Live on closed circuit television from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina is Starrcade 1984! The affects of the impending McMahon-led WrestleMania are already being felt and you will see it as we move along with the amount of changes in the NWA’s roster since last year’s inaugural event. We get a clip from Starrcade ’83 of Ric Flair defeating Harley Race for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, before briefly going to Bob Caudle and the legendary Gordon Solie. Our ring announcer Tom Miller welcomes us to the “premier wrestling event of the century”.
Match #1 for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship: Denny Brown vs. NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Mike Davis
Collar and elbow tie up as Davis gains control. Side headlock, Brown irish whips him into the ropes and Davis with a shoulder knockdown. Davis hits the ropes, but Brown with a hip toss followed by a back to back headscissor takedowns and an arm drag into an arm bar. Davis works to his feet and goes for a body slam, but Brown reverses. Davis reverses a roll-up attempt, but Brown with another arm drag into an arm bar. Davis gets back up consecutive times, only to be thwarted by Brown with takedowns. Brown staying on the arm until Davis backs him into the ropes. Brown off the ropes with a shoulder knockdown, hits the ropes again but trips over a ducking Davis and falls to the outside.
Davis to the outside helps Brown up and opens the ropes to let him back in the ring. Brown hurt his back falling to the outside and now Davis takes advantage with two body slams and then a back breaker for consecutive 2 counts. Brown reverses an irish whip into the ropes and nails Davis with a flying forearm. Davis sneaks a small package onto Brown for a quick 2 count. Davis works Brown into the corner, irish whipping him to the opposite corner but Brown counters by jumping to the second rope and hitting another flying forearm. Brown sends Davis off the ropes for a back body drop and follows it with a dropkick for a count of 2. Back into the ropes, Brown ducks to the canvas and they collide on the other side for a quick double down. Brown with European uppercuts in the corner goes to whip Davis, but Davis doubles back sending Brown chest first to the turnbuckle. Davis with a belly to back and a bridge gets the 3 count to retain his championship….or not. The referee hands Denny Brown the title and he’s awarded the match. Referee Earl Hebner says Brown rolled his shoulder up.
Winner and NEW NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion: Denny Brown (Belly to Back Counter)
- EA’s Take: A couple of Florida boys open up the action tonight in this under 230-pound division. A precursor to the Cruiserweight Title in the 90’s, the business wasn’t quite ready for smaller workers yet if they had no gimmick or character and this championship is another that’s been lost to time. There’s not much of note about either of these grapplers to be honest, Denny Brown spending the majority of his career as a jobber, even up until 1997 for WCW. The same applies for Davis, except he would also compete in Memphis and for World Class Championship Wrestling along the way. The work in the ring is pretty good, as you’d expect from a “smaller division”, but for the second straight year we get a wonky finish to our opener and the winner was even announced incorrectly.
Backstage: Tony Schiavone is in the locker room as NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair paces behind him, Schiavone promoting that he’ll be speaking with people throughout the night.
Match #2: Mr. Ito vs. Brian Adidis
They start by locking up and Adidis backs Ito in the ropes and they break clean. Another lockup and Adidis with a quick takedown. Collar and elbow tie-up again and Adidis works into a hammer lock, reversed into one by Ito which is reversed into another by Adidis before Ito takes him down with a version of a drop toe hold. Lock up again with Ito scoring a side head lock. Adidis whips Ito off the ropes, ducks under and then leapfrogs over on the backside before hitting a dropkick and the third time through. Side headlock take down on Ito, Adidis grounds him. Back up, Ito takes control with a top wrist lock into an arm bar. Adidis is up, but Ito uses the hair to take him back down. Ito into a wrist lock, reversed into one by Adidis who takes Ito down and works the arm. Ito gets out with a body slam, but Adidis hangs on and maintains an arm bar. Ito gets out with elbows to the solar plexes. They go into the corner, Ito scoring with chops and Adidis countering with rights. Ito whipped off the ropes gets caught by Adidis into an airplane spin. Adidis takes Ito to the mat and covers him for the victory.
Winner: Brian Adidis (Airplane Spin)
- EA’s Take: Meh. A quick match with a quick pace. Technically sound, but like our first match, no names anybody seems to care about outside of their territory’s region. Adidis comes from WCCW, a high school friend of the late, great Kerry Von Erich and the rest of the family. Mr. Ito is your stereotypical Japanese, 1980’s character. Of course, his real notoriety comes only in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, competing for all of Japan’s big promotions. Interesting fact: nobody really seemed to know what Brian Adidis’ ring name is as he’s billed as “Brian Adias” (his actual ring name) in Dallas, but is announced incorrectly for this match. This would lead to him being called “Brian Adidis/Adidas” for the following two years by Pro Wrestling Illustrated!
Match #3 for the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship: Mike Graham vs. NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion Jesse Barr
Lock-up and Barr backs Graham into the ropes. Clean break. They lock-up again, Graham with an arm drag into an arm bar, Barr counters with a headscissor, but Graham quickly gets out into a drop toe hold followed by a leg lock. Graham inflicts punishment on the leg, but Barr grabs a side headlock. Both men up now and Graham’s out with an arm drag into an arm hold. Graham implores Hebner to count, but he only gets two before Barr reverses into a top wristlock. Barr maintains the wristlock as both men are to their feet now. Graham fights to get out of it and almost does before Barr grabs the hair and takes him down. Back to their feet as Barr now has moved to a wrist lock. Graham hits an elbow and escapes, followed by a shoulder knockdown and an arm drag into a wristlock and again Barr reverses into a top wristlock. Back up and Barr backs him into a corner and nails knees and forearms.
Now wrapping Graham’s arm over the top rope. Irish whip to the opposite corner and Graham counters hitting a drop toe hold into the leg lock again. Barr’s in trouble as the crowd is really behind Graham now, as he repeatedly falls back to the canvas, wrenching Barr’s leg. Graham attempts a figure four, but Barr slips away. On their feet now and both men are being extra cautious now. We get a knuckle lock and Barr takes the advantage, sending Graham to his knees. Graham’s attempts to get up, but fails and is brought to his knees again. Graham to his feet, Barr hits a couple kicks, but Graham is able to get out with an arm drag into an arm bar. Barr gets up and out, whip into the ropes and Graham ducks a back elbow, leapfrogs Barr on the other side and connects with a right hand. Barr is to the mat as Graham goes for the figure four again, but Barr gets to the ropes rather quickly and rolls to the outside. Back inside they lockup and Barr gains a side headlock. He tries twice for a side headlock takedown, but is countered by Graham. Barr scores on his third try and gets 2.
Barr keeping the headlock on the mat, the ref counts 2 again. Graham working up to this feet tries to whip Barr off the ropes, but Barr maintains the hold by grabbing the hair multiple times. Graham hits the knee and gets out with a kneebreaker and starts pummeling Barr’s knee. Graham’s really working it over and he gets the figure four on, but Barr gets the ropes again. Back up Barr halts Graham with a kick, whip off the ropes and he goes for a back body drop, but Graham with a sunset flip for 2. Graham with a headlock, but Barr whips him into the ropes and Graham collides with referee Earl Hebner. As Hebner’s down, Barr goes for a body slam, but is countered into a small package with nobody to make the count. All 3 men including Hebner are up now, Barr off the ropes hits a shoulder knockdown but Graham with a roll-up on the other side. He gets 2 before Barr counters and grabs the tights for another 2 count. Graham ducks a clothesline and hits an atomic drop that sends Barr into the turnbuckle. Barr is able to get a double leg takedown for a cover and as he puts his feet on the second rope for leverage, the ref counts 3.
