Classic Wrestling Review: Battlebowl

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Battlebowl

November 20, 1993

Pensacola Civic Center

Pensacola, Florida

After Halloween Havoc, WCW went on a European tour that quickly went south. The wrestlers were jet lagged and frustrated over the poor attendance, so they decided to drown their sorrows in alcohol. A few of them went to a bar and an argument started over what was causing the poor numbers for WCW. Sid Vicious blamed it on old people like Flair not stepping aside for the younger guys. Arn Anderson took offense to this comment and threw his drink in Sid’s face. The other wrestlers finally convinced both of them to calm down and go to bed, but that’s where things took a turn for the worse. Sid was still angry and went to Arn’s room to confront him. The two men fought and a pair of scissors was introduced into the fight. Both men suffered multiple stab wounds, with Sid getting the worst of the damage. Thankfully, Vader was there to save Sid’s life by sticking his finger in one of the wounds to stop the bleeding. Arn and Sid would be suspended and WCW would then fire Sid for provoking the fight. This would ruin WCW’s plans for a Vader/Sid match at Starrcade and ironically enough it would be Flair that takes Sid’s place in that match. (WCW made posters advertising Vader/Sid for Starrcade. You can still find one online.)

However, before they can get to Starrcade, they have to go through Battlebowl first. WCW decided to move the Lethal Lottery to its own PPV because 1993 is the 10th Anniversary of Starrcade. They wanted to move away from the gimmicks and make their biggest show traditional again. This is the only year where they held the Battlebowl PPV, as they would shelve the idea until 1996. This is also the first time in a while that WCW held a PPV the same month as the WWF and Vince wasn’t too happy about it. (If you remember, he made a subtle comment about it at SummerSlam.) Also, I have one last bit of news, Mean Gene arrived in WCW shortly before this show. I’ve heard conflicting stories. Some say that the WWF offered him a contract but he didn’t like it. Gene has said that he would have stayed in the WWF, but they didn’t offer him anything. Either way, Gene signed with WCW for a pretty high price and a large chunk of the hotline money. (I don’t blame him. He reportedly made quite a lot of cash off that hotline.)

The show opens with various wrestlers talking about Battlebowl. Dustin Rhodes, Cactus Jack, Steve Austin, Sting, Johnny B. Badd, Ricky Steamboat, Rick Rude, and The Nasty Boys talk about taking it to the limit and surviving. However, Knobbs has to explain the concept of Battlebowl to Sags because he’s very confused. Sadly, that explanation consists of yelling, “You know, it’s Battlebowl!! Ahh!!”

Fireworks explode and Tony Schiavone welcomes everyone to the most unpredictable and exciting PPV, Battlebowl. He’s with Jesse Ventura, who says, “The people out there thinks the fireworks is just gone off. The fireworks is just gonna begin!” (That’s terrible grammar, Jesse. Come on!) He also talks about everyone going after the Battlebowl ring, which he compares to winning a Super Bowl. Then, they show a split screen of the two locker rooms waiting to be called and Tony talks about the previous winners Sting (who is there) and The Great Muta (who isn’t there). (On a funny side note, Tony and Jesse are standing in front of a fan sign that says, “America’s Best WCW.” Is there another WCW? I would hate to see America’s worst WCW.)

Tony then sends it to Mean Gene Okerlund and Fifi, who will draw and announce the names of the participants. Gene jokes that Tony has a cross to bear in working with Jesse, but he says his duty is much more pleasant. He tells Fifi they’re going to have fun and “accidentally” gets a bit handsy with her. Then, he tells her to draw the names and he will read them. The first name he reads is Cactus Jack. His partner will be Vader, who throws a fit and shoves Rip Rogers out of his chair. Tony and Jesse are in shock that these two will have to team. Next, Gene announces Kole of Harlem Heat, but Kane heads to the ring instead. (I don’t know if Gene screwed up or if they’re doing a storyline where Harlem Heat swapped. It’s not explained.) Kane will team with Charlie Norris.

