Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Starrcade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Starrcade. Show all posts

Sunday, 13 November 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1991 - Battlebowl - The Lethal Lottery

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Event poster

December 29, 1991,
Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia

Growing up as a kid in the UK,  my access to early 90s WCW was limited to the brief number of Disney tapings that aired on ITV on Saturday afternoons.

To be honest, I don’t remember anything about those shows apart from the fact that they inexplicably made me the biggest fan of Ice Train.

So it’s been fun to go back and watch WCW from its earliest days. Even when the shows suck (as many of them did), I’ve enjoyed seeing so many of the things the company did back then which I’d previously only ever read about.

Battlebowl/Lethal Lottery is one of the things I’ve been looking forward to the most.

Well, kind of.

On paper, the idea of wrestlers “randomly” being thrown together in teams to compete for a space in a main event battle royal sounds like an idea that really appeals to me, though something tells me that this is one of those times when the idea is way better than the execution.

Still, there’s only one way to find out for sure, so let’s head down to Starrcade ‘91 and figure out whether this thing was any good or not.

Welcome to Battlebowl

There was nothing fancy about tonight’s opening. 

A basic video package ran down some of the bigger names in tonight’s event as a voiceover reminded us that we’d see 20 tag teams drawn at random.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross called all the action


Cameras then cut to the Norfolk Scope Arena which looked genuinely cool, especially as it seemed to be packed.

As the camera panned down, Jim Ross welcomed us to the show before he and Tony Schiavone explained the Battlebowl rules:

The ten teams who won their matches would compete in a two-ring battle royal.

Wrestlers would be dumped from one ring into the next then out on the floor until there was one man left in the school ring.

They would then go at it to determine a winner.

Honestly, that sounds way more complicated than it needed to be, but since this was the brainchild of the same Dusty Rhodes who gave us the Bunkhouse Stampede nonsense a few years earlier, it was hardly surprising.

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Eric Bischoff, Missy Hyatt, and Magnum TA draw the Lethal Lottery pairings

The announcers then sent it to Eric Bischoff who was standing by with the ever-lovely Missy Hyatt and former US Champion Magnum T.A. Who was our commissioner for the evening.

A huge black curtain then lifted to reveal the entire WCW roster standing on the stage as pyro exploded in front of them. 

Bischoff, Hyatt, and Magnum then drew the first two tag teams, putting Michael 'P.S' Hayes together with Tracy Smothers against Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin and newcomer Marcus Alexander Bagwell

Hayes looked annoyed about having to team with Smothers, though whether that was because he had to team with long-standing 'Young Pistols revival Tracy Smothers or because he had to fight his own partner I couldn't say. 

What I could say is that while Hayes looked upset, Garvin himself looked super excited. 

Lethal Lottery Match #1
Michael 'P.S' Hayes & Tracy Smothers vs. Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin & MArarcus Alexander Bagwell 

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Tracy Smothers squares off against Buff Bagwell

Making his PPV debut, Marcus Bagwell spent the first few minutes stalling around with Tracy Smothers.

The two would lock up, hit a basic sequence, stall, and repeat, making for quite a boring start to the match.

Eventually, things picked up with Bagwell and Garvin making frequent tags while Smothers did all the work for his team.

Inevitably, Hayes finally tagged in and we got a Freebirds showdown which consisted of him and Garvin locking up a few times and hitting an arm drag each before Hayes got a two-count from a roll-up on his opponent. 

More lackluster action continued until all four men ended up in the ring. 

At that point, Hayes accidentally struck Garvin and the two argued while Bagwell caught smothers coming off the top rope with a couple of knees and put him away with a fisherman's suplex.

That put an end to a pretty underwhelming opening match that could have easily been five minutes shorter.
Your Winners: Marcus Bagwell & Jimmy Garvin 

Up next, Missy, Magnum, and Eric drew Dangerous Alliance teammates Stunning Steve Austin and Ravishing Rick Rude as partners against Van Hammer and Big Josh
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Eric Bischoff, Magnum TA, and Missy Hyatt


The camera then stayed on the trio for far too long as they stood around awkwardly doing nothing. While they did that, it gave me a moment to reflect on how WCW wasn't even trying to convince anyone that these drawings were "random."

Seriously, two partners "randomly" facing off in one match and then two more partners being matched up in the second one?

Yeah, sorry WCW, you're going to have to try harder. 

