Beach Battles, Part 3

“I’m gonna soak up the sun

I’ve got my 45 on so I can rock on.”

Welcome back to another edition of Beach Battles! I hope you guys are enjoying the last blast of summer as we roll on in to football season.

In case you’re just joining us, we’re celebrating the summer by going back and looking at classic summer-themed PPVs (but not Summerslam).  We’ve already talked about a bunch of WCW Beach Blast and Bash At The Beach main events.  If you missed them, check out the links below to catch up!

Beach Battles, Part 1

Beach Battles, Part 2

Today, we’re wrapping up the Bash At The Beach PPVs with a look at the main events for 1998, 1999 and 2000.  So put some sunscreen on and grab a big glass of Kool Aid, because we’re off!

WCW/nWo BASH AT THE BEACH 1998

Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman (w/The Disciple)

vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Karl Malone

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In spite of the nWo’s loss at Bash At The Beach ’97, Hollwood Hogan would ultimately come out on top of his feud with Lex Luger for the WCW World Heavyweight Title. Hulk didn’t fair so well in his feud with Sting, though, and would end up dropping the title to the Stinger in a hotly anticipated and controversial match at Starrcade.

In spite of Hogan’s losses to Sting, the nWo continued to run roughshod over WCW and, by early 1998, the faction was 21-members strong.  While there’s strength in numbers, there are also more working parts.  Cracks started to show in ’97, but ’98 would be a year of separations.

At Spring Stampede ’98, nWo member “Macho Man” Randy Savage would defeat Sting for the WCW Title.  That didn’t set well with nWo leader Hogan, who turned on his own partner Kevin Nash at the same show.

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Batter Up, Brother!

The next night on Nitro, Hogan defeated Savage to win his 4th WCW Title in a match that included interference by both Nash and nWo sympathizer Bret “Hitman” Hart.  This would lead to a major split in the group.  Some would stay put and support the original black and white in the newly named nWo Hollywood.  Nash, Savage and Konnan would leave and form nWo Wolfpac. Others would follow, and feuding between the Wolfpac and the original nWo became commonplace.

Unfortunately, the Hulkster had even more than the nWo rift to worry about. On July 6th, Hollywood Hogan would defend his WCW Title against the company’s hottest newcomer, the undefeated Goldberg, on an episode of Nitro that aired live from Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.  It was a controversial move for WCW to give away such a big match, largely un-promoted, on free TV.  Even more controversially, Hogan lost the WCW Title to Goldberg.  During the match, Hogan was distracted by NBA star Karl Malone and, yeah, that’s how we head into Bash At The Beach. Which was happening just 6 days later.

Wait…what’s Karl Malone’s problem with Hollywood Hogan? That’s a really good question.  As you may remember from the previous Beach Battles article, Hollywood runs with Rodzilla, brother.  And by that, I mean Rod The Bod. And by that, I mean Dennis Rodman.  Rodman was part of the 1998 NBA Champion Chicago Bulls team, who defeated the Utah Jazz 4-2 in the NBA Finals the month before.  What name is synonymous with the Jazz? Karl “The Mailman” Malone.

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Special delivery to your face, son!

But don’t think this is some odd gang war. This was personal.  On an episode of Nitro, Dennis Rodman (aka Rod The Bod) (aka Rodzilla) made his return to the black and white to assist Hollywood Hogan in a beatdown of longtime nWo antagonist/close personal friend of Karl Malone,  Diamond Dallas Page.  This attack drew a lot of sports media attention since Rodman skipped practice for Game 3 of the NBA Finals to appear on Nitro.

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Malone would step into the feud on an episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, running down both Hogan and Rodman.  Hey, at least it was Malone stepping into the ring and not Jay Leno, right??

So with the players in place, we head to San Diego, CA for Bash At The Beach 1998.  The first thing of note is that we’re using THE EXACT SAME SET as the last two years.  The sand, the boardwalk, the lifeguard tower, the BIG BEACH BALL.  They’re all there.  It’s a decent set and doesn’t look as fake as 1997, but still – it’s the same set three years running now. That’s just lazy.

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Why buy a new set when we have this perfectly good set already?

Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay welcome us to the show, letting us know that “the eyes of the sports world and the entire world are focused on Bash At The Beach” right now.  If you’re wondering about the announcer dress code memo for ’98, it’s Hawaiian shirts and Schiavone in multiple leis.

The announcers of course hype the Rodman/Malone main event, but also the WCW World Heavyweight Title match that will see new champion Goldberg defending against nWo Hollywood’s Curt Hennig.  Goldberg won in less than four minutes, in case you were wondering.

We get a video package to explain the main event, which shows DDP and Karl Malone showing up to Nitro in a semi truck to sneak attack Hollywood and Rodzilla.  The best thing about this video package is that random words just appear on the screen. “Match”. “Summer”. “Experience”.  I guess WCW had just figured out how to overlay text.

Ring announcer Michael Buffer is back for the big fight feel.  After inquiring about our readiness to rumble, Buffer prepares us for “a tag team match like no other. Bigger than any title, trophy, or championship belt.”  Just in case you thought the WCW Championship matters, remember that it doesn’t. I’m talking to you, Goldberg.

The nWo is out first and I’m wondering if the WWE Network dubbed the generic nWo music over “Voodoo Chile”.  Remember how Hollywood Hogan used to come out to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile”?  Remember how Hogan always chopped the air on the part that says “chop it down with the edge of my hand”?  Remember how Hollywood would play air guitar on the championship belt as he came out?  Remember when Tony Schiavone called it “Voodoo Chili”?

Anyway, Hollywood and Rod The Bod are out first (after a ridiculously long delay) to the generic nWo theme music (“new new new world order”).  The Disciple (aka Brutus Beefcake) is in tow.  Hogan mocks DDP’s “diamond hands” taunt and then takes the diamond down to his dick.  Ha!

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Bang, dude!

Buffer introduces Rodman as a man who “knows how to win and how to inflict pain”.  He calls the pairing of Rodman and Hogan “the most famous tag team ever in wrestling”.  Did I mention Michael Buffer is full of hot air?

Buffer introduces Karl Malone and Dallas Page as “two men who align themselves with no affiliations or organizations”.  I can name like 4 organizations for sure off the top of my head.  Buffer notes that Karl “plans to deliver the mail like it’s never been delivered before.”  On a Sunday?

The bell rings and we’re off.  Note that the crowd is SUPER hot for this match.  As dumb as it sounds, for 1998, it was a big draw.  Bash At The Beach was by far the highest selling PPV for WCW in’ 98, nearly doubling the buyrate of the Great American Bash prior.

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Oh, you didn’t get your own T-shirt, Karl?

We kickoff with what everyone came to see – The Mailman and Rodzilla in the same ring.  After a good three minutes of stalling, the two men lockup.  Malone grabs a side headlock, so Rodman bails to boos.  This brings in Hollywood Hogan, who does his flex taunt at Malone.  Malone steals the taunt and flexes back.  Hogan sells it like he just saw magic and he can’t believe his mind.  This leads to a taunt-off that Malone wins.

More stalling as Hollywood calls for the test of strength.  The Mailman grabs a headlock and then bodyslams Hulk. Hulk sells it like a sledgehammer to his back, shocked that he could be the one getting slammed after so many years of doing the slamming.

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Hug it out.

Malone tags in DDP, and we may finally get some wrestling here with both wrestlers in the ring.  Nope, Hogan tags in Rodman.  Rodman – you guessed it – stalls. IT’S STALLAMANIA 1998, BROTHER!   BIGGER THAN HULK STALL-GAN VS. STALL-DRE THE GIANT, DUDE! DDP shoves Rodman.  Rodman complains to the ref that his hair was pulled.  This is laughable since the one thing Rodman does do in this match is continuously make sure his bandana is on straight.

The announcers have the unenviable job of calling all of this “action”, which becomes even more difficult when the the live crowd starts the “boring” chant.  Rodman spits in Page’s face, so DDP spits back.  That draws no reaction from the crowd, so Rodzilla dips into his deep arsenal and pulls out his biggest move – THE ARMDRAG!  DDP looks at Rodman in amazement – it’s something Page hadn’t expected, actual wrestling.

