Through the Years: WCW Starrcade 1992

 

For anyone who doesn’t read my articles regularly, I should explain WCW Starrcade 1992 a little bit. Rick Rude was originally intended to challenge Ron Simmons and lose that challenge. He had a messed up disc in his neck, and couldn’t go. They found that out the day of the show. Very typical of WCW, much like the rest of this show at large. I’m not too sure how anyone could have been excited by the Battlebowl concept, plus WCW had their other problems with getting people to watch or attend their shows. Like…changing the lineup the day of the show!

 

– December 28th, 1992, from the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia

This Starrcade video serves to remind me of Ric Flair being on a lot of shows and not this one. They didn’t even edit Rick Rude out of the hype package. That’s bad. I don’t give a single damn about this Masa Chono vs. Great Muta match. The tag title bout sounds very good, though. Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura will be on commentary, as usual.

They did the spot where Rick Rude drops out of the title match on a damn pre-taped segment with Eric Bischoff. That’s TERRIBLE. Dr. Death will take Rick Rude’s place.

Tony Schiavone is with Bill Watts and Hank Aaron to introduce the show, and the Watts aspect of this is unnecessary to say the least. Aaron is there to present Sting a ring for his Battlebowl win in 1991. Okay.

Missy Hyatt and Larry Zbyszko are going to draw the names for THE LETHAL LOTTERY, but the first match was already drawn. Sadly, Arn Anderson was injured and could not participate. If he had been available, I don’t think they’d have used him anyway.

THE LETHAL LOTTERY: Cactus Jack and Johnny B. Badd vs. Van Hammer and Dan Spivey

Pre-Match Thoughts: Finally we get to this. That Cactus/Badd team is positively interesting. Van Hammer is dressed like the absolute biggest dork. I bet he pinned Cactus Jack to really stick it to me. Spivey’s body looked like garbage now that he wasn’t on steroids. The difference was enormous. He’d hardly been in WCW, but he was there for this. I hope Cactus turns on Badd and walks out on the match.

Match Review: Cactus and Hammer start the match off, and Cactus hits him with some knees. Hammer comes back with shitty punches, but Cactus trips him for 2. Hammer slaps Cactus, then clotheslines him in the corner. Hammer slams Cactus, and follows with a leg drop for 2. Badd tags in, and Hammer hip tosses him. Hammer follows with a terrible elbow drop for 2, and Badd comes back with some arm drags. Badd spikes Hammer with a hurricanrana for 2, then brings Cactus back in for a hip toss. Cactus misses an elbow drop, so Spivey tags in. He brawls with Cactus, then Cactus runs into a big boot and clothesline. Spivey follows with a bodyslam, then tags Hammer back in. Hammer takes Cactus down with a headlock, then they get up and Cactus tags out. Spivey knees Badd from behind as he runs the ropes, and Hammer has a problem with that. Spivey tags in anyway, then drops Badd with a uranage. Spivey goes to a bear hug, then Hammer tags back in for a bodyslam that gets 2. Hammer back suplexes Badd for 2, then tags in Spivey, who collides with Badd. Cactus makes the tag in, and beats Spivey up with forearms and a facebuster. He’s getting a big babyface reaction too. Cactus drops an elbow for 2, but gets dumped to the outside. Cactus gets back in, clotheslines Spivey, and Badd isn’t there to tag. WHAT A DICK. Spivey drops Cactus with a Russian leg sweep for 2, then Hammer gets back in there. Hammer hits Cactus with a flying shoulderblock, and Badd accidentally hits Cactus with an elbow drop while breaking the cover. Badd hits Cactus with a left hand, Hammer rolls Cactus up, and that’s it after 6:51.

My Thoughts: This had good action, but it was very sloppy. The styles didn’t mesh, and Hammer didn’t even really have a style, so things were a bit difficult. Ultimately, Van Hammer had to be in the ring too much. Lame finish leaves us with a * rating.

