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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Battlebowl 1993

April 5, 2008 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Battlebowl 1993  

The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Battlebowl 1993

Now really, who thought this show was a good idea? Show of hands? Put it down Dusty

Last time out I looked at NWA’s Bunkhouse Brawl. Hard to imagine WCW (and Dusty Rhodes with his own personal STRIKE TWO) could come up with an even dumber concept to book a PPV around but whatta ya know! Battlebowl first took place at Starrcade 1991. The original Battlebowl was actually random thus creating some…er…interesting matches. The idea being that random drawings produce tag team matches and the winners of the matches advance to a battle royal at the end of the show. They managed to rig the draw at Starrcade 92 so the show didn’t completely suck. No, that show completely sucked for entirely different reasons. Battlebowl was considered such a draw (yanno, appearing on two Starrcades the biggest show of the year) that it merited its own PPV in 1993. Let’s face it, in 1993 they would book absolutely anything and push absolutely anyone. That said WCW had a lot of fantastic talent in 1993 (Vader, Sting, Cactus Jack, Ricky Steamboat, William Regal, Rick Rude, Ric Flair, Steve Austin and Davey Boy Smith) and every feud seemed to have at least one guy involved that I really liked. For every good there’s unfortunately a negative but we’ll see how that pans out here.

We’re in Pensacola, Florida. Hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jess Ventura. Tony needlessly brings up last year’s winner; Great Muta…who’s not here. Great.

This show did a 0.27 buyrate. Approximately half what WCW was expecting. There was no Battlebowl in 1994. Draw is made by Gene Okerlund & Fifi (Ric Flair’s heel maid).

Cactus Jack/Vader v Kane/Charlie Norris

Love the heel/babyface locker rooms. Vader is WCW champion. Harley Race tells Vader he has to get along with Cactus as the last PPV was Halloween Havoc where they beat the shit out of each other. Kane is Stevie Ray from Harlem Heat. Booker T is rather upset that Stevie got a scrub as a partner. Vader and Cactus sportingly attack each other and Stevie helps Vader give him a kicking. Norris tries to make the save but Vader whups him too. This isn’t the best demonstration of the Battlebowl rules. Vader doesn’t even want to tag with Cactus until Race tells him he HAS to win this match or he can’t compete for that prestigious (sic) Battlebowl ring. Race eventually convinces the duo they need to team up. Charlie Norris sucks so bad. Imagine a really ropey Tatanka. Cactus tagging Vader gets a HUGE pop. The crowd is desperate to cheer Vader so obviously they don’t turn him face after he drops the title to Flair. They keep him heel until he’s released. Vader dismantles Norris with ease and even sets him up for Cactus to cannonball him off the apron. Norris fucks up an Irish whip so Vader PUNISHES him for it. Of course it’d be ideal to get heat…erm sort of…on a guy that can sell but as Stevie can’t sell either this is a write off. Vader is in no mood to take shit from anyone and Stevie gets in his face so Vader wails away regardless of whether he’s legal or not. Cactus happily sells all of Norris’ crappy offence including bumping his big boot out of the ring. Vader gets sick of seeing that and strolls in nonchalantly to smack Norris up side the head. OOF! Jack double arm DDT’s Stevie as he comes in. Vader meanwhile is fresh. Norris chops at Vader so Vader just kills him, again. Another huge pop for Vader. Sloppy powerbomb on Norris finishes this one off as Cactus prevents Stevie from breaking the pin. *1/4. Interesting as a curio and Vader was HUGE over. He and Cactus were the only talent out there though so they were almost using each other as opponents by setting stuff up for each other. The scrub team sucked something fierce.

“Are we on the air?” – Okerlund continues his incredible streak of professionalism. Is he drunk?

