wrestling / Video Reviews

Going Old School: Starrcade ’93

March 30, 2008 | Posted by Matt Adamson
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Going Old School: Starrcade ’93  

December 27th 1993 would signal the end of an abysmal year for WCW. The takeover by Eric Bischoff as the head hauncho around those parts didn’t go as well as planned, but things were in the works. Ric Flair had returned, but a lot of poor decisions meant that his return didn’t make much of an impact until late in the year. In fact, Ric Flair wasn’t even booked to work in the main event of this event, but thanks to Sid Vicious stabbing Arn Anderson and subsequently getting fired, things were changed. This would be the first standard wrestling card run for Starrcade since 1988, and it would be a welcomed though not permanent change.

December 27th 1993 from the Independence Arena in Charlotte, NC, in front of a crowd of 8,200 fans.

Starrcade 1993

Hosts: Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura

The shows starts with a nice little package of Flair’s career, but it misses a lot of the earliest stuff, say the first 7 years. There needs to be more out there of Flair from 76-82.

2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell vs. Paul Orndorf & Paul Roma

Here we are post-horsemen Paul Roma and his worth is all but gone. If you haven’t seen the Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen DVD, pick it up just to hear Paul Roma talk completely out of his ass. Prior to the match starting, Teddy Long, who is with the baby faces accepts an award for manager of the year. Yeah, if he deserved that I’m Harley Race (who should have handily won this shit).

The match is a real let down. Lots of stalling from the heels and The Assassin is just there to take up a lot of space as manager, at least until the end. Lots of basic wrestling moves and nobody looks motivated. You’d think Flair just announced he was skipping out on the show the way these four capable wrestlers were phoning it in. Hell, even Scorpio did little to entertain. The match ends when Assassin loads his mask and hits Scorpio with it allowing Orndorf to get the pin. Nothing exciting… at all.

Winners: Paul Orndorf & Paul Roma
Match Rating: *1/4

Mean Gene goes to Ric’s place and the acting is on as his family pretends to be upset that he is leaving and the only person with HALF of the necessary skills for acting is Ric himself. Gene is just horrible in every imaginable way. That more or less means he was being his normal self. Awful segment, but it worked at the time to get the women and children all emotional.

Awesome Kong vs. Shockmaster

Oh god no! In 1993 there were few combinations of wrestlers that could possibly have been as bad as this one. By this point Shockmaster was doing his clumsy construction worker gimmick, which was based on his blowing the star trooper gimmick by falling through a wall on accident on to his face. Awesome Kong is fat, that’s about all.

The match is awful, It’s the immovable object meeting the irresistible… oh wait, no, meeting another immovable object. So basically like a monster truck battle, but a squash type monster truck battle. Wow, I think my IQ just dropped suddenly. Alright, if this match wasn’t so short you can bet I’d be fast forward this sucker. Match ends when Tugboat slams Kong and gets the pin. Wow, that was bad.

Winner: Shockmaster
Match Rating: BOO!!!

Damn, Gene Okerlund is terrible.

World Television Championship: Lord Steven Regal © vs. Ricky Steamboat

Regal was new to WCW at this point but was already well established as a major heel in the company. His presence was always bigger than it was ever given credit for and it seemed like he got a lot of TV time during this run. Regal won the title at Fall Brawl from Steamboat who had just won the title a month prior at Clash of the Champions XXIV (the one with the Shockmaster debut… awesome!). Steamboat was underappreciated during much of 1993, staying in the TV title hunt, but not getting out of it much after his World Tag Title run with Shane Douglas. When Ric Flair took the reigns in 1994, things dramatically changed for Steamboat and for the better.

The match is not exactly interesting and while Steamboat tried his usual psychology, it didn’t work within the confines of the 15 minute time limit. This really hurt the match and the commentators even pointed it out. The match doesn’t go anywhere, but Steamboat works the hell out of the arm. Toward the end it picks up with some good mat wrestling and time limit psychology from Regal who tries to run out the clock. He is successful and the time limit expires and Regal retains.

Winner: Time Limit Draw
Match Rating: **

Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce vs. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne

Cactus Jack is fresh off his second ever main event run. This time is was the amnesia angle and feud with Vader and Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal. I’d consider this a bit of a demotion, though it wouldn’t last. I don’t recall Mick’s book, but he trashed on Flair’s booking of him, and truthfully I think early 1994 was one of Mick’s best periods when with WCW. You may know Tex Slazenger as Phineas Godwinn or Mideon. Shanghai Pierce is Henry Godwin under a mask. Maxx Payne is a guitar wielding Man Mountain Rock. Man, just superstars galore and that hack Mick Foley.

The match isn’t bad. Payne and Cactus do some decent tag psychology to spice things up, but it doesn’t do much to help. There is a lot of action and they all try and quicken the pace of the match from what you’d expect. Hell, I think they all just about tried a high spot which was fun to watch. So far the best match of the show. Duoble-Arm DDT on Pierce gets the win for Cactus Payne. Not as bad as you’d think, but messy at times. I was entertained somewhat and THAT my friends, is the most important thing.

Winners: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne
Match Rating: **1/4

Kyle Petty gets on the mic and talks about Flair retiring. WHA? That was 14+ years ago and it STILL hasn’t happened.

