1991 Starrcade: Battle Bowl

Bobby Eaton came to blows with the Freebirds during a six-man tag match they were partners in. This began Eaton’s heel turn that would lead to him joining “The Dangerous Alliance”.

On November 23rd, WCW faced its biggest threat in years as Paul E. Dangerously formed the Dangerous Alliance. They established themselves by attacking many of the top faces in WCW including Sting, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat and Marcus Bagwell.

Lex Luger quit WCW in November after Harley Race was fired in a cost cutting measure. Race was rehired and Luger came back. Then just before this PPV, Lex gave his notice that SuperBrawl 2 would be his final match with the company.

Since WCW was holding a PPV with no grudge matches, several feuds were pushed toward TV blow offs. This included Big Josh/Tommy Rich and The U.S. Patriots/Young Pistols.

Steve Austin blew out his knee on the weekend before the PPV and was questionable for the Battle Bowl event.

Justin Liger won the Light Heavyweight title from Brian Pillman on Christmas night.

Starrcade ’91: December 29th
Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone call the action.

Magnum TA, Missy Hyatt, and Eric Bischoff are in charge of picking the names out of the bin. An amusing awkward bit occurs here as the camera stays on these three after they send it back to JR and all three just stand there wooden and smiling…

Michael Hayes and Tracy Smothers vs. Jimmy Garvin and Marcus Bagwell
Smothers stalls. Hayes looks well out of shape and Garvin looks old. Bagwell’s hair is something else. Smothers bounces around the ring for Bagwell. Garvin tags in and Smothers mocks his theatrics. When Garvin starts his strutting, Smothers jumps him.

Tags abound and not much of interest is ongoing. Bagwell is green and just does the basics and the Birds just want to goof around and stall. Finally the Freebirds are tagged in against one another and they go through a very vanilla bit of lock ups, strutting and some gentle hip tosses before both men choose to tag out. The fans cheer their bit.
Hayes cheap shots Bagwell, and when Jimmy Jam comes behind him, he gets popped too. Hayes and Garvin then exchange words as Smothers fails at an attempt at a top rope attack on Bagwell. Bagwell ends up delivering a fisherman suplex for the win. Meh.

Rick Rude and Steve Austin vs. Big Josh and Van Hammer
The camera again lingers on Missy, Bischoff, and Magnum too long and they start looking all around for a signal they’re off or something. Hammer out muscles Austin early on. Stunning Steve guides the big goof through a grappling sequence. Schiavone pretends Hammer is way over. Rude tags in and starts pounding away. Gyrations from the Ravishing one incite the crowd. Rude almost falls over when attempting a knee lift. Big Josh gets the lukewarm tag. Josh and Rude do a cute bit where Josh attempts to punch Rude’s abs and it has no effect. Rude starts to get cocky and eats a big clothesline. Austin tries his luck and is dominated by the lumberjack. Hammer tags in and Schiavone points out his use of rudimentary maneuvers. Josh tags back in quickly and having an oaf for a partner catches up with him as Austin and Rude are able to start controlling the action and wearing Josh out. Hammer finally tags back in after Paul E and Austin collide. Hammer delivers a series of high impact moves before Rude makes a blind tag and sneaks in for a Rude Awakening neckbreaker. The pin is academic from there. Good enough effort here.

“The Natural” Dustin Rhodes and Richard Morton vs. Larry Zybysko and El Gigante
Larry scales the ropes to try and communicate with the Spanish speaking giant. Rhodes out wrestles Zybysko as Madusa yells as Gigante. Morton tags in and Gigante follows suit, which causes Morton to tag back out and flee.
Dustin tries to wrestle with the monster but he’s too big. Zybysko tags back in and tries to get El Gigante to help cheat but the big man just stares at him. Dustin takes advantage of Zybysko arguing and nearly delivers a bulldog. Larry and Gigante argue, and that ends in a slap from Zybysko. Gigante tosses him to the wolves and Rhodes and Morton hit a double dropkick for the win. This was entertaining in it’s own way.