Paul Roma/Erik Watts v Johnny B. Badd/Brian Knobbs

Who fucking booked this shit? Despite Okerlund saying its Saggs the guy that comes out is Brian Knobbs. So let’s see what we have out here. Marc Mero is pretty green. Knobbs sucks. Watts is green and sucks. And Paul Roma is a worthless dickhead who also sucks. So obviously WCW gives this 13 minutes. THIRTEEN MINUTES? Who did Brian Knobbs screw to get the screentime he got in WCW? Actually don’t answer that. I’ll get nightmares…brother. Mero v Roma is as good as this gets. And that’s not very good. Roma is world class at making someone else look bad. He flips around and Mero hits nothing but armdrags. Loads of them. Good job we’re not playing the lucha drinking game here. Knobbs spends most of his time in the ring telling Mero “that’s how ya do it”. Which usually means half assing everything and looking shit. Speaking of looking shit…here comes Erik Watts! How does he still have a job? Did someone make Bill Watts a promise before they fired his ass? Mero walks Watts through some Indy-style reversals. I’m actually pleased to see Roma’s straightforward approach of just picking off the arm. Unfortunately that leads to Watts v Knobbs. The Nasty Boys are not the guys you want to be helping out a rookie. Knobbs stops off to yell at Mero after raking Watts’ eyes. Mero sportingly allows him time. Back to that Indy counter wrestling in an attempt to make Watts look useful. Once again Roma’s more straightforward offence looks better. Missy Hyatt is out here representing the Nasties. Makes sense. She distracts a bit and chews gum. Her better years behind her by this point, sadly. Knobbs trips Roma but Mero objects to it. Fair play is for suckers Johnny Badd! Missy whines at Badd for him to “get” Roma. “You’re stupid. I wanna win” – Missy. I love it when wrestling characters suddenly regress to the age of 3. The crowd is almost behind Paul Roma, which says a lot for Knobbs’ heel status. No one cares about Watts though. In fact the crowd have been far more apathetic during this than the last match. Watts with a high crossbody but Knobbs reverses and grabs the “tights” for the pin. I say “tights” because he actually had more than a handful of Watts Jr. The tights start at the back of the groin area Brian. ½*. Tedious mess. Quite why they’d let the match go 13 minutes is anyone’s guess but it’s WCW in 1993 so these things happen.

Shockmaster/Paul Orndorff v Ricky Steamboat/Lord Steven Regal

Regal & Steamboat were feuding. Regal’s manager is Sir William, which is Bill Dundee. Shockmaster is Fred Ottman with a construction workers helmet on. Another WCW brainfart. Ventura is still making gags about Shockmaster losing to a wall. Crowd tries to rile Orndorff up with loud chants of “Paula”. You really couldn’t mistake Paul Orndorff for a chick. Even in heavy drag. Not a chance. Steamboat skins the cat and rana’s Orndorff over the top, which is technically a DQ but they’re having too much fun brawling for that. Steamboat is one guy who you can rely on to give it his all regardless of occasion. Unfortunately they run some really convoluted shit in the corner where Orndorff bounces off they clash heads. Regal isn’t impressed by the tag and wipes his hand on his trunks. Steamboat has an argument with Sir William. English aristocracy by way of Memphis and Australia. “The Colonies” if you’d rather. Regal tries an assortment of technical holds but Shockmaster is too heavy and strong for that to work. Likewise a forearm uppercut that gets shrugged off and a high crossbody that results in a slam. Rough times for Lord Steven. Shockmaster starts a “Paula” chant to piss off his own tag team partner. The problem with these matches is they’re ALL heel/face teams. How random is that? It’s not. So every match has the same basic set up and the crowd has already grown tired off it. Regal & Orndorff put on some lovely technical wrestling capped off with a handshake. Crowd obviously don’t care because they’re both heel and this isn’t Ring of Honor. Regal is actually wrestling circles around Orndorff whose motivation dropped off somewhat after coming back in WCW. Can’t say I blame him to be honest. Steamboat tags himself in but Orndorff catches him in with a Hot Shot immediately. Shockmaster gets a tag but Steamboat moves and Regal refuses a tag. Shockmaster makes sure he tags in but Shockmaster misses him as well. Goon. Regal gets the umbrella but Steamboat steals and waffles Regal. Shockmaster splashes him and that’s your match. **. Less lousy than the other first round matches so far. Steamboat taking himself out of Battlebowl seems stupid even if it is down to moral objections. After all; who gives a shit about Fred Ottman?