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

I see they’re not even going to attempt to make these drawings look random. Cactus and Vader teaming immediately destroys that notion. Vader heads to the ring and meets Cactus on the ramp, but he starts attacking him. Kane joins in the fun and attacks Cactus, while Vader loses his cool and hits Harley too! Norris arrives, so Vader hits him as well and turns to leave, but Harley has to explain to him that he can’t go to Battlebowl if he doesn’t win this match. He tells Vader he has to coexist with Jack.

Cactus and Kane fight and Jack sends him to the floor where Vader attacks him. However, Jack rakes Vader’s eyes for good measure. Kane returns to the ring and tags Norris, who trades headbutts and kicks with Cactus until Jack tags Vader. He slams Norris and hits a Vader Bomb before throwing Charlie to the floor. Then, Vader holds Norris and tells Cactus to do a cannonball into him, which he does. Vader then heads back inside and hits an avalanche attack, but Jack calls for a tag and gets it—quite aggressively. Cactus hits a leg drop and a sloppy back suplex, but he falls victim to double teaming by Kane & Norris. However, Vader returns and brawls with Kane until Jack tags in and gets double teamed again. Norris knocks Cactus to the floor and Kane attacks him before Charlie wears him down for a bit. Vader makes the save, so Cactus hits Kane with a Double-Arm DDT and makes a tag. Norris tries to fight against Vader, but Vader hits an avalanche and a splash before hitting a sloppy powerbomb for the win. (Vader fell over in the process and appeared to hurt his back. Also, Vader’s music is dubbed over on the Network. Was he using a different song on this show?)

This match was more about the Cactus/Vader feud than the match itself. That part was done well, but the match wasn’t great. It was sloppy at times and no one cared about the team of Kane/Norris. The fans reacted well to Vader and Cactus, but that’s it. Tony had to try and explain why fans were cheering Vader. I get they’re trying to play off the fact that enemies can team together, but when they go with the most obvious pairing in the first match, it kills the idea that there’s any randomness to the drawing. It also won’t help that this show is full of obvious pairings. WCW never tried to be subtle about it.

Winners: Vader & Cactus (7:34)

Tony and Jesse talk about not being able to predict anything because they don’t know who will team. However, Tony says that Vader has to be a favorite now that he’s advanced. Then, they go back to Gene and Fifi and Gene acts like he was trying to kiss her. (Some fan yells, “Let’s go, Gene!”) Gene asks if they’re on the air and asks Fifi if she’s having fun before saying she looks good enough to eat. (Easy, Gene!) He then reads the names of Paul Roma and Erik Watts. (He pronounces Erik as, “Ear-ick.” Gene always pronounces the name Eric that way. He does it with Bischoff too.) Next, he announces Johnny B. Badd and starts mumbling about Fifi’s low-cut top, but he quickly corrects himself to say the envelope is cut. He also announces Brian Knobbs as Johnny’s partner, which angers the Nasty Boys.

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

I kind of feel like someone is having a laugh by teaming Watts and Roma. They put two big disappointments together. During the entrances, Jesse calls Mean Gene a pervert and jokes about how red his face was turning. Meanwhile, Missy Hyatt leads Knobbs to the ring and she has long hair again. (She can’t make up her mind on her look.) Knobbs says he will have to carry Johnny B. Badd on his back all the way to Battlebowl. Tony tries to say this is going to be a good match, but I don’t believe him. Jesse starts talking about Gene again and tries making some inappropriate jokes, so Tony claims Gene and Fifi were simply discussing the last match. (On a side note, the commentators talk about dissension in the Horsemen because Roma has been a bit lazy lately in helping his fellow Horsemen. I see WCW has already given up on this incarnation of the group.)