Of course, as Page and Rod The Bod continue, it becomes painfully obvious that Rodman can’t bump.  Or even stand. He just rolls and falls everywhere.  The pair do some rudimentary moves – lockups, headlocks.  At one point, Dallas goes for the pin attempt off of what I’ll kindly call a hip toss.  This is just awful.

DDP shoots Rodman into the ropes and Rod gets in a couple of sweet leapfrogs.  Unfortunately, this leads to a weird botch where both men collide and fall on top of each other.   Page is visibly frustrated, so he tags in Karl Malone.   You know, because having two non-wrestlers instead of one will definitely fix this.  Oh, nevermind – Rodman tags in Hollywood Hogan.

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Taste Hollywood’s tootsie’s, boy!

Unfathomably, Hogan SLOWS THINGS DOWN. He puts The Mailman in a long wristlock, but Malone throws Hulk down. Hogan does some more hairpull complaining and Rodman kicks Malone in the back from the apron.   Hollywood settles in to punches and chokes and welcome back to Heel 101 with Professor Hulkster, dude.  Hulk tosses Malone’s face into Rodman’s boot and the nWo is feeling good, brother!  Malone actually bumps a lot better than Rodman.

Hulk tags in Rod The Bod. Can you believe this match is still going on? The heels double team The Mailman, then Rodman just falls down. He just falls down on the ground!!!  Hogan hits a very sloppy belly-to-back suplex on Malone.  Looked like Karl was just deadweighting him.  Karl still bumps better than Rodman, though.  Did I mention this is awful?

Malone takes a slow beating on his side of the ring as the announcers openly wonder why he doesn’t just tag in DDP, who is well within arm’s reach.  Malone FINALLY gets the hot tag, and Dallas Page is a HOUSE OF FIRE.  After 20 or so boring minutes, the crowd is actually into the match again.  So Rodman hits DDP with the knee from the apron and kills the comeback dead.

It’s DDP’s turn for the slow heel beatdown.  Hollywood takes off his belt and starts whipping Page’s back with it.  Something happens with Malone off camera and the crowd starts the “You F’ed Up” chant.  Hollywood moves down his Heel 101 syllabus.  Today’s lesson – backrakes and boots in the corner.  Take notes because this will be on the final, brother.

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Can I rest a second? I’ve been falling non-stop for a good 30 minutes.

Hollywood hits DDP with a nasty corner clothesline as Rodman is completely blown up on the apron.  Schiavone chimes in with “basketball players are the most remarkable athletes in all of sports.”  Mr. Schiavone, would you kindly collect your belongings and leave the premises?

DDP fights out of the corner, but a Hollywood toehold keeps him from the hot tag. Rodman is in and he grabs a garbage headlock.  DDP starts fighting out of it, pushing Rodzilla a little at a time, the way nobody ever does.  Page finally fights out so Rod tags in Hollywood.  Hogan decides it’s time to take it home and hits Dallas with the big boot.  Hollywood goes for the legdrop but DDP rolls out. DDP hot tags Malone and it’s ON LIKE DONKEY KONG.  And by that, I mean a big flaming barrel of crap.

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Don’t make me actually wrestle, jack!

Hollywood tries to beg off but The Mailman delivers some clotheslines and bodyslams. POSTAGE DUE, SON! He grabs Hogan for the double noggin knocker, but Rodman is rolling around out of position to provide the second noggin.  Malone just walks Hogan over and picks Rodzilla up by his hair to get his spot in. Nailed it.

Malone posts Hogan in the corner for the 10-Count spot. The crowd is alive again, somehow forgiving all of the garbage before.  Karl hits his own big boot on Hollywood.  He tags in DDP, who’s calling for the cutter.  DDP in!  DIAMOND CUTTER!

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Looks like we’ve got this in the bag! Nothing can go wrong now!

DDP is stalling before covering for the pin.  Someone is out of position – who could it be? Rodman finally comes in and gets his own diamond cutter from Karl Malone.  Malone tries to pin Rodman, but he’s not the legal man.  Huge cluster now. The Disciple sneaks in and hits DDP with his own finisher – The Apocalypse, which looks exactly like a diamond cutter – and rolls Hollywood on him for the pin.   The ref turns around and 1-2-3, new new new world order.

