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The Top Ten Great American Bash Matches


HEIDENREICH

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HEIDENREICH

Good morning folks and welcome back to another patriotic edition of The Top Ten. This week we're going to look at the Top Ten Great American Bash matches. Now you may be thinking that there haven't been enough great matches at the GAB to warrant a top ten list and if you were talking about the WWE-only version, you would be right. But during the days of the NWA and WCW, this PPV event produced quite a few classics. So strap on your nuts and get ready for a ride back to the old school

Honorable Mention: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Sting & Nikita Koloff (1988)

This was the opening match for the Bash '88 and you'll be hard pressed to find a match that had a hotter crowd than this one. The crowd was thirsting to see Sting and his foreign comrade, Koloff, finally bring some pain down on half of The Four Horsemen. This was a match over the NWA tag titles which Tully & Arn had a stronghold on. This was a hard-hitting and fast paced affair that say both teams deal out a good amount of punishment until the end when Sting had Tully locked in the Scorpion Deathlock right in the middle of the ring, but the time limit ran out on Sting which allowed Tully & Arn to just BARELY keep their titles. If you want to see a crowd be completely into a match for over 15 minutes, this is the match for you.

Honorable Mention: Doom vs. The Rock N' Roll Express (1990)

Doom consisted of Butch Reed and Ron Simmons, in case you're wondering. This was a match for the NWA tag titles and the dominant team of Doom came in as the champions while the perennial crowd favorites, the R&R Express, came in with their usual plucky underdog manner as the challengers. Doom dominated their smaller challengers early and in the process, had some of the crowd begin to cheer for them. The Express of course fought back but it wasn't too long until Doom killed them dead when Reed hit Gibson with a shoulderblock off the top rope. This was great, old-school tag team action that is definitely worth a look.

10) Chris Benoit vs. Booker T (1998)

This was the final match of their Best of 7 series (even though this was technically match #8 due to Bret Hart interfering in the 7th match) and this match was the same high caliber that all the other matches between these two were. They exchanged offense back and forth and neither man had a distinct advantage at any point in the match which solidified how evenly matched up they were. After various offensive exchanges, which included a sweet Dragon Suplex by Benoit, Booker was able to pick up the win after a missile dropkick from the top rope. This was a fitting end to a great series and showed why both men were ready to step to the next level of their careers.

9) Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho (1998)

If you think that American crowds aren't interested in Cruiserweight wrestling, watch this match and be proven wrong. These two had a fantastic match that the crowd absolutely ate up with most of them solidly behind Malenko, but some cheering on the dastardly Jericho. After both men were able to escape each others submission holds, Jericho talked trash to try to distract Malenko, but instead it just infuriated the future ladies' man and he began to wail on Jericho with chairshots which caused a DQ. Despite the lack of a finish, this was a fantastic match that is necessary viewing for anybody who calls themselves a fan of either man.

8) Sting vs. Steven Regal (1996)

Sting was one half of the Tag Team Champions at this point and had a little bit of a beef with the man we now know as William Regal. These two men went out and put on a hell of a technical display with Regal stiffing the hell out of the Stinger. The match ended once Sting locked on the Scorpion Deathlock and this was pretty much one of Sting's last truly great matches.

7) Sting vs. The Great Muta (1989)

The Great American Bash '89 is heralded by many to be the best pay-per-view ever and this match is one of the reasons so many people remember this event so fondly. This was a match over the World TV Title and it was a classic matchup of speed(Sting) vs. high impact(Muta). This match was non-stop action from bell to bell and the crowd was very into it as both men were incredibly over. Sting won after countering Muta with a backdrop suplex and this match was a testimony to just how over Sting was in his glory years.

6) Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger (1988)

Believe it or not, there was a time when Lex Luger could actually go in the ring and this is a classic example of it. This was a match for the NWA World Title and Luger was hungry from the outset of the match. He completely dominated the early going until Flair was able to bait him outside to rake his eyes and start chopping away. Flair then took over from there and after a valiant attempt at a comeback by Luger, Flair focused on the leg and began dissecting it.

5) Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan (1996)

What makes this match so memorable is not only that it was an insane brawl that went all over the arena, but also because it felt so real due to the real-life issues between both men. At the time, Kevin Sullivan was a booker in WCW and thought it would be a great idea to put himself in a feud with Chris Benoit in order to elevate his own status. He made the basis of their feud an alleged affair that Benoit would have with Sullivan's real-life wife, Nancy Sullivan aka Woman. Life imitated art in this case because Benoit was in fact having a real-life affair with Mrs. Sullivan. Needless to say, these two men did not like each other due to the real-life situation involving Woman. That hatred was apparent in this match as the two men just stiffed the hell out of each other in a brutal battle that went everywhere, even the men's bathroom! Some memorable spots in this match include Benoit getting kicked down some concrete steps, Sullivan slamming (and I mean SLAMMING) a bathroom stall door into Benoit's unprotected head, and Benoit giving Sullivan a superplex off of a table propped up in the corner of the ring for the three count. The post-match antics were memorable as well as it had been teased for weeks that Arn Anderson would leave The Four Horsemen to join up with Sullivan's Dungeon Of Doom stable and Anderson hit the ring after the match, but attacked Sullivan instead of Benoit and the two men proceeded to stomp The Taskmaster HORSEMEN STYLE! This match also features one of my favorite calls ever from Dusty Rhodes as Sullivan and Benoit are fighting in the men's bathroom and a woman joins the men to cheer the two on: "There is a lady! There is a lady in the men's bathroom! Whoa Baby!!" Classic.

4) The Midnight Express vs. The Southern Boys (1990)

The Southern Boys, if you're wondering, were Steve Armstrong and Tracy Smothers. The Midnights were in the twilight of their run together and people started to wonder if they could still perform how they used to, but on this night Sweet Stan and Beautiful Bobby proved why they were one the best tag teams ever. Jim Cornette even called this match one of the Midnights best matches EVER and considering some of their classic matches, that is a high compliment to this match. The Southern Boys were pretty much seen as fodder before this match, but after this impressive showing, they immediately became big time contenders in the tag team division. This was just a great match that saw The Midnight Express dominate for most of it by secluding Smothers into their side of the ring. Smothers was eventually able to get the hot tag to Armstrong and then it all broke down from there with The Midnights hitting The Rocket Launcher and doing the OLD SCHOOL switch-a-roo, but The Southern Boys just couldn't be put away. The ending came when Sweet Stan nailed Smothers in the back of the head with a kick from the apron which allowed Beautiful Bobby to roll him up for the win. This is definitely a forgotten classic and should be looked up by anybody who loves great tag team wrestling.

3) Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio (1996)

This was Rey's WCW debut after coming in under a lot of fanfare and he certainly didn't disappoint. This was a fast paced match that featured some incredible action like Dean reversing a sunset flip into a Slingshot (something you have to see for yourself), Rey hitting a springboard dropkick (which wasn't really seen in American wrestling until then), Rey hitting a springboard senton from the ring to Malenko on the outside, and some great pinning sequences with a ton of near falls. The match ended when Malenko powerbombed the hell out of Rey and put his feet on the ropes for a three count. This was a fantastic debut for Rey and he wound up becoming perhaps the most popular cruiserweight of all time.

2) Sting vs. Vader (1992)

This here is the match that made Vader's career. Sting was uber-over and was easily the most popular face in the company and Vader just came in and beat the living crap out of him which made Vader look like a complete badass. Sting got in a couple of offensive moves but for the most part, he was dominated by The Man They Call Vader. Vader mercifully ended the match with a powerbomb to pick up his first WCW Title. What makes this match so great is that you had an unstoppable monster in Vader that dominated the most popular guy in Sting and it would take Sting a while until he would crack the code that was Vader and overcome the big man. Great stuff.

1) Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk (1989)

This was the main event for what some (not me) call the greatest PPV of all time. The backstory for this match was that Terry Funk was a judge in the final match between Flair and Steamboat and after Flair won, he asked for a title shot and once Flair declined, Funk went apeshit and beat the hell out of Flair including a piledriver on a table. This match was filled with fast paced, intense and violent action. Both men just beat the holy hell out of each other with Flair piledriving Funk twice, Funk WHACKING Flair in the head with a branding iron, Flair returning the favor by CRACKING Funk in the head with the same branding iron, and Flair backdropping Funk on the concrete floor. The match ended after both men unsuccessfully tried to lock in their submission moves and once Funk went for an inside cradle, Flair countered by rolling into it and getting the 3 count. This was just an awesome, brutal match that is a testimony to how great both men were during their prime.

 

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