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Halloween Havoc 

October 24th 1993

New Orleans, Louisiana

WCW continue with the goofy PPV intro mini movie bollocks...

Sinister Tony Schiavone is a bit creepy. I always knew he was a wrong ‘un. Reminds me of the David Mitchell  ‘Evil Vicar’ sketch;

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Makes you shudder. 

He’s right about one thing though. ‘Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal’ from Havoc 92 still haunts me. And it’s back again here for the main event. But at least this time we get Vader vs Cactus at the end of it and not a disinterested Sting vs a cracked up Jake The Snake pissing about with an oven glove on a pole. 

Onto the show...

And what the hell as Eric Bischoff come as?; 

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He had to feel like a right twat so he quickly hands over to the ringside crew. Who also clearly got the fancy dress invitation. Schiavone has transformed into Jesse Ventura. And Jesse is...

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“I’m Bourbon Street’s number one gynaecologist!” - Jesse Ventura 

I didn’t make that up. He said it.

The Shockmaster, Ice Train & Charlie Norris vs The Equalizer & Harlem Heat - 6 Man Tag

Talk about opening up the show with a bang, eh? And what about that babyface dream team? 

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Some black on black violence to kick it off with Ice Train and Booker T. Yeah, this match isn’t very good. It’s not quite as bad as I expected though, in fairness. It’s only really Harlem Heat that make this watchable. It’s amazing they were able to go on to have such a solid tenure in WCW looking at them here, saddled with these 4 shitehawks so early into their run. The babyface superpowers get the win when Shockmaster hits his shite finishing bearhug slam thingy...

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Surely the least painful finishing move in the history of wrestling. Even in kayfabe, how exactly is that meant to hurt the opponent? 

Moving on...

Ricky Steamboat vs Paul Orndorff

This is a rematch from the COTC in August. Steamboat won the TV Title that night and Orndorff beat him down after. Steamboat has since lost the belt to Regal at Fall Brawl. And here we are. Orndorff is accompanied by The Assassin for some reason. This goes around 20 minutes. It’s very decent as you’d think it would be but, I don’t know, something seemed slightly off about it. It took a while to get going and then when it started really picking up, Orndorff won via countout due to interference from The Assassin. It wasn’t a bad match at all but it wasn’t what it could have been and the ending was really flat. Steamboat adopted a bit of a different style which I’m not sure worked. He had more of a mean streak here and was more aggressive. I get that you have to switch things up from time to time but his strength was always in his selling and Orndorff was always great being a nasty bastard on the offence. Them kind of switching roles here didn’t really hit the spot for me. Oh well. 

Lord Steven Regal (c) vs British Bulldog - WCW World Television Title

Here we fucking go. Been looking forward to this. Arguably the two most successful British wrestlers to crack America going at it in or close to their primes. And I’ve never actually seen it. So this is a treat for me to finally sit down and watch this. 26 years late but I got there in the end. 

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Lots of this early on and it’s fantastic to watch. I always loved seeing Davey Boy in these kind of matches. He’s probably remembered more as a powerhouse but when he’d be in there with a Bret, Shawn or Owen you’d get the other side of him where he’d show his speed, counters and all that good stuff. And this Regal match is along those same lines. Regal is clearly disgusted at having to lock up with the greasy, oiled up commoner. A mid match distraction from Sir William turns the tide and Regal takes over from there. Bulldog comes back for the closing stretch and hits the big running powerslam. Regal kicks out, which surprised me. Especially in this era before kicking out of finishers became the norm. 

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Bulldog then nails him with a piledriver but the 15 minute time limit expires. It’s a draw. Regal escapes with the title by the skin of his teeth. Loved this from start to finish. Even the non-finish didn’t hurt it for me. 

Vader comes out to spin the wheel and make the deal. The wheel is obviously rigged to fuck and it very methodically lands on ‘Texas Death Match’. 

Dustin Rhodes (c) vs Stunning Steve Austin - WCW United States Title

The Hollywood Blondes era is coming to an end unfortunately. Col Robert Parker is trying to work his southern charm to land the role as Austin’s new manager. The story being told here is that Parker somehow got Austin this title shot. And they’re planting the seeds for the Blondes breakup, with Schiavone speculating why Pillman isn’t here. This is pretty solid. It didn’t really click how I thought it might but it was decent enough. Finish is a bit screwy though. Austin pins Dustin, seemingly for the win, but has his feet on the ropes so the ref makes them continue and Dustin wins with a rollup. The Natural retains the gold. 

Post-match, Austin batters and bloodies Dustin and fucks off with his US belt. Preferred their match at Havoc 91. 

2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell (c) vs Nasty Boys - WCW World Tag Team Titles

OK, so the Nasty Boys beat Anderson and Roma at Fall Brawl to win the titles. They then lost them to 2 Cold and Bagwell at a Saturday Night taping in early October. So this is their rematch. 

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Bagwell continues to look like the biggest dork on the planet but his team with Scorpio was actually better than it had any right to be and easily the best thing Bagwell had been involved in at this stage of his career. Anyway, this is another decent match. And Scorpio is once again man of the match. 

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He’s flying all over the place here. Seems like more than usual. It slows down and the middle part with the Nasties in control and Bagwell selling drags a bit. But it’s alright.

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Missy wasn’t playing with that slap. She obviously didn’t rate Buff’s stuff. Scorpio finally makes the hot tag and goes fucking nuts. He smashes Knobbs and Saggs about the place with a variety of kicks and splashes and all manner of flying and twisting shit. He lands a sweet 450 on Knobbs but Saggs waffles him with his boot allowing Knobbs to roll on top for the 123. The Nasty Boys are champions once again. 

Sting vs Sid Vicious

A rematch from Havoc 90 here. We get a promo from Sid and Col Robert Parker first. 

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“It’s time for you to wake up from the nightmare that you’ve been experiencing. It’s time for you to step into the ring. It’s time for you to face reality. Some people call me Psycho Sid but tonight, at Halloween Havoc, they’ll call me the grim reaper. For what I’ll do to you, Sting, I WILL GRAB YOU BY THE THROAT, AND I WILL LIFT YOU 7 FEET IN THE AIR AND DRIVE YOUR SKULL IN THE MAT! And one second before you go, I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL, STING. BECAUSE I’M SID VICIOUS AND I RULE THE WORLD!” - Sid Vicious

Don’t know about you but I, for one, believe him. 

