The Battle of Blood & Paint

To continue my journey through WCW Pay-Per Views, this week we have one of the best PPVs in the companies history, Great American Bash 1989.

Emanating from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, a cornerstone of NWA/WCW wrestling, on July 23, 1989 with an attendance of 12,500 people.

Although this event was a great one, it didn’t come without its hiccups. Because of technical issues in the original recording of the PPV we didn’t get to see the opening. Instead we go straight into the first match.

The Triple Crown King of the Hill match……..yes I know, that’s more than a mouth full but let me explain. Basically this is just a battle royal with two rings. If you get eliminated, you go into the second ring to fight and if you are the last man standing in the first ring, then you get to face the winner of the second ring. The winner of the match gets a fat wad of $100,000. Did I just confuse you even more? Well, good. Because this is exactly what this match was, a big hairy ball of confusion.

Anyway, we see Teddy Long watching the match on the dark and gloomy stage like he’s Sting for a night. And when the Skyscrapers, “Dangerous” Dan Spivey and Sid Vicious, are the two remaining men in the match, Teddy Long gets in the ring and proceeds to say that he will never let them fight each other because they are a unit and they’ll also be splitting the $100,000. Oh Teddy Long, why couldn’t you have been this great in the WWE?

Next, we have an interview conducted by the great Gordon Solie asking Teddy Long about his team’s win. Teddy says that the Skyscrapers will destroy anyone in their path no matter who it is and take care of things their own way in NWA.

Flyin’” Brian Pillman vs. “Wild” Bill Irwin – I got to tell ya, even though this match was basically set up to make Pillman look good, it felt more like a competitive wrestling match than a jobber match. It’s just a testament to Bill Irwin’s skill as an enhancement talent. One thing that did make me chuckle during this match was when Jim Ross said “this is definitely going to be one of the hottest cassettes of this year”. The match ended when Pillman hit a crossbody from the top turnbuckle of the first ring into the second to get the one, two, three. Coming into this match it looked like it would be average at best but I was very surprised at how good the match actually was.

Interview – Paul E. Dangerously – He mentions the incident when Jim Cornette fell from the Scaffold at Starrcade 86′ and how his knee is still damaged from it. He’ll be targeting that knee for their upcoming tuxedo match.

Dynamic Dudes vs. Skyscrapers w/ Teddy Long – For just one of the many times tonight, Dyanmic Dudes come out to some lame WWE production music instead of their real theme. I can’t blame WWE for that because they don’t own the rights to most of the WCW theme songs but it does kind of take you out of it a bit. The crowd seemed to be digging the Skyscrapers more than the Dynamic Dudes but honestly, who can blame them? The Skyscrapers come out as these big badass looking guys with leather jackets and the Dynamic Dudes come out with bright colours and skateboards. The crowd was chanting for Sid the whole match and booing Spivey when he came into the ring. Pretty weird.

Anyway, the match ends when Teddy Long distracts the referee allowing Sid to come into the ring and slam Johnny down by his hair. Then, Spivey follows up with one of the worst powerbombs I’ve seen in my life. He didn’t even get him off the ground. Nonetheless, he gets the three count and the Skyscrapers win.

Interview – Jim Cornette – Jim comes right out and says that Paul E was right about his knee, it hasn’t recovered. But he’ll do anything to get his hands on him even if that means crawling around on his belly. He’s done everything he can possibly do to try and ruin his career and now it’s time for payback. Great promo.

Tuxedo Match – Jim Cornette vs. Paul E Dangerously – Instead of the amazing theme that the Midnight Express is known for, we get Jim Cornette coming out to what sounds like 80s gay nightclub music. The match starts up a bit wonky as Paul E starting using the phone on the wrong knee. But honestly, the match was good for what it was. It wasn’t really a match rather than a fight between two managers who completely hate each other. Paul E throws powder in the eyes of Cornette allowing him to get the upper hand for the majority of the match. Eventually, Cornette starts fighting back and when Paul E tries to use the powder again, Cornette reverses it. That allows him to rip off Paul E’s clothes down to his undies winning him the match. Paul E goes running to the back like he’d just seen a ghost.

Interview with Gary Hart – Basically, Gary Hart says that The Great Muta couldn’t be interviewed because he was preparing and mediating for his upcoming match with Sting for the Television title.

Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda & Kevin Sullivan) vs. The Steiner Brothers w/ Missy Hyatt – As expected, things break down pretty quick between the two teams. The match was very good despite it being very short. It was basically a street fight that the referee allowed to happen. The match ends when Scott comes off the top rope with a crossbody on to Sullivan who is holding Rick. Rick lands on Sullivan and Scott helps him get the pinfall.

Interview with Sting and “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert – Sting says he is very serious about this match and heads to the ring. Eddie Gilbert stays back and tells Gordon Solie this is Sting’s biggest test as TV champion.

