The top five moments in Great American Bash history

WWE (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
WWE (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

NXT Great American Bash is around the corner and that makes it the perfect time to look back at the biggest moments of this historic event.

The Great American Bash for many wrestling fans was a summertime tradition.  Fireworks, outdoor events, and of course professional wrestling.  One of the biggest shows of the year for Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW. An event so big an argument could be made it was the second biggest show of the year only behind Starrcade.

With the Great American Bash comes many moments that wrestling fans remember from when they were children.  But what are the top moments?  In this article, I’m going to give you what I feel are the top five moments in the history of this showcase event.

Some moments had controversy written all over them and some moments were exciting and even breathtaking.  So, sit back in your favorite lawn chair, get the barbecue going, and let’s take a trip down memory lane as I give you my choices of the five greatest moments at the Great American Bash.

5. “We Want Flair!” Great American Bash 1991

The main event for the 1991 Great American Bash was going to be Ric Flair defending the WCW World Heavyweight Title against Lex Luger in a steel cage.  This was finally going to be the time that Luger beats Flair and becomes the new champion.  However, that match never happened.

In the weeks leading up to the event, Ric Flair had been in negotiations with the WCW Executive Vice President Jim Herd over a new contract.  We all know the story, Herd wanted to change Flair’s character and Flair wasn’t a fan of Jim Herd.  There were even plans for Flair to lose the title before the show even happened, but they could never agree on a conclusion.

So just two weeks before the show, Flair was fired and stripped of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.  A new match was made as Lex Luger would face Barry Windham for the title.  After the first match, you could hear the fans chanting “We Want Flair!” and they can be easily heard during the opening minutes of the steel cage match as fans chanted “We Want Flair!”.

While the fans were heard, WCW continued doing business the rest of the year but one decision and one chant haunted Jim Herd the rest of the time he oversaw WCW.

4. Eric Bischoff gets Powerbombed Great American Bash 1996

A few weeks prior to the 1996 Great American Bash a couple of “outsiders” appeared on television and were going to start a war with WCW.  Scott Hall and Kevin Nash wanted to have a match with three of the best wrestlers in WCW.  Eric Bischoff would have a meeting prior to the show and would give Hall & Nash an answer at the event.

When it came time, Bischoff didn’t have an answer for Hall & Nash as far as a challenge.  So, Hall & Nash took it upon themselves to send a message to everybody in WCW.  Nash kicked Bischoff and gave him a powerbomb off the stage.

This was a shocking moment as we’d never seen an authority figure get attacked in such a manner, but it had wrestling fans talking.  This one move would be the set up for an incredible event the following month and made for some great television.

3. The Birth of the War Games Great American Bash 1987

Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen had been running rough shot on the NWA for almost two years and it didn’t seem like there was anything that could stop them.  But from the creative mind of Dusty Rhodes came a new match.  A match that would change how a steel cage match can be and change the future of professional wrestling.

According to Dusty Rhodes, the War Games match was inspired by the 1985 movie “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”.  The match would be unique for a lot of reasons including a roof on the top of the cage, two teams of five competing and the match can only end by submission or surrender.

On July 4, 1987, the War Games made its debut.  Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger & J.J. Dillon would face Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, the Road Warriors & Paul Ellering in the first-ever War Games.  The fans were not disappointed.  Violence ensued as men were bleeding, bruised, and J.J. Dillon was injured as his shoulder was separated in the final moments of the match.

The War Games were a success.  Ever since that night the War Games has become a staple of professional wrestling.  WCW continued to use the War Games match until it closed in 2001.  From WWE to Ring of Honor to AEW, the War Games still exist today.  No matter what the match is called, the DNA of the War Games still runs in professional wrestling.

2. Dusty Rhodes wins the NWA World Heavyweight Title Great American Bash 1986

In 1986 Dusty Rhodes was chasing Ric Flair everywhere to win the NWA World Heavyweight Title for a third time.  After so many close calls, Rhodes finally got the match he wanted.

On the final night of the Great American Bash tour, Rhodes and Flair would compete inside a steel cage for the NWA World Heavyweight Title.  The crowd was hot thinking this could be the night.  A grueling back-and-forth match in the summer heat saw both men do everything they could to win the title.

In the end, Rhodes was able to get a small package pin on Flair to win and become the new champion.  The ring would fill up with wrestlers from the locker room celebrating as Rhodes had finally achieved his dream.

The fans went wild as Rhodes climbed the top rope and showed the belt to his fans, finally realizing his dream one more time.  Dusty Rhodes had finally beaten Ric Flair and became champion for the third time.

1.    Sting wins the NWA World Heavyweight Title Great American Bash 1990

Going into 1990, Sting was the most popular wrestler in the NWA.  He was riding high and had a future title match with his friend Ric Flair.  However, things took a turn for the worse.  A few weeks prior to the scheduled match Flair kicked Sting out of the Four Horsemen and that night injured his knee.

Thankfully, Sting was able to recover and would finally get his match with Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Title.  The stage was set, Sting against Ric Flair with Sting’s friends surrounding the ring.  No one could interfere in the match it was going to be one on one.

The crowd in Baltimore, Maryland could feel that history was about to be made.  In a solid back-and-forth match that saw two of the all-time greats go at it, it was a simple move that won Sting the World Title.  As Ric Flair attempted his figure four leglock, Sting reversed the move into a small package pin to win the match and the title.

The fans went wild as Sting, who had worked so hard and so long, finally beat Ric Flair.  After the match, Sting said that Ric Flair was the greatest champion of all time, and he would be a fighting champion.  But this was Sting’s moment.  He achieved the pinnacle of his profession, winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

What are your favorite Great American Bash moments?  Do you agree or disagree with anything on this list?  Let us know.

History has always been made at the Great American Bash and no doubt will continue to be made.  But these moments, these five are moments that will last through time and be told in future generations.  These are the moments that truly define the Great American Bash.

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