Running Time: 430mins (7hrs 10mins)
Disc 1 Chapters
- Bringing the Game Up a Level
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair v Nikita Koloff – Charlotte, NC (July 6th, 1985) with exclusive commentary provided by Dusty Rhodes & Larry Zbyszko
- #1 Contender’s Match for the NWA World Tag Team Championship: Rock N’ Roll Express v Arn & Ole Anderson – Greensboro, NC (July 26th, 1986) with exclusive commentary provided by Dusty Rhodes & Larry Zbyszko
- Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair v Dusty Rhodes – Charlotte, NC (July 26th, 1986) with exclusive commentary provided by Dusty Rhodes & Larry Zbyszko
- Victory is Mine!
- War Games Match: The Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff & Paul Ellering v Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger & JJ Dillon – Atlanta, GA (July 4th, 1987)
- The Mighty Road Warriors
- Sting & Lex Luger v Road Warriors – Charlotte, NC (July, 1988) with exclusive commentary provided by Dusty Rhodes & Larry Zbyszko
Disc 2 Chapters
- Double Header
- NWA World Television Championship Match: Sting v The Great Muta – Baltimore, MD (July 23rd, 1989)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair v Terry Funk – Baltimore, MD (July 23rd, 1989)
- Birth of an Icon
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair v Sting – Baltimore, MD (July 7th, 1990)
- Steiner Brothers v The Fabulous Freebirds – Baltimore, MD (July 7th, 1990)
- Tag Team Turmoil
- Quarter Finals Match in the NWA Tag Team Title Tournament: Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham v “Stunning” Steve Austin & Rick Rude – Albany, GA (July 12th, 1992)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sting v Vader – Albany, GA (July 12th, 1992)
Disc 3 Chapters
- Getting Back on Track
- Macho Man Randy Savage v Ric Flair – Dayton, OH (June 18th, 1995)
- Afraid of Outlaws
- WCW Responds to The Outsiders’ Challenge – Baltimore, MD (June 16th, 1996)
- Falls Count Anywhere Match: Diamond Dallas Page v Macho Man Randy Savage – Moline, IL (June 15th, 1997)
- Things Only Genies Could Conjure Up
- Ultimo Dragon v Psicosis – Moline, IL (June 15th, 1997)
- Chavo Guerrero v Eddie Guerrero – Baltimore, MD (June 14th, 1998)
- WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match: Dean Malenko v Chris Jericho – Baltimore, MD (June 14th, 1998)
- “Rowdy” Roddy Piper & “Macho Man” Randy Savage v “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan & Bret “Hit Man” Hart – Baltimore, MD (June 14th, 1998)
- Somebody Call Me an Ambulance!
- Ambulance Match: Diamond Dallas Page v Mike Awesome – Baltimore, MD (June 11th, 2000)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Jeff Jarrett v Kevin Nash – Baltimore, MD (June 11th, 2000)
- Ups, Downs, Heartbreaks & Laughter
Whether it’s coincidence or whether it was part of a ploy to convince Sting to finally sign a contract with WWE, the promotion has upped their output of WCW retrospectives in the last couple of years.
We had The Rise & Fall of WCW, two Best of Nitros, a look at Starrcade’s legacy, the history of The Clash, a War Games collection, the best PPV matches and career profiles on Goldberg and The nWo. With the recent turn of events, a Sting profile release can’t be too far in the future.
Before that though we have a look at another WCW tradition; The Great American Bash.
Originally a supershow, then ,for a brief period, an actual touring attraction (there were THIRTEEN events under the GAB banner in 1986), before settling down to the once-per-year PPV event we know and love, The Great American Bash has a history of brutal matches, star-making turns and top quality wrestling.
This set wisely avoids the WWE reboot of the name that took place from 2004-2009 and sticks to the NWA and WCW eras for the entirety of the set.
Of course, the further back in time we go, the worse the audio and visual quality is going to be, but in the places where it does seem to be a bit rough round the edges, it actually adds to the grittiness of the action going on inside the ring.
The only match I would consider bad is Nash v Jarrett and for a set containing 19 matches, that’s a good run.
For me, the top five matches are (in no order) -:
- War Games 1987
- DDP v Savage
- Sting v Vader
- Flair v Dusty
- Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham v “Stunning” Steve Austin & Rick Rude
There is a great mix from a lot of different styles across the various NWA and WCW eras, with blood feuds, wild brawls, cruiserweight magic, tag-team action and everything inbetween getting at least one outing over the three discs.
WCW gets a lot of stick for it’s later years (and mostly it is deserved), but it has a great history loaded with great wrestlers and it’s fantastic that newer fans are getting a chance to be introduced to it with these collections.
Guys like Rick Rude, Sting, Vader, in-his-prime Ric Flair, the pre-Stone Cold version of Steve Austin, Nikiti Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Ole & Arn Anderson, NWA-era Road Warriors and the young Great Muta would probably be lost in the mists of time if it wasn’t for WWE releasing these collections and we should be thankful for that.
The fans who missed out (and all aspiring wrestlers) should consume as much of the old footage as they can as the territory system means this is the only real way to learn from that period of time. Study what worked, what didn’t and get an understanding that when you do the move and, ultimately why you did the move will always be more important than the move itself.
Long may WWE mine their video library and provide wrestling fans with the history lessons they deserve.
The set I reviewed was the DVD edition, but I feel it’s only fair to mention that if you buy the Blu-Ray version, you get the following additional content -:
- Steel Cage Match: Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA & Baby Doll v The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette – Charlotte, NC (July 5th, 1986) with exclusive commentary provided by Dusty Rhodes & Larry Zbyszko
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair v Lex Luger – Baltimore, MD (July 10th, 1988)
- Russian Chain Match: Sting v Nikita Koloff – Baltimore, MD (June 14th, 1991)
- Kevin Greene & Steve McMichael v Ric Flair & Arn Anderson – Baltimore, MD (June 16th, 1996)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kevin Nash v Macho Man Randy Savage – Baltimore, MD (June 13th, 1999)