May 22, 2009
The Powerdriver Review
May 19, 1996
Baton Rouge, LA
The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: The Giant (4/29/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Konnan (1/29/1996)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Sting & Lex Luger (1/22/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Lex Luger (3/6/1996)
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko (5/18/1996)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, & Bobby Heenan.
Road Warrior Animal & Booker T vs. Road Warrior Hawk & Lex Luger – First Round Battlebowl Match
There’s nothing “random” about this or any of these Battlebowl matches. Not only do we get the obvious possibility of Hawk vs. Animal, Luger and Booker T both have had their problems with LOD in the past. Luger and Animal start the match with Lex delivering a powerslam. Animal takes a while getting up to his feet. When he does, he takes Luger down with a clothesline and a powerslam of his own. Jumping shoulderblock by Animal. He telegraphs a backdrop and takes a suplex, but Animal NO-SELLS and hits Luger with a dropkick. Tag to Booker. He nails Lex with a hook kick, but runs into a boot and takes a clothesline. Booker comes back with a SPINAROONIE and a jumping side kick. Scissors Kick connects, but Hawk breaks up the pin. Luger gets pissed that Hawk thinks he needs a save, I guess. They get into a shoving match, which causes the whole thing to break down out to the floor for a double countout to eliminate both teams. (6:52) The match didn’t deliver on anything that it insinuated would happen. The Road Warriors celebrate in the ring like they won something. As a matter of fact, this would be the last time you’ll see the Road Warriors together in WCW. Word on the street was, they got mad over how much Hall and Nash were getting paid to come into WCW and decided to leave. Animal would return in late 2000-01, but Hawk would never step foot in another WCW ring again. *½
Public Enemy vs. Chris Benoit & Kevin Sullivan (w/Jimmy Hart) – First Round Battlebowl Match
Benoit and Sullivan share an awkward high-five before the match. Yikes. Rocco Rock handles Benoit pretty well with a couple headscissors takedowns. Benoit blocks a third one with a powerbomb. Best part of the show so far? Benoit doing the cabbage patch dance. Tag to Sullivan, and things escalate into a brawl. Sullivan gets put on the table for a somersault plancha from Rocco, but Benoit cuts him off with a clothesline. While Sullivan is beating up Grunge with chairs, Rocco gives Benoit a suplex from the apron to the floor! Now both Benoit AND Sullivan are put on the Public Enemy table for the Enemy Sandwich. Dusty has a name for it, but you can’t understand him. Sullivan moves and Benoit goes through the table. While he’s sitting on the steps, Sullivan mentions his leg hurting. Back in the ring, Rocco pins Benoit for 1-2-3. (4:43) Well that was fun, but where was the ref during all this? How is that *not* a disqualification? Anyways, thus begins the year-long Benoit/Sullivan feud. **¼
Scott Steiner & Sgt. Craig Pittman (w/Teddy Long) vs. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man (w/The Booty Babe) – First Round Battlebowl Match
Looks like Pittman finally got himself a manager. Who would have guessed that it would be Teddy Long, who has managed like every black wrestler in WCW?! The odds are about as staggering as the pairings in this Battlebowl! Anyways, we might see us some Steiner brother action here. Pittman and Booty Man start us off. Nobody wants to see that. Scott tags in and gets roughed up by Booty. He hits a Knee Lift, but then ducks low off a whip and takes the double-underhook slam! Rick and Pittman give it a shot. Rick powerslams Pittman out of his boots, but Pittman ducks a wild swing and drops Rick on his head with a German suplex. Rick hits him with a Steinerline, so Pittman has to tag out to Scott. Here we go! This isn’t like 1998 when it sucked. Both guys can still go and Scott isn’t all scared. Scott gets a fireman’s carry throw, Rick takes Scott down into a headlock. Off a whip, Scott catches Rick dropping to the mat and grabs a waistlock. They switch out of that up to their feet. Scott hits Rick with a quick t-bone suplex, but he comes back with a Steinerline. Scott acts like he’s hurt and suckers Rick into a small package. Rick telegraphs a backdrop and gets stuck in a full-nelson. Rick counters and delivers a release Dragon Suplex! Rick heads up top, but Scott catches him with a T-bone superplex! Rick has had enough and tags out. Booooooooty Man. He runs into the post as Scott tags in Pittman. That sets up the CODE RED. Booty inches over to Rick for a tag under the top rope. That’s not allowed! Well, the ref allows it anyway as Rick grabs Pittman for a bridging German suplex for the 1-2-3. (8:22) Random finish. Of course, the only good here was Scott vs. Rick. It’s just too bad they couldn’t compete up at that level in ‘98 too. **¾
