Rock Star Gary reflects on…NWA Starrcade ’84

Live from Greensboro, NC

Airdate: November 22, 1984

Attendance:  16,000

Hosted by Gordon Solie and Bob Caudle

The ending of the main event from last year’s show is shown as Flair became the NWA World Champion for the second time.

Match 1 for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title: Mike Davis (champion) versus Denny Brown

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, Mike Davis was known as a member of the Rock’n’Roll RPM tag team with Tommy Lane.
  • A hip toss and pair of flying headscissors put Brown in control early.
  • Brown missed a cross-body block and fell all the way down to the floor. In the process, Brown hurt his back.
  • Davis worked on the back with a pair of body slams along with a backbreaker earning him a pair of 2 counts.
  • After a forearm by Brown, Davis caught him with an inside cradle for 2.
  • Upon receiving a cross-corner whip, Brown leaped to the second turnbuckle and hit a flying forearm.
  • A back drop and a dropkick gave Brown another 2 count.
  • After a double shoulder block put both men down on the mat, Davis delivered a belly-to-back suplex. Brown raised his left shoulder allowing Davis to pin himself.
  • Davis was excited about his victory until referee Earl Hebner handed the belt to Brown.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: ***

Summary:  This was a short mostly mat-based match which earned Brown some quality time as junior heavyweight champion with Jim Crockett Promotions.

Ring announcer Tom Miller announces Davis as the winner then corrects himself. In spite of the clear camera angle showing Brown’s shoulder coming off the canvas, both Solie and Caudle are befuddled by Hebner’s decision.

In the dressing room, Tony Schiavone happily discusses Ric Flair’s glorious year as champion and promises interviews all evening.

Match 2: Mr. Ito versus Brian Adias

Highlights:

  • Adias was better known for his ties to World Class Championship Wrestling.
  • Dropkick by Adias was followed by a side head lock.
  • Ito tried to get some heat with takedowns using the hair while technically holding the arm.
  • Adias put Ito in an airplane spin and got the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Extremely short match inserted into the show probably to appease WCCW.

Match 3 for the NWA Florida Heavyweight title: Jesse Barr (champion) versus Mike Graham

Highlights:

  • Jesse Barr was better known as Jimmy Jack Funk in the WWF. Needless to say, but this guy’s not high on either Shawn Michaels’ or Meng’s Christmas lists.
  • Early on the match contained lots of mat wrestling with neither man in control for very long.
  • Figure-four leg lock by Graham, but Barr grabbed the bottom rope and exited the ring.
  • Graham countered a side head lock with a knee crusher.
  • Figure-four leg lock #2 by Graham, but again Barr made it to the ropes quickly.
  • Sunset flip by Graham got 2.
  • As per Hebner’s nightly fee, he was involved in a ref bump.
  • Accordingly, an inside cradle by Graham received no count.
  • Atomic drop by Graham sent Barr into the corner.
  • A double leg takedown with his feet on the ropes got the pin for Barr.

Rating: **

Summary:  Good old-fashioned scientific match with Barr playing the dastardly heel.

Highlights from NWA World Wide Wrestling are shown. Tully Blanchard, the Long Riders (Ron Bass and Black Bart) and James J. Dillon are mauling Dick Slater and Ricky Steamboat. While Blanchard and Bass hold Steamboat, Bart mounts the top turnbuckle and nails him in the back with a cowboy boot.

Match 4 (tag-team elimination): The Zambuie Express (w/ Paul Jones) versus Assassin #1 and the “Avalanche” Buzz Tyler

Highlights:

  • While Akeem and Tyler brawled outside the ring, Assassin #1 hit a huge shoulder block on Muhammed.
  • Muhammed went down, and Assassin #1 leaned against the ropes.
  • Jones climbed up on the apron distracting Hebner.
  • Behind Hebner’s back, Tyler pushed Assassin #1 on top of Muhammed.
  • Assassin #1 then pinned Muhammed.
  • Solie explained that Tyler and Akeem had been counted out prior to the pinfall.
  • Assassin #1 and Tyler were victorious.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  Zero redeeming value for this short mess. Move along.

In the dressing room Tony interviews the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Dusty sells this match like it’s the “Thrilla in Manila.” Obviously he wants the victory, the title, and the million dollars.

Match 5 for the Brass Knuckles title: Black Bart (champion w/ James J. Dillon) versus the “Ragin’ Bull” Manny Fernandez

Highlights:

  • No time limit and anything goes were stipulations for this match as both competitors had taped fists. I smell blood.
  • Speaking of which a right hand off the ropes busted Fernandez open.
  • A haymaker by Fernandez sent Bart over the top rope to the floor.
  • Fernandez leaped from the apron and nailed Bart busting him open.
  • Fernandez mounted the second turnbuckle and nailed Bart again for a 2 count.
  • Low blow by Bart turned the tide as an elbow drop got a 2 count for him.
  • After dropping Fernandez throat-first on the top rope, Bart shoved down referee Sonny Fargo.
  • As soon as Dillon tossed a bull rope to Bart, Fernandez rolled him up for the pin.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  While the fans loved Fernandez this wasn’t a great brawl whatsoever.

