Rock Star Gary reflects on WCW Starrcade ’91

Live from Norfolk, VA

Airdate: December 29, 1991

Attendance:  9,000

Hosted by Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone

Tag team turmoil surrounds this inaugural event. Who will survive to become Battlebowl champion? Read on!

Read moreRock Star Gary reflects on WCW Starrcade ’91

Rock Star Gary reflects on…WCW Battlebowl 1993!

Live from Pensacola, FL

Airdate: November 20, 1993

Attendance: 7,000 (3,000 paid)

Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
This year’s event marks the third Battlebowl. In previous years Battlebowl occurred at Starrcade. While hyping the event Jesse mentions that the winner receives a Battlebowl ring. Both the heel and face locker rooms are shown via split-screen. Recounting Battlebowl history Tony notes that Sting won the first event and is here tonight while the Great Muta who won the second one isn’t here. Remember these marquee names when the names get pulled. Oh, (though unmentioned on camera) Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson are still suspended due to the hotel room altercation. Hopefully that should clear up some of the names drawn in the Lethal Lottery.

An excited “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Fifi rotate the tumbler in order to pull out the first batch of names. Cactus Jack’s name is called first. Were they trying to find best-selling authors or hardcore legends here? Anyways, WCW World champion Vader gets called next. Kole (Booker T) from Harlem Heat is named as the third participant; however, Kane (Stevie Ray) takes his place. The fourth name called is Native American Charlie Norris. See what I mean yet?
Match 1: Vader and Cactus Jack (w/ Harley Race) versus Charlie Norris and Kane (Harlem Heat)
Highlights:
· Before the match began Vader and Cactus Jack brawled on the ramp.
· Kane joined Vader in the melee.
· An unwilling Vader hit Harley Race to protest his participation though Race convinced Vader to compete.
· Reluctantly Cactus Jack tagged in Vader.
· He gave Norris a short-arm clothesline, a slam, and then a Vader bomb.
· Somersault plancha from Jack from the apron to the floor.
· Clothesline from Kane to Cactus Jack prompted Vader to enter the ring to brawl with Kane.
· Big foot from Norris knocked Cactus Jack out of the ring.
· Kane then made Cactus Jack taste the steel railing. Needs Miracle Whip.
· Double-arm DDT from Cactus Jack on Kane.
· Series of chops from Norris until Vader bulldozed him down.
· Vader splash off the ropes.
· Powerbomb from Vader but he lost his balance. I guess he misjudged Norris’ weight.
· Nevertheless Vader pinned Norris.
Rating: *
Summary: The concept of having Vader and Cactus on the same team was the only interesting aspect of this match. Vader and Cactus Jack move on to the battle royal.
After the match Vader appears to have hurt himself with that powerbomb.
Shenanigans between Okerlund and Fifi are teased as the next names are drawn. Paul Roma’s name is called first. Yikes! His partner will be Erik Watts. He’s still employed? Oh brother. Regardless, their first opponent is Johnny B. Badd. That’s three guys from the face locker room at this point. The last name drawn is Brian Knobbs from the Nasty Boys. I sense a train wreck with this group.
Match 2: Brian Knobbs and Johnny B. Badd (w/ Missy Hyatt) versus Erik Watts and “Pretty” Paul Roma
Highlights:
· Perhaps Missy will get involved against Watts since they used to be an item.
· According to Tony on the episode of WCW Saturday Night that aired prior to the PPV (taped 10/6/93) Arn Anderson was double-teamed by “Stunning” Steve Austin and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff before being rescued eventually by Roma. Afterwards Anderson was none too pleased with his fellow Horseman.
· Slam and a dropkick from Roma prior to tagging in Watts.
· Watts then nailed Knobbs with a knee lift and a dropkick.
· Top rope double sledge to the shoulder by Roma.
· Anderson slam by Roma. Who said he didn’t learn anything from being a Horseman?
· Funny bit as Missy turned her back on the match when Watts was tagged in.
· Sweet powerslam from Roma. No count due to Missy’s distraction of referee Nick Patrick.
· Badd didn’t agree with Knobbs’ heel trip of Roma off the ropes.
· Missy berated Badd for not capitalizing on the downed Roma outside the ring.
· Knobbs tried the assisted abdominal stretch with Badd, but Johnny would not comply.
· Knobbs ate boot after trying a second-rope splash.
