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Chairshot Classics: WCW Starrcade ’91 – BattleBowl & The Lethal Lottery

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Open: The names of 40 top WCW Superstars were entered into a “Lethal Lottery” to randomly generate 20 tag teams. This created 10 tag team matches with the winners of each being entered into the main event: a 20 man battle royal to determine the sole winner of Battlebowl.

In The Arena: Eric Bischoff, Missy Hyatt and Magnum T.A. are standing by with all 40 participants are standing on the entrance stage. Hyatt and T.A. start to draw names, and Bischoff announces the first participants. We have our first surprise as The Fabulous Freebirds are on opposing teams.

Match #1: Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes & Tracy Smothers vs. Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin & Marcus Bagwell
Bagwell and Smothers start us out. Both Freebirds get the crowd clapping from the apron. There is a staredown and they exchange shoves. They hit the ropes and Bagwell takes Smothers down with a shoulder block. Smothers reevaluates his situation. The crowd chants for the DDT. Collar and elbow tie up and a deep arm drag by Bagwell. Another tie up, chain wrestling into a hammerlock by Smothers, reversed with a takedown by Bagwell. Smothers lectures a stalling Smothers. Collar and elbow, Smothers escapes a reverse waistlock with an elbow to the jaw and follows it with a shoulder block.

They run the ropes, Bagwell leapfrogs Smothers and delivers a hip toss. He follows with a drop kick and an arm drag, Smothers gets up and misses a drop kick before retreating. Smothers gets up and insists one or both Freebirds enter the match. Garvin is tagged in, Smothers taunts him, Garvin struts around and he is ambushed from behind. Smothers is shot into the ropes, they exchange leapfrogs before Garvin hits a hip toss and a drop kick. Smothers rolls to the apron, and he’s kicked in the face and out to the floor. Hayes checks in with his partner as the crowd cheers for the DDT. Smothers regroups in the ring, he offers a handshake but kicks Garvin in the gut.

Jimmy Jam lifts his cheap shotting opponent up for an atomic drop and he tumbles outside again. Back to the ring, Garvin grabs a wrist lock and tags in Bagwell. Bagwell enters with a double ax handle to the shoulder and locks in a wrist lock of his own. Smothers reverses with a knee to the gut and some clubbing fists. Hayes is finally tagged in, chop followed by an elbow off the ropes. Arm bar by Hayes is reversed with a take down by Bagwell. They jockey for position and Hayes uses a drop toe hold. He controls Bagwell with the arm bar and clubs Bagwell’s shoulder. Smothers is tagged back in and stays on the arm. Bagwell reverses, grabbing the other wrist, throwing Smothers over and landing a standing leg drop. Back to their feet and Bagwell stays on the shoulder. Smothers gets positioning in the corner, the referee calls for a break in the hold and The Young Pistol cheap shots Bagwell in the mid section.

The rookie escapes from the corner but Smothers is hot on his trail. Bagwell reverses a whip to the ropes and takes his opponent down with an arm drag. The fans get on the case of Smothers with some jeers. A knee to the gut off the tie up by Smothers, he lifts Bagwell but Marcus escapes and delivers a scoop slam. Garvin is tagged back in, and Smothers dives to his corner and forces a tag on Hayes. The partners smile as the crowd reacts. They shake hands and tie up. No one gets an advantage and it’s broken. Another collar and elbow and Hayes gets position on the ropes, the referee breaks them up. A fourth tie up and Hayes throws Garvin with the arm drag. Michael Struts. Garvin hits an arm drag of his own.

They tie up and Hayes goes for a quick schoolboy and a two count. Side headlock takedown by Garvin, countered with a leg scissor, broken quickly and they’re back to their feet. They each strut to their corners and tag in their respective partners as the fans cheer. Quick strikes and a superkick by Smothers. Bagwell is lifted for a scoop slam but he dodges the elbow. Garvin is tagged back in and hits Smothers with a back body drop. Garvin confuses his dazed opponent with some fast running across the ring and a running forearm. He tags in Bagwell who heads for the top rope, Garvin holds Smothers in place with a wrist lock and Bagwell gets two on a flying cross body.

Marcus gives Hayes a shot on the apron before turning to Smothers. Hayes takes offense and enters the ring to knock him with a right. Garvin turns Hayes around and Michael unknowingly clocks him with a big left. Scoop slam by Smothers in the middle of the ring as the Freebirds argue. Smothers goes for a high risk move but Bagwell gets the knees up. Bagwell hits a Fisherman’s Suplex and picks up the win. The Freebirds make up and shake hands.
Winners: Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin & Marcus Bagwell (Bagwell/Fisherman’s Suplex)

  • EA’s Take: I don’t think I’ve seen more than two consecutive PPVs where the Freebirds remain either heels or faces. They’re sort of the ‘Ric Flair’ of tag teams – you either love them or love to hate them. This was obviously a curious match of “will they/won’t they” in terms of fighting one another. Two times I thought they were going in a particular direction, but both times it turned out to be nothing. When the Birds were in the ring, I started laughing each time they locked up and broke it off on the ropes. I would have stuck with that, exaggerating the excursion from each tie-up and adding some more comedy before making the tags back after no moves were thrown. They ended up hitting one another with some arm drags, so the whole, “sure, we’ll fight each other… just kidding”, wasn’t as good as it could have been. When they got into it at the end, you thought maybe it was friction within the team, but instead they immediately made up. Oh well, decent match. The Birds know how to entertain.

