WCW Wednesdays Part III – Starrcade ’87

Happy Hump Day, BoD faithful! And also, happy WCW Wednesday!

Since Survivor Series occurs this weekend, let’s reminisce about the show that the inaugural Survivor Series made us forget about…Starrcade ’87!

What happened, you ask? Good question!

On November, 26, 1987, a.k.a. American Thanksgiving, both Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) held pay-per-views in the evening for the post-turkey crowd. The issue surrounded the distribution of each pay-per-view (PPV).

Well before the Monday Night War happened, JCP and the WWF waged a promotional war to showcase the best in either professional wrestling or sports-entertainment. In March of 1987, the WWF held WrestleMania III which had an 8.0 buyrate with 400,000 buys. Amazing, isn’t it? Having made a lot of cable companies (and they were extremely regional back in ’87) very happy financially with that financial juggernaut, the WWF sought to usurp the Thanksgiving tradition from JCP and hold its first Survivor Series. Dangling the threat of withholding WrestleMania IV from cable companies, Vince McMahon got the bulk of the cable industry to air his  PPV  instead of Starrcade ’87.

But let’s digest what happened in Chicago, IL rather than the inter-promotional war. What happened?

  1. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/ J.J. Dillon) defeated Ron Garvin in a steel cage and became a five-time NWA World champion.
  2. The “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes beat the “Total Package” Lex Luger (w/ J.J. Dillon) in a steel cage to win the US title.
  3. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/ J.J. Dillon) retained the NWA World tag team titles against the Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering) by disqualification. Poor booking decision on Dusty here. The hometown Warriors should have won the titles.
  4. Nikita Koloff defeated Terry Taylor (w/ Eddie Gilbert) to unify the NWA and UWF television titles. The acquisition of the UWF by JCP should have been booked as one heck of an intra-promotional war, but it wasn’t.
  5. In a Skywalkers (scaffold) match, the Rock’n’Roll Express beat the Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette & Big Bubba Rogers).
  6. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams retained the UWF title by defeating Barry Windham. If I remember correctly, there was a serious botch that affected the finish.
  7. Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner, & Larry Zbyszko (w/ Baby Doll) fought Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, and Sting to a draw.

What do you think? Great show? Good show? Awful show? Was it the operative move for JCP to move Starrcade from Thanksgiving to just after Christmas in 1988? I welcome your discussion.

And be sure to check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com.