Rock Star Gary reflects on WCW Starrcade ’92

Live from Atlanta, GA

Airdate: December 28, 1992

Attendance:  8,000 (6,500 paid)

Hosted by Jim Ross & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Who will win Battlebowl? Who will become the King of Cable? Can either Simmons or Chono retain their respective World titles? Or do Rude or Muta stand a chance to unseat them? Let’s find out!

Read moreRock Star Gary reflects on WCW Starrcade ’92

Rock Star Gary reflects on…NWA Starrcade ’88

Live from Norfolk, VA

Airdate: December 26, 1988

Attendance:  10,000

Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Magnum T.A., Jim Ross, and Bob Caudle

Will the NWA, now under the Turner umbrella, introduce a new champion? Or will they maintain the status quo? Let’s find out!

Read moreRock Star Gary reflects on…NWA Starrcade ’88

NWA World Championship Wrestling, December 7, 1985

We open with footage from Ric Flair’s Starrcade ’85 entrance. Flair lost the NWA Title to Dusty Rhodes at Starrcade, nine days ago. To the standard open…

Tony Schiavone & David Crockett are our hosts once again this week. They let us know the big Superstation Championship Challenge Series (SCCS) will be a six-man tag: Tully Blanchard & the Andersons vs. Billy Jack Haynes, Magnum T.A. and Sam Houston. They run down all the title changes from Starrcade (five of them). David mentions the new NWA World champion when Tony cuts him off and says we’ll talk about that later on. Sounds like Dusty’s title reign is in doubt…

Read moreNWA World Championship Wrestling, December 7, 1985

NWA World Championship Wrestling, November 30, 1985

Starrcade ’85 “The Gathering” is in the books and five new champions were crowned, including a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Dusty Rhodes. Two days later, we’re back in the TBS studios for another exciting edition of the Saturday night tradition, NWA World Championship Wrestling.

Read moreNWA World Championship Wrestling, November 30, 1985

Starrcade ’85 “The Gathering” – November 28, 1985

Continuing the chronological look back at the NWA/Jim Crockett Promotions’ run in the mid-late 80s, it’s time for Starrcade ’85 “The Gathering”. Our main event is a rematch from Starrcade ’84, NWA Champ Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes. However, perhaps the most anticipated match on the card is the I Quit steel cage battle for the U.S. Title between Tully Blanchard and Magnum T.A. Let’s roll…

Read moreStarrcade ’85 “The Gathering” – November 28, 1985

NWA World Championship Wrestling, November 23, 1985

We are five days away from Starrcade ’85 “The Gathering”. Presumably, this show will presumably push the event heavily … We open with a video clip of how we ended last week: Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A. challenging the Four Horsemen to step into the ring. The Horsemen’s 4-2 advantage quickly disappears when the Road Warriors provide some backup for Magnum & Dusty. The Horsemen backdown and we go to the show open…

Read moreNWA World Championship Wrestling, November 23, 1985

The Ronnie Garvin Dilemma

Thanks to Scott’s awesome Observer recaps, there has been a lot of talk on the Blog of Doom about the bewildering decision by the NWA to put the title on Ronnie Garvin in 1987. I thought a historical perspective might shed some light on the state of Jim Crockett Promotions at the time, why this was such an atrocious idea, and what the WWE should learn from it.

Read moreThe Ronnie Garvin Dilemma

Rock Star Gary reflects on…NWA Starrcade ’85!

One of my all-time favorite shows…

Live from both Greensboro, NC and Atlanta, GA

Airdate: November 28, 1985

Attendance:  sold out in both locations

Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Bob Caudle

Finally, after all of that WWF stuff, we return to Jim Crockett Promotions for their annual supershow. In an act of one-upmanship, Crockett expanded Starrcade from one location to two.  By having two cards in two locations, Crockett sold out both the Omni and the Coliseum and provided each with a main event.

Read moreRock Star Gary reflects on…NWA Starrcade ’85!

Starrcade 97 question

Reading about/Watching starrcade 97 again, and how awfully booked it was. Why didn't Kevin nash end up wrestling The Giant? I remember that being billed as the number 3 match behind the main event and Zybsko/Bischoff. Also, Larry freaking Zybsko was in the 2nd from the top match at one of the biggest cards of all time? Also Randy Savage wasn't even booked on the card and was a last minute replacement in the 6 man? And Raven didn't even wrestling even though he was booked in a feud with Benoit at the time? Any reasons for any of this??

​God, why would you watch Starrcade 97 again?  
Nash's story is that he had a heart condition scare that turned out to be heartburn or indigestion or something, although the most common rational explanation is that he didn't want to do a job.  
Raven had a really gnarly staph infection that was causing inflammation of his pancreas, or something along those lines, so that one was legit. Plus Benoit got his revenge and beat the piss out of him at Souled Out, so fine.  
Randy Savage wasn't originally going to be there because WCW had used up all his dates, and when Konnan went down with injury they had to basically call him and beg him to work and actually changed the finish of the match to Savage going over with the flying elbow to get him to work.  
Zbyszko…well, it is what it is.  Larry was pretty over in that role and I'd guess Bischoff wanted to work with someone he was friends with and trusted.  But it at least made sense from a storyline perspective.  
God, though, that show was so bad.  

