A+ Match of the Day

I’m not sure what I enjoy more about this match. The action, which is terrific, the fact that Earl Hebner is the referee…or just the ridiculous heat that Ricky Morton can generate in a match. If he wasn’t a total mess I’d believe he’d have a lot to offer to some of these guys in terms of ring generalship, timing comebacks and just learning how to perfect the underdog role….unfortunately I think he’s a total mess.

Still doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy his work from yesteryear. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Morton on NWA Pro in 1985. Enjoy.

BoD Daily Update

Shawn Michaels Update

According to his sources, Mike Johnson reports that there is an offer for Shawn to wrestle at WrestleMania 30. The belief is that if he does wrestle, it will be against Daniel Bryan and not against CM Punk.

Credit Mike Johnson, PWInsider.com

Top Match For WrestleMania Being Discussed

As of right now, the plan for CM Punk at WrestleMania is to wrestle HHH

Credit Mike Johnson, PWInsider.com

Kayfabe Commentaries Announces Release Date for Next Installment of Their Timeline Series

1993 WCW as told by Vader will be released on February 4th

http://kayfabecommentaries.com/

WWE Releases Developmental Talent

Kevin Nikels, who wrestled in NXT as Knuckles Madsen, was released. He had been with the company for little over a year.

Credit Mike Johnson, PWInsider.com

Rock – Biggest Star in the World?

http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-news/paul-walker-fast-furious-stars-lead-forbes-top-180937252.html

Thought you might be interested in seeing this. Local boy makes good!

To be fair, Rock was piggybacking off the Fast and Furious franchise for that total, whereas Robert Downey is carrying the Iron Man movies on his back and is clearly the draw there.  
Either way, that’s why we’re not getting Rock in his annual part time Wrestlemania match.  

MOTYC of the Day

Not my MOTY, but it’s on my list. It is Alvarez’ MOTY I believe, for those who care. I’m not saying people should watch the whole match (assuming people are busy and have jobs, families, etc.)

Just watch the last 5 minutes of the video, just the last 5 minutes if you’re busy. That crowd makes noises you can’t pay for, you have to WORK for it.. And how about that announce team~?! That announce team LETS ME KNOW that this is the best thing ever.

I bet Tanahashi wins Wrestler of the Year for the third straight time.  And can you bet against him this year?  Not me.  

Were they right?!?

Had a chilling thought.

What if WWE ends up being right in the way they booked Daniel Bryan this past summer?

Well, maybe it's more of a wrong that has turned into a right.

I can't help but reflect on the overtly positive reaction Bryan has been getting from recent crowds. From the hijacking of the Ascension Ceremony to the fever pitch during last night's main event. The fans are just ravenous for Bryan to win that title.

Yes, I know it's more in spite of the booking than anything else, but I remember reading a report that creative was satisfied with Bryan's title chase with Orton. That he's a main eventer now and he could go on and build up the Wyatts while Big Show feuded with Orton/HHH. Seemed like a demotion, a rug pulled out but that was the report as it read. But here we are an the fans are the thousands of elephants in the room, chanting for the guy they want to see win.

Do I think they expected this much outpouring of Bryan support two PPVs later? Maybe not but they've created a MONSTER face whether they knew it or not, by keeping Bryan from holding that title all this time.

If the pops last they just have to let him finally get that belt at Mania, right? Pretty please?

Yeah, you just keep believing that.  Punk might get it, at least.  

Monday Nitro – July 27, 1998

Monday
Nitro #147
Date:
July 27, 1998
Location:
Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Attendance:
19,109
Commentators:
Larry Zbyszko, Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
getting closer to Road Wild and nothing has been announced as of yet.
It’s clear that Jay Leno is going to be involved in some way, even
if the fans don’t seem that thrilled by the idea. Unfortunately that
means we’re probably going to see another NWO talk show because
wasting ten minutes of their only major TV show of the week on a
segment to set up a match with a talk show host is fine in WCW. It
may have made money at Road Wild, but it’s making for some very dull
television. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of Hall and Nash fighting last week which led to a
Wolfpack vs. Black and White brawl, which led to Sting and Nash
losing the tag titles to Hall/Giant. There’s also a clip of Bret
beating DDP for the vacant US Title.
We
get a voiceover (sounds like Scott Hudson) recapping last week, which
is pretty much what we got in the first video.
Nitro
Girls in white cowboy hats. I could get used to this.
Tony
promises us something that will be among the biggest moments in the
history of our sport: Goldberg is going to talk.
Here’s
the Black and White minus Hogan, Bret and Bischoff, probably with a
lot to say. The announcers are already talking about Jay Leno
non-stop. Hall thinks Nitro being in San Antonio is just too sweet,
much like the new tag team champions. He’s going to be sick if he
has to keep hearing about Nash being upset, so how about we have a
big NWO vs. NWO match at Road Wild?
Brian
Adams tells the fans to shut up and recognize how awesome the Black
and White really is. He tells us about being in Japan and hearing
about Goldberg’s fluke win over Hollywood Hogan. Adams got on a
plane and begged Hogan to let him prove that Goldberg is a fluke.
Therefore, Adams is getting a title shot tonight which hopefully
lasts about 18 seconds.
We
get clips from Bischoff’s talk show last week.
Back
from a break with the Flock in the ring and Raven talking about how
things were supposed to be different than it was in high school.
He’s still despised and attacked by people like Saturn and Kanyon
though. You know, part of society’s norms. This brings out Saturn
who is sick of hearing Raven cry. If Raven wants to cry, stand up so
Saturn can give him something to be upset over. Kanyon runs out to
get a piece of Saturn but gets suplexed down. Saturn picks Raven up
for the Death Valley Driver but gets caught in a Flatliner from
Kanyon. It’s not clear if Kanyon meant to save Raven or not.
Barbarian
vs. Jim Duggan
Duggan
chants USA a lot before clotheslining Barbarian out to the floor.
Back in and a double ax handle drops Barbarian again but he gets a
boot up to stop a jogging Duggan. Jim comes back with right hands in
the corner to little effect but he has to deal with Jimmy Hart.
Barbarian kicks Hart by mistake, allowing Duggan to grab a rollup for
the fast pin.
Post
match Hugh Morrus jumps Duggan but Meng comes in to beat up Morrus.
Duggan gets the board to clean house and offers Meng a handshake,
getting a Tongan Death Grip in return.
Bischoff’s
house band is warming up.
There’s
another horrible looking car in front of a star parking spot outside.
It’s
time for NWO Night Cap and the keyboard player now has NWO glasses.
Eric shakes hands with his fans ala Leno as we’re already two minutes
into this. Joke topics tonight include Japanese Viagara, Monica
Lewinsky, Jay Leno’s chin, bikers, Steve Urkel being NWO Black and
White, the chin again, Leno not being funny, and growing sheep
bladders in a lab.
Oh
and now we get a COMEDY SEGMENT. It’s Headlines, which is showing
various accidental puns in newspapers. The fans are booing this out
of the building. Remember, they paid for a ticket to sit through
this segment. Even Liz in a dress isn’t enough to save this but it
keeps going anyway.
Now
we get our special guest: Hollywood Hogan. Hollywood talks about how
Bischoff is dominating late night and gives a birthday shout out to
Nitro Nick. Bischoff shows us a clip from the real Tonight Show with
band leader Kevin Eubanks talking about Bischoff making fun of Leno
in a badly scripted conversation. We get a clip in the clip of the
original Night Cap, which are the same clips we saw earlier tonight.

