Starrcade 1990 is upon us, and with it comes a tag team tournament in honor of Pat O’Connor that features a bunch of teams I don’t really want to see. The show was also intended to feature the end of the Black Scorpion program. Thankfully. In the process of going through with it, they killed Sting’s title reign, so I consider the whole thing a blight on wrestling. There are so many tag team matches on the show that truthfully, I haven’t been looking forward to it so much. I’ll be much happier to see this booking period cleared, even though in many ways it does get a lot worse. I don’t mind, as worse than this is also much more entertaining. Anyway, let’s get to it.
– December 16th, 1990, from Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri
Looks like this show is nearly a full three hours, which sounds great. The introduction video is very standard, nothing spectacular, and this arena looks near full. At least on the side they showed. 14 matches, man, that’s too many. Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously are the hosts tonight, hyping up those matches. Of course, they talk about the cage match the most.
Now, they’re going to have opening ceremonies with Sam Muchnick. I couldn’t hear anything he said, other than him saying wrestling was the oldest sport. That’s keeping it real.
Then they do a national anthem, which started as Gary Michael Cappetta was talking.
Bobby Eaton vs. Tom Zenk
Pre-Match Thoughts: As stated previously, I stopped calling Zenk by the other name. This is a good way to start the show, putting one of their best workers in the opener. Much different than those crappy openers Ole Anderson booked. Judging from the time stamps on the Network version of this show, this also appears to be one of the longest matches. In some ways that’s good and in some it’s bad. There are so many dorks in the front row of the arena, a lot of true fans. Expecting a hot crowd as a result, but they still won’t show one side of the arena. Surprised to see those “Starrcade Facts” on the screen for the entrances, and the best one was them pumping up a Zenk 35 match winning streak.
Match Review: These guys lock up, and they break very cleanly. I really don’t like that they waited until this match to tell people that Ric Flair wasn’t taking part in his match. That’s so low down, dirty promotional tactics. Eaton then gets taken down by shoulderblocks, and Zenk springs up to the top for a cross body that gets 1. He does another for 2, then slams Eaton. During a dead period, Dangerously was sure to bury Stan Lane for leaving, that’s not so nice. Zenk puts a hammerlock on Eaton, which Eaton gets out of with a punch. Very nice of him. Notice a trend in my commentary? They botch a spot completely, standard for Zenk, and Eaton hits Zenk with some elbows. Then Zenk takes Eaton down with a drop toe-hold, and Eaton tries to come back with a monkey flip, but Zenk flips through that and dropkicks Eaton for 2. The guys then struggle over a series of holds, and Eaton knocks Zenk out to the ramp with a big right hand. Eaton continues to beat him up, then tries to suplex him back in, only for Zenk to suplex Eaton onto the ramp! Zenk then charges from the ring out to the ramp with a cross body, but he can’t get the pin. That was still cool. He’s doing a lot better than usual! Back in they go, and Zenk decides to take Eaton into the corner, only to miss a charge. Eaton bulldogs him, and heads up top for the TOP ROPE LEG DROP. Sadly, that doesn’t finish the match. Eaton then lines Zenk up for a charge, and misses by crotching himself on the second turnbuckle. Zenk then backdrops him, dropkicks him, and covers for 2 again. Eaton drops Zenk with a neckbreaker, then heads up top again. What for? Looks like a flying nothing, and Zenk superkicks him on the way down. Zenk heads up top, comes down with a missile dropkick, and it misses! Eaton cradles Zenk up, and he ENDS THE WINNING STREAK at 8:46!
My Thoughts: This was very smart booking, I was surprised that they actually did it. As a wrestling company, one of the worst things they can do is put a title on somebody who has a long winning streak, unless they intend for that streak to go on for a long time while giving them a huge push. Zenk getting the TV Championship after this certainly did not qualify. It was smart to have Zenk lose. In addition to that, Zenk actually held up his end of the match, and now they have a challenger for when Zenk becomes champion. Very nicely done all around. The aerial moves in this match were really good, and they worked past the early mistake. That was nice to see. *** and a good start to the show.
Dick the Bruiser gets some promo time here, what a gravely voice this guy has. He’s talking a big game, and said there’s only going to be one Black Scorpion. THERE BETTER BE, HE’LL MAKE SURE THERE’S A WINNER, AND STING WILL GET A FAIR SHAKE.
