Classic Wrestling Review: Starrcade ’90

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Starrcade

December 16, 1990

Kiel Auditorium

St. Louis, Missouri

After enduring months of fake-outs and cheap magic shows, Sting will finally get his hands on the Black Scorpion. The two will face off in a Cage Match for the NWA Title, but if The Scorpion loses, he has to unmask. To ensure this match goes off without a hitch, WCW appointed wrestling legend, Dick the Bruiser, to be the special ref. We all know how guest refs tend to do at Starrcade. Here’s hoping we don’t get a repeat of Gene Kiniski or Joe Frazier.

WCW also set up the Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament for this event. Pat O’Connor was a legendary wrestler from the Missouri area. He had died the previous August and WCW wanted to honor him. The tournament pits teams from around the world against each other to determine the Tag Team Champions of the Universe! I’m looking at the lineup for this tournament and I don’t see any other planets represented. I get the feeling the universe doesn’t sanction this title nor the WWE’s Universal Title. If these wrestling companies keep this up, we’re going to be invaded by some angry alien pro-wrestlers.

Another storyline for this event was the continued feud between Doom and The Four Horsemen. Flair & Anderson were supposed to get a rematch, but Ric was attacked in a limo by Teddy Long’s goons, which put his participation into question. Also, Lex Luger looks to regain his U.S. Title from Stan Hansen, but this time it will be a Texas Lariat Match.

The show opens with stars and asteroids flying across the screen. I think they’re asteroids. This is 90s graphics, so they sort of look like oat clusters. Pictures of different WCW wrestlers also fly across the screen before they open on a shot of the Kiel Auditorium, which is a gorgeous looking venue. I’m a mark for unique looking arenas and this one has a cool looking ceiling. Jim Ross welcomes everyone to St. Louis and he is joined again by Paul E. Dangerously. Ross also says hello to the fighting men and women in Operation Desert Shield. Paul E. then talks about the main event and says we will either find out who the Black Scorpion is or there will be a new champion. Ross then talks about the Pat O’Connor tournament and the rest of the matches.

Then, Gary Cappetta introduces legendary St. Louis wrestling promoter, Sam Muchnick. Sam takes the mic, but it stops working for a moment. It’s fixed just in time to hear Sam talking about promoting at the Kiel Auditorium for 37 years. He calls wrestling the world’s oldest sport. That’s technically true, but pro-wrestling is kind of a different animal. He then thanks everyone who invited him there and says he knows it will be a good card. Then, he kisses up to the crowd for a moment and welcomes everyone to St. Louis.

After Sam leaves, Cappetta introduces a military color guard for the national anthem. He asks everyone to stand, but the song has already started playing. You can tell that Gary is annoyed by the miscue.

Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. Z-Man

Bobby Eaton is on his own now that Cornette and Stan Lane left. I almost feel bad for him, but good things are coming within the next year. As Bobby makes his way to the ring, we get our first look at the Starrcade stats. The stats are infographics that tell the audience a little about the wrestlers. They are a fountain of amusement tonight because WCW didn’t proofread them. Eaton’s stats say that he’s from The Dark Side (formerly Huntsville, AL). I wasn’t aware that Huntsville had changed its name. The stats also say that he likes to create offense off the top rope. Is that some sort of weird arts and crafts hobby? Z-Man is out next. The cameraman is behind him and Zenk invites him to follow. He has to do some convincing. I don’t blame the cameraman for being hesitant. Zenk’s stats say he’s on a 35-match winning streak. He must have been busy since Vader flattened him at the Bash. The stats also say that he likes to utilize a dropkick from the top rope—if possible. That doesn’t sound too confident. Jim Ross reads off the stats and then declares that Zenk is a bachelor. Are these stats supposed to be dating profiles??

They start by fighting into the corner for a clean break a couple of times before Z-Man grabs an arm wringer. He then hits a couple of shoulder blocks and a springboard cross body, so Eaton retreats into the corner. They do some mat wrestling, but Eaton shoves Zenk into the ropes. Z-Man answers by—clumsily running into him. Eaton audibly yells, “What was that!?” The two men go through some holds and reversals until Eaton sends Zenk to the ramp. Bobby tries to suplex him inside, but Z-Man reverses it. Ross has to cover for this not being a DQ by explaining that it only counts if both men are in the ring. However, Ross can’t explain away why Zenk stupidly tries a cover on the ramp. Eaton cuts off a Zenk comeback and manages to hit the Alabama Jam, but he doesn’t cover him. Zenk gets up way faster than he should have and Eaton misses a corner charge. Zenk responds with a back drop and then does a jumping splits while letting out a loud squawk. I feel like Z-Man isn’t taking this match seriously. Eaton returns fire with a swinging neckbreaker and dives off the top, but Zenk hits a weak superkick. Z-Man then goes to the top and attempts—a missile dropkick? I’m not sure because he missed and it was sloppy. He lands hard, so Eaton rolls him up for the win.

If Z-Man phoned this match in any harder, he would have been charged long distance. Eaton looked crisp, but Zenk looked like a goof. It wasn’t a very good opener. It’s not Eaton’s fault. I felt bad for him.

