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

Thursday, 12 November 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Insurrextion 2001

May 5, 2001 
Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England.

When WWE first started promoting their controversial shows in Saudi Arabia, many fans dismissed events like The Greatest Royal Rumble as being 'glorified house shows' as if that in itself was an absolutely terrible thing.

This wasn't the first time in history that the company's overseas events had been written off by American audiences. When the company promoted their UK-exclusive PPVs from the late-90s to the early 2000s, fans back then dismissed those as "basically house shows" as well.

What's interesting is that this was (and still is) meant as a criticism, as if being a 'glorified house show' is a bad thing and that pro wrestling shouldn't exist unless something majorly important happened.

What events like Insurrextion 2001 proved, is that sure, they may technically be glorified house shows, but that in itself doesn't mean that they were bad or not worth watching.







Sure, nothing majorly important ever happened at these events, and sure, it was always obvious that the wrestlers themselves were only performing at 75% of what they were capable of, but to write them off is to overlook the very point of pro wrestling in the first place - to entertain.

These events provided entertainment for the sake of entertainment and for this writer, that's a good enough reason to head back to Earls Court, London in the spring of 2001.

You with me? Let's do this.

Sometimes Change is Good

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Linda McMahon confronts Vince in William Regal's office
We began tonight’s show not with the usual pyro but with a shot of WWF Commissioner William Regal talking to Kurt Angle on the phone in a low budget backstage office.

Regal was busy informing Angle that his match tonight had been changed when an angry Vince McMahon stormed in, demanding to know why Regal had changed almost every match on the card tonight.

Regal insisted that he hadn’t, but that Vince’s wife Linda McMahon had. That was Linda’s cue to stroll into the office and display some personality for the first time in her on-screen career as she insisted that everything but the main event had been changed to give the fans ‘the very best the WWF has to offer.

Sure, this was just a clever way of telling us that the card we’d been sold had been completely rewritten, but it was really entertaining all the same, especially when it ended with Vince recoiling in disgust at the news of the then-current foot-and-mouth disease, referred to by the chairman as ‘foot-in-mouth disease.’

We were then welcomed to the arena by our announcers Michael Cole and Paul Heyman as the Insurrextion theme, a knock off of Machinehead by Bush, played throughout the arena.

With that done, it was onto our opening contest.

Grandmaster Sexay vs. Eddie Guerrero

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Grandmaster Sexay faced Eddie Guerrero
As random and seemingly thrown together as this might have been, this was a very entertaining opening contest, even if it did only last seven minutes.

Though we all probably didn’t appreciate it at the time, Grandmaster Sexay was great in his role as an opening match act.

In his run with Scotty 2 Hotty throughout 2000/early 2001, every time Too Cool opened a show the results were always enjoyable.

Combine that with the fact that Eddie Guerrero couldn’t be less than excellent if he tried and what you got here was a fun way to get the crowd invested in tonight’s show.

After a short match, we got a confusing bit of kerfuffle at the finish that resulted in Latino Heat putting his legs on the ropes to secure a pinfall victory.
Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Backstage, Triple H wore his Motörhead t-shirt as he told Stephanie McMahon that he has absolutely nothing to worry about when it came to his match tonight, a two-vs-one handicap match putting himself and Stone Cold Steve Austin against The Undertaker.

The Radicalz (Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko) vs. The Hollys (Hardcore & Crash Holly w/ Molly Holly)


WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Terri and whatever the heck Perry Saturn was supposed to be
This was originally billed as a six-person match but then Terri took to the microphone to declare that she hadn’t been able to buy any wrestling gear in London and was thus dropping out.

What we were left with was a solid team match that did plenty to keep the fans -and this writer- perfectly happy.

Terri and Molly Holly got involved anyway toward the finish and, in the resulting chaos, a bizarre-looking Perry Saturn managed to hit Bob Holly with the moss-covered three-handled family gradunza.

Somewhere backstage, Y2J looked on approvingly.
Your Winners: The Radicalz

Up next, we were shown a highlight package from William Regal’s recent press tour of the UK, culminating in a sold-out autograph session where the Commissioner was hugely over with the crowd.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - William Regal polishes The Queen's CupBack live in the arena, Regal spoke to an unknown person on the phone, telling them that there was no way his upcoming opponent Chris Jericho would get a better ovation than him because he -Regal- was the only sporting hero the UK had left.

Much as he had done back at Rebellion 2000, Regal once again insisted that he was more popular and successful than boxers Prince Nadeem and Lennox Lewis.

As he did so, Regal polished the Queen’s Cup that would be up for grabs in his match with Regal. I’m not convinced,  but I do believe the Queen’s Cup looked an awful lot like the Royal Samovar Trophy.

Test Failed

Speaking of Rebellion, Cole and Heyman shilled that for a bit before showing us a clip of Big Show destroying Test on Smackdown. That meant the advertised Test vs. Show match was off, but the big guy came and called out Test anyway.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, well it's the Big Show!
After being called a ‘yellow-bellied coward’ for the 100th time, Test saved us all the bother of listening to Big Show repeating the same insult over and over again by hobbling down to ringside, holding the ribs that Show damaged on Smackdown.

Yes, we were supposed to believe that Test had been so badly injured in the United States that he could barely walk straight but had still flown all the way over to England anyway, all just to hang out backstage at a show he had no way of competing on.

Anyway, Show demolished Test a second time, called him a yellow-bellied coward fifty more times and finally issued an open challenge to anyone on the roster.

Bradshaw answered because yay fun.

Bradshaw vs. Big Show

There really wasn’t a lot to this. You can close your eyes, imagine what a Bradshaw vs. Big Show match would look like, and you’d be pretty much spot on.

After a few minutes of fairly uninspired brawling, Test made a miraculous comeback and kicked a chair into Big Show’s face. Show hit the Clothesline from Hell and that was pretty much that.
Your Winner: Bradshaw

Post-match, Show stood around looking angry.

How Stupid is The Undertaker?

Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin gave a fired-up interview to Jonathan Coachman.

After demanding that Coach tell him how stupid The Undertaker was, a p’d off Texas Rattlesnake vowed that he and Triple H would end The American Bad Ass’s Decade of Destruction here tonight.

Austin spotted some gnarly scars above his eye from his recent battles.

Four Team Elimination Match
The X-Factor (X-Pac & Justin Credible w/ X-Pac) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. The Hardy Boyz (WWF European Champion Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - The Dudley Boyz
This was an excellent match and easily the best thing on the show so far.

Unsurprisingly, X-Pac and Justin Credible were the first to go, followed not long after by The Hardy Boyz.

While their contributions were fun, it was the remainder of the bout between Edge, Christian and The Dudleyz that really made This what it was.

