WCW Uncensored 1997

Date: March 16, 1997

Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Dean Malenko for the United States Title (9/10)

The Set-Up: United States Champion Eddie Guerrero had been feuding with NWO member Syxx (better known as WWE’s X-Pac) over the title. Unable to win the title (though stealing belt) Syxx diverted his attention to winning Dean Malenko’s cruiserweight title. During a match at Superbrawl, Guerrero came out to get his belt back, but accidentally hit Malenko and cost him the cruiserweight title. Furious, Malenko got a no-disqualification match at Uncensored.

The match: Guerrero and Malenko tear into each other to start, before going into a bunch of well-executed submission holds and reversals. While the match is going on we are shown Rick Steiner knocked unconscious in the back. He’s supposed to be in Team WCW in the main event. Obviously the NWO took him out to better their chances of winning. Back to the actual match, which thankfully continues uninterrupted, things are really heating up. Guerrero works on Malenko’s leg, at one point dropkicking it into the ringpost. He knocks Malenko outside into the guardrail and jumps at him. Malenko gets out of the way and Guerrero eats the guardrail. Malenko is able to dominate him until Eddie whips out a low blow. Malenko isn’t slowed down and powerbombs his opponent. He goes up top and delivers his enemy’s own finisher, the frog splash. Right before he gets a three count he gets off of Eddie, deciding to punish him some more. This proves to be a mistake as now he and Guerrero trade unsuccessful pin attempts. Syxx emerges with a video camera. He steals the United States title belt and throws his camera at Eddie. Guerrero ducks and Malenko catches it, using it as a weapon and getting the win.

This was a fantastic match which at the time was always expected of top cruiserweights like Malenko, Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio Jr.. The only thing preventing it from being perfect is the NWO spots, first the backstage shenanigans with Rick Steiner and then Syxx coming in to prevent a clean finish.

In-Between matches, Team Piper, which will participate in the three-way main event, is interviewed. Most of it is Piper yelling random stuff about his teammates, members of the Four Horsemen (Chris Benoit, Jeff Jarrett, & Steve McMichael). He calls Chris Benoit a wino and Debra McMichael a hussy. The Four Horsemen are surprisingly okay with his insults and promise to have his back

Psicosis vs. Ultimo Dragon (w/Sonny Onoo) (7/10)

Set-Up: There’s not real story behind this. WCW would often throw together random matches that usually involved cruiserweights. They were usually pretty good anyways, so I’m not complaining. This is around the time when Ultimo Dragon was one of the top players in the cruiserweight division. He was on about every PPV and episode of Nitro, all the while taking trips to wrestle in Mexico. He was a pretty busy guy.

The Match: There’s a lot of holds and reversals at the start. The longer the match goes on the more moves they pull off, from moonsaults to spinning heel kicks to flying leg drops. Sonno Onoo interferes with a few roundhouse kicks to Psicosis. Towards the end they trade a bunch of hard-hitting finishers, culminating in a botched Tornado and a well-executed Tiger suplex by Ultimo Dragon to finish the match.

This is a pretty good match. The mat wrestling and rest holds near the beginning started to get a little boring, but things picked up in short time. There’s not much else to say about this, as there was no story going into this match besides that Ultimo Dragon is beating everybody.

Diamond Dallas Page Segment

DDP comes out on stage for an interview with Gene Okerlund. They discuss the Diamond Cutter, DDP’s finisher, and how it is the most deadly move in wrestling at the moment. DDP is more interested in calling out Macho Man Randy Savage, who appears with a magazine. Savage says he respects DDP because he has a hot wife, and shows a nude centerfold of Kimberley Page in the magazine (with the nudity obscured by NWO spray paint). Kimberley appears on stage spray-painted. DDP goes over to comfort her, but gets attacked from behind by Savage. The NWO letters are spray-painted on his back. This is a pretty entertaining segment and helped set the stage for one of the best NWO feuds, in which DDP got into the main event scene.

Glacier vs. Mortis (w/James Vandenberg) (6/10)

Set-Up: In late summer 1996, WCW debuted Glacier, a martial arts wrestler cashing in on the success of Mortal Kombat and in particular the popularity of its character Sub-Zero. Glacier’s entrance was expensive, with fake snow falling from the sky, blue lighting, and an overblown (but I think kinda cool) costume. He was forgotten about for a few months because of the focus on the NWO, but early in 1997 he was finally featured in a storyline in which evil manager James Vandenberg brought in his archenemy Mortis. Mortis’ costume was basically a green skeleton suit. For his entrance he would come in with a cape complete with skull shoulder pads. So basically, this feud was a fighting video game brought to life.

