Thursday, 30 July 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 2000

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Event poster
December 17, 2000 
MCI Center, Washington, D.C.

Before there was Wrestlemania, there was Starrcade. 


Originally promoted by Jim Crocket Promotions as a National Wrestling Alliance event and was one of the first major events of its type, pre-dating the WWF's use of closed-circuit TV by a good 18 months.

Headlined by a brutal and bloody steel cage match between seven-time World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race and his arch-rival Nature  Boy Ric Flair, the show had been a critical success and was heralded as their premier event ever since.

17 years later, the company that had become World Championship Wrestling had been in a rapid decline for some years and was now just a few short months away from closing its doors, but not without presenting Starrcade just one last time.







Here's what went down when the last ever WCW Starrcade show came to us live from Washington, D.C.

Tonight’s the Night

And so the last ever Starrcade got underway with a rather unremarkable video package highlighting some of the ten matches we’d see on tonight’s show.

Heading into the arena, we got fireworks galore and a greeting from Tony Schiavone, all of which did at least try and make the show sound like it was a big deal.

Cruiserweight Time

Cameras then panned to an envelope suspended from the rafters which the announcers told us contained a guaranteed shot at Chavo Guerrero’s Cruiserweight championship.

On cue, that awesome theme music Eddy Guerrero used to use came on and his nephew Chavo sauntered to ringside to do commentary.

Triple Ladder Match
3 Count (Sugar Shane Helms and Shannon Moore) vs. The Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi & Yang w/ Leia Meow) vs. Jamie Noble & Evan Karagious
Winner Receives a Cruiserweight Title Match

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Leia Meow led The Jung Dragons into battle against 3 Count and Knoble & Karagias
This was a spotfest with over-complicated booking, a few blown spots, and a few timing issues, but despite all that, it was awesome.

It was complicated in the fact that it was a three-team match with a shot at a singles title but it was never explained if the three teams were supposed to work together or if it was every-man-for-himself.

The botched and timing issues took you out of the moment temporarily, but there was always something more exciting and elaborate to immediately sweep you back into the action.

Though I get that not everyone is a fan of these type of stunt shows, this writer found it to be a gloriously fun opener that everyone involved in should be immensely proud of.

After the better part of twenty minutes, Shane Helms and Shannon Moore both retrieved the contract, much to the chagrin of guest commentator Guerrero.
Your Winners: 3 Count

As was becoming the norm in WCW, we got multiple backstage segments crammed into about 45 seconds:

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Jeff Jarrett confronted Commissioner Mike Sanders backstage
A sombre-looking Hacksaw Jim Duggan was polishing his 2x4 (seriously) when Lance Storm came in and told him that the office had been thinking of firing Duggan before he joined Team Canada. Besides, claimed Storm, the American fans would never take Hacksaw back after he turned on them at Fall Brawl 2000, so sticking with the Canadians was his only option.

Jeff Jarrett complained to Mike Sanders that while his opponent wanted a street fight, he wanted a bunkhouse match. Double J then convinced Sanders to combine the two into one match even though they were pretty much the same thing anyway.

Finally, Kronik for some reason had brought a camera to film them sitting naked (except for a towel) in a steam room.

The two agreed that the job they’d been hired for tonight was so special that they wouldn’t even demand cash up front.

“Man, am I baked,” said Brian Adams.

And people wonder why this company went out of business three months later.

Lance Storm (w/ Major Gunns & ‘Prime Time’ Eli’s Skipper) vs. The Cat (w/ Miss Jones)

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Lance Storm cuts a pre-match promo before facing Ernest 'The Cat' Miller
Lance Storm was awesome so, naturally, WCW completely misused him.

Back at Mayhem, Ernest Miller cost Storm the US title and the two had been feuding ever since. Meanwhile, Duggan -a member of Team Canada- had cost his teammates a mixed-tag against Miller and Major Gunns.

Tonight’s match was surprisingly good, though more so because of the rampant overbooking and general chaos than any of the actual wrestling.

At one point, they teased having Major Gunns and Miss Jones go at it in the ring, but this went nowhere.