After a really good quality performance from all concerned, Rhyno ran in and gored the living hell out of Bubba Ray to give his buddies Edge and Christian the fall.
Your Winners: Edge and Christian

Up next, we were taken to the previous evening’s charity event where  WWF merchandise was auctioned off to raise funds for the Make a Wish foundation.

The highlight of the evening appeared to be Stephanie McMahon slapping Michael Cole.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - GMTV's Eamon Holmes was in the crowd
Back live in the arena, we entered some kind of bizarro-world where names British fans would never expect to see on WWF programming were shown in the audience.

Eamon Holmes, Chris Tarrant and Gianfranco Zola were all show gurning for the camera in what was a very surreal moment for this fan.

Angle Wants His Medals Back

Backstage, Kurt Angle took umbrage at Jonathan Coachman’s suggestion that he had ‘lost’ his gold medals, instead insisting that they had been stolen.

No matter, The Olympic Hero vowed to reclaim his gold by defeating Chris Benoit in their upcoming two-out-of-three-falls match.

Two-out-of-Three-Falls
Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Chris Benoit puts Kurt Angle in the crossface
The previous week, at Backlash 2001, Kurt Angle had Chris Benoit beat toward the finish of their Ultimate Submission iron man match. The Olympic Gold Medalist made his opponent tap but, since it was after the bell it didn’t count.

Benoit went on to not only win that match in sudden death extra time but also to steal Angle’s medals on Raw.

Before tonight’s two-out-of-three falls match, the Crippler revealed that he’d been keeping those medals ‘somewhere safe and warm.’

If you didn’t immediately realize that meant they were down his pants then you’re clearly far too innocent for your own good.

Alas, we wouldn’t get to see Chris Benoit pull gold from his crotch (another sentence I never thought I’d write), at least not yet anyway.

The match got started and though neither man gave it their all (no WWF star ever did on a UK show), it was still a damn good effort.

Let’s be honest:

Even Benoit vs. Angle at their worst was better than many people’s best. So yes, it was still a quality performance, albeit one that ended too quickly and left you hungry for more.

Breaking from the normal two-out-of-three-falls formula, The Rabid Wolverine beat his opponent by two straight falls.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Post-match, Benoit made his way up to the stage where he grabbed a microphone and revealed that, yes, he had indeed wrestled the entire match with gold medals in his pants. He then proceeded to put the medals -ball sweat and all- around his neck before sauntering backstage, laughing at an irate Kurt Angle.

Debra is Not an Errand-Girl

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Debra stands up to Stone Cold Steve Austin
Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin demanded water from his wife, Debora while he, HHH and Steph went over the plans for their match tonight.

After the McMahon-Helmsleys also asked from drinks, Debrah rightly told them where to go, insisting that they should be focusing on beating The Undertaker rather than sending her on errands.

This was followed by a look back at the recent rivalry been Chris Jericho and William Regal, including their Dutchess of Queensberry rules, match at Backlash.

Tonight, the two would have another such match, this time with the totally-not-made-up Queen’s Cup on the line.

Duchess of Queensberry Rules Match for the Queen’s Cup
William Regal vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - William Regal puts a hurting on Chris Jericho
Ignore the Duchess of Queensberry stuff here. Though it was billed as one, there was really no such match type and this was a basic straight singles match one of the shenanigans that made up their Backlash encounter.

If you ask this fan, avoiding such silliness only made this one even better.

Sure, there was a stretch in the middle when Regal kept his opponent grounded in multiple rest holds, but even they made sense in the context of the match and added to the sense of drama.

Besides, when the two got back to their feet, they really went for it, delivering a match which, dare I say it, surpassed even Benoit/Angle.

Despite dominating the bulk of the contest in front of his fellow countrymen, Regal eventually tapped to Chris Jericho’s Wall of Jericho, putting an end to a fine contest indeed.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Predictably, Regal picked up the Queen’s Cup after the bell and destroyed his rival with it.

Handicap Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Two-Man Power Trip (WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin & WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. The Undertaker

According to Lillian Garcia, ‘Taker had to pin Steve Austin to win the title.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - The Undertaker faced Steve Austin and Triple H in a handicap match
This was important as he would actually win the match, planting HHH with a chokeslam after Vince McMahon ran in and accidentally blasted his son-in-law with a steel chair.

Before that, we got a fun, by-the-numbers main event.

We started with brawling in the ring and up and down the aisle before things settled down into a standard match with Austin and The Game actually bothering to tag in and out.

It was entertaining enough, but this was the kind of match these three seasoned main eventers could sleep-wall through, and that’s pretty much what they did.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

With blood dripping from his ear, The Undertaker chokeslammed everyone in his sight then rode off into the sunset...

...well, into the grey and gloomy skies of England, anyway.







Though the WWF’s UK-exclusive cards were never going to win any ‘show of the year’ awards, this one did at least entertain and was probably the best WWF show in British soil since Summerslam 1992.

Only the Big Show/Bradshaw match was outright poor, while the four-team tag match and the Angle/Benoit encounter are definitely worth checking out.

Everything else was enjoyable, though nothing you haven’t seen before.




Thursday, 5 November 2020

EVENT REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 1985 - The Gathering

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Event poster
November 28, 1985 
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina 
Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia. 

It's often said that Vince McMahon is a genius, but when you think about it, how many of his ideas were truly original?

Sure, he gave us the game-changing Attitude Era, but wasn't that merely an inevitable evolution from the kind of content surveyed by Extreme Championship Wrestling?

Sure, he gave us memorable angles like D-Generation-X, but wasn't that just in response to the unprecedented popularity of the New World Order?

And sure, he gave us Wrestlemania, an event which today holds its own among the likes of the Superbowl as a veritable institution, but before there was 'Mania, it was NWA Starrcade which held the crown of pro wrestling's premier event.

Now in its third year, Starrcade 1985 was the first version of the National Wrestling Alliance's marquee event to take place after the success of Wrestlemania 1.  In an attempt to prove that theirs was still the biggest and best, Jim Crockett Promotions upped the ante, running The Gathering from two separate venues and once again beating McMahon to the punch before he had the chance to put Wrestlemania 2 in three venues simultaneously.

Would JCP have better luck with this multi-venue format than the WWF would have months later?

Let's head down to both Greensboro and Atlanta to find out.







NWA Starrcade 1985 - Bob Caudle and Tony 'The Mustache' Schiavone
Welcome To The Gathering

After a rather spiffy intro that was about a thousand times better than the kind of lame intros WCW would start its PPVs with in the nineties, we got a welcome from our Atlanta-based announcers Bob Caudle and Tony 'The Mustache' Schiavone.

The two hyped tonight's big matches before sending it over to Johnny Weaver, who was handling backstage interviews over at the other Starrcade site, the Greensboro coliseum.

With that, it was onto our opening match.

Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
Krusher Khrushchev vs. Sam Houston

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Sam Houston battled Krusher Kruschev
There will be modern fans who hate this match for its reliance on long-periods of 'rest holds,' but personally, this writer found it to be a decent opening match.

The crowd adored babyface Sam Houston and that made everything he and Krusher Khrushchev did seem like a big deal.

OK, so this kind of match was very much of its time, but if you can watch it in context rather than through the filter of modern pro wrestling, there was a lot to like here.

After a solid effort, Khrushchev demolished his opponent, smashing his way to victory and repossessing the vacant Mid-Atlantic title.
Your Winner: Krusher Khrushchev

Moving swiftly on...

Mexican Death Match
Abdullah The Butcher (w/ Paul Jones) vs. The Ragin' Bull Manny Fernandez

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Abdullah The Butcher faced Manny Fernandez in a 'Sombrero on a Pole' Mexican Death Match
Well, this was a strange one.

It was billed as a 'Mexican death match' but was basically a 'sombrero on a pole match' with the obligatory Abdullah The Butcher bloodshedding.

It was OK for what it was, but I can't help but feel like a Mexican death match should have delivered a lot more.

After a few minutes of Basic Blood Spilling 101, Manny Fernandez hit a move called Flying Burrito because that was the sort of thing that was totally acceptable in the 1980s.

In case you're wondering, it was a flying forearm. It allowed Ragin' Bull to knock Abby on his flabby ass, climb the pole, retrieve the sombrero and win the contest.
Your Winner: Manny Fernandez

Backstage, Krusher Khrushchev was interviewed by Johnny Weaver.

Russian sympathizer Khrushchev thanked The Kollofs for helping prepare him for tonight’s match before claiming that his victory proved that Russia had the world's most superior athletes.

This was a decent enough promo from Mr. Darsow, even if the crappy audio did mean that you could hear his every word echoing around the arena.

Texas Bullrope Match
Cowboy Ron Bass vs. Blacktop Bully (w/ James J. Dillon)

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Outlaw Ron Bass faced Black Bart
If Ron Bass wins, he gets a five-minute bullrope match with JJ Dillon

Two-thirds of this match involved Ron Bass hitting his former Long Riders partner in the face repeatedly with a cowbell.

Christopher Walkden would have loved it.

Blacktop Bart occasionally fought back, but this was all about him getting his comeuppance in his heated rivalry with Bass and bleeding like the proverbial stuck pig.

The match was pretty decent, though again I can see why some people wouldn’t like it when viewed through the filter of modern wrestling.

After a few minutes of fairly slow action, Bass lept off the top rope with a death-defying Flying Super Cowbell Shot to the Head of Doom and won the match.
Your Winner: Ron Bass

Wasting no time, James J. Dillon immediately got to the ring and started attacking Bass.

Texas Bullrope Match
James J. Dillon vs. Ron Bass

Bass fought back quickly and this one quickly developed into another one-sided ass-kicking until the referee took a tumble.

That allowed Blacktop Bart to hit a piledriver and dump Dillon on top of his opponent.

One three count later and we were done here.
Your Winner: James J. Dillon

Arm Wrestling Match
The Barbarian (w/ Paul Jones) vs. Superstar Billy Graham

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Superstar Billy Graham faced Barbarian in an arm-wrestling match
Man, they were really going all out with the gimmick matches on this show, weren’t they?

Back at Starrcade ‘84, Superstar Billy Graham had turned up looking like crap and doing a silly karate gimmick for a horrible match with Wahoo McDaniel.

Tonight, he arrived looking more like the Billy Graham for an arm-wrestling match with The Barbarian.

Fun flashback: remember when Dusty Rhodes was doing commentary for WCW and it always sounded like he called Barbarian ‘The Ball Bearing?’

I mention that because its easier than trying to review a worked arm-wrestling match.

Credit where it’s due, Graham and Ball Bearing really did sell this like they were arm-wrestling as though their lives depended on it and were pretty convincing, but it was still just arm-wrestling.

Billy Graham won and I don’t know what else to say about that.
Your Winner: Superstar Billy Graham

Paul Jones immediately attacked Billy Graham and that apparently led us right into a match.

Superstar Billy Graham vs. The Barbarian (w/ Paul Jones)

The actual wrestling match was OK, but again it wasn’t particularly special.

For the third match in a row, we got plenty of blood because this was the 80s and it was the law.

As the end came, Graham locked on a bear hug, Jones then hit him with his cane and that was that.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Billy Graham

Post-match, the two brawled out in the crowd.

National Wrestling Alliance National Championship
NWA National Champion Terry Taylor vs. Buddy Landel (w/ James J. Dillon)

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Buddy Landel works Terry Taylor's arm.
Buddy Landel was claiming to be ‘The Real Nature Boy’ and did his best Ric Flair impression for this singles contest against future Red Rooster, Terry Taylor.

This was another competent match,  albeit one that never really kicked up into the kind of high gear you’d probably hope for.

That seemed to be the big issue with almost everything on this show so far. Most of it was fine, but for the NWA’s biggest show of the year you’d probably expect more.

The end came with a win for Nature Boy thanks to Dillon’s interference.
Your Winner and NEW National Champion: Buddy Landell

No time to waste, the NWA were cramming as much into this show as possible.

National Wrestling Alliance National Tag Team Champions
NWA National Tag Team Champions The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole & Arn Anderson) vs. NWA US Tag Team Champions Wahoo McDaniel & Billy Jack Haynes

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Arn Anderson locks up with Wahoo McDaniel
So, here we have the Starrcade debuts of Arn Anderson and Billy Jack Haynes while Ole Anderson puts in his second appearance and Wahoo McDaniel continues his run of appearing in every Starrcade so far.

One thing I will point out is the randomness of the theme music on this show. McDaniel and Haynes came out to a very obvious rip off of 1999 by Prince. It was so weird, so unsuitable, and yet so perfectly 80s.

The other weird thing about this show was the commentary. Not just in this match but throughout the entire event, there were entire minutes were neither Caudle nor Schiavone said a word.

Occasionally, they’d chip in with a remark or two but then it was right back to radio silence from our announcers, making for a very odd viewing experience indeed.

Anyway, neither the Ill-fitting entrance music nor the lack of commentary could take away from what was otherwise a very solid match that could have benefited from having a few more minutes tacked onto it.

Otherwise, this was one of the better matches on the card, coming to a close with a win for the Andersons thanks to some shady heel shenanigans.
Your Winners and Still National Tag Team Champions: The Minnesota Wrecking Crew

Backstage, Johnny Weaver interviewed James J. Dillon and Nature Boy Buddy Landell.

In one of the better interview segments from the last three Starrcades, Dillon bragged about being the ‘Bullrope’ champion and about how he knew all along that Landell was championship material.

