A Look at WCW’s Slamboree ’96

A look at events surrounding this PPV:

  • Nitro is going to be adding a second hour soon. This means more talent will need to be signed to prevent over exposure and burn out.
  • The Giant won the WCW World title from Ric Flair on a taped edition of Nitro. This was done in part to help boost the Nitro ratings since the show was taken out of it’s normal time slot due to the NBA playoffs occurring.
  • Shinjuro Otani won the WCW Cruiserweight title in a match held before the tournament even officially started (because WCW). He in turn lost it to Dean Malenko at a WCW Worldwide TV taping almost as soon as WCW acknowledged his win.
  • Eric Bischoff talked on commentary of Chris Benoit being eliminated from the Cruiser tournament. Then a few days later another match aired of Benoit vs. Alex Wright and this time Bischoff said it was a semi-finals match and the winner would go to Japan to face Otani.
  • Hulk Hogan is expected to be gone until August. He is off filming a movie. Upon his return a feud with Kevin Nash or Scott Hall is heavily expected. The ratings are expected to start to dip now that warm weather is coming across the nation, so Hogan will be able to look great by coming back in time for the autumn ratings boost.  Before he left he supposedly told Bischoff he wasn’t going to lay down for anyone, anymore.
  • Mean Gene announced on his hotline that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were signed. That was quickly pulled since Bischoff has plans that may involve them being invaders.
  • Lord Steven Regal and Fit Finlay had some great ultra-stiff matches on TV. Well worth seeking out on the Network and Youtube.
  • John Tenta is expected to be fired soon as he is making 250K a year and cut backs need to be made.
  • Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart broke up as business partners. Old matches featuring them together still made the air after the split. (Because WCW)
  • WCW hasn’t been buying easily broken tables for Public Enemy to use in their matches and as a result several wrestlers have been injured.
  • Kevin Greene of the Carolina Panthers signed a six figure deal to work a match at the next PPV. His coaches were not happy with his decision at all.
  • Col. Robert Parker taped a promo in wrestling gear indicating he was returning to the ring. (Did this ever air??)
  • Mike Enos and Billy Kidman have been signed.
  • Hakushi and Yoshi Kwan are being rumored to come in as part of the “Blood Runs Cold” Ninja angle. Ditto Bryan Clark aka Adam Bomb.  Kevin Nash was originally thought to be the source of the commercial teases by some.

I have finally returned to the wacky world of wrestling after taking the month of October off to focus on writing nothing but true crime and supernatural based articles. When I last left off, I was in the summer of 1995 but I have previously covered the WCW PPVs from September into the spring, so here we are now at Slamboree!

I distinctly remember my neighbor and I bashing the booking of this card when it was first announced, since the “randomly” selected matches all saw guys who were feuding being placed together or some tag teams being kept as a unit which really exposed the whole thing as fake. At least it sets up a far more potentially interesting card than the last Battle Bowl: “The Lethal Lottery” in 1993 which is an absolute bore to sit through.

Slamboree 1996 
DUSTY RHODES! Bobby Heenan and Tony Schiavone are on the call

To show how much progress WCW made in it’s storytelling… When I last watched a PPV from the summer of 1995 Randy Savage and Ric Flair were feuding. Now in May the main feud is… Macho Man vs. The Nature Boy.

Lethal Lottery Round 1: Road Warrior Animal and Booker T vs. Road Warrior Hawk and Lex Luger
Four power guys with the guys willing to sell both on one squad. Hawk and Booker are chippy right away. Animal and Luger are reluctant to fight and T gets on his partner’s case. Luger cheap shots Animal. A powerslam is way oversold by the Road Warrior, which is certainly something you can’t say very often. Animal no sells a suplex and dropkicks Luger, who takes a comical bump. Based on the speed exhibited by these guys so far, the ring mat may have been replaced by quicksand.

Booker T comes in to rough up Luger. A spinerooni is called a “whirly bird” by the Dweem. Luger sits in a rest hold to stop the frenetic pace. Hawk finally comes in and he and Luger get into it. Animal goes after T. The ref counts both teams out at 6:55. I thought this would suck and they managed to set the bar even lower than expected. Hawk apparently worked this match with a broken foot.

