WCW Slamboree 1996

WCW SlamBoree 1996
Sunday, May 19
Riverside Centroplex – Baton Rouge, LA

“What goes up Must come down … HARD!”

Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan & “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes

BattleBowl First Round Tag-Team Match:
Road Warrior Animal & Booker T. vs. Road Warrior Hawk & “The Total Package” Lex Luger

Result/Analysis: Double Count-Out (6:52). Both “teams” are eliminated from BattleBowl and The Road Warriors, Booker and Luger won’t have a shot to be crowned Lord of the Ring at night’s end. Whatever. Luger trades off facing Animal and Booker, with Hawk never tagged in. There’s some semblance of a match but you could have stalled at your fridge looking for that last beer and not missed a thing. When Hawk does get in, he starts a fight with Luger. At that point, the match becomes The Road Warriors pairing off against Luger and Booker. The pier-six brawl spills outside the ring and continues long enough for referee Nick Patrick to count all four men out. Just bad.
Rating: DUD

BattleBowl First Round Tag-Team Match:
Public Enemy [“Flyboy” Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge] vs. “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan
(w/ Jimmy Hart) & “The Canadian Crippler” Chris Benoit

Result/Analysis: Public Enemy via pinfall (4:44) after crashing Benoit thru a table. Sullivan and Benoit were positioned on the table but Sullivan moves off so that Benoit is the one that’s damaged. Sullivan then feigns a knee injury and hobbles off with Hart. Public Enemy rolls Benoit into the ring for the easy three count. Sullivan and Benoit had friction going in so the events here exasperate their disdain for another. Public Enemy stayed together in the “random” drawing so it’s explainable they advance on. At least Benoit and Rock have a decent wrestling sequence before the match breaks down into chaos. Public Enemy is now subject to the next drawing prior to the second round. The first match offered nothing, this at least kicked a can or two down the road, so.
Rating: *

BattleBowl First Round Tag-Team Match:
Sgt. Craig “Pitbull” Pittman (w/ Teddy Long) & Scott Steiner vs. The Booty Man (w/ The Booty Babe) & “The Dog-Faced Gremlin” Rick Steiner

Result/Analysis: The Booty Man & Rick Steiner via pinfall (8:24) when Rick pins Pittman with a belly-to-back suplex. And yes, The Steiner’s do mix it up and square off! Awesome. If only The Road Warriors had done the same. Pfft. The mat wrestling, Scott suckering Rick in for an inside cradle by playing possum, Scott’s suplex arsenal in full-force and Rick hitting the Steinerline, highlight their exchange. The crowd loved it. Who wouldn’t given The Steiner’s hadn’t been on opposite sides yet? Pittman and Booty manage not to stink up the joint and Booty nearly submits to Pittman’s code red cross arm-breaker submission. Nice. All four men are babyface so the match is competitive without being hostile. I’d have favored Scotty and “Pitbull” but the result goes the other way. Good stuff.
Rating: **3/4

BattleBowl First Round Tag-Team Match:
The Blue Bloods [“Lord” Steven Regal & “Squire” David Taylor] (accompanied by Jeeves)
vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan & V.K. Wallstreet

Result/Analysis: Duggan & Wallstreet via pinfall (3:48) when Duggan pins Taylor following a punch to the head with a taped fist. Really now, this crap is on pay-per-view? Duggan and Walstreet are arch-enemies so they can’t co-exist. His Lordship is besmirched the whole match being lowered to a sub-standard level of having to compete against such an imbecile. The Squire is a pawn in this wretched game of chess and offers no value. If only Jeeves had stuck around. Awful.
Rating: DUD

BattleBowl First Round Tag-Team Match:
“Dirty” Dick Slater (w/ Colonel Robert Parker) & “Earl” Robert Eaton (accompanied by Jeeves)
vs. “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright & The Disco Inferno

Result/Analysis: Slater & Eaton via pinfall (2:58) when Slater pins Disco after hitting him with his cowboy boot. Woof! These are HORRIBLE matches. WCW only received a 0.44 buyrate for this event so even the fans knew to stay away. Wright tries to wrestle but otherwise it’s just some clubberin’ going on. We have ourselves a new top contender for “Worst PPV of 1996” as this continues on. Slater and Eaton join Duggan, Walstreet, Booty Man, Rick Steiner and Public Enemy in the second round. I wish I was kidding! What’s next?
Rating: DUD