Awesome Kong/The Equalizer v King Kong/Dustin Rhodes

Ok, so they finally buck the trend of having split teams and they send out Dustin as the only babyface? Smart move guys. At least send out someone who’ll be entertaining. The Colossal Kongs are divided but it doesn’t make any difference because they’re both big fat guys with no ability. Equalizer is Dave Sullivan. That should tell you how bad this match is before we’re even underway. Crowd is DEAD. So dead in fact that their low noise levels knock out the microphones of the commentary team. Luckily they come back quickly to fill the void. The Kongs are both disgustingly overweight. They end up in the ring together and the crowd finally wakes up because they actually want to see that, crazy fuckers, but King tags Dustin right back in. King is willing to come up and slap Evad around though. ANYONE would be willing to slap Evad around. Evad fucks up by running into the ropes in the wrong place TWICE. Way to go man. Way to go. Dustin actually manages a sunset flip on Awesome. I didn’t think that possible. The Kongs sandwich Equalizer and Dustin bulldogs, presumably Awesome Kong, for the pin. I actually think it was his own partner though. Replay confirms it. Dustin pinned his own partner. Match was awful. ¼*.

Sting/Jerry Saggs w/Missy Hyatt v Ron Simmons/Keith Cole

Simmons is babyface going into this show but showing signs of discontent. Cole is a jobber from the identical twins Cole Brothers tag team. Given that Sting is on the other team you should be able to pick the winner before we even get underway. The setup here is the opposite of the last match with the three of the four participants being babyface. The crowd, who are really quite irritating but have to watch this show live so they have my sympathy, chant “Nasties” thus supporting the only heel in the match. Ventura goes off on tangents about college football. Even JR just namedrops college sports as background he doesn’t talk about it for any length of time. Cole puts Saggs in an armbar and that’s the opening 2 minutes. Crowd are now chanting “Missy”. Clearly they don’t have a good view of what’s left of her. Crack is a terrible drug. Crowd actively gets bored into minute three of the armbar and chant for Sting. Saggs, heeling it up, decides to stay in the ring to get heat. Oh lordy, this is going to go on forever isn’t it? Back to that thrilling armbar. Saggs gets in sufficient trouble to actually tag. Crowd are so happy to see Sting they start chanting “whoomp, there it is”. What the hell does that mean? And why chant it at Sting? If there was ever a fanbase that just flat out deserved a crappy product. Sting and Simmons is quite interesting in terms of sparring but Cole then comes in and the crowd dies. Yeah, Cole and his fruity mullet are so not over that he stops STING from being over. Saggs back in and there’s that fucking armbar again. Keith Cole’s New Year Resolution 1994; learn another hold. Saggs & Sting take it in turns to rough up Cole. Why not just, yanno, PIN HIM? It’s not hard. Everyone who ever wrestled him, ever, did it! Ron tags in and punches Sting in the eye. Crowd don’t like that. Simmons definitely on his way heel. Cole comes back in with Sting down and even Ventura is critical when Cole hooks up an armbar. Yeah, we’ve seen your armbar Keith. We’re not impressed. STINGER SPLASH! Saggs tags in blind for a glory elbow drop pin. But still, Cole was in this one for the job so who really cares who gets the pin? *. That was pretty bad. It only served to tease at Ron Simmons turning into a bonafide jerk.

POST MATCH Simmons really shows off his dark side, no pun intended, by giving Cole a beating. SPINEBUSTAAAAAAAH!

