Throwback Thursday: WCW Bash at the Beach 1996, As Seen on WWE Network

July 7, 2016 by Brock Allen

WWE Network Throwback Thursday - Logo

20 years ago today World Championship Wrestling ran one of the most important events in the history of professional wrestling, the 1996 Bash at the Beach. Though the “Austin 3:16” promo signaled a new direction for the WWF two weeks prior, it was this event that truly altered the landscape of professional wrestling overnight, changing the business forever in the process.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - Logo
WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - Hulk Hogan Entrance

To honor the anniversary of one of the most monumental nights in WCW and pro wrestling history, Throwback Thursday on takes a look at just how well this event holds up after 20 years, thanks (as always) to the WWE Network.

Context is not an issue as all previous PPVs, COTCs, and NITROs are available on the Network.

WCW Bash at the Beach ’96 (WATCH)
Date: July 7, 1996 – Location: Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida
Attendance: 8,300 – PPV Buyrate: 0.71 (>235,000)
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes, & Mike Tenay – Interviews: “Mean” Gene Okerlund & Lee Marshall

WCW World Heavyweight Champion: The Giant
WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Konnan
WCW World Tag Team Champion: Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko
WCW World Television Champion: Lex Luger

After a short video package Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes, surrounded by security, talk about the main event and sell the uncertainty of the night, highlighting Eric Bischoff’s absence.

Singles Match (WATCH – 2:20)
Special Guest Commentator: Mike Tenay
Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - Crazy Hurricanrana by Rey Mysterio

A rematch from their ECW days, Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Psychosis put on an incredible opening match in this one. It’s funny to go back and listen to how lost the announcers were calling many of these moves. What is standard fare today truly was revolutionary on a national level in 1996. In the end, Rey reverses a top rope splash mountain into a crazy hurricanrana for the pin at 15:18 to end a classic opening contest.

WINNER is Rey Mysterio, Jr. (Pin, 15:18)

After the match “Mean” Gene interviews U.S. Champion Konnan, who explains the finish of the previous match, and talks about the upcoming title match with Ric Flair.

“Carson City Silver Dollar Match” (WATCH – 21:50)
Big Bubba w/Jimmy Hart vs. John Tenta

First Bubba shaved half of “Shark’s” head bald (“Shark” left the Dungeon of Doom and dropped all the gimmicks), then Tenta cut off part of Bubba’s goatee. The next night Bubba whapped Tenta in the eye with a sock full of “coins” before shaving off half of Tenta’s beard, setting up this match. This one is a bit odd as it’s two of WCW’s largest wrestlers in a “pole match”, of all things. Done for fun this works to a degree. Eventually Jimmy Hart climbs the pole for “Bubber” but Tenta intercepts “The Mouth”, grabs the sock, and gloms Bubba for the easy pin at 8:53.

WINNER is John Tenta (Pin, 8:53)

“Mean” Gene interviews Luger, Savage, and Sting about the upcoming “Hostile Takeover” main event.

“Taped Fist ‘Lord of the Ring’ Match” (WATCH – 36:43)
Diamond Dallas Page vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - DDP Entrance for 'Taped Fist' Match

This one was for DDP’s virtually meaningless “Lord of the Ring” ring that Page won at Slamboree ’96 in the “BattleBowl: Lord of the Ring” tournament. Not only is the ring meaningless, but so too is this match. DDP kicks the second rope into Duggan’s plums and hits the Diamond Cutter for the pin at 5:40 to retain the “Lord of the Ring”.

WINNER is Diamond Dallas Page (Pin, 5:40)

Next we get a promo from The Taskmaster, World Champion The Giant, and Jimmy Hart with Okerlund about the upcoming battle with the Horsemen. Out in the arena the late Lee Marshall interviews Benoit and Anderson.