Lethal Lottery Round 1: Public Enemy vs. Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit
Sullivan hails from “the iron gates of fate”. Benoit actually high fives Sullivan. Rocco and Benoit start with a nice sequence of counters. Rock dances, which Dustah calls a “dipsy doo”. Rhodes and Heenan go through a fun bit on commentary as Dusty explains how he’d work a match being teamed with his worst enemy. This devolves into Rhodes talking about “stompin’ rocks” to which Heenan is just incredulous. Meanwhile, a full scale four-way brawl breaks out and we start with the plunder shots. Public Enemy try and smash Sullivan through a table but Benoit cuts off that plan. Grunge suplexes Benoit from the ring to the floor.

Benoit and Sullivan are piled on the table and it appears Sullivan is holding Benoit down as the Public Enemy smash into the Crippler. Sullivan feigns a knee injury and wanders off, leaving Benoit to eat the pin at 4:44. This wasn’t too bad but seemed to end just as things were heating up.

Lethal Lottery Round 1: Sgt. Craig Pittman and Scott Steiner vs. Rick Steiner and The Booty Man
Schiavone says Pittman is one of the best technical wrestlers ever. Kimberly Page is shaking her chest as she comes to the ring and Dusty asks for his Viagra. Pittman and Booty start, which is one of the worst combinations of workers that WCW could possibly find. Booty escapes from the ground experts arm locks before Pittman throws a flying headbutt at Booty’s midsection and misses. Of course Beefcake sells it anyway. Scott Steiner tries to save this by coming in long enough to suplex Booty Man but quickly lets Sarge back in to continue stinking out the place. Booty keeps out wrestling Pittman.

Rick and Pittman make crazy faces at one another before Pittman tries to use rolling German suplexes on Steiner but Rick won’t go up for a second suplex. He Steinerlines Pittman for his troubles and Scott is tagged in. The Brothers face off before they go through a grappling exhibition. The fans are disappointed that the Steiners aren’t going full tilt. Rick eats a suplex but responds with a Steinerline. They trade suplex variations before Booty tags back in. Beefcake runs into the ring post at the slowest pace possible but sells it anyway. Pittman locks in his “Code Red” arm lock but can’t get Booty to submit. Rick sneaks in and hits a German suplex on Pittman for the pin at 8:21. Pittman and Booty Man were able to make this pretty much an abomination, The Steiners teasing a match wasn’t enough to save this.

Lethal Lottery Round 1: “Squire” David Taylor and Lord Steven Regal vs. V.K. Wallstreet and Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Rhodes calls the Blue Bloods hired hand “Chives”. Duggan does his usual pre-match ritual before tossing Regal about. Wallstreet declines a tag. Duggan beats on Regal some more before forcibly tagging Wallstreet in. Wallstreet grapples with Taylor and then Regal and it makes me desire more but Duggan is tagged back in. Duggan and VK argue allowing the Blue Bloods to try and get the heat on Duggan. Hacksaw doesn’t sell and instead KO’s Taylor with a taped fist and pins him at 3:49. The Blue Bloods looked like total goofs blowing this one, but it was a fun watch.

Lethal Lottery Round 1: Dick Slater and Earl Robert Eaton vs. Alex Wright and Disco Inferno
Slater and Eaton as the cranky old vets facing the dancing fools sounds like it could be great on paper, let’s see how it works in execution. Slater takes turns taking down and tying up both of the youngsters. Eaton tags in and Wright controls totally with his up tempo offense. Slater tries to salvage things and all four men end up going at it. Disco dances and Slater cracks him with a boot for the win at 2:56. Slater was great here, so I liked it.