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Sting comes out in some snazzy denim jacket with green sparkly shit all over it. As you do. We’ve all got one of them lying about haven’t we? Sid jumps right on him and we’re off. They brawl around ringside and through the crowd for a bit, which wasn’t done to death in 1993. Back in the ring and Sid hits the big chokeslam. And the beatdown begins. Sting finally makes the comeback and he lands the Stinger Splash. But Parker starts poking his nose in. He tries grabbing Sting’s leg but ends up tripping Sid instead and Sting rolls him up for the win. Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie did that finish much better in 1995. Pretty fun short match though. 

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Sid is rightly fuming at the Colonel. He apologises and Sid walks off. Guess this was supposed to be the beginning of Sid’s babyface turn which was going to lead to the big mega push and him beating Vader for the strap at Starrcade. Of course, the UK tour and Double A throw a monkey wrench...well, a pair of scissors into those plans. 

We get a split-screen with footage of both Vader and Cactus backstage prepping for their match. Vader is intense as fuck, boxing Harley Race’s hands off. While Cactus is sat rocking back and forth mumbling to himself. 

Ravishing Rick Rude (c) vs Ric Flair - World Heavyweight Title 

Right then. Let’s try this again. Hopefully it’s better than their 30 minute snoozer at Fall Brawl. 

“You know, Fifi’s looking awful good for someone who spends her life down on her knees scrubbing floors.” - Jesse Ventura

Ah...Fifi was a maid! Christ, I wondered where he was going with that. 

Big Tone makes the save though...

“Well that’s the way beautiful women are, Jesse. They can be on the floor just scrubbing away...but you make ‘em up, take ‘em out on the town and they look wonderful.” - Tony Schiavone

I swear I never made a word of this up. 

Anyway, down to business. Rude won the belt at Fall Brawl. Closest he ever got to being ‘the man’. Like I said before, that belt looked right at home on him. 

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Check out the tights! ‘Ric gets my tricks, Fifi gets my treats.’ 

It isn’t shown on this PPV but there’s a great little interview I found with Rude and Schiavone at Rude’s home; 

Rude seems like he’s loving being the champ. 

Terry Taylor is the second, outside the ring referee/enforcer for this rematch for some reason. And well, I’d say it’s better than the Fall Brawl match but not by much. It goes 20 minutes so at least it’s not so long. And the first half of the match is actually quite enjoyable with Flair really taking it to him. It breaks down later on when Rude takes over though. The match comes to an end when referee Randy Anderson gets knocked down and Rude tries to cheat with the brass knuckles like last time. This time it backfires and Flair hits him with them instead and Terry Taylor makes the 3 count. But Randy Anderson saw it all and disqualifies Flair. Rude retains and we get yet another crap Rude vs Flair match and another dodgy and anti-climatic finish on this show. 

It’s so weird to me how two wrestlers of this quality just couldn’t make it work. It’s well documented that they didn’t really get on backstage. Well, Rude reportedly hated Flair anyway. And Flair has since said that Rude would often go into the ring intoxicated around this time period. So a mix of those two things probably explains it. But it’s a shame they never had that classic match that they were capable of.   

Flair and Eric Bischoff talk a bit about Rude here; 

Who knows what the main reason was. But they clearly didn’t have good chemistry for whatever reason. 

Big Van Vader vs Cactus Jack - Texas Death match

Main event time and Vader’s belt isn’t on the line here for some reason. Capatta confuses me in the intro. Says something like ‘pinfalls don’t count...there will be a 20 second rest period between falls’. So do pinfalls count or not? Then Schiavone says pinfalls count anywhere. Whatever. Cactus has jumped Vader on the ramp and they’ve started battering each other senseless. 

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Cactus is going for broke early. He’s out for revenge and Vader is reeling. Until Vader nearly beheads him with a stiff clothesline. I got the rules now. It’s basically a Last Man Standing match but with pinfalls before the counts start. Gets kind of annoying after a bit. 

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Vader takes over and they wind up brawling on the ramp again. Cactus is bleeding, Vader is bleeding. This is brutal. As is referee Nick Patrick’s white socks/black shoes combo.

This is great. Just a wild and violent scrap. Wouldn’t have looked at all out of place on an Attitude Era WWF PPV in 1998. Way ahead of its time. Back in the ring briefly and it’s a Vader moonsault! He’s fucking Cactus up now. Cactus tries to jump on his back and Vader just drops back with him on the ramp, crushing the hell out of him. Then he nearly takes his head off with a chair...

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He follows that up with a DDT on the chair and Cactus looks about as done as done can be. But Cactus gets up and returns the favour, DDTing Vader on the ramp. The count starts and Harley Race uses a fucking stun gun on Cactus to make sure the cunt stays down. Good old Harley. Vader beats the count and gets the win. It’s over. 

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A tremendous match. Wasn’t a huge fan of the stipulation though. After a while all the stopping and starting with the falls and ‘rest periods’ got a bit jarring. A straight up Falls Count Anywhere match would’ve sufficed. But I can’t gripe at this, it was such an entertaining match. 

A strong show all in all. Rude vs Flair was a major disappointment again but aside from that it was mostly good. Vader vs Cactus is a must-see if it’s somehow escaped you until now. And I’d highly recommend watching Regal vs Bulldog. Those are the 2 matches you want off this one. But I really enjoyed the Scorpio/Bagwell vs Nasties match and Sting vs Sid is alright for what it is. Rhodes vs Austin and Steamboat vs Orndorff, while slightly underwhelming, were decent enough as well. Double thumbs up! 

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@HarmonicGenerator definitely check out Regal vs Bulldog if you get chance. I thought it was really good. 

It’s another Clash and for some reason they’re doing Vader vs Flair. Typical WCW, spunking their Starrcade main event away on free TV. Let’s see what it’s all about. 

