This is a show i've been wanting to see for quite some time now. The concept is you have 40 guys and they "randomly" draw names out of a wheel and pick two tag teams from the pool to wrestle. There are 10 tag matches in total and the 20 winners go into a battle royal where there are 2 rings set up. Everyone must try and throw the guys into the 2nd ring and the one left standing is the winner of the 1st ring, then they do a standard battle royal in the 2nd ring where you win by throwing the guys over the top rope. Then, the 2 winners fight to see who the Battlebowl champion is. Sound confusing? it most assuredly is. But, let's get to it:
1) Michael Hayes/ Tracey Smothers v. Marcus Bagwell/ Jimmy Garvin- 2
We have the Freebirds on opposite sides in this one. They tied up a couple times and tried to really play up that they were wrestling and the fans actually seemed to eat it up. Smothers just got off the very unsuccesful comedy tour The Original Kings of Stalling, featuring himself, Larry Zybyzsko, Jerry Lawler and Paul Orndorff. I mean, it took forever for this match to ever get physical. You could tell this match was thrown together because no one wanted to do anything because no one knew what to do. Bagwell does a pretty good hiptoss/ dropkick/ armdrag combo (which we'll see in almost every match on the show) but Smothers does a bad job of selling it. I was watching his face while he was being wrenched in an armlock and he was biting his lower lip like he was trying to remember if he took the trash out at home or not. The finish was appalling as the Freebirds bickered over a miscue in timing and Bagwell hit a ugly Perfectplex.
2) Steve Austin/ Rick Rude v. Big Josh/ Van Hammer- 5
The heels carried these two walking sideshows to a respectable match, and probably the best tag on the show. Austin and Rude had stellar team work and knew how to effectively keep both men in their corner when they wanted to. But, they also sold big for the Village People rejects and made it look believable. Van Hammer trying to do an escape on a armlock was pretty comical. There was a silly spot where Josh was attacking Rude's abs and it didn't faze him because he's in such good shape. The finish came off a blind tag and they didn't drag the match on longer than it needed to be.
3) Dustin Rhodes/ Richard Morton v. Larry Zybyzsko/ El Gigante- 1
This was one of the more bizarre matches of the night, there would be many. Gigante barely did anything besides choke out his partner 5 minutes into this. I thought Morton was a great prick heel, coming in on a tag then immediately U-turning when Giganted tagged in. Then, after the match the 7 foot bowl cut shook Dustin's hand then went to shake Morton's but he was already down the aisleway. Nothing really happened in this so there's not much of a grade to give out.
4) Bill Kazmaier/ Jushin Liger v. DDP/ Mike Graham- 4
Wow, interesting match. The pacing was all off, Liger and Graham had some good chemistry together, Liger was throwing some great kicks and Graham was kicking it old school with fireman's take overs and single legs, but he couldn't keep up with Liger's rollups and stuff. Then Kazmaier who was slower than a salted slug and DDP had no chemistry and it's like each pair would tag in and out and the pace would go from fast to slow. A double team press slam using Liger as a torpedo was the finish.
5) Lex Luger/ Arn Anderson v. Terrence Taylor/ Z-Man- 4
Anderson is really just as good as you remembered. He was already sweating and grinding away on restholds like he was going an hour broadway not even 5 minutes into the match. Z-Man was a really good face in peril and probably tied with Steamboat for best dropkick. Luger was pretty shitty as he refused to sell any of Taylor's offense. Taylor went on an offensive rip against Luger at one point and Luger just horsefacing it the whole time, making everything look really weak. Arn hit a DDT that made my breeches warm with joy. Damn, that should have been the finish.
6) Ricky Steamboat/ Todd Champion v. Cactus Jack/ Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker- 2
Parker was already standing up waiting for his name to be called before they even announced him.Then he got thrown around the locker room like Stevie Richards' penis pump. then, in the aisleway, he got worn out by Abdullah the Butcher with a giant cane. I'm talking about mulitple shots,all to the head and FOR FUCKING REAL! it was a spectacular beating. This left Cactus alone; he and Steamboat had no chemistry together and Champion didn't look like he had chemistry with anything. Steamboat did a pretty cool suicide dive but that was the highlight of this dud.
7) Sting/ Abdullah the Butcher v. Brian Pillman/ Bobby Eaton- 3
Abby was the star of this show! He came running down the aisle, smiling ear to ear, really excited to be Sting's partner, then he just started beating him down. Pillman was next down and he tackled Abby then took his cane and beat the Sudanese piss out of the fat bastard! It was crazy! Eaton and Sting worked the whole match together, and they had some good spots. Eaton's right hand is pure sex. Pillman bodyslams Abby and the camera doesn't even show it- i wanted to see a best of 7 between those 2. This wasn't the best match by far, but probably one of the funnest.
8) Rick Steiner/ Nightstalker v. Vader/ Mr. Huges- 2
I wanted to rank this higher, but it's pretty hard considering the finish. Vader and Steiner were absolutely killing each other with clotheslines and suplexes and it was fun as hell to watch. Nightstalker (wearing tan colored trunks and boots?) did one move and fucked up the ending. He was pretty useless.
9) Scott Steiner/ Firebreaker Chip v. Johnny B. Badd/ Arachnaman- 5
This match had a really good pace to it and it was given some time. Steiner was the superstar here with Badd being built up as someone with potential and Chip and Arachnaman audibly being called the weaker links of their teams. This was done pretty well as everyone had a definable role in the match. Steiner was just killing guys with his power moves, Badd was knocking out everyone with hooks and Chip was selling pretty well for a guy who had the stupidest name in the business. Arachnaman was wearing a Spider Man costume but instead of being red and blue, it was yellow and purple. I don't know who came up with this gimmick, but it was pretty pathetic, although he had a good dropkick. Not worth seeking out, but a decent enough match.
10) Ron Simmons/ Thomas Rich v. PN News/ Steve Armstrong- 4
I've read a lot of places that people don't agree with putting the belt on Simmons years ago, but after watching this show, he was the most over on it except Sting. Anytime he tagged out, they were chanting "We Want Ron!" As far as his work, he doesn't figure much psychology into it, he just pummels people. It was fun when he and News got in because they weren't pussy footing around, they were going toe to toe. News had some really credible offense for such a big guy. Armstrong was a poor man's Tracey Smothers for the stalling (can't begin to describe how desperate that makes him) and he and Rich basically just punched each other like it was a Raw main event anywhere from 99- 03. Again, no real pacing in this match, but fun while it lasted.
11) 2 Ring Battle Royal- 3
This wasn't very good at all. Some highlights were Vader, who was pummeling everybody, and even took a few people outside. Steamboat and Arn were "wearing each other out like rawhide" as Jim Ross called it, yet the camera was nowhere near them so we couldn't see a damn thing. Liger and Morton had some good sequences, but Morton thought he was 20 years younger because he tried keeping up with Liger, but to no avail. Trying to throw a guy between 2 rings in the first place is an asanine task but some of the jokers involved in this made it even harder to watch. When it came down to the 2nd ring, the final four guys put together some good spots, who were Sting, Rude, Steamboat, and Austin. Other than that, this was probably worse than your average battle royal.
12) Lex Luger v. Sting- 3
For some reason, this wasn't a match, the only way to win was to throw the guy over the top rope? i didn't write it, i just watched it. anyways, they did some decent brawling out in the aisleway and Luger even took a ramp bump, albeit a pretty shitty one. This was short and not a lot happened, but the crowd was 100% into Sting and helped make what would probably otherwise be an eyesore and 7 minutes i'll never get back become something i'll just promptly forget and not be the worse for.