The Match: This match is declared a “Martial Arts Match”, even though aside from some martial arts kicks and palm strikes, it’s pretty much just a fast-paced wrestling match. Despite the over-the-top storyline, this is actually a pretty good match. Chris Kanyon, who is playing Mortis, was known for some unique offensive moves and shows some of those here. There’s a springboard leg drop, a body drop onto the apron from outside, and then one move where he twists around a bent over Glacier and places his leg over his head, shoving it into the mat. The climax comes when Mortis shoves the referee into the Cryonic Kick (think Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music). Mortis hits his own superkick and gets a nearfall. Glacier comes back with another Cryonic Kick, this time connecting and getting the win. Vandenberg calls out his other client, Wrath, who’s wearing a helmet. Wrath and Mortis beat the crap out of Glacier.

This was a good match. There were a few moments where it felt like the moves weren’t really connecting, so I have to dock some points for that. This feud would go on until Bash at the Beach in July, with a couple poor PPV matches and the inclusion of Ernest “the Cat” Miller as an ally for Glacier.

Buff Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs (5/10)

Set-Up: Late in 1996, Eric Bischoff gave an ultimatum to WCW’s roster. They had a month to join the NWO or ultimately be destroyed. Most held their ground, but several responded positively and joined the group by the end of the year. The one that everybody remembers is Buff Bagwell. He was in the American Males tag team with Scotty Riggs when he defected, starting a breakup feud culminating with a strap match at Uncensored.

The Match: The rule is that one competitor must go around the ring and slap each of the four turnbuckles, while having to drag his opponent by a strap. For a strap match this is a pretty lengthy bout, but somehow they keep it entertaining. Sure, there’s a lot of whipping and choking with the strap, but there’s some decent wrestling moves as well. The real highlight is Bagwell’s charisma. I’ve read a lot of comments on the internet that call him a bad wrestler, but I think he’s pretty good. He’s not the most amazing wrestler, but he doesn’t suck either. Any shortcomings are made up for by his personality, basically an egotistical douche. Anyways, the best part of this match is when Bagwell mistakenly tries to make a pin and the referee doesn’t count. Bagwell gets into an altercation which results in the ref shoving him down and telling him off. Bagwell begs for forgiveness, repeating “I’m Sorry!” After the ref turns away he smiles into the camera and says “But I’m really not”. Riggs hits a powerbomb and dropkick and almost touches all four corners, but Bagwell pulls him away with the strap. Riggs is hit with a really hard back body drop and is rendered unconscious. Bagwell touches all four corners to win.

Again, strap matches are best when short, but this isn’t too bad since they actually do some decent wrestling and Bagwell finds ways to make duller spots entertaining.

Backstage, the main event NWO Team cuts a promo stating that Dennis Rodman is their secret weapon.

Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy (4/10)

Set-Up: Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) and Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge & Rocco Rock) were having a feud and ended up in a no-disqualification brawl. There’s not much else to it.

The Match: This match is basically just two tag teams grabbing objects and hitting each other. Booker T tries to spice things up with his various kicks, but otherwise, it’s 13 minutes of people whacking each other with lids, cookie sheets, and other objects. Color commentator Dusty Rhodes seems highly amused, laughing his head off every time a new weapon is brought in. Finally something new happens when Public Enemy sets up a table and put Stevie Ray on it. Rocco Rock flips onto the table, knocking Stevie Ray and Johnny Grunge through it. Jeff Jarrett and Steve McMichael run in and attack Public Enemy. McMichael whacks Grunge with a suitcase. Booker T hits Harlem Hangover, his flying move, on Grunge and gets the pin.

This match was okay. It needed to be about half as long. It was way too long for what happened in it. If you want to have a lengthy no-disqualification match, you have to actually leave the ring area and have fights in the entranceway, the stands, or even out in the back, not to mention more actual wrestling moves.

Okerlund interviews Team WCW, whose members promise to defeat the NWO and bring honor back to WCW.

Prince Iaukea (c) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. for the Television Title (3/10)

Set-Up: Prince Iaukea was getting a big push, winning the television title from Lord Steven Regal in February of 1997. His victories were often tainted by outside shenanigans from Regal and Rey Mysterio Jr., and he wanted to prove himself as a legitimate champion. He thus offered Mysterio a rematch for the title at Uncensored.

The Match: The announcers stress that the time limit for the match is 15 minutes. It’s usually 10 minutes as the TV Title is meant to be defended weekly without commercial interruptions. This match consists of a lot of counters and pin reversals, but Iaukea doesn’t have the skills of Malenko or Mysterio so a lot of it looks slow and awkward. The bell is rung, indicating that 15 minutes have passed, but in fact it’s 12! Rey Mysterio Jr. dramatically asks that the match continue so that there is a clear winner. Almost two minutes later, Iaukea gets thrown off the top with a hurricarana, but rolls on the landing to get a pin.