Roma and Badd start the match and grapple a bit before trading blocked hip tosses. Roma keeps leapfrogging him and Badd answers with arm drags before tagging Knobbs. He tries to brawl with Roma, but Paul is too quick. Knobbs then tries his hand against Watts, but Erik sends him to the floor and celebrates as if he won. Knobbs tags out and Badd trades pin attempts with Watts until Roma & Watts double team him. However, Watts misses a charge and Knobbs returns. He gets in trouble again until he rakes the eyes and tags Badd, but Johnny refuses to attack until Erik can see again. Badd’s hesitance leaves him open to more double teaming and Roma hits a powerslam, but Missy distracts the ref. Knobbs keeps trying to interfere and use cheap shots, but Badd refuses to participate in the cheating. Eventually, Roma & Watts retake control and Watts cleans house, but Knobbs reverses a flying cross body and pins Watts with a handful of tights.

There was some decent storytelling between Badd & Knobbs, but the match wasn’t anything special. It was decent enough, but the fans barely cared. That’s the downside of these Lethal Lottery matches. If there isn’t enough backstory between the participants, the fans couldn’t care less. It also doesn’t help that the fans never liked Watts. The only thing they reacted to in this match was Missy and that was only a few fans in the front row.

Winners: Badd & Knobbs (12:56)

They go back to Gene, but he’s having a private conversation with Fifi and he appears to be looking down her dress. Jesse calls him a lecherous old fool, as Gene realizes he’s on the air. The next name they draw is the Shockmaster followed by Paul Orndorff. Gene then says if he and Fifi get any closer, they’ll have to check into someplace. Then, Gene draws the name of Ricky Steamboat and his partner will be Lord Steven Regal, who looks shocked. Gene says to get ready for World War III because of this pairing. (No, that doesn’t take place until 1995. Is Gene clairvoyant?)

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

The fans start chanting, “Paula,” the second Orndorff reaches the ramp. Shockmaster leads the chant, so Orndorff yells at him. Regal makes his way to the ring next and he looks disgusted at the thought of teaming with Steamboat. Tony talks about how Steamboat beat Orndorff for the TV title and Regal beat Steamboat for it. Jesse adds that Shockmaster fell through a wall and jokes that the wall is the only thing that’s defeated him. Sir William then asks Tony if they can change partners, but Schiavone says they can’t do that.

Steamboat and Orndorff start the match and trade holds before Paul tries to throw him over the ropes. Ricky skins the cat into a head scissors to take Orndorff to the floor where they brawl for a bit. Orndorff returns with a flying axehandle, but Ricky punches him and the two men trade holds and pin attempts. Then, they end up colliding with each other off an atomic drop, so Regal calls Steamboat an imbecile. Ricky tags Regal, but Steven realizes he has to face the Shockmaster. The Shockmaster frustrates Regal and places him on the top rope before patting his head. He also catches Regal on a cross body and slams him. Orndorff then enters the match and shakes hands with Regal, so Steamboat yells at him. However, Regal and Orndorff soon trade full nelsons and reversals until Steamboat tags himself into the match. Steamboat ends up in trouble after a hotshot, but Regal ignores a tag until Shockmaster forces him to do it. Shockmaster goes to splash Regal in the corner, but he misses and Orndorff accidentally elbows him. This leads to an argument, so Regal tries to use the umbrella. Steamboat sees him and stops the attack before hitting Regal with the umbrella. Then, Shockmaster hits a splash for the win.

This was a fun match. The action was good as long as Shockmaster wasn’t in the ring and the interactions between the other three men were great. Regal and William were particularly funny with their insults towards Steamboat. They did enough to make this match entertaining and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Plus, there was enough backstory involving these men for the fans to care.

Winners: Shockmaster & Orndorff (12:26)

Tony then plugs the next PPV, Starrcade. He talks about the history because it’s the 10th Anniversary of the show. (At least WCW knows how anniversaries work, unlike the WWF/WWE.) Jesse then sarcastically says it will be an honor to call the show with Schiavone because of all the knowledge in his head. (He pats Tony’s head as he says it.) Tony then talks about a press conference that WCW held for Starrcade and they show the footage.