Clash Of The Champions 25 

November 10th 1993 

St Petersburg, Florida

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He’s here! They teased it on one of the last couple of shows but he’s arrived now. The tan is on point, the voice sounds as smooth as ever and he’s already shilling that hotline. Bless him. And put your cigarettes out. 

Mean Gene then hands over to Tony and Jesse. It’s like SummerSlam ‘89 all over again. 

Ravishing Rick Rude (c) vs Roadwarrior Hawk - World Heavyweight Title

It’s obvious which of the Heavyweight Titles WCW hold in higher esteem, isn’t it? A World Title match opening up a free TV Clash.

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This match intrigues me though. Had no idea they’d had a singles match. Although, Hawk was never great in singles and with Rude coming off those back-to-back rotters against Flair my hopes aren’t high for this one. And I’m right. This is a nothing happening 6 minute match that ends on a double countout. Splendid. The highlight was Rude snatching the microphone from Michael Buffer at the start and Buffer looking pissed. You do NOT touch Buffer’s mic. 

The Shockmaster vs The Equalizer

Oh, good. I’ve got a feeling this is going to make me long for the days of Johnny B Badd vs Maxx Payne. Schiavone and Ventura take great delight taking the piss out of Shockmaster falling over at the last Clash. 

“You know why he wears the hard hat don’t you, Tony? So he don’t knock himself out. Can you imagine having to sit down at the breakfast table with a hard hat on?” - Jesse Ventura

And as soon as the match starts my Network starts being a prick and keeps buffering. I blame these two fuckers. Anyway, Shockmaster’s mega push continues...

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He hits the most feared finishing move and gets that huge win over Evad Sullivan. 

Lord Steven Regal (c) vs Johnny B Badd - WCW World Television Title

Lord Steven is still 18st.2lbs. He’s been 18.2 for the whole of 1993. Amazing how wrestlers always stay the exact same weight year round, isn’t it? Right to the ounce. Anyway, this is alright. I’ve said it before but Mero was very watchable whenever he was in with someone decent. And even with Regal’s unique style, he does fine here. They go about 10 minutes and it seems Badd has him beat when he lands the ‘Kiss That Don’t Miss’ and knocks Regal spark out. 

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But Sir William puts Regal’s foot on the rope so the pinfall doesn’t count. Regal comes to and manages to roll Badd up and grab a handful of tights for the win. 

Stunning Steve Austin vs Flyin’ Brian Pillman

The Hollywood Blondes are no more. Jesse The Body sounds as sad about it as I am. He’s already mentioned it in pretty much every match so far on this show. 

Anyway this is the breakup of the Blondes from Saturday Night in late October...

That’s it. Col Parker wants to manage Austin but he’s not interested in Pillman. So Pillman chins Parker and Austin attacks Pillman. That’s it. One of the hottest and most over acts in the business at the time and that’s the best they could come up with. Col Parker plays his part well there, to be fair. But it’s such a shit and lazy way to split the team. And it seems too soon to break them up anyway. They’d only been together since the start of 93. So 10 months in total. They were still over, they weren’t stale and there was still some mileage there before the inevitable split. A match or program with Sting and Davey Boy, for one example, would’ve been ace. But...WCW. 

The match itself here is fun while it lasts. But it feels way too short. Pillman doesn’t even get an entrance. He’s already in the ring and just jumps Austin as he’s getting in. I like the little touch of them both still wearing the Blondes gear but Austin is in the black version and Pillman’s in red.

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The action here is good. It just felt rushed. Austin wins after Pillman goes for a springboard move and Col Rob trips him up, allowing Austin to get the pin. 

Best thing on the show by miles so far but that’s not saying much. There was a way better match to be had between these two but they only had about 7 minutes and the finish wasn’t the best. This would’ve been fine as the first match of a series in a feud but this turned out to be the blowoff. Talk about a wasted opportunity. Not only was the split of the team abrupt and lazily booked, the ‘blowoff’ match got 7 minutes on a Clash and that was it. Shame.

Dustin Rhodes (c) vs Paul Orndorff - WCW United States Title

Orndorff again has The Assassin with him. So Dustin has brought his old man with him to even the odds...

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If you weel. I was disappointed with this. It feels like Dustin and Orndorff are just here as a backdrop to what was going on outside with Dusty and Assassin. Dustin wins with a small package after a slow and methodical match. It’s all to set up the post-match where the heels attack Dusty and Dustin makes the save. That was more entertaining than the match itself. 

Nasty Boys (c) vs Sting & British Bulldog - WCW World Tag Team Titles

I loved the Sting and Bulldog team. As a kid that was a proper dream team and they just looked awesome together. 

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They were what the Allied Powers tried to be in 1995 WWF for me. They were ace as a team but it was never going to be a long term thing. 

Missy Hyatt’s tits make their entrance next...

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Followed by Missy herself and the Nasty Boys. Capetta introduces her as “the nastiest lady in wrestling” or something similar. 

This was a lot of fun. Before the match can even get properly started, Rick Rude runs out and attacks Bulldog, giving him a Rude Awakening on the ramp. This was because Bulldog had been on about challenging Rude for his belt. The attack leaves Sting to fend for himself against the Nasties for a while. He manages it OK for a bit but at 2 on 1 it eventually becomes too much. They put the boots to Sting until the Bulldog finally recovers for the hot tag...

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They have the Nasty Boys in trouble and Davey Boy hits the running powerslam on Knobbs. But while he’s pinning him, Saggs comes off the top with an elbow and Knobbs gets the 3 count. Huge win for the Nasty Boys. 

Big Van Vader (c) vs Ric Flair - WCW World Heavyweight Title

Like I said, giving away the Starrcade main event seems crazy to me. But reading up on it more, it makes a bit more sense. Of course, Vader vs a babyface Sid was the original plan to headline Starrcade. So I guess when this Vader vs Flair match was made, they didn’t realise they’d be giving away the Starrcade main event. We even get a quick skit backstage before this match with Col Robert Parker confronting Flair and saying that Steve Austin will be challenging the champ at Starrcade and Flair punches him. Fuck knows? I guess it can’t have helped that WCW used to film months’ worth of TV in advance. Harder to change direction when you’ve got 2 months worth of shit in the can. 

