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WCW BattleBowl '93

by Scrooge McSuck

WCW Battlebowl '93

- Presented live on Pay-Per-View on November 20th, 1993 from the Civic Center in Pensacola, FL. Yes, WCW shoe-horned a PPV in between Halloween Havoc and Starrcade, AND put it on the same week as WWF’s Survivor Series, and they expected to draw a decent buyrate? In 1991 and 1992, the BattleBowl concept was used as part of the Starrcade PPV, but here it’s expected to draw on its own without one of the biggest PPV’s to push it on.

- Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. “Mean” Gene Okerlund, fresh off his decade run in the WWF, is in charge of announcing the random drawing, along with Ric Flair’s “french maid”, Fifi. The running storyline of the night is that Gene is being a total pervert, and Fifi isn’t completely refusing his efforts.

Cactus Jack & Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race) vs. Kane & Charlie Norris:

We’re one match in and the concept is completely exposed as both a farce and meaningless. Meaningless because Gene Okerlund’s introduction was for Kole (Booker T), but Kane (Stevie Ray) comes out instead, and Tony Schiavone just shrugs it off. A farce because, oh my, Cactus Jack and Vader, two bitter rivals, are randomly paired up together. Vader and Cactus brawl before the match begins, and Vader actually takes a shot at his own manager! Cactus surprises Kane with a knee lift, then dumps him through the ropes. Vader greets him with some blows, but Cactus rakes his eyes because they hate each other. Harley Race continues to be peace maker, because the Battle Bowl Championship means THAT MUCH! Norris tags in, and the match immediately dips into negative stars. Vader tags in to a pop and short-arm clotheslines Norris into the AWF roster. Vader with a slam and splash from the second rope. Vader and Cactus double up on Norris, complete with a rolling senton from the apron. Norris blows a fucking Irish whip, but Vader crushes him anyway. Cactus with a leg drop for two. Cactus with a sloppy back suplex for two. Kane tags in and hits a crummy clothesline. Vader comes in illegally and slugs it out with him for the hell of it. Norris’ offense consists almost entirely of kicking, and he falls down half the time. Norris with a snapmare and chinlock. Kane tags in and is instantly hit with a double-arm DDT. Vader in, no-selling Norris’ chops. He crushes Norris to another pop and comes off the ropes with a splash. Vader with a Power-Bomb, falling down in the process because Norris got too much height on his jump, but it still gets three at 7:28. * Kane and Norris were worthless, but the antics of Cactus and Vader saved this from being a complete turd.

Paul Roma & Erik Watts vs. Johnny B. Badd & Brian Knobbs (w Missy Hyatt):

Now THIS is random. Unless Roma and Badd work the entire match, we’re in for a train-wreck from hell. I forgot Hyatt was still kicking in WCW at this point. Badd and Roma start. Lockup into the ropes and a clean break. Badd with a side headlock. They fight over a hip toss until ending up in the ropes. Badd with another headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Criss-cross ends with Badd taking Roma over with a hip toss, then going to the arm-bar. Knobbs demands a tag and pounds away to show Badd how it’s done. Knobbs takes a crappy back drop bump, and here comes Watts to throw a dropkick that isn’t nearly as bad as his efforts at the previous year’s Battle Bowl. Badd back in and they exchange arm-bars and roll-ups. Roma and Watts take turns working the arm. Knobbs back in with rough-housing on Watts. Watts comes back with arm drags. The formula continues with the three babyfaces doing boring crap and Knobbs roughing up Roma or Watts when he gets the chance. Knobbs trips up Roma, but Badd is reluctant to capitalize. Knobbs in with an abdominal stretch. He plants Roma with a slam, but meets boot going for a second rope splash. Watts with the hot tag to almost zero reaction. He introduces Knobbs to the buckle but can’t count to 10. Body press is countered in an incredibly sloppy manner, and Knobbs hooks the tights for the three count at 12:57. ½* Not an embarrassment to the sport, but boring as hell. Who booked this to go longer than 6-minutes, then decided to give it that lame finish?

