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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Starrcade ’89: Future Shock

November 26, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Starrcade ’89: Future Shock  

Starrcade ’89: Future Shock
by J.D. Dunn

So here’s the deal. After blowing off the Flair/Funk feud, they didn’t really have any money feud to put at the top of the card and didn’t have enough time to build one. Instead of building up to Starrcade, traditionally the biggest show of the year, they decided to use it to build to a future Ric Flair vs. Sting contest, which would be where the real money would be made.

The idea here is to showcase the top four singles wrestlers in the NWA by having them all face each other in a round robin tournament. Same with all the tag teams. From a long-term booking perspective, it’s a fine idea, but it makes for an uninspiring show as we’ll see.

Here are the rules: If you win via pinfall or submission, you get 20 points. If your opponent is counted out, you get 15 points. If your opponent is disqualified, you get 10 points. If it goes to a time-limit draw, you both get 5 points. All matches have 15 minute time-limits. Whoever has the most points at the end wins.

That convoluted scoring system alone makes this show hard to follow.

  • December 13, 1989
  • Live from Atlanta, Ga.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jim Cornette and Terry Funk.

  • Ross announces that the Skyscrapers are out of the tournament because Sid Vicious is injured.

  • Opening Match, Iron Team Tournament: Doom (w/Woman & Nitron) vs. The Steiner Bros.
    Nitron, for those who don’t already know, is Tyler Mane, who would go on to film fame as Sabretooth in the X-Men film and Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween. The Steiners dominate early as Ross and Cornette note the “late arriving” crowd. Scott misses a clothesline and falls to the floor where Nitron punches him right in the face. Back in, Doom #2 powerslams Scott. Doom works him over with a lot of clubbery. Rick gets the hot tag, though, and powerslams Doom #1. He decides not to go for the pin, though. Nitron trips him up from the floor and gets NAILED with a clothesline. That triggers a big brawl on the outside, and Rick Steiner narrowly sneaks in to give the Steiners the lame COR win at 12:26. The Steiners get 15 points. **

  • Iron Man Tournament: Sting vs. Lex Luger.
    Luger bails, so Sting chases him down and drags him back. He hits a flying crossbody for two. A dropkick gets two, and Sting goes up again. Luger catches him with an atomic drop, though, to take over. Luger dominates, and things start to get boring. A powerslam sets up the Torture Rack, but Sting slips out of the Rack. The Stinger hulks up and slugs his way back into the match. RUNNING… choke? Bizarre, awkward finish sees Sting clothesline Luger from the apron into the ring, but Luger grabs him and falls on top with a handful of ropes to pick up the win at 11:30. Woof. This sucked. They never got onto the same page. Luger gets 20 points. 3/4*

  • Iron Team Tournament: Doom (w/Woman & Nitron) vs. The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering).
    Most of this is clipped, which is fine by me. They trade power moves early, and we’re clipped to five minutes remaining. Doom #2 goes for a piledriver on Animal, but Hawk comes off the top with a flying clothesline to give the Warriors the win and 20 points at 3:01 (shown out of 8:31). [1/2*]

  • Iron Man Tournament: Ric Flair (w/Arn & Ole Anderson) vs. The Great Muta (w/Gary Hart).
    Muta’s got his work boots on early, blocking a hiptoss and thumbing Flair’s eye with catlike quickness. That sets up a handspring elbow, and they trade chops. Flair hits a kneebreaker and locks in the figure-four. Buzz Sawyer and The Dragonmaster run down, but the Andersons fend them off. Muta’s moonsault meets Flair’s knees. That sets up a small package at 1:55. I don’t even think there was clipping there. This brought Muta’s undefeated streak to an end. Gee, how epic. In retrospect, they probably could have just done Flair vs. an undefeated Muta as the main event of this show. 1/4*