Before the next match, they’re doing a silly bit where they introduce the very tall and certainly expensive looking trophy for this tournament. The winner will be THE CHAMPIONS OF THE UNIVERSE. This is funny, they have women walking around the respective flags of the teams here. No teams, though. No clue whose bright idea this was.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament Quarter Finals: Sgt. Kreuger and Col. DeKlerk (representing South Africa) vs. The Steiner Brothers (NWA US Tag Team Champions, USA)
Pre-Match Thoughts: I could absolutely not care less about this particular match. Some of the potential matches look good, though! It’s funny that the Steiners faced these guys, one of whom turned out to be Rocco Rock of Public Enemy. I wonder if they even realized it years later. The guys have evil apartheid military music, this is some gimmick.
Match Review: I don’t expect this to be long, and it starts with Rick Steiner and Kreuger in there. Kreuger drops Rick with a back suplex, then drops an elbow on him for 1. He tries a bodyslam, but it gets blocked. Rick then nails him with a STEINERLINE, and has a backdrop blocked. DeKlerk tags in, and there’s a DOUBLE STEINERLINE given out by Rick. DeKlerk does bodyslam Rick, and knocks him out of the ring with a spinning wheel kick. For some insane reason, DeKlerk tries a TOPE CON HILO, and nearly kills himself by landing on his head. Rick sells the event by laughing, but that looked really dangerous. Both guys get back in the ring, and Rick makes a tag out to Scott, who slams both opponents. He gives DeKlerk a tilt-a-whirl slam, then drops him with the FRANKENSTEINER for 3 at 2:12.
My Thoughts: Wow, the Steiners were super over here, even though this was just a squash match. With it being a squash match, I’ll rate it *1/2. There were good moments in it, but I wasn’t even slightly invested as there was no reason to be. Perhaps some of the other matches in this will be more entertaining.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament Quarter Finals: Chris Adams & Norman Smiley (Great Britain) vs. Konnan & Rey Mysterio Sr. (Mexico)
Pre-Match Thoughts: You know what, this is a pretty good matchup. I’m surprised they brought these four in. The national anthem entrances are cracking me up. Konnan looks so much different than he’d look in years after this, it’s really creeping me out. The other QF matches look odd, but this one not so much.
Match Review: Rey and Smiley will start things off, and they fight over a wristlock. Konnan runs in, and Norman armdrags both Mexicans. The Mexicans respond with a double clothesline, then Adams runs in and helps Smiley take them out with a double dropkick. Rey and Adams resume the match, and Adams hits him with a superkick to knock him to the outside. Konnan tags in, as does Smiley, and Konnan gives him a springboard arm drag. He follows with a flying head-scissors, then puts his head down and Smiley drops him with a fisherman’s suplex for 2. Smiley goes for a backslide, but Rey runs in and dropkicks him. Now Adams makes a tag, and takes Konnan down for a chinlock. They do a weird ass spot after that where all four guys get in the ring, then Rey misses a charge and falls to the outside. Adams and Smiley then do a superkick into a German suplex combination on Konnan for 2, which was sick. No idea a team was doing that in those days, even a makeshift one. Smiley takes Konnan down with a headlock, they do a reversal sequence, and Adams is brought in. He takes Konnan down with a clothesline, then makes a blind tag. Rey also makes a blind tag and hits Adams with a double elbow, so Konnan decides to put Smiley on top for something. He gives him a REVERSE SUPLEX, then bridges him for the pinfall at 5:30, right as Rey flies out over the top onto Adams.
My Thoughts: These guys were clearly trying to get a job given some of the spots they were doing. Outlandish shit for the most part, whether or not it made any sense. I thought it was cool. Rey wiped out on the wooden steps once or twice in this match, which had to hurt. Fun stuff, ** though. They needed more time and the ability to tell a story. It’s funny that I had just watched this match, then saw Owens and Cena do a reverse suplex in their match at Money in the Bank. Quite a rare thing to see and I saw it one right after the next.
Before the next match, we have MICHAEL WALLSTREET and Alexandra York with Missy Hyatt. The computer said that Wallstreet would be able to beat Terry Taylor in less than 8 minutes and 32 seconds. We shall see!
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament Quarter Finals: The Great Muta & Mr. Saito (Japan) vs. Rip Morgan & Jacko Victory (New Zealand)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Like the last match, this may not be so bad. I hope Morgan and Victory work hard. While they won’t be able to keep up, they may be able to carry their end of the match and put on something entertaining. Why was Victory’s name changed to Jacko? I’m confused.
