November PPV Countdown: WCW Battlebowl 93

The Netcop Retro Rant for Battlebowl 93. (Ho ho, silly readers, you probably thought I was going to start with World War III ‘95 for my WCW side of things, because you FORGOT about this show.  Much like rock n’ roll, however, I never forget.  OK, maybe not “never”.  More like “sporadically.”)  I did the first Battlebowl last week, so here’s the 1993 version. I’m just that kind of guy. I’m not sure if this one was rigged.  (Well then you’re a big stupidhead who’s just stupid.)  Live from somewhere in Florida, which Tony later informs me is Pensacola.   (The often forgotten third wheel in the Cola Wars.  Mm, delicious Pensa Cola.)  Your hosts are Fat Tony and the Governor of Minnesota. Mean Gene and Fifi the Maid do the drawings. Opening match: Cactus Jack & Vader v. Kane (Stevie Ray) & Charlie Norris. Harlem Heat were still Kane and Kole at this point. Charlie Norris is WCW’s answer to T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-tanka. Everyone beats the crap out of Cactus to start, including his own partner, Vader. (To be fair, Cactus was kind of an anti-social jerk.)  Vader and Jack were feuding at this point. (Specifically they were coming off Vader nearly killing him twice, first with a powerbomb on the concrete on WCW Saturday Night and then basically beating him into kidney dialysis at Halloween Havoc, so, you know, a standard day at the office for Mick Foley.  Although the FIRST MATCH features two feuding guys and I’m “not sure” if it’s rigged or not?!?)  Vader and Jack actually mesh fairly good once they work out their differences, as Vader systematically destroys Norris, and more power to him. Norris is just beyond bad. I’d call Norris the face in peril, but the crowd is pretty solidly behind the Jack/Vader team, probably because THEY DON’T SUCK. Stevie Ray comes in and showcases how bad he was at this point. Norris uses his vast array of offense (big boot, jumping chop, chinlock) to wear down Jack. Vader gets back and quite rightly no-sells Norris’s lame offense. See, that’s the proper way to no-sell. Vader uses a f----- up powerbomb (couldn’t tell whose fault) to finish off the pathetic Norris. *1/2 for some good effort from Cactus and Vader. (They really should have run with Jack and Vader as the wacky tag team champions in 1994.  Good god can you imagine what the Nasty Boys matches would have been like?)  Paul Roma & Erik Watts v. Johnny B. Badd & Brian Knobs. Well, I only hate 3 of the 4 people here. Badd’s got the Baddblaster, but not much makeup or ring-attire, so we’ll call it a 6 on the Fag-O-Meter. Missy Hyatt is out with Knobs, and she’s about a 9 on the Skank-O-Meter. (“10” would be Tammy Sytch in those YouShoot teaser photos before going into rehab.)  Jesse notes that this is a “non-preparation” PPV. As opposed to today’s “Preparation H” PPVs. (Must have been referring to late-era WCW shows there.)  By golly, but this crowd is dead. Exciting series of armdrags to start, which is not a good sign. Roma has a nice dropkick. There, that’s my one nice comment for this match. Did Missy have ass implants done or something? It’s HUGE here. Roma and Watts work on Badd’s arm while the crowd dozes off. There’s about 194 armdrags here, give or take. Badd and Knobs argue tactics, because Johnny’s a nice guy and all. Have I ever mentioned that Roma was possibly the dumbest choice for a Horseman. (Only a million times, plus another million topics on the blog.)  Missy works the crowd like a pro, telling them to “shut up” on several occasions. Wow, that’s how to build heat. Maybe she’ll shove an old lady next. I think there’s stuff going on in the ring, but if the announcers, camera crew, and crowd can’t be bothered, then neither can I. Bill Watt’s retarded son (to be fair, he’s just a terrible wrestler and likely not mentally disabled in any real way.) gets the hot tag and cleans house on Knobs, but falls victim to a handful of tights and gets pinned on a bodypress reversal. Zzzzzzzz. 1/2* Paul Orndorff & Shockmaster v. Ricky Steamboat & Steven Regal. Well, I only hate one person here. Steamboat and Orndorff start out. Steamboat works the skin-the-cat spot in about a minute in. They proceed to do a really nice wrestling sequence for a few minutes, until Shitmaster and Regal get in. (Ho ho, see what I did there?  He’s terrible, so I made a new version of his name using “s---”.  