Winner: Bobby Eaton (8:45)

Tony Schiavone welcomes the ref for the main event, Dick the Bruiser. Dick calls himself the champion of cage matches and says he’s heard there’s more than one Black Scorpion. Based on the low gravelly voice of Dick, I thought he was the Scorpion for a moment. He also says that he knows there will be a cage. Well done, Dick. He assures Sting will get a fair shake and says he will make sure there’s a winner and it’s square! His voice is so rough that I thought he said, “It’s Flair.” That’s silly. We all know Ric Flair isn’t in the main event—right?

Cappetta then announces a parade of nations to begin the Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament. Models walk the runway with some of the most 90s looking hairstyles imaginable. They carry the different flags of each country. Every country that isn’t the U.S. gets mild boos, especially the U.S.S.R.

Quarterfinals:

Team USA: The Steiner Brothers vs. Team South Africa: Col. DeKlerk & Sgt. Krueger

The South African team enter first. I immediately question the validity because DeKlerk is clearly Rocco Rock of the Public Enemy. I wasn’t aware that South Africa had a Philadelphia. I’m told that Krueger is Matt Borne, but he is nearly unrecognizable in this role. The Steiners enter next and their Starrcade stats say they’re the #1 seed because they’re the U.S. Tag Champs. It also says they attended the University of Michigan, but Paul E. calls them illiterate. Ross reminds him they graduated, but Paul says it was on an athletic scholarship.

Rick and Sgt. Krueger start the match and Krueger quickly hits a back suplex and an elbow for a 1 count. Krueger then blocks a roll-up, but Rick answers with a Steinerline. Rick then makes the mistake of ducking for a back drop and gets kicked, so Krueger tags DeKlerk. They try to double team Rick, but he hits a double Steinerline. However, DeKlerk gets the drop on him and sends him out of the ring with a spinning wheel kick. DeKlerk then attempts a somersault plancha. He nearly misses and Rick saves his life by catching him and gently dropping him. Rick laughs about it, but Krueger drops an elbow onto him. They fight into the ring again and DeKlerk misses a clothesline, so Rick tags Scott. He slams both men and hits DeKlerk with a tilt-a-whirl slam before hitting a Frankensteiner for the win—with a 2 count?? Scott got up too early, but the ref calls for the bell anyway.

It was short, but they packed in enough nice moves to make it decent—until that finish. I certainly hope that bad refereeing won’t be the theme of the night, but I have a bad feeling.

Winners: Team USA (2:12)

Quarterfinals:

Team Mexico: Konan & Rey Mysterio vs. Team Great Britain: Chris Adams & Norman Smiley

Team Great Britain enter first and they’re at least legit. The team consists of Gentleman Chris Adams and Norman Smiley. Sadly, there will be no big wiggle from Smiley on this show, but I am glad to see Norman. His partner, Adams, made a name for himself in the U.S. as part of WCCW in Dallas. He also helped to train Steve Austin, among others. The Starrcade stats say he helped popularize the superkick, which is called a dangerous weapon. Wouldn’t that make it illegal? Team Mexico enter next. The team is Konan, who is still wearing a mask, and Rey Mysterio (Senior). This is Rey Jr.’s uncle. He passed the tradition down to Rey, hence the reason he’s called junior despite not being his son. Mysterio’s name is misspelled on the graphic. It says, “Mysteric.” Ross even calls him by the wrong name, but he quickly corrects himself. Team Mexico’s Starrcade stats continue the poor grammar by saying, “Wrestling style very unique.” Someone in the WCW graphics department is getting fired. They enter the ring and Konan walks in front of the camera. It appears that he’s growing a small mountain range on his back because he has the worst back acne I’ve ever seen.

Mysterio and Smiley start the match and soon Team Mexico has him in a double top wristlock. He arm drags his way out of it, but they return with a double clothesline. Smiley then tries a headstand, but Team Mexico try to wishbone him. Adams comes in and dives over Smiley before hitting a dropkick to both men. Team Mexico regroups and Adams faces off with Mysterio, who slaps him. Adams answers back with a knee to the gut and a nice superkick that sends Mysterio out of the ring. As Rey regroups, Paul E. jokes about Konan’s parents meeting while trying to pick-pocket each other. Ross replies that Heyman needs a yappendectomy. Konan and Smiley face each other and try a test of strength, but Konan transitions into a springboard arm drag and a head scissors takeover. However, Konan ducks for a back drop and Smiley hits a fisherman’s suplex. Smiley and Konan fight back and forth and Konan nearly gets him on an assisted backslide. Adams comes in and Team Mexico attempt to hit a double Russian leg sweep, but Smiley hits them with a dropkick. Mysterio then flies out of the ring on a missed charge, so Adams superkicks Konan into a bridging German suplex by Smiley. Konan and Smiley then reverse through some holds and Adams tries a running clothesline, but Konan sends Adams out to the commentary table. Paul E. jokes that it was nice of him to drop in for a visit. Konan then sets Smiley on the top rope and hits a reverse suplex followed by a jackknife pin for the win.

This was pretty fun for a short match. They had a lot of cool moves that weren’t common in American wrestling, but the fans sadly didn’t seem to care. That’s one of the downsides of an international tournament with little build.

Winners: Team Mexico (5:29)

After the match, Mysterio tries to hit a slingshot plancha onto Adams, but Chris moves. Mysterio splats hard on the ground and Ross speculates that he might be injured.