The Blue Bloods (w/Jeeves) vs. Jim Duggan & VK Wallstreet – First Round Battlebowl Match
It was originally Regal and Finlay together, but Finlay got injured in the parking lot brawl in late April and headed back to Ireland, so fellow Blue Blood Squire Dave Taylor took his place. Oh yeah, Duggan and VK Wallstreet are feuding. Duggan powers Regal around while Wallstreet refuses the tag. However, Wallstreet does get a tag when he’s not paying attention. He trades some forearms with the Blue Bloods and tags Duggan when *he’s* not paying attention. Duggan wants him some of Wallstreet, but that just serves to assist the Blue Bloods in a sneak attack. Duggan fights off the Blue Bloods, nails Wallstreet, and tapes up his fist to KO Taylor for the 1-2-3. (3:47) Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. ½*
Dick Slater & Earl Robert Eaton (w/Col. Robert Parker & Jeeves) vs. Alex Wright & Disco Inferno – First Round Battlebowl Match
Slater owns Disco to start. Wright flips over Eaton off a corner whip and peppers Eaton with European uppercuts. Leg lariat gets two. Slater tags in and delivers a Swinging Neckbreaker to Wright. Piledriver is reversed with a backdrop. Hot tag to Disco? Wright and Eaton dump each other out to the floor. Col. Parker distracts the ref as Slater wallops Disco while he’s dancing in the back of the head with his boot. That will do. (2:57) Next. ¾*
Diamond Dallas Page & The Barbarian vs. Hugh Morrus & Meng – First Round Battlebowl Match
This is DDP’s first match back since he lost everything at UnCeNSoReD. He’s got new tights with the DDP logo at the hips. Page thumbs Morrus in the eye and grabs a headlock. Morrus shoves him off and knocks him to the floor for a pescado, but Page moves and Morrus splats on the floor. Back in, Page gets a kick caught, but gets spun around for the discus clothesline for two. And now, the Faces of Fear EXPLODE! Neither man sells for the other for a while. Finally, Barbarian kicks Meng down to the mat. In comes Page, who gets pressed onto Meng! After all that, Barbarian misses an elbow drop and takes a diving headbutt from Meng. Morrus tags and heads up top for an elbow drop on Barbarian. Looks like DDP was supposed to crotch him. They do the same spot again and this time they succeed. Barbarian brings Morrus down with a belly-to-belly superplex for 1-2-NO! Morrus comes back and hits NO LAUGHING MATTER, but DDP makes the save. Both Faces of Fear guys deliver the KICK OF FEAR and make the cover, but Page has his foot under the bottom rope during the count and Morrus doesn’t. So with that, DDP and Barbarian advance. (5:17) One of the better matches of the evening. **
Big Bubba & Stevie Ray vs. Fire & Ice – First Round Battlebowl Match
Since the last time we saw Big Bubba, he’s turned into a biker guy and joined up with the Dungeon of Doom. Norton destroys Stevie Ray to start. Bubba tags in and avalanches Norton. Sidewalk Slam gets two. Ice Train tags in and hits a seated senton on Bubba. Double-KO ensues. Norton tags and whips Bubba into Stevie Ray on the apron. That sets up a Fire & Ice double-team running shoulderblock on Bubba as Norton gets the pin. (3:33) Laaaame. ½*
Eddie Guerrero & Arn Anderson vs. Randy Savage & Ric Flair – First Round Battlebowl Match
Flair’s music hits first before Savage makes his entrance, which makes you think Savage might have done something to Flair. Nope, Flair just didn’t want Savage coming up behind him. That really does make sense. Eddie’s just in the way here of the Flair/AA beatdown on Savage. He turns Ric around and unloads on him. Here comes Woman and Liz now that Savage is left laying on the apron. Flair has enough of Eddie and thumbs him in the eye. He tags Savage and brings Guerrero over to Arn for a tag so they can continue to destroy Savage. He fires back and charges Arn, but gets caught with a Spinebuster! Cover, 1-2-NO! Arn yanks Savage into Flair’s corner for a tag. Flair chops his own partner, but forgets about Eddie. Big mistake as Guerrero chops the crap out of Flair in the corner. Tornado DDT connects! Savage finally wakes up and attacks Flair, allowing AA to run in and DDT Eddie! That allows Arn to pull Savage off Flair and toss him into the guardrail while Flair covers Eddie for the 1-2-3. (4:06) What a well-booked heat-filled match that was. While Arn only tried to win the match after the spinebuster, his primary job as the Enforcer is to ‘enforce’ Flair’s plans to become world champion. Also, Savage did a great job of making it as dramatic as possible. And on the other hand, Eddie stepped up as well and showed he could hang with the main eventers. Everyone played their roles to perfection here. After the match, Flair and Arn hold Savage while Liz gets in a good slap. Awesome stuff for the four minutes we got. ***