Lethal Lottery Round 1: “Diamond” Dallas Page and The Barbarian vs. Meng and Hugh Morrus
They had 17 matches lined up for this PPV, so they are going bang-bang-bang with the matches. DDP goofs around, so Morrus knocks him to the floor. Morrus tries to leap on him and eats nothing but canvas. Meng and the Barbarian tag in and go at it right away. They trade chops, strikes and clotheslines with neither selling much. Meng downs the Barbarian, allowing Morrus to hit a flying elbow. DDP was supposed to break it up, so they repeat the spot and this time Morrus is crotched on the top turnbuckle. The Barbarian then tries a belly-to-belly from the top rope and Morrus looks none to thrilled to be in this position as they struggle to set the move up. Meng knocks the Barbarian down, allowing Morrus to hit a moonsault. All four men then go at it as DDP and Morrus are pinned simultaneously at 5:16, with Barbarian’s pin counting. This was another entertaining (yet largely horrible) match, although the crowd was dead.

Lethal Lottery Round 1: Big Bubba and Stevie Ray vs. Scott Norton and Ice Train
Dear god…this is going to be just unwatchable. Norton and Ray start off and the battle to determine who had the most undeserving high six-figure contract commences. Norton sells a surprising amount for Ray and continues to do so when Bubba tags in. Ice Train tags in and does a butt splash to Bubba’s testicles in a ugly looking spot. Train is blown up from his 20 seconds of work, so Norton is thrown back in. Bowling shoe ugly brawling follows and Norton ends this with a shoulder block. One of the worst 3:28 you’ll ever see on a PPV.

Lethal Lottery Round 1: Arn Anderson and Eddy Guerrero vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Flair doesn’t come down when his music plays. Macho comes down. Anderson attacks Savage as Flair sprints to the ring and starts to stomp his partner. Eddy defends Macho Man and he and Flair go at it. Flair pokes Eddy’s eye and elbows Savage. Anderson jumps on Macho Man and mauls him with punches. The fans finally show some life tonight as Savage tries to mount a comeback. Double A hits a spinebuster. Flair tags in but stops to attack his partner first. Eddy sneaks in and pokes Flair in the eyes in an awesome revenge spot. Eddy starts to go at Flair before Savage jumps the Nature Boy. Eddy eats a DDT from Arn and then Flair and the Enforcer continue to beat on Savage after Flair gets the pin on Guerrero at 4:05. This was as awesome as a four minute match could be. Fun match, sensible angle and we are left wanting more.

Mean Gene leers at some women from Hooters who are here to help pick the second round matches.

WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Brad Armstrong
They open up with a rock-solid chain wrestling move-counter-move. Of course the fans sit on their hands for it. Malenko clips Brad’s knee and starts use a variety of maneuvers to wear the knee down. This goes on for several minutes. He busts out the stump puller, which is one of my favorites that we rarely see. More working on the leg as this drags a bit. Armstrong suddenly starts no selling after five minutes of having his leg worked over. He hits a flying dropkick from the top and lands right on his knee, but doesn’t sell it. He tries to beat Malenko with his own Texas Cloverleaf move and that pisses the Iceman off enough that he atomic gut busters Armstrong from the top rope for the win at 8:25. Solid enough ring work before Brad’s no selling took me out of the match. The Luchas pretty much saved this division from being forgotten about in the long run.

Lethal Lottery Round 2: Dick Slater and Bobby Eaton vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan and VK Wallstreet
The camera catches another cameraman enticing the crowd to boo Wallstreet. VK and Duggan just fight right away and Slater and Eaton jump them. VK knocks Duggan to the floor and starts to wrestle with Eaton. Duggan gets bored and barges in to create a brief four-way skirmish. Hacksaw tags in proper and drops both Eaton and Slater. Slater and Duggan have an absolute ridiculous looking double shoulder block spot where both men’s bumps defy the laws of physics. VK tags back in and “accidentally” hits Duggan twice. Duggan slugs him back and Eaton rolls him up for the win at 4:04. This was pretty much a mess of Duggan no selling in between his team imploding.

Lethal Lottery Round 2: Randy Savage and Ric Flair vs. The Public Enemy
Savage jumps Flair in the aisle, leading to Flair running for his life. Public Enemy wins via default.