  • Speaking of matches that could have headlined…
  • Iron Team Tournament: The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. The Steiner Bros.
    This was the one big money match that they had left, and this is the only time they’ve met that I know of. Scott does a nice counter when Animal picks up his heel. Rick gets a belly-to-belly suplex, but Hawk shows his own power with a Military Press on Scott. Scott belly-to-bellies Animal for two. Animal roars out of the corner with a clothesline. Scott nearly brains Hawk with a belly-to-belly superplex. Animal hurriedly tags in and grabs a bearhug. Animal hits a powerslam, triggering a big brawl. The Roadies hit a Doomsday Device into a backdrop suplex, but Scott gets his shoulder up at the last second to take the match at 7:25. Not a bad power match, but it could have been a huge epic tag in any other setting. **1/2

  • Iron Man Tournament: Sting vs. The Great Muta (w/Gary Hart).
    Muta goes to a half-nelson, but it’s quickly reversed by Sting. Nice counter as Muta backs Sting into the corner and hits a flipping mule kick. Sting goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Muta makes the ropes and rolls to the floor. Muta uses his residual mist to amplify a thumb to the eyes. CATTLE MUTILATION! Sting rolls it over and pummels Muta in the face. They chop it out. The moonsault misses, but Muta lands on his feet and hits a jumping spin kick. He goes up again, but Sting dropkicks him and crotches him. That sets up a superplex at 8:41. Sting hands Muta another loss and picks up 20 points. Not as good as their Great American Bash match.

  • So here’s where we are:

    Wrestler Rnd. 1 Rnd. 2 Rnd. 3 Total
    Ric Flair 20 0 0 20
    Sting 0 20 0 20
    Lex Luger 20 0 0 20
    The Great Muta 0 0 0 0

    Team Rnd. 1 Rnd. 2 Rnd. 3 Total
    Steiners 15 20 0 35
    Road Warriors 20 0 0 20
    Doom 0 0 0 0
    Wild Samoans 0 0 0 0
  • You may notice that the Samoans haven’t even wrestled yet. Why yes, that is a stupid structure for a round robin tournament, thanks for asking. Cornette explains that the Samoans are in the driver’s seat because they haven’t had to wrestle.
  • Iron Team Tournament: Doom (w/Woman & Nitron) vs. The Wild Samoans (w/Oliver Humperdink).
    We’re clipped all over the place. Doom #1 tosses the Samoan Savage to the floor. The Samoan sunset flips him for two. Doom plays the heels here, even though both teams are heels. The match breaks down into a four-man brawl. The Samoan collides with Doom #2, and Humperdink shoves the Samoan onto him for the win at 3:21. So Doom gets NOTHING. Woman is not pleased. *

  • Iron Man Tournament: Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger.
    The use of planted sign holders is *really* obvious here. We’re clipped to Luger stomping a mudhole. Gary Michael Capetta announces five minutes left, so we lost 10 minutes in the clipping. Luger Military Presses Flair. Flair reverses a suplex and hits his own. Flair gets two off a backslide as the countdown to the time-limit begins. Flair does the Flair Flip and shoves the cameraman off the apron. Luger catches Flair with a lariat on the way down. Flair sunset flips him for two as we hit the two-minute mark. They slug it out, and Flair goes up. Luger just grabs him and slams him off. Flair backdrop suplexes him and locks in the figure-four. Time expires at 6:10 (shown out of 15:00). The match is a draw, and both guys get five points. Not nearly as good as their earlier matches. **1/4

  • Iron Team Tournament: The Wild Samoans (w/Oliver Humperdink) vs. The Steiner Bros.
    We’re JIP to Scott playing face-in-peril. Rick keeps coming in, distracting the ref and allowing the Samoans to double-team. Steiner gets a backslide, but Rick has the ref so it only gets one. Finally, Scott comes back with a Frankensteiner. Ross thinks the Steiners might just try to hold out for the time-limit draw, which is one minute away. Rick Steiner hops in and destroys the Samoans. Ross thinks there’s a tag, but apparently there wasn’t as the Steiners get disqualified with less than a minute to go. Only about four minutes shown out of 14:05. [**]

