Starrcade 1998

Starrcade
1998
Date:
December 27, 1998
Location:
MCI Center, Washington, D.C.
Attendance:
16,066
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It’s
the biggest show of the year and I don’t know how many people know
about it. I don’t remember the same show feeling so different just a
year later. Last year Starrcade felt like an event rather than just
a wrestling show. This year it feels like it could be a Clash of the
Champions TV special instead of the biggest show of the year. I have
a very bad feeling about what could be coming here, especially now
that I have a fresh memory of how the buildup went. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video is all about Goldberg vs. Nash, even though it’s
arguably not even the main event.
Tony
and company tell us that the Horsemen have been banned from the
building tonight as per Eric Bischoff’s orders. They talk about the
rest of the card for a bit to kill some time.
First
up tonight: a commercial for a QVC special later in the week.
Call
the Hotline!
Cruiserweight
Title: Billy Kidman vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Kidman
is defending and has been trying to defend the title against Mysterio
for weeks, only to have the LWO interfere. Juventud is there as the
former champion wanting a rematch and LWO leader Eddie Guerrero’s
hand picked challenger. Rey stomps on his LWO shirt on the way to
the ring. Juvy gets double teamed to start, much to the fans’
delight. He tries to fight back against Kidman but gets caught in a
tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Mysterio. Kidman whips Rey into the
Bronco Buster, even though Juvy was a foot in front of the buckle and
had the back of his head driven hard into the corner.
The
good guys start slugging it out before nailing Juvy at the same time,
only to go at it again. Juvy misses a top rope cross body, allowing
Kidman to slam Rey onto Juvy’s chest for two. Guerrera comes back
with Mysterio’s sitout bulldog to both guys at the same time before
telling the cameraman he’s got it. Mysterio can’t hook a German
suplex on Juvy but Kidman clotheslines Guerrera down for two instead.
Kidman
is sent to the floor and Juvy backdrops Rey on top of the champion,
setting up a big dive to take out both guys. The fans didn’t seem
interested for some reason. Back in and Juvy dives again, only to
get double dropkicked out of the air. Heenan talks about Bill being
here tonight. Tenay: “Clinton?” Heenan: “No Bill Schwartz, an
old friend of mine from Cincinnati.” West Coast Pop gets two on
Juvy but Kidman comes back with a headlock takeover out of the corner
on Juvy with a dropkick to Rey at the same time.
Mysterio
is still down as Kidman dives into Juvy’s boots to the face, allowing
Rey to pop up and get two on the champion off a slingshot moonsault.
Juvy is stood on the apron, allowing Rey to hit a hurricanrana off
the top to put both guys down on the floor. Back in and Kidman gets
two on Juvy with a layout powerbomb. Juvy hooks an over the shoulder
backbreaker for the same on Mysterio before he seds Juvy and Kidman
out to the floor. Rey hits a HUGE top rope Asai Moonsault to take
both guys down but he can barely follow up.
Juvy
gets taken down by a springboard hurricanrana from the masked man but
walks into a bad looking Juvy Driver for two. Kidman makes a diving
save before planing Juvy with the BK Bomb for two. Mysterio is the
only one on his feet but he takes Juvy to the floor with another
hurricanrana. Kidman has to keep up with the others, hitting a great
looking Shooting Star to the floor, taking out both guys in the
process. Eddie Guerrero comes out to the ring and pushes Juvy
forward to counter a sunset flip. Rey comes in and dropkicks Juvy
back into the sunset flip, giving Kidman the pin to retain the title.
Rating:
B. Awesome opener here as all
three guys were going nuts out there. That Shooting Star looked
great and the other two were their usual awesome selves. Eddie
getting involved makes me think a fourway would have been a better
option, but there’s nothing wrong with three guys flying all over the
place and firing up the crowd to open up a show.
Post
match Eddie yells at Rey and Juvy, saying they’re not LWO material if
they can’t beat a creampuff like Kidman. Eddie shoves Juvy down and
keeps ripping into Kidman. The champion comes out and offers Eddie a
title shot RIGHT NOW. Eddie says let him go get his gear on but
Kidman doesn’t want to wait. The match is on, making me wonder what
was going to get this spot originally.
Cruiserweight
Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Billy Kidman
Eddie,
in street clothes, decks Kidman to get things going and hammers away.