Leno
makes fun of Hogan’s beard and says he’s seen better wrestling on
Jerry Springer. Jay makes jokes about Hogan’s age and need for
Viagara before we go back to an annoyed Hogan and Bischoff. Hogan
says Leno’s lawyer should plead insanity for Leno because Jay has
gone way over the line. He gives Leno one more chance to back off or
Hogan is going to come to the Tonight Show and shut him up. Bischoff
promises to show what happened when Karl Malone stepped into Hogan’s
world. We’re FINALLY done after nearly seventeen minutes spent on
this segment. I’d love to see the quarter hour ratings for this
show.
More
Nitro Girls with Fyre stripping off a suit in a solo routine.
Nitro
Party video.
Time
for more talking with Gene bringing out a limping DDP for a chat.
Gene says Page put the title on the line last week even though he was
injured. Page says it was Hogan that attacked him last week because
he’s scum. Hogan shouldn’t hunt what he can’t kill, because Page’s
mission is to now eliminate Hollywood from the wrestling world.
Hogan can keep running, but one day he’ll feel the BANG.
Nice
recap of Malenko vs. Jericho, setting up tonight’s last chance match
for Malenko.
Tony
hypes up the Goldberg interview again but the Black and White has
something to say. Dusty Rhodes is back and heads over to the
announcers’ table with Hall and Norton. Hall says if Nash doesn’t
want a fight, how about sending Sting out to face him later? Dusty
goes on a rant against Larry for talking too much trash about the
NWO. Therefore, Larry is under a gag order tonight, meaning Dusty
gives Tony an actual gag.
Scott
Norton vs. Jim Neidhart
Norton
no sells some forearms and powerbombs Neidhart for the pin in 15
seconds. I’d assume Norton will be Goldberg’s supper one day soon.
Neidhart is already walking to the back before Norton is out of the
ring. That’s some pretty poor selling.
Video
on Goldberg.
The
interview is hyped up again.
We
go to the back for the back for Goldberg’s walk to the ring but he
doesn’t come out. Doug Dillinger comes in and sees NWO graffiti all
over the walls and the room ransacked. Goldberg is nowhere in sight.
Hour
#2 begins at about 9:15.
Here’s
Bret Hart for even more talking. He talks about how wrestling has
become full of pimps and thieves and somewhere he doesn’t want to be,
until now. Bret doesn’t want to hear about Page’s injuries because
Page got in the ring last week. There’s one more person that he
needs to address from last week and that’s Sting. Bret has a lot of
respect for Sting and especially likes his taste in moves. There’s
one thing that is least Sting down the wrong road and that’s all
these people out there. Bret is Sting’s friend and will show him the
right way.
Crusierweight
Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho
is defending and this is Dean’s last chance at the title. Jericho
dropkicks Dean out to the floor to start and sends him into the
barricade to take an early advantage. Back in and Chris tries a top
rope dropkick but dives into a dropkick from Malenko. Dean goes up
again for a sunset flip but Jericho rolls through into the Liontamer.
Malenko is quickly into the ropes and rolls out to the floor for a
breather. Jericho hits a nice dive to take him out and we go to a
break.
Back
with Jericho kicking Malenko into the ropes but Dean takes over with
a leg lariat. Malenko ducks a victory roll attempt and German
suplexes Chris down for two. Jericho comes right back with a reverse
suplex and the Lionsault to Dean’s back for two. The fans are into
this match. A release double underhook powerbomb sets up the
Cloverleaf but Jericho is too close to the ropes.
Malenko
gets crotched on the top but he counters Jericho’s superplex into a
DDT off the top for three but the referee waves it off because
Jericho had the rope. Chris rolls to the floor and pulls out a
foreign object but Dean stomps him down in the corner before Jericho
can swing. The referee gets poked in the eyes and Dean takes the
knucks away. He knocks Jericho out as the referee clears his eyes
out, drawing the DQ.
Rating:
C+. Really fast paced match
here though the ending is kind of puzzling. Why would you have
Malenko get beaten/screwed out of the title every single time, only
to have him lose the final match? Jericho has dominated the feud as
far as being the better character, but shouldn’t Malenko have gotten
to keep the title at least once?
Gene
swears that we’ll get the Goldberg interview soon. Apparently
Goldberg is fine and in the locker room.
The
Nitro Girls are in the crowd.
Long
video on Road Wild, focusing on country singer Travis Tritt
performing. Again with the celebrities.
Steve
McMichael vs. Curt Hennig
McMichael
throws Hennig around to start but Curt snaps McMichael’s throat
across the top rope. Mongo comes back with a powerslam but a Rude
distraction lets Hennig hit the PerfectPlex for the win. Another 90
second match.
We
look at another clip from the Tonight Show with Leno bringing out a
Hollywood Hogan impersonator who is too old to move.
Cue
the Black and White to talk even more. Bischoff promises to fire
whoever showed that Leno clip. Hogan says he’ll give Page a huge
beating to make up for all the bad things he’s been saying lately.
He’s also ready to ride Page real hard all night long. There’s a sex
tape joke in there somewhere. Hogan accepts the challenge for a
match with Page tonight.
Before
that though, here’s the ENTIRE main event from Bash at the Beach.
The match plus intros eats up nearly half an hour, including a few
commercial breaks. I’m just going to copy and paste this from the
Bash at the Beach review.
Diamond
Dallas Page/Karl Malone vs. Dennis Rodman/Hollywood Hogan
Page
and Malone have matching attire, which look like they jumped into a
vat of hot glue with their jeans on. They come out to some hip hop
song that keeps saying “feel the bang.” Malone looks like he’s
been carved out of granite while Rodman is in a t-shirt and jeans.
The basketball players get us going but first Hogan has to take off
Rodman’s glasses. Rodman runs to the ropes to hide and the fans are
all over him. That works so well that they do it a second time. A
test of strength doesn’t happen as we hit two minutes into the
match.
Rodman
grabs a headlock but bails to the floor when Malone charges at him.
Off to Hogan for a posedown with Hollywood getting frustrated. Malone
hooks a kind of standing chinlock (imagine a left arm Rock Bottom but
he clasps his hands together and squeezes) before slamming Hogan
down. We’re five minutes in now and it’s off to Page. DDP gets
Rodman and shoves him down off a lockup. A shoulder puts Rodman down
again as the stalling continues. They spit at each other and Rodman
armdrags him down. Somehow we’re seven minutes into this match.
They
hit the ropes a bit and collide to send both guys down. Back to the
headlock by Rodman but Page reverses into one of his own. The fans
are clearly getting restless. Rodman leapfrogs Page twice and they
collide again to give us more laying down. Malone comes in and kicks
at Rodman, sending him over to Hogan for the tag. Karl hooks a top
wristlock and shoves Hogan to the mat. Hogan complains of a hair pull
and Rodman gets in a cheap shot to get to the whole tag match idea
for the first time.
Hogan
chokes a lot and slams Malone down before raking the boot over
Malone’s eyes. Rodman comes in with some elbow drops before it’s