Starrcade 1999

Starrcade
1999
Date:
December 19, 1999
Location: MCI Center, Washington
D.C.
Attendance: 8,582
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Scott
Hudson, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We
have arrived. We have reached the biggest show of the year for WCW.
It’s the final pay per view of the year and the final Starrcade of
the 1990s. Over the years this show has been a showcase for legends
like Sting, Ric Flair, Lex Luger and Hulk Hogan. There have been
great matches, moments and shows in general, many of which have been
some of WCW’s best shows of all time. Now, forget everything I just
said, because this is going to be one of the biggest disasters in the
history of……I would say professional wrestling but that has
nothing to do with what I’m about to sit through. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a Scott Hudson narrated highlight package to preview the
card. Up first in the package: the Revolution vs. Jim Duggan/his
mystery partners. I’m pretty sure every match gets some time here,
but my goodness they aren’t off to a rousing start by making me think
about all of the impending disasters.
Now
we get a standard opening video, focusing on the powerbomb match and
then the World Title match.
Disco
Inferno/Lash Leroux vs. Big Vito/Johnny the Bull
Disco
lost a lot of money gambling (which I don’t think he ever paid back)
to the Mafia so Don boss Tony Marinara sent Big Vito and Johnny the
Bull after him. Lash helped Disco out and basically started a war
against the mob, setting up this tag match. It’s also probably the
match that has gotten the most build on the card. Normally I would
ask why a match like this is opening the show, but the more I think
about it, what else do they have?
It’s
a brawl to start with Vito punching Lash down early on. A nice
suplex drops Lash again and Vito nails a good looking superkick.
Heenan gets in another of his lines that are open to interpretation
as he wonders why the people in the back are so quiet. Off to Johnny
who eats a dropkick from Lash and a clothesline from Disco for one.
Disco
stomps away in the corner but Johnny sweeps the leg (because he’s the
best in town) to take over. Vito scores with a hard running
clothesline and Johnny’s swinging neckbreaker gets two. We hit the
chinlock for a bit before something like a double powerbomb plants
Disco again. Vito spends too much time mocking the crowd on the
ropes though and hits the mat, allowing the hot tag to Lash.
Everything
breaks down and the goons are dropped with clotheslines. A gorilla
press drop puts Lash down but he avoids a top rope spinning legdrop.
Disco hits a top rope splash for two but Vito comes off the top to
break up the save (granted the really slow count made it a bit
easier). Vito reverses a whip from Lash and sends him into the Last
Dance from Disco by mistake, setting up Vito’s spinning DDT for the
pin.
Rating:
C. Totally acceptable tag match
here, but I have a feeling we’ve just seen the match of the night.
It’s the old power vs. speed formula which has worked for the better
part of ever and worked here as well. The story made sense and was
actually different for a change, but this could have been on almost
any given Nitro. Still though, totally acceptable.
Post
match Disco gets beaten up and thrown in the body bag, along with a
bottle of ether. The mob takes him back to the parking lot and throw
him in their car to take them away.
Goldberg
vs. Hart is No DQ. If that was the stipulation beforehand, I haven’t
heard of it.
Scott
Hall is out of the US Title match due to a knee injury so Benoit is
the champion.
The
announcers run their mouths to fill time on a show with 13 matches.
Keep in mind that this is
coming after a backstage segment. Not only is it boring for the PPV
audience, but it’s letting the crowd come down after a decent opener.
Cue
Chris Benoit to say he doesn’t want the title this way, so it’s
officially vacant. However, he’ll still have the ladder match
against anyone that wants to face him for the title.
Cruiserweight
Title: Madusa vs. Evan Karagias
Evan
is defending and Madusa offered sex to get this show. After she
earned the shot, Evan dumped Madusa for Nitro Girl Spice, making this
just another title match but with man on woman violence because Russo
is obsessed with this idea. Madusa dives off the top to take out
Evan and Spice before sending him into the barricade. They head
inside where Evan slaps her in the face and plants her with a
powerslam, only to miss a Lionsault.
Madusa
dropkicks him down but gets slammed off the top. A powerbomb puts
Madusa down for two so Madusa powerbombs him right back. They head
outside with Evan diving onto Madusa, but Spice gets on the apron to
distract the champ. It’s just a ruse for the worst low blow ever,
setting up Madusa’s German suplex for the pin and the title.
Rating:
D-. So not only did they have a
swerve, they had only the bare bones of a match as this was nothing
more than a spot fest with no flow to it. Yeah Mysterio and Guerrera
would do a bunch of spots, but at least they knew how to make them
exciting. This was less than four minutes long and more about the
fact that Madusa is a woman. In other words, they were trying to
recreate Chyna without putting in the effort of building her up in DX
all those years. That’s Russo’s philosophy: just go to the end goal
without putting in any of the work and then blame the fans for not
caring.
On
the storyline front, let’s recap what just happened to Evan: he was
duped into giving Madusa the shot by the offer of sex, then Madusa
won the title shot again in a triple threat, then Evan got pinned on
Thunder for no apparent reason, then the other woman, who was
involved in this story to distract Evan, turned on him to give Madusa
the title for no reason other than to mess with Evan, who made the
mistake of being a champion and going after a pretty girl who seemed
interested in him. Oh and Madusa hit cheated to win the title. I’m
not sure if she was the face or the heel here, but I’m sure WCW
didn’t know either.
Norman
Smiley is dressed up like a Washington Redskin for his match with
Meng. He certainly isn’t scared and ignore the scream when the
producer tries to count him out of the interview. Sudden moves like
that just are not necessary when Norman is a coiled spring ready to
explode! Ignore the fact
that the Hardcore Title is practically identical to the ECW Title.
Hardcore
Title: Meng vs. Norman Smiley
Norman
the coward is defending. They
throw weapons at each other to start before Meng shoves the cart full
of weapons runs Norman over. It’s
in the back without Norman ever making it to the ring and Norman
blasts him in the head with the chair for almost no effect. Norman
runs away through catering before Meng slams him through a table.
Meng
throws a cinder block at his head but Norman avoids the whole death
thing. Smiley dives behind some boxes to hide, allowing Finlay and
Brian Knobbs to come up and beat Meng down. Well
kind of as Meng no sells the chair and trashcan shots until Finlay
NAILS him with a lead pipe to knock Meng silly. Norman comes out and
covers to retain.
Rating:
D. Norman is a guy that tries
so hard but can’t get out of this hardcore nonsense. This was your
standard hardcore match with Meng dominating and Norman screaming a
lot but somehow escaping for the title. In other words, it’s your
standard TV match being held at Starrcade because Russo doesn’t know
the difference between the shows.
Meng
beats up Nick Patrick for reasons.
David
Flair has a gold crowbar delivered to him and seems very happy.
Oklahoma
and Steve Williams are ready. There’s nothing more to this segment.
Oh
wait there is, as we cut back to see the Misfits kidnap Oklahoma.
We
recap Jim Duggan vs. the Revolution, which is based around the idea
of the Revolution thinking they’re a sovereign nation and wanting to
deface the American flag. Bringing Duggan in makes sense there, but
the Powers That Be says there’s nothing to his love of America and
made him a janitor because that’s funny or something.
Jim
Duggan/??? vs. Revolution
It’s
Asya/Saturn/Malenko/Douglas here and we have no idea who the partners
are here. If Duggan wins, the Revolution has to be the janitors for
30 days, but if Duggan loses, he has to denounce
America. Duggan’s partners
are…..the Varsity Club, a team which hit its peak in 1988/1989. In
case you’re like, young or something, it’s Rick Steiner/Kevin
Sullivan/Mike Rotundo with Leia Meow (ECW’s
Kimona)
as their cheerleader.
Shane
sits in on commentary to make it a handicap match. Dean
and Duggan start things off but Saturn comes in less than ten second
in. The Varsity Club gets in some cheap shots in the corner before
Duggan hammers away with forearms to the back. Dean
comes in again for an elbow to the face and a slam, followed by the
three point clothesline for two.
Saturn
gets the same off a missile dropkick as Heenan points out that Duggan
hasn’t tried to tag out. Just get to the swerve we all know is
coming from here. Saturn
misses a middle rope splash but Dean hits Jim in the head with a
flag. Everyone comes in
with the Varsity Club cleaning house, including tying Asya in the
Tree of Woe for Sullivan’s running knee. Then they turn on Duggan
because what else were they going to do here? Shane runs in for the
pin as the Varsity Club keeps beating up Saturn on the floor.
Rating:
F. This is STARRCADE 1999 and
they bring out the Varsity Club? If they were going for some kind of
nostalgia/history thing here, they completely missed the point as the
Varsity Club’s biggest moment was when they were fighting each other,
assuming anyone remembered/cared about that in 1999. As
it is, this is just another four minute match capped off by a
beatdown to make it a Jim Duggan story. What is the mass appeal here
and who thought the one thing this show needed was MORE people
running around?
Shane
tells Duggan he has 24 hours before he has to renounce America. They
drape the Revolution flag over him, only to take it right back off.
The
Misfits have Oklahoma in a shark cage to make sure he stays out of
the Vampiro match.
Vampiro
vs. Steve Williams
If
Vampiro wins, he gets five minutes with Oklahoma. The
Misfits wheel out Oklahoma in the shark cage but he has a headset on
and can still do his Jim Ross jokes because…..screw the sarcasm.
This whole thing is stupid. Vampiro
dives off the cage to take Williams out and the brawl begins on the
floor. They head inside with Oklahoma yelling at the commentators.
Williams fires off a chop so
Oklahoma shouts CHOP over and over.
Some
three point tackles take out Vampiro’s legs followed by some chops,
but Oklahoma gets bored saying chop over and over. A
belly to belly superplex sends Vampiro flying but brings in the
Misfits. Williams cleans house with ease and suplexes Vampiro down
again. He hammers on Vampiro but shoves the referee down (how have
we not had a ref bump tonight?) for a DQ, setting up Vampiro vs.
Oklahoma.
Rating:
D. So their solution to make us
care about Vampiro is to have him get beaten up until the referee
gets knocked down while Oklahoma gets to do his same joke over and
over and over and over and over. I feel like iTunes on repeat (who
uses records anymore?) saying this but STOP USING THE SHOW FOR YOUR
OWN STUPID JOKES THAT AREN’T EVEN FUNNY IN THE FIRST PLACE!
The
five minute clock starts immediately.
Oklahoma
vs. Vampiro
Security
gets Williams out of here as we’re still waiting on Oklahoma to get
out of the cage. Oklahoma
gets in after about two minutes and kicks Vampiro in the head. More
slow stomps connect before Vampiro hits a single chop, only to have
Oklahoma nail two straight low blows. A
quick Rock Bottom drops Oklahoma and the Misfits come in for some
shots, which the referee doesn’t seem to mind. The
Nail in the Coffin ends this mess.
To
recap, Vampiro needed the help of a punk rock band (how many of the
fans actually know who they are?) to beat Oklahoma, who beat the tar
out of Vampiro for most of the “match”. Again,
the announcers are getting the push at the sake of someone like
Vampiro, who may or may not be entertaining but he’s an actual
wrestler.
Russo
tells Hennig/Shane/La Parka/Creative Control that he has something
big planned for tonight so he can’t quite focus on their match.
Thanks for letting us know
about this an hour into the show instead of building it up for a few
weeks, but they probably didn’t know a few weeks ago.
Stevie
Ray tells Booker he won’t have his back tonight.
Harlem
Heat/Midnight vs. Curt Hennig/Creative Control
The
winning tag team is #1 contenders so
Hennig and Midnight are just kind of here to fill in the roster,
because Heaven forbid we just have a regular tag match. My goodness
there are suddenly a lot of empty seats across from the cameras. I
couldn’t have missed those earlier.
There’s no Stevie so it’s a
handicap match with more man on woman.
Gerald
stomps Booker into the corner to start before
no selling a spin kick to the face. So much for this one changing
the tide of the show. We look at the ladder for later and come back
with Midnight in without seeing what happened in between. I’m
betting Gerald lost a Canasta game and had to allow the hot tag.
It’s
quickly back to Booker who gets beaten down again but quickly gets
over to tag in Midnight for some dropkicks. Hennig
clotheslines her out to the floor and the heels take over again.
Back in and Creative Control
takes over on Midnight as Hudson talks about the big events of the
night: the return of the Varsity Club and Disco being thrown into a
car. We get the old
“referee doesn’t see the tag” spot as Stevie Ray comes out, only
to be sent to the back by Booker.
Midnight
gets slammed down and Patrick drops some elbows for two. He misses
the middle rope elbow though and Midnight gets over for the hot tag.
It doesn’t count as Nick Patrick was “talking to Stevie Ray.”
That’s true, but THEY WERE LOOKING AT THE TAG. As in Nick clearly
realized he wasn’t supposed to see it and you can see him try to snap
his head away in time so it doesn’t look that bad but it doesn’t
work. Hennig sneaks in with
a foreign object to knock Booker silly for the pin and a delayed
bell.
Rating:
D. As
usual, this was an angle disguised as a match. On top of the match
being boring for the most part and yet another woman being in there
for the sake of being in there (Midnight was fine but the announcers
spent the whole match talking about how awesome it was to have a
woman in there, which just puts more attention on the fact that she’s
nothing special), the gaffes like Nick seeing the tag made this a
huge mess. Above all else though, I just do not care because I
haven’t been given a reason to care. These people are just
characters with little development so it’s really hard to get
interested.
We
recap Jarrett vs. Rhodes. Basically Dustin returned as something
resembling a child abductor but he decided he wanted to be Dustin
Rhodes because THAT has such a great track record for him. Jeff
thought it was funny that Dustin’s dad got fired so the feud began
again and of course it turned into a bunkhouse match to make it about
cowboys and hardcore.
Dustin,
wearing a Dusty Rhodes
shirt, talks about the match
but Jeff jumps him to start.
Jeff
Jarrett vs. Dustin Rhodes
Jarrett
runs Dustin’s knee over with a wheelbarrow and hits him in the throat
with a kendo stick. They
slam each other into the wheelbarrow before heading inside for the
first time with Jeff taking a cowbell to the head. Well you knew the
bullrope and cowbell were going to be involved somehow. Some
bell shots knock Jarrett onto the announcers’ table but hitting him
in the head with a metal bell doesn’t sound as good as throwing
powder in Jeff’s face.
Dustin
pulls out a whip and nails both Jarrett and the referee before duct
taping the referee to the ropes. Jeff
shrugs off a shot with some chaps (you think I care enough to react
to that at this point?) and kicks Dustin low as Curt Hennig comes out
to untape the referee. We
hit the sleeper as Jarrett tries to make this wrestling for reasons I
don’t understand.
Dustin
finally suplexes his way out and gets two off a Boss Man Slam.
Shattered Dreams connects
but Hennig pulls the referee
out at two. That earns Curt
some Shattered Dreams of his own and
all three head up to the entrance. Dustin plants Hennig with a
bulldog but Jeff climbs the ladder and blasts him with a guitar for
the pin.
Rating:
D. Ok. What
else do you want me to say here? Two guys who are feuding over