Boos from the crowd as garbage rains in the ring.  Malone decides, F it, and hits a cutter on the ref.  DDP and Karl Malone celebrate in their matching gear, while the nWo walk away gloating.  Match. Summer. Experience.

Match Rating: 0.0.  As bad as it gets.  Rumor has it Rodman pulled a Jeff Hardy Victory Road 2011 in this match.

Surf Rating: 4.0.  Decent set, but I just can’t help but feel disappointed that we’re seeing the same set every year.  Couldn’t we put this in a dome and let the sun in at least?  It’s San Diego, so it was still daytime.

WCW BASH AT THE BEACH 1999

WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE TAG TEAM MATCH

Kevin Nash (c) & Sting

vs.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage & Sid Vicious

(w/Gorgeous George, Miss Madness & Madusa)

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Wow, what a difference a year makes.  The nWo had nearly run its course by Bash At The Beach 1999.  The Wolfpac and Hollywood chapters reunited in January (see the Finger Poke of Doom incident), but the reunion was short lived.  In July, the only people left waving the nWo flag were the nWo Black & White team of Barry Windham, Vincent, Scott Norton and Hulk Hogan’s nephew Horace.  Yuck.

Hollywood Hogan was injured at Spring Stampede ’99 and was still out by the time July rolled around.  The WCW World Heavyweight Title changed hands 7 times between BATB 98 and 99.  At Slamboree ’99, Kevin Nash defeated Diamond Dallas Page for his second run with the belt.

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1 Woman = Macho.  3 Women = Madness.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage reinvented himself in the spring of ’99, sporting a new look (Bonesaw McGraw variant) and acquiring the services of three women – Madusa, Miss Madness (the future Molly Holly) and his real life girlfriend Gorgeous George.  They called themselves Team Madness. At The Great American Bash, Macho took on Kevin Nash for the WCW Title.  The match ended in a DQ when Sid Vicious appeared for the first time in over two years to take out Big Sexy.  Welcome to Team Madness, Sid!

With Macho and Sid gunning for Nash, Big Sexy had to find himself a partner for a tag team match at Bash At The Beach.  The champion would turn to his former nWo Wolfpac running buddy Sting.  The only problem was that Nash didn’t trust Sting.  Why?  Well, once Nash was lured into a limo by Team Madness and assaulted with a Hummer, and Sting might’ve been driving it.

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Things that make you go humm.

Since he doesn’t trust anybody, Nash announces that the tag team match will also be for his WCW World Heavyweight Championship.  Nash said that if anyone pinned him – Savage, Sid, or even his own partner Sting – they would walk away as new WCW Champion. Talk about high stakes.

On the final Nitro before the PPV, Team Madness assaulted Nash in the ring, and Sting came out to even the odds.  Only “Sting” (who had clearly put on some muscle) attacked Kevin Nash instead.  Said Tony Schiavone, “Black jacket, white facepaint, yep, that’s Sting.”   The REAL Sting came out later for the save.  Also, at some point, Nash kidnapped Gorgeous George for a while.

All caught up? Good, because we are LIVE FROM FT. LAUDERDALE, FL! This would be the first Bash At The Beach to feature the new WCW logo, which was sort of the signal of the end of the company.  The set has been mildly refreshed.  I don’t see the beach ball anywhere and they’ve added some rocks and better lighting.

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Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are your announce team, back in their Hawaiian shirts. Two years in a row with the same dress code – someone at corporate is getting lazy.

After a long and poorly edited video explaining everything I just told you, we go to Michael Buffer in the ring. He introduces Team Madness as “two men who care little about belts and championships.”  Buffer just has a total disdain for the titles.  Buffer calls Macho “the most dangerous man in all of professional wrestling.”

While the heels came to the ring together, the faces will travel alone.  Sting is out first.  Buffer calls him “professional wrestling’s enigmatic individual” and states that he is part of “no group or affiliation”.  Buffer literally repeating his material from last year.