Steve Austin/Ric Flair w/Colonel Rob Parker v Maxx Payne/Too Cold Scorpio

Now THIS should be interesting. Austin & Flair as a team is interesting enough especially with Austin getting in Flair’s face and telling him he’s the strong one in this team. Austin starts so Flair WOOOO’S at him repeatedly. I see his point. Payne overpowers Austin so Steve looks to tag Flair who STRUTS down the apron. WOOOOO! Austin gleefully bumps all of Payne’s power moves. In comes Flash to mix it up a bit but Austin uses his brawling skills to take over. They blow an armdrag reversal spot and Austin nearly lands on his head. The counters continue at pace though and this is miles better than anything on the show so far, bar the fuck up. Flair tags in and works with Scorpio on the mat. Weird seeing Flair do the modern Indy counter wrestling stuff because he can totally hang with Scorpio the whole way. Apart from the bridge up into the backslide. That doesn’t happen. Still this is 2 years before Eddy & Dean were running the same shtick in ECW as something “new”. Just they didn’t make any mistakes. Flair considers bringing the total awesome by doing double teams with Austin but then figures as a face he shouldn’t cooperate with the heel. Makes sense but I’d have rather seen the double teaming. Flair back to chop at Scorpio. WOOOO! Scorpio comes back with a suplex and a standing moonsault for 2. They do some more counters at speed and I’m sure Flair is trying to convince Austin that he IS better than Steve is. At least for now. Because this is a scary workrate level in terms of variety for Naitch. He always brings effort but not this kind of variety. Crowd doesn’t know what to make of it. Austin tags in but walks into Scorpio’s superkick. He goes up top but Austin cuts him off and now Payne comes in to complain because we’re getting invested emotionally in this one. Superplex gets 2 with Austin counting along while pointing at Flair. That should have been a feud. Straight after Flair won the belt. Flair starts working the continuity with Austin showing he doesn’t let his emotions get involved in the fight. He just wants to win. That puts him above a fair few of the other guys on the show. Austin with the Shades of Wilbur Snyder but he uses the ropes to cheat and, for some reason, that rubs Flair up the wrong way. Since when did Ric care if cheating was involved in victory? Flair directs traffic and sets Scorpio up for Austin to Bombs Away for 2. Payne has to keep making saves. Meanwhile Scorpio has been very isolated for a while now. Scorpio pulls a nice trick by dropping to a knee while Austin tries to run him into the buckles. Austin’s momentum takes him into the corner anyway. Double down. Both guys get tags. Flair takes it to Payne with the chops but Maxx punches him away. Flair is a gent and puts over Maxx by bumping around all over the shop until Payne misses with a knee in the corner and Flair taps him with the Figure Four. ***1/2. I didn’t like the finish being so abrupt but the match was great.

Rick Rude/Shanghai Pierce v Marcus Bagwell/Tex Slazenger

This would be the second tag team split deal of the evening. And once again they’re heels. Original. They don’t play Rude’s entrance music so I have to crank it up on my PC instead. Pierce would go on to be Henry Godwinn. Tex was Phinneas/Mideon. So as you can see this is a real shower of shit outside of Rude. To make matters worse Bagwell had only been in the business about a year. Not that he’d get any better. They have the temerity to start the match before Rude’s entrance music has finished playing on my PC. I’m outraged. Rude decides the only way to make this interesting is to throw Bagwell around like a rag doll. Oddly enough that works. Tex comes in to work Rude’s arm over…at great length though. And by work over, I mean punch a lot. In comes Pierce. OOOOOOHHH, TAG TEAM TENSION! Tex has that Mick Foley look in his eyes like “I love you, I won’t fight you”, which is great emotional intensity and should have gotten him a big push IF he wasn’t so average as a wrestler. He opts for jumping Rude from behind instead. Bagwell-Pierce looks like a trainees match. I don’t mean any real offence by that. Its just really basic and they don’t do anything remotely complex as to avoid fucking anything up. Unfortunately that’s particularly boring and goes on for ages. Thankfully Rude takes back over and works over Bagwell some more. He aims for Bagwell’s unchiselled abs. Pierce is quite willing to help Rude give Bagwell a beating because, well, it’s Bagwell. Who doesn’t want to give him a beating? Tex protests to no avail. The heat goes on for ages. The crowd seem to like it but I’m just bored. Pierce does break out a TERRIFIC gutwrench sitout powerbomb. Tex runs in to break the pin and Bagwell gets a hot tag and it IS hot! Tex and Shanghai beat the hell out of each other and the crowd GOES NUTS! They actually want to see Tex turn babyface. They’re willing to cheer him. Rude quickly tags in to leave the crowd wanting more so obviously that never happened. Rude nails the Rude Awakening on Tex because he doesn’t know Rude is in the ring even. ½*. That was entirely boring apart from Tex’s character arc during the match. Actually make that 3/4* because they play Rude’s entrance music.