Missy Hyatt is with Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York (I’ll explain more when we get to their match). Ross jokes that Missy is wearing an atom bomb dress because there’s 50% fallout. Missy says that Wallstreet was featured in the money section of USA Today. This was a legit article, but it was mostly tongue-in-cheek. That didn’t stop WCW from touting the publicity. Missy also says that York’s computer predicted that Wallstreet would beat Terry Taylor in less than eight minutes and thirty-two seconds, which angered Taylor. Alexandra replies that everything Missy said was accurate, except one thing. She says the computer doesn’t deal in predictions. It deals in fact. York then says they warned Taylor and she’s proud to be employed by the most talked about man in professional wrestling and business. Wallstreet follows up by calling himself the news and telling Taylor that he will be yesterday’s news. Somewhere, Dusty Rhodes calls out, “No, baby! It’s yesterday’s newspaper! Get it right!”

Quarterfinals:

Team Japan: Mr. Saito & The Great Muta vs. Team New Zealand: The Royal Family

The Royal Family enter first and they’re wearing Three Musketeer-looking outfits. The team is comprised of Jacko Victory and Rip Morgan. Their Starrcade stats say they’ve wrestled extensively around the world, especially in America. I’ll say! I’m fairly certain that Jack Victory is from New Jersey, not New Zealand! Team Japan is out next and I’m happy to see The Great Muta is back. Let’s hope WCW books him better this time. He’s joined by Mr. Saito, who looks like he’s ready for some McDonalds. Their Starrcade stats has a random line that simply says, “High-flying attack.” You should always be aware of THE HIGH-FLYING ATTACK!! The crowd starts chanting, “Muta.” I’m glad to see they haven’t forgotten him.

Victory and Muta begin the match. They fight to a stalemate, as Ross admits that Victory is from New Jersey, but he now represents New Zealand. I’m sure the people of New Zealand are so proud. Victory hits a shoulder block and puts the brakes on a roll-up, but Muta dropkicks him to the ramp. Muta and Jack then both tag out, so Saito and Morgan face each other. Morgan and Victory both try their hands against Saito, but he hits a snap suplex and locks Victory in an armbar. Saito keeps control until Victory rakes the eyes and tags Morgan. Muta comes in and ends up hitting a back kick and snap elbow drop before tagging Saito, who attempts a Scorpion Deathlock. I’m surprised they let him use that on a show where Sting is in the main event. Victory ends up kicking Saito in the back and then the Royal Family use a ref distraction to work Saito over on the floor. Victory and Morgan hit a double back elbow, but Morgan misses a second rope leg drop. Muta comes in and hits Victory with the handspring elbow, but all four men end up brawling. Victory holds Saito for Morgan, but Saito ducks and Morgan clotheslines Jacko by mistake. Victory stumbles back into a bridging German suplex by Muta for the 3 count. However, Victory’s arm was up. Nick Patrick had to pull Jack’s arm down into position before administering the count. Is Nick Patrick corrupt!? Nah, he couldn’t be.

This was a decent little match until that awkward finish. What is with the bad refereeing on this show? It’s starting to become an ongoing joke.

Winners: Team Japan (5:41)

Paul E. gets a word with Team Japan. Muta is sucking on his fingers, for some reason, so Heyman talks to Saito. He tells him they have to be concerned with either the Mexicans or the, “Soviet Unions.” There’s more than one of them now!? Saito replies that he doesn’t care about Mexicans, Unions, or Luchians (Huh??). I think that’s what he said. Saito then says they’re the best. Paul E. asks what will happen if they face The Steiners in the finals. Saito calls them puny and soft and again calls Japan the best in the world.

Then, they show a replay of the end of the match, which blatantly shows Patrick holding down Victory’s arm. Ross seems to notice because he somewhat stumbles through his commentary.

Quarterfinals:

Team U.S.S.R.: Salman Hashimikov & Victor Zangiev vs. Team Canada: Danny Johnson & Troy Montour

Team Canada enters first. Is this really the best team they could find? Were some of the Hart brothers busy? Didn’t Owen Hart have a short run on WCW TV around this time? The team consists of Danny Johnson, in full Native American garb, and Troy “Don’t call me Mantaur” Montour. Their Starrcade stats say they won the Canadian tournament in a major upset. I’m guessing that means Canada was majorly upset about it. The Soviet team enters next and a fan throws some trash. In case you were wondering, Zangiev indeed inspired the Street Fighter character. He was a legit Olympic wrestler for the Soviets and NJPW brought him in to be a pro-wrestler. They enter the ring and Zangiev removes his jacket to reveal body hair that would make even Miguel Perez say, “Whoa, you need to shave!” He’s also wearing an unfortunate singlet that’s about a size too small.

Johnson and Zangiev start the match. They fight over an armbar before Zangiev hits a double-leg takedown and locks in a bow and arrow stretch. Montour breaks up the hold, so Zangiev hits an arm drag. Johnson turns it into a head scissors, but Zangiev flips out and hits a belly-to-belly suplex that plants Johnson on his face. Johnson is somehow alive and fires back with a double chop to the throat before tagging Montour. Hashimikov tags in and they fight into the corner a few times. Salman eventually hits an overhead belly-to-belly and turns it into an armbar. The ref is confused and counts Montour’s shoulders down on the mat. Troy kicks out at two, but the ref says screw it and counts the three anyway.

