Slamboree ’96

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

Slamboree

May 19, 1996

Riverside Centroplex

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

News & Notes: Slamboree sees the return of Battlebowl: The Lethal Lottery! WCW brought it back for this event. It’s the primary focus of the show. The winner becomes Lord of the Ring and receives a WCW title match at a later date. There are two storylines and a return I want to discuss concerning the Lethal Lottery. First, the Ric Flair/Randy Savage feud escalated. Flair and Elizabeth started spending all of Savage’s money. They threw wads of it into the crowd and bought expensive banquets. Flair set up a table in the entryway of Nitro. He wanted Savage to see him living the high-life on Randy’s money. It drove Savage insane. To make matters worse, Flair and Savage are paired together in the Lethal Lottery. They have to coexist to win. The second storyline involves Diamond Dallas Page. A mysterious benefactor gave him the money to return to wrestling. He hired a lawyer and forced WCW to reinstate him. Then, DDP entered the Lethal Lottery to try and earn a WCW title shot. Finally, we have the return of the Steiner Brothers. They made a surprise appearance on Nitro in early ’96. (I forgot to mention it in earlier reviews.) Rick & Scott immediately jumped into the thick of the tag division. They drew the ire of both the Road Warriors and Harlem Heat.

The secondary focus of this PPV is the WCW title. I have to correct an earlier review. The Giant’s initial WCW title match ended in a No Contest. He faced Flair a second time before winning the belt. The Giant then entered a feud with both Sting and Lex Luger. Lex received a title match first, but he no-showed because he arrived late to the arena. This frustrated Sting. Luger promised to fix his mistake. He camped outside the building for the next show. Luger had his match, but The Giant chokeslammed him through Flair’s banquet table. Sting faces Giant at Slamboree. He wants to win the WCW title and get revenge for his friend. Luger wants to prove his loyalty by neutralizing the threat of Jimmy Hart. Luger agreed to handcuff himself to Jimmy to prevent his interference. What could possibly go wrong in this scenario?

There is one more storyline I want to mention. It factors into this show. Randy Savage isn’t the only man Ric Flair angered. Flair began flirting with a blonde woman in the crowd. She appeared on multiple episodes of Nitro. The problem is, she is Steve Mongo McMichael’s wife Debra. Mongo told Flair to back off. That made Ric pursue her even harder. He had to have her to piss off McMichael.

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Open

We see black and white footage of what looks like an underground fighting ring. The narrator tells us about the Lethal Lottery! Friend faces friend. Foes team with each other! The winners advance to an eight-man battle royal to determine the Lord of the Ring. Then, they must cast the Battlebowl ring into Mount Doom! (Okay, he didn’t say that last part.) But, he does tell us three titles are on the line. The Cruiserweight, U.S., and WCW titles are all defended. Sting faces The Giant for the WCW championship. Will Sting suffer the same fate as Luger?

Commentators

Tony Schiavone welcomes everyone to Baton Rouge and Slamboree. Dusty and Bobby join him. Rhodes sticks out like a sore thumb in his bright red leather jacket. Tony talks about Flair & Savage. Bobby doesn’t think they can work as a team. Then, they discuss the main event. Tony and Dusty think Sting should be careful not to get chokeslammed like Luger. (Heenan either mimes a chokeslam, or he’s giving the last rites. It might be both.)

FirstMatch

Road Warrior Animal & Booker T vs. Road Warrior Hawk & Lex Luger

Notes: They immediately shatter any pretense of randomness. The Road Warriors are on separate teams. I’m surprised Stevie Ray didn’t partner with Hawk. WCW at least showed restraint there. Heenan tries stirring the pot. He claims Animal always thought Hawk was a lame duck. Tony gets in on that action by talking about the issues between Harlem Heat and the Road Warriors. Meanwhile, Dusty rambles about soliloquies. Also, I want to point out Luger doesn’t seem scared of the Road Warriors anymore. He’s fine as long as one of them is on his side.