After more chaos, Hacksaw came down and reluctantly cost The Cat the match after what was overall a fun encounter.
Your Winner: Lance Storm

Post-match, Storm snd Elix Skipper thanked Duggan by beating him up until Miller came back and saved the man who’d just cost him the match.

More Backstage Stuff

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Buff Bagwell interviews The Filthy Animals
Out in the back, Buff Bagwell revealed himself to be WCW’s new interviewer. Please don’t tell me this means no more Pamela Paulshock. I really liked her.

Anyway, after proving that he had so little value to the company that he wasn’t even booked in a match, Bagwell interviewed The Filthy Animals.

With Tygress and Rey Mysterio Jr. standing by, Konnan and Billy Kidman insisted that they weren’t scared about the upcoming Bunkhouse match because they didn’t even know what it was.

Way to make that seem important, guys.

Elsewhere, Reno and his former-rival-turned-partner Big Vito were walking backstage with a woman named Marie when The Natural Born Thrillers confronted Reno and mockingly urged him to rejoin them.

This went nowhere.

World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship
WCW Hardcore Champion Crowbar (w/ Daffney) vs. Terry Funk

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Terry Funk challenged Crowbar for the Hardcore title
Could it be? Was WCW’s last show of 2000 really shaping up to be the best one of the year?

OK, so the bar was so incredibly low for the company that even their best wasn’t all that great, but if you got rid of all the annoying backstage stuff, this was shaping up to be a fun show.

Not fun in the sense of watching an all-time classic, you understand, but more in the same way that you might consider watching a mindless half-hour of Family Guy to be kind of fun.

Anyway, this match was a blast.

It started backstage, where Daffney criticized Crowbar’s 70s gimmick for making him soft.

Before he could properly respond, the Hardcore champion was attacked by Terry Funk.

The two proceeded to beat the crap out of each other throughout the backstage area, even hopping up onto the back of a truck for an enjoyable few spots.

After a somewhat lengthy (by Hardcore standards) battle, the two made their way to the ring where Funk hit the champion with a piledriver on a discarded car door to claim the title.

As with everything on this show, it wasn’t amazing, but it sure was enjoyable.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Terry Funk

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Team Canada
Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Team Canada.

Lance Storm told Gene that Hacksaw’s dismissal from the group had been a long time coming before horny old man Okerlund invited Major Gunns to raise her flag up a different pole.

Ahem.

Elsewhere in the arena, Lex Luger started to get ready for his No DQ match with Goldberg and revealed that he was packing a set of brass knuckles, just in case.

Big Vito & Reno (w/ Marie) vs. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke)

Reno and Vito were both stocky bald men so that made them brothers in WCW’s eyes.

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Big Vito & Reno (w/ Marie) faced Kronik
They came out with their sister Marie, an attractive young woman who Brian Adams accused of paying them to take out her brothers.

Marie protested this, and pretty soon it turned out you had to be as gullible and naive as a pro wrestling announcer not to realize who was the real mastermind.

Vito wrestled almost the entire match, playing the race in peril for a really long time. When he finally made the hot tag, Reno turned on his brother and rejoined The Natural Born Thrillers because HA! SWERVE!

The actual match was OK at best, but the story was vaguely compelling enough just to keep you interested.

Reno then pinned his brother, but even WCW knew this was dumb and the match was declared a no contest.
No Contest
Afterwards, Reno paid Kronik while a theme tune that was a straight rip off of Limp Bizkit’s Rollin’ played.

WCW Starrcade 2000 - General Rection cut a backstage promo on Shane DouglasIt's All Kicking Off Backstage 

Backstage, Mean Gene tried to interview 3-Count but they were interrupted, and then beaten up, by Chavo Guerrero.

Across the way, Buff Bagwell wanted to know the MIA’s thoughts on their former member’s actions, but General Rection was only concerned with letting Shane Douglas know that he was no stepping stone for the Franchise.

Neither of these segments were very interesting.