back to Hogan for a chinlock. Here’s Rodman again for some double
teaming and a belly to back suplex from Hogan. Hollywood misses an
elbow though and it’s hot tag to Page. DDP comes in with a top rope
clothesline to Hogan but a cheap shot from Rodman lets the NWO take
over again. Hogan chokes away in the corner with his boot followed by
a running clothesline.
Rodman
comes in for a double big boot and more choking before it’s back to
Hogan for right hands in the corner. Page hits a quick elbow but
Rodman breaks up the tag attempt and puts on a front facelock. Malone
plays cheerleader on the apron and we get the unseen and phantom tag
tropes to space the match out even more. The big boot puts Page down
but he avoids the legdrop and it’s hot tag off to Malone.
Clotheslines
all around put the NWO down and they both get slams. There’s a
double noggin knocker followed by Hogan’s head going into the
buckle. A big boot drops Hogan and it’s off to Page for a running
Diamond Cutter (Hogan landed on his hands, making the move look
horrible). Malone Diamond Cuts Rodman but Disciple sneaks in with a
Stunner to Page, giving Hogan the pin and a face pop for some reason.
Rating:
F.
This was about what you knew it was going to be, though it could have
been FAR worse. Malone was clearly taking this seriously which is
more than you can say for most celebrities in matches. Rodman looked
like your usual celebrity wrestler: decent at the one or two really
basic moves he used but pretty worthless otherwise. I’ve read
before that this was originally booked to go nearly an hour, which
makes me shiver in fear. I guess Hogan needed this win as a thank you
for the mainstream attention he brought in?
Malone
gives Disciple and the referee Diamond Cutters (good ones too) and
the NWO celebrates like this is a big deal.
More
Leno footage, this time with a Hogan midget.
Hour
#3 begins, again about 15 minutes late.
Now
it’s time for the Goldberg interview after stringing the TV audience
along for an extra hour. Goldberg has been watching what Hogan has
been trying to do around here. What they did tonight crossed a line,
so he’s going to make Brian Adams an example. This was about 45
seconds long.
Here’s
Arn Anderson for what could be a good interview for a change. Gene
talks about Anderson’s talk with McMichael and Malenko on Thunder a
few weeks back and wants to know why he was so hard on them.
Anderson says the three of them tried very hard to make it personal
with him and it almost worked. Tonight he was going to gauge the
mood to see if the Horsemen had one more run. Then he saw Dean lose
to a man that he’s better than and Mongo have a match with the man
that brought down the Horsemen in the first place, only to get beaten
too. That’s enough for him, so now he’s telling them to drop it.
Sting
vs. Scott Hall
Sting
starts while the ring is still full of smoke from the entrances,
taking Hall down with a bulldog. Scott is sent out to the floor for
a breather before coming back in with a toothpick to the face. Some
right hands set up the fallaway slam for two but Sting shrugs them
off and hits three straight Stinger Splashes. There’s the Death Drop
to set up the Scorpion but here’s Bret Hart to distract Sting. He
doesn’t fight back as Sting beats on him but Hennig and Vincent come
in for the DQ. Too short to rate again but this was angle instead of
wrestling.
Luger
and Nash come out for the save as Bret still hasn’t gotten physical
at all. Nash loads up the Jackknife on Hall but gets hit low. Bret
tries to help Sting up but gets kicked low as well. Bret bails to
the floor to escape the Scorpion. Hart never attacked Sting at all.
We
look at Buff Bagwell suckering Rick Steiner in, only to turn heel
again, wasting some of the most natural sympathy WCW ever had at its
fingertips.
Scott
Steiner shoves Buff down the ramp in a wheelchair and freaks out
because Bagwell is hurt. Buff gets to his feet and dances, annoying
Gene even more. Bagwell talks about how serious his neck injury was
and Scott praises him for the great acting jobs over the last few
weeks. Steiner promises to beat up Rick at Road Wild until JJ comes
out to yell at Bagwell. Steiner gets a piece too, with promises of a
match against Rick. Scott doesn’t seem too scared.
WCW
World Title: Brian Adams vs. Goldberg
Vincent
distracts Goldberg to start, allowing Adams to hit a top rope
shoulder block and a suplex for two. Goldberg hits a belly to belly
suplex, three spears (Adams, Vincent, Adams) and the Jackhammer makes
it 121-0.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Hollywood Hogan
This
could have headlined a PPV. We get a music miscue as Hogan’s music
starts before Buffer does his intro in both English and Spanish.
Hogan jumps him at the entrances as Tenay talks about Page hosting a
charity event for school kids in Atlanta. Nothing wrong with that.
Page comes back with right hands and some choking in the corner as
we’re just waiting on the run ins.
Hogan
suplexes Page and pounds away with right hands to the head. A
clothesline gets two on Page but misses an elbow drop. Page tries to
clothesline Hogan to the floor but Hollywood is all like “that’s
WAY too big a spot for me brother.” They fight to the floor and
Page has to fight off Disciple. Back in and Hogan hits the corner
clothesline, setting up the big boot. Page gets up anyway and grabs
the Diamond Cutter, drawing in the NWO for the DQ. Too short to rate
(shocking!) but Page was trying.
All
of the NWO comes out for a big brawl. Goldberg comes to the ring and
beats up the Black and White, only to walk into a chokeslam from
Giant to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D-. And that’s being
generous. This show was three hours and had seven new matches. Of
those seven, ONE was long enough to rate, clocking in at less than
six minutes. They spent about 45 minutes (approximately the amount
of show time in an hour of programming) on a talk show segment and
re-airing a match from PPV. I
feel sorry for the San Antonio crowd tonight as they got ripped off
tonight.
On
top of being really short, how many of these matches meant anything
at all? You had two worthless matches, then a good cruiserweight
match, a match to advance the Horsemen angle, a match to set up a
post match brawl, Goldberg being Goldberg, and a match to set up the
post match brawl. Even Raw is better at using its time than that.
Finally
there’s the Leno stuff. I understand the idea behind bringing in
celebrities, but let’s think about this for a minute. Last month the
celebrities were one of the best linebackers of all time, one of the
craziest athletes ever and an NBA player at the peak of his career.
This month it’s a 48 year old comedian most famous for having a large
chin. It wasn’t unreasonable to think that Malone could be passable
in the ring due to his athletic abilities.
What
else could the Leno match be but bad comedy? It’s bad comedy setting
up bad comedy. Yeah it appeals to the middle aged audience that
loved the Tonight Show, but how many of them are going to pay $30 to
watch Leno do physical comedy? On top of that, we haven’t even had
the match announced yet and next week is the go home show for Road
Wild. Not only is it a bad idea, but it’s being poorly marketed. Just a horrible show all around, leading up to a bad match on PPV.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