The Shockmaster & Paul Orndorff vs. Ricky Steamboat & Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William):

Unfortunately, Shockmaster (Fred Ottman, formerly Tugboat/Typhoon) doesn’t trip on his way out of the baby-face locker room. Ventura and Schiavone are STILL laughing over his infamous debut. Look at that second team… Regal and Steamboat? I’d rather watch them wrestle each other. Nice of Steamboat to keep his goofy Dragon wings he wore in WWF. Orndorff and Steamboat start. Lockup, Steamboat with a side headlock takeover. Orndorff tries dumping Steamboat, but he skins the cat and takes him to the floor with a head scissors. Orndorff to the top rope, but Steamboat greets him with a fist to the midsection. Steamboat controls with another headlock. Orndorff escapes in the corner and pounds away. Steamboat with an atomic drop, but the impact bounces Orndorff off the buckle and they bop heads. Shockmaster and Regal tag in for the extreme, ultimate, clash of styles. Lockup, and Regal over-sells the least enthusiastic shove I’ve ever seen. Whip to the ropes, Shocker catches a body press and plants him with a slam. Orndorff doesn’t want to come in, so Shockmaster starts a “Paula” chant. Orndorff and Regal shake hands to Steamboat’s displeasure. Regal with a shoulder tackle and headlock takeover. Hip toss into a cover for two. Orndorff with a back-slide for two. Regal grabs a full nelson, but Orndorff counters. Regal sweeps the leg to escape and we have another stale-mate. Steamboat tags in and gets dropped with a Hot Shot. Orndorff with a side suplex, followed by a slam. Shockmaster tags in and misses an elbow. Regal short-arms Steamboat, so Shockmaster forces the tag. He misses a charge and Regal covers for two. He tries using the Umbrella, but Steamboat stops him and hits Regal with it after a cheap shot. Shockmaster with the Splash for three at 12:27. Yes, Typhoon just pinned the TV Champion on PPV. **1/2 Fun match, thanks to solid efforts from Steamboat, Orndorff and Regal, and doing their best to work with the “whacky partners” situation.

- We hype up WCW Starrcade, coming to you via Pay-Per-View on December 27th. The original plan of Vader defending the WCW Title against Sid Vicious was out the door thanks to an ugly incident overseas involving Sid and Arn Anderson stabbing each other with scissors and lead to Sid’s termination from the company.

Awesome Kong & The Equalizer vs. King Kong & Dustin Rhodes:

What kind of sick bastard would do this to their paying audience?! The Colossal Kongs are two over-weight lumps of crap, the Equalizer is the useless lump of crap who went on to be the #1 Hulkamaniac, Dave/Evad Sullivan (he was dyslexic, get it?), and that leaves Dustin Rhodes to carry three of the worst workers in professional wrestling. If this goes 20-minutes, I quit. Rhodes starts with Equalizer. Lockup, and they fight over a waist-lock. Slow motion criss-cross ends with a drop toe hold, followed by an arm drag from the Natural. Equalizer pounds away and tags in Awesome Kong. Dustin with dropkicks, rocking the fat rolls, then rolling him up for two. Kong misses but still hits) a fat-ass elbow, and now its Kong vs. Kong, a match nobody wanted. King Kong tags out before making contact, a direct violation of the rules in the WWF. Dustin works the arm of the Equalizer, and now King Kong offers o be helpful. Kong and Equalizer trade clotheslines. This match is more heatless than Antarctica. Equalizer gets a boot up on a charge and hits a sluggish diving shoulder tackle. Dustin and Awesome Kong are back in. Dustin with a bionic elbow for two. Whip to the ropes and a sunset flip gets two. Chaos erupts and Rhodes finishes Awesome Kong with the bulldog at 5:59. DUD They didn’t botch anything and it was short… that’s all I got.

Sting & Jerry Saggs (w/ Missy Hyatt) vs. Ron Simmons & Keith Cole:

You don’t get any more random than this. Ventura with the “over the head” joke of the night regarding Hyatt: “You can’t tell which one sags.” Keith Cole is rocking a rat tail straight out of 1981. Then Saggs reminds us that Nasty-Ville is stuck in the early 80’s as well. Simmons and Saggs start. Lockup into the corner and Saggs with a cheap shot. Simmons with a hip toss, drop-kick, arm drag, and shoulder tackle. Cole goes to work on the arm as the crowd chants “We Want Sting.” Saggs refuses to tag out, because that’s how wrestling works: screw the fans out of what they want. Simmons with a back elbow for two. Sting finally gets to tag in to the biggest pop of the night. Lockup to the corner and a clean break. Simmons with shoulder tackles for two. Sting with a sloppy takedown into a cover. Sting with a pair of his own shoulder tackles and we’re back to a neutral position. Simmons with a drop toe hold and in comes Cole. They goof around with each other since nobody ordered the PPV. Saggs tags back in and gets caught in an arm-bar. Saggs with a snapmare and some rough-housing. Simmons works over Sting a bit before tagging out to Generic Sting look-a-like. Ventura’s commentary seems to be teasing a heel turn for Simmons, who came into the match from the baby-face locker room. Sting quickly takes over on Cole, planting him with a slam, followed by a suplex. Stinger Splash connects, Saggs tags in, and finishes with the elbow drop at 13:13. Post-match, Simmons chews out Cole and plants him with a Spinebuster. *1/2 Not a bad match, and I get the point they were trying to hit with Simmons, but 13-minutes of mostly Keith Cole is a waste of Sting.

