Brett Mix’s- NWA “Great American Bash 1989” Review:
“Here comes Sting! Sting has saved Flair, from Funk and Muta!!!” -Jim Ross
-NWA’s Great American Bash 1989 took place on July 23rd 1989 in Baltimore, Maryland from the Baltimore Arena in front of 12,500 people.
-This was the 5th Bash event in just 3 years.
-This Show’s tag-line was glory days. This show is notorious for being one of the best PPV’s in wrestling history therefore while it’s not available on wide-spread DVD I am still reviewing it by exception.
-Jim Ross and Bobby C did commentary for the 89 Bash.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- Finals for the 15,000 dollars over the top rope battle royal match: Sid Vicious and Dan Spivey (with Teddy Long) vs Eddie Gilbert, Terry Gordy, Scott Hall, Bill Irwin, Brian Pillman, Ranger Ross, Mike Rotunda, Ron Simmons, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, DR. DEATH Steve Williams and Kevin Sullivan
Two rings, a jacked up crowd in Baltimore and you can really feel the tagline “glory days” being highly truthful as this was just the NWA in its absolute prime.
Hey, this is the kind of footage the greatest of all time Steve Austin (my subjective opinion of course) does cardio with. He watches NWA tapes while he does cardio.
Now that’s a wrestling fan if I ever heard one, these were the best days for Wrestling IMO in every company, the NWA, the AWA, the WCCW, Mid-South, AAA, ICW-Memphis, Stampede, Carolina’s, and the WWF.
Sid Vicious among many wrestlers in a battle royal that’s going to be very hard to call says Ross. No kidding, it’s hard to see who’s who and I got a pretty good quality version of this event.
Ron Simmonn’s and Ranger Ross make it to the second ring. Scott Hall and Scott Steiner can be spotted, so can Pillman, but they are all in ring 1, just the two african american’s in ring two, Simmonn’s is gone as Ross ends him out.
Scott Hall and Ross, Terry Gordy joins them, what talent. Wild Bill Irwin joins.
Pillman and Sid are the last two in ring one. Two years later Sid would nearly kill Pillman at the 91 War Games. Classic all-time match that War Games was just as 1992 was.
Ross says they’re fallin like flies and Pillman leaped over to ring two and Sid ducks.
Sid will meet the winner. Spivey, Dr. Death, and Rotunda (aka IRS) are the three left in ring two. Rotunda misses a clotheslne and Williams hits a clothesline on Spivey. Spivey ducks out Williams leaving.
Long gets on the mic and shows he had great mic skills in the 80’s! He said he wasn’t gonna let his boys rassle, and they’ve formed unity.
In the end Sid and Spivey won the match, and will get 7,500 dollars American each I would assume, that is if they don’t have to give 10% to their manager Teddy Long. 😉 (Kayfabe)
This match as an opener worked well in the same sense Wrestlemania 14’s did. A quick, over the top rope battle royal getting the fans into it.
2) “Flyin” Brian Pillman vs Bill Irwin
I love Pillman, such a great all around talent and the soon to be hall of famer is one of the most underrated wrestling minds of all time. He fought battles his whole life and then some.
He was taken away far too early.
Bill Irwin is hit by a lot of high flying moves from Flyin Brian, Irwin gets a BIT of momentum and hits a hot shot.
Flyin Brian comes back in the match and hits a clothesline, then misses a dropkick. Bill Irwin stomped on Pillman. Bill Irwin taking advantage of Pillman here with gut-wrench suplex. Irwin throws Pillman into ring 2.
Story here was basically Bill Irwin trying to slow down the innovative, fast, aerial offense which excited the viewers and made the match work well.
That repeated several times.
In the end at 10:18 Pillman got the win after “Flyin” off the ropes.
This was very well done.
3) The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious and Dan Spivey) (with Teddy Long) vs The Dynamic Dudes (Johnny Ace and Shane Douglas)
Sid Vicious his cocky-self posed after a bunch of big-moves and some of the fans react to him well. Douglas choked in the corner and in comes dangerous Dan Spivey and he hits a side-slam.
Spivey in control and the fans boo.
Fans actually chant “WE Want SID”…
What is it about this guy?
All four guys brawl. A powerbomb, then Spivey drops Ace down on his head, Douglas checked on him.
In the end at 10:14 Spivey pinned Ace.
This match worked very well for bigger guys in a tag.
4) James E Cornette vs Paul E Dangerously in a Tuxedo Match
Winner is the guy who strips his opponent of his Tuxedo.
Heyman throws powder into Cornette’s face and then he spits on him.
Pretty hilarious knowing these guys hate each other now. But Cornette hates everybody including me so who really cares. His view points are fun to see though.
