Happy Saturday Everyone!
I’ve been meaning to give this show a full watch for a while now as it’s got some interesting matches on it and this event was always a big staple of WCW’s summer pay per view offerings, so let’s give it a watch.
The big storyline coming in was Goldberg had just won the WCW Title six days before this event by defeating Hollywood Hogan on Nitro, with DDP and Karl Malone helping out, so now Hogan is looking for revenge on those two with the assistance of Dennis Rodman.
The Malone/Rodman involvement got WCW a lot of publicity as the two were on opposite ends of the NBA Finals that year, and the buy rate for this event ended up being way higher than usual for a big WCW show, so it ended up being a success even if the match perhaps didn’t deliver.
But we’ll get there.
The event is emanating from San Diego, California on the 12th of July 1998
Calling the action are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay
We get a perfect cheesy beach themed intro for the event
The commentators yack a bunch before the show starts. You always do this WCW. GET A MATCH IN THE RING!!!
Raven w/ The Flock Vs Perry Saturn
This one came about because Saturn decided he wasn’t going to take Raven’s nonsense anymore and ventured out on his own. Kanyon had been feuding with Raven as well, which had brought him into conflict with Saturn. It was a three-way feud with layers that was probably a tad bit too high concept for WCW but would have probably worked well in a place like ECW or ROH in the 00’s.
Saturn tears into Raven to start, with Raven taking some impressive looking bumps for him. Saturn was pretty over by the time this feud was concluded, although WCW would squander it of course. Lodi, one of Raven’s lackeys, is kind of dressed like the ECW Hat Guy here, and I’m not sure whether that was intentional or not, but it wouldn’t shock me if it was.
Raven eventually manages to dodge a Saturn springboard attack and that allows him to work some heat for a bit, which Saturn sells well. Raven even gives Saturn a Ukrainian Leg Sweep into the metal railings at one stage in an impressive looking bump from Saturn, which gets Raven a two count back inside the ring.
The crowd has been a bit subdued in this one, but the actual wrestling in the match has been good, with both men working well together. Raven has done a good job as a conniving bumping Heel whilst Saturn has done a good job playing a gutsy babyface who is looking to get some vengeance on his former friend and ally.
Eventually Saturn starts fighting back, so Raven’s lackeys Lodi and Riggs try to help out their boss. Saturn manages to fend them off but the ref gets bumped in the process. Saturn stacks two tables, although it kind of takes a while and his comeback loses a bit of momentum as a result. The crowd does buzz for it at least.
Sadly the next spot ends up making Saturn look a bit stupid, as the idea is that Kanyon will run down and pull Raven off one of the tables before Saturn can drop an elbow through them. However, Kanyon pulls Raven out too soon which means Saturn has to jump way after Raven has been moved out of the way, which thus makes him look like an absolute chump as a result.
The crowd doesn’t really seem to understand what is going on, especially as Kanyon then lays Raven out inside the ring anyway. If you wanted Raven hurt so bad then why not just let Saturn kill him off the splash and then pick the bones? Anyway, The Flock rolls Saturn back into the ring for a Raven cover, but Saturn manages to kick out at two.
We get a few more near falls, although the match peaked at the table spot and they should really have taken it home straight after that. Saturn takes out Riggs with a DVD, but that gives Raven an opening to pounce with a DDT on Saturn for the three count after a textbook Flock Finish™.
This was a good match, although the finish was a bit convoluted, to the point that I don’t think the crowd was really following it at points. There’s nothing wrong with a dog and pony show but you have to make sure that you don’t overdo it
Mean Gene Okerlund brings out Eddy Guerrero for some promo time, here on this wrestling pay per view event that people paid money to watch wrestling on. Eddy cuts a good promo to hype his match with Chavo Guerrero Jr later on. The story here is that Chavo is going to wrestle Stevie Ray first and then wrestle Eddy straight after, which of course makes Eddy very confident. I can’t really remember if Chavo was forced to wrestle Stevie first in order to get Eddy to agree to the match or if Chavo demanded it because he’s supposed to be crazy in storyline. Either way, we have Chavo Vs Stevie later, so yay?
Kidman w/ The Flock Vs Juventud Guerrera
These two wrestled one another a lot during this time period, with WCW’s eventual goal being to turn Kidman into more of a serious wrestler as opposed to just a Raven lackey, which is reflected by Kidman wearing slightly more normal clothing here whilst he’s also cleaned up a bit hair and face wise. They have a good match here, with slick counters and exciting big moves. Sadly the crowd doesn’t quite bite on it as much as you would like, but the guys keep working hard.