Match Review: Muta and Victory will start things off, and Muta goes for a cradle that gets blocked. He dropkicks Victory to the ramp, then flies off the top rope with a cross body onto him. That’s nice. Back in they go, and both guys make tags. Saito clotheslines Morgan, and follows that with a snap suplex. Morgan tags out of there, and Victory hits Saito with punches. Saito comes back with an armbar takedown, and Victory makes the ropes. Saito gives Victory a hip toss, and both guys make tags again. Muta hits Morgan with a spinning kick to the gut, and drops an elbow on him. He tags out again, and Saito goes for a sharpshooter, only for Victory to hit him from behind. Morgan and Saito are still in there, and Victory kicks Saito as he runs the ropes. Morgan follows with a back suplex that gets 2, then he throws Saito out of the ring. Victory throws Saito into the post, and makes a legal tag in. Saito gets hit by a double back elbow, and Morgan makes another tag. He heads up to the second rope and misses a leg drop, so Muta makes the tag in. He hits Victory with the HANDSPRING ELBOW, and all four men are in now. Morganaccidentally clotheslines his partner, so Muta runs up to Victory and gives him a GERMAN SUPLEX for the win at 5:42. Nice bridge!
After the match, Dangerously interviewed Muta and Saito. It was funny as hell. Saito was actually able to do a promo!
My Thoughts: This match wasn’t as good as the last, but that was to be expected. These haven’t been given any time, and with the Japanese team working three matches, they knew to save some energy. That’s one of the issues with tournaments. *1/2, hopefully the next match with Muta and Saito is better. At least they advanced though!
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament Quarter Finals: Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov (USSR) vs. Danny Johnson & Troy Montour (Canada)
Pre-Match Thoughts: These were really the best Canadian wrestlers they could find? What a joke. At least this is the last matchup of poor quality on this show. I really wanted to get past this, so that’s good. The rest of the card looks good after this! The biggest problem is when I’m not able to tell the wrestlers apart, but I can here. The Soviets looked like amateur wrestlers, and had absolutely no pro wrestling look at all. Nor were they heels or babyfaces. Very strange.
Match Review: Zangiev is disgustingly hairy, it’s amusing. He and Johnson start the match, and Zangiev tries to use real wrestling to take Johnson down. Of course, he does, until Montour kicks him from behind. Zangiev then takes Johnson down again, and takes Johnson down with a dangerous belly to belly suplex for 2. Johnson comes back with a double chop, and both guys make tags. There’s some stalling before they get it going again, and by some I mean kind of a lot. Hasimikov takes Montour down with a belly to belly suplex, there’s some major confusion, and that gets the pin at 3:55.
My Thoughts: Something about this was all wrong, and I can’t pinpoint exactly what. This was a disaster of epic proportions, I don’t know what was going on here. Really stupid match, I’d rate it -*. It was awful. Let’s move on.
It’s time for Sting’s promo, and he talks about the entirety of the Black Scorpion program. Some subtle burial when he talks about how nobody could see something like this happening in wrestling. Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel.
Michael Wallstreet (w/Alexandra York) vs. Terry Taylor
Pre-Match Thoughts: Hey, it’s a match with a back story I haven’t seen, and they showed it before the match! On the day before the PPV, Terry Taylor was interviewed by Paul E. Dangerously, and he talked shit about Alexandra York. So, she slapped him. This match should be a nice showcase for Wallstreet, which is funny given that he was about to bail on WCW. That’s too bad for them, I guess.
Match Review: Taylor tries a sunset flip, during which he tears off Wallstreet’s slacks, so the match is underway. A cross body also gets 2, and he dropkicks Wallstreet to the outside. There is a clock on the screen that checks the accuracy of the computer, by the way. Can Wallstreet BEAT THE CLOCK? Wallstreet gets back in the ring, and Taylor puts him in a headlock. He gets out, and Taylor clotheslines him for 2. Wallstreet comes back by going to work on the arm, as York types on her word processor. Just like I am right now! Taylor fights his way free, and Wallstreet gives him a backbreaker. That’s followed by a suplex, and an elbow drop that misses. Oops. He clotheslines Taylor anyway, and leg drops him for a 2 count. Wallstreet puts Taylor in an abdominal stretch and cheats by holding the top rope, which gets him more heat than I expected. Finally he gets caught, so once he breaks it, he misses a dropkick. Taylor hits him with a back elbow, then backdrops him. Taylor follows with a jawbreaker, and there’s a bodyslam. He drops a knee, and covers for a 2 count after that. Taylor gives Rotunda an atomic drop and suplex, with Wallstreet kicks out of at 2. Taylor then hits Wallstreet with a FLYING FOREARM, but Wallstreet puts his foot on the ropes to stop the count. He drops Taylor with a HOTSHOT, then gives the poor guy the STOCK MARKET CRASH. Wallstreet covers, and there’s a 3 count for him at 6:54! He beat the clock! THE COMPUTER WAS RIGHT.