BattleBowl First Round Tag-Team Match:
Diamond Dallas Page & The Barbarian vs. Hugh Morrus & Meng

Result/Analysis: DDP & The Barbarian via pinfall (5:17) when The Barbarian pins Morrus following a clothesline. Meng was simultaneously covering DDP for a pin but referee Randy Anderson tosses out Meng’s fall as DDP had his feet underneath the ring ropes. Gee whiz, WCW is stretching the envelope on this show finding different ways to end matches. The common theme is all ways have sucked. Meng and The Barbarian do a tit-for-tat sequence but both are impervious to pain. Asking either one to SELL wasn’t in their make-up. I’m beginning to recollect this colossal shitfest of an event is about DDP. Given those who’ve advanced on in BattleBowl, Page has as good at shot as anybody of winning the battle royal to be crowned Lord of the Ring. This match was more fluff.
Rating: *1/4

BattleBowl First Round Tag-Team Match:
Big Bubba & Stevie Ray vs. Fire and Ice [Scott Norton & Ice Train]

Result/Analysis: Fire and Ice via pinfall (3:33) when Norton pins Big Bubba following a double shoulderblock between he and Ice Train. This match is a train wreck much like the entirety of the event. Clotheslines are aplenty here but that’s about all. It’s another TERRIBLE tag-team bout. Someone wake up Baton Rouge because these people are comatose.
Rating: DUD

BattleBowl First Round Tag-Team Match:
Eddie Guerrero & “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage & “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/ Woman and Elizabeth)

Result/Analysis: Savage & Flair via pinfall (4:07) when Flair pins Guerrero after Anderson DDT’s him. Flair spends the match beating up on Savage or making sure Savage is tagged in so that Anderson can dish out the punishment … Horsemen-style. Within all of that, Guerrero shines as he “wrestles”amidst the chaos. WCW obviously believed in Guerrero to give him this opportunity and therby have him integrated in the card’s main storyline. The result of Flair and Savage advancing on in BattleBowl is absolutely necessary. They were the only credible Main Eventers out of the previous match winners. Watching Flair be the dick partner and AA backing up his mission is classic. Five more minutes of Savage torture with Guerrero shining in the spotlight, plus the same result would have equaled gold. As it is, Flair lays the boots to Savage more, Anderson gives Macho a second DDT onto the mat outside the ring, and Elizabeth rubs salt in the wound with a slap to his face.
Rating: **

Tony, Bobby and Dusty recap the first round winners. Tony says the next random drawing upcoming will determine which team will receive a bye into the Battle Bowl 8-man battle royal with 7 teams advancing and only slots for three second round matches comprised of the other 6 teams.

A Great American Bash promo comes next. It’s a WCW Father’s Day you’ll never forget. LOL.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund is standing by with some girls from “Hooters” which Gene says is one of his favorite establishments. Creep. Fire and Ice are drawn as the team to receive the second round bye. Good. I didn’t want to see them wrestle again. As for one of the second round match-ups, Slater and Eaton will square off with Duggan and Walstreet. Oh hell, that match wouldn’t be on WCW Saturday Night if I was in charge of the booking. Moving on …

WCW Cruiserweight Championship:
Brad Armstrong vs. Dean Malenko (c)

Result/Analysis: Malenko via pinfall (8:28) following a gutbuster off the top turnbuckle. The “Iceman” cometh as Malenko systematically dismantles Armstrong’s knee using a variety of holds. Even by 1996, ring psychology, working a specific body part to weaken it, had become a lost art in professional wrestling. It was a lost art, and, few guys would SELL for anyone to thereby craft a match. Armstrong, in contrast to Malenko, the self-professed “Man of 1,000 Holds,” was a longtime veteran of the sport having begun his career in 1980 and had held various championships in multiple promotions. BA was a high-flyer by trade but he could chain/mat wrestle with anyone as was Malenko’s forte. The charade over there being a tournament contested on two continents to crown a Cruiserweight Champion, Shinjiro Otani at first, was again perpetuated here, as that never happened, but Malenko being the current titleholder at least meant there’d be a good match if he was involved. This card has stunk all night so to watch an actual wrestling match wherein there was a working plan has lifted me out of my drowsy state. I still need more caffeine, stat.
Rating: **3/4

Blood Runs Cold: Glacier is coming to WCW … well he is, sometime, eventually, or, after a while. But, who the F knows when? Had it been never that would have been fine, too. The vignette for Glacier promised “our world was a out to change.” HaHa. Anyway, the second round of Battle Bowl must now commence. Yawn.