Juvi gets the babyface shine tonight, with Lodi taking some pratfalls as well, which causes him to lose his hat (drawing boos from the crowd). They are working really hard, with Kidman taking a couple of big bumps onto the mats outside the ring. Kidman eventually manages to clock Juvi right in his Juice before giving him a power bomb off the turnbuckle for the cut off. I’m guessing that Lodi distracted the ref there, which explains why the blatant low blow wasn’t an instant DQ, but the camera didn’t show us where the ref was looking.
Kidman tries to give Juvi a Superplex out onto the floor at one stage, but Juvi fights him off and brings him down back into the ring with a nice rana for two. The crowd is really giving them nothing here, which is really disappointing as they’re having a darn good match and it really deserves more. Do this match in front of a Dynamite crowd and they’d be going nuts. The finishing stretch is well done, with some nice near falls. Kidman even gets to kick out of the Juvi Driver at one stage. Eventually Kidman misses the Shooting Star Press and Juvi squishes him with a 450 for three.
WINNER: JUVENTUD GUERRERA
Great match with a lousy crowd
Lee Marshall is trying to be cool with Konnan and isn’t capable of pulling it off.
Stevie Ray Vs Chavo Guerrero Jr w/ Pepe
As previously mentioned, Chavo has to wrestle Eddy Guerrero straight after this. However, crazy Chavo ends up not being as crazy as he seems, as he quickly taps out to a handshake, much to Eddy’s disconcertion. Stevie isn’t happy either and the two would rematch at Road Wild.
WINNER: STEVIE RAY
This was just an angle to fool people. I think originally the idea was for Stevie and Chavo to have a proper match with Stevie battering him so that Eddy would have an easy match, but they decided to go with the swerve instead. It was a cute angle but I’m not sure they really needed to bother with it
Some of the crowd actually seemed to find that funny, so I guess it worked. Eddy is annoyed by what’s happened, as now he has to wrestle a fresh Chavo. In a really funny bit, Eddy makes rude gestures in Stevie’s direction when Stevie is leaving but then immediately stops once Stevie turns around like the good cowardly Heel he is.
Lucha de Apuestas
Hair Vs Hair
Eddy Gurrero Vs Chavo Guerrero Jr
This is more of a comedy match than a serious grudge match, which makes me wonder why they’re wasting what could be a really dramatic and heated stipulation like this on it. Chavo even goes all Bushwhacker at the start and bites Eddy in the bum! The crowd responds to it though, so maybe they realise that they’ve got a more casual crowd in the venue tonight and they are playing to the lowest common denominator in order to get a reaction?
Eddy eventually cuts Chavo off and works some heat, which improves the wrestling quality somewhat but the crowd doesn’t really get that into it. It’s been a pretty lousy crowd for the most part, but when you have the big celebrity match in the Main Event then you’re going to attract quite a few non-fans who aren’t especially there to see the regular weekly stars and instead want to see big names that they recognise. As a match it’s been fine though, although it has felt a bit flat as well due to the crowd.
Chavo gets the occasional hope spot and looks good with Uncle Eddy being a base for him, and his general selling in the heat is decent as well. Both guys are trying hard to make this a good match, with Eddy even removing the mats and taking a suplex on the floor at one stage in an attempt to get the crowd to care. The finishing stretch is done nicely, with Chavo trying a Frogsplash whilst Eddy goes for a Tornado DDT, which means both men have tried the others’ finishing moves, although the commentary team doesn’t make much of that.
Eddy ends up missing his own Frogsplash, which allows Chavo to get the DDT. Chavo is a stupid babyface and tries to cut Eddy’s hair before the match is over though, which of course the referee stops him from doing. This allows Eddy to get an inside cradle for the pin and a notable pop, because no one wants to cheer for an idiot.
WINNER: EDDY GUERRERO
Well-worked match that the crowd didn’t care about
Chavo voluntarily shaves his own head following that, freaking out Eddy in the process, thus getting the moral victory I guess?
The commentary team tells us that Dean Malenko is not allowed to wrestle Chris Jericho tonight as he’d broken a non-contact ruling between the two men during the build-up to the show. Jericho will still wrestle tonight though apparently.
The Disco Inferno w/ Alex Wright Vs Konnan w/ Kevin Nash and Lex Luger
This match basically exists so that Konnan can deliver his catchphrases and the crowd can get to see Nash and Luger. Disco and Wright were a fun mid-card team at the time, with Magnum Tokyo sometimes showing up as a lackey for them as well. Konnan wasn’t the greatest in-ring wrestler, but he had tonnes of charisma and worked really well as a mid-card act that could pop the crowd and have entertaining matches with the right opponent.