someone not even working for this promotion anymore had a long (by
this show’s standards) match and the heel had someone else come in to
basically make it a handicap match. The good guy fought back and
then the two beat him without anything overly interesting happening.
Jeff
Jarrett continues to not by over but gets pushed to the moon (dig
that huge win over DUSTIN RHODES!) because he beat up a woman in the
WWF and that’s clearly like porn to Russo. These
guys weren’t really putting in a ton of effort though and it’s clear
that no one has anything special without some kind of character
behind them. It’s just two old school style guys having a boring
match and that’s not something I want to watch for eleven minutes.
David
Flair makes the headless teddy bear stroke the golden crowbar.
Somehow, there isn’t a single bit of innuendo in that entire
sentence. Why David is
wearing a Halloween Havoc shirt isn’t clear.
Page
says his hands will have a crowbar in them tonight and then those
same hands will give Flair a bang.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. David Flair
IT’S
A CROWBAR ON A POLE MATCH!!! This is like Russo’s hit parade if I
had to pay $30 to see it. This match is due to David stalking
Kimberly after Kimberly slept with Ric Flair instead of David. So
yeah, we have sex, insanity, illogical stories and a thing on a pole.
Like I said, the hit parade rolls on. The
crowbar is pitifully low as anyone of average height could reach it
from the mat.
David
sneaks up from behind with the gold crowbar (different from the one
on the pole) but Little Naitch (who should be in David’s corner in
theory) takes it away, because even if you’re insane and carrying a
crowbar, you MUST follow the rules! The
referee checks on Page and says the match will be a forfeit, but Page
shoves Penzer away and wants to go.
We
get the opening bell and David hammers away because how else was this
going to be competitive? David
counters a sunset flip and punches Page in the face for two. A
clothesline gets the same as we’re still waiting on any attempt at
the crowbar. Flair hits a
low blow and puts on a Figure Four but Page turns it over for the
break. Flair gets the crowbar, misses a swing and eats the Diamond
Cutter for the pin.
Rating:
F. Remember when Chris Jericho
would lose and then go insane and beat the post with a chair? That’s
how I feel here. There was no reason for this to be on pay per view
or for this to be a gimmick match other than to make the match more
believable. In other words, they can’t have a good match without
making it a gimmick and the match can’t be good because it’s a
gimmick. Who other than
Vince Russo could book a sub four minute match into a paradox while
almost completely ignoring the gimmick that causes the paradox in the
first place?
Page
gives him a middle rope Diamond Cutter post match and it about to hit
him with the crowbar but the yet to be named Daffney runs in to cover
Flair up. Page leaves instead of hit the crazy chick.
Heenan
wants a beer. I don’t drink but can someone get me a hammer to crush
my own skull?
We
recap Luger vs. Sting, which has seen Luger treat Liz like garbage
(more anti-women porn for Russo), which sent her running off for
Sting to help him. At the same time, Luger “inadvertently” cost
Sting some matches and kept trying to make it up to him, only making
it worse in the process. Their match tonight is for Liz’s freedom,
which she totally and completely wants of course.
Total
Package vs. Sting
In
the back, Sting gives Liz “super high octane” mace. The
STEROIDS chant begins and Luger quickly sends Sting outside. Some
whips into the barricade have Sting in more trouble before some
elbows get two. Sting no
sells a ram into the buckle and Luger gets caught between slaps from
Sting and Liz. A double
clothesline puts both of them down because of those two and a half
DEVASTATING minutes of action.
Liz
comes in to check on Luger and sprays the mace at Sting, but it’s
silly string because Sting actually outsmarted someone!!!!! Even
the announcers acknowledge how shocking this is. Sting
makes his comeback and hits a top rope splash for two. A
pair of regular Stinger Splashes look to set up the Deathlock but Liz
comes in with the ball bat for a very loud sounding shot to the jaw
for the DQ.
Rating:
D+. I’m upgrading this because
of the bat shot and the string. Other than that, this was a big mess
with the whole thing not even breaking six minutes despite it being
one of the bigger matches on the card. This changes nothing as Liz
is freed from Luger but apparently wants to stay with him, making
this whole thing a big waste of time. Imagine that.
Luger
Pillmanizes Sting’s arm post match. Remember
two years ago when Sting was in the biggest match in WCW history?
How was that just two years ago?
To
recap, that was the tenth match of the show and, assuming you count
Madusa as a heel, the third match where the heel didn’t either win or
get the last laugh after the match. Those three are Vampiro and the
Misfits beating up Oklahoma (who dominated the “match”), Page
over David Flair and Norman Smiley over Meng where Norman was treated
like a goon all match. Is
there any doubt why so many fans are leaving their seats halfway
through the show?
We
recap Sid vs. Nash in the powerbomb match. I’ve watched the shows
setting this match up and now I’ve watched the video and I’m still
not exactly sure why they’re fighting. They’ve
fought a few times but I’m not sure why they started in the first
place. Again though, I doubt WCW does either other than “hey,
they’re both big!”
Sid
Vicious vs. Kevin Nash
You
win by using a powerbomb instead of a pin or a submission because
we just couldn’t have either guy do a real job for the sake
of…..probably some legal deal actually. Nash
takes over to start and hits the framed elbow and a side slam for
two. A low blow breaks up
Sid’s powerbomb attempt and it’s time to go outside so they don’t
have to wrestle. Sid hits
him in the back with a chair but stops to tell the fans to shut up.
Good grief dude at least know what you’re supposed to be doing out
there. Back in and Sid
tries to start a powerbomb chant but the fans are mostly silent.
Well to be fair that’s what Sid wanted.
The
referee FINALLY GETS BUMPED, right before Sid hits a powerbomb. Cue
Jeff Jarrett with
a guitar to knock Sid out cold. The referee slowly gets up and Nash
loads up a powerbomb but his back is out. Now the referee turns
around as Nash is holding his back and Sid is down. Nash: “Yeah I
powerbombed him.” Referee: “WELL OK THEN!” Nash wins. Scott
Hudson: “I refuse to refer to Nash as the master of the powerbomb!”
Oh dang man. No Scott Hudson endorsement? This is a sham of a
reign as powerbomb master!
Rating:
F. Failure, freaking stupid,
for the love of all things good and holy, for goodness’ sake, fire
them both. Pick any two and that’s what the F stands for here. I
actually had to get up and walk around for a bit before I started
talking about this. They somehow booked a match built around one
finisher and then they couldn’t even do that finish because Nash
didn’t want to do the powerbomb.
From
a kayfabe perspective, how freaking horrible do the referees in this
company look? Ranging from staying down for five minutes off a
single shot to not being able to see a tag literally three feet in
front of them to saying “yeah, sure I’ll believe you when you say
you powerbombed him. You would never lie”, these are the worst
referees I’ve ever seen. Oh and then there’s Roddy Piper who has a
young boy doing his work for him and who hears voices in his head. I
would do a Randy Orton joke there but Orton is too good for this
show.
Benoit
says the open challenge is still, uh, open.
US
Title: Chris Benoit vs. ???
Ladder
match and the title is
officially vacant coming in The
mystery opponent is……Jeff Jarrett, because why have two Jarrett
segments when you can have three??? And
my goodness did he change from jeans to gear in a hurry. It’s
a brawl in the aisle to start with Benoit chopping Jeff into the
ring. Something like an Irish Curse drops Jarrett and a superplex
allows Benoit to go get the first ladder.
Jarrett
gets up and hits a baseball slide to drive the ladder into Benoit,
but Chris whips him into the ladder in the corner a few times to take
over again. Benoit gets
crotched against the ladder
for something like a Russian legsweep out of the corner. Chris is
busted open
but still able to tie Jeff in the Tree of Woe in the standing ladder,
only to find out that it’s hard to climb a ladder with someone
hanging from the other side.
Both
guys go up until Jarrett gets knocked down, followed
by both guys going up and getting knocked over for nice crashes. In
the best spot of the match, Benoit goes up but Jarrett dropkicks the
ladder out from underneath him, sending Benoit down for a huge crash.
Benoit is up first and
dropkicks the ladder onto Jarrett but Benoit would rather drop a Swan
Dive off the top of the ladder instead of grab the belt. Now he goes
up and gets the belt for the win.
Rating:
B. That
might be high but anything above horrible would be ten times better
than everything else on this show. Best
match of the night here by about 19,000 years and naturally it only
has ten minutes because we needed to give Oklahoma two matches and
have the really stupid David Flair match instead of giving this
another eight minutes. There isn’t much to say here other than the
guys were doing big spots and making them look good. In other words,
the polar opposite of everything else tonight.
We
recap Goldberg vs. Hart, which started over Hart wanting to give
Goldberg a title shot, and then became an Outsiders story involving
the Tag Team Titles. Other than a few one off promos, these two have
barely addressed each other.
Bret
says he’s winning whether Goldberg likes it or not.
WCW
World Title: Bret Hart vs. Goldberg
No
DQ and there must be a winner with Bret defending. Instead
of asking if we’re ready to rumble, Buffer tells us we’re ready
because the fans would probably boo such a question out of the
building for making this last even longer. You
know how most of the time at Wrestlemania the main event eats up like
40 minutes? The bell here rings with just
over thirteen minutes to go
in the show. For some reason it would feel wrong if the main event
of the biggest show of the year had more time than that.
They
shake hands and we’re ready to go. Goldberg
shoves him down out of a lockup to start but Bret takes him down with
a headlock. That goes
nowhere so Goldberg gorilla presses him into a powerslam for two.
Goldberg tries that rolling
leglock but Bret turns it into an early Sharpshooter attempt as only
he could do. They fight
outside with the referee getting bumped. It’s
not even a big deal at this point.
Robinson
comes out as a replacement and an overly excited (and likely drunk)
fan is dancing badly in the front row. A big boot puts Hart down
back inside but Robinson gets bumped on a hiptoss. Goldberg spears
the turnbuckle as the third referee comes down to see Bret put on the
Figure Four around the post. Back
in and Bret starts in on the leg and puts on a regular Figure Four.
The turn sends Bret running for the ropes so he wraps the leg around
the middle rope in the corner.
Goldberg
reverses and hammers away but referee number three goes down.
There’s the Bret Killer
superkick to set up the spear but a dejected Roddy Piper comes out to
be the fourth referee. Bret, apparently having shrugged off the
spear kicks Goldberg in the knee and MONTREAL STRIKES AGAIN as Piper
calls for the bell before Bret turns the Sharpshooter over. Hudson:
“NOT MONTREAL ALL OVER AGAIN!” Yes
it’s Montreal all over again, because THAT’S THE DUMBEST THING THEY
COULD POSSIBLY DO!
Rating:
D-. The match was watchable but
between the whole ending Bret Hart’s career and going back to a fake
Montreal over two years later with Bret on the good end this time is
one of the worst possible ideas they could have come up with. If you
want Bret to keep the title on a screwjob then have someone lay
Goldberg out from behind or whatever, but good night don’t do it like
this. I mean, if this is the best they can think of, just close the
doors now because Russo is clearly not what he’s cracked up to be (oh
gee what an understatement) and they need to find ANYONE else to give
the reigns over to immediately.
Piper
hands Bret the belt and walks off to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
No. No no, no no no,
no no, no no. This is flat
out not acceptable as the biggest show of the year for any promotion,
or as a show for any serious promotion actually. Where
in the world do I even start? Well let’s start at the ending
actually, as the main event was the longest match of the night at
12:07. This past week’s
episode of Raw had two matches longer than that and that’s a run of
the mill TV show.
Above
all else, this felt like it could be any given filler pay per view
where they’re not trying. I know WCW had mixed feelings about how
big of a deal Starrcade really was, but at least they would usually
give lip service to the fact that it’s the biggest night of the year.
This felt like Fall Brawl or Uncensored instead of Starrcade and
that’s a feeling that you can’t shake off no matter what.
Starrcade
1999 was Vince Russo with time to come up with his best possible
ideas. Somehow he’s managed to produce the one of the worst
Wrestlemanias and the one of the worst Starrcades of all time, IN THE
SAME YEAR. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to do that in
the span of about nine months? So
much of this can be blamed on the writing and booking too. When you
have thirteen matches in a show that runs less than two hours and
forty five minutes, there’s very little the
wrestlers can do to make the
thing work.
The
Mamalukes vs. Disco/Lash was the best match of the night until Chris
Benoit and a ladder took their top spot. That’s almost inconceivable
that a totally average tag match was as good as this show could do
for about 80% of the card. These
stories are thrown together with no real rhyme or reason to most of
them and at some point the fans just gave up. Yeah, it worked back
in the WWF in 1999, but
it’s the same argument made about TNA now: why would I want to watch
a lite version of the same stories with lesser and older talent doing
the work?
There
comes a point where you have to show your audience some respect or
they’re going to turn on you. That’s where Russo doesn’t get the
point: he thinks the fans are going to follow whatever he does
because they’re watching a wrestling show and therefore aren’t that
smart. That means he can throw some big series of swerves at us and
expect us to just go with it with an explanation of “YOU DIDN’T SEE
IT COMING!” and then somehow blame us for not getting it. I know
this is rambling but after watching this disaster there’s no way to
have any sort of coherent thought process.
It’s
just one big surprise after another, but the problem is you can start
to see the surprises coming about half an hour into the show. If you
train your audience to expect a big swerve, it stops being a swerve
and becomes part of the plot. Piper coming out at the end of the big
swerve would have worked better if we didn’t have so many people
turning on each other or one big surprise after another for two and a
half hours leading up to it.
It
doesn’t help that Piper is a legend and hasn’t had a good match in
about seven years at this point but he’s being featured as a major
plot point for a story that people don’t care about. The build for
this show didn’t make me want to see it and then the show itself was
horrible, making me have no desire to keep tuning in.
What
is there that’s left untied here? Nash wins to show Sid is
worthless, Hall is probably going to come back and take the title
from Benoit, and we get to see more Jeff Jarrett. The big
cliffhanger here is “WHY DID PIPER SCREW BRET???” If that’s the
big question going into Nitro tomorrow, I have zero desire to keep
watching this promotion, but I’m sure it’s my fault for not
supporting Russo like he deserves for putting on all this EXCITING TV
for me. Total disaster of a show and more like hitting a rock wall
instead of starting some new chapter in the company’s history as the
year is coming to a close.
Remember to follow me
on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of 1998 Pay Per View
reviews at Amazon for just $3.99 at:
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WCW Starrcade: December 29, 1996