Stunning Steve Austin & Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Van Hammer & Big Josh

This was technically better than the last match from an actual wrestling standpoint, but it still wasn't very interesting or entertaining. 
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Rick Rude prevents Van Hammer from making a tag to Big Josh


Seriously, the sole highlight here was when Big Josh stomped on Rude's belly but Rude showed that he was impervious to it because his abs were rock hard. Josh struck Rude twice more in the abs but to the same effect. It was basically a "headbutting The Samoans never works" thing, except with Rick Rude and his abs. 

It was fun, but when that's the best thing in the match, it doesn't say very much.

To the surprise of no one, the Dangerous Alliance members won when Rude hit Van Hammer with the Rude Awakening.
Your Winners: Steve Austin & Rick Rude 

More names were drawn next. I won't say much about these drawings unless anything legitimately interesting or unusual happens, which so far hasn't happened.

The Natural Dustin Rhodes & Richard Morton vs. El Gigante & Larry Zybysko (w/ Madusa) 

Again, things got marginally better here, but mostly because it was funny to hear Larry Zybysko barking orders at El Gigante and the giant Argintian completely ignoring him.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Larry Zybysko & El Gigante vs. Richard Morton & Dustin Rhodes


This wasn't a great match by any stretch, but Zybyso, Dustin Rhodes, and Richard Morton could all go, and helped guide Gigante through a service contest. 

It all ended when Gigante got fed up with Zybysko and shot him into a double dropkick from Dustin Rhodes and Richard Morton, sacrificing his own place in the Battlebowl for the sake of taking out Big Bad Larry.
Your Winners: Dustin Rhodes and Richard Morton

As the stars for the next match were introduced, Larry and Richard Morton made their way to the back and got into a minor shoving contest. 

Bill Kazmaier & Jushin 'Thunder' Liger vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Mike Graham

For those paying attention, this was Diamond Dallas Page's debut PPV match. He was still super green here, so trainer Mike Graham was paired with him to help him out. 
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Bill Kazmaier watches on as his partner Jushin Liger squares off against Mike Graham


Graham was a solid wrestler but he had all the personality of a neglected toilet brush which was a shame because he wrestled most of the match for his team.

Fortunately, Jushin 'Thunder' Liger was here with his awesome mask and helped make this one marginally more entertaining than it might have been.

I'll be honest with you, I'm finding this show kind of dull so far, but at least we're already an hour in.

Liger and Kazmier won when the latter hurled the former on top of Page for the three count.
Your Winners: Bill Kazmaier & Jushin Liger 

Before the next match, we got a commercial for the upcoming Superbrawl PPV which had me excited because, as I think I've mentioned before, it's one of my favorite WCW events.

WCW Champion Lex Luger (w/ Harley Race) & Arn Anderson vs. Terrence Taylor & The Z-Man

Tony Schiavone called this the best tag team match of the night so far and I have to say I agree with him.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - The Tailormade Man wrenches the arm of The Total Package

One of the few matches to hold my attention from start to finish, this one featured Arn Anderson and Terrence Taylor as the standout performers while Lex Luger played his part well and Z-Man (other than falling flat on his fooking arse at one point) was OK too.

After a genuinely good effort, the world champion took out Taylor with the Attitude Adjustment Piledriver for the win.
Your Winners: Lex Luger & Arn Anderson

With five matches down and five to go, JR looked at those men who had made it to Battlebowl before Tony Schiavone expressed how eager he was to see The Steiners face each other.

Up next, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker was drawn as Cactus Jack’s partner for a match against Ricky Steamboat and Todd Champion, but Abdullah The Butcher took exception to that and destroyed Parker in the dressing room.

I can’t explain why, but I found that completely random attack to be hilarious.

Abby and his boobs then made their way out to tag with his buddy Cactus but the WCW referees stopped him and sent him to the back.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Abdullah The Butcher destroys Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker


As he got to the entranceway, Abby met Buddy Lee who was trying to make his way to the ring so he attacked him for a second time while screaming like crazy.

Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat & Todd Champion vs. Cactus Jack

All that left Cactus to go it alone against his opponents.

He started off with Ricky Steamboat and the two had a genuinely enjoyable back-and-forth together that made you wonder how good a straight-up singles match could be between them.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Todd Champion gets the better of Cactus Jack


Even when Todd Champion got involved, Cactus was good enough to keep this match entertaining

As the out-numbered Cactus continued to hold his own, Sarge crawled painfully to the ring to the point that the fans were genuinely starting to get behind him.