Time for the first drawing. The first team is VADER AND DUSTIN RHODES. the second is far less cool. Kensuke Sasaki and the Barbarian.

THE LETHAL LOTTERY: Dustin Rhodes and Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. The Barbarian and Kensuke Sasaki

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a good one, I’d say. One thing I really hate about this show is the way nobody enters to their own music. It’s very annoying to me, I’m a stickler for things like that. Can’t complain about this match at all, I’m sure some punishment will be dished out. Barbarian had a silly headband on, it would have been interesting if he hadn’t taken it off.

Match Review: Barbarian and Vader will start this one, and after Vader shakes hands, he pushes Barbarian. Barbarian clotheslines him in response, but doesn’t knock him down. Vader can’t knock Barbarian down with one either. Barbarian slams Vader, but Vader pops right up. Vader takes Barbarian to the corner, and he slams him. Barbarian pops right back up, then Vader runs his ass OVER. Vader lands the big punches in the corner now, only to miss a big boot and Barbarian nail him with more clotheslines. Vader returns the favor with another one, then he tags in Dustin Rhodes for an assisted clothesline that gets 2. TEAMWORK. Barbarian comes back with a nice back suplex, which gets 2 as well. Dustin responds with one of his own, then Sasaki tags in for the first time. Sasaki misses a charge to the corner, then Dustin runs into a clothesline. Sasaki goes up to the second rope, and Dustin dropkicks him on the way down. Dustin slams Sasaki, tags in Vader, and he jumps off the second rope with a flying body attack. BAH GAWD. Vader clotheslines the kid, then powerslams him for 2. Vader goes for a suplex, but Sasaki hits him with a clothesline of his own. Vader fires off a big boot, busting open Sasaki, who comes back with a snap suplex. Barbarian tags in, as does Dustin, and Dustin hits Barbarian with a knee lift and dropkick. Dustin follows that with a clothesline for 2, with Sasaki breaking the cover. Dustin and Sasaki trade shots, until Barbarian clotheslines Sasaki on accident. Dustin rolls up the Barbarian, and that gets 3 at 6:56.

After the match, Vader celebrates with Dustin for a bit, then clotheslines his ass. Haha.

My Thoughts: This was a solid power match, although it finished quite identically to the opener. I liked seeing Vader throw bombs with Sasaki, and Dustin was generally good as always. Barbarian didn’t have to do much, and he sure didn’t do much. **. I liked Race sneaking in that knee drop on Dustin after Vader took him out. I’m down on the Battlebowl concept so frankly it’s hard to say much about some of these matches. WCW ran way too many tournaments in 1992.

THE LETHAL LOTTERY: The Great Muta and Barry Windham vs. 2 Cold Scorpio and Brian Pillman

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a fantastic draw, nearly guaranteed to provide this tournament with a quality match. I guess they wanted to make the most of having Muta in Atlanta. One of these matches, an NWA title match, and potentially a Battlebowl match. Windham looks different with a goatee. I hope Scorpio breaks out some cool shit. In all likelihood, Pillman will help Windham beat Scorpio up.

Match Review: Windham takes Scorpio down to start the match, but Scorpio comes back with a hip toss and arm drag. This started off fast. Windham goes for a backbreaker, but Scorpio keeps the armbar on. Muta tags in, leaving us with quite the interesting match. Or not. Pillman immediately tags in, and dropkicks Muta for 2. Muta comes back with one of his own, then takes Pillman down with a headlock. Windham takes Pillman down with one too, as these two just laugh at each other. They trade chops for basically no reason, and stop, realizing they team up later. Muta tags in, has a backdrop blocked, and gets his face rammed into the mat. Muta follows up with a karate kick to the face, but Pillman rams him into the buckle and stands on his neck. Scorpio tags in there, and hits Muta with a clothesline for 2. Scorpio follows that up with a bodyslam, but his splash attempt gets blocked. Windham tags in and hits Scorpio with a clothesline for 2, then suplexes him for 2. Muta tags in for a double dropkick, then hits Scorpio with his power elbow drop. Scorpio gets up and splashes Muta in the corner, then slams him and hits him with a twisting leg drop for 2. Muta comes back with a spinning kick to knock Scorpio out of the ring, but Scorpio knocks him down and comes in with a SLINGSHOT 450 SPLASH for 2. Everyone winds up in the ring now, and eventually it’s just Scorpio and Windham. Windham picks him up for an ELEVATED DDT, and Muta follows with the MOONSAULT for the victory at 6:59.