Okay, is this a rib!? The refereeing on this show is so bad that this has to be a joke! This was an awkward match and the finish made it worse. The Soviets looked decent, but the Canadians were a clumsy mess. This was not good.

Winners: Team USSR (3:54)

Tony is in the locker room with Sting, who is tying his boots. Tony says they’re moments away from the main event. Was this promo supposed to go on later? Sting asks who would have ever believed something like this would happen. I believe the answer is Ole Anderson. Sting then says his head is very clear and he knows exactly what he needs to do. He says that people have told him he hasn’t been Sting lately. He claims Sting left for a while, but he’s back now and he’s going to find out who the Scorpion is, once and for all. He then tells people they can tell that he means what he says by looking into his eye and listening to the tone of his voice. I did both and all I can tell is that he’s very annoyed by all of this.

Next, they recap the Wallstreet/Taylor feud. They show a clip from World Championship Wrestling of Paul E. interviewing Terry Taylor. Wallstreet and York arrived and made their claim about beating Taylor. Terry replied that no system is infallible and they all have kinks. He then says that Alexandra is the kink in their system. She slaps him and he becomes angry, but Paul E. tells Terry he can’t hit a lady. Taylor replies that she’s no lady while York holds back Wallstreet. Alexandra tells Michael that they’re not being paid to fight and then tells Taylor to conduct himself more professionally.

Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York) vs. Terry Taylor

Mike Rotunda thankfully no longer thinks he’s a boat captain. Now, he thinks he’s Gordon Gekko. He changed his name to Michael Wallstreet and joined forces with Alexandra York (Terri Runnels), who claims she has a computer that can determine any wrestler’s weakness. Together, they formed a group called The York Foundation. Wallstreet would go on a winning streak, thanks to the computer, and now he’s feuding with Terry Taylor.

Before the match, Cappetta introduces a special ring announcer. His name is Mickey Garagiola and he was the ring announcer in St. Louis for years. Terry Taylor enters first and I’m going to give Mickey the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t prepared because his announcing wasn’t great. Wallstreet enters next to a blatant rip-off of the Dallas theme song. They decide to show Taylor’s Starrcade stats instead of Wallstreet’s entrance. I’m sure Michael was happy about that. The stats say that Taylor’s favorite weapon is his Five Arm. Apparently, his forearm is so impressive that it’s a five arm. Oh, how funny. Next, they show Wallstreet’s stats. It says he’s the first wrestler to use computers to prepare for bouts. Now, I have this image of him suplexing a computer and I can’t help but laugh.

Taylor immediately attacks Wallstreet while he’s taking off his entrance garb. A clock appears in the corner of the screen to count down the 8:32 that Wallstreet has to beat him. Wallstreet ducks for a back drop and Taylor hits a sunset flip, but Michael blocks it. He tries to punch him, but Terry moves and tries a roll-up and a cross body for a pair of 2 counts. He then dropkicks Michael out of the ring and Wallstreet regroups with York and some spreadsheets. They go into a drop down/leapfrog spot before Taylor hits a running clothesline. Wallstreet regroups again and starts working Taylor’s arm. He pulls the hair to keep Taylor down, but Terry fights back. However, Wallstreet slams and suplexes him. They fight back and forth until Wallstreet locks him in an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes for leverage. Isn’t he supposed to be in a hurry? The ref finally catches him and makes him break the hold. Taylor takes control and hits a back drop, jawbreaker, and a slam followed by a knee-drop. He continues with an atomic drop and back suplex before signaling for the Five Arm. He hits it, but Wallstreet gets a foot on the ropes. Taylor tries to continue the attack, but Wallstreet hotshots him and hits the Stock Market Crash (Samoan Drop) for the win, with 1:42 left on the clock.

This was a pretty decent match. It had good storytelling and character work for Wallstreet. It also thankfully had good refereeing, so maybe that trend has ended.

Winner: Michael Wallstreet (6:52)

Next, they show a commercial for WrestleWar ‘91. For some reason, Michael Hayes is dressed as Uncle Sam and says he wants us for WrestleWar! The voiceover guy says that the event will feature War Games and Sid Vicious says they’ve declared war. Mr. Voiceover then calls it the duel in the desert from Phoenix, AZ! Sting then ends the commercial by doing his best Sgt. Slaughter imitation.

The Skyscrapers vs. Big Cat & The Motor City Madman

The Skyscrapers have reformed for one night only. Sid is still in the Horsemen, but he decided to join forces with Dan Spivey for a night. We soon find out why. Big Cat and The Madman enter first. Big Cat is Mr. Hughes, but this is before he wrestled in a dress shirt and slacks. Let’s hope he stays awake for this match. They show the Starrcade stats for this team and—I simply have to show you this one.

That’s right. Big Cat and The Madman are the biggest ham on the show! No wonder The Skyscrapers reformed! Sid heard he would get to wrestle a big ham! We all know Sid loves his ham. You can call him Sid “Big Ham” Vicious!

The Skyscrapers enter next and I notice that the sound guy flipped the themes. Big Cat and The Madman entered to the Skyscrapers theme, so the sound department doubled down and played the other theme for The Skyscrapers. They’re trying to ruin Sid’s appetite!