Regardless, this is a good 10 minute match. Not a patch on their rematch at Starrcade, obviously, but very enjoyable all the same. 

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Finish comes when Vader accidentally clotheslines the referee. He then hits the above superplex and misses a huge moonsault. Flair makes the cover and the ref starts crawling over to make the count but he disqualifies Vader instead for the clothesline. Lame finish to a good match. The pop from the crowd when they thought Flair had won the title was big though, and maybe had some influence on them pulling the trigger on the eventual title switch. 

So looking back, before Sid went mad with the scissors, the plan for Starrcade seemed to be Vader vs Sid for the WCW strap, Rude vs Bulldog for the World Title and I’m assuming Flair vs Austin as the top 3 matches. Of course, Vader vs Flair pissed all over anything Vader vs Sid could’ve been but I’d have loved to see Rude vs Bulldog and especially Flair vs Austin. 

This was a pretty good show, I thought. It started badly but there’s fun to be had with Vader vs Flair, the tag title match and Austin vs Pillman. The unsatisfactory finishes in so many of these matches is something that’s really noticeable in 1993 though. 

Oh well. At least it’s Battlebowl next. 

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Edited by wandshogun09

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For no real reason, I chucked Summerslam 1990 on last night - the first wrestling video I ever purchased and watched the living shit out of. Inspired by Wand's awesome WCW reviews, I feel like posting some thoughts...

***Summerslam 1990 - FEEL THE HEAT!***

Oh yes. The old Summerslam music opens us up, with Vince McMahon screaming over the top hyping the double main event in his cocaine glory. This alone made the rewatch worth it. I seem to remember the VHS showing fans entering the building, buying merch and mugging for the camera before this. Anyway, we go to Vince and the Hotrod on commentary for this show. Piper seems to get a bum rap for his stint at the booth, but this is one of those things where I just have the blinders on, maybe through nostalgia, because I don't think he's bad at all. Anyway, the pulsing music of the Rockers kicks us off, as Shawn and Marty gingerly jog down the aisle. A little zing is off the fastball on this entrance, and we soon find out why.

The Rockers Vs. Power and Glory

Almost immediately Shawn is lying on the ground after being ambushed by Hercules with the chain off-camera. Shawn is selling his knee with the type of conviction he could have used in February 97, as Herc and Roma start working over Jannetty. This is more angle than match, but I love it. Marty is so tremendous as the face frantically fighting the odds. Shawn tries dragging himself to the apron to help, but gets kicked down every time. The Rockers, who Piper calls "the Mick Jagger and David Bowie of the WWF" are having a bit of a hard time in face-hating Philly tonight. Eventually this ends with the terrific Powerplex, one foot on the chest, Roma looking like a boss, and the fans cheering the victory. They chuck Shawn in for some more stick after the match, but Marty heroically covers Shawn's leg to prevent further punishment. As Jannetty sprawls himself over Michaels body, Piper comes out with "they look like Mick Jagger and David Bowie right now", a gag I didn't get at all as a kid. P&G leave to a ton of heat, and frankly should have been tag team champions instead of the Nasty Boys based off this. Hot start to the show.

We go backstage with Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan. Story here is that Perfect was scheduled to go against Beefcake, but that went out the window when Brutus ate a high knee that would have made Harley proud. Instead, some newcomer, the Texas Tornado is taking the match. "Nobody beats Mr. Perfect", ends Hennig, before he and Heenan say in unision: "Nobody". These two are awesome together.

Kerry gets a promo as Perfect is in the ring, filled with Tornado talk about clouds and wreckage while sounding high as a kite.

Texas Tornado Vs. Mr. Perfect

This is short, a pretty simple story about Perfect struggling to adjust to the new challenger early before finally getting into his groove, getting cocky, and then getting caught with a flurry that smoked him. Catapult into the post gets a big pop, Kerry puts the claw hold on to a big reaction and wraps it up with the discus punch, sending Perfect for a physics defying 360 bump. 1-2-3 - New champ, and the place blows. Perfect takes another great bump after the match falling out of the ring. For what this was meant to be, I thought this worked a charm. 2 for 2 on "story" matches.

Perfect and Heenan harrass Okerlund backstage crying about the loss, with Heenan especially being simply phenomenal with his voice cracking in despair, then threatening to chin Gene when he questions Bobby.

Sensational Sherri Vs. Sweet Sapphire

Thankfully this doesn't happen. Sherri comes out looking like a silver panther wearing a Psychosis mask. No sign of Sapphire on two or three attempts at an entrance, and she is counted out for a forfeit win. Sherri's screaming down the count was brutal in a great way. Concern is brewing about her whereabouts.

Backstage, Mean Gene is on the scene with the American Dream. Dusty says he's worried he can't find her. Somewhere in here it comes out she's somehow recently received a new fur coat, a diamond bracelet, diamond necklace and a trip around the world. Hmmm. This leads to an all-time great cameo as Jim Duggan walks in to say, "We haven't found her Dust, but we're all still looking for her!" before turning his head and storming away in a completely absurd manner. I don't think Leslie Neilsen was needed to solve this Summerslam mystery to begin with, but with Duggan at the head of the investigation, no wonder nobody knew a bloody thing.

The Warlord Vs. Tito Santana

The fucking size of the Warlord. Looking like the son of Goldberg and Steve Austin, it's a miracle this guy is still alive, frankly, when you look at the toll on the rest of this roster. On some corners of the 'net, people say Warlord should have had a big push against one of the top guys. The main counter to that is that he's terrible and boring. Not much to the match, Tito's flying forearm always looks amazing, but Warlord puts him away with Bulldog's running powerslam. Curious choice to put Warlord over since they weren't exactly prepping him for anything.

Alright, enough of that shit. We're backstage with DEMOLITION. All three members in fact. Sean Mooney points out that only two men with be allowed at ringside, but which two? Crush calls the newly debuted L.O.D. "second-rate imposters" in a cute line.

The Foundation retort with Gene, with Anvil being geared up to the nines. "Settle down, Anvil, settle doooown".