He propped himself up on the corner, only for Cactus to tag him in and then literally hurl Sarge's lifeless body into the ring where he mounted a valiant babyface-style powerup, only to be immediately taken out by a Ricky Steamboat crossbody.
Your Winners: Ricky Steamboat & Todd Champion

Honestly, I enjoyed the heck out of that. Cactus wrestling Ricky Steamboat was great and the whole stuff with Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker honestly had me laughing my ass off.

Sting & Abdullah The Butcher vs. Flyin' Brian Pillman & Bobby Eaton

This was a chaotic mess of a match in the best possible sense.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Bobby Eaton works over Sting


Abdullah The Butcher came down grinning like a lunatic and even extended his hand to Sting, only to immediately turn on him and beat him down with that stick he always carried. 

Fortunately for Sting, his opponent, Brian Pillman, actually came to his rescue and attacked The Butcher, only for Bobby to even the score.

Once in the ring, this became a unique match where Sting basically wrestled a one-on-one match with Bobby Eaton while Abby kept attacking him and Pillman kept coming to Sting's aid and beating up Abby even though it was to the detriment of his own team. 

It wasn't great from a technical wrestling standpoint, but it was a good little story that ended when Cactus Jack came down and accidentally whacked Butcher with The Big Weird Stick of Doom.

Sting then got the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners: Sting and Abdullah The Butcher

Post-match, Abby and Cactus brawled to the back.

Rick Steiner & The Nightstalker (w/ Diamond Studd) vs. Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes

The Diamond Studd had originally been drawn as Rick Steiner's partner, but he had a sling on, so he was replaced by The Nightstalker (Bryan "Adam Bomb" Clarke), which makes you wonder why the injured Studd was included in the drawing in the first place.

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Vader prepares to smash Rick Steiner's face in

Not caring who his partner was, Steiner entered into a strong performance with Vader that was a lot of fun to watc until Mr. Hughes got in the ring and dragged everything down to a snail's pace.

Things got even worse when The Nightstalker tagged himself in. Steiner either didn't realize or didn't care that a tag had been made and headed to the top rope. '

Stalker encouraged him, but he was so busy looking at The Dog Faced Gremlin that he didn't even notice Vader running towards him with a Belly Bump of Death. 

Steiner then hit Hughes with a bulldog and made a cover, but the official refused to count because Steiner wasn't the legal man. 

Vader then splashed right onto 'Stalker's head and pinned him, but Steier kept his cover on Hughes and thought he'd won the match too.

It was a cluttered finish that spoiled what was otherwise a decent little match.
Your Winners: Vader & Mr. Hughes

Another Superbrawl commercial followed, after which it was back to the action. 

Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip vs. Johnny B. Badd & Arachnaman 

Arachnaman = Brad Armstrong in a purple and yellow Spiderman costume. Somebody came up with that and thought it was a good idea to put it on TV. 

I'm honestly shocked that I can't find an entry on Wrestlecrap about it anywhere.

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Firebreaker Chip works over Archnaman's arm

Anyway, this was the only match that featured four babyfaces, but the crowd didn't really care about that and only came alive whenever Scott Steiner got involved.

That was a shame, really, because you could tell that all four men worked as hard as they could but the match fell completely flat, probably because the audience had no time for matches involving such low-rent indie gimmicks as a fake Spiderman.

To be honest, I don't blame them, especially given how dumb the spider looked. 

At one point, he and Firebreaker Chip crisscrossed the ropes, Chip made a tag to Steiner then slid outside and Steiner just watched Armstrong as he ran back and forth between the ropes like an idiot.

Honestly, it looked like that goofy spot some wrestlers used to do on Saturday Morning Slam

Thankfully, Steiner eventually put everybody out of our collective misery by pinning ArachnaGoof following a big power slam.
Your Winners: Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip

At last, we got our final tag match of the evening.

Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich vs. Steve Armstrong & PN News

This started decently enough, dragged down in the middle, and then picked up towards the end as Ron Simmons predictably got the win for his team.
WCW Starrcade '91 review - Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich vs. Steve Armstrong & PN News


To be honest, most of these tag team matches were way too long for what they were and the show felt so repetitive that by the time this match happened, Starrcade 1991 had pretty much drained the life out of me. 

