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Default June 17th, 2001: The Great American Bash

Merry Christmas everybody! Here's your present from TFC Claus!




June 17th, 2001

From the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Attendance: 6,116

Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart






Official Theme Song: "Star Spangled Banner" (Rock version)


Quote:
Ernest "The Cat" Miller (w/Miss Jones) vs. Lance Storm

The build for this match was a bit silly, but it was sort of in keeping with The Cat's character. The action was pretty solid once the bell rang, with a story built around Miller throwing lots of kicks and Storm using a technical wrestling approach to target the legs and limit the effectiveness of those kicks. This, much like last month's cruiserweight title match, did its job as a good opening match to get the crowd excited right away. Miss Jones was surprisingly good here as she pleaded with Cat not to tap out to Storm's Sharpshooter, to no avail. Storm is a guy who should thrive in my WCW. Miller could be a valuable member of the roster himself if he stops failing steroid tests.


Grade: B-
Quote:
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. CM Punk

CM Punk talked about his straight edge crusade on the microphone, and used it to insult the fans.

"Unlike all of you so-called patriots here in Iowa, who will get behind the wheel of your cars with their American flag bumper stickers and put innocent lives at risk because you're too drunk to see what's right in front of you, my head is clear. I'm unburdened by toxic substances, and that's why I'm not only better than each and every person sitting in the crowd here tonight, but I'm better than every single wrestler back in that locker room!"

He went on to say that it didn't matter who accepted his open challenge tonight. It didn't matter how good they were, and it didn't matter that Punk would have no time to prepare, because his lifestyle and his drive made him unbeatable. There was a mild pop when "Hacksaw" came out to answer the challenge, obviously for nostalgia since he hasn't done anything of importance in a long time.



Grade: C-


Not much to say about the actual match. Duggan got to throw some punches here and there, but the match was about showcasing Punk. He did some effective heeling, mocking Duggan and the fans by parodying Hacksaw's USA chant. Punk won the match via submission with the Second City Stretch (aka Tenzan's Anaconda Vice). Jim was furious at being forced to put over someone with so little name value, but I did not budge. I see Punk as one of the pillars to build the foundation of the entire company on going forward, and Jim has little value at this stage of his career anyway other than putting young talent over.


Grade: C-
Quote:

Bobby interviewed Booker backstage. The purpose of this was to drive home the idea that Booker's shoulder was not fully healed and he was heading into the main event at a disadvantage. Unfortunately Bobby got a little too comedic here, which hurt the segment since we wanted and needed it to be serious. I tried to counteract that with some commentary about the danger of wrestling elite competition with an existing injury, especially one that your opponent knows about and can exploit. I have to say that my attempt was ineffective though. This segment still wasn't terrible, but it wasn't tremendous like most of the promos we've done in this storyline.


Grade: B
Quote:
Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Jarrett

We stuck with the story we'd been telling here; despite what he claimed, Jarrett had no interest in fighting Van Dam face to face. There were lots of stall tactics and cowardly antics here, with Jeff only engaging when he had a chance to catch RVD with a cheap shot. It wasn't the typical kind of match Rob was used to putting on in ECW, but I thought he adjusted well to what we wanted from him here, and he still had the chance to show off some of his crowd-pleasing spots here and there.

RVD had his Five Star Frog Splash all set up, but Jarrett rolled out to the floor. Van Dam followed him out there, and Jeff smashed his guitar over his head for the intentional dq! The inconclusive finish both played into the build of the match and allowed us to extend the feud.



Grade: B
Quote:

Bobby was interviewing Air Raid when Stacy Keibler interrupted. She apologized but said she had some very important business to discuss. Air Paris asked if they could do this later, and she got this embarrassed look on her face as she admitted that she had no business with him--it was only AJ she wanted to speak with. AJ shrugged and followed her, promising that he would catch up with Paris later.

Three of the four involved in this bit performed about as well as I'd expected, but Paris was pretty bad. His delivery was wooden and his facial expressions stunk.



Grade: D
Quote:
Falls Count Anywhere:
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Kanyon


To go along with this gimmick match, I instructed DDP and Kanyon to put on a wild, out-of-control brawl in the ring, at ringside, in the aisle, etc. Those instructions obviously resulted in a more physically demanding style, and you could see the toll it took with how winded both guys were towards the end of the match. I still think it was a good decision though. Not only did it offer a match that was distinctly different from anything else on the show, but Kanyon really seemed to excel here since brawling, the highlight of his in-ring skills, was at the forefront. Even with the fatigue issues, this was not only better than their match last month but also on par with the Misterio/Storm match that headlined.

They took advantage of the stipulation, brawling all the way up the aisle and then into the stands (with security guards following right along to prevent any incidents, of course.) Kanyon grabbed a cane from an elderly lady (a plant, not an actual fan) and swung for the fences, taking aim at DDP's skull...

...but Dallas ducked! Kanyon turned back around, and...

...right into a Diamond Cutter onto the seats in the tenth row! DDP made the cover right there amongst the fans, who cheered and counted along as the "old man" got the win.