“Double Dog Collar Match” (WATCH – 49:39)
The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)

ECW’s influence is plainly obvious in this match, and that’s saying nothing of The Public Enemy’s involvement. This isn’t as wild as past WCW “street fights” nor as crazy as ECW versions of the same gimmick, but it’s a stiff, fun brawl all the same, and the commentary is fun, as always. The finish is a train wreck when a Botchamania-made table doesn’t cooperate. Sags clotheslines Rocco with the same chain hanging Grunge over the top rope and drops a chain-wrapped elbow for good measure, scoring the pin at 11:27.

WINNERS are The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) (Pin, 11:27)

Backstage Okerlund is surrounded by security outside of The Outsider’s dressing room. Talk of the identity of the Third Man and the whereabouts of Bischoff have reached a fever pitch.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship (WATCH – 1:07:17)
Disco Inferno vs. Dean Malenko(c)

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - Disco Inferno vs. Dean Malenko

This match in almost entirely Dean Malenko. Disco gets a bit of offense in but not much. The last few minutes are full of false finishes and near-falls that eventually sees Malenko hit the Tiger Bomb before cinching in the Texas Clover Leaf for the submission win at 12:05. The commentators declare it a classic, but it’s anything but.

WINNER is Dean Malenko (Submission, 12:05)

Singles Match (WATCH – 1:23:15)
“The Desperado” Joe Gomez vs. Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Queen Debra & poofy dog

This was just an excuse to give “Mongo” a bit of ring time. “Mongo” is as green as owl doo-doo but Gomez does a solid job of covering up the flaws. “Mongo” hits the Tombstone Piledriver for the win at 6:45.

WINNER is Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Queen Debra & poofy dog (Pin, 6:45)

Backstage “Mean” Gene, distracted by Woman, interviews Ric Flair about the forthcoming U.S. title match with Konnan. Elizabeth and Woman talk about spending Randy Savage’s money for the celebration party.

WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (WATCH – 1:36:23)
“Nature Boy” Ric Flair w/Elizabeth & Woman vs. Konnan(c)

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - Ric Flair vs. Jonnan

Konnan was not just the U.S. Champion here, but the first AAA America’s Heavyweight Champion and the International Wrestling All Stars (IWAS) World Heavyweight Champion as well. This is a pretty good match. The clash of styles forces Flair to alter the routine and makes Konnan wrestle a more American style, all for the better. Flair is in mega heel mode here, using the ladies at every turn. In the end, Liz distracts the ref, Flair hits a sloppy back breaker, and Woman brains Konnan with the Japanese High Heel Shoe of Doom. Flair makes the cover, with feet on the ropes, of course, to score the pin at 15:40, ending Konnan’s sole U.S. title reign at 160 days. This marked Flair’s record-breaking 6th and final U.S. title reign, Flair’s first since November 24, 1980.

WINNER and NEW WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair w/Elizabeth & Woman (Pin, 15:40)

“Mean” Gene is backstage, listening at the dressing room door of The Outsiders. Gene says the Third Man is inside the room and that the Third Man’s voice is muffled but familiar, though Okerlund can’t quite make it out. Heenan suggests bribing a guard to find out.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - Gene Okerlund Listening for 'The Third Man'

“Tag Team Grudge Match” – If The Horsemen Win They Earn a World Heavyweight Title Shot on the Next Night’s NITRO (WATCH – 1:56:58)
The Four Horsemen (Chris Benoit & Arn Anderson) vs. The Dungeon of Doom (The Taskmaster & WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant) w/Jimmy Hart

The real hook to this match was seeing Benoit and Sullivan fight it out again after their hellacious “Falls Count Anywhere Match” (1:17:55) at GAB ’96 the month prior. The match is built around Sullivan and Benoit fighting, which they do, but not much else. Arn Anderson looked to be a step off on this night. While Benoit and Sullivan brawl towards the announcers, The Giant hits the Chokeslam for the pin at 8:02. Sullivan and Benoit brawl back to the ring where Giant eventually makes the save.