The Match: Luger and Animal attack each other in the corner and trade powerslams. However, Animal no-sells a suplex and dropkicks Lex. Then, Booker demands a tag. He manages to piss off both Road Warriors. Booker also catches a boot to the face from Luger. Both Lex and Booker miss elbows, but Booker recovers with a Spinaroonie. He continues his attack with holds and a scissor kick. Booker covers Luger, so Hawk saves his partner. It pisses off Lex. He fights with Hawk, and the match devolves into a brawl. Everyone spills to the outside, so the ref counts out both teams.

Thoughts: This was going well until that disappointing finish. I liked the action to that point. But, I’m sad the Road Warriors never fought each other. I’m sure that would be an exercise in no-selling. I’m unsure why they felt the need to eliminate everyone in this match. My only guess is they didn’t want the Battlebowl Battle Royal to be too bloated. Someone had to go. It might as well be tag teams they want to protect.

Winners: Double Count Out (6:54)

The Road Warriors celebrate in the ring, for some reason. Booker yells at the camera. He says they cheated. He also claims the issues with the Road Warriors aren’t over.

SecondMatch

The Public Enemy vs. Chris Benoit & The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Notes: Look at that! The Public Enemy remains intact. Also, the other team is two members of the Alliance to End Hulkamania. They’re not trying to be random with this one. (To be fair, the Benoit/Taskmaster pairing sets up a memorable feud. I’ll allow it.) Benoit & Taskmaster seem to be on the same page. They high-five before the bell.

The Match: Rocco Rock surprises Benoit early with head scissors. He even stomps on Chris, but Rocco trips himself in the process. (Dusty asks the commentators if they ever stomped a rock.) Benoit then reverses another head scissors into a powerbomb and mocks Rocco’s dancing. Next, Sullivan tags and the match becomes a brawl. They spill to the floor where a table is waiting. (Who set that up?) Benoit saves Sullivan from a table spot. But, The Public Enemy eventually gets both men on the table. It appears Sullivan holds down Benoit until the last second. Kevin moves and lets Benoit get hit. Rock & Grunge put Benoit through the table with a double-team somersault senton. Sullivan claims he injured his leg, so he leaves Chris to his fate. Public Enemy cover for the win.

Thoughts: I liked the story of this match. Plus, Public Enemy hit some impressive moves. A short explosive fight is exactly what this should be. Benoit doesn’t look weak in defeat because Sullivan screwed him over. This did a good job of making Public Enemy look strong and setting up a feud. It did exactly what it needed to do.

Winners: The Public Enemy (4:44)

Jimmy Hart helps Sullivan walk to the back. He feigns concern for Benoit. He says, “We have to go back and check on Chris.” It’s obvious he’s not making an effort to do so.

ThirdMatch

Rick Steiner & The Booty Man (w/ The Booty Babe) vs. Scott Steiner & Sgt. Craig Pittman (w/ Teddy Long)

Notes: Craig Pittman spent weeks searching for a manager. Bobby Heenan and Jimmy Hart rejected him. He finally settled on Teddy Long. (I’m surprised Long didn’t suggest he join a tag team.) The search for guidance somehow turned him into a babyface. We’re supposed to forget this man left someone for dead in the desert. Meanwhile, the Steiner Brothers are on opposite sides in this bout. (WCW isn’t even trying to make this feel random. But, the thought of the Steiners fighting makes it acceptable. It’s a shame the Booty Man is there too.)

The Match: The Booty Man tries mat wrestling with both Pittman & Scott. It goes as well as you’d expect. Scott hits a Tiger Bomb and tags Pittman. But, Rick also tags. Rick and Craig trade dangerous suplexes and Steinerlines. Then, Craig tags Scott. We get the Steiner Brothers facing each other. They do some amateur wrestling and hard clotheslines. They even trade full nelsons until Rick nails a Dragon Suplex. Scott responds with a second-rope suplex. Sadly, The Booty Man returns to end the fun. Pittman puts him in a Code Red after a couple of attempts. It doesn’t work. Rick returns and pins Craig with a bridging German Suplex.