Ambulance Match
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Mike Awesome

So far, this had been a decent show from an in-ring perspective, but this one really sucked the life out of Starrcade.

That’s a shame because you could tell that Awesome was trying hard to get the crowd invested, but sadly nobody cared about this match at all.

It was lifeless and uninspired, with the most interesting thing to happen coming from the announce team, who casually referenced Bam Bam Bigelow’s Wrestlemania 11 match with Lawrence Taylor.

Mike Awesome win by dropping Bigelow through the roof of the ambulance.

Blah.
Your Winner: Mike Awesome

Out in the back, Mean Gene interviewed The Natural Born Thrillers. Reno gloated about turning his back on Vito to rejoin his ‘real family,’ the Thrillers. After that, The Perfect Event gloated about how much they were going to kick ass in their match later.

Credit where it’s due, these guys were pretty good at playing the cocky young jocks.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion General Rection vs. Shane Douglas

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Shane Douglas blamed General Rection for Torrie Wilson leaving
Before the match, Shane Douglas blamed General Rection for Torrie Wilson not being by his side, but never fully explained why.

Once the bell rang, both champ and challenger worked a solid match that was met with nigh-on silence by the crowd.

That’s a shame because you got the feeling that had this been a contest between two men the audience actually cared about, it would have even the most cynical of fans giving it some kudos.

Even when Rection looked to have a bloody Franchise beaten and called for his signature moonsault, the crowd responded with little more than a half-hearted whimper.

As it happened, Douglas moved out of harm’s way and tried to blast the champion with a steel chain, but Rection blocked it and the match continued.

At that point, Chavo Guerrero came down and at first looked as though he was helping Douglas out by throwing him the chain and distracting referee Charles Robinson, though he did then alert Lil Naitch as to what was going on so that he could turn around and disqualify the challenger.

Dumb finish aside, this was a solid effort between two men who, sadly, the crowd didn’t seem to care about at all.
Your Winner by DQ and Still US Champion: General Rection

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Mean Gene interviews World Champion Scott Steiner & Midajah
Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund asked World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner to address his upcoming title defense against Sid Vicious. Big Poppa Pump, however, was more concerned with talking about ‘hitting switches on b**ches’ and getting it on with his freaks after the match.

A vignette then aired to hype the return of Glacier to WCW.

This time around, the gimmick would be played for laughs and was treated as little more than a comedy gimmick.

The Insiders are In Their Prime

Back in the arena, Kevin Nash goofed around with his former nWo buddy Buff Bagwell while his current partner, Diamond Dallas Page got serious.

Page stared down the camera as he addressed The Natural Born Thrillers, insisting that he and Nash had both aged like fine wine and were still in their prime and that tonight, they would reclaim the tag team titles.

Dallas looked like he was committed here, but it was quite funny to see that Nash had clearly given up any pretence of giving a damn about anything.

Bunkhouse Street Fight
Jeff Jarrett and The Harris Brothers (Heavy D & Big Ron) vs. The Filthy Animals (Konnan, Rey Mysterio, and Billy Kidman w/ Tygress)

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Jeff Jarrett puts Billy Kidman to sleep
Before the match, Jeff Jarrett once again gloated about having a bunkhouse match and a street fight rolled into one.

Even the announcers struggled -and eventually gave up on- trying to explain the difference.

The actual bout was surprisingly fun for a basic weapons-filled garbage match, the main highlight of which was Rey Mysterio Jr. getting powerbombed from the ring into a dumpster outside the ring.

After that, the referee then inexplicably began enforcing tags, turning what had previously been a tornado-style free-for-all into a standard six-man, albeit with weapons and such.

I suppose you could argue that this was the transition from bunkhouse into street fight, but you’d probably lose that argument pretty quickly.

After a fun contest, Jarrett destroyed Kidman with The Stroke to claim victory for a team Mark Madden referred to as The Nashville World Order.
Your Winners: Jeff Jarrett & The Harris Brothers

A promo video then aired to promote the company’s next PPV, Sin before Buff Bagwell tried to interview The Sarge, Dwayne Bruce.

