WCW Starrcade 1992: Battlebowl/ The Lethal Lottery II Review

starrcade-92-logo

Hello everyone and welcome to WCW Starrcade 1992 review!  I’m glad to be getting back to such a fun series with the Starrcade reviews! However, what is not so fun is the idea of another Lethal Lottery. I thought they learned their lesson the first time! Regardless, I don’t have much to say about this show. I’m mostly just looking forward to Vader vs. Flair at the next Starrcade, so lets get this review over with!

The show begins with a video discussing the prestige of Starrcade and the card for the show. It looks pretty decent! Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura greet the audience and discuss the show a bit. Then, Eric Bischoff states that Rick Rude has a herniated disk, so Steve Williams will face Ron Simmons. Sadly, Rude is injured but the match should be good anyway. The wrestlers in the locker room for Battlebowl are shown, last year’s Battlebowl is recapped, and the Battlebowl ring is displayed by Bill Watts, Tony Schiavone, and Hank Aaron. They make a huge deal out of Battlebowl and the Battlebowl ring the winner gets, but to my knowledge this is the last one. What prestige! Sting then gets his ring from last year. Then, the camera cuts to Missy Hyatt and Larry Zbyszko for the drawing of the Lethal Lottery. The first match is…

van-hammer-dan-spivey-vs-cactus-jack-johnny-b-badd

Van Hammer & Dan Spivey vs. Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd – Lethal Lottery Match

            This was a surprisingly decent match to start the show off! The story here was partner dissention on both sides, which is very common in Lethal Lottery settings. However, this was about as good as I’ve seen it, as it wasn’t shoved down my throat and it stayed subdued. The heels, Cactus and Spivey, would cheat, irking their partners, Badd and Spivey respectively. This lead to some cool moments of dissent, adding a little story to the match. Also, the action was relatively good, with a disgusting spike frankensteiner from Badd to Hammer being a highlight. Even though both the action and story were solid, nothing really stood out, as structure wise it was generic and the action never picked up out of first gear. Even with that, though, this was enjoyable enough and a solid way to start the show.

Rating: **¾

Post match, Hyatt, Schiavone, and Larry draw competitors for the next match…

vader-dustin-rhodes-vs-the-barbarian-kensuke-sasaki

Dustin Rhodes & Vader (w/ Harley Race) vs. Kensuke Sasaki & The Barbarian – Lethal Lottery Match

This match was a decent hoss fight with the value of the wrestling depending on who was in the ring. If Sasaki, Rhodes, or Vader were in the ring, the match was good. If Barbarian was in the ring, then the match went to hell. About half of this match was Vader and Barbarian going at it, and Barbarian botched about five times during the period. Vader looked good, with stiff strikes and good offense, but considering the Barbarian was struggling to lock up, it was pretty rough. Then, Sasaki and Rhodes showed great chemistry, with crisp sequences being laced with hard-hitting strikes. Even the finish was well done, in spite of the fact Barbarian was involved. If the first half of the match wasn’t so sloppy, I would have really enjoyed it. Instead, its just decent, but it still over delivered greatly.

Rating: **¾

Post match, Vader decks Rhodes with a lariat, which makes me cackle. Then, Jim Ross plugs the next PPV, Superbrawl III. The announcers then discuss the previous match and throw it over to Hyatt, Schiavone, and Larry. They draw the names for the next match…

2-cold-scorpio-brian-pillman-vs-the-great-muta-barry-windham

Barry Windham & The Great Muta vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Flyin’ Brian – Lethal Lottery Match

            This was a really nicely done match, especially for the time it had. All four of these guys are awesome, so to see a good match here is no surprise. The best stuff here was from Muta and Pillman, who had a very cool, fast paced sequence as the beginning of this match. Also fun to see was Pillman and Windham, two tag team partners, lay into each other with chops. Otherwise, it was a pretty standard, if highly enjoyable, formula tag match. Muta and Windham got the heat on Scorpio and worked him over for a while. However, Scorpio had quite a bit of back and forth, which kept the heat segment compelling. It is bizarre, though, that the finish came before the hot tag. While the finish wasn’t sudden, I do wish there were a couple more minutes here so the match could become something really good. However, even with the time constraints, this was a really fun match and a breeze to watch.

Rating: ***

Hyatt, Larry, and Schiavone draw the names for the next match…

sting-steve-williams-vs-erik-watts-jushin-liger

Sting & Steve Williams vs. Erik Watts & Jushin Liger – Lethal Lottery Match

            This was another fair tag match on this show, yet I wish the offense here was more back and forth. Early on, Liger got some really well done sequences with both Williams and Sting that were really fun, and Watts even got some sloppy sequences too! However, for some inexplicable reason, Sting and Williams got the heat on Liger and not Watts. Liger is small so it makes sense, but it would make so much more sense to have the more explosive wrestler, Liger, get the hot tag while the less experienced wrestler, Watts, takes the beating. Regardless, the heat was solid, with Liger getting a few good hope spots and the larger men getting some well execute power moves. It was fairly slow, but I was never bored and it was fun to watch. However, when Watts got the hot tag, it was fine (minus the botches) but still baffling. He did well, but it was clear he was very green and had no place in this match. Liger would have made such a better hot tag. Regardless, Watts was only on offense for a short time, as he was pinned rather quickly. I enjoyed this match, but the structure was highly flawed and the lack of offense for Liger was disappointing.

