Great American Bash was the second oldest annual pay-per-view event in World Championship Wrestling (second only to Starrcade). The inaugural Great American Bash was in Charlotte, NC, in July 1985, headlined by NWA Television champion Dusty Rhodes versus Tully Blanchard in a steel cage (it was not on pay-per-view). The following year, Great American Bash became an inter-state tour stretching from Philadelphia, PA, to Altanta, GA. The next year, the Great American Bash tour expanded to several more states.
Great American Bash made its pay-per-view debut on July 10, 1988, where it became an annual event through 2000 (sans 1993). In 1994, WCW modified its name to "Bash at the Beach" (merging the names of Beach Blast and Great American Bash) for the first pay-per-view match between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.
In 2004, Great American Bash became the first event to cross promotions when World Wrestling Entertainment hosted its first Great American Bash. In 2009, WWE simplified its name to The Bash in order to add appeal to its global audience.
Below is the complete list of each year's events with the headlining match listed:
- 1985: NWA World champion Ric Flair beat Nikita Koloff.
- 1986 tour: Various cards between July 1st and August 2nd
- 1987 tour: Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, LOD & Paul Ellering beat the Four Horsemen in War Games.
- 1988: NWA World champion Ric Flair beat Lex Luger by decision due to blood loss.
- 1989: NWA World champion Ric Flair pinned Terry Funk to retain.
- 1990: Sting pinned NWA World champion Ric Flair for the title.
- 1991: Lex Luger beat Barry Windham to win the vacant WCW Championship.
- 1992: Big Van Vader pinned WCW Champion Sting to win the title.
- 1994: Hulk Hogan pinned WCW Champion Ric Flair to win the WCW title.
- 1995: Ric Flair beat Randy Savage with Angelo Poffo ringside on Father's Day.
- 1996: WCW Champion Giant defeated Lex Luger to retain.
- 1997: Randy Savage beat Diamond Dallas Page in a Texas Death match.
- 1998: WCW Champion Hulk Hogan & Bret Hart beat Randy Savage & Roddy Piper.
- 1999: WCW Champion Kevin Nash beat Randy Savage by disqualification.
- 2000: WCW Champion Jeff Jarrett defeated Kevin Nash.
- 2004: JBL beat WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero in a Texas Bullrope match.
- 2005: JBL beat World Champion Batista by disqualification.
- 2006: King Booker beat World champion Rey Mysterio to win the title.
- 2007: WWE Champion John Cena pinned Bobby Lashley to retain.
- 2008: WWE Champion Triple H pinned Edge to retain.
- 2009: WWE Champion Randy Orton beat HHH in a Three Stages of Hell match.
Many of the NWA/WCW Great American Bash pay-per-view events were held in the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, MD.