Grade: B+
Quote:

Sting got some promo time to talk about his last match against Ric Flair. He talked about how that first match at the original Clash of the Champions was a career-maker for him, and he'd really been fighting Ric Flair ever since.

"We've danced this dance for thirteen years, Nature Boy, locked in a fight to the death. I've beaten you and you've beaten me, but this is the ultimate put up or shut up. Tonight, you and I go at it one final time--and if you think I'm gonna bow down and call you the man tonight, think again! Tonight it all ends, and it ends the same way that very first match would've ended if I'd had five more minutes: you staring up at the lights, and the Stinger victorious! WHOOOOO!

Sting was as enthusiastic as ever here, and the fans responded to that as they always do. His actual content wasn't anything great. He got sidetracked a few times and went off into directions that didn't make much sense, but he's so popular that it didn't hurt the segment too badly.



Grade: B+
Quote:

Billy Kidman (w/Torrie Wilson) vs. "Sugar" Shane Helms {©}

I knew the crowd reaction would be somewhat muted here with a face vs. face match, but we attempted to counteract that by making the action itself as exciting as possible. I gave these two the green light to work as fast and fit in as many high spots as they wanted, and that's just what they did. Top rope moves, springboard attacks, pinfall attempt/counter sequences, dives to the floor; you name it, they did it. I believed that this style would compliment these two workers well and I think I was right, with Kidman in particular really enjoying this chance to fly. Torrie's presence at ringside didn't hurt either, especially with the on-screen chemistry between her and her fiancée.

This was both promoted and worked as a competition between two guys with great respect for each other. That may have hurt the opportunity to build heat, but it also made it all the more jarring when Helms dropkicked Kidman in the groin as he was in mid-air. Mike and I debated whether it had been intentional or inadvertent, but Kidman was cradled and pinned either way.



Grade: B-
Quote:

Bobby asked Steve Corino what he thought about the Great American Bash so far, and Corino claimed he was not impressed. He used the cruiserweight match that had just ended as a perfect example of everything that was wrong with WCW today.

"Two guys flipping and flying all over the place? That's gymnastics, not wrestling! And of course the fans here in Iowa ate it up! But I'm not mad at them. I pity them, because they've been trained to believe that the acrobatic crap they just saw is entertaining wrestling. But now I'm here to show them what real, OLD SCHOOL wrestling is all about!

Steve and Bobby both did well here, seamlessly weaving between serious and comedic tones and setting each other up for lines. This went much better than Corino's debut vignette where he flew solo, so I should probably continue to mix Bobby and others into his talking segments for now.



Grade: C-
Quote:

It was Flair's turn to promote the final encounter with Sting, and he did so as only he can.

"One more time, Stinger. One more time, you and I will walk that aisle. One more time, we will sweat, we will bleed, we will pay the price. And when it's all said and done, when the smoke clears, you will have to bow down and admit what you've known all along, ever since that very first Clash of the Champions where you tried to take my championship and failed miserably! "Mr. Flair, you are the greatest of ALL TIME!" And after Sting tells the world who the man really is, girls, Space Mountain will be open for business!"

Could've done without the sexual innuendo, but I can't deny that Ric knows what he's doing on that mic. He was really good off the cuff here, and honestly he probably wouldn't read from a script even if I gave him one.



Grade: B+
Quote:

Mike Awesome vs. Rey Misterio Jr. {©}

This was the classic David vs. Goliath story. Awesome threw Rey around the ring effortlessly, and Rey used his quick-strike aerial stuff to try and chop his gigantic challenger down. I worried that the size disparity might be too significant for Awesome to sell for Rey without it looking silly, but they did a nice job with it. Rey showed great resilience and heart in kicking out of Awesome's repeated power moves, but Tenay and I felt it was only a matter of time before his body gave out on him despite his limitless fighting spirit.

Rey went for the Springboard Hurricanrana, but Awesome caught him out of the air. With a smile on his face, he got a running start in order to launch the challenger. Rey saved himself by countering into a headscissors that propelled Awesome into the buckles, and he then rolled up the groggy challenger to retain his title despite the odds.



Grade: B


Rey had only just been handed the title when a furious Awesome dropped him with a clothesline. As Rey was down on the mat, Awesome went to the floor and set up a wooden table at ringside. He went back into the ring, picked Rey up and launched him over the top rope and through the table with an Awesome Bomb! Risky spot, but it looked devastating.

Awesome picked up the US title from where it had fallen, glared down at it for a moment and threw it back down on the mat as the medical team checked on Rey.



Grade: C
Quote:

Bobby interviewed the 'power couple' of WCW about what their goals were. Tammy said that their goal was simple: power. They wanted as much of it as possible, and they would get it by Candido beating top superstars and winning championships while she won the closed door battles behind the scenes. Chris said that they'd allowed other promoters to hold them down and keep them apart in the past, but nothing was going to stop the power couple this time around. Sytch wasn't bad, but Bobby and Chris were both really good here.


