WCW Bash At The Beach '96
July 7th, 1996

Continuing our journey of the WCW/nWo saga, we get to the show that actually is thought of as the one that really kick-started the feud. To this point, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash had appeared in WCW and laid out the challenge, which Eric Bischoff accepted at the last PPV. Now, the Outsiders and WCW will face off, with WCW having the opportunity to put down the hostile takeover before it could really get going... Oh, and there were a bunch of other WCW matches, as well. Let's get to it.

WCW Bash At The Beach '96
Posted by the Accelerator, June 5th, 2012

- The cover features palm trees and shark fins, which is somewhat ironic in that "Shark" (aka John Tenta) had dropped his gimmick recently. Lex Luger and Randy Savage are the wrestlers featured on the front, as well as the slogan "This is no day at the beach". There's not a single mention of Hall or Nash, but then, storyline-wise, you wouldn't expect it (as they didn't work for WCW, so why would they be on the cover?).

- Worth noting as I researched this, there were several dark matches before the main show started. Wrestlers involved in these matches included The Steiner Brothers, Harlem Heat, Billy Kidman, The Rock-n-Roll Express, Fire & Ice, Eddie Guerrero, and Steven Regal. That's a lot of talent not making it to the full show (although, of course, some of them hadn't hit the big time yet), and I'm betting I'll be thinking about some of these wrestlers as the show goes on and I have to watch a clunker or two.

- The show starts with a video montage of The Hostile Takeover, showing clips of Hall and Nash making their appearances, Eric Bischoff getting powerbombed through the stage (from Great American Bash '96), and the WCW forces mobilizing against them. I particular like how they spliced in Hall & Nash jumping the rail, followed by a shot of a security guard reaching for his gun. It kind of added to the fact that neither Hall nor Nash were contracted with WCW (at least storyline-wise).

- The announcers are Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (fresh off of being a coach at the last PPV). They talk about how Eric Bischoff's whereabouts are unknown, as well as referring to Hall & Nash's mystery third partner. Rhodes wants the match put on first, but, of course, they're not going to do it. It also makes the rest of the matches sound like, well, nothing, but what would you expect?

- Apparently I didn't name all the announcers, as "The Wrestling Insider" Mike Tenay suddenly is on as well for the next match, probably so he can give the moves their proper names.

Rey Mysterio Jr vs. Psychosis:

Backstory: (I get a lot of this from Tenay's description, so now I'm glad he decided to join the announcers!) Mysterio and Psychosis were part of the same training class 8 years before, and have been having an on-and-off feud since then in Lucha Libra wrestling. They're now bringing the 'feud' to WCW. Mysterio made his debut in WCW the month before in a great match against Dean Malenko, and would continue his battles with Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Title in the near future. For now, though, Mysterio is showing off the cruiserweights again in this opening bout with his old rival.

The Match: Mysterio tries for a handshake to start out, only to get shoved in the head, telling the fans immediately who the heel is. They start off with mat wrestling and submission holds, which clearly isn't what the crowd was expecting. But it's just the start, as the wrestlers break into a great sequence of jumps and spins that ends up with Psychosis diving over the ropes onto Mysterio (and taking a hard bump) on the outside. Now the fans are into it. Amazing moves start taking place, and I can't call all of them or else I'll be doing a full move-by-move review.

Psychosis beats on Mysterio with some great moves for a while, but Mysterio gets in some high-flying moves of his own after a while, including a hurricanrana to the floor! A hurricanrana pin attempt in the ring only gets 2. Honestly, these two are putting on a clinic of lucha libre, with both death-defying, high-risk maneuvers split with some innovative technical maneuvers. Psychosis' senton backsplash from the top turnbuckle to the floor on Mysterio is insane. Mysterio's amazing hurricanrana sequences with Psychosis are unbelievable as well, showing how much experience the two have with each other. It takes incredible timing to land some of these moves the way they are without injury.

After some more incredible maneuvers, Mysterio went to end it with his main springboard hurricanrana, but Psychosis reverses it into a powerbomb for a two count. Psychosis then carries Mysterio and drives him into the turnbuckle, before climbing up with his and setting him for a Splash Mountain maneuver (think an Outsiders' Edge off the top). But Mysterio reverses it into an incredible hurricanrana and gets the victory, to the roar of the crowd. Clearly, Mysterio has gotten over.

