Sunday 19 December 2021

NWA The Great American Bash 1988, July 16th Tour Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that puts people to sleep quicker than a Great Khali match! This time we are looking at a Great American Bash tour show that took place after the PPV featuring a big War Games main event which should be a lot of fun, we also have a ton of irrelevant matches that judging by the looks of the “talent” on display, I am going to enjoy not very much at all. We also have continuation of the major feuds from the bash like Jimmy Garvin continuing his battle against The Varsity Club, The Midnight Express vs The Fantastics and The Horsemen vs Dusty Rhodes & Co.


Bugsy McGraw & Tim Horner vs Rip Morgan & Larry Zbyszko

Larry Zbyszko is kind of an enigma to me because while taking part in one of the biggest feuds of all-time with Bruno Sammartino, everything else he does feels like a footnote whether it be AWA or NWA. So, Zbyszko came in with some momentum picking up a win over Barry Windham and here he is now in an opening match with Bugsy McGraw who I haven’t seen in about 3 years and Tim Horner who I haven’t seen in a year or two teaming with Rip Morgan who was the flag-bearer/manager for The Sheepherders.


Zbyszko and Bugsy start, scoop slam by Zbyszko but multiple elbow drops miss, scoop slam by Bugsy. They lock-up, we go to the corner. Side headlock from Bugsy, Zbyszko cannot escape the headlock. Tag to Horner who takes over with the headlock, shoulder blocks to Zbyszko. Sunset flip for two, Zbyszko claims Horner was pulling the tights. Morgan comes in, knee and clubbing blows to the back of Horner. Snap-mare into a rear chin-lock, Bugsy fires up the crowd as Morgan whips Horner. Horner ducks two clotheslines and floats over the back before nailing a dropkick, arm-wrench from Horner. Bugsy comes in and pulls Morgan down by the hair, cover for two. Morgan backs up for a breather, eye rake from Morgan who delivers some big elbows.


Zbyszko nails a spinning kick and a right hand, scoop slam for two. Front chancery from Zbyszko, Morgan distracts the referee so Teddy Long doesn’t see the tag to Horner. Team Zbyszko rough up Bugsy in the corner, clothesline by Morgan. Bugsy dodges the falling headbutt, Irish whip but Bugsy ducks his head off an Irish whip and Morgan kicks it as hard as possible. In comes Zbyszko again, Horner clotheslines Zbyszko from the apron but Bugsy misses the elbow drop. Morgan comes in with the boot and clubbing blows before biting the head of Bugsy, choking clothesline from Morgan for two.


Boot to the head, Zbyszko rakes the eyes and attacks Bugsy but misses with the dropkick. Bugsy crawls and crawls, tag to Horner who comes in with punches flying. Right hands to Morgan and Zbyszko, noggin-knocker from Horner. Scoop slam to Morgan, two for Horner. Zbyszko kicks Horner, Morgan misses a clothesline and Horner pins Morgan off of a flying crossbody.


Vanilla match inoffensive and bland in every way possible, the quintessential opening match from this era. Dare I say Larry Zbyszko deserves better? Not sure, looking forward to seeing what he can do in The Dangerous Alliance when we get there!


Winners: Team Horner over Team Zbyszko via Flying Crossbody!


Ron Garvin W/ Gary Hart vs The Italian Stallion

Dickhead Garvin is large and in charge after knocking out Dusty Rhodes a few nights before, shoulder block from Garvin who leap-frogs Stallion and claims to have blown-out his ankle. Stallion looks and gets caught by the right hand of Ron Garvin who knocks him out in 45 seconds. Great way to get over Ronnie Garvin and Gary Hart can talk people into the building so that makes up for the big flaw of Garvin’s game.


Winner: Ron Garvin over Italian Stallion via Right Hand!


Dick Murdoch vs Gary Royal


Well I know Dick Murdoch but who is Gary Royal? Why are these two wrestling? Murdoch choke Royal, clean break. Side headlock by Royal, Royal wrenches the shit out of the headlock. Murdoch tries countering but Royal holds on tight, Murdoch tries a few cradles but Royal is in firm control. Side headlock takedown from Murdoch, we go to the corner. Elbow to the head from Murdoch, beautiful elbows to the head. Right hand to the nose, Royal fires up with dropkicks. Murdoch powders, knee to the gut from Murdoch. Elbows on the ring apron before Royal meets the scaffold. Royal reverses a scoop slam into a roll-up for two. Murdoch stomps the shit out of him, elbow to the face from Murdoch. Murdoch calls for the finish, sheer-drop Brain-buster.


