"Beat the pussy up like a ole beat machine. Oop, there it is, bring a friend, tag team." -Yung Joc, "Knock it Out."
I have no shame in admitting that I am a huge fan of ESPN’s Bill Simmons. When I discovered him in the fall of 2007, I loved his work and have followed his columns, podcast and new website, Grantland.com, closely. I also have no shame in admitting that this very website takes a great deal of influence from Grantland. You see, I’ve been a writer since I was a little kid and I graduated from the
Therefore, as an homage and because it’s a brilliant concept, I will be doing the first of hopefully several retro diaries on old school pay-per-views. For those of you that have never read one of these retro diaries, it essentially breaks down an event into a time-based diary and comments on the good, the bad and the ugly that takes place.
Our subject today? WCW Battlebowl 1993. Held in November of that year, this PPV takes the concept of the Lethal Lottery and turns it into its own three hour show. Teams are drawn at random and forced to compete for a chance to advance to Battlebowl, a “prestigious” battle royal where the winner is awarded…well, that’s a good question. I can’t remember right now. I will have to wait and see.
For some reason, I still have this on VHS. Let’s find out why. Cue up the VCR and get ready for a lot of tracking. IT’S BATTLEBOWL TIME!!!
0:30- After a bunch of short promos highlighted by Jerry Sags not being able to say the word “Battlebowl,” Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura welcome us to
2:03- They throw it over to Mean Gene and his assistant, Fifi. You remember Fifi: the French maid of Ric Flair. I’m sure Mean Gene remembers Fifi. It’s been less than 3 minutes and he’s already fake copped a feel. The drum they are using looks like something they bought at a flea market for 5 dollars and it just so happened to have 40 dirty napkins in it. Slap some names on those puppies and let’s make us some tag teams!
2:57- Second fake grope followed by the name of Cactus Jack who quickly bolts out of the face locker room, probably because he was standing next to Erik Watts. The next name pulled is…WCW Champ Vader, who reacts to teaming with his arch-nemesis by pushing down a random heel in a sequined pink jacket and throwing a chair. Harley Race screams “You gotta get along” as Booker T smiles and thinks of the fun times he will have winning Worst Wrestling Announcer in 2011.
3:54- First opponent announced is Kole from Harlem Heat, who reacts 15 seconds too late. Kole is Stevie Ray for those of you that don’t remember. Just wait till you hear Book’s name. Kole’s partner is announced as “Native American superstar Charlie Norris,” which Booker T and the audience react the same way to: throwing their hands up and saying “OOHHHH, come on, MAN!”
4:47- Cactus and Vader are already beating each other up. Kole helps Vader. Vader punches his own manager. Charlie Norris is thrown off the ramp. WCW 1993!
5:48- Schiavone realizes that it’s Kane, not Kole, who came out. Whoops, there goes that surprise. So, Stevie Ray is Kane and Booker T is Kole. That makes more sense as Stevie Ray is more likely to be the brother kept in a basement for 15 years and scarred from a fire. But, as Schiavone says, “It really doesn’t matter.” That’s the Tony Schiavone I remember and hate.
7:17- Just heard the name Yoshi Kwan. Memories...light the corners of my eyes.
7:40- God, I miss stiff ass Vader. He was so awesome, he is getting cheered already because everyone hates bootleg Tatanka.
8:37- Cool spot with Vader holding Norris on the floor for Cactus to do his running flip. And think, Vader caused Cactus to lose his memory, get lost in
9:15- Jesse on commentary was great because one minute he points out a sloppy belly-to-back, the next he calls Charlie Norris a “Native Indian” without batting an eye.
10:00- 20 minute time limits. Hold your breath on this one because Kane and Charlie Norris are completing about 40 percent of their spots right now.
12:15- Double arm DDT on Kane if Kane had one arm. Meanwhile, Charlie Norris can’t get a reaction even if he shot alfredo sauce out of his ass. Trust me, it would get over.
13:00- Norris overextends on the powerbomb, makes Vader fall and trip on the ropes. But, it’s still good for the pin. Norris gets up in 5 seconds from a move that once BROKE A FUCKING GUY’S BACK. No wonder we never heard from him again.