For his part, Nature Boy insisted that he’d modelled his life after Tully Blanchard, The Andersons, and Ric Flair. He also called himself the ‘world’s national champion’ which I’m not sure is accurate.

Anyway, this was pretty decent stuff from a confident and cocksure Landell.

Steel Cage ‘I Quit’ Match for the National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA United States Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ Baby Doll) vs. Magnum T.A

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Magnum T.A battled Tully Blanchard in an awesome US title match
My goodness, this was insanely good. Brilliantly brutal and brutally brilliant, it was an intense, impassioned bloodbath for the ages.

At no point did this ever feel like a choreographed wrestling match. It felt like a straight-up fight to the death between two men who legitimately wanted to kill each other.

The blood let cane thick and fast and would have added even more to what was already an incredible performance had so many other wrestlers not bled unnecessarily later on in the show.

Not that it mattered.

The violence was off the charts, the intensity and emotion was something else, and the whole thing was awesome from start to finish.

Speaking of the finish...

Tully Blanchard got a wooden chair into the ring somehow but then smashed it up rather than using it on his opponent. It looked like an odd move at first but then he took a spiked piece of the broken chair and tried to stab Magnum T.A in the eye with it.

Magnum fought back, took control of the spike and jammed it into his rival’s head until the champion surrendered.

Amazing.
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: Magnum T.A

Before the next match, Jim Cornette made his Starrcade debut to introduce his boys, The Midnight Express.

The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Loverboy Dennis Condrey w/Jim Cornette) vs. Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively (w/Big Mama)

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Miss Atlanta Lively was Ronnie Garvin in drag
OK, so, The Midnight Express we’re wearing tuxedos for some unknown reason and Miss Atlanta Lively was Ronnie Garvin in drag, also for unknown reasons.

Together with Jimmy Valliant (making his third Starrcade appearance), they all created a chaotic mess with almost no redeeming qualities.

Sure, this was a straight-up comedy match and that would have been fine if, you know, it had actually been funny.

There weren’t many laughs, but there was a lot of mess.

Thankfully, it was kept quite short and ended when Miss Atlanta Lively kind of just lied down on top of Dennis Condrey for the win.
Your Winners: Miss Atlanta Lively and Jimmy Valiant

Afterward, the good guys stripped Jim Cornette down to his knickers.

NWA Starrcade 1985 - New US Champion Magnum TA gives an interview to Johnny WeaverOur New US Champion

Backstage, Johnny Weaver interviewed Magnum T.A.

The new US Champion cut a compelling promo, declaring that he’d be ready to defend “the fighting champion’s belt” against anyone on the roster.

Between that match and this promo, it was easy to see why people had such high hopes on Magnum becoming The Next Big Thing.

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions Ivan & Nikita Koloff (w/ Krusher Khrushchev) vs. The Rock 'n' Roll Express

This was a quality match but it really didn’t need the cage match stipulation, especially since we’d already had an all-time classic less than thirty minutes earlier, and especially since referee Earl Hebner enforced traditional tag rules throughout.

Even despite all that, this was a great effort from everyone involved and the crowd absolutely ate it up.

A Ricky Morton roll-up sealed the deal for him and Robert Gibson earning them the titles.

On another note, Don Kernodle was at ringside for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. So far, he’d appeared at all three Starrcade shows and yet never once wrestled a match. As far as I know, he was still an active competitor at this stage of his career.
Your Winners and New World Tag Team Champions: The Rock n Roll Express

Post-match, the Russians got their revenge by beating the Rock ‘n’ Roll express to a pulp and taking out anyone who tried to help the. We champions.

Finally, it was onto our main event of the evening.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. The American Dream Dusty Rhodes

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Dusty Rhodes battled Ric Flair for the World Heavyweight Championship
This match was a perfect reflection of Starrcade ‘85 as a whole.

It was far superior to the 1984 effort but there was still something about it that didn’t quite meet the expectations might have for it.

I mean, don’t get me wrong:

It was Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair, so it was always going to be very enjoyable. What’s more, it didn’t suffer from the same terrible Smokin’ Joe Frazier ending that Rhodes/Flair ‘84 did, but it just didn’t quite feel like the all-time Classic that it perhaps could have been.

Towards the end, referee Tommy Young got bumped, prompting a run in from the Minnesota Wrecking Crew to attack Dusty. Flair capitalized by making the cover as a new referee ran in, but alas he only got a two count.

Dusty then rolled up his opponent, and one three count later we had a new champion.
Your Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Dusty Rhodes

Afterward, a bunch of babyfaces ran in to congratulate the new champion and douse him in champagne.

Dusty Did it For the Blue Collar Workers

The champagne continued to flow backstage as Tong Schiavone got an interview with the new champion.

The American Dream dedicated his match to the textile workers as well as ‘the auto workers and the car workers,’ who were apparently two different sets of people.

He then vowed to remain champion for a long time, bringing this ace promo, and this show, to an end.







All in all, Starrcade 85: The Gathering wasn’t a bad show. Only the weirdness with Miss Atlanta Lively and Jimmy Valiant was outright poor, but with very few exceptions almost everything else settled around a level of mediocrity.

Man though, what exceptions they were.

Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A. deserves all the credit it gets and is genuinely one of the best matches this fan has seen in years.

Elsewhere, the world tag team title match was exhilarating stuff, and though Rhodes and Flair’s second Starrcade main event wasn’t a classic, it was still very entertaining.

Watch for those matches but don’t feel bad about skipping everything else.




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Thursday, 29 October 2020

Movie Review: See No Evil (2006)

See No Evil (2006) movie poster | Glenn Jacobs (Kane)
If you were ever going to cast a pro wrestler in a movie about a psychopathic monster who towers over everybody he comes across, Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs would naturally be the perfect fit.

And if you were ever going to review that movie, Halloween would naturally be the perfect time to do it.

So, here we find ourselves, gorging on popcorn as we watch The Big Red Machine stomp about a dilapidated and abandoned hotel as Jacob Goodnight, a murderous monster of a man with mommy issues and a penchant for ripping people’s eyeballs out.

Like The Shining meets Friday the 13th, nothing about See No Evil is particularly original. It’s every horror movie you’ve ever seen in which a group of good-looking young people with attitudes go to a creepy place and get hacked off one by one by an unhinged maniac.

The only difference is that this unhinged maniac carries a chain and hook rather than a machete, oh and that the kids are all juvenile delinquents forced to go to the creepy place to clean it up and get time off their prison sentence rather than to hang out, get drunk, and have sexy times.




To be fair, they drink and have sexy times anyway, but that’s only because See No Evil seems so desperate to cram every horror movie cliche you’ve ever known into one 90-minute gorefest.

Still, having said all that, it’s worth pointing out that See No Evil isn’t an entirely terrible movie.