Mean Gene is with Vader in a suit. (He’s still wearing his mask, which is an odd look. Also, this press conference is about as cheap as can be. There are no banners or tables. Everyone is standing around and the cameraman is practically hiding behind someone.) Gene talks about the history of Starrcade and claims promoters from all over the world bid on a chance to host the show. He lists multiple countries and American cities, but he says that the show will take place in Charlotte, NC. He calls the city major league. Then, Gene introduces Harley Race and Vader, but Ric Flair crashes the party. He says he has a contract and he wants to be in a match with Vader for the WCW Title. Vader asks what Flair has to offer, so Ric says ten world titles. Vader says that’s not enough because he’s had over ten on four continents. Harley shows the contract to Vader, but Flair doesn’t trust Vader to read. He tells him that he will retire if he doesn’t win. Vader starts listing all his victims and tells Flair he wants to put his head on his wall. Vader agrees to the match and Race taunts Flair, so Ric reminds Harley of Starrcade ‘83 and says it will be the same.

They go back to Gene and Fifi and Gene is holding a pair of handcuffs. He talks to her about being tied up, but she says she doesn’t understand what he means. Gene realizes they’re on the air, so he nervously rolls the tumbler. Gene announces Awesome Kong (No, not THAT Awesome Kong. This is one half of a tag team called the Awesome Kongs, which are two large men in masks. I can’t help but notice their masks look almost just like Shanghai Pierce’s mask. I guess WCW buys in bulk.) His partner will be the Equalizer. (Oh, this match is going to suck.) Gene then announces they’ll be facing his partner, King Kong, so King starts yelling for their manager, Harley Race. (They have to be ribbing Harley by giving him all these terrible gimmicks.) King’s partner will be Dustin Rhodes, but I doubt he can save this.

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

Dustin is the only one who gets a decent reaction during the entrances. The Kongs shake their heads in disbelief. The commentators spend the entrances talking about the Flair/Vader match and Jesse asks what Flair will do when he retires. Tony rightfully points out that means Jesse thinks he will lose. (You can tell that even the commentators don’t care about this match.)

Dustin and the Equalizer start the match, which is probably for the best. They grapple for a bit and Dustin catches him with a drop toe hold and an arm drag. However, Equalizer answers with a slam and tags Awesome. Rhodes catches him with a dropkick and a roll-up, but Awesome answers with headbutts and forearms. Awesome then misses an elbow. (I use that term loosely. Dustin moved, but Awesome is so large that it still made contact.) Dustin makes a tag, but King Kong refuses to attack Awesome and tags Dustin again. Then, the Equalizer returns, but Dustin catches him with an arm drag and some armbars. King Kong finally agrees to enter the match and trades clotheslines, punches, and eye rakes with Equalizer before Equalizer surprises him with a boot. He ends up missing a leg drop, so both men tag out and Dustin cleans house with bionic elbows on Awesome. He also hits a sunset flip, but the Equalizer breaks it up and the match becomes a brawl. Awesome sees the Equalizer beating up King Kong and decides to splash him, but he collides with King’s head and Rhodes hits a bulldog for the win.

They at least kept this short, but it was terrible. The Kongs were both winded within seconds. There were too many poor workers in this match, which made it sloppy and awkward. Also, that finish was kind of lame. I’m not sure who thought this would be a good match. How thin is WCW’s roster when they have to fill the Lethal Lottery with guys like the Awesome Kongs?

Winners: Rhodes & King Kong (5:55)

They go back to Gene and Fifi and Gene is whispering to her. Fifi asks what he’s looking at and Gene says something reminded him of melons. Gene then announces Sting for the next match, which gets a good reaction. His partner is Jerry Sags. Then, Gene announces Ron Simmons, who will team with—Keith Cole?? (He’s one half of a jobber tag team named the Cole Twins. They look like a couple of bland young Ronnie Garvins, with ridiculous half-shaved mullets. WCW is scraping the bottom of the barrel for this Lethal Lottery.)