As Sting makes his entrance, Tony Schiavone says that he’s been calling wrestling a long time and he knows that this is the real Sting.  The same man who just 6 days prior claimed that all you need to be the real Sting is black clothes and white facepaint.  Count Dracula could be the real Sting.  Is that Ghost Rider or the real Sting?

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The real Sting.

Kevin Nash is out and this is a fairly hot crowd in Ft. Lauderdale.  For the dying days of WCW, this really does have a big-match feel.  Then the crowd starts chanting “Goldberg”. Ha.  FYI, he was out filming Universal Soldier 4.

It should be noted that Sting and Sid were also opponents in the main event of Beach Blast ’93, and Sting, Savage and Nash were all in the main event of Bash At The Beach ’96.  A lot of history here.

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We discussed this honey. You’re outside the ropes and I’m inside the ropes, remember?

The ladies of Team Madness leave the ring, but Gorgeous George stays, seemingly unsure of what to do.  Macho gives her some coaxing and she leaves the ring, only to go around to side with Kevin Nash.  Randy Savage feels that this is a real b*tch move to dump him for his opponent IN THE RING, and goes out to give chase.  Sting attacks Savage before he can get to George and this match is ON.

Sting fights but Macho tags in Sid, who goes on the offensive and tells the crowd multiple times to shut up.  I don’t know what they were saying to him, but they must shut up because he doesn’t ask again. Sting comes back with a high cross body into a pin attempt.  Macho in to try and break up the pin, but the ref forgets to intercept him, so he just kind of bends his leg like he’s working out a sore knee.

Sid comes back with PUNISHMENT and tags in Macho Man. Madusa and Miss Madness start beating on Stinger.  Sid gets Sting in some kind of rest, ahem, submission hold, and Nash is in the ring to break it up.  The ref sends Big Sexy back to the apron and Savage spits at him for good measure.  That’s just unhygienic.

Savage continues to work on Sting as Tony Schiavone opines that “nuts and freaks always had the good looking women.”  What the heck school did you go to, Tone?

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Nash with a flurry of offense.

Sting mounts a comeback and gets the hot tag to Nash, who is legal for the first time about 10 minutes into the match.  Kevin Nash hits his trademark offense (side slam, corner hip check) and brings the match to a methodical pace.  Gorgeous George is at ringside applauding Big Sexy’s work.

Nash tags in Sting, who continues to beat on the heel team.  The action spills to the outside, and Sting misses a Stinger Splash on Macho Man. Sting crashes into the guardrail instead.  Sid picks up Sting and drops him on the rail again for good measure.  Then the ladies pick him up and slam him into the ring post.  Sting’s just having one of those days.

They roll Sting back in the ring and Macho works him over while the rest of Team Madness get their licks in on the Stinger.  The announcers note that Macho and Sid are making “little effort to win the title” and call this a “basic tag match”.   1.5 stars, would not recommend.

Sid wears down Sting with a rear chinlock and the ref lifts the enigmatic individual’s arm for the 1, 2, huh-uh COMEBACK.  Sting grounds Sid with a shoulder block and bounces off the ropes, but he’s too beaten down and just falls face first on the mat.  Luckily, he plants his head squarely on Sid’s balls.  Or nuts, if you will.  Why do the nuts and the freaks always get the good looking women?

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I always knew he was Sycho, but now I can see he’s nuts.

Sting tags in Kevin Nash, and Nash is in with a big boot to Randy Savage and literally the same offense as last time.  Big Sexy goes for the jackknife powerbomb on Sid, but Macho breaks it up.  Sting is back in and it’s STINGER SPLASHES FOR EVERYONE! SCORPION ON WOMAN VIOLENCE!  Nash accidentally gets in the way of Sid and eats a Stinger Splash himself.  You’re standing on the tracks and the train’s coming through, butthead.

Sid hoses down Sting’s house of fire with a chokeslam and rolls him out of the ring.  Nash revives as the crowd once again chants “Goldberg”.  Well that’s not good.  Nash goes for the jackknife on Macho.  Gorgeous George comes in.  To cheer him on?  Nope, to give him the old Nakamura special.  Right to the nuts and freaks.

Savage goes up to the top rope and Sid is in to hit Nash with a slam.  Macho drops the elbow and it’s 1-2-3 new champion.