14:57- Back to Gene and Fifi and…WHAT ARE THEY DOING? Uh-oh, Mrs. Okerlund’s gonna want to know why their backs were turned!!!
15:05- Gene’s just talking to himself already like a senile, old perv. A direct quote: “I’m sorry, are we on the air. Apparently, we are. I’m just having a great time. Fifi…yes, I believe that.” She didn’t even say anything! Gene says she looks good enough to eat which get the dirtiest pop ever.
15:32- Paul Roma is the next name as Gene calls him “one of the worst…whoops, one of the Four Horsemen.” No joke, as the heels mumble over Roma, someone in the heel locker room screams “Goddamn guinea!” Bill Watts’ influence continues with that racial slur and the selection of Erik Watts as Roma’s partner. Johnny B. Badd is next as the heels start to play Chinese checkers. His partner is Brian Knobbs who finds out 15 seconds later than it was announced. If the heel locker room is on a delay, maybe we could’ve taken care of that “guinea” line. Knobbs and Sags whine like Linda Richman and continue their streak of being completely unintelligible.
16:49- Badd Motherfucking Blaster! How lucky was Sable?
17:36- Our first full sentence from a Nasty Boy about carrying Mr. Badd on his back. Speaking of on your back, Missy Hyatt is here.
18:29- Badd’s attire looks like the table trimming for a middle school graduation party.
19:57- Solid chain wrestling from Roma and Badd. That is the last compliment Paul Roma has received since he made pecan pie for everyone at his office in 2005.
21:13- I have to admit, Knobbs was a decent worker. There’s a joke in that somewhere. Jesse can’t stop talking about Gene ogling Fifi. It’s moved on to Missy, which can be said about most diseases.
23:37- Tony promotes the 1-900 number and encourages us to vote for manager of the year. What in the blue hell is a manager? Tony says he voted for Teddy Long nine times. Who did he manage back then?!?! Was it still Rodney Mack?
25:19- Knobbs is yelling a lot. Nothing makes a match tolerable like Knobbs yelling a lot. Jesse promotes his arm wrestling contest on WCW Worldwide. And you thought NXT was bad.
28:50- Oh, the winner gets a gold ring. No title shot guarantee, though, as Tony says he “could probably go after any title he wants.” That’s reassuring.
30:25- The most lukewarm tag ever to Erik Watts, who can’t count as he stops the turnbuckle head-ram spot at 7. Seconds later, a Knobbs counter with a handful of tights and mostly cock gets the W.
31:56- Cut to Gene and Fifi, whose backs are turned again. I just heard the phrase “don’t blow on it” as Jesse calls him a “lecherous old fool.” Gene tells Fifi he will “give her the business all right.” Welcome to
33:40- One of the worst moments in wrestling history happens here. Gene tells Fifi “we get any closer, we are going to have to check in someplace.” There is a small, little cheap pop. In the same breath, in the most nonchalant tone ever, Gene says “next is the name of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat,” he turns, looks DIRECTLY at Fifi’s chest and starts to talk like Humphrey Bogart with a “look here, sweetheart.” It’s Ricky “The Fucking Dragon” Fucking Steamboat!!! Dragon’s partner is Lord Steven Regal. There is confusion in the heel locker while Hawk is spitting sunflower seeds in the face locker room.
34:17- Shockmaster leads the crowd in chanting “Paula” towards his aggravated partner. Cute.
35:21- Schiavone explains how the TV Championship went from Orndorff to Steamboat and is currently with Regal. Jesse adds that Shockmaster fell through a wall. Tony says that the only thing that’s beat him so far. Again, not a joke.
37:22- Steamboat and Orndorff tearing it up! We get a close up of the Shockmaster, who is sweating profusely and hasn’t been tagged in yet.
40:07- Sweet shot of the front row and some mentally handicapped kids sitting there, excited and dressed like they are going to the prom. Regal’s manager, Sir William, proceeds to yell at them “Shut up, you idiots!” WCW 1993!