  • Iron Man Tournament: Lex Luger vs. The Great Muta (w/Gary Hart).
    Luger limps to the ring. Surely, Muta would win this one against a weakened Luger. We’re clipped to Muta hitting a handspring elbow and going after the leg. Luger is playing face here, but the fans are cheering for Muta because he’s so damned cool. Muta locks in the Mutalock at one point, and a half-crab. Luger comes back with a clothesline, and they slug it out. Muta sunset flips him, but Luger uses the ropes to block. The ref catches him this time. Luger powerslams Muta and tries to pick him up in the Rack. Luger’s leg buckles, though, and Muta just mists him for the DQ at 7:08. Horrible finish (in a string of them). The match had to end this way, though, because a clean finish would have given Luger the tournament win and made Sting/Flair meaningless. The match is actually what the set up to a much better match would look like. **1/4

  • Iron Team Tournament: The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. The Wild Samoans (w/Oliver Humperdink).
    If anything other than a Road Warrior pinfall or submission happens, the Samoans win the tournament. Well, Cornette says the Samoans and Steiners would be tied in the event of a time-limit draw, but certainly you could use head-to-head as tiebreaker. Hawk no-sells a piledriver and slugs it out with Fatu. Animal powerslams Fatu, and things get really ugly. Animal runs straight at Fatu, forgets what he was going to do, and winds up hitting an elbow between the eyes. They go for a backdrop, but Animal thinks Fatu is trying to headbutt him in the groin, so that’s what he sells. Thankfully, Hawk finishes Fatu with a flying clothesline at about 5:20. Ech! Pretty sloppy. 1/4*

  • So here are the final standings.

    Team Rnd. 1 Rnd. 2 Rnd. 3 Total
    The Road Warriors 20 0 20 40
    Steiner Bros 15 20 0 35
    Wild Samoans 20 10 0 30
    Doom 0 0 0 0
  • The Steiners congratulate the Roadies on their win.
  • And for the singles side, it looks like this.

    Wrestler Rnd. 1 Rnd. 2 Rnd. 3 Total
    Lex Luger 20 5 10 35
    Ric Flair 20 5 ? 25
    Sting 0 20 ? 20
    The Great Muta 0 0 0 0
  • So, if Sting wins with a pinfall or submission, he wins the tournament. If Flair wins with a pinfall, submission or countout, he wins the tournament. If they tie, Luger wins. If Sting gets disqualified, Luger and Flair have to wrestle in a tiebreaker. Ah, the joys of the Modified Stableford Scoring System.
  • Iron Man Tournament: Ric Flair vs. Sting.
    Both guys are members of the now-babyface Four Horsemen along with the returning Andersons. Sting dominates early, causing Flair to get a little pissed and get in his face about it. Flair bails, and Sting gives chase. Back in, Sting gets two off a backslide, but Flair unloads the chops on him. Flair reverts to his heel act, whipping Sting into the railing. Great commentary as up-until-now-babyface-commentator Terry Funk starts in with an “I told you so,” harping on Flair’s cheating. Flair gets a number of nearfalls off rollups and argues with the ref. Suddenly, Sting gets pissed and stalks Flair around the ring. Flair cuts off a sunset flip with a fist to the face. Flair tries more chops, but Sting absorbs them and backs Naitch into a corner. Stinger Splash! Scorpion Deathlock! Flair quickly makes the ropes and hits a kneebreaker. That sets up the figure-four. Sting makes the ropes, but Flair hits another kneebreaker with about a minute left. Instead of going for the win, Flair tries to snap Sting’s leg with a splash on it. Flair goes for the figure-four, but Sting reverses to a small package to win the match and the tournament at 14:55. I loved the play on the characters with Flair gently edging toward the heel role until he was a full heel. ***1/4

  • After the match, The Andersons stalk back down to ringside. Everyone expects the beatdown, but they congratulate Sting on a job well-done instead. That wouldn’t last long.
  • The 411: You'd think focusing on the top four superstars and top four tag teams for an entire show would make for some entertainment, but you'd be wrong. The bookers found themselves hamstrung by the stipulations into creating uninteresting finishes where no one comes out ahead. Both Muta and Doom got buried here, and it would lead to Muta leaving the promotion a few weeks later and Doom getting an overhaul. The one good note is that the table was now set for Sting versus Flair. Nothing can screw that up… can it?

    Thumbs down here.

    Final Score:  4.5   [ Poor ]  legend

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