Cornette ran shoulder-first nto the ring post and Heyman strutted and posed on the turnbuckle.
More powder comes into play.
In the end at 6:22 Cornette won. A skinnier, younger Heyman with a full head of hair ran off. While these two don’t get along in real-life, but they at least respect each other because both of them know they have tremendous wrestling minds.
This match was a little bit of fun comedy. Not long enough to be boring so it was kept good.
5) The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) (with Missy Hyatt) vs Mike Rotunda and Kevin Sullivan in a Texas Tornado match
A lot of good wrestling is seen, but both teams take the work to the outside.
The most violent match of the night to this point.
Rotunda and Kevil Sullivan take a beating after they were roughing up their opponents.
Crowd barks in favor of Rick.
360 and a slam, a nearfall. Sullivan throws Rick to the outside.
Rotunda with a nice slam to Scott Steiner. Scott Steiner kicked to the outside while Sullivan and Rotunda with a leg-drop. Both Steiner’s shoulders to the mat at the same time and a kick-out.
Dr. Death and Mike Rotunda with a back-flip.
Good color commentary pointing out Rotunda’s wrestling background and now Scott Steiner with a crossbody as he fools Sullivan.
See Kevin had Rick held and thought Rotunda went to the top, to his surprise out comes Scott flying off the top and he hooks the leg while he kicks his own brother on top of Sullivan from the top rope.
In the end at 4:22 Steiners put Rotunda and Sullivan away.
This match was so well done for a quick, short tag.
6) Sting (c) (with Eddie Gilbert) vs The Great Muta (with Gary Hart) for the NWA World Television Championship
Ross says many came to see this match.
Sting begins by FLYING all the way over the rope to start out!
Here we go…
The Great Muta down and the Stinger (amazing how he holds the TV title for how over he was) dominates early.
This just shows the sign of how much talent was in the wrestling world in the late 80’s.
Steve Austin does his cardio to this footage!
Sting lets out right-hands then chases Gary Hart on the floor who got to close to Sting in the ring. The Great Muta with a big chop by Muta on Sting.
Ross calls it the battle of the paint. Sting accepts a karate kick and Sting falls all the way to the floor after a thrust kick then a high cross-body to Sting on the floor.
Muta signals for the end, this is his first title shot in the NWA. Sting though runs the apron and clotheslines Muta not once, but flies off the top and gets a two.
A standing dropkick by Sting then Sting leaps over the top and applies another hard right. Sting with a power slam.
Muta jumps up with an oriental sleeper. Great name for this move.
The Great Muta now with a reverse chinlock on Sting and the rowdy crowd is more then happy to applaud Sting on. Muta with a thrust-kick and chop. Sting catches The Great Muta off the ropes and then Muta moves out of the way off the ropes flies Sting.
The Great Muta hits an elbow in the middle of the ring.
An Abdominal stretch to Sting.
A moonsault and just a two. Sting kicked out.
Muta goes for a high kick a back suplex, Sting covered him but both men’s shoulders down.
At 8:40 in the end, Sting pinned Muta However, due to controversy in the match, the NWA World Television title was held up.
This classic was a fast attraction, only one slow-down hold in the middle by Muta.
7) Lex Luger (c) vs Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat for the NWA United States Title
Luger being in there with Steamboat only helped matters.
I am so glad this match made the DVD. It is a true gem in the glory days of the NWA and this was one of their better events.
Luger cuts a promo before the match.
Ricky Steamboat gets a great ovation as expected coming out in all his glory. Steamboat and Luger tie up with one another and we have the luxury of Ross on commentary in his NWA days. Rings beside one another, Steamboat uses his agility and speed early with a quick pinning predicament.
Steamboat with a dropkick and he lets go of chops and sends Luger to the turnbuckle and high elevation drops Luger with a backdrop. Steamboat chops at Luger in the chest region on the outside and the fans love it. An atomic drop by Steamboat on the floor.
Coming in Luger catches him with a vicious knee lift. Ricky Steamboat on the outside is roughed up by Luger as he drops him with a thunderous clothesline. Steamboat fighting back with chops to the chest of Luger out on the floor. Ricky Steamboat slams Luger and his head on the wooden table outside by the guardrail. Ricky Steamboat off the top but Luger catches him with a right, then a back-breaker by the total package.
Luger with hard offense to the back of the Dragon and then clobbers his kidney region. Another solid right by Luger and he scoops up the Dragon showing great strength and slamming Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat down and Luger works over his back.
Ross points out in mid-match that the two men have a great contrast in styles as Luger displays confidence, power and strength, while Ricky Steamboat has heart, experience, quickness and agility.