My Thoughts: Solid match, but very standard. Not a whole lot going on, but nothing bad either. It didn’t feel like it meant anything, and it really didn’t. I’ve seen many worse Mike Rotunda matches, so I guess I should be relieved that this wasn’t as bad as those. That’s one way to look at it! **1/4, it was just fine, but not any better than that. The computer thing with York was probably the best aspect of the lower card at this time. I do find it strange that Taylor was brought back to WCW only to lose.
The WrestleWar ’91 commercial was hilarious, but it looks like we’re getting WARGAMES. YES.
The Skyscrapers vs. The Motor City Madman and the Big Cat
Pre-Match Thoughts: The Skyscrapers hadn’t teamed up in a while, and I suppose this was a good thing to do because they had plans for neither of them. However, I don’t understand dropping that after this show. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Sid also didn’t have any of the same entrance attire or outfit.
Match Review: This starts with a quick brawl, and the Big Cat gets double teamed for a bit. The Skyscrapers give him a double backdrop, then the Madman hops back in there. Sid hits him with a splash in the corner, and Spivey follows it as well. The Skyscrapers then drops the Madman with a SPIKE POWERBOMB, and that gets the win at 1:02!
Paul E. is with the Skyscrapers now, and they pick him up so that he’s not looking up at them anymore. They hinted that they’d team up in 1991, except they didn’t.
My Thoughts: What a sorry excuse for a match that turned out to be. Oh well. DUD. Sid could barely pick the Madman up for the powerbomb, it was a good thing they got rid of this guy.
The Fabulous Freebirds (w/Little Richard Marley) vs. Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich (w/Robert Gibson)
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a nice way to end the feud between these guys. Gibson will be at ringside, and he made his way there on crutches and sporting a giant knee brace. The Birds wanted to get heat, so it was time to sport Confederate facepaint. Lame. Looking forward to this match, though.
Match Review: Garvin and Morton lock up, and Morton takes him down with a hip toss. Hayes runs in and gets hip tossed, then the ring is cleared with dropkicks from Morton and Rich! Hayes makes a tag in, and Morton gives him an inverted atomic drop. He throws Hayes to the outside, and Hayes blocks a post shot. So, Gibson hits him with a right hand, nearly falling down in the process. Hayes gets back in and takes Morton down for a knee drop, but it misses. Rich and Garvin run in, which leads to stereo figure-fours! Crowd liked that a lot. Garvin and Rich legally tag in once the dust settles, and Rich hip tosses his opponent. He then brings Marley into the ring and spanks him, which is not a typo. Hayes makes a tag in, and punches Rich in the face. He signals for the DDT, but Hayes backdrops him. Morton and Garvin tag in, and Morton hits Garvin with a knee lift. Morton cradles Garvin up, and Hayes bulldogs him from behind, so finally the Birds are in control. They signal for Marley to do something, and he heads up top. I guess they want to break Morton’s leg. Gibson hits Marley with his crutch, so Marley accidentally jumps into Garvin. Garvin grabs hold of Marley and chokes him, so Morton rolls Garvin up from behind for the win at 6:14!
After the match, the Birds turn on Marley, and the babyfaces don’t even care. They give Marley a DOUBLE DDT, but Morton and Rich come back to the ring to check on Marley. THE FREEBIRDS HAVE ROBERT GIBSON TRAPPED! They give Gibson a double clothesline, and even with his knee injury, he takes the bump like a true professional.
My Thoughts: This was a solid match, and what happened afterward was pretty good too. They kept the time within the Freebirds limitations, and within Rich’s limitations. He was actually used quite a bit in this match as opposed to just standing on the outside. I did think it was interesting that WCW did a similar angle to the Virgil angle right before the WWF could do it at their own PPV. No doubt that was intentional. **1/2, best thing on this show since the opener. I enjoyed it a lot. It’s funny that Rocky King was gotten rid of right after this angle. They didn’t try to have him get anything back after being beaten down.
Before the next one, the US Champion Stan Hansen has a promo. He has spit all over him, and is good at hyping up this upcoming match. Awfully hard to hate someone who is so far in character as Hansen was here.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament Semifinals: Rey Mysterio Sr. and Konnan (Mexico) vs. The Steiner Brothers (NWA US Tag Team Champions, USA)
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a lot better than the first round match the Steiner Brothers were given! The graphic for Mysterio continues to call him “Rey Mysteric.” That’s a cool name, but it isn’t his name, so that’s not cool. Both Mexican team members were selling injuries from earlier in the night, so it’s obvious what to expect here.