Anytime one can capitalize on nostalgia, one should pounce. And pounce
WCW has; signing an aging but mobile Roddy Piper to battle a revitalized Hulk
Hogan, with their roles reversed. And while I have admittedly found Piper to be
a complete and total disaster, the Match of the Century stuff has worked.
Because of Hogan’s strong heel work, finally having a babyface forcing him to
show a little ass has resulted in their biggest buy-rate to date. This show
drew a 0.95, up from the atrocious 0.36 from one year earlier, and a major
improvement over the 0.70 from Halloween Havoc. I am ignoring World War 3
because it wasn’t given the substantial main event push of the last few shows.
So with their largest set of paying eyeballs on the product ever, it’s
now up to WCW to deliver. Are they ready to take the belt off of Hollywood
Hogan; or is this one big commercial to lead us to the next big challenger in
Lex Luger, Sting, or Glacier (who is of course coming)?
Only one way to find out (18 years ago).
We are of course LIVE from Nashville, TN, and the show starts with a
shocker. Against all odds, DUSTY RHODES
has found a tuxedo that fits. TONY
SCHIAVONE
and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN
join him on commentary.

THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with
Sonny Onoo) vs. DEAN MALENKO (in a unification match for the J-Crown titles and
the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Dragon earned this title shot after a wild ****1/2 match with Rey
Mysterio Jr. at last month’s World War 3, and Dean Malenko is still the
champion despite the ever present Jimmy Graffiti challenging him periodically.
With the ever present scent of Cruiserweights in the air, MIKE TENAY trips over himself to get down to the commentary booth.
Dragon starts by attacking Malenko at his own game, grapevining the leg and
trying to get him an Uncle, as per Dusty. Malenko makes the ropes, but Dragon
keeps riding him. Dean reverses, and puts Dragon in a scissors headlock while
working an armbreaker. Dragon has no time for this shoot nonsense, and kips up
out of the hold, before kicking Malenko in the back of the head a bunch of
times. Malenko shakes it off, and hits Dragon with a side suplex. He tries
another scissors to the head, but Dragon rolls over and hits a vicious snap
suplex for 2. He ignores the USA chants, and applies a half crab. Malenko
starts wiggling, so Dragon drops down and puts on an STF. Malenko won’t tap, so
Dragon releases and tries a headscissors. Malenko pushes him off and sends
Dragon to the floor. A baseball slide misses, and Dragon slams him on the
ground. Dragon fakes flying, and Malenko side-steps – but that allows Dragon to
re-assess and now he hits the tope suicida! They head back in, and Dragon gets
2. Dragon attempts a snap suplex, but it’s blocked and reversed. Still, Malenko
takes a hit off the move, and because he’s taken more abuse, it’s Dragon who
manages to roll over for a 2 count. Back to their feet, Malenko counters a
backdrop with a sunset flip for 2! Dragon’s pissed, and quickly hits a swinging
neckbreaker for 2. Malenko stands, and finds himself locked in a NASTY
abdominal stretch, with Dragon’s leg pressed over Dean’s head for extra
pressure. The Dragon goes for a sleeper, but Malenko hits a backdrop suplex to
escape, and both guys are down. Malenko recovers first, and throws Dragon
across the ring with a release German suplex for 2. Sensing opportunity,
Malenko grapevines the leg, and squeezes it like a grapefruit. Dragon manages a
break in the ropes, but as soon as he lets go, Dean re-applies it. After nearly
a minute in the hold, Dragon manages to get to the ropes one more time. Malenko
doesn’t let up, hitting a single leg atomic drop, and then dropkicks Dragon’s
knee. He hits a variation of a dragon screw, and locks the grapevine back on
the knee again. Dragon uses the heel of his boot to club Malenko in the face,
but Dean does not let go. Still, he again reaches the ropes, but he’s a cripple
at this point. At least you’d think that, until he reverses a whip and misses a
handspring back elbow like nothing’s wrong. Grrrr, I hate it when they don’t
sell their injuries. Dragon boots Malenko in the face with his bad leg, but
Dean powerslams him HARD, and the fans pop sensing the champ has him on the
ropes. However, a German suplex is blocked, and Dragon hits a spinning heel
kick. Powerbomb gets 2. Dragon threatens a tombstone, but Malenko rears back
and reverses, hitting a NASTY VICIOUS piledriver! Dragon kicks out at 2. Texas
Cloverleaf is threatened, but Dragon wiggles to the safety of the ropes.
Malenko instead hits the tigerbomb to a MASSIVE pop, and rolls over … getting
2! The fans thought that was it. The pair brawl back to the floor, and it’s
Dragon who hits a spinning heel kick setting up an Asai moonsault! They head
back in, and Dragon goes up – but Malenko cuts him off at the pass. Dragon
elbows loose and drops Malenko, but misses the moonsault! Dean puts on the
Cloverleaf, and the fans lose their collective shit!!! Sonny Onoo gets on the
apron, and Malenko releases to go after him. As he turns, Dragon cradles him …
for 2! Malenko doesn’t give up the fight, and nails a brainbuster for 2! He
figures a second one might do the trick, but Dragon slips off the back, and
they start trading move reversals before Dragon hits the Dragon suplex and
scores the pin and ALL the gold at 18:29!!!
I can’t go the full monty because Dragon refused to sell the leg, but I loved
everything else. Call it ****.
AKIRA HOKUTO (with Sonny
Onoo and Kensuki Sasaki) vs. MADUSA (for the WCW Women’s title)
LEE MARSHALL, the
self-proclaimed ladies expert (due to the fact that 80% of the tournament took
place on WCW Pro), joins the commentary. NICK
PATRICK
is assigned here, his first non-nWo assignment in months. Or, is
it? The timing of this Women’s tournament has always been suspect; coinciding
with the nWo’s call to take all the gold in the company, so it’s entirely
possible we’re eyeballing the master plan coming together. Sonny Onoo gets his
fingerprints all over this one, tripping and distracting Madusa whenever
possible. Working a half crab, Hokuto bites Madusa’s foot while she’s at it – a
nice touch. I am oddly distracted by Madusa’s tramp stamp. Unfortunately, this
isn’t in HD, and I’m not able to get a proper camera angle, so I’m left to
speculate on the kind of tattoo Madusa might get on her lower back. After
ruling out many of the usual suspects, I’m going to narrow it down to a bottle
of JD (which would explain the Tennessee Colonel’s obsession with her), or a
campfire (cuz she’s A Blayze). I’m open-minded however, and am willing to
accept theories. Madusa hits her German suplex, but Patrick is out of position
and counts a little slow. The plot thickens. They battle to the top, where
Hokuto hits a superplex, but Patrick counts a normal 2. Madusa dropkicks Hokuto
to the floor, and while Patrick monitors that, Sonny Onoo flattens Madusa with
the American flag! Hokuto re-enters with a missile dropkick, and finishes with
a Northern Lights Bomb for the pin and the belt at 7:05. Heenan: “Japanese 2, WCW 0.” I think he’s got this confused
with last year’s show. *1/2
In the locker room, “MEAN” GENE
OKERLUND
welcomes RODDY PIPER to
Music City USA. The Hot Rod compares Hogan to Jurassic Park, despite being all
of 1 year younger. Life is a fight! 6 kids! Homeless at 13! All the usual. He
leaves the dressing room hopping on his replaced hip.
JUSHIN LIGER vs. REY
MYSTERIO JR.
MIKE TENAY is back,
figuring the winner of this one is the defacto #1 contender. Without facing
Jimmy Graffiti? Surely he jests. Both guys shake hands … I don’t care for THAT.
Tenay notes that this is their first matchup, which I find kind of shocking
actually. This is also just 2 months after Liger’s brain tumor was removed;
yikes! And we think drugs are a problem NOW! Liger tries a rear surfboard, but
Rey flips backwards and kicks him in the face. Liger comes back immediately
with a dropkick, and a powerslam that certainly isn’t messing around. A
standing vertical suplex stands to leave Rey a little dizzy, and a gutbuster
takes his breath away. Liger goes for a nasty powerbomb, and slams Rey with
some FORCE. I think the back of his head bounced off the mat on that one.
Liger’s just methodically stalking Rey now, but he gets cocky and goes for a
second gutbuster; and Rey turns that into a rana! A second one sends Liger out
to the floor, and Rey hooks the top rope to keep himself in the ring. Liger
gets back to the apron, only to see Rey charging at him with a spear. It
connects, but the follow up attempt sees Liger turn the tables and suplex Rey
to the outside of the ring. And then, for kicks, he throws ANOTHER vicious powerbomb,
with the back of Rey’s head hitting the side of the ring. 1990’s wrestling!
Concussions what? Rey slowly crawls back to the ring, and is immediately placed
up top. He manages to shove Liger away, but his dropkick attempt misses, and he
falls senton style to the ground. Liger cracks him with a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker, and Rey finds himself trapped in a surfboard. Rey wiggles to try
and release the hold, but Liger has every part hooked well and Mysterio has
nowhere to go. Finally he rocks forward, and Liger throws him a bit with his
feet. He goes to catch Rey, but Mysterio quickly goes behind and throws a
release German! Fast standing moonsault gets 2. Rey nails a DDT, and
springboard moonsault gets another 2. A springboard dropkick his Liger square in
the chest, and Rey mounts him quickly with the camel clutch. Rey goes for the
West Coast Pop, but Liger has him scouted and catches him with a dropkick to
the face as he flies in. A release German suplex gets 2. Liger moves to a half
crab, cinching back as far as you’ll ever see anyone bend this side of Eric
Bischoff. A spinning heel kick connects in the corner, but Rey retaliates with
one of his own. Liger puts Rey up top, but Mysterio jumps at him with an
overhead scissors takeover. Liger rolls to the floor, not seeing Rey fly at him
with an Asai moonsault! Liger heads back in, but as he’s between the ropes, Rey
drops a leg with a nasty little guillotine. Rey goes for a springboard senton,
but Liger rolls away, and he leaps at Rey with a diving headbutt off the top
for 2. They start trading blows in the corner, and Liger shoves Rey off the
apron, to the floor, hands free. Liger heads up, but Rey pounces back onto the
apron, leaps, and goes for the super rana – only it’s blocked by Liger! Liger
rolls forward with a spinning heel kick, before nailing a running Ligerbomb,
and we have a winner at 14:14. This
wasn’t as good as the earlier match, as a lot of spots just felt like “we’re
doing MOVES”, but it was still a damn fine, flashy display of what both guys are
capable of. ***1/2
CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman)
vs. JEFF JARRETT (in a no disqualification match)
This must be a surprise bonus match or something because I don’t
remember any hype behind this. Benoit and Woman take a few extra seconds to
stare into each other’s eyes before Jarrett makes his entrance. This, admittedly,
is a little interesting because Flair is a big Jeff Jarrett fan. However, the
rest of the Horsemen can’t stand the smarmy son of a bitch. But on the other
hand, everyone, with the exception of Flair once more, is livid at Benoit for
flaunting his affair with Kevin Sullivan’s wife on national TV. Which begs the
question: who are they rooting for? Benoit shoves Jarrett to his ass, and kicks
imaginary dirt all over him, to a GIANT pop. It’s clear who the fans support
here. Jarrett gets to his feet, and Benoit slaps the tradition right out of his
mouth. A double arm lariat gets 1. Benoit hits a drop toe hold, and stands on
the back of Jarrett’s head, grinding his nose into the mat. Jeff pops to his
feet while Benoit celebrates, and takes Chris down with a drop toe hold of his
own, before dancing on his back. They trade 3 consecutive standing switches,
before Benoit just elbows Jarrett in the face to knock that off. Chris kicks
the crap out of Jarrett in the corner, and flashes the Horsemen sign. Jarrett
flies out of the corner with a spear, and they start rolling around on the mat,
pounding each other. Benoit rolls to the floor, and Jarrett follows suit. Woman
grabs Jarrett’s arm, and when he wheels around, Benoit decks him. Back in,
Benoit catapults Jarrett mouth first to the buckle, and Jeff drops like Santa
down an industrial sized chimney. Benoit forces Jarrett to the top, but Jeff
blocks the superplex and Chris flies backwards with nothing. Jarrett chokes Benoit
in the ropes, but Woman pulls him aside to avoid the straddle, and Jeff’s beans
take a sharp shot. A short-armed clothesline from Benoit gets 2. Frustrated
that he isn’t winning, Benoit tosses Jarrett over the top and whips him to the
guardrail. Jarrett sorta retaliates, but he doesn’t have much gas, and as soon
as he’s back in he takes a backdrop suplex for 2. A sleeper is applied, and
Jarrett finds himself taking a nap in under 20 seconds. Benoit uses the ropes
for leverage; still sneakily, but it’s allowed since it’s no DQ anyway. The
referee checks the arm, and after a couple drops, Jarrett still shows life. They
battle back to a vertical base, and Jarrett hits a backdrop suplex to release
the hold. A cradle gets 2. Jarrett nails Benoit with a big boot, and quickly
comes off the top … right into Benoit’s foot. Chris chops the snot out of
Jarrett, but Jeff turns things around and plants Benoit with a dropkick for 2.
An overhead belly to belly launches Benoit to the apron, and Jarrett pulls him
back in with a front suplex across the top rope. Jarrett goes for the Figure
Four, so Woman just claws at the eyes. The fans start to explode, because ARN ANDERSON is walking to ringside
with a purpose; burning a hole through Benoit. He stands to watch, as Benoit
starts working over Jarrett right in front of him. However, with his focus
there, he doesn’t see KONAN and HUGH MORRUS kidnap Woman. Woman’s scrappy,
and puts up a hell of fight. Meanwhile, it turns out Anderson’s appearance was
a ploy, because he DDTs Jarrett on the concrete, completely missing the KEVIN SULLIVAN appearance, who destroys
a wooden chair over Benoit’s skull. Jarrett rolls in and scores the pinfall at 13:47. Despite the fact it was fundamentally
solid, I was never feeling this one. Neither guy seemed to sell very well for
the other, and they didn’t match up well in my opinion. **1/2
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND tries to get a
word from anyone who will talk to him, but every single person blows him off on
their way to the back. Thankfully, MONGO
MCMICHAEL
and DEBRA MCMICHAEL
are always willing to share their opinions. He thinks Woman’s got Benoit weak
in the knees. Jarrett was served to him on a silver platter, and he failed to
get the win. Debra thinks Jarrett is Horsemen material, and trashes Benoit and
Woman. “That girl has been rode hard, and put up wet.” Gene quickly covers his
microphone and orders her to knock it off.
THE OUTSIDERS (with Syxx)
vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
NICK PATRICK is the
referee, which doesn’t bode well for the loves of my life capturing the
tag-team titles here. Still, would YOU try and screw Meng over? If anyone’s
gonna hold Patrick accountable, it’s these guys. Meng starts with Scott Hall,
and he promptly no sells everything Hall hits him with before taking him down
with a clothesline. Meng tosses Hall to the corner, and works him over. Patrick
tries to break it up, but one look and a grunt from Meng backs him RIGHT off.
The distraction is enough for Hall to hit a second rope bulldog, from which
Meng pops up having suffered no damage and clotheslines Hall down again.
Barbarian comes in, and Hall spits in his face. OH NO YOU DIDN’T! The
chickenshit tags in Nash, who tries to look as intimidating as possible … and
Barbarian doesn’t flinch. Nash hits the corner elbows, which serve no purpose
because Barbarian catches him with an elbow of his own, chokes Nash for awhile,
and chops the crap out of him. Patrick gives him a warning, and the momentary
