World Championship Wrestling’s continued return to stability and respectability saw the return of an old favourite PPV concept, Battlebowl.
Lethal Lottery decided 20 participants on Saturday Nitro who will tonight let the luck of the draw decide their fate one more time. Who will earn the next shot at the WCW World heavyweight championship?
And who will be champion after tonight? Booker T sold his soul to get the belt back and become a five-time champion at Goldberg’s expense. His old friend Diamond Dallas Page wants answers almost as much as he wants one more taste of the big gold belt.
And since proving to Jeff Jarrett at the Great American Bash that he can still go, Ric Flair has found himself under siege from Jarrett and his Chosen Few. Tonight, it’s one on one once again as the two rematch under Bunkhouse rules. With no rules and no holds barred, their feud is set to hit fever pitch.
Prior to the start of the PPV, a one-hour pre-show aired for free.
In a pre-tape on the freeview, Jeff Jarrett vows to finally topple Ric Flair, one-on-one, in a match as steeped in history as the Nature Boy himself. Jarrett throws in plenty of Rhodes family mocking as he finishes by saying he will wipe out the old school, old-school style.
Ric Flair rebuts by saying he settled his issue with Jarrett at the GAB, but tonight he’ll make Jarrett pay for thinking he can produce a cheap copy of the Four Horsemen and replace the Nature Boy.
The commentary team analyse the Ambulance match and look at Mike Awesome sending a message to Dustin Rhodes via Bam Bam Bigelow last night.
Guido Maritato and Tony Marinera defeated a couple of no-names in an exhibition of their offense, finishing with their double-team Tomikaze. Glenn Gilbertti makes title belt motions towards their waists after the 3:29 squash.
We cut to highlights of the Battlebowl draw this afternoon – among those looking pleased with their numbers are Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises, Chris Kanyon and Shane Douglas. Chavo Guerrero told Shannon Moore to swap numbers with him but was surprisingly told ‘no’ for the first time. Chavo smacked him round the back of the head in response. Sting, Scott Steiner, Shawn Stasiak and O’Haire and Palumbo offered little insight into the numbers they drew.
Knoble and Kash defeated York and Matthews in their grudge match, using a low blow behind the ref’s back en route to Kash pinning York with a brainbuster. The full match ran 9:13.
Rey Misterio and Kidman are giving their own pre-tape backstage comments on the title defense vs Triple X when the faction attacks, 3-on-2, with Rey in particular being left in particularly bad fashion, clutching his knee. That serves as a cliffhanger as the PPV countdown reaches zero.
We begin with The Cat coming onto the stage as the announcers catch us up to speed with the events of the pre-show, where Triple X ambushed Rey Misterio and did a serious number on his knee. He says Battlebowl is a big deal for him, Eric Bischoff and all of WCW management and he won’t let the match or the PPV be compromised by chaos.
So, after the events of this afternoon, he’s banning Triple X from being at ringside unless they’re actively involved in a match and will personally ensure that the Chosen Few are out of the building by the time Jarrett and Flair tape up their wrists for the Bunkhouse Brawl.
As he leaves, the Jung Dragons enter, causing for an awkward encounter between the old friends until Leia Meow forces them down the aisle and into the ring…
Tag team ladder match: Air Raid vs The Jung Dragons
…where the Dragons lost a crazy Ladder opener, and the feud, to Air Raid. Air Paris assisted to enable a Styles Clash from Styles to Yang off the ladder! And although Kaz neutralised Paris as he climbed, Styles regained his composure enough to climb a second ladder and grab the contract after 17:33 as Paris was knocked down to the ring. Paris gave the triumphant Styles atop the ladder quite the glance despite them both technically winning the match.
Lance Storm came down to the ring and cut another promo on Rob Van Dam. demands the injured RVD answer his challenge for the ‘Canadian’ heavyweight championship. He has the anthem play before he leaves.
WCW Cruiserweight championship: Elix Skipper (c) vs ‘Sugar’ Shane Helms
With Daniels and Ki banned from ringside, the rematch for the cruiser title made for a refreshing alternative to the last bout – clean, technical and back-and-forth. However, Skipper reversed a Vertebreaker attempt into an O’Connor roll and a grab of the ropes to retain the title in 13:06, surprisingly. Helms was even more frustrated than he has been in recent weeks as Skipper retreated with his belt. With no excuses, he simply couldn’t get it done.
WCW World tag team championship: CW Anderson & Mark Jindrak (c) vs The Mamalukes
Anderson and Jindrak’s first tag title defense vs the Mamalukes didn’t last long – in fact, after just 6:26, Mike Sanders ran in to save the titles for his comrades in a DQ win for Vito and Johnny. As Torrie retreated backstage with the champs, Sanders was cornered by the furious challengers and given a pasting, before the Italians stormed backstage.
Ambulance match: Dustin Rhodes vs Mike Awesome
The Ambulance match was, unsurprisingly, a heated arena-wide brawl laced with stunts and table bumps. The finish, however, was quite surprising: after Rhodes blocked an Awesome bomb over the ropes and through two ringside tables, instead backdropping Awesome through them, Shane Douglas snuck into the ring, low blowed Rhodes and wore him down with a chair! Eventually, as they did 24 hours beforehand to Bigelow, Awesome and Douglas teamed up to put Dustin in the Ambulance to give the ‘Career Killer’ the win in 18:54.
