Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Battlebowl: The Lethal Lottery
November 20, 1993
The current WCW & NWA Champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Big Van Vader (3/17/1993)
WCW International World Champion: Rick Rude (9/19/1993)
WCW U.S. Champion: Dustin Rhodes (8/30/1993)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Nasty Boys (10/24/1993)
WCW World Television Champion: Lord Steven Regal (9/19/1993)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura. Mean Gene and Fifi draw out the participants when they’re not “necking”. Seriously, I think they were Eskimo kissing with their necks most of the time. That dirty old Okerlund.
Cactus Jack & Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. Kane & Charlie Norris
Gene called out Kole’s (Booker T) name, but Kane (Stevie Ray) comes out instead. Apparently, even they forgot who was Kole and who was Kane. Tony Schiavone being ridiculous – “Ohh it doesn’t matter as long as we’ve got one of the Harlem Heat.” All black people look alike to you, don’t they Tony? Vader attacks Cactus to begin the match and Stevie Ray joins in. Harley Race gets Vader to finally stop beating up his partner because if they lose, he can’t go to Battlebowl. What a killjoy! Stevie Ray gets dumped out by Cactus so Vader can pound on him. Alright, they’re a team now. Vader tags and STIFFS Norris around before he gives him a pump splash. Out on the floor, Vader holds Norris as Cactus cannonballs off the apron. The crowd is so into these two and could really not careless about Charlie Norris. Back in, Cactus tags and plays face-in-peril. Norris running kicks Cactus out to the floor, which is actually his finisher. Back in again, Vader clotheslines Norris away to break up a chinlock. Stevie Ray tags and receives a DOUBLE-ARM DDT from Jack. Vader and Norris tag in, leading to a pair of splashes from Vader and a botched-looked POWERBOMB gives him the win. (7:36) Interesting to see Vader and Cactus co-exist, but that’s about it. *½
Paul Roma & Erik Watts vs. Johnny B. Badd & Brian Knobbs (w/Missy Hyatt)
Of course, Badd and Knobbs can’t get along. Basic start here with Badd working headlocks and armbars on Watts and Roma. Knobbs can’t handle the dropkick out to the floor from Watts, so he tags out to Badd. More armlockage from Watts and Roma. Knobbs tags back in and starts CLUBBERIN on Watts. Roma slams Badd, but Missy distracts ref Nick Patrick. When Knobbs cheats by tripping up Roma, Johnny’s too much of a good guy to capitalize. Knobbs tags in and kicks Roma out to the floor. Back in, Roma gets caught in an ab stretch. Knobbs reaches out for a helping hand from Badd, but he won’t do it. Knobbs tries a splash off the middle rope, but Roma gets his feet up RIGHT in the chest to block! Watts gets the hot tag and hits a crossbody block on Knobbs, but he rolls through and hooks the tights for the 1-2-3. Knobbs and Badd advance to Battlebowl. (12:57) Oh my gosh, way too long and boring. Badd’s pretty pissed about the finish, but nobody pays him to think. ½*
The Shockmaster & Paul Orndorff vs. Ricky Steamboat & Lord Steven Regal (w/Sir William)
So Orndorff’s pissed over who his partner is, just like Regal. Steamboat and Orndorff start off the match, which is a good thing. Nice quick sequence ends with Steamboat skinning-the-cat and giving Orndorff a headscissors out to the floor. Orndorff punches him back into the ring, but gets caught in the gut coming off the top. Orndorff bridges out of a headlock and rabbit punches Steamboat in the corner. Steamboat flips out of the corner off a whip, but atomic drops Orndorff into the corner, causing Orndorff to bounce back and a double-KO to ensue. Regal and Shockmaster tag in. Regal tries to wrestle, which is not exactly Shockmaster’s forte. After Shockmaster slams Regal around, he tags Orndorff and starts up a “Paula” chant. What’s your problem, Shockmaster? Besides the 200 extra pounds? Orndorff and Regal shake hands and have a nice little wrestling match. Steamboat is NOT happy. See, he’s pissed because neither guy is seriously trying to win the match. Steamboat tags back in and tells Regal to get out of the ring because he’s here to win. Orndorff hotshots Steamboat and tags Shockmaster. He misses an elbow drop and now we’re back to Regal vs. Shockmaster. Shockmaster misses a corner charge and Regal gets two as Orndorff comes in to break up the pin. While the ref is with Orndorff, Regal grabs Sir William’s umbrella and looks to nail Shockmaster, but Steamboat pulls it away and hits Regal with it instead! Steamboat goes after Sir William as Shockmaster splashes Regal for the 1-2-3. (12:26) Yep, Steamboat’s the greatest babyface ever. Even when he costs himself the match, he will stop at nothing to make sure that his team doesn’t cheat to win. I liked this one. **¾
They go to a clip where Mean Gene makes an announcement that Charlotte NC will be host to Starrcade this year. They did the same thing ten years ago with Flair/Race. Gene says all the big cities were fighting over this show: Chicago wanted it, New York wanted it, Los Angeles wanted it, but forget about the major cities because WCW chooses Charlotte! What a bunch of hoopla.
