Thursday, 27 January 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1990 - Collision Course

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Event Poster
December 16, 1990, 
Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri

It's entirely fitting that Starrcade 1990 - Collision Course was the last Starrcade event to have an association with the National Wrestling Alliance and the first to feature the proper WCW branding that us fans would go on to know, love, and instantly recognise.

Why?

Simple:

In the early days, Starrcade was a place were old-school stars like Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, and, of course, Ric Flair, would all go to war with their opponents on cards steeped in NWA tradition and straight-up professional wrestling.

Tonight, as Sting looked set to defend the iconic World Heavyweight Championship against the goofy Black Scorpion, it was becoming more and more obvious that this was a company moving away from that tradition and old-school pro wrestling approach and towards the kind of ill-fated attempts at sports entertainment that would give the guys over at Wrestlecrap enough ammunition for years.






Still, this wasn't yet the kind of show dominated by the likes of the Ding Dongs, Oz, and other awful gimmicks. The Black Scorpion aside, there was still a lot of straight-up wrestling to be enjoyed here.

Would that help make this a good show, or would Ole Anderson's voice overs, a goofy guy in a mask, and a storyline that its creators were clearly scrambling to find a decent ending for, all put a dampener on things?

Let's head to the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri to find out, shall we?

On a Colission Course

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Jim Ross and Paul Heyman called all the action

Tonight's show opened with one of WCW's usually naff opening videos, this one featuring some of tonight's stars featured in the shape of actual stars which floated through the cosmos before a bunch of rocks exploded because, you know, COLISSIONS and stuff. 

With that uninspired opening out of the way, our announcers Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously welcomed us to Starrcade and ran through some of tonight's matches before sending it on down to your writer's favorite ring announcer, Gary Michael Capetta

The Opening Ceremonies

For his first act of the evening, GMC introduced us to a man he called "The Greatest Promoter of All Time," Sam Muchnik

After waiting patiently in the corner with Missy Hyatt on his arm, Muchnik took center stage and began to speak with the microphone so far away from his face that it was hard to hear him properly.

From what we could hear, Muchnik put over professional wrestling as the greatest and oldest sport in the world, thanked Ted Turner, Jim Herd, and a bunch of WCW excutives, and finally welcomed us to the Kiel Auditorium.

This was followed by the playing of the national anthem and, finally, our opening contest. 

Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. The Z-Man

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Bobby Eaton faced The Z-Man in a good match

This was Bobby Eaton's first PPV singles match, and what a match it was. 

He and The Z-Man gave a great performance from start to finish and the results were utterly enjoyable. 

No nonsense, no fancy gimmicks (apart from Beautiful Bobby weirdly being billed as from "The Dark Side"), just straight-up pro wrestling the way it was meant to be done. 

After a fantastic opener, Z-Man missed a top-rope dropkick, allowing Eaton to roll him up for the one, the two, and the three.
Your Winner: Beautiful Bobby Eaton 

Somewhere out in the arena, Tony Schiavone interviewed Dick The Bruiser

The ring veteran had originally been scheduled to officiate the finals of the upcoming tag team tournament but now he was going to referee the cage match between Sting and The Black Scorpion later on in the show.

With that in mind, The Bruiser, sounding like he'd smoked 100 packs of cigarettes a day for 100 years, told Schiavone that since he was undefeated in cage matches, he was the perfect man for the job. 

Alrighty then.

The Parade of Nations 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Pat O' Conner Memorial Tag Team Tournament Brackets

Up next, Garry Michael Capletta MC'd what he called "The Parade of Nations."

Basically, this was a group of attractive women who walked down the entrance way and back, each one carrying the flag for a different country involved in the upcoming Pat O'Conner Memorial International Tag Team Tournament.

After each of the flags had been displayed, Jim Ross and Paul E. Heyamn looked at the tournament brackets before our show finally got underway. 