distraction allows Nash to clothesline him from behind. However, that just
draws Meng flying in to start the CLUBBERIN’! Hall stands there, not willing to
get involved, because he’s not suicidal. Nash gives them a double noggin’
knocker, which is the equivalent of Hulking those guys up, and they double
headbutt Nash to the mat after a primal scream. The fans are eating these guys
up! Barbarian gives Nash a sidewalk slam with the kind of effort that says “I
pick up 350 pound guys in my SLEEP!” and gets 2. Barbarian heads up, walks the
ropes just because he can … but misses an elbow. Hall gets in a cheap
clothesline, and Nash throws a series of punches. The big boot is used to choke
out Barbarian, and Patrick misses the entire thing. Hall tags in, and Meng’s
patience is done now, because he pulls Hall to the corner by the hair and now
they give HIM the CLUBBERIN’! Hall elbows both guys, who fail to sell any of
it, and Barbarian gives Hall the big boot. Patrick misses it because he’s tied
up with Jimmy Hart, and eventually turns around long after a 3, and Hall kicks
out at a slow 2. Barbarian doesn’t care, he doesn’t complain, he just turns to
Meng who gives Hall a spike piledriver. Patrick runs around in a circle, and
slowly counts 2. Meng reminds him how to count, and tags in Barbarian.
Honestly, if the slow counts are just going to result in the Outsiders taking
more and more punishment until they’re quadriplegics, I’m fine with it.
Barbarian hits a smooth powerbomb, and Patrick counts 1 at the speed of a 3
before Nash breaks it up. Meng gives Hall an atomic drop, and Barbarian gives
him a big boot to the face, but he’s the illegal man and Patrick won’t count.
Hall clotheslines Barbarian in the back of the head, and Hall follows with one
from the front, and Barbarian’s down. He’s still up first anyway. Syxx steals
Hart’s megaphone and chases him to the back, but I doubt it’ll slow my heroes
any. Barbarian applies a nerve hold, and refuses to release as Hall passes out.
Patrick doesn’t check Hall’s arm, and Scott eventually gets a second wind,
backdropping Barbarian. Nash gets the hot tag, which just sees him trade
punches with Barbarian. Nash nails the big boot, and Patrick counts 2 lightning
fast, but Meng charges and saves. Hall pulls him to the outside, as Barbarian
loads the boot. He misses the Kick of Fear, Nash hits the Jackknife, and the
Outsiders retain at 11:43. You know …
it’s not even that the Faces of Fear lost. I’m a big boy, and I’ve had 18 years
to prepare myself for this recap. It’s the fact it was done cleanly that really
gets to me. These guys could have milked months out of being the thorn in the
side of the nWo, the two bad asses who simply didn’t give a crap how many of
them there were or how high the odds were stacked because their job was to kick
ass and worry about the details later. Instead, after less than 2 months, they’re
effectively killed off as top contenders, and the real chase is being given to
the Steiners. I rarely believe in the racism card, but this is one case where I
feel the upper crust in WCW felt that a white team who had better microphone
skills were the right way to go. Which is unfortunate, because these guys are
just oozing the kind of in-ring charisma that I’d kill to see from ANYONE on
Monday Night RAW today. ***
Backstage, TED DIBIASE, VINCENT, ELIZABETH, and HOLLYWOOD
HOGAN
are talking down Roddy Piper. Hogan says there’s already a ticker
tape parade going on in California because they’re on Pacific Time and think he’s
already won. What the hell is he talking about? He was prepared to tell all the
Hollywood Maniacs that Piper had tucked tail and flown back to Portland, but he
just saw one of Piper’s kids trying to bum a quarter to buy a Coke, so he knows
he’s still here, because even Piper’s not woman enough to leave his kids
behind. Ain’t leaving the kids behind more of a stereotypically man move? Hulk,
with all due respect … go away.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs.
EDDIE GUERRERO (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)
Thousands of fans make the Diamond Cutter sign as Page struts down to
ringside, showing them nothing but contempt. Oh Dallas, you might not want
them, but they’re ready for you, and tonight’s your big night daddio. Eddie
hiptosses Page, who flips Eddie off to a pretty strong reaction. Eddie tries
mocking him to utter silence. He hasn’t managed to find that connection yet;
but I’m prepared to be patient. They fight to the floor, where Page uses all
the dirty tricks as the fans start a “DDP” chant. Eddie snapmares Page over the
top rope, rolls him back in, and hits a slingshot senton for 2. Page pops up,
right into a drop toe hold, and Eddie applies an armbar. Page gets up and
charges, but winds up toppling to the floor. Eddie is right behind with a
plancha. Back in, Eddie mounts Page in the corner, but winds up taking snake
eyes. A pancake is delivered, almost with enough vertical air to be a spike
piledriver. A vertical suplex gets 2, with an annoyed Page feeding it Scott
Dickenson to count faster. Page works an abdominal stretch, and despite the fan
attention, he’s still a scumbag and uses the ropes for extra leverage. The
referee asks the fans if he’s cheating, and amazingly, he gets told “NOOOO”.
Eddie gets in a small package for 2, but Page still has the momentum and uses a
swinging neckbreaker to get 2. Back to the abdominal stretch, and Page goes
right back to cheating. He gets caught on the 3rd go-around, so Page
releases happily and punches Eddie in the ribs. He and Dickenson start a
yelling match, with Page trying to get him to knock it off so he can
concentrate on the match. Eddie gets in a schoolboy for 2, but immediately
takes a clothesline. DDP charges the corner, but Eddie sidesteps, and Page’s
shoulder hits the post. Eddie sweeps out the leg, and lifts Page off his feet
with a European uppercut! A face slam to the buckle sends Page flying
backwards, and a vertical suplex gets 2. A backdrop suplex sends Eddie to the
top, but he misses the Frog Splash! Eddie’s elbow is killing him, and Page
dives in for a pinfall attempt, getting 2. DDP hits a gutbuster, and heads up
top much to the fans delight. He is promptly crotched. Eddie mounts him, but
Page shoves him off and dives at Eddie … right into an atomic drop, and Eddie
gets 2! Page goes to clothesline him, and takes a backslide for 2! DDP tries a
Diamond Cutter, and the fans erupt, before Eddie turns it into another
backslide for another 2! Eddie tries a rana, but Page spins around in mid-move,
and hits a 360 powerbomb instead for 2! Eddie hits a desperation back elbow,
and falls to the outside, which brings down THE OUTSIDERS and SYXX.
Hall gets in the ring behind the referee’s back, and flattens Page with the
Outsider’s Edge!! This is clear payback for Page turning down the nWo
repeatedly over the last month. Eddie wakes up, hits the Frog Splash, and wins
the US title at 15:20! The nWo tries
to destroy Eddie, but he somehow manages to fight off all 3 guys for nearly a
minute before they get their act together and beat him down. Syxx steals the US
title again for good measure. Great storyline advancement here, and this can
only bode even better for Page with the fans moving forward since he’s been one
of the few WCW to spit defiantly in the nWo’s face. For the record, Diamond
Dallas Page is a PERFECT study on how to build a new star. Give him a swanky
finisher, put him over strong for months on end, and eventually have him start
standing up to everyone around him, good or bad. I know that “wins and losses
don’t matter” and we need to keep everyone “equal”, but wrestling wasn’t built
on equal, it was built on guys with the right attitude making piles of money
for everyone involved. Basically, WWE, grow a sack and follow this model. (PS:
And I don’t mean with John Cena!) ***
THE GIANT vs. LEX LUGER
Amazingly, we have impartial referee RANDY ELLER assigned to this one; the first nWo match that I can
remember without Nick Patrick or Doctor X. Both guys lock up, and Luger
struggles with the massive Giant. Luger’s putting a world of effort into this,
and seems to be sapping all his energy on trying to show Giant he can push him
backwards. Giant eventually shrugs him off and roars. Luger responds by popping
him in the jaw with his steel forearm, and continues the assault with Giant off
balance. The Giant comes to, and explodes out of the corner with a single
clothesline that leaves Luger for dead. A jumping elbow causes Luger to
convulse, but he has time to recover because Giant is slow as molasses. As soon
as Luger gets to crouched position, Giant punts him in the midsection with
enough force to send Luger flying out the ropes like a football. On his way
back in, Giant helps him re-enter with a vertical suplex. Giant stands on Luger’s
throat, and you’d have to imagine the end is near for WCW’s top hope to end the
nWo. Giant’s all laughs, and that momentary lapse sees Luger throw an axehandle
and go for a slam … but Giant is WAYYYY too fat for that, and falls right on
Lex. Giant pulls him up at 1, he’s not interested in ending this yet. Not
without a leaping headbutt to the balls. Given the volume of performance
enhancers coursing through Luger’s blood at this point, that’s gotta be a
fairly precise shot from the Giant. He goes for an avalanche, but Luger
side-steps, and Giant finds himself lying on the ropes like a hammock, and
stuck. Luger kicks him over and over to set up a Rack, but Giant drops down and
that’s that. Luger continues to bring the fight, and a number of clotheslines
have Giant rocking. The old wind up punch doesn’t even bring him down, but a
neckbreaker does, and Luger gets 2. In fact, Giant kicks out with enough force
to launch Luger about 95 feet into the air, and he happens to fall EXACTLY
where poor Randy Eller lays. Never fear, however, because NICK PATRICK is here. In the chaos, Luger manages to slam Giant,
and puts him in the Rack … only to see Patrick kick the back of his legs out and
cause him to collapse. Luger wallops Patrick, as STING starts skulking through the crowd. The Rack is re-applied,
but now SYXX is here, and breaks
that up. Sting hits the ring, ball bat in hand, and pushes it right into the
chest of Nick Patrick, sending him sprawling. He whispers something to Lex, and
then heads over to the Giant to do the same. Leaving his baseball bat behind,
he decides it’s time to exit through the crowd. Lex gets to the bat, but Giant
is up and steps on it. With only one move left, Luger swings his mighty fist,
uppercutting the Giant right in the Polish sausage! He grabs the ball bat,
drives it into the Giant’s stomach, and incredibly, the Giant starts to vomit
ALL over the place! An entire Christmas spread – turkey, yams, stuffing, green
beans with little bits of bacon, gingerbread cookies, an entire smoked ham, the
missing Fit Finlay, and fruitcake are just spewed EVERYWHERE. Wait, no, sorry,
he actually just collapses and Randy Eller awakens to count the pinfall at 13:20. This was probably awful by
anyone else’s standards, but I’m a sucker for a hot crowd and a testosterone
fuelled superman overcome a big evil bad guy. ***1/2 – and I don’t care if it
kills the credibility I never had.
MICHAEL BUFFER arrives to
pump us up for the main event, while poor Randy Eller is declared legally brain
dead following that 5 minute coma.
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (with
Vincent, Ted DiBiase, Elizabeth, and some gold vanity belt he never defends but
believes is a guitar) vs. RODDY PIPER (in a non-title match)
Yup, despite the fact WCW never explicitly announced whether or not this
was a title match; it was fairly assumed that the belt WOULD be at stake here
since Hogan paraded it out every single time he mouthed off about Piper, AND he
hasn’t defended it in 2 months, NOT to mention it’s the biggest damn
pay-per-view of the year. I realize had WCW advertised a non-title match that
the results of this would be far less in doubt (whoops, spoiler?), but the fans
were totally baited here and it’s not cool, WCW. The fans erupt in a unanimous
sea of “RODDY! RODDY!” chants, and despite my vitriol for the last two months,
it’s clear he’s a god to the 1996 wrestling fans, so it’s not fair for me to
look back 18 years later and declare this a total disaster (since it’s clearly
not) – but there is no way Piper’s insane rambling would have survived the social
media era. I don’t know if it’s because we expect a smarter product, or we’re
just a giant group of haters, but it just hasn’t stood up as well as a lot of
the other stuff we’ve looked back at this year. Anyway, Hogan stalls to start,
and when they finally lock up, he screams at the referee to “WATCH THE BREAK –
I DON’T TRUST THIS GUY!” Of course, as soon as they break, it’s Hogan who
starts slapping around Roddy. You can almost feel some 14 years of playing the
hero just seeping away, as he seamlessly transitions into the heel that’s lived
inside of him since his early days with Freddie Blassie (or, Rocky Balboa).
Piper responds by beating the shit out of him, and Hogan runs right up the
aisle, calling it a night. The ref holds Roddy at bay, so Piper grabs him (it’s
PEE WEE ANDERSON, for the record),
and places him on the top turnbuckle so he can go back to goading Hogan to fight
like a man. Hogan answers the call, digging deep into his inner manhood as
requested … and starts clawing at Roddy’s face. CAAAATFIGHT! Piper pokes Hogan
in the eyes to knock that off, and throws a clothesline. He can’t follow up
because Hogan’s already back on the floor to hang out with Trillionaire Ted.
Back in, Piper works a headlock, and holds on tight while Hogan tries like hell
to shove him off. Hulk manages a backdrop suplex, but Roddy continues to hold
on, working it like a crossface on the mat. In the ropes, Hogan finally spears
his way loose, and he nails Piper with a jawbreaker, sending Piper to the
outside. Hogan comes off the apron with an axehandle, and pokes Piper in the
eyes. Hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no complaining
(and I’m looking at YOU Tony Schiavone). Back in the ring, Piper actually hits
something resembling a dropkick – fairly impressive considering his current
mobility. Hogan runs up the aisle again, and looks like this time he ain’t
coming back, so Piper charges and pulls him back to ringside by the hair. Piper
shoves DAVE PENZER aside, grabs his
belt off his kilt, and starts whipping Hogan like a red headed mule. DiBiase
trips up Piper, but Roddy’s taking no one’s crap tonight and chases down Ted.
Of course, Hogan’s recovered now, and gets the upper hand on Piper. The fans, for
the record, have been incredible, and haven’t stopped cheering Piper on since
the bell rang over 10 minutes ago. In the ring, Hogan starts to kick at the
surgically repaired hip, and slaps on the abdominal stretch. He even adds a
wedgie as a nice extra touch. Piper escapes, and dives on Hogan with the ground
and pound. He even yanks out some of Hogan’s hair. Back to their feet, Hogan
pokes the eyes, and both guys start slugging it out, with neither guy giving in
to the other. Piper stops it to hit a vertical suplex, and gets a 2 count. He
misses a kneedrop to the face, and the impact leaves him clutching his leg in
agony. Hogan wastes no time in going for the Atomic Legdrop, but Piper moves,
and starts hopping on the bad leg to show he’s fine. And that’s all THE GIANT can stand to watch, and he
goes to Chokeslam Piper. In mid-move, Piper swings his legs to kick Hogan in
the face, and escapes by biting Giant’s nose! Back to Hogan, Piper locks on the
Sleeper, and Hogan’s arm drops 3 times, giving Piper the win at 15:28!!! The fans lose their collective
shit as fireworks explode, and Piper stands over Hogan’s limp body. *1/2 for
the match, ***** for the crowd.
THE OUTSIDERS rush the ring,
and Piper takes them both out with a little boxing. He bails before they can
double team him, and even The Giant doesn’t mess with him anymore. One of Piper’s
kids shows up on the stage, and Piper carries him backstage as the fans chant “PIPER!
PIPER!” on his way out.

