Since 1985 The Great American Bash has seen 22 events take place under its banner. Over the years top stars such as Ric Flair, The Undertaker, Triple, H, Terry Funk, and Sting have all headlined the event. Here is every Great American Bash main event ranked from worst to best.
24. The Great American Bash 20-Man Battle Royal to determine the guest General Manager for the following week’s SmackDown – Super SmackDown LIVE: The Great American Bash
Despite being an episode of SmackDown, it was still branded as a Great American Bash event so it is included on this list. Considering the calibre of events we’ve seen in the past, having a Battle Royale to determine who will be GM for one week is a huge letdown. There simply isn’t anything positive to say about this.
23. Jeff Jarrett (c) vs Kevin Nash (WCW World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 2000
By the year 2000, WCW was on its last legs and barely clinging on. By this point, wrestlers such as Kevin Nash had checked out and were just collecting a paycheck, with very little effort going into their performances, so as expected this was a huge disappointment.
22. John Cena (c) vs Bobby Lashley (WWE Championship) – The Great American Bash 2007
In 2007 we were still in the era of John Cena being pushed to the moon and being virtually undefeatable, couple with Lashley still being fairly new to the business and it was a largely forgettable match that you wouldn’t miss out on if you skipped. Today, Lashley is a seasoned veteran and eventually did become WWE Champion in 2021.
21. The Undertaker vs The Dudley Boyz (Handicap Concrete Crypt match) – The Great American Bash 2004
A rather strange match, 2004’s event saw The Undertaker face The Dudley Boyz in a handicap match in which if the Dudleyz won then Paul Bearer would be buried in concrete. In reality, the scenes were pre-recorded with a stunt double inside the crypt during the match. And then at the end of the match, The Undertaker buried Paul Bearer anyway, a very odd match.
20. Kevin Nash (c) vs Randy Savage (WCW World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 1999
By 1999 the Macho Man was well past his prime, and Kevin Nash was never a very nimble competitor, which resulted in a very slow and clunky match that just wasn’t very entertaining to watch.
19. Rick Steiner vs Arn Anderson and Paul E. Dangerously (Handicap Steel Cage Match) – The Great American Bash 1991
Non-wrestlers should really stay out of matches, it rarely ends well. Paul Heyman is one of the greatest minds in the history of professional wrestling, but in the ring…not so much. It was also incredibly short, likely due to Heyman’s lack of experience in the ring. It was originally scheduled to be a Tag Team Match with Missy Hyatt as Steiner’s partner but the Athletic Commission wouldn’t allow males and females to compete against each other so this has to be changed.
18. Terry Gordy and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams vs Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham (Tournament final for the inaugural NWA World Tag Team Championship) – The Great American Bash 1992
Overall, it wasn’t a bad match, but it was very clear that Terry Gordy’s best days were behind him at this point. It is a shame the match wasn’t better than it was considering the level of talent involved in it.
17. The Giant (c) vs Lex Luger (WCW World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 1996
What do you get when you put a 7-foot giant, granted he was very athletic for his size, in the ring with someone who just never was very good? A very awkward, clunky, and disappointing match. 1996 WCW had some incredible talent on the roster, they could have done much better with the booking.
16. Sting vs The Giant (For control of the WCW World Tag Team Championship) – The Great American Bash 1998
Both Sting and The Giant were great wrestlers at the time, but this match ended up being a short 6-minute match with a really odd story of being a singles match for the Tag Team Championship.
15. Batista (c) vs John “Bradshaw” Layfield (World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 2005
A few months prior to this match Batista had won the World Heavyweight Championship and was now standing tall in the Smackdown brand. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the best performer in this time period, with him only being in the wrestling business a few years by this point. Canadian Online Explorer rated this match a 3/10 and we’d be inclined to agree.
14. Ric Flair (c) vs Lex Luger (NWA World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 1988
I never expected to put a Ric Flair match from the 1980s this low on the list, but when looking at his opponent it makes more sense. Lex Lugar was never a very good wrestler, and certainly not at the level as many of the top opponents that Flair would face at other Great American Bash events.
