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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Starrcade Battlebowl ’91: The Lethal Lottery

February 1, 2009 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Starrcade Battlebowl ’91: The Lethal Lottery  

Starrcade ’91: The Lethal Lottery
by J.D. Dunn

  • December 29, 1991
  • Live from Norfolk, Va.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone.

  • Eric Bischoff, Missy Hyatt and Magnum T.A. draw names for the tag teams “at random.”
  • Opening Match: Michael Hayes & Tracy Smothers vs. Jimmy Garvin & Marcus Alexander Bagwell.
    Bagwell was just a rookie at this point and had just come over from Global where he was the Masked Stranger. Smothers heels it up against Bagwell, talking trash and then shoving him (the Young Pistols had turned heel just prior to this). Schiavone notes that Bagwell was trained by Mike Graham, and it really shows back in Buff’s younger days. The Freebirds are reluctant to fight, so they do a lot of strutting. The other two tag in, though, and, while the Birds argue, Bagwell pins Smothers with a Fisherman’s Suplex at 12:45. Bagwell had something resembling talent but no presence. *3/4

  • We see a clip of Steve Austin & Rick Rude defeating Van Hammer & Big Josh.
  • Dustin Rhodes & Richard Morton defeat El Gigante & Larry Zbyszko when Larry and the big guy had a meltdown.
  • Jushin Lyger & Bill Kazmaier vs. Mike Graham & Diamond Dallas Page.
    Wow. Graham looks old here… and lost. Graham botches selling a headscissors, and Lyger looks like an idiot trying a handspring move when no one is there. Kazmaier tags in. Just imagine Rick Steiner as he is now. He tosses Graham around for a bit but misses a splash on Page. Lyger and Graham tag back in. Lyger puts him in a Mexican Surfboard, but Graham comes back with a Lance Storm-ish Boston Crab. Graham gets sent over the top to the floor in a big spot for the time. Lyger hangs back and lets him get in, though. Page and Kazmaier tag in, and in the donnybrook, Kazmaier tosses Lyger onto Page for the win at 13:09. I don’t envy Graham and Page trying to adjust to a Japanese light-heavyweight whose offense had never been seen before and a lumbering stiff. **

  • Lex Luger & Arn Anderson (w/Harley Race) vs. Terrence Taylor & Tom Zenk.
    Taylor swings back to the babyface side of the pendulum for this match, even though he’s upset about the pairing. He actually gets the honor of playing face-in-peril too, which is odd because you’d think Zenk, the natural babyface, would generate more sympathy. Zenk dutifully saves him, but the ref shoves him out of the ring. That allows Race to break up the Fivearm. Luger hits the piledriver at 15:24. This was easily the best match so far. Arn probably dreams of tag wrestling in his sleep, and both Zenk and Taylor were great at this point. Luger just provided a few hits here and there, which is fine by me. ***1/2

  • Ricky Steamboat & Todd Champion vs. Cactus Jack & Buddy Lee Parker.
    Before the match, Abdullah the Butcher attacks and beats Buddy Lee Parker like a rented drug mule. Jack doesn’t care because he’s a freakin’ lunatic. He goes it alone against Steamboat until Parker’s carcass comes rolling down the ramp. Steamer actually busts out a suicida. For whatever reason, Steamboat has the bright idea of tagging in Champion. Cactus takes over on him and does all his Cactus offense. Cactus can’t exactly rub two brain cells together, though, so he tags in Parker who had staggered up to the apron. Parker stumbles in and gets pinned after Steamer hits him with the flying crossbody at 7:50. This is mostly here for the booking, not to be any kind of good. Cactus actually comes out of this strong, though, because he held his own against two guys and it puts him over as just crazy enough not to care if he wins. *

  • Sting & Abdullah the Butcher vs. Brian Pillman & Bobby Eaton.
    Here’s how stupid Sting is – he doesn’t know that ABDULLAH is going to turn on him. Abby waddling down with a Sheldon Cooper smile on his face as if he wants make nice is the most disturbing thing I’ve seen in a while, though. Craziness begins as Abdullah offers to partner with Sting and then hits him with a mop. Pillman has to save Sting from Abdullah, and then Bobby jumps Brian! The dynamic of the match is very cool as Abdullah stands on the apron basically helping Bobby Eaton beat Sting down and undermining Sting’s offense. Brian Pillman, ever the nice guy, keeps helping Sting out even though he’s hurting his team. Cactus Jack runs in and tries to help Abby attack Sting, but it backfires. Sting goes up and finishes Eaton with a flying crossbody at 5:51. Not great from a wrestling perspective, but an awesome demonstration of the Battlebowl concept. **1/2