Ace Thoughts: What a great way to open such an important pay-per-view! Mysterio and Psychosis clearly knew how to wrestle each other, and while it's a definite 'spot-fest', it was also a match with some good wrestling moves thrown in throughout. It felt perfectly paced, and the fans soon warmed up to it and were enjoying every maneuver. Mysterio would go on from this to face off against Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko again, while Psychosis would, strangely, be mostly in the background for the next few years, until he finally made his own climb to the top.

- Mean Gene Okerlund is in the back with Konnan, although they start out talking about the previous match. Mean Gene then gets to business, talking about how Ric Flair is overconfident tonight. Konnan responds that he's "overly cautious" about Flair's entourage. Konnan's going to take down all of them in order to leave with the United States Title. Viva la Mexico!

Big Bubba w/ Jimmy Hart vs. John Tenta, Carson City Silver Dollar" Match:

Backstory: Tenta and Big Bubba have been feuding since Tenta (then named Shark) quit the Dungeon Of Doom, and Big Bubba helped shave half of Tenta's head. At the Great American Bash '96, Tenta got some revenge, beating Big Bubba and cutting off Bubba's beard. The two have kept feuding, leading to tonight's match.

The Match: Second pay-per-view in a row that Bubba and Tenta have to follow Rey Mysterio. That's cold. So the way to win this match is to climb a long pole and retrieve a bag of silver dollars that are up top to use on their opponent. This is going to be a long one, folks...

Tenta dominates at first, with Bubba trying to tire him out by running. The crowd is dead, and probably taking their first restroom breaks. We get several attempts of guys trying to get up the pole, although it's clear neither can make the climb. A Big Bubba back slam off the turnbuckle on Tenta was admittedly impressive. Heenan is at least entertaining me, joking about "Bubba On A Stick" when Bubba falls on the turnbuckle post. Tenta is smart, trying to disconnect the pole to reach the bag, but it allows Bubba to come back with a belt, strangling Tenta on the ropes. Bubba then uses tape to secure Tenta to the ropes. After beating on Tenta, Bubba adds insult to injury, cutting some of Tenta's hair. But Tenta gets a low blow, then uses the scissors to cut at the ringpost.

Near the end, with Tenta down, Big Bubba calls for Jimmy Hart to climb the pole. The manager gets up there, even as Tenta gives Big Bubba a powerslam. Hart gets the bag and slides back down, not knowing that Tenta's waiting for him. Tenta takes away the sock, shoves Hart away, and then nails Big Bubba with the sock to knock him out. Tenta makes the one-handed pin and the crowd at least enjoyed that last part. Post-match, Tenta drops the silver dollars on Big Bubba, putting two over his foe's eyes.

Ace Thoughts: I must admit, I was expecting disaster, and by no means was this a good match. The crowd seemed more into it near the end than I expected, thanks in part to Jimmy Hart, so that made it slightly better than anticipated. Definitely not recommended, though. After this match, Tenta faded out from WCW and went overseas, competing in Japan. Big Bubba would have some moments in the nWo storyline and would wrestle some as "Ray Traylor", but he wouldn't really get full respect again until he went back to the Big Boss Man in WWE.

- The announcers speak again, basically pleading for Eric Bischoff to call in and tell them where he is. They discuss The Outsiders' third man, with nobody knowing who it could be.

- We go back to Mean Gene, who is with "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Lex Luger, and Sting. All three have their faces painted for unity. Savage doesn't care who the third man is going to be. He's going to hurt all of them equally. Luger talks about how the Outsiders have been talking trash, and they're going to represent WCW well. Actions speak louder than words. Sting says the unknown gives him a really dry mouth and goosebumps all over his body. Creepy. They move off as a team, pumped up.

- So we're following a "Carson Silver Dollars On A Pole" Match with a "Taped Fist" Match? Oy.

Diamond Dallas Page(c) vs. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Lord Of The Ring Taped Fist Match:

Backstory: DDP won "The Lord of The Ring" title (which is actually just a ring) by winning Battle Bowl back at Slamboree '96. He's been bragging about it since, showing off the ring and challenging anyone to take it from him. That led to DDP's feud with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, which included Duggan taking the ring from Page at one point, only to later return it in order for Duggan to win it legally.

