You know, I REALLY like battle royals. I mean, it’s a simple enough concept, right? A bunch of guys get in the ring and beat the hell out of each other, eventually tossing them over the top rope and to the floor. Last guy standing wins. Simple, effective, to the point. The guy that makes it to the end has really accomplished something.
And while a lot of battle royals have been stikeroos (especially in recent years), when it’s well thought out with stand out performers and a clear winner (ex. Royal Rumble 1992, Starrcade ’91 Battle Bowl), it can be super fun and exciting to watch not only on the first viewing, but in repeated viewings.
But when they suck, man…they really, REALLY suck. Want to do a really horrible battle royal? Here’s Triple Kelly’s checklist:
– Make the rules so complex your ring announcer has to read them from multiple index cards.
– Spread the event across three rings so fans cannot possibly follow what’s going on.
– Cram 60 (yes, as in FIVE DOZEN) wrestlers into the event, which ensures that for every main eventer you get 10 or so scrubs that have zero chance.
– Make sure you absolutely bury every single babyface on the roster, making them all look stupid and impotent.
Got all that?
Now I can’t lie to you, I didn’t come up with all that. Our good friends down in Atlanta did in the mid 1990’s. Seriously, they ran this stupid event for four years straight, and every year, it sucked. Which one sucked the most? Hard to say. But let’s just pull one out at random, 1997’s, and go with it, mmmmkay?
So Michael Buffer starts off by saying this battle royal will have “three rings, sixteen wrestlers”.
That’s a bad sign.
It doesn’t get much better as Buffer continues, going through note card after note card of rules.
Now please keep in mind, Michael Buffer was getting paid close to a million dollars a year for simple ring announcing and reading off of index cards. If only I could’ve walked into the CNN Center reading Hallmark greetings cards and a phonebook, I would’ve been hired at a six-figure starting salary.
Instead, I waste my days and nights writing about horrible wrestling angles for next to nothing. Life ain’t fair.
Anyways, I can’t follow these rules. There’s something about being able to go from ring to ring at will until there are 15 guys left and then everyone goes to ring 2 and then…I don’t know…something. Blah blah blah, 10 minutes later we get to the pint, which is that the winner will be given the status of “MANDATORY CHALLENGER” at Superbrawl.
Yes, you have no choice if you win this thing – you are a MANDATORY CHALLENGER. You can try to get out of it, but we won’t allow it. You MUST wrestle for the title at SuperBrawl!
Finally, we get the participants making their way to the ring. Big stars, too, like “Diamond” Dallas Page…
…a positively svelte Paul Wight, then known as the Giant (today known as the Big Show)…
…Ray “I can’t be The Bossman or The Guardian Angel” Traylor, who looks like he’s been hanging out at a soup kitchen…
…The Public Enemy, who, without the rose colored glasses of ECW appear to be janitorial staff setting up a catering table…
…Greg Valentine…whoa, wait a minute. GREG VALENTINE was still around in WCW in 1997??
Do you think he even knew it?
Anyway, as you may have already noticed, the list of ‘stars’ is starting to get mighty thin.
For instance, here’s the Renegade…
…and this guy.
Who is this guy?
Abso-smurfly no idea.
Oh, and if you think the announcers are going to be able to tell you, well, no. Maybe Michael Buffer ran out of index cards writing all the rules down.
The point being – there’s a s***-load of guys here. Most are useless, some are real talents that you will see become big stars at the “other place”, *ahem*, and only a handful of “name” guys you want to see win this thing.
(Note from RD: It’s Silver King. I tell you that only because otherwise you will get a thousand emails from geeks, nerds, and poindexters telling you this, as though their knowledge of WCW jobbers is a badge of honor or something. Trust me, I speak from experience.)
But hey, here comes the nWo. While everyone else just heads down to the ring to some generic guitar riff, these guys get their own music. Why? Because they are cool, and not geeks like everyone else.
I should note that by this point and time, they had approximately 23 members, with every new one more useless than the last. See that geek with the nWo 4 Life sign? By this point, he would’ve been accepted as a member and assigned to terrorize members of WCW with his collection of Rob Liefeld comics.
The announcers note that Nash has not shown up and is still recovering from arthoscopic knee surgery from an injury stemming from sitting down on the couch to watch Cannonball Run on TBS.
Alright, I made that last part up (hoping to score brownie points with my boss, you know).
(Note from RD: Mission accomplished!)
Anyway, Nash is not here. A fact noted repeatedly by the announce team.
Before we get to the match, I must note another sign in the crowd: “Hogan Fears Sabu!”
Now there’s a dream match. I wouldn’t hold my breath for that one, kid.
Let’s get this pile of crap underway.
Yes, there are three separate rings, and about 45 diffierent camera angles to carry the action. In the end, you could have 245 cameras, and it wouldn’t matter, as this is the most visually confusing match I’ve ever seen. There’s seriously no way to follow the action, a point that Bobby Heenan makes seconds in.