Steve Austin (w/ Col. Parker) & Ric Flair vs. Maxx Payne & Too Cold Scorpio:

What a dream team for that first combination, huh? Well, if you plug “Stone Cold” into the role, but here, they are two men who had animosity. At least we get the dream team of Man Mountain Rock and Flash Funk. Austin and Payne start. Austin goes for a waist-lock, unsuccessfully. Payne with a side headlock and shoulder tackle for two. Scorpio in, taking over Austin with a messy hip toss. Criss-cross and Scorpio with a dropkick. Flair tags in and they go through with a chain sequence, but mess up on the first bridge attempt. Scorpio wins a long battle over a back-slide for barely a one count. Flair unwisely goes to the top and gets slammed off by Payne. Austin tags in and unloads with rights. Payne reverses a whip and sends Austin out for a breather following a back drop. Flair with chops. Scorpio with a take-over and standing moonsault for two. Flair goes for a waist-lock, but Scorpio counters with a roll-up for two. Scorpio with a sunset flip on Austin, followed by a Super-Kick. He heads to the top, but Austin crotches him. Austin with a super-plex for two. Flair with his signature knee drop for two. Back suplex gets two. Austin with his own knee drop for two. He applies an abdominal stretch, but Flair doesn’t approve and they have a slap-fight. Flair with a delayed suplex for two. Austin with a chin-lock to slow things up. Scorpio comes back with a spinning heel kick, and hot tag to Maxx Payne. He no-sells Flair’s chops and pounds away. Payne misses a knee to the buckle, and the Figure-Four finishes at 14:32. ** Good enough but unremarkable, but it just becomes tiresome having to see the same formula match over and over with these “unpredictable” teams.

Rick Rude & Shanghai Pierce vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Tex Slazenger:

Pierce would go on to later fame as Henry Godwinn, and Slazenger as Phineas Godwinn and Mideon. Pierce and Slazenger are teammates and hate Bagwell, and Rude being one of the top heels in the company should be an automatic win here for him. Rude and Bagwell start, and check out the custom tights of Rude, featuring a collection of WCW talent with “I Beat ‘Em All” printed with them. Lockup and Rude shoves him down. Rude pounds away and takes him over with ease on a suplex. Bagwell comes back with a drop toe hold and goes for the arm. Slazenger works the arm and reminds me how he’s probably better off as H.O.G. Pierce tags in, and again, we don’t get battling partners. Rude tags himself back in and gets pounded on. Pierce in, working over Bagwell. Whip to the ropes, Bagwell with a hip toss, slam, and splash for two. Ventura makes a good point about Bagwell not being able to tag out with the lack of trust of his partner. Rude pulls the ropes down on Bagwell, making him our Goof-in-Peril. Meanwhile, Ventura makes an oh-so-subtle jab at McMahon being indicted. Rude with a delayed forward suplex, followed by a stomach buster. Rude with a bear-hug, Pierce with a chin-lock. A long, long, LONG chin-lock. Bagwell rallies, but gets nailed with a gut-wrench power-bomb. Slazenger breaks the cover and gets the hot tag. The normal partners actually come to blows and the crowd actually gives a crap! Rude with the blind tag, and he surprises Slazenger with the Rude Awakening, and it’s good for three at 14:48. Post-match, the Texicans beat-down Bagwell because it’s Bagwell. * Not bad, just incredibly boring. Isn’t that the story of the whole show? Another match that had no business going nearly 15-minutes.

Road Warrior Hawk & Rip Rogers vs. The British Bulldog & Kole:

… RIP ROGERS is in WCW, and being used on a PPV? In 1993!?! Kole would later be known as Booker T. Hawk lays out his partner before the match, simply because it’s Rip Rogers. Davey Boy and Kole cheap shot him on the way to the ring, too. He’ll probably recover in time to tag in and do the immediate job. Hawk and Bulldog high-five each other because it was the goofy thing to do at the time. Lockup to the corner and a clean break. They do a test of strength that goes nowhere. Kole keeps mouthing off from the corner and tags in. Meanwhile, Rogers is still acting like he got shot. Kole pounds away on Hawk with rights. Snapmare into a chin-lock. Hawk escapes and unloads with rights and chops. Hawk with a slam, but Kole no-sells it with a Spin-a-Rooni and nails Hawk with a clothesline. Meanwhile, Rogers is crawling his way to the apron. Kole with a side suplex for two, then a shot for Rogers for making an effort. Bulldog constantly cheerleads for Hawk, despite being his legal opponent and trying to compete in the BattleBowl Battle Royale. Kole with a sledge from the top rope. Meanwhile, Rogers makes it to his feet, for about three seconds. Kole with a long chin-lock. Hawk retaliates with clotheslines. Kole with a back breaker, but an elbow drop misses from the top rope. Meanwhile, Hawk brings Rogers into the ring and press slams him on top of Kole for three at 7:58!? ½* It wasn’t good, but at least they went with a different formula for the last of the “lethal lottery” tag matches. Easy payday for Davey Boy.