Thank goodness there's only the Battlebowl match left to go:

Battlebowl Battle Royal
Featuring: Jimmy Garvin, Marcus Alexander Bagwell, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Bill Kazmaier, Jushin 'Thunder' Liger, Dustin Rhodes, Richard Morton, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, Ricky Steamboat, Todd Champion, Mr. Hughes, Vader, Sting, Abdullah The Butcher, Thomas Rich, Ron Simmons, Scott Steiner, Firebreaker Chip

I'm not one of those fans that write off all battle royals before they even get started. Just because it's a lot of brawling doesn't mean it can't be entertaining.

Fortunately, this one was pretty decent but was hampered somewhat by the fact that the wrestlers kept forgetting they were supposed to throw people into the second ring rather than to the arena floor.

That part of the match was good enough, but it was when Sting and Lex Luger ended up as the final two men that things really hotted up. 

At that pointk we got an exciting brawl that ended when Sting dumped Luger to the outside,
Your Winner: Sting

Post-match, pyro exploded as Sting celebrated before Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone signed off for the night.


Man, am I glad that one was over. 

Truth be told, Starrcade 1991 wasn't entirely terrible. 

The Anderson/Luger vs. Zenk/Taylor match was solid and that whole thing with Cactus Jack, Abdullah The Butcher, and poor old Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker was entertaining, but the rest of it was too mediocre to make it a truly good show. 

Honestly, this all felt like it was done more to set up various storylines than to actually be what was supposedly WCW's flagship show of the year.

About half way through, the amount of uninteresting stuff made me completely zone out and it was a chore to get through the rest of the event. 

Hopefully things pick up soon as, despite having never seen early 1990s WCW before I began this blog, I hear the company really had a great year in 1992.

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

The New Retro Pro Wrestling T-Shirt Store

Today marks the official launch of our Retro Pro Wrestling t-shirt store, featuring unique t-shirts and other merchandise. 

Every product in our store features original artwork, hand-drawn by North Carolina artist Melissa Crosson, including this drawing of Ric Flair celebrating his World Heavyweight Championship win over Harley Race at Starrcade '83

There's also this one, featuring Hulk Hogan's team from the first annual Survivor Series. 

A new review will be coming this way by the end of the week. Until then, you can check out our other cool, original pro wrestling merch here

Saturday, 6 August 2022

The Complete History of NWA/WCW Starrcade - Volume 1: 1983 - 1989 Now Available from Retro Pro Wrestling Books

Retro Pro Wrestling presents our first book: The Complete History of NWA/WCW Starrcade - Volume 1: 1983 - 1989, featuring every match, angle, and interview from the first six Starrcade events.

If you're wondering why new wrestling reviews have been somewhat sporadic as of late here on RPW, this book is partly the reason.

The other reason is that my usual laptop is currently broke, and I can't access the dozen or so new reviews I wrote, nor can I get at the folders full of screen grabs that would usually accompany those reviews.

I'll get back to publishing new reviews as soon as possible, but until then, I wanted to tell you how excited I am to publish the first volume of my complete Starrcade history.

Based on past Starrcade reviews I've published here on this blog, the book recounts everything that happened during the first six years of Starrcade events from Flare for the Gold all the way to Future Shock.

The book is currently available in eBook form only, with a print version due out later in the fall. 

It costs just $2.99, while Kindle Unlimited users can read the whole thing for free.

My next book will be The Complete History of WWE UK PPVs, due out mid-late August in eBookform.

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.



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. 

Thursday, 3 June 2021

PPV REVIEW: NWA/WCW Starrcade 1989 - Future Shock

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Future Shock Event Poster

December 13, 1989
The Omni in Atlanta, Georgia

Starrcade 1989: Future was the last PPV of the 80s and the first professional wrestling show this fan ever owned on VHS.

Today we’ll be reviewing the Network version simply because I don’t own a VHS player anymore, but I mention this because I remember getting the video as a kid and being tremendously bored by it.

The concept deviated from the normal pro wrestling card featuring blow-offs to feuds and title matches. Instead, it featured two round-robin tournaments to crown both the Wrestler of the ‘90s and the Tag Team of the 90s.

Essentially, every singles star in the tournament would wrestle every other singles star and every tag team would wrestle every other tag team to score points.