Thoughts: I enjoyed the Steiners fighting each other. Even Pittman looked good. I’m glad they kept Booty’s involvement to a minimum. This was solid for a short bout. I would rather see Scott’s team win, but it’s fine. This match also made me want to see a longer fight between the Steiners. (By the time we get it, it’s kind of disappointing. Plus, it involves Chucky. Yes, I’m serious.)

Winners: Rick Steiner & Booty Man (8:21)

BlueBloodsMatch

VK Wallstreet & Jim Duggan vs. Lord Steven Regal & Squire David Taylor (w/ Jeeves)

Notes: Wallstreet and Duggan feuded on WCW Saturday Night. It’s unmemorable, but it factors into this match. Also, they originally drew Regal and the Belfast Bruiser as partners. They say Bruiser is injured after a brutal Parking Lot Brawl with Regal on Nitro. David Taylor replaces him in this bout. (There is at least an explanation for this tag team being intact.)

The Match: Duggan and Regal grapple to a clean break. Regal then gives him a bicep pose! (He pushes the muscle to make it look bigger. Nick Patrick looks impressed.) Duggan responds by stalling to start a USA chant. Jim then shakes off a cheap shot and uses some hip tosses. He tries tagging Wallstreet, but VK refuses. Duggan tags him anyway. Regal & Taylor take turns working VK’s arm. Regal also trades uppercuts with Wallstreet. Next, The Blue Bloods take advantage when VK & Duggan argue. They double-team Jim and Wallstreet refuses to tag him again. Duggan responds to this by punching his partner. VK distracts the ref by trying to retaliate. Duggan uses the opening to tape his fist and punch Taylor. (By taping, I mean he spun the roll of tape around in a comical Popeye-like manner.) It’s enough for the win.

Thoughts: This was a bit silly, but it was inoffensive. Regal’s mannerisms and antics made it entertaining. I also liked the story with Duggan and Wallstreet. It was more of an entertainment match, but that’s fine. This gives the show some variety. Given the people involved, it was the right way to structure this bout.

Winners: Duggan & Wallstreet (3:46)

DiscoMatch

Dick Slater & Earl Robert Eaton (w/ Col. Parker & Jeeves) vs. Disco Inferno & Alex Wright

Notes: Disco & Alex aren’t an intact tag team. We’re still a couple of years away from the Dancing Fools. They are a random pairing on this show. Also, I’d like to make an Eaton Dick joke, but The Sultans of Spandex podcast beat me to it. (Give them a listen. They’re great.)

The Match: Slater backs Disco into a corner, but Disco wants him to watch the hair! He fends off Slater before Wright and Eaton clash. Wright catches Earl Robert with dropkicks, head scissors, and hip tosses. Eaton manages to tag out, so Dick gives Wright a neckbreaker. Alex recovers with a backdrop and tags Disco. Then, the match becomes a brawl. Wright takes Eaton over the ropes. But, Parker distracts the ref. It allows Slater to nail Disco with his boot for the victory.

Thoughts: Disco was amusing, but not much happened in this match. It might have been better if given more time. I understand why the matches are short, and I’m glad for it. But, this was forgettable.

Winners: Slater & Eaton (2:56)

DDPMatch

Diamond Dallas Page & The Barbarian vs. Meng & Hugh Morrus

Notes: DDP now has his infamous “Smells Like Teen Spirit” rip-off theme, but they dubbed over it on the network. (WWE doesn’t want that trouble.) We have another split tag team in this match. The Faces of Fear are on opposite sides. In fact, DDP is the only non-Dungeon member in this bout.