Demolition Vs. Hart Foundation - 2 Out Of 3 Falls

Smash and Crush are the two members out. Good job Vince pointed that out, as I couldn't tell if it was Ax or Smash. Apart from the long hair, the facepaint, the voice and the tattoo. Anyway, this match is amazing. Philly is all about the Harts here. Bret is simply incredible in this match. How incredible? This match is laid out and executed so well that the place explodes (and I mean EXPLODES) for a 2 count off a Russian legsweep in the first fall. Best match on the show easily, ending as LOD reveal Demos "Ax under the ring" scam, leading to a cool double team to pin Crush. Philly is on fire for the victory, and I vividly remembered that weird lady in leathers clawing at the camera afterwards before it happened.

I don't want to be that arsehole, but way back when, the Foundation retained the belts in a 2 out of 3 falls match against (I think) the Bulldogs...or maybe the Islanders...because they lost by DQ in the second fall. After being pinned in fall 3, Jesse laughed that the belts couldn't change hands due to the DQ. Tunney not exactly ruling with an iron fist here in 1990.

Some interesting viewing on the Network version here. Gene throws us to intermission, and we get a flurry of promos, none worth mentioning outside of the awful team of Nikolai Volkoff and James Duggan. Volkoff even gets an "American Express, don't leave home without it" joke in through broken English. The interesting note is that we actually get a shot of Bad News Brown's sewer rats. As a kid watching this tape repeatedly, when they kept mentioning the sewer rats on commentary, I had no idea what they were going on about. Turns out there was a box at ringside, that they never emphasized during the match, filled with rats that were going to eat Damien. Since the Coliseum Home Video cut the clip of the rats shown at intermission, none of this made any sense to me as a new viewer. I've now been enlightened.

Jake Roberts Vs. Bad News Brown - Big Boss Man as ref

Enlightened or not, this stinks. Jake goes for the DDT a couple of times, The News sneaks out. Boss Man is a terrible referee, allowing a chair shot in plain sight from Brown. A second one later on leads to a DQ. Bad News isn't happy and gets in Boss Man's face. Rightly so. Is it legal or not? Boss Man, the white American officer, responds to the black gentleman's qualms at an unfair ruling by challenging him to a fight. Bad News audibly waves it off with a comical "Fuck you, man", before attacking him from behind. Jake pulls out his snake and rubs it on Bad News, causing him to flee. Cack in the pants.

The WrestleMania 7 ad plays several times, with Rick Rude sprinting on the beach. He's gunning it. Clearly he made it to the LA Coliseum with ample time at this pace. Shame the show was moved, presumably with Rick sitting backstage wondering where everybody else was.

The Brother Love Show

Fucking hell, this is terrible. Brother Love is an awful character. Change the channel stuff. Performed well, but it's dogshit. Speaking of, here comes "Drill Sergeant Slaughter". Sarge gives Brother Love a medal for being a real American, before ripping on the country being weak. He calls Nikolai Volkoff a pinko Commie traitor several times, and referenced "Saddam Hussan". They must be tight for him to blow his name like that. He says he'll kick Volkoff's ass like Iraq will kick America's ass. This only gets a smattering of indifferent boos.

I also watched Survivor Series 1990 over the weekend, and I've decided that one of the major failings of Sgt. Slaughter and the push here was not just the bad taste, but the fact that this character and angle is shit. The promos suck - they're long, drawn out and wank, he looks like a grandad, and the fact he's feuding with Volkoff means it's the least important feud in the promotion. To go from that to WWF champion by the Rumble? Laughable.

Mean Gene has found Sapphire! Good work Duggan, you useless fat fuck. She slams the door in Gene's face, which Piper notes isn't the first time.

Duggan & Volkoff Vs. Orient Express

Pre-match singing from the faces. He might be a nice man, but Nikolai Volkoff isn't very good at professional wrestling. Thankfully this is short, and Duggan turns Tanaka inside out with the clothesline for the pin. For those wondering, Duggan and Volkoff were narrowly edged out by The Steiner Brothers in the 1990 Wrestling Observer Awards for Tag Team of the Year.

More bellyaching from Dusty outside Sapphire's door, while Mooney is interviewing Savage on his throne, who says the rumours about Sapphire must be true.

Dusty Rhodes Vs. Randy Savage

Pre-match, DiBiase shows up to say he's bought Sapphire. Not sure why, other than for a lark. Match goes two minutes. Barely anything. Savage hits Dusty with Sherri's purse and it's over. This leads to the red-hot chase of Dusty trying to get to DiBiase and Sapphire in the limo. And by red-hot, I mean you can see Dusty's legs standing behind a curtain for a few seconds until somebody yells, "Go!". Yeah.

This show has fallen off a cliff since intermission.

Hogan does a promo backstage to build his comeback match with Earthquake, flanked by Boss Man. Hulk shouts out to his mate Tugboat, who was originally supposed to corner him until they realised he was crap and had Quake squash him. Hulk does call him "The Tugster", a nickname I thought he reserved for Beefcake.

Hulk Hogan Vs. Earthquake

How Dino Bravo ended up in this mix is a mystery. I know the storyline connection with Quake, but he had no business hanging around Hogan. Hogan comes out and just owns this building. He has more presence than anybody by miles, and his body language, interaction and fire is perfect to kick us off, ripping off the shirt, throwing it at Quake and spitting on him. Match is usual Hogan fare. Kicks out of two Earthquakes to Hulk Up, slam the big man, hit the leg...but the ref is distracted. The fight goes to the floor where Hogan slams Quake onto a table that just appeared at ringside for this match only. Shame it didn't break, he could have been "Triple H: Hardcore Hulk Hogan". A countout win is celebrated as a true, massive victory by Terry here at Summerslam, as Lex Luger takes notes for his new book, "How to Become the Next Hulk Hogan For Dummies". Good scrap after with Quake choking Hogan and Bossman swinging a stepladder at his back and marking him up. The war isn't over. Hogan does the posing routine and again, commands the crowd like a genuine superstar. It's really something to see. Good luck following this Hellwig, you fucking fruitcake.