POST MATCH Shanghai and Tex kiss and make up to heat. Their mutual hatred of Marcus Bagwell brings them together. Crowd hate it. Both guys went nowhere after this and the crowd was into them! Ah well.

Roadwarrior Hawk/Rip Rogers v Davey Boy Smith/Kole

Kole is Booker T. Rip is a total jobber. Hawk is better off without him. “I’m your partner Hawk!” Hawk lays him out. HAHAHA. Davey adds a kick in on his way to the ring. Booker asks him if he’s ok…then lays the boots in. Davey and Hawk do a test of babyface strength. Booker looks pretty green but he’s the only guy that Hawk can realistically work any kind of actual heat with because Davey is so popular. In fact Davey is cheering for Hawk. Booker sees Rip getting up and lays him out again. Davey looks like a retard for cheering on Hawk. Come on Hawk he shouts. And do what? Booker is tagging with you, you cretin. And I like Davey but he’s acting like a spong here. Hawk battles back in sloppy fashion. Rip is back up again so Hawk throws him onto Booker and that’s the match. Unreal. DUD. Amazing to think we had ourselves a worse match than that Dustin Rhodes match earlier but there ya go. This is worse thanks to the total lack of logic.


Ok, so in here we have Vader, Cactus Jack, Johnny B. Badd, Brian Knobbs, Shockmaster, Paul Orndorff, King Kong, Dustin Rhodes, Jerry Saggs, Sting, Steve Austin, Ric Flair, Rick Rude, Shanghai Pierce, Hawk and Rip Rogers. Legitimate potential actual winners; Vader, Cactus, Sting, Rude and Flair. And seeing as Cactus just got brushed back by Vader at the last PPV he’s unlikely. And Sting would undermine Flair’s title shot at Starrcade. So before we’re even underway we’re likely to see either Vader or Flair winning. The majority of the rest are filler thus eliminating the need to have this damn PPV in the first place. I personally would have had whoever they wanted to challenge Flair first going over here to set up an angle where they could claim they’d already beaten Flair because they won Battlebowl. My personal choice for that would be either Steve Austin or Rick Rude. Of course I’m not booking a wrestling company but I probably wouldn’t have done as bad a job as WCW did during 1993 anyway.

Anyway, let’s get this shit on the road. For some reason we have Michael Buffer doing announcing. He may create a “big match atmosphere” but he’s a total fuck up who can’t even get names right because he doesn’t care about wrestling. Supposedly this is the biggest event in wrestling. Dude, it’s a battle royal. Rip is somewhat pensive. No wait, he’s concussed. My bad. Because we qualified so many guys the ring is really crowded. Rip milks his late entrance before we get a big…battle royal. Usual crap. People hanging onto ropes. Everyone standing around doing nothing. Rip heads over the top rope in short order. Pierce follows courtesy of Cactus ducking his retarded charge. There’s still a lot of useless guys in there. Austin & Flair go through the ropes to have a fight on the floor because that’s far more interesting than fighting in the ring where they can’t get any space. The Nasty Boys are sort of teaming up. Mero gets thrown out but lands on the ramp so that doesn’t count. Whaaaaaaat? Orndorff backdrops him out the other side to make sure. “We’re down to 13” says Tony. Great. Let me know when we’re down to about one and I’ll start caring. Hawk saves Flair from going out, which makes no real logical sense especially as he fights with him afterwards. Cactus attempts a superplex on Vader but there’s no room for that. Vader puts Cactus out thus ending their feud effectively. Rhodes backdrops Orndorff out. Kong is out and the Nasties throw Shockmaster out too. Quickfire eliminations to clear out the ring a bit. Vader presses Sting…ONTO THE RAMP. You big fucktard. Throw him out any of the other sides and he’s gone. Saggs saves Knobbs from going out and thus far they’re the only guys teaming. Ventura points out Vader is the only big guy left in there. All those worthless matches to set up this total clusterfuck. Sting saves Flair. There’s a weird sort of heel/face deal going on where heels and faces won’t let the opposites have their will with the other. Austin and Rhodes to the floor and Dustin gets introduced to the ring post. Well, hello Mr Post…buy you a drink? SMACK. Owww! Now I’m bleeding. You metal hussy! Dustin throws Knobbs out to a huge pop and then goes to toss Saggs as well but Austin sees an opening and boosts Dustin out in the process. Well that cleared the ring out a bit. Hawk throws out Rude to clear it out even more. Vader & Austin make sure Hawk leaves as well.

