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[1996-06-16-WCW-Great American Bash] Chris Benoit vs Kevin Sullivan (Falls Count Anywhere)


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I obviously don't have this set yet, but I did watch this match last night and rambled about it in my blog earlier today. I'm a pretty huge fan of it.

 

 

Okay so I don't know the exact story between these two, but I know there was some real-life drama that had something to do with Nancy and, I think, an affair with Chris. Never really bothered to look into it so I'm not gonna bother talking about it here when it all boils down to these two HATING each other, anyway. I mean this is serious hatred.

 

Sullivan is a guy that I've never really payed much attention to as a worker other than that appearance on the Memphis set and, of course, this feud with Benoit. But I watched two matches vs. Benoit last night and I came away thinking "Man, that guy is great at going to the eyes." Eye gouges, eye pokes, eye rakes, it all looks real nasty. It's probably because he's tossed the "working" aspect out the window and he's really trying to gouge Benoit's eye out, but still. At one point there's a close up of him sticking a thumb in his eye and there's nothing half-assed about this. Looks like he's really trying to get it in there and spoon out the eyeball. I'll choose to read this as him going the extra mile to make it look real since they in amongst the crowd and everything. I'd be wrong, but it won't be the first time. There's basically tonnes of instances of Sullivan doing shit - not limited to going for the eyes - that one could choose to read as him being an unprofessional douche. But then again Benoit is banging his wife. Is he? I don't know. Benoit goes along with it all and seems harrowingly willing to take as hideous a beating as Sullivan wants to give him, and from time to time he'll decide to give it right back.

 

It's probably also the definitive "Dusty spazzes out on commentary" show as he is just totally hilarious at several points.

 

Starts out with Benoit clotheslining Sullivan right in the face as Sullivan's making his way towards the ring, and then they just start punching the crap out of each other. Before long (like, a minute) they're in the crowd and heading up the steps. There's no "I'll grab your hair and walk you wherever I want to take you while you do nothing about it" bullshit like you see in Japan all the time these days; they're punching each other in the face and FIGHTING their way up the step. Then they wind up in the bathroom. Benoit really takes a horrendous beating. Sullivan eats a shot off a cubicle door and kinda gets thrown into a wall, but Benoit's taking full throttle shots to the head with a cubicle door, getting launched into walls and repeatedly having his eyes poked and gouged at. Dusty drops this corker: "Taskmaster is in his element, right here in the john, if you will, right here in Baltimore, Maryland." Six stars. Then Sullivan tries to stick Benoit's head in a urinal and we get the classic "HEAD FIRST IN THE COMMODE!" line from Schiavone. Any other time and that's bound to be the line of the night, but a few seconds later Dusty spies some woman and he completely flips. "THERE'TH A LADEH! THERE'TH A LADEH IN THE MEN'TH BATHROOM! RIGHT HERE! THERE ITH A LADEH IN THE MEN'TH JOHN RIGHT HERE IN BALTIMOW. *silence...silence* CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! SHE DONE STOPPED AWF! SHE GOT TO GET SOME RELIEF HERE, BABEH!" A million trillion stars.

 

Back outside the bathroom they have this incredible fist fight and Sullivan is just railing off and cracking Benoit with total barfight punches right to the eye. There was one flurry that would've made Tenryu hot under the collar. This is also where they start fighting over a garbage can and Dusty's off and running about plunder. "Dey be gettin' plunder, Toneh." We're more than half way through the match at this point and you could start an honest to goodness drinking game for every time Dusty says plunder. Back down the stairs they go and Sullivan just heaves Benoit down the steps. Twice. "Boy you tawk about bad intentions in two guys' eyeballth." First time looks nasty enough, but the second time is borderline ridiculous. I mean Sullivan clearly does not give a shit. Then he goes ahead and stomps flush on Benoit's dick, just because. Dusty - "Well, uh... might'been a little low."

 

They've really beat the piss out of each other by the time they make it back to ringside, but what's great is that they haven't once bothered to attempt a pin. And they're still hucking chairs and crotching the other on the guard rail right up until Benoit brings a table out from under the ring. "We got sut'm comin' out right here. Goin' for plunder. There's no plunder sayfe!" And then Benoit throws his plunder at Sullivan's head. Benoit sets the table up across the top turnbuckle and Dusty's all "He's tryin'a get his plunder right, nah mean?" Finish is basically a superplex from a raised platform, but even that move looks way more nasty than usual.

