20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 16

January 22nd, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: October 14, 2007
Company: TNA
Show: Bound for Glory
Rules: 16 men race to climb into the ring (over the top rope) until 8 make it in. Then it becomes a battle royal until there are two left. From there, it becomes a singles match.
Stipulation: The 8 that enter qualify for the Fight for the Right tournament. The order of eliminations creates the seeding system for the brackets.
Roster (16): Sonjay Dutt, “Wildcat” Chris Harris, Havok, Lance Hoyt, BG James, Kip James, Jimmy Rave, Junior Fatu, Kaz, Robert Roode, Chris Sabin, Shark Boy, Alex Shelley, “Cowboy” James Storm, Petey Williams and Eric Young

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the time of Jim Cornette in TNA. It was the time of Vince Russo in TNA. Boy, is that apparent in this match.

To build up a new #1 contender, TNA decided to put together an eight-man tournament with sixteen guys to start. To cut the list in half, they’d have to earn their shots by… entering a wrestling ring. What the hell?

Yes, the Reverse Battle Royal. The same concept that millions of wrestling-loving kids came up with on their own, only to decide that, no, it’s too stupid and would never work. Our competitors surround the ring and then go at it, each trying to climb onto the apron, over the top rope and reach the inside of the ring with all the refs. Once they’re in, they’re in. After it’s down to eight men, the tournament roster is written and they fight in a battle royal over the seedings. In other words, the reverse part in the beginning is the only thing that truly matters.

Exciting stuff right there.

Junior Fatu (Rikishi) smacks aside fellow over-the-hill, ass-based wrestler Kip James and steps over the top, nearly unopposed. That’s one. Kaz and his rival Robert Roode go at it on top of one of the turnbuckles. Kaz wins out via hitting the Flux Capacitor.

Advertent or not, Kaz just introduced Roode into the tournament as well. Alex Shelley hops in. Eric Young makes a go for it and Lance Hoyt stops him. Standing on the apron, Hoyt presses Young over his head and prepares to throw him onto the other wrestlers below, but Young rolls out of his grip and falls into the ring. That’s five.

Chris Sabin jumps in just as easily as his Motor City Machine Guns partner Shelley a minute earlier. Hoyt prevents Havok from entering and steps in himself. That leaves one spot open. Kip James and Chris Harris fight over the last spot, but we see that James Storm has been camped out alone during the entire proceedings, picking his spot. With everyone beaten down and Harris and James busy with each other, Storm enters unopposed and gets in there a second before Harris. Harris is told by the refs that he doesn’t qualify for the Fight for the Right tournament and has to get out of there. That he got tricked by his former partner only proceeds to make him more irate.

Storm’s victory is short lived. At the start of the bell, Young steals his beer, ducks a haymaker and throws Storm right out of the ring. Junior Fatu lays waste to everyone else until he and Young accidentally back into each other. Young is filled with fear and tries his hardest to befriend Fatu, even going so far as to offer him Storm’s beer. Young’s attempt at creating new friends goes a little too far.

Fatu is cool with Young until Young makes the mistake of trying to lift the big man. Fatu continues taking everyone apart, including a spot where Young, Hoyt, Shelley and Sabin are propped into the corner and get crushed by his gigantic posterior. This is followed by a Stinkface on Young and Hoyt at the same time. Angry, Hoyt springs into action and drops Fatu with a running boot. Everyone gangs up on Fatu and it seems like they might have him. The Motor City Machine Guns hedge that bet.

Hoyt becomes the dominant one until the Machine Guns silence him. They maneuver Young into putting Roode in a submission hold, then add their own, creating a neat human knot.

As they go back to double-teaming Hoyt, Kaz puts an end to their reign by eliminating Shelley and knocking Sabin out with a plancha DDT into the ring. Kaz and Roode end up fighting on the apron and Roode wins out with a Rock Bottom out of nowhere. We’re down to the final four with Roode, Hoyt, Young and Sabin. Hoyt climbs the top rope for a moonsault, Roode runs over and shoves him to the floor. Although both faces try to team up on Roode, he’s able to use them against each other, quite literally, by hiptossing Young into Sabin as a way to knock Sabin off the apron.