The Match: DDP uses hair-pulling and eye-pokes on Morrus. But, Hugh shoulder blocks Page out of the ring. Morrus then tries a slingshot crossbody, but DDP moves. Page follows up with a discus clothesline and tags Barbarian. This leads to the Faces of Fear fighting each other! They trade hard chops, kicks, and shoulder blocks. Both men absorb clotheslines before Barbie tags DDP. He then suplexes Page onto Meng. Morrus returns and uses flying elbows, but Page crotches him on one attempt. Barbs capitalizes with a super belly-to-belly. Hugh rallies with a moonsault. However, DDP stops the pin. This leads to a brawl and both Faces of Fear nail big boots. They make simultaneous pins and the ref counts both of them. But, DDP’s foot was under the ropes. The ref awards Barbarian’s team the victory.

Thoughts: This was a great hard-hitting match. I enjoyed seeing the Faces of Fear fight. They chopped the hell out of each other. Plus, DDP & Barbarian worked well together. They packed enough interesting stuff into this short bout to make it good.

Winners: DDP & The Barbarian (5:15)

FireIceMatch

Fire & Ice vs. Big Bubba Rogers & Stevie Ray

Notes: Fire & Ice is the tag team of Scott Norton & Ice Train. (Yes, Ice Train is still around. He sporadically appeared on Saturday Night since we last saw him.) It formed after the two men gained respect for each other. They had a few matches before Norton suggested teaming. Meanwhile, Big Bubba joined the Dungeon of Doom. This came with a change in look. He ditched the suspenders and dress clothes for leather pants and sleeveless t-shirts.

The Match: Norton backs Stevie into a corner and growls at him. Then, they trade slams and shoulder blocks. Norton gives him a hard clothesline. Stevie answers with boots to the face. Next, Bubba tags and does a comical windmill punch. But, Bubba falls victim to Fire & Ice. Train decides jumping on Bubba’s crotch is a good idea. (It was amusing, to say the least.) Train and Bubba then collide before Norton returns. He brawls with Stevie until Bubba stops it with a punch. Norton responds by whipping Bubba into Stevie. This opens the door for Fire & Ice to win with a double-shoulder block.

Thoughts: It was short, but it was high-impact. I always liked Fire & Ice. They’re a good hoss team. Bubba was amusing in this match. Even Stevie wasn’t bad. It was another fun short bout. It did a good job establishing Fire & Ice as a team.

Winners: Fire & Ice (3:32)

FlairSavageMatch

Ric Flair & Randy Savage (w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth) vs. Arn Anderson & Eddie Guerrero

Notes: Heenan wishes Guerrero luck. Bobby says Eddie should have stayed home and had some chili. Flair’s music plays, but he doesn’t appear. The commentators think something bad happened. But, he’s fine. He didn’t want Randy attacking him from behind. He let Randy enter first. Flair runs to the ring while Arn attacks Savage. Guerrero pulls Arn off of him and attacks Ric.

The Match: Flair and Guerrero trade punches and chops while Woman & Elizabeth reluctantly approach the ring. Eddie uses backdrops and dropkicks until Ric tags Savage—with an elbow to the head. Flair then forces Eddie to tag Arn. Arn cuts off Randy’s rally with a spinebuster. Savage kicks out, so Flair goes after him again. However, Guerrero tags and pokes Ric in the eyes. He gives Ric more chops and a tornado DDT. This allows Savage to attack Ric. The fight between partners gives Anderson an opening. Arn nails a DDT—on his own partner, Guerrero! Arn then attacks Savage while Flair covers Guerrero for the win.

Thoughts: The action between Flair and Guerrero was great. It made me want to see a longer match between them. (We will get that soon enough.) Plus, I loved the storytelling with Flair and Savage. This was the perfect mix of story and action. The crowd was hot for this bout.

Winners: Flair & Savage (4:04)

Arn and Flair continue attacking Savage on the floor. Ric stomps him and then they hold Randy while Elizabeth slaps him. Arn follows that with a DDT on the ground. Ric gives him a few more stomps for good measure before leaving.

