Simply put, especially in the wrestling business, you can’t succeed in the future without appreciating the past.
With that in mind, every now and then I like to take look back and review a pay per view event from yesteryear to simply try and bring up some fond memories for those reading this piece.
As you probably know by now, December is WCW Month on FromTheTopRope.com! WCW came very close to putting Vince McMahon and the WWF out of business in the 90’s and the main reason behind this was the creation of the nWo.
The renegade group run by Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall dominated WCW in ways that the wrestling world had never seen before. So what better way to kick off WCW Month than to take a look at the show that gave birth to the New World Order – Bash at the Beach 1996!
So log on to the WWE Network (it’s only $9.99/month and free for the for new subscribers…they haven’t done that much in-show advertising about that so I’m sure everybody forgot) and take a look at this blast from the past!
Bash at the Beach 1996
The show kicks off with a quick video review of what had been called “The Hostile Takeover.” On May 27 Scott Hall shocked the wrestling world as he walked through the WCW Monday Nitro crowd, climbed over the rail, grabbed a mic and proclaimed that “we” are taking over! To the wrestling fans, this was still Razor Ramon talking to them and that the “we” that he was talking about meant that the WWF was coming to take over WCW.
A couple of weeks later, Kevin Nash walked on to the scene to join Hall in saying that the takeover was happening. The two were labeled as “The Outsiders” as WCW did an amazing job of making it seem like these two really weren’t a part of the WCW roster. Remember, this is before all of the backstage websites. This is before most fans knew about contract statuses and who was going to was organization.
This was new, and it worked!
This would go on for about a month until a lawsuit filed by WWF basically forced WCW to have Hall and Nash state on TV that they do not work for the WWF anymore, but they were still planning on taking over!
The takeover was set to start at with the main event at Bash at the Beach at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. WCW officials set the match to be Sting, Lex Luger and the Macho Man Randy Savage to defend WCW’s honor against Hall, Nash and their mystery partner. Who could it be???
And the show begins…
We are introduced to tonight’s commentary team of Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan. Those three names alone make it one of the greatest commentary team’s ever. Anytime you can get three hours of listening to Dusty’s gloriously famous lisp is a blessing. Throw in one of the greatest color men in Heenan and a truly underrated Schiavone and you have a solid squad.
Most of the talk was obviously about the main event and the fact that the third man still has not been revealed. Heenan does a great job of setting an intense mood in the backstage area.
Rey Mysterio, Jr.
The nWo was clearly the main reason for the success of WCW in the 90’s, but an underrated part of the show was the introduction of the Luchadores and the other international stars. WCW gave these stars a global stage to perform on and Mysterio and Psychosis were two of the best.
Unfortunately though, it means that Mike Tenay has to join us on commentary to explain the history of the international competitors. Never been a fan of Tenay, ah well, nothing is perfect! While Tenay was talking about the history and importance of the masks worn by Luchadores, Heenan chimes in with “well you probably don’t want to wear those when you walk into a bank or a 7-11!” If you don’t think the Bobby Heenan was one of the most entertaining characters in wrestling history, then you are wrong!
The match was just as you thought it would be, a high-flying fast paced match from nearly start to finish. Heenan with another gem to explain the high-flying “they haven’t really spent too much time in the ring, they have just passed through it every now and then!” I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I quote The Weasel! Mysterio hits a top rope hurricarana and gets the win. You know, I see a pretty bright future for that Mysterio kid!
We go to the back with Mean Gene Okerlund and the US Champion Konnan. The future K-Dog was set to defend his title against Ric Flair later in the night. Really glad that Konan learned how to not sound robotic later in his career.
Silver Dollars Match
Big Bubba (w/Jimmy Hart)
We all know that 95% of WCW’s roster was made of WWF stars and here is a prime example – It’s the Big Boss Man (Bubba) vs Earthquake (Tenta).
After leaving the Dungeon of Doom, Tenta had been tortured by Bubba including shaving off half of Tenta’s hair and moustache. Tenta said he would not shave the other half as a reminder of what Bubba did. So that’s an interesting look!
Tenta had a bit of revenge when he knocked Bubba out with a sock full of silver dollars so in this match a sock of silver dollars is hanging from a pole in the corner of the ring. If you can climb and get the sock, you can get it. You would think that this is a weird item to have on a pole, but this is WCW. Within four years we would see a piñata, Viagra, and Buff Bagwell’s mother on a pole. WCW everyone!
Bubba sent Jimmy Hart to climb the pole to grab the silver dollars while Tenta was down. While Hart was climbing though, Tenta got up and took out Bubba. When Hart came down, he had Tenta waiting for him. The former Earthquake grabbed the sock, nailed Bubba with the silver dollars and picked up a big win.
Once again we have Mean Gene in the back. This time he is with WCW’s face-painted heroic trio of Sting, Luger and Savage. Main purpose of this was that they don’t know who the third man is and they don’t care.
Taped Fist Match
Diamond Dallas Page
Hacksaw Jim Duggan
One of my biggest pet peeves with the WWE Network is the obviously dubbed over entrance music. DDP is obviously one of those. Bad.
Side note – during this match, we have our first reference to a NASCAR race. Again, WCW everyone!
Page drags Duggan to the corner, pulls a roll of tape out of his pants (because where else would you keep tape?) and tapes Duggan’s legs to the post. A move to which Heenan responds, “Why shouldn’t his legs be together? His eyes are together!” Love that man!
DDP hits the Diamond Cutter for the win…and we move on.