Winner and STILL NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion: Jesse Barr (Double Leg Pinning Combination)
- EA’s Take: Hey! People I’m familiar with! This is the first match of the night to really pull me in with great ring work from another pair of Florida stars. Many people who have watched a lot of the Beyond The Ring series on WWE Network will recognize Graham, as he appears on a number of those and was still maintaining that trademark upper-lip caterpillar. You would tend to think that being the son of Eddie Graham might give him the win here on a big stage, but we go the other way and the champion (another star who would make his way to the WWF in the coming years) retains. If you know about Eddie Guerrero’s career, you’ll remember his tag partner in Mexico was Art Barr, the brother of Jesse. Pretty funny to think Jesse comes from a wrestling family, then would go on to portray himself as a member of another, more famous wrestling family, under the name Jimmy Jack Funk.
Video: We get a video of Tully Blanchard along with James J. Dillon tying up Dick Slater, joining “Cowboy” Ron Bass and Black Bart to do a number on Ricky Steamboat. They attack him with a boot to the back.
Match #4 is a Tag Team Elimination Match: The Zambuie Express (Elijah Akeem & Kareem Muhammed) w/Paul Jones vs. The Assassin #1 & Buzz Tyler
The Assassin and Buzz pumping up the crowd and egging on Paul Jones. All 4 men in the ring and The Assassin and Buzz quickly clear the ring. Buzz and Kareem in the ring now, lock-up with Kareem backing Buzz to the ropes. Irish whip and Buzz ducks a clothesline, hitting a big right on the other side that sends Kareem to the outside. Back inside and both men tag out, bringing in The Assassin and Elijah. Collar and elbow tie-up with Elijah back #1 into the corner and hitting big forearms. Irish whip to the opposite corner and Assassin reverses, scoring with a big right that sends Elijah to the mat. Buzz and The Assassin are playing ping pong with Elijah as they hit some right hands that send Elijah to the outside.
He’s back in and we get tags on both sides again. Buzz and Kareem tie-up, but Kareem swiftly takes control with overhand chops, punches and a choke. Whip into his corner and Kareem tags Elijah, who maintains the advantage over Buzz with a headbutt. Buzz punches his way out and scores a big knockdown for a 2 count. All 4 men are in now and it’s a brawl. Buzz and Elijah fight on the outside and they both get counted out. We’re down to The Assassin and Kareem in the ring. Assassin is whipped off the ropes and he bangs heads with Kareem. Kareem is knocked down and The Assassin is staggered, teetering on the ropes. Paul Jones jumps up on the apron, distracting referee Earl Hebner which allows Buzz Tyler to give The Assassin a push on top of Kareem. Hebner turns around and counts Kareem down for 3 and the win.
Winners: The Assassin #1 & Buzz Tyler (Pinfall)
- After The Bell The Assassin tries to get his hands on Paul Jones, but is unsuccessful and Jones manages to squirm away.
- EA’s Take: I didn’t get much from this match loaded with big, laboring bodies. This seemed to be a match just to build to Paul Jones possibly getting what’s coming to him later on against Jimmy Valiant, as he’s easily the most over person involved here. It’s strange seeing The Assassin on his own now, his partner leaving the company after losing his mask as part of a match stipulation earlier in the year. Plus, he’s a babyface, a total one-eighty as his in-ring career winds down over the next couple of years. Buzz Tyler has a real Bugsy McGraw-feel too and really seem like the same characters. One thing you’ll notice from this time period is that workrate means absolutely nothing as the crowd often goes batty over simple comebacks that involve nothing more than a flurry of strikes. Sometimes I wish for those days again, but then quickly realize the athleticism today is just ridiculously impressive.
Backstage: Tony Schiavone is with Dusty Rhodes in the back, who cuts a promo about winning the world title and a million dollars over Ric Flair tonight.
Match #5 for the NWA Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Championship: NWA World Tag Team Champion ‘The Raging Bull’ Manny Fernandez vs. Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Champion Black Bart w/James J. Dillon
Both men have their fists taped and are not actually wearing brass knuckles. Bart with a right is countered and Manny who hits one of his own. Bart going for an arm lock is countered again as Manny connects with a right to the ribs. Manny with lefts and a big right followed by a back hand chop takes down Bart. Collar and elbow tie-up and Bart scores to the back of Manny’s ear. Manny with another right to the gut and multiple back hands, dropping Bart. Bart with a side head lock, hits a couple rights and gets stopped by Manny again. This time, Bart is able to counter with rights, irish whipping Manny into the ropes and getting a big knockdown. Bart with more rights and Manny’s been cut on the forehead. Bart is in control with multiple knockdowns on Manny. Bart really pummeling Manny, even biting his face. A couple chops by Manny, he whips Bart to the ropes and gets a big knockdown with a back elbow.
Manny fires up and he score with three big rights, sending Bart over the top rope to the outside. Manny to the apron nails a big overhand chop. Manny rolls back inside as JJ Dillon tries to convince Bart to get and up back in. Manny’s there to meet him with a huge right after sending Bart into the ropes. Bart’s been lacerated now, as Manny hits a big knee and covers for 2. To the second rope, Manny knocks Bart down with a big fist. Manny covers, but only gets 2. Bart with a shot to the solar plexus is able to get back up and gain control. Knockdown on Manny and Bart covers for 2. Bart with consecutive knockdowns followed by an elbow drop for another 2 count. Bart goes for a slam, but drops Manny throat first over the top rope. Bart shoves the ref away and JJ Dillon hands him his rope. As Bart grabs the rope, Manny comes up from behind with a roll-up and gets a count of 3 to win the championship.
Winner and NEW NWA Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Champion: ‘The Raging Bull’ Manny Fernandez (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: Well, it’s a plethora of forgotten about championships on the line tonight! The Brass Knuckles Title was created in the late 70’s as a means to an end for the more heated rivalries, but the idea of it never quite took grasp with the fans. Needless to say, it won’t be around much longer. Also, I think you can pretty much envision what went down here with that title being on the line. I was surprised that there was even one collar and elbow, so that’s the only hint I’ll give you. Both of these guys are of course brawlers, but the excitement of the crowd coupled with the brutality and blood (Go ahead, call me a neanderthal) does make it a solid watch. The crowd favorite takes the win here, but with a pretty meaningless championship up for grabs and the fact he’d lose it right back to Black Bart two months later, historically there’s not much significance. By the way, where in the world was the ACTUAL title?
Intermission Video: Just like Starrcade ’83, we get a reel which features some highlights of last year’s event, a Ricky Steamboat promo and then a promo by James J. Dillon & Tully Blanchard.