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 

(South Africa) Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk vs. (USA) The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

If you recall, Ted 'Flyboy Rocco Rock' Petty was playing the role of Col. Deklerk with either Ray Apollo the man most likley to be Sgt. Krueger, though please leave me a comment if I'm wrong on that one. 

The two had earned their right to compete in this tournament by winning a sub-standard match against another "South African" team back at Clash of The Champions XIII, though this match was somehow even worse. 

It was, for all intents and purposes, the briefest of squash matches. 

The South African team (neither of which were actually South African) would try for a move, Rick and Scott Steiner countered it, and that was that for about three minutes until Scotty hit the Frankensteiner to put this mess behind us. 
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers (advance to the next round)

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 
(Team Great Britain) Gentleman Chris Adams & Norman Smiley vs. (Team Mexico) Konnan & Rey Misteric)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Konan and Rey Mysteric

Here we had Konan teaming with Rey Jr's uncle, Rey Mysterio, though apparently WCW couldn't agree on what to call him.

GMC introduced him as "Rey Mysterio," all of the graphics had him listed as "Rey Misteric" and later, Jim Ross called him "Rey Mysterioso."

Whatever he was called, Rey Sr., Konnan, Norman Smiley and Chris Adams gave us another fun match which surpassed the last tag team match by a thousand miles. 

Moving at a fast pace with plenty of high-flying and technical offence, this was a very good effort that kept the fans (including this one) highly entertained from first to last. 

After an entertaining contest, the Mexican duo picked up the win to go on to face The Steiners later in the show.
Your Winners: Konnan & Rey Misteric/Mysterio/Mysterioso

Post match, Mysterio dove over the top rope, missing Chris Adams by a quarter mile and taking himself out. It was a silly move. 

A Word With Wallstreet

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Missy Hyatt interviews Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet

Out in the arena, Missy Hyatt interviewed Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet, both of whom were confident that Wallstreet would beat his rival Terry Taylor in under eight minutes.

Why? Because Ms. York's computer had declared it so, of course. 

This wasn't the greatest promo segment in the world, but it served its purpose, and the whole computer gimmick was always fun.

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1:
(Team New Zealand) The Royal Family (Rip Morgan and Jack Victory) vs. (Team Japan) The Great Muta & Mr. Saito 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Mr Saito hurts Jack Victory as The Great Muta look on


This wasn't the best of the three tag team matches we'd seen so far, but it was still a decent effort with some good action. 

Of course, in order to fit a whole tournament on the show as well as other matches, all of these opening contests were kept quite short, but that was a good thing as it meant none of these matches dragged and were each pretty explosive in their own different ways. 

After a pretty good few minutes of action, The Great Muta drilled Jack Victory with a suplex to pick up the win for his team. 
Your Winners: The Great Muta & Mr. Saito 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Mr Saito and The Great Muta celebrate their victory


Post-match, Paul E. interviewed Mr. Saito and his silent partner, The Great Muta

Saito insisted that he and Muta didn't care who they had to face in the tournament, they were the best team and would prove it tonight.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 
(Team Canada) Bull Johnson & Troy Montour vs. (Team U.S.S.R) vs. Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov 

I'll be honest with you, dear readers, I've never heard of a single one of these competitors and Googling around doesn't seem to turn up much beyond a few sparse Cage Match profiles. 

The crowd clearly weren't too familiar with these two teams either as the match played out to near silence despite it being a technically competent performance. 

The men from the Soviet Union were billed as accomplished amateur wrestlers and Olympic athletes and thus used their skills to keep Bull Johnson & Troy Montour suitably grounded until a big-time German suplex sent Team U.S.S.R into the next round.
Your Winners: Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov

Following the bell, the Canadians constantly tried to get at their opponents, only for the referee to hold them back. 

Sting is Ready


WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Sting gives a backstage Interview about his match with The Black Scorpion


Out in the back, Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting.

Cool, calm, and collected, the World Heavyweight Champion insisted that he was more than ready to take on The Black Scorpion and reveal his rival's identity once and for all.