Now that it’s Young vs. Roode, we have a singles contest. The mini-match is less than two minutes long and comes to an end when Young misses a moonsault, gets picked up for a suplex and rolls it into a pinning combination. Young wins the #1 seed and the crowd goes nuts for him. Though throughout this, the commentators are mostly paying attention to how the seeding system via the match has made it so that Sabin vs. Shelley is an opening round match.

The match is actually extremely fun and well-booked, so I’m glad I watched it. I have to blame that on Cornette, insisting that he took a crappy Russo concept and turned it into something enjoyable.

The tournament that followed was a gigantic mess, sad to say. Wrestlers kept getting removed and replaced mid-tournament and things were incredibly overbooked to say the least. Despite his #1 seed, Young was gone in the first match. The finals came in the form of a ladder match between Kaz and Christian Cage (who wasn’t even in the original 16). Kaz won and challenged Angle on the main event of a random episode of Impact. Angle retained and then a million run-ins happened. Naturally.

When you get to tomorrow’s update, tell them Boris sent you.

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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 9

January 15th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: May 3, 2000
Company: WCW
Show: Thunder
Rules: I… I don’t know
Stipulation: Winner gets a WCW Championship shot at the Great American Bash
Roster (43): Tank Abbott, Brian Adams, Asya, Mike Awesome, Buff Bagwell, Big T, Big Vito, Bam Bam Bigelow, Chris Candido, Cash, Brian Clarke, Disco Inferno, Shane Douglas, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Ric Flair, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Don Harris, Ron Harris, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Curt Hennig, Horace Hogan, Hulk Hogan, Jeff Jarrett, Johnny the Bull, Chris Kanyon, Billy Kidman, Konnan, Lash LeRoux, Lex Luger, Medusa, Ernest “the Cat” Miller, Mona, Hugh Morrus, Diamond Dallas Page, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Norman Smiley, Shawn Stasiak, Scott Steiner, Stevie Ray, Sting, Vampiro, Van Hammer and the Wall

During the two years before being bought off by Vince McMahon, WCW was a mess of comedic proportions. It was usually in one of two states. Either Vince Russo was the head writer and things were hilariously out of order, or he was thrown to the wayside and some other writer made the shows just as inept, only extremely boring. Usually, Russo gets the blame for most of the stuff that went on during this time, either because his garbage was more memorable or because it’s just an easier blanket statement.

Today’s battle royal entry comes from a magical time when WCW decided to have both Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo run the company together. On paper, the idea was that their good concepts would wash away any bad concepts. Buuuuuuut this is also when David Arquette is WCW Champion.

Also just want to take a second to thank Greg Merritt, who suggested I write about this match, which itself inspired me to do this daily series. He calls this battle “fascinating and terrible” and Great Zampano, he’s right!

The big storyline is that Bischoff and Russo have started a stable called the New Blood, made up of the younger wrestlers on the roster who are mad at the older, more popular wrestlers for holding them down. The older wrestlers, which include the likes of Hogan, Sting and DDP, are referred to as the Millionaire’s Club and in no way come off as devious, despite Russo’s supposed intentions to make this a “shades of gray” situation. In fact, his New Blood stable comes off as a big collection of whiners.

It also gave us the most cringe-inducing segment where Bischoff and Russo decided to reboot the title picture and that meant WCW Champion Sid had to give up the belt. Bischoff, making a sly reference to a real-life incident that only a very small fraction of viewers understood, taunted Sid by asking, “Did you forget your scissors?! …I said, did you forget your SCISSORS?!” The complete lack of reaction from the live crowd speaks volumes.

So anyway, this match. Near the end of an episode of Thunder, Bischoff and Russo are in the ring with a bunch of New Blood guys, most of them brandishing weapons. Bischoff calls out the Millionaire’s Club and invites them into some “guerrilla warfare”. I don’t know if that’s just a term here or if that’s what this match is supposed to be called. Either way, Flair accepts and brings some of his super-popular friends with him, demanding that they’ll have an over-the-top-rope battle royal and the last man standing gets a title shot at the Great American Bash. Bischoff accepts and points out that the men standing with him in the ring are the future of the business.