My Thoughts: This was the best match so far, with Scorpio doing a lot of shit that I hadn’t seen anyone do in the big two companies. This could have been a spectacular match, but everyone other than Scorpio had more work to do on the show. Thus, it was brief, but fun for how long it lasted. **1/2 and I can’t wait to see more of Scorpio. I was going to watch some ECW at a point, and I know he was there for quite a while. Might be fun to see some of that stuff.

THE LETHAL LOTTERY: Sting and Steve Williams vs. Erik Watts and Jushin Liger

Pre-Match Thoughts: To pair the worst guy on the roster with the best is some very interesting logic. Watts and Liger is the only pairing where both guys were of the same alignment. I’m interested to see how this turns out, but it’s jarring to see some of the talent in the locker room that went unused on this show. I see Steve Austin and Paul Orndorff to mention two. Bit of a mistake there to have people like Van Hammer and Dan Spivey in those spots instead. PPV’s are also paid commercials in a way, and a company should want to have their good talent on them. Watts thought having his son on there was more important. Big All Japan vs. New Japan matchup here, too.

Match Review: Sting and Liger are going to start the match, which gets a big reaction from the crowd. Sting goes for a monkey flip, but Liger cartwheels away from him, only to then miss a dropkick. They lock up again, and Sting tags in Dr. Death. Doc goes for a suplex, but Liger blocks that. Doc misses a charge to the corner, then Liger tags in Watts for some arm drags. Watts then takes Doc down with a cross body for 2, but Doc comes back with some big chops. Liger makes a blind tag in and kicks Doc in the corner, but Doc wrecks him with a clothesline. Sting tags in and puts Liger on his shoulders, then rams him into the corner for 2. Liger tries a sunset flip, but Sting is in the ropes. Doc tags in again, and drops Liger throat-first on the top rope. Sting tags in there, and hits Liger with a clothesline for 2. Sting follows with a bodyslam for 2, but misses the STINGER SPLASH. Doc and Sting then keep armbars on Liger, with Sting eventually applying a half crab. Sting tags out, and Liger puts a sleeper on Doc. Doc counters with a back suplex, and Sting tags in for a suplex that gets 2. Doc tags back in, and Liger drops him with a facebuster. Watts makes the tepid tag in, and when Doc hits him with forearms, the crowd cheers. Watts then hits Doc with the ugliest dropkick I’ve seen in my life, and the second one wasn’t much better. Watts goes for the STF, but Doc immediately makes the ropes. Doc dumps Watts out to the floor, and when he comes back in, hot shots him for the victory at 9:08.

My Thoughts: It was weird and quite dumb for Liger to be in the ring doing all the selling and not getting in any offense, but that’s how wrestling goes sometimes. Better talent takes a back seat to the sons of promoters more often than not. In any case, because Liger was the guy in the ring for the majority, this match was fairly decent. It’s funny that a guy with a mask that covers his entire face can be a sympathetic seller, but in this case that’s how it went. Doc needed to look strong for his title challenge later in the show, so it’s no surprise he’d pick up the victory. **1/4.

Now WCW wants to remind us who’s in the Battlebowl match. Dan Spivey, Van Hammer, Big Van Vader, Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham, the Great Muta, Sting, and Steve Williams are those men.