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Bonesaw is ready!

Macho lifts up the conniving George on his shoulder as she holds up the belt, Elizabeth-style.  The heels fist bump and we’re out.

Match Rating: 3.0. Watching post-nWo WCW matches is kind of a novelty and you get to see Macho Man in his “Madness” phase, but this was pretty bad in the ring.

Surf Rating: 6.5.  I don’t know if it was Mean Gene’s Hawaiian shirt or just a better lighting technician, but this was a little beachier than 1998.  I love the blue hue and the little beach store, as well as the “night on the beach” backdrop.  Could use more effort, but at least they refreshed things.

WCW BASH AT THE BEACH 2000

WCW World Heavyweight Title Match

Jeff Jarrett (c) vs. Booker T

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If the WCW Title tag team match from Bash At The Beach ’99 seemed convoluted to you, then hold on to your butts.

Hollywood Hogan would return to WCW the night after BATB 99 and defeat Macho Man for the WCW Title.   Hogan would hold the title for several months and even find himself back in the red and yellow of his babyface days.  This would not last.

In October 1999, WCW brought in former WWF writer Vince Russo to run the company.  The narrative is that Russo was one of the driving forces behind the WWF’s successful Attitude Era, but that he needed someone like WWF head Vince McMahon to reign him in to be successful.  I don’t know if that’s true, but he sure sucked in WCW.  Maybe it was because WCW was already too far down the toilet or maybe he truly choked when he was steering by himself – there are camps supporting both schools of thought.  Either way – sucked.  Even WCW thought he sucked, as Russo was fired just 3 months later.  Unfortunately, he was rehired in April of 2000.

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Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff and the real Sting.

One thing about Russo is that he hated Hulk Hogan. Russo felt the business had passed older guys like the Hulkster by and that WCW needed to focus on their younger wrestlers.  That’s a noble idea made difficult because so many of the old guard – Hogan included – had creative control of their character.  Creative control basically meant Hollywood Hogan didn’t have to do anything that he didn’t want to do, like say, put a young guy over.

Unwilling to deal with Hogan, Russo wrote a story that would put him off of TV for several months.  Hogan was set to challenge WCW Champion Sting at Halloween Havoc 1999.  Instead of his usual entrance, Hogan came out in street clothes and simply laid down for Sting.  A confused Sting made the pin and the incident was not spoken of again.

Hulk returned in February of 2000 (in Russo’s absence) and would eventually be used to work with up and comer Billy Kidman.  Hollywood Hogan defeated Kidman at The Great American Bash to earn a shot at the WCW Title.  That title shot would come at Bash At The Beach.

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Hulk always loved whipping the piss outta the younguns.

Meanwhile, Jeff Jarrett had returned to WCW in 1999 and formed his own version of the nWo with Bret Hart and The Outsiders.  The stable was short-lived, but Jarrett would win the vacant WCW Title in April of 2000.  Between April and May, Jarrett would win the WCW Title 4 times.  Once from David Arquette.  Did I mention Vince Russo’s WCW sucked?

Jarrett would enter the summer feuding with Hollywood Hogan and Kevin Nash, and would walk into Bash At The Beach 2000 as champion to face #1 contender Hogan.

And with all that, we are LIVE FROM DAYTONA BEACH, and the show kicks off with a cold open featuring Ernest “The Cat” Miller stepping out of a limo.  The Cat is the new WCW Commissioner and this is his first big show.   The Jung Dragons come out to attack him, but he fights them off.  Hey, there are palm trees in the background – that’s an extra 1 point on the Surf Rating!

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Tonight’s gonna go great and not at all be a clusterf*ck!

Your announcers are Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson and Mark Madden, so literally the bottom of the barrel.  All three doofuses are in Hawaiian shirts.

The WCW Title match kicks off Hour 2 of the PPV, which is puzzling.  Jarrett’s music hits first and runs for a solid minute.  No Jeff Jarrett.  Instead, WCW creative head Vince Russo makes his way to ringside to a chorus of boos.

With Russo there, Jeff Jarrett finally makes his way out to the ring.  Michael Buffer is out to do intros, but you can’t hear a word he’s saying because the announcers are talking all over him.  Hollywood Hogan makes his way out second, doing his usual shtick.

