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Building The Ultimate Starrcade Card: A Puzzle Game

May 5, 2019 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.

Building The Ultimate Starrcade Card: A Puzzle Game

-Thanks to everyone for the comments on Building The Ultimate WrestleMania Card. I enjoyed putting that article and puzzle together so I’ve decided to continue on with the series. I’ll try to do each WWE show as long as there have been enough shows to justify it. The rest of the Big 4 will be no problem and I think there are enough of several other PPVs to make it work. I also realized I can do a few WCW shows and what better show to start with than the one that predated WrestleMania: Starrcade. A quick note as I am only using NWA/WCW Starrcade and ignoring the WWE versions of the show that have happened the last few years.

-For those who didn’t read the last column the idea is that you are building a super card by taking one match from each card in the history of the show. The rules are that no wrestler can be on the card more than once and certain title matches are required. Now with Starrcade in the early years under the NWA banner there were a bunch of regional title matches which I am not going to include because it would be impossible. So you won’t see the Brass Knuckles Title, Florida Heavyweight, Central States, etc. The titles that must be included are as follows: NWA World, NWA World Tag, United States, TV, WCW World, WCW Tag, Cruiserweight, WCW Hardcore, WCW Women’s, and WCW International World Heavyweight Title. My decision was to include every WCW Title as by that point we were past the regional titles, so that’s why the International Title and Hardcore titles were included. For those who want to take on the puzzle please feel free to post your cards in the comments section. Obviously with about half the matches, this one was much easier than the WrestleMania version.

1983: Dog Collar Match: Roddy Piper vs Greg Valentine (16:08)

-This one was an easy choice as I didn’t even think of using any other match on the card. There was a brief moment when I thought I would have to ditch this match and pick the TV Title (Charlie Brown and The Great Kabuki) but I was able to find a different TV match to use. Valentin and Piper had a great, hate filled brawl with Piper famously gushing blood from his ear. Great stuff all around with this match.

1984: NWA World Title: Ric Flair (c) vs. Dusty Rhodes (12:12)

-Obviously Flair was going to be used in my NWA Title Match as he was the draw that carried the show in the early years. The issue was which match to use and it came down to this one or his 88 match with Luger. Obviously the Luger match is the better match, but something seemed wrong with not getting Dusty Rhodes on this card. The TV Title caused me the most issue and I was going to use the Steamboat/Tully one from this show, but I hard another Tully match in mind.  So we get a clash between 2 of the most charismatic stars in the history of the business.

1985: US Title: I Quit Steel Cage Match: Tully Blanchard (c) vs. Magnum T.A. (14:43)

-Much like Piper/Valentine, this was a no brainer and had to included on this card. It also satisfied the US Title stipulation though that took some later matches away from me. No matter though as this is one of the greatest, violent, and hate filled matches you will ever see. The sound of the mic cracking Tully in the head as he yells out “no” is pretty awesome as is the ending with T.A. threatening to poke Tully’s eye out to force him to quit. Amazing stuff!

1986: NWA Tag Team Titles: Steel Cage: The Rock N Roll Express (c) vs The Andersons (20:20)

-Another one that was easy to pick and stayed on the card from start to finish, though it took Arn Anderson away from me which kind of made things more of a challenge as I got to the mid 90s shows. This match is a great old school, tag cage match with crazy crowd heat thanks to Ricky Morton doing Ricky Morton things.

1987: Unification Match: NWA TV Title and UWF TV Title: Nikita Koloff vs Terry Taylor (18:58)

-For whatever reason the TV Title became the hardest match for me to find a place on this card and I ended up picking this one nearly by default. It does have a cool bit of historic value by being a unification match between two different TV Titles and obviously the NWA one wins out since the UWF was purchased by Crocket just before this show.

1988: The Midnight Express vs The Original Midnight Express (17:46)

-This show had 3 different matches I debated on using and I ended up going with my 3rd choice. Originally this was going to be Luger/Flair for the NWA Title, but I really wanted to get Dusty on the show. Next I had this pegged as my TV Title Slot with Rick Steiner and Mike Rotunda, but I really wanted to save Steiner for a tag match with his brother. I did think about using the US Tag Title match just to get one of the old school titles on the card that I didn’t make a requirement, but I couldn’t pass up a MX/OMX tag match.

1989: The Steiner Brothers vs. The Road Warriors (7:27)

-This show is kind of a pain as it was the Iron Man Tournament with 4 tag teams and 4 singles wrestling in a round robin format in one night with points being awarded. It was a weird concept for the biggest show of the year and it wouldn’t be the last time Starrcade had a gimmick concept attached to it. With so few workers to chose from, I was left picking between this match or Luger vs Muta. I opted for this tag match because it’s The Steiners and Road Warriors. Two of the greatest tag teams of all time made this an easy choice.

1990: The Skyscrapers vs. The Motor City Mad Man and The Big Cat (1:01)

-Again, the biggest show of the year gets a gimmick attached as a lot of this card is eaten up by the Pat O’Connor Memorial International Cup Tag Team Tournament. This tag match though was not part of that tournament. I was originally just going to use a singles match with Tom Zenk and Bobby Eaton, but that went out the window when Eaton was put in the MX/OMX match. I wanted to get Luger on the card here, but his match with Hansen is for the US Title so that was not going to happen. So instead of picking one of the Tournament Tag matches, I went with this SQUASH match because The Skyscrapers were cool and it gets Sid on the card. Much like the Mania card, sometimes you have to settle for crap and if so, it might as well be short.