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

Missy leads Sags to the ring and keeps reminding him he’s a champion. Jesse jokes that it’s hard to tell the difference between Missy and Sags. Tony doesn’t realize he’s joking, so he simply says, “No it’s not!” Oddly enough, Sting is already in the ring and doesn’t get an entrance. (I guess they really needed to show Sags’ entrance.)

Sags and Keith almost start the match, but Simmons tags in instead. Sags bails and tells Sting to watch his back before returning. Sags tries to slug it out with Ron, but Simmons answers with a hip toss, an arm drag, and a shoulder block before tagging Cole. Keith only seems to know how to do arm holds because that’s 99% of his offense. Sags is in trouble until he hits a short-arm clothesline, but he refuses to tag Sting. However, Cole catches him in another armbar, so he yells for Sting to help. Simmons & Cole double team Sags until he finally tags. Sting trades shoulder blocks with Simmons and then faces off with Keith Cole. Sting admires his haircut and trades arm drags with him as well as a backslide. Eventually, Ron and Sting fight again and Sting hits a cross body and a clothesline, so Simmons becomes frustrated and gives him a cheap shot. Ron then hits a powerslam and tags Cole, who does more boring arm work. Ron is having none of that and demands a tag before snapping Sting into the bottom rope. However, Ron makes the mistake of tagging Cole again and Sting takes advantage. He hits the Stinger Splash, but Sags makes a blind tag and hits a flying elbow for the win.

This was a decent match. The story between Sting and Sags was done well. They even did some good storytelling with Simmons. You can tell they’re building to a heel turn. The only time the match dragged was when Sags was in control, but even that wasn’t too bad. This match did what it needed to do for a Lethal Lottery bout with no build. They used their time wisely.

Winners: Sting & Sags (13:14)

After the match, Simmons has had enough and yells at Cole. Keith can’t explain himself, so Simmons kicks him and hits a spinebuster before stomping him. The fans boo as Ron leaves the ring in frustration. (When I said they were heading for a Simmons heel turn, I wasn’t expecting it to happen immediately. I guess I called it.)

Tony and Jesse then recap the night and send it to Gene, who is trying to slow dance with Fifi. He says he loves dancing, especially when he gets to lead. He sees the camera, so he draws more names. He announces Stunning Steve Austin and Ric Flair! They will face Maxx Payne, who was brooding in a corner of the locker room, and 2 Cold Scorpio.

Ric Flair & Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Col. Parker) vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Maxx Payne

Maxx Payne has surprisingly turned face. He patched up his differences with Johnny B. Badd and took on Cactus Jack as a spiritual advisor. (The commentators had a good laugh at that idea earlier in the show.) This would soon lead to Payne & Cactus becoming a tag team, which ends up being a good fit for Payne. Flair gets a good reaction on his way to the ring and he trash talks with Austin for a bit. (We can’t hear them, but I’d love to know what they said.) Austin is managed by Col. Parker now and he also tries to taunt Flair, but Ric isn’t having it. Austin then tries to tell Flair he’s the captain of the team and convinces Ric to let him start.

Payne and Austin begin the match and Austin fails to suplex him, so Payne takes him to the mat. Austin tries to tag, but Flair simply struts away. Payne uses the opening to hit some shoulder blocks until Austin trips him and stomps his gut. However, Payne answers with a choke-lift and tags Scorpio. Austin and Scorpio fight in and out of the ring and Scorp catches him with flips and dropkicks. Austin finally makes a tag to Flair, who trades mat holds and reversals with Scorpio as well as a backslide. Payne returns and slams Flair off the top rope, but he misses an elbow and Flair tags Austin—who quickly gets in trouble again. Flair and Scorpio face-off once more and Scorpio hits a corner splash and a standing moonsault, but Flair answers with chops and a back drop. Then, Austin returns and Scorpio attacks him too until Austin crotches Scorp on the top rope. Austin then hits a superplex and a backbreaker before he and Flair trade turns attacking Scorpio. Steve eventually locks Scorp in an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes, but Flair stops him. However, they surprisingly double team Scorpio and Austin wears him down until Scorp hits a spin kick. Both men then make a tag and Flair attacks Payne with chops, but Payne answers with a back drop and a clothesline. He then charges Flair in the corner, but Ric moves and Maxx hurts his knee. Flair immediately pounces and locks him in a Figure Four for the win.