WINNERS are The Dungeon of Doom (The Taskmaster & WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant) w/Jimmy Hart (Pin, 8:02)

After replays there’s a mediocre vignette setting up the main event. The Outsiders make their way out sans the Third Man. Okerlund hits the ring to ask where the Third Man is but Hall and Nash blow him off.

“6-Man Tag Team ‘Hostile Takeover’ Match” (WATCH – 2:10:32)
Special Guest Ring Announcer: Michael Buffer
The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) & Mystery Third Man vs. Lex Luger, Sting, & “Macho Man” Randy Savage

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - The Outsiders vs. Lex Luger, Sting & Randy Savage

This match is best remembered for the historic swerve at the end and the formation of the nWo, and the action is remembered as a footnote. In reality this match did live up to the hype. While it wasn’t a fight or war it was plenty intense with great timing, perfect psychology, and an anxious energy that still rings true after 20 years. After Luger is taken out and carted to the back it’s a two-on-two affair, and both teams shine. Suddenly, when it looks the bleakest for The Outsiders, Nash goes low on Savage and the match grinds to a halt. Hulk Hogan, who had been MIA from WCW since the April 15th edition of NITRO, comes to the ring, looking like the hero come to save the day. Instead Hogan drops the Atomic Leg Drop on Randy Savage and joins The Outsiders. Hulk drops two more Leg Drops before Scott Hall counts an unofficial three-count.

NO WINNERS declared (No contest, 16:59)

After the match Hogan shakes the hands of Hall and Nash and the three begin to celebrate. There is an edit, though it’s hard to notice, of a fan running into the ring and having the bejabbers kicked out of him! Garbage fills the ring as “Mean” Gene prepares for one of the most important promos in the history of professional wrestling (2:39:23). Hogan has cut a million and half promos through the years, but this one blows them all away. This heel turn and this promo set the New World Order in motion and set WCW on fire. After the promo Tony Schiavone tells Hogan to go to hell (“straight to hell”) before the final credits roll.

Final Thoughts

There is no way to undersell how important this event is in the history of pro wrestling.

This angle, the event, Hogan’s heel turn, the scathing promo, helped the wrestling business, still struggling to find itself after the crash of the ’80s boom, find its legs and move into the new frontier. The event itself is one of WCW’s best, with solid matches from top to bottom and a main event for the ages. If you’ve never seen this event from start to finish do yourself a favor and check it out.

You won’t be disappointed.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - Hulk Hogan Heel Turn; Leg Drop
WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 on WWE Network - Hulk Hogan Heel Turn; nWo Formation

That’s a wrap on this week’s TBT – thanks for reading! Already signed up for the WWE Network? Then check out this amazing event and let us know what you think below.

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Until next week, see ya at ringside!

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13 Comments left on this article...

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  1. LP1 says:

    I remember this vividly, like it was yesterday. I watched it live on ppv, back when ppvs were only about $25. I remember hearing stories leading up to that show about how Bischoff made a play for Bret to come in and be the 3rd man, but Bret turned them down and then again a few months later they made another offer to Bret and that’s when Bret signed the infamous 20 year contract with Vince. There were some newsletters, might’ve been Meltzer, that mentioned the possibility of Hogan being the 3rd guy, but I didn’t put too much thought into that because the idea of Hogan turning heel was just unfathomable to me. And when he finally did turn heel I was shocked. Like what the hell just happened?

    The guy that I grew up idolizing as a kid in the 80s just turned bad. It would be like Superman turning bad. Just a surreal moment. And it worked out great. The nWo turned out to be the greatest angle in the history of WCW. That is until they dragged it on for way too long and the company ended up exploding from within, but that’s a whole different story.

