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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Starrcade ’92: Battlebowl/Lethal Lottery II

March 15, 2009 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Starrcade ’92: Battlebowl/Lethal Lottery II  

Starrcade ’92: Battlebowl/Lethal Lottery II
by J.D. Dunn

  • December 28, 1992
  • Live from Atlanta, Ga.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura Muhammed Shabazz in his Malcolm X hat.

  • The PPV starts out with a bang, as Eric Bischoff announces that Rick Rude is injured and can’t challenge for the title, so Steve Williams gets the call.
  • Bill Watts awards Sting his Battlebowl ring for winning last year.
  • Opening Match: Van Hammer & Danny Spivey vs. Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd.
    Van Hammer is sooo the “Test” of WCW*. He was actually one of my favorite characters to use in WCW/nWo Revenge. Hammer pummels Cactus early but gets SPIKED with a huracanrana by Badd. You know, I always saw the huracanrana as one of the wussiest moves, but rewatching all of these matches with the Steiners and Badd remind me how it *should* be done. Hammer is pretty hapless, so Spivey tags in and takes over on Badd. Van Hammer does hit a nice Bossman Slam, during the brief face-in-peril sequence. Badd hits a flying knee and tags in Cactus. We see bits of a Cactus future as a babyface as the crowd pops for his offense. Hammer hits a flying shoulderblock, and Badd accidentally drops an elbow on Cactus while trying to save. That leads to fisticuffs between Mick and Marc, and Badd knocks him back with a punch. Van Hammer rolls up Cactus for the win at 6:29. Why on earth would you have Hammer and Spivey move on over Mero and Jack? **

    * – Please note that I wrote this months before the death of Andrew “Test” Martin, and it wasn’t really intended as a knock on him. Both guys had a lot of upside that was never fulfilled.

  • Dustin Rhodes & Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. The Barbarian & Kensuke Sasaki.
    See, now I think a Barbarian vs. Vader feud would have been awesome. Vader offers a handshake and then shoves Barbie. Barbarian no-sells a clothesline. Oooooh. Vader no-sells a bodyslam. Double ooooooooh. Neither guy will sell anything until Vader decides to *make* Barbarian sell. Vader and Rhodes team up for a Hart Attack on Barbarian. Rhodes and Sasaki pick things up quite a bit. Vader hits Sasaki with an avalanche off the second rope. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that one before. Barbarian charges but runs into Sasaki, allowing Rhodes to roll up Barbarian for the win at 6:57. Stiff, fast-paced match. They packed a lot of action in there. After the match, Vader is done with Rhodes, so he just knocks him out with a clothesline and walks out. Vader ruled. **1/2

  • The Great Muta & Barry Windham vs. Brian Pillman & 2 Cold Scorpio.
    Pillman and Windham are regular tag partners, and they’re going after the tag titles later in the night, regardless of what happens here. The crowd LOVES Muta, and he repays said love with an awesome sequence with Pillman. Pillman and Windham go at it and start getting chippy so they step back and cool off. Muta tags in and hits a SICK jumping spin kick right to Pillman’s jaw. Scorpio gets more of the same, but he responds with a crazy slingshot 450-splash. Windham runs in and plants Scorpio with the Implant DDT. That sets up the moonsault at 6:58. Damned good action. It would be scary good if they got another 10 minutes. **3/4

  • Sting & Steve Williams vs. Jushin Lyger & Erik Watts.
    Lyger had a problem with the tequila bottle, but not this?! Both Williams and Watts were mentored by Bill Watts, which explains why Watts gets so much offense. Lyger gets brutalized by both Sting and Williams. Sting misses the Stinger splash but tags in Williams, who stomps Lyger like Mr. White did to Mr. Pink. Watts tags in and hits his infamous dropkick. Ross: He didn’t get all of that. YA THINK? Watts charges and gets Hot Shotted by Williams at 9:08. This match got the most time of the Lethal Lottery. It was also the least deserving. *

