Context around Starrcade 93:
- Ted Turner made only his third appearance in front of the WCW locker room since buying the company. He promised as long as he’s in charge, WCW will never be shut down.
- Ted Dibiase suffered a severe neck injury in Japan. This would prove to be career ending and eliminate any hope for Dibiase to make a WCW run.
- Battle Bowl drew only 60,000 buys on PPV and WCW actually lost money by running it.
- Even though Sid Vicious was suspended, WCW still promoted him for the house shows for weeks afterward. Making matters worse they also promoted Arn Anderson, Vader and the Nasty Boyz, all of whom missed the shows due to either injuries or Japanese commitments. Sid Vicious was ultimately fired for instigating the violent fight with Anderson that I covered previously.
- Davey Boy Smith was fired for no showing a televised event. A match was taped months ago with Rude being pinned by the Bulldog to set up a Starrcade match but WCW retaped the segment and had Smith’s music play with him not coming out. The announcers then buried him as a coward. The truth of the matter was that Smith was contracted to earn a higher per match gaurentee when wrestling in Europe, WCW failed to comply with this part of the contract and Smith quit.
- Ray Traylor aka The Big Bossman was scheduled to return to WWF TV in early 1994 but he jumped to WCW unexpectedly. Legal action is being taken since Bossman had been contracted to work WWF house shows yet. His WCW name will be The Boss (man, is he big).
- Bobby Heenan will be heading to WCW soon. The WWF wanted him to move to Connecticut to save on travel costs that occurred from flying Heenan in from Florida.
- WCW offered Curt Hennig a contract to work only TV and PPVs as a wrestler, but Hennig declined.
- Paul Roma has turned heel and is teaming with Paul Orndorff. Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne have formed a team. Michael Hayes has come out of retirement to team with Johnny B. Badd.
We open with clips and photos of Flair as a child, his early wrestling days, the title wins and….then we flip to Vader growling and killing jobbers with stiff moves. One of the better openings they have used so far.
Tony Schiavone and Jesse the Body (in a suit!) run down the card. We show Vader and Harley Race arriving (in a rental car, not a limo). Vader is wearing his Ribera Steakhouse jacket, and that makes me smile.
Ric Flair is shown leaving his house, giving a solemn good bye to his wife. We see David, Reid and Charlotte Flair, all future wrestlers of course. Flair and Mean Gene discuss the levity of tonight’s main event and Vader’s history of injuring people.
2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Paul Roma and Paul Orndorff
Teddy Long is awarded the Manager of the Year award. FOR WHAT?!? A 4-way kerfuffle breaks out right away and the babyfaces clear the ring. Roma gets nailed with a nice crossbody once things get formally underway. The faces take turns working over Roma’s arm. Mr.Wonderful tags in and stomps a mudhole in Scorpio before 2 Cold flips his way into control. Roma tags back in and faces a double team offensive from the good guys.
Bagwell falls into the role of babyface in peril and he takes several minutes of wear down offense. Scorpio makes the tag and explodes on both heels. All four men go at it while the Assassin trips as he climbs up the ramp. He takes a bump off a Scorpio punch, but he gets up and loads his mask, which he uses to deliver a gentle head butt to Scorpio, setting up and Orndorff pin. Perfectly acceptable wrestling, not much more to say than that.
Shockmaster vs. Awesome Kong
For the love of God, Why? Both Kongs jump Uncle Shocky and they deliver a big double splash to the Tugmaster. Typhoon slams Awesome Kong and gets the win almost right after. This was a thriller in every sense of the word.
TV Champion Lord Steven Regal vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Steamboat tries to get things started but Regal bails to the corner and fends off the Dragon’s attempt to start the grappling. Things go along slow for several minutes as both men feel the other out. They go through several rapid fire pin attempts before Regal grabs Steamboat’s ankle and twists it at an unnatural angle. An enziguri breaks that hold, and The Dragon climbs to the top rope and launches down with a flying chop. I’m not sure I dig the psychology there since Ricky just had his ankle worked on. We are already at the ten minute mark, and Steamboat works an armbar. The Dragon works toward a kimura as Regal drastically attempts to alleviate the pain by bridging out of the move.