FINAL FOUR – Vader, Sting, Ric Flair & Steve Austin. That’s some SERIOUS star power. I thought we’d end up with some bullshit like Flair, Vader, Saggs and Rhodes. Instead we have two awesome match up’s with Flair & Austin going at it on one side and Vader walloping Sting in the opposing corner. Vader trades babyfaces to insure Flair takes some body shots off him. Race drags Flair out of the ring to give him a beating but Flair fights back and we have a big STARRCADE of times past battle. Flair suplexes Race on the ramp, which the crowd collectively mark for. Vader runs out there and squashes Flair on the ramp though. He’s fucked. Sting takes over on Austin but bails to attack Vader from behind, like a good babyface, because he wants to protect Flair. Now everyone is on the ramp, which means they’re a little push away from elimination. The trainer is out here and it looks like Flair is injured. Race helpfully kicks him in the ribs. HAHAHA. Awesome. As a good heel you can never go too far. Austin finds the situation amusing. Or perhaps just the nature of Flair’s ridiculous selling. Flair does a stretcher job and Race is still trying to get at him. Vader presses Sting back into the ring. He’s not getting any brighter. Austin & Vader both come off the top and Sting hits both of them and starts cleaning house to a big reaction. It’s breaking down in Pensacola! Sting applies the logic of forward rolls to avoid a double team. Vader flattens him. Everyone needs a breather though because we’ve been going 20 minutes. The heels take it in turns to pound on Sting and it seems over now as Austin holds Sting for big splashes. Sting eventually moves but surely he’d be more damaged by the end there? Sting channels Fighting Spirit to get a few shots in. Austin decides we’re overdue a babyface elimination but Sting is dead weight so Austin can’t lift him out. Vader stupidly goes up top for the Vaderbomb. Or rather Austin stupidly lets him do it without throwing him out. Austin misses off the top. Vader accidentally splashes him. Austin gets backdropped out of the ring and falls off the ramp to the floor. Sting gets clotheslined out but stays on the ramp. Just Vader v Sting now. Both guys are pretty tired so the action is rather uninspiring. Sting gets Vader up and dumps him on the buckles. He misses the Stinger Splash though and flies over the top like an idiot handing the win to Vader. **. It was dogshit until Dustin Rhodes ran into the ring post. Then it picked up but was never a main event match. Mainly because Battlebowl means fuck all. So Vader wins…a ring? Super.

The 411: This show is so utterly pointless. The random drawings somehow, more often than not, randomly produced a heel/face team against a heel/face team in almost every match. What are the odds? They didn’t even have the common sense to book one babyface team v heel team to get the crowd going before the finish. And then what? So they put over a babyface to potentially challenge Vader in the future? Thus hinting that Flair won’t get it done at Starrcade? Or put Flair over to increase the chances of the crowd believing he can beat Vader? Or put over another heel to set up the first challenger for Flair when he wins? Nope. Just put the champion over. He wins but he wins nothing. He doesn’t give a shit about a ring. The only good thing about this show was Flair & Austin teaming up when Flair was still able to go and Austin was trying like hell to outshine him. Think of the possibilities for matches there had WCW not gone in another direction. If you can find a copy of this anywhere then fast forward all the filler and it’s passable. But you’ll probably only be left with like 30-40 minutes.
Final Score:  3.5   [ Bad ]  legend

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