44:47- Action noticeably slows down with Regal in the ring. I’m starting to notice all the dirty moustaches in the crowd. Regal does a cartwheel in the middle of the ring and I snap out of it.
47:56- Regal short arms Steamboat on a tag and Shockmaster forces the tag. Orndorff elbows Shockmaster, Steamboat steals William’s umbrella, hits Regal, chases William, Shockmaster splash and they advance. Follow that? All you need to know: we get more Shockmaster and less Steamboat,
50:26- We cut to the most depressing press conference ever. No tables, no chairs, everyone just standing. Gene stands with Harley Race and Vader in a rather unfortunate suit. Gene says locations all over the world have bid on having Starrcade, including Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico City, New York, Chicago and…DES MOINES, IOWA. Crushing the hopes of a young Slipknot, Charlotte is chosen. The only group of people in the room celebrates. Gene puts over the Hornets and their new NFL team, the Panthers. I finally feel old.
53:00- Ric Flair busts in with a contract to challenge Vader for the title. Vader says it’s not good enough. Flair puts his career on line. Vader puts over breaking Sting’s wrist, Ron Simmons’ shoulder, Joe Thurman’s back, ending Nikita Koloff’s career, erasing Cactus Jack’s memory and driving Sid to an office supply store. Awesome promo that puts Vader over as a monster and Flair as the underdog. Vader just grunts, laughs and keeps saying “Vader Time” to end it.
55:35- Mean Gene has handcuffs. No bullshit. They turn around as these bits start to die a slow death with the crowd. First name drawn is… Awesome Kong?!?!?! It sort of looks like her boyfriend let himself go even more. His partner is the Equalizer. Sequin man slaps him on the back. Next team is…King Kong?!?! Yeesh. He yells for Harley. Might’ve been Barley, I’m not sure. The heel locker room looks cleared out from a sick fart. Dustin Rhodes is the final man and alarm clock for the crowd.
57:26- Jesus, these are some big, dirty dudes. The Equalizer looks like Barry Windham’s stupid brother. Let’s call him Yrrab Windham.
58:52- If I see anymore brown skin boots, I’m going to kill myself. In other news, the Equalizer sucks something fierce.
1:00:00- The Kongs are so fat (pause for you to ask how fat they are)…they are just really fat. The Kongs tease fighting one another only to tag out and disappoint no one really. The Kongs are the Klitschkos of WCW 1993. I just received Batman: the Complete Animated Series on DVD and I’m watching this instead.
1:03:53- After some truly deplorable action, the Kongs accidently bump heads, Dustin bulldogs Awesome and mercifully gets the win. Cue the music! “They call him the natural!” Actual lyric to the song: “He’s a son of a son.”
1:04:47- Back to Scheme Gene who was “looking at something that reminded him of melons.” This is like watching Chris Kattan telling the same jokes as Mango for one hour. Gene puts over the action…and what’s going on in the ring is good, too. ZING! He had me there for a second. Sting is the first name pulled and the crowd puts their arsenic away. His partner is Sags, who has to move around sequin man as he comes back from bathroom. Their opponents: Ron Simmons and from the Cole Brothers, Keith Cole. Wow…I have no words.
1:06:59- Jesse has a great line as Missy and Sags comes out: “You know, it’s hard to tell which one is Sags.” Keith Cole comes out with the worst haircut ever. It looks like Sting’s but on the cheapest crack you can find. I can’t forget to mention the putrid orange tights.
1:08:00- Sting rocking the black and white face paint. Foreshadowing!
1:09:26- Simmons throws a baller dropkick as Jesse tells some stupid story about Simmons betraying FSU and talking to Lou Holtz and Notre Dame. I know it’s bogus because no one understands what Lou Holtz is talking about.
1:10:51- There is a close-up of some members of the crowd is chanting “Missy.” They are ALL wearing denim jackets. It is so obvious the signs were planted in the crowd. One reads “America’s best: WCW.” Who makes that sign?
1:12:50- Great bit where Sags teases tagging Sting, but doesn’t and turns around to an armbar from Cole and immediately begins crying for Sting. Tag finally happens and we get Sting vs. Simmons. Nice!