Okerlund announces the other two match pairings for the second round with those Hooters stand-ins. Public Enemy will oppose Flair and Savage. DDP and The Barbarian square off with The Booty Man and Rick Steiner. Gene just wants to get himself to Hooters. Can we hurry this up please?

BattleBowl Second Round Tag-Team Match:
“Dirty” Dick Slater (w/ Colonel Robert Parker) & “Earl” Robert Eaton
vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan & V.K. Wallstreet

Result/Analysis: Slater & Eaton via pinfall (4:10) when Eaton pins Walstreet with a roll-up after “un-friendly” fire from Duggan. So lame. Walstreet and Duggan spend half the match sparring with each other. Explainable, yes, but what SH**! Slater and Eaton are in the BattleBowl battle royal? What year are we in? Colonel Parker is at least overjoyed.
Rating: DUD

BattleBowl Second Round Tag-Team Match:
Public Enemy was to take on Flair and Savage, but no. Savage attacks Flair in the aisle during Flair’s entrance to spark a melee. Elizabeth and Woman were tossing Savage’s money into the crowd. Public Enemy advances to Battle Bowl via count-out. WCW could not have booked a worse PPV. Given who’s in the battle royal now and the match remaining to complete the field, the winner and the next Lord of the Ring is obvious. “It’s me, it’s ME, it’s D-D-P!”

BattleBowl Second Round Tag-Team Match:
Diamond Dallas Page & The Barbarian vs. The Booty Man (w/ The Booty Babe) & Rick Steiner

Result/Analysis: DDP & The Barbarian via pinfall (5:08) when The Barbarian pins The Booty Man following an elbow to the back of Booty’s neck by DDP. By golly, yes, that’s the actual finish. Holy hell. When you think an event can’t possibly get worse, it somehow still does. There’s no redeeming quality. For Battle Bowl, the final eight men that will compete are: Dick Slater, Robert Eaton, Scott Norton, Ice Train, Rocco Rock, Johnny Grunge, The Barbarian and DDP. Atrocious. Abominable.

Dusty heads backstage to investigate the latest on Flair and Macho. That means Mike Tenay joins Tony and Bobby for Konnan and Jushin Thunder Liger. I guess Tenay improves the commentary?

WCW United States Heavyweight Championship:
Jushin Thunder Liger (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Konnan (c)

Result/Analysis: Konnan via pinfall (9:31) following a Razor’s Edge into a sit-out powerbomb. The first five minutes and change are an absolute snooze as Liger and Konnan do a mat wrestling exchange. The crowd is too dead (as am I) at this point to get juiced by holds and counter holds. These guys are stuck in Jell-O. The latter half picks up, however, as the modest submission holds are ditched in favor of aerial and power moves. These produce some long two counts. Liger controls 90 percent of the match while Tenay bores us with his astute commentary on both international stars. Both were legit, but neither had a following in The States and they’re wrestling over the U.S. Heavyweight Title. I guess that’s how WCW figured its fans would care? By the end, this is a pretty good match but the rating I give it is inflated by the heaps of trash on this card.
Rating: ***

There’s time to kill apparently so Okerlund brings out Flair, who’s joined by AA, Elizabeth and Woman. Flair gives us his synopsis of what we’ve seen tonight. Besides crap? Ric says Savage is locked up downtown, he’ll have a mental evaluation tomorrow, and he is, for all intents and purposes gone, as in, “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” gone. LOL. And while Savage is locked up in the jailhouse tonight, they’ll be having a pajama lingerie party at the top of the Radisson Hotel, all while armed by double security. Flair says it will be the first real party in Baton Rouge. Now turning to one Steve McMichael … Naitch says Mongo has stepped in it with his mouth. Flair says Debra is in his back pocket so he’s not the one to blame. Mongo comes out but Flair tells him to watch it as “The Enforcer” is here and he’s walked over more football players on the way to the rest room than guys Mongo played against. Ha! Flair sums up what’s been going on by cracking into tune “Lonely Women Make Good Lovers, whoooo!” Flair challenges Mongo to a match versus himself and AA if McMichael can find a partner that’s willing to step into the ring with The Horsemen. Mongo says he came prepared as he thought something like this would go down. Out comes Kevin Greene, which sets up The Great American Bash next month. Flair and AA back off as Greene introduces himself while speaking gibberish. Tony, Dusty and Bobby think this is a monumental match forthcoming.

