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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Starrcade ’87: Chi-Town Heat

October 2, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Starrcade ’87: Chi-Town Heat  

Starrcade ’87: Chi-Town Heat
by J.D. Dunn

This would be the first ever NWA pay-per-view, and it occurs just after Jim Crockett Promotions purchased the Universal Wrestling Federation.

  • November 26, 1987
  • Live from Chicago, Ill.
  • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross.

  • Opening Match: Sting, Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious) vs. Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner & Larry Zbyszko.
    Sting is already hugely over, even though he was just coming off his face turn. Sting and Steiner were a tag team under the tutelage of Eddie Gilbert. Gilbert accidentally cost them the UWF tag titles, and Sting didn’t take it well, so Gilbert double-crossed him. Hayes and Garvin are not yet the new version of the Freebirds. The crowd is ON FIRE tonight with even staredowns getting standing ovations. Steiner blindsides former partner Sting, but Sting knocks him to the floor and hits a freakin’ tope onto him. Big pop for that. Back in, Sting hits a missile dropkick for another huge pop. The faces blitz the heels, and the fans erupt. The arena may only be half full, but the people who did show up are on fire! Jimmy Garvin eventually gets caught in the wrong corner, which is the best use of him. Garvin takes a beating for a while, including a Gilbert abdominal stretch. Sting tags in and becomes the new face-in-peril. Sting rams Steiner into the buckle to escape a sleeper. HOT TAG TO HAYES! Hayes pummels the crap out of Gilbert and bulldogs Zbyszko. ONE, TWO—foot on the ropes. Steiner makes the save and puts Hayes in a bearhug with less than a minute remaining. That should signal the ending right there. Steiner belly-to-bellies Hayes, but Gilbert tags himself in. Hayes takes Eddie down with a sunset flip for ONE, TWO, TH-time expires at 15:00. Who in the hell books a draw in the opening match? It was going along fine in typical Mid-South fashion before that. I kind of wish they had done a Sting/Steiner blowoff, but it probably wouldn’t have been very good (wrestling-wise). **3/4

  • UWF Heavyweight Title: “Dr. Death” Steve Williams vs. Barry Windham.
    Williams was apparently very upset that he didn’t get a match with Flair or Garvin. You thought Booker T and Dallas Page got buried in the WCW/WWF invasion. They got nothing on Dr. Death. The UWF, even though it had higher ratings and was seen in more households, was under two years old at this point, so he didn’t really have an argument from a prestige standpoint. Anyway, this match features SPORTSMANSHIP~! which the Chicago fans piss on. They take it to the mat early and get so into their mat wrestling that they fall to the floor. They stare each other down, drawing a big pop, but Windham says they should get back in since they’re both babyfaces. Crowd hates that. Back in, Windham accidentally headbutts Williams in the groin on a leapfrog attempt, but he lets him recover. Fans hate that too. Finally, Windham misses a crossbody and tumbles all the way to the floor, smacking his head on the timekeeper’s table. He crawls back in and gets Oklahoma Rolled by an opportunistic Williams at 6:38. See, Williams is a dick because Windham gave him time to recover, but Williams didn’t when the tables were turned. The match was the last appearance of the UWF Title that meant anything. The title would be dissolved a month later, and Williams left for Japan when the Varsity Club fell through a few years later. Sadly, these guys, who are both quite good on their own, didn’t have much chemistry together. *

  • Scaffold Match, Non-Title: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette & Big Bubba Rogers).
    The Midnights are the U.S. Tag Champs, but they’re not on the line here. Bubba absolutely DRILLS Ricky Morton into the canvas with a Bossman Slam, turning the match into a 2-on-1 up top. Gibson holds his own until Ricky can recover, steal Corny’s tennis racket and go to town on Bubba with it. Morton evens things up, but it’s hard to have a match on a three-foot wide platform. Lots of punching. Someone takes a faceful of salt. Eaton steals the racket and prepares to swing, but Gibson hits him with the scaffold support. Stan Lane gets caught on the underside of the scaffold as Corny tosses the racket up to Eaton. Lane and Morton have a chickenfight on the bottom of the scaffold. Lane loses that battle and gets knocked the mat to eliminate him. The R&R catch Eaton in between them and paddle him like a stockbroker at a whorehouse. Eaton falls off at 10:28. After the match, Bubba wants him some of Morton, but Ricky kicks him in the nuts and runs away. Work smarter, not harder, kids. Scaffold matches tend to suck, and this one is no different. One good thing about TNA is that they managed to take a bad concept and improve it with Elevation X. *3/4

  • NWA TV Title vs. UWF TV Title: Nikita Koloff vs. Terry Taylor (w/Eddie Gilbert).
    Taylor had just turned heel after complaining about being screwed all the time. Eddie Gilbert sucked up to him for weeks on end, and Taylor finally took him on as a manager. Nikita no-sells EVERYTHING Taylor has to offer. Taylor runs away a lot and gets advice from Gilbert. Finally, after 10 minutes of throwing Taylor around like a rag doll, Nikita misses the Sickle and runs into the turnbuckle. Taylor takes over on offense, working the shoulder like a bastard. Bastards always work shoulders well. Taylor gets two off an atomic drop, but Earl Hebner catches him using his feet on the ropes. Nikita school boys Taylor as Taylor is arguing with the ref. Nikita chases after Taylor but gets whacked in the knee by Gilbert. Taylor applies the figure-four with an assist from Gilbert. Taylor gets caught and argues with the ref again. Gilbert chokes out Nikita behind Hebner’s back and sets up a doubleteam, but it backfires. That sets up the Sickle at 17:36. Koloff unites the NWA TV and UWF TV titles. Taylor was not unlike Flair in the ring, although maybe a little more versatile. This was just like a Flair/Nikita match right down to the twists in the story. Like Steve Williams, Taylor saw that there wasn’t much future for him with Crockett so he headed to the USWA and then to the WWF where he got very… cocky. Ha ha! ***