OK, so it’s certainly not a *good* movie, but it does have some redeemable qualities.

The kills are both creative and satisfyingly gruesome. Despite never having been particularly squeamish, even this long-time horror fan found himself wincing at some of the more innovative violence on display.

Speaking of display, that’s perhaps the movie’s best quality.
Visually, this is one great-looking piece of cinema with a fantastic aesthetic that really deserved to be utilised by a better script.

If only the creators had taken these features and used them to do something that was truly their own, they might have been onto a winner. Instead, they take a stunning horror aesthetic and a stunning brand of gore and underutilise it by using it to tell the same hackeyned murder-by-numbers horror film you’ve seen countless times before.

Honestly, it’s amazing that they came out with a sequel for this, but maybe we’ll save that one until next Halloween.






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Thursday, 22 October 2020

Movie Review: Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1998) Movie Review | Poster | Rowdy Roddy Piper
It's the end of the twentieth century and mankind has blown its wad...

If you only do one good thing for yourself today, watching the trailer to the 1988 sci-fi caper Hell Comes to Frogtown should definitely be it.

Directed by Donald G. Jackson and written by Jackson and written by Randall Frakes, this goofy b-movie may not be a cinematic masterpiece but the trailer, my goodness, the trailer may be the greatest thing of all time.

I mean seriously, it’s just about the most gloriously over-the-top slice of 1980s awesomeness that you’ve ever seen in your whole natural life.

Even if you lived through the 80s, nothing you’ll have experienced in that decade will have been as epic or as fun as the trailer for this movie.

Don't just take my word for it though. Just look at it:


What does any of this have to do with retro pro wrestling?

Simple:

It stars none other than pro wrestling legend, the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper.

It's also nearly Halloween, which is the time of year when we usually post these kinds of offbeat reviews.

OK, so Hell Comes to Frogtown might be neither as good nor as memorable as Piper’s turn in cult classic They Live, but it’s certainly better than the hokey horror/unintentional comedy that was Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies.

In that film, Hot Rod had to team up with Shane Douglas to fight some zombies while Matt Hardy shagged his missus in the background.

In this one, it’s Piper that’s doing all the shagging, and saving humanity in the process.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a film in which Roddy Piper must prevent human extinction by getting laid as often as possible.

He does this under the watchful eye of an armed guard and a doctor, both or whom just so happen to be smoking hot women who Piper also gets to shag.

So far, so bizarre, right? But there is a point to all this...sort of.

Hell Comes to Frogtown finds us in a post-apocalyptic world in which repopulating the species Is top priority for the remaining humans.




To help with this of badass, sexy nurse warrior type women track down Sam Hell (good name), who has apparently been wandering the barren wastelands and shagging everything in sight.

Chosen for his magnum dong and renowned sexual prowess, the warrior nurses simply want Hell (Piper) to impregnate a bunch of women. However, it then it turns out that the woman have been captured by a race of mutant amphibian people and taken to their base (the titular Frogtown) so that the mutants can breed them to become the new superior race.

Joined by a sexy armed guard (Cec Verrell) and about equally as sexy Doctor (Sandahl Bergman), Piper’s new mission is to rescue the kidnapped women, return them to safety, and promptly give them one.

Yes, it really is as dumb as sounds.

No, it really isn’t the greatest movie ever made.

At times it’s cheesy. At times it’s absolutely ludicrous. At times it’s just badly acted and poorly written.

But at other times it’s hilarious, goofy, and -if you’re into the sight of Sandahl Bergman in her undies- even kinda sexy.

Even if it was none of those things, Hell Comes to Frogtown gave us the greatest movie trailer of all time, and for that alone it's worth all the praise in the world.






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Thursday, 15 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Backlash 2001

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Event Poster
April 29, 2001,
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

A month prior to Backlash 2001, the World Wrestling Federation had presented Wrestlemania X-Seven, an event that would go down in history as arguably the greatest Wrestlemania event of all time. 

That incredible show was the peak of a tremendous run of great shows for the company, with the quality of their in-ring product as good as it had ever been.

Still, a lot had changed in the few weeks since 'Mania.

Once sworn rivals hell-bent on homicide, Steve Austin and Triple H were now on the same page, a whole host of ECW stars were integrating themselves into the roster, and the creative clusterf**k that was The Invasion was drawing ever closer.

With all that going on, could the WWF keep up their hot streak and deliver a show every bit as awesome as Wrestlemania 17?

Let's head down to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois to find out.







No Power. No Gold. Know Power. Know Gold

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Paul Heyman and Jim Ross called the event
Once upon a time, Triple H had arranged for Stone Cold Steve Austin to be run over by a car at Survivor Series 1999.

A year later, Austin got his revenge by carrying out the attempted murder of The Game at Survivor Series 2000.

Now, the two were a tag team because that’s how pro wrestling logic works.

Tonight, as our compelling opening video told us, the two would take on The Undertaker and Kane.

This was a pretty good video that played up the Two Man Power Trip aspect of the whole story while glossing over the whole part about Austin and HHH literally trying to kill each other prior to teaming up.

Then, after the obligatory pyro, crowd shots and a greeting from announcers Jim Ross and Paul Heyman, it was on with the show.

The Dudley Boyz (D-Von Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Spike Dudley) vs. The X-Factor (X-Pac, Albert and Justin Credible)

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - The Dudleyz faced The X-Factor
Throughout tonight’s opening contest, JR constantly tried to get ‘the wizards of the wicked wood,’ over as a new nickname for The Dudleyz. It sounded ridiculous and it’s no surprise that name didn’t stick.

When he wasn’t coming up with goofy names, Ross joined Heyman in calling what was a pretty decent match.

Were this any other bunch of wrestlers, this may not have gone down so well, but The Dudley Boyz were so insanely over that everything they did elicited a huge response from the live audience.

Combine that with the fact that all six men turned up motivated and ready for action and what you had here was a solid opener that came to a close with a win for The X-Factor.
Your Winners: The X-Factor

Post-match, The Dudleyz got their revenge by putting X-Pac through a table.

Speaking of which, here’s something that I’ve noticed on the last several PPVs:

Every time Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley did the whole ‘D-Von! Get the tables!!’ bit, the tables were never actually got. The other team always stopped them from either setting up the table or putting somebody through it. As such, the table either never came into play at all or else did so only in the post-match shenanigans.

Speaking of shenanigans:

Meanwhile, Backstage...

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - William Regal greets The Duchess of Queensbury backstage
‘The Duchess of Queensbury’ (a woman in a pompadour) arrived in a limousine with two close protection officers. William Regal was delighted to see her.

Across the arena, Kurt Angle told Lillian Garcia that he owned Chris Benoit and would take him out in their upcoming Ultimate Submission match.