Match Review: Konnan and Rick Steiner will start things off, and Rick takes him to the canvas. Konnan trips him, ties up his legs, and I guess that’s a leglock of some sort. Rick breaks it with a reversal, then tags in his brother. Scott gives Konnan a powerslam, and sets Konnan up for the ELEVATED DEATH BULLDOG. Konnan makes a tag out of there, and in comes Mysterio. Scott takes him down, and Mysterio returns the favor with a drop toe-hold. Scott suplexes his way out of the hold Mysterio was trying, then tags out. Mysterio hits Rick with some shoulderblocks, but he gets dropped with a powerbomb for the finish at 2:54.
My Thoughts: Well, that didn’t take long. *1/2 for the ridiculous bulldog, but I think Mysterio and Konnan had no energy to continue. They looked hurt.
Barry Windham and Arn Anderson were with Tony Schiavone, talking about the angle that put Ric Flair out of Starrcade. As stated earlier, it’s lower than low that they made sure to sell the match and show on Flair’s participation in this match against Doom. Arn’s promo was pretty good, and this looks like it’s going to be a hell of a street fight. These guys are hyped up.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament Semifinals: The Great Muta & Mr. Saito (Japan) vs. Salmon Hasimikov and Victor Zangiev (USSR)
Pre-Match Thoughts: These four had worked together before, according to the WON that reviewed this show. I guess that’s a good thing given that the first match with the Soviet team was just terrible. Obviously this tournament was engineered to have Muta and Saito face the Steiners. There’s really no tension at all.
Match Review: Muta and Zangiev lock up with each other, and it’s amateur wrestling time. Zangiev takes Muta down after that with a back suplex that gets 2, the best thing he’s done on this show. He takes Saito down with a wristlock, and makes a tag out. Hashimikov trips Saito, and puts him in a Boston crab. Wasn’t expecting that, but Muta kicks him in the back of the head. Zangiev tags in, and Saito puts him in a SHARPSHOOTER. Or wait, this is WCW. SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Hashimikov drops Muta with a BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX, then picks him up on his shoulders for a second one. Good suplexes here! Zangiev tags in and runs into a clothesline, then Saito folds him up with a back suplex for the win at 3:09.
My Thoughts: This was standard fare, but the suplexes in the match were good. Same as the last match, *1/2. And so goes the last match on PPV that I really don’t want to watch under any circumstance. I’m serious with that. All the rest have something as part of the equation that I want to see. The ones I can think of, anyway.
Doom is also ready for the street fight here, and Teddy Long talked a lot of shit. HOMIE DON’T PLAY THAT. Looking forward to this match the most of the ones left.
Lex Luger vs. Stan Hansen in a TEXAS LARIAT MATCH for the NWA United States Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the same thing as a bullrope match, but there’s no bell on the rope for some reason. Still, same rules, and hopefully the same violence. The crowd has simmered down prior to this match, but I think they’ll be back in full force. LET’S GET VIOLENT.
Match Review: Hansen attacks, so we’re underway! He gives Luger a hip toss, but misses an elbow drop. Luger hits Hansen with a back elbow, and bodyslams him as well. Hansen comes back with knees, and whips Luger with the rope, which is quite thin. He chokes Luger now, but Luger comes back with a clothesline. They spill to the outside, and it’s Luger’s turn to choke. Hansen then rams Luger into some of the photographers at ringside, and hits him with a chair! Luger fights back with headbutts, and there’s another clothesline. Luger covers, but that won’t win the match. Luger goes to touch the corners, and touches 2 before Hansen runs into him and gives him a weird back suplex. Hansen drops an elbow on Luger, and wraps the rope around his neck, as he goes to touch the corners. That gets stopped, and he tries to hang Luger over the top rope! I did that spot, but the crowd didn’t react as expected. Hansen tied a good noose, by the way. He throws Luger into the post, and goes to touch some corners. Hansen touches 3 of them, but Luger clotheslines him before he can reach the fourth. Luger kicks Hansen out of the ring, and follows so that he can ram Hansen into the apron a few times. Eventually he sends Hansen into the post, and heads back inside to try to touch some corners. Luger touches 3, and the crowd is buying a finish right here. Hansen and Luger play tug-o-war, and in the middle of that, Luger touches the fourth corner, knocking down the referee at the same time. Hansen hits Luger with his boot, and wakes the referee up. Now, Hansen goes to touch some corners, and another referee is here. Big boos for this part, as Hansen’s touched 2 corners. There’s the 3rd, and Hansen touches the 4th after hitting Luger with the lariat! The bell rings at 10:13 and Hansen is declared the winner, but the original referee wakes up and says that Luger has won! Luger takes Hansen out with a clothesline to a gigantic pop, and he is once again the United States Champion!