But we’re not done – The Giant is livid at the entire nWo because none of them
ever watch his back the way he does for everyone else. He demands to know where
the original nWo threesome were during his match with Luger. Hogan: “You
dropped the ball.” The fans shower Hulkster with a “HOGAN SUCKS” chant, as
Hogan demands his belt and spits on the camera to send the show off.
Fantastic show, all the way through. Quality stuff on both the under
card, and some good storyline progression with the top. This really was the
best they could have hoped for with what was booked, and my lone disappointment
was that the nWo wasn’t swept with the Faces of Fear collecting the tag-team
titles. Still, the most dangerous group in wrestling history FINALLY got some
come-uppance for the first time since their arrival in May, and WCW is showing
a little unity.

The only question is whether or not they can capitalize going into 1997.

Sting out of shape at Starrcade 1997

Scott,


Was reading this bit about Eric Bischoff talking Starrcade 1997 mentioning how Sting came in out of shape and unprepared.

While obviously taking him with a grain of salt, it does make more sense in my mind as to how that match played out. Doesn't make it right, obviously. But if I were Hogan I would have taken it as a big "F you" from Sting. No wonder he started the match beating him up for like 15 minutes. Guy maybe didn't lift one dumbbell in his time off. 

Eric talked about how he had a hard time booking the finish because Hogan was Hogan:

I didn’t really see his point of view. I had a hard time reading between the lines with Hogan because he didn’t come flat out and tell me what his issues were. But I think Hogan was disappointed with Sting’s preparation. Sting was clearly out of shape. He looked like he hadn’t seen a gym or a tanning bed in six months. Up until that time, Sting could get away with that. He’d show up at the arena and do his act wearing his black trench coat and his face paint; he didn’t actually wrestle.

For whatever reason I hadn't heard this explanation. I always took it as the usual "WCW lol WCW."

Typical wrestling bullshit reasoning if true, along with sacred ice-packs and guys getting pushed because they stand out at the airport.  Was Sting the character supposed to be rappelling down into Gold's Gym in the dark of night, doing some reps, and then retreating to the rafters again?  They had EIGHTEEN MONTHS to come up with a finish and in DECEMBER Hogan is suddenly objecting because the mysterious dark-powered babyface isn't tan enough?  

The SmarK Rant for WCW Starrcade 1995

The SmarK Rant for WCW Starrcade 1995 Well, we’ve apparently run out of RAW shows to review again, so we might as well just say fuck it and go back to WCW for a while. I was going to repost this one from years ago, but have you READ IT? UGH. So here’s a fresh version. Although I was drifting back to WCW at this point, I wasn’t dropping the $30 on this show. That’s, like, 20 weeks worth of instant noodles and hot dogs. Live from Nashville, TN Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Dusty Rhodes Chris Benoit v. Jushin Liger So this WCW v. New Japan as a concept, which might have been one of the worst-promoted PPV concepts ever, as none of the Japanese guys got any screen time leading up to the show and they barely even announced the lineup out of the triangle main event. Also, why didn’t they bring in Muta for this? He was always good to pop the crowd and probably could have had a cool match with Johnny B. Badd or something. Tony notes that Liger and Benoit know each quite well, which is a massive understatement. Benoit takes him down a couple of times to start, but Liger sends him running with armdrags and follows with a baseball slide and somersault off the apron. Back in, Liger hits him with a koppo kick, but walks into a backbreaker that gets two. Liger reverses out of a powerbomb and dropkicks Benoit out again, but can’t get his dive this time. Benoit with a snap suplex and a backdrop suplex to take over, and he follows with a Liontamer. Dusty goes on an epic soliloquy about whether the current Horsemen are better than the 80s Horsemen and even Tony gives up trying to translate Dusty into English after that. Benoit with a german suplex for two, but Liger takes him down for a bow and arrow and Dusty is INTO IT. It’s an unclin’ situation, Tony! Liger with a rear chinlock but Benoit escapes with an electric chair and they fight over a tombstone. Liger gets that one and goes up, but Benoit brings him down with a superplex for two. Diving headbutt misses and Liger hits him with the rolling kick in the corner and follows with a Ligerbomb for two. Brainbuster gets two. Liger gets cocky and Benoit comes back with the rolling germans, but only two. Powerbomb and he goes up with the diving headbutt, but Kevin Sullivan comes out to cause trouble, leading to Liger getting a sloppy rana for the pin at 10:30. Japan 1, WCW 0. So this was quite the opener. ****1/4 Would have been higher with a better finish, but as it was, the suplex-crazy offense was tremendous stuff. Koji Kanemoto v. Alex Wright Koji is an awesome dick heel so this should be an easy transition for him. Koji goes to work on the knee, but Wright gets an enzuigiri and they trade wristlocks. Wright with a headscissor takedown and they fight to the floor, where Wright hits him with a dive. Back in, Wright goes to the chinlock, but Koji throws chops in the corner and then LEVELS him with a spinkick. Wrights gets hung in the corner and Koji dropkicks him there, putting Wright on the floor. Kanemoto follows with a dive, but Wright fights back on the floor like a MAN. Back in, Koji wraps him up in a tiger suplex for two and follows with a moonsault, but he doesn’t want the pin. Wright comes back with a german suplex for two and fights back with a leg lariat and goes up with a slingshot splash for two, but a missile dropkick goes badly for him and both guys are out. Wright with a crossbody for two, but Koji escapes the german suplex and kicks him down into a moonsault for two. Back up and this time Wright blocks the missile dropkick, then pops up and hits his own. They fight to the top and Wright gets a superplex for two, but Koji drops him with Snake Eyes and rolls him up for the pin at 11:44. Another great match! Wright was the plucky kid way out of his league who decided to man up and keep fighting, but just couldn’t finish. Koji was on another level as a worker at this point, doing all these vicious kicks perfectly. Japan 2, WCW 0. **** Lex Luger v. Masa Chono I don’t sense this will be very good. Luger overpowers Chono, but gets put down with forearms and a big boot. Chono chokes him out in the corner and goes to a chinlock, then puts Luger down with a Scorpion deathdrop and into the STF. Luger makes the ropes and they slug it out, but Chono puts him down with a Yazuka kick. Chono goes up and lands on Luger’s elbow, and the Torture Rack finishes at 6:40. Japan 2, WCW 1. *1/2 Total style clash here. Johnny B. Badd v. Masa Saito Saito is looking particularly old and grizzled at this point. So someone had the brilliant idea of giving Kimberly promo time before the match and talking is not her strong suit. To say the least. It’s like the world’s worst “yo mama” battle or something, which probably explains why she almost never talked again. Saito takes Badd down and goes to a chinlock, and then they slug it out with chops because Saito is 53 (!!) and obviously isn’t taking any bumps here. Saito with a side suplex for two and a clothesline gets two. Sonny Onoo gets some choking in and Saito gets a Russian legsweep for two, but Badd comes back with a double axehandle and a sunset flip for two. Saito no-sells the knockout punches and Badd stands around waiting for Onoo to hit his cue, and Saito throws Badd over the top for the DQ at 6:00. Why did they drag Saito out of mothballs for this embarrassment? DUD Japan 2, WCW 2. Eddie Guerrero v. Shinjiro Ohtani This would be the “pivotable” match in the tournament, according to Dusty. Ohtani takes him down with an armdrag and immediately acts like a dick, clawing at the face just because. Eddie hits him with a low dropkick, but Ohtani goes to the leg and controls on the mat again. Eddie fights out with a rana to put him on the floor and Ohtani gets some advice from Sonny Onoo. That advice? Fuck if I know, I don’t speak Japanese. Back in, Eddie with a slingshot senton and a Boston crab, but Ohtani makes the ropes. Eddie with a powerbomb for two. Brainbuster gets two. Eddie charges and Ohtani slickly ducks out of the way, then dumps Eddie and follows with a springboard dive to the floor. Back in, dropkick and Ohtani chokes him down on the mat and follows with a sleeper, but Eddie escapes with a backdrop suplex for two. Ohtani snaps off a german suplex for two and it’s pretty badass. Springboard leg lariat and Ohtani goes up, but Eddie follows him up with a rana for two. Eddie with Splash Mountain for two. Ohtani suddenly wraps him up with a heel hook, but Eddie makes the ropes. They fight to the floor and Eddie follows with some insane hangtime on a springboard dive. Ohtani manages to suplex him back in and follows with a springboard dropkick. That’s usually his setup, but Eddie escapes the suplex and they trade sunset flip reversals until Ohtani ends up on top for the pin at 13:30. They were letting it all hang out here. **** Japan 3, WCW 2. Randy Savage v. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (spelled “Tensan” here) Tenzan, who today is 44 and totally broken down, is still kicking around New Japan as a kind-of top guy still. He had not yet met hetero life partner Satoshi Kojima yet, sadly. They fight for the lockup and Tenzan chops him down and pounds away for two. Tenzan chokes him down in the corner and it’s punch punch punch as Savage has little interest in doing anything but selling tonight. More punching and Savage bails to the floor, but Tenzan beats on him out there as well. Back in, Tenzan with the flying headbutt for two, but Savage comes back, drops him on the top, and finishes with the miracle elbow at 6:50. This was pretty embarrassing even by Savage’s low standards at this point. Japan 3, WCW 3. ¼* World Cup Final: Sting v. Kensuke Sasaki Just to troll the Sting truthers a bit more, Sasaki was voted into the WON Hall of Fame last year, and Sting still isn’t in. Sting, it should be noted, has his face painted like a Reese’s Pieces. Could this signify a secret alliance with ET? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT! Sasaki attacks and chokes him out, but Sting fights back with a dropkick and clotheslines him to the floor. Back in, Sasaki gets a powerslam and Northern Lights Bomb and grabs an armbar on Sting. Armdrag into a slam gets two. Sasaki gets his own Scorpion deathlock, but Sting makes the ropes and comes back with an enzuigiri before finishing with his own Scorpion at 6:51 to win the World Cup. That’s it, put him in the Hall of Fame right now! This was OK. ** Oddly, Sasaki dropped the US title to One Man Gang in a dark match at the end of the night while working as a babyface, in a match where Gang got the win and then the match was restarted and Sasaki got the win. But apparently they only used the Gang portion. Because WCW. Triangle match: Ric Flair v. Sting v. Lex Luger Winner gets Randy Savage for the title immediately after. We actually have an hour left in the show so there’s some time to burn here. This is slightly different than current three-way rules, as one guy has to be on the apron and tag in. Sting starts with Flair and gets the press slam and clothesline for two, but Flair immediately bails. Back in, he works on the hammerlock and slugs away on Sting, but Sting no-sells and starts beating on him again. Bulldog sends Flair out of the ring again and this time Sting follows and keeps up the beating. Back in, he misses a dropkick and Flair takes over. Dusty goes on a crazy old man rant about playing possum while Flair trolls Luger and tosses Sting for some abuse on the floor. Back in, kneedrop gets two. Suplex, but Sting pops up again and we get another press slam to set up a superplex for two. Neat moment as Luger comes in to save and the crowd goes “ooooooo” but the buddies smooth things over. Luger finally tags in against Flair, but quickly gets hit with a cheapshot and no-sells that. Poor Flair gets pressed again and we get a Flair Flop for two. Flair goes to the knee, however, and goes to work on that. Flair goes low (“He must have lost his balance…” notes Heenan) and gets the figure-four, but Luger uses the power of his pecs to reverse the move. Suplex gets two. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, and Luger no-sells his chops and decides to tag out to Sting. So we get the long-awaited Sting v. Luger showdown. They fight over a lockup and exchange shots in the corner, as Luger suddenly goes heel again and begs off. Lex pounds him in the corner and gets a clothesline, but Sting comes back with a bodypress for two. Man, this segment is just DYING. Pretty shocking lack of heat for something that was supposed to be the top program. Sting misses a pump splash and Luger drops an elbow for two. Sting slugs back and gets the Scorpion, but Luger goes low about as blatantly as possible. Sting gets a small package for two and a sunset flip for two, and makes the comeback with a bulldog and Stinger splash. A second one misses and Luger gets the Rack, but the ref is bumped and Flair sneaks in with a chop block to break it up. Both Sting and Luger land on the floor, and the ref revives and counts them out at 28:00. What a shit finish that was. Sting-Flair was entertaining, Luger-Flair was entertaining, and Sting-Luger was shit and killed the crowd. Man, what a terrible finish, though. **1/2 WCW World title: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair Savage beats on Flair to start as Paul Orndorff joins us at ringside in a neck brace for an angle that ended up going nowhere. Flair with an atomic drop on Savage, but he can’t get the figure-four, and Savage dumps him and follows with the double axehandle. Flair nails him on the way down, however, and takes over in the ring by working on the giant bandaged arm. You’d think people would take that low-hanging fruit more often in 1995. Savage fights back, but walks into a sleeper before slugging Flair down for two. Clothesline gets two. Savage goes up and gets caught coming down again, and Jimmy Hart’s megaphone gets involved, resulting in Savage nailing Flair with it and tapping a gusher. Big elbow, but the ref is still with Jimmy Hart, and the Horsemen run in behind the idiot ref’s back, leaving Arn to nail Savage with brass knuckles six inches from the ref’s head, and Flair wins the title again at 8:40. *1/2 This would kick off the era of women’s shoes as deadly weapons, but we’ll get to that later on Nitro. The Pulse Although the main event didn’t deliver, the World Cup gave us an astonishing 3 **** matches, so you can’t complain very loudly about that. I still think World War III was an overall better show from an entertainment standpoint, but this was a better wrestling show. Recommended.