This was a pretty good match. It was filled with pretty good workers and even Payne looked decent. Plus, the interactions between Austin and Flair were great. This is another match where the participants knew how to take a match with no build and make something interesting from it. Also, we got to see some unique match-ups. I never thought I’d see Flair/Scorpio, but it was pretty good.

Winners: Flair & Austin (14:31)

Meanwhile, Gene needs to tie his shoe, so he gets down on his knees and clearly looks up Fifi’s skirt. (Man, they’re pouring this on thick!) She asks him what he’s doing, so he stands and claims he had a bad wing-tip. Then, Gene announces Rick Rude, who says somebody is in for a rude awakening. His partner is Shanghai Pierce. They’re facing Marcus Bagwell and Tex Slazenger! (That’s the second match tonight where tag teams are on opposite sides. Is WCW even trying?)

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

During the entrances, Tony points out that Bagwell is one of five men who competed in the first Battlebowl. Slazenger makes his way to the ring and says he doesn’t know who is picking these names but they’re going to pay. (How does he not know who is picking the names? He was watching the monitor!) He then tells a fan to shut up and enters the ring. Then, Rude demands to start the match and tells Pierce to stand on the apron. (On a side note, Rude’s tights have pictures of everyone he’s beaten in WCW with the words, “I beat ‘em all,” written above it. It’s a nice touch.)

Rude and Bagwell start and Rude shoves him around before posing. Rick then hits a release suplex, but Bagwell answers with a drop toe hold. Then, Tex enters the match and attacks Rude’s arm, so Rude fights back and tags Pierce. Shanghai refuses to attack Tex, so he tags Rude again and Bagwell comes back for more work on Rude’s arm. Eventually, Pierce tags in for real and fights back and forth with Bagwell until Marcus hits a splash and an arm drag. They trade control until Tex distracts the ref and Rude low-bridges Bagwell to the outside. Rude & Pierce then double team him and Rude hits a delayed front suplex. Bagwell is reluctant to tag because he doesn’t know if Tex will fight Pierce, but tensions seem to be rising between Pierce and Slazenger. Pierce cuts off Bagwell’s comeback and hits a gut-wrench powerbomb, but Tex surprisingly makes the save. Pierce is pissed, so they start brawling when Tex finally tags. However, Rude makes a blind tag and hits Tex with a Rude Awakening for the win.

I liked the story they told in this match. It wasn’t a thrilling bout, but they did enough to make it somewhat interesting. It went on a bit longer than it should have, but it was decent enough to enjoy. Bagwell looked sympathetic, but the crowd didn’t care enough about the match to react that loudly. Sadly, the lack of crowd reaction did detract from the match.

Winners: Rude & Pierce (14:50)

After the match, Pierce & Slazenger start attacking Bagwell, but the replay is happening. Tony has to tell us what’s happening until they come back to the action. They only catch the end of the beating before Tex & Shanghai hug and leave the ring.

They go back to Gene and this time, Fifi is on her knees in front of him. Gene is grinning, but he claims they were trying to fix his cord. (Is that what he calls it?) They spin the tumbler again while Gene mumbles, “Got away with that one.” He then announces the first team is Road Warrior Hawk and—Rip Rogers?? Rip is quite excited, but Tony asks who slipped his name in there. (Rip is a jobber at this point, but he would go on to become a well-respected trainer and mentor to wrestlers. His Twitter account is quite interesting. He’s always giving advice and insight on the wrestling business.) They will face Davey Boy Smith and Kole of Harlem Heat. (Booker T yells, “Pain is the name of the game,” before leaving the locker room.)