Another squash that goes a little too long for my liking, not sure why there are so many squashes on the card but it does its job so why not I guess? Not entertaining but not offensive so far.


Winner: Dick Murdoch over Gary Royal via Brain-buster!


Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin W/ Precious vs Rick Steiner


We start with a clothesline and stomps, Steiner rakes the face. Garvin is choked with the ropes, right hands from Steiner. Whip to the buckle, Garvin dodges and fires up with right hands to Steiner. Crowd goes nuts as Sullivan appears, Garvin fights off Sullivan. Small package from Garvin back in the ring and it’s over!


Christ is this the nice of the squashes? What in God’s name is going on with this card? Steiner pinned like that? Damn NWA, that’s cold!


Winner: Jimmy Garvin over Rick Steiner via Small Package!


The Rock “N” Roll Express vs The Sheepherders W/ Rip Morgan

Lots of stalling before we start, dropkicks are on the menu for the sheepherders. They powder and regroup, Butch and Gibson start the match properly with Luke coming in to rough up the ribs of Gibson. Gibson ducks and ducks before trying a sunset flip, two for Gibson. Luke lands a massive knee to the ribs, Luke climbs high. Middle rope splash misses, knee-lift from Gibson which Luke tries to break up. Butch stomps Luke and Rock “N” Roll land dropkicks while Morgan clotheslines his team by mistake. Morton and Luke wrestle with Luke tossing Morton into the buckle, Butch comes in and beats down Morton. Morton slides through the legs and slams Butch and Luke. Noggin-knocker, Gibson and Luke reset. Luke eats a crossbody as Morgan battles Morton, Butch comes in and waffles Gibson with the flag.


Luke drives knees into the spine of Gibson, Morton tries helping but cannot do much as Gibson tastes the flag across his spine. Gibson fights back upon re-entering the ring, we have cheap-shots from the apron by Butch though which allow Luke to choke Gibson. Gibson starts swinging at everything but Luke grabs on a rear chin-lock. Butch is in, Gibson catches Butch with a huge kick to the face. Luke tags in but Gibson battles back, Luke goes to the ribs. Snap-mare back into the rear chin-lock, Gibson lands a double crossbody before tagging in Morton who steps in with a kick. The Sheepherders collide with Morgan being wiped out too, Butch stops Morton’s roll-up attempt.


Morton is tossed to the floor, Butch tees off on the outside with Morton watching his back for Morgan. Gibson and Luke brawl in the ring as Morton is sent into the ring-post. Gibson gets wiped out with a knee to the back courtesy of Butch, Luke can hold Gibson for the attacks of Butch. Double gut-buster from The Sheepherders, Gibson pulls Butch into Luke who spills to the floor and Morton lands the diving crossbody on Luke for the win.


Good tag team match, good heels in Sheepherders and great babyfaces in Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, they work over Gibson well during the match, crowd is hot for the hot-tag and a lot of the spots were fun and got the crowd going which was nice to see. A definite change of pace from the previous matches, happy to see some wrasslin’ on my card.


Winners: Rock “N” Roll Express over The Sheepherders via Diving Crossbody!


Al Perez W/ Gary Hart vs Brad Armstrong

This should have some fine wrestling, Perez and Armstrong lock-up and we get a clean break. More clean breaks, Armstrong has the arm. Perez cannot shake Armstrong, Perez wants to crack Armstrong with his fist but decides not to. Despite monkey flipping Armstrong, Perez cannot break the hold. Perez backs Armstrong to the corner and here we go, gut shots from Perez. Forearms to the face, Armstrong stops the Irish whip and continues working the arm. Wrenching and shoulder blocks from Armstrong, Perez has been second best this entire stretch. Perez goes to the ropes, side headlock from Armstrong. Perez manages to escape but misses the elbow drop and ends up back in the arm-bar.


