The SmarK 24/7 Rant for the Essential Starrcade – Part Four
Top 10 time!
– Hosted by Dusty Rhodes
#10: WCW Cruiserweight title: Eddie Guerrero v. Dean Malenko
From Starrcade ’97. Dean slugs him down to start and they trade forearms in the corner, but Dean gets the dropkick for two. Snap suplex and he fires away on the mat, but Eddie tries to come back with the ropewalk rana, which Dean reverses into a powerbomb for two. Eddie holds onto the neck, so Dean powerbombs him again for two and they do a pinfall reversal sequence that leads into Malenko getting a powerslam for two. Eddie gets all worked up and then runs away, allowing him to sneak in and clip the knee and take over. He stomps away on the mat, but Dean comes back with a suplex for two. And we hit the chinlock, which Eddie escapes via the ropes. This is quite the snoozer thus far. Eddie begs off and we get another extended stall before Dean dropkicks him, and Eddie bails to stall again. Back in, they do a test of strength and Dean dropkicks him again, then alley-oops him into the turnbuckles and into a backdrop suplex for two. They fight for a suplex and Eddie escapes with a necksnap and starts working on the knee some more, dragging Dean to the floor and running the stairs into his knee. Reads more exciting than it came off, believe me. Back in, he goes to a half-assed leglock and then switches to a powerbomb for two. Dean counters a bulldog attempt with a german suplex, and a backbreaker gets two. Eddie gets dumped to the apron and tries to go up, but Dean follows him up and brings him down with a sloppy faceplant, then follows with a rolling cradle for two. Dean with another powerbomb to set up the Cloverleaf, but Eddie kicks out of it and goes up with a dropkick to the knee, and the frog splash finishes at 14:54. Did the voters actually see this match before voting it this high, I wonder, or just base it on the name value? Because it was slow, meandering, and dull, with a ton of missed spots by their standard. **1/2
#9: The Steiner Brothers v. The Road Warriors
From Starrcade ’89, this is another match that I’m pretty sure got voted in on name value. Not that it’s a bad match, but it’s really not what you’d be hoping for from it. Scott goes for the leg of Hawk to start and gets hit with an enzuigiri, but takes Hawk down with a rolling takedown of his own. Over to Rick, who walks into Hawk’s clothesline for two. Animal comes in for the double-elbow, but Rick fires back with a Steinerline and the Warriors back off. Animal gets a shoulderblock, but Rick hits him with a belly to belly suplex for two. Hawk comes in and presses Scott for two, then follows with a big boot for two. Animal misses an elbow and Scott gets a belly to belly for two. Animal clotheslines him out of the corner and Hawk comes in with a body vice, then follows with a gutwrench suplex for two. They head up and Scott brings Hawk down with a sloppy belly to belly off the top, but Animal tags in and bearhugs him. The Warriors double-team Scott and it’s suddenly BONZO GONZO, as the Warriors hit a Doomsday Device on Scott, but Scott lifts his shoulders at two and gets the pin on Animal at 7:25. Hard hitting, but it didn’t go anywhere. **1/2
#8: Ladder match: 3 Count v. Knoble & Karagias v. The Jung Dragons
From the last Starrcade in 2000. Kind of weird how many of these guys ended up becoming fairly big stars, outside of the useless Evan Karagias. Kaz and Shannon start and the crowd starts chanting â€œboringâ€ 30 seconds in. Ah, comped crowds, gotta love â€˜em. Shane stalls and then everyone goes for the ladder. Three Count SWERVES us and finds a SECRET ladder under the ring, however, climbing for the contract first. The Dragons stop them. All sorts of ladders get brought to the ring, as K&K smash shane into a ladder and drop Kaz on his head on a ladder. Ouch. Billy Gunnâ€™s got nothing on them. Knoble & Karagias argue over who gets to climb or who fucked whoâ€™s sister in high school or whatever the ridiculous storyline is, so Yang dropkicks them. Highspots erupt on the outside, with everyone hitting their usual dives. Knoble lands on all of them, as Evan sets up an impromptu scaffolding with a pair of ladders and the ropes. Yang dives at him and gets powerslammed off it, but Shane then follows up by giving Karagias a fameasser off the ladder. These guys must have the best chiropractor in wrestling. Hmm, Jim Hellwig DOES have a degree, tooâ€¦ Two ladders get set up and four guys climb them, but the end is result is Yang and Moore left on top, as Moore hits a drop sleeper off the top of it on Yang. Sloppy there. Leia Meow earns her pay by stopping Knoble from climbing, but Evan chases her off. The Dragons set up an even bigger scaffolding with about 16 ladders. Those wacky Japanese. Kaz falls off it, as does Evan. Shannon skins the cat up it and headscissors Knoble off, leaving both Three Count members to grab the contract and get that prestigious title shot on Nitro. Brutal spotfest, although the TLC matches that would follow in WWE would pretty much devalue this one. ***3/4