    • Brock Allen says:

      I, too, remember it like it was yesterday. I was almost 16 when it happened. A buddy of mine lived almost next door to the cable company (Cablevision, I believe) and because he was so close the scrambler for the PPV channels never worked. Not for anything. Anyways, we were both so used to WCW botching great ideas that neither of us expected much from it. He watched it live and taped it and didn’t tell me anything. The next day he called and told me I had to see it. I was seriously expecting something stupid, there was just no way WCW would get anything truly right. When Hogan came out I never even thought it could be him. When I saw him drop the leg on Savage, though, I couldn’t even talk. I was shocked. People now complain about Heenan spoiling the swerve, but that wasn’t the case in real time. Looking back on it, with the “Hulkster” shirt missing the WCW logo and all and the Outside theme and Heenan’s comment, the swerve is obvious. But at the time it just never seemed like it could happen. I mean seriously, who would ever think of Hulk as a bad guy? Anyways, I remember it like it was yesterday. I think for those who lived through it it’s kind of like any national event where you can ask “Where were you when…”. Anybody who lived through that swerve on that night (or the next day) will never forget where they were or who they were with. It was just one of those moments. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Take care.

  2. Anan says:

    To this day, one of the greatest heel turns in pro wrestling history occurred at this event. Read that Sting was originally supposed to play the role that eventually went to Hogan and turn heel, but he opted not to. I know Sting turned in 1999.

    Sting or Hogan, either way would have been great for me. With Hogan, he was a mega babyface for many years. Him turning heel allowed to the best build in the company’s history with one of the best character changes in history in Sting. Unfortunately the match which in itself wasn’t all that great had the worst ending for such a build-up. Made me wish Bret Hart or Randy Savage was Sting’s opponent instead of Hogan. On the other hand, having the Franchise, Sting turn would have been unexpected as well as would allow WCW to select a young talent to get a rub from the villainous Sting much like Sting received years prior from Flair as the young hero would save WCW by defeating Sting for the WCW Title. And Sting wouldn’t care. He wouldn’t play politics to save his image.

    • Brock Allen says:

      I guess when talk of the nWo first started Sting was batted around as the possible Third Man. I’ve never really believed that. If you go back and watch the No Holds Barred match between HBK and Diesel at IYH: GFBE and watch the celebration carefully, HBK “mocks” Hall, Nash and Hogan, complete with wolfpack signs. No one else from WCW, just those three. I’ve always wondered if Nash knew more then than he lets on today about when and how the nWo angle came to be and that maybe he told HBK what was going on in simple conversation. I do know that Sting was the backup plan should Hogan back out at the last minute, but that never made sense to me seeing as Sting was still in the match at the time, unlike Luger who was carted to the back. I think it’s a testament to how great the angle going in was and how great the actual swerve was that all these years later we’re still dissecting aspects of it. Anyways, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Take care.

  3. Mark Markson says:

    The only WCW PPV I own on home video. Got it on VHS when I bought a collection of tapes. 🙂

    • Brock Allen says:

      WCW PPVs were hard to find in 1996. Media Play was the only place I could find them for sale around where I lived. I only owned 2 official WCW PPV tapes, Starrcade ’93 and Spring Stampede ’94. All the other WCW PPV tapes I had were copies of rental tapes. Copying rentals saved some serious coin. The only other WCW tape I had was a copy of NWA Starrcade ’85: The Gathering that was given to me as a gift from a family friend. I loved that event. I watched it so often the tape snapped. But WCW tapes for sale were extremely hard to find in my area compared to rentals. For some reason when the video stores in my area would put on sales there were never any wrestling tapes. Oh well…. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Take care.

  4. Jeff Copeland says:

    i found that souled out 99 starcade 98 halloween havoc 95 < shivvers!! and gab 99 all at hollywood video when they were going out of business 🙁 !!

    i miss vhs collecting !

    • Justin says:

      Most of my WCW purchases were from a going-out of business Blockbuster. I usually check Goodwill/second hand stores/pawn shops for stuff with a hit every once in awhile. My gem of a find was Mind Games VHS at Goodwill for either 49 or 75 cents.