· Enziguri from Roma.
· Flying body press from Watts, but Knobbs used momentum (and the tights) to roll through and pin Watts.
Rating: **
Summary: Fascinating dynamic with respect to the match flow because when Badd was tagged in a wrestling match occurred; on the other hand, when Knobbs was tagged in it was a brawl.
Back to Okerlund and Fifi who appear to be having a private conversation. For the next match the first participant is the Shockmaster. NO! Dammit! The second name called is Paul Orndorff. Fifi is getting quite cozy with Gene so much so that Gene makes a remark. Their first opponent will be Ricky Steamboat while the second opponent will be WCW World TV champion Lord Steven Regal.
Match 3: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William) versus the Shockmaster and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
Highlights:
· Regal’s facial expression of disgust at the onset was undeniably great.
· Steamboat skinned the cat then headscissored Orndorff over the top rope.
· Next they brawled on the floor.
· After tags were made on both sides Regal continued to be disgusted having touched Steamboat.
· Shockmaster touched Regal’s hair causing his Lordship to become quite miffed. Must not be his day.
· Flying body press by Regal countered into a slam by Shockmaster.
· Regal craftily countered a full-nelson and celebrated with a cartwheel.
· Stungun from Orndorff to Steamboat.
· Sidewalk slam by Orndorff.
· Shockmaster forced the tag between Steamboat and Regal then missed an avalanche.
· Regal attempted to use the umbrella, but Steamboat stopped him.
· Jockeying for the umbrella Regal knocked Steamboat into the ropes. Consequently Steamboat’s momentum caused the umbrella to hit Regal.
· While Steamboat chased Sir William outside the ring with the umbrella Shockmaster splashed Regal for the pin.
Rating: **
Summary: The bickering between tag partners in this match made for quite the entertaining bout. The ironic twist at the end told a good story as well.
After the match Steamboat griped with Regal. Perhaps he promised his Battlebowl ring to Bonnie.
Don’t miss Starrcade on Monday, December 27! Tony details the highlights from the inaugural Starrcade back in 1983. Meanwhile at the Starrcade press conference while standing next to a dapper Vader (including head gear) Okerlund refers to Starrcade as “the premiere event for (WCW).” He then mentions all of the cities that bid for the venue slot. Ultimately Okerlund announces that Starrcade will emanate from (the Independence Arena in) Charlotte, NC.
As Okerlund hypes Vader as the current WCW champion, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair interrupts the proceedings by presenting a contract to face Vader at Starrcade. Vader asks what Flair brings to the table. Flair offers his ten world titles. Vader counters with his ten titles across four continents. Flair counters with a retirement stipulation should he lose the match. Vader lists all of the wrestlers he has either injured or put out to pasture then accepts the match.
As an aside here Starrcade was supposed to feature the break-up of the Masters of the Powerbomb. Nonetheless, due to the hotel altercation between Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson in England both wrestlers were suspended. This situation caused not only the World title match (and subsequent plans for the title) to be altered but also cancelled the Anderson-Roma match.
When we return live to the arena Okerlund and Fifi are having another intimate moment. In fact Gene holds up a pair of handcuffs. How naughty! No wonder this show is rated TV-14. The first participant in our next match is Awesome Kong. Sadly he’s not so awesome. His partner will be the Equalizer. Ugh! My stomach hurts. On the opposite side of the ring will be Dustin Rhodes and King Kong. Will Fay Wray be far behind? Let’s hope “The Natural” can perform a miracle here.
Match 4: “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes and King Kong versus the Equalizer and Awesome Kong
Highlights:
· Three dropkicks from Rhodes couldn’t take Awesome Kong off his feet, but a rollup received a 2 count.
· Rhodes tagged in King Kong to face his partner.
· To say that a match between the Kongs is the polar opposite of a match between the Rockers in 1993 would be an accurate statement.
· Immediately King Kong tagged out avoiding the confrontation with Awesome Kong.
· Since three of the four men in this match are heels the crowd is noticeably VERY quiet.