A powerbomb gets two on the champion and we hit the abdominal
stretch with Juvy helping from the floor. Mysterio breaks that up
twice in a row, drawing Eddie to the floor for a jawing session with
Rey. Kidman comes back with a slingshot ankle scissors for two
before dropkicking Guerrero down.
Eddie
nails a chopblock to take over again and puts on a modified leg lock
while pulling on Kidman’s arm at the same time. Kidman makes a rope
and Rey tries to give him a pep talk. It works well enough as Eddie
is sent into the barricade to give the champion a breather. Back in
and Kidman hits a quick bulldog before hammering away in the corner.
Kidman is on instinct and fumes here, allowing Eddie to counter a
weak sleeper with a jawbreaker.
The
referee goes to talk to Rey for some reason, allowing Eddie to take
off his boot and blast Kidman in the head for a delayed two. The
brainbuster looks to set up the Frog Splash but Kidman pops back up
with a superplex. Guerrero is up first and dropkicks the knee out
again, setting up a leg lock which doesn’t put much torque on the
knee. Mysterio and Juvy get in a fight on the floor over Eddie’s
shoe and the distraction makes Billy break the hold.
Kidman
fights out of a powerbomb and stomps Eddie as hard as he can. A
slingshot legdrop gets two but Eddie counters a top rope
hurricanrana. Now it’s Eddie putting Kidman on top, only to get
shoved down. Eddie’s bodyguard distract the referee, allowing Juvy
to crotch Kidman down. Rey does the same to Eddie though, setting up
the Shooting Star to retain the title.
Rating:
B. Another awesome match here
with the story coming through much stronger than in the opening
match. Kidman fighting out of desperation was an awesome story with
Eddie not being able to back up his months of talk making it even
better. All four guys looked good in their matches, but it’s eaten
up a lot of time.
Nash
vs. Goldberg video. This
brings us to one of the biggest problems of the evening: time. We’re
at forty minutes into the show, leaving us with about two hours to go
and only three announced matches left. Keep that in mind as this
show is about to start its downward spiral.
Norman
Smiley vs. Prince Iaukea
Yes
on Starrcade, in a rematch of something we just saw on Nitro twice
this month already. Norman was getting a push around this time but
that doesn’t mean you give him a match against the same guy he’s
beaten twice in less than three weeks on PPV. Iaukea takes over to
start and sends Norman to the floor for a dive off the apon. The
announcers ignore most of the match to talk about Flair vs. Bischoff,
making this match seem all the more pointless.
Back
in and Norman takes control with his amateur stuff and works on
something resembling a Kimura. Off to a short arm scissors as Tony
talks about Flair’s promos (his word) and the recent heart attack.
Smiley drops him ribs first over the top rope but stops for the Big
Wiggle. There’s the swinging slam for two before he dances too long,
allowing Prince to get a sunset flip for two.
The
fans think this is boring so Norman double stomps Iaukea and puts on
a seated abdominal stretch. That goes nowhere so Norman dances on
the mat a bit. A delayed butterfly suplex gets two on Iaukea and
it’s back to the arm. More dancing follows and Prince suplexes the
distracted Smiley down for two. Norman puts on a series of freaky
looking arm holds before hitting another double stomp.
Prince
comes back with what might have been a low blow but Norman rakes the
eyes. More dancing ensues and Prince springboards in with a cross
body, only to have Smiley roll through for two. Neither guy can get
a backslide so Norman slips behind him and puts on the chicken wing,
now dubbed Norman’s Conquest, for the submission.
Rating:
D-. Smiley was his usual fun
self but this belongs on Thunder or Saturday Night. It got nearly
TWELVE MINUTES, or more than Eddie’s match got. Norman is a rising
star but what good does it do him to have a boring match that he’s
won twice already this month? Somehow, this isn’t the oddest choice
of a match so far.
Here’s
Hall with something to say. I’ve heard he was scheduled to face
Bigelow on this show. That makes sense given what happened recently
on Nitro, but I never heard it announced on television. Unless it
was announced on Saturday Night, that might have been a rumor or
dirtsheet announcement. Either way, Hall comes out with an Outsiders
shirt on and the fans seem very pleased with the idea.
Scott
talks about how 1998 has been a bad year for him in and out of the
ring. Tonight his old buddy Kevin Nash has a shot at the biggest
title in wrestling. The two of them used to ride the roads together
and talk about what that would mean. A little while back, Nash told
him to prove himself to Big Kev. Hall doesn’t think he should have
to do that, but he does have to prove something to himself. 1999 is
going to be his year.
