On This Day: June 18, 1995 – Great American Bash 1995: Happy Father’s Day, Here’s A Bad Show

It’s another old one so I apologize in advance for this being awful.

Great American Bash 1995
Date: June 18, 1995
Location: Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Attendance: 6,000
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

Well it’s been awhile hasn’t it? More or less it’s the same thing here as Hogan is off doing whatever so the main event is Flair vs. Savage to avenge the ending of the last PPV. Other than that there’s not a ton here to work with which isn’t out of the ordinary for WCW. The midcard looks awful but the opener could be decent. Arn Anderson vs. Renegade though is a scary idea and I have a terrible feeling I know where this is going. Let’s get this over with.

Apparently there was a US Title Tournament and the finals are tonight. Ok then. Apparently Vader had it stripped from him. Ok then. Heenan’s glasses are interesting looking. It’s Father’s Day which works for the Poffo thing. He passed away recently so this is a big sad. And Vader wants Hogan.

Alex Wright vs. Brian Pillman

As my mom used to say, they’re both good guys but they’re just wrestling to see who’s better. Sometimes you need a mark’s perspective to really get the gist of a match. Pillman is a ladies man or something here. His theme would suggest that I guess. This should be decent if nothing else. Heenan is having microphone issues. Wright gets a decent pop actually. I’ve always liked his music.

Yeah we can’t hear Heenan at all but it’s clear he’s talking as Tony defers to him and we get silence. Ah there he is, insulting both guys. I love that. He’s good for that if nothing else. Bobby is hilarious, plain and simple. The Bengals would have been a lot better if they had traded Pillman apparently. That’s just awesome. Wow Brian is crisp out there. It’s a shame he screwed up his ankle as badly as he did.

Craig Pittman is apparently wrestling twice tonight and that’s never been done. WOW. The crowd is small here but it’s a hot one so that’s a perk. They’re doing a technical style here. Yeah I’m stunned too. Wright was someone they were pushing hard at this point but the same could be said about Pillman as he’s always awesome. This has been solid so far.

WCW in this era didn’t get much right but they got openers right, normally with Pillman in them. They’re out there wrestling. It’s nice to see for a change. Pillman takes us to the floor and the fans are liking it. Now it’s more of a fight. I like the transition there. Pillman was about to turn heel in case you were wondering. Heenan is sober tonight so that’s an upgrade for him. Ok we get it: the crowd is here. Stop showing them.

In a nice looking spot, Pillman gets suplexed over the top and to the floor. I like it. That should be a DQ under WCW rules but they let it slide since Wright wasn’t in the ring. See why that rule is stupid? Pillman hits a Suicide Dive to the floor. Remember that was a far bigger spot back in the day. Both are down on the floor now. Ok scratch that and reverse it. Wright misses a cross body from the top. I’m liking this.

When they both try a dropkick and both miss, why do they stay down? It’s the same landing for both of them, so why are they down now? Wright hits the cross body this time for two which is apparently his finisher. And Pillman has a bad knee. Ah he was faking. No wonder he was in the Hart Foundation.

German suplex gets two for Wright. Oh come on this is pro wrestling. We need our stereotypes! Pillman goes for a crucifix into a sunset flip but Wright ducks down and gets the clean pin! Nice ending!

Rating: B+. Excellent choice for an opener here as they let two young guys (Pillman was 33 but like he was ever old a day in his life) go out there and show off. That’s how you open a show and it worked like a charm here. I really liked this but then again I like both guys to a certain extent. Something tells me this is the highlight of the show though, but still it’s good stuff.

We recap DDP vs. Dave Sullivan who are feuding over Kimberly and Dave’s pet rabbit. DDP says he’s the best arm wrestler in the world. I’m in awe that this guy became the biggest face in the company. I truly am. If anyone beats him at arm wrestling they get a date with Kimberly, who is known at the Diamond Doll at this point. Van Hammer had him beaten but Maxx Muscle, DDP’s bodyguard made the save. This is taking WAY too long. Remember this is all recap.

Dave Sullivan has his rabbit named Ralph in it. Oh dear. He’s reminding me of Eugene. Not the entertaining Eugene, but the annoying one.