The Great Muta vs. Masahiro Chono for the NWA Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: After the Rude/Chono match, I’m not too sure I’d have booked Chono to appear in this country again. Don’t care how harsh that is either. They showed a video where Muta wasn’t in any of his gear, which is so weird looking to me. Some of the impact of this match is lost because they already had Muta wrestle on this show.

Match Review: Chono kicks Muta in the head, Muta comes back with a forearm, and I suppose that’s how we start the match. Muta takes Chono down with a headlock, which gets reversed into a head-scissors. Chono then hits Muta with an enzuigiri, knocking him out of the ring. Muta gets back in there and they fight over a wristlock, until Chono shoulders him down. Muta and Chono start a test of strength, until Chono takes Muta over. Muta reverses to a full nelson, then an abdominal stretch. Chono reverses to his own abdominal stretch, which Muta counters with a hip toss. Chono and Muta then have a bit where they reverse cross-armbreakers, until Muta starts kicking Chono’s hamstrings. Muta applies a head-scissors, until Chono gets out of that. Now I see what kind of match this is going to be. Chono tosses Muta out of the ring, then tries to follow only for Muta to quickly get in the ring. Chono puts a hammerlock on Muta, then bodyslams him. Hey, a bump! Chono goes up top, but Muta gets to his feet and goes up there for a SUPERPLEX. Muta follows with a backdrop, then applies a half crab. That’s turned into an INDIAN DEATHLOCK, which Chono gets out of for a weak snap suplex. Muta comes back with a kick to the face, and Chono decides to take a break. When he gets back in there, Muta hits him with the HANDSPRING ELBOW. Muta follows that with a backbreaker, then goes up top for the MOONSAULT. Chono rolls out of the way, kicks Muta in the face, but Muta comes back with a forearm. Muta tries a small package, which gets a 2 count. They then try to dropkick each other at the same time, and a Chono back suplex follows that up. Chono goes for another, but Muta falls on top for 2. Muta misses a dropkick, then Chono puts him in the STF for the submission win at 14:32.

My Thoughts: This started off quite a lot worse than it turned out. I don’t know why they worked this style of match. It’s not like Muta hadn’t worked in this country before, he knew what to do to get over and how to maintain a crowd reaction. I don’t know why they did this. Anyway, having two straight PPV shows with this kind of match completely devalued this title from my perspective and certainly that of other people too. The superplex and a few other spots raised this from negative star territory up to a DUD. The crowd didn’t give one shit about this.

Before this match, it is announced that there is going to be a tournament to name a #1 contender for the United States Championship. If Rude doesn’t defend his title before a certain point, he’ll be stripped off that title.

So, Rude walks out and says that a SURGEON STABBED HIM IN THE BACK. He blames the whole thing on doctors. He says it’s not right that he could be stripped of his title over an injury. He says any conspiracy against him will never work!

Steve Williams vs. Ron Simmons for the WCW Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: Way to present Simmons as a champion, to always have his matches in the middle of the show. Rude dropping out takes all possible heat away from the match too. That was simply bad luck, but you’d expect your world champion to be able to have a good match with just about anyone who could possibly challenge him. Jim Ross did a good job hyping up his friend, but this wasn’t what was promised to the crowd. Simmons had piped in cheers to go with whatever real ones he had. Not joking.