NWA Television Title Match – Sting (champion) w/ Eddie Gilbert vs. The Great Muta w/ Gary Hart – Although I really enjoyed the Flair/Funk match from later on, this was definitely the dark horse of the night, making it my favourite. This match was literally five years before it’s time. Muta was flying all over the place, it was great. After more than five minutes of non-stop action between the two, Muta attempts to hit Sting with his mist but the Stinger ducks and it hits the referee. With the referee down, Muta hits his beautiful moonsault and has Sting down for the three count. Tommy Young runs into the ring to save the day but Muta only gets a two count. Sting recovers and hits a belly to back suplex bridge on Muta for the three count. But the pinfall wouldn’t go without controversy as both referees involved in the match argued over who had won the title as they believed both men had their shoulders down. Muta grabs the title and walks out with it regardless what the decision was but when we see the replay we see that Muta got his shoulder up and so did Sting.

Interview with Lex Luger – After Luger turned on Steamboat at Clash of the Champions VII a month earlier, a No Disqualification match was made between the two tonight. Lex says that he’s the US Heavyweight champion so he should be able to dictate who he faces and what stipulations are on his matches. He thinks it’s completely unfair that he has to wrestle a No DQ match. Luger threatens to leave if they don’t wave the No DQ stipulation.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Clash of the Champions VII you really should consider it. It was a very good Clash and the fact that it was in Fort Bragg made the atmosphere was ECW like.

US Heavyweight Title Match – Lex Luger vs. Ricky Steamboat – As usual Steamboat has a grand entrance with him carrying a komodo dragon to the ring. Luger comes out and does his whole posing thing on a rotating circle…except the circle doesn’t move. He stands there posing for about ten seconds until he realizes it’s not going to move…..it was awkward. So Luger gets to the ring, grabs a microphone and immediately asks promoter Gary Juster to wave the No DQ stipulation otherwise he’ll just walk out. Gary Juster talks to Ricky Steamboat for a bit, then they announce that he does accept Luger’s terms. The match gets underway and Steamboat immediately goes for Luger. The emotion and story behind this match was purely amazing. Despite how much I love Luger, I had a smile ear to ear watching Steamboat finally get his revenge after Clash of the Champions VII. Even after Steamboat grabbed the chair and started wailing on Luger, earning himself a DQ, it was still great to see Lex get what he deserved. It is definitely on my list of the best US title fights in wrestling history.

Comments from Fabulous Freebirds and Samoan Swat Team – Michael Hayes says some stuff I honestly didn’t catch because I was watching Fatu and Samu bite each other.

Comments from Midnight Express, Road Warriors and Steve Williams – Dr. Death says tonight he’s going to be a bird catcher (get it! Cause freebirds!) and that he has bug spray for the samoas…….so they are bugs? That makes sense right?

WarGames Match – Fabulous Freebirds & Samoan Swat Team w/ Paul E Dangerously vs. Midnight Express, Road Warriors and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams w/ Jim Cornette – Bobby Eaton and Jimmy Gavin start. Of course the Freebirds team won the coin toss so they get the first man in. It was a typical WarGames match, the bad guys beat up the good guys till another good guy comes in and vise versa. There was one point in the match where Paul E tries to squeeze his huge brick phone through the cage for his team to use but to no avail. Paul E screams and throws a tantrum which I thought was hilarious.

Eventually, Hawk comes in as the last guy and wrecks house. He makes Jimmy Gavin submit to the Hangman’s Neckbreaker in quick fashion. Once his team has won they pretty much all leave the ring except for Animal who is left behind by accident. Freebirds and the Samoas attack Animal and hold the cage door shut as they pummel on him. Hawk and Dr. Death try to open the door while Eaton tries to get inside from the top. Eventually, Hawk pushes through and they run into the ring to save Animal. Freebirds and the Samoans back off though.

Interview with Ric Flair – Gordon Solie asks some very good questions for Flair to answer. Gordon wonders whether he’s even 100% for his match tonight or if he even had a tune-up match considering he’s been out for almost two whole months. Flair says mentally he feels 120% and that he doesn’t need a tune-up match he’ll have no problem dealing with Terry Funk. Great interview and it just goes to show you why Gordon Solie is one of the best announcers in the business.

NWA World Heavyweight Title Match – Ric Flair (champion) vs. Terry Funk w/ Gary Hart – This was a very physical match from the get go. As expected Funk works on Flair’s neck pretty much the whole match. At one point Gary Hart distracts the referee so Funk can smash Flair with the branding iron in the head which busts him open. Eventually, Flair returns the favor, smashing Funk’s head into the ring post making him bleed as well. After almost twenty minutes of a physically exhausting fight, Flair reverses a small package to get the win over Funk.

But the fight isn’t over and almost immediately The Great Muta comes into the ring, sprays him with the mist and they double team Flair. Sting comes in for the save and all four men start fighting all over the arena. Even when Jim Ross and Bob Caudle tried to end the show with their comments, the four guys started fighting right behind them. Flair comes over and Jim Ross gets a short interview where he says that this thing between him and Funk is far from over.

I really enjoyed this Pay-Per View and although we started off with some technical issues and the first match was confusing, I was entertained from start to finish. Even matches that on paper looked average or boring were much better than expected. I can definitely see why Great American Bash 1989 is known for being not just one of the best Bash PPVs but one of the best WCW PPVs in history.

Pros:

+ Every match was entertaining

+ Some classic matches took place at this Pay-Per View

+ Gordon Solie did a fantastic job with the interviews

Cons:

– Technical issues to start the Pay-Per View

– The premise of the Triple Crown battle royal was confusing