1:14:02- “Whoomp, There It Is” chant?!?! Who is that far? Are Men on a Mission in da house?
15:18- Cole and Sting actually stop to admire each other’s hair. I now notice Cole has the word “twins” on his butt cheek. You know, just in case you didn’t know when they were tagging that there are two of them next to one another.
1:16:38- The Nasty Boys are really showing me something. They had great charisma, they were better workers than given credit for and the crowd hated them. Sting owns Simmons, who gets riled up, takes a cheap shot and delivers a powerslam like only he can.
1:18:46- Simmons starts to get angry with Cole’s lack of aggression. This brings about the first Ice Train reference of the evening. I’m not explaining. Don’t put that evil on me.
1:20:00-Here is one of the problems with this concept: Simmons tags Cole back in and tells him to get on Sting. He goes back to the wristlock and expresses hesitation. Why would faces and heels hold back against one another when it’s still a normal match? Cole royally screws up and it leads to a Sags top rope elbow after a blind tag for the win. Best match so far, but that’s not saying much.
1:21:28- Simmons brow beats Cole, gives him a classic spinebuster and walks off. Simmons was a beast.
1:22:52- Tony asks Jesse if he’s ready to go to Mean Gene and Jesse responds with “do we have to?" Hear hear. Jesse then calls Gene a groper. Hey, that’s my line! He knew I was going to write that. Put that on your stupid conspiracy show, Body. Gene and Fifi are dancing now. Breathe…
1:23:29- Stunning Steve Austin and Ric Flair! This should be good. Maxx Payne and 2 Cold Scorpio are their opponents. Where are the wrestlers going after they have had their matches? The locker rooms looks more deserted than a WCW show in 2000.
1:25:15- Payne says something about a stretcher. Maybe he foresaw his career on one as WWF’s Man Mountain Rock.
1:27:31- The Flair and Austin dynamic is so interesting. Just their looks and mannerisms towards one another are awesome. It sure is weird seeing Austin with hair and athleticism.
1:29:02- Scorpio was so smooth and awesome. One of most underrated ever.
1:29:10- As soon as I finish typing that, he botches an arm drag.
1:31:13- I’m calling this the penis match. Scorpio and Austin’s manager, Col. Robert Parker, apparently have giant ones, according to one of Foley’s books. Flair has shown his on every major airline in the world. Maxx Payne recorded salacious activities during his time in WWE and Austin…oh, I don’t know. Something about Debra. That will work.
1:32:38- Ric Flair chop…music to your ears… unless you are Bret Hart and think they are stupid. Guess what, Hitman? Lonesome Dove was stupid.
1:34:12- Goddamn, Austin could work his ass off.
1:35:40- Camera work is great, as is Flair and Austin working as a team. A slap fest breaks out when Austin tries to cheat. Geez, they could’ve made so much money together.
1:37:47- Payne’s pants look like the pajamas Winona Ryder wore in Beetlejuice.
1:39:55- Some solid action leads to Payne missing a knee in the corner and Flair slapping the figure-four on for the win. Really good match. Austin tries to sneak attack Flair after the match, but falls off of the top rope and gets caught. Oh, Stunning!
1:41:25- Back to Gene, who is tongue punching Fifi’s fart box. I just had to check to make sure you were paying attention. What Gene really does is get down to tie his shoe and tries to look up Fifi’s dress. He then says something about a bad wing tip and etchings in his hotel room. Where are the Marx Brothers to explain these jokes to me? That being said, Fifi still seems like a whore for not murdering Gene yet.
1:42:28- Rick Rude is called and he is the first person to address the camera in locker room. Shanghai “Henry Godwinn” Pierce is his partner. Their opponents: Marcus Alexander Bagwell and his stupid headband and Tex “Phineas Godwinn” Slazenger, who beats up a locker in frustration and tells whoever is picking those names that they are in trouble. Cut him a break, Tex. Gene is going to be in enough trouble as it is when he gets home.
1:45:00- Rude’s tights are classic: pictures of babyfaces all over his ass with the words “I Beat Em” underneath.