#7: Sting v. Ric Flair
This is the final match of Starrcade ’89 — Flair can win the tournament by pinfall, submission or countout here, while Sting needs a pin to win the tournament. If they draw, Lex Luger wins the whole thing. Sting grabs a headlock to start and hiptosses Flair out of the ring. Back in, Flair tries another headlock and Sting reverses to a drop toehold and controls on the mat. They fight over a wristlock and Sting wins that battle, so Flair goes to the ropes and starts going subtle heel. Criss-cross and Sting catches Flair with a press slam, so Flair takes another breather. Back in, Sting overpowers him and catches him with a backslide for two. Flair chops him down in frustration, letting Evil Flair show again, and he just unloads in the corner, but can’t hiptoss Sting. Sting dropkicks him down twice and powers him down again for two. Flair claims an injury, then suckers Sting in and kicks him in the knee as a result. Oh, Sting, you glorious retard. They fight to the floor and Flair whips him into the railing to make it clear who the heel is, and necksnaps him on the way back in. Suplex back in gets two. Abdominal stretch into a rollup gets two. Small package gets two. Suplex gets two. Flair whips him into the corner and follows with a butterfly suplex for two, getting more cocky as we go. Sting catches him out of the corner with a clothesline for two and Flair rolls out again, but Sting no-sells the chops on the floor. And those chops are on the floor, they hurt twice as much! Sting fights back in with a sunset flip, but Flair slugs him down to block, so Sting comes back with a suplex for two. Flair throws more chops and Sting shakes them off and slugs away in the corner, then follows with the stinger splash and the Scorpion deathlock. Flair quickly makes the ropes and hits him with the kneecrusher, and gets the figure-four with only 90 seconds left. Sting gets the ropes as well, so Flair pounds on the knee again, and they do a quick pinfall reversal sequence with 30 seconds left. Backslide gets two for Sting. Flair gets another kneecrusher and works the leg as we’ve mysteriously added another minute to the time limit, but a second figure-four is reversed to an inside cradle for the pin at 15:52 to give Sting the tournament. Hard to screw up this matchup. ****
#6: Roddy Piper v. Greg Valentine
Valentine was the US champion, but this is non-title due to the gimmick match. Bigtime bloodfeud here as Piper was crazy over as a babyface. They play tug-of-war with the chain to start, using their necks. Piper whips him with the chain and Valentine backs off. Valentine tries to whip Piper in turn and fails. Slugfest and they back off again. Piper blitzes him, and crotches him with the chain, but Valentinue uses the chain to nail Piper in the injured ear and rubs it in. Ouch. Greg drops the hammer, but Piper kneelifts him and chokes him out. Cool spot sees Piper wrap the chain around the post to trap Valentine in the corner and beat him down with the chain. Greg blades. Valentine chokes him down and Piper bails. They start whipping each other with the chain and slug it out on the apron. Greg goes to the ear to take over. He posts Piper and the ear starts GUSHING blood. Valentine pounds on the ear with the chain. Thatâ€™s sick. Piper blocks a suplex with a chainshot, but gets elbowed in the ear. Hammer elbow gets two. Another one gets two. Piper spears him and stomps away, but has no balance due to the ear injury. He destroys him with the chain and wins a slugfest, but Valentine clotheslines the dizzy Piper and gets a kneedrop for two. Piper reverses a suplex for the double-KO as Piper bleeds like a pig. Valentine sleeper attempt has Solie writing the match off and nearly packing up the headset to leave, but Piper rears back and KOâ€™s him with the chain. Greg gets a pair of elbows, and misses one off the 2nd rope, allowing Piper to get a fluke pin at 15:15. Slowish but intense and sick brawl. ***1/2 Valentine absolutely massacres Piper afterwards.
Another good run of stuff this week.
Next week: The top five! You’d have to think it’ll be some combination of Flair-Race, Flair-Vader, Sting-Hogan, Magnum-Tully and the conspicuously absent Skywalkers match, and frankly I’d be shocked if it wasn’t. We’ll see next time, I guess.
Tags: dean malenko, Dusty Rhodes, Eddie Guerrero, Ric Flair, Road Warriors, Rowdy Roddy Piper, SmarK Rants, starrcade, Steiner Brothers, Sting, WCW, WWE, WWE 24/7