· Flying shoulder block from the Equalizer knocked King Kong to the canvas, but he missed the leg drop.
· Bionic elbow got a 2 count.
· Pandemonium ensued with all four men in the ring. In turn Awesome gave his own partner a Kong sandwich in the corner but knocked himself silly.
· Immediately Rhodes hit the bulldog on Awesome Kong and gained the victory.
Rating: DUD
Summary: Nope, Rhodes is merely mortal as this match truly sucked. Yuck! I believe the crowd reaction when Rhodes pinned Awesome Kong was for the fact that the match was over rather than anything else.
Methinks Gene is sweating as he stands next to Fifi. The first participant in the next match is Sting. That woke up the crowd! His partner will be Jerry Sags of the Nasty Boys. The next name called is Ron Simmons while his partner will be…Keith Cole? Seriously, an enhancement talent gets a PPV match? Talk about random.
Match 5: Ron Simmons and Keith Cole versus Jerry Sags (w/ Missy Hyatt) and Sting
Highlights:
· Holy incredible mullets, Batman! That is one heck of a hairstyle on Keith Cole. Take a flat top and give it a long tail.
· After former WCW World champion Simmons brought the workrate to the match Cole tagged in and bored the crowd with some arm bars. In response the crowd chanted “We Want Sting!” Sags teased the crowd with a couple of false tags just to be a dick.
· Although after Sags had some trouble with his opponents Sting was finally tagged in.
· Having some fun with Simmons’ neon green tights Jesse changed Ron’s allegiance from Florida State to Notre Dame. I wonder if that means anything.
· Sting shook Cole’s head. Cole’s response was praising Sting’s similar hairstyle.
· Sting countered a hip toss with a backslide.
· Sweet powerslam from Simmons.
· Catapult clothesline on the bottom rope by Simmons.
· After Cole exposed his inexperience Sting took control.
· Stinger splash.
· Sags blindly tagged in, dropped the elbow from the top rope, and pinned Cole.
Rating: ***
Summary: Aside from Cole’s inexperience (who else was going to eat the pin here?) this match brought some athleticism to the ring. Even though this show was in his home state Simmons teased a heel turn and received the appropriate crowd response.
After the match Simmons is disgusted with Cole. In fact he’s so disgruntled that he delivered the Dominator to him cementing his heel turn.
As the camera returns to Gene and Fifi they are shown dancing quite closely. Our next participant is “Stunning” Steve Austin. His partner is “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Considering these two were on opposite teams in a match for Clash XXII earlier in the year their pairing ought to be exciting. Moving along, their opponents will be Maxx Payne and Too Cold Scorpio. Is the outcome too obvious here or what?
Match 6: “Nature Boy”Ric Flair and “Stunning” Steve Austin (w/ Colonel Parker) versus Too Cold Scorpio and Maxx Payne
Highlights:
· Austin was still sporting his Hollywood Blonds jacket and trunks. Also he was the only heel in this match.
· Standing choke from Payne then he dropped Austin on his back.
· Flair and Scorpio took it to the mat ending with a backslide from Scorpio for 2.
· Standing moonsault from Scorpio.
· Austin walked into a superkick from Scorpio.
· Superplex from Austin.
· Belly-to-back suplex from Flair only got 2 thanks to a save by Payne.
· Rope-assisted abdominal stretch from Austin broken by Flair.
· After an argument with Austin Flair gave Scorpio a delayed vertical suplex.
· Top rope forearm from Austin. Again Payne made the save.
· Out of nowhere Scorpio hit the spinning heel kick.
· After no-selling Flair’s chops Payne went on the attack.
· Unfortunately he missed a running knee in the corner prompting Flair to slap on the figure four leg lock for the submission victory.
Rating: ***1/2
Summary: Even with Payne involved the workrate was very strong in this match. On the other hand Payne as a face doesn’t sell too well.
Upon their re-emergence on camera Gene takes a moment to “tie (his) shoe” and inauspiciously tries to look up Fifi’s evening gown. Subtle, Gene. The next name called is WCW International World Champion “Ravishing” Rick Rude. His partner will be Shanghai Pierce. For those unfamiliar that is Henry Godwinn with a mask. Their opponents are Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Tex Slazenger (aka Phineas Godwinn). To say one of these men is not like the others would be an understatement.