So counting overtime the match is 13:41 long. It looks like someone in upper management wanted to turn Iaukea into a big star and did bad math to make him look stronger and more endurable. This makes all of the drama from the announcers and Mysterio comical, as not only did they not even reach 15 minutes, but the action itself got really dull. Prince Iaukea would soon lose the Television Title and become a jobber.

Team NWO vs. Team Piper vs. Team WCW (7/10)

Set-Up: This match requires a lot of explanation. The NWO was running incredibly strong at this point. Aside from Piper knocking out Hogan with the sleeper hold at Starrcade, the NWO had been winning every main event on PPV. They also held four of the six titles, with Hollywood Hogan as World Champion, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash as Tag Team Champions, and Syxx as the Cruiserweight champ. Their numbers were growing. In addition to the four mentioned, they had gotten the services of Eric Bischoff, bodyguard Vincent, Big Bubba, Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton, VK Wallstreet, and even Randy Savage. It also seemed that Sting might have joined as well, at one point standing in the ring with the villainous faction (though just standing there doing nothing).

Oh, and Dennis Rodman, suspended for kicking a cameraman in the groin in a Chicago Bulls vs. Minnesota Timberwolves game, used his free time to join the NWO. Except for maybe Mike Tyson’s inclusion at Wrestlemania 14, this was probably the most successful use of a celebrity in pro wrestling history. He promised to be with the NWO at Uncensored and there was no doubt that he would get involved somehow.

Lex Luger and the Giant had defeated Hall and Nash for the titles, but Bischoff used his power to reverse the decision. Frustrated, Luger convinced the NWO to put all of the titles on the line in a large team match. Around the same time Piper was still obsessed with taking out Hollywood Hogan, so he formed Team Piper, making this a three-way affair. Piper gathered a random team of jobbers, but the Four Horsemen convinced him to use three of them instead. Here are the teams and the stipulations.

Team NWO (Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Randy Savage, & Scott Hall)

Team WCW (the Giant, Lex Luger, Rick Steiner, & Scott Steiner)

Team Piper (Roddy Piper, Chris Benoit, Jeff Jarrett, & Steve McMichael)

At different intervals each team sends out one man. Eliminations can occur by pinfall, submission, or being thrown over the top rope. If Team NWO wins, they get any title shots any time. If Team WCW wins, the NWO must relinquish all of their titles and not wrestle for three years. This means that there is no way Team WCW is going to win (though I guess the NWO can always find a devious way to get back to wrestling in no time). If Team Piper wins, Piper gets Hogan in a cage match. So basically, the Four Horsemen are making it harder for Team WCW to expel the NWO so Piper can get another grudge match.

The Match: Team Piper sends out Benoit, NWO Scott Hall, and WCW the Giant to start things off. Benoit and Hall double-team the Giant, which would make perfect sense except that they should be trying to take out the NWO. Eventually a beaten Hall is wobbling in the corner. The Giant charges him and he ducks, the big man’s momentum sending himself flying out to be eliminated. The second period arrives and Team Piper sends in Jeff Jarrett, NWO Randy Savage, and WCW Lex Luger. There is a bunch of basic battle royal action and the third period comes in a couple minutes, producing Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Kevin Nash, and Scott Steiner. Scott Steiner delivers a bunch of suplexes as usual. Nash boots out Jarrett and Hall flips out McMichael. Team WCW and Team Piper should be working together here and instead they’re attacking each other and opening themselves up for eliminations.

Roddy Piper comes out for the fourth and final period. Scott Steiner is eliminated by the NWO. Rick Steiner hasn’t recovered from his backstage attack and it seems that Team WCW isn’t allowed to replace him, so Luger has no one else to help him. Hollywood Hogan finally comes out accompanied by Dennis Rodman. He and Piper go at it and have a pretty bad-looking brawl outside the ring. Randy Savage joins in to help the NWO leader and they all get back into the battle royal. Piper is knocked against the ropes. Rodman pulls down the top rope, cheating to eliminate Hot Rod. It’s now all of Team NWO vs. Benoit and Luger, though Hogan and Savage go outside to continue brawling with Piper. Hall hits Benoit with the Outsider’s Edge and he and Nash eliminate him.

The NWO huddle together in the ring to plan what to do with Luger. Nash sets him up for the Jackknife Powerbomb, but gets flipped over. Luger starts clotheslining everybody and gets Savage in the Torture Rack for a submission. Luger knocks Nash over the top rope and then gets Hall to submit to the Torture Rack. It’s just him and Hogan. He gets him up for the rack, but Savage gets a can of paint and sprays him in the eyes. Hogan takes advantage and pins him.

This match was fairly good. It featured a lot of wrestlers who were past their prime (Hogan, Piper, Savage), had a tendency to phone it in (Nash), or plain bad (Mongo McMichael), but having a big team battle royal really helped to obscure their shortcomings and provide an entertaining main event. But what’s really awesome is what happens after the match.

