The SmarK Starrcade Countdown: 1993

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 93

– This beat goes on…

– Flair history package starts us out.

– Live from Charlotte, NC

– Your hosts are Tony and Jesse.

Opening match: 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell v. Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff.

Having recently read Foley’s book, I will never be able to look at Scorpio in the same light again. I mean, sure, you’d think all those kids would prove his manhood as it is, but to have it stated for the record in a national bestseller should be a major boost to the ego for him. Big brawl to start, and Scorps & Bags clean house. Some vicious ARMDRAGS and ARMBARS and WRISTLOCKS punctuate the first 5 minutes. Gosh, what a way to start a PPV. Bagwell gets nailed and plays Buffy Morton. Crowd drifts in and out of a coma. Roma misses a big splash and 2CS gets the hot tag, but that dastardly FatAssassin loads up the mask and gets the HEADBUTT OF STEAMING DEATH on Scorpio and Orndorff falls on top for the pin at 11:42. No heat for the future Pretty Wonderful, but it’s WCW so of course they walked away with the tag titles six months later. ¾*

– Mean Whoo By God Whoo By God Gene and Ric Flair share some quality time in the limo as they head to the arena.

Awesome Kong v. The Shockmaster.

If Dusty Rhodes hadn’t been fired as booker, this might have scored the main event. Just for fun, and to deflect away from the obvious jokes, let’s sub the phrase “well-hung” for “fat” in this match recap and see what happens, shall we? Both of the grotesquely well-hung Kongs (Awesome and King) are at ringside, and they attack the equally well-hung Shockmaster and double-team him, even though it’s supposed to be a singles match. He manages to fight them off and come back with a bodypress. A bodyslam is all that’s needed to finish the Kong at 1:38, because he’s JUST TOO WELL-HUNG to do anything else. At least it was quick. DUD I’ll have to apply this one to the inevitable Phatu-Viscera match and see how well it holds up.  (2011 Scott says:  Luckily, we never got that Rikishi v. Big Daddy V match as far as I know.) 

– Tony announces that Bulldog has been removed from the “World” title match tonight and the Boss (Man, Is He Big) is taking his place.  (2011 Scott sez:  Can’t remember what happened with Bulldog that he got bounced from WCW like that, actually, but at least he had a resurgent run in the WWF afterwards) 

World TV title match: Lord Steven Regal v. Ricky Steamboat.

It’s so hard to recognize the TV belt without a garbage can wrapped around it. (2011 Scott sez:  So that would place this rant in the 1999 range, after Jim Duggan fished the TV title out of the trash.  Only a slightly less prestigious method of winning a title than, say, Shane McMahon giving you a belt out of his gym bag)  Loooooooong feeling-out period, spanning the first 8 minutes of a 15-minute limit match, which should give you an idea of where this is going. Steamer hits the flying chop for two and goes back to the armbar. Tony & Jesse make a good point about what an idiot Steamboat is for working the arm with such a short time-limit. He doggedly continues working the arm regardless of such great advice. Crowd is gone. Steamer hulks up, so Regal runs away and catches him with a dropkick coming around the corner. Back in and they exchange some nice wrestling on the mat. One minute left, Regal bails out again. Back in, Steamboat goes for the bodypress, misses, and time runs out at 13:00. Fire the timekeeper! Major yawner here. *1/2

Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne v. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce.

Punch and kick and stuff. Jack & Maxx have some decent teamwork going, though. Tex is currently known as Mideon, so you can imagine how useful he is. Maxx fights off both cowboys without much effort, and then they work in one of the few highspots I’ve ever seen Cactus Jack do: Maxx backdrops him over the top rope onto Tex. Back in the ring, where heel miscommunication leads to a double-arm DDT on Shanghai Pierce for the pin at 7:46. Standard Worldwide fare here. ½*

– Some racing guy get interview time.

US title match, 2/3 falls: Dustin Rhodes v. Stunning Steve Austin.

Austin was inching closer to his current state at this point. Rhodes, as always, has no heat. Some things never change. (2011 Scott sez:  Man, I was really mean to Dustin back in the day.  I think his 2002 WWE run really mellowed me on him.)  Dull mat wrestling sequence to start, as Austin stalls off and on. So Dustin…GRABS A HEADLOCK! Whoa, what a talent. Feel the crowd electricity! Dustin gets a backslide for two, so Austin stalls again. They brawl on the floor and Austin takes a primo bump over the railing. Back to the HEADLOCK, BABEE! Austin mounts some minor offense that goes nowhere. Dustin gets a couple of pinfall attempts, but Austin backjumps him to retake control. Man, these guys are just way off tonight. Steve misses a kneedrop and Dustin comes back. Col. Parker hops on the apron and Dustin whips Austin at him, but Austin oversells it and goes flying over the top, drawing a DQ to win the first fall. Rhodes takes out his frustration by ramming him to the post headfirst, drawing some good juice from Steve. Then the lights go out. Welcome to WCW, home of Murphy’s Law. The light guys put a spotlight on them, then the house lights come back just in time to catch Austin cradling Dustin in the corner and holding the tights for the pin and the title at 16:16. Bad match. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  This is another one where I rated it a bit higher in the Essential redos, but not much.) 

WCW International World Gold Belt Title: Rick Rude v. The Boss (Man, Is He Big).

