The Best of The Great American Bash DVD Review
By Ben Spindler
Posted On 25-07-2014 10:52 GMT
Tags: WWE, WCW, Great American Bash, DVD, Ric Flair, Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Randy Savage, DDP

When I reviewed ‘WCW’s Greatest Pay-Per-View Matches Volume 1’ earlier this year, I was glad to see more content from WCW’s past being released and anticipated further releases to come. Here we are just a few months later and this collection, ‘The Best of the Great American Bash’ has been put out by WWE and once again, this is a fine compilation of matches including matches exclusively from one of the most prestigious nights in WCW’s calendar each year.

Dusty Rhodes is an apt presenter of this collection given his involvement in many of the matches either as an in-ring competitor or colour commentator. The links he does between matches take place in a Great American Bash themed NXT arena which is a nice touch.

It should also be pointed out early on, that WWE have resisted the temptation to include anything from the ‘revival’ of Great American Bash that took place in WWE in the middle part of the 2000s, so everything on show here is from the original WCW presentations.

Disc 1 begins with action from the early days of WCW pay-per-view and though the action on show is of a very high calibre in general (especially for the time) the overall presentation is hindered, not aided, by the ‘special’ commentary included, added by Dusty Rhodes and Larry Zbysko.

In particular Dusty Rhodes legendary cage match with Ric Flair for the NWA Title at Bash ‘86 is a heated and dramatic encounter, which deserves inclusion for those who’ve not seen it yet.

The War Games matches of WCW are not universally great brawls, but in the early days they were thrilling battles, the likes of which had not been seen before- that is the case with the one that took place at Bash ’87 where Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering take on Horsemen members Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon.

It’s not wall to wall brilliance mind you, Flair’s match with Nikita Koloff at Bash ’85 and The Road Warriors collision with Sting & Lex Luger at Bash ’88 are only okay.

Disc 2 picks up the story with 3 fantastic singles matches that took place at the event in 1989 and 1990- the first being a gripping fast paced encounter between Sting and The Great Muta, the 2nd being Ric Flair and Terry Funk’s intense battle on the same night. These are then followed by the famous collision where Flair put Sting over in a symbolic passing of the torch. All three matches are of the highest standard and play before awesome heat.

WCW’s ‘dark years’ of the early 1990s are represented by a good tag match pitting Steve Austin and Rick Rude against Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes, and a World Title match between Sting and Big Van Vader which is also well worth a look.

Disc 3 moves us forward to the Bischoff years and includes two very good Randy Savage matches (against Ric Flair and DDP), 3 excellent Cruiserweight contests (Ultimo Dragon vs. Psicosis, Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero and Dean Malenk vs. Chris Jericho) and then a couple of offerings that, isolated from their surroundings (the Russo era was in full effect) are perfectly serviceable (involving DDP vs. Mike Awesome and Jeff Jarrett vs. Kevin Nash).

One interesting note at this point are the “we want Flair!” chants that ring out intermittently during Eddie and Chavo’s match which were a reaction to Flair’s lawsuit against the company at the time and was keeping him from appearing on screen- the “CM Punk” chants from the last few months are nothing new in wrestling.

Ultimately, there is enough quality yet to be released from WCW’s back catalogue that, so long as someone isn’t merely sticking a pin in blindfolded, match compilations made from the library should all live up to expectations. And that’s what you have got here, maybe not quite at the same level as WCW’s Greatest Pay Per View Matches Volume 1, but certainly not far away.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Tags: WWE, WCW, Great American Bash, DVD, Ric Flair, Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Randy Savage, DDP




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