Tony recaps the first round of the Lethal Lottery. He says there will be another random drawing to determine the brackets for round two. They talk about Flair & Savage having to team again. Tony compares it to Heenan and Dusty coexisting. Bobby compares Dusty to a leather recliner. Then, Tony introduces a commercial for The Great American Bash. Sting and the Steiners join a family’s backyard BBQ. Sting relaxes on a deck chair. The family uses Rick Steiner as a post for a game of horseshoes. Scott Steiner grills some steaks. (I hope that family likes them well done. I’d say they’re about 141 2/3% cooked.)

GeneSegmentOne

Some Hooters girls join Mean Gene in the aisle. (Let’s hope he behaves himself. I still remember the last Battlebowl.) He assures them he’s looking at their name tags while he introduces them. Then, Gene draws teams for the next round. The first team he chooses receives a bye because of the double count out. It’s Fire & Ice! He chooses two more teams. Slater & Eaton will face Duggan & Wallstreet.

CruiserMatch

Cruiserweight Title Match: Dean Malenko (c) vs. Brad Armstrong

Notes: WCW held a tournament to crown their first-ever Cruiserweight Champion. Shinjiro Otani won, but the finals took place in NJPW. (It’s odd their own tourney concluded on someone else’s TV show. That’s WCW for you.) Dean Malenko then defeated Otani to win the title. Now, he defends against Brad Armstrong.

The Match: They begin with some mat wrestling until Brad nails an enziguri. He also dropkicks Dean out of the ring. Malenko regroups and then focuses on Armstrong’s leg. Dean strikes and jumps onto Brad’s leg. He even puts him in a tree of woe and dropkicks the knee. Brad rallies by raising his boot into Dean’s face and nailing a powerslam. He follows with a missile dropkick. Then, Brad attempts Malenko’s own Texas Cloverleaf. Dean reaches the ropes and sends Brad to the floor. He then catches Armstrong on the top rope and wins with a super gutbuster.

Thoughts: This was a solid technical match, but it didn’t have much heat. It wasn’t their fault. The action was great. It didn’t have any build or story. The fans came alive for some of the bigger spots, but that’s it. That changes as the division continues. The cruiserweights become a highlight of WCW programming and the fans get into it.

Winner: Dean Malenko (8:29)

GlacierPromo

Next, a rather strange vignette airs. It says our world is about to change. Blood runs cold! A runed portal opens to reveal bright white light. Someone is coming to WCW. Who could it be!? (It’s Glacier. This is the beginning of the hype. It continues for months. Glacier is a rip-off of Sub Zero from Mortal Kombat. WCW spent a lot of money on his laser light intro, but the gimmick is lame. It leads to a few other Mortal Kombat-like gimmicks that feud with Glacier.)

GeneAgain

Gene is back with the Hooters girls. He accuses them of switching name tags because he can’t remember their names. He then draws more teams for the second round. Public Enemy faces Savage & Flair. Gene doubts there’s much left of Savage. The next pairing is DDP & Barbarian fighting Booty Man & Rick Steiner. Gene is more interested beer and wings with the girls.

DugganMatch

Dick Slater & Earl Robert Eaton vs. VK Wallstreet & Jim Duggan

Notes: Schiavone reminds us the winner will carry the Lord of the Ring title for a year. (They planned on doing this yearly. That doesn’t happen.) Also, I want to point out Wallstreet donned his tear-away suit again for his entrance. (He must be proud of that thing.)

The Match: Duggan & Wallstreet immediately brawl with each other. Eaton & Slater watch for a moment before attacking. Duggan shows restraint and exits the ring, but VK knees him in the head. Then, Wallstreet & Duggan fend off their opponents. VK puts Eaton in an abdominal stretch. He looks for leverage, but Jim refuses to help. However, he comes in illegally and throws punches. When Jim tags, he throws some clotheslines. But, he collides with Slater and has to tag out again. VK slams Eaton off the ropes and tries punching him. He hits Duggan by mistake. Jim has enough and punches his partner, so Eaton rolls VK up for the victory.