My Thoughts: This match was a bit less than expected, and lacking the violence I had hoped for. The finish was great and really got the crowd involved, which was nice. I did like the brawling, but I felt like the match needed blood, and there wasn’t any of it. I also found that the corner touching spots weren’t as good as they’ve been in some other matches of this kind. **1/2, but as stated, I loved the finish. They really had people fooled, and when they announced that Luger was the winner, there was a big pop.
Barry Windham & Arn Anderson (NWA TV Champion) vs. Doom (w/Teddy Long) in a STREET FIGHT for the NWA Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: Street fights are always fun when conducted in the gimmick of guys wearing their “street clothes” to the fight. That’s tradition which needs to be upheld. Looking forward to this match despite the change of opponent, as of course I already knew about that. Imagine this match with Flair, though. I like that they have his picture hanging up back at the set, like they didn’t know they were doing this all along. Now that’s a joke. It also makes Windham look bad. He’s sporting a trucker cap and looks kind of funny. He’s also wearing chaps with his jeans. That’s confusing! I hope Long tries to get involved here.
Match Review: As soon as Doom hits the ring, it’s time to fight. Reed pairs off with Arn and Simmons pairs with Windham, giving him a bodyslam on the ramp. Arn attacks Simmons from behind, and starts whipping him with a belt. Simmons and Arn then roll back towards the ring, as Reed gives Windham a suplex. Simmons whips Arn with the belt now, and Reed gets sent to the outside by Windham. Reed hits Windham with his belt to gash him open, and for the first time on this show we have blood! Reed grinds that belt buckle into Windham’s face, but Windham gives him a back suplex on the floor! Arn now meets Reed and whips him with the belt, as Simmons was being attended to after having his leg taken out with a chair. Simmons gets bodyslammed by Windham, and Windham misses a knee drop to follow. Arn and Windham work over Simmons with some big belt shots, and I think Simmons is busted open now. Arn cracks Reed over the head with a chair, so it’ll be his turn to bleed as well. This rules. Windham hits Simmons with a chair too, and Reed clobbers Arn with a different chair. Simmons gives Windham a spinebuster for 2, then Reed hits Windham with a high knee to the back. All four guys are bleeding, and Arn has his shirt torn open, looking really beaten up. Simmons picks him up for a press slam, then heads up top for some reason. Windham hits him low, which crotches him on the top rope. He goes for the SUPERPLEX, and takes him down with it. That’s sick. Simmons kicks out at 2, and Reed is climbing up to the top for some reason, and he flies down with a big shoulderblock to Arn. Windham throws Simmons to the outside, and follows that by giving Reed a DDT. Simmons has a chair and brings it back into the ring, and Arn grabs it…only for Simmons to hit him with it anyway for 2. Reed gives Windham a PILEDRIVER in the middle of that, and I think we’re headed for the finish. Windham backdrops Reed over the top, so maybe not. The Horsemen try to take Simmons out in tandem, but in a very sloppy sequence, Reed breaks it up and Simmons clotheslines Arn. Windham cradles Reed up at the same time as Simmons pinning, and the match finishes at 7:35 with Doom retaining due to a double pin. The guys then fight to the back, and the crowd is extremely confused about the result.
My Thoughts: This was a bad finish, but what a match and post-match. I loved what I saw here, this was excellent. They didn’t go overboard with the weapons shots, and that made the thing work so much better than if they had. All four guys bled, which gave the match the feel of being important. It was short, but that kept the match from becoming redundant. Matches like this should never be long ones. Obviously, I loved this match. Everything worked, and by the halfway point I forgot that Ric Flair was supposed to be in this match. ****, if the finish didn’t suck, that would have been nice.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament Final: The Great Muta & Mr. Saito (Japan) vs. The Steiner Brothers (NWA US Tag Team Champions, USA)
Pre-Match Thoughts: The entire point of the tournament seems to be to have this match and for it to mean something. It means quite enough, and I want to see the match. They didn’t need to have all the other matches, but you can’t have a thing and call it “Memorial” if it’s just one match. I’m surprised the announcers haven’t been constantly reminding us of the main event. Guess it was just a different era. Not like these guys have worked too much to put on a good match either.
