Flashback: WCW Bash at the Beach
Flashback: WCW Bash at the Beach
It's been awhile since I've done one of these.
It was about a year ago that I briefly recapped the history of the Great
American Bash in my Bash '98 pay-per-view report.
The feature was a hit, so last fall, I did a feature on the history of Halloween
Havoc, and then previewed Havoc '98. A bunch of DDT Digest readers liked
it so much that I turned the trick twice more, with World War 3 and Starrcade.
Then I became tired of the idea and got lazy. But for some reason, I've got
the itch again. Except this time, I'm launching these recaps as part of a
new Flashback series.
Sounds neat, doesn't it? Flashback. Oooooooh. Real official ring
to that word. You'll be seeing one of these every so often. But not too
often. Wouldn't want anyone getting spoiled.
Anyhoo, this time around, I'd like to take a look at WCW's July pay-per-view,
Bash at the Beach. It's a nice pay-per-view. It pays its taxes, wears
sunblock, and helps old wrestlers across the street. The wrestlers then
walk into the CNN Center and sign longterm big money deals while young
guys like Chris Jericho and Paul Wight are allowed to walk out the back door.
Ah, who needed those troublemakers anyway?
There are a few things you should know about Bash at the Beach. It hasn't
always been WCW's July pay-per-view. From 1988-1992, the Great American Bash
was the promotion's July offering. The other thing you should know is that
in 1992 and 1993, Bash at the Beach went by another name: Beach Blast.
One other thing: Beach Blast/Bash at the Beach has seen some historic
events in WCW history. So, let's get to them. We'll start at the beginning,
because, er, that's where we're going to start.
Beach Blast '92
When: June 20
Where: Mobile, AL
This is going to seem ridiculous, but what the hell, I'll write it anyway:
when this card was announced it sure was exciting, because it meant WCW
presented pay-per-views three months in a row. Hey, that just didn't happen
seven years ago.
Beach Blast was squeezed between May's WrestleWar, and July's
Great American Bash. And when you add the excitement of Clash
of the Champions XIX two days after Beach Blast, it was rasslin' heaven!
Keep in mind that there were no Monday night three-hour shows back then. There
were only a few weekend shows, including WCW's flagship broadcast: WCW
Saturday Night. At the time, it wasn't the honkin' piece of crap it is now.
Anyway, heading into Beach Blast 1992, there were a number of things going on
in WCW. Rick Rude was U.S. champ, and he was involved in a stellar feud
with the legendary Rick Steamboat. Terry Gordy and Steve Williams were
tearing up the tag team scene, and had their sights set squarely on North
America's best team at the time: WCW champs Rick & Scott Steiner.
Beach Blast blew into Mobile, and there were a number of good matches on the
card. Which was best? Some say it was the non-title falls-count-anywhere contest
between WCW World champion Sting and that nutbar Cactus Jack. Lots of great
bumps, exciting action, and in the end, the good guy won. I'm talking about
My personal favourite match of the night was a 30-minute Ironman contest between
U.S. champ Rude and Steamboat. Great wrestling, ending in a 4-3 win for
Steamboat. A fantastic effort from two men who knew how to build a
Other results: The Steiners went 30 minutes to a draw with Gordy &
Williams... Dustin Rhodes, Nikita Koloff & Barry Windham beat Arn Anderson,
Bobby Eaton & Steve Austin by disqualification...Greg Valentine made Marcus
Alexander Bagwell submit to a figure-four leglock...Ron Simmons pinned
Terrence Taylor...Scotty Flamingo (aka Raven) won the WCW Light Heavyweight
title from Brian Pillman.
Beach Blast '93
When: July 18
Where: Biloxi, MS
With the Great American Bash eliminated from the WCW pay-per-view calendar
in 1993 (it would return in 1995), Beach Blast became the promotion's
The 1993 card was stacked with talent, but just didn't measure up to the
effort of the year before. It was kind of hard to get into the card,
especially with Cheetum the evil midget hanging around.
Cheetum was a little dude who was featured in WCW promos in 1992-93. He never
wrestled, never even came to ringside. He was seen only in vignettes that
were supposed to hype pay-per-views. Whoever came up with the idea should
have been fired.
Beach Blast '93 was headlined by a tag match that saw Sting & Davey Boy Smith
take on Vader & Sid Vicious. In the half hour before the pay-per-view began,
a promo was shown with all four combatants bitching at each other on a beach.
Yes, it was Bitch at the Beach. Whatever.
Eventually Sting & Davey Boy got into a boat, and (get this) Cheetum blew it up.
Did Sting & Davey Boy survive? You had to buy the pay-per-view to find out!
