCW agreed because Savage finally got help for his anger issues. They would reinstate Randy the night after this PPV. (In truth, WCW ended the suspension early because ratings were down without Savage on TV.) Meanwhile, Debra McMichael expressed concern about her husband. She worried Mongo would hurt someone in this match. (She must have seen him in wrestling training. I don’t blame her for worrying.) She asked to talk with Ric Flair. Heenan brought her to the Horsemen locker room. But, Debra ran screaming because the Horsemen attacked The Renegade and Joe Gomez. (Yeah, The Renegade is still around. As far as Joe Gomez, he’s a jobber from WCW Saturday Night. We will see him soon enough.)

In other news, the WWF took exception to WCW’s Outsiders storyline. Vince felt Scott Hall was portraying the Razor Ramon character on WCW TV. He didn’t use the name, but he did the mannerisms and the accent. Vince also didn’t like how they implied the WWF invaded WCW. He threatened legal action against the company. Bischoff had to adjust the storyline to compensate, but he wasn’t stopping now. It was a hot angle.

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Open

The opening video gives us comments from all the major players on this PPV. Coach Bobby Heenan swears he’s not scared of Savage. He stumbles over his words to convince everyone it’s true. Randy Savage fires up his team. Ric Flair says they’re taking no prisoners. Then, Lex Luger says he’s still standing. He plans on walking away with the Giant’s belt. The Giant responds by telling Lex not to look up the definition of a giant in the dictionary. He’s going to feel it first-hand. The Giant then chokes himself and laughs. (Hey, now. We don’t need an example of the Giant’s weird kinks. This is a family show.)

Commentators

Tony Schiavone welcomes everyone to Baltimore and The Great American Bash. They play the national anthem while Sgt. Craig Pittman holds the American flag. We also see a shot of a Randy Savage doppelganger in the crowd. (He was quite convincing.) Tony and Dusty are the commentators for this show. Heenan is busy with the tag team match. Rhodes talks about crazed dogs. He also claims he feels certain things about Lex Luger. (Oh, really? Okay.) Then, they discuss the Outsiders. Dusty says they have a burr up their butt. Also, the commentators discuss the passing of Dusty’s old partner, Dick Murdoch. Dusty loves and misses him. He thinks Murdoch would love a night like this.

FireIceSteiners

The Steiner Brothers vs. Fire & Ice

Notes: This will be an old fashioned hoss fight! These two teams fought to a double-count out on TV. Also, The Steiners received their tag title match against Sting & Luger. It ended in a no contest when the Dungeon interfered. Because of these non-finishes, WCW stated there must be a winner in this bout. (Shouldn’t that be true for every match?) Before we begin, I want to point out a funny Dusty comment. Tony talks about the Steiner Brothers as a team. Dusty asks, “They were born like that, right?” (Oh, Dusty. He is great in this PPV. I’ll point out more as we progress.)

The Match: Both teams trade takedowns until Fire & Ice regroup. Then, Norton and Rick Steiner trade chops, Steinerlines, and suplexes. Scott enters the fray and appears to hurt his arm while taking a Samoan Drop. Fire & Ice capitalize with more suplexes. Scott answers with a boot to the face. He then dumps Norton on his head. But, Norton catches Scott off the ropes and nails a powerslam. Norton & Train wear down Scott with holds. Norton even holds onto an armbar, despite Rick kicking him in the head. Then, Rick makes a blind tag and cleans house. Everyone brawls and Fire & Ice hit a powerbomb/diving splash combo. They also try a Doomsday Device, but Scott blocks it. The Steiners counter with The Steinerizer. Train breaks up the pin. The brawl continues until Scott hits a sloppy Frankensteiner for the victory.

Thoughts: This was great hard-hitting fun. The finish was a bit of a mess, but it didn’t ruin it. These two teams beat the crap out of each other. There were some scary spots, but everyone was fine. It was what I expected it to be, and I enjoyed it. The fans did too. They reacted well to the bout.