Lex tries to grapevine the leg of the Dragon but he comes out of it, The Dragon refusing to stay down keeps getting dropped with powerful clotheslines by Luger and the fans love the heart of the Dragon for his resilience to bounce back up like a rubber ball, as Ross puts it. Ricky Steamboat hangs onto the top rope for leverage as he tries a comeback here chopping against the chest of Luger.
Lex caught Ricky Steamboat in the corner as the official gets in the way.
Lex powerslams Ricky Steamboat off the ropes and gets a two. Luger seems aggravated that its only a two count. Steamboat caught Lex with a crossbody and a great camera shot at mat level. A nearfall but Luger gets back up and plants the Dragon with an inverted atomic drop.
Ricky Steamboat hits a reverse neckbreaker. The question was does he have enough left, Luger misses a clothesline and he is thrown over the top rope to the floor. Coming back on the apron Steamboat is taking it to Luger.
Steamboat hits a huge chop from the top rope to Luger, Ricky Steamboat looking to become the new Champion but he kicks out.
Amazing back and forth pace, the crowd are loving it.
Lex back-body drops Steamboat from one ring into another via a suplex. Luger grabbed a weapon but Steamboat goes crazy and hits him with a chair.
Steamboat the ultimate GOOD GUY uses a weapon on Luger because of his pure hated, and frustration that Luger will not let him finish a match the right way.
I like it.
So in the end Luger won by DQ and retained at 10:26.
This is one of the best ten plus minute matches you WILL EVER SEE.
Quite possibly the best match in the career of Luger, up there with his matches with Flair in the same time period.
8 ) War Games Match: Road Warriors (Animal and Hawk) and The Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Sweet” Stan Lane) and Dr. Death Steve Williams (with Paul Ellering and James E Cornette) vs The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu and Samu) and The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin and Terry Gordy) (With Paul E Dangerously)
Bobby Eaton and Jimmy Garvin get this thing going and for the first time in NWA history the camera films the action in the ring from inside the cage, not the outside.
Now that’s a better concept.
Bobby using the cage to benefit some of his offense.
Michael Hayes yelling from the outside.
A belly to belly is hit by Eaton to Garvin. Garvin in a Boston Crab. Terry Gordy joins the War Games.
Eaton is now down and is double teamed for a few minutes until help arrives.
Dr. Death joins in.
Williams with a double clothesline off the ropes to a big pop. Samu joins in after Eaton and Williams got some jabs in.
Now Williams was the one being dominated as the ring began to fill up. Road Warrior Animal joins in and goes insane as do the fans.
Road Warrior Animal going right to the Samoans, to Samu specifically and a kick to the face. Road Warrior Animal with a catapolt, a big tackle, a 300 pound bullet as JR says. Animal clotheslined him down.
Hayes on the outside was preaching to Fatu on the outside to KILL…KILL….that’s all very hilarious. Fatu comes in. The Samoans are full and it’s 4 on 3 for the next two minutes as a nice running bulldog is hit.
Road Warrior Hawk just can’t wait to get in the ring on the outside. Hayes goes in and struts, and also rips on Hawk looking in. Fans chant for Hawk.
When he finally gets in all hell breaks loose and everyone goes at it.
Very fun match.
In the end at 22:18, The War Games were won by the Road Warriors, The Midnight Express and Dr. Death when Hawk forced Garvin to submit at 22:18 with a neck-breaker standing, while holding him on his back.
This match is just another example of how to book a old-school War Games match. Shades of the Classic Survivor Series booking in the 80’s, only that was in the WWF.
This one is another reason this show was so spectacular.
9) Main Event- “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (c) vs Terry Funk (With Gary Hart) for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Most people have the famous I QUIT match between Funk and Flair at five stars while I have it at **** 1/2 as it was a truly incredible, innovative-ahead of its time classic match!
This one is always second fiddle to that match here at the Bash but it is definately a classic in its own right! I have infact seen this match before just like the Sting one at Clash of the Champions and I remember how good this one was so I definately want to see it again!
Here we go……
Funk is crazy out of his mind, a sadistic heel (love it) and is outside of the ring looking for something to hit Naitch with and Naitch jumped off the apron and met Funk with a double axe handle on the ouside. Funk is the heel here and Flair is the face and I think an underrated aspect of this DVD set is that they jump from Flair being a hated villian to a babyface back and forth so well because of the time inbetween most of the matches on this set.