Starrcade 1995



What was the mindset with the World Cup of Wrestling card at Starrcade 1995? Only two matches with storyline implications. Everything just feels so random. Just seems so odd, especially at the dawn of the Monday Night Wars.


Thanks

​Well the deal was negotiated with New Japan months before, even before Nitro launched, and it was basically a money thing as far as I know.  That's also why Sasaki ended up with the US title.  I will also be redoing Starrcade 95 now that I'm back from my conference before getting back into Nitro again.  ​

Hogan not on Starrcade ’95


You mentioned in your latest Nitro rant that Hulk Hogan didn't have a match at Starrcade '95. Even as a markish youth (becoming increasingly apathetic to Hogan), I remember being very confused and annoyed at WCW not putting presumably their biggest draw on what was traditionally their biggest show of the year.


So what was the deal? Was it Bischoff trying to de-emphasize Starrcade as a big deal to get rid of the old southern audience, which he seemed to do more of in later years? Was he already reading the signs on Hogan's popularity plummeting? Was Hogan owed a month off in his contract? Or was the New Japan "invasion" SO HUGE as to not leave room for a Hogan-Giant blowoff or something?

Jake

As I understand the situation, Hulk asked for that time off well in advance, so WCW burned through his limited number of contractual dates by using him Nitro a bunch of times.  But yeah, in the bigger sense, Bischoff was pretty open about wanting to make SuperBrawl into their version of Wrestlemania instead of Starrcade.  And really, what could they have done with Hogan at that show anyway?  A tag match with the Megapowers against Lex & Sting?  Who would want to see THAT?

Rock Star Gary reflects on…WCW Starrcade 1993!

Live from Charlotte, NC

Airdate: December 27, 1993

Attendance: 8,000 (7,000 paid)

Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

The tenth anniversary show opens with a series of photos of
Ric Flair as he grew up. Included are a clipping of a newspaper article of the
plane crash as well as Flair’s victories over Harley Race at Starrcade ’83 and
Ronnie Garvin at Starrcade ’87. Suddenly Vader roars and a sequence of his
squashes permeate the introduction. As an added bonus the aftermath of Vader’s
powerbomb of Cactus Jack is briefly shown.

Tony mentions Vader and Race’s arrival at 2pm and subsequent
workout in the ring. Unlike the punctual WCW World Champion his challenger has
yet to arrive. “Mean” Gene Okerlund is with Flair (and family) at the Flair
household while a chauffeur takes the bags to the limousine. Interestingly, a
very young Ashley (current NXT wrestler Charlotte) and Reid (RIP) hug their
father as disgruntled teenager David broods in the background along with a
worried Beth. After leaving the house, a subdued Flair and Gene discuss the
ramifications of tonight’s main event — if Flair loses he must retire, but if
he wins he becomes WCW World Champion.

Match 1: Marcus
Alexander Bagwell and Too Cold Scorpio (w/ Teddy Long) versus Pretty Wonderful
(w/ the Assassin)

Highlights:

·        
For those unaware Pretty Wonderful is “Pretty”
Paul Roma and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.
·        
Wait a minute! Wasn’t Paul Roma a face at
Battlebowl? Oh yeah, back on the 12/11/93 episode of WCW Saturday Night (taped
11/30/93) Roma tagged with his Battlebowl partner Erik Watts. Check this
out!
·        
Prior to the match WCW Executive Committee
member Gary Juster presented “The Godfather” Teddy Long with the 1993 Manager
of the Year award. Thanks go out to all of you for calling the hotline!
·        
A brawl between all four men started the match.
Tony mentioned on WCW Saturday Night (taped 12/6/93) that
Orndorff and Roma attacked Bagwell and Scorpio after their match with Pierce
and Slazenger.
·        
Double dropkick sent Roma to the floor.
·        
Excellent tag team synchronicity by Bagwell and
Scorpio.
·        
While Bagwell hooked a sleeper on Orndorff and
referee Nick Patrick was distracted by an intruding Scorpio Roma came off the
top rope with a forearm to the back.
·        
Three consecutive backbreakers from Roma to
Bagwell.
·        
Sweet butterfly suplex followed by an even
sweeter powerslam from Roma.
·        
From the top rope Roma missed a splash leading
to the hot tag to Scorpio.
·        
Scorpio delivered a snap suplex then came off the
top rope to nail Orndorff.
·        
As Scorpio gave Orndorff a standing spinning
heel kick Bagwell and Roma fought on the floor.
·        
The Assassin got on the apron but got decked by
Scorpio.
·        
As Orndorff held Scorpio overhead the Assassin
head-butted him with the loaded mask.
·        
Pretty Wonderful stole the opener.


Rating: **

Summary: Very
formulaic tag match giving the new tag team of Pretty Wonderful a big boost by
beating the former WCW World tag champs. I see bigger things on the horizon for
this team.

Gene and Flair are still in the limo on their way to the
arena. Was there a traffic jam in Charlotte on this night?

Match 2: The
Shockmaster versus Awesome King Kong (w/ King Awesome Kong)

Highlights:

·        
Shockmaster got double-teamed as he entered the
ring.
·        
He then became a Kong sandwich.
·        
Awesome King Kong gave him a splash.
·        
Holy Goodyear blimp, Batman! Shockmaster with a flying body press!
Although he barely left his feet it still counts, right?
·        
After nailing Awesome Kong on the apron
Shockmaster gave King Kong a powerslam and pinned King Kong.

Rating: 1/2*

Summary: A short
Shockmaster match is infinitely better than a long one. Unfortunately for the
900 pound duo the attempted switcheroo trick failed.

Tony mentions that prior to the telecast Terry Taylor
defeated The Equalizer. He and Jesse then discuss The Boss as a replacement for
“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith in the International World title match
later. In other news, Charlotte’s finest escort the limousine to the arena.

Match 3 for the WCW
World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion) versus Ricky “The Dragon”
Steamboat

Highlights:

·        
At the outset of the match Tony and Jesse pondered
the possibility of a time-limit draw due to Regal’s reluctance to lock up with
Steamboat. Foreshadowing, perhaps?
·        
If one cannot enjoy a Regal match solely based
upon his facial expressions, how can one?
·        
Enziguri by Steamboat caused a 360° sell.
·        
After both men head to the floor Sir William
tried to nail Steamboat with the umbrella. Nonetheless it became a chase into
the ring by Steamboat after Sir William.
·        
As Steamboat exited the ring to chase him again Regal
caught him with a standing dropkick.
·        
Butterfly suplex by Steamboat with 45 seconds
remaining in the time limit.
·        
Outside the ring Steamboat rammed Regal and Sir
William’s heads together.
·        
With 15 seconds remaining Steamboat climbed to
the top turnbuckle but misses the flying body press.
·        
As ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta counted
down the final seconds Steamboat delivered a German suplex but could not
successfully secure the pin in time.
·        
Time-limit draw. Regal retained his title.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  If you enjoy scientific/technical wrestling
then this is your match. Plenty of psychology mixed in with a tiny bit of
high-flying and workrate make this an extremely good match. A finish would have
raised the rating even higher, but Steamboat did his job making Regal look sharp
here.

Tony and Jesse continue to discuss Flair and the retirement
stipulation of the main event.

Match 4: Shanghai
Pierce and Tex Slazenger versus Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne

Highlights:

·        
Can Mick Foley carry the load of four men here?
Let’s find out!
·        
Tony compared Cactus Jack and Tex Slazenger.
It’s no wonder the future Mideon would emulate the future
Mankind in the WWF during the Attitude Era.
·        
Bulldog from Slazenger.
·        
Cactus clothesline to Shanghai Pierce.
·        
Assisted “plancha” by Cactus atop Slazenger. I
believe Sandman swiped that move in ECW.
·        
Payne applied the Payne Killer to Pierce, but
Slazenger saved.
·        
Heel miscommunication led to a Cactus double-arm
DDT on Pierce for the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Not as
bad as I expected, but yes, Foley can carry quite a load.

Okerlund interviews NASCAR driver Kyle Petty who discusses
his father’s (Richard Petty) retirement.

Match 5 for the US
title (2 out of 3 falls): “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes (champion) versus
“Stunning” Steve Austin (w/ Colonel Parker)

Highlights:

·        
Austin rolled his camera while making his
entrance.
·        
By the way, where is Brian Pillman? Shouldn’t he
be facing Austin? Then again, Austin bloodied Rhodes at Battlebowl, so never
mind.
·        
Ventura made a Rush Limbaugh joke.
·        
Upon the reversal of an Irish whip Rhodes sent
Austin over the steel railing into the crowd.
·        
From the second rope Austin missed a knee drop.
·        
Flip, flop, and fly followed by a lariat from
Rhodes.
·        
Powerslam by Rhodes got a 2 count.
·        
Parker got up on the apron, but Rhodes tossed
Austin directly into him.
·        
In the process Austin went over the top rope
earning him the first fall due to disqualification.
·        
In lieu of the thirty second rest period Rhodes
followed Austin to the floor to hammer on him.
·        
In fact he rammed Austin into the ring post busting him wide open.
·        
An injured Colonel Parker was escorted from
ringside.
·        
To begin the second fall Rhodes went outside the
ring to bring Austin in the hard way.
·        
Double axe handle from the top rope by Rhodes as
the lights flickered.
·        
The ring lights went out forcing them to wrestle
under a spotlight.
·        
Vertical suplex, cross-corner whip, and  a clothesline by Rhodes.
·        
As the lights return Rhodes mounted the second
rope to nail Austin in the head.
·        
All of a sudden Austin took him down, grabbed
the tights, and got the pin.
·        
“Stunning” Steve Austin is the NEW US champion!

Rating: **

Summary: This
match either could have been a bloody brawl or a decent wrestling match;
however, Rhodes’ ire toward Austin wasn’t a factor until the beginning of the
second fall. On top of that both men were capable of using more workrate and
fluidity. Oh, and one more thing, this match only lasted 15:54. For a best two
out of three falls match? That’s criminally short. How will they make up the
PPV time? I’m afraid to find out.