Winners: The Steiner Brothers (10:29)

TaskmasterPromo

Gene welcomes Jimmy Hart and The Taskmaster. Gene calls Hart a Nathan Lane wannabe. Then, Gene talks about Benoit vs. Sullivan. He says Benoit is angry. Jimmy Hart then says the Dungeon doesn’t need The Horsemen or anybody. Gene has to clarify the match is Falls Count Anywhere. (Did he forget?) Sullivan says it is. But, he corrects Jimmy’s earlier statement. This isn’t about the Dungeon vs. The Horsemen. Kevin says it’s between him, Flair, and Anderson. (I’m pretty sure that’s the Horsemen.) Sullivan takes credit for running Pillman out of the company. He promises to do the same with Benoit. He says Chris isn’t a quitter, but he’s also not Horsemen material. Kevin claims he will drag Benoit through the building for Arn Anderson. He’s going to lay something on Benoit. (Oh, my!) Sullivan wants to prove to the Horsemen they can rely on him. (I want to point out something. Sullivan spent the entire promo looking into the wrong camera. Either that, or he used Luger’s old teleprompter. It was awkward.)

GatoKonnan

U.S. Title Match: Konnan (c) vs. El Gato

Notes: I can hear you asking, “Who is El Gato?” According to WCW, he’s a legend of legendary proportions from South America! (They announce his home country as Mexico. Does WCW know the difference?) Who is he really? As the New Generation Project Podcast says, it’s Pat Tanaka in a mask. This Hawaiian, who used to be from Japan, is now from Mexico/South America. Are you confused yet? He wears a knock-off Black Tiger mask. This character only appears twice before returning as Pat Tanaka. WCW invented a gimmick to give Konnan an opponent. (I don’t know why. They have a deep roster.)

The Match: They trade arm drags and leg drags. Konnan follows with some clotheslines, and arm holds. Gato fires back with kicks and chops. He also reverses Konnan’s hurricanrana into a powerbomb. Then, both men trade submissions. (Dusty compares them to a spiderweb. He says arms are sticking out everywhere. He doesn’t know whose leg he’s looking at.) Next, they fight to the floor. Konnan nails a slow apron sunset bomb. (It garners a Konnan chant from the crowd.) When they return to the ring, Konnan catches Gato in the corner. He gives Gato an Alabama Slam and rolls into a jackknife pin for the win.

Thoughts: The El Gato gimmick is silly, but this action was quite good. They kept it short and explosive. There were some good spots. I also liked that finish. It was unique. Part of me wishes this match was longer. I don’t know why WCW invented an opponent for Konnan, but it gave us a good match. I won’t complain.

Winner: Konnan (6:03)

StingPromo

Next, Gene interviews Sting. Gene says Lord Steven Regal is a bit of a sissy, but looks can be deceiving. Sting accuses Gene of stirring things up, but he agrees with him. He makes fun of Regal drinking tea with his pinky sticking out. He wonders about Regal himself. Sting asks if that’s how they breed boys in England because that’s not the American way! Then, Sting forgets his lines. He plays it off like he was going to say something too controversial and stopped himself. Gene tries to save Regal’s reputation. He talks about Regal fighting in the sandpits of India. Sting doesn’t take anything away from Regal’s skills, but he’s a bit iffy. Sting promises to straighten out Regal. Gene then expresses regrets for his earlier comments. (It felt like both men regretted this promo. I like Sting, but what the hell was this!? It was awful. I get the feeling the content was someone else’s idea. They went along with it. My guess is Bischoff wanted them to say this stuff.)

DDPBagwell

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell

Notes: This was originally booked as DDP vs. The Great Muta. But, NJPW didn’t want to send Muta over to lose to Page. WCW changed it at the last moment to Bagwell. They explained it by saying it was a random drawing. WCW forgot they already announced Bagwell as the opponent. (Oh, WCW!) DDP defends his Lord of the Ring title in this bout. It’s all he has left since they stripped him of the WCW title match. Before the bell, DDP grabs a mic. He says all the Baltimore bimbos will forget about Carl Ripken when DDP is in town. (He means Cal Ripken. Also, Tony & Dusty do damage control for that previous interview segment. They sing Regal’s praises. WCW must have had instant regrets for that promo.)

The Match: DDP jumps Bagwell while he disrobes. They fight to the floor, and Marcus sends Page over the railing. When they return to the ring, Bagwell attacks DDP’s arm. Page then gets caught in the ropes, so Marcus sends him back to the floor. Bagwell follows with a slingshot crossbody. But, Page crotches Marcus on the ropes. (Dusty suggests people jump onto their clotheslines to see how it feels.) DDP then controls the match with backbreakers and submissions. He uses the ropes for leverage until Randy Anderson catches him. Page continues with a pancake, but he misses a punt. Bagwell retakes control. He nails atomic drops and clotheslines. Page gets desperate and tries pinning Marcus with his feet on the ropes. Bagwell counters with flying headscissors. But, Page blocks a Fisherman Suplex and nails the Diamond Cutter to end the match.