Awesome Kong & The Equalizer vs. King Kong & Dustin Rhodes
Rhodes and Equalizer go to the mat, so Jesse and Tony make it interesting by talking about Flair vs. Vader at Starrcade. Next up, they tease the BATTLE OF THE KONGS! Dustin gets tagged back in though, as does Equalizer. King Kong tags and both guys clothesline each other a bunch. I mean, what else can they do really? The Colossal Kongs are SO fat! Rhodes tags back in and sunset flips Awesome Kong for two. It turns into a pier-six brawl and during the chaos, the Kongs collide, leading to a BULLDOG from Dustin. Cover, 1-2-3. (5:56) Ugh, what a mess. CRAP
Sting & Jerry Sags (w/Missy Hyatt) vs. Ron Simmons & Keith Cole
What a difference a year makes for Ron Simmons. The guy has one shoulder injury after being the world champion and he’s immediately demoted to the mid-card where he would remain for the rest of his career. He’s actually spent the last couple months teaming up with the younger guys like Ice Train for example. Now he has one of the Cole Twins on his team and they’ve only beat jobbers over the past year. Simmons has been having those “shades of grey” problems lately too. He’s not a heel just yet, but you can tell he’s heading that way. Simmons softens Sags up and tags Cole in to see if he’ll go for the win, but he doesn’t have that “killer instinct” to take the match to the next level. He spends the whole match twisting the arm whenever he’s handed over the reins of the match by Simmons. Sags breaks free and the crowd wants Sting, but Sags refuses to tag for cheap heat. When Simmons tags, Sags finds a reason to tag out to the Stinger. Sting shoulderblocks Simmons down a few times and Cole gets a tag. They admire each other’s flat tops to begin things, which is kind of weird. Back to Sting vs. Simmons. Ron cheapshots Sting after a clean break and starts choking Sting. Simmons gives him a Powerslam and tags in Cole to finish him off, but the guy goes back to wrenching the arm twelve minutes into the match! Simmons wants back in and catapults Sting’s throat into the bottom rope. Cole gets another shot at putting Sting, but Sting comes back and hits the Stinger Splash. Sags gets a blind tag and hits the Flying Elbow Drop for the 1-2-3. (13:15) Not a bad story told there. Afterwards, Simmons gives Cole a SPINEBUSTER and solidifies his heel turn. **¼
Ric Flair & Steve Austin (w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. Maxx Payne & Too Cold Scorpio
Now this should be good. Flair and Austin have their problems that are still basically unsettled ever since Flair returned to WCW in February. Austin’s still wearing his “Hollywood Blondes” jacket to the ring, by the way. Payne and Scorpio are both babyfaces, so they’ll be fine. Payne tends to be too much for Austin to handle to start with. Austin wants to tag out, but Flair just WOOS at him and slowly struts down the apron. Payne continues to dominate with shoulderblocks and choke-lifts before he tags in Scorpio. He flips out of an Austin suplex and armdrags Austin around until he retreats to his corner down on his knees and tags in Flair. Now we get Scorpio vs. Flair. Nice! Scorpio immediately goes through a backslide sequence, which gets him a nearfall on Flair. Payne tags in and slams Flair off the top. Austin tags and takes a backdrop from Payne. He takes a walk out to the floor for a word from his good buddy Col. Parker. Back in, we get Scorpio vs. Flair again. Scorpio splashes Flair in the corner and then follows up with a standing moonsault for 1-2-NO! Scorpio gets a rollup on Flair for two, but gets chopped down. Austin tags and gets rolled up for two. Scorpio lands a superkick and heads up top, but Austin crotches him and brings him down with a superplex. Cover, 1-2-NO! Flair tags and hits the Rolling Knee Drop for two. Austin’s back in and he grabs the ropes during an ab stretch, but Flair yanks his hand off the ropes and tags Austin. He takes a swing at Flair, so Flair comes in and chases Austin back into a corner. Flair hits a stalling suplex on Scorpio for another two-count. Austin tags and hits a flying elbow on Scorpio after Flair set him up with a backbreaker. Teamwork! That gets two. Scorpio elbows out of a chinlock and delivers a desperation spin kick. Tag to Payne, who NO-SELLS Flair’s chops. He slams Flair off the top again, but runs his knee into the corner. That sets up the FIGURE-FOUR and gets Flair the win to advance to Battlebowl. (14:32) This was weird seeing Flair work babyface and heel in the same match, but overall a great match as far as Lethal Lottery matches go where there’s no real emotional involvement in the team. ***¼