A far cry from the Stinger's usual hyped-up, SHOUT-REALLY-EXCITEDLY promo style, this was good stuff that showed the champ was taking things seriously and lent a molecule of credibility to what had otherwise been a ridiculous storyline.

This was then followed by a look back at a confrontation between Terry Taylor and the duo of Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York which had taken place on WCW Saturday Night, leading us to our next match.

Terry Taylor vs. Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York) 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Alexandra York leads Michael Wallstreet into action


Given Wallstreet and York's insistence that Taylor could be beaten in 8 minutes, a countdown clock displayed in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen for the entirety of the match.

Fortunately, it didn't distract too much from what was a solid yet unspectacular match.

The former Red Rooster came out swinging from the opening bell, battering his arch-nemesis with gusto before Wallstreet took control and maintained it for the majority of the match.

After a decent outing, the one-time Varsity Club member hit the Wallstreet Crash to win the match with 1 minute, 42 seconds to spare.
Your Winner: Michael Wallstreet

The match was followed by a commercial for the upcoming Wrestlewar 1991 PPV coming up in February. The show was set to feature a War Games match and, I have to be honest, I'm looking forward to watching it. 

The Motor City Mad Man & Big Cat vs. Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey

You know what a show featuring a seven-match tag team tournament needs? more tag team matches! 

More importantly, this was the first time we'd seen Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey teaming as The Skyscrapers on PPV since Halloween Havoc 1989, although Jim Ross informed us that Sid was still a member of the Four Horsemen. 

Interestingly, I didn't even have time to type that sentence before the whole the whole match was over.

Sid and Big Dan pummelled their opponents and destroyed The Motor City Madman with a spiked powerbomb in barely sixty seconds.

The crowd were hot for The Skyscrapers, but this was really nothing. 
Your Winners: The Skyscrapers 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - The Skyscrapers manhandle Paul E. Dangerously


After the match, Dangerously tried to interview The Skyscrapers, telling the crowd that this was a one-night only reunion. To correct him, Sid and Spivey lifted the announcer up and intimitated him by insisting that they would decide whether or not it was a one-night only thing.

Ricky Morton & 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich (w/ Robert Gibson) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael 'P.S' Hayes & Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin w/ Little Richard Marley)   

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Jimmy Garvin confronts Little Richard Marley


You know, by the time this match ended, we were only one hour and twenty minutes into the show and we'd already seen eight matches. Apparently, there are 14 on this card, so it looks like we're going to be here a while. 

That little grumble aside, this whole feud had come about when The Fabulous Freebirds had taken credit for destroying Robert Gibson's leg, forcing his partner Ricky Morton to tag with 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich in the meantime. 

Gibson accompanied his partner to the ring tonight while hobbling down on crutches and at various points getting involved in the match.

The match itself was OK. 

The crowd were on fire, which helped proceedings, but the actual action never went beyond decent, which pretty much sums up most of Starrcade 1990 so far. 

Towards the finish, Little Richard Marley went to jump off the top rope to assist Michael Hayes in breaking one of their opponents' legs, but Gibson knocked Marley off the ropes and straight into Jimmy Garvin. Garvin grabbed Marley by the throat, allowing Morton to get the roll-up for the three count.
Your Winners: Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich

Post-match, the Freebirds beat up Marley and double-suplexed him. Morton and Rich ran in for the save, but while they were distracted, Hayes and Garvin simply left the ring and knocked Gibson on his ass with a double clothesline. 

Stan 'The Larriat' Hansen Explains How a Strap Match Works

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Tony Schiavone looks disgusted as he interviews US Champion Stan Hansen


Out on the arena floor, Tony Schaivone interviewed US Champion Stan 'The Larriat' Hansen

As wild and out of control as ever, Hansen explained that he was defending the title in a "Texas Larriat" match and began to outline the rules, which were basically those of a strap match.

