Review for United We Slam: The Best of the Great American Bash

8 / 10

The Great American Bash was a WCW PPV that was created by Dusty Rhodes. So it only seems right that he would be the one hosting the DVD with introductions. This PPV created many memorable moments from the likes of Ric Flair, The Roadwarriors, Sting, nWo and many more. It was also the birthplace of the Wargames match. It was a hugely successful event for WCW and apart from Starrcade usually their most critically praised too.

At first I thought that Dusty would be explaining the concept of the Great American Bash which was essentially a tour of a major show over a two month period. It would have been nice to have heard about how this was done, whether it was successful and why they stopped doing it, but he really only has a few short vignettes which is slightly disappointing.

Now if you are a Ric Flair fan then you have treat in store as this set features six matches which are all entertaining. This is also not just every PPV main event match, which when I recall some of the horrible Bash PPV Main Events is probably a good thing. They also ignore the WWE reboot which was generally the worst PPV of the year. This purely focuses on the WCW PPV which is a good thing.

From the first Bash PPV/Tour we have Ric Flair vs. Nikita Koloff which is probably only on here because of the absolutely insane entrance by Flair by helicopter? The match itself is nothing special though. Ole and Arn Anderson against the Rock and Roll Express is just great. This is a great old skool tag match and the Rock and Roll Express never get the respect that they deserve as one of the best tag teams of all time. Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes in the cage is a great match and certainly one of the best matches I have seen between the two.

From 1987 we have the original Wargames match between The Four Horsemen vs. Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff and The Road Warriors. I absolutely love this match and think it is one of the best examples of this match.

Included is a wonderful match between The Road Warriors and Sting and Lex Luger. I love this match, but I can't place it at any of the Bash events. It says it was from 1988, but at that event Luger was in the Main Event against Flair? So I'm not sure if this was another part of the Bash Tour, though I thought they had ended by 1988? This would have still been a great match, but for some reason they decided to allow Rhodes and Zbysko to just talk nonsense over it. This makes the match a little difficult to focus on.

From 1989 we have Great Muta vs. Sting which was a fantastic match. At the time Muta was undefeated and so it had a real edge to the match. Ric Flair against Terry Funk is absolutely insane and you could almost look at this as the genesis of hardcore wrestling and is a simply wonderful match. From 1990's event there is a good match between The Steiner Brothers and The Fabulous Freebirds, though when you see the Freebirds you will be convinced it isn't them. Doesn't help that there's only two of them. Also included is the wonderful title match between Sting and Ric Flair which proved, if it ever needed proving, just how great Flair was at making a superstar and that is what he did with Sting.

1991 is ignored as we move onto 1992 with an amazing match between a young Steve Austin and Rick Rude against Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes. A great tag match, though it is strange they don't include the Nikita Koloff and Ricky Steamboat against Jushin Liger and Brian Pillman instead. This was a much better match. However, they do include the title match between Sting and Big Van Vader which showed that even if it didn't seem it at the time, WCW did have some great feuds and great characters.

The event went on hiatus until 1995 and what is strange at this point is that by the time we get to disk three we have only got to 1992 and the event would go on for a further five years? This is either whoever put this DVD together realising just how bad the PPV got during these years, or that the only good matches during this time were the Cruiserweight and tag matches and no one wants to watch those, right??

From 1995, Ric Flair against Randy Savage is good, but not great, certainly doesn't compare to their Wrestlemania 8 match. Only the Kevin Nash and Scott Hall interaction with Eric Bischoff is included from 1996 and though this was an exciting moment from its history, I would have preferred another match possibly the awesome Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Cruiserweight Championship match.

Speaking of the nWo, we have from 1997 the very embodiment of that group... Randy Savage? Though I will admit that his match against DDP is great and it is made even better by the appearances of Miss Elizabeth and Kimberley who never looked hotter than here. And if you wanted amazing high flying wrestling we get Ultima Dragon against Psychosis which is just fabulous.

From 1998 they include two great matches and one that is almost unwatchable. Chavo Guerrero against Eddie Guerrero is a great match as you would expect from them. Chavo never gets the respect he deserves and Eddie is as awesome as he always is. Both are so fluid that you lose yourself in this wonderful lucha style. We also get Chris Jericho against Dean Malenko is a fine match, but I do wish they had done a recap of the feud between them which was one of the best from WCW.

Then we get a tag match between Randy Savage and Roddy Piper against Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart. It is odd that this is the first appearance of Hogan, though this seemed to be a PPV that Hogan would stay away from some reason. This match is just painful to watch. When the camera scanned the crowd a fan had a sign 'Piper, Hogan, Savage, Hart. Welcome to Jurassic Park'. Couldn't have put it better myself.

1999 is ignored and we go on to an average match between Mike Awesome and DDP from the final Bash in 2000. Considering Awesome's ECW origins I would have expected this Ambulance Match to be a little more hardcore, though seeing Stacy Keibler in her Miss Hancock outfit makes it almost worth it.

Finally we get Kevin Nash against Jeff Jarrett. If you ever wanted a snapshot of why WCW went out of business here it is. This is what WCW thought was a main event calibre match. They thought we would want to see Jeff Jarrett against Kevin Nash. That we would want to see Ernest Miller go on forever and be referee. They also thought taking the mask off Rey Mysterio was a good idea. The astonished look on Kevin Nash's face looks totally legit.
(Note: In the same month WWE in PPV had Kurt Angle become King of the Ring with a main event featuring The Rock, Undertaker and Kane against Triple H, Vince and Shane McMahon. I know which one I would want to watch). I understand they probably had to include this because it's the last PPV, but anything would have been better.

Dusty Rhodes also provides a number of commentaries on a number of these matches. These also feature for some reason Larry Zbysko? Not sure why. Though it is interesting to listen to, they are listed as an 'alternate commentary' but they are not. This is the only way you can watch these matches and so if you are wanting to relive some of these classic matches as they were intended, well then you better go find them somewhere else.

I have a piece of advise for the next time WWE decide to give us an exclusive commentary. Just don't. Or if you are going to do that, give us the original audio too. There's a reason why they call it an 'alternate commentary' because you can put more than one audio track on a DVD. Imagine if you put in The Godfather and your only option was to watch it with Francis Ford Coppola's commentary?

United We Slam: The Best of the Great American Bash is not a bad DVD, but certainly not a perfect one. If I'm honest if they had not included the last disk it would have been perfect. The original PPVs up to 1992 were great with some perfect matches. Almost everything after that which wasn't Cruiserweight based is painful to watch.

If you want to see why WCW went out of business watch the first match from disk one and the last from disk three and you will swear that it is two completely different entities. One drew a crowd of nearly 30,000 people, the other could barely get 7,000 in? If you are a fan of old skool wrestling, WCW or indeed of Ric Flair, you may enjoy this DVD, if not you may find it easy to bash this set.

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