The Match: Both men have their fists taped, just to help them slug a little harder. Duggan dominated at first, knocking Page from the ring, but Page used some smarts to get Hacksaw off his feet and worked to tape Duggan to the ring post. Even the announcers mention that we saw the "taping opponent to ring" bit in the previous match. It doesn't last long, as the ref clears the tape from Hacksaw's legs while Page gets in a few free shots. DDP cuts the tape from Duggan's hands, but Duggan can still punch without it, smacking Page to the outside. Hacksaw gets in some "Ho's!" and "USA's" while beating on Page, but then DDP makes it even with his own shots. The ending is surprisingly anticlimactic, really, as DDP kicks the ropes as Hacksaw is coming in (racking him), and then gets the Diamond Cutter for the successful pinfall. Post-match, Hacksaw no-sells the cutter and gets up, taping up his fist and slugging Page to knock him out.

Ace Thoughts: On the one hand, the right man won here, as Page had a lot more upside than the veteran. On the other hand, they sure didn't do him any favors by having Hacksaw knock him out so quickly after the match, as if the Diamond Cutter effect only lasted seconds. For a taped fist match, honestly, there was very little 'tape' used, making it seem like a useless gimmick added on to sell tickets. Duggan would hang around WCW for a while yet, being a 'novelty' act, while DDP got worked into the nWo storylines and started becoming more and more popular.

- Mean Gene starts the interview by saying "Come on in, Jimmy Hart, you little twerp!" Brave to say with Kevin Sullivan & The Giant there. Mean Gene talks about how the Horsemen are planning to double-team Sullivan and keep The Giant out of the match. Sullivan says he has home court advantage. The Giant says that the Taskmaster is not the weak link. Sullivan is the backbone of The Dungeon Of Doom. The Giant mentions how he put an end to Hulkamania and he's the elite, the World Heavyweight Champion. They mention how they're in Sullivan's home town again. Hart says it's the Best of the Horsemen against The Best Of The Dungeon. Mean Gene gets in another zinger on Hart, asking him to brush his teeth.

- Lee Marshall, meanwhile, is with "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson and "The Crippler" Chris Benoit. Marshall mentions that if their team wins, one of the Horsemen will get a shot at The Giant's World Heavyweight Title on Nitro. Anderson actually talks about The Outsiders first, talking about how they're going down to the WCW team, and how they could take on The Horsemen next. Anderson then talks about Sullivan, wanting to get the World Title back for The Horsemen. Benoit says the Horsemen have tolerated the Dungeon far too long, so they're going to finish them off and leave Sullivan for dead (man, I hate hearing Benoit say that now; brings up bad memories).

The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags) vs. The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge & Rocco Rock), Four Man Dog Collar Match:

Backstory: The Public Enemy had jumped over from Extreme Championship Wrestling at the beginning of the year, running the same gimmicks that had been successful there. It wasn't quite as popular in WCW. The Nasty Boys, meanwhile, were an established tag-team, having had success in both the WWF and WCW. The two teams had been feuding on and off for basically the whole year, since they fought to a Double Disqualification at Clash Of The Champions XXXII. Numerous times, the teams fought to the back, showing their hatred for the other. The Nasty Boys won their "Falls Count Anywhere" encounter at Superbrawl VI, and now the teams were meeting again in another gimmick.

The Match: So Knobs is chained to Grunge and Sags is chained to Rock. It takes just a few seconds before they fight to the outside, and we've basically got two individual matches going on at the same time (completely with split-screen action). They fight all over, using weapons and the like, and all the dog collars are really doing at this point is ensuring who fights who, as neither team is working together. Grunge & Knobs fights to the 'beach' set, with a life preservers and a rubber shark getting used, among other weapons. Rocco hits a flip off the lifeguard stand onto Sags, and then tries it again, only to have Sags pull the stand over. Schiavone says that this is the fierce competition that WCW is all about.

The wrestlers all congregate on the aisleway for a minute, with Sags piledriving Rock on the concrete! For some reason, though, he doesn't pin, and Rock recovers to put Sags through a table (with a weak jump off the railing onto his back). They come back to the ring, with Sags bringing in another table. Rock takes Sags back down and puts him on the table, then climbs up the turnbuckle, only for Sags to move and yank Rock down. Rock does a flip and lands on the table, which doesn't break. Ouch. Sags puts Rocco on the table and jumps off with an elbow, and the table STILL holds! Brain calls it the toughest table he's ever seen. At the end, Knobs hangs Grunge over the ropes by the chain, while Sags throws Rocco Rock into the chain for a clothesline. Sags then drops an elbow and gets the pin, putting The Public Enemy away.