Hansen was a lot of fun here.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament - Semi Final
Team Mexico (Konnan & Rey Mysterio) vs. Team USA (Rick & Scott Steiner)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Tony Schiavone interviews Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

This was another one of those matches that just sort of seemed to be there. It was neither good nor bad, but just kind of happened.

The Steiners beat up on Konnan for a bit and nailed him with their patented top rope bulldog, then they beat up on Rey Mysterio, who Rick Steiner eventually put away with a powerbomb.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Back on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone interviewed Four Horsemen members Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

The two started their promo while we were shown a video of Ric Flair recently getting dragged out of his limosine and attacked (hence Windham substituting for him tonight). 

This made it almost impossible to hear what Anderson was saying, and it was only later on that we heard him raging about how he and Windham had nothing to lose and would take it to Doom in their upcoming street fight.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament - Semi Final
Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov vs. Mr. Saito & The Great Muta 

This was much better than the previous match, but it wasn't fantastic or anything, just some very competent wrestling displayed in a very short space of time, all leading to a win for the Japanese contingent when Mr. Saito drilled one of the Russian dudes into the mat.
Your Winners: Mr. Saito & The Great Muta 

Out on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone spoke to Doom and their manager, Teddy Long, about the upcoming streetfight. 

An intense promo which -along with the earlier Horsemen promo- made you really believe that the two teams were vying for blood, this one saw Ron Simmons talk about how much he and Butch Reed had needed to fight for everything they had, while Reed himself claimed to have invented the street fight.

OK then.

Texas Larriat Match for the United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Stan Hansen vs. Lex Luger 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Stan Hansen chokes Lex Luger in the corner


This was a compelling match which proved to be one of the best things on the card up until this point. 

Hansen brawled and mauled Luger while The Total Package used his size and brute strength to overpower the champion in an exciting contest which saw both men touch all three corners on multiple occasions.

Eventually, Luger got the fourth corner but took referee Marc Curtis out in the process. 

With the announcers claiming that a prone Curtis simply hadn't seen Luger hit that final corner, Nick Patrick came out and the match continued with Hansen finally touching all four corners.

However, just when you thought it was all over, Curtis popped back up and revealed that he had seen Luger hit all four corners after all, giving him the victory, and the title. 

This was good stuff.
Your Winner and NEW United States Champion: Lex Luger 

Post match, Lex gave a ringside promo to Jim Ross, telling him just how good it felt to once again be the new US Champion. 

World Championship Wrestling World Team Championship Street Fight
WCW Tag Team Champions Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Arn Anderson & Barry Windham head into battle against Doom


This was a damn fine street fight right up until the silly finish. 

All four men went at it full bore, holding nothing back in a wild, chaotic, and violent street fight that was just incredibly fun to watch from start to..well, almost the finish. 

After a tremendous brawl, Barry Windham rolled up Butch Reed while Ron Simmons simultaneously covered Arn Anderson. Unsure of what to do, referee Nick Patrick simply counted the fall for both teams and the match just...somehow ended.
No Contest

It was a dumb finish, and while I get that the idea was to ensure neither team had to do the job, there's still better ways they could have done this. 

The fighting didn't even end there, either. Both teams brawled to the back as Paul E. and JR got really angry and confused about who had won the match. Eventually, as the Horsemen and Doom were separated, Ross told us that it was a no contest but Doom retained the gold. 

This was then followed by another commercial for Wrestlewar in which the voiceover told us we'd seen MAN VS. METAL. 

Hell yeah, I really hope that match is just some random dude taking on the concept of heavy metal music. 

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament Final
Team Japan (The Great Muta & Mr. Saito) vs. Team USA (Rick & Scott Steiner)

During the introductions, GMC told us that this match would determine the WCW International Tag Team Champions. I'm pretty sure that was just a name only and that the company didn't introduce a third tag team title. 

This was another good match, although it did seem a little too similiar to some of the other contests in this tournament. 