We head over to some “random” second round drawings for Battlebowl with Gene Okerlund and a trio of Hooters girls. Because of the double countout in the first match, Gene has to pick a bye who will go straight to the battle royal. Fire & Ice receive the bye. In the second round, Eaton & Slater will meet Wallstreet & Duggan. Uhh, okay.
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Brad Armstrong
Malenko had just won the cruiserweight title from Shinjiro Ohtani on Worldwide two days earlier and I’ll have a review of that match at the bottom of this show review. Before the match, Tony brings up the “lengthy double elimination” cruiserweight title tournament like it was a real thing when actually Ohtani only had to defeat Benoit to win the belt and that was back on March 20. Ohtani had only been recognized by WCW as the cruiserweight champion recently as far as announcing his win on TV when they decided to put the belt on Malenko. Another interesting note: Brad Armstrong was the final WCW Light Heavyweight champion in 1992 and had to give up the belt when he injured his knee. A title tournament was rumored to fill the vacancy, but was never carried out. If you consider the history there, it’s only fitting that he would receive the first cruiserweight title shot on PPV. Armstrong keeps up with Malenko on the mat to start. Nice enziguri by Armstrong. Malenko takes a moment and regroups on the floor. Back in, he teases a knucklelock and catches Armstrong in the knee with a low dropkick. And here we go! Malenko proceeds to try and uncle Brad by also backing up his ‘Man of 1,000 Holds’ moniker. Solid stuff, just not that interesting. Armstrong hobbles through his comeback, but then goes up top for a Missile Dropkick. WHAT. He hooks on a Texas Cloverleaf on Dean, but he makes the ropes. Malenko catches Brad up top and delivers the SUPER GUTBUSTER! That gets the 1-2-3. (8:34) It would have made a good C-show main event, but that’s all. Rey Mysterio shows up next month and blows everybody’s minds to really help get this Cruiserweight division off the ground. **½
More “random” second round drawings from Gene and the Hooters girls. Public Enemy takes on Ric Flair & Randy Savage and DDP & Barbarian will meet Rick Steiner & The Booty Man. At the risk of sounding negative, why even draw that last match? Isn’t it a given that it would be DDP & Barbarian vs. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man if Fire & Ice got the bye? They’re the only two teams left?
Earl Robert Eaton & Dick Slater (w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. Jim Duggan & VK Wallstreet – Second Round Battlebowl Match
Eaton and Slater capitalize on Duggan and Wallstreet’s stupidity as they start beating each other up. And just like that, they fight off Eaton and Slater and whip them into each other. They go back to putting up their dukes, but Wallstreet outsmarts Duggan and knees him out to the floor. That leaves Wallstreet to get double-teamed! And we all thought Duggan was dumb. Russian Legsweep by Slater gets two. Wallstreet makes a comeback on Eaton. He grabs and old standby on Eaton: the Abdominal Stretch. He needs a helping hand from Duggan, but nope. Cheating is *not* the American way! Slater breaks up the hold, but Duggan comes in and cleans house on his opponents. Duggan gets the crowd going by stomping the mat. Slater escapes a chinlock into a double-KO. Tag to Wallstreet, Eaton rakes the eyes and slams him for the Flying Knee Drop. Wallstreet catches him up top and slams Eaton down. Wallstreet goes to nail Eaton in his own corner, but Eaton ducks and Duggan gets hit in the face. It happens a second time and Duggan strikes back to cause Wallstreet to fall backwards into a rollup for 1-2-3. (4:09) Man, there’s been some dumb finishes tonight. Afterwards, Duggan chases Wallstreet out of the ring with his 2×4. ¾*
Public Enemy vs. Randy Savage & Ric Flair (w/Elizabeth & Woman) – Second Round Battlebowl Match
No match. Liz starts tossing Savage’s money out to the crowd during their entrance and Savage attacks Flair. Public Enemy advances to Battlebowl by forfeit. Savage is SO CRAZY!