Disco is announced as being from “Funky Town”, which is one of the better comedy hometowns I must say. Not as good as The Psycho Sailor though, who used to be announced as hailing from “Ports Unknown”, which is pretty darn amazing. Disco does his “whitest guy in the room” act by trying to reel off Konnan’s catchphrases, and as usual he’s pretty funny in that role. It’s always nice to see someone that is even whiter than I am I must say, and if I was any whiter then I’d look like I’d been pasteurised.
The match itself only goes for a couple of minutes, although it’s fine whilst it goes on. Konnan takes pretty much all of it, with Disco bumping around for him and doing a decent job in that regard. Wright cheap shots Konnan outside the ring at one stage, which leads to Luger going over to put Wright in the Torture Wrack. Whilst the referee is distracted by that, Nash comes in to Powerbomb Disco and Konnan adds a Tequila Sunrise for the submission victory.
What I liked about that was that they at least had Wright attack Konnan first, thus meaning that when Luger and Nash got involved it was the case of the Heels getting what they deserved as opposed to the babyfaces being cheap. Konnan was winning in a fair fight and then the Heels tried to make it unfair, upon which they were instantly punished. Works for me, I just wish the match lasted longer than two minutes
We see that famous baseketball players are at ringside.
The Giant Vs “Mean Machine” Kevin Greene
Originally Giant and Curt Hennig were supposed to team up against Goldberg and American Footballer Greene. However, with Goldberg winning the World Title they’ve decided to put him a Title match and now Greene has to wrestle Giant all by himself. Greene did a few matches for WCW over the years and he showed a decent aptitude for pro-wrestling. He certainly looked better than Reggie White when he tried doing a match for WCW in 1997.
Greene tries to stick and move in this one, which mostly seems to wind Giant up rather than cause any real damage. It’s an interesting strategy in that Greene is supposed to be the babyface here and he’s mostly running away and getting Giant with some cheap shots, but the work itself is fine when you take into account that Greene isn’t a regular wrestler. Giant does eventually manage to catch Greene and works him over, with Greene doing a good job of selling it.
I’m not really sure what the Giant/Hennig Vs Goldberg/Greene match would have been like, but splitting them into singles might not have been the worst of ideas, although I might have switched the pairings up so that Hennig was working Greene as they could have had Hennig bumping around for Greene and leading him through it with his higher experience level whilst Goldberg and Giant did the 3 minute sprint into the Spear and Jack Hammer.
As it is, this match is fine for a guy with 3 years’ experience taking on a guy with about 3 matches to his name, although if you view it under the qualifications of a standard match then it’s got some notable flaws. On the sliding scale of a celebrity match though it’s okay, with Greene eventually making a bit of a comeback only to get caught with a Choke Slam from the Giant for the three count after a spirited effort from the celebrity against the monster.
WINNER: THE GIANT
For a celebrity match it hit the beats it needed to, but it wasn’t especially good beyond that criteria. Greene put the effort in there though
Curt Hennig tells Lee Marshall that his experience will prove the difference tonight when he takes on Goldberg.
WCW Cruiserweight Champ Chris Jericho joins us in a top hat with a cane to do a dance number, because he thinks he doesn’t have a match due to ol’ Deano Machino getting suspended for attacking him on Nitro. However, Jo-Jo Dillon joins us and says he has a local competitor for Jericho. Jericho thinks it will just be an enhancement talent, but it turns out it’s Rey Mysterio Jr, although looking at his physique here he might as well be called Roid Mysterio Jr.
WCW Cruiserweight Title
Champ: Chris Jericho Vs Rey Mysterio Jr
Jericho had injured Rey back in January, so Rey has a reason to want revenge here. They only get six minutes to work with here, but it’s entertaining for the running time given. We get an all-time call from Tony Schiavone, where they fight over in the entrance area, which is set-up to look like a beach, and Rey gives Jericho a rana onto the sand. Tony declares that sand can be very irritating as a way to get the move over, and it wouldn’t shock me if George Lucas was working on the Episode II script and was taking notes.
Rey’s left knee is still pretty heavily braced following his injury, and he’d have further issues with it for many years. There’s one bit where Rey is running on the sand and it’s giving way under his footing and you can see that he’s moments away from tumbling over and re-injuring himself on his first night back. After his collision with the sand of infinite irritant, Jericho manages to cut Rey off back inside and ties to re-injure the knee with a steel chair. This brings out Dean Malenko for the distraction though, which leads to Rey getting a pin counter to the Lion Tamer to seemingly win the belt.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: REY MYSTERIO JR
For a six minute No DQ match it was okay, although it probably wasn’t the best use of Rey and he looked a little bit rusty
Jericho tries to flee from Malenko but Arn Anderson blocks his way and Malenko is able to get some shots in whilst Rey celebrates with the belt.