Match #6 is a Loser Leaves Town Tuxedo Street Fight: Paul Jones w/Kareem Muhammed vs. ‘The Boogie Woogie Man’ Jimmy Valiant w/The Assassin #1
Both men are wearing tuxedo’s and it’s anything goes where the loser of this match must leave. They start with Valiant chasing Jones around the ring as Jones is already begging for mercy. Valiant is choking Jones with a rope and he ties him the neck to the top rope so Jones can’t run. Valiant takes his jacket off and hits big rights on Paul Jones. Valiant takes the flower off Jones’ tux and stuffs it down his mouth. Valiant tearing at Jones’ tuxedo now as Jones is still tied to the ropes. Valiant gets Jones stripped down to his underwear and the crowd is loving it. Jones finally gets the rope off his neck and hits Valiant from behind with a kick. Valiant is down and Jones scores with multiple knees, but Valiant fires up. He hits the ropes and nails Jones with a big right hand. Jones whipped off the ropes and Valiant with a sleeper onto a bloodied Jones. As the ref checks Jones’ arm, Kareem Muhammed gets on the apron. The ref’s over to get him down. Valiant nails Kareem on the apron, but he knocks the ref down in the process. Kareem’s in the ring now and both Valiant and The Assassin beat him down. JJ Dillon hits the ring, drilling Valiant with a foreign object and putting Jones on top of him. The ref crawls over, counts to 3 and Jones gets the victory.
Winner: Paul Jones (Foreign Object)
- After The Bell: The Assassin #1 is checking on Valiant, who is still out from whatever JJ Dillon hit him with.
- EA’s Take: I’m not sure why JJ Dillon had to hit Jimmy Valiant behind the referee’s back in an anything goes match. Regardless, Jimmy Valiant is way over still as ‘Charlie Brown’ is no more and despite the fact it’s another loss in a Loser Leaves Town match, I can assure you Valiant’s not “leaving town” for the second time. Other than that there’s nothing really special about this match, Jones remaining the hottest heel on the card to this point.
Backstage: Tony Schiavone interviews NWA World Champion Ric Flair backstage, who is ready to retain against Dusty Rhodes later tonight.
Match #7 for the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship: Dick Slater vs. NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion & NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champion ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass w/James J. Dillon
They lock-up and Bass backs Slater into the ropes, connecting with a right. Slater counters back with chops, whips Bass off the ropes and nails a back elbow for a knockdown. Slater hops outside after JJ Dillon, but Dillon slides into the ring behind Bass and escapes outside. Slater gets back in as Bass has a strategy session with Dillon. They tie-up again, Bass sending Slater to the ropes who drops down and outside after Dillon again. He chases Dillon around the ring, Dillon sliding inside and as Slater comes in after him, Bass hits him with a boot. Slater quickly rolls to the outside to get away and promptly tells Ron Bass to kiss his backside. Slater gets inside and he tells Bass to bring it on in the corner. Bass charges, but Slater moves and grabs a side headlock takedown. Bass tries to roll him over for a pin to no avail and Slater maintains the headlock.
Back to their feet as Bass sends Slater off the ropes and hits a back elbow. He goes for an elbow drop on Slater, but Slater rolls out of the way. Both men up and Slater with a headbutt into another side headlock take down. Bass rolls Slater over for 2, but Slater rolls back into the headlock. They’re up and Bass with a rake of the eyes. Bass misses a right hand, Slater countering with an atomic drop and he feigns going after Dillon again. Back inside, Slater with headbutts to Bass who’s on the apron. Slater snapmares Bass into the ring and goes for a boot, but the ref grabs Slater’s leg and stops him which allows Bass to take advantage with a rake of the eyes. Bass connecting with an elbow and a knee lift following up by ramming Slater’s head into the turnbuckle.
Slater gets trapped in the ropes, half of his body inside and half out on the apron. Bass uses Slater like a teeter totter with big rights. JJ Dillon manages to get a cheap shot in while Bass distracts the ref. Slater’s out of the ropes now and Bass connects with a vertical suplex for a 2 count. Bass with a running bulldog, but he doesn’t go for a pin and Slater starts to recover. Slater with big punches, he knocks Bass down with a right and gets a count of 2. Bass is able to get back up and he goes for the eyes again, then sends Slater to the outside. Dillon takes advantage and he works Slater over with boots before throwing him back inside.
Bass with big shots on a groggy Slater in the corner. Slater is starting to feel the crowd and he eventually counters, throwing Bass into the corner and going to town. The ref tries pulling Slater out, but he gets shoved out of the way. Bass misses a right and Slater hits a belly to back suplex and goes for the cover. JJ Dillon is in and he kicks Slater, but it does no good. Body slam on Dillon followed by a right hand sends him back outside. Bass is up now, but Slater body slams him and follows with a leg drop. Slater covers and the ref rolls back in and stops the bout. Slater believes he has won, but the ref raises Ron Bass’ hand as Slater has been disqualified.
Winner and STILL NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion: ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Slater is incensed and he starts the beat down on Ron Bass and JJ Dillon, clearing the ring of both. He raises his hands and the crowd loves it.
- EA’s Take: The DQ allows Bass to keep his title, while making Slater look good. I have never been a fan of having DQ finishes at big events though and always thought the big event should be the finale of a feud, not its continuation. This will come into play later on as well. Not much wrestling and it was basically another fist fight that allowed Slater to get a little measure of revenge against one-half of The Long Riders along with Black Bart. Gone are the days of Slater being a heel, a new direction since his now-former tag partner Bob Orton has departed for the WWF.
In The Arena: Next is the Star Spangled Banner to set-up the big tag match between the Russians and the Americans. The crowd chants “U-S-A” as Ole and Larson make their way to the ring. Next is the Russian anthem and they make their way to the ring to a chorus of boos.
Match #8 is a Tag Team Grudge Match: Ivan & Nikita Koloff vs. Ole Anderson & Keith Larson w/Don Kernodle
Larson and Ole talk in their corner and decide to charge the Koloff’s right off the bat. Ole clears Nikita out as Larson works over Ivan. Back body drop on Ivan and Larson jumps on top with right hands. The ref counts 2 before realizing Larson doesn’t care about the cover as he pummels away at Ivan. Big rights on Ivan, he’s sent off the ropes and Larson hits a dropkick. Larson and Ole begin to volley Ivan back and forth with punches and elbows before Ivan hits the mat. Larson sending Ivan into Ole’s boot, he then applies a wristlock and tags Ole in. Big strike to Ivan and Ole with a wristlock now. He tags Larson who climbs to the second rope and hits an elbow before going back to the wristlock. Another tag to Ole who goes into a wristlock and takes Ivan to the canvas. Tag to Larson again, who hits a big knee onto Ivan’s arm and then back to the wristlock.
Yet another tag to Ole, who hammer locks Ivan’s arm behind him and then body slams him on it. Larson tagging in, Ole holds Ivan open for a big right by Larson. Larson still working the arm with elbow drops, then a tag to Ole. Ole into an arm bar and they keep the pressure on Ivan’s arm. Ole drags Ivan to the corner and tags Larson in, sticking to the game plan of working Ivan’s arm. Ivan is finally able to whip Larson off and go for a hip toss, but Larson counters with one of his own and gets a 2 count. Back to the arm and a tag to Ole. Ivan off the ropes gets hit with a double team back elbow for a count of 2. Ole’s got Ivan in the corner now, he wraps Ivan’s arm behind his back and tosses him shoulder first into the ring post.