Grade: C-
Quote:

3 Count vs. The Natural Born Thrillers {©}

This was less the David vs. Goliath story we told in the previous match, and more one team simply outclassing another. I don't think any of the fans bought 3 Count as a legitimate threat to the Thrillers, and we didn't exactly go out of our way to sell them on the idea. Perhaps we should've tried to find some kind of hook or alternative way to lay this match out, because they didn't really tell a coherent story in there. To no one's surprise, the Thrillers retained when Palumbo finished Evan Karagis with a Running Powerslam.


Grade: C
Quote:

Big Poppa Pump cut a promo on his title match with Booker T. He said that tonight he was going to take back the title that never should've left his sculpted waist in the first place.

"You've been walkin around with my title Booker, and you've been duckin' me because you know the night you beat the Genetic Freak was the luckiest night of your life! But your luck's gonna run out tonight. I don't know if your shoulder's really hurt or if you've just been fakin' it all this time, but I'm gonna rip it out of the socket tonight. The largest arms in the world are gonna rip your body apart piece by piece until you give up and give me back my belt!"

Scott's delivery was all over the place here. That's not exactly unexpected, but it didn't hurt at all. I think crazy quotes are part of the appeal with this character, and this promo did a fantastic job at getting the fans excited for the main event.



Grade: A
Quote:
Sting vs. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair

The promos were as excellent as ever, but that was never in question. The question was whether or not they'd be able to produce at a high level inside the ring. While they have obviously had much better matches back when they were in better shape physically, I was pleased with the results tonight. It wasn't in the running for match of the night, but it was a bit better than their match last month.

The idea was to treat this as almost a 'greatest hits' wherein they did lots of callbacks to specific sequences and moments from their biggest matches over the years, complete with ample references from Mike and I on commentary to drive the concept home. Sting was all set to execute the traditional gorilla press off of the top rope spot, but Ric flipped the script by thumbing him in the eye instead. He connected with a double axe handle off of the top and let out a 'woo' as he went for the figure four, but Sting wrapped him up in an inside cradle for a near-fall.

Flair scrambled to his feet and threw a haymaker, but Sting ducked it and nailed the Scorpion Deathdrop. He could've won it there, but there was only one move that could end this feud. Sting slapped on the Scorpion Deathlock, sitting back on the long-injured back of the Nature Boy. A struggle to the ropes ensued, but Sting dragged him back out to the center of the ring and forced him to quit in the final encounter.



Grade: B

Sting had his hand raised as Mike and I talked about how huge it was for him to win the final match of this legendary rivalry. Flair slowly pulled himself up in the corner, nursing his wounds and coming to terms with his loss. He stared across the ring at Sting, who halted his celebration to stare back. After a long pause, Sting marched towards Ric---and held his hand out.

Flair stared blankly at Sting, and then accepted the handshake! He raised Sting's arm up in the air, and the fans reacted. I think they were mostly waiting for the oh so familiar swerve, but it never came. Not tonight at least.



Grade: B+
Quote:

"Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner (w/Midajah) vs. Booker T {©}

Before the match we aired a recap video, showing Steiner beating Booker for his first world title win in November, Booker regaining the title on the final TNT Nitro, and then the build to this match. Special emphasis was placed on the idea that Booker was heading in at less than 100%.


Grade: B+

We had a clear direction in mind for this match: Steiner works on the shoulder, Booker tries to battle through the pain. The problem was that the majority of Scott's offense works the neck, so the in-ring action didn't always fit with the intended story. This problem wasn't helped by my continued focus on the shoulder while doing color despite Steiner using mostly suplexes, clotheslines and slams. All of this was only a minor issue though, and not enough to truly drag the match down. The in-ring action was excellent and the fans were into this match from the beginning. Even if I think the match would've been even greater if we could've done a better job at telling the story we'd been building to all along, it was still damn good and a solid PPV main event, every bit the equal of the Misterio vs. Storm match from last month.

Booker fought out of a fujiwara armbar (back to the shoulder!) and stunned Scotty with elbows to the face, but Scott sidestepped a Harlem sidekick that struck ref Nick Patrick instead. Booker looked down at the ref in concern and Scott kicked him below the belt, then dumped him on his head with the old Steiner Screw Driver (SSD). It's a risky but very visually impressive move, and I told Scott to work it back into his arsenal here and there on some of the bigger shows. He laid on top of Booker and had him pinned for much more than three seconds, but there was no referee to count it. Charles Robinson came running out from the back and slid in to count once...


twice...





...Booker gets a shoulder up just before the three! Scott yelled at Charles for not coming out sooner, and Robinson cowered in the corner as the Genetic Freak got in his face. He regained his composure and turned his attention back to the match, but Booker was ready and waiting and dropped him with the Harlem sidekick. He went up top and hit the Harlem Hangover to retain the title, though obviously not without controversy given the visual pinfall Scott had moments before.



Grade: B+


Show Overall Grade: B+

Last edited by The Final Countdown : 07-19-2017 at 04:46 PM.
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