Rick Rude & Shanghai Pierce vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Tex Slazenger
In case you don’t know, Pierce and Slazenger are the future Godwinns of the WWF. That’s why this match is filled with shenanigans – it’s team mate vs. team mate. It’s all armbars to start. Bagwell does most of the work for his team while Slazenger (later known as Mideon) shouts orders from the apron. He becomes face-in-peril for a while and looks to make a comeback until Rude pulls the top rope down as he tries to come off the ropes and falls out to the floor. Back in the ring, Rude and Pierce work on Bagwell’s abs. Rude grabs a bearhug, which leads to a false-tag spot. Bagwell escapes a chinlock from Pierce, but runs into a boot and receives a gutwrench powerbomb. Nice! Cover, 1-2-NO! Slazenger breaks up the pin and gets a tag! Slazenger and Pierce get into a shoving match, leading into fisticuffs! The crowd goes nuts for this. Blind tag to Rude, as he catches Slazenger off guard as Pierce tries a sunset flip with a RUDE AWAKENING! That gets three. (14:49) It had its moments. Still kind of a boring match though. The Texicans make up afterwards by beating up Bagwell. *
Road Warrior Hawk & Rip Rogers vs. Davey Boy Smith & Kole
Legendary jobber Rip Rogers gets a little too excited to be part of Battlebowl, so Hawk decks him on the rampway. Hawk’s pretty much saying, “It’s just Battlebowl, stupid! Nobody’s watching this!” Davey Boy Smith and Kole (or Booker T) both stomp Rogers on their way to the ring. Rip Rogers will be our Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker of the night. If you remember (or don’t remember, it doesn’t really matter because its needless info) from the first Battlebowl at Starrcade ‘91, Buddy Lee Parker was beaten down by Abdullah the Butcher in the dressing room when Parker was picked as Cactus Jack’s partner. Back then, Abdullah and Cactus were partners in crime. Anyways, Buddy Lee Parker supposedly crawled from the dressing room all the way to the ring only to be quickly pinned by Ricky Steamboat. In this match, Rip Rogers only has a 20-foot long rampway to crawl down and sells the punch and the two stomps like he’s just been shot. Hawk obviously wrestles the match by himself here. Clean breaks abound between Hawk and DBS in the corner. They do a test of strength that nobody wins. Booker T spends most of the time yelling things from the apron, so Davey Boy tags him. Booker T starts CLUBBERIN and when Hawk powers out of a headlock and slams Booker, we get to see a SPINAROONIE that just baffles Tony. Now that I think about it, Tony always seemed baffled by the Spinaroonie. Booker T continues to work over Hawk with double ax-handles and chinlocks. He hits a backbreaker and comes off the middle rope for an elbow drop, but Hawk moves out of the way. Rip Rogers is finally on the apron, so Hawk grabs him and presses him onto Booker T for the surprise 1-2-3! (7:55) Wow, nobody can say Booker never paid his dues. On his first three PPVs, he’s jobbed to Shockmaster twice and now Rip FN Rogers. Amazing how the guy later went on to become the five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time WCW world champion. ½*