Arm Wrestling: Dave Sullivan vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Ah and Kevin Sullivan is now the Taskmaster. At least we’re getting to the better angle. How in the world is that the better angle? That’s a sad thing to say isn’t it? If you’ve seen any arm wrestling match in wrestling history you can figure this out. Oh and Page is rich here. Yeah it means nothing but I’m trying to fill in time.

Dave of course is in full wrestling gear and wins it. The cheating doesn’t work and this is idiotic. Yeah Kimberly made sure Page lost. The video shows this and of course the announcers can’t figure this out. Page wants a rematch. He doesn’t get one but he whines a lot. No rating, as this was the biggest waste of time I can remember in a good while, and in mid 90s WCW, that’s saying A LOT.

Heenan points out how stupid this is.

We hear about Craig Pittman saying he’ll fight as many times as it’s going to take to win. He won on the pregame show, so he’s doing it again here. His opponent, Marcus Bagwell, is hurt, so he gets Jim Duggan instead.

Craig Pittman vs. Jim Duggan

In case you’re wondering for no apparent reason, Pittman beat former TNA guy, Scott D’Amore. Pittman was…well he was very annoying and a heel here. Why in the world is this on PPV? They shout at each other and do nothing but bad punching. I hate this show already. Duggan screws up a hiptoss. That’s HARD to do. I want to hit this match in the face. Heenan says Duggan has cauliflower face in an amusing ling.

Pittman is a former Marine that knows a lot of submissions. Good to know. They’re rolling around on the mat like an ECW catfight. OK WE GET IT: THERE IS A CROWD HERE! Pittman is working on the knee. From what I’ve seen online, Bagwell isn’t here due to exploding calf implants. Ok then. Hey let’s talk about Flair and Savage! Ok we’re done talking about it now. Yeah that’s what kind of show we’re dealing with here.

More leg work from Pittman. He dives through the ropes to the floor. Apparently Duggan pushed him. It’s not like we need to have Duggan move or anything to do that but whatever. Duggan SELLS THE KNEE! I’m so proud! And after the leg work for five minutes, let’s go for an armbar. WOW.

He gets a cross armbreaker on and won’t let go until the DQ. So let me get this straight. A guy that allegedly knows how to fight and is a submission master used five minutes of leg work to set up an armbar? I hate this freaking company. What’s on the other show right now? In WWF Mabel would be winning the KOTR. GO BACK TO THE ARMBAR!!!

Rating: F. This was awful to say the least. Seriously, would you THINK in a match you morons? Duggan was the smart guy in this match. That sums the whole thing up very well I’d say.

The Bluebloods, Steven (William) Regal and Bobby Eaton are fighting the Nasty Boys later. Oh dear. Oh dear indeed. We get Hitler references from Regal. That sums up everything pretty well. I have a BAD feeling about this match.

Harlem Heat vs. Bunkhouse Buck/Dick Slater

Oh dear just shoot me now. These two got in a fight on the pregame show so we get this as a treat. Harlem Heat beat the Fantastics on the preshow for you old school fans. That’s the highlight of this I guarantee you. Oh and Parker and Sherri start hitting on each other. This is a bonus match? Why do I have a feeling this is a great example of what addition by subtraction would be like? Sherri needs to wear leather more often. She actually looks pretty good in it.

Ok so we have four guys and one with talent. Good to know. Apparently this is a thing about the tag titles. Why am I trying to make sense of this? Slater is a guy that I’ve never been able to stand. He looks like an idiot and he’s the epitome of the southern guy that is allegedly good at being tough but couldn’t work a good match if his life depended on it. Stevie is wearing a t-shirt so I’d bet on some form of an injury.

The crowd is rather dead here but not quite. There’s the Spinarooni, but it’s nothing of note yet. I have no desire to watch this match in case you can’t tell. This team right here is the best example I can give you of why WCW never could be taken seriously for the longest time: no matter what they did or what direction they were going in, they had to have a hillbilly team in there that were tough.

This is one of the sloppiest brawls I’ve ever seen. Heenan points out that the fans don’t seem to care who wins. NICE ONE BOBBY. Now get this for the ending. Booker hooks a small package on Buck. Fine right? Parker, the heel manager, rolls it over. The referee is distracted for 5 seconds so Sherri rolls it BACK over. That gets three after another 5 seconds. In other words, this was a 15 second long small package. That sums up this match pretty well.