13. Diamond Dallas Page vs Randy Savage (Falls Count Anywhere Match) – The Great American Bash 1997
The main event of Great American Bash 1997 saw the Macho Man defeat DDP in a Falls Count Anywhere Match after interference from The Outsiders. It was an ok match, not great but not terrible either. It is certainly worth a watch, but I wouldn’t necessarily go out of your way to check it out.
12. Io Shirai vs Sasha Banks – NXT: The Great American Bash 2020 Night 1
The Women’s Revolution is one of the best things to happen to professional wrestling for a long time. After years of women’s matches being relegated to 2-minute bathroom break matches, they are finally being given the opportunity to show what we’ve been missing and Io Shirai and Sasha Banks did just that at Great American Bash 2020. It is always fun to see main roster talent head back to their old stomping grounds NXT to wrestle some of the next big stars.
11. Rey Mysterio (c) vs King Booker (World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 2006
The 2 former WCW wrestlers were finally on the top of the mountain when Great American Bash 2006 rolled around. It was a travesty that such top tier talent was held down for so long and it was great to finally see them getting their dues in WWE during the 2000s.
10. Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage – The Great American Bash 1995
The Nature Boy faced off against the Macho Man in a really good match. While some of Savage’s performances at Great American Bash were a bit disappointing, this one certainly wasn’t and you should go and check this one out.
9. Triple H (c) vs Edge (WWE Championship) – The Great American Bash 2008
The Game took on the Rated R-Superstar in 2008 for the WWE Championship in a fantastic championship match. Both Superstars were at the top of their game at this point and it is a match you need to check out.
8. Tully Blanchard (c) vs Dusty Rhodes (Steel cage match for the NWA World Television Championship) – The Great American Bash 1985
The main event of the very first Great American Bash event saw Tully Blanchard defend the NWA TV title against The American Dream. With it being the first Bash event, Jim Crockett Promotions went all out for this event, leading to a fantastic main event.
7. Randy Orton (c) vs Triple H (Three Stages of Hell Match for the WWE Championship) – The Bash 2009
Branded as The Bash, the 2009 event saw the former Evolution members face off in a Three Stages of Hell Match, a 2/3 falls match which sees each bout have a different stipulation, with the first being a regular singles match, the second a Falls Count Anywhere, and the third being a Stretcher Match.
6. NXT Champion Adam Cole vs North American Champion Keith Lee in a Winner Takes All Match – NXT: The Great American Bash 2020 Night 2
Night 2 of Great American Bash 2020 saw Adam Cole face Keith Lee in a truly incredible match. Both Superstars were at the top of their game at the time and this is a highlight of wrestling in 2020.
5. Dusty Rhodes (c) vs Ric Flair (NWA World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 1986
Dusty Rhodes vs Ric Flair is one of the greatest rivalry’s of the 1980s and this match is a great example of why. The two wrestlers had great natural chemistry both in and out of the ring, this is 80s wrestling at its finest.
4. Adam Cole vs Kyle O’Reilly – NXT: The Great American Bash 2021
The second NXT branded Great American Bash event saw the 2-former Undisputed Era members face off in one of the best modern NXT matches. These two worked incredibly well as a team, but also have the ability to put on classic matches while facing each other.
3. Ric Flair (c) vs Terry Funk (NWA World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 1989
While most people remember Terry Funk as being middle-aged and crazy, he was also a fantastic wrestler before becoming known as a Hardcore Legend. In 1989 he faced off against the Nature Boy in one of the best matches of his career.
2. The Road Warriors (Animal and Hawk), Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, and Paul Ellering vs The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, and Tully Blanchard) and The War Machine (WarGames Match) – The Great American Bash 1987
The Great American Bash 1987 saw the War Games match be used for the first time, with a cage surrounding two rings and wrestlers entering the ring at set intervals. Overall, the match was fantastic and one of the best NWA matches of the year, with the War Games frequently being used by Jim Crockett Promotions/WCW is later years, and now by WWE in their NXT brand.
1. Ric Flair (c) vs Sting (NWA World Heavyweight Championship) – The Great American Bash 1990
The match that put Sting on the map as the face of WCW. After many months of being built up as a top star, Sting finally captured the NWA Championship at the event, a crowning achievement for the young star that would go on to have one of the most successful wrestling careers of all time.