Thoughts: There were some amusing moments, but I don’t care about the Duggan/Wallstreet feud. It’s a Saturday Night rivalry. Even WCW saw it as secondary. This was forgettable and quick. I’m supposed to believe Duggan cared more about his problems with VK than getting a WCW title shot? That makes Duggan look foolish. Then again, that’s Duggan’s character.

Winners: Slater & Eaton (4:08)

Duggan and Wallstreet keep fighting. Jim chases him away with his 2×4, so the ref stops Jim before he can do damage.

FlairSavageMatchTwo

The Public Enemy vs. Ric Flair & Randy Savage (w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth)

The Match: This time, Savage’s music plays first. He doesn’t arrive. It switches to Flair’s music. Woman & Elizabeth walk with Flair. Liz carries a handful of Savage’s money and throws it into the crowd. Savage has enough and attacks Flair from behind. Security tries to stop him. Flair gets in some cheap shots while they hold Savage. Even the American Males and Eddie Guerrero help hold back Randy. Flair & Savage never make it to the ring. The ref awards the bout to Public Enemy by forfeit.

Thoughts: There was no match, so I can’t comment on the action. But, I loved the storyline. They’re doing a great job building the Flair/Savage rivalry. Savage looks like a madman. The Public Enemy can at least claim a victory over Ric Flair & Randy Savage—kind of.

Winners: Public Enemy (by Forfeit) (N/A)

DDPMatchTwo

Diamond Dallas Page & The Barbarian vs. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man (w/ The Booty Babe)

The Match: DDP argues with Kimberly, so the Booty Man attacks. He knocks Page to the floor, and DDP gets tangled in the cables. Rick Steiner enters the match and powerslams Page. He then tries ten-punches in the corner, but DDP turns it into a hotshot. Next, Rick and Barbarian fight. They trade kicks, clotheslines, and suplexes. Barbarian then responds with a powerbomb. Rick tries tagging, but DDP distracts the ref. Barbarian uses the opening to throw Rick over the ropes. DDP attacks him on the floor. Barbarino continues his onslaught until Rick nails a hotshot. Booty Man returns with a high-knee, but Page stops the pin. The ref is distracted again, so Page attacks Booty Man. Barbarian then covers for the win.

Thoughts: There was some decent action. It did a good job building DDP’s character. I liked the teamwork between DDP and Barbarian, but the finish was kind of weak. It was okay but flat. You can tell the crowd is worn bout by this long tournament. It got them where they need to go, but thank goodness the first two rounds are over.

Winners: DDP & The Barbarian (5:05)

DDP celebrates with Barbarian. But, he then gives himself a self-high five. Page tells the camera he did it all by himself.

USTitle

U.S. Title Match: Konnan (c) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger (w/ Sonny Onoo)

Notes: Mike Tenay joins the commentary team for this bout. Dusty heads backstage to get an update on Randy Savage. They talk about the PPV airing in Mexico for the first time. Tenay says it means a lot to Konnan. Heenan would rather mock Konnan for his outfit. (I don’t blame him. It’s ridiculous.) On a side note, Konnan shaved his hair into Ks on his head. The problem is, there are three of them. Why would you go to the ring with KKK on your head!? (Tenay explains Konnan is on a TV show in Mexico where he plays Konnan the Rapper. Heenan jokes he got his hair cut at K-Mart.)