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Are you saying I don’t have to wrestle? Because that’s fine.

The bell rings and Jeff Jarrett literally lies down.  This looks familiar.  Hollywood looks around puzzled.  Russo makes a motion as if to say go ahead and pin Jarrett to take the belt.  Hogan gets on the mic and tells Russo that B.S. like this is why WCW is going to hell in a hand basket.   Hulk puts his foot on Jarrett and 1, 2, 3, new champion.

Jarrett rolls out quickly and Hogan hustles off with the belt, looking unhappy.  The announcers start talking about “shoots” and “swerves” and run down the Hulkster’s political ways. Madden’s face needs a good punching.

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Are you ready for something stupid?

We get the finish of the Vampiro/Demon Graveyard Match and Russo makes his way out again (more boos).  In a profanity laced tirade, Russo runs down Hogan hardcore.  Russo says guys like Jeff Jarrett actually care about the business, and as far as he’s concerned, Jeff Jarrett is still WCW Champion.  Russo says the belt Hogan left with doesn’t mean crap.  Russo says the fans will get a WCW Title match tonight featuring Jarrett and a man who has worked hard for 14 years – Booker T.  Booker T?

Booker T had entered WCW in 1993 as part of Harlem Heat.  Harlem Heat would win the WCW Tag Team Titles a record 10 times, but Booker would go on to find singles success as well.  He won the WCW TV Title multiple times and notably faced Chris Benoit in a “Best Of 7” series that is still a critical classic.

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This is what Vince Russo does when he actually likes you.

In the Russo era, Booker became more of a focus on WCW TV, heading up the Misfits In Action faction with the new gimmick of G.I. Bro.  Yes, Vince Russo saw this as a promotion. In June of 2000, he was honorably discharged from M.I.A. and changed his name back to Booker T.  Earlier in the evening on the PPV, Booker lost a match to Chris Kanyon.  Who better than Kanyon?  Not Booker T.

So Booker T would now get his shot at the big time, facing the WCW World Champion in an unannounced main event on PPV.

We got to Mean Gene in the back with the challenger.  Book says that opportunity has knocked, and he’ll be damned if he won’t open the door.  Good, short but intense promo from Booker.

Back in the ring and Booker T is out first to a decent pop.  You can say what you want about Russo’s convoluted booking here, but the crowd really DID want Booker.  Jeff Jarrett is out second and Mark Madden starts talking about how this is a match for the vacant title, even though Jeff has the title around his waist and Russo said that Jarrett was still the real champion.  Mark Madden sucks.

Tony Schiavone says that Jarrett laid down for Hollywood Hogan earlier in the evening, but this one is for real.  Tony Schiavone sucks, WCW sucks and this whole thing sucks.

Funny sign in the audience: “Jeff Jarrett: Slap Your Own Nuts!” Actually, two signs with that sentiment. Maybe that was a thing? I mean, WCW had a shirt that just said “Listen Up Slap Nuts”, I don’t know why “Slap Your Own Nuts” couldn’t have been a thing.

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That hurts.

The bell rings and the match is on.  Some good back and forth until Booker T nails a sweet dropkick. Double J rolls out.  The crowd hates him.

More back and forth in the ring ends with one of Book’s patented side kicks.  Jarrett leaves the ring again, but Booker T comes after him. They fight around ringside and then into the crowd.  Jarrett and Booker brawl all the way back through the doors to the concession stand and then back in the arena.   Apparently this is No Count Out.

Booker throws Jarrett against the concrete wall and they brawl back to the rails.  The champ tosses Book over and goes for a chair.  Jarrett waffles Booker with the chair and apparently this is No DQ, too.  The announcers don’t even sell the chairshot because they’re literally the worst.

Double J continues his assault by tossing the challenger onto the announce table.  He climbs up and hits a sweet piledriver and the table only cracks.  Even the announce table isn’t selling.

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Beating down midcarders works Double J up a powerful thirst.