1:46:52- Jesse and Tony put over Rude as the World Champion. I forgot about that old, awkward NWA dilemma that ended a second “world title.” Before the brand extension, WCW was already screwing up ideas.
1:47:57- Tex and Pierce are called the Texicans. That makes the least amount of sense of anything I’ve ever heard.
1:49:31- I’m starting to get arm dragged and hip tossed out. Bagwell apparently tied a red, white and blue rope around his boots to remember where they were: on his feet.
1:52:09- The match is so exciting that Tony and Jesse ask each other what they are doing for Thanksgiving. Jesse makes fun of Tony for going to church on Thanksgiving. What else is there to do? Tell your kids the story of the pilgrims and Native Indians?
1:53:58- Great delayed front suplex by Rude followed by a big pose and front gutbuster. Add Rude to that underrated list.
1:57:58- THE WCW LOGO JUST POPPED ON THE BOTTOM CORNER OF THE SCREEN. Two hours in…maybe Russo does get a bad rap.
1:58:03- Big, bad ass gutwrench powerbomb from Pierce that Tex broke up to finally elicit a response from the crowd. Tex gets tagged in and they finally get to slugging it out as the crowd pops great for the battling partners. Come on, Wladimir and Vitali. Do it already! Rude blind tags in and Rude Awakens Tex for the win. Simply Ravishing owwwwwwwwww! WCW SLAM JAM CD 4 LIFE!
2:01:49- Mean Fucking Gene! Where is Fifi? Is she on her knees? What’s the smug look for? You dog! 2 hours of worthless sex-laden comedy ends with a good old fashioned blowj…tangled cord. At least give us a payoff at this point. 10 guys left with like 55 cards in the drum. The first name is Hawk and his partner is RIP ROGERS?!?! Gene says it as incredulously as I typed it. It’s the guy in the sequin jacket!!! He stands up, yells, makes a hilarious face and says “I got Hawk as my partner!!!” The heels don’t even like him. Never heard of him, but man, that was great. Davey Boy Smith’s name is pulled and he emerges from whatever corner he was in all night. His partner: The Artist Soon to Be Known as Booker T. He stands up and follows with this gem: “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Pain is the name of the game.” You have to love him. This whole bit is so good/ridiculous, I'm gonna start this link at the very beginning. Here ya go.
2:03:16- Rip is annoying Hawk on ramp, excitedly. Hawk decks him and Rip goes down like Terri Runnels at a Death Row Records release party. Bulldog comes out, lightly kicks him and keeps moving. Here comes Kole, who asks him if he is ok, hardly steps on his chest and walks on, not before another ”ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Rip sells like he’s dead from a punch, a brush off and a stomp. Awesome.
2:05:05- Literal translation of opening minutes from Bulldog and Hawk: lock up, break, lock up, break, lock up, corner, break, lock up, corner, break, test of strength, break, tag to Kole. Wrestling in 1993!!!
2:07:20- Before we counted Booker T “OOOOHHHHHHHHHs,” we should’ve counted Booker T “AHHHHHHHHHHHs.” Bulldog is openly rooting for Hawk for some stupid reason.
2:08:30- Spinarooni! He was much better at it when he couldn’t wrestle worth a lick. Rip crawls to the apron only to get nailed by Book again.
2:09:33- I think Bulldog single handedly killed this concept. Now, he’s leading the crowd in a chant of “LOD.” I thought he was just on the juice back then, not smack. Rip is standing again! He’s back down.
2:12:31- Hawk gets the upper hand, grabs Rip Rogers, gorilla presses him onto Booker T and gets the win for a big pop. Bulldog didn’t have a single offensive move. After the pin, Book makes some silly faces and says the Harlem Heat is going to kill somebody. How about the guy that made your crappy outfits?
2:14:27- Tony explains that if you go over the top and onto the ramp, you are NOT eliminated. WCW 1993!!!
2:15:21- Gene tells Fifi she’s been a delight and she reciprocates with a little French. Gene drops the mic and grazes her chest. WCW never got sued for this show? This is insane. Gene whispers something to Fifi , who wags his finger at him and finally leaves. It was probably something to the effect of “You know, I do a mean two-step with an oversized turkey.”