Thoughts: This was a solid bout. It was a bit basic, but DDP’s charisma bumped it up a notch. He has the ability to turn a simple match into something entertaining. You can hear the crowds turning in his favor. They reacted well to the Diamond Cutter. Bagwell did fine, but this was all about Page.

Winner: Diamond Dallas Page (9:39)

GiantPromo

Gene is with Jimmy Hart and a rather oily Giant. Gene says the $64,000 or million-dollar question is about Jimmy’s allegiances. He’s a man in the middle between Luger and The Giant. (Hart hasn’t been with Luger in months. What is Gene talking about?) Jimmy says everyone is worried about it, but he isn’t. Gene tells Hart he doesn’t trust him any farther than he can throw him. Then, Gene asks The Giant about the Torture Rack. Giant whispers and then shouts about chokeslamming Luger. He claims he beat Hogan, Sting, and Luger himself. He’ll do it again anywhere he wants. The Giant calls the rack a fantasy. The chokeslam is all Luger will know. Gene then says the chokeslam will motivate Luger. Giant says that means Luger has a brain, but it’s a small one. He should have lifted a few more weights before facing The Giant. (The Giant then speeds off-screen like he needed to pee. It made me chuckle.)

DeanRey

Cruiserweight Title Match: Dean Malenko (c) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

Notes: This is Rey Mysterio Jr.’s WCW debut. He appeared on this blog before, so I won’t give him a long introduction. The only build for this match was WCW hyping Mysterio’s arrival. It means there isn’t much heat for this. But, the crowd reacts to some of the high spots. Mike Tenay joins commentary and provides some background for Rey.

The Match: They trade holds and athletic reversals. Dean regroups after Rey nails a spinning arm drag. Rey follows with a springboard dropkick. Then, they fight through a knucklelock until Dean throws Mysterio to the floor. Rey avoids a baseball slide. But, Dean takes control by working Mysterio’s arm. This continues for a while. He strikes Rey’s arm and uses various submissions. Dean even gives Mysterio a hammerlock northern lights suplex. Rey eventually sends Dean to the floor and lands a somersault plancha. When they return to the ring, Mysterio does a springboard dropkick. He also uses a springboard hurricanrana. Next, they fight on the top rope and Rey lands a super Frankensteiner. However, Dean turns a hurricanrana into a powerbomb. He then pins Rey with his feet on the ropes.

Thoughts: This was great. It was a good mix of technical wrestling and high-flying. They ramped up to the finish. Even though the match didn’t begin with much heat, they never lost the crowd. The fans were appreciative. They popped for the closing sequences. My only complaint was Rey didn’t get much offense. He will get his chance to shine in future matches.

Winner: Dean Malenko (17:50)

LugerPromo

Gene is with TV and Tag Team champion, Lex Luger. He says Luger’s match is for all the marbles. (I’m pretty sure it’s only for the WCW title. Don’t confuse things, Gene.) Luger apologizes for the promo he’s about to cut. He’s doing it out of respect for WCW, but he’s not there mentally. (Is he ever?) He’s not going to scream and shout. He says The Giant has changed the face of WCW forever. There’s never been a maneuver like the chokeslam. Luger then says he takes pride in his accomplishments. Lex almost loses his train of thought. (He wasn’t lying about his mental presence.) He recovers and says he will capitalize on The Giant’s mistakes. Luger promises to have another belt for his shoulder after tonight. Gene says, “I’m going to have a belt after all of this is over with!”

BubbaTenta

John Tenta vs. Big Bubba Rogers (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Notes: As you saw in my Nitro review, Big Bubba shaved half of The Shark’s head. Shark refused to shave the rest. He wanted a reminder of what happened. He also dropped his gimmick. Shark did his best Elephant Man impression. He said, “I’m not a fish. I’m a man!” He’s now using his real name, John Tenta. During the entrances, Bubba and Jimmy Hart carry a chunk of Tenta’s hair. Bubba cuts at it with some scissors. On the other hand, Tenta enters with no music. Dusty calls both men super ugly heavyweights. (That’s mean.)

The Match: They meet in the aisle and brawl. Tenta knocks Bubba over the ropes and whips him into the steps. Then, John attacks Rogers in the corner. But, Bubba gets a foreign object and nails some loaded punches. Nick Patrick questions him, but Bubba gave the object to Hart. Bubba then lands some Boss Man Attacks and uppercuts. He also rams Tenta’s leg into the post and focuses on his knee. Next, Rogers avoids an avalanche attack and nails a back suplex. He climbs to the top, but Tenta catches him in a powerslam for the win.