The SmarK RAW Rant–12.16.13

The SmarK RAW Rant – 12.16.13 My new article is up on WhatCulture: 10 Reasons Why The PG Era Isn’t The Problem. Share it on Facebook and Twitter and all the other stuff the kids are into these days! Not gonna beat around the bush here, these things are indirectly driving mad traffic to the blog and it’s thanks to the great support I’m getting from my readership. So thanks, guys! Live from somewhere below the threshold that warrants a mention. I think it’s Dallas, which makes it weirder. Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler The Authority (ugh, I hate that name) introduces Randy Orton, the new Undisputed WWE Unified International World Heavyweight Sports Entertainment Championship holder. And as usual they just love having everyone in the locker room standing on the stage watching someone, like Steve Austin and Undertaker always used to do when they were drawing millions of dollars. Oh, wait, sorry, they didn’t, because it’s always stupid. And they wonder why all their top stars are neutered and heatless. Speaking of neutered and heatless, Orton is disgusted that everyone doubted he would win the MOST IMPORTANT MATCH IN WWE HISTORY. John Cena immediately butts in and finishes the promo for him (“Greatest in the history of greatest, viper viper viper viper viper”) which again shows that can be charming and charismatic when he’s acting like a human being instead of a poop-joke robot. Anyway, he thinks Orton should put up or shut up tonight, against Daniel Bryan. Orton doesn’t want that, but now suddenly HHH and Stephanie, who just spent the past FOUR MONTHS trying to prevent Daniel Bryan from getting anywhere near the title, think that it’s a great idea to feature that match, albeit not for the title tonight. I don’t even get what HHH’s motivation is supposed to be anymore. Is he a good witch or a bad witch? As usual, these opening “State of the Union With The Authority” segments are death. Cody Rhodes & Goldust v. Rey Mysterio & Big Show Cody starts with Rey and gets dropkicked to the floor, and Rey follows with a sliding splash that usually misses but actually HITS this time! Cool spot. Back in, Cody hits the disaster kick for two to take over and follows with a front suplex for two. The champs work on Rey in the corner, but he slips away and brings in Big Show as we take a break. Hulu is now giving me personally-tailored ads about how my gift subscription is running out and I should renew soon. This new world is kind of creeping me out. For the record, someone bought me a month as a gift, but my original subscription is still a long ways away from expiring, so I’m not terribly worried. But hey, anyone who wants to get me Hulu Plus gift card for Christmas is more than welcome. Back with Cody taking the beating as the crowd chants for Goldust, and Show goes up and misses an elbow from the middle. Hot tag Goldust, who is apparently awesome in either babyface tag role. Lariat on Show gets two. Show comes back with a chokeslam for two, but Cody saves. Show misses a charge and we get a GOLDSAULT attempt, but it misses and Show ignominiously punches him out and finishes with a Rey splash off his shoulders at 11:48. Yay, my favorite, beat the champ booking. **1/2 Minor interesting note in that everyone was bitching about the announcers taking selfies during this match, but there was literally no mention or sign of it here, so they must have managed to edit it all out. Meanwhile, Randy Orton bitches to the Authority, but they’ve got his back. Meanwhile, Damien Sandow is Santa for some reason. One who values education over gifts, and declares that CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED. This is apparently is going to lead to, and I can’t believe I’m typing this, Bad Santa v. Good Santa Mark Henry with the fate of Christmas on the line next week. I wasn’t aware that the fate of Christmas was under the purview of WWE, but I’m sure they could find a way to screwjob even that stipulation. Big E Langston & Mark Henry v. The Real Americans The Black Guys Not Doing Anything Else Right Now overpower Cesaro, although I’m think they might need a catchier name. They could bring in Bobby Lashley as a third and be The Strongest Black Gentlemen That Donald Trump Has Ever Met. Swagger gets beat up in the corner and Big E pounds away on him for two. Swagger comes back and walks into a clothesline while the commentary gets more and more inane and rambling. The heels get dumped and Big E continues throwing Cesaro around until he finally gets taken out by Swagger on the floor and we take a break. Back with not much else going on until Cesaro threatens the Giant Swing on Henry, which Big E breaks up and finishes Cesaro with the Big Ending at 14:51. Cole actually says “We’ve got a great tag division developing!” which is getting a bit too fourth wall for me. ** Speaking of breaking the fourth wall, CM Punk comes out to talk about the schmoz last week, and he calls out Shawn Michaels to defend his superkick. Shawn thinks that Punk needs to get over his problem with the Authority, and perhaps he needs to focus his anger at Shawn instead. So Punk does just that. The crowd chants “One more match” and Punk clarifies that he’s going to have way more than one more. Ha! Punk is willing to forgive the assless chaps, but next time Shawn tries to kick him, he’ll kick back. Shawn notes that the kick hurt him more than it hurt Punk (which Punk silently disagrees with) and introduces the Shield. Poor Shawn is HHH’s stooge these days no matter what role he’s in. CM Punk & The Usos v. The Shield JBL doing the Uso catchphrase is REALLY out of character and cloying. Moreso than usual for him. The babyfaces work on Ambrose in the corner, and he escapes to Rollins, who also gets beat up. This goes on for a while and we take a break, as I kind of feel like we’re just cutting and pasting the same tag matches as earlier in the show. God December is such a boring time for this show. Back with Jimmy getting the heat, but he comes back with a cross body on Rollins before Reigns cuts him off with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Jimmy fights out of a chinlock and makes the hot tag to Punk, and it’s a brainbuster on Ambrose for two. We’re BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and an Uso hits Reigns with a dive to the floor. Punk drops the Macho Elbow on Ambrose and it’s more butt-ugly than usual. GTS is delivered, but Reigns hits the spear on the follow-through to finish at 14:33. 50/50 strikes again. **1/2 Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton They take it to the mat to start and Bryan maneuvers into an indian deathlock, with a neat rolling bridge that gets two. Orton bails to escape and pounds him down in the ring, but Bryan goes back to the leg again. He dropkicks the knee in the corner and posts it for two. They trade forearms and Bryan puts him down with a knee and continues working on Orton’s knee. Orton finally blocks a hiptoss with a clothesline to take over, and goes to work on the arm. We take a break and return with Orton beating on Bryan outside, and back in for a superplex that gets two. Bryan keeps fighting, but hurts his arm further on a clothesline. Orton goes up and Bryan brings him down with a rana for two. Orton comes back with the neckbreaker, but moves in for the kill and gets hooked in the Yes-Lock. He counters with a catapult to put Bryan outside, but he hangs onto the top rope, which allows Orton to hit him with the draping DDT. What a fantastic sequence of moves. RKO is countered with a backslide for two, and a high kick gets two. Orton also has this running gag going where he checks on a loose tooth after every big move, which is a great touch. Back to the top, and Bryan puts him down for the diving headbutt, which gets two. He comes back with kicks, but misses a charge and Orton rolls him up for two. Bryan with the Yes-Lock, but Orton escapes to the floor and Bryan flattens him with a dive. Back in for the missile dropkick and kick series, but Orton takes it TO THE NUTSACK for the DQ at 25:44. That was a much better match than any of their PPV ones, by far. **** Cena runs out to make the save and Orton lays him out as well and poses with both belts to end the show. The Pulse Welcome to December, where nothing happens and they tape a million shows in two weeks so you just kind of get some good wrestling and not much else. It is what it is.