At the end of the night, whoever had the most points would win.

It sounds like an interesting idea, but even just writing this introduction I can’t help but feel as though this would be the sort of thing best spaced out over several weeks rather than crammed into one show where the repetition of seeing the same wrestlers over and over again would get very dull very quickly.

Still, it’s been the better part of two decades since I last watched Starrcade ‘89, so maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remember.

Let’s head down to the Omni in Atlanta to find out, shall we?

Please Stand for the National Anthem 

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Garry Michael Capetta
Our show tonight began with a quick opening video highlighting the competitors in our two iron man tournaments.

In the singles tournament, Sting, Lex Luger, Ric Flair, and The Great Muta would be competing for glory while The Road Warriors, Doom, The Skyscrapers, and The Steiner Brothers would be looking to stake their claim as being the tag team of the 90s.

The video was done in futuristic style because, you know, this was FUTURE SHOCK!

Live in the arena, Garry Michael Capetta welcomed us to the show before asking us to rise for the playing of the American National Anthem.

A military brass band did the honors in fine form while other suitably attired military personnel held the US flag aloft.

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Jim Cornette, Jim Ross, and Terry Funk called the action
Breaking Down the Action

With that over, Jim Ross tried his best to get us excited about what was to come and introduced us to Terry Funk and Jim Cornette.

Funk was apparently here to analyze the action in the singles tournament, while Jim Cornette was there to talk about the tag team as.

Funk let us know that each match had a 15-minute time limit meaning that the wrestlers would be wise to try and get pins thick and fast while Cornette focussed on the points system:
  • 20 points for a win via pinfall or submission
  • 15 points for a win via count-out
  • 10 points for a win via DQ
  • 5 points for a draw.

Honestly, we haven’t even gotten to the first match yet and this already seems needlessly complicated.

Let’s Meet the Contestants 

WCW Starrcade 1989 - The Road Warriors with Paul Ellering
Before we went any further, all four teams in the tag team tournament stood on the stage to be introduced.

Despite there being some particularly strong rivalries, especially between Doom and The Steiner Brothers, the teams were happy to just stand next to each other for this over-the-top introduction, complete with pyro.

Of note here is the fact that it became clear that nobody had bothered to tell the guys doing the opening video that The Skyscrapers were no longer in this thing.

Jim Ross told us that they’d explain *exactly* why Sid and Dan Spivey had been replaced, to which Jim Cornette helpfully elaborated by saying that it was due to -and I quote- “an unexpected happening.”

Well, that clears that up then.

They had been replaced by The Wild Samoans instead.

Tag team Match 1
Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron) vs. WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Woman w/ Nitron
True story: 

When I was a kid watching this video in the early 90s, I was convinced that Nitron was Kevin Nash.

It’s only now that I look back and realize that Woman’s bodyguard looks nothing like Big Sexy. 

Turns out it was actually Tyler Mane, who not only later teamed with Nash (as Vinnie Vegas) but is now best known as an actor who played Michael Myers' in Rob Zombie's Halloween remakes. 

He was a big fella though, and got involved multiple times in a strong opening contest that went right down to the wire.

Scott Steiner spent most of the match getting beat up by Nitron and the mysterious masked duo of Ron Simmons and the late Butch Reed, only for Rick Steiner to get back into things at the last minute and narrowly pick up a win via count-out.

This was a much more exciting match than I remember it being and was a good start to the show.
Your Winners Via Countout (earning 15 points): The Steiner Brothers

WCW Starrcade 1989 - The Great Muta w/ Garry Hart
Up next, Garry Michael Capetta introduced us to our four singles wrestlers.

They were: 

World Television Champion The Great Muta (with Garry Hart).

The man voted ‘most popular wrestler of the year’ Sting.

United States Champion Lex Luger.

World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Singles Match 1
Sting vs. WCW United States Champion Lex Luger

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Sting puts a hurting on Lex Luger
This was another decent effort with both men smashing the crap out of each other all the way to the final moments.

With about 20 seconds left on the clock, Luger got the pinfall by grabbing onto the ropes for leverage.

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise solid encounter.
Your Winner by pinfall (earning 20 points): Lex Luger 

Moving on...

Tag Team Match 2 
Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron) vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Precious Paul Ellering)

This wasn’t the greatest match on the card.

Sure, it started off pretty hot, with both teams demonstrating how powerful they were and showing that in terms of strength alone, they were fairly evenly matched.