Dusty Rhodes is backstage with Gene. There sure is a lot of talking on this show. This is one of the best of the bunch, classic Dusty. "When you gonna' get mad, Big Dust!? When you gonna' get bad, Big Dust!? When you gonna' get eeeeeven, Big Dust!?"

Hogan follows up with another promo that ends with him backstroking his way off the screen.

More promos while they put the cage up. Fuck me. Rude. Quake. Warrior. Alfred Hayes. All the stars.

Ultimate Warrior Vs. Rick Rude - Cage Match

I feel a smidge of sympathy for Warrior. As talked about many a time, he got the short end of the stick in the booking in 1990 after beating Hogan, and he comes out here feeling like such an also-ran. Rude calling the fans Pennsylvania Pissants, and the camera cutting to that particular fellow, was hilarious. Match is shorter than I remembered. Heenan screaming at ringside that Rude was a moron for not leaving the cage when he had the chance is my abiding memory. Piper is quite ruthless about Warrior on commentary, clearly having no regard for him. As he does his little war dance at one point, Piper says, "So, what does that mean when he starts putting his hands up in the air and prances like a pony?", after which Rude moves from a shoulder block and Warrior hits the cage, "It means he's gonna' miss. I see." Double juice here, which I barely remembered, Warrior wins, and the camera fades to black shortly after. Thanks, Jim.

It's a weird show to watch. The show starts off really strong, peaks with the Harts match, and Hogan steals the show at the end. Warrior and Rude isn't bad, but it had no chance of topping a Hogan comeback, even though they worked hard. In between, it's boring schlock with characters that feel somehow misplaced or uninteresting. Even Warrior/Rude was uninspired as an idea.

Edited by Liam O'Rourke

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love that mental Hogan backstroking promo!

In amongst how awful the Sarge angle was pre-Hogan feud, and how rubbish Tugboat is, can you even imagine this run of shows if they'd actually gone with Sheik Tugboat instead of Slaughter turning? Slaughter gives it some sense of legitimacy, but Tugboat poncing around in a mock-headdress, can you imagine it?

They were doing Hogan/Earthquake Stretcher Matches on the house show circuit for a lot of 1990. Would love to have seen one of them make PPV.

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45 minutes ago, Liam O'Rourke said:

How Dino Bravo ended up in this mix is a mystery.

Quake's debut. There was a Bravo / Warrior push-up contest and Quake was 'picked from the crowd' to be the person that sat on their backs. He was kind to Bravo but proper squashed Hellwig. Hung around together for months afterwards. 

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I love SummerSlam '90. One of, if not the first WWF PPVs I ever saw and the colour and the noise take me back any time I watch it. Agree with Liam on Piper. I liked him on commentary. He's more of a cheerleader than a commentator but it worked for me then and still does.

Harts/Demos is my favourite tag match of all the times. It's tremendous. I genuinely don't think I knew who any of them where when I first watched it but the dynamics of it sold me. The pre-match promos, the harts in their pink being the perfect big man/small man team, Demolition kust looking huge but the black S&M gear perfectly countering the faces and the fact there were three of them immediately standing out as cheating. It's so utterly simple and so beautiful. Love LOD immediately too for their involvement.

Years later and the two things that have always stood out to me otherwise are Dusty's great promo which is one of my favourites to this day. It's only about a minute but it's just superb. Emotion spewing out of him. The other is Kerry's promo. Always thought he looked like the coolest motherfucker on the planet saying "...I'll be taking with me, the In'ercontinental Championship belt"

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1 hour ago, Onyx2 said:

Quake's debut. There was a Bravo / Warrior push-up contest and Quake was 'picked from the crowd' to be the person that sat on their backs. He was kind to Bravo but proper squashed Hellwig. Hung around together for months afterwards. 

Oh I know that - as mentioned, I knew the storyline connection. I more mean the general principle of Dino Bravo sniffing around Hogan.

Kerry is so tragic, because he really could have been a bigger deal as a babyface. You see it in him on this show, looks cool, is badass, can talk in a unique way. Guessing he was just too unreliable.

I can't fathom that Sheik Tugboat was a real idea that somebody had.

Also, the shirt Piper is wearing on commentary is cool as fuck.

Edited by Liam O'Rourke

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58 minutes ago, tiger_rick said:

I love SummerSlam '90. One of, if not the first WWF PPVs I ever saw and the colour and the noise take me back any time I watch it. 

Ive said it on here before, this was the first PPV I saw not in retrospect. The whole show is fantastic but the opener with The Rockers/Power & Glory is briiant. Genuinely believe Shawns knee is goosed.

Jakes promo with Damien wrapped around him about Bad News and his sewer rats.

Bossman pulling double duty without actually wrestling.

Pipers "he kicked out he kicked out" is mint, I could go on forever about this ppv just class from start to finish.

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Ive always thought SS90 was poor, i remember watching it at the time as a kid and it being the first PPV i was disapointed in, the first few matches flew by and were over to quick and the 2 main events were poor. The Hogan win by countout killed it, then it was the first non Hogan headline show which didnt do it for me. 

I always prefered the Harts/Demo match from SS88. Even though this one was still good.

On a whole you cannot beat 88 and 89. Thry are two incredible PPV’s. Best SS’s ever.

Edited by Porkchopcash

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Blue Demon Jr. vs Dr. Wagner Jr. mask vs hair from Triplemania was disgusting... and amazing. Topped Cody vs Dustin in the bloodbath stakes, and wasn't far off it as a quality match either. Which given I went into it with absolutely zero context or any knowledge either guy beyond their names is good going, it even had the handicap of me being bored and skimming through most of the show before it. Give it a try, it completely blew me away.

Edited by CleetusVanDamme

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8 hours ago, CleetusVanDamme said:

Blue Demon Jr. vs Dr. Wagner Jr. mask vs hair from Triplemania was disgusting... and amazing. Topped Cody vs Dustin in the bloodbath stakes, and wasn't far off it as a quality match either. Which given I went into it with absolutely zero context or any knowledge either guy beyond their names is good going, it even had the handicap of me being bored and skimming through most of the show before it. Give it a try, it completely blew me away.