Post-match, The Public Enemy is fighting again, with the table finally going down after Sags is thrown into it. The announcers say nothing will be settled until a few go to the hospital.

Ace Thoughts: Tough match to follow, and the dog collars barely served any purpose. I know The Public Enemy is better than this, but getting repeatedly put in against a team like The Nasty Boys isn't going to lead to the most exciting matches. They were great at brawling, but not much else. The Public Enemy would soon get a minor push, winning the WCW World Tag-Team Titles for a few days in September '96, and would hang around WCW for another year yet. The Nasty Boys were nearing the end of their tag-team run, but have a few more title opportunities the rest of the year.

- We see Mean Gene in front of the Outsiders' locker room, with four security guards standing in front. Okerlund wanted to talk to them about their mystery third man, but they're not willing to talk, so Okerlund just talks about the thickness of the electricity.

- Disco wants to talk before his match: "I know that everyone came to see The Disco Inferno dance! *boos* And after I beat 'Mr. Personality' and win the WCW Cruiserweight Title, everybody is welcome to my disco dance party!"

Dean Malenko(c) vs. The Disco Inferno, WCW World Cruiserweight Title Match:

Backstory: Malenko has been the second-ever WCW Cruiserweight Champion after beating Shinjiro Ohtani in May '96, and has been taking out competitors since then. A few weeks before, The Disco Inferno interrupted one of Malenko's matches, earning Malenko's attention. Disco has made a point of joking about Malenko's lack of facial expressions, but Malenko is just set on destroying another foe.

The Match: No gimmick added? Thank goodness. This one gets started right away, as a furious Malenko points at Disco, and then slaps him across the face, knocking him down! Malenko just annihilates Disco, throwing him to the outside and beating the crap out of him. Back in the ring, Malenko puts his finger in Disco's face, telling him something. Disco pushes him back, and Malenko does a roll, then flips back forward and attacks again! Amazing. An incredible brainbuster somehow doesn't finish Disco off. The beating continues, as Malenko's not letting Disco get anything.

FINALLY, Disco gets in some shots, and even Heenan gets excited, as the fans are suddenly rooting somewhat for the underdog (or just for some back-and-forth action). The two fight it out both outside and inside, with Malenko grounding Disco whenever possible. But Malenko makes a huge mistake by going for a top-rope axehandle, as Disco blocks the strike, and then spins it into the Chartbuster (not sure it had a name yet, but that's what it was) to knock Malenko out. But Disco holds off, touching his hair, before finally going for the pin, and Malenko recovers enough to get his foot up on the ropes. Disco hits a few more moves, but he can't help dancing before pinning, which is keeping him from winning. Malenko comes back and goes for the Texas Cloverleaf, but Disco reverses it into a pin attempt that nearly puts Malenko away. The fans are biting on the pins now, expecting each one to be the end. Finally, Malenko gets a tiger bomb on Disco, followed by the Texas Cloverleaf, and Disco has no choice but to tap out.

Ace Thoughts: Surprisingly entertaining match at points, as Disco really showed some good moves. I keep forgetting that he was a pretty good wrestler who was stuck in a "ceiling" gimmick that wouldn't let him move up the ladder. Of course, Malenko could make anyone look awesome at this point, as he was on an incredible role as the Cruiserweight Champion.

- My video has a splice at this point, as it just jumps to the next match. Not sure what interview might have been missed in the middle, there.

Joe Gomez vs. Steve McMichael w/ Debra (and her dog):

Backstory: Wow, pretty late on this card for a cannon fodder match. *Ahem* Anyway, at the previous pay-per-view, McMichael had teamed with Kevin Greene to take on Arn Anderson & Ric Flair of the Horsemen. During that match, Steve's wife, Debra, had come out with a briefcase full of cash, and McMichael made the decision to turn on Greene and become the 4th Horseman. Gomez, one of the low-card members who usually only appeared on WCW house shows, joined the voices berating McMichael for turning on Greene. McMichael took offense, slapping Gomez on one card. Gomez would join The Renegade & The Rock 'n' Roll Express and take on the Four Horsemen on the previous Nitro, with the Four Norsemen coming out on top.