Match Review: Scott Steiner and the Great Muta will start this thing, and Scott gets some USA chants going. Muta rakes the eyes, and hits Scott with an enzuigiri to knock him down for the first time. Scott comes back with a trip, and puts Muta in a half crab. Muta makes the ropes quickly, and Rick makes a tag in. The crowd has no more energy left because there’s been too many matches. Muta takes Rick down with a spinning kick, but Rick hits him with a STEINERLINE and forces him to tag out. Saito clobbers Rick for a bit, but Rick dropkicks him out of nowhere. That was weird. He hits Saito with a STEINERLINE, and Muta climbs up to the top only for Rick to shake the ropes and crotch him on that top rope. Big mistake! Muta and Scott tag in there, and Muta goes to a choke. He follows that with the HANDSPRING ELBOW, but Scott comes back with a belly to belly suplex for 2. Saito tags in, and Scott nails him with a back elbow. Rick tags in there, and Saito drops him with a back suplex. The guys then collide, and Muta makes a tag in to dish out an elbow drop. He throws Rick out of the ring, and Saito posts him, knocking the headgear off. Rick puts it back on, and Muta has the BELL. He drills Rick with it, and the referee was conveniently distracted. Muta clotheslines him now, and the crowd is getting unhappy. Saito tags back in, and puts Rick in a nervehold that looks a lot like a choke. Muta comes in with a sneak attack from the top rope, and the referee doesn’t see it at all. The story here is basically that the Japanese referee does see any of their cheating. Even when he does, they don’t get punished. Rick finalls nails Muta with a STEINERLINE, and there’s a tag! Scott gives Muta a backdrop, and follows that with a TIGER BOMB for 2. Muta then chokes Scott with his knee, as the referee clears Rick from the ring, and Saito makes a tag in as well. Saito hits Scott with a back elbow, and gives him a nice back suplex for 1. The Japanese then plant Scott into the canvas with a SPIKE PILEDRIVER, but they don’t cover. Muta knocks Rick Steiner out of the ring, and finally the referee ushers one of the Japanese wrestlers out of the ring. Very poorly, though. Rick makes a blind tag as Muta isn’t paying attention, and Saito puts Scott in a sleeper. Rick flies off the top with a sunset flip, and that’s good for the win at 10:54!
My Thoughts: This match was better received at the time, but I didn’t like it that much and it had a hard time holding my attention. Muta and Saito were trying to work a traditional American style match, but I thought the cheating was a little overboard. I also thought that they should have had a few more high spots to get over how important the match was. **1/4, there just wasn’t enough to this. Dave Meltzer rated it a full star higher in the WON, but even though I’ve been watching matches from this era like crazy and trying to rate matches amongst their contemporaries rather than compared to now, I don’t see it.
After the match, we have a nice moment where the Steiners celebrate with their newly won trophy. Jim Herd walked out there to make a speech, which was completely unnecessary. Scott Steiner had a good bit about representing the country, and talking about the guys in Kuwait. You know, this felt genuine in comparison to a lot of the things I’ve seen from this era where they talked about soldiers. I liked the personal anecdote about his family having served.
THE BLACK SCORPION vs. Sting in a STEEL CAGE MATCH with DICK THE BRUISER AS SPECIAL REFEREE, for the NWA Championship. IF THE BLACK SCORPION LOSES, HE MUST UNMASK.
Pre-Match Thoughts: This was marketed as the biggest match of the year, but this rings hollow in comparison to the other main events. It’s not even needed, really. Before the match, Dick the Bruiser was introduced, and I really hope he can count a fall better than Gene Kiniski! You could absolutely not tell who the Black Scorpion was. NOt even slightly. Oh wait, there’s a second one. There’s a third and a fourth too. Haha. For some reason, a spaceship gets lowered onto the ramp. Well, we’ve hit increasing levels of stupidity here. I guess the last Scorpion is going to come out of there, and he cut a promo before the match. I thought they couldn’t do worse than anything they’ve done with this character yet. THey’ve topped it.