Knees to the arms from Armstrong, Perez backs him to the corner. Armstrong shoves down Perez and chases Hart, Perez lands an apron axe handle. Scoop slam on the concrete, stomps for good measure too. Hart rams Armstrong into the scaffold, few stomps too because why not am I right? Perez rams Armstrong into the ring apron, clubbing blows to the spine too. Elbows to the spine and a massive crucifix powerbomb spinning manoeuvre from Perez with a little knee-drop for two. Rear chin-lock from Perez, Armstrong fires up but Perez maintains control with a camel clutch after some elbows. Armstrong escapes and lands a knee-lift, Perez is staggered.


Perez eats gut shots from Armstrong, whip to the opposite buckle and Perez dodges Armstrong’s attacks. Irish whip, Perez ducks and Armstrong goes for the backslide. Small package for two, Perez hurls Armstrong to the floor. Armstrong lures in Perez and slams him on the floor, gut shot from Armstrong. Standing dropkick which sends Perez crashing to the floor, Armstrong tries a suplex into the ring but Hart trips up Armstrong and holds down his leg so Perez can take the win.


Well I thought this would be the wrestling match of the night from how it started with the working of the arm and all that but no, it was a standard affair and the finish is nice, I just wish I cared more about the action that was in the ring, not really entertaining for me.


Winner: Al Perez over Brad Armstrong via Gary Hart’s Help!


The Fantastics vs The Midnight Express W/ Jim Cornette

So this is a Bunkhouse match, a handicap one at that where anything goes. Fulton and Eaton to start, they lock-up with Eaton landing a massive right. Eaton celebrates before Fulton lands his own right. Eaton lands an elbow and a right hand, hip to the side of the head. Shoulder block from Eaton, back body-drop from Fulton who lands a right and Rogers gets in on the action too. Everyone begins brawling with Cornette defending himself with a chair, Cornette scrambles when Rogers takes the chair. The Fantastics strut all around the ring, Eaton and Fulton are fighting again. Right hands from Eaton, Eaton grabs a chair. Fulton atomic drops Eaton onto the chair and cracks with the chair too.


Eaton is down on the floor, Rogers chases Cornette. Eaton is decimated with the chair, not sure why Tommy Young is trying to police this match when there are no rules as Schiavone stated at the start of the match. Eaton is cracked I want to say at least 12 times with the chair. Lane and Cornette are irate, telling Eaton to get back in there like a man. Lane and Rogers will wrestle now, Rogers calls Cornette a chicken, Lane lands his thrust kick and throat thrust. Rogers skins the cat and dropkicks Lane multiple times. Fulton cracks Cornette but Lane and Eaton take out Rogers with an enzuigiri to the back of the head. Cornette throws a chair on Rogers’ head, Eaton grabs the chair and works the ribs.


Cornette gets in on the action with an elbow drop to the floor, Rogers is being choked with a camera cable as the referee deals with Fulton in again, a match that is meant to have no rules. Massive Lariat from Lane, Cornette comes in and lands a fist drop and elbow drop. Cornette picks up Rogers who fires up but Eaton lands a right hand to the face. Eaton stabs Rogers with some object in the throat twice, atomic drop into a back-breaker from Eaton. Scoop slam from Eaton, in comes Cornette with his wrist-tape. Another fist drop, Cornette needs a hand from Eaton to slam Rogers. Russian leg-sweep from Lane, Eaton climbs high for The Rocket Launcher. It connects beautifully, Cornette wants to pin Rogers which leads to some argument with Eaton.


Rogers kicks out and tags Fulton because Cornette was a colossal ass, Fulton comes in and wreaks havoc with a back body-drop. Cornette has powder and blinds Eaton by mistake, Rogers slams Cornette as Fulton takes out The Midnight Express and we have a double clothesline for the win with Cornette whipped like a dog by The Fantastics.


Fun match, entertaining and Cornette as an overconfident fool who causes his team to lose is classic wrestling perfection, such a fun match between these two. There might be hope for this card just yet, their previous match was not very good but I hold out for more classics between these two teams.


Winners: The Fantastics over The Midnight Express via Double Clothesline!