During the intermission the finish of last year’s main event is shown again. Immediately thereafter, Tony interviews Ricky Steamboat in the dressing room. Steamboat has put up $10,000 against Tully’s TV title. In spite of being injured Steamboat states he will be ready for him.

In Blanchard’s dressing room Tony tries to get the scoop from Dillon. While Dillon is upset about the previous match, Tully cuts a money promo on Steamboat. He wants the winner of the Rhodes-Flair World title match.

Match 6 (Tuxedo/Loser-leaves-town): “The Boogie-Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant (w/ the Assassin) versus Paul Jones (w/ Kareem Muhammed)

Highlights:

  • Valiant entered the ring and kissed Miller much to his dismay. HA!
  • At the beginning of the match Valiant wrapped a noose around Jones’ neck and tied it to the top rope. Clever!
  • After Valiant stripped Jones of his tuxedo Jones freed himself and put a knee in Valiant’s back.
  • Jones was busted open.
  • Sleeper by Valiant, but Muhammed got up on the apron before referee Sonny Fargo could call for the bell.
  • In the process of nailing Muhammed Valiant hit Fargo too.
  • After both Valiant and the Assassin knock Muhammed out of the ring, Dillon ran in and knocked Valiant out cold with a foreign object.
  • He then placed Jones atop Valiant.
  • Jones got the pin. BOO!

Rating: *

Summary:  The tale of this match was Jones getting his comeuppance until Valiant could be outsmarted. Not a bad story, but at the same time not a good match.

Back in Flair’s dressing room Tony interviews the champ.

Match 7 for the NWA Mid-Atlantic title: “Cowboy” Ron Bass (champion w/ James J. Dillon) versus Dick Slater

Highlights:

  • After Slater caught Bass with a back elbow he chased after Dillon.
  • Atomic drop by Slater allowed him to chase Dillon again.
  • Knee lift by Bass put him in control of the match.
  • With Slater tied in the ropes Dillon nailed him behind referee Sonny Fargo’s back.
  • Vertical suplex by Bass got 2 followed by a bulldog.
  • Slater made a short-lived comeback when Bass tossed Slater outside the ring.
  • With Slater down on the concrete, Dillon put the shoes to him.
  • When Slater made another comeback he tossed Fargo out of the ring.
  • Belly-to-back suplex by Slater, but Dillon ran into the ring and put a shoe to the back of Slater’s head.
  • It didn’t make a dent so Slater slammed Dillon then nailed him sending back outside the ring.
  • Next Slater hit Bass with a slam and a leg drop, but Fargo was still out.
  • Finally Fargo revived and awarded the match to Bass via disqualification.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: As a babyface Slater seemed watered down. I realize something had to be ongoing to fill the houses after this show, but this match could have been much better than it was.

Afterwards an infuriated Slater delivers elbows to both Dillon and Bass.

In an ultimate act of patriotism a trumpet plays the national anthem as the camera focuses on the American flag. Gee, I wonder which match is next.

Match 8: Ivan and Nikita Koloff versus Ole Anderson and Keith Larson (w/ Don Kernodle)

Highlights:

  • Ah, no wonder. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
  • According to Solie, Larson was the brother of Don Kernodle.
  • For a moment I thought Larson was Buddy Landel due to his long bleached-blond locks.
  • At the hands of the Soviets Don Kernodle was severely injured so Keith took his place.
  • The Soviet national anthem led the former WWF champion and his nephew to the ring.
  • The faces ambushed the heels at the onset.
  • Dropkick by Larson sent Ivan into a pinball sequence.
  • By continuing their advantage on Ivan, Anderson delivered an Anderson slam.
  • Following a double-team maneuver Anderson dropped an elbow and got 2.
  • He then sent Ivan shoulder-first into the ring post.
  • In a change of momentum, Larson ate a knee on a blind charge.
  • Subsequently Ivan mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught and slammed down to the mat.
  • Finally Nikita tagged in.
  • While Nikita held a bear hug on Anderson, Ivan baited Larson into the ring.
  • Ivan then came off the top rope and leveled Anderson with a double axe handle.
  • After quite some time, Anderson finally rang Nikita’s bell to break the hold.
  • Ivan tagged in and delivered a back elbow.
  • Another bear hug on Anderson by Nikita was broken up by an inverted atomic drop.
  • Hot tag Larson.
  • Back elbow from Larson to Nikita but he missed a dropkick.
  • Inside cradle by Larson on Ivan got 2.
  • All four men were in the ring temporarily until Anderson sent Nikita to the floor.
  • Taking advantage of an injured man, Nikita demolished Kernodle.
  • While referee Tommy Young was dealing with Anderson and Nikita in the corner, Ivan walloped Larson with the Russian chain. How evil!
  • 1-2-3.

Rating: **

Summary:  Tag formula plus 80s jingoism made this a fun match; however, Nikita’s skills were very limited since this was very early in his career.