I absolutely adored it. I'm not sure if it quite pips Josh Barnett vs. Minoru Suzuki for my favourite match this year, but it's damn close, and confirms that my favourite genre of wrestling is apparently "violent dad fights".

It just goes from 0 to bonkers pretty much instantly, is full of classic AAA overbooking, but still manages to feel urgent and visceral in spite of it all. That they managed to keep up that level of suspense and a feeling that anything could happen all the way through when the result was never really in question, is a testament to how good they both are. Demon gets a bad rap for not being the most exciting wrestler, but he knows what's required of him in the big matches, and Wagner is just superb.

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I've read that terrific Summerslam 90 recap and all I can think about is how much I want to watch the Dusty promo with the Duggan cameo. it sounds brilliant.

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5-ED87-EB6-674-B-4-F1-A-AF94-3-C4950-E24

Battlebowl 

November 20th 1993 

Pensacola, Florida

OK then. If you saw Starrcade 91 or 92, you know the score here. Teams ‘drawn at random’ battle it out in a series of tag team matches, with the winners being entered into the Battlebowl Battle Royal at the end of the night. Although, given how underwhelming this concept was at the last two Starrcade events, I don’t know why they decided to make it a standalone PPV in 1993. But here we go. Schiavone tries his best to polish the turd during the PPV opening, describing Battlebowl as “the most unpredictable and exciting of PPV events”. Let’s see if he’s lying. I think he is. 

Mean Gene is going to be drawing the teams. And Fifi is going to keep him company while he does so. 

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He’s loving life. 

Big Van Vader & Cactus Jack vs Stevie Ray & Charlie Norris

Yep. Talk about unpredictable. Sworn enemies Vader and Cactus have only gone and been randomly drawn as partners. Who’d have guessed? So random. Vader is fuming when Gene makes the announcement and poor Rip Rogers is collateral damage;

7F6C8EE7-2A42-49BB-A514-40B49C7A5AAE.gif

Anyway, this is crap. It didn’t help that before watching this match, I stumbled upon this clip of Stevie Ray talking about it...

So, according to Stevie, Vader tried to bully him in this match. So Stevie dropped that fruit booty with a left hook and was going to pull his gun and shoot him in the face backstage after the match but Vader apologised and they were cool. Crazy, right? To say I was a thousand times more interested to watch this match after hearing that story is an understatement. 

Well what a fucking letdown. Match starts and it’s sloppy as shite. Just a mess. Vader and Cactus brawl on the ramp at the start and Vader even gives Harley Race a smack. Charlie Norris is awful as usual. Zero timing or coordination from him. Finally, the Vader vs Stevie Ray bit comes. And...nothing really happens. Vader looks like he’s being a bit stiff but he always was. He comes forward, they’re both punching and Vader seems to slip and fall. He gets right back up and certainly doesn’t look hurt or like Stevie could’ve “finished him” like he says it went down. Whole thing lasts about 10 seconds and seemed like a load of fuck all. Big letdown. If Stevie was really going to commit murder over that then I’d hate to see what he’d do if someone really took liberties with him. Even the finish of this is all to cock. 

44C0643C-891C-4C46-B42C-F53136690062.gif

But mercifully, that’s a wrap. Vader and Cactus advance to the Battlebowl Battle Royal. 

Johnny B Badd & Brian Knobbs vs Paul Roma & Erik Watts

Couple of odd-bod pairings here. And Erik Watts is still knocking about. I thought he’d gone by now. This actually wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting, to be fair. Main story is the basic babyface/heel dissension between the Badd and Knobbs team. Badd is being respectful and sporting against fellow babyfaces Roma and Watts. Much to the annoyance of Knobbs and Missy Hyatt at ringside who keep berating him and trying to get him to be more heelish. In the end, despite their differences, Badd and Knobbs win when Knobbs pins Watts with a handful of tights. Badd’s not happy to have advanced using such dodgy tactics. This was nothing special but I thought it was better than it really had any right to be. 

Ricky Steamboat & Lord Steven Regal vs Paul Orndorff & The Shockmaster

Spot the odd one out. Three of the best in ring performers in the business at the time. And Tugboat in a hard hat. Steamboat and Regal have real issues getting along. They’ve had a rivalry dating back to Fall Brawl when Regal took the TV Title from The Dragon. Highlight of this for me is easily the Regal vs Orndorff bits. Lovely bit of heel vs heel respect between them. The old ‘honour among thieves’ thing. This infuriates Steamboat for some reason. Thought he’d appreciate the fair play. It comes to an end when Regal tries to use Sir William’s umbrella against Shockmaster and Steamboat stops him and hits Regal. This allows Shockmaster to pin Regal. Read that again. The sodding Shockmaster pins Lord Steven Regal. Go and fall through some plasterboard again Typhoon. 

Actually, thinking about it, I’m surprised Vince Russo didn’t bring The Shockmaster back in 1999 when he was booking WCW. Bro, bro. A feud with The Wall would’ve written itself, wouldn’t it. 

We get footage from a press conference next where they announce that Starrcade will be in Charlotte, North Carolina. Naturally, this is all leading to the big Vader vs Flair rematch for the strap. Mean Gene is about to interview Vader and Harley Race when Flair comes out to lay down the challenge. Vader doesn’t seem that arsed at first until Flair says that if he doesn’t beat Vader, he’ll retire. Vader being the sadistic fuck he is, seems more into it now. 

Best thing about all this though, is Vader in a suit. 

40C30CEE-BE7F-4F9D-B5EB-0A33B97759AA.gif

Still with the kinky, S&M dungeon keeper mask. But with a suit. 

We cut back to Mean Gene and Fifi now for the next ‘random draw’ and in keeping with the kink...

5-DC10-FB7-CBFA-410-A-A7-BD-605547-FA65-

He tears himself away, hides the cuffs and we get the draw for the next match. 

Dustin Rhodes & King Kong vs The Equalizer & Awesome Kong

First of all, I feel I need to clarify. This King Kong is not the King Kong from the movies. And this Awesome Kong is not the female wrestler Awesome Kong who later became Kharma. No. It’s these two useless blobs;

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Sorry to disappoint you. 