The Match: Not much to say here, although I admit Gomez was trying to get the crowd into it. It was a physical fight, as McMichael's lip got busted at one point. Most of the fight was just McMichael landing his moves, with them clearly working to get him over as a wrestler. At the end, McMichael got a tombstone piledriver on Gomez (who then had to shift his legs out from under the ropes himself) and put a hand on him, getting the pinfall victory. Thus was Gomez' one and only WCW pay-per-view match.

Ace Thoughts: I don't know why they even had this match. This reeked of a television contest to get a wrestler over, and shouldn't be on a pay-per-view, but then, they apparently had time to fill, I suppose. Give Gomez credit for at least making the inexperienced McMichael look passable in this one, but that's about it.

- Mean Gene is in the back with Ric Flair, Miss Elizabeth, and Woman, who immediately distracts Okerlund for a minute before he's able to regain his composure. Flair is looking forward to bringing another trophy home, as well as talking about how Anderson & Benoit are going to get him a World Title shot. Woman can't keep her hands off of Okerlund. Liz actually looks a little uncomfortable. Flair is pumped up, so Okerlund talks to the ladies. Liz is going to be throwing a great big party, and Okerlund wants to be included. Woman would like that, wanting a private party with Mean Gene. Yikes. Flair makes sure to bring up Macho Man's name again, pointing out that Liz is not coming home. Mean Gene and Woman talk a little bit more, and Woman is just hot for that Okerlund. Mean Gene says that in addition to the wrestling, they're going to have a little 'pole-vaulting' competition. *shakes head*

Konnan(c) vs. Ric Flair w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman, WCW United States Heavyweight Title Match:

Backstory: Konnan has been on a long-time roll for months since he won the US Title from The One Man Gang. With pay-per-view victories over Eddy Guerrero, Justin "Thunder" Liger, and, uh, El Gato, he's gotten himself over with the fans. This led to the challenge from Ric Flair & The Horsemen, with Flair wanting to get some gold back around his waist. Flair believes that winning the US Title will put him closer to regaining the World Title. Konnan, knowing that the odds are against him, still stepped up to the challenge, leading to tonight's match.

The Match: Flair wanted a handshake at the beginning, almost insultingly. The two wrestled for a while, with Flair getting upset at Konnan actually, y'know, fighting him. Flair calls Konnan over, and Konnan slaps him! Intensity! A lot of mat wrestling between the two, with Konnan getting some nice moves, including a bow-and-arrow submission (according to Dusty). At one point, Konnan clotheslines both over the ropes to the outside, where Liz & Woman come to check on Flair. Konnan doesn't stop, though, getting a leap off the apron that takes out Flair (with Liz barely avoiding disaster). Konnan goes back into the ring and climbs the turnbuckle, possibly thinking about another move, but Woman shakes the bottom ropes (which apparently affects both the turnbuckle and the ref's vision, since he misses seeing her do it), causing Konnan to fall back into the ring.

Flair takes control after this, and Woman comes back to help out when the ref is distracted, nailing Konnan with a HUGE low blow kick, that hurts every man in attendance. Konnan's down for a while, as the announcers talk about how bad the strike was. Liz then distracts the ref, as Woman beats on Konnan some more. She is just vicious! Flair gets Konnan back in and dominates, wearing him down with more mat wrestling. Konnan makes a comeback, though, reversing the Figure Four and getting his own (weaker) version on. Late in the match, Konnan is looking for the win, when Liz distracts the referee. This allows Woman to clock Konnan with her shoe, knocking him down. Flair then makes the pin, using the ropes for more leverage to ensure the victory. Flair's the new US Champion.

Ace Thoughts: Pretty good match, although there was a lot of interference. But that's to be expected in a Flair match that has the ladies at ringside. Konnan did the best he could, but the odds were just too stacked against him. His push would stall for a while, as Konnan wouldn't have any title opportunities for several more months, although he still wrestled against many foes, including the lower members of the nWo. Flair, meanwhile, would reign as US champion for the next several months, while he and his Horsemen were drawn into the biggest feud in the company.

- Okerlund desperately wants to find out the identity of the third man, but he just can't get into the locker room to find out. We'll just have to wait and see.