Big surprise -- Sting and Davey Boy made it out alive and won
the match when the Brit pinned WCW champ Vader. The Cheetum vignette just
poisoned the match and the card. Well, at least for me.
By the way -- Cheetum will eventually make it into the WCW Hall of Shame at
Beach Blast also featured a contest that saw Ric Flair take the NWA title
from Barry Windham. But this was a title without credibility. The NWA was
trying to make a comeback at the time, but its split from WCW in 1990 meant
that most fans no longer cared about the NWA championship.
Rick Rude wrestled another 30-minute Ironman match. This time for the
vacant U.S. title. His opponent was a young Dustin Rhodes, who was just
coming into his own. It was a good -- not great -- match. It ended in a
draw, with both guys scoring a fall each. The title remained vacant. Rhodes
would claim it the next month.
Other results: WCW tag champs The Hollywood Blonds (Brian Pillman &
Steve Austin) beat Horsemen Arn Anderson & Paul Roma...Johnny B. Badd pinned
Maxx Payne...Lord Steven Regal pinned Erik Watts...2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus
Alexander Bagwell beat Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce...TV champ Paul Orndorff
beat Ron Simmons by disqualification.
Bash at the Beach '94
When: July 17
Where: Orlando, FL
WCW, meet Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan, meet instant WCW title reign.
The promotion certainly wasted no time in pushing its latest (and most
famous) acquisition straight to the top.
Hulk Hogan wrestled his first WCW contest at this pay-per-view,
after months of teasing and
hype. And he was thrust into a WCW title match with Ric Flair. No waiting
when you're Hulk Hogan.
Flair had been WCW champ since the previous December, playing the hero who
ended the reign of terror brought on by Vader. But no more. Flair was
recast as a heel faster than you can say "profits" in order to get Hogan
Bash at the Beach '94 was unlike anything WCW had seen to that point. Hogan
brought that WWF Hollywood feel to his new employer. Indeed, Hogan was
accompanied to the ring by fading movie actor Mr. T and rising basketball star
Do I even have to tell you how the match ended? Boot, legdrop, pin. Hogan,
instant WCW World champion. The promotion's popularity skyrocketed from
here. A huge moment in WCW history.
But not a great moment for pure wrestling or WCW's hardest workers. In
bringing in an outsider and elevating him to the top spot, WCW sold out
Flair. Flair was the man who kept the company alive in the '80s while Vince
McMahon used Hogan to try and kill it. Rising star Steve Austin was also
affected by Hogan's arrival. He had been
promised a run with the WCW belt. That run never happened, and Austin
eventually left WCW to become the biggest thing since, well, Hulk Hogan.
Hogan's arrival made Bash at the Beach '94 one of the biggest pay-per-views
ever in WCW.
Other results: Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff won the WCW tag titles from
Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan...Rick Steamboat lost to U.S. champ Steve
Austin...Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Bunk beat Arn Anderson & Dustin Rhodes after
Anderson turned on Rhodes...Big Van Vader beat the Guardian Angel by
disqualification...WCW TV champ Steve Regal pinned Johnny B. Badd.
Bash at the Beach '95
When: July 16
Where: Huntington Beach, CA
This one wasn't so historic.
WCW took its act to a real beach in California, and held an outdoor card.
Free admittance. Thousands gathered.
Too bad the card was really nothing special.
Hulk Hogan vs. Big Van Vader could have been an epic feud, at least by
the standards used to judge any of Hogan's rivalries as "epic."
After all, Vader's reputation at the time was made during his great 1992-93
run as WCW champ. He was a badass heel. But of course,
no one's allowed to upstage the Hulkster. So the badass became another victim
Hogan and Vader met in a cage match at the '95 Bash at the Beach. Hogan's
WCW title was on the line. Winner would be decided by pinfall, submission
or by escape to the floor. Up until this point, the escape rule was seen
only in WWF rings. It should have been left there. Talk about a crappy
way to end a match.
That's the way it went down. You know who won.
A forgettable Bash at the Beach. Just check out the card...
Other results: Randy Savage pinned Ric Flair in a lumberjack
match...Harlem Heat retained the WCW tag titles in a triangle match
against The Nasty Boys and The Blue Bloods...Diamond Dallas Page pinned
Dave Sullivan...Kamala pinned Hacksaw Jim Duggan...WCW TV champ The Renegade
pinned Paul Orndorff...Sting retained the U.S. title in a match vs.
Meng...Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater beat Alex Wright & Marcus Alexander
Bash at the Beach '96
When: July 7
Where: Daytona Beach, FL
That picture shows the legdrop heard round the wrestling world.
