Monday, March 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Looking back at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996

Each and every Thursday, I will look back at a different event pay-per-view event wrestling history via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered here? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.

Throwback Thursday: Looking back at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996

Hulk Hogan with his new partners Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. (Photo courtesy of the WWE Network)
Hulk Hogan with his new partners Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. (Photo courtesy of the WWE Network)

Each and every Thursday, I will look back at a different event pay-per-view event wrestling history via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered here? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.

Last week, I looked back at WWE Survivor Series 1997.

Bash at the Beach 1996

Date: July 6, 1996

Venue: Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Match Results:

- Rey Mysterio Jr. def Psychosis

- Carson City Silver Dollar match - John Tenta def. Big Bubba

- Taped Fist match – Diamond Dallas Page def. Jim Duggan

- Double Dog Collar match – The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags) def. The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge)

- WCW Cruiserweight Championship - Dean Malenko def. Disco Inferno

- Steve McMichael def. Joe Gomez

- WCW United States Heavyweight Championship – Ric Flair def. Konnan

- The Giant & The Taskmaster (Kevin Sullivan) def. Arn Anderson & Chris Benoit

- The Outsiders (Kevin Nash & Scott Hall) vs. Randy Savage, Sting & Lex Luger went to a no contest

Observations:

- This night was all about one thing. That one thing wasn’t a match. It was really about an angle. That angle was the revealing of the third man working with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, collectively known as The Outsiders. That’s because that third man turned out to be the biggest hero in the history of the wrestling business, Hulk Hogan. To say that this was a shocking turn of events would be a understatement.

For years, Hogan told children to eat their vitamins and say their prayers, and tried to show everyone what it was like to be a real American. But with just one leg drop to Randy Savage, that all went down the drain. What an incredible turn of events. Sure, the finish to the match was just oozing with WCW, but that wasn’t important. The important part was that Hogan was walking over to the dark side for the first time in a very, very long time. And with his decision came the formation of the New World Order, which ran roughshod over WCW essentially until the day the company shut its doors in 2001.

- The reaction to the shocking turn of events was pretty priceless. It’s something that makes the moment even better, in my opinion. It’s just as important as the angle itself. I mean, people were throwing trash at Hogan. Throwing trash at Hogan? That’s like sacrilege. But it happened. Gene Okerlund sold it as if he legitimately angry at Hogan for turning his back on the fans. Tony Schiavone seemed genuinely upset and ended the broadcast by telling Hogan to go to hell. That’s great stuff. Bobby Heenan nearly giving it all away when Hogan walked out wasn’t great stuff, but I’ll let Heenan slide. It is Heenan after all. He gets an unlimited amount of passes from me.

- Before Hogan came out and shocked the world, Hall and Nash were in the midst of a good match against Sting, Savage and Lex Luger. Well, it was really only Sting and Savage, as Luger was injured early and taken away on a stretcher. The funny thing is that all three men eventually became card-carrying members of the nWo at some point. The most ridiculous edition had to be Sting, who had crusaded against the nWo for months, only to join the faction some time later.

- Now let’s get to the rest of the show. The broadcast team for this show was Schiavone, Heenan and Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes was his usual hilarious self. He was so in love with Mike Tenay, who wasn’t a full-time play-by-play announcer yet. Tenay was used sparingly as the know-it-all of all the Mexican and Japanese cruiserweights, thus the reason why he’s known as the professor. It was because he knew all of the moves that they were performing. It was funny with the way Heenan and Rhodes would react to the moves Tenay spitting out. You have to remember, a hurricanrana was still relatively new to us American fans in 1996.

- Speaking of cruiserweights, the opening match between Rey Mysterio and Psychosis was fantastic. Mysterio in his prime was so far ahead of his time it was scary. He was doing near impossible things in the ring, including a hurricanrana from the turnbuckle to the outside of the ring. The finish was incredible as well. Mysterio couldn’t perform these aerial stunts all by himself, however. He needed a good person to work with, so a lot of credit has to go to Psychosis as well.

- Although it was obvious, it’s still worth mentioning that John Tenta was Earthquake in the WWE and the Big Bubba was the Big Boss Man. Unfortunately, WCW thought it cool to put these two in a Carson City Silver Dollar match where these two giants had to climb a pole.

- That wasn’t the only stipulation match on this. Oh no. WCW couldn’t let you get away with just one. There was also a taped fist match and a double dog collar match. Oh, the good old days of WCW.

- The double dog collar match between the Public Enemy and the Nasty Boys was more than likely a stiff affair, but the stiffest part of the match had nothing to do with the four men in the match. It was the wooden table that Rocco Rock just couldn’t go through. They had to have tried to break that table three times and it just wouldn’t break. It was like something out of Botchamania, which prompted Heenan to say, “That’s the toughest table I’ve ever seen.” Hilarious. It probably wasn’t that hilarious for Rock, who I’m sure had a pretty sure back the next day.

- What pained me was the awful entrance music of The Public Enemy. Part of the reason The Public Enemy got over so much in the old ECW was because they came to the ring to Ini Kamoze’s Here Comes the Hotstepper. ECW obviously wasn’t paying for that song back in the day, so when the tandem went to WCW it could no longer use it. WCW tried to recreate the magic of the team’s entrance with a horrible knock-off version, but it wasn’t nearly the same.

- I liked the story that was told between Dean Malenko and Disco Inferno. Inferno was a comedic character going against the very serious Malenko and essentially got his you know what handed to him to entire match. But there were instances where Inferno would fire back and surprise everyone. The announcers did a good job of getting that story across to the viewers at home. Inferno lost the match, but came away looking better because he gave a good effort. The only thing that cost him was his usual antics.

- Call me silly, but it looked funny seeing Debra before the “enhancements” she received a short time later.

- McMichael’s opponent that night was Joe Gomez. Who the hell was Joe Gomez? I can’t be the only person that asked that question. Apparently, Gomez was a journeyman wrestler that wrestled for some major promotions, including New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico.

- Woman (Nancy Benoit) was married to Kevin Sullivan (The Taskmaster) in real life, but began an angle on this with Chris Benoit, which eventually led her to divorce Sullivan and marry Benoit.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
About this blog
The Squared Circle is a one-stop shop of pro wrestling news, recaps and observations. You can also enjoy interviews with some of your favorite stars from the world of professional wrestling both nationally and locally. Reach Vaughn at vjohnson@philly.com.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
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