All four men immediately start brawling and The Madman is sent to the ramp. The Skyscrapers then hit Big Cat with a double back drop. The Madman re-enters the ring, so they double team him too. Spivey whips Sid into a corner shoulder block and then Sid sets The Madman up for a powerbomb. Spivey has to help him lift, so they turn it into a double team move for the win.

This was nothing but a squash. I was amused enough by the big ham typo that I didn’t mind it. However, I’m not sure what the purpose was if this is truly a one-night thing.

Winners: The Skyscrapers (1:01)

Paul E. tries to get a word with The Skyscrapers. He says that the reunion was for one night only and then turns to ask Sid a question, but he’s intimidated by him. Sid and Dan decide to lift Heyman up, so he’s eye-to-eye with Spivey. Dan then says that they decide what they want to do and when they want to do it. He says that if they want to continue teaming into ‘91, there’s a lot of people that better watch out. Sid then yells that The Skyscrapers rule the world. Paul E. tries to speak again, but Spivey says, “Shut up, little man!”

Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich (w/ Robert Gibson) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Little Richard Marley)

Rich & Morton enter first and Robert Gibson accompanies them on crutches. They show some stats for Rich & Morton that say Robert Gibson endured major knee surgery thanks to tonight’s opponents, The Fabulous Freebirds. That was nice of him to thank them. The Freebirds are out next with Confederate flag face paint. Garvin is still having troubles with his t-shirt. In fact, he continues wearing it like a bib throughout the match. Little Richard Marley then mugs for the camera while Ross and Paul E. argue over whether he’s a gopher or a roadie.

Morton and Garvin start the match and go into a drop down/leapfrog spot before Morton & Rich dropkick the Freebirds out of the ring. They also kick Marley, who threatens them. Hayes tags in, but he’s soon sent to the floor. They try to post Michael and he blocks it, but he doesn’t block a crutch attack from Gibson. Hayes returns to the ring and tries to fight back, but Morton locks him in a Figure Four. Garvin tries to break it, but Rich locks him in a Figure Four too. The Freebirds break free and regroup on the outside. When they return, Garvin enters the match and demands Tommy Rich. Rich hip tosses Garvin and then slingshots Marley into the ring. He gives Little Richard a spanking and Hayes tries to save him, but he gets punched around like a pinball. Then, Hayes ducks a clothesline and nails Rich with a left hand. He tries to follow up with a DDT, but Rich back drops him. Ross says, “He who hesitates gets back dropped.” Paul E. replies, “Thanks Confucius.” Morton and Garvin then enter the match and Morton hits a knee-lift, but soon all four men are brawling. The ref is distracted by the chaos, so The Freebirds try to use the distraction to have Marley jump off the top onto Morton’s leg. Gibson whacks Marley with his crutch, which sends Little Richard crashing into Garvin. Jimmy grabs Marley and starts choking him, so Morton sneaks in and rolls up Garvin for the win.

This was decent but short. It didn’t feel much like a blow-off to the feud, so I’m guessing this will continue. I hope they’re not trying to draw it out until Gibson is healed. I’m not that enthralled by it.

Winners: Morton & Rich (6:13)

After the match, The Freebirds beat up Marley and hit him with a double DDT. Morton & Rich started to leave but they realized they should help. They come back to help him to his feet, but The Freebirds use the opening to go after Gibson. They hit him with a double clothesline and quickly scurry to the back.

Tony is with Stan Hansen, who is pacing around and yelling at people. He has tobacco juice spilling down his chin and is carrying a bull-rope. Hansen says they tried to push him into all these different types of matches and he fought them all. He says this one will be different because a title has never been on the line in a Texas Lariat Match. He holds up his rope and claims it can hold a 600-pound steer, so it can hold Lex Luger. He talks about the rules of the match, which sound exactly like a strap match, to me. Hansen then complains that they made him take off the bell because it’s too violent, but he promises to drag Luger to all four corners and win the match.

Semifinals:

Team USA: The Steiner Brothers vs. Team Mexico: Konan & Rey Mysterio

Team Mexico enters first and Konan is limping. I thought Mysterio was the one who was injured after the last match. Konan still decides to springboard into the ring, despite his bad leg. The Steiners enter next and Rick shakes hands with Team Mexico.

Rick and Konan start the match and they do some amateur mat wrestling until Konan gets a heel trip and tries for an Indian Deathlock. Rick reverses it and then tags Scott, who hits a powerslam. Scott then sets Konan up and the Steiners hit the Steinerizer, but Scott doesn’t cover him. Konan uses the opening to roll into his corner and tag Mysterio. Scott then tries a double-leg takedown, but Mysterio turns it into kind of a DDT. Rey switches from a waistlock into a front facelock, but Scott lifts him into a t-bone suplex. Rick then tags in, but Mysterio hits him with a couple of shoulder blocks and tries a hurricanrana. However, Rick turns it into a powerbomb for the win.

It was quick and decent. I would have liked to have seen a longer match between them when they weren’t tired or hurt.

Winners: The Steiner Brothers (2:51)

Next, Tony is with Horsemen members, Barry Windham & Arn Anderson. Tony brings up the limousine attack on Flair and they show clips of it. The interview continues over the clip, so it’s hard to hear them. Windham says that when you sign to fight the Horsemen, you fight them all. Arn then says that their problem with Doom didn’t start personal, but Doom made it that way. He also says that the people of St. Louis are geared for pure, unadulterated violence. He claims there will be belt buckles, chairs, baseball bats, and cowboy boots and they’ve got nothing to lose. However, he says that Doom has everything to lose.