After the match the Koloffs attempt to double-team Larson, but Kernodle whacks both Koloffs with the crutch and chases them out of the ring. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Match 9 for the NWA World TV title: Tully Blanchard (champion) versus Ricky Steamboat

Highlights:

  • According to Solie, both men have put up $10,000 in this match.
  • Additionally, if Blanchard got disqualified or counted out he would lose the title.
  • Blanchard fled to the apron so Steamboat delivered a vertical suplex to bring him back into the ring.
  • Knee lift by Steamboat but he was too injured to follow up.
  • Backbreaker by Blanchard further injured Steamboat’s floating ribs.
  • Chops by Steamboat put him back in control.
  • After a leapfrog Steamboat gave Blanchard a powerslam and received a 2 count.
  • Ten-punch count-along by Steamboat sent Blanchard down to the mat in a heap.
  • Chop to the head by Steamboat busted Blanchard open.
  • Swinging neckbreaker by Steamboat followed by a slingshot suplex.
  • Wait a minute! That’s Blanchard’s move!
  • Standing dropkick by Steamboat got 2.
  • While Blanchard was on the apron he brandished a foreign object.
  • As Steamboat delivered a belly-to-back suplex to bring Blanchard back inside, Blanchard nailed him with the object.
  • Cross-body block by Blanchard got 2.
  • Steamboat blocked a superplex then hit a splash from the top rope.
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Sunset flip by Steamboat. Nonetheless Blanchard pulled the object out of his tights again and drilled Steamboat between the eyes.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Blanchard retained the title and won $10,000.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Combine Steamboat’s speed and savvy with Blanchard’s treachery, and this was a very exciting fun match.

Match 10 for the NWA US title: “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel (champion) versus Superstar Billy Graham

Highlights:

  • Graham reversed a cross-corner whip and applied the full nelson.
  • A second full nelson got Graham a 2 count.
  • Back elbow and elbow drop got another 2 count for Graham.
  • Tomahawk chop off the ropes by McDaniel got the pin.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  This match was clipped to hell, yet barely had anything going for it anyways.

Once again, the finish to Starrcade ’83 is shown. Enough already! We get the point.

Back in the dressing room, Tony interviews Duke Keomuka, Joe Frazier, and NASCAR driver Kyle Petty. According to Tony, all three men will be judges should the match go the full sixty-minute time limit. Duke is ready for a great match. Frazier states he’ll make sure everything goes right. Uh huh. Petty’s worried about how tough each wrestler is.

Match 11 for the NWA World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion) versus the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes

Highlights:

  • Former boxing heavyweight champion of the world “Smokin’” Joe Frazier was the special referee for this match.
  • Handsome magenta robe for the “Nature Boy.”
  • Bionic elbow by Rhodes but he missed an elbow drop.
  • Knee drop by Flair got a 2 count.
  • Knee drop #2 missed, and Rhodes applied the figure-four leg lock.
  • Military press and slam led to a Flair flop.
  • A Flair flip sent the champion to the floor.
  • A vertical suplex by Rhodes brought Flair back into the ring.
  • After a back elbow Flair mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • Unfortunately Rhodes caught him and slammed him down to the mat.
  • Sleeper by Flair, but Rhodes used momentum to send Flair through the ropes to the floor.
  • Flair pulled Rhodes outside the ring.
  • As they fought, Flair sent Rhodes head-first into the ring post.
  • Rhodes was busted open.
  • Frazier checked the eye but continued the match.
  • Flair worked on the nasty cut causing Frazier to check Rhodes’ eye again.
  • After conferring with Keomuka, Frazier stepped between Flair and Rhodes, checked the cut once more, and stopped the match.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Not the best Rhodes-Flair match you’ll ever see. Finish was very puzzling yet made sense from a boxing perspective.

After the match, Rhodes charges after Frazier but is restrained by Fernandez, Brown, Adias, and others. Meanwhile Jim Crockett hands Flair a $1 million check at ringside. Back in the ring Fernandez applies a towel to Rhodes’ cut.

In the dressing room Tony interviews Flair who states he will be available for Starrcade ’85 next year.

As Solie and Caudle sum up the show, one of the ham’n’eggers in the audience finds the broadcast position and has a shit-eating grin on his face while on camera.

Meanwhile back in the dressing room an extremely perturbed Rhodes calls out Frazier. He then tells Flair that this isn’t over and pushes Tony away before leaving.

After a highlight package Tony interviews Frazier. His philosophy is that it was a bad cut and he feels that his decision to stop the match is justified.

Conclusion:  While last year’s show had a great ending and began what became the Flair era in the NWA this show felt much flatter. With the exception of the Steamboat-Blanchard match everything was either rushed or didn’t have a lot of impact/emotion.

On a positive note this show featured the involvement of celebrities. While NASCAR wasn’t anywhere as big in 1984 as it is now, Greensboro was smack dab in the middle of NASCAR country; therefore, the inclusion of Kyle Petty worked well here. On top of that, inserting Joe Frazier who not only was a former boxing champion but also a big name in closed-circuit programming into the main event match was a bold move.  I wonder how other promoters will react.

As far as my recommendation is concerned, this show barely holds any historical significance so I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it.

See you for WrestleMania!

Buyrate: NONE

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