      • David says:

        Those were the days. I remember around 2002 there was a video rental place near my house that was closing up and had all VHS tapes for like $2 each. It was like heaven when I saw the tapes. I picked up Slamboree 95, 96, 98, Halloween Havoc 95, 97, 98, Bash at the Beach 94, 95, 96, 98 and 2000 as well which is still the rarest to this day. I recall the lawsuit with Hogan and WCW in 2000 resulted in stores ordered to destroy copies of BATB 2000 however i live in Canada and rental places instead of destroying copies, sold them which is why you see most copies that pop up on ebay have the Canadian rating sticker on the back.

        They also had all the several 1999 and every 2000 tapes as well so made couple trips and cleaned them out. WCW tapes even back when they were in business were hard to find in stores since i don’t think majority of stores carried them as they were expensive brand new and the only place where you had any luck was rental places. Another option was ordering through WCW magazine.

        I still have a few dozen WCW VHS tapes in a box sitting in my basement and for couple years was transferring all those tapes to DVD. Most of the tapes I had held up really well and still play great which I why I wanted to transfer to DVD before they start to deteriorate.

        • Justin says:

          Sad thing is, I still use VHS tapes. My great grandfather had over 1,000 of them & had mostly older black & white movies on them so i ended up with two big boxes of them equaling about 400 of them. Im probably the only person who still uses them regularly.

          I’d love to know how many copies in total exist on some of the rarer items. Ive had a Mind Games VHS for about 10 years & ive seen 3 copies on Amazon (one Canadian version, one U.S. used & a new one was just added recently) The used U.S. version has a price of $750.00.

  5. Jeff Copeland says:

    Oh Memories! i remember finding this at a Hollywood Video for 2 bucks :D!!!

    I had never seen it before and wow is this a good ppv.

    Rey vs Psychosis really good CW match i think there best that’s including ecw and 1 one night only.

    Carson City Sliver Dollar match John tenta vs Big Bubba not bad why a pole ?? why WHY!!! anyway eh match.

    DDP vs Hacksaw tape fist match ehh Thank god DDP WON!

    Double Dog Collar Match
    The Public Enemy vs The Nasty Boys

    Ehh was more a comedy hardcore match which was wcw’s style really. As much as i am not a big fan of either team glad nastys won

    WCW Cruiserweight Championship
    Dean Malenko vs Disco Inferno
    Good match but disco did way to much staling and even the annoucers would get on him about that dean very underrated cw champion!

    Joe Gomez vs Steve Mongo Michael

    U.S Title
    Konnan vs Ric Flair
    not to bad again not a big konnan fan but he held up his side and flair was just WOOOOOOOOOO FLAIR!!! and became a 5 time U.S Champion!!! WOOOOOOO!!

    Chris Benoit & Arn Anderson vs.The Taskmaster & The Giant

    was eh just to get the giant on the ppv i think and ending with taskmaster and benoit and arn and woman was just weird REAL LIFE DRAMA!


    The Outsiders and Mystery Partner vs Sting , Lex Luger, Macho Man Randy Savage.

    this match for what ended up being just a regular tag match cause luger being taken out OOO!!!! was good. sting and macho are a good tag team and outsiders are just TOOO SWEEET!!

    now i do sorta agree that the brain kinda did ruin the feeling of the shocker when hogan did come out and drop DA BIG LEG on savage but eh.

    And from that the birth of N W O !!! would be born.

    So over all i think this ppv has bit of everything for everyone and it’s one of those ppv i think every fan should watch at lease 1 time to just witness the birth of one of the greatest factions in wrestling history.

    and with that its just 4 Life BROTHA!!! xD :D!

    • Justin says:

      Im in the same boat for finding this VHS somewhere cheap for purchase. I bought it at an indy event for $3.

    • Brock Allen says:

      I agree, this really was a good show. Arguably the best Bash event WCW ever ran. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment! Take care.

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