Rating: **½

Jim Ross and Jessie Ventura recap the Lethal Lottery winners since, thankfully, the Lethal Lottery is over. Next up is an NWA Title Match. Cool! Larry Zbyszko and Tony Schiavone hype the next match…

masahiro-chono-vs-the-great-muta

Masahiro Chono (c.) vs. The Great Muta – NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match

            Apparently, Bill Watts told these two to bomb as to not upstage the WCW World Title match. This match has been widely touted as a disaster by most reviewers and is universally panned. I don’t see it. This is, so far, the best match on the show. Sure it wasn’t super fast paced or even really good. I will admit this is nowhere near a classic. However, this is a methodical and solid match with a nice story. The story was that Chono wants the match on the mat and Muta wants it on the feet. Chono gets the advantage early with tons of submissions, while Muta gains the advantage later on with faster paced offense. I will admit the mat work was pretty slow and not super exciting, but the transitions were smooth and well executed and the holds were never on for excessive amounts of time. Then, when Muta got the advantage, the match picked up rather nicely, with impactful and fun back and forth action. The near falls down the stretch even brought the crowd into the match by the end. They weren’t roaring, but audible and decent reactions occurred frequently. I think to call this a disaster is wholly wrong, as the story was solid, the action was solid, and the finishing stretch was solid. Sure, the early going was pretty slow and not super exhilarating, and the holds weren’t put on with must gusto, buts that why its only pretty good. Not every match has to be a crazy action packed affair to be solid. Total disaster my ass.

Rating: ***

The commentators then tell us how Rude is injured, and a tournament for his title will begin. Rude then comes down, cuts a promo about how he’s been screwed and how everything is bullshit. It’s a solid enough promo, but nothing too special. Then, entrances begin for our next match…

steve-williams-vs-ron-simmons

Ron Simmons (c.) vs. Steve Williams – WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match

            Now, if we are going to talk about a slow paced disaster, this fits the bill more closely. This match had its moments of life, but those were few and far between here. Spots like Williams cheating and a frustrated Simmons causing a slugfest seemed to say this match would be an intense affair. It wasn’t. It was mostly an extended heat segment where Williams worked over the leg for eons. If you thought the mat wrestling last match was boring, THIS was boring. It wasn’t bad per se, but the pace was plodding up until the last moments of the heat. Then, Williams began hitting tackles to Simmons’ knee, which was admittedly cool, and soon after Simmons made the comeback. However, as soon as the comeback got going, the brawl spilled to the outside for a double count out. Just great. As soon as the match gets good a screwy finish occurs. I can’t believe this match isn’t deemed the disaster. The early and late back and forth action was pretty solid, but a bloated heat segment and a cheap finish make this match pretty intolerable, if technically sound.

Rating: *¾

Post match the brawl continues, with the most notable spot being Steve Williams trying to Oklahoma Stampede Simmons into the ringpost. While Simmons celebrates in the ring, Williams sneak attacks him and drove him headfirst into the mat. Oh God. They changed the decision so Dr. Death is DQed. Ventura makes a great point, saying how can you change the finish after the match. I’ll take off a quarter star for that bullshit.

Rating: *½

Next, an ad plays hyping the next PPV. Then, Schiavone and Zbyszko hype the next match…

richy-steamboat-shane-douglas-vs-flyin-bryan-barry-windham

Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (c.) vs. Barry Windham & Flyin’ Brian – Unified World Tag Team Championship Match                

This match followed the cliché tag formula pretty much exactly, but did it so well I didn’t mind. There was some fire in this match, as Windham had attacked both of his opponents with a steel chair on a prior show, jumpstarting the feud. Due to this, the babyfaces were a house of fire in the early goings of the match, brawling with both heels constantly. It was wild, as they were just beating down the heels, even if one of the heels was on the apron. A notable spot, which I enjoyed, was when Steamboat was striking the hell out of Windham. The action eventually spills to the floor, with Steamboat slamming him on the outside. Then, Widham tries to escape, Douglas stops him, and slams him on the ramp. After the fiery beginning, the heels get the heat on Douglas for a very compelling heat segment. Douglas sells like a boss, which is odd when compared to how he is most widely known as a heel. To compliment the great selling, Windham and Pillman bring the A game, using clever, dirty tactics and teasing hot tags. The heel’s antics riled up the crowd and made the eventual hot tag so much more satisfying. Also, another spot I really enjoyed was when Windham was beating up Douglas on the floor, and Steamboat hits Windham with a chair while the ref is distracted. This harkens back to the initial attack by Windham weeks prior, while also showing the babyfaces are still pissed and fired up. Steamboat in general was just awesome, getting so fired up and playing a perfect foil to the heels. Then, when the hot tag comes, they do something contrary to logic that works like a dream, have Steamboat work from the bottom, fighting back with short bursts of offense. It worked well, as it continued to show the face’s perseverance while allowing another hot tag to Douglas for the finishing stretch. After the second hot tag, the faces ran wild, which was great. Also great was that Douglas got to redeem himself after taking the brunt of the heat. The formula here was executed tremendously, with action to compliment it, logic to validate it, and smart deviations to keep it fresh. There is not much more to ask from tag team wrestling.