Match 6 for the WCW
International World title: “Ravishing” Rick Rude versus The Boss

Highlights:

·        
Back on 11/30/93 a non-title match between “The
British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and Rude was filmed, but Smith was fired
before it could air on 12/18. Instead on 12/13 Rude beat Smith by forfeit
causing Ray Traylor the Boss to make his return
to WCW after six years, face Rude in a non-title match, and defeat him.
·        
A police siren signaled the Boss to the ring.
·        
Hooters’ girls have been ring attendants this
evening and gave Rude the thumbs down much to Jesse’s chagrin.
·        
Tremendous elevation via back drop followed by a
backbreaker by the Boss.
·        
While on the floor the Boss suplexed Rude and hung
his legs over the top rope.
·        
Rude mounted the top turnbuckle but ate a right
hand on the way down.
·        
After a Boss miscue Rude sunset flipped over the
top rope and pinned him.

Rating: 1/2*

Summary: Got a
stamp? Rude mailed in another one here. In addition to the legitimacy of the
International World title being questioned the poor quality of Rude’s matches
in 1993 also devalued its championship value. Thus far the WCW International
World title is a joke.

WCW SuperBrawl IV takes place on February 20!

Match 7 for the WCW
World Tag Team titles: The Nasty Boys (champions w/ Missy Hyatt) versus Sting
and Road Warrior Hawk

Highlights:

·        
Oh my God! Missy Hyatt wore a see-through pink
dress. Methinks she wanted to wear less clothing than the Hooters’ girls.
·        
Stalling to start by the Nasty Boys. I don’t
like the feeling I’m getting watching this.
·        
Hawk military pressed Sting then launched him
onto both Nasty Boys.
·        
Enziguri by Hawk.
·        
Sags gave Hawk a chair shot with a plastic
non-folding chair. Ouch!
·        
To add insult to injury Missy slapped Hawk. He must have been a naughty Road Warrior.
·        
Cross arm breaker to Hawk by Sags.
·        
Fujiwara arm bar by Knobbs. It appears that the
Nasty Boys learned something during their short stint in NJPW in November.
·        
Tony: “What’s more painful here? This arm bar or
Missy’s mouth here?”
·        
False tag to Sting not permitted by referee Nick
Patrick.
·        
After Sting got the real tag and cleaned house
the Nasty Boys tried to take a walk.
·        
We’re fifteen minutes in; can we please get a
countout and move on to the main event? No? Dammit!
·        
Alternatively Sting and Hawk continued my misery
by chasing after the nefarious champs.
·        
Sting attempted a top rope splash but hit knees.
·        
Knobbs mounted the second turnbuckle and grazed
Sting on the way down. I believe he was supposed to miss him completely.
·        
In an entirely obvious moment to us but
oblivious to the referee, Knobbs tossed Sting over the top rope. Sting landed
on the apron first, but Patrick ignored it.
·        
Outside the ring Sags made Sting taste the steel
railing. Needs Gulden’s spicy brown mustard.
·        
Not to nitpick but the tag belts sat in the
corner of the champs instead of the timekeeper’s table. C’mon, WCW! You’re
better than that!
·        
Missy whipped Sting with her (ahem) cat o’ nine tails
before Sags clotheslined him.
·        
Just to antagonize me Sags hooked the abdominal
stretch on Sting then switched with Knobbs.
·        
We’re twenty minutes in,  and Sags hurt himself by giving Sting a
pump-handle slam.
·        
Reverse chinlock by Knobbs.
·        
After a vertical suplex Knobbs reapplied the
rear chinlock.
·        
Sags tagged in briefly, but it was obvious he
was in a lot of pain.
·        
Oh Criminy! Knobbs applied the abdominal stretch
AGAIN.
·        
Five minutes remain. Please let this match end.
·        
After a slam Knobbs climbed to the second rope
and delivered a splash.
·        
He tried it a second time, and as if on cue
Sting raised his foot. Oops! Sting forgot the first time.
·        
Nasty Boys with the double-team avalanche on
Sting.
·        
With three minutes remaining Hawk nailed Knobbs
then hammered Sags who caught his leg on the top rope.
·        
FINALLY Hawk tagged in and cleaned house.
·        
Stinger splash, but when Sting tried to apply
the Scorpion Deathlock, Missy jumped up on the apron.
·        
Sting kissed Missy with two minutes left.
·        
He avoided a charging Knobbs (sending Missy to
the floor) and school-boyed him for 2.
·        
In an extremely convoluted manner Sting and Hawk
deliver the Doomsday Device to Knobbs.
·        
Since Sags was too injured to even stand on the
apron Missy was forced to interfere causing the DQ. During that time she
jiggled out of her dress. More on this later.
·        
Out of nowhere the bell rung despite Patrick
doing anything to signal for it.
·        
Sting and Hawk won the match, but the Nasty Boys
retained the titles.

Rating: DUD

Summary: How many
drugs did the Nasty Boys (allegedly) promise Hawk to be in control for this
match? Seriously I realize that the heels normally call a match, but the Nasty
Boys are better brawlers than wrestlers and certainly not ring generals. This
match was too long and had time-limit draw written all over it before that
hasty finish. On the other hand Booking 101 states that a show should not
contain more than one time-limit draw so someone didn’t communicate properly
somewhere.

Speaking of the finish I mentioned that Missy popped out of
her dress. Well, a WCW photographer got a good shot and it ended up on a
bulletin board at CNN Center. When Missy discovered it she pleaded with
Executive Producer Eric Bischoff to remove it and punish those responsible.
After Bischoff’s attempted deflection of the situation Hyatt went over his head
to file her complaint. Without hesitation Bischoff fired her prompting a sexual
discrimination lawsuit against WCW by Hyatt. In December 1996 the suit was settled
out of court.

Call the hotline to talk to Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne after
the show!

Match 8 for the WCW
World Heavyweight title: Vader (champion w/ Harley Race) versus “Nature Boy”
Ric Flair

Highlights:

·        
To no one’s surprise the hometown hero received
an enormous pop upon his entrance and introduction.
·        
Buffer rumbled.
·        
Humongous “Flair” chants from the Queen City
faithful.
·        
Gorilla press slam from Vader sent Flair rolling
to the floor.
·        
Vader followed and made Flair taste the steel railing.
More mustard please.
·        
Having turned the tables Flair avoided a Vader
splash on the steel railing then rammed him head-first into the ring post.
·        
Vader tossed Flair around like a rag doll.
·        
Cross-corner whip by Vader became a Flair flip
to the floor.
·        
Stiff rights followed by a stiff clothesline by
Vader busted Flair’s mouth open.
·        
Flair’s retaliatory chops didn’t faze Vader.
·        
Powerslam by Vader.
·        
Second-rope clothesline by Vader but second-rope
splash missed.
·        
Top rope forearm by Flair yet second one only
grazed Vader.
·        
Third one put Vader down on the mat.
·        
Superplex followed by a running body block by
Vader.
·        
Race kicked and choked Flair on the floor.
·        
Much to the crowd’s delight Flair put Vader down
on the mat after a series of right hands and chops.
·        
After ramming Vader’s left leg into the ring
post, Flair rammed it with Jesse’s plastic chair. OUCH!
·        
After some stiff shots to Vader Flair delivered
a chair shot to the top of the head.
·        
Flair failed to hook a figure-four leg lock.
·        
Vader bomb missed.
·        
Second attempt at the figure four leg lock was
successful, but Vader made it to the ropes.
·        
Moonsault by Vader missed.
·        
Race tried to break up the cover but head-butted
Vader from the top rope instead.
·        
Referee Randy Anderson heaved Race completely
out of the ring. Way to go, Randy!
·        
After a flying forearm and some chops Flair sent
Vader into the ropes only to eat another running body block. Vader grabbed his
left leg though.
·        
Like a shark smelling blood in the water Flair
grabbed the weakened left leg in a single leg takedown and pinned Vader.
·        
We have a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion!
·        
For the eleventh time Flair is the man! Woo!

 Rating: ****1/2

Summary:  Excellent David versus Goliath story told here
by both men. Flair knew he could not outwrestle the larger Vader; hence, he
went toe-to-toe and outlasted him in this tremendously fought battle. Even with
a puzzling finish I thought it was absolutely excellent. If you haven’t seen
this match, check it out.

On another note this match helped to save WCW as Flair was
the placeholder WCW needed after a long and bumpy 1993. To me that adds an
extra  ½*.

After the match the crowd gave Flair an elongated standing
ovation as confetti fell from the rafters.

Eric Bischoff is with an irate Vader with Harley Race. Vader
destroys a locker claiming “I want (the belt) back!”

Flair returns to ringside for a well-deserved curtain call.

Okerlund is in the other locker room with the Flair family.
He tries to interview Flair, but Flair’s mouth is too busted up. Instead he
interviews Sting who congratulates Flair. Ricky Steamboat appears and gives
kudos to Flair.

Conclusion: Consider
this show a major WCW reboot. Since Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson were not
involved two major matches had to be changed. Most of you already know that Sid
was penciled in as WCW World Champion at this show prior to the Blackburn scissors
incident. Incidentally Arn Anderson and Paul Roma were scheduled to have a
break-up angle and feud here as well. Of all the talent within WCW Erik Watts
was chosen to replace Anderson. Additionally Davey Boy Smith’s firing led to
Ray Traylor’s receipt of a title shot here. Since WCW was hung out to dry due
to all of these situations they could only rely on one man to rescue them—Ric Flair.
See you at Clash XXVI!

Buyrate: 0.55

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

Starrcade 93.



I know you've covered this ad nauseum but I'm just watching all these shows for the first time on the network.  At the end of the 11/93 Clash, Flair beats Vader by DQ and challenges Vader & Austin to a tag match on Saturday night with Sid as his partner.  So obviously Vader/Sid was still planned for Starrcade as of November 10th.  Was Flair going to face Austin at Starrcade or was Austin/Rhodes always the plan?   And when exactly did the scissors incident happen?   At Battlebowl, 10 days after Clash Vader is still brawling with Jack so was there any thought to throwing Jack into the Starrcade main?

​Vader-Sid was already planned and the buildup taped by the time of the incident, which occurred on October 26.  Flair and Steamboat were working together as a team on the house show circuit at the time, so it seems logical that they would carry through with that at Starrcade in some form.  I'm taking a wild stab in the dark and thinking they might have won the tag titles from the Nasty Boys (in the role occupied by the Sting/Hawk disaster team) but literally the week after the stabbing the Observer was reporting that Flair-Vader would be the new main event.  So really it's not like there was anything set out in advance for Starrcade for anyone but Sid/Vader anyway.  And no, I can guarantee there was no thought given to Jack getting that slot.

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:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Starrcade 85

Hey Scott,

Long time reader occasional commenter.  I've been pushing through a lot of old PPVs on the WWE network, mostly WCW stuff from the 80s because I grew up a WWF kid.  If NWA/WCW had a show that ran in the metro Detroit area at that time I never saw it, most likely because I didn't get cable until 90-91 I think.  Then I fell out of wrestling around 92 for a while.  I didn't come back to it until the Attitude era started when I was a senior in high school (you'd call that grade 12).  So really to me anything before 98 in WCW/NWA I've only read about or seen on DVD.  Anyway I'm watching Starrcade 85 and holy crap are there a lot of titles.  I thought WWE after the buyout was bad.  My question is: what's the hierarchy?  Is the National title above the US title?  It looked like there were three sets of tag titles, National, US and World.  Where does the Mid-South title fit in?  Just curious.  Hope you got your streaming issues straightened out.  I've found it works best for me on my Apple TV.

Dave Tomlinson

Yeah, Apple TV is not an option here in Canada.  I'd like to get one anyway, but the Network was removed from them Monday afternoon.
It goes World – US – National – TV on the singles titles, and World – US – National on the tag titles as well.  The Mid-South was a regional title, which would put it below the US title.  
And the streaming is working fine tonight, so fingers crossed.  Although tonight is NXT night anyway, so that's Hulu.  

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.

New E-Book: History of Starrcade

It’s that time again as I’ve written a new book with ALL NEW reviews of
the flagship show of WCW. There are 18 shows in all in this one,
starting back in 1983 and ranging all the way forward through to 2000.
This is exactly what it sounds like and is something a lot of old school
WCW and NWA fans will be interested in. Also, this time the book is
only $4 instead of the usual five.

The book is available worldwide and can be picked up in America here

In England/Europe here

And in Canada here.

If you live somewhere else and want to pick it up, just search “KB’s
History of Starrcade” on your Amazon site and it should be there.

It’s an e-book format, but if you don’t have a Kindle or any other kind
of e-reader, there are free Apps which can let you read it on your
computer, phone or whatever else you prefer. You can find those free
apps here:

Apps

Anyway, I hope you like it and enjoy.