Semifinals:

Team Japan: Mr. Saito & The Great Muta vs. Team U.S.S.R.: Salman Hashimikov & Victor Zangiev

The Soviet team enters first and Salman waves to the fans, despite them not making a sound. The Japanese enter next and they get a slight reaction, but it’s obvious the fans don’t care about this match.

Muta and Zangiev start the match and Victor goes after Muta’s leg. Muta reverses it and they struggle for control. Victor then tries for a belly-to-belly, but he has to settle for a back suplex. Muta then tags Saito, but Zangiev takes him to the mat for an armbar. They fight into the corner, so Salman tags in and fights Saito. He takes him down into a Boston Crab, but Muta breaks the hold. Zangiev returns to the match, but Saito locks him in a Scorpion Deathlock. He breaks the hold for no apparent reason and both men tag out, so Salman takes Muta over with a belly-to-belly. He follows it with a release northern lights suplex, but Saito breaks up the pin. Both men tag again, but Saito clobbers Zangiev with a clothesline and hits the Saito Suplex for the win.

It was a fun suplex-fest, but it was too short to call good. The fans didn’t care, so this match sadly had no heat.

Winners: Team Japan (3:08)

Tony interviews Doom and Teddy Long. Teddy says that Ric Flair learned one thing in that limo and that’s, “Homie don’t play that!” Long then claims that he has two hits out on Anderson and Windham. Ron Simmons brings up the Horsemen’s comments from earlier about them having nothing to lose. He says that when they were born, people predicted them to be losers, but the tag belts prove them to be winners. Butch Reed then says they’re champions now and they’ll be champions when they close this building. He then claims he both specializes in street fights and created them! He says he was born in the streets, lives in the streets, and knows how to fight in the streets. So, does that mean he’s homeless? Poor guy. Can’t WCW help him out? Teddy Long then ends the interview by telling the Horsemen, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! How about that?”

Texas Lariat Match for the NWA U.S. Title: Lex Luger vs. Stan Hansen (c)

Luger enters first and it’s strange seeing him without the U.S. Title. He’s held it so long that I became used to it. Lex’s Starrcade stats call him a slight underdog. It also claims he’s only 6’0”, but I’m pretty sure he’s taller than that. Ross agrees because he quickly says that Luger is 6’5”. Hansen comes out next and yells at some fans. His stats misspell his move as, “Lariet.” That sounds like the name of a French woman. Referee, Randy Anderson, then ties their arms together, but Hansen jumps Luger.

He headbutts Luger into a corner and hits a hip toss, but Luger fights back with punches. Luger slams him, but Hansen fires back with a knee-lift. He then whips and chokes Lex with the rope, but he makes the mistake of ducking for a back drop. They end up fighting to the floor and Stan rams Lex into some chairs. He even hits him with one and throws him back into the ring, but they end up trading punches. Luger hits a clothesline, but he mistakenly goes for a pin. He switches to doing mounted punches and manages to touch two turnbuckles, but Hansen stops him. Stan drags him around by the throat and touches one turnbuckle, but Luger kicks him. Hansen then wraps the rope around Luger’s throat and hangs him over the ropes before following him to the floor. He rams Lex into the post and sends him inside where Stan hits three turnbuckles, but Luger hits a clothesline. Luger eventually sends Hansen to the floor and rams him into the apron and the post. He takes him back inside and Luger gets up to three turnbuckles before Hansen pulls back on the rope. They struggle and Hansen lets go, which sends Luger crashing into the fourth turnbuckle. However, he also hits the ref and knocks him out cold. Nick Patrick arrives to take over as ref and Hansen ends up touching all four turnbuckles while the fans boo. Patrick is about to declare him the winner, BUT WAIT! Randy Anderson recovers and says he saw Luger hit the fourth turnbuckle, so he awards the match and the title to Lex.

I usually don’t like these types of matches, but they kept this one interesting. Also, I’m glad they didn’t go with the usual ending. On a side note, Nick Patrick is up to no good again. Are we sure his heel turn didn’t happen until 1996?

Winner: Lex Luger (New Champion) (10:13)

Ross gets a word with Luger after the match. Jim says it had to be the most intense match of Luger’s career. Luger answers by yelling, “Oh, baby! How good it feels!” He then says it feels great to be the new U.S. Champ and hopes it will be for a long time. Then, he says his feud with Hansen isn’t over. It’s just beginning. Is he sure? This felt like a blow-off to me.

Street Fight for the NWA World Tag Team Titles: Doom (c) (w/ Teddy Long) vs. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

Windham & Anderson enter first. They’re still using a picture of Flair for this match, despite him being replaced. The Horsemen are dressed in street clothes, which Ross calls, “A unique attire.” Doom enter next and they get mushroom cloud pyro. Did Adam Bomb join their team!? They show stats for Doom, but only Teddy Long is in the picture. I guess Simmons & Reed were absent for picture day.