The early part saw Scotty putting on a clinic in finesse with The Great Muta before The Dog Faced Gremlin tagged in and matched power and brawn with Mr. Saito. That was a great way to open the match before Scott played face in peril and even ate a spiked piledriver which Jim Ross was sure was going to end things.

It didn't. Scotty managed to make a blind tag to his brother, after which Rick came off the top rope with with a sunset flip for the cover, the count, and the tournament.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Afterwards, The Steiners headed up to the top of the entrance way to meet Tony Schiavone.

Surrounded by the same flag-bearing women from the start of the show, with the giant 7-8ft trophy behind them, Schiavone introduced WCW president Jim Herd who first congratulated all of the teams who had taken part in the competition before finally congratulating "the two best superheavyweights [he'd] ever seen, The Steiner Brothers." 

As fireworks went off, Rick and Scott didn't give a traditional celebratory speech, but instead tipped their hats to the servicemen who were then currently fighting in Kuwait.

Steel Cage Title vs. Mask Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. The Black Scorpion

Special Guest Referee: Dick The Bruiser

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Ric Flair disguised as The Black Scorpion


This was an interesting one in that the pre and post match goings on were far more interesting and entertaining than anything that actually happened bell to bell.

Things began with a gaggle of men dressed in Black Scorpion attire walking to the ring before a large contraption was lowered from the ceiling. 

JR mentioned that it looked like a space craft, though to this fan it looked much more like a giant lampshade. The lampshade-craft folded in on itself as The Black Scorpion's voice boomed through the PA, telling us that the other Scorpions were just his messengers while he was the real deal. 

The contraption then unfolded to reveal the challenger himself before returning to the ceiling. Cameras panned in on the Scorpion, and if it wasn't immediately and abundantly obvious to you who was underneath the mask then you'd clearly never seen a single NWA/WCW show in your life. 

After Sting made his entrance, the match got under way and proceeded to be the most boring thing you've ever witnessed. 

Half the problem was that despite being one of the greatest of all time, the man under the mask was unable to wrestle as he usually would, sticking to a very generic style in an attempt to hide his identity.

It didn't work. 

At various points, the fans began chanting the Scorpion's real identity and that was just about the only time they chanted anything.

Seriously, in all the time that I've been doing this, I don't think I've ever watched a main event play out to a quieter crowd.

Towards the finish, Sting ripped the challenger's mask off, only to reveal that he was wearing a second mask with a very distinctive tuft of blonde hair poking out of the back.

After a fairly dismal contest, Sting hit a flying crossbody to pick the predictable win.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

Post match, Sting attempted to unmask his nemesis, only for the fake Scorpion messengers to hit the ring and attack. The champion and special referee Dick The Bruiser began to attack them and strip them of their masks, revealing each man to be some generic jobber.

Before Sting could get his hands on the real deal, however, Anderson and Windham hit the ring and joined the fake Scorpions in a beat down. 

Z-Man, Ricky Morton and -I think- Terry Taylor all tried to help but couldn't get into the cage until The Steiners came down with some bolt cutters and finally -after a bit of a struggle- got the cage unlocked.

That managed to turn the tide, giving Sting an opportunity to finally rip his rival's mask off and reveal him to be, yes, Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Well, colour me shocked. 

The match sucked, but I won't lie that the ending was pretty exciting.







That boring main event aside, Starrcade 1990: Collision Course was not at all a bad show. 

Though I'm not normally a fan of one-night tournaments, most of the Pat O' Conner stuff was decent while Wallstreet/Taylor and the opening Eaton/Z-Man clash were enjoyable in their own way.

The US title match was a lot of fun too, though match of the night simply has to go to the compelling Horsemen/Doom street fight which is well worth a watch.

Perhaps not the greatest Starrcade of all time, but certainly a decent show until it fell off a cliff with the main event. 

1 comments:

For some reason the spot with Mystero has always remained with me, maybe it was my first exposure to lucha beyond Mil Mascaras. Adams stepped out of the way, but I'm not sure he even had to.
Finally, the Black Scorpion story was over.

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