Larson back in with rights and then back to the arm. The wristlock brings Ivan to his knees and he just can’t get out of the gates. Larson switching to a hammer lock and connecting with knees to the arm. Back up and Ivan grabs the hair, backing Larson into the corner. Larson counters an irish whip to the opposite corner and follows Ivan in, only to run into a counter-knee. Larson is down and Ivan climbs to the top, but Larson meets him and slams him down to the mat off the top for a 2 count. Tag to Ole who comes in with punches to the shoulder and back to the trusty wristlock. Larson in, still keeping on Ivan’s left arm. Nikita keeps trying to sneak into the ring, but the crowd gets louder every time he does which thwarts his efforts. Ole back in gets Ivan in the corner, wrapping the arm around the ropes and hitting forearms. Ivan turns the tide by raking the eyes and he’s finally able to tag Nikita. Ole tries to fight off Nikita, but he’s no match for the big Russian.
Big shoulders to the gut by Nikita in the corner, a big irish whip to the other corner followed up by more massive shots with the shoulder. Ole tries fighting out, but Nikita is too strong. He whips Ole to the ropes and catches him in a massive bear hug. Ole with right hands, but he’s unable to escape the strong grip of Nikita. Larson unintentionally distracts the referee, allowing Ivan to climb to the top and smash Ole with a double axe handle while still in Nikita’s grasp. The ref raises Ole’s arm and he begins to show signs of life. Clubbing blows by Ole and he’s finally able to get out, but Nikita tags Ivan and they prevent Ole from tagging out. Ole is sent off the ropes and Ivan knocks him down with a back elbow. Ivan with boots and he picks up Ole for a body slam for a count of 2. Ivan goes for an elbow drop, but Ole rolls away. Ivan tags Nikita and they again stop Ole from making a tag. Ole with a couple shots to the stomach, but Nikita goes back into a bear hug. Ole’s fading until he hears the “U-S-A” chants and fights out. Ole with a headbutt and both men crawl towards their corners.
Ole gets the tag and Larson is in with rights to both Koloff’s followed by a noggin knocker. Larson sends Nikita off the ropes and connects with a back elbow. Into the ropes again, Larson attempts a dropkick but Nikita hangs onto the ropes. Larson into the ropes now and Nikita takes him down with a choke. Tag to Ivan who drops Larson throat first across the top rope. Ivan attempts a body slam only to be countered by Larson with a small package for a 2 count before being broken up by Nikita. All four men are in now and Ole knocks Nikita to the outside. While the ref is arguing with Ole and Larson is in control of Ivan, Nikita makes his way around to Don Kernodle who’s on crutches and attacks him. Ole’s out after him and he makes him pay with rights and boots. During the fracas, Ivan grabs an object from the outside and drills Larson in the head. Ivan makes the cover and secures victory for the Russians.
Winners: Ivan & Nikita Koloff (Foreign Object)
- Afte The Bell: The Koloffs attempt to hit a double team move on Larson using the chain again, but Don Kernodle is in. Kernodle uses one of his crutches and he’s able to get multiple shots on the Russians before clearing the ring.
- EA’s Take: Pretty good tag team match that the crowd was hot for. I could have done with a little more variety when Ole and Larson were working on Ivan’s arm and there were also a lot of quick tags just to go back into a wristlock. Old school tag wrestling at its finest, but it was to the point of being too much. I think most are familiar with Ivan, the former WWWF Champion, but Nikita seems to be pretty green at this point. Ole has long-since been on his own now after the Minnesota Wrecking Crew disbanded in 1981 and he’s yet to be paired with a newcomer named Arn. That makes it a little strange seeing him work baby, since my only memories of him were always with Double-A. As for Keith Larson, to be frank I know nothing of the man and I’m really unsure why he’d be put into a seemingly good spot as Ole’s partner.
Match #9 for the NWA World Television Championship & $10,000: Ricky Steamboat vs. NWA World Television Champion Tully Blanchard w/James J. Dillon
If Tully gets disqualified or counted out, he will lose the championship. Tully sticks out a hand to shake with Steamboat, but he knows better and slaps it away. They lock up and Tully backs Steamboat to the ropes and hits right hands. Steamboat fires back and they exchange blows before Steamboat takes control and knocks Tully down with a succession of rights. Tully tries getting out of the ring, but Steamboat grabs him for a snapmare followed by a jumping chop. Tully to the apron again and again Steamboat gets ahold of him for a suplex back into the ring and another jumping chop for a 2 count. Steamboat grounds Tully with a rear chin lock. Tully to his feet tries to roll Steamboat out of it, but he hangs on.
Tully to the ropes to break the hold tries for an elbow drop, but Steamboat moves. Steamboat hits a big kneelift and that really stunned Tully. Both men to their feet and Steamboat is favoring his ribs. Tully scores with big rights to the injured ribs of Steamboat then a front backbreaker. Tully really working over the ribs now with kicks and an irish whip into a low back elbow. Using the second rope for leverage, Tully driving the knee to the midsection followed by more boots. Tully’s feeling good and he struts to the dismay of the crowd. Tully with a pickup, drives Steamboat into the turnbuckle. Steamboat finally fights back with a kick to the head and a headbutt. And elbow and backhand chops from Steamboat drop Tully to the mat, allowing Steamboat to follow with knees to the back of the head for a count of 2. Steamboat back to the rear chin lock, but Tully is eventually able to get to the ropes and get out with a shot to the ribs. Tully hits some kicks to the breadbasket from the apron and follows up with a nice belly to back suplex. Punch to the kidneys and a cover only gets a 1 count for Tully.
Steamboat is able to go back to the rear chin lock, but Tully swiftly into the ropes to force the break. Tully tries to beg off of Steamboat a little to no avail. Tully dancing around Steamboat as he favors the ribs. Tully eggs Steamboat on by spitting in his face and taunting him. They finally lock up, Tully is sent into the ropes, two leapfrogs by Steamboat and he hits a beautiful powerslam for 2. Steamboat is fired up now, driving Tully’s head into the turnbuckle and hitting a double chop for another 2. Steamboat gets Tully into the corner, climbs the second rope and works him over with punches. Tully’s been split open now. Big clubbing blow from Steamboat and yet another 2 count. Steamboat stooping to Tully’s level and now spitting in his face. Tully in the corner on the receiving end of Steamboat chops, he follows with a swinging neckbreaker and gets 2 again. Steamboat uses Tully’s own move against him, hitting the slingshot suplex for a count of 2. Steamboat with a dropkick is again only able to get 2. Backhand chop sends Tully to the apron and hits more punches.
Steamboat backs off for a second, allowing Tully to reach into his tights and pull out a pair of knucks. Tully misses and Steamboat hits a belly to back suplex from the apron into the ring. However, Tully connects with the knucks mid-move and now both men are down. The ref gets to an 8 count before Tully gets up and hits a running cross body for 2. Tully in control now hits a couple shots and props Steamboat up on the turnbuckle. Tully goes for a superplex, but Steamboat pushes him off and hits a top rope splash for a count of 2. Steamboat whips Tully, but is reversed. Steamboat off the ropes with a sunset flip, but he can’t get Tully over. As the ref is looking to see if Steamboat’s shoulders are down, Tully reaches into his tights again and connects to the face of Steamboat, covers and finally gets 3 to retain.