Match Review: Doc wants to shake hands with Simmons, and they do so fairly. GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP. They lock up after that, and Simmons puts a headlock on the challenger. After quite a while, Doc breaks out, and they collide with each other with nothing coming of it. They’re both too powerful. Now they’re going to do a football bit, and Simmons clotheslines Doc for 2. That made Simmons look smart. Simmons applies an armbar, and Doc rolls to the outside. When he gets back in, Doc gets threatened for pulling hair. Doc pops Simmons in the eye to break a wristlock, but Simmons goes back to it. Doc breaks it by pulling hair, then they start trading bombs. Doc misses a charge to the corner, and Simmons takes him down with a facebuster for 2. Simmons goes back to the armbar, then drops Doc with a hammerlock slam. Up top he goes, and down he comes only for Doc to dodge that and ram him into the canvas. Doc decides to wrap the right leg around the ring apron, then he dropkicks Simmons a little bit low. Doc goes to a half crab, and keeps working the leg to make sure Simmons stays down. Lots of kicking took place here, stomps to the knee and things like that. Simmons tries to come back with some punches, but Doc keeps knocking him down and jumping on the leg. Doc picks Simmons up for a backbreaker, which gets 2. Doc clotheslines Simmons next, and gets 2 again. Doc slams Simmons, then clips the leg. The crowd is starting to get heated. Doc clips Simmons again, and on the third try, Simmons clotheslines him. Simmons drops Doc with a SPINEBUSTER, then clips Doc’s knees for a while. Doc ducks under one and Simmons tumbles to the outside, and it’s time for some fighting on the floor. Simmons clotheslines the post on accident, and the referee counts them both out after 15:16. Oh boy.

After the match, they keep fighting. Doc decides to try a powerslam on the floor, but Simmons rams him into the post. Doc comes back with a clothesline from behind, then goes up to the top rope for a facebuster. Now, for no reason at all, the referee reverses his decision to a Simmons victory.

My Thoughts: The match was fine, but not of world championship quality. I’m stunned that they decided not to put Simmons over somebody who was never there. Hard to believe. To book something like that, I don’t know what was going through their heads. The non-finish was very aggravating, and quite unnecessary. They worked slowly, but I thought what they were doing was satisfactory even though the match had gone too long. *3/4, factoring in the garbage finish.

Barry Windham and Brian Pillman vs. Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas for the WCW/NWA Tag Team Championships

Pre-Match Thoughts: I have fond memories of this match, I seem to remember it being quite good. The tag team division during much of 1992 was very good, so it wouldn’t be surprising for this match to be on that level. Windham and Pillman was a bit of a makeshift team, because after all, Windham took Steamboat and Douglas out when he took Dustin Rhodes out too. I don’t know what the deal was with these jackets Pillman and Windham were wearing. Steamboat’s new theme music was one of the worst things I’ve ever heard.

Match Review: Douglas and Pillman will start the match, as Jesse Ventura goes into his Shane Douglas loving Rush Limbaugh routine. Unfortunately, Jim Ross does too. Meaning love Rush Limbaugh. Pillman chops away at Douglas, then dodges a charge to the corner and hip tosses him. Pillman tries a crucifix, but Douglas counters with some punches to block it. Interesting. Pillman breaks a hammerlock with a big elbow, then chokes Douglas with the ropes. Pillman then blocks a cradle, only for Douglas to dropkick him out to the ramp. Windham then runs in and gets double dropkicked, and that’s followed by a double backdrop. Windham takes a break on the outside, and so does Pillman. Windham wants to make a legal tag in, he’s pissed. Steamboat wants in too! They trade punches for a bit, then Steamboat chops Windham down. He follows with a suplex, then tags out. Douglas comes off the top with a double axehandle, then a chinlock is applied. Windham breaks that with a back suplex, but Douglas tags out. Steamboat uses a neck snap on Windham, then clotheslines Windham over the top. Steamboat slams Windham on the floor, and Windham tries to leave the area. Douglas slams him on the ramp, so I guess he’s not leaving. Steamboat throws Windham back into the ring, then gives Windham a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Douglas tags back in, and puts a chinlock on Windham. He seems to do that a lot. Windham breaks it with a jawbreaker, then makes the tag to Pillman for another one. Pillman throws Douglas into an elbow from Windham, but Douglas puts Pillman on the apron. Douglas follows that up with a dropkick, and Pillman spills into the railing. Douglas goes up top after throwing Pillman in the ring, and Pillman dropkicks him all the way to the floor! Windham levels Douglas with a clothesline, and Douglas has to roll back into the ring. Windham tags in, and comes off the top with a forearm. Windham headbutts Douglas and hurts himself, but he’s still in control. Pillman beats up Douglas while Windham distracts the ref, then Windham decides to catapult Douglas into the bottom rope. Never known what to call that. Pillman tags in and lands more chops, then tags out before Douglas can make it to his corner. Windham throws Douglas hard to the outside, with Douglas taking a great bump out there. Steamboat has a chair, and he cracks Windham with it to stop him from beating Douglas up! Great spot, with Pillman distracting the referee and all. Now, Windham rolls in and tags out, with Pillman using a back suplex to cut Douglas off. Windham tags back in, goes up top, and lands the big right hand. Windham follows that with another back suplex, which gets 2. Pillman tags in for a running back elbow, then he suplexes Douglas. A splash gets 2, then Pillman draws Steamboat into the ring. Pillman and Windham choke Douglas for a while, with Pillman eventually covering for 2. Windham tags back in, and Douglas suplexes him. Can Douglas make the tag now? No. Or after a punch, yes!