Back in the arena, the announcers told us that Jerry Lynn had defeated Crash Holly for the Light Heavyweight Championship earlier on Heat.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rhyno vs. Raven

Taking the WWF Hardcore division to another level, Rhyno and Raven gave us an awesome brawl that was way better than expected.

In one sense, this was every hardcore match you’ve seen from this time period; the two littered the ring with garbage weapons and proceeded to beat the crap out each other with them.

Yet they did so with such an intensity and with such stiffness that it made the whole thing an exciting match to watch.

After the better part of ten minutes, Rhyno murdered babyface Raven with a gore to retain his belt.
Your Winner and Still Hardcore Champion: Rhyno

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Michael Cole tries to interview Shane 'The Pain' McMahon
Up next, we were taken back to Smackdown where Shane McMahon read an awesome fairytale called ‘Shane & The Beanstalk’ about his rivalry with his dad and, more specifically, his Dad’s hired goon, The Big Show.

Live in the arena, Michael Cole tried to get an interview with Shane but Stephanie McMahon interrupted and tried to get Shane to call off his Last Man Standing match with Show.

Naturally, Shane O’ Mac refused.

More Backstage Buffoonery

Kevin Kelly had better luck than Michael Cole in getting an interview. He interrupted WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin who was strong-arming Debra as they made their way into the arena.

Given the accusations of Austin’s real-life domestic abuse against Debra, that looked pretty uncomfortable.

Anyway, The Texas Rattlesnake told Kelly that there was no way he was losing the WWF title tonight as long as HHH did his part.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Coachman tried to ask the Duchess of Queensberry what the rules were to the match named after her.

Before she could answer, however, William Regal interrupted, thus keeping up the long-standing joke in wrestling that the rules for such a match don’t actually exist.

Duchess of Queensberry Rules Match
William Regal vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - The Duchess of Motherflippin' Queensbury
These two had met in a decent match at Wrestlemania 17. Since then, Chris Jericho besmirched Regal by peeing in his tea, leading to this match.

Needless to say, this was a quality match even if the whole Duchess of Queensberry stuff did get a little silly.

With Her Majesty herself looking on (even though Her Royal Highness would have been the correct title) Jericho and Regal put on a wrestling clinic for the first half of the match until Y2J looked to get the win with the Lionsault.

Before he could make the cover, however, the Duchess declared that the time had expired on Round 1.

Jericho then made Regal tap to the Walls of Jericho, but she declared that you couldn’t win by submission. Next, Regal blasted his opponent with the Duchess’s scepter, causing her to make it a No DQ match.

Having finally had enough, Jericho threw Her Ladyship into the ring and put the Walls on her, but Commissioner Regal came in, destroyed him with a chair and that was that.

Again, the whole ‘making up the rules on the fly’ stuff got a bit much, but this was otherwise a very good performance.
Your Winner: William Regal

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Vince McMahon orders Big Show to destroy Shane
Backstage, Vince McMahon made Big Show promise that he’d hold nothing back against Shane McMahon. Show promised and the two shook hands, both laughing maniacally as this somewhat awkward and slightly cringe-inducing segment came to an end.

We then got a video package featuring shots of Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle making most of the roster tap out, followed by a quick shot of Krispin Wah himself warming up backstage.

He and Angle would go head to head next.

30-Minute Ultimate Submission Match
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Kurt Angle faced Chris Benoit in an Ultimate Submission iron man match
In case you’re unsure, an Ultimate Submission match was basically a submission-based iron man match.

Before the bell, Angle got himself some heat by insulting Chicago’s most famous figures and promising to make Benoit squeal like a pig.

The match eventually got underway and turned out to be every bit as good as you probably expected.

Regardless of whatever happened away from the ring, Benoit and Angle were two masters of their craft. Here, they proved it by delivering a masterclass of professional wrestling that remained captivating from start to finish.

The two held nothing back as they wrestled each other to a 3-3 draw in the allotted half hour.

Harkening back to Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12, the match then went into overtime with sudden death rules applying.

A few more minutes of action followed before Benoit slapped Angle in the crossface to take home the 4-3 victory.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Backstage, HHH and Stephanie McMahon were watching Undertaker and Kane have a heated discussion on a television monitor.

The Game thought that The Brothers of Destruction were trying to come up with an excuse for losing to him and Austin, but Steph was more concerned with insisting that her brother Shane was living in a fairytale.

Last Man Standing Match
The Big Show vs. Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Big Show faced Shane McMahon in a Last Man Standing match
If the last match has been as good as expected, this one was certainly better than expected.

Shane and Show had last met on PPV in a street fight back at Judgement Day 2000. That had been OK but a little underwhelming.

This was much better.

Early on, Shane knocked Show out with chloroform, only for Vince to run in and destroy his own son with a chair.

The match continued to the point that Big Show was just toying with Shane O’Mac, letting the referee count him up to right before picking up the WCW owner and chokeslamming him again.

It was at this point that Test put in an appearance, and this is where things got really good.

(I bet that sentence has never been written before).

Test and Show brawled to the entrance. Shane followed and ended up climbing to the top of the structure around the entrance while Test planted Big Show.

Then, in typical Shane McMahon fashion, he plummeted fifty feet to his doom, crash landing on his opponent.

Test helped his former almost-brother-in-law to his feet and this utterly enthralling bit of entertainment was done.
Your Winner: Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Grandmaster Sexay gets weird on Steve Blackman
Backstage, Vince wrote off Shane and declared that Triple H was his only son.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, Steve Blackman started to tell Jim Ross that despite having issues with Shane in the past, he hoped he was OK after that match.

‘I never thought I’d see him do something like that,’ said Blackman, referring to McMahon’s epic leap of faith. That’s funny because Shane pulled an almost identical stunt in their match at Summerslam 2000.

Before he could get much further, Grandmaster Sexay turned up and freaked out in Blackman’s face.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship Triple Threat Match
WWF European Champion Matt Hardy vs. Christian vs. Eddie Guerrero

Although this kind of felt like filler, it was at least pretty entertaining filler.

All three men worked hard to deliver a fast-paced stormer of a match, but who knows how much better it could have been if they’d been given more time to shine.

Edge ran in towards the finish to try and help Christian win, but Jeff Hardy then put in an appearance to even the score.

That allowed Matt Hardy to hit Eddie Guerrero with the match-winning Twist of Fate.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Matt Hardy

Afterward, we got the eight-thousandth replay of Shane’s big fall.

All Titles on the Line
WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) & WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin WWF Tag Team Champions Kane & The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Steve Austin pleads with The Undertaker
The last time all the titles were on the line was back at In Your House 3: Triple Header when Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels and WWF Champion Diesel faced WWF Tag Team Champion Yokozuna and British Bulldog, with the Bulldog standing in for Owen Hart.