He asks Tony for help, and Tony is, of course, of no assistance.
Instead, Tony gives his his pick for the winner, this man:
I hope for his sake, Tony stays away from Vegas. With wagers like that, he’d wind up living in a refrigerator box.
In lieu of actually trying to follow the match, the announcers keep asking themselves, “Where’s Kevin Nash?!” Geez, will you guys just DROP IT?! For someone “not there”, they’re talking about him an awful lot….It’s like someone not showing up to your party and then you just spend the rest of the night talking about them not being there, instead of badmouthing them while they’re not around like the rest of us do.
I’d give a blow-by-blow account, but instead, here’s the Cliffs Notes for the next 20 minutes: punch punch, kick kick, dump jobber over the top rope. You know the drill, folks.
Meanwhile, Tony makes comments such as the following: “the more tired you are, the less likely you are to pick a guy up to toss out of the ring”.
Well spank my ass and call me Charlie.
Thanks for the insight, Tony!
Again, I don’t have a lot more to offer on this fiasco. Take three terrible battle royals and run them all at the same time. That’s this.
Having said that, there was one AWESOME spot, as in ring 1 the final two participants are The Giant and Tony’s pick Meng. Get this – The Giant goes airborne and DROPKICKS Meng right out of the ring to thunderous cheers.
WCW’s crack production staff made sure to squeeze that into one of the three tiny windows they had. Good thing, too, otherwise we may have missed what was happening in the other two rings.
Which was nothing.
Well, I guess it wasn’t such a good thing after all. Oh well. I’m sure Big Show will start throwing drop kicks again soon.
As you probably would have guessed, all the nWo guys still remain while there’s 5 WCW guys left. A little taunting back and forth before the WCW guys jump into the nWo to whoop some ass.
Alright, NOW we’re getting somewheres!
I wonder which big nWo star will be the first tossed?
If you guessed “VIRGIL”, step right up and collect your prize!
Now to be fair, I wouldn’t be too proud of calling that one. Seriously, that would be like watching a horror movie and proclaiming, “I bet that promiscuous teenager will be the first to die!”
The announcers note that The Giant is just standing in the corner while everyone is battling it out. “He was hoping to get to Kevin Nash but…”
GAAAAAAAHH, SHUT UP WITH THE NASH ALREADY!!
Lex Luger gets his second wind and kills a bunch of guys before getting eliminated himself.
And we’re down to the Final Four as DDP hits the Diamond Cutter on Macho Man Randy Savage to a rousing crowd pop. DDP wants to roll him out but The Giant wants to chokeslam him first THEN roll him out. He does so and the crowd seems to be satisfied.
See how easy it is to make the crowd happy?
So we’re down to the final three, and Scott Hall jumps into the nearest empty ring and points to the entrance like a circus monkey.
That dasterdly Kevin Nash waited til the last moment to enter the battle royal!
Alas, it’s not Nash BUT Hollywood Hulk Hogan, looking as orange and “performance enhanced” as he ever would be (even though at this point in his career, Hulk’s performances were anything BUT enhanced).
Hulk joins Scott Hall to take on DDP and The Giant.
Question: what kind of stupid battle royal has a rule where you can just enter whenever you want?
Answer: A WORLD WAR 3 battle royal, baby!
With his mighty pythons, Hulk bodyslams the 4000 pound 9 foot Giant thru the middle of the ring, causing a tidal wave to engulf the earth and The Giant to die the next day.
Oops, sorry I was thinking of the Giant’s dad.
Remember that storyline?
Where The Giant was Andre’s son?
Man that sucked.
Anyway, the fans are going absolutely nuclear chanting “We Want Sting!”
At last, the fans get their wish, as Sting drops down from the rafters!
And he’s bigger than ever!
Like a half foot bigger than ever!
So much bigger than ever that he can actually step over the top rope to get in the ring bigger than ever!
Suddenly, Hulk “eliminates himself” as “Sting” then eliminates The Giant.
And whaddya know…
Well whaddaya know, it’s Nash in a Sting mask.
Once again, the nWo comes up with their own rules and buries WCW, as they’d been doing for over a year and a half.
No wonder everyone quit watching.
The group celebrates Scott Hall’s victory by amassing in the ring while Hulk murders the blown up DDP with his own Diamond Cutter as the PPV you paid 30 dollars for goes off the air.
Ugh, that was THE most boring, confusing and anti-climactic battle royal I’ve ever seen. Though if Starrcade with Hulk Vs. Sting had gone as originally planned, this could’ve been overlooked easily. But it didn’t, and well, this was just the salt being rubbed into the wound prior to it being opened.
And while you may ask, “How can you pre-emptively rub salt into an yet to be opened wound?”, the answer is simple: it was WCW.
They would have found a way.