Diamond Dallas Page & The Barbarian vs. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man (w/The Booty Babe) – Second Round Battlebowl Match
Booty and DDP brawl a bit to start. Steiner tags in and powerslams Page for two. DDP counters a ten-count corner punch by dropping Rick’s face on the top turnbuckle. His head has really taken some lumps tonight. Tag to Barbarian, he roughs up Steiner until Steiner ducks a KICK OF FEAR and takes Barbarian over with a back suplex. Belly to Belly Superplex from Rick is followed by a Steinerline for 1-2-NO! Barbarian comes back with a powerbomb for two. False tag spot occurs between Steiner and Booty, causing Rick to get dumped over the top rope for DDP to put the boots to him. Back in, Barbarian continues to clobber Rick until he runs into a hotshot to set up a real tag to Booty Man. HIGH KNEE on Barbarian gets 1-2-NO! DDP makes the save. O’Connor roll on Barbarian gets broken up again by Page as he lowers the boom on the Booty Man for 1-2-3. (5:07) Some good moves here and there, but ultimately it’s just a good feeling to know the Lethal Lottery tag matches are over. ¾*
WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Konnan vs. Jushin Liger (w/Sonny Oono)
Dusty goes to the back to check on the condition of Randy Savage while Mike Tenay joins us for commentary on this match. How convenient! Some fancy mat work to start leads to a stalemate. Konnan bails out to the floor and takes a couple kicks from Oono. He gives chase and gets caught with a baseball slide from Liger. He follows up with a pescado, but Konnan doesn’t do much to catch him. Back inside, Liger hits a Brainbuster for 1-2-NO! From there, they trade a bunch of submissions on the mat mostly with Liger in control. Liger wins a palm thrust battle and drills Konnan with a Koppou Kick! Superplex connects followed by a flying splash from Liger for 1-2-NO! Liger dropkicks Konnan to the floor and ascends the top rope, but flies down into a dropkick from Konnan! At least that’s what it appeared to be. Back in the ring, Liger flips out of a suplex and takes Konnan over with a back suplex. Fisherman’s Buster gets 1-2-NO! Konnan comes back and hits that Alabama Slam out of the corner into the jackknife cover for 1-2-NO! Liger slips out of Splash Mountain into a failed sunset flip. LIGERBOMB connects for 1-2-NO! He heads up for the Flying Headbutt, but Liger flies face-first right into both feet. Konnan grabs Liger and delivers SPLASH MOUNTAIN for 1-2-3. (9:29) Didn’t set the world on fire, but it wasn’t too bad. ***
Gene Okerlund brings out Ric Flair and the Arntourage. Gene brings up Debra, which brings out Steve McMichael. While Flair stands behind AA, Mongo makes a challenge to the both of them. Flair says he can team up with anybody, so McMichael waves over Kevin Greene. And there’s your main event for Great American Bash.