Bash at the Beach '96 featured the most historic moment in WCW's history.
This was the night the New World Order formed. Hulk Hogan transformed
into Hollywood Hogan. It was something to behold. Booking at its
In the weeks prior to this card, WCW had been "invaded" by two gents who
were well known as WWF stars. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had just finished
stints in the WWF as Diesel and Razor Ramon, respectively.
Their arrival (return, really) captured the imaginations of fans anywhere that
WCW could be viewed. These two guys were promising WCW's downfall. They said
they were "Outsiders" -- part of a greater movement -- and would soon be joined by a third man.
Who was the third man? People were going nuts trying to figure it out.
The answer to the question was promised at Bash at the Beach '96. The
two Outsiders and the mystery man were scheduled to take on WCW's
defenders: Sting, Randy Savage and Lex Luger.
Savage and Luger were suspected of being the third Outsider. Luger especially.
He had been acting bizarre in the months before the card, straddling the
line between good and bad as he teamed with Sting.
Anyone in WCW with a WWF past was a suspect. Any former WWF stars that were
free agents were suspects. Just about everyone was a suspect.
The most ridiculous candidate (and the most exciting) was Hulk Hogan. Hulk
Hogan, American hero gone bad? Not possible.
Bash at the Beach arrived and every other match on the card just seemed to
be in the way. Sting, Savage & Luger vs. The Outsiders was what everyone
wanted to see.
Nash and Hall came to ringside by themselves. They said they were enough to
take on Sting, Savage & Luger. The match began, and the drama was on.
Early in the contest, Sting went for a splash on Nash in the corner and
crushed Luger by accident, knocking him out. Or was it an accident? As
Luger was carted off by medical staff, the mystery deepened.
Was Sting the third man? Would Luger return to the ring in minutes and take
his spot as the other Outsider?
Nash and Hall laid a beating on Sting and Savage. With Savage in bad shape
and Sting not faring any better, Hulk Hogan emerged from the back.
He had to be on his way to take Luger's place beside Sting and Savage.
Hogan entered the ring, and Nash and Hall cleared out. But something was
amiss. You could feel what was coming, though you couldn't believe it.
Then Hogan did the incredible: he dropped the big leg on Randy Savage. It
was stunning. Hulk Hogan had betrayed WCW. Hulk Hogan had turned bad.
The crowd went nuts. Kids started to cry. Debris flew at the ring. Hogan
delivered a shoot interview trashing WCW, the WWF and the fans. It was
an incredible sight. The nWo was born.
Not that it mattered, but no final match result was ever announced.
Looking back three years after the turn, it's kind of funny to realise that
WCW's defenders on that hot July night later became members of the nWo.
Then again, who didn't?
Yes kids, the nWo was once really frikkin' cool.
Other results: The Giant & Kevin Sullivan beat Arn Anderson & Chris
Benoit...Ric Flair won the U.S. title from Konnan...Steve McMichael pinned
Joe Gomez...Cruiserweight champ Dean Malenko beat Disco Inferno...The Nasty
Boys beat The Public Enemy in a double dog collar match...Diamond Dallas
Page won a taped fist match, beating Hacksaw Jim Duggan...John Tenta beat
Big Bubba Rogers in a Carson City siver dollar match...Rey Mysterio Jr.
Bash at the Beach '97
When: July 13
Where: Daytona Beach, FL
Whack! That Jacqueline sure knows how to ruin a career.
The pic shows Jackie (gorgeous in her Bride of Frankenstein hairdo) delivering
the final blow in the Kevin Sullivan-Chris
Benoit retirement match at Bash at the Beach '97. She's using one of those
silly prop chairs Sullivan always seemed to like. The kind found nowhere else
in an arena except under the ring, waiting for Kevin Sullivan.
Jackie accompanied Sullivan somewhat reluctantly to the ring for a match that
everyone knew Benoit would win. Though "retirement" matches seldomly end
in anyone's retirement, it was pretty obvious that Sullivan was calling it
an in-ring career as this pay-per-view approached.
Sullivan and Benoit were hoping to recapture the magic of the year before --
when the two put on a stellar falls-count-anywhere contest at the Great
American Bash. This time around, the match wasn't as good, but it was
still pretty intense.
Sullivan lost after Jackie whacked him with the goofy chair. I never really
understood why she hit him. But then, how often does WCW flush out its
storylines and explain anything?
This pay-per-view happened at the height of the nWo's popularity. WCW
was riding high in the summer of '97. The nWo was pretty much the promotion
My, how times change.