Regal makes his way out, which leads to Sir William distracting Steamboat, allowing Regal to get a cheap shot. They struggle in a grapple before The Dragon executes a double underhook suplex. Regal bails to the floor as time runs down. Sir William openly interferes in front of Nick Patrick, and no DQ is called. Steamboat knocks Regal and Willliam together and sends Regal back in the ring. The Dragon perches the top rope but Regal dodges out of the way of flying crossbody. That puts Steamboat out of commission long enough for time to expire. Regal staggers away in pain as Steamboat looks on in frustration. This was a very slow match that never really hit a crescendo. A disappointment, considering they have been having matches since August and should have had a killer bout worked out by now.
Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne vs. Tex Godwinger and Shanghai Pierce
Jack went from main eventing Halloween Havoc to this crap on the biggest show of the year. How sad. Pierce knocks Payne over with a big shoulderblock. Jack and Tex brawl and claw at one another. The faces nail Tex with a double clothesline that Tex takes a nice bump off of. The heels try to double up on Jack, but that draws Payne in and all four men brawl. Pierce is sent to the floor and Payne backdrops Jack over the top rope and onto him. Jack got zero airtime on that, so it wasn’t as cool of a spot as it may sound like. Payne locks the Payne Killer armlock on Tex but Pierce manages to get in the ring and break that up. Payne knocks over both heels with a clothesline before tagging in Jack. The heels run into each other and Pierce is DDT’d for the win. This was an ugly brawl, and not a very good one at that. WCW doesn’t exactly have a whole lot of feuds to blow off on the biggest show of the year, now do they?
Mean Gene talks to Kyle Petty about Richard Petty’s recent retirement in relation to Flair’s possible retirement.
Best 2 out of 3 Falls: US Champion Dustin Rhodes vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
Rhodes attempts to ride Austin, but he escapes. The next exchange ends with Austin eating a big elbow and bailing out to the floor. Rhodes out wrestles Austin, so he again bails. They trade shots out on the floor and Austin takes a big bump over the railing. Austin wants to be friends after that but eats a right hand instead. Things get chippy after that and both men are downed by some hard blows. Austin works over Rhodes with elbows and fists. Rhodes tries a bulldog but it’s blocked and the men collide and collapse.
Austin tries a leap from the second rope that misses. Rhodes connects on a lariat and a powerslam. Col. Parker gets on the apron and squawks, which prompts Rhodes to throw Austin into him. Austin ends up falling to the floor and that earns Rhodes a DQ. With the rules laxed during a between falls “rest period”, Rhodes busts Austin open with the ringpost. An aggravated Rhodes assaults Austin with fists. The lights go out, because WCW is produced by numb nuts. Did the lights ever go out at a Braves game? Almost as soon as they fix the lights, Austin snags a handful of Rhodes’ tights and secures the win. Austin did a nice job bumping all over the place to make this a fun match, and once the blood started flowing I was really starting to dig it but then things abruptly ended.
The Big Bubba Bossman vs. The Partially Disputed World Championship Wrestling International Big Gold Belt champion “Ravishing” Rick Rude
Schiavone is toying around with “The Boss’s” name, talking about how “big” he is, which begat the Boss (man, is he Big) gag that has floated about the internet. Bossman screams at Rude during the face off. Bubba spits at Rude, like a true gentleman babyface. Rude desperately avoids Ray Traylor’s attempts to punch him and stalls. Rude finally delivers a litany of punches to try and down The Boss, but can’t drop the big man. Bossman backdrops him, then dumps Rude’s back across his knee. The Boss then hounds Rude out on the floor and slams Rude on the cement floor. Rude gets strung up in the ropes and the Boss takes some cheap shots at the helpless champion. Bossman locks on a bearhug but Rude bites his way out. Bossman tries to leap onto Rude’s back but misses and is rolled up out of nowhere for the win.
This certainly felt like the beginning of something decent, but all we got was the babyface shine segment before the abrupt ending. Due to the nature of the match, it really felt like a bit of a flat ending, Perhaps this is how they felt they had to layout the match since Bossman was new and they didn’t want him to lose clean only a few weeks into his run. On the plus side, since we didn’t get a Rude heat segment the match was probably much better than it would have been otherwise since Rude had been dog shit all year. We were probably spared ten minutes worth of chinlocks and headlocks thanks to the booking.