Speaking of Michaels, Jim Ross reminded us that if The Game won tonight, he’d be only the second man in history besides HBK to win the WWF title, European Championship, Intercontinental title, and tag team titles.

There were times when it felt as though this really long match was never going to end and there were times when it was so good that you didn’t really want it to end.

At one point, Kane played face-in-peril for six years and it really started to drag, but then just like that the whole thing picked up again and the match got utterly compelling.

Towards the finish, Undertaker and Austin went for a walk through the crowd. Stephanie McMahon tried to help her man but got Kane’s foot in her face.

That brought out Vince McMahon and a sledgehammer. Hunter used it and one three count later we had new tag team champions.
Your Winners and NEW tag team champions: Triple H & Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterward, the new champions celebrated their hard-fought victory as Backlash 2001 came to a close.







I may be wrong, but I’m willing to state that Backlash was a fairly flawless show.

Every match was good in its own way, with the Benoit/Angle submission match really standing out as match of the night.

Coming on the back of one of the best Wrestlemanias ever, this was a great time to be a fan.




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Thursday, 8 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 1984 - The Million Dollar Challenge

November 22, 1984
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina

Back at Starrcade 1983, Dusty Rhodes had appeared multiple times and, in between cutting a series of bizarre promos, appeared to challenge the winner of the Harley Race vs. Ric Flair title match.

Between then and now, Flair had actually lost and regained the title at least twice, but give credit to the National Wrestling Alliance, they stuck with their long-term booking plans and presented Rhodes vs. Flair as tonight's feature attraction.

Not only was the title on the line, however, but the winner of the match would also win one million dollars, hence the Million Dollar Challenge subtitle of tonight's show.

As for the rest of the card?

Well, let's head down to the Greensboro Colliseum and check it out, shall we?







Welcome to Starrcade, The Premier Event of the Decade

We began tonight's show with a brief look back at the finish to Starrcade 1983's main event with Ric Flair pinning Harley Race to become our new World Heavyweight Champion.

Alas, as our announcers Bob Caudle and Gordon Sollie were quick to remind us, that was then and this is now.

Tonight, three-time World Heavyweight Champion Flair would defend the title against Dusty Rhodes in a match where a million dollars was also on the line.

The two then hyped up tonight's show before sending it down to the ring where the ring announcer clearly got lost and wasn't sure what to do.

The Premier Event of the Century, Starrcade '84

Seriously, he first welcomed all the ladies and gentlemen to Starrcade '84, calling it 'The Premier Wrestling Event of the Decade.'

He then changed his mind and introduced us again, this time to 'The Premier Event of the Wrestling Century.' After that, poor Mr. Ring Announcer flipped through his papers but still couldn't figure out what to say next so ended up asking referee Earl Hebner.

National Wrestling Alliance Junior Heavyweight Championship
NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion Mike Davis vs. Denny Brown

Eventually, the ring announcer figured out what was happening and we got on with our opening contest, a decent junior heavyweight match between champion Mike Davis and challenger Denny Brown.

This was an interesting match as it was clearly just two guys competing to see who the better wrestler was with no animosity and none of the back-stories that are usually attached to almost all modern pro wrestling matches.

At one point, Brown even went crashing out of the ring. Rather than capitalizing on this by heading out to attack him, Davis left the ring, checked on his opponent and held the ropes open for him so that he could get back in the ring.

Unfortunately, being Mr. Nice Guy didn't work out quite so well for the champion.

At the finish, Davis hit a bridging German suplex on Brown but ended up pinning himself when Brown got his arm up at the last second.
Your Winner and NEW Junior Heavyweight Champion: Denny Brown

Afterward, Davis was irate for like two seconds but then congratulated the new champion.

The ever-confused ring announcer declared the wrong man as champion before correcting himself.

Backstage, Tony Schiavone hung out in the dressing room to let us know that he'd be hanging out in the dressing room for the rest of the show and conducting interviews.

Mr Ito vs. Brian Adias

There wasn't much to this match. It was only a few minutes long and very much felt like filler, but even then it was a decent enough match.

After a few minutes of basic, old-school professional wrestling, Adias lifted his larger opponent up for an airplane spin and won the match.
Your Winner: Brian Adias

Seriously, only in the 80s would that move end a match.

National Wrestling Alliance Florida Heavyweight Championship
National Wrestling Alliance Florida Heavyweight Champion Jesse Barr vs. Mike Graham

This was another really good quality match. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the kind of raging classic you’d see from today’s performers, but neither man held anything back and gave us nothing less than solid wrestling from start to finish.

After an unrelenting performance, champion Jesse Barr used the ropes for leverage to get the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner and Still Florida Heavyweight Champion: Jesse Barr

Up next, we flashed back to a recent TV taping on which Ricky Steamboat and Dick Slater had been beaten up after competing in a tag match.

Sollie and Caudle told us that Steamboat had put $10,000 of his own money on the line to get revenge.

Tag Team Elimination Match
The Zambuie Express (Kareem Muhammad & Elijah Akeem w/ Paul Jones) vs. Assassin Number 1 & Buzz Tyler

There wasn’t much to this match. It was mostly just punching, clobbering, and more punching, but there was something about the way that the crowd was super into every blow that made it just incredibly fun to watch.

At least it was fun until the finish.

We were told that this was an elimination-style tag team match, but after Assassin #1 pinned one of the Zambuie Express, the match should have continued, right?

Even the announcers seemed to think so, but then it was revealed that their respective partners had been counted out and thus had both been eliminated.

It was a little confusing and would have made more sense if they’d just kept this to a standard one-fall tag, but hey, it’s a small complaint.
Your Winners: Assassin Number One and Buzz Tyler

Backstage, Dusty Rhodes was sad chilling while Tony Schiavone bigged him up.

Rhodes then cut a fast-paced shouty promo in which he promised that Ric Flair would become yesterday’s newspaper.

He probably meant 'yesterday's news,' but with Dusty, who knows?

Anything Goes Match for the National Wrestling Alliance Brass Knuckles Championship
NWA Brass Knuckles Champion Black Bart (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Ragin’ Bull

The Brass Knuckles Championship was essentially a precursor to the modern-day hardcore championships. The announcers told us many times that anything goes, but sadly neither champion Black Bart nor challenger Manny ‘Ragin’ Bull’ Fernandez really took advantage of that stipulation.

For the most part, this was just a straight-up wrestling match with added blood.

It was OK for what it was, but certainly, nothing that anybody should rush out to see.

Eventually, J.J Dillon tossed the champion a length of rope but Bart got rolled up and pinned by the Ragin’ Bull.
Your Winner and NEW NWA Brass Knuckles Champion: Ragin’ Bull

As the show went to intermission in the arena, Ricky Steamboat talked to Tony Schiavone backstage.