Winner and STILL NWA World Television Champion Tully Blanchard (Foreign Object)
- EA’s Take: Excellent bout between two men who are undoubtedly great at their craft. I’ve always been of the opinion that Tully Blanchard is one of the best wrestling villains in history, but his career before The Four Horsemen is usually overshadowed by those glory years. The posturing in the middle of the match looked as if they were lost for a minute so I’m not sure what quite happened there, but I should know better than to question what these two were doing. Tully comes out of this match looking very resilient and Steamboat can claim he was robbed, however we now know that Ricky was out the door and the feud came to an abrupt end with Blanchard never getting his comeuppance.
Match #10 for the NWA United States Championship: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham vs. NWA United States Champion ‘Chief’ Wahoo McDaniel
The bell rings and Graham wants a test of strength. They lock knuckles and Graham gets an early advantage with his power before Wahoo turns it into a hammer lock. Graham grabs the hair and throws Wahoo to the mat. Quick lockup and Wahoo powers Graham off of him. Another lockup and this time Graham powers Wahoo off. Lockup again and Graham backs Wahoo into the corner. Wahoo gets out with thumbs to the eyes follows by chops and punches. Wahoo with a hard irish whip into the other corner. Wahoo goes to whip Graham to another corner, but Graham counters and locks on a full nelson. Wahoo is able to get to the ropes to break the hold, but Graham staying on the offense by whipping Wahoo into the ropes and connecting with a throat chop. Wahoo is down and Graham locks the full nelson on once again, going into a cover for a 2 count. Both men up and Wahoo whipped off the ropes into a back elbow by Graham, followed by an elbow drop for another count of 2. Wahoo is able to score with a couple quick shots, Graham goes for a side head lock but is whipped into the ropes and Graham with a shoulder knockdown on Wahoo. Graham hits the ropes, but runs right into a knife-edge chop and Wahoo covers for a 3 count.
Winner and still NWA United States Champion “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel (Knife-Edge Chop)
- EA’s Take: It’s all about name value here as both of these gentlemen are past their prime at this point. Billy Graham is in his karate phase, which never really worked the way he had hoped and quite honestly, was too drastic of a change for him that never really made any sense. People loved him for his over-the-top personality and the gimmick change completely took away all of that. Having him lose on a knife-edge chop is a little odd as well, I’m not sure if they were going for irony or what. I mean, I know Wahoo McDaniel is a legend, but seriously? A knife-edge chop?
Video: A clip of the finish to last year’s main event is shown where Ric Flair defeated Harley Race to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship inside a steel cage.
Backstage: Tony Schaivone is backstage with the three judges for the main event. Kyle Petty, ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier & Duke Keamuka. If the match goes the 60 -minute time limit, they will decide the winner. Joe Frazier will also be the special guest referee.
Match #11 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship & $1 Million: ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair w/Special Referee ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier
They go face to face as Special Referee Frazier gives the instructions. Rhodes hits the ropes and catches Flair with an elbow, goes for a side headlock, but Flair reaches the ropes for a break. Flair to the patented chops, Rhodes gets the best of an exchange with strikes hits another elbow, but Flair retorts with a knee drop and gets a count of 2. Flair goes back to the well and Dusty sees it coming, uses the Figure Four against Flair and we get a rope break. The Dream working over the leg, Flair comes back attacking the forehead of Dusty with malicious intent, goes for a knee, but Rhodes turns the tide with a press slam and Flair falls out of the ring. Rhodes with a suplex back in from the apron. Flair goes up top and what do you know, Rhodes catches him and sends him crashing down. During a brawl outside the ring, Rhodes is sent face first into the ring post that splits him open. They get back inside and Flair is pummeling away at the cut, as Frazier tries to get between the two. Frazier is finally successful and he checks the cut on Rhodes, then stops the match in favor of Ric Flair. Rhodes can’t believe it and begins to go for Frazier, but other wrestlers from the back are there to hold him off.
Winner and STILL NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair (Referee Stoppage)
- EA’s Take: Decent main event, but the pair would have better much matches in store for them. Fans didn’t like Dusty getting screwed, justifiably so. However, it did seem like Flair still had a good amount of people for him in the crowd, being in North Carolina after all. This is the first time we see the celebrity factor added into the battle between the NWA and the WWF, at least on closed circuit or pay-per-view. Now, I’m not sure if it was an original idea from NWA to include Joe Frazier or if perhaps they had caught wind of the WWF’s plans for the upcoming WrestleMania, but it’s always a good decision. Especially when it’s such a high-profile sports star, they seem to “get it” more-so than your Hollywood celebs. I mentioned earlier how I didn’t care for screwy stuff at big events and felt that it should be the conclusion of a feud. This obviously won’t be the case with these two, but you have to be okay with it based off of the fact it leads to the formation of arguably the best faction in wrestling history.
EA’s Finisher: With Vince McMahon’s inaugural WrestleMania a mere four months away, the affects of the WWF’s massive push for the event are seen tonight. Piper? Gone. Valentine? North bound. Bob Orton? Sayonara. Steamboat? About to tell the NWA, “Deuces”. You’ve still got your backbones in Flair and Dusty, but with the business about to change forever, the NWA will have to cultivate and find new talent. In a sense, that’s basically what they would end up doing for the WWF through the sale to Ted Turner and beyond. The positives of the evening? The production value has stepped up, the mindless fan interviews have been scrapped and there were no bad tech issues like the first go-around. Additionally, despite the loss of talent, the NWA has always been the place for better wrestling over the WWF. If you’re a fan of workrate, you’ll likely always prefer the older NWA events to anything produced by McMahon.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Ricky Steamboat vs. Tully Blanchard
2 – Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes
3 – Mike Graham vs. Jesse Barr
Chairshot Classics: NXT TakeOver Toronto (2016)
On the eve of NXT TakeOver: War Games II, we look back at a previous November TakeOver event with TakeOver: Toronto
Open: “Toronto, the birthplace and proving ground for some of the greatest Superstars from the ‘Great White North’. For over three decades, the host of some of the most memorable moments in WWE history. Now, it’s NXT’s turn to takeover Toronto.”
Match #1: ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode vs. ‘The Perfect 10’ Tye Dillinger
We have a staredown at the bell, Roode slowly starts to circle Tye and he starts to strike a ‘Glorious’ pose. Dillinger strikes with left hands, Bobby goes to a side headlock, quickly gets pushed off to the ropes, scores with a shoulder knockdown, then goes back to the ropes. The Perfect 10 catches him with a back elbow and clotheslines him to the outside, throws him back in, clotheslines him back out the other side, then steps out and fires away with stinging chops. The Glorious One sneaks in a right hand to stop the onslaught, irish whip into the barricade is reversed, Tye elevates him with a back body drop off the rebound and Roode smacks off the floor.