World Tag team champions The Nasty Boyz vs. Road Warrior Hawk and This is Sting
The heels stall to start. Sting quickly rids the ring of Knobbs once things get started. The Nasties try and regroup on the floor, so Hawk presses Sting over his head and launches him down on the heels. Hawk tags in and no sells everything that the ruffians send his way – even while being double teamed. Hawk eventually is lured to the floor and finally forced to sell after being cracked with a molded plastic chair.
Things slow down once the Nasty Boyz take over and we get several minutes of armlocks. Hawk finally breaks out by missing a clothesline on Knobbs that he sells anyway. Even the announcers both admit the move was whiffed. Sting tags in and wrecks the Nasties, forcing them to decide to take a walk. Sting puts an end to that idea and drags Knobbs back in the ring, where Knobbs rotates on his back into position for a Sting splash, which the announcers point out. Knobbs blows a leaping leg drop and almost sits on Sting’s face. The Nasties take over again and go back to a resthold heavy offensive as we pass the twenty-minute mark. This slows things to a crawl for over five minutes.
Saggs is so tired, he tried and failed to deliver a suplex to Sting. Knobbs hits the shittest splash you’ll see outside of day one at wrestling training camp. Things finally breaks down as Hawk comes in illegally and starts to attack both Nasties. Hawk blows a powerslam and dumps Knobbs awkwardly onto his own shoulder. A Stinger Splash to Knobbs sets up the Doomsday Device, which Missy Hyatt runs in to break up for the lame DQ ending after nearly a half-hour of wrestling. WCW made me sit through thirty minutes of the terrible Nasties for THAT ending. Ugh. Match was begging to be a 10-minute all out brawl, not this exercise in monotony. Missy Hyatt’s tit popped out during the finish, and that will lead to her suing WCW for sexual harassment in the coming months after pictures of it showed up in the corporate offices. You don’t see anything here though, other than her adjusting her top.
Title vs. Career: WCW World Champion Vader vs. Ric “Nature Boy” Flair
The crowd is roaring in adulation for Flair. Vader tosses Flair around to establish his dominance. Flair tries some chops but Vader walks right through them. A press slam sends Flair to the floor where Vader drops Flair face first onto the railing. Vader misses a charge out on the floor and Flair gets a flurry of chops in before posting Vader. Harley Race kills that rally and Vader proceeds to batter The Nature Boy. Vader delivers a powerslam and a flying fist but misses a splash and opens the door for Flair to connect with three flying chops. Vader shakes that off and goes back to mauling Flair. A superplex takes more of the fight out of the challenger.
Vader squashes Flair in the corner and tries to concuss him with fists to the skull. Flair puts together a series of strikes of his own an actually takes Vader off his feet. Flair realizes that Vader is inhuman and desperate measures must be taken, so he wraps Vader’s leg around the ringpost and cracks his knee with a chair. Another chair shots meets with Vader’s head and knocks Vader back off his feet. Flair plays Vader’s game and delivers a series of short close range jabs to down Vader again. Flair starts to work over Vader’s knee as the crowd goes bonkers. Vader fights out of the figure four but misses a follow up splash and ends up locked in the figure-four anyway. Race considers running in to save the title, but realizes that a DQ won’t end Flair’s career and stops himself.
Vader downs Flair with blows and attempts the Vadersault but that misses. Flair tries a cover and that draws in Race. The ref shoves Race out of the ring. Flair tries a chop block but is too close and has to basically trip Vader instead, which leads right into a roll-up for the three count. Flair’s post match celebration is over in seconds as he races down the aisle with the title. I’m not sure why he didn’t stay to bask in the crowd’s adulation. The crowd even chants Flair’s name to try and draw him back out. Flair finally does come out for one final hurrah. I guess they tried to rush him back so he could cut a promo with his family in the locker room. Ricky Steamboat and Sting congratulate Flair on his big win. Flair has to fight back the tears. This was one hell of a match between two of the best ever, and provided some sort of saving grace for the show after the undercard didn’t deliver.
Final thoughts: Past the main event, this card failed to live up to the billing as the biggest show of the year. A brutal 1993 is now behind us and 1994 will see a radical change with the rise of Hulkamania in WCW’s rings.