Video
on Bam Bam Bigelow, who isn’t wrestling tonight either. This
transitions into a video on the threeway betweeo Bigelow, Nash and
Goldberg. We’re over an hour into this show now and this is the
third video on the main event.
Perry
Saturn vs. The Cat
This
one isn’t so much strange as they’ve been feuding for awhile now, but
who in the world wants to see this match? Miller of course has to
give his usual speech and Saturn of course jumps him. Cat runs to
the floor for some stalling before teasint walking to the back. He
tries to slide back in to go after Saturn but falls at Saturn’s feet
instead. Now the beating is on but Miller bails to the floor to
stall again. Back in and Cat sweeps the leg and chokes a bit as the
fans are dying in a hurry.
Saturn
can’t hook the Rings so he wrestles Miller down to the mat. That
also goes nowhere so Miller kicks him in the face and walks around a
lot. Saturn comes back with a pair of suplexes for two and a
swinging neckbreaker for the same. A top rope ax handle misses and
Saturn gets kicked in the face for no cover. Back up and Miller
kicks him again but asks Sonny Onoo to come in. Sonny kicks Miller
by mistake, allowing Saturn to hit the Death Valley Driver for the
pin.
Rating:
D-. I’ve watched a lot of
wrestling in my day but I will never understand some things about
WCW. For one, why in the world did Sonny Onoo keep a job for so
long? Miller could at least talk and got decent later on, but why is
he getting this spot on this show? At least Saturn won, finally.
Gene
brings out Flair to talk because we haven’t wasted enough time yet.
Flair says he’s going to
beat up Bischoff and lists off what he’s going to do to every body
part.
This
sets up a LONG video on Bischoff’s history in WCW since the NWO
arrived, his abuses of power and his feud with Flair. Again, we’ve
already paid for the show so why do we need to get fired up for the
matches? This eats up over three minutes and I believe is the exact
same video we saw on Nitro.
Scott
Steiner and Buff Bagwell come in and threaten Konnan but Lex Luger
makes the save. Luger vs. Steiner was another rumored match for this
show like Hall vs. Bigelow.
And
now, perhaps the most random wrestling match in the history of pay
per view.
Brian
Adams/Scott Norton vs. Jerry Flynn/Fit Finlay
During
the video, Tony has been given word that the main event will be No
DQ. Adams throws Finlay around to start but Fit nails him in the
ribs. Off to Norton who snaps off a powerslam on Finlay and a double
clothesline to both opponents. Flynn kicks him in the chin and it’s
back to Adams to slow things down. Adams kicks him down and stomps
away but gets kicked right back, allowing Finlay to come back in and
hammer on Brian.
Adams
pops back up with a piledriver as the fans are just SILENT. Norton
comes back in and cranks on the neck before hitting a splash in the
corner. The NWO takes turns on Finlay with the only interesting move
being a gorilla press gutbuster from Adams. Fit makes the ice cold
tag to Flynn and everything breaks down. Flynn is distracted by
Vincent, allowing Norton to powerbomb him in half for the pin.
Rating:
S. For Starrcade, not Saturday
Night. Get your shows right for your nine minute squashes.
Here’s
Bischoff for ANOTHER FREAKING INTERVIEW. Eric says hi to the
Clintons and imitates a Bill Clinton speech by saying how profoundly
sorry he is for the pain he’s caused the Flair family. He feels
sorry for Flair’s heart attack but the reality is Ric has to fight
tonight because he can’t save a dime. Flair
paid for all those jets and limos but Bischoff got his boss to pay
for his limos and jets.
TV
Title: Konnan vs. Chris Jericho
Konnan
took the title from Jericho in November but Jericho stole the belt
itself on Monday. Jericho
gets in a few decent jokes about Konnan not keeping his pants up. He
also calls himself the man’s regret, every woman’s pet, the man with
the voice and the Jericholics’ choice. We’re
treated to part of Konnan’s rap video before we’re ready to go.
Feeling
out process to start with a shoulder putting the champion down.
Konnan comes right back with a seated dropkick but walks into a
regular dropkick from Jericho. Chris goes up top but Konnan grabs
his own crotch for a distraction. They head outside with Jericho
sending Konnan into the barricade to take over. Back in and Chris
poses a lot before getting two off a suplex and the Arrogant Cover.