The winner of this eight man battle royal is awarded a ring, will be called Lord of the Ring for the next year, and most importantly gets a shot at the WCW world title. The entrants are the remaining winners: Scott Norton, Ice Train, Dick Slater, Earl Robert Eaton, Johnny Grunge, Rocco Rock, Diamond Dallas Page, and Barbarian. With everybody being a midcarder, it does raise up the surprise element of who will win. Then again, everybody in the match is already in a tag team except for DDP, so he’s the obvious winner here. DDP gets thrown over the top rope a few times, but both feet never touch the ground. Even with the duel camera shots, they STILL miss Rocco Rock going over the top rope for our first elimination. Heel miscommunication causes Slater to miss Norton with his boot and knock Eaton over the top to the floor. Col. Parker smacks Eaton around with his hat, which riles up Eaton to knock Parker down on his backside. Slater eliminates himself to get at Eaton. Slater tries to get back inside and nails Norton from behind with his boot to allow DDP to backdrop Norton out. That leaves us with four men: Ice Train, Johnny Grunge, Barbarian and DDP. Page starts dishing out DIAMOND CUTTERS to everybody. He pins Grunge, pins Ice Train, but only gets two on Barbarian. When could you ever PIN somebody in a battle royal? DDP loses a shoving match with the ref and gets nailed with a clothesline from Barbarian. That gets two. Elbow out of the corner from Page gets two. Barbarian avoids a corner charge and rolls up Page for 1-2-NO! Holy crap, Barbarian gets a Tombstone on DDP for 1-2-NO! Page low blows out of a sleeper and calls for the DIAMOND CUTTER. He telegraphs a backdrop and gets drilled with a Powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Barbarian misses the Flying Headbutt and takes another DIAMOND CUTTER for 1-2-3. (9:38) DDP wins Battlebowl as they begin to push Page up the WCW ladder. Even with the win here, he would never get the title shot because of Battlebowl which renders this entire event pointless. **¼
WCW World Heavyweight Champion The Giant (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Sting (w/Lex Luger)
Jimmy Hart and Lex Luger are handcuffed to each other during the match to avoid any shenanigans, which almost guarantees shenanigans. Sting stands right up to the Giant to start. He grabs a sleeper, but Giants squashes him in the corner. Sting shoves him back and connects with a pair of dropkicks. He follows with a clothesline that has NO effect on the Giant, so Sting retreats to the floor. Back in the ring, Sting employs the stick and run strategy and then tries to slam the Giant which was a big mistake. Giant walks all over Sting and applies a body scissors. Hey, PSYCHOLOGY from the big guy! He even grabs the bottom rope for added leverage. He gets caught by the ref though. Sting kicks back on the Giant and then gets tossed out to the floor. Giant throws Sting up the aisleway and looks to CHOKESLAM him on Flair’s VIP table, but Luger lays Jimmy on top of the table to prevent that from happening. Back on the apron, Luger pulls Sting away from a running dropkick by the Giant. Sting elbows what he thinks is the Giant, but is actually the ref. Giant misses an avalanche and gets stuck up on the top turnbuckle. Sting unloads on him with kicks and delivers a Stinger Splash! For some reason, Luger and Jimmy get up on the apron. Giant GOOZLES Luger, causing Sting to try and break up the so-called death grip. After a pair of Stinger Splashes, Sting gets Luger loose. When Luger drops to the floor, Jimmy gets pulled up onto the top turnbuckle. Sting’s got Giant on his back, so he goes for the Stinger Splash on Jimmy, which misses. Oh, but luckily for Sting, he falls head first right into Giant genitalia. Sting heads up top and hits a Flying Splash on Giant for 1-2-NO! Giant presses Sting off onto ref Randy Anderson to knock him out again. Sting hits another Flying Splash and goes for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Luger are fighting over control of the megaphone up on the apron. Luger manages to pull the megaphone away from Jimmy, but hits Sting with the megaphone in the face by mistake. Sting staggers around and gets drilled with the CHOKESLAM for the 1-2-3. (10:39) Told you there would still be shenanigans. If there’s one thing everybody should agree about on about Sting is that he could always have good matches with the super heavyweights. At least up to this point, he always managed to make his big man matches believable and exciting. And to his credit, he’s provided the Giant with his first good match. ***
Final Thoughts: Pretty pointless PPV. It just goes to show you how WCW really didn’t have anything going on before Scott Hall arrived to change all that. Aside from a few decent matches, the Lethal Lottery stuff was extremely dull. Nobody seemed like they were even trying during all those tag matches except for in the Flair/Savage match. The only reason you might would want to check out this PPV is for DDP fans who would want to see how his big push to the top began. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry with this show. For that alone, I’ll be kind and give a thumbs in the middle for Slamboree 1996. Not a must-see, but for the second year in a row: at least it’s not UnCeNSoReD.