Into the Vault: WCW Bash At the Beach 1996

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We’re back with WCW in 1996—In Your House 8 stomped me for a moment—with WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 from July 7. 

We got the crab camera, the Four Horsemen’s theme, and Joe Gomez having one of WCW’s best generic themes since Brad Armstrong and first-year Chris Jericho. 

There was also an awesome Ric Flair promo, the iconic Hulk Hogan turn, and the formation of the nWo. 

Low-Tier 

The Carson City Silver Dollar match between Big Bubba and John Tenta was something that WCW could’ve run on a Nitro or something. 

Years earlier, both men were known as big men with some nimbleness to them. This match was most likely just something that wasn’t going to gel well. I wasn’t feeling it. 

Add the DDP vs. Jim Duggan taped fist match to that list. I dig DDP and a taped fist brawl or match is always up my alley but this wasn’t working for me either. Luckily, it was brief. 

Steve McMichael of the Four Horsemen took on fellow perceived rookie Joe Gomez. The two actually put together a basic but decent match here.  

Into the Vault: WCW Bash At the Beach 1996

There was some awkwardness from both at times but for the most part, this would’ve been an acceptable WCW Saturday Night or WCW Pro match.  

Dusty described these two as “raw” and that’s what this match was: raw with a side of pretty damn green. 

Mid-Tier 

It started out unruly, became wild, and ended a mess. This match really started to unravel towards the middle to the point it was just kind of sloppy. Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby Heenan were at a loss for words. 

That said, I enjoyed the hell out of it. The stars of this match were the commentary team and that unbreakable table. 

Disco Inferno would challenge WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko in a good match. Nothing to write home about here.  

Well, my notes said that it “lacked some ‘Umph!’ to it but otherwise it was a good exhibition-type bout.”Malenko in a good match. Nothing to write home about here.  

Arn and Benoit against the team of Kevin Sullivan and The Giant was all about Benoit and Sullivan. Those two went at it to the point that the match was mostly a brawl.

Obviously, I enjoyed it but I don’t if I wanted more of the match or if eight minutes was fine.

The main event six-man tag saw Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and a mystery partner take on Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage. The mystery partner ends up being Hulk Hogan! 

I would say “spoiler alert” but this show is 24-years-old, I feel nothing. As for the match itself, it was alright. This should’ve been better considering the talent. 

Of course, this was mainly a set up for Hogan’s heel turn and the formation of the new World order. I don’t know if seventeen minutes of a setup match was necessary but it wasn’t an awful match. 

Exotic-Tier 

Rey Misterio Jr taking on Psychosis was one of the hot match matches from this show—and it was the opener. There was little going into this showdown.  

If you knew of their rivalry in Mexico, Japan, and ECW before their WCW debuts, you had some backstory.  

Into the Vault: WCW Bash At the Beach 1996

Remember, the cruiserweight division didn’t really get feuds until later in the 1990s. It was mainly rivalries. Regardless of its status, this match from WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 was worth watching. 

It was like watching the origins of the 2000s indy spot-style. 

Konnan defended his U.S Championship against Ric Flair who came out with both Woman and Miss Elizabeth! I really enjoyed the back and forth between Flair and Konnan here. 

It had a great pace being right in the middle but still loaded with excitement. Konnan was ridiculously athletic in 1996 and worked very well as a young, rising face. 

Flair gave a lot in this match showing Konnan as a legit threat several times. On top of that, the performances of Woman and Miss Elizabeth were great. 

With Flair as U.S Champion, we’d get one of my favorite WCW curiosity matches in Flair vs. Jim Powers on Nitro. 

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 Verdict: Mid-Tier (6.5/10) 

Like other PPVs from this year, WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 had its mix of bad, acceptable, and good matches. It’s all in how much of the show is bad or good. 

This one was almost an exotic-tier show as some of those mid-tier matches were actually enjoyable, they just lack something important that would take it beyond. 

Hell, even the Mongo vs. Joe Gomez match could’ve been bumped up. Unfortunately, it didn’t move past two big, raw, early career wrestlers in an exhibition. 

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