Dillinger sends him into the ring and Bobby tries to beg him off, The Perfect 10 mocks him and stomps away at the fingers, flashes a ’10’ in his face, avoids a chops and scores with one of his own. He puts The Glorious One in the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope and lets go with stiff lefts, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Roode ducks down for a back body drop, Dillinger catches him with a kick, charges and gets deposited over the top to the outside. The Glorious One slides out the opposite side, clobbers Tye with a forearm from behind, drops him chest-first across the top of the barricade, then drapes him across the apron. Bobby comes down with a clubbing shot to the sternum, drives him down into the apron, pushes him in and chokes him in the corner with the bottom of his boot.
Roode with heavy knife-edge chops, shoots The Perfect 10 hard into the turnbuckles, follows in with a clothesline, then heads to the 2nd rope for a shot across the back of the neck. The Glorious One is supremely confident now, hooks Dillinger for a neckbreaker, Tye surprises him with a backslide and gets a count of 2. He starts to build some momentum with chops, irish whip to the corner is reversed, The Perfect 10 hits the turnbuckles hard and Roode follows with a neckbreaker for a 2 count. He drops a knee across the chest, rakes his bootlaces across the eyes and starts toying with Tye as he pummels him.
Roode puts him in the corner and goes to the 2nd rope to right down punches, gets a little to confident and The Perfect 10 powers him out into an inverted atomic drop. Dillinger gets a rush of adrenaline and battles to his feet, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Tye ducks a clothesline and scores with multiple flying forearms. He delivers a knee lift, flattens Roode with a clothesline, stomps away in the corner and then exposes the knee for the Tye Breaker. The Glorious One sees it coming, rolls outside and starts walking to the back, Dillinger goes out in pursuit, throws him back in the ring and slides in, Bobby catches him with a spinebuster and nearly puts it away.
He props Tye on the top turnbuckle and sets for a superplex, plants The Perfect 10, rolls into a cover and only gains a near fall. The Glorious One starts to look puzzled, stands over Tye and flashes a ’10’, then exposes his knee and tries for a Tye Breaker of his own. Dillinger slips out of it and looks for a superkick, Roode ducks it, goes to a schoolboy, puts his feet on the ropes, but the official sees it and stops at 2. Bobby can’t believe it and argues with the referee, The Perfect 10 surprises him with a schoolboy for a near fall, both guys up quick, he connects with the superkick, but still can’t finish it.
Both guys stagger to their feet and exchange fists, The Perfect 10 gets the better of it, powers Roode up for the Tye Breaker, The Glorious One escaping and hooks him for the Glorious Drop. Tye avoids it, Bobby attempts a sunset flip, The Perfect 10 rolls through it, slaps on the Sharpshooter, but Roode is able to crawl to the ropes. Tye stumbles back up, tries to pick The Glorious One to his feet, gets caught in a small package for a 2 count, counters to one of his own off the kick-out, but still only gets 2. Roode staggers to the corner and Dillinger comes charging in, The Glorious One side-steps out of the way, drives him shoulder-first into the steel post, spikes him with the Glorious Drop and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode (Glorious Drop)
- EA’s Take: I think about what it must be like to be Bobby Roode walking into the arena, to a packed house and a massive pop compared to his previous situation in TNA. I have made my feelings on Dillinger clear before, the man is a future champion and I stand by that. This was the best way to start this event off. The match was well paced and the two men worked together wonderfully. The crowd was high energy which only heightened the already great match’s intensity. Roode getting the win makes sense. He is set to advance into the title picture imminently. My boy Tye however, got to show what he could do and look as good as you can in a loss. Good luck to the rest of the card because these two just set an epic tone to start the night.
Match #2 – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals with Paul Ellering Suspended Above The Ring In A Shark Cage: The Authors Of Pain (Rezar & Akam) w/Paul Ellering vs. TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller)
The cage lowers, Ellering holds a quick conference with The Authors, the official locks him inside and it is raised above the squared circle. Akam & Miller to kickoff the action, Akam immediately drives Miller into the corner at the bell, shoots him across, Miller puts on the brakes and fires back with forearms. Akam blocks a whip and sends him to the ropes, Thorne tags in on the way through, delivers a big boot to send Akam to the outside, Rezar hits the ring and runs into a double dropkick. TM61 clothesline him to the outside, Thorne spills to the outside, Miller builds a head of steam and flies over the top with a somersault plancha onto Akam.
Rezar looks up at the support structure for the shark cage, powers Thorne onto his shoulders and starts to climb up with some devious plans in mind. Shane kicks him away, climbs to the top of the structure, jumps off with a somersault and takes out The Authors Of Pain. He throws Akam back in the ring and climbs onto the apron, Miller slides inside, the official tells Miller he’s not legal and works to get him back to the corner, Rezar taking the opening to sweep the legs of Shane on the apron. He climbs up to the apron and tags in, sends Thorne into the squared circle and covers for 2, bludgeons him with big right hands and stomps, then rips away at the face. Akam tags in and comes off the 2nd rope with a combination stop/side slam for a count of 2, Akam hammers Shane with heavy shots, hooks the leg and gains another 2 count.
He looks to ground Shane now with a rear chinlock, Thorne works his way to a standing position, Akam launches him across the ring, lateral press and another near fall. He measures Thorne in the corner and rushes in, Shane side-steps out of harm’s way, Rezar gets the tag and knocks Miller off the apron, picks Thorne up and gets surprised by a dropkick. Miller pulls himself back to the apron and tags in, cracks Rezar with forearms, slams Akam coming in, delivers a corner clothesline to Rezar, then hits an exploder suplex on Akam. He plants Rezar with a back suplex, smashes them both with basement flying forearms, goes to the top turnbuckle and executes a moonsault, but can’t finish it. Akam & Thorne get back involved and every pairs off in opposite corners, TM61 with in-sync punches from the 2nd rope, The Authors look to counters into the Clink Powerbomb, but Thorne & Miller reverse with hurricanranas.
Shane gets a tag, TM61 plant Rezar with Thunder Valley, Thorne hooks the leg, but Akam is there to make the save. Miller dumps him to the outside, slingshots over the top with a crossbody, Thorne follows with a somersault plancha, the official takes in the chaos and Ellering drops a chain into the ring from above. Rezar wraps it around his fist, tries to clock Thorne climbing up to the apron, Shane blocks it, the chain flies into the crowd and he rolls Rezar up for a near fall. He pops back to his feet, Rezar delivers a spinebuster, tag to Akam, they take out Miller on the apron and deliver The Last Chapter for the win.
Winners: The Authors Of Pain (Akam/The Last Chapter)
- After The Bell: The cage lowers and Ellering is freed to raise his guys’ hands. NXT General Manager William Regal & Triple H come down to the ring along with Dustin Rhodes, presenting The Authors with the Dusty Cup and posing for a photo-op.
- EA’s Take: I called AOP to win this tourney before it began. It just made too much sense as hard as they have been pushed. The way the match was completed fits into the idea that Ellering always is involved in some way. TM61 kept the pace of the match where it needed to be. It was bogged down in spots, but not so much so that it made the match plodding. Both teams should look to be competing in the title picture in the aftermath of this event. Also, I hope no one got hit by that chain that went into the crowd….jeez!