WWF Madison Square Garden July 13th, 1985

My copy of this show excluded some of the matches. It cut out half of the Rene Goulet vs. Pedro Morales match, which was awful from what I saw, and also cut out Adrian Adonis vs. Jose Luis Rivera, Junkyard Dog vs. Bob Orton, and Terry Funk vs. Lanny Poffo, which is on the “Best of the WWF Volume 6” tape.
July 13, 1985
Your hosts are Lord Alfred Hayes and Gorilla Monsoon

Moondog Spot vs. Ivan Putski
Putski works a side headlock for a long time. He keeps going back to the move as Gorilla puts over Putski’s recent tour of Japan. Spot briefly works on Putski in the corner but until he gets backdropped, allowing Putski to go back to the side headlock. Spot counters that with an atomic drop then goes to work. Flying chop gets two. They slug it out until Spot hits an inverted atomic drop. He grabs a chinlock for a bit then takes him down with a forearm smash. Backbreaker gets two. Spot goes back to the chinlock until Putski escapes and hits an atomic drop. He misses an elbow drop then Spot hits another flying chop for two. Spot hits a crescent kick then both men are down after colliding. Putski backs Spot in the corner, who is begging for mercy, then hammers away. Spot gets tied up in the ropes. He is able to escape after kicking Putski low. Spot leaps over Putski and taunts the crowd but ends up walking into the Polish Hammer (12:58) *1/2.
Thoughts: Spot made this watchable but Putski had no business going this long in the ring in 1985. And speaking of Putski, the crowd was less and less into him each time he went out, especially since the crowds got younger as the years went by. Spot is one of the more underrated workers in the history of wrestling, to be honest.
Rick McGraw vs. Missing Link w/Bobby Heenan
Heenan prevents Link from bringing a chair into the ring. McGraw fires away to start. He hits a dropkick but ends up getting elbowed in the head. Link hits another elbow then starts uses a headbutt. He hits a headbutt from the middle rope then goes out to grab the chair but Heenan prevents him again. In the ring, McGraw fights back but Link no-sells a turnbuckle smash then hammers away in the corner. McGraw runs into a headbutt then Link finishes him off with a springboard headbutt (2:25) ¼*. After the match, Link wants to smash his head off of the post but Heenan controls him
Thoughts: Great match for headbutt aficionados but to everyone else, it was a nothing match. At least it was short. Link was a bust in the WWF. His run was less than memorable to say the least.
Gorilla is backstage with Roddy Piper, who jokingly refers to Gorilla as the Good Humor man before mockingly calling him sexy. Piper blames Orndorff for losing the match at WrestleMania and in regards to the $25,000 bounty, Piper said that he would sell his grandma for that much money.
Roddy Piper vs. Paul Orndorff
The fans are going out of their fucking minds at the start of this match. Orndorff slugs away and knocks Piper to the floor. He follows him out then back in the ring, he hits an elbow smash from the top rope then works the arm as the crowd is still going insane. Piper smacks Orndorff and rams his head off of the turnbuckle but he still maintains the hold. Onrdorff runs into a knee on a charge. Piper hammers away but Orndorff manages to get a nearfall with a backslide. Piper rakes the eyes then stomps Orndorff through the ropes. The fans are all over Piper, who gets dragged off of the apron. After a brief slugfest, Piper whips Orndorff into the post. Back in the ring, Piper takes Orndorff down with a side headlock then both men go back and forth on the mat until Orndorff gets two off of a backslide. Orndorff wins a slugfest then drops an elbow. Orndorff goes for a crossbody block but both men spill outside. Orndorff drags Piper back into the ring and heads up top but Bob Orton comes out and shoves Orndorff off of the top rope for the DQ (8:47) ***. Orton and Piper continue to assault Orndorff until the British Bulldogs run out and eventually fight them off, as Orndorff is bloodied.
Thoughts: Good stuff. The brawling was intense and Piper’s selling was great at getting the crowd to react. Running out to aid Orndorff also shows that the WWF was starting to get behind the Bulldogs too, which would be more prevalent throughout the year.
Iron Sheik w/Freddie Blassie vs. Swede Hanson
Sheik attacks Hanson before the bell, choking him out with his headwear. He chokes him out in the corner and stomps away. A loud “U-S-A” chant breaks out as Hanson fights back with horrible looking punches. He slams the Sheik and drops a knee, which gets one. Hanson chops Sheik down and as the ref is distracted, the Sheik loads his boot. He kicks him in the face then puts him away with an elbow drop (2:24) DUD.
Thoughts: At least it was quick. Hanson was one of the worst wrestlers of all-time. He couldn’t move, had no charisma and everything he did looked bad. Again, at least it was short.
Nikolai Volkoff w/Freddie Blassie vs. George “The Animal” Steele w/Capt. Lou Albano
Steele interrupts Volkoff’s rendition of the Soviet National Anthem, to the delight of the crowd. Volkoff retreats and stalls to start things off. Volkoff kicks Steele after he was distracted by Blassie. Steele bites back but gets distracted and Volkoff puts the boots to Steele, who fights back then tears apart the turnbuckle. He throws the stuffing in Volkoff’s face then grabs a headlock. Both men slug it out and it looks terrible but Blassie hits Steele with the cane behind the ref’s back. Albano goes after Blassie but he also gets nailed with the cane. Steele comes out and no-sells a cane shot but ends up getting attacked from behind by Volkoff and this leads to a double countout (4:18) DUD.
Thoughts: Mostly stalling in this match, which was really all you could do against someone with Steele’s gimmick.
George Wells vs. Brutus Beefcake w/Johnny Valiant
Beefcake attacks Wells from behind after he was distracted by Valiant. He chokes him out with his foot then works a side headlock. Wells catches Beefcake with a crescent kick then takes him down with an armdrag. The crowd is silent as Wells has Beefcake in an armbar for a few minutes. Beefcake rakes the eyes then knocks Wells through the ropes. In the ring, Brutus works a front facelock but Wells backs him into the corner. Snapmare gets two then Wells goes back to the arm. Beefcake knocks him over the rope then Wells skins the cat, in the slowest manor possible and ends up taking Beefcake to the floor with a headscissors, drawing a pop from the crowd. Back in the ring,  Wells hits a few tackles but gets distracted by Valiant and that allows Beefcake to hit the jumping knee smash from behind for the win (7:26) ¾*.
Thoughts: Really dull stuff. The crowd still didn’t care enough about Beefcake at this time and unfortunately for Wells, they never connected with him. He was very bland in the ring so you cant really blame them for that.
  
Brett Hart & Jim Neidhart w/Jimmy Hart vs. British Bulldogs
Brett and Dynamite start things off. Dynamite hits a few armdrags as Hart is screaming on the megaphone. Dynamite sends Brett to the floor then ends up tagging out. The Anvil overpowers him for a bit but Dynamite kicks him down. Anvil gets hit with a double shoulder block then he and Davey use a test of strength. Davey hits a dropkick then Brett tags back as Hayes call him the most improved wrestler of 1985. Davey is getting beat on by both men, even getting hit with the Demolition Decapitation spot. Hart is pissing off the crowd by speaking through a megaphone as Davey continues to get assaulted. Davey flips out of a backbreaker attempt and hits a slam as both men are down. Bret prevents a tag from being made as a “bulldog” chant breaks out. Davey hits a crucifix but the Anvil breaks that up. Davey dodges an attack from Bret that sends Anvil off the apron then he makes the tag to Dynamite, who runs wild. He is going at a lightning quick pace that has the crowd going crazy. He takes out Brett with a missile dropkick then tags Davey, who hits a running powerslam that Neidhart breaks up at two. Small package gets two after the Anivl breaks that up. Davey tries a reverse rollup but Brett ducks and he flies out to the floor. The Anvil roughs him up then rolls him back inside, where Brett applies a Boston Crab that Dynamite breaks up. Neidhart tags and works a chinlock for a bit. Davey escapes and gets a backslide but Brett breaks that up. He and Davey then have a brief pinfall reversal sequence. Davey dropkicks Brett and tries to make the tag but the Anvil drags him into their corner. Davey tries for a sunset flip but the bell sounds, signaling the match has ended due to the curfew draw (13:12) ***1/4.
Thoughts: Good match. Dynamite was so fast and crisp in the ring that it made him stick out. The crowd loved it when he was in the ring. The not-yet-named Hart Foundation looked great and Brett was starting to show a little bit of personality. This match was featured on the “Bret Hart Story” DVD.
Final Thoughts: From what I saw, the show was okay, basically what you would expect from your average house show in this era. Most of the bad matches were kept short. Orndroff vs. Piper and the final tag match were both good. No champions were on this card, oddly enough. The next house show I will review is the August Philadelphia Spectrum show and until then I will post all of the Championship Wrestling shows and a TNT review leading up to that.