That’s why I’ve got LONGEVITY in this business.  Comedy is tough, don’t ever let them tell you otherwise.  And you know what the secret of great comedy is?  Hang on, I forgot.  I’ll get back to you.)  Regal offers Orndorff a handshake and Steamer flips out. Orndorff and Regal proceed to another nice sequence and Regal again offers a handshake, and Steamboat blows a gasket again. Steamboat demands in and Orndorff whomps ass. Shitmaster comes in and blows some stuff, and while the ref is distracted by Orndorff, Steamboat and Regal argue over use of the umbrella, leading to Regal getting popped with it and pinned. That was a pretty selfish and stupid move on Steamboat’s part, actually. Good match when Fred Ottman wasn’t in. *** Awesome Kong & Equalizer v. Dustin Rhodes & King Kong. Equalizer would go on to be known as Evad Sullivan, the Kongs vanished off the face of the earth, although rumor has it that they got so fat that they became self-contained black holes. (Awesome Kong here is not to be confused with recent WWE firing Kharma, of course, although this show would be a shitload better if it was.)  The commentary is muted for some reason at the beginning of this. I’ll spare you the painful details and just say that Dustin wins it with a bulldog on one of the Kongs. I presume it was the guy on the other team, but I can’t be moved to care. It should be noted that the subject of Evad Sullivan comes up, and my roommate Zenon actually goes and produces his copy of “Hulk Rules”, the album that Hulk Hogan made a few years ago, which includes “I want to Be a Hulkamaniac”. He begs me not to editorialize. (I lived with this person for FOUR YEARS.  He used to play the Steve Blackman theme song on his guitar and thought this was a perfectly reasonable thing to do.)  Match is a DUD Sting & Jerry Sags v. Ron Simmons & Keith Cole. Cole is a jobber. (A jobber with the BEST MULLET EVER.  Like Johnny Ace in the 80s business in the front, party in the back style, baby.)  Simmons was teetering on the edge of a heel turn around this time. Sags decides to not tag Sting out of spite. He’s a bad person, you see. (That’s OK, Sting probably trusted him implicitly anyway.)  Sags fall prey to a devastating armdrag by Cole and finally tags out, triggering the one and only Sting-Simmons match that I’ve ever seen or heard of. Alas, both guys tag out and we’ve got Sags v. Cole. This match is seriously going nowhere. There’s only 8 tag matches tonight, as opposed to the 140 or so at Starrcade 91, so they’re getting a ton of time. Simmons gets frustrated with clean breaks and goes heel on Sting. Cole tags in and applies move #848 (ARM-bar). Does everything Cole has involve an arm? Jesse notes this when Sting is out cold and Cole applies…a wristlock. Cole gets creamed by Sting and Sags drops the shitty elbow for the pin. Simmons snaps and wipes Cole out. Not terrible. ** (Sounded terrible.  I dunno, maybe that’s just me.  But it sounded pretty terrible.)  Steve Austin & Ric Flair v. 2 Cold Scorpio & Maxx Payne. (They put f------ Steve Austin and Ric Flair together in a tag match on THIS meaningless PPV and never thought to do it again?!?)  Payne and Austin start as the Austin/Flair team has a running contest to see who can mess with the other’s mind the most. Flair takes the early lead by strutting away from a tag attempt and then offering words of encouragement from the apron. Austin gets dominated by Scorpio so Flair tags himself in. Maxx Payne misses an elbow and the Gods of Wrestling take over. Flair breaks a rope-assisted abdominal stretch from the apron and they get into a slapping match. Match drags a bit as Austin works over Scorpio. Flair and Payne tag in, Payne misses a charge to the corner, Flair slaps on the figure-four and gets the submission. Best match of the show so far. *** It should be noted that there’s 8 guys left in the dressing room and about 100 envelopes in the tumbler. Rick Rude & Shanghai Pierce v. Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Tex Slazenger. Tex was last seen getting sacrificed by the Undertaker on RAW. (There we go, this was written in May of 1999 then.)  