When he wasn’t repeating the phrase ‘everybody has been gearing up for this night all year’ over and over again, Steamboat told Schiavone that he had been seriously injured when Tully Blanchard, Black Bart and Ron Bass attacked him and was in a lot of pain. Regardless, he was looking forward to getting his revenge on Blanchard.

God bless Steamboat, he was one of the greatest in-ring performers ever but his promos were never much to write home about.

Offering a retort, TV champion Tully Blanchard and his manager J.J. Dillon reminded us of the stipulations for their match:

The title could change hands on a DQ and if Blanchard tried to run away, he’d lose the title.

The champion didn’t seem too concerned by this. He insisted that Steamboat was going down and that after that he’d go after the world champion no matter who that might be.

Tuxedo Street Fight
Loser Must Leave Town
Paul Jones (w/  Kareen Muhammed) vs. Jimmy Valiant (w/ Assassin Number One)

So, Jimmy Valiant was no longer doing the Charlie Brown gimmick he had back at Starrcade 1983. That’s a bit of a shame. As ridiculous as it was, I kind of enjoyed it.

What I didn’t enjoy this chaotic mess of nonsense.

In the opening moments, Valliant tied Paul Jones to the ropes and very quickly stripped him down to his undies.

Honestly, I thought that’s how a tuxedo match should end, but not this one. Jones broke free and went on the attack but Valliant made a comeback and looked to be in control until JJ Dillon interfered, giving the win to Mr Jones
Your Winner: Paul Jones

The loss meant that Jimmy Valiant now had to ‘leave the area,’ though it was never expressly stated what that meant.

  • Did he have to leave the NWA?
  • Did he have to leave whatever territory he was most closely associated with?
  • Or did he simply have to leave the town they were in like every wrestler on the show would have to anyway?

If so, for how long?

Who knows?

Not me, that’s who.

Ric Flair is Ready

Backstage, Tony Schiavone reminded us that Ric Flair had been champion for a year after defeating Harley Race at the first Starrcade. This wasn't technically true. Flair had dropped and regained the belt a bunch of times over the course of the year, but apparently, none of those occasions counted.

Anyway, The Nature Boy warned The American Dream that he better be half the man he claimed to be when they stepped in the ring tonight.

National Wrestling Alliance Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Dick Slater

It’s starting to feel like Dillon is in practically every segment on this show. Meanwhile, Dick Slater used to be dirty but apparently, he’d had a wash since turning babyface.

This was all part of one of the hottest storylines in the company between Dillon’s stable and a gaggle of babyfaces but sadly the heat generated by that story didn’t translate into a quality match.

Though the fans were into it, there was nothing special about this one.

Bass won when Slater got disqualified for putting his hands on the official.
Your Winner and Still Mid-Atlantic Champion: Ron Bass

Post-match, Slater got revenge by taking out both Bass and Dillon.

We then got a brass rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner as a clearly unsteady cameraman tried to focus on the flag.

Keith Larson & Ole Anderson vs. Ivan & Nikita Koloff

Keith Larson was the brother of Don Kernodle.

Know how I know?

Because the announcers mentioned it about twenty times before he and Ole Anderson had even fully reached the ring.

Seriously, this was like the NWA’s version of Rellik.

Speaking of Kernodle. He showed up in a neck-brace to hang out on the apron and wave the American flag with Ole Anderson and Keith Larson who was his brother don’t you know?

The match finally got underway and turned into a good, solid traditional tag team match.

The faces spent the first part of the contest in control, Anderson and Larson taking turns to work over Ivan Koloff's arm until The Russian Bear turned the tides for his team with a Greco-Roman eye poke.

From there, we got bear hugs aplenty and some enjoyable action before Ivan picked up the win for his team by blasting Larson with a chain behind the referee’s back.
Your Winners: Ivan & Nikita Koloff

Afterwards, Don Kernodle took to the ring and used his crutches to beat the crap out of the Koloffs.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World TV Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Ricky Steamboat

Both men had put up $10,000. Winner takes all.

Well, this was excellent.

Proving that consistent selling really is a lost art these days, Ricky Steamboat came into the match with his injuries and sold them well from bell to bell in the kind of way that you just do t see today.

When he did get control of the match, he proved why he was one of the greatest of his generation With some outstanding work. Tully Blanchard was no slouch either and played his role perfectly.

That included being the devious heel champion who blasted his opponent in the head with a discreet International Object to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Tully Blanchard

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Wahoo McDaniel vs. Superstar Billy Graham

In direct contrast to the previous match, this wasn’t very good at all.

Superstar Billy Graham looked nothing like you remember Superstar Billy Graham looking like. He looked like how Bruno Sammartino looked in the last few years of his life and was apparently doing a weird karate gimmick.

Wahoo McDaniel was incredibly over, but even his popularity did nothing for the match.

Wahoo won with a tomahawk chop but the whole thing was not fun.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Wahoo McDaniel

Out in the dressing room, Tony Schiavone interviewed Smokin’ Joe Frazier and two men who would be the judges for our main event.

It was hard to tell if Frazier was drunk, bored, or had taken one too many punches to the head, but his interview comments made him sound dumb.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. The American Dream Dusty Rhodes

Special Guest Referee: Smokin’ Joe Frazier
In one of those bizarre, it-could-only-happen-in-the-80s moments, Dusty Rhodes came down wearing a silver and purple robe with purple smoke bellowing out and Prince’s Purple Rain (dubbed on the network) playing.

I mean, I love Prince, but it but just looked odd for Dusty.

Meanwhile, Flair came down in a hot pink robe that made him look like a drag queen.

The match started off well, got better, and was on the verge of turning into an all-time classic...

...Then Joe Fraizer got involved and the whole thing turned to hell.

Dusty got an admittedly nasty-looking cut in his eye that Fraizer kept stopping the match to check out the eye and eventually just stopped the match, awarding it to Flair.
Your Winner and Still NWA Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

If that had happened today there'd be very loud "BULLSH*T" chants and possible riots.

Post-Match Interviews

Backstage, Ric Flair told Tony Schiavone that he only cared about two things:

The title and his million-dollar cheque. He had both and was therefore happy.

After cutting to Sollie and Caudle, Schiavone then caught up with a very angry Dusty Rhodes who was unsurprisingly irritated at both Flair and Fraizer.

Finally, after the post-show credits, Fraizer himself cut another sloppy-arse promo in which he defended his terrible decision making.







Starrcade 1983 had been both historically important and critically acclaimed. Starrcade 1984 was neither.

Sure, only the Graham/McDaniel match was flat-out bad, but outside of the Blanchard/Steamboat match and the first two-thirds of the main event, nothing was particularly memorable. Then there was that ending, which was both infuriating and insulting.

Seriously, Starrcade 84 is not a show you necessarily need to spend any time with.



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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.