Steamboat comes in with dropkicks, chops, and bodyslams, then focuses on Windham. Windham powerslams him, then drops him with a back suplex. Pillman tags in, draws Douglas in too, and throws Steamboat over the top rope. Windham posts Steamboat behind the referee’s back, but Steamboat comes in with a flying chop on Pillman that gets 2. Steamboat and Pillman trade chops, until Pillman takes Steamboat down with a fantastic flying head-scissors for 2. Windham tags in again, and tells Steamboat to fuck off, basically. Steamboat keeps pointing at Windham for some reason, then Windham heads up top again. He misses the big right, and Steamboat kicks him in the face. Steamboat follows that with a facebuster, and makes the tag out. Pillman begs off , but Douglas hits him with a back elbow and slams him. Douglas follows that up with a backdrop, and Stemaboat takes Windham over the top with a cross body. Douglas misses a charge to the corner, but he catches a running Pillman with a belly to belly suplex, picking up the win after a great 20:03!

My Thoughts: These tag matches in 1992 consistently brought it, I can’t think of a better year of tag wrestling in either of the big two promotions. I thought everyone in this match was great. I don’t really like Shane Douglas, but I thought he did well as the face in peril. The star of the match was Barry Windham, who was basically the glue of the match. He built so many good spots, got a lot of heat against himself, and really looked like a star. Not only that, but they got the crowd going when they hadn’t reacted to anything yet. I think it was for the best that Pillman found a different tag partner and Windham went on to get a singles push as a heel. ****, great stuff. Douglas was also better as a heel as he isn’t a sympathetic babyface. Still, though. Great match. After this, you won’t find many better non-gimmicked tag matches from either of the big two promotions.

KING OF CABLE FINAL: Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. Sting

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is what the people in the crowd seem to have been waiting for all along. Can’t blame them, this matchup never disappoints. I don’t give a damn about this tournament, but it’s funny that it seems more important than their world title. At least Vader didn’t get one of those lame new themes. Granted, they’re not all lame. Would have been if he got one though. I liked how Vader picked the trophy up with one hand before the match started.