Match #2: WCW Television Champion ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin & WCW United States Champion ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude w/Paul E. Dangerously vs. Van Hammer & Big Josh
Hammer and Austin start with a tie up and quick break. Another tie up, Austin takes position and it’s broken in the corner. Hammer lifts Austin for a scoop slam and Austin looks “Stunned”. Kick to the gut and rights by Austin. Hammer reverses a back body drop with a kick to the face, but Austin is right back up with a kick and an attempted vertical suplex. The big Hammer blocks and lifts the TV champ for one instead. Austin kicks out at two and jumps back up with a drop toe hold and a reverse chin lock on the mat.

Hammer reverses into a hammerlock on the mat and follows it with knees to the ribs. They work back to their feet and Austin takes him down with a series of snapmare takedowns. Hammer reverses the Irish whip, Austin moves and Hammer collides with the turn buckle. Strikes and another snapmare by Austin who tags in Rude to a sea of boos. Rude sends him for the ride and a clothesline before taunting the crowd. Knee to the mid section and clubbing forearms by the US Champ. Hammer tries to fight back with rights, but Rude rakes his eyes. Hammer is sent to the ropes and is flipped over by a knee to the gut. Rude holds him in place with his boot as he tags in Austin.

Clothesline by Austin followed by a side salto suplex. Rude gets the quick tag, and he clubs the back of Hammer’s neck. Reverse side head lock by Rude as Hammer tries to strength his way over to Big Josh. He’s able to make it, and Josh is fired up, giving a few strikes and sending Rude for a power slam. He stands on Rude for a log roll, but the US champ points out his abs are invincible to that move. Josh unsuccessfully tries striking his mid section, but he’s had enough and just clotheslines him. A quick kick out by Rude, but he goes down just as fast with a shoulder block. Rude kicks out of another lateral press, Austin rushes the ring but Josh takes him out. The Dangerous Alliance reels on the outside after having their heads knocked together.

Rude is back in, and Dangerously screams on his phone. Josh reverses a hammerlock with an elbow to the jaw, arm drag take down, Rude desperately reaches for a tag. He gets it, and Austin meets a similar fate. Austin works back to his feet, he breaks the hold with some rights. Josh reverses the Irish whip to the ropes, Austin takes him down with a shoulder tackle, but the second time Big Josh catches him and slingshots him across the top rope. A clothesline and a lateral press gets two and Van Hammer is tagged back in. Austin is worked down with the hammerlock. He adjusts to a wrist lock and makes the quick tag to Josh who hangs onto it. Austin breaks it with rights and breaks up Josh’s attempt at a back body drop.

Reverse waist lock by Josh, Austin ducks and runs toward the ropes and Rude clocks the outdoorsman. Legal tag is made to Rude and he goes for the top rope. Double ax handle knocks Josh to the mat, but there’s a kick out at two. Strikes from Rude and another tag to Austin. Boots in the corner by Austin and he holds his opponent on the middle rope. The ref pulls him away, Rude jumps down to the floor to keep him in place and Austin comes back with a leaping bronco buster. Austin gets two and a half on Josh. Front face lock and a tag back to Rude. Clubbing forearms and a snap mare. Rude holds on with a modified reverse chin lock, Josh manages to get back to his feet and Paul E. immediately gets on the apron.

Josh fights out of the hold but he’s blind sided by Austin’s boot. Dangerously is lectured down to the floor, and the referee questions is a tag was made to Austin while he wasn’t looking. Big Josh is dumped to the floor for abuse by Rude while Austin ties up the ref. Snapmare and a reverse chinlock by Austin. Josh is slow to get back to his feet as Hammer leads the cheering. The hold is broken with elbows to the gut, and he catches a leaping Austin with a power slam. Josh goes for the elbow but Austin moves. Josh is once again draped on the middle rope, Dangerously holds him in place while Rude provides the distraction.

Austin goes for another bronco buster, but Josh moves and pulls his manager in the way. Josh crawls across the ring to make the hot tag who goes right after Austin. Power slam by Hammer followed by a belly to back suplex. Austin is sent for the ride and eats a diving shoulder block. Rude makes the save and Josh takes offense. Back to the apron, Rude makes a blind tag as Austin hits the ropes. Hammer lifts the TV champ for the back body drop but doesn’t realize the US champ in the legal man. Rude spins Hammer around and hits the Rude Awakening for the win.
Winners: ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin & ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude (Rude/Rude Awakening)

  • EA’s Take: In two matches, they’ve already achieved my expectation to have some partners on opposite corners and others conveniently together with Austin and Rude. The Ravishing One’s debut at Halloween Havoc not only brought him into WCW, but opened the door for him to become leader of The Dangerous Alliance, one of the better factions that is often forgotten in time. With Rude and Paul E as the figureheads, being flanked by Arn Anderson, Larry Zbysko, Bobby Eaton, a young Steve Austin and Madusa was a pretty formidable. On top of that, Austin would quickly become Television Champion, Rude would pull off a tremendous ruse to get the US Title off of Sting and they had all the momentum in the world. Obvious winners just by reading the card.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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