The Dungeon of Doom (Kevin Sullivan & The Giant) w/ Jimmy Hart vs. The Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Chris Benoit):

Backstory: The Dungeon and The Horsemen have been feuding for a while, although the main feud always seemed to be between Benoit and Sullivan. Benoit defeated Sullivan in a truly hardcore match at the Great American Bash '96 that went everywhere, including the men's restroom. The Giant had won the World Title from Ric Flair, and has been raining down destruction on all challengers. If Anderson & Benoit can win the match tonight, the Horsemen get a World Title shot against The Giant (with Flair the most likely recipient).

The Match: Incredibly intelligent move in this one from The Horsemen, as Mongo McMichael attacked The Giant in the aisleway, causing The Giant to chase McMichael to the back. Sullivan, thus, was in a two-on-one contest, allowing The Horsemen to work him over. The Giant eventually returns, but The Horsemen keep Sullivan isolated, working hard to keep the big man from being tagged in. We get a LONG run of Taskmaster abuse, as the Horsemen work him over. Finally, when Anderson lifts Sullivan for a piledriver, Benoit plans to turn it into a spike by coming off the 'buckle. But Sullivan reverses, catapuling Anderson into Benoit. The fans actually cheer as The Giant tags in, even as Benoit and Sullivan fight down the aisle. Anderson gets destroyed by The Giant, which ends in the chokeslam, getting the 1-2-3. The Dungeon wins.

Ace Thoughts: Surprisingly boring match from these four, if I'm calling it honestly. I mean, great game plan, and I fully understand the effort to keep The Giant out of there. But it really dragged for a little too long, enough that the fans were excited to finally see the tag happen. The feud between these guys would continue a little bit longer, only to, well, you know...

- Post-match, even after The Giant has left, Benoit and Sullivan keep fighting, with Benoit taking over after a violent suplex off the turnbuckle. Woman comes out (even though she's with the Horsemen now) begging Benoit to stop, since he's "going to hurt him". Finally, The Giant & Hart come back, causing Benoit to leave. The Giant's shouting "What are you doing?", and even Anderson appears to reach towards Sullivan, who slaps his hand away. The Giant carries Sullivan on his shoulder and takes him to the back.

- We get the Hostile Takeover video again, reminding us of everything that's happened to this point.

- Michael Buffer is out to do the special ring announcing.

Team WCW (Lex Luger, Randy Savage, & Sting) vs. The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) & Third Unknown Partner, Hostile Takeover Match:

Backstory: This all started with Scott Hall (who had been wrestling in the WWF as Razor Ramon) making a surprise appearance during a match on Nitro and saying that if WCW wants a war, he'll bring it. Hall was later joined by Kevin Nash (who wrestled in the WWF as Diesel), with the two seemingly invading WCW, although, legally, they made sure to have it said that the two were not affiliated with the WWF. Hall & Nash challenged WCW to a match, with a third, unknown partner on their side. At the Great American Bash '96, Eric Bischoff accepted the match for WCW, but would not disclose the WCW wrestlers, so Nash Jackknife Powerbombed him through the stage. Hall & Nash have kept up their ambushes and attacks, even as a WCW lottery supposedly picked the wrestlers involved: Luger, Savage, & Sting.

The Match: Hall & Nash come out alone, with Mean Gene coming out as well to talk to them about it. Hall says the third man's here somewhere, and he's ready, but Nash says they don't need him right now.

Hall and Luger start things off, with Luger taking the fight to both Hall and Nash. But when Nash grabbed Luger, holding him on the turnbuckle ropes, Sting rushes in and does an ill-conceived Stinger Splash, badly injuring his own partner. Luger's out cold, and the match stops for a minute as Luger has to be carted out on a stretcher. It's now 2-on-2. Hall & Nash try to go after Luger on the stretcher, but Savage & Sting stop him. The two teams fight it out, going back-and-forth for a while, with Savage taking a bad hit to his head on a botched Nash elbow drop, immediately tagging out. I don't think he was supposed to, so we're into improvisation now, as Savage recovers on the outside while Sting takes a LONG beating.