Bill Kazmaier and Justin Liger vs. Diamond Dallas Page and Mike Graham
Can Liger carry three men? Graham works as the base for Liger to execute flips off of. Graham dodges a Liger springboard elbow. Kazmaier tags in and Graham tries to budge him before surrendering to DDP. Page is tossed around before trying to send Kazmaier to the floor. Kaz “skins the cat” back in and executes a nice tilt-a-whirl suplex. He misses a follow up flying splash. Graham and Liger tag back in. Liger blasts him with an enziguiri and a spring board splash before tagging in his muscle bound partner. Graham tries a single leg take down on the oak tree like leg of Kaz. DDP gets tossed around a bit and quickly lets Graham suffer instead. Liger tags in and ties Graham up in knots. Liger gets faceplanted, which Graham turns right into a Boston Crab. Graham attempts to keep up with Liger with a finesse based ground game. Tony Schiavone is just continuously burying DDP on commentary, calling him a screw up, a loud mouth, a no talent, and a hindrance to Graham. Kaz and DDP tag in but both men realize that they want to watch Liger tear things up again, so both quickly tag out. Liger abuses Graham with a dozen lightning fast kicks to the midsection then both men tag out again. DDP tags in the battered Graham again like an idiot and Kaz manhandles him before tagging Liger back in. Liger dodges a Graham charge and Graham splats to the concrete. Liger hits a somersault plancha onto the floor. The crowd appreciates that. A moonsault leads to all four men going at it. Kaz presses Liger into DDP for the win. So to answer my question at the beginning, yes Liger can carry three men. Fun match.

Tom Zenk and Terry Taylor vs. Lex Luger and Arn Anderson
Taylor cheap shots Anderson to everyone’s surprise. Zenk then out smarts Arn and delivers an enziguiri. Luger tries to bully his smaller opponents but both men show enough technical skills to hang tough with the champion of the world. The Enforcer lives up to his name by coming in and rough housing Taylor in order to take control for his team. Anderson runs Taylor’s eyes across the ropes before Zenk tags in and uses his speed to take control of the match. Zenk nearly falls over while bouncing off the ropes, then is tripped up by Harley Race when he bounces off the opposite ropes. A DDT follows. Luger and Anderson begin to wear away on the Z-man. Zenk endures this for several minutes before Anderson runs into a boot. This rocks him so badly that Anderson makes two follow up errors and Zenk is freed up to make a tag. Taylor tries to prove he belongs with the big boys and attempts to score the upset win over the WCW’s elite. Taylor gets a near fall of the Total Package via a small package but Anderson catches him with a cheap shot and Luger is able to score a piledriver for the win. Good match.

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Todd Champion vs. Cactus Jack and Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker
While Missy and company are picking the names, Hyatt says, “Whoa! This is a shoot, huh?” Abdullah the Butcher takes exception to Parker being Jack’s partner and mauls him in the locker room. Abby tries to lumber down and join Jack but the refs stop him. Parker wanders down the ramp and Abby attacks him again. Abby’s wooden stick is slammed into Parker’s head a few times and it looks brutal. Jack, now apparently alone, starts to attempt to rearrange Steamboat’s face. The Dragon is willing to play this game and things spill out to the floor where Jack is taken down with a plancha. The crowd ironically chants “Buddy” as Parker crawls slowly to the ring. Champion tags in and I start to wonder how a tall, muscular, white guy like Champion never got a shot with the WWF. Champion is sent to the floor so Jack can deliver his hip shattering elbow drop to the cement. Champion and Jack bump heads and Jack tags in Parker, then whips him over the top rope. Steamboat, a smart vet, quickly goes for the flying crossbody and ends it. This was basic stuff with a comedic side story.

Sting and Abdullah The Butcher vs. Brian Pillman and Bobby Eaton
Abby smiles as he “runs” down the ramp. Sting, ever the moron, manages to get jumped by this 400-pounder and cracked with his havoc staff. Pillman saves his buddy and he and Abby start to brawl around ringside. Eaton sneaks down and starts to work over Sting before he can recover. Sting is able to rebound and he takes it to Eaton in the ring and on the ramp. Abby comes in and sneak attacks Sting to turn things back in Eaton’s favor. Eaton hands Sting over to Abby, who jabs a pencil into Sting’s throat. Pillman is again forced to save his friend. Sting and Eaton brawl to the floor as Pillman and Abby go at it in the ring. Abby is slammed (Off camera) to a big pop. Eaton tags Abby in to totally confuse things. The ref obviously doesn’t allow that. Sting tries a Tombstone but Eaton wiggles out of it. Pillman and Abby go at it again. Cactus Jack runs in and accidentally whacks Abby with the havoc staff. Sting launches into Eaton for the win. Abby and Jack brawl after the match. Wild stuff.

Rick Steiner and The Night Stalker vs. Big Van Vader and Mr. Hughes
Vader clubs away at the Dog Faced Gremlin. Jim Ross kills the Night Stalker gimmick by talking up his NCAA football career. Rick nails Vader with a Steinerline, then knocks him to the floor and jumps into him. They trade stiff blows on the cement until Steiner is sent into the post. Rick manages to deliver a vertical suplex to Vader to assist him back into the ring. Hughes tags in and Steiner sends him head over heels as well. A belly to back suplex leaves Hughes sprawled out as well. Night Stalker tags in and delivers a flying clothesline. Hughes is dropped with a flying bulldog as Vader clubs The Night Stalker and splashes him for the pin while Steiner tries to cover Hughes. Steiner tossing hosses around = entertainment!