All four men immediately start brawling. Simmons and Windham fight onto the ramp and Ron slams him, but Arn makes the save. Anderson starts whipping Simmons with his belt, while Reed and Windham start fighting in the ring. Reed suplexes Barry for a 2 count, but the camera is focused on Ron and Arn. Reed and Windham fight to the floor while Arn hits Simmons in the knee with a chair. Reed ends up busting open Barry’s head with a belt buckle, but Windham answers with a back suplex. Medical attendants try to help, but Windham shoves them. Meanwhile, Arn whips Reed with a weight-lifting belt. The Horsemen end up isolating Simmons and double team him, but Arn and Reed start fighting again. Almost everyone in the match is bleeding. Simmons manages to hit his spinebuster, but Windham rakes the eyes to break the pin. Reed then climbs to the top rope, but Windham wanders out of range and he has to give up the attempt. All four men end up in the ring and Simmons goes to the top, but Windham hits a low blow. He then follows it up with a superplex, but only gets 2. The Horsemen then try to double team Simmons, but Reed hits a flying shoulder block off the top to Anderson. Windham answers with a DDT to Reed. Arn also tries to hit Simmons with a chair, but it backfires. Then, Reed hits a piledriver on Windham, but he chokes him instead of covering. This opens the door for Windham to back drop Reed over the ropes. Barry then holds Simmons and Arn attempts a flying axehandle, but Reed knocks Windham away and Arn eats a clothesline. Ron goes for a cover, but Windham also rolls up Reed, so Nick Patrick has no choice but to count both pins. The problem is, Patrick had to wait for Ron to get into position, so he visibly hesitated on the count.

Just when I thought we were past the bad refereeing, this happens. This was a great fun brawl until that awkward ending. I still enjoyed it, but I’m not a fan of the finish. I get they didn’t want either of these teams jobbing, but I don’t think it would have hurt either of them. On a related note, Nick Patrick is not a good ref. All throughout his career, he’s out of position or awkward. I don’t mean in a kayfabe sense. I mean he’s legitimately awkward as a ref. They would eventually write this into his character, so even WCW knew.

Winner: No decision (7:19)

The two teams continue brawling down the ramp, as officials try to stop them. Paul E. complains about not knowing who won the match. Ross apologizes to the fans, but Paul demands he apologize to him for not telling him who won the match. Ross calls him an idiot, so Heyman starts fuming while they show another WrestleWar ‘91 commercial.

Finals:

Team USA: The Steiner Brothers vs. Team Japan: Mr. Saito & The Great Muta

Cappetta announces that this is the finals and the winner will be the International Tag Team Champions. What happened to the Champions of the Universe? It’s already been downgraded? I guess they received an angry letter from the Martians. Team Japan enters first and Muta spits out his mist, which gets a good reaction. Ross points out that Japanese ref, Tiger Hattori, will be the ref for this match. Paul E. complains about this fact because he thinks Hattori will be too honest. Heyman says he can’t trust someone that’s honest. He doesn’t see the value in it. I think that might have been a shoot comment by Paul E. The Steiners enter next and Ross talks about them being the #1 seed.

Scott and Muta begin the match and Muta hits some quick kicks, but Scott soon locks him in a half crab. Muta reaches the ropes and Scott tags Rick. Muta also hits Rick with some kicks, but he misses a roundhouse and Rick hits a Steinerline. Muta then tags Saito, but he soon gets hit with a Steinerline too. Muta climbs to the top rope, but Rick crotches him. Muta falls to the apron and checks his pants to make sure everything is okay. Muta eventually recovers and comes in to face Scott. He hits Scott with the handspring elbow, but Scott gets a boot up on a second attempt and hits a belly-to-belly for 2. Saito returns and trades chops and punches with Scott until Scott tags Rick. Saito ends up hitting a back suplex and the two men collide, so Saito tags Muta again. He sends Rick to the floor and they use a ref distraction to send Rick into the post. Rick’s headgear falls off, but a ring attendant throws it back to him from off-screen. Muta uses more ref distractions to hit Rick with the ring bell and takes him back inside. Then, he holds Rick while Saito hits a flying axehandle. Team Japan maintains control until Muta misses another roundhouse and Rick hits a Steinerline. Scott tags in and hits a Tiger Driver, but Saito breaks up the pin. However, Team Japan use more ref distractions to start choking Scott. Saito hits a Saito Suplex and then they give Scott a spike piledriver. The double teaming continues until Rick manages to make a blind tag and comes off the top with a flying sunset flip for the surprise win.

This was a really good final. They picked the right teams to face each other. I really liked the closing minutes. They did a good job of keeping it exciting and neither team seemed fatigued from wrestling multiple times.

Winners: Team USA (10:52)

Tony is with The Steiners for the trophy ceremony. Rick waves an American flag around while Tony says, “As Jim Ross said back in 1959, Pat O’Connor won the world title here at the Kiel.” Ross said that in 1959?? I didn’t know he was that old! Tony then introduces the bumbling fool himself, Jim Herd. Jim thanks all the countries that participated. I bet he thinks all of the teams were legit. He also thanks the fans and congratulates the Steiners. He calls them the greatest super heavyweights that he knows. I bet Scott loved being called that. He’s probably thinking, “Did this fool just call me fat!?” Scott says he and Rick are proud to represent the United States and he talks about the soldiers in Kuwait. He also talks about his own family members who have served in past wars. He says he’s proud of the soldiers. Rick then tells them to kick some butt. He might have said, “Mutt,” but I’m not sure.