That made from some fun spots in the early going, but then it kind of just fell into something that wasn’t bad, but just wasn’t very interesting.

In the end, one of the Doom
Boys looked to piledrive Animal only for Hawk to come off the top rope with the match-winning clothesline.
Your Winners (earning 20 points): The Road Warriors 

Woman was furious.

Singles Tournament Match 2
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (w/ Ole & Arn Anderson) vs. NWA TV Champion The Great Muta (w/ Garry Hart)

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Ric Flair locks the Figure Four on Great Muta
Honestly, one of my all-time favorite things about WCW was hearing Garry Michael Capetta introduce ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ The Great Muta.

Before the two locked up, we got a shot of Norman The Lunatic (Mike Shaw) dressed up as Santa Claus. He didn’t do anything except for wave at the camera, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

The actual match was incredibly frustrating.

It started off in fine form with Muta using his speed to get the better of the Nature Boy.

Things were looking good, and if it had gone on it could have easily been a Match of the Night contender.

Instead, Buzz Sawyer and The Dragon Master ran down for a brawl with The Andersons.  

Amidst the resulting fracas, Muta lept off the top with a beautiful moonsault but got a face full of knees.

Flair then rolled him up and this one was done in about five minutes which was very disappointing when you think how good it could have been if it’d been given time.
Your Winner (earning 20 points): Ric Flair

Somewhere in the arena, a lady added Flair’s points to the scoreboard.

Tag Tournament Match 3
WCW Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Precious Paul Ellering)

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Hawk and Animal confer in the corner
It’s the irresistible force meeting the immovable object,” said Jim Ross as this one got underway.

I think it’s the insensible force meeting the illiterate object,” quipped Jim Cornette.

Honestly, it was funnier than I’m making it sound.

The match was OK, but the crowd didn’t really want to cheer or boo one team over the other so what you got was essentially a bunch of moves played out to near silence.

In the end, they did the whole German Suplex double-pin deal with Animal suplexing Scott but Steiner lifting his arm at the last second to score the 20
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers (earning 20 points)

Honestly, only on a show like this could a match between the two hottest teams of the time be so disappointing.

Singles Tournament Match 3
NWA TV Champion The Great Muta vs. Sting

This was certainly one of the best matches on the card up to this point but, to be honest, the bar hadn’t exactly been set very high.

Both men worked hard and wrestled extremely well, but with an apathetic crowd it didn’t quite come across as the epic encounter it could have been.

After a solid effort, Sting picked up his first points of the tournament courtesy of a top rope suplex.
Your Winner: Sting (earning 20 points)

Offering a respite from the action, JR, Cornette, and Funk analyzed the scores so far, with the latter two offering their picks for the winners.

In singles action, we had a three-way tie with everyone but Muta on 20 points and Funk predicting a tournament win for Luger, while the tag team competition saw Cornette’s pick of the Steiners ahead of the Road Warriors by 15 points, Doom on zero, and The Wild Samoans yet to compete.

Tag Team Match 4
Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron) vs. The Wild Samoans (Fatu & The Samoan Savage w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

After a lackluster show, I didn’t expect that I’d get into this one as much as I’d did but it turned out to be a reasonably good heel vs. heel tag team match with some solid action.

OK, so it ended when Fatu and Butch Reed knocked noggins and Oliver Humperdink pushed his man on top of a fallen Reed which was a little underwhelming, but that aside this wasn’t bad at all.
Your Winners: The Wild Samoans  

Up next, a rematch from Starrcade 1988.

Singles Match 4
NWA US Champion Lex Luger vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair 

WCW Starrcade 1989 - US Champion Lex Luger prepares for battle
This was an excellent match that was almost as good as their aforementioned clash at the previous year’s Starrcade.

The only problem was that Flair and Luger spent the first half of the match clearly pacing themselves with armbars and chin locks galore, making it pretty obvious that they were working their way to a time-limit draw.

Fortunately, things picked up in the second half as the two stars gave us a quality match which got the crowd fully invested for the first time all evening.

Even if the eventual draw was inevitable, the actual match was golden.
Time Limit Draw (Flair and Luger both earn 5 points)

01.45.32 - SCOREBOARD 

A ‘tween-match look at the scoreboard revealed that Sting was still in with a chance of winning the whole contest but The Great Muta now stood no chance.