Thoughts: This was slow and dull. It was mostly punches and kicks. There wasn’t much intensity for a heated feud. I like both of these guys, but this was a dud. They at least kept it short.

Winner: John Tenta (5:24)

Jimmy Hart had his back turned. He thinks Bubba won until the announcement. Tenta grabs Hart and takes the scissors. He threatens to cut his hair until Bubba accidentally runs into Hart. Tenta then turns and cuts off part of Bubba’s beard. Rogers retreats while yelling, “He cut it off!” He holds his goatee to hide the damage. (He clipped a tiny amount. Bubba overreacted.)

FootballPlayers

Next, Gene is with Mongo, Kevin Greene, and their wives. Gene calls Tara Greene Terry. (She gives him the side-eye for it.) Gene also says Savage is pacing outside. Gene asks Mongo about his game plan. Mongo says he doesn’t care about that. They’re coming to get Flair & Anderson. Then, Gene jumps when Greene touches him. Kevin says he’s coming hard and coming heavy! (Whoa! Easy now! This is a family show!) Mongo and Kevin yell and psych each other up while Savage enters the room. Randy says the smell of winning is in the air and a little perfume too. He also says they will knock Flair & Anderson into the endzone. Savage says this is the winning team. He gives them high-fives and they leave. Gene says he’s getting chin music from Savage. (Somewhere, Shawn Michaels is confused and annoyed.)

FallsCountAnywhere

Falls Count Anywhere Match: Chris Benoit vs. The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Notes: Sullivan left Benoit to his fate at Slamboree. He seemed shocked that it pissed off Chris. Sullivan claimed there was still an alliance between the Dungeon and The Horsemen. Arn Anderson made a truce. However, Sullivan claimed Benoit wasn’t horsemen material. He would drive him out of WCW as he did with Pillman. It was a favor to the Horsemen. WCW signed this match and made it Falls Count Anywhere.

The Match: The fight begins on the floor. They brawl into the crowd and up the steps. Some fans follow them onto the concourse. But, the fight continues in the men’s restroom! Sullivan slams a stall door on Benoit. He also gives Chris a double-stomp. Then, he attempts to give Benoit a swirly. Chris blocks it and returns the stall door favor. Fans crowd into the bathroom for a look. There’s a woman among them, so Dusty loses his mind! (He yells, “There’s a lady in the men’s restroom! She just stopped off! Said, I gotta get some relief, baby!”) Next, Sullivan hits Benoit with a bag of toilet paper and a trash can. Then, they fight outside and back down the steps. Kevin sends Chris tumbling. When they reach the ring, Chris fetches a table. He has trouble, but he sets it up in the corner. They place it on the top rope. Sullivan backdrops Chris onto it. Both men then fight on top of it until Chris does a superplex off the table! He covers for the win while the fans go crazy.

Thoughts: This was great fun. When I watched this in ’96, it was my first Falls Count Anywhere Match. It set the bar for me. The match was unique and intense. Plus, Dusty’s commentary was hilarious. The hot crowd also helped. They loved this. It was short, but it had everything it needed. Watch this if you haven’t seen it.

Winner: Chris Benoit (9:58)

Benoit continues attacking Sullivan after the bell. Jimmy Hart runs for help and sees Arn Anderson. Arn pulls Benoit off of Sullivan and tells him to chill. But, Arn turns and kicks Sullivan. The crowd explodes! (That reaction was insane.) Benoit & Arn stomp on Sullivan until Dungeon members chase them away from the ring. Arn & Benoit show the Four Horsemen sign to the camera as they leave.

HorsemenPromo

Gene is with Woman and Miss Elizabeth. The Horsemen join them. Benoit yells, “Righteousness!” Arn says the wannabes (Pillman) are out of there. Benoit earned his spot and his stripes. Arn then tells Sullivan they are at war, so bring on the troops. Benoit also says he warned Sullivan not to mess with the Horsemen. He put him in his place. Gene then talks to Flair. Ric tells Mongo to look at his all-pro team. Next, Gene talks to Bobby Heenan. Gene says Bobby is scared. Bobby claims he’s not afraid of Macho. He says, “It’s not going to happen. Notgonnahappennotgonnahappentome!” (Heenan was quite amusing. He ran all that together as one word.) It appears Gene is done, but Flair has another great line to share with everyone. He says, “There’s a lot of things Macho Man would like to do that he can’t do anymore. Right, Liz?” (I laughed at that one.) Flair tells the football players the Hossmen are in town! (On a side note, Woman spent the entire promo touching Gene. He seemed uncomfortable. This is a running joke with them.)