Match Review: The Scorpion is giving absolutely nothing away, and you can’t tell who it is. These two lock up, and Sting goes to a headlock. The Scorpion gives Sting a back suplex, then misses a very generic looking elbow drop. Scorpion has an attempt to ram Sting into the cage blocked, so Sting gives him a hip toss and clothesline. Scorpion comes back with a clothesline of his own, and follows that with a gutwrench suplex for the slowest of no counts. Oh boy. He clotheslines Sting again, and puts him in a head-scissors. The Scorpion keeps that hold on for a while, but eventually they get up and he hits Sting with a back elbow. The Scorpion covers Sting with his feet on the ropes, and that is a dead giveaway for me. Of course, Dick the Bruiser caught it, and Scorpion then whips Sting hard into the buckle. He does that again, and follows with an inverted atomic drop. Scorpion then clotheslines Sting in the corner, and covers for 2. Scorpion goes to a chinlock, as the match has slowed to a crawl. It’s also hard to see through this cage. Scorpion lands some punches, but Sting finally drops him with a press slam. He follows that with some clotheslines, but misses a charge and flies into the cage. Scorpion misses his own charge which leads to a 2 count for Sting, and Sting follows that with a suplex for 2 again. Such slow counts. Sting works Scorpion over with punches and kicks, but gets poked in the eye. More hinting! Scorpion goes to the eyes again, and throws Sting into the cage. Looks like Scorpion has a cheering section! He rams Sting into the cage a couple times, and gives him a PILEDRIVER for 2. This is boring. Scorpion puts Sting in a neck vice, but he makes the ropes. How can you have a cage match without anarchy, rules wise? I don’t like it much. Sting comes back with punches, then they blow a spot, which leads to Sting getting thrown into the cage again. Come on guys, this needs to end. Sting smashes Scorpion’s face into the mat, and he follows that with the STINGER SPLASH. Sting goes to the SCORPION DEATHLOCK, which really should be the finish, but of course it isn’t. Scorpion reaches the ropes, and finally gets thrown into the cage. Sting takes the mask off, but this man is sporting another mask! It’s a white mask, and it appears that this man is now trying to leave the cage. Sting grabs him, and they fight on the top rope until Sting falls down. Sting then hits the ropes and crotches the guy, that was a good spot. Now the match has picked up, and Sting throws the Scorpion into the cage again. This Scorpion blades through the mask, so he’s bleeding. This is hilarious. Sting gives him a press slam head-first into the cage, and follows with a hip toss. Sting hits Scorpion with a flying clothesline, then heads up top. DOWN HE COMES with a cross body, and that gets 3 at 18:32. That just didn’t look right.
The other Scorpions run into the ring, and Dick the Bruiser beats them up. Of course. They take the masks off these guys, but Sting grabs the real Black Scorpion before he can leave the cage. The Horsemen are in the ring as well, so Sting has to fight them off. This is absurd, a total WCW 1997 ending. It turns out that Sting gets DDT’d on the chair, and the Horsemen go to work on taking him out completely. You know, this is calling for a big babyface save, and it’s Ricky Morton and Tom Zenk. HAHA. HERE COMES THE STEINERS, and they open the cage door with some bolt cutters. Now let’s see what happens. Sting attacks the Scorpion from behind, grabs the mask, pulls it off…AND IT’S RIC FLAIR! OF COURSE IT IS!
My Thoughts: The finish to the match was underwhelming, and didn’t feel like an actual finish. That was bothersome. The match also sucked. The work wasn’t good, but they were restricted because Flair couldn’t work his usual match. It was interesting to see him work a totally generic style, but I don’t think that was the best way to approach it. It may have been more interesting if they would have had Flair use spots from the other heel wrestlers in order to obfuscate who it really was. Instead they didn’t. They did have me fooled with the stuff after the match, as well they could fool me when I knew the result. It really felt like the PPV would end with the heels on top, which is why I put down the WCW 1997 thing. The babyface save was also the definition of underwhelming. It seemed like a spot for Lex Luger or another comparable babyface, maybe even somebody making their debut. Instead I saw Tom Zenk running out there. Not a good look. * for the match, but everything that happened after it was entertaining on some level.
That main event was something else, and it’s hard to get my mind off it. The post-match looked so disjointed and stupid, and Ric Flair being the Black Scorpion didn’t look good at all. It was reminiscent of the Dusty angle in 1985, but it looked so much dumber and low-rent. As for the show as a whole, I thought there were far too many matches here. 14 is just far too many when a company doesn’t have a good enough roster to support all those matches. At least there were two very good matches on the show, but there was a lot of stuff going on between them. Glad to get this one out of the way as it is the last show I can think of that features so many matches I really didn’t want to watch. Everything going forward should be interesting as well, I’ve made a giant list for 1991. Next up, it’s time to watch the WWF matches heading into 1991 and the Royal Rumble!
Wrestling Time: 1:35:32. More than you’d think given how much time would take place going from one match to the next.
Best: Doom vs. Barry Windham and Arn Anderson. This was bordering on classic for me.
Worst: USSR vs. Canada. That was one of the worst matches I’ve watched from this year much less worst on the show.
Card Rating: 6/10. Just barely over the halfway mark, I thought the non-tournament matches were interesting enough. Main event nearly killed the whole thing, but it was just one of 14 matches.