Jericho would eventually get his belt back by saying that Malenko being at ringside meant the result should be null and void because Malenko was supsended. Juventud Guerrera would eventually bring Jericho’s run to an end the next month at Road Wild though and Jericho would move into the TV Title division.
WCW World Television Title
Champ: Booker T Vs Bret Hart
This was one of the most high profile singles matches of Booker’s career up to this point, as this match happened quite late in the card and it featured him taking on one of the biggest stars in all of wrestling. Bret was someone who would have likely been a strong candidate to hold the TV Title in his younger days when he was still growing his stardom, but by 1998 he was a Main Event level guy and he didn’t really need to hold a belt of the TV Title’s standing, as it had normally been used as a way to elevate guys in the mid-card by giving them competitive matches with other guys at that level. Bret even has a bit of a sneer whilst looking at the belt before the match starts to show that he thinks the Title is beneath him.
You can tell that Booker is jazzed to be working with Bret on a big event like this, and he gets to shine on Bret in the early going, including a moment where he flings him over the top rope to the floor, with Bret taking a big bump for it. Booker makes the mistake of following Bret to the floor however, and that allows Bret to cut him off and start working him over back inside. Bret is going at a pretty methodical pace here actually; sticking to things like punches and eye gouges whilst playing to the crowd. It’s not a bad performance from him or anything, but you also kind of get the feeling that he doesn’t really want to be here.
Booker sells all of Bret’s offence well, and Bret does a good job of showing frustration that he isn’t able to put Booker away after a certain point. Watching Bret work this Hollywood Hogan styled eye gouge cheap heat match is kind of weird to be honest. It’s not like he didn’t cheat during his Heel runs in the WWF either, but he wasn’t so…1970’s about it. Booker eventually makes the comeback and heads up top with a Missile Dropkick, but Bret gets his foot on the ropes to stop the referees count and then blatantly clobbers Booker with a chair for the disqualification.
WINNER BY DISQUALIFICATION AND STILL CHAMPION: BOOKER T
This was just starting to get kind of good and then they took it home
Bret destroys Booker’s knee with a chair and ring post Figure Four Leglock until Booker’s brother Stevie Ray makes a very late save, long past the point of doing any good. There was a reason for this though, as Stevie was going to be turning Heel, so the delayed save was a way of putting more heat on him
Stevie would start defending the TV Title in Booker’s absence after getting power of attorney, but he’d lose the belt to Jericho when Giant attacked him. This was supposed to lead to Jericho joining nWo Hollywood, but he decided he didn’t want to be in it so they ended up adding Stevie Ray instead, thus meaning it then made no sense that Giant screwed Stevie out of the TV Title to begin with. Because WCW.
We get clips of Goldberg winning the World Title on Nitro, which succeeds in making Goldberg look like a big star at least.
WCW World Title
Champ: Goldberg Vs Curt Hennig
This is the usual Goldberg match from this time period, as he clobbers Hennig from pillar to post, with Hennig taking some nice bumps for him. Goldberg would eventually start putting a bit more time in when they started booking him against challengers who the crowd thought might actually have a chance of beating him. Hennig gets a little bit of token offence in by going after Goldberg’s leg, but Goldberg ends up kicking out of the Spiffy-Plex and wins it with his Spear and Jack Hammer.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: GOLDBERG
This was Goldberg doing the usual against an opponent who was good at bumping and selling, so it worked well. Hennig was a pretty weak challenger and they probably should have gone with The Giant as the opponent for Goldberg here whilst Hennig wrestled Greene
Goldberg clearly wasn’t planned in to be Champion, as this show highlighted, as they didn’t really have any ready-made challengers for him and didn’t really have a worthy pay per view challenger for him until DDP at Halloween Havoc. The booking really hampered Goldberg’s reign, as the show was still all about Hollywood Hogan and his enemies with Goldberg clearly being second banana. It didn’t help that they clearly only had Goldberg win so that they could defeat Raw in the ratings for one week and didn’t have a clue on how to follow it up.
Video package to hype up the Main Event.