The Match: They trade holds and unique pin attempts until Liger hits a somersault senton. Konnan regroups, but Sonny kicks him. This distraction allows Liger to nail a baseball slide and a slingshot crossbody. Then, both men trade submission holds. Konnan uses an STF. Liger tries a Camel Clutch and a bow and arrow. Next, they trade rapid palm strikes before Liger uses a rolling kick. He follows with a superplex and a flying splash. The fight spills to the floor and then the apron. Liger uses a German Suplex and a Fisherman Buster, but neither work. Konnan counters with an Alabama Slam. He then tries the Power Drop, but Liger turns it into a sunset flip. Jushin follows that with the Liger Bomb. It’s still not enough. Konnan rallies and hits the Power Drop (Splash Mountain Bomb) for the victory.

Thoughts: This was great. It was a good mix of technical wrestling, high-flying, and hard-hitting offense. This was the best Konnan match I’ve covered. It’s not surprising given who was in the match. It was as good as I expected it to be. They had to keep it short because of the length of this show, but they packed a lot into that time.

Winner: Konnan (9:30)

MongoSegment

Gene introduces Ric Flair. Arn, Woman, and Elizabeth join him. Gene says his plate is full with the Hooters girls. Flair says, “Let me give you a capsule synopsalis of what’s going on.” (A what!?) Flair says they locked up Savage because he’s one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Ric then mocks Randy and kisses Liz’s arm. He promises to have a pajama/lingerie party with the women. He even invites Gene to join them. Then, Ric addresses Steve Mongo McMichael. Ric can’t believe a football player told him to back off. Flair claims he has Mongo’s wife in his back pocket. That brings out Mongo, who threatens Flair. Ric hides behind Arn Anderson and says McMichael’s wife is lonely back in Austin. Flair dares Mongo to get one of his old teammates to face Ric & Arn in a tag team match. Mongo asks if he can get anybody he wants. Flair says yes. Mongo claims he saw this coming. He already has someone. It’s Kevin Greene! He joins Mongo, but Ric says, “I said retired players!!” Greene wants to fight, so security separates everyone. Kevin Greene then says he wants to rock and roll! Flair’s entourage leaves, so Gene interviews Mongo and Greene. Kevin tells Flair to put his jock on because he wants to rock and roll. (This builds toward a match at The Great American Bash. I’ll explain more in that review.)

BattleBowl

Battlebowl Battle Royal

Notes: Participants: Scott Norton, Ice Train, Dick Slater, Robert Eaton, Johnny Grunge, Rocco Rock, Diamond Dallas Page, & The Barbarian.

You can eliminate your opponents by throwing them over the top rope or by pin or submission. WCW doesn’t state that. They didn’t even inform the commentators. It confuses them when it happens. (Oh, WCW!)

The Match: DDP keeps going over the ropes. His feet touch the floor, but the ref doesn’t see it. Tony does, and he complains DDP should be eliminated. Then, they show a split-screen as people are tossed. (Dusty calls it dual deals.) Slater accidentally eliminates Eaton. Parker blames Robert and slaps him. Eaton attacks, so Slater eliminates himself to stop it. Norton is also dumped, but Ice Train hands out powerslams. He even joins forces with Barbarian until DDP gives everyone a Diamond Cutter. He pins his victims one at at time. He goes to Barbarian last, but he kicks out of the pin. Barbs rallies. DDP tries pinning him with his feet on the ropes, but Nick Patrick catches him. They argue and shove each other. Barbarian then uses a Tombstone and a sleeper hold. Neither are enough because DDP kicks him low. Barbara-Ann then nails a powerbomb and attempts a flying headbutt. He misses. DDP capitalizes with a Diamond Cutter and wins.

Thoughts: This wasn’t bad for a Battle Royal. Adding the pin stipulation helped. Plus, the closing moments with DDP and Barbarian were good. They almost had a mini-match at the end. It appears to be the start of a push for DDP. But, that’s not quite the case. Page never receives his WCW title match. They review the tape and see Page’s feet touched the floor. They let him keep the Battlebowl ring, but they strip him of the title opportunity. WCW dedicated a whole PPV to the Battlebowl and then rendered it pointless. (Oh, WCW—again!)