Tag Team Match 5
WCW Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. The Wild Samoans (Fatu & The Samoan Savage w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Fatu & The Samoan Savage faced The Steiner Brothers
Coming down to the ring for their next match, Rick and Scott randomly plucked two kids out of the crowd to hold their titles.

By this point in the card, the crowd had finally seemed to wake up and get involved, but sadly the wrestlers weren’t all that eager to do anything out of the ordinary.

This was a passable, by-the-numbers tag team match with the Samoans cutting off Scotty Steiner from his brother until Rick finally had enough and stormed in to clean house.

During the match-ending mele, a battered Scott threw his opponent over the top rope and got disqualified, a disappointing end to an underwhelming match.
Your Winners via Disqualification (earning 10 points): The Steiner Brothers 

If Rick and Scott were to win the tourney, they now needed Hawk and Animal to either lose or win by DQ.

Singles Match 5
NWA TV Champion The Great Muta vs. NWA US Champion Lex Luger 

WCW Starrcade 1989 - The Great Muta vs. Lex Luger
After getting his legs destroyed by Flair in his last match, Luger hobbled to the ring and sold the leg like a trooper.

Naturally, that meant an easy target for Muta, who by this point had but one little scrap of his trademark face paint remaining, barely clinging on to his cheek.

What we got then, was 14 minutes of Luger essentially taking the babyface role and making the occasional brief comeback in between many periods of Muta working over his leg.

It was a logical story and made perfect sense, but it didn’t exactly make for compelling viewing.

In the end, with one minute remaining, Muta cut off Luger’s final comeback by blowing mist in his face and getting disqualified.

If they were going with that as the finish there was probably no need to give us fourteen minutes of leg locks.
Your Winner via Disqualification (earning 10 points): Lex Luger 

Up next, the finals of the tag team tournament.

Tag Team Tournament Final
The New Wild Samoans vs. The Legion of Doom

With it all on the line, the tag team tournament ended not with a bang but with a whimper.

This was a rather unremarkable match in which nothing much happened until Hawk battered one of the Samoans with a top rope clothesline.

If you never see this match in your life, you won’t be missing much.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

The Road Warriors were now your Iron Men in the tag team division and had won the whole tournament. Not that they got much of a celebration outside a brief moment of congratulations from Rick and Scott.

Singles Tournament Final 
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs. Sting

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Sting vs. Ric Flair
Having faced each other in a good match at Clash of the Champions I, Flair and Sting had later been allies and even teamed up in the main event of Halloween Havoc 1989.

Tonight, they put on another good match in which babyface Flair reverted to his natural heel role.

I’ll be honest, I’d mentally checked out of this show some time ago but Sting and Flair were so good together that they sucked me right back in with a solid main event that made the crowd come alive in a way that they hadn’t all night.

After a good seesaw battle, Sting pulled out a roll-up victory on the world heavyweight champion.
Your Winner: Sting

Sting’s win meant he had won the whole tournament and he got a better celebration than the Road Warriors, with fireworks erupting as Flair’s allies The Anderson’s congratulated him.

They Are Iron Men

WCW Starrcade 1989 - The Road Warriors won the tag team tournament
Fittingly for a team who had used Black Sabbath’s Iron Man as their theme for so long, Hawk and Animal finished the show by giving an interview to Gordon Sollie about their win in the Iron Team tournament.

Boasting about being the Iron Men, Hawk and Animal declared that they’d gone out and won not only for themselves but, of course, for the Atlanta fans.

Sollie then promised us a word with singles Iron Man winner, Sting, but the Stinger took so long getting up to the stage that the credits started to roll.

As such, we got the weird production tail of credits and music playing while we heard Hawk stalling for time by talking about how much more effort they put in than your standard football player.

Sting and Flair then finally made it to the stage, but by this point, the whole thing was such a mess that it was almost impossible to hear what either of them had to say.

OK, I’ll admit it, Starrcade 1989: Future Shock was a better event than I remembered it being.

I remember being completely bored by every single match and not enjoying it one bit, but that wasn’t the case here.

Though there were a lot of underwhelming matches on the card, and though the repetition of seeing the same wrestlers over and over again did get tiresome, there were a few decent matches on this card.

Granted, none of them had stood the test of time as all-out classics, but Sting vs. Flair was at least a good performance that’s worth tracking down. 

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.