Match Review: Vader and Sting lock up, and Vader shoves Sting down. Sting comes back with some punches, but Vader no-sells them. Vader slams Sting, then plays to the crowd. Vader slams Sting a second time, almost like he’s nothing to Vader. He runs Sting over after that, then press slams him onto the top rope. Vader does that again, and Sting rolls to the outside. When Sting gets back in, Vader misses a clothesline and Sting hits him with a rolling kick to the face. Sting follows with another kick to the mouth, then GERMAN SUPLEXES him. Sting hits Vader with some clotheslines, the last of which sends them both over the top. Vader shed the mask for some reason. Sting then flies off the top and hits both Race and Vader with a plancha, taking them both out! Vader gets in and lands some of those punches, then misses a splash in the corner. Sting goes for the STINGER SPLASH, but leaps into Vader’s foot. Sting comes back with a DDT, then picks Vader up and puts him on the top rope. Sting is obviously going for a SUPERPLEX, and somehow did! Vader kicks out at 2, so Sting applies the SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Vader makes the ropes, and rolls to the outside. This isn’t going well for him. So, Sting goes for a STINGER SPLASH, and Vader moves out of the way, causing Sting to hit the rail. Sting barely makes it back in the ring, and Vader clotheslines him. Vader follows that with a splash in the corner, and another clothesline takes Sting down for 2. Vader’s bleeding from the mouth, so he starts hitting Sting there. GOTTA GET THAT RECEIPT. Vader drops Sting with a back suplex, and SPLASHES him for 2. Vader goes to a short chinlock, eventually twisting his head and mouth area. Vader clotheslines him again for 2, this match is even better than their last one. Sting blocks a clothesline, and takes Vader down with a backslide for 2. Sting goes for a sunset flip, and when Vader tries to sit on him, Sting moves out of the way. Vader comes back with those right hands, but Sting grabs him for a back suplex. Vader gets up first and covers for 2, then beats Sting up a little more. Vader puts Sting on his shoulders, and I guess it’s time for his own SUPERPLEX. However, Sting fights out, knocking Vader to the canvas. Vader gets up first again, then Sting starts taking every punch while keeping his arms up. IT’S ROPE A DOPE. Vader starts throwing those punches a little more slowly, then Sting hits him some and knocks him down. Sting puts Vader on his shoulders, and down he goes with a Samoan drop. Sting heads up top, and flies off with a BIG SPLASH for 2. Race gets on the apron now, and Vader attacks Sting from behind, hitting Harley too it seemed like. Vader then CHOKESLAMS Sting, and signals for the finish. He goes up to the second rope, and lands a BIG SPLASH. Vader rolled off to the other side of the ring, otherwise he’d have gotten the cover. Now he goes up top, and when Sting makes it to his feet, Sting catches the leaping Vader with a POWERSLAM for the victory at 17:39!

My Thoughts: This match was fantastic, yet again another quality one between these two. I think that in the end, this was just as good as the GAB match, but it was totally different. It’s hard to put my feelings about this into words. It’s a credit to both Vader and Sting that they could put together a different match like this, and it not be any worse than their match earlier in the year. That’s incredibly difficult to do. There was great drama in this one, with the rope a dope, and Sting getting beaten down more and more as the match went on. The storyline was that Sting had to outlast Vader, and he absolutely did that. Vader’s ability to bump is very underrated, yet he does it while still maintaining the illusion of being a massive monster who can’t be fucked with. I don’t know how he did it. ****1/2, second time this year with these two, but by no means does that mean these two were the exact same match.

Jesse Ventura is with Sting to present him the KING OF CABLE trophy, and Sting says that he wants to win Battlebowl on top of it. I find that unlikely.

BATTLEBOWL

Pre-Match Thoughts: Our participants in this battle royal are Dan Spivey, Van Hammer, Dustin Rhodes, Big Van Vader, Barry Windham, the Great Muta, Sting, and Steve Williams. Those first two names just do not belong in this at all. Talk about idiotic. Tony Schiavone tried to make it sound like Battlebowl was as important as the Super Bowl. Paul Hornung looked bad for his age, but he’s still going 23 years later. They had him there to sell the Battlebowl concept. I feel like it doesn’t sell the last match properly for Sting to walk out there after all the punishment he took, but you can’t have your top babyface look like a quitter.