 

Post-match Benoit continues the beating and Arn Anderson hits the scene. They've been teasing Arn turning on the Horsemen and joining the Dungeon of Doom for a little while and the crowd doesn't know what to make of it when Arn grabs his stable mate and tosses him off of Sullivan. Crowd thinks he's with Sullivan and Hart... then he punts Sullivan in the ribs and the crowd POPS. "This place is gone crazeh! Somebody git mah medicine." Mine too, Dream. Mine too.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The woman showing up in the men's room is hysterical and every time I watch this match, it has me in stitches and I have to pause the DVD to stop laughing. It's so hard to focus on anything else going on because that gets me every time and I end up laughing so hard I'm in tears, especially by Dusty's reaction.

 

I wish this crowd for this show could be bottled up to be the audience for every wrestling show ever because they are so great.

 

Anyway, I never cared much for this match, but it's another match with great booking that put Benoit over huge, and I love the post-match re-strengthening the Horsemen, which sets up a key moment later in the show. This is a reminder that the Benoit/Sullivan feud started off as a booker with good intentions trying to get over a talented wrestler and playing to his strengths. It didn't end that way, but that's how it started and initially, it worked.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sullivan did an amazing job putting Benoit over as a killer, no pun intended. Funny how revisionnist history would tell that WCW never pushed Benoit yaddi yaddi yadda.

The greatest thing about this match is obviously, Dusty's call of the woman in the bathroom. Just classic. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

Thinking this came almost back to back with the first Mysterio match, and before the big nWo puts Eric through the platform angle/New Horsemen angle, it's amazing how much great things WCW had going on. This PPV was the turning point to me, WCW was clearly on fire from this point on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having a toilet door slammed on your unprotected head just can't be fun. The restroom was the scene of plenty of action and not a lot of resting. Dusty spotted a woman in the men's room for the first time in his life. She wasn't even cleaning. The combatants kept on stiffing each other for a very tight 10m. Memorable and entertaining.

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  • 11 months later...

This might be the high watermark for Dusty as announcer. "THERE IS A WOMAN IN THE MEN'S JOHN HERE IN BALT-A-MOH! ... SHE SAID, 'I GOT TO GET SOME RELIEF, BABY!' ... GO 'CROSS THE HALL, SEE WHAT THE UTHA WUN LOOKS LIKE!" He's having the time of his life. Certainly this was more crowd-pleasing than the Cruiserweight match, and it may well be the WCW high watermark for Benoit as well. Listen to that pop for the win and tell me he couldn't connect with an audience. And then Arn's "save" that turns into a further beatdown almost blows the roof off the place. A million billion stars indeed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chris Benoit vs Kevin Sullivan - WCW Great American Bash 1996

 

Two years in a row (they make it three the following year with Page/Savage II), the Great American Bash delivers another a great brawl between two opponents that hate each other. Benoit picking up the slack for the departed Pillman challenges The Taskmaster in a falls count anywhere match. Obviously, the match is most famous for the fight in the Men's Bathroom and Dusty's hysterical call of the woman in the men's bathroom. It features some really good action from Sullivan. I loved his short right jab to Benoit's eye. He was just nasty this entire fight with eye gouges, slamming the stall door on Benoit's head and throwing Benoit down a flight of stairs. Hell, my favorite part was probably the double stomp on the bathroom floor. I think Tony's call of a cover near the commode is pretty funny too. The reason I don't think this is an all-time great brawl was a surprising one. I did not feel like Benoit's comeback or offense had a lot of fire. I think Benoit's greatest strength is that he is an awesome asskicker. I just did not feel like he is kicking much ass in this match. Sullivan was also taking bumps really gingerly so maybe he was trying to protect Sully. Loved Dusty's call of "You just gotta that plundah, right, baby" when Benoit was mounting the table in the corner. Superplex off the table gets a huge pop, which strikes me as weird because it was not any extra height, it was just extra dangerous because table wobbled. Maybe Benoit was just that over! He definitely was not with the Sturgis crowd. AA proves he is Horsemen 4 Life when he kicks The Taskmaster ass and the crowd pops mad. Very entertaining match. ***1/2

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  • 2 months later...

Really fun brawl but probably too short to be a great match overall. The action was intense and unique and Dusty's commentary still holds up as a highlight. Yet, while rewatching, this didn't feel all that different from something like Simmons vs. Jack from SuperBrawl besides Dusty commentary and the bathroom gag. So while this is a lot of fun to watch and a really good match, it does fall short of the great status and I do feel it has been overrated in some circles over time. ***1/2

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  • 2 years later...
  • GSR changed the title to [1996-06-16-WCW-Great American Bash] Chris Benoit vs Kevin Sullivan (Falls Count Anywhere)

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