Match 7: Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Tex Slazenger versus Shanghai Pierce and “Ravishing” Rick Rude
Highlights:
· Rude showed off his physique then his strength with an unassisted vertical suplex on Bagwell.
· He then tagged in Pierce to face Slazenger, but again he tagged out to avoid wrestling his partner.
· Splash from Bagwell got a 2 count.
· To illustrate how boring this match is, Tony asked Jesse about his Thanksgiving plans.
· Vertical suplex with a float-over by Bagwell.
· As Bagwell tried to bounce off the ropes Rude supplied the low bridge sending Bagwell to the floor.
· Jesse’s Thanksgiving response became a cheap shot at Vince McMahon regarding his indictment.
· Rude with a delayed vertical…nope, make that a gourdbuster.
· Pierce hit a knee drop from the second rope.
· To bore the crowd even further Rude applied a bear hug.
· False tag led to a double-team on Bagwell. Not the Showtime variety.
· Big boot off the ropes by Pierce followed by a sit-out powerbomb. I’m as shocked as you are.
· Slazenger made the save kicking Pierce in the back.
· Tex tagged in and the future Godwinns brawled with one another. It resembled a brawl you’d see at the local watering hole.
· As Pierce set up Slazenger for a sunset flip Rude tagged in and gave Slazenger the Rude Awakening for the pin.
Rating: *
Summary: Thank goodness it’s over. That match was a cure for insomnia. Rude’s involvement along with the sit-out powerbomb rises this one from the dead.
After the match Slazenger and Pierce beat up Bagwell then reunite. Aww.
As we return to the tumbler Fifi is suspiciously on her knees while Gene has an enormous grin on his face. And you wonder why Missy Hyatt sued this company for sexual harassment? The next participant will be Road Warrior Hawk. If his partner doesn’t have a stash of either downers or hormones I don’t like his chances. Hawk’s partner will be…Rip Rogers? Seriously? Yikes! Their opponents will be Davey Boy Smith and Kole of Harlem Heat. In actuality it was either going to be Kole or Kent Cole as nobody else was left in either dressing room.
Match 8: “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and Kole (Harlem Heat) versus Road Warrior Hawk and Rip Rogers
Highlights:
· Rip Rogers was so excited to be a part of Battlebowl that Hawk destroyed him on the ramp prior to their entrance to the ring.
· Not surprisingly DBS kicked the downed Rogers as he made his way to the ring.
· Kole stopped to check on Rogers then stomped him. And you thought Regal had a bad night?
· Spinaroonie from Kole.
· We’re five minutes in, and Rogers had not yet checked into his corner.
· Sidewalk slam from Kole.
· As Rogers got on the apron he got nailed by Kole.
· After Kole hit a forearm smash off the top rope he hammered Rogers again on the apron.
· Backbreaker from Kole, but a second-rope elbow missed.
· Hawk then brought Rogers into the ring, pressed him overhead, and tossed him onto Kole for the pin!
Rating: *
Summary: Well, there’s your comedy match for the evening. Kole was definitely game here. Notwithstanding DBS was not even a factor in this match. In fact this was his last WCW PPV appearance until 1998.
Okerlund loses his composure after hearing Fifi thank him for their Battlebowl experience together. Profoundly Gene remarks on the possibility of the Nasty Boys’ working together to win Battlebowl.
Match 9: Battlebowl Battle Royal
Highlights:
· In lieu of Michael Buffer a strange voice located nowhere near the arena (Thanks WWE!) listed the names involved: Vader, Cactus Jack, Brian Knobbs, Johnny B. Badd, The Shockmaster, Paul Orndorff, King Kong, Dustin Rhodes, Sting, Jerry Sags, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Shanghai Pierce, Road Warrior Hawk, and last but certainly not least Rip Rogers.
· Rip Rogers staggered to the ring.
· Once inside he tangled with Badd probably for the title of the most flamboyant outfit.
· Shortly thereafter Badd eliminated him.
· Cactus Jack low-bridged Pierce over the top to eliminate him.
· A preview of Over the Edge ’98 occurred as Austin and Cactus Jack brawled in the corner.
· Flair and Austin fought on the floor yet still remained active in the match.
· Orndorff eliminated Badd.
· Jesse questioned why Hawk would save Flair from elimination. My guess would be that he was ensuring Flair would be buying rounds at the Marriott later on.
· Vader blocked a superplex attempt by Cactus Jack then eliminated him.
· All of a sudden Orndorff exited unceremoniously thanks to Dustin Rhodes.
