Vintage Best And Worst: WCW Bash At The Beach ’96

– Sup guys. David D. here. You may know me from my writing over at The Smoking Section and also as Brandon Stroud’s NXT bro and also lots and lots of comments about Sasha Banks. I’ve always wanted to do these Best and Worsts scheduling has sucked forever and ever. However, thanks to a little gimmick called the WWE Network, I can provide reviews of old school pay-per-views on my own pace without worrying about being in front of a TV at any time. With that said…

When the network launched, I embarked on a mission to watch every WWE/WCW/ECW PPV from Royal Rumble 1993 up until the present. Now, I’m somewhere in 1997 (WCW Spring Stampede 1997 to be exact). This is where you come in. We have two options:

I can just go from where I am now in 1997 and review every pay-per-view in chronological order

2) I can just hop around and hit pay-per-views upon request


3) (there are three options, SWERVE) I can do a combination of both, going through in order and taking breaks to hit pay-per-views based on your requests in between.

Just hit the comments and let me know what you want and we’ll go from there because we’re family. Anyway, we’re going to start with Bash at the Beach 1996 because it’s right around where I am now and it Changed Wrestling Forever or something.

So follow me on Twitter at @DavidDTSS and let me know what you think. I’ll just be there tweeting about wrestling and rap and cinnamon rolls.

Let’s go!

Best: I Sort Of Dig This Announce Team IDC IDC IDC

This incarnation of the WCW announce team has been much-maligned through history but as I’ve been watching I’ve come to enjoy this little group of misfits. Bobby Heenan is incredible despite the fact he’s been phoning it in ever since her called Brian Pillman all sorts of motherf*cks on the air. Schiavone is bearable and Dusty Rhodes is hilarious. Dusty gets trashed a lot for commentary but he can really accentuate a story when he’s given one to work with and his energy can be infectious. Just watch Public Enemy vs. Harlem Heat from Uncensored 97’ to hear him turn a sh*t match into a classic just by him losing his damn mind. So screw you, I like these guys.

Best: These Flippy Guys Aren’t Bad

The NWO wasn’t the most brilliant thing Eric Bischoff ever did. The most brilliant thing Eric Bischoff ever did was decide to get a bunch of really great wrestlers to fill their undercards. WCW had a ton of TV to fill so they’d just let all these Lucha Libre guys and wrestlers from Japan (and Jericho, Benoit, Malenko and more) just tear it up with 20-minute matches every week.

This match is between regular-sized Rey Misterio and Psychosis and it’s f*cking awesome. You can definitely see the beginnings of “hey, let’s let these guys wrestle and be great for the first half of our pay-per-views” start to take shape. I mean, you can’t really ask for more than a match like this to kick off a pay-per-view, kids.

Best: Pre-Crisis Mike Tenay

Remember when Mike Tenay would show up and offer some decent commentary and insight and not just scream like a moron all the time? Yeah, TNA is the worst.

Worst: Stop calling it a Frankensteiner

It’s a hurancanrana, you d*ckheads. By calling it a Frankensteiner you’re basically landing on a new country and calling the people there Indians forever because of course they are.

Worst: Bossman Fallen Angel Fat Mountie Big Bubba

I really wanted Big Bossman’s WCW run to work. He started off promisingly enough as a foil to Vader, but Ray Traylor’s career was pretty much derailed by him changing gimmicks every two months. He was The Boss then the Angel with a Hell’s Angel gimmick. Then he was something I forget then he was just Big Bubba. It’s a shame he never got on track because Bossman could really put on some dope HOSS FIGHTS…

Worst: WCW Doesn’t Know How Poles Work

…This isn’t one of those dope hoss fights. Avalanche – who came to WCW as part of Hulk Hogan’s shoot invasion, looks to have lost the right amount of weight that he’s too small to be an attraction based on his size and too big to be remotely effective in the ring. He’s also sporting a half-fro or something because Big Bubba cut half of his hair. This is what the feud is about. So naturally they have a bag of coins on a pole match.

Two problems:

The pole is too high for someone to just step on the top turnbuckle and grab the bag and
Bubba and Avalanche are too big to actually climb the pole.

I have no clue if Jimmy Hart climbing the pole was supposed to be the ending or if it was just tremendous improv because they got into the ring and realized they couldn’t reach the bag. Regardless, the ending is a clusterf*ck.

Worst: Tape Fists Are The Dumbest Foreign Objects Ever

From like 1994 to 1996, WCW had this infatuation with taped fists somehow being wrestling versions of a Kaio Ken attacks. At the beginning of this match between Hacksaw Jim Duggan and DDP, Duggan walks to the ring and Schiavone calls him the “master of the taped fist.” What the hellsh*t does that even mean? Does he tape his fist in some sort of Origami that makes his fists more deadly? Like, if I shoot someone does that make me the Master of Loading Clips?

DDP’s big heel move in the match is UNTAPING JIM DUGGAN’S FISTS to render him deadly punchless. At the end of the match, Duggan loses then goes to taping his fists about as well as

Best: DDP The Wrestler Now

Here’s what I remember about DDP: he was a fat manager who started wrestling really horrible matches and had the worst valet ever. Yes, you, Kimberly. Then he basically lived at the Power Plant, lost weight, won Battle Bowl and put on these unexpectedly good matches and was going move-for-move with Eddie Guerrero. This isn’t a great match, but it’s better than it should be and we have DDP to thank for it. I still watch his matches like, “wait, the old Scott Hall manager guy shouldn’t be good, right?”