United States Heavyweight Championship/Two out of Three Falls: Dustin Rhodes © vs. Steve Austin

Steve Austin had arrived in my mind by the time this show happened. His run with the Hollywood blondes and the fact that he had been an important part of just about every single show since mid-1991 was enough to make a believer out of me. 1993 was an up and down year for him, but the down was only the result of not being booked as a full-time main eventer. Dustin Rhodes as usual had a good 1993 and had spent almost the entire year as U.S. Champion. The problem though was that the title really lost some momentum during the year and felt about as important as the TV title.

Fall One: The first fall of this match is just short of torture. Dustin Rhodes absolutely killed any momentum Austin or Col. Parker tried to get. It was just a bomb of a fall. Rest hold was the name of the game for this match and this first fall is just loaded. Was Dustin tanking it because he was losing the title. It certainly appeared that way as he was capable of FAR better at this point, especially with somebody like Austin. The fall ends when Rhodes is DQ’d for throwing Austin over the top rope. Wow, thanks.

Fall Two: A slightly better fall, but it doesn’t really do nearly enough to help this match out in any way. The lights go out in the arena for much of the fall and are turned on just in time for the finish. Austin rolls up Rhodes, grabs the tights and get the three count and the U.S. Title. This would be a great booking decision.

Winner and NEW Champion: Steve Austin
Match Rating: ¾*

WCW International World Heavyweight Championship: Rick Rude © vs. The Boss

Rick Rude had won the title from Ric Flair at Fall Brawl and the NWA didn’t like the choice and didn’t recognize the change or some shit. So, WCW calls the big gold belt the “World Title” Don’t they already have one of those? The Boss is Ray Traylor, or The Big Bossman. He wasn’t quite the spy big man he was in say, 1990 and 1991, so I’m not expecting much from this match.

Watching this match was JUST short of being as brutal as the Shockmaster match from earlier in the show. Rude does what he can to make it interesting, but he stalls far too much. The Boss is SLOW AS HELL, like slower than Batista was before the Undertaker feud. Nothing about this match stands out and I actually fall asleep watching it. When I wake up I rewind to where I remember and realize I’ve missed nothing. Match ends when Rude gets a Sunset Flip on The Boss for the three. Yikes, I never want to watch that again.

Winner: Rick Rude
Match Rating: ¼*

World Tag Team Championship: The Nasty Boys © vs. Sting and Road Warrior Hawk

The Nasty Boys were the proverbial tag team of 1993, which tells you exactly how rockin’ WCW was in 93. It’s funny because they would be in two of the best matches of 1994, but we can all thank Mick Foley, Man Mountain Rock and The Taskmaster for those gems. Sting had been a mid-carder for a lot of 1993. He feuded with “The Prisoner” for one and just wasn’t pushed like he had been for the last 3 years. This would change somewhat in 1994, but Hulk Hogan would come along and steal all the glory. Road Warrior Hawk was just kinda there sometimes.

The match was HORRIFICALLY LONG! It gets about 30 minutes of WASTED TIME! I actually got angry at the end of this match. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s say this. Of the 30 minutes put into this match 20 minutes is filled with rest holds, 5 of botched spots and the other 5 minutes dedicated to repeating said blown spots. These blown spots include the finish as Sting and Hawk are about to hit a doomsday device when Missy fucking Hyatt runs in and the DQ is called. I have a feeling it wasn’t supposed to end in such a shitty fashion. What an absolutely terrible match. Sting tried to hold it together but he made his own mistakes. Amazingly it’s not even the SECOND WORST match on the show, but its damn close.

Winners: Sting and Hawk by DQ (Nasties retain the titles)
Match Rating: ½*

World Heavyweight Championship: Vader © vs. Ric Flair

Ric Flair had come back to WCW early in the year, but had to wait until mid-year to start wrestling. He won the NWA title at Beach Blast and went on to lose it. He was more or less a mid-carder after that, which is just out Bischoff liked it. Vader had held the title for the entire year with exception of some title change with Sting in Europe. Who knows why that happened in the first place. This was originally supposed to be Vader vs. Sid Vicious, and had that been the case, this might very well have been the single worst Starrcade ever up to this point, but Vader and Flair were about to save the entire show.

My expectation going into this match was that they would have a serious clash of styles, but would be able to put on a decent match. The match itself turned out to be one of, if not the single best match from WCW or WWF in 1993 and was a great bit of storytelling. If you like storytelling in a match, this is one of the best there is. Flair would retire if he lost and Vader seemed unstoppable. Huge big match feel and the psychology is there. Flair attempts to outsmart and tear Vader down, while Vader tries to overpower and destroy a much smaller Flair. The match goes into detail in regard to small vs. big man and both play their roles perfectly. The only problem comes at the finish. I don’t exactly know what is supposed to have happened, but Flair ends up clipping Vaders knee and rolling him up for three and the title. 10 years after the first Starrcade and Flair is doing the exact same thing. This was brilliant angle and aside from the finish a nearly perfect match. Do not neglect yourself the privilege of seeing this match, even if it’s not perfect.

Winner and NEW Champion: Ric Flair
Match Rating: ****1/4

The 411: This show was one stabbing away from being among the worst Pay Per View’s I’ve ever seen. Thanks to Ric Flair and Vader it was barely worth sitting through 2+ hours of garbage for a bit of brilliance. As a whole I cannot recommend this show at all. Hell, it took me near a month to finish the review because I was so damn bored I had to turn it off so many times. Save yourself the torture and watch the Flair vs. Vader match somewhere else. A terrible end to a terrible year.
Final Score:  4.0   [ Poor ]  legend

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Matt Adamson

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