The Power Plant Head trainer has been brought in to talk about his most successful protege, Goldberg.

Before he could say much, however, The Sarge was attacked by Goldberg’s opponent, Lex Luger.

Killing time while the ring was cleared of its plunder, we got some discussion among the announcers.

“We’ve come a long way from Ric Flair and Harley Race in 1983,” said Schiavone.

Yes Tony, yes you have.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Perfect Event (Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Palumbo w/ Mike Sanders) vs. The Insiders (Diamond Dallas Page & Kevin Nash)

WCW Starrcade 2000 - The Natural Born Thrillers protest CEO Ric Flair's decisions
This was tremendous, not because it was a five-star workrate classic or anything, but because it was the first thing on the actual show that felt legitimately super over.

The crowd loved Page and Nash and were genuinely invested in every moment of the match while Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Palumbo were -as I said earlier- starting to nail the cocky jock heel role.

The only sore spot was Ric Flair, who came out before the match and told Mike Sanders that if he went anywhere near the ring, The Perfect Event would be stripped their titles.

He then repeated his insistence that Sanders was to go nowhere near the ring before realizing he had it wrong and changing to Sanders being allowed in the ring as long as he didn’t put a foot inside it.

It was stupid, but even that couldn’t take away from what was a thoroughly enjoyable match.

After a good show, Nash obliterated Palumbo with the Jackknife and this one was all over.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: The Insiders

Post-match, Kevin Nash grabbed a microphone and gave us a ‘hey yo,’ an obvious shout-out to Scott Hall.

No Disqualification Match
Lex Luger vs. Goldberg
Goldberg’s career on the line

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Bill Goldberg's career was on the line against Lex Luger
This won’t be the first time I’ve said this about something on a WCW show and, with three more PPVs to go, it certainly won’t be the last,  but this was dumb.

In the opening minutes, both men gave us the best match that they were capable of giving us.

Granted, that was nothing too special, but if you were watching Goldberg vs. Luger and expecting dragon screw leg whips and tope con hilos, you were only setting yourself up for disappointment.

No, the match was as good as it could have been until The Sarge came down with Buff Bagwell trying to urge him not to get involved.

Honestly, the moment Bagwell stepped out, it was incredibly obvious that he would turn heel at any moment.

Sure enough, after first pretending to ‘accidentally’ hit Goldberg with his Buff Blockbuster, he turned on Sarge and beat him up outside the ring.

On a few occasions, Goldberg looked directly at this happening but completely ignored it and carried on while the announcers tried to convince us that he had no idea Buff had attacked Sarge.

Seriously.

An eventual jackhammer gave us the predictable result.
Your Winner: Goldberg

Afterwards, Bagwell destroyed Goldberg with a chair to cement his turn. Quite why he couldn't have done this in the actual match and helped Luger end Big Bill’s career is anyone’s guess.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Sid Vicious

WCW Starrcade 2000 - Scott Steiner defended the World Heavyweight title against Sid Vicious
I don’t care what you say, I enjoyed the heck out of this match.

On paper, it looked to be a thoroughly underwhelming match, but both champ and challenger played to their strengths to give us a captivating big man match with a thrilling ending that really kept you in suspense and made it look as though either man could’ve won at any moment.

One thing I will say, people gave John Cena crap over the years for his weak-looking STF, but Scotty’s Steiner Recliner never looked like it hurt much at all.

Still, Big Poppa Pump applied it multiple times before Sid finally passed out, bringing this surprisingly awesome match to an end.
Your Winner and Still WCW Champion: Scott Steiner

Post-match, Steiner, and Midajah posed with the title to end the show.







And so, with less than four months of their existence left, World Championship Wrestling had put on one of their best shows of the year, if not the last several years.

Ok, so there was still a lot of stuff that made you roll your eyes, and none of the matches were must-see classics, but Starrcade 2000 didn’t suck, and for WCW that was a pretty big achievement in itself.

It almost seems a shame that the company were finally getting their act together so close to the end but alas, even a fun show like this one was too little, too late.



For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.