Ross and Paul E. then talk about the main event. Paul says he’s scared because he’d like to know who the Black Scorpion is, but Sting’s mind is way out there. Paul then predicts a new champion, which makes the fans boo.

Cage Match for the NWA World Title: Sting (c) vs. The Black Scorpion

Cappetta first introduces the special ref, Dick the Bruiser. Dick slowly walks to the ring, which doesn’t bode well for this match. I’m getting Kiniski flashbacks. Cappetta then announces that this match is title vs. mask, which means The Scorpion has to unmask if he loses. Paul E. jokes that Dick looks like Popeye, which seems to annoy Ross. Ominous music then begins to play and multiple Black Scorpions walk out to the ring. Then, what looks like a spaceship begins to lower from the ceiling. It closes as it comes down and then lands on the ramp.

The Black Scorpion speaks and says that the other men are merely messengers. Then, he says, “There is only one true Black Scorpion and it is I! HA HA HA HA HA!” The space pod opens to reveal The Black Scorpion in a glittery silver cape. Paul E. says he doesn’t recognize him or the way he walks. Sting enters next and he doesn’t look too thrilled to be there. I don’t blame him. He enters the cage and the Scorpion starts jumping around and jogging in circles. They face-off and the camera gets a close shot of the Scorpion, which makes it pretty obvious who it is. You can tell by the body shape and the mouth.

They lock-up and fight into the corner for a clean break. Sting grabs a headlock, but the Scorpion turns it into a back suplex and the fans chant, “Nature boy.” Even they can tell who it is. They keep fighting into the corner and the ropes until the Scorpion finally scores with a clothesline and a gut-wrench suplex, but Dick takes forever to count. The Scorpion then hits a snap mare and locks Sting in a Figure Four—head scissors. AHA! See, it’s not who you think it is—maybe. The Scorpion ends up breaking the hold when Sting won’t quit, so he tries a few other holds and keeps putting his feet on the ropes for leverage. Dick gets in his face and makes him break it. The Scorpion then starts whipping Sting from corner to corner and hits an atomic drop, corner clothesline, and snap mare, but Dick is slow again on the count. The Scorpion goes back to holds and leverage, but Dick keeps swatting his legs off the ropes. This opens the door for Sting to fire back with rapid-fire clotheslines, but Sting crashes into the cage on a missed splash. They fight back and forth and Dick continues being a slug in the ring. The Scorpion starts making some noise and it becomes even more obvious who he is. He fights back and manages to hit Sting with a piledriver, but Sting gets a foot on the ropes. Sting makes a comeback and hits a Stinger Splash before locking in the Scorpion Deathlock. The Scorpion manages to break the hold and tries to ram Sting into the cage, but Sting reverses and pulls off his mask! However, there’s another silver one underneath. The Scorpion tries to escape, but Sting stops him. He then crotches The Scorpion on the ropes. He also ends up press slamming Scorpion onto the top rope and hits a running clothesline. He follows this up by going to the top and hitting a flying cross body for the win.

This match was awful. It was so slow and boring. I get that The Scorpion was trying to hide his signature style, but it made for a slog of a match. It also doesn’t help that this storyline is silly. It helps even less that Dick the Bruiser was nearly as bad as Gene Kiniski at refereeing. The refs must have been cursed on this night.

Winner: Sting (18:31)

Sting goes to unmask The Scorpion while Jim Ross is practically screaming that they are running out of time. The other Scorpions enter the cage, so Sting and Dick fight them. They take off the masks of the messengers, but The Scorpion tries to escape. Then, Arn Anderson and Barry Windham arrive. They lock the cage and attack Sting with a chair. Anderson then gives Sting a DDT onto the chair. Z-Man and Ricky Morton arrive, but they can’t get into the cage. The Steiners then arrive with some bolt cutters and open the door. Everyone fights off the other Scorpions and the Horsemen, so Sting starts pulling on the Scorpion’s mask while Ross screams that there are 30 seconds left. Sting finally manages to remove the mask to reveal—Ric Flair. Oh—how shocking. Flair retreats to the back with his head held low and Jim Ross tells everyone goodnight.

Best Match of the Night: The Street Fight. Sure, the ending was a little disappointing, but the rest of the match was great bloody fun.

Worst Match of the Night: The Main Event. It was slow and boring and the payoff was exactly what everyone expected it to be.

Performer of the Night: The Steiner Brothers. They were great in every match they had and they never looked tired from having to wrestle multiple times.

Final thoughts:

There was certainly some great action on this show, but it’s another event that was nearly brought down by the silliness and shenanigans. However, there was a certain charm to most of the issues. This show finds a way to be entertaining despite its flaws, except for the main event. I don’t know what the deal with the referees was, but I enjoyed poking fun at it. The Starrcade stats were an almost never-ending supply of amusement. So, I enjoyed the show for the most part.

Thank you for reading. My next review will be a Christmas Bonus! I will be reviewing Santa with Muscles. Look for it in the middle of the week!

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I chronologically review NWA/WCW and WWF/WWE PPVs on the WWE Network. I put out a new review every Saturday. Like and Follow the Facebook page for this blog here: https://www.facebook.com/ClassicWrestlingReview. Also, follow me on twitter @PaulDMatthews78

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