WCW Cruiserweight tag titles: Billy Kidman & Rey Misterio Jr (c) vs Triple X
Low Ki and Christopher Daniels completed XXX’s promise to sweep the cruiserweight gold as they overwhelmed Kidman and an injured Misterio to claim the cruiser tag belts. Jumping the champs before the bell, the heels kept Rey out of the contest with periodic attacks to his knee, leaving Kidman to go it alone a la Bulldogs v Hart Foundation. An assisted twisting vertical suplex double team finish at 5:17 led to the post-match image of the entire Triple X on the stage, each with a belt in hand.
Bunkhouse Brawl: Ric Flair vs Jeff Jarrett
Unlike the ambulance match, the two combatants – dressed in street clothes – kept it around ringside but bloodied each other with various weapons brought out in a cart by Jarrett.
The Cat was shown during the entrances having security escort Douglas, Anderson and Jindrak from the building… but instead help came from Mike Awesome, who handed Jarrett his guitar while Flair had him in the centre of the ring with a bullrope-assisted figure-four.
One ‘kabong’ later and Awesome was helping the victorious but pulverised Jarrett to the back, making the commentary team wonder if there was more to the Douglas and Awesome co-operations this weekend than meets the eye. The fight ran for 16:44.
Drawing #1 and #2 respectively were Super Crazy and Tajiri! The two renewed their hostilities in a fast-paced start, and while #3 Johnny B Badd had them both reeling with jabs and dropkicks, they surprisingly pooled their resources to quickly eliminate Badd and go straight back at one another.
They were shortly joined by fellow cruiserweights #4 Shannon Moore, #5 Lash Leroux and #6 Chavo Guerrero, but the multi-man high-flyer exhibition was quickly halted by #7 Scott Steiner. Big Poppa Pump Steiner-lined Crazy out and then belly-to-belly overheaded Leroux over the ropes and out onto Crazy, before making it a quick triple elimination when #8 Norman Smiley arrived and immediately did a Big Wiggle until Steiner tossed him from behind.
Steiner’s press-ups were soon interrupted, however, by #9 Sting! The two former world champs dominated the ring during their furious exchange, with Sting taking a break between Stinger Splashes on Scotty to eliminate Tajiri, only for a Steiner low blow to break his momentum.
Jason Jett drew #10 and kept Moore and Chavo at bay while Steiner choked Sting in a corner. Shannon broke up Jett’s attempt to eliminate Guerrero, only for Chavo to toss Moore when he had Jason in trouble! Chavo pretended it was Steiner who did it, even though he was still busy with Sting.
#11 was Shane Douglas, #12 Sean O’Haire, #13 Johnny Swinger, #14 Kid Romeo, #15 Chris Harris and #16 Simon Diamond as the ring filled up. When #17 Chuck Palumbo arrived, we finally got another elimination as he and O’Haire double teamed Chavo before Chuck Jungle Kicked Guerrero over and out.
Next came #18 Chris Kanyon and #19 James Black, at which point AMW teamed up to eliminate Swinger. This led to Simon Diamond rushing over and (with an assist from the outside by Swinger AND Gilbertti) eliminating Harris. Black retaliated by quickly hurling Diamond over, only for Shane Douglas to take advantage of the tag team fracas and eliminate Black himself.
The two teams were joined by the FBI and then Alex Wright and Crowbar as they all brawled to the back before #20 Shawn Stasiak strolled down with Stacy Keibler. Within seconds of entering the ring, Stasiak rushed over to where Jett and Romeo were grappling by the ropes and sent both men over and out, leaving Sting, Steiner, Douglas, O’Haire, Palumbo, Kanyon and Stasiak.
Kanyon low bridged Palumbo out, leaving four heels to single out the two remaining faces two-to-one each: Steiner and Stasiak on O’Haire and Douglas and Kanyon on Sting. The Stinger mounted a comeback and even managed to duck a Franchise chain shot and send him over, before giving a charging Stasiak the same fate.
Sting and Steiner battled once more as O’Haire rallied and managed to eliminate Kanyon, before turning the double-team tables on Steiner and putting him out with a double clothesline.
Partners in Lethal Lottery and even partners 24 hours ago, Sting and O’Haire would now fight to a one fall finish for a world title shot. An exciting three-minute duel saw the veteran get the upper hand, only for O’Haire to shockingly counter a deathlock attempt with a small package for the 1-2-3 in 40:38! After a dramatic pause, Sting touched fists with his conqueror to show respect to the 2001 winner of Battlebowl, Sean O’Haire!
Backstage, a furious Scott Steiner took out his aggressions over coming up short in his pursuit of the world title once more on all of the nearby furniture with his lead pipe, before eventually wiping out backstage staff members with it, too. The Cat rushed over with security to have him thrown out but was physically roughed up himself by an out-of-control Steiner, causing the Commish to threaten grave consequences as Pump was finally ejected.
WCW World title: Booker T (c) vs Diamond Dallas Page
In the main event, Booker T retained the world title against DDP. The champ countered and escaped over a dozen different Diamond Cutter attempts, only to have a Book End reversed into one towards the end. Sharmell, however, pulled the referee out at 2, with Charles Robinson only resisting a DQ call because it would have just given T an easy escape. He retained, however, after recovering and nailing two axe kicks and a Book End for the win in 17:57.
His celebrations were short-lived, however, when the music of Goldberg played and the former champ finally returned after a month to confront the man who betrayed him and stole the title away! A spear and the Jackhammer led to Goldberg closing the show holding the world title aloft, standing over the fallen champ.