Funk who was an indredible worker and top 10 all time chopped the hell out of Flair and Funk who is middle aged and crazy got slapped back by Flair. These two like the I quit match did not take long for the action to go to the outside as Funk sent Flair into the corner ring post. Funk stomped away on the face of Flair as Flair grabs on Funks foot in an act of desperation. Funk grabs Flair by the hair and then suplexes him from outside to inside the ring with a vertical suplex that twisted the neck of Flair. Funk only scored the two as Flair lifted his left shoulder off the canvas. Flair is a 6 time Champion at this point and as mentioned the babyface going into this bout and he rolls out of the ring as Funk is in the drivers seat during this match. Ross ponders if Funk is going for the injury or the victory in this match and I loved how they played it as if it it was something that was so hard to tell. Both guys went crashing down to the floor as Flair went for a suplex onto the floor to Funk but missed and then a chopping war came about on the mat on the outside of the ring. Both guys pulling out all stops for the NWA title as the chopping war continues as both guys rake the eyes. Great stuff! Both back in the ring now and Funk grabs Flair as he sets up for that same pildriver he went for the night he turned heel at Wrestlewar 89 after Flairs five star match with Steamboat.
Flair counters it and the fans go wild as he hits a back body drop to Funk in the ring to the outside as Funk one of the all time legends in the business is on the outside. Funks dad Dory wrestled from 1939 to 1973 and then some other match past that time and he is without a doubt a top 10 LEGEND not wrestler but a top 10 LEGEND in the entire idustry which is a huge accomplishment.
Flair then has a piledriver positioned for Funk and he drops to his ass and hits it! Flair gets some revenge as the fans go wild as Terry Funks neck was dove to the mat and they point out it had to have felt good. So good infact he did it again! Wow.
Funk barely kicking out of his lateral press and those piledrivers and now Flair goes for the Figure Four which he beat Rhodes and Race with as JR points out. Flair looks like He will make Funk tap out but Gary Hart from outside the ring (may he rest in peace) handed Funk an Iron which was his last resort to hitting Flair in the head with it to break the figure four. Flair blades and Funk levels him back and forth with right hands. Funk then goes for the piledrvier and hits it! Both guys now have hit it a combined three piledrivers in this match and it should be it but Flairs foot was on the rope, Funk pushes the ref as he doesent count the three. You have to love funk! Funk goes to the outside and removes the mat and you have to assume he is going to try and pile drive a bloodied Flair on the concrete as Funk is a sadistic psycho! Gotta love it!
Funk goes for it on the concrete floor and Flair who is all bloody from that iron shot hits a back body drop to Funk but luckily for him the poor bastard lands on a mat. Funk has suffered enough physical punishment in his life he doesent need a concrete back spot surely. Flair is losing a ton of blood and the pace to this match is almost as good as the I Quit match if not better in parts. Back in the ring Funk hits a knee braker to Ric Flair. Funk then grabs him by the head and hits a side neck braker to the Nature Boy. Ric Flair gets ANOTHER neck braker by Terry Funk. Pretty amazing since Flairs neck was in bad shape before with the piledriver to the table in the storyline and then again in this match not to mention all the blood he has lost. Flair relentlessly gets jammed away by Funk who shows no mercy as a Sadistic heel hitting right hands to the bloody skull of Naitch and looks to become the new NWA Champion. Flair then somehow battles back with a strong right hand that sends Funk to the outside and the fans go wild for Ric Flair. Funk gets sent face first into the post by Flair as JR call these two Gladiators going for the NWA title in a physical match he has never seen quite like this.
Funk in the corner and Flair hitting him right non stop right hands and now Funk is bloodied fron the ring post shot earlier.
Vengeance played a huge role in this match. The richest prize in all of wrestling is on the line here as Funka and Flair go toe to toe in a bloody war, Flair misses the knee into the buckle and Funk goes for a spinning toe hold then an attempted version of the figure four but Flair reverses into a Figure Four but Funk hits an inside cradle after another reverse, then Flair rolls over and gets the three count on Funk! Flair retains the title in an amazing bloody war after reversal after reversal, small package after small package. Flair retains the title in a Classic test of endurance and Strength.
An all out war even after the match takes place here as Sting among others battle it out with Funks allies and they battle to the outside and we get some nice footage on this DVD set of all the aftermatch of this match, which was a bloody classic in every sense of the word. These were the days. Great addition to this DVD Set!
Few matches had the same kind of intensity this one had. It was physical, bloody and an all out war that never and I mean never slowed down at all. Could have had a few more minutes but at the pace they went it is completely understandable why they did not.
Quality over Quantity ALWAYS matters and this match is the perfect example of that rule.
Best match of the night and on the Flair Definitive DVD.
Final Rating for NWA Great American Bash 1989 = 9/10
I don’t really know if the NWA ever put on a better show. Possibly the Bash of 1992 with the amount of talent they had in tag matches was down-right scary. Look at that card and your eyes will pop out. Or some of the Halloween Havoc’s in the mid to late 90’s. Strangely Starrcade always seemed a tad under-whelming considering it was NWA aka WcW’s “Wrestlemania” outside the original of course which was a great show, especially for the early 80’s. If you can find this event, get it!