Rating: D-. I hated this. It was just boring as all goodness, it served NO purpose and the ending was awful. Why did those two keep getting hired? This was just awful all around. So of course we would have a rematch at Fall Brawl that was somehow worse.

We recap Vader coming out earlier in the night and beating up the 60 some odd year old Nick Bockwinkle while dropping a bunch of expletive bombs. Hogan of course comes out to save it. Back live now and Bockwinkle makes the main event for…that show that’s coming up next. Yes, he forgot the name of the next PPV on live air.

That got him fired actually. Heaven forbid a man in his mid 60s can’t remember some PPV that hasn’t happened yet that he’s not at. Oh no, he forgot something! Give me a break. Oh he made Hogan vs. Vader in a cage.

Flair, ROCKING the black robe, talks about Hogan and Vader. Because everyone has to talk about Hogan right? Ah good he’s talking about Savage more. That’s better. Gene: Either Savage is furious or he’s smoking a big cigar because there’s smoke coming out from under that door. WOW I just cracked up at that. We get a reference to 92 and the Liz angle without saying it of course. We need less of that in TNA. It can happen, but focus on what’s going on in YOUR company, not what happened in others.

TV Title: Renegade vs. Arn Anderson

This could be painful. Remember that Renegade is the guy that literally was hired by WCW to run around really fast and make people possibly believe he was Warrior. He was somehow worse than Warrior in the ring though. What does that tell you? Anderson is Anderson so there you are. That Horsemen theme is soothing to say the least though. Literally it just calmed me down. Simply put, Anderson is above this nonsense.

This guy looks like Warrior to an extent. That’s all we’ve got. And of course Anderson can’t hurt him. One of the greatest wrestlers in the world is having to no sell for a bad imitation of a guy Hogan had to carry. What does that tell you? The paint comes off Renegade’s face and now ANYONE that can see could tell that’s not Warrior. Remember, he makes Warrior look good in the ring. For no apparent reason we have a DDP chant.

Even Renegade’s HEADLOCKS are awful looking. That’s saying a lot. Just remember, WE HAVE A CROWD! Arn busts out an enziguri and Renegade no sells it. Ok, there’s being tough and then there’s being stupid. A KICK TO THE FREAKING HEAD IS GOING TO HURT! Even Goldberg would sell that a bit and he’s freaking GOLDBERG. How about a sleeper? Nope that’s not going to work either.

It should be noted that every hold Anderson uses Renegade counters into one of his own so he’s not even original here. Anderson looks seriously pissed and I can’t blame him a bit. Should be noted that Renegade is getting VERY little reaction and that’s being nice. Ok, now this is where you can tell the whole thing isn’t working. Arn hits the spinebuster, his FINISHING MOVE, and the crowd freaking ERUPTS.

Again, let me make this clear: one of the top heels in the company just hit his finishing move to one of the top faces and the crowd is VERY HAPPY about it. WCW, is it possible, just POSSIBLE, THAT YOU ARE IDIOTS??? He keeps kicking out and Arn is MAD. And now they hit heads so they’re both down. So a jumping foot from Arn doesn’t work as well as his head. Got it.

A bad top rope splash gives Renegade the title. I hate my life. AND HE GETS PYRO. Are you kidding me? SERIOUSLY??? And the Giant is in the front row and is pissed. Giant is more commonly known as Big Show mind you. Renegade does the look at his hands crap that Warrior did. I’m hating this company more than I thought was humanly possible.

Rating: F. No. Seriously, LISTEN TO THE FREAKING AUDIENCE! Again, a Hogan idea doesn’t work the way he wants it to so he just goes on with it anyway. And people wonder why this company bombed for so many years. I’m stunned. Actually I’m not but whatever. This was so stupid that it’s not even bad. The crowd was cheering for the heel because of how stupid the face was. That’s saying a lot.

The Nastys and Blue Bloods don’t like each other. Again, why are these teams on PPV? Well at least it’s not Harlem Heat vs. the Nastys. They just interfered in it. No real angle. The Blue Bloods just think they should be champions. The Nastys say their usual stuff.