· Shockmaster eliminated King Kong, but both Nasty Boys get rid of him.
· Vader press slammed Sting onto the ramp though Sting was not eliminated.
· Austin tried a double sledge from the second rope but got caught in the midsection by Rhodes.
· Tony mentioned Austin’s challenge for the US title from WCW Saturday Night.
· Vader and Flair have a mini-battle to hype their match next month.
· Austin tossed Rhodes through the ropes to the floor then rammed his head into the ring post.
· Dustin was busted open.
· Rhodes backdropped Knobbs over the top rope eliminating him.
· He then lifted Sags to throw him out, but Austin assisted both of them over the top rope.
· Hawk eliminated Rude then was eliminated by Vader.
· The final four stood as Sting, Vader, Flair, and Austin.
· Sting gave Austin a vertical suplex.
· Vader missed an avalanche.
· Race dragged Flair onto the ramp signaling a brawl between the two.
· After Flair gave Race a vertical suplex Vader elbowed Flair on the right leg.
· Vader then splashed Flair on the ramp.
· Meanwhile in the ring Sting attempted to give Austin the Scorpion Deathlock but came to Flair’s aid instead.
· All four men were on the ramp.
· Flair was checked out by the trainer and placed on a stretcher.
· Flair was deemed “unable to continue” according to ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta.
· Will Flair make it to Starrcade?
· Vader and Austin double-military press Sting back into the ring.
· Both Austin and Vader mount the top rope, but Austin ate boot on the way down.
· Sting then caught Vader with a powerslam.
· Much to the crowd’s delight Sting rallied successfully.
· Vader and Austin pinball Sting with right hands.
· While Austin held the legs Vader splashed Sting twice.
· After wasting some time Vader missed the third splash.
· Once again Sting rallied igniting the crowd.
· Vader bomb, but Vader held his back due to the earlier powerbomb.
· Austin missed a top rope splash.
· Sting sent Austin over the top rope to the ramp then Vader clotheslined Sting to the ramp.
· Austin went to the floor thus being eliminated via Sting.
· We’re down to Vader and Sting.
· Clothesline and splash by Vader.
· Coming off the ropes Sting knocked Vader down then accidentally head-butted him low.
· Sting placed Vader in a fireman’s carry onto the top turnbuckle.
· He then attempted the Stinger splash but missed and went over the top rope to the floor.
· Vader won.
Rating: ***
Summary: As a preview to Starrcade this match served its purpose. Once the match evolved into a four man match the excitement started. The stretcher job by Flair keeps the audience in suspense for the title match scheduled for Starrcade. Additionally Vader’s injury was a nice bit of continuity from the opening tag match.
Afterwards Vader yells at the camera above Tony and Jesse.
Conclusion: Though enjoyable at times, as a PPV, this show was meaningless. It would have been much better served as a Clash because its main purpose was to sell Starrcade to the paying customer. Since the show has zero historical significance I would only recommend it to tag team enthusiasts and WCW fanatics; otherwise, skip it and let’s go to Starrcade!
Buyrate: 0.27 (Buh-bye Battlebowl!)
For more information on me please visit http://rockstargary.com.

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 fucked 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 “shit”.  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 fucking 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 fucking PPV right now.)  Austin makes the least so he’s next to go, I’d wager. Vader beats the shit 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!)

Battlebowl

Hey Scott,
Here’s one thing that I was wondering about the other day: when WCW
used to do the Battlebowl/Lethal Lottery shows, were any of the
pairings really random? It would seem like a promotion with as many
talented workers as WCW had at that time would be able to start out
with some sense of who they wanted in the battle royale at the end,
and trust the guys to call the matches in the ring. Of course, if it
sounds silly asking whether something on a pro wrestling show was a
work or not, it’s worth remembering that this was a promotion that let
Sting and Jake blow off their big feud with a COAL MINER’S GLOVE
match.
Thanks

The pairings were all selected by the bookers, totally un-randomly.  They didn’t trust the guys to do shit.  The non-gimmicked wheel was just WCW stupidity, not an intentional effort to do anything unpredictable.