For those who think that Russo can’t in trouble for lifting gimmicks verbatim, witness Ray Traylor and all the legal hot water WCW got into over him. (2011 Scott sez:  I have to say, WWE’s legal team has gotten really lazy about prosecuting people who infringe on their trademarks lately.  Nick Dinsmore has been kicking around the indy circuit forever now as “U-Gene”, and the Dudley Boyz were walking a thin line as “Team 3D” in TNA, just to name two examples where they seemingly could have sued and didn’t even send out a threatening letter that we know of.   Not to mention all the people making a living as fake Doink The Clowns on the indy scene, plus Matt Borne himself.)  Rude stalls a lot, but works in his usual 25-story backdrop to put the Boss on offense. Very, very, slow offense. Outside we go as Boss lays in the punishment. Back in for the bearhug. Boss misses the rope straddle thing, and Rude sunset flips in for the pin to retain at 9:05. Woof, that sucked. ¼*

World tag team title: The Nasty Boys v. Sting & Hawk.

This was supposed to be Flair & Steamboat v. The Nasties, but life interjected and Flair ended up doing other things. I think Sting & Steamboat as a team might have been pretty cool, actually, but they might have actually gotten a good match from the Nasties, so it’s Hawk we get. Missy is wearing an outfit best described as a body stocking and very little else. Stalling to start here. Yeah, I’m shocked, too. Nasties bail, so hawk presses Sting onto them. More stalling. Nasties bail again. Hawk destroys Sags, Nasties bail AGAIN. Back in, where the faces work on the arm. Hawk misses a blind charge and takes a chair to the back and a slap from the Skank Queen. (2011 Scott sez:  When did Missy’s book come out?  Because whatever we knew about her BEFORE was somehow made all the ickier by that book and her short-term softcore porn site with Tammy Sytch.   TOO MUCH INFORMATION.)  Back in, and now the Nasties work the arm. And, uh, yeah, that’s it, really. Lots of that armbar stuff going on recently. Sting gets the hot tag, and kills all. Nasties take a walk, but get tossed back in. Sting misses a splash and takes over Hawk’s position as face-in-peril. And now we get a dazzling array of weardown holds, including the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM, the REAR CHINLOCK OF SEVERE DISCOMFORT and the SLIGHTLY ALTERED YET STILL AS HORRIBLY DISFIGURING ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM…THE SEQUEL. Then a blown spot, as Sting forgets to lift his foot to block a Knobbs splash, so of course Knobbs REPEATS THE SPOT. Do I have to go door-to-door and tell wrestlers to never repeat a spot? (2011 Scott sez:  Anything that makes a Nasty Boys match LONGER is especially bad.)  Hot tag to Hawk, brawl erupts. Stinger splash and Scorpion Deathlock on Knobbs, but Missy interrupts. Sting and Hawk get their version of the Doomsday Device on Knobbs, but Missy runs in for the SUPER-WEAK DQ at 29:10. Yeah, give the match 30 FREAKIN MINUTES and then finish with a run-in, brilliant. Everyone then stands around as though that wasn’t the planned finish. Bleh match. *1/2 Someone do me a favor and call into Meltzer’s show tomorrow night and ask about that finish, would you? I suspect it was botched.  (2011 Scott sez:  Someone did call in, probably Bix, and I think Dave basically said “I don’t recall.”) 

WCW World title: Vader v. Ric Flair.

Sid who? Flair leads Vader on a footrace to start. Then Vader gets a hold of him. Oops. Flair gets the hell outta Dodge to regroup, then rolls back in and gets stomped again. To the floor, where Vader misses a charge to the railing and Flair gets some shots in. Race turns the tide, quieting the rabid crowd. More frosty cans of whoop-ass are opened at Flair’s expense, as he slowly and methodically beats the living hell out of Flair. Vader is going all Fit Finlay-level stiff here, too. Powerslam gets two. Splash misses, and Flair hits three chops off the top to come back. Vader says “enough of that”, then shrugs him off and knocks his head off. Flair’s eye is swelling from the shots in the corner and he’s bleeding from the mouth. Vader hits the superplex and continues the beating. Flair’s offense keeps getting derailed. Flair bails out and Race kicks him right in the face. Ouch. Avalanche misses once, but Vader compensates and nails it on the rebound. This is like watching someone fight Undertaker in Wrestlemania 2000 with the difficulty set on Hard. Flair finally snaps and gives Vader some stiff shots to the face of his own, then goes for the leg. Vader takes off the jockstrap, so you know it’s business now. Flair then tries Plan B: Hit him with a chair. Success! He works the knee once they get back in. Figure-four, but Vader’s legs are too big. Vader misses the pump splash, and this time Flair gets the figure-four. Vader makes the ropes and catches Flair on a blind charge. Moonsault misses, however. Race tries coming off the top with a headbutt, but hits Vader by mistake. Flair chops away, but runs into Vader like a brick wall when he tries a shouldertackle. He compensates, however, and (in theory) clips Vader’s knee and cradles him for the pin and the title at 21:09. The ending was actually botched pretty badly, but I can forgive it. ****1/4

– Post match, much celebration results.

The Bottom Line:

This show attempts to answer the question “How much crap can you sit through to get to a great match?” Even though the main event was praised by many (rightly so) as a historic and great match, the entirety of the undercard is brutally bad and barely worth the rental. I personally was so disgusted with WCW’s total downfall (as reflected in my “For the Want of a Nail” rant many months ago) at this point in my wrestling-watching career that I had already given up on the product completely and didn’t watch another WCW PPV until Slamboree 1994, so maybe that’s why I don’t feel any great emotional attachment to this show when I watch it today.

WCW would have their shit together by Superbrawl IV, however, so this show was the first step on the proverbial journey of a thousand miles.

Not recommended overall, but try to catch Flair v. Vader if you can.

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