RegalSting

Sting vs. Lord Steven Regal (w/ Jeeves)

Notes: Sting accepted Regal’s challenge. (See my Nitro review.) They held a contract signing and Regal slapped Sting. WCW fined Steven for the attack. Regal paid double the fine so he would be in bloody credit! Let’s see if Regal can beat that painted-face bloody clown! Meanwhile, Regal argues with fans during his entrance. Also, the pyro surprises Sting. He looks at it like he’s thinking, “Wow, that’s excessive.”

The Match: They fight to the floor and Sting backdrops Regal. But, Steven fires back with an eye-poke and uppercuts. Sting responds with arm drags, so Regal regroups. He argues with some fans. When he returns, Regal offers Sting a handshake and gets rejected. Sting intimidates him, but Regal surprises Sting with mat wrestling. He also uses hard strikes and cheap shots. Steven grinds his forearm and elbow into Sting’s face. He then spends a while putting Sting in various submissions. Regal even dropkicks Sting in the ear! He keeps cutting off Sting’s comebacks and lands a super butterfly suplex. Regal follows that with a Regal Stretch, but he releases it when Sting doesn’t submit. Sting finally absorbs Regal’s attacks. Regal blocks a Stinger Splash, but Sting backdrops him. He then puts Steven in the Scorpion Deathlock for the victory.

Thoughts: This was great. They mixed technical wrestling with some entertaining charisma. Regal doesn’t get enough credit for being able to do both. He worked the crowd perfectly. They were hot for this. It had good intensity. Plus, Sting gave Regal a lot in this bout. He was always a giving performer. These two work well together.

Winner: Sting (16:30)

BashCommercial

Next, they show a commercial for Bash at the Beach. A man adrift at sea discovers an island full of women. However, it’s a mirage. The ladies tell him to get real. Then, the narrator tells us this year’s Bash will be better than last year. He says it will be beachy!

FootballMatch

Ric Flair & Arn Anderson (w/ Bobby Heenan, Woman, & Miss Elizabeth) vs. Steve McMichael & Kevin Greene (w/ Randy Savage, Debra, & Tara Greene)

Notes: Michael Buffer introduces the match. It’s the legends of the gridiron vs. legends of the ring. Buffer calls Woman, The Woman. (Oh, come on. It never ends with this guy!) Heenan waits to be introduced before entering the arena. Then, the football players arrive. Debra has Pepe the dog with her. Savage gets his own entrance. (It’s fitting. Heenan entered separately.) Meanwhile, Mongo & Kevin do some football drills. (I should point out a comment from Tony. He talks about Mongo switching football teams for the money. Hmm, why did he mention that? Also, some fans raise a large bed sheet that says, “Mongo sucks.” That sign disappears in short order.)

The Match: The football players fluster The Horsemen with shoulder blocks. They get in their three-point stance and barrel over them. Savage even gets in a shot. It pisses off Heenan. Kevin Greene wants Flair and gets him. Greene hits some shoulder tackles, so Flair storms down the aisle. Savage returns him to the ring. Mongo gets another turn. He uses more shoulder blocks and slams Flair off the top rope. Then, the football players put the Horsemen in stereo-Figure Fours! But, Woman rakes Mongo’s eyes. The wives complain, so Woman & Liz chase them to the back. The Horsemen then take control with a low-blow and some double-teaming. Mongo fights and tags Greene. He cleans house with chop blocks and slams. He even hits a powerslam! However, Arn clips Kevin’s knee. The Horsemen then take turns attacking his leg. Flair puts Greene in the Figure Four. Savage stops Arn’s interference, but Benoit appears and attacks Randy. With Savage out of the way, Woman & Liz return with Debra in tow. But, she’s dressed in an evening gown. Debra approaches her husband with a briefcase. Mongo opens it to find money and a Horsemen t-shirt. Kevin Greene calls out for help, but Mongo clocks him with the briefcase! Flair then covers for the win.

Thoughts: This was way better than I expected. Mongo did alright, but Greene was impressive. WCW should have signed him to a regular contract instead of Mongo. This was one of the better uses of celebrities I’ve covered. Flair & Anderson carried them to an entertaining match. I liked the story of the finish. But, I don’t care for Mongo as a Horseman.