Scott Steiner and Fire Breaker Chip vs. Arachnaman and Johnny B. Badd
Chip flips Badd around in the battle of the green guys. Badd uses boxing to take control over the roid-filled midget. Chip tries a flying crossbody and lands on his shoulder. Steiner and Arachnaman tag in and Scott tosses around his smaller counterpart. Badd tags in and shows his fistic fury can hurt even a big man like Scott. Steiner flips Badd over head and launches him into the turnbuckle upside down, then twirls Badd around again and drives him into the mat. Badd absorbs a double underhook suplex and tags in Chip. Chip lets the battered Badd tag in for some reason. Arachnaman slows things down and once Badd tags back in, as he sticks with the rest hold strategy. Arachnaman runs criss-cross with Chip, who tags Scott in. Scott catches the Spider-minded Armstrong with another suplex for the win. ZZZZZZZ…

Ron Simmons and Thomas Rich vs. Steve Armstrong and PN Newz
Rich is growing in a heelish beard. Simmons has been out injured for the past two months. Armstrong stalls to start. Simmons gets bored with that and press slams him. PN Newz messes around with Rich as the fans chant for Simmons. Simmons and Newz exchange some friendly fire as both men charge into each other several times. Things get totally disjointed as Simmons and Rich argue. Rich and Armstrong go at it for a long bit and its all basic and not very interesting. Simmons mercifully tags in, slams Newz and spinebusters Armstrong for the win. Another snoozer.

BATTLE BOWL Two Ring Battle Royal: Big Van Vader, Marcus Bagwell, Jimmy Garvin, Dustin Rhodes, Bill Kazmaier, Justin Liger, Steve Austin, Richard Morton, Todd Champion, Abdullah the Butcher, Firebreaker Chip, Ron Simmons, Thomas Rich, Ricky Steamboat, Mr. Hughes, Scott Steiner, Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, and Sting
When you are tossed from one ring, you go in ring number two, then in ring two it’s over the top rope and to the showers. A camera man falls off the ramp during the intros, with his camera catching Steamboat’s concerned reaction. Everyone pairs off. Steamboat and Anderson brawl to the ramp. Hughes and Vader toss Kazmaier to the ramp but he’s still in because of the special rules. Vader then tries to maul Steamboat but misses a splash attempt on the ramp. Vader press slams Steamboat back out onto the ramp and launches him back in. If anyone is going to get your offense over via their selling, it’s Steamboat. Dustin and Arn brawl to the floor. Sting starts to go after Luger to wake the crowd up. Heyman harasses JR and they exchange some barbs. Rich, Bagwell, Morton, Liger and Chip all find themselves tossed into the second ring. This allows Liger to expose the American audience to moves they had never seen before. He and Morton flip to the floor. Simmons and Luger trade blows on the ramp. Rude and Sting take themselves over the ropes while tangling. That leaves Vader and Luger as the last two men in ring one. Luger takes some big splashes but rallies to clothesline Vader into ring two. Bodies start flying out of ring two in rapid succession and Rude, Austin, Steamboat and Sting remain. Rude accidentally dumps Austin. Steamboat tosses Rude, but Rude dumps Steamboat to be a dick. Rude jumps Sting and delivers a Rude Awakening neckbreaker to wound Sting severely. Luger wastes a bunch of time and lets Sting recover. The Total Package has fun hurting his old friend and then watching him squirm in pain. Lex throws Sting to Race so Harley can have his fun too, but Sting slams Race on the ramp. Sting is jumped by Luger and tossed into the barricade. Sting fires up and beats Luger all around ringside, then rubs his face into the mat. Race tries a run in but ends up getting suplexed. A Stinger splash misses and both men are down and exhausted. The champion tries to toss Sting, but Sting hangs on and jumps Luger. The Total Package is chucked to the floor to give Sting the win.

This was slightly above your average battle royal thanks to the loose rules that allowed the men to fight on the floor and ramp. Sting was set up beautifully to be named number one contender to Luger’s title, and his list of potential challengers are long as almost every top heel has a direct issue with our hero.

Final Thoughts: I went in expecting to hate this, but the sheer strength of talent amongst the workers overcame a lousy gimmick concept to make for a largely entertaining evening.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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