Finally, after a lot of abuse, Sting finally counters Nash and gets some punches, then gets an improvised splash to reach out and tag in the fresh man, Savage. The Macho Man goes wild with flying axehandles on both men, including one all the way to the outside on Hall. But a low blow from Nash stops him in his tracks, and every wrestler is down. That's when Hulk Hogan comes walking out of the back, with Schiavone & Rhodes immediately proclaiming that Hogan's going to take Luger's place. Only Heenan asks "Whose side is he on"? Hogan comes in, removes the shirt... and then drops the leg on Savage, showing that he's actually the third man of the invaders. The trio gets rid of Sting, and then Hogan gets rid of the referee as well, as they beat down on Savage. Hogan makes the pin, with Hall making the count, but it's an unofficial ruling, as the referee was tossed.

Ace Thoughts: And there you have it, the biggest turn in the history of pro wrestling. Even as Hogan came down, most people couldn't believe that he'd be the bad guy, after so many years of being America's favorite. The injury to Luger did two things: 1) It made people wonder if Luger would return as the third man; and 2) It gave them an excuse for Hogan coming down. The match itself was alright, with the fans hot for every Sting & Savage move, as the hatred was strong for the invaders.

- Hogan, Hall, & Nash celebrate after the match, with the fans at ringside throwing a bunch of garbage at them. The announcers are completely stunned, with Schiavone thinking this might have been set up all the way back to 1994. Mean Gene comes to the ring to interview Hogan, wanting to know what the hell Hogan is thinking, joining these two, and we get the infamous speech:

Hulk Hogan: "First thing you gotta realize, brother, is this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the new world order of wrestling, brother! These two men here came from a great big organization up north, and everybody was wondering who the third man was, well who knows more about that organization than me, brother?"

Okerlund: "I've been there, I've done that, and you have made the wrong decision, in my opinion."

Hogan: "Well, let me tell you something, I made that organization a monster. I made the people rich up there...I made the people who ran that organization rich up there, brother. And when it all came to pass, the name Hulk Hogan, the man Hulk Hogan, got bigger than the whole organization, brother. And then Billionaire Ted, amigo, he wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan. Well, Billionaire Ted promised me movies, brother! Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars! And Billionaire Ted promised me world caliber matches! As far as Billionaire Ted goes, Eric Bischoff and the whole WCW goes, I'm bored, brother. That's why these two guys here, the so called Outsiders, these are the men that I want as my friends! They're the new blood of professional wrestling, brother, and not only are we gonna take over the whole wrestling business with Hulk Hogan and the new blood, the monsters with me, we will destroy everything in our path, Mean Gene."

Okerlund: "Look at all of this crap in this ring! This is what's in the future for you if you want to hang around the likes of this man Hall and this man Nash."

Hogan: "As far as I'm concerned, all this crap in the ring represents these fans out here. For two years, brother, for two years I held my head high! I did everything for the charities! I did everything for the kids, and the reception I got when I came out here, you fans can stick it, brother, because if it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn't be here! If it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would be still selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis. If it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, all these Johnny-Come-Lately's that you see out here, wrestling wouldn't be here. I was selling out the world, brother, while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school. So the way it is now, brother, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organization of wrestling, brother, me and the new blood by my side, whatcha gonna do when the New World Organization runs wild on you? WHATCHA GONNA DO? What are you going to do?"

Schiavone: Alright, we have seen the end of Hulkamania. For Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Dusty Rhodes, Gene Okerlund... I don't know. I'm Tony Schiavone. Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell. We're out of here. Straight to hell."

Schiavone then drops the headset and leaves, with the last images being of Hogan, Hall, & Nash standing together in the ring.

Final Thoughts: At the time, this was an event that sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling business. Hulk Hogan as the villain? The new World order formed? Fans couldn't wait to find out more, and Monday Nitro got an ENORMOUS boost in the ratings from this storyline, which took over the company. This was just the beginning of an incredible run for WCW, as they went to war with the nWo for several years.

This is a tough card to judge, as the ending truly makes it worth seeing, but, of course, you can catch that all over YouTube at this point. As for the actual matches on the show, Mysterio/Psychosis and Malenko/Disco are probably worth your time, and I would even say the main event, just for the crowd reaction alone. Konnan/Flair was passable (just too much interference for my tastes), so I'll give that a slight nod, too. Probably skip the other ones, in my personal opinion. That being said, Bash At The Beach '96 will always be a high point for WCW, even as, in storylines, it became one of their darkest hours.

The Accelerator