  • NWA World Title: Masa Chono vs. The Great Muta.
    This is an infamous and controversial match. Chono defeated Muta in a good match in Japan, so Watts booked the rematch for Starrcade for tradition. Then, by many accounts, Watts told them to stink up the joint so WCW wouldn’t get shown up. The crowd is politely apathetic to Chono, but they’re really into Muta’s offense. Finally, Muta misses a dropkick, and Chono turns him over into the STF for the win at 14:32. The crowd is deflated by the result. It was actively offensive or anything, but it’s definitely not on par with their previous or later matches in Japan. *1/2

  • Rick Rude storms out and complains about being stripped of his U.S. Title for medical reasons in addition to missing out on his WCW Title shot. General consensus is that Rude was finally supposed to win the big one here.
  • WCW World Title: Ron Simmons vs. Steve Williams.
    Ross giddily recounts the history of the Florida State/Oklahoma rivalry. This match gets a bad rap because of the potential awesomeness of the Japanese match. It’s not so bad, though. Not anything I’d want to put on the Best of DVD, but it’s serviceable. In fact, had the UWF survived under Watts, this probably would have been the big feud. Simmons challenges Williams to a football shoulderblocking contest and then outsmarts him with a leapfrog. Doc goes after Simmons’ leg to provide a bit of storyline and reestablish himself as a heel. Some of Doc’s legwork is pretty woeful, though, and he never really gets close to winning. He starts clipping Simmons’ knees, but Ron catches him with a clothesline. Now, Simmons goes after Doc’s knees, and they tumble to the floor. Both guys get so into the brawl that they get counted out at 15:12. Fie on that finish. After the match, Williams attacks Simmons from behind and hits him with Cattle Branding, so Nick Patrick reverses the decision and disqualifies Simmons. I guess that’s why they call “resolution.” **1/4

  • Unified Tag Team Titles: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas vs. Barry Windham & Brian Pillman.
    Barry Windham attacked the babyfaces with a chair to set this up. Simple enough. Jesse complains that Shane Douglas is using a closed fist. Pillman doesn’t have much luck early, and the faces blitz Barry Windham with doubleteams to clear the ring. Barry tags in, so Steamboat DEMANDS to be tagged in. Ah naw, hell naw, y’all went up and done it! Steamboat knocks the piss out of Windham and even gets in a cheapshot on Pillman. Barry plays heel-in-peril before catching Douglas with a jawbreaker. Pillman tags in and smacks Shane around. “I’m gonna whip my dick out and piss in this hellhole!” Oh, that came later. Douglas dropkicks him off the apron and into a Pillman Bump on the railing. Yikes! Douglas goes up but gets distracted by Windham, and for once, the guy on the buckle doesn’t look like an idiot because of good timing. Pillman sneaks up and dropkicks Douglas all the way to the floor. It’s a bumping contest! Barry and Brian take over on Douglas, and Shane plays face-in-peril quite nicely. Great moment as Barry puts the boots to Douglas on the outside, so Ricky grabs a chair and WAFFLES Barry with it. Shane… nearly… makes the… tag, but Pillman catches him. Ricky protests to the ref, allowing some doubleteaming from the heels. Boooo! Finally, Shane just falls backwards into a tag after getting punched in the jaw. Ricky UNLOADS on the heels, leading to a donnybrook. Then, Ricky gets caught in the wrong corner. Pillman and Windham cheat like bastards, tossing Ricky over the top and posting him (both of which are illegal). Steamboat hulks up and gets in Barry’s face about the whole “hitting with the chair thing.” Pfft. He can’t let *anything* go. Steamboat falls back into the tag, and IT’S BREAKIN’ LOOSE! Steamer takes Windham over the top to the ramp with a flying crossbody, and that allows Douglas to hit Pillman with the belly-to-belly suplex for the win at 20:00. Tremendous effort by all involved, even if the crowd was half dead by the start of the match. Pillman and Douglas looked like they were trying to outdo each other with big bumps, and a pissed-off Dragon is always a good thing. Even Barry Windham, who appeared to be so disillusioned that he’d stopped trying at this point, started to get into it. ****