  • After the match, Abby and Cactus brawl to the back. Wacky heels.
  • Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes vs. Rick Steiner & The Nightstalker.
    Wow. This may be the biggest partner dropoff from rule-to-suck in history – for both teams. This is good when Steiner and Vader are in there. Steiner actually gets a friggin’ belly-to-belly suplex on the big guy. He tosses Hughes with a German Suplex and hits the flying bulldog. Oh, but Nightstalker tags himself in and gets squashed by Vader’s splash at 5:03. *

  • Highlights of Arachnaman & Johnny B Badd getting their asses handed to them by Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip. Arachnaman! The only time Johnny B. Badd had a partner gayer than he was. You know how I know he’s gay? He’s dressed as Spider-Man and doesn’t have any powers. You know how I know he’s gay? He likes Coldplay. You know how I know he’s gay? Tobey Maguire was getting his hair died black to play Emo Peter on the set of Spider-Man 3 and said, “Wow, that guy’s gay.”
  • Ron Simmons and Thomas Rich defeat PN News & Scott Armstrong. You know how I know Rich is gay? He blew a guy for a title reign. (Okay, no he didn’t. That was a long-standing rumor, though.)
  • Battlebowl
    Oy. Sometimes things are just overly complicated. The 20 survivors of the Lethal Lottery are involved in a two-ring battle royal. When you get tossed from one ring, you start a new battle royal in the second one. When you get tossed out of that one, you’re done. Once we get down to the last two guys, they have an over-the-top match. Your survivors are Vader, Marcus Bagwell, Jimmy Garvin, Dustin Rhodes, Bill Kazmaier, Jushin Lyger, Steve Austin, Richard Morton, Todd Champion, Abdullah the Butcher, Firebreaker Chip, Thomas Rich, Ron Simmons, Ricky Steamboat, Mr. Hughes, Scott Steiner, Rick Rude, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson & Sting. Steamboat and Arn take it to the ramp, but Rude saves Arn from a beating. Vader clubs Steamboat over the top to the ramp but misses a splash. That just pisses Vader off, so he press slams Ricky from the ring to the ramp. Thomas Rich and Bagwell get tossed to the second ring. Hughes tosses Chip over. Lyger winds up in the second ring, and Ricky Morton follows him for reasons beyond comprehension. Oh yeah, it’s Ricky Morton. Lyger hits some high spots before he and Morton tumble to the floor. Yadda, yadda, yadda. The final four in ring number one are Sting, Vader, Rude and Luger. Sting and Rude slug it out to pop the crowd, and both guys fall into the second ring. That leaves Luger and Vader. Luger clotheslines Vader over the top to the next ring. Great bump by Vader. The final four in ring two are Steamboat, Austin, Rude and Sting with Luger waiting it out. Rude and Austin team up against Steamboat, but their doubleteam backfires, sending Austin to the floor. Oops. Steamboat goes over but skins the cat and headscissors Rude to the floor. Rude doesn’t take it well and yanks Steamboat out, robbing us of the potentially awesome Sting versus Steamboat match. Rude gives Sting the Rude Awakening to soften him up for Luger. Sting takes a beating before finally getting good and pissed and making his big comeback. Even Race takes a beating from the Stinger. The Stinger splash misses, though, and Sting nearly falls to the floor. Luger tosses him, but Sting grabs onto the ropes and crawls back in. Sting goes nuts and slugs Luger silly, finally eliminating him at 25:07. This was an exceptionally long-winded way to set up Sting versus Luger at Superbrawl. It’s something that could probably work if you had guys like Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson planning things out, but this just felt like it was thrown together at random. **1/4
  • The 411: If you're looking for good wrestling, you can look elsewhere. On the other hand, it does have some good booking as far as stirring up feuds. The problem is that you only get a sense of that if you watch the shows before and after it in succession. Call it a mild thumbs in conjunction with the other shows, but an easy thumbs down if you just sit down to watch a wrestling show.

    Mild thumbs down.

     
    Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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