2:16:46- Michael Buffer gets a better reaction than 85 percent of the wrestlers on this show. Let’s see how many mistakes he makes.
2:18:30- I didn’t hear any “f” on Orndorff, but besides that, pretty solid work from Buffer. He probably got paid six-figures for that.
2:19:16- All of the competitors come out in the order of their matches and Rip Rogers gets, arguably, the best response of them all, still selling his beatdown. Screw it, I’m rooting for him, too.
2:21:24- Doing a live diary of a battle royal is a task taller than David Flair’s enchilada bills.
2:22:03- RIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Damn you, Marc Mero!
2:22:30- Shanghai dumped by the best author in the ring. Yeah, those first two eliminations made sense.
2:24:23- This ramp thing is asinine. At least 5 guys have gone over. Mr. Wonderful rids the ring of the eye sore know as Johnny B. Badd.
2:26:32- We get a completely unnecessary close-up of Shockmaster telling King Kong he will rip his eyes out. Because of this, we barely see G-G-Goldust get rid of Orndorff and Boy Meets World superstar Vader eliminate Dude Love. Immediately afterwards, Tugboat throws out King Kong only to be knocked out by those darn Nasty Boys. Whew…
2:31:02- Flair goes through the ropes just to intimidate Harley Race. Harley could still kick his ass.
2:32:48- Sting has saved Flair from elimination about 4 times now. The theme of this show is “Babyfaces are Stupid.” Austin and Rhodes battle on the outside and Austin throws Dustin into the pole and he comes up a bloody mess. Is blood really necessary in a battle royal? Austin calls Dustin a “stupid redneck.” Line of the century.
2:35:04- Dustin backdrops Knobbs out, picks Sags up and Austin comes from behind and gets them both. On the other side, Hawk throws Rude out, but gets caught from behind by Austin and Vader. It’s down to Ice Dagger, Ethan Suplee’s father, Why So Serious and a man that can’t stay married.
2:36:55- Flair suplexes Harley on the ramp and Vader comes out and starts destroying Flair with elbows and splashes on the ramp. Sting comes to help and Austin follows. The crowd is pretty hot and Vader is just beating trainers up and still ruining Flair. Flair is yelling and crying like his son, Reid, when he can’t get a dimebag.
2:39:05- The refs announce Flair unable to continue as he is stretchered out. In the midst of it, we see Too Cold Scorpio wearing the worst Zubaz outfit ever. Back in the ring, Sting goes nuts, powerslams Vader in mid-air (holy shit) and the crowd is rabid.
2:40:47- Whoomp There It Is…again…was Sting DC the Brain Supreme or something? Did I miss that memo?
2:42:17- Sting in trouble again, but rebounds only to get a Vader Bomb in the corner. Vader comes up in obvious back pain. It’s all Charlie Norris’ fault.
2:44:52- Very awkward moment. Sting throws Austin to the ramp, Austin is mad and rolls to the floor, thusly eliminating him. Screw that ramp. Can’t Abyss come out and throw someone through the cheapest looking part of it?
2:46:10- We get the good old “heel down, injured face falls face first into crotch” spot. Sting gets Vader in trouble in the corner and goes for Stinger Splash. Vader rolls off and Sting crashes to the floor. The crowd immediately dies as Vader celebrates. If anything, Vader is booked like a monster, winning clean. Take notes, every other wrestling company since this moment. They try to throw it to Mean Gene, but can’t because Vader is behind them, yelling he’s the man. They decide to screw it and cue up the credits.
2:48:24- Virgil Runnels…gets me every time.
And that’s all she wrote. That was quite an experience. I’m gonna take a cold shower and look up Fifi to make sure she hasn’t been psychologically ruined after all of these years.
Damn it, I had Survivor Series recorded after this. Todd Pettengill, you ruin everything. Now, he’s interviewing Owen Hart’s wife. I’m out. Nothing good can come out of me continuing to watch or write this.
Damn it. See you next time.