Eight Man Battle Royal BattleBowl Finals:
Scott Norton, Ice Train, “Dirty” Dick Slater, “Earl” Robert Eaton, Public Enemy [Johnny Grunge & “Flyboy” Rocco Rock], Diamond Dallas Page and The Barbarian

Result/Analysis: DDP via pinfall (9:40) following a diamond cutter on The Barbarian. Yes, you read that correctly, via pinfall. In a Battle Royal! WCW crapped all over itself. DDP pinned the final three guys: Grunge, Ice Train and The Barbarian. The other four stiffs were eliminated by being tossed over the top rope which is what a Battle Royal is. Oh God, you can’t defend this. So Page wins and is Lord of the Ring. With it was supposed to come a World Heavyweight Title shot but alas, WCW drops that detail immediately as if forgetting they advertised BattleBowl being about that. The Main Event awaits still but what a wretched tournament. The crowd needs EMS for resuscitation.
Rating: 1/2*

The Giant and Jimmy Hart are with Okerlund in the locker room. Hart is sweating bullets over being handcuffed to Luger during the match. Say what? The Giant is tired of Sting. He says Sting has been a thorn in his side, a rat under his bed and a cockroach in his apple pie. Lame. Tonight, he’ll exterminate everybody. DDP, The Giant suggests, should watch this match and think about whether he wants to be next. Terrible promo. It almost makes me want Hulk Hogan back now. I said almost.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship:
Sting [WCW World Tag-Team Champion] (w/ Lex Luger) vs. The Giant (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Result/Analysis: The Giant via pinfall (10:42) following a chokeslam. The added wrinkle/stipulation of having Luger and Hart handcuffed to each other is integral to the booking of the match. Sting bounces off The Giant like teflon early on with his offensive prowess having little to no effect. The Giant works his power, size and strength to pummel and weaken Sting from there. Later on, outside the ring, The Giant goes to chokeslam Sting thru a table but Luger props Hart on top of the table so The Giant doesn’t follow up on the threat. Sting makes a comeback as the crowd goes bonkers. Tony, Dusty and Bobby at this point hype Sting as a 6x World Heavyweight Champion. Sting hits a series of Stinger splashes but when he tries another dive, he hits the turnbuckle with Hart pulled off, seemingly by Luger, as Hart had positioned himself to interfere. The finishing sequence comes with Sting having the scorpion death lock on The Giant as Hart and Luger struggle on the ring apron for control over who has the megaphone. Of course, Luger wrestles it free from Hart’s grasp only to lunge forward with Sting getting hit on “accident.” The Giant recovers and chokeslams Sting to retain the Title. Once again, Luger and Sting, and the goings-on between them, remains the best thing WCW was offering up. The Giant walks off triumphant in victory as Tony, Dusty and Bobby summarize the event. This match was as good as it could have been.
Rating: ***

The Verdict: To watch Slamboree 1996 is one time too many. The Main Event has juice, OK. That you like. DDP again making a comeback in his early rags-to-riches career, yeah, that’s a story here, too. But BattleBowl, how the tournament plays itself out, scrub mid-card talent in nearly every match, plus awful match quality and booking, lends itself to a BAD pay-per-view. Of course, within weeks, save for Flair and Anderson against Mongo and Greene, none of what materialized here matters with the n.W.o. angle about to commence, which makes Slamboree 1996 a footnote in a transitional time in WCW. The crowd is dead the entire night outside of Sting/The Giant and the Savage/Flair tag match. Monday Nitro is 90 minutes the following night and then increases to a full two hours by May 27th. At that point, WCW begins their ascent. At this juncture, even with the shortcomings in roster talent the WWF had, the better product, in retrospect, may still have been produced by one Vince McMahon. WCW would have been out of business within one year or two without the n.W.o.

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