Team NWO celebrates with Dennis Rodman, who has the honor of spray painting their logo on Luger’s back. Then Sting descends from the ceiling, unhooks from his harness, and hits Scott Hall! Sting cleans house with his baseball bat as he makes the statement that he is for WCW. Hogan yells at Sting to drop the bat and face him like a man. Sting obliges. He blocks Hogan’s punch and delivers his own, which prompts a massive roar of cheers from the crowd. He hits him with the Scorpion Death Drop and the NWO retreats.

Overall Thoughts

WCW actually had trouble putting on consistently good PPVs. This is one of the better ones from 1997. The first match between Malenko and Guerrero is awesome. The next two matches weren’t on the same level, but they were still good. The strap match between Bagwell and Riggs was average, but definitely could have been worse. Things stank a little towards the end with the overlong street fight and the bad-on-so-many-levels Mysterio vs. Iaukea match, but picked up with a decent main event and a killer ending. What actually makes this a good PPV is many of the non-match segments, such as DDP and Savage’s encounter, fun backstage promos, and Sting’s declaration of war on the NWO.

Final Rating: 7/10

Advertisements

WCW Slamboree 1996

Date: May 19, 1996

Venue: Riverside Centroplex, Baton Rogue, Louisiana

Quick Ratings (to avoid spoilers)

Animal & Booker T vs. Hawk & Lex Luger 2/10

Public Enemy vs. the Taskmaster & Chris Benoit 3/10

Sgt. Craig Pittman & Scott Steiner vs. Booty Man & Rick Steiner 6/10

Blue Bloods vs. Jim Duggan & VK Wallstreet 4/10

Dick Slater & Robert Eaton vs. Alex Wright & Disco Inferno 3/10

Diamond Dallas Page & the Barbarian vs. Hugh Morrus & Meng 4/10

Big Bubba & Stevie Ray vs. Fire & Ice 3/10

Eddie Guerrero & Arn Anderson vs. Ric Flair & Randy Savage 5/10

Dean Malenko vs. Brad Armstrong 6/10

2nd Round Lethal Lottery Match 4/10

2nd Round Lethal Lottery Match N/A

2nd Round Lethal Lottery Match 4/10

Konnan vs. Jushin Thunder Liger 7/10

Battlebowl 5/10

Giant vs. Sting 6/10

What is the Lethal Lottery?

The Lethal Lottery is basically a tag team tournament where the names are drawn to randomly generate teams. After two rounds of tag matches, the members of the surviving teams are entered into a battle royal (referred to here as Battlebowl). On this particular PPV, the winner of Battlebowl was guaranteed a world title shot in June of 1996.

WCW at the time was experiencing a couple months with Hulk Hogan absent. This was actually a blessing. While Hogan was around, he was abusing his creative control clause within his contract, making himself the center of attention and having him put into matches and storylines where he singlehandedly where he would defeat giants, overpower entire factions of villains, and only lose matches when copious amounts of cheating and run-ins were involved (only to Hulk up and get revenge within minutes of losing). With Hogan gone until his infamous heel turn at Bash at the Beach, WCW’s primetime show Monday Nitro actually got better as it focused on the likes of Sting, Ric Flair, the Giant, and Lex Luger, all performers who could put on good matches and, more importantly, keep any egos they have in check. But would this make the Hogan-free PPVs better as well? Let’s find out.

Most of the background for Slamboree is that since the teams are “randomly” assembled, there are tag partners on opposite sides as well as arch-enemies on the same side. One such case is the Road Warriors Animal and Hawk, who have to face each other. Also, Flair has stolen Miss Elizabeth and together they have been using Savage’s money up. Randy Savage keeps attacking Flair, but every time he gets dragged off by security. Now they are on the same team, which spells shenanigans. One problem with this PPV is that there are too many matches crammed within three hours. There are twelve tag team matches in the Lethal Lottery as well as the final battle royal, not to mention that the brains at WCW also squeeze in three title matches as well.

Lethal Lottery Round One

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

Hawks and Booker T start things off. It doesn’t take long for the Road Warriors to get confused and start acting like they’re on the same team (they look really stupid here). Things calm down and it’s now Animal vs. Luger. Luger takes charge with a powerslam. Animal comes back with his own powerslam and a shoulder. Luger turns the tide with a double axe handle and a suplex. Animal no-sells the suplex and stand right back up. Booker is tagged in as Luger clotheslines Animal. Animal suplexes Booker T, but misses an elbow. Booker does his spinaroonie and hits Animal with a sidekick. He locks on a sleeper hold. Animal gets out of it, but Booker hits him back down with a scissors kick. He goes for a pin, but Hawk breaks it up. Then the Road decide to beat up Luger and Booker. The fight spills outside and both teams are counted out, resulting in both being eliminated from the Lethal Lottery.