Match #3 – 2 out of 3 Falls for the NXT Tag Team Championships: #DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Gargano & Dawson to begin, Dawson with an arm drag off the opening lock-up, Johnny with a headscissors to escape, scores with an arm drag of his own and Dawson returns the favor with the headscissors. Quick pace to start, Johnny Wrestling with an early 2 count off of a roll-up, Dawson collects himself, they tie-up again and Dawson backs Gargano into the corner. No clean break and he goes to the breadbasket with a fist, snapmares Johnny over, hits the ropes for a shoulder knockdown, goes back in, puts on the brakes and sends Gargano to the ropes instead.
Ciampa gets a tag, Johnny Wrestling catches Dawson with an inverted atomic drop, Tommaso follows with a running forearm, connects with one for Dash stepping in, DIY then scoring with in-sync dropkicks. The Psycho Killer covers for a count of 2, goes to a wristlock, Dawson rakes the eyes to break it, brings Wilder in and he clubs Ciampa down to the canvas. He tries to drive Tommaso head-first into the top turnbuckle, The Psycho Killer blocks it, returns the favor, irish whip across is reversed into a knee, Dash tagging out. Dawson delivers a body slam and brings back Dash, drops him into a leg drop on Ciampa for a 2 count, Wilder grabs a side headlock, looks for a running bulldog and gets pushed away into the opposite corner.
Both guys crawl to tags, Gargano slingshots in with a kick to Dawson, levels him with a clothesline, ducks a shot from Wilder and tosses him with an overhead belly-to-belly. He lines The Revival up in opposite corners and charges in with running chops, pulls Dash out for a running bulldog and clotheslines Dawson in the process, plants him with a leaping neckbreaker and almost gets 3. Johnny Wrestling charges Dawson in the corner, gets elevated over the top, Wilder makes a tag, Gargano lands on his feet on the apron and Dawson clocks him with a right hand. He hits the ropes to build a head of steam, Johnny looks to slingshot back in with a spear, Dawson counters into the Shatter Machine and Wilder covers for the fall.
First Fall: The Revival
Gargano staggers to his feet, Wilder tries to attack him from behind, gets surprised by a roll-up for a near fall, but Johnny can’t capitalize. Dawson tags in and ties Johnny up in the ropes for heavy shots, Wilder clotheslines him back into the ring behind the ref’s back, Dawson follows with a slingshot suplex and again gets a count of 2. Dawson shoves him into the corner, Dash tags in and the champions pound him with clubbing shots, Wilder with some words for the crowd, then Dawson re-enters the match. Dash sends Gargano to the ropes for a drop toe hold, Dawson follows with an elbow drop for a 2 count, then looks to ground Johnny Wrestling with a body scissors. Gargano works to a vertical base, Dawson switches into a Gory special, Johnny slips out of it, takes a shot at Dash on the apron, but gets clocked by Dawson.
Wilder steps in, Gargano charges, grabs Dash for a tornado DDT, kicks Dawson in the process, crawls to his corner and reaches for the tag. Dash grabs Ciampa from the outside and then slides in the ring, the official is distracted as Gargano tags out, the ref doesn’t allow it and The Revival double team Johnny in the corner. Tommaso has had enough and chases Dawson around the ring, the official cuts him off as they slide back in, the champions hit Gargano with a Hart Attack, Dawson covers and nearly finishes it. Wilder re-enters the match and props Johnny on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex, Johnny Wrestling switches the weight in mid-air, lands on top and gets 2. Dash tags out and Dawson quickly tries to prevent Gargano from reaching his corner, Johnny clocks him with an enzuigiri, leaps and finally tags out.
The Psycho Killer hits the ring off the top with a dropkick, crushes Dawson in the corner with a running knee, then drops him with back elbows. Dawson ducks under one and shoots him to the corner, rushes in and meets a boot to the chin, Tommaso runs out with a Famouser, covers and only gets a count of 2. Wilder rolls into the ring and gets dumped back outside just as quick, Dawson takes the opening for a roll-up from behind, Ciampa rolls through it, delivers rolling german suplexes, scores with the Running Knee for a near fall. He calls for Gargano to climb back on the apron, Dawson clobbers him from behind, pulls Johnny into the ring and The Revival set for a spike piledriver.
Ciampa knocks Wilder off the top turnbuckle, Johnny blocks the piledriver, Tommaso comes off the top with a crossbody, but still can’t find a 3 count. Dash slides in again and Ciampa cracks him with a high knee, the referee forces Wilder back to the apron, #DIY lineup for the Combination Superkick/Running Knee to Dawson and Tommaso covers to tie it up.
Second Fall: #DIY
Dawson rolls to his corner and tags out, Dash steps in, has some words for Ciampa and they trade-off shots. The Psycho Killer gets the better of it and measures for a discus clothesline, Dawson makes a blind tag, sneaks into the ring and ducks it, but Ciampa picks the arm and goes into the Bridging Fujiwara Armbar. Dawson reverses into a roll-up for a 2 count, Gargano makes a blind tag, decks Dawson with an enzuigiri from the apron, Tommaso following up with a rope-assisted reverse STO. He looks to dive outside onto Dash and gets surprised by an uppercut, Wilder charges around ringside after Gargano, Johnny laying him out with a kick from the apron. He slingshots into the ring and spikes Dawson with a DDT, stacks him up for a count of 2, then looks around wondering what to do next.
Dawson rolls out to the apron, Johnny hooks him for a suplex back inside, Dawson slips out of it, waistlock by Gargano and he pushes him towards the ropes for a roll-up. Dash hangs onto Dawson from the outside to block it, tags himself in, Gargano battles them both off, looks for a tornado DDT on Wilder, but gets thrown off. The champions plant him with a combination clothesline/german suplex, Dawson hooks both legs, but The Psycho Killer just barely breaks it up before 3. Dawson drives Ciampa shoulder-first into the ring post, goes back to the apron to tag in, then trades shots with Gargano. Johnny gets the upper-hand, Dawson ducks a shot for a backslide, Gargano counters out, kicks Dash in the process of rolling up Dawson with a small package and almost steals it.
Wilder goes to the timekeeper’s area and grabs one of the titles, slides back into the ring, Ciampa meets him with a clothesline and they both fall over the top to the floor. The official is distracted, Dawson grabs the championship, blocks a Gargano kick with it and then slaps on an inverted figure four. Johnny Wrestling struggles to hold on, scratches and claws his way to the bottom rope and forces the break, but the damage has been done. Wilder calls for a tag and gets it, they mock #DIY and go for their combination finisher, Gargano ducks it, Dawson gets clocked by a superkick, #DIY hit Wilder with a Shatter Machine, but Dawson is able to stop the count before a finish.
Ciampa tries to roll back inside and the ref forces him back to the corner, Dawson switches out without making a tag, surprises Gargano with a roll-up, the official turns around and counts to 2, but notices it’s not the legal man in the ring. Wilder rams Tommaso into the ring post on the outside, Johnny deposits Dawson through the ropes with a superkick, Dash slides in from behind and takes Gargano out at the knees. He sets for the inverted figure four, Gargano counters into a small package for 2, they exchange roll-ups for near falls, Johnny finally hooks on the Garga-No-Escape, Ciampa cuts off Dawson and slaps on the Bridging Fujiwara Armbar, Wilder tapping out.