Bring back Starrcade!

Gone are the days when the granddaddy of them all was thrust
upon our television screens during the holidays. Gone are the days when WCW, or
Jim Crockett Promotions prior to 1988, hosted a spectacular wrestling card that
normally finalized long-lasting feuds. Gone are the announcing days of Tony
Schiavone, David Crockett, Bob Caudle, Gordon Solie, Jim Ross, Dusty Rhodes,
Larry Zbyzsko, and Bobby Heenan.

Let’s reflect upon what Starrcade brought to us.

In 1983 Dusty Rhodes unveiled the concept Starrcade with the
coming out party for “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. On June 10 Harley Race beat Flair
for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Vowing never to lose the title
again Race placed a $25,000 bounty on Flair. “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Jr. and Dick
Slater collected the bounty by injuring Flair’s neck causing a temporary
retirement. However, Flair wasn’t finished with Race and a championship match
was signed for the inaugural event at the Greensboro Coliseum on November 24.
Flair won the title in a steel cage match where Gene Kiniski was the special
guest referee. Without a doubt, a true wrestling historian should have this
match in his/her collection.

It should be noted that Starrcade
’83: A Flair for the Gold
was held on Thanksgiving night and available only
through closed-circuit locations since pay-per-view television did not yet
exist. Other notable matches from the event included an extremely bloody dog
collar match between “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and an
NWA World Tag Team bout between Ricky Steamboat &Jay Youngblood versus Gerry
& Jack Brisco. In addition to the cage match check out the dog collar match
for its pure violence.

In 1984 Starrcade returned to Greensboro and was dubbed The Million Dollar Challenge. “The
American Dream” Dusty Rhodes challenged NWA World Champion Ric Flair for $1
million. “Smokin’” Joe Frazier was the special guest referee this time. As one
would expect in a blood feud Dusty was busted open pretty badly, and in the end
Frazier halted the match due to blood costing Rhodes the million bucks. The
undercard included:  Denny Brown defeated
Mike Davis for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title; #1 Paul Jones beat “The
Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant in a tuxedo street fight loser-leaves-town
match; and Tully Blanchard defeated Ricky Steamboat to retain the World TV title
and win $10,000. Seek this show out if you haven’t seen it.

Starrcade ’85: The
Gathering
holds a sentimental place in my heart. It was the first
spectacular bestowed upon my markdom. While I didn’t make it to a
closed-circuit location to see the show my parents bought me the VHS tape for
$39.95! This event emanated from both Greensboro, NC and Atlanta, GA. The main
event was a rematch for the NWA World title between Rhodes and Flair. The Four
Horsemen had just formed between Ole & Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and
Flair. For those unfamiliar with the original incarnation, the other Horsemen,
by hook or by crook, did everything necessary for Flair to maintain the “10
pounds of gold.” Via a Dusty finish due to Horsemen interference Flair retained
his title albeit it was announced nine days later on TV. Other notable matches
included: the legendary “I Quit” match between Blanchard and Magnum T.A. where
Magnum won the US title; The Rock’n’Roll Express defeated Ivan & Nikita
Koloff to win the NWA World Tag Team titles; Jimmy “The Boogie Woogie Man”
Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively (Ron Garvin) defeated the Midnight Express
(with Jim Cornette); Buddy Landel (with James. J. Dillon) won the National
title; and Krusher Khruschev (Barry Darsow) won the Mid-Atlantic title.
Definitely check this show out for some old school ‘rasslin’ entertainment.

My only memory from Starrcade
’86: Night of the Skywalkers
is seeing the Road Warriors standing upon a
scaffold 2-3 stories up launching pumpkins to the pavement trying to scare the
willies out of Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express. Not to be outdone by the
WWF and its 3 locations for WrestleMania 2, Starrcade again emanated in both
Greensboro, NC and Atlanta, GA. For those who watched World Championship
Wrestling on TBS at 6:05pm ET in 1986 just about everyone was chomping at the
bit for Magnum T.A. to win the big gold belt. Unfortunately his day would never
come as Magnum suffered serious injuries in a car wreck prior to the event and
was forced into retirement. Instead Nikita Koloff, feeling sympathy for his
fallen former adversary, turned babyface and faced Flair for the title.
However, success was not to be for Koloff as Flair retained the title. The
undercard included:  the aforementioned
scaffold match which the Warriors (with “Precious” Paul Ellering) won albeit
with Hawk hiding a recently broken leg; Valiant beat Paul Jones in a hair
versus hair match; and The Rock’n’Roll Express retained their NWA World Tag
Team titles against Ole & Arn Anderson. The only redeeming match from this
show would be the R&R/Andersons match.

By the time Starrcade
’87: Chi-Town Heat
rolled around Jim Crockett Promotions had absorbed both
Championship Wrestling from Florida and the UWF (formerly Mid-South)
territories and begun running shows nationally on a regular basis. This time the
event took place in Chicago, IL. Flair figuratively-speaking poked Dusty in the
ribs and stated that rather than losing the World title at the event he’d
rather win it. Therefore, Rhodes needed to create not only a challenger but also
a lame duck champion for Flair to beat. The only babyface willing to perform this
task was Ron Garvin. The problem with the lame duck champion started after
Garvin won due to heels’ unwillingness to job to Garvin. Crockett and Rhodes
resolved the problem by putting Garvin on “sabbatical” until Starrcade. It
didn’t help as Flair (with James J. Dillon) won the NWA title for the fifth
time with solid crowd approval. Other notable matches included:  Dusty Rhodes beat “The Total Package” Lex
Luger (with James J. Dillon) for the US title; Steve “Dr. Death” Williams
defeated Barry Windham in a UWF title defense; Nikita Koloff beat Terry Taylor
to unify the NWA and UWF TV titles; and the team of Tully Blanchard and Arn
Anderson (with James J. Dillon) defeated the Road Warriors by DQ. As one could
see the burying of the UWF took place on this card as well as an unthinkable DQ
loss by the Road Warriors in their hometown. To put it mildly Dusty’s booking
ideas weren’t always home runs. Check out this show if you’ve not seen it
though.