Worst: More Prop Fails

Public Enemy is one of the worst tag teams in wrestling history. They’re sort of considered innovative because they were doing dives onto tables on WCW close to first, but they had horrible matches. Even a garbage match with the Nasty Boys in a dog collar match was more sh*tshow than fight. And because WCW has the worst prop guys ever, the collars break and the tables don’t break.

Not even Dusty making up words can save this.

Best: Dean Malenko: Destroyer Of People

Dean Malenko. My who entire heart. All of it. There may not be a more enjoyable thing than Dean Malenko willing a crappy wrestler to a spectacle of a match by basically stretching and punishing him for 15 minutes. That’s basically what happened here with Disco Inferno. It’s like Malenko was calling “shut the hell up and just get bendy” and it’s great. I’d pay all my moneys for Malenko to show up on RAW and just pretzel The Miz and Zack Ryder every week until The Miz’s dad spills his nachos in a fit of malaise.

Best: Respect For Mongo Also, THE DESPERADO

Okay, look. Mongo McMichael wasn’t a good wrestler. But for a 40-something ex-football player, he really gave it his best. And hey, that’s all I can ask for. And yeah, the Desperado is a KILLER gimmick if they had a wrestler who could pull it off. So I always sort of pop when they mention it then remember that the match won’t be that great and shoot my TV with a guitar gun.

Best? Gene Okerlund Boner Jokes

Gene Okerlund was a really dirty old man and I never knew it. At the end of this awkward interview with Flair, Elizabeth and Woman, he makes a joke about a pole vault competition about to start. That’s a d*ck joke, right? Yeah, nightmare fuel.

Best: Hi Miss Elizabeth

Elizabeth transformed to become the woman I dreamed about through each stage of my life. When I was a kid, she was just this beautiful innocent angel. Then when I was a pre-teen, she got these big boobs and wore leather and tight dresses. Then she started looking like someone who had no desire to be there. Well, that last part was more “real life woman David dated” than dream woman but you get the point.

Best: Nature Boy and Konnan

And here’s Ric Flair carrying on the good fight. There was a few-month stretch where Flair was mixing it up with Konnan and Eddie Guerrero for some really unique, great matches. It was almost as if WCW had interest in building up mid-card guys. Lulz.

Worst: Spike Heels Are The New Worst Foreign Object Ever

Remember how the taped fist was the worst foreign object ever? I was wrong. The Flair/Konnan match ends with Woman hitting the US champ with the bottom of a high heel. Now, I’ve never been hit with a high heel but I saw the Jamaican chick on College Hill get hit with a heel like 12 times and she just bled and wasn’t knocked out. So I’m not believing a soft heel blow to the temple is knocking anyone out.

Except for Hulk Hogan when Arn Anderson beat him on Nitro for three weeks in a row. That was legit. And the greatest three weeks of my life.

Worst: Mean Gene Ain’t Leslie Nielsen I’ll Tell Ya That

The big story of the pay-per-view is who’s Scott Hall and Kevin Nash’s mystery third partner against Sting, Luger and Savage. Mean Gene heard the third guy (spoiler: it’s Hulk Hogan) through the door but can’t make out the voice. IT’S F*CKING HULK HOGAN! Possibly the most distinguishable voice in wrestling history. He also says “brother” every other word and probably said something about being in the Silverdome. You’re the worst detective ever, Gene.

Retroactive Worst: :( :( :(

Here we also get the beginning of the Benoit/Sullivan/Woman love triangle feud. Ugh. It’s so uncomfortable to watch. Which sucks, because these matches were crazy. It also sucks because a bunch of people died.

Worst: This Match Doesn’t Make A Lot Of Sense

I never liked the way the main event was booked, even as a kid. Hall and Nash face Sting, Savage and Luger in a handicapped match where the heels are the underdogs. Luger gets knocked out early and by the time Hogan gets to the ring, Savage and Sting are knocked out. So really Hall and Nash had already taken out the three top babyfaces in the company before the big swerve. I get Hogan had to come out to make it look like he was saving babyfaces in trouble, but Hall and Nash couldn’t use baseball bats or tazers to get an edge first?

Best: In Defense Of Bobby Heenan

Okay, here we go. As Hogan is entering the ring to ostensibly save WCW, Heenan yells “but what side is he on?!” He’s been criticized as going in business for himself and ruining the surprise but I don’t see that side. Heenan ALWAYS said stuff like that about Hogan. He’d always accuse Hogan of doing something heelish when he’d go to the ring. I think Rhodes’ and Schiavone sh*tting themselves is what really gave it away. Heenan was just being Heenan. #IstandwithHeenan

Worst: New World Organization

It’s New World Order, you Silverdome loving f*ck up.

Best: Watching Wrestling With My Dad

I didn’t see Bash live. I was on some vacation with my mom but I remember my dad calling me that night and telling me that Hogan had turned and joined the NWO. He was just as surprised as I was and was sort of freaking out that they did that. It’s easy to forget just how crazy the idea of Hogan being a heel was at the time. Anyway, that’s one of the memories I have when it comes to my dad and wrestling. I’m a fan because he watched wrestling growing up and it’s one thing we’ve always shared a bond about. When kids made fun of me for watching wrestling, my dad mad me feel comfortable about it because he watched it. Now, I’m writing about it on the Internet and getting yelled at by Nancy Grace. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to start with this event for my first Best and Worst.

Thanks, dad.