We
hit the chinlock on the
champion for a bit before
Jericho goes up top and dives into the boot. The rolling lariat and
a jackknife cover get two on Jericho before Konnan throws him out to
the floor. Jericho is sent ribs first into the steps for two but
Jericho counters the X Factor into a Liontamer attempt. The referee
gets bumped and Jericho hits Konnan with the belt for two. That goes
nowhere so Konnan hooks the Tequila Sunrise for the submission to
retain.
Rating:
D. This felt like they were
painting by numbers, going through the motions or whatever other term
you prefer for a match that was as basic as you could ask for.
Konnan was all talk at this point and the matches just weren’t
backing it up at all. Jericho knew he was leaving in 1999 at this
point and really didn’t care at all.
Giant
is ready for Page tonight and threatens Lee Marshall with violence.
Ric
Flair vs. Eric Bischoff
Bischoff
immediately heads to the floor but Flair gets his hands on him
against the barricade. The beating is on quickly and they head
inside for some choking in the corner. There’s the knee drop to the
head and a right hand, which Flair says is for his wife. Ric
goes after the knee in the corner but Bischoff gets in a kick to the
head that knocks Flair all the way to the floor. He sends Flair into
the barricade as Tony gets in the semi-infamous line about how anyone
that follows tournament karate knows that Bischoff is a force in that
sport.
Flair
is busted open as Eric hammers away in the corner. Ric Hulks Up but
another kick to the head puts him right back down. It’s nothing that
a low blow won’t stop though as Flair takes over. Two more low blows
put Eric in the corner and Ric chops away before shoving the referee
down. Shattered Dreams has Bischoff screaming and a pair of suplexes
make it even worse. The Figure Four goes on but here’s Curt Hennig
to nail Flair with an object, giving Bischoff the pin, thereby
killing the audience deader than dead. I
mean they go SILENT.
Rating:
F. For failure. That’s what
this match was: a complete failure. This match went against the
basic idea of wrestling: the villain runs his mouth and then gets
beaten down by the hero at the end of the day. How does this help
anyone other than Eric Bischoff? It ticks the fans off, doesn’t make
the villain look right, and makes Flair look stupid. That’s fine
once in awhile, but it’s the problem for WCW: the hero almost never
got his day. It was always a screwjob of some form and the hero was
supposed to fight another day. Eventually the fans got tired of
waiting though and these moments stopped meaning anything.
As
for the match itself, there’s really no logic to it either. Bischoff
had WAY too much offense here as a single kick was enough to knock
Flair all the way out to the floor. Last year Larry Zbyszko was
staggered by some of his kicks but didn’t go out to the floor as a
result. The heart attack angle was mentioned in passing by Tony and
nothing more, making that almost entirely pointless. But hey, people
think Eric Bischoff is a tough guy so everybody is happy right?
We
recap Giant vs. Diamond Dallas Page, which is really just an offshoot
of Page vs. Hart. Page of course has bad ribs coming in, due
to a chokeslam off the stage a few weeks back.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Giant
They
spit at each other to start before
Page drives in some shoulders. An early Diamond Cutter attempt goes
nowhere but Page does clothesline him out to the floor. The offense
is short lived though as Giant clotheslines DDP down with ease. A
headbutt puts Page into the crowd but he finds a trashcan to blast
Giant in the head. Again the advantage is short lived though as
Giant whips him into the steps and then the post.
Giant
throws him back inside and Page bangs his knee up on the landing.
The big man lays on the leg to slow things down as the fans just do
not care after the result of the previous match. Page
rakes the eyes to escape but gets crushed in the corner to stop his
comeback cold. We hit the
bearhug as this match is dying right in front of my eyes. Giant
plants him with a powerslam but pulls Page up twice in a row. Back
to the bearhug for a bit before Giant picks him up for a double choke
backbreaker.
Giant
still won’t cover though and gets caught in a running DDT to put both
guys down. The referee gets bumped as well, drawing out Bret Hart
who hits Giant with a chair by mistake. That’s only good for two as
Giant easily kicks out. Page scores with a pair of top rope
clotheslines, only to dive
into a choke. Giant takes him to the corner for the super chokeslam,
but Page dives at him into a swinging Diamond Cutter for the pin out
of nowhere. Page’s shocked look when he hit it is great.