Back to Mean Gene (noticing a pattern!) First thing that he says is, “Jimmy Hart, get over here you little twerp!” So there’s that. The Giant, the current WCW Champion, and Kevin Sullivan and talking about their match later against Four Horsemen members Arn Anderson and he who must not be named…ok, its going to be too much to do this the whole time, so Chris Benoit…there. Mean Gene sends it to Lee Marshall who has the aforementioned Anderson and Benoit. Apparently if the Horsemen win then a member of the Horsemen gets a Championship against The Giant the next night on Nitro.
Dog Collar Match
The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs)
Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge)
Apparently every match has to have some sort of odd stipulation. For this one, the teams are paired off and attached to each other by a dog collar. These two teams were very underrated during this time in WCW, especially for what they put their bodies through. This match was another example.
Saggs and Rock are collared together and Knobbs and Grunge are together as well. Because of the two being paired off, we get the small split screen that WCW used way too much. Again, this is 1996. 50 inch TV’s weren’t exactly the norm like they are now. So imagine watching this show on a 27 inch screen and then have to watch two five inch screens during this match. This is why guys like me now have to wear glasses!
The teams go all over the arena, mostly at the main stage to use all of the beach related props that had been set up. After a couple of clotheslines with the chains, The Nasty Boys pick up the win.
So a match ended, guess where we go next??? Way to mix things up a bit guys! Mean Gene said that he was trying to talk to The Outsiders, but they didn’t want to talk.
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Dean Malenko (c)
WCW did Cruiserweights right! WWE can learn a thing or two now!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think there was a cheesier character that got more over than Disco did! A John Travolta wannabe disco dancing, disco ball and all, is one of the more memorable characters of that era. Well done!
The two had a great back and forth match. At times it seemed like Disco was going to pull off the unimaginable upset but The Man of 1000 Holds locks in the Texas Cloverleaf and retains the Cruiserweight Championship.
Surprisingly, we have no Mean Gene!
To the Bears fans who aren’t wrestling historians, yes, THAT Steve McMichael. Not only was McMichael a wrestler, he was a member of the Four Horsemen! And, truth be told, wasn’t horrible!
Not really too much to say about this one. McMichael won, and again, we move on.
All is right with the world again as we have another Mean Gene interview. Ric Flair is in the back doing a lot of Ric Flair shouting…including signing La Cucaracha for the sole purpose that he’s wrestling someone from Mexico. How much backlash would he get if he said something like that today?
US Championship Match
Ric Flair was in the middle of the card wrestling Konnan. WCW had the greatest star in its illustrious history still firing on all cylinders and he was just cast to the side. I don’t understand it and probably never will.
Konnan was still a little bit away from being relevant in my opinion. But he was still able to at least hold his own against Naitch. It’s still just hard to see a legend like Flair in a spot like this though. I won’t even bother to go into how odd it is to see Woman on the outside as well. At least she isn’t coming down with Benoit.
At least there is some logical booking here as Flair gets the win and becomes the new US Champion!
It’s the end of a match, so of course we go to Mean Gene. He says that he thinks a third man has joined Hall and Nash in the locker room but he can’t determine whose voice he is hearing.
Arn Anderson & Chris Benoit
Kevin Sullivan & The Giant
It is still just so weird to watch a Chris Benoit match.
The rivalry between the Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom was a little underrated in my eyes. Well, the Dungeon of Doom post-Shark, Zodiac, Kamala, and all of those characters. The Benoit/Sullivan matches were intense – especially for the mid 90s.
Things get a little less weird as the match goes on. A solid match between the two teams. The Giant hits the chokeslam on Anderson for the win. After brawling on the stage, Benoit and Sullivan take the fight back to the ring where Benoit lays out Sullivan.
Oh boy! The weird feeling meter jumps back up as Woman now comes to the ring pleading with Benoit to stop. The two get into a shouting match in the middle of the ring. For those that don’t know, Woman’s real name…Nancy Benoit…I’ll give you a second to put two and two together. Yeah…weird!
Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Mystery Partner
Sting, Lex Luger, Macho Man Randy Savage
It’s time now for arguably the most anticipated main event in WCW history!
Who better to set the stage properly than Michael Buffer! OK, Howard Finkel would be better obviously but WCW took what they could get.
Hall and Nash come down … but no third man. The announcers send Mean Gene down to ask about it because God knows Mean Gene hasn’t had enough to do tonight! The two simply say that the third man is here, but we don’t need him right now. That brings out WCW’s saviors all decked out in their unified Sting-based face paint.
A few minutes into the match Luger is injured and has to be taken out on a stretcher. So now we have a two on two match…but will it stay that way?
As expected, the atmosphere in the arena was electric for this back and forth match. Schiavone , Rhodes and Heenan did an amazing job emulating that atmosphere for those watching at home!
There starts to be a slow buzz starting to build in the crowd and out of nowhere, Dusty Rhodes simply yells out, “HULKAMANIA!”
Hulk Hogan comes down to the ring with a determined look on his face. Obviously he is here to take Luger’s place and help Savage and Sting take care of these Outsiders!
Hogan clears the ring to save Savage who is down on the mat. Hogan then turns, bounces off the rope, and hit the most infamous leg drop in wrestling history on Savage. The unthinkable has happened, Hulk Hogan is a bad guy!
Okerlund comes back down and Hogan delivers one of the most memorable promos in history to solidify himself as a heel and proclaiming that the New World Order will be taking over.
It happened 20 years ago this past summer and it is still considered to be one of the most memorable moments in sports entertainment history. No one could have predicted it. It was an incredible night in Daytona and would prove to be the start of the rise of WCW.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE SHOW? WHO DID YOU THINK WOULD BE THE THIRD MAN? WAS THERE A BIGGER MOMENT IN WCW’S MID-90S RUN? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @FROM_THETOPROPE AND LIKE OUR NEW FACEBOOK PAGE AND TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!