Hollywood Hogan and Dennis Rodman w/ The Disciple Vs Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone
They brought Rodman back for this one after he did well the previous year, although he was considerably more messed up this time and took it even less seriously than he did the first time. Malone was a basketball rival of Rodman, so him coming in for this match created a lot of buzz. It also gave DDP his first proper Main Event program after a decent year or so of being one of the few WCW guys who wasn’t booked to look like an absolute chump against the nWo guys every week. Hogan showed up on the day of the show and apparently demanded 25 minutes, and he got it because he’s Hogan, even though it was probably 15 minutes more than these four could probably do and keep it watchable.
Unlike Rodman, Malone was actually taking this seriously and was in great shape as well as being willing to have the best match he possibly could. There are lots of photographers and the like at ringside. I like to stick Thunder on in the background sometimes and I’ve been working my way through the 1998 episodes and I can confidently say that this is one of the best promotion jobs WCW ever did for a big pay per view Main Event. It ended up doing a good buy rate and you can definitely see why when you take into account that WCW rode that hype train pretty hard.
Rodman and Malone actually start us out and stall for a long time until Rodman tags out. You know, if two guys in the match are so limited that you have to stall for ages without actually doing anything, then maybe you don’t need 25 minutes for your match? Just a thought, Terry. Malone and Hogan go next, with Malone getting a nice body slam for a pop before tagging out. It looks like we might get DDP and Hogan, who are at least trained wrestlers and should be capable of running some spots together, but Rodman comes in instead as a boring chant goes on in the crowd. This match has been ludicrously dull, with nothing but stalling and roughly two actual moves done, and the crowd isn’t even that into it either.
Rodman is not so much on a different page but on a different planet to everyone else in the match, stumbling around and barely capable of doing anything. Even when he manages two leap frogs without bodging them up, he then stumbles into DDP to ruin whatever spot they had planned, causing the crowd to groan and murmur some boo’s. Malone is doing his best and actually doesn’t look terrible when you consider his level of experience, but he’s still in over his head here and it shows. Watching stuff like this gives me a whole new appreciation for the Lawrence Taylor and Kevin Greene’s of the world who are capable of going in there and entering serviceable performances. The bloke who plays Green Arrow on TV wasn’t that bad either, I remember enjoying that Summer Slam tag match he was in.
Hogan does some more stuff with Malone and keeps it simple by doing chokes and chin locks, and it’s boring but adequate for the most part. Rodman comes in to stumble around again; taking a tumble when he holds Malone so Hogan can punch him. DDP gets a tag and comes in with a nice clothesline off the top rope to Hogan, only to get cheap shotted by Rodman and worked over. Goodness me, call and audible and make that the hot tag so you can take it home lads, this match is dying on its arse! Hogan and Rodman continue to slowly work DDP over, with everything Rodman does looking terrible, until DDP is able to dodge a leg drop and make the tag to Malone, who actually does a decent hot tag segment in all fairness. He keeps it simple with clotheslines and slams, but he has good fire and the crowd gets into it.
Malone gets Hogan with his own big boot and then brings in DDP for the Diamond Cutter, but Rodman comes in to break up the pin attempt, so Malone comes in to Diamond Cut him. Whilst the ref tries to split them up, Disciple comes in with a Stunner to DDP, which allows Hogan to steal the pin. So not only did we sit through that turgid match, but they put the heels over too when they could have easily just had Malone pin Rodman so that Hogan didn’t need to do a job.
WINNERS: HOGAN AND RODMAN
I’ll give it half a star because Malone was really trying to do well and I got a kick out of his hot tag segment. Aside from that, this was one of the worst celebrity matches I’ve ever seen, with Malone well out of his depth despite his commendable attitude and Rodman being so far gone that if they tried to drug test him then his urine would likely melt the cup. A terrible match that went on for far too long and bored me senseless. One to avoid, it’s not even bad in an entertaining way, it’s just bad.
Team Hollywood celebrates to close the show so we don’t forget who the real stars are. #LolNwoWins!!!
There was some decent stuff on the under card, but the main story of the show was that some matches that had potential to be fun ended up getting cut for time so that the Main Event could be elongated. This would have been tolerable if the Main Event had been good, but it ended up being bad and it just made it rankle all the more that the potentially good matches had their time cut. Jericho/Mysterio and Booker/Bret would have both benefitted from more time for instance.
Overall though it wasn’t a bad show by 1998 WCW standards. Certainly in comparison to the likes of Road Wild, Fall Brawl and World War 3, Bash at the Beach was a veritable classic. I still don’t think it’s worth going out of your way to see, but if you turn it off after Goldberg’s victory it’s a solid enough, if somewhat rushed, two hour show. Just don’t watch the Main Event.
Show not recommended, but it’s not awful either