Rating:
C-. The match was boring but
the ending helped it a lot. That jumping Diamond Cutter is one of my
favorite endings ever in WCW and it still holds up really well. I’m
not sure why this wasn’t Page vs. Bret for the title, but to be fair
we had seen that match several times before so it was kind of nice to
see something new.
Yet
another Goldberg vs. Nash video.
WCW
World Title: Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash
Goldberg
is defending and it’s No DQ. Nash won the shot by winning World War
3. They’re treating this like it’s a big showdown ala Hogan vs.
Warrior in 1990 but it just doesn’t work with these guys. They
pose at each other to start with the fans pretty split. A lockup
takes both guys into the corner and the referee splits them up. They
circle each other some more until Goldberg ducks a right hand and
suplexes Nash, sending him out to the floor.
Back
in and Nash takes him into the corner for all of his usual stuff but
Goldberg just shoves him down. The champion chokes away but Nash
tries a freaking cross armbreaker of all things. Goldberg laughs his
way out of that and tries his ankle hold, sending Nash to the ropes
for another reset. Goldberg knocks Nash to the mat with right hands
but gets pulled face first into the middle buckle.
The
spear connects out of nowhere but Goldberg can’t pick him up for the
Jackhammer. The delay allows Nash to hit him low and both guys are
down again. A bad looking side slam gets two for Nash and he hammers
in forearms to the back. The swinging neckbreaker puts Nash down
again and there’s the superkick for good measure. Goldberg muscles
him up into a powerslam for two but here’s Disco Inferno to distract
the champion. That goes as well as you would expect so here’s
Bigelow to get beaten down as well. Scott Hall of course sneaks in
with a tazer to Goldberg’s chest, setting up the Jackknife to give
Nash the title.
Rating:
D+. The match wasn’t the worst
thing in the world but it feels like such an anti-climactic way to
end the Streak. After all that, it’s an ending that doesn’t make a
ton of sense and almost makes Nash look like a heel, even though the
fans popped for the ending. I’d assume it’s because it’s a big
moment but they still liked Nash no matter what. It felt like a
pro-Nash pop rather than an anti-Goldberg one as the fans weren’t
booing Goldberg throughout the rest of the match.
Nash
isn’t sure what happened. He didn’t see Hall do what he did and Hall
was out of there immediately after.
Overall
Rating:
D-. Where
do I even start? While last year’s show was decent with a bad
ending, this one was just bad for the last two hours. This show
ranged from bad to downright stupid at times, with some of the most
random matches I can ever remember seeing on a major pay per view.
Consider the following list of people who either didn’t wrestle or
appear on the show.
Bret
Hart, Scott Steiner, Booker T., Scott Hall, Chris Benoit, Dean
Malenko, Lex Luger, Wrath, Bam Bam Bigelow, Kanyon, Raven, Buff
Bagwell
All
of those guys have gotten significant television time in the weeks
leading up to the show, but none of them could get on the card.
Instead we had guys like Jerry Flynn, Scott Norton and Prince Iaukea
wrestling instead. The opening two matches are good, but there’s
really no reason for one midcard story to eat up forty minutes of an
under three hour card. That leaves you two hours for six matches,
but then they wasted even more time on the constant videos and
interviews.
That’s
all before the booking of the show. I can understand the Nash move
as the streak had to end somewhere. I don’t care for it for the most
part, but there could have been far worse ideas for them to go with.
Nash winning the title isn’t a stretch as he’s been one of the
biggest starts in the company since the day he debuted. Yeah he
booked himself to be champion, but at the end of the day it’s not
like Glacier just broke Goldberg’s streak.
Then
there’s the white elephant in the room. I really don’t know how you
can argue that Bischoff should have gone over Flair no matter how you
look at it. That should have been the biggest layup of the year but
instead it’s the exact opposite of what it should have been. Yeah
things would change in the near future, but the idea of getting the
win later doesn’t matter. It should have been at Starrcade with the
two having been built up for months. Instead it made Bischoff look
good with Flair coming off like a raging lunatic that can’t get the
easiest win in the world anymore.
Overall
the show was only a step above a disaster. The worst part is that it
wasn’t even all that bad, but it was painfully dull. Most of these
matches just don’t line up with the stories they’ve been showing on
television and it feels like we’re supposed to get to the big show
later on. It’s not even that the show is bad, but it just doesn’t
work at all, save for two pretty meaningless matches to open the
show.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
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