Beginning with Starrcade
’88: True Gritt,
the event was moved to December due to significant
politicking on the part of Vincent K. McMahon of the World Wrestling Federation
(WWF). In March 1987 the WWF hosted WrestleMania III which boasted a huge PPV
buyrate. In November McMahon created the Survivor Series and ran the event on Thanksgiving
opposite Starrcade ’87. Cable companies were coerced to show Survivor Series
based upon the dangling carrot of WrestleMania IV. Meanwhile Jim Crockett
Promotions fearing bankruptcy due to overspending and overexpansion was sold to
Ted Turner who changed the name to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in
November 1988. So on December 26 in Norfolk, VA Lex Luger challenged NWA World
Champion Ric Flair for the title but lost. The undercard included:  The Midnight Express (Stan Lane & Bobby
Eaton with manager Jim Cornette) beat the Original Midnight Express (Randy Rose
& Dennis Condrey with manager Paul E. Dangerously); Rick Steiner won the
World TV title from Mike Rotunda (with Kevin Sullivan) in a brilliantly-booked
underdog upset; and Sting & Rhodes defeated the Road Warriors. I recommend
seeking out this show for the Flair-Luger match.

Many WCW fans conclude that 1989 was one of the greatest
years by any wrestling promotion. Ric Flair took over booking duties and booked
a classic three-match series with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Additionally he
booked a heated blood feud with Terry Funk. While both feuds remain legendary
they were both blown off before Starrcade
’89 Future Shock
. Therefore, on December 13 in Atlanta, GA WCW held a
one-night Iron Man tournament for both singles and tag teams. The single
participants included Flair, Sting, Luger, and Muta while the tag team
participants involved The Road Warriors, The Steiner Brothers, Doom (Ron
Simmons and Butch Reed), and The Wild Samoans. While Sting won the singles
tournament the Road Warriors won the tag team tournament. Although this is a
concept show, seeing Flair, Sting, Muta, and a motivated Luger in their primes
should be worth your time.

Starrcade ’90:
Collision Course
can be summed up in 2 words—Black Scorpion. While Sting
dominated as the #1 babyface throughout the second half of 1990 the Black
Scorpion was his main adversary. The unfortunate situation facing WCW was that
they didn’t have anybody to actually BE the Black Scorpion. With promises of an
upcoming NWA World title reign Flair stepped between the ropes in a steel cage
match under the disguise to face NWA World Champion Sting. Ultimately, on
December 16 in St. Louis, MO Sting won, unmasked Flair, and capped off one of
the worst booked feuds in wrestling history. The undercard contained the Pat
O’Connor Memorial International Cup Tag Team Tournament which the Steiners won;
Luger won the US title from Stan “The Lariat” Hansen in a Texas Lariat match;
and Doom (with Teddy Long) fought Barry Windham and Arn Anderson to a no-contest
in a street fight. A no-contest in a street fight? Who booked this crap? It was
Ole Anderson but not for long after this show. I cannot recommend this show in
good conscience.

Starrcade ’91: Battlebowl
The Lethal Lottery
presented a random tag team tournament followed by a
battle royal of the winning teams using two rings on December 29 in Norfolk, VA.
However, matchups were not so random. A perfect example included the Fabulous
Freebirds (Michael P.S. Hayes and Jimmy “Jam” Garvin) on opposite sides of a
tag team match. In the battle royal the winner of the first ring met the winner
of the second ring for the title of Battlebowl champion. Luger and Sting won
their respective rings, and Sting ultimately won the Battlebowl ring. By virtue
of this victory he laid claim to a title shot against Luger (with Harley Race) at
SuperBrawl II. Personally I’d skip this one and pick up SuperBrawl II.

Starrcade ’92: Battlebowl The Lethal Lottery revisited
the Battlebowl concept on December 28 in Atlanta, GA. Prior to the battle royal
Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat retained the NWA and WCW World Tag Team
titles against Barry Windham and Brian Pillman; Sting beat Vader to win the
King of Cable tournament; Simmons retained the WCW World Heavyweight title by
defeating Steve “Dr. Death” Williams (subbing for an injured Rick Rude) by
disqualification; and Masahiro Chono beat the Great Muta to retain the NWA Heavyweight
title. In spite of his loss the Great Muta won the Battlebowl ring earning a
rematch with Chono. Check out that King of Cable tournament final as Sting and
Vader always put on a good show.

Similar to the 1990 event, Starrcade ’93: 10th Anniversary can be summed up in two
words—lost opportunity. Sid Vicious was penciled in as the winner of the WCW
World Heavyweight championship match at this event. In fact pre-taped Worldwide
footage of Sid wearing the belt had to be scrapped. So what happened? An
altercation between Sid and Arn Anderson while overseas in England cost Sid
both his title shot and his job in WCW. With promises of booking duties on
December 27 Flair was substituted for Sid and had a legendary yet brutally
violent match with Vader (with Harley Race) capturing the gold for the 11th
time. Other notable matches included: “Stunning” Steve Austin (with Colonel Rob
Parker) defeated “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes for the US title; Rick Rude retained
the International World Heavyweight title against The Boss (Ray Traylor); and
Sting and Road Warrior Hawk beat the Nasty Boys (with Missy Hyatt) by DQ.
Vader-Flair is worth seeing just for the brutality and seeing Flair win the big
one in his hometown of Charlotte, NC.

Starrcade ’94: Triple
Threat
was fueled by Hulkamania. In June 1994 Hulk Hogan signed with WCW
and captured the WCW World title the next month at Bash at the Beach. At
Halloween Havoc he “retired” Ric Flair but was ambushed by former friend The
Butcher (Ed Leslie aka Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake) and the Dungeon of Doom. On
December 27 in Nashville, TN Hogan faced The Butcher for the title and prevailed.
The undercard included:  Vader won the US
title from “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan; “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright pinned Jean-Paul
Levesque; Johnny B. Badd beat Arn Anderson to retain the World TV title; Mr. T.
defeated Kevin Sullivan; and Sting beat Avalanche. I’d skip this one unless you
want to see a very green HHH here; although Hulkamaniacs may enjoy this one
thoroughly.

With Starrcade ’95:
World Cup of Wrestling
WCW decided to run another concept show–WCW versus
New Japan Pro Wrestling on December 27 in Nashville, TN. In theory it made for
excellent and competitive matches but in reality it did not produce enormous dollars.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage was WCW World Champion coming into the show and would
face the winner of a triangle match between Flair, Luger, and Sting. Flair
would win said triangle match and then defeat Savage for his 12th
World title. Other notable matches included:  Jushin Liger beat Chris Benoit to put NJPW up
1-0; Koji Kanemoto defeated Alex Wright to put NJPW up 2-0; Luger beat Chono
and Johnny B. Badd defeating Masa Saito to even up the series; Shinjiro Ohtani
beating Eddie Guerrero to put NJPW up 3-2; Savage defeating Hiroyoshi Tenzan to
even up the series again; and Sting beating Kensuke Sasaki to win the series
for WCW 4-3. I enjoy tournaments such as these, and this show gave me lots of
entertainment value. Your mileage may vary though.

Starrcade ’96 saw
Hulk Hogan return to WCW’s biggest PPV; however, Hogan joined and captained the
rebel organization New World Order (nWo)at Bash at the Beach. After Hogan faced
former ally Savage at Halloween Havoc “Rowdy” Roddy Piper returned to WCW for
the first time in 13 years to confront Hogan. At this time Hogan had regained
the WCW World title, but there were plenty of questions as to whether or not it
was on the line here. Nevertheless, on December 29 in Nashville, TN the two
legends fought, Piper came out on top, but didn’t win the title. The undercard
included:  Ultimo Dragon won a
championship unification match between the J-Crown and the WCW Cruiserweight
titles; Liger defeated Rey Mysterio, Jr.: The Outsiders (Kevin Nash & Scott
Hall) successfully defended their WCW World Tag Team titles against the Faces
of Fear (Meng & Barbarian); Eddie Guerrero won the previously vacant US
title from Diamond Dallas Page (DDP); and Luger defeated the Giant (Big Show).
This show doesn’t do much for me personally; however, for historical value,
check out Hogan/Piper then search out The War to Settle the Score for an even
better match.