  • NWA Tag Team Championship: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon) vs. The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering).
    The Roadies had never won the NWA World Titles to this point, and the Horsemen had been bugs up their asses for months. It would make sense the Roadies win their first NWA World Tag Titles in their hometown of Chicago. Right? Arn basically spends the first few minutes poking at Hawk, trying to find a weakness. A brawl nearly erupts between the managers. Tully tries to bail, but Hawk runs him down and tosses him back in the ring for a dropkick. Tully gets slammed while coming off the top, so he brings in AA. Arn gets clotheslined out of his boots. The Horsemen try to doubleteam Hawk, but he double clotheslines them. This is just unmitigated slaughter. Finally, Arn clips Hawk’s knee out from under him on a press slam. Tully cracks Hawk’s leg with a chairshot behind the referee’s back. Back in, he slaps on the figure-four. Arn tags in and does his overhand knucklelock spot and gets crotched. Animal gets the hot tag and runs roughshod over the Horsemen until Tully trips him up. Tully shoves Referee Tommy Young to the outside. Animal backdrops Arn over the top. The Road Warriors knock Tully out of the ring and finish Arn with the Doomsday Device at 13:22 as Earl Hebner crawls in to count the pin. However, Tommy Young recovers and says that he saw Anderson going over the top. He reverses the decision and hands the belts back to the Horsemen. Horrible finish, and it was a stupid decision not to give the Roadies the titles here since they were one of the most over teams in history. ***1/4

  • NWA United States Championship, Steel Cage Match: Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes.
    If Rhodes loses, he’s suspended for 90 days. Former great Johnny Weaver is the special gatekeeper for the match. Schiavone says, “if you get ahead of yourself, it may be your ass.” Wow! My nipples are little hard there, Tee. Dusty goes for the Weaverlock (a version of the sleeper hold). Suck up. Rhodes gets it again, and Luger has to be calmed down by Dillon. Dusty goes to work on the arm, and Tony actually explains the psychology behind it. Luger comes back and busts Dusty open. He tries the torture rack, but Dusty grabs the mesh of the cage. Luger starts going after the arm, using Rhodes’ hair to maintain advantage. Earl Hebner gets bumped, allowing JJ to toss in a chair. Dusty is able to stop him and give him a DDT for the win and the title at 16:24. I’m not sure what the point of this was other than to give the fans a nice babyface win. What they didn’t anticipate is that Flair would be the babyface in the main event. *3/4

  • NWA Heavyweight Title, Steel Cage Match: Ron Garvin vs. Ric Flair (w/JJ Dillon).
    Garvin had a rather infamous title reign in the last half of 1987. I don’t think anyone really bought him as champion, despite his decent performances in Flair matches. It got to the point where many territories didn’t even bother to announce his appearances to the fans because no one cared. Word ’round the campfire is that Flair wanted to win the title at the big show, and Garvin was buddies with Dusty Rhodes (the bookerman), so they let Garvin have it for a few months. No wonder Vince won the first round with the NWA. Notice that Hogan never lost the title to Haku so he could get a high profile win. Garvin opens up with his “hands of stone,” chopping the bejesus out of the Nature Boy. The fans are rabidly behind Flair here and hate Ronnie with a passion. Well, okay, there are some fans that cheer the babyface by rote, but for 1987, Garvin is hated. He busts out the Garvin stomp. Flair goes low to turn the tide. Flair slaps on the figure-four leglock and plays red light/green light with Referee Tommy Young while grabbing the ropes. Garvin eventually rolls it over. Flair continues to target Garvin’s knee. Garvin limps back by tossing Flair facefirst into the cage. Flair gets busted open, and Ronnie bites the wound. Now Garvin goes for the figure-four. Flair makes the ropes, so Ronnie comes off the top with a crossbody for a close two. Flair tries to run, but Ronnie catches up with him near the top of the cage and shoves Flair off, crotching him on the top rope. Garvin goes for the same sunset flip off the top that garnered him the title in the first place, but Flair blocks and grabs the ropes. Tommy Young catches him, though. Young pays for that bit of insolence when Flair tosses Garvin into him. Garvin goes for a Thesz Press, but Flair catches him and rams his head into the cage, knocking Ron silly. That’s enough for the pin at 17:37. Garvin is maligned for not deserving the title run, but he was quite a solid wrestler and gave Flair something to work with. Much more physical than a lot of Flair matches from the same era. ***
  • The 411: The Chicago crowd was hot throughout, but the quality of the wrestling is somewhat middling. I like Garvin, but he just wasn't main event material, and the title match felt more like a placeholder than anything. The tag title and unification matches were good, but I can't quite say they're good enough to track this one down for. Kind of a middling show, all things considered.

    Neutral feelings.

    Final Score:  6.0   [ Average ]  legend

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