Thoughts: There was some decent action here, but the stupidity of the Road Warriors really brings the score down. If you have a shot at the world title, you should be willing to fight your partner for one match. The Road Warriors were infamous for refusing to ever break up or fight each other (they eventually would in an awful storyline in 1998 WWF). 2/10

Public Enemy vs. Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan & Chris Benoit

Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge of Public Enemy are pretty lucky since they have wound up in the Lethal Lottery together. Benoit and Rocco Rock start kick things off. Benoit lifts Rocco for a powerslam, but it is reversed with head scissors. Rocco also reverses a powerbomb into a hurricarana. Benoit finally gets him with a second powerbomb attempt. Rocco is taken to Benoit and Sullivan’s corner. Rocco Rock and the Taskmaster take the fight outside the ring. Sullivan grabs a chair and hits Rocco with it. Rocco turns the tide and sets up a table, putting Sullivan on it. He gets in the ring and prepares to dive onto the table, but Benoit cuts him off with a hard clotheslines. Benoit attacks Grunge, but gets suplexed outside. Benoit and Sullivan are both put on the table. It looks like Sullivan is holding him in place for some reason. Grunge and Rocco double dive onto the table, putting Benoit through. The Taskmaster abandons Benoit as he is pinned.

Thoughts: This was a decent brawl, but too short for a PPV. This is around the time Benoit and Sullivan started feuding with each other. 3/10

Sgt. Craig Pittman & Scott Steiner vs. the Booty Man & Rick Steiner

If you’re wondering, the Booty Man is Hogan’s friend Ed Leslie as a man who loves his buttocks and likes to dance. He is accompanied by Kimberly (DDP’s wife), who for some reason has fallen in love with a middle-aged man who likes to show off his ass. Pittman (an underrated wrestler) puts an armlock on the Booty Man. He switches to a headlock before striking with his elbow and tagging in Scott Steiner. The Booty Man is hit with a powerbomb. Pittman and Rick Steiner are both tagged in. They collide mid-ring and then trade suplexes. Pittman applies an armlock. He goes for a clothesline, but Rick Steiner dodges it and comes back with his own. A downed Pittman manages to tag in Scott Steiner. Unlike the Road Warriors, the Steiner Brothers actually go at it!

Scott gets Rick with a fireman carry, but is then on the receiving end of a headlock takedown. After some grappling Scott suplexes Rick. Rick clotheslines Scott. Scott gets a roll-up pin, but Rick kicks out. Scott locks ona the full-nelson, but Rick reverses it and hits a German suplex. Rick gets on the turnbuckle, but Scott slams him off of it. Pittman and Booty Man tag in. Scott Steiner suplexes the Booty Man. Pittman applies Code Red, his special submission hold, on Booty Man. Booty manages to pull himself to the ropes and tags in Rick Steiner. One hard German suplex and Rick pins Pittman.

Thoughts; This is the best of the Lethal Lottery matches. They almost got ten minutes instead of squeezing a whole match into five minutes. The Steiners were willing to give fans the spectacle of seeing them fight each other, and they also delivered a lot of suplexes and slams, which is why I like a lot of their matches.. It was also nice that most of the Booty Man’s involvement was him getting hit with suplexes or put in submission holds by the far better Scott Steiner and Sgt. Craig Pittman. He’s an awful character with an awful move-set. It’s a shame he was on the winning team. 6/10

Blue Bloods vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan & VK Wallstreet

Like Public Enemy, Lord Steven Regal and Dave Taylor have been lucky enough to end up as an intact tag team. Regal and Duggan start taunting each other, with Regal making his usual, hilarious insulted faces as Duggan’s dim-witted posturing. Duggan gets Regal with a hip toss. Wallstreet, who is feuding with Duggan, refuses to tag in when asked. Duggan hits a clothesline and this time he is able to tag in Wallstreet. Regal tags in Taylor. The Blue Bloods gang up on Wallstreet for a few seconds. Regal tags back in and trades uppercuts with Wallstreet. Duggan tags in and punches everybody, even his own tag team partner! He puts tape on his right hand and knocks out Taylor for the pin.

Thoughts: This was an entertaining, if not good match. There is is some idiocy on Duggan and Wallstreet’s part, but unlike with the Road Warriors it makes more sense here. Duggan is a big idiot (some would say he’s mentally challenged) and Wallstreet is rightfully scared of a giant Irishman who loves to punch out bad guys. This match would be better if it was longer, which is a common problem with all these short tag matches. 4/10

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

Disco retreats from Slater into a corner. Slater hits him with a back body thump..Eaton and Wright are tagged in. Wright leaps over Eaton. He delivers uppercuts, dropkicks, scissors takedowns with his legs, and a back kick. Slater gets in and stops Wright’s momentum with a neckbreaker. He goes for a piledriver, but Wright reverses it.. Disco is tagged in and he and Wright dominate before Slater takes off one of his boots and hits Disco in the back of the head. He gets the pin. After the match Col. Parker accepts a cigar from Eaton’s butler Jeeves!