While WCW tried to showcase Piper versus Hogan in 1996 as
the biggest matchup in its history they would top themselves with an extensive
storyline to book Sting versus Hogan at Starrcade
’97
. The nWo continued running roughshod over WCW throughout 1997; nonetheless,
Sting changed his appearance and frequently repelled from the ceiling to battle
the nWo as WCW’s savior on PPV and Monday Nitro. Hence, on December 28 in
Washington, DC Sting would successfully win the WCW World title albeit in
extremely controversial fashion. At this point in the Monday Night War the WWF
turfed Bret Hart via the Montreal Screwjob, Meanwhile in his first act as a WCW
competitor Bret Hart played a unique role as a referee at the event. Referee
Nick Patrick was assigned to the match and was told to fast count Sting’s
shoulders; however, the count appeared to be fair yet WCW played it up as fast.
Seeing an outright injustice The “Hitman” overtook refereeing duties for this
match, restarted the match, and counted the submission by Hogan while in
Sting’s Scorpion Deathlock. Other notable matches included:  Eddie Guerrero won the WCW Cruiserweight title
over Dean Malenko; Bill Goldberg defeated Mongo McMichael; DDP beat Curt Hennig
for the US title; and Larry Zbyszko defeated WCW President Eric Bischoff for
the rights to Monday Nitro. In my eyes the World title match was poorly
prepared, poorly produced (Sting neither repels from the ceiling nor from the
rampway?), and had a poor outcome. Sting should have dominated the match, won
the title, and made Hogan look so bad that the nWo would renounce him as a
member and its leader. This show had so much promise along with a huge buyrate
that WCW should have paid off the nWo storyline but ultimately failed. I’d only
watch this show for historical purposes as it is a lesson on what not to do for
a wrestling promotion.

Starrcade ’98: Who’s
Next?
presented a conundrum for me. While not documented anywhere I believe
the big dollar names (minus Kevin Nash) had fulfilled all of their PPV dates in
1998. In my opinion Halloween Havoc was stacked for the buyrate without regard
to contract status. Case in point being the star power (Jerry Flynn?) for this
event was way down compared to previous years; therefore, the show comes off as
extremely lackluster in spite of the main event. Said match pitted WCW World
Champion (don’t call me Bill) Goldberg versus “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash on December
27 in Washington, DC. Goldberg was 173-0 (kayfabe) coming into the matchup
while Nash had risen to the top by winning the World War III 60-man battle
royal in November. Nash won the title here and ended Goldberg’s undefeated
streak but not without controversy. Scott Hall interfered on Nash’s behalf and
shocked Goldberg with a cattle prod. While the paid crowd was thirsty for a
Goldberg loss I believe the crowd wasn’t as ecstatic about Nash as champion. Oh
well, the fingerpoke of doom took care of that, right? Other notable (and I use
the term loosely here) matches included: Billy Kidman defeated Rey Mysterio,
Jr. and Juventud Guerrera in a triangle match; Billy Kidman subsequently answered
a challenge from Eddie Guerrero and won; Konnan beat Chris Jericho on Jericho’s
unceremonious path to leaving WCW; and Eric Bischoff defeated Ric Flair. To
quote John McEnroe: “Are you serious?” The sympathetic babyface loses to the
boss on the biggest show of the year? Oh yeah, Flair won the rematch the
following night on Nitro. The cart before the horse always works, right? Good
job, WCW! Seek out the Goldberg loss and avoid the rest at all costs.

Starrcade ’99: The
Battle to End the Millenium
can best be described by the NEW (Where’s
Howard Finkel when you need him?) President of WCW—Vince Russo. Story over
substance was Russo’s plan; hence, the outcomes of the matches on this card
told only part of the story between the combatants. The main event presented
the pure definition of story over substance with Bret Hart retaining the WCW
World Heavyweight title over Goldberg via a recreation of the Montreal Screwjob
on December 19 in Washington, DC. Despite being triumphant the victory was
bittersweet for Hart as he sustained a severe concussion due to an errant
Goldberg superkick. The undercard included: Madusa won the WCW Cruiserweight
title over Evan Karagis (talk about title devaluation); The Revolution (Shane
Douglas, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Asya) defeated “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
and the Varsity Club (ahem…under what rock did Sullivan get these guys and did
he think he was helping to book Starrcade ’89 instead of ‘99?);  Jeff Jarrett played double-duty in beating
Dustin Rhodes in a Bunkhouse Brawl match then losing to “The Crippler” Chris
Benoit in a ladder match for the US title; Sting defeated The Total Package
(Lex Luger) by DQ thanks to subsequent interference by Elizabeth (her initial
interference backfired when Sting had given her a can of silly string prior to
the match; DDP defeated David Flair while defending the honor (<cough>)
of Kimberly in a crowbar on a pole match; and Kevin Nash won a powerbomb match
via a phantom powerbomb. Yes, Nash was sly enough to convince the referee he
had powerbombed Sid when he actually hadn’t. This show is completely forgettable
minutes after watching it, so please avoid.

Unfortunately for WCW, Starrcade
2000: Unedited! Unpredictable! Unreal!
became the last granddaddy of them
all. At the time WCW was for sale by AOL-Time Warner and had not yet been
purchased by the World Wrestling Federation. Russo was long gone but match
quality remained a serious problem for WCW at this point in its existence. On
December 17 in Washington, DC the main event featured WCW World Heavyweight
Champion Scott Steiner defeating Sid Vicious when Vicious passed out while in
the Steiner Recliner. Other notable matches included: a six man ladder match
between 3 Count (Shane Helms and Shannon Moore), the Jung Dragons (Yun Yang and
Kaz Hayashi), and Jamie Knoble and Evan Karagis (3 Count won); Lance Storm
defeated “The Cat” Ernest Miller; Mike Awesome beat Bam Bam Bigelow in an
ambulance match; General Rection (Hugh Morrus/Bill DeMott) defeated US Champion
Shane Douglas by DQ; The Insiders (DDP and Kevin Nash) beat The Perfect Event
(Chuck Palumbo and Shawn Stasiak) to win the WCW World Tag Team titles; and
Goldberg defeated Lex Luger in spite of interference by Buff Bagwell. Did this
show really occur? If so I don’t remember it too well so feel free to skip it.

While Starrcade mimicked the month of March by coming in
like a lion and going out like a lamb memories of this event will not be
forgotten. Win or lose, wrestlers such as Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger, and
Goldberg can give credit to Starrcade for providing pivotal moments in their
careers. During Starrcade’s existence while most people considered WWE’s
WrestleMania to be the hottest show of the year, the end of the year
spectacular hosted by Jim Crockett Promotions initially and WCW thereafter had
proven, in most cases, to truly be the granddaddy of them all. Thanks for the
memories, Starrcade!

For more information on me please visit http://rockstargary.com.