Paul Bearer Great American Bash
Photo Credit: WWE

Top 5 Great American Bash Events

The Great American Bash has a rich history that dates back to 1985. The show has been held under multiple banners, ranging from Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW to WWE and NXT. After several years of dormancy, WWE brought Great American Bash as an NXT event in 2020. Originally, it was held as a special episode of NXT, but this year’s event will be a standalone show.

With Great American Bash regaining its status as a premium live event, let’s take a look at the top five shows throughout its history.

This list isn’t purely based on which event had the best matches. Historical significance, overall depth, personal bias, and other factors also came into play.

Randy Savage Great American Bash
Image Credit: WWE

WCW The Great American Bash 1995: Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair

The Great American Bash 1995 was carried by a classic bout between Ric Flair and Randy Savage, two all-time greats. Savage was still at the point in his career where he was still one of the best, as was Flair. They crafted a great story in the match, and Savage’s selling helped sell it beautifully. Flair scored the win, but the real winners were the fans for getting to see top-notch wrestling and storytelling.

The card also featured Sting beating Meng to win the WCW United States Championship and Alex Wright defeating Brian Pillman, both of which were solid matches.

Rey Mysterio Dean Malenko Great American Bash
Image Credit: WWE

WCW The Great American Bash 1996 – The Giant vs. Lex Luger

More than anything else, this show earned a spot on this list because it marked Rey Mysterio’s WCW debut. As a result, its historical significance is undeniable. In his first WCW match, he had an excellent bout with Dean Malenko. The card also featured a good tag team bout between Ric Flair and Arn Anderson and Kevin Greene and Steve McMichael.

In terms of the main event, WCW was building The Giant as an unstoppable champion, so the match wasn’t a classic. However, the card gets points for a solid match between Lord Steven Regal and Sting, and a good outing from Diamond Dallas Page and Marcus Alexander Bagwell.

Paul Bearer WWE Great American Bash
Image Credit: WWE

WWE The Great American Bash 2004 – Undertaker vs. The Dudley Boyz in a Concrete Crypt Match

Is Great American Bash 2004 in “so bad, it’s good” territory? In some ways, perhaps. Paul Bearer getting buried in concrete after The Undertaker beat The Dudley Boyz is one of WWE’s most infamous closing angles. The match itself wasn’t much to write home about. However, the cement burial has stood the test of time, at least in the sense that it’s hard to forget.

Elsewhere, the Bullrope Match between JBL and Eddie Guerrero was a brutal bout that left Layfield a bloody mess. JBL scored the win and ended Guerrero’s only world title reign in WWE. Guerrero delivered a great performance, as always, while JBL’s win cemented his status as the next top guy on SmackDown. The win is significant because John Cena was the one who later dethroned him.

The card also featured a great Cruiserweight Championship match between Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero.

Triple H WWE The Bash 2009
Image Credit: WWE

WWE The Bash 2009 – Randy Orton vs. Triple H in a Three Stages of Hell Match

Some bias admittedly came into play here, as thinking back to the late 2000s makes this writer nostalgic. For this pick, it was a toss-up between 2008 and 2009, as both years had fun cards. This one made the list mostly because of the great Title vs. Mask match between Rey and Chris Jericho, which is certainly worth a rewatch.

Otherwise, though the match ended with a disqualification, the bout between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy told a compelling story. It continued Punk’s gradual heel turn. Plus, Triple H and Randy Orton battled it out in a fun Three Stages of Hell Match.

NXT Great American Bash 2020 – Keith Lee vs. Adam Cole in a Winner Takes All Match

The first edition of NXT Great American Bash was arguably the strongest one the NXT brand has produced so far. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE held the Bash as a two-night TV special. Both cards were star-studded lineups. The first week was headlined by a buzzworthy bout between Io Shirai and Sasha Banks. The two stars stole the show and left fans hungry for more. The card also included a fun strap match between Dexter Lumis and Roderick Strong.

Week two was main-evented by a high-stakes battle between NXT North American Adam Lee and NXT Champion Adam Cole. Lee scored the win in a thrilling match and kicked off a new era in NXT history. His title run didn’t pan out the way many fans hoped it would, but his crowning moment was special. Otherwise, Johnny Gargano battled Isaiah “Swerve” Scott in a fun match, and Candice LeRae clashed with Mia Yim.

What did you think of this list? Did any of your favorite Great American Bash events not make the cut? Sound off in the comments below.