Thoughts: This match was almost nothing. The only good thing to come out of it was some of Wright’s great offense. 3/10

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

There’s three members of the Dungeon of Doom in here, with the Barbarian being the odd man out on DDP’s side. DDP and Morrus start off. DDP locks on a couple holds before Morrus shoulder blocks him, sending him out of the ring. Meng and the Barbarian are tagged in. Meng hits some chops. Barbarian knocks him down. They run at each other and collide. Meng gets knocked down again. The Barbarian tags in Page and suplexes him onto Meng. Meng gets up pretty quickly and tags in Morrus. Morrus hits a suplex and then a flying elbow drop. He goes for another flying attack, but DDP stops him and tags in the Barbarian. The Barbarian gives him a belly-to-belly suplex off the turnbuckle and goes for the pin. Meng breaks the pin and delivers a suplex. Morrus hits a moonsault on Barbarian. DDP runs in and fight Meng. At the same time Meng and the Barbarian hit sidekicks to take down each other’s partnerts. They go for simultaneous pins. The Barbarian is the legal man so his pin counts.

Thoughts: This is an okay match. There were some neat moments, like Hugh Morrus’ moonsault (his only cool move). This is a good match for Nitro, but not for a PPV. 4/10

Big Bubba & Stevie Ray vs. Fire & Ice (Scott Norton & Ice-Train)

Stevie Ray takes down Norton. Norton hits a running shoulder and gets Stevie into the corner. He charges him and is met with a boot to the face. Stevie Ray tags in Bubba. Bubba hits a wind-up punch, body splash, ad spinebuster. Norton retaliates with a clothesline. Ice Train is tagged in and suplexes Bubba, followed by a body splash. Ice Train stops an attempted punch by Bubba and the two clothesline each other. Norton gets in and beats on Bubba, while keeping Stevie Ray away. Big Bubba is thrown into Steve Ray. Ice Train and Scott Norton do a double clothesline on Bubba and Norton gets the pin.

Thoughts: An okay match. It was almost a squash showcasing Fire & Ice, a tag team that was just assembled under future general manager of Smackdown Teddy Long. 3/10

Eddie Guerrero & Arn Anderson vs. Ric Flair & Randy Savage

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson are both in the Four Horsemen. Flair doesn’t show up when his music plays. As Savage walks down the entranceway, he emerges behind him with an attack. Anderson joins in. Guerrero, being an honorable babyface, doesn’t like this even though it favors his team, and breaks up the beat-down, focusing on Flair. Guerrero hits a back body drop and two dropkicks. Flair rakes his eyes and tags in Savage. Arn Anderson beats on Savage, cutting off any attempt at offense. Arn hits a spinebuster and Flair tags himself in so he can join in on the fun. Guerrero manages to get into the match and rakes Flair’s eyes. He delivers some chops,a  dropkick, and a tornado DDT. Savage attacks Flair. Arn DDTs Guerrero and lets Flair pin him for the win. Miss Elizabeth and Flair’s other female friend, Woman, join in on further beating up Savage before Anderson delivers another DDT.

Thoughts: This was a pretty interesting scenario. I felt really sorry for Eddie Guerrero, who wants to have a legitimate tag team match, but is caught in the crossfire of a heated feud with Four Horsemen shenanigans. This is one of the more exciting moments of the show, though like almost everything else it could have been longer. 5/10

Gene Okerlund is out with in his words “three ladies from Hooters, one of my favorite establishments” to see which teams will be paired off for the second round. Due to the Road Warriors causing a double countout, one lucky team gets to skip the second round. That turns out to be Fire & Ice.

Dean Malenko vs. Brad Armstrong for the Cruiserweight Title

The Cruiserweight Title is still very new at this point. Malenko and Armstrong lock up. Armstrong hits an Enziguri. Malenko dominates the first half, using various holds and strikes to wear down his opponent’s leg. Armstrong reverses one hold into a pin for a near-fall. Malenko resumes his punishment. Armstrong eventually fights out of it and whips Malenko into a corner. Malenko saves himself from hitting the ringpost with a slingshot splash, but turns into a hard right. Armstrong whips Malenko into another corner and runs into a boot. He recovers instantly and powerslams his opponent. He locks on the Texas Cloverleaf. Malenko gets to the ropes and turns the tide back in the favor. He gets Armstrong up on the turnbuckle and jumps off with a gutbuster to get the pin