(NWA Television Championship Match) Mike Rotunda © vs Sting

Sullivan and Steiner are at ringside, no idea how this championship is still around the waist of Rotunda, I think he is the least interesting of The Varsity Club members but I guess the TV title was not all that important at the time. Sting leap-frogs Rotunda and dropkicks all three members, noggin-knockers but the referee does not call a DQ as Steiner and Sullivan rushed the ring. How lenient of him, side headlock from Sting. Shove-off from Rotunda who eats a shoulder block, hip-toss and scoop slam by Sting. Rotunda re-thinks his strategy, lock-up with Rotunda backing into the corner.


Boot misses for Rotunda, massive right hand from Sting. Leg-drop to the groin, Steiner is less than pleased about this. Rotunda lures in Sting and works the leg, enzuigiri from Sting. Rotunda takes another breather, asking for a time-out. Steiner distracts Sting but nothing comes of it, what is with this stalling? Side headlock again, Rotunda shoves off Sting. Steiner trips up Sting, Rotunda takes control. Sting is hurled to the floor, Sullivan uses a weapon to decimate Sting. Steiner does nothing but Rotunda continues dishing out punishment. Irish whip into an elbow, snap-mare into an elbow drop for two. Rear chin-lock from Rotunda, Sting escapes but Rotunda cuts off Sting. Rear chin-lock again from Rotunda, Steiner talks trash from ringside.


Right hand and a scoop slam from Rotunda, Rotunda climbs high. Rotunda hesitates so Sting capitalizes, right hands stagger Rotunda who is thrown to the other ring, Sting runs the ropes and dives into the other ring. Stomps and ten punches from The Stinger, Stinger Splash and Scorpion Death-Lock but Steiner and Sullivan come in, Sting escapes the beatdown but is not a champion.


Sting is red-hot, Rotunda bores me in the ring and we have a very boring match as a result, I don’t know why Rotunda has the championship especially when we had the likes of Blanchard, Anderson, Rhodes and Koloff. It’s quite the drop-off but it is what it is, this match blows and Sting deserves better.


Winner: Sting over Mike Rotunda via DQ!


(Scaffold Match) The Road Warriors W/ Paul Ellering vs The Power of Pains W/ Paul Jones

The best part of this is that the actual Powers of Pain had left for the WWF so The Russian Assassin and Ivan Koloff are portrayed as being the group the whole time. Now, I think the scaffold match is a spectacle and one of these was enough for me so imagine my thrill at seeing my 3rd one. These matches are a mess, limited action and limited space and I am just over the concept at this point. Club, club, club, punch, punch, punch. Nothing going on whatsoever and Animal manages to push off Koloff, Hawk manages to kick off The Russian Assassin and its over. The match was garbage, not a fan of this match at all.


Winners: The Road Warriors!


(WarGames Match) The Four Horseman (Ric Flair/Tully Blanchard/Arn Anderson/Barry Windham) vs Dusty Rhodes/Lex Luger/Dr. Death Steve Williams/Nikita Koloff

So how does this work? Two cages and two teams, two men start with team members entering at timed intervals until all members are in the ring. Once all members are in the ring, the match can end by submission, surrender or someone being knocked unconscious. There have been legendary WarGames’ matches and I hope this may be one of the occasions. Who is going to start for each team? Well Rhodes decides he wants to be the man while Arn Anderson steps up for his team. The bell rings and we are underway, Anderson wants Rhodes to come to him. Rhodes tentatively crosses over, both men start brawling with Rhodes landing elbows to start. Anderson begs for mercy, Anderson tries a sunset flip but Rhodes lands a right hand. DDT from Rhodes, Anderson is getting whooped here.


Anderson backs off, Anderson is sent flying into the cage. Rhodes smashes Anderson off the cage wall again and again, The Horsemen shout words of encouragement but it is not going to help I don’t think. Rhodes comes in to lift up Anderson with Anderson landing a massive kick to the thigh, Anderson goes to work like only an Anderson can with repeated attacks to the leg. Anderson is using something to choke and stab Rhodes, Rhodes is a bloody mess. WarGames lifts up to the hype, low blow from Rhodes. Anderson comes off the middle rope and eats a right-hand, Rhodes wrenches and applies the figure four. Barry Windham enters, Rhodes wants to kill Windham. Understandable and Dream knocks down Windham & Anderson.