Rude tosses Bagwell around. Rude has cool tights: Pictures of all the major players in WCW with “I Beat ‘Em” at the top. (Missy could wear ones with the same pictures and “I Beat ‘Em Off” as the tagline.) Bagwell executed the basics really well at this point, he was just lacking the big move and/or a personality. His heel turn in 1996 brought both the Buff Blockbuster the killer instinct. And a better haircut. Bagwell gets beat on by Rude and Pierce in a long, dull sequence. This whole show is one long, dull sequence. Bagwell and Tex do the false tag bit to cement their role as the babyfaces. Tex gets the hot tag and goes into a slugfest with Shanghai in what was the hottest crowd reaction of the whole show to that point! Rude gets a blind tag and hits the Rude Awakening on Tex Slazenger (who was trying to fight off a sunset flip) for the pin. Bad match. 1/4* Pierce and Slazenger settle their differences by beating the crap out of Bagwell. They would go on to become the Godwinns. (And now you know the rest of the story.) Hawk & Rip Rogers v. British Bulldog & Kole (Booker T). Hawk levels Rip Rogers as they come out together. Davey Boy and Booker T stomp him on the way by. Geez, they did the same joke at the first Battlebowl. (I really hope someone got fired for that blunder.)  This is the last tag match tonight. Rip sells the beating for about 5 minutes. Smith is blatantly cheering for Hawk. Booker and Hawk exchange punches and kicks (with Booker stopping to nail poor Rip a couple of times) for a few minutes. Booker misses an elbow, but Hawk doesn’t have anyone to hot tag. So he brings Rip Rogers in with a press-slam, dumping him on Booker for the pin. Crap match. DUD Battlebowl: We’ve got Sting, Sags, Knobs, Rip Rogers, Hawk, Rude, Shanghai Pierce, Flair, Austin, Cactus Jack, Vader, Orndorff, Shockmaster, King Kong, Dustin Rhodes and Johnny B. Badd. Michael Buffer does the intros. Rip is *still* selling the beating. That’s the sign of a class act. Wow, Rip Rogers gets to main event. How bad is that for WCW at this point? Rip, of course, is bounced about a minute in. Shanghai Pierce goes soon after. Well, they’re getting rid of the dead weight at least. King Kong and Shockmaster should go pretty quick, too. Nope, Badd goes before them. Vader dumps Cactus on a superplex attempt, and Ornorff gets dumped at the same time by Rhodes. The Nasties knock out Kong and Shockmaster, finally. Sting is saved from elimination by the rampway. The Nasties are lowest on the pecking order so they should go next. Not a very exciting battle royale. I don’t know how Meltzer rates these things — they’re all the same to me. (Kind of like Tammy Sytch arrest records, am I right?) No more eliminations for a long stretch. Dustin and Austin fight on the floor, and Dustin of course works in a four-alarm bladejob. Like father, like son. Finally the Nasties charge Rhodes and get dumped one after the other. Austin knocks Dustin out at the same time, then Rick Rude gets dumped and he pulls Hawk out with him. Geez, those were quick. We’re down to Sting, Vader, Austin and Flair. (Book that tag match!  Any combination you want, I don’t care, I’ll travel back in time to 1993 and buy the f------ PPV right now.)  Austin makes the least so he’s next to go, I’d wager. Vader beats the s--- out of Flair on the rampway while Sting and Austin go at it inside. Flair ends up doing a stretcher job without ever being formally eliminated. Race keeps attacking Flair on the stretcher, in very old school fashion. Vader and Austin team up to finish Sting, but Sting makes the superman comeback, playing stick-and-move to avoid being double-teamed. It doesn’t work, as Austin and Vader beat on him like a ragdoll. Vader adds a couple of splashes for good measure, but Vader misses a third, allowing Sting a few moments alone with Austin. Another superman comeback, but Austin regains control and Vader hits a pump splash. Sting is roadkill. Austin misses a top rope splash, then Vader avalanches him in the corner by accident. Sting dumps Austin to eliminate him. Vader pounds on his favorite whipping boy some more, but Sting gets him in position for a Stinger splash. Vader falls out of the way, and Sting tumbles over the top to lose an anti-climactic Battlebowl. I don’t rate battle royales. (And where was Sid Vicious this whole time, anyway?)  The Bottom Line: A pretty pointless show overall. Vader goes over again, yay. The tag matches were uniformly boring and lacked any emotional investment from the crowd, which is the main problem with this gimmick to being with: There’s just no way to care about a bunch of random tag matches unless it’s booked REALLY well. Which this wasn’t. Not particularly recommended. (Oh yeah, it’s TIMING!)