Thoughts: This was a short, but for this PPV long, title match. It was fairly good, with Malenko using some good strategy on Armstrong’s leg and a pretty cool finish. The cruiserweight division was still heating up at this point and would become the high point of almost every WCW pay-per-view. 6/10

Dick Slater & Bobby Eaton vs. Jim Duggan & VK Wallstreet

Duggan and Wallstreet are being a dysfunctional team again, fighting each other instead of their opponents. Eaton and Slater take advantage and attack. Slater makes a failed pin attempt. He and Eaton isolate Wallstreet in their corner and beat on him. Wallstreet manages to knock Eaton to the outside, where he walks into a punch from Duggan. Wallstreet locks the abdominal stretch on Eaton and tries to get some extra leverage by holding Duggan’s hand, a typical cheating heel move. Duggan refuses. Slater breaks the hold. Duggan is tagged in. He whips Slater off the ropes and catches him with a clothesline. Eaton and Wallstreet are tagged in. Eaton hits a suplex and gets on the turnbuckle. He gets thrown off. Wallstreet misses a punch and accidentally hits Duggan. This causes more dissension. Eaton takes advantage and rolls up Wallstreet for the win. Duggan chases Wallstreet to the back.

Thoughts: This was okay. There were some interesting moments focusing on the dysfunction of Jim Duggan and VK Wallstreet. 4/10

Public Enemy vs. Randy Savage & Ric Flair.

This time Savage no-shows as his music plays. Flair walks to the ring as Miss Elizabeth throws some of the Macho Man’s money to the crowd. Savage suddenly attack Flair from behind. Wrestlers and security men come in to stop Savage and bring him to the back. Where were you guys when Flair was doing the same thing to Savage? Flair runs away and Public Enemy wins by forfeit.

Thoughts: This is more angle advancement that also serves to cut out another match and make more time. 0/10

DDP & the Barbarian vs. the Booty Man & Rick Steiner

DDP kicks things off against the Booty Man, who actually got him removed from WCW for a few weeks at Uncensored 1996. DDP is knocked outside and tangled in wires. Rick Steiner gets in an suplexes Page. Steiner mounts DDP in the corner and punches away. DDP grabs his tights and pulls him off, enabling him to tag in the Barbarian. The Barbarian beats on Steiner and goes for a boot. Steiner catches him and suplexes him off the turnbuckle.. Barbarian is clotheslined, but comes back with a powerbomb for a two count. The Booty Man tags in, but the ref doesn’t see it. Steiner is thrown outside and DDP stomps him. The Booty Man finally gets tagged in and hits Barbarian with the HIgh Knee (get it? As in hiney, because he likes his booty?). He covers him for the pin, but DDP intervenes with an elbow and rolls the Barbarian over him. Booty Man is pinned.

Thoughts: This was a decent match. Once again the Booty Man was absent from most of the action and also suffers the pin. Once again, this could have been a couple minutes longer. 4/10

Konnan vs. Jushin Thunder Liger (w/Sonny Onoo)

Konnan takes down Liger immediately and makes a failed pin attempt. He and Liger roll around, getting two counts. After another series of quick counters Liger maneuvers Konnan onto the mat and hits him with a senton splash. Konnan steps out of the ring and is hit with a flying attack. Liger gets him back in and hits a brainbuster. They get back into mat wrestling, with Konnan going between submission holds. Liger counters one into a surfboard stretch, followed by a camel clutch. Konnan gets a rope break. Liger gets on him again and locks in a bow and arrow hold. Tiring of Konnan’s refusal to give up, Liger resorts to punches. Konnan gets up and the two exchange palm thrusts. Liger connects with a somersault kick. Liger superplexes Konnan and follows up with a flying body splash. Konnan still kicks out. Konnan is dropkicked to the outside. Liger flies out after him, but is intercepted by a dropkick. They get back in the ring, where Liger hits a fisherman buster. Konnan is thrown headfirst into the turnbuckle. He reverses an Irish Whip and slams Liger backfirst into the mat for a flip pin. Liger kicks out and Konnan goes for a powerbomb. Liger reverses it into a failed pin attempt. He makes his own special Liger Bomb, but fails to get a pin. Konnan is hit with a scoop slam. Liger comes off the turnbuckle, but Konnan catches him with his feet and manages to hit Powerdrive (a DDT variation) for the win.

Thoughts: This was the best match of the night. In his WCW run, Konnan usually had slow-paced matches that wound up being boring. He always worked best when battling cruiserweights, and here he actually pulls off a pretty good match, though a lot of the credit has to go to Jushin Thunder Liger. 7/10

WCW commentator and former Chicago Bulls player Steve McMichael interrupts Gene Okerlund as he interviews Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. He tells Flair and Anderson that he’s sick of what they’re doing with Randy Savage and challenges them to a tag team match at the Great American Bash. His partner is revealed to be Kevin Greene of the Carolina Panthers.