Rating: ****

After the match, a video of the Vader vs. Sting feud plays. Then, the announcers hype the next match, which is…

sting-vs-vader

Vader (w/ Harley Race) vs. Sting – King of Cable Finals

This was the basic big man vs. little man story executed to perfection. The story of the monster dominating the sympathetic face is perfect for these two, as Vader is a natural monster and Sting is a tremendous white bread babyface. The match started with Sting’s speed and high octane offense surprising Vader and allowing Sting the advantage, but that didn’t last, as a missed Stinger Splash into the guardrail turned the tide. From that point forth the match was all Vader, with stiff strikes and power moves. Sting made small comebacks throughout, but for the most part it was Vader domination. The strikes here were super stiff, with some of Vader’s punches looking like actual knockout blows. Sting sold here really well too, as everything Vader did seemed to do great physical harm. This made Sting overcoming the punishment with his comebacks all the more impressive as the match went on. Speaking of Sting’s comebacks, they started as very short bursts, but lengthened as he did more offense to the monster. Again, that’s just rock solid psychology, with a slow build to a molten finale. On top of that, the comebacks themselves (and Sting’s offense in general) were fiery and well executed. The big issue here to me is the finishing stretch, which wasn’t bad at all, but felt awkward at points. Some spots seemed like they were botched or just plain poorly planned, as it fell off the wheels a bit by the end. Also, while the story was good, it didn’t allow the match to really reach the next level and become something great. Regardless, this was a fun story with some really nice performances. It’s what wrestling should be.

Rating: ***¾

Post match, Jesse Ventura presents Sting the King of Cable trophy and Sting hypes Battlebowl. Then, Schiavone and Zbyszko hype up Battlebowl as well, which they do quite effectively. They especially hype up the ring itself, comparing it to a Superbowl ring. Then, they even interview an NFL Hall of Famer to give prestige to Battlebowl. Considering Battlebowl doesn’t matter, this little segment is totally hilarious. Finally, it is time for our MAIN EVENT!

 battle-bowl-1992

Dan Spivey vs. Dustin Rhodes vs. The Great Muta vs. Barry Windham vs. Steve Williams vs. Van Hammer vs. Vader (w/ Harley Race) vs. Sting – Battlebowl Match

Just for review, Battlebowl is a battle royal.

I mean, this was fine, but it was just a standard battle royal to be honest. There was a lot of nothing, with dudes just wandering around and punching each other. The most interesting parts were some plot threads from other feuds showing up. For example, Vader jumped Sting at the bell, playing off their rivalry, and they eliminated each other too. Also, Vader fought with Dustin Rhodes, who he attacked earlier in the night. On top of that, Rhodes and Windham fought a bit, since apparently they were best friends at one point, but Windham turned heel. Also, it was fun to see some unusual matchups, like Vader vs. Muta, Muta vs. Williams, etc., as those guys haven’t interacted much to my knowledge. Otherwise, it was very standard. The final two was decent as well, as Windham beat down Muta with some fun moves, but Muta never really got a satisfying comeback, he just won out of nowhere. Overall, this was a fine battle royal. A bit boring and bloated, but not bad by any means.

Rating: **½

Post match, the announcers recap the card we just saw. They then hype Superbrawl III and we are out. Close curtain.

Overall:

Wow! Color me surprised, but this was a really easy show to watch. Nothing was downright atrocious (although Simmons vs. Williams was close), and most matches were a ton of fun. Some matches even hovered around 4*. Overall, this was a very easy watch for me, and one of the more consistently good cards in Starrcade’s history so far.

Rating: ***¼  

Thank you so much for reading my Starrcade 1992 review! I’m very .happy you took the time to check this review out. I’m very happy with how good this show was. It was one of the easiest Starrcades to watch to be honest. As for future reviews, I will have the next part of Rivalries out hopefully soon and another RMR out in the coming weeks for sure. Check out new updates and such here, and check out some of my other writings at freeprowrestling.com. If you want to contact me, check here. Otherwise, like, comment, share, or do whatever else you want to do. Thank you for reading and see you next time!

Top Ten Matches in Starrcade History:

  1. Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA – ’85 – *****
  2. Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger – ’88 – ****½
  3. Doom vs. The Horsemen – ’90 – ****½
  4. Tully Blanchard vs. Ricky Steamboat – ’84 – ****¼
  5. The Minnesota Wrecking Crew vs. The Rock & Roll Express – ’86 – ****
  6. Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper – ’83 – ****
  7. The Original Midnight Express vs. The Midnight Express – ’88 – ****
  8. Barry Windham & Flyin’ Brian vs. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas – ’92 – ****
  9. Ronnie Garvin vs. Ric Flair – ’87 – ****
  10. Harley Race vs. Ric Flair – ’83 – ***¾

-Terrance Smith

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