Christ almighty. What exactly did Dustin do to deserve this? That pair of masked lardarses and Dave Sullivan. Dustin has nothing to work with here. Nothing at all. Thankfully it’s kept short. The only morbid intrigue here for me was ‘how bad will the Kong vs Kong bit be?’ But we never get to find out because they refuse to fight each other. As the only one in the match worth a shit, Dustin gets the win with the bulldog. 

Sting & Jerry Saggs vs Ron Simmons & Keith Cole

Nothing much to this match really. It’s alright, I guess. The novelty of seeing Sting vs Simmons would’ve blown my mind as a kid as they were probably my two favourite ‘goodies’ at the time. Keith Cole was one half of the Cole Twins team. They were shit. Just opening match fodder and they never did anything of note. Highlight of him in this match is when him and Sting share a moment appreciating each others’ flat-top hairdos.

481DFFA4-95D8-49FA-8FCE-9B216229A3B4.gif

But the main story here is Ron Simmons turning heel. I don’t know if the seeds were planted on the TV shows before this or if it was out of the blue but he’s a right bastard here. The signs are there with how aggressive he is against Sting. And you know something’s up when heel loving Jesse The Body starts siding with him. Then later on when Cole is in there, Big Ron gets increasingly arsey with Cole’s lack of killer instinct to the point he just gives up on him and leaves him for dead. Saggs pins Cole with a top rope elbow drop so him and Sting are through to the Battle Royal.

After the match, a pissed off Simmons gives Cole a kicking and a spinebuster and leaves him in a heap. Simmons needed this turn badly. They probably should’ve done it months sooner. He’d been stale since he lost the WCW World Title at the end of 92. Although it was probably too late at this point. He’d had zero momentum for the whole of 1993 and I don’t think they did much at all with him as a heel after this. He was in ECW by the summer of 1994. Shame they didn’t do more with this Simmons turn because I thought he was better as a heel. 

Found this bit of Ron talking about his frustrations with WCW management and the politics in the company back then; 

He’s in no mood for that interviewer’s vagueness at the start. Nearly turned heel again there! 

Ric Flair & Stunning Steve Austin vs 2 Cold Scorpio & Maxx Payne

See, WCW, why’ve they always got to ruin it? Fucking Maxx Payne, I ask you. Despite that big lump’s efforts (or lack of), this is a decent match because of the other guys. Seeing Flair and Austin as a team is a treat and Scorpio in there with either man is good stuff as you’d expect. The dynamic here would’ve been more interesting had they gone ahead with that Flair vs Austin match at Starrcade that they were teasing at the Clash. But with things going in a different direction, they’re just teaming for the sake of it here. Flair and Austin get the W when Flair submits Payne with the figure-four. Easily the best thing on the show so far. And it had nothing to do with Wayne Slob. 

Ravishing Rick Rude & Shanghai Pierce vs Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Tex Slazenger

Again, the partners Pierce and Slazenger just randomly on opposite sides. The chances of it! Like the Kongs earlier, they don’t want to scrap with each other so that pretty much means Bagwell is fucked and has to fend for himself for most of the match. Found this really dull. Felt like it lasted at least a fortnight but in reality it was around 15 minutes. But most of it is Bagwell doing a shit ‘babyface in peril’ and he’s no Ricky Morton. Pierce and Slazenger do eventually go at it though. Fun for what it is but it’s hardly Ax and Smash twatting each other in the Royal Rumble circa 1989. Rude and Pierce win after Triple R pins the future Phineas Godwinn with a Rude Awakening. 

Back to Gene and...

88526224-F096-458E-9ACB-AEDAB9B3053D.gif

😂

He mightn’t have been a Macho Man but he was definitely a randy savage. 

British Bulldog & Booker T vs Roadwarrior Hawk & Rip Rogers 

This is a nothing match. Right from the start Rip Rogers is taken out of the mix. He’s all giddy at getting to team with Hawk and Hawk isn’t down with that and just lamps him. 

FF55F3A1-3D48-4A0C-8BE0-8FB7D77155E5.gif

Poor Rip Rogers. Bulldog and Booker give him a kick when they come out as well. He isn’t a factor for the rest of the match. Bad night all around for Rip. Started the night getting shoved on his arse by Vader, now this. Rest of the match basically consists of Hawk vs Booker while Davey Boy stands on the apron, cheering Hawk on. So he’s apparently content to be eliminated from Battlebowl. Way to make your gimmick seem worthwhile WCW. Hawk and Rip win after Hawk slams Rip onto Booker and Rip gets the surprise 3 count. Bulldog doesn’t even care about any of this shit because he’s bizarre. 

Main event time. 

Big Van Vader, Cactus Jack, Johnny B Badd, Brian Knobbs, Paul Orndorff, The Shockmaster, Dustin Rhodes, King Kong, Sting, Jerry Saggs, Ric Flair, Stunning Steve Austin, Ravishing Rick Rude, Shanghai Pierce, Roadwarrior Hawk and Rip Rogers - Battlebowl Battle Royal

Battle Royals are never much good, are they? This is another clusterfuck. Although it has its moments and gives some nice foreshadowing for some of the top matches at Starrcade, overall it’s cack and way too fucking long. It goes about 25 minutes, which felt a good 15 minutes too much. Comes down to a final four of Vader, Flair, Sting and Austin which sounds good. We even get Flair and Harley Race going at it on the ramp. But I don’t care anymore. I just want this over with. Even Schiavone is clock watching...

92AEEC0F-4433-4F37-A366-73383F83E436.gif

He’s not even wearing a watch! This show’s got him all discombobulated. It finally comes down to Vader and Sting and Vader wins. 

Total dogshit show, this. The only things worth a look are the Flair/Austin vs Scorpio stuff in that match, Big Ron’s heel turn and Vader’s suit. But even then, there’s nothing must-see on this show. Starrcade is next. I’ve only seen one match off that but just on the strength of Vader vs Flair I already know that show is better than this load of old wank. 

The fact that most of the gifs from this have the WrestleCrap logo on them tells you everything you need to know about this one. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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