BattleBowl Battle Royale:

(Participants: Cactus Jack, Big Van Vader, Johnny B. Badd, Brian Knobbs, Shockmaster, Paul Orndorff, Dustin Rhodes, King Kong, Sting, Jerry Saggs, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Shanghai Pierce, Road Warrior Hawk, and Rip Rogers)
I’m going to put my money on this one prediction… Rip Rogers will not be there in the end. He still hasn’t removed his ring jacket. If you land on the ramp, you are NOT eliminated. Austin and King Kong work over the Shockmaster in your odd-ball pairing of the night. Rip Rogers is dumped out off-screen at the 50-second mark. Shanghai Pierce goes out as well (courtesy Cactus Jack), and again, we don’t see it. At least with WWE, the camera crew was always alert. Flair and Austin brawl on the floor. Badd gets tossed out, but lands on the ramp. CHEAP! Then he gets eliminated officially at 3:24 by Orndorff. Cactus (by Vader) and Orndorff (by Rhodes) are out at 5:15. Shockmaster dumps King Kong at 5:26, then the Nasty Boys dump Shockmaster at 5:29. Vader tosses Sting… onto the ramp. Flair and Vader battle while everyone else hugs in the ropes. Flair goes after Race for old times sake. Sting tries to single-handedly toss the Nasties, unsuccessfully. Rhodes and Austin take it to the floor, and Dustin finds an excuse to blade. I thought we were in the no blade job era? Dustin back drops Knobbs out at 13:36, then Dustin and Saggs get dumped by Austin at 13:42. Hawk tosses Rude at 13:56, then Vader tosses Hawk at 14:02.

We’re down to the Final Four of Vader, Sting, Flair, and Austin. Vader misses a charge, but Race pulls Flair out of the ring. Flair pays him back with a suplex on the ramp, and here’s Vader to drop an elbow across the midsection. Meanwhile, Austin and Sting lay each other out. Vader with a splash on Flair. Sting stops his Scorpion Death Lock attempt to tackle Vader and pound away with rights. Vader kicks away the trainer and continues to punish Flair while Sting gets worked over by Austin. I guess Flair is being stretchered out and officially eliminated at the 15:00 mark. Vader and Austin press slam Sting back into the ring. They head to opposite corners, Austin meets a boot, and Sting catches Vader with a slam! Sting with clotheslines, rights, and chops for both men. Sting with some impressive efforts to evade, but gets thrown into the bulldozer known as Vader. Vader with a pair of splashes while Austin holds his legs down. Sting sits up on the third and lays into Austin with rights. The numbers catch up on Sting again as Vader climbs the ropes and hits the Vader Bomb. Austin to the top rope, missing his own splash attempt. Vader accidentally crushes Austin in the corner, and Sting dumps him out to the apron, but lands on the floor at 23:50. Vader clotheslines Sting to the apron, but he rolls back in the ring. Vader with a stiff short-clothesline and a splash. Whip to the ropes, and a collision puts both men down. Sting fireman lifts Vader onto the top rope and punts away at the midsection. He goes for the Stinger Splash, but Vader falls, and Sting goes flying over the top at 25:34, giving Vader the 3rd Annual BattleBowl Ring. **1/4 First half of the match was bottom of the barrel Battle Royale junk, but the final four really picked it up, as if Vader vs. Sting was ever going to be a let down back in 1992-94.

Final Thoughts: It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this PPV flopped hard. It’s always a gamble to offer a PPV where none of the matches are announced, and even though it is promised as a random drawing, that would somehow be an even dumber idea than just rigging a bunch of whacky teams that will most likely not get along. What we got was just that, a bunch of whacky teams that didn’t get along, and with the exception of a few matches, most of them stunk. The only really exciting part of the show was the final 5-minutes, once the lackluster battle royal turned into the standard Vader vs. Sting awesomeness. Strong Recommendation to Avoid, even for the curiosity factor.

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