Anyway, the nWo figured prominently in the card. The main event featured
Hollywood Hogan & NBA basketball superstar Dennis Rodman vs. Lex Luger &
The Giant. I'd like to tell you that Rodman was the worst wrestler in the
match, but why take all the credit away from Lex?
Luger won the match by torture-racking Hogan. It was one of several submission
victories Luger scored over Hogan that summer. Geez... of all the guys for
Hogan to put over, why Luger?
Other results: Roddy Piper locked a sleeperhold on
the fans watching
this match Ric Flair for a victory...The nWo's Scott Hall & Randy
Savage beat Diamond Dallas Page & Curt Hennig after Hennig turned on his
partner...Steve McMichael lost to U.S. champ Jeff Jarrett...Hector Garza,
Juventud Guerrera & Lizmark Jr. beat La Parka, Villano IV &
Psicosis...The Steiners beat nWo Japan's Masa Chono & The Great Muta...WCW
Cruiserweight champ Chris Jericho beat Ultimo Dragon...Mortis & Wrath
beat Glacier & Ernest Miller.
Bash at the Beach '98
When: July 12
Where: San Diego, CA
If the summer of 1998 is remembered for anything by WCW fans, it will
be remembered as the summer the company brought in as many crossover stars
as it could manage. Anybody remember Jay Leno at Road Wild? We'll get to
that in a future Flashback. Ooooooooh.
At Bash at the Beach, NBA rivals Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman were brought in
to face each other in a tag match. The main event of the pay-per-view
saw Rodman and Hollywood Hogan defeat Malone and Diamond Dallas Page.
Rodman (called "Rodzilla" because of the Godzilla movie hype) was no stranger
to WCW. He'd been seen a number of times before. Malone was a newcomer, and
actually got some bad press because of his appearance.
To a lesser degree, so did NFL star Kevin Greene, who was making his third
appearance in WCW. Greene put forth a decent effort against The Giant at
this show, but lost cleanly.
All the star power aside, Bash at the Beach '98 featured one gem of a match
when Eddy Guerrero faced his nephew, Chavo Guerrero Jr.
At the time, Chavo was playing a guy who'd gone nuts because of Eddy's
He wanted to face his uncle in a hair vs. hair match at the pay-per-view.
But first, he had to get through Stevie Ray. Eddy said Stevie would wear
out Chavo, and make him easy pickings.
Chavo came out to face Stevie, danced around like an idiot for about a minute,
and then offered a handshake. Stevie shook Chavo's hand, and Chavo fell to
his knees, grimacing in pain. Stevie looked shocked and tried to pull his
hand away. Chavo hung on and submitted to the handshake, ending the match
before Stevie even had a chance to land a blow.
It was brilliant booking.
From there, Chavo and Eddy put on a great match, one of the best last year.
In the end, Eddy won. And Chavo's nutbar act went on; he shaved his
own head and asked Eddy if he'd join him.
"Come on Eddy," Chavo screamed, "we can be twins."
It was hilarious.
Of course, Chavo has been buried by WCW's powers that be for most of 1999.
What a shame. But that's what happens when you're young in WCW, and happen to
be a great wrestler who also can act.
Other results: WCW champ Bill Goldberg beat Curt Hennig...Bret Hart
was disqualified vs. WCW TV champ Booker T...Kevin Nash & Konnan beat Disco
Inferno & Alex Wright...Chris Jericho lost the Cruiserweight title to
Rey Mysterio Jr...Raven beat Perry Saturn.
Hey, what would one of these recaps, er, Flashbacks, be without some
needless ramblings to finish off? I've been watching wrestling a long time,
and I'd like to think I know a good show from a bad one. Below is my list
of the best three PPVs of the Beach series. Quality matches, historical
significance and lack of sleep are all factors in deciding this list:
- 1: Bash at the Beach 1996
- 2: Bash at the Beach 1994
- 3: Beach Blast 1992
Those of you looking for a few Beach Blast/Bash at the Beach thrills
may want to add a tape to your collection. The Best of WCW/nWo
Bash at the Beach is widely available in stores.
Highlights of the following matches are featured on the 60 minute tape.
- 1992: Sting vs. Cactus Jack
- 1993: Sting & Davey Boy Smith vs. Vader & Sid Vicious
- 1994: Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan
- 1995: Hulk Hogan vs. Vader
- 1996: Sting, Lex Luger & Randy Savage vs. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & ???
- 1997: Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair
- 1997: Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman vs. The Giant & Lex Luger
Okay, folks. That'll wrap it up for now. I'll be back with the Bash at
the Beach report this coming Sunday barring an accident with a marzipan
or cheese grater.
I hope you enjoyed the Flashback. Ooooooooh.