That might be the saddest part of this because that’s not true for a single guy in there. Guys like Ernest Miller, Buff Bagwell, the Wall and Shawn Stasiak fail to set the wrestling world on fire and the only guys involved who do all right are established wrestlers Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner. Yes, Steiner insisted upon being with the “young and hip” New Blood.

The challenge accepted, the Millionaire’s Club kind of jogs, then walks to the ring and we have 11-on-11, only the New Blood guys have weapons. Remember, these guys were supposed to be seen as being morally on the same level as the Millionaire’s Club.

In what seems like forever, there’s not a single elimination. Just dudes brawling. Then maybe five minutes in, some more guys run out. Konnan, Bam Bam Bigelow, the Harris Boys, etc. Commentary claims that they’re there to back up the New Blood. Then the Harlem Heat music plays and we get Stevie Ray, Cash and Big T, reminding me that there was an angle where Ahmed Johnson defeated Booker T for the right to have “T” in his name. Soon after, Tank Abbot comes out, being put over by the commentators as being a mercenary for the New Blood. It’s hard to really tell if these guys are supposed to be entrants in the match or not, but they succumb to the basic rules where being thrown out of the ring means leaving, so I’m going to say yes.

Finally, guys start getting eliminated and Millionaire’s Club members are able to get some weapons. It seems that everyone who comes out is on the New Blood’s side until Hacksaw Jim Duggan storms out with a 2×4 and lays waste to the ring until eliminating himself. Some of the WCW ladies come out and join the fray.

Then a limousine pulls up and someone with silver pants walks out. The camera refuses to pan up and we watch the man step to the arena in mystery. Who is this Pokemon?

OOOH YEAH! Savage helps clear the ring of some of the New Blood guys and tries to eliminate himself by jumping out, but Shane Douglas screws that up for him and Savage has to leave the ring between the ropes. Soon after, Bret Hart comes out and SHOCKS THE WORLD by hitting Hogan with a chair and leaving. Note, this is one of Bret’s final appearances.

DDP eliminates himself and Jarrett, which is just as well since they’re in a #1 contender’s match despite both being #1 contenders for the upcoming Sunday’s PPV already. We’re left with Kidman vs. Hogan and Flair vs. Douglas, which happen to be two of the upcoming Slamboree matches. Hogan is eliminated by going under the top rope and it seems that they’ve already changed the rules to reflect that. That puts it into question how Flair is still in the match, considering he spent a few minutes outside the ring earlier beating on Douglas with a bat.

The final two are Flair and Douglas and Flair wraps him up in the Figure Four. Russo runs in with bat in hand and accidentally hits Douglas instead.

Let me just repeat that for you.

Flair has Douglas in the Figure Four. Russo comes in and somehow accidentally hits the wrong guy.

Flair eliminates Douglas and wins his title shot. Or does he? I checked Wikipedia and Flair spent Great American Bash fighting his son while Nash got the title shot.

It’s not over. Hogan prepares a suplex spot on the outside, but Bischoff hits him in the knee and Hogan falls through a table. Savage ignores this for a minute so he can celebrate with Flair in the ring. Elsewhere, DDP and Jarrett climb a scaffold for no reason, punching each other all the way.

Savage finally chases off Kidman and Bischoff, then helps up Hogan. Savage’s very last WCW appearance is the Mega Powers buddying up.

In a final bout of incompetence, DDP does a huge bump off the scaffold, but it’s not shown. They’re so focused on Hogan/Savage that we just get a shot of DDP laying in some debris and a final shot of Jarrett celebrating on top the ramp.

Holy shit.

I’m going to do another WCW battle royal from 2000 tomorrow, but I’m going to leave with a couple quotes from this very match.

Tony Schiavone: “This has been nuts. It’s been absolutely nuts. Everything logical you can think about WCW over the past year thrown out the window.”
Mike Tenay: “Logic? Word doesn’t even exist in World Championship Wrestling!”

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