Tag Titles: Nasty Boys vs. Blue Bloods

Something tells me this is going to be bad. We have good wrestlers on the heel team though so that’s good. The Nastys hit the heels with their jackets to start us off. Bobby Eaton and Regal are having their faces rubbed into the armpits of the Nasty Boys. They’re above this. And three of these guys are still active wrestlers today. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not sure really.

There’s no real semblance of a match going on here. It’s just a brawl. I guess you can call this a brawl. They’ve been in the ring all of a minute and we’re about 7 minutes into this. Thank you Regal for trying to make this watchable. And of course Brian Knobbs gets to beat both heels up on his own. I don’t think the Nastys have done anything but punch all match long. AGAIN WITH THE STUPID CROWD!

WCW seems more obsessed with Vince was than making sure to let us know there are actual PEOPLE in the arena. When Sags is the best wrestler on your team, that’s a very bad sign. Sags is in trouble now so he and Knobbs have just switched places. Seriously, what is Nasty about these guys? I’ve never gotten that. There appears to be a large man in the front row in boxers. Sure why not.

In case you can’t tell, this is a rather boring match. Naturally it’s the second longest match on the card. Why would Flair and Savage need more time? We’ve got NASTY BOYS! Another wide shot and I still don’t care at all. We talk about the history of the Great American Bash to kill some time.

Oh and there will be 100,000 people at Bash at the Beach (remember it was free to get into). Yeah sure there will be. Harlem Heat and Sherri are here for no apparent reason to beat up the Nastys and of course it causes them to keep their belts. Yep there’s your ending. I really hate this company.

Rating: D-. And that’s out of sympathy for Regal and Eaton who were clearly trying to make SOMETHING out of this. However, the Nastys suck. They just simply do. There’s no way around it. The Nasty Boys are terrible in the ring and they were here. When you can make Eaton and Regal look bad, that’s impressive. It truly is.

So there was a tournament to have a new US Champion. Apparently there were 16 people and it’s down to Sting vs. Meng. Also in it were Brian Pillman, Bunkhouse Buck, Arn Anderson, Steve Austin, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Marcus Bagwell, Paul Orndorff, Johnny B. Badd, Randy Savage, Butcher, Big Bubba, Alex Wright, Ric Flair and the Patriot.

They list off all the matches but that’s all you need to know as the brackets aren’t shown. We did get Savage vs. Austin though which is a good match as you would expect. Savage vs. Flair was a semi-final but they had a double DQ so this, the other semi-final, is now the final. Complicated enough so it’s perfect for WCW.

Colonel Parker, Meng’s manager, says he doesn’t like the north so he wants something to go home with. This takes forever to say of course.

There might be 150,000 people at Bash at the Beach. We get a promo for it. I don’t think it hit 10,000.

Sting says he’s not afraid of Meng and he’s been here a long time. See, that took 30 seconds. LEARN TO DO THAT PEOPLE!

US Title: Sting vs. Meng

Around this time, Sting was the most over wrestler in the world and was wrestling solid matches so of course they stuck him in the midcard and had him in random angles in the main event without ever wrestling in it. My guess: to prevent Hogan from looking weak by comparison. You can see the fans wake up for him. The guy is just universally loved…so Russo has been obsessed with turning him heel over the years.

It hasn’t worked yet but this one is too early to say so I’ll let it slide. Again, notice that guys that play directly to the crowd, in this case yelling at them, get bigger reactions that anyone on the roster. See, the key difference between Sting and Hogan: both could get EPIC responses, but Sting could work very solid matches and in more than one style. Hogan was as formula based as Flair and that’s saying a lot.

Sting could work a lot of styles and could work for LONG periods of time. Meng is supposed to be a martial arts master here so his offense is considered great. It’s really weak but it goes to show you what the simple act of talking about how awesome someone is can do for you. It also shows the power the announcers have. They’re talking like they’re scared of Meng so his incredibly weak offense seems more impressive than it actually is. That’s what commentators can do.

Yeah Meng isn’t that good. The hand gyrations from Meng are funny for some reason. Sting gets in some weird offense including a flying fat smash to the face of Meng from the second rope. Yeah it’s weirder than it sounds but it looked ok I guess. It’s impressive to see and hear the crowd change so much depending on how Sting is doing. That says a lot about him. Yes I’m a big Sting fan.