Winner: Diamond Dallas Page (9:33)

GiantPromo

Gene is backstage with The Giant and Jimmy Hart. He asks Tony to guess who he’s with. (Shouldn’t that be obvious?) Then, Gene says Hart is nervous because he will be cuffed to Lex Luger. Hart begs Lex to reconsider, so Gene accuses him of dribbling all over the floor. Next, Gene asks Giant about his opponent, Sting. The Giant says Sting has been on top before, but he’s the king of the hill now. Giant also calls Sting a thorn in his side, a rat under his bed, and a cockroach in his apple pie. (Well, that’s not an analogy I expected! I should be glad he’s not rhyming.) The Giant threatens to exterminate everyone, so Gene asks about DDP. Giant says to bet big and bet on the Giant. He then tells DDP to think about what will happen to him. (WCW is hyping a match they know will never happen. What is with this company?)

MainEvent

WCW Title Match: The Giant (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Sting (w/ Lex Luger)

Notes: WCW shows a graphic that says U.S. Title Match. (That’s not surprising with this company.) They remove it from the screen when they realize their mistake. Then, Michael Buffer does the introductions. He says Sting is the man known as Sting. (No, it’s The Man Called Sting.) He also claims The Giant hails from a part of the world unknown to man. (No, it’s Parts Unknown. Geez, Buffer. Do you know anything?) He at least manages to not botch his catchphrase.

The Match: Sting bounces off the Giant, but he tries a sleeper hold. Giant backs him into the corner, so Sting tries dropkicks and clotheslines. He even attempts a slam and fails. The Giant responds by stepping on Sting and hitting him with clubbing blows. Then, The Giant locks Sting in a body scissors for a while. He uses the ropes for leverage until the ref catches him. They fight to the floor where The Giant tries chokeslamming Sting on a table. Luger blocks it by placing Jimmy Hart in the way. They return to the ring and Luger pulls Sting out of the way of Giant’s impressive dropkick. Sting starts hitting Stinger Splashes. Jimmy Hart tries interfering, so Sting attempts splashing him. Hart falls (Luger might have pulled him). Sting crashes and burns before stumbling into Giant’s crotch. He then recovers and gives The Giant two flying splashes. He follows that with the Scorpion Deathlock, but Hart gets on the apron. He tries using the megaphone. Luger stops him and they fight over it. Lex pulls the megaphone out of Hart’s hands, but he hits Sting in the process! The Giant grabs Sting and nails a chokeslam to end the match.

Thoughts: This was a fun match. I enjoyed it. You can tell Sting laid it out. It’s easily the best Giant match, so far. They had the crowd in the palm of their hand. They structured it well. There were a couple of moments where it dragged, but it was still quite good. I also liked the storytelling with the finish. It was ambiguous enough to cast doubt on Luger’s intentions.

Winner: The Giant (10:41)

Dusty thinks Luger did it on purpose. But, both Tony and Bobby think it was an accident. Dusty and Heenan argue about the finish. Tony then says goodnight while Heenan yells Nitro. Bobby also wonders where DDP put his ring.

The Good:

  • The Flair/Savage story work was great.

  • There were some fun and entertaining matches.

  • The Main Event was quite good.

  • Seeing the Steiners and the Faces of Fear fight each other was great.

The Bad:

  • The Lethal Lottery shouldn’t have been two rounds long.

  • Some of the finishes were disappointing.

Performer of the Night:

It’s Diamond Dallas Page. This was his night to shine. He played his character perfectly.

Final Thoughts:

I changed my opinion of this show. When I watched it in the 90s, I found it boring. Now, I thought it was surprisingly fun. The tournament was a bit long, but most of it was entertaining. Plus, I enjoyed the main event. This was a good transition between the nonsense of early ’96 and the stuff that’s coming.

Thank you for reading. My next review is technical difficulties, the PPV! Oh, I mean WWF In Your House: Beware of Dog. Look for it next Sunday!

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