Match Review: Of course Vader attacks Sting on the ramp. That’s actually perfect. The other six guys start fighting in the crowd, but it looks like some people left before this most prestigious wrestling match ever. Vader and Sting are now in the ring, so we’re full. I suck at reviewing battle royals, but Windham goes after Dustin Rhodes. That makes a lot of sense. I don’t know why they let Harley stay at ringside for this. Dustin hits Windham with a clothesline, as Spivey intends to eliminate his tag partner from earlier, Van Hammer. Vader and Sting continue to fight, but they don’t have much energy left after that last match. Vader in particular looks dead on his feet, and I don’t think that’s selling. Spivey tries to get rid of Sting, and Windham goes to join him, only for Muta to make the save. Windham then takes Hammer down with a back suplex, and Dustin nearly dumps Doc, but Vader saves him. Dustin hits Vader with some elbows, and Muta takes Doc down with a snap suplex. Sting has a sleeper on Vader, and it’s about time for someone to go out, I hope. Doc backdrops Hammer over the top, so out he goes at 5:48. Dustin then BULLDOGS Windham on the ramp, keeping their feud going even though WCW didn’t really want to. Doc back suplexes Vader, and Sting backdrops Spivey over the top right after that. Good riddance, no offense. Feels unnecessary to have this match, even though its been good. Vader tries to toss Muta over the top, but he won’t go. Sting jumps on Vader to save Muta, then Vader charges at Sting and both guys fly onto the ramp at 7:44. So, they’re out. Dustin takes down Windham with a suplex, as Doc and Muta are paired off on the other side. Muta kicks Doc in the chest a few times, as we seem to have an All Japan vs. New Japan theme going on this show. Dustin busted Windham open with that earlier bulldog, getting that REVENGE. Dustin drops an elbow on Windham’s busted nose, but Windham comes back with a DDT. Windham picks Dustin up and slams him, then he heads up top only for Dustin to slam him down. Dustin drops Windham with a DDT, but Windham gets up and tries to get rid of him. Then, in a really convoluted way, Doc clotheslines Dustin and both those guys go out at 11:14. Down to Windham and Muta, the crowd REALLY wants Muta to take this one. Windham smacks him in the face, then makes him taste a boot. Windham suplexes Muta, then pounds him with right hands. Windham throws Muta towards the ropes, but he fights off for a while. Windham uses the reliable back suplex, then puts Muta on the top rope for the SUPERPLEX. Windham follows up with a dropkick, then throws Muta over the top and celebrates. Muta SKINS THE CAT back in, and he dropkicks Windham over the top for the victory at 13:55!

My Thoughts: This was pretty good, you know. Better than the vast majority of battle royals I’ve seen, but of course there were less people in the match, which means more bumping. The match also had far better workers than usually wind up in these matches. Muta as a babyface is strange, as was this finish. It’s funny that they picked this as their finish, and followed up on that with a match between the two at SuperBrawl. I’ll need to watch the build to that, because I don’t know if that was intended, although I assume it was. Gave them a reason to have a match, too. I liked the action between Rhodes and Windham, as well as the last two minutes between Muta and Windham. Nicely done, ***.

Well, I can’t complain a whole lot about how that show finished. It was befitting of a Starrcade to close the show that way. It actually looked like WCW had a plan, even though in all actuality they didn’t. This was the last time Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura would call a PPV together, and I can’t figure out why it seems like Ross feels that he didn’t mesh well with Ventura. I thought they were great together. The contrast made for an interesting dynamic, and while it may not have been fun personally, to the viewer it was a lot of fun. This was actually the last time that many talents would appear on a WCW show. Steve Williams was gone for good, and didn’t come back for many years. Jushin Liger was gone. Dan Spivey was on some other taped shows, but he was also out of the picture. Masa Chono didn’t show up for a few years. Much of that was for the best. I feel like the only talent of those guys that WCW really needed was Liger, because he filled a role they just didn’t have anyone else on the roster to do. In any event, the show started poorly and picked up a lot, so I liked it. Barry Windham was the star of the show. Big changes were ahead, of course. With WCW, that was never far from happening.

Wrestling Time: 1:51:19. Not surprised by that number because there was nothing but wrestling on this show.

Best: Vader vs. Sting. Almost put down Barry Windham here. Great match, great performance by both guys.

Worst: Chono vs. Muta. They worked a style that was absolutely intolerable.

Card Rating: 7/10. Some bad things drag this down, but the show closed great. Definitely worth just skipping the two singles title matches.

Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

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