Lethal Lottery Round 2: Booty Man and Rick Steiner vs. The Barbarian and “Diamond” Dallas Page
DDP takes a big bump to the floor right away, gets himself wrapped in cables and takes a bump off of that. Rick Steiner and The Barbarian come in and trade suplex tosses. DDP adds in some cheap shots. Booty Man runs in for the high knee on Barbarian but DDP hits an elbow to his head and that’s enough for the win at 5:05. This was all pretty listless, even with Steiner and Barbarian bringing the roughhouse moves.

U.S. Champion Konnan vs. Justin Liger
Liger is wearing black and has Sonny Ono as his manager. Konnan comes out wearing a a striped bed sheet. Konnan works hard to keep up with Liger in a fast paced beginning sequence of trading moves. Liger hits a plancha and a brain buster before trying Konnan up on the mat. Konnan reverses out of that for a modified STF and Liger rolls of that. They continue proving to be even competitors as they start to take a more aggressive edge with strikes. Konnan is superplexed and frog splashed, only to survive long enough for Liger to try another high risk move which is countered. Konnan nails a massive spine buster but Liger again counters out of the follow up and drops him with a powerbomb. Konnan survives to deliver a modified “Razor’s Edge” for the win at 9:30. Actually one heck of a match. It’s so strange to see Konnan when he was still trying hard instead of going through the motions.

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson come out to brag about all the sex they are going to have with Elizabeth and Woman now that Macho Man is in jail. They then switch focus to Steve McMichael to set up next month’s match. Mongo comes down and stands tall in their faces. He reveals Kevin Greene as his partner and the heels flee.

Battle Bowl Finals for a PPV World title shot and the “Lord of the Ring” award: Johnny Grunge, Rocco Rock, Bobby Eaton, Dick Slater, DDP, The Barbarian, Scott Norton and Ice Train
What an amazing finals. All tag team wrestlers except for DDP. I guess you can’t hate on them for booking predictably. This is just 8 guys meandering about.  Eaton is accidentally outed by Slater, so they brawl on the floor. People start to fly out. DDP Diamond cuts Grunge, Ice Train and Barbarian in a row and pins the first two men to eliminate them. Barbarian tombstones DDP. Page goes low to slow down the monster. Barbarian hits a sloppy powerbomb but still can’t finish DDP. He misses a diving headbutt and a Diamond Cutter wins it at 9:36. An appropriately heatless and flow-less match to end a tournament full of them. Reportedly everyone in the WCW offices realized what a disaster this match was and how little heat DDP had despite winning it.

World Champion The Giant vs. The Man Called Sting
Luger is out with Sting to add a bit of intrigue since Luger has been hanging around the heels in the previous months. Sting can’t budge the Giant as he flies into him with clotheslines and other attacks. The challenger tries a slam but that ends poorly. Giant crushes Sting at will after that advantage opens up. A body scissors wears Sting down further. Sting manages a punch, so Giant launches him to the floor. He tries to choke slam him through a table but Luger blocks that.

The Giant misses a dropkick back in the ring as the ref takes a bump. The Giant misses another charge and ends up hung up. That opens things up for Sting to start delivering a series of Stinger splashes. Luger and Jimmy Hart go to the same corner and the Giant chokes Luger. Sting has the Giant down but he goes after Jimmy Hart instead and ends up missing after Luger “accidentally” pulls him out of the way. Sting hits Giant with a pair of top rope splashes and locks on the Scorpion Death Lock. Luger and Hart fight over the megaphone and Luger “accidentally” hits Sting with it and the Giant chokeslams him for the win at 10:40.   Not a bad match, but it didn’t feel like anything you’d not see on Nitro – especially since it was basically just moving story lines along with a screw job finish.

Final thoughts: A night of mostly brutally bad wrestling for sure. Hall and Nash were days away from showing up and turning the industry on it’s head. If not for that, we have long term plans of Flair vs. Savage part 2335, Luger vs. Sting, Hogan coming back to feud with the Giant some more (which was actually planned) and maybe some solid Lucha workers to help salvage the mid-card. Instead we got an angle that emblazoned the business and in a round about way helped make Vince McMahon a billionaire.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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