The winners of the tag matches advance: Cactus Jack, Big Van Vader, Johnny B. Badd, Brian Knobbs, Paul Orndorff, The Shockmaster, Dustin Rhodes, King Kong, Sting, Jerry Sags, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Shanghai Pierce, Road Warrior Hawk and Rip Rogers. It’s a 16-man battle royal to start. As Ventura says, “Not a lot to call here, you just watch ‘em fight.” So yeah, I’m not going to do in-depth PBP for this one. Rip Rogers is the first guy eliminated by Johnny B. Badd. Shanghai Pierce goes next after Cactus ducked a charge. Flair and Austin go through the ropes and fight on the floor for a bit. Badd gets thrown over the top onto the rampway, which doesn’t count as an elimination, so he comes back in and takes a backdrop out to the floor from the same guy who tossed him out – Paul Orndorff. Cactus tries to SUPERPLEX Vader in a battle royal! Haha. It doesn’t happen though. Vader gets rid of Cactus, as Rhodes eliminates Orndorff. Right after that, Shockmaster clotheslines Kong to the floor. Then the Nasty Boys come right up behind the Shockmaster and toss him out. Vader walks through the people as he press slams Sting out onto the rampway in a pretty cool spot. Flair can’t be liking what he sees. Lots of brawling follows without any eliminations for a while. Austin sends Rhodes through the ropes and posts him to cause a bladejob. The guy seems to have to blade on at least every other PPV – almost as if its in his contract. Back in, Rhodes backdrops Knobbs and dumps out Sags as Austin comes up behind and tosses him out too. Meanwhile on the other side of the ring, Hawk backdrops Rude out to the floor. Next, Vader comes up behind Hawk to dump him out.
Final Four: Vader, Sting, Ric Flair and Steve Austin. While Sting and Austin have a little wrestling match, Flair avoids a corner splash from Vader. Harley Race pulls Flair out to the rampway for a suplex, but of course its reversed. Right after the suplex, Vader runs over and drops an elbow in between Flair’s legs. Inside the ring, Austin and Sting are clotheslining one another. Sting thinks about a SCORPION DEATHLOCK on Austin, but instead goes over and starts beating the crap out of Vader. Austin makes the save and starts choking Sting as Vader drops another elbow on Flair. Some trainers and referees are out to take Flair to the back on a stretcher because he is hurting bad. Harley kicks away at Flair as he heads to the dressing room because Harley Race is OLD SKOOL like that. Back in the ring, Austin eats a boot as he comes off the top and Vader gets slammed as he comes off the top by the Stinger. The crowd freakin erupts as Sting starts punching the crap out of these two until he’s cornered and whipped into a Vaderbomb. Nice. Sting gets punched around and splashed by Vader, but he sits up on a second attempt and beats the fire out of Austin. Austin tries to toss out Sting when he turns around to punch at Vader. He can’t get him over, so he sets up Sting for a pump splash from Vader instead. Vader actually sells a back injury he suffered earlier in his tag match during the nasty botched finish. Could be legit though, I guess. Stupid Chuck Norris. Austin comes off the top and misses a splash. The numbers game catches up with Sting again, but he avoids an avalanche and Austin gets nailed instead. Sting tosses Austin out onto the rampway, but his momentum sends him falling down to the floor so it counts as an elimination. Now it’s just Sting vs. Vader. Sting places Vader up in the corner and tries to kick him out. When that doesn’t work, he charges in with a Stinger Splash. Uh oh, Vader moves out of the way and Sting flies out to the floor to give Vader the win. (25:35) You could definitely make the argument here that Flair or Sting could’ve used the win. Flair eliminating Vader from Battlebowl would’ve worked perfectly here. Not really sure why they went with the stretcher job unless Vader demanded he win this match or something. Not sure. The final four all the way to the finish was phenomenal. ***
Final Thoughts: This was really hit-or-miss, but this actually turned out better than I thought it would. I’m going to go with a very mild thumbs in the middle because there was some great combinations like Cactus/Vader, Steamboat/Regal and Flair/Austin. Plus, the actual Battlebowl match was great, but I’m still sticking with the ‘91 match as the overall best due to more star power. As everyone would probably agree, the long term effects of this show is non-existent unless you count the weak Ron Simmons heel turn. This show is watchable, but it’s not really recommended.