  • King of Cable: Sting vs. Vader (w/Harley Race).
    This would be the finals of the King of Cable Tournament… shown on PPV. Vader just absolutely mauls Sting early on. He’s like a grizzly bear on PCP. Sting comes back with a Kappou Kick (guh?) and a flying ganmengiri (zuh?). Is this like when Barry Windham dressed up as Sting only this time it’s Bryan Danielson? Sting Cactus Clotheslines Vader over and hits both Vader and Harley with a pescado. WHOO! Vader gets physical and blocks a Stinger Splash with a boot. Ouch! Right in his beak! Sting comes back with a DDT and superplex, though. He slaps on the Sharpshooter, but Vader is in the ropes. Finally, Vader stops the juggernaut that is Sting by ducking to the floor and diving out of the way of a Stinger splash, sending Sting into the railing. Sting narrowly beats the count, but Vader avalanches him and punches him in the jaw. A splash gets two, and Vader tries to twist his head off like he’s a painted bottle of Aunt Jemima. Sting won’t submit, so Vader lets it go and just LEVELS him with a clothesline. Sting desperately backdrops him, but Vader is up first and gets two. Race: FINISH HIM! GET HIM A BODYBAG, YEAHHH! Okay, I added the bodybag part. Vader just starts clubbing the everloving crap out of Stinger. Sting hulks up, though, and blocks a superplex. Vader falls, Kong-like, back into the ring. Sting hulks up again and no-sells Vader’s punches. Samoan Drop, but Vader is in the ropes. Sting stops to go after Race, allowing Vader to recover and chokeslam him. Vader goes up and SPLASHES Sting. PANCAKE! Vader goes up for another one, but Sting recovers and powerslams him on the way down. ONE, TWO, THREE! Sting gets a flukish victory and becomes the King of Cable at 18:16. An outstanding match that elevated both guys. The King of Cable was meaningless, but who cares, the match ROCKED. Vader was an animal in there with way-too-realistic punches and just general destructive force. Sting played a great babyface, selling Vader’s offense like he took a canon blast to the face and then coming back with his own high-powered offense. One of the great matches no one really talks about. ****1/2

  • BattleBowl II
    You’re participants are Van Hammer, Vader, Steve Williams, Muta, Barry Windham, Sting, Danny Spivey, and Dustin Rhodes. Sting and Vader meet in the aisle. Former partners Rhodes and Windham go at it. Sadly, we never really get a big Spivey vs. Windham contest to see who was the better Mike Rotundo partner. Maybe I’m the only one who wants to see that contest. Van Hammer gets tossed as Rhodes bulldogs Windham’s face right on the ramp. Spivey gets backdropped onto the ramp and thinks he can go back in, but the ref says he’s eliminated. Hey, it says “both feet must touch the floor,” not the ramp. Vader goes after Muta, but Sting splashes both of them. He tries again, and both Sting and Vader tumble over. That leaves Muta, Williams, Windham and Rhodes. I like them all, but seriously? That would be like Hardcore Holly, Kane, Tommy Dreamer and Festus being the last four guys at the Royal Rumble. The crowd gets behind Muta by default. Windham goes up, and Rhodes, like an idiot slams him off instead of just shoving him to the floor. Williams jumps Rhodes from behind, so Windham just shoves them both over. That leaves Windham and Muta. The crowd pops huge for Muta. Windham jumps him because Muta is exhausted. Muta gets tossed but skins the cat and roars back with a series of dropkicks. The final one sends Barry tumbling over the top to give Muta the win at 14:01. This would set up Muta vs. Windham at Superbrawl for the NWA Title… guess I spoiled that one for you. **1/2
  • The 411: Bill Watts got fired almost immediately following this show, and Verne Gagne's coffee boy Eric Bischoff would take over and surprisingly not get fired himself after a dismal 1993. I appreciate that Watts tried to bring back realism and sportsmanship to WCW, but he booked to his tastes and not the audience when it came to who to push, and that came back to bite him. The show, like a lot of early 1990's WCW shows, had a hebetudinous pace and deathly atmosphere. The two matches worth seeing are on the Essential Starrcade, so no need to pick this one up.

    Thumbs down.

     
    Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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