Winners: Ric Flair & Arn Anderson (20:51)

After the bell, Savage jumps Flair. Mongo helps the Horsemen stop Randy. McMichael then holds Savage while Flair hits him with the case. The Horsemen stomp on Savage while Mongo puts on the Horsemen t-shirt. He shakes Flair’s hand. Schiavone says Mongo sold his soul for the money. Dusty says it rots his stomach that Mongo is the 4th Horseman.

Outsiders

Eric Bischoff is on the stage. He mentions the recent interruptions. Then, he invites the Outsiders to join him. He knows they’re in the building. Hall & Nash arrive. Eric tells them they’ll get their match. Hall tells Nash WCW fell into their trap. Eric then says it will happen at Bash at the Beach. But, Eric has a question for the Outsiders. He asks if they work for the WWF. Both men say no. (Hopefully, that appeases the WWF’s legal department.) Hall then tells him to worry about the future, not the past. He wants to know who WCW’s men are. Is it the Nacho Man or the Immortal Huckster? Hall says, “The big mang and the medium-size mang are gonna carve them up!” (So much for avoiding a lawsuit! Hall is still doing the Razor Ramon shtick!) He also implies they have a surprise third man. Bischoff waffles and doesn’t tell them who WCW picked. This pisses off Hall. He punches Eric in the gut. Nash then grabs Bischoff and puts him through a table with a Jackknife powerbomb! Tony & Dusty call for help. (Kudos to Bischoff for taking that bump. It looked nasty.) Hall then says the real big boys just left the building.

Nash

They give Eric medical attention while Tony & Dusty call it disgusting. Rhodes says it exculated into a real-world situation. (What? Exculated isn’t a word!) Dusty can’t believe this or what happened with Mongo. He’s almost at a loss for words. He calls Michael Buffer Dave Penzer by accident.

GiantLuger

WCW Title Match: The Giant (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Lex Luger

Notes: Luger checks on Bischoff during his entrance. His music ends before he reaches the ring. (Are they low on time?) Buffer then does his introductions. His mic cuts in and out for a moment. (We almost got lucky. But, it starts working.) Michael calls The Giant the most feared man on the face of the Earth. (I doubt that.)

The Match: Luger throws punches and clotheslines, but The Giant overpowers him. He press slams Lex into the ring from the floor. The punches still don’t work, so Luger uses a sleeper hold. Jimmy Hart tries to interfere, but Sting chases him to the back. Then, The Giant pulls Lex over his shoulder and whips him around the ring. He also chokes Luger and focuses on his back. The Giant uses two forms of a backbreaker. Luger rallies with a jawbreaker. But, his back gives out on a slam attempt. The Giant then continues his attack until Lex hits a dropkick. Luger follows with clotheslines and running forearms. He even clips The Giant’s leg. The Giant counters with a corner splash, but he misses. He lands on top of the ropes. Luger kicks him and attempts a Torture Rack. However, Lex collapses under The Giant’s weight. The Giant then nails a chokeslam for the win.

Thoughts: This wasn’t great. It’s not terrible, but it fell flat. It started and ended hot. The middle was slow. When The Giant controlled the match, it wasn’t interesting. Plus, the bout was anticlimactic. They already had the big tag match and the big angle. Few cared about this main event. I usually advocate for the world title going on last, but this shouldn’t have.

Winner: The Giant (9:21)

The Good:

  • The Steiners/Fire & Ice match was good.

  • Konnan/Gato was surprising.

  • DDP was entertaining as usual.

  • The Falls Count Anywhere Match was great.

  • Sting/Regal was entertaining.
  • Rey/Dean was quite good.

  • The football players vs. Horsemen match was good fun.

  • The Outsiders stuff was memorable.

The Bad:

  • Tenta/Bubba was a dud.

  • The main event fell flat.

Performer of the Night:

I’m giving it to Chris Benoit. His performance in the Falls Count Anywhere Match was intense and believable. That was a unique and fun fight.

Final Thoughts:

This was almost a perfect PPV. If you removed the Tenta/Bubba match and had a better main event, it would have been great. With that said, it’s still the best top-to-bottom show since Spring Stampede ’94. This was easily WCW’s finest effort of ’96, so far. It setup things nicely for what’s to come.

Thank you for reading. My next review is the WWF’s King of the Ring ’96. Look for it next Sunday! I should post it around—3:16. (I kid. It will be in the morning like usual. I just wanted to make that joke.)

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