Road Warrior Hawk & Rip Rogers vs. Davey Boy Smith & Kole

During the entrances, Rip Rogers pesters Hawk, so Hawk levels him with a punch. (Is Hawk supposed to be a face?) Davey then makes his entrance and also gives Rip a kick. Kole also gets a shot in on him and yells he doesn’t need a partner. (Does Kole realize that Davey is his partner?) Meanwhile, the fans start a “LOD,” chant.

Davey and Hawk begin the bout, but Kole yells at Davey for giving Hawk a high-five. They power each other around and into the corner before Hawk calls for a test of strength. They trade control and then break, so Kole yells at Davey and makes a tag. Meanwhile, Rip is still struggling to reach the ring. Kole then hits Hawk with some forearms and kicks before locking him in a brief head vice. Hawk fires back with punches and chops and slams him, but Kole does a Spinaroonie back to his feet and hits a clothesline. He then gives Hawk a side slam, but Davey begins cheering for Hawk for some reason. Then, Kole gives Rip another shot and goes back to attacking Hawk. He snaps Hawk across the ropes and hits a flying axehandle before attacking Rip once more. Hawk eventually fights out of a chinlock and hits some clotheslines and knees, but Kole rakes his eyes and hits a backbreaker. (Davey is still cheering on Hawk and even starts an “LOD,” chant.) However, Kole misses a flying elbow and Hawk attacks. Hawk then spots Rip on the apron and press slams him onto Kole for the win. (I’m pretty sure he never tagged Rip, but the ref didn’t seem to care.)

Poor Booker T. He spent the last two shows jobbing to Shockmaster and now he loses to a comedy spot. This wasn’t a good match. It was slow and dragged. Booker is still early in his career, so he wasn’t as exciting as he will become. The Rip Rogers stuff was amusing, but it wasn’t enough to save this match. Also, Bulldog looked like an idiot. It didn’t seem like he cared about Battlebowl at all.

Winners: Hawk & Rogers (7:55)

Tony and Jesse then talk about the participants for Battlebowl and ask Gene who his favorite is. Gene says he doesn’t know where Rip Rogers came from, but he has to go with the big men. (He never said who he was picking.) Gene then says he’s been covering wrestling for a quarter of a century and this event is knocking him out, just like Fifi. He tells her she’s been fantastic. She says he has been too, so Gene nervously drops his mic before saying goodbye to her. Then, Gene asks Jesse who he thinks will win Battlebowl. Jesse says it will either be Vader or one of the Nasty Boys.

Battlebowl Battle Royal

Some random voice that isn’t Cappetta introduces the competitors over some generic music. (Participants: Cactus Jack, Vader, Johnny B. Badd, Knobbs, Shockmaster, Paul Orndorff, King Kong, Dustin Rhodes, Sting, Sags, Steve Austin, Ric Flair, Rick Rude, Shanghai Pierce, Road Warrior Hawk, and Rip Rogers.) Rip limps his way to the ring and stumbles before he can enter the ropes. The match begins when he finally enters.

Everyone brawls and Hawk fights Vader. (I would imagine a match between these two would be a potato-fest.) Rip Rogers is quickly eliminated, so Tony says bless his heart. Shanghai is eliminated next. (The camera has missed both eliminations already.) Cactus then begins choking Austin and does his weird pig squeal noise. Flair and Austin also fight and go under the ropes for a bit. Next, Johnny B. Badd is eliminated and the camera also misses that! For some reason, Hawk saves Flair, but they start fighting. Meanwhile, Cactus and Vader fight on the top rope and Vader ends up eliminating Jack. (The camera missed that too!! However, they do catch King Kong and Shockmaster’s eliminations.) Orndorff is next before Vader press slams Sting to the ramp. (The ramp doesn’t count, but Race doesn’t realize that.) Then, Vader attacks Flair, who fires back with chops. Sting saves Flair from elimination, so Vader starts fighting with others, like Rude and Sting. Austin and Dustin Rhodes then fight to the floor and Austin rams him into the post, which busts open Rhodes. Dustin recovers enough to eliminate both Nasty Boys, but Rhodes falls out with Knobbs. Next, Hawk back drops Rude out of the ring and Vader dumps Hawk to leave the final four.