1991: Ricky Steamboat and Todd Champion vs. Cactus Jack and Buddy Lee Parker (7:48)

-A third straight Starrcade featuring a gimmick as this time we get Battle Bowl. This show featured random tag teams being formed based on a drawing and then the winners facing off in a show closing Battle Royal. Again, this show is supposed to be their WrestleMania and yet it was constantly hamstrung with gimmicks. Once again, I was looking for a way to get Luger on the card but his match was out thanks to Arn Anderson being involved. Another person missing is Vader and his match was also ruled out here as Rick Steiner was one of his opponents. With my options dwindling I went with this tag match because it gets Steamboat and Cactus Jack on the card. Vader and Luger get left off my card, but Champion, Parker, Big Cat and Motor City Mad Men all find a way on. Seems crazy, but that’s the way this thing kind of fell.

1992: The Great Muta and Barry Windham vs Brian Pillman and 2 Cold Scorpio (6:59)

-Battle Bowl is back and even that wasn’t enough as this show also includes the finals of the King of Cable Tournament. Admittedly that featured another in a series of awesome Vader/Sting matches. This is the one place I had a chance to get Vader on the card as he pulled double duty with a lethal lotter tag match, but that match didn’t have as many stars involved as the tag match I chose. Vader teamed with Dustin against The Barbarian and Kensuke Sasaki. Based on that you can see why I went with this tag match. Thankfully, this is the last we would see of Battle Bowl at Starrcade though the gimmick events weren’t finished.

1993: WCW International World Title: Rick Rude (c) vs The Boss (9:08)

-The only time this title was defended at Starrcade so it had to be used here. The only other match of note was Flair/Vader, but Flair was used in my NWA Title match. Again though, it didn’t matter as I had to use this match. Thankfully it gets two Hall of Famers on the card and Rude was being groomed as a top star before injuries ended his career. The Boss was also in the middle of a good run as he was about to start having some great big man battles with Vader. Their match here is rather short though with a slow, methodical pace it sure seemed longer.

1994: The Nasty Boys vs Harlem Heat (17:49)

-This show had quite a few matches I wanted to use, but stipulations prevented it. Again, no Vader as his match with Duggan is for the US Title. This would have been a great spot for the TV Title, but Arn was involved and I had him in the NWA Tag Title match. Sting and Hogan are both out as I have them saved for later. So that left me with this match, Mr T vs Kevin Sullivan (WOOF) or Jean-Paul Levesque vs Alex Wright. Now, while it was have been fun to include a green as grass HHH, it seemed more logical to include this match as these are two of the top teams in the 90s. You can also make the case that Harlem Heat is the greatest Tag Team in WCW history. The match going 18 minutes seem way long though.

1995: Eddie Guerrero vs. Shinjiro Otani (13:43)

-The final time Starrcade was tagged with a gimmick concept as this was WCW vs New Japan in the World Cup of Wrestling. I could have gotten Luger on the card here as he faced Chono in one of the other WCW/NJPW matches, but that match sucked and I went for quality and the chance to get Eddie on the show. This is a great match where Otani gets himself over with a crowd that had no clue who he was and Eddie was Eddie so go out and check this match out on the WWE Network.

1996: WCW Women’s Title: Madusa vs. Akira Hokuto (7:06)

-This was the finals of the Women’s Title Tournament and thus the only time the title was defended at Starrcade so it had to be included here. That means I again can’t get Luger on the card as his match with The Giant is out. It also kept me from using this show for my WCW Tag Title match which cost me The Outsiders. I would get Nash on the card later, but Hall didn’t make it.

1997: WCW World Title: Hollywood Hogan (c) vs. Sting (12:53)

-There was nothing else to consider here. Sure, most will complain about the match, how it was booked, and the fall out but this is peak WCW here with Hogan and Crow Sting delivering the biggest buyrate in company history in one of the most hyped matches of all time. This is WCW’s Hogan/Andre! Sadly, they didn’t give us as happy as an ending as Mania III did.

1998: WCW Cruiserweight Title: Kidman (c) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr vs. Juventud Guerrera (14:55)

-At this point I am down to 3 shows and still have 3 title matches to get on the card so it was a matter of just figuring which one to put where. 2000 didn’t have a CW Title match so I was left with this match or the 1999 match with Madusa and Evan Karagias. No way I was using that match even if I could (Madusa is in my Women’s Title Match) so I didn’t have any other choice. There was a second CW Title match on this show with Kidman and Eddie, but I used Eddie earlier. The benefit of this match besides it being pretty great, is that it also gets Rey Jr on the card.

1999: WCW Hardcore Title: Norman Smiley (c) vs. Meng (4:29)

-The Hardcore Title was actually defended on this show and again in 2000, so it lasted longer than I remembered. This one gets the nod as I still had to find a WCW Tag Title match and this show didn’t feature the tag titles. Norman was fun in this role though it was weird using a classic wrestler in this kind of environment but that’s Vince Russo for you. It’s also nice to get Meng on the card because, well, it’s Meng and why would you want to make him angry.

2000: WCW Tag Titles: The Insiders (c) vs. The Perfect Event (12:04)

-The final Starrcade and my last chance to use the WCW Tag Titles. The Insiders for those unaware are Kevin Nash and DDP as a play on The Outsiders. The Perfect Event is Stasiak and Palumbo who kind of sucked as a team and WCW soon found a better combination with Palumbo and O’Haire. The match was nothing to write home about, but it gets DDP and Nash on the card.

-As I mentioned this was much easier, with fewer headaches than the Mania card, but still had some challenges. Not getting Luger and Vader on the card kind of sucks and I’m sure someone will do it in the comments section, but I am satisfied with the card I built. There are some great matches on this card and some great star power as well. All totaled the matches clock in at 3 hours 33 minutes and 29 seconds. For those that try have fun with this and I think you will also find it was much easier than the Mania card. Thanks for reading and next time we tackle Money In The Bank.

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Robert Leighty Jr.