Crowd is like molten lava at this point, Anderson attacks Dream from behind. Rhodes is in trouble now, Windham tees off with right hands and calls for The Claw. Claw from Windham, Rhodes is in deep trouble. One minute before someone can help, Dr. Death comes in and tees off on The Horsemen. Double clothesline to a monster pop, Williams chop-blocks both Windham and Anderson time and time again. Anderson begs for mercy from Williams, Windham is with Rhodes. Williams mounts Anderson and explodes with right hands, Windham tastes the cage. Williams blocks the cage and Anderson tastes the cage again as Ric Flair watches on from ringside. Anderson goes low with a headbutt, Williams dodges a knee-drop.


Ric Flair comes in, a shock that the last man will be Tully. Flair chops Williams who no-sells that, chop after chop has no effect. Williams stalks Flair, low-blow from The Nature Boy. Williams meets the cage, Windham and Anderson double-team Rhodes. Williams is bleeding now, Anderson helps Flair punish Williams. Vicious DDT from Anderson, Rhodes is bleeding everywhere. Flair spits on Luger, taunting The Total Package. Luger comes in and clotheslines Windham, Flair is panicking now. Flying clothesline to Flair and Windham, powerslam to Flair. Powerslam to Windham, Torture Rack on Flair. Massive low blow from Windham, Flair and Windham wear down Luger who shakes it off. Flair tries to send Luger into the cage but Luger blocks and lands ten punches in the corner. Final man in for The Horsemen, here comes Tully with a chair who waffles Luger. Tully targets the knee but Luger fights it off, Flair lands right hands to Package.


Rhodes continues to attack Windham, knee-drop from Flair to Luger. Nikita comes in and cleans house, I made a mistake about Tully being the last man as I think we are going to have JJ Dillon and Paul Ellering wrestle in this one. Nikita locks Flair in the figure four, Nikita continues to show great power as Flair begs for mercy. Heated contest for sure, lots of low blows going on now. It’s dick-punch city, Dillon comes in looking as white as a ghost but Dillon gets to work helping his team before Nikita grabs the hapless manager and batters him over and over. Williams kicks Flair, this could be a fun match to see one day. Meanwhile, Rhodes is always looking for Windham to torture him. More low blows as in comes Ellering, Ellering is fighting off The Horsemen as Williams chokes Dillon.


Tully wants to make Ellering tap but Rhodes is here fighting everyone in sight, lots of pairing off now. Dillon and Ellering are alone, this could spell disaster for either team. Irish whip but Ellering dodges the dropkick, atomic drop and Rhodes applies the figure four with the ropes for the leverage and win.


A little anticlimactic with the finish but I suspected some sort of finish like that once I saw the managers were taking part in the match. I loved the start, brutally at its finest and despite my feelings about Rhodes vs Windham at their previous match, their hatred for one another comes through in full effect here which is tremendous for the setting and the match. Good to see Williams in there too, most talent from the UWF acquisition were not doing too well so at least their champion is being positioned as a big deal. Rhodes getting the win instead of Luger irks me a little, I think Luger deserved the win considering the tour and PPV was based around Luger vs Flair but then again, Rhodes is the booker man jack and the booker man is going over! All in all, it lived up to the hype with a finish that sends the fans home happy.


Winner: Team Rhodes over Team Horsemen via Surrender!


This was The Great American Bash’s July 16th tour show and it was mostly uneventful if I am honest, you could take at least 3 to 4 of the matches off this card because they meant nothing to me. 3 to 4 squashes in first half an hour was a little intense, I thought Steiner deserved better in his feud with Garvin, thought there would have been more to that but I guess it was not meant to be while The Fantastics vs The Midnight Express is a great tag team wrestling as is The Rock “N” Roll Express vs The Sheepherders so if you are a tag team wrestling fan, there are matches that deliver on this card. The Scaffold match is what it is, I could die happily never watching another one. Finally, the main event is a bloody spectacle with violence and intensity to it, the finish leaves a lot to be desired but it wasn’t a PPV so I guess I will let it slide. If you like good tag team wrestling, seek this out otherwise I would give it a pass! Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!



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