(Final Four: Vader, Sting, Steve Austin, & Ric Flair.) Vader pairs off with Flair and Sting fights Austin. Vader misses an avalanche in the corner, but Harley pulls Flair to the ramp. Race headbutts Flair in the gut, but Ric suplexes him. Vader follows and drops an elbow on Ric. He also splashes him and Flair yells in pain. Sting sees this and attacks Vader on the ramp, so Austin joins them. The trainer tries to check on Ric, but Vader kicks him and keeps attacking Flair. The officials bring out a stretcher, but Flair screams for them to not move him. (Cappetta announces that Flair is unable to continue) Race continues attacking Ric while they wheel him away, but Vader turns his attack to Sting. Austin tries to jump onto Sting, but he raises a boot and then catches Vader with a powerslam. Sting fends off both men by rolling past them, but Vader hits an avalanche attack. Austin and Vader pinball Sting around the ring and Vader hits some splashes, but he misses a third. Sting fires back, but Austin gets the advantage and Vader hits a Vader Bomb. However, Vader hurts his back. Vader tries another avalanche, but he hits Austin by mistake. Sting back drops Austin to the ramp and he rolls to the floor for an elimination, but Vader continues attacking Sting. The two men collide and Sting falls onto Vader’s crotch. Sting then lifts Vader to the top rope and goes for a Stinger Splash, but Vader moves and Sting tumbles over the rope for the final elimination.

The final few minutes were good, but they didn’t make up for the boring first half. It also didn’t help that the camera missed half the eliminations. Battle Royals tend to only get interesting in the end and this one was no exception. It’s nice to see Vader get a win since he’s the champion and they did a great job of building his feud with Flair, but this battle royal still doesn’t mean much. Also, this is yet another PPV where Vader didn’t defend his WCW Title. He’s had very few PPV title defenses in this run. That doesn’t make him look like a strong champion.

Winner: Vader (25:33)

Next, they go to Mean Gene, but Vader interrupts the commentators to yell about Flair. They don’t have time for Gene to say anything else, so he has to quickly say goodnight.

The Good:

– There were a couple of decent to good matches.

– The Mean Gene stuff was amusing even though it hasn’t aged well.

– Seeing Flair/Scorpio made me want to see more between them.

– The Vader/Flair stuff was good.

The Bad:

– Some of the matches weren’t good or didn’t feel important.

– Too many jobbers involved.

– The Awesome Kongs.

– The Lethal Lottery/Battlebowl was the only thing on the show.

Performer of the Night:

I’m going to give it to Vader because he was the focus of the night and had some good performances. He looked strong in taking out Flair.

Final Thoughts:

I didn’t hate this as much as I thought I would, but it wasn’t great. Battlebowl shouldn’t be on PPV. I would hate to spend money to watch a one-night random tournament with nothing important on the line. This concept belongs on free TV. There was some decent action, but it felt pointless by the end. This entire PPV felt like filler to hold WCW over until Starrcade. It also doesn’t help that their roster is so thin that they couldn’t even fill this tournament with stars.

Thank you for reading. You can like and follow the Facebook page for this blog by clicking here and the Twitter page by clicking here. You can also buy t-shirts by clicking here. (There’s a sale going on. Use the code AMERICA to get 20% off until July 8th!)

My next review will return to the WWF for Survivor Series ‘93. Look for it next Saturday!

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
Like and Follow the Facebook page for this blog here: https://www.facebook.com/ClassicWrestlingReview.
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