Battlebowl

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

It looks like none of the big names like Flair or Luger made it. You can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, or going over the top rope. Typical battle royal action ensues with a lot of punching and shoving. Rocco Rock jumps at the Barbarian and gets caught. He uses his legs to knock himself loose from his grip. The Barbarian throws out DDP. It looks like his feet hit the floor, but the ref doesn’t see it and he gets back in. Why is there only one ref? In a WWE battle royal there’s always at least three to make sure eliminations are counted.

Ice Train slams a couple people. Rocco Rock charges the Barbarian, but gets tossed out and eliminated. Slater takes his boot off and eliminates Eaton with it. Slater is immediately eliminated by someone else. An irate Eaton punches Col. Parker. Slater is also angry and punches Norton before he leaves. This enables DDP to eliminate Norton. It,s Barbarian, DDP, Ice Train, and Johnny Grunge. Ice Train powerslams everybody. DDP hits everyone with Diamond Cutters and starts pinning everybody. Grunge and Ice Train are eliminated, bu the Barbarian kicks out. The Barbarian catches a kick attempt from Page and clotheslines him. Page and Barbarian exchange failed pin attempts before the latter hits a piledriver. DDP kicks out. The Barbarian locks on a sleeper hold. Page breaks it with a low blow. The Barbarian then hits him with a powerbomb, which is also kicked out of. Page is kicking out of everything! The Barbarian misses a flying headbutt. He eats the Diamond Cutter and DDP gets the pin.

Thoughts: This was a decent battle royal that is elevated a little by Diamond Dallas Page’s one-on-one with the Barbarian. This is pretty much where he started to transition into a major player. However, his promised title shot would be taken away from him and given to Lex Luger since his feet may have touched the floor early on in the match. Otherwise, the first moments are pretty “meh”. Typical battle royal action and a lot of people that can’t win. 5/10

The Giant (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Sting (w/Lex Luger)

Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart are handcuffed together to stop any interference (which will turn out to not work at all). Sting attacks the Giant right at the start, but nothing he does seems to have an effect. The Giant goes on the offensive, but misses an elbow smash. Sting goes for the bodyslam, but he collapses under the weight of the Giant and almost gets pinned. The Giant dominates, beating on Sting on the ground and then in a corner. He steps on the Stinger a little bit and then puts him in the corner again, delivering a series of shoulder thrusts.  He delivers a headbutt to his abdomen. He then puts him in a body scissors with his large legs. This goes on for a while, as the Giant keeps using the ropes for leverage. He finally gets caught by the ref and has to release the hold. Sting goes for a kick, but gets thrown outside. They end up in the entranceway, where the Giant lifts Sting for a chokeslam. He aims for a table, but Luger drags Jimmy Hart onto it, convincing the Giant to put down Sting.

The action gets back in the ring. The Giant delivers a dropkick, but Luger intervenes again, pulling Sting out of the way. The ref accidentally gets knocked out, just as Sting starts to get in successful offense by trapping the Giant in the corner and hitting him with kicks, Stinger Splashes, and punches. The Giant starts choking Luger, while getting hit with Stinger Splashes from behind. The Giant is knocked down onto the mat for the first time by a dropkick. Sting sees Jimmy Hart trying to interfere and goes for a Stinger Splash. Luger actually pulls Hart out of the way and Sting misses, only to bounce back onto the Giant. Sting jumps from the turnbuckle onto his opponent, but is thrown off. Sting hits him with the same move and puts on the Scorpion Deathlock. Luger and Hart have a scuffle and accidentally hit Sting with Hart’s megaphone. The Giant takes advantage and hits the chokeslam for the pin.

Thoughts: This is a good, if not great title match. It’s way better than any of the Hogan vs. Giant matches. I think it’s because Sting doesn’t have Hogan’s ego, so he’s willing to make the Giant look like a monster and get dominated and pinned. Hogan’s bouts with the Giant would end in disqualification or something super goofy like the Dungeon of Doom ruining the match. 6/10

Overall Thoughts

The Lethal Lottery was an interesting idea, but was always being shoved into a three hour PPV, often alongside other matches. The concept would be better served if it was split over several weekly shows like Monday Nitro and WCW Saturday Night, with the final round and battle royal on the PPV. The matches here are just too short, better suited for Nitro. There’s a problem when jobber Brad Armstrong has one of the best matches. The main drawback can be a bit of a blessing in disguise, since in order to get things done quick the wrestlers do very little rest holds or lengthy amounts of stomping and punching. This is a slightly below average PPV. The three title matches aren’t amazing, but look great in comparison to everything else.

Final Rating: 4/10