We’re on the floor now and Meng is in trouble. Parker gets beaten up too so this isn’t a total loss. Meng headbutts the post. The Scorpion is put on and Meng doesn’t tap. The hold is broken and the fans go quiet. Sting goes to some of his high risk stuff…and then wins with a jumping DDT?  Wait what?? I’ve never seen him win with that before and I haven’t since. It came out of freaking nowhere.

Something makes me think they had to switch something up in there, maybe due to a missed spot or an injury. Sting was always supposed to win, don’t get me wrong, but the ending was too weird to be what was planned. Actually maybe it was. This is WCW in 1995 after all.

Rating: D+. Pretty weak and formula based stuff here. Sting was over beyond belief and had to win it though. I guess they figured going with Sting was the best bet and it clearly was. This wasn’t much but it did its job fine I suppose. If nothing else we have a champion again and he’s over.

Some guy has won a sweepstakes and is in the front row. Ok then.

We recap Flair vs. Savage which is just them hating each other and Flair beat up Savage’s father. It resulted in Hogan pinning Flair. I know. Such inventive ideas! Flair beat up Savage’s dad to end Slamboree and no one cared. That set up this with Savage now going crazy.

Ever notice these more talented guys have tendencies to act like crazy men in Hogan run companies? Couldn’t be Hogan trying to make them look stupid or weak could it? You might notice it didn’t happen in WWF when Hogan was in charge. Yes I can’t stand Hogan’s methods of running companies. He ruined Flair in WCW and Savage was booked as a crazy man there.

Savage says congratulations to Renegade. Now that Hogan’s idea has been praised, he doesn’t like Flair and says it really quietly as he is known to do. I love his insane promos if nothing else.

Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage

It’s a bad sign that they have to point out that this is the main event. It couldn’t have anything to do with the idea that the world champion should be wrestling but isn’t here could it? Wow I really am bitter here. Well the show has sucked and we had to sit through more clips of Hogan making Flair look weak which pisses me off as he does it everywhere so there we go.

Angelo Poffo, Randy’s father, is here with him. That’s ok since it’s Father’s Day. The fans are into it if nothing else. That double axehandle stays sweet. It always has been and it always will be. It’s mostly Flair to start which is odd. Savage comes back and gets no real reaction. And let’s talk about the NBA. Why? Who knows? Let’s do it anyway!

It’s so sad that Flair is now the same old man that is more or less worthless anymore that Poffo is here. I hate to say it but it’s true. Flair works the knee of course so there we are. Savage tries to punch from his back. Ok then. Figure Four is on and Angelo is crying. Brain talks about how the crowd is all watching this. You guessed it: SHOW THE CROWD!!! This has been ok at least and by far the second best match of the night.

The lack of title is hurting it but I can live with that here. Savage is making his comeback. The fans are into this. I’ll say this: the crowd hasn’t been dead tonight. They’ve been confused but they’ve been hot all night. Savage gets the elbow and picks Flair up. He had the clean pin and pulls him up. Something tells me this is stupid.

He gets the bell and the fans pop for Savage’s signature weapon. And he dives at Flair and hits the railing. Angelo is choking Flair with his cane. And it meets Savage’s head and there’s your pin. The fans pop for it. Like I said, it’s a confused crowd tonight. Savage and his father leave together to end the show.

Rating: B. The ending made next to no sense as Savage should have gone over here but at the same time it was a good enough match. The problem for me was that I felt like we needed something else now. It’s like while this was an ending to the show, there was something missing at the end of the show. This is going in the wrong place. The match was solid, but at the same time it had its flaws. Good enough considering who was in it though.

Overall Rating: D. This was a pretty weak show to me. There are two matches that worked, but at the same time bad parts were REALLY bad. The crowd here was…different. They liked what they like I guess so there we are. The show just wasn’t that good, plain and simple. I mean Pittman vs. Duggan? Seriously? The opener and the main event were good so I’ll give them that, but other than that the rest of the card was just boring. Take a pass here.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my new book on the History of Starrcade from Amazon for just $4 at:

 

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