Jarrett rolls Booker back in the ring and starts laying the boots to him.  He locks in a good looking sleeper.  You kind of forget how great Jeff Jarrett was in the ring with all of the drama that surrounds his career.  Booker T is going night nights.  The ref lifts the arm for the ol’ 1, 2.  That arm goes down to about 10 degrees on #3 but nuh uh-uh, can you dig that?!

Booker revives and fights out.  He locks his own sleeper on the champ, but Book’s sleeper isn’t nearly as effective and Double J fights out his own self.  Back and forth and Jarrett goes for a figure four, but Book grabs an inside cradle for 2.

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Crappy pic of Double J doing a sleeper from two paragraphs ago.

Jarrett goes for the figure four again and this time he locks it in.  He locks it in for a long time.  A LONG time.  Did I mention this show is brought to you by MasterLock?  Book fights and is finally able to reverse it, but JJ quickly grabs the ropes.

Blood in the water, so Double J works the leg. Miraculously, Booker T makes the comeback. Ax spin kick! Spinaroonie!!! Book grabs a nasty spinebuster on Jarrett and that gets 2.  Crowd is hot.  Book blows his comeback with a very contrived missed side kick that ends up in him getting crotched on the top rope.  I mean he basically hops across half the ring to crotch himself.  If a man wanted to be crotched, and I don’t know why he would, this is what that would look like.

The champ is back in control.  Jarrett takes Booker to the corner for the old 10-punches but stops at 9 in a nice little “screw you” to the fans.  Why would the fans count the punches to the good guy anyway?

Irish whip to Booker and the ref is collateral damage.  Someone inform the next of kin.  Jarrett takes the opportunity to grab the championship belt – the most dangerous weapon in all of wrestling.  Double J tries to waylay the challenger with the belt but misses, so Book grabs it and takes Jarrett out instead.  The referee is risen! Cover! 1-2-NO!!!  Jeff Jarrett has kicked out of a belt shot. Jeff Jarrett is superhuman.

Jarrett slaps Booker’s nuts, then rolls out and grabs a chair.  The ref just lays his face on the ropes so he can’t see all the cheating.  I mean, we had a blatant chairshot like 5 minutes ago, why are we worried about the rules now?  Jarrett props the chair between the ropes, but then Double J ends up eating it himself.  Hoisted by his own petard.  That only gets 2.  Jarrett cannot be killed.

Double J revives and just decides to hit The Stroke on the ref and kick Booker betwixt his legs.  Well, let’s all just cheat then! Jarrett rolls out and grabs his trusty Slap Nuts-brand guitar.  Double J ascends to the top turnbuckle in order to REALLY nail Booker.  Booker T sees what’s up and catches Jarrett with a big Book End!  Book goes for the cover! New ref out of nowhere! 1-2-3 new champion!!!

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Can you dig that, sucka?

Booker T celebrates in the ring.  Tony Schiavone gives props to his hard work and Madden says that hard work pair off for people who bought this PPV, too.  Yeah Mark, that’s a great point.

Booker helps the dead ref up and both ref raise his arms in victory.  Booker is crying. Mark Madden tries to use Tony Schiavone’s “Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell” line from ’96, but Schiavone shushes him.  Mark Madden is the worst.

And that’s it for Bash At The Beach.  Booker T would lose the WCW Title to Kevin Nash the next month, but go on to win it back at Fall Brawl ’00.  Only to lose it again a week later on Nitro – to Vince Russo.  You know, that champion of the younger guys.

Booker would win the WCW Title for the fourth time on the final episode of Nitro, the night WCW was bought by the WWF.  Vince Russo would remain a Time-Warner employee until his WCW contract ran out. Hulk Hogan sued Russo for defamation of character and made his return to the WWF in 2002.  Jeff Jarrett’s contract would not be picked up by the WWF, so he started his own national promotion.

Mark Madden continues to suck to this day.

Match Rating: 7.0. Decent match overshadowed by some infamously crazy booking.

Surf Rating: 2.5.  The final Bash didn’t have a beach-themed set or one beach-themed match.  They get 1.5 points for returning to Daytona Beach and that extra point for the palm trees in the open.

That wraps it up for WCW and Bash At The Beach.  But remember, summer isn’t officially over until 9/22.  We’ll be back with one more HOT Beach Battles after Labor Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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