Winners and NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: #DIY
- EA’s Take: Is it just me or did this whole feud get undersold and was not well built up? I picked The Revival to win this one mainly because I am so used to seeing them win at these TakeOver events. I am glad to have been wrong. #DIY looked great, as did The Revival. There were a couple of sloppy moments, but they were few and far enough between and the match was still quite good. #DIY I am sure will be seeing The Authors of Pain very soon. As for their counterparts, RAW’s Tag Team Division has become quite stale and to steal a quote from my editor, could use a “Revival”.
Chairshot Classics: WCW Starrcade ’93 – It’s All On The Line!
Our weekly WCW Chairshot Classics series continues with Starrcade ’93!
Open: A sentimental video package plays featuring pictures and videos of Ric Flair’s life and career as he’s putting it all on the line tonight against Big Van Vader.
Video: Vader arrives with Harley Race at 2:00pm, Race tells him to keep his focus as they enter the arena for a pre-show workout. In a separate video, ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund has gone to Ric Flair’s home as he’s prepared to leave for the event. He says goodbye and hugs his children. Gene talks to Flair as he explains the kids are worried about tonight. They get in the limo, Flair knew what he was doing when he signed the contract, but he has a lot to prove.
Match #1: Pretty Wonderful (‘Pretty’ Paul Roma & ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff) w/The Assassin vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell w/Teddy Long
Teddy Long is presented with a plaque naming him the 1993 Manager of the Year prematch, voted for by fans using the WCW Hotline. They waste no time to have an all out brawl. Scorpio and Bagwell throw their oppenents into one another. They dropkick Roma out of the ring and hit Orndorff with a double hiptoss. Bagwell lifts Scorpio for an assisted pele kick on Wonderful. He tries a quick pin but Nick Patrick wants order. The babyfaces hold the ring and they finally head to their corners as the crowd taunts Orndorff. Bagwell and Roma start the action.
Roma is hesitant to lock up. Roma throws a kick to the gut and Paul with some high impact blows. To the ropes, Bagwell ducks and hits a crossbody. Arm drag into an armbar by Bagwell as Roma complains he pulled his hair. Bagwell with leverage on the wrist and he tags his partner. Scorpio with some quick forearms as he works over the damaged arm. Scorpio grabs a wristlock and dives over the top rope to slingshot Roma. Back to the wristlock and it’s a quick tag to Bagwell. He goes to the hammerlock and drives Roma shoulder first into the corner. Snapmare by Bagwell and a leg drop across the shoulder. Bagwell continues to hammer but it’s Roma with a desperation scoop slam. He’s able to tag in Orndorff but Bagwell greets him with an armdrag.
Tag is made to Scorpio who hits a double ax handle. He holds the wrist and drives him with headbutts. Orndorff goes to the eyes to break it and hits a European uppercut before booting Scorpio to the ramp. Front face lock, he tries a suplex but Scorpio lands on his feet. The Cold Man tries a victory roll but Orndorff holds the ropes. Scopio flips back and lands a hip toss. He climbs to Orndorff’s shoulders and takes him down with a head scissor. He holds Orndorff down with a modified head scissor submission. Tag is made to Bagwell who comes in with a big splash that earns a two count. Back to the wrist but Orndorff reverses with a drop toe hold.
A tag is made to Roma but he gets the drop toe hold as well. To the ropes they go, Bagwell catches Roma’s boot, taunts him and hits an atomic drop. Arm drag by Bagwell and he holds the arm. He twists the wrist and tags in Scorpio. An impressive sequence while hitting the ropes that ends with a hiptoss by Bagwell and a splash by Scorpio. He makes the cover and Roma kicks out. Scorpio pounds on Roma’s head and knees him in the forehead. Modified hammerlock drop by Scorpio and Bagwell is tagged back in. Roma reverses the wristlock and tags in Wonderful. European uppercuts and some kicks to the ribs for Bagwell. Orndorff drives his face into the canvass and elbows the back of Bagwell’s head.
A scoop slam and another driving elbow by Orndorff who appears to have a lot of energy. He sends him for the ride, but Bagwell ducks and hooks in a sleeper. The partners rush into the ring, Patrick backs off Scorpio allowing a cheapshot from the top by Roma. Back breakers by Roma while Scorpio protests that there was no tag. Pretty Paul elevates with an elbow and Bagwell kicks out. He tags in Orndorff and they each take liberties. Belly to back suplex by Mr. Wonderful and Scorpio is still incensed. Quick tag is made to Roma who snaps Bagwell to the mat. He sends Bagwell for a power slam but he pulls off the cover and heads for the top rope. He tries the big splash but Bagwell moves. Orndorff is tagged first but he misses the elbow, so here comes 2 Cold.
He beats Orndorff down with rights and sends him to the ropes for a leaping forearm. Roma rushes to help but he’s drop kicked to the floor. Scorpio with a snap suplex on Orndorff and he heads to the top rope. Roma tries to pull him off the turnbuckle but Bagwell saves the day. Orndorff staggers to his feet and he’s hit with a double ax on the top of the head. Spinning karate kick by Scorpio. The Assassin climbs onto the apron and he’s decked by The Cold Man.Snapmare by Scorpio on Orndorff and he measures Wonderful while The Assassin puts something into his mask. Scorpio charges Orndorff, he’s lifted up and Assassin delivers a headbutt. Orndorff falls on top of Scorpio to pick up the win.
Winners: Pretty Wonderful (Orndorff/Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: I’ve expressed how much I liked this pairing of Scorpio and Bagwell on several of these now and how I was surprised that they never rose higher together, so I did a little research. They were the 1992 Tag Team Of The Year, very popular with the fans, but apparently developed some confusing heat with one another that started on a plane ride. Strangely, it has escalated in recent years as they’ve replied to one another on the shoot interview scene. If you ever watch the clips, I think Scorpio has been watching a few too many New Jack shoots, personally.
Video: ‘Mean’ Gene and Ric Flair continue their limo ride to the arena, quietly discussing everything that’s on the line tonight. Flair is appreciative of Gene’s friendship whether he wins or loses. Gene reflects on all the memories he’s made for himself and all the fans over the years. Flair tells a story of a fan who approached him, asking who will be the one to “Wooo” if he loses. He told him he will be the only one to do that and he’s not going anywhere.
Match #2: The Shockmaster vs. Awesome Kong w/King Kong
The Kongs ambush Shockmaster and send him for a double clothesline. They hold him in place for a splash in the corner. Awesome hits a splash on the mat while the ref gets King out of there. Kong with rights and forearms, Irish whip but Shockmaster gets the big boot up. He charges him with a clothesline and then sends him for a flying body press. King Kong is on the apron Shockmaster knocks him off. He lifts Awesome Kong for a body slam and he picks up the quick win.
Winner: The Shockmaster (Body Slam)
- EA’s Take: This match wouldn’t have thrilled me even if it was on WCW Saturday Night let alone Starrcade, but they’re trying to maintain a dominant big man, so it is what it is. Honestly, The Shockmaster should have died the night he fell through that damn wall.
Backstage: Flair’s limo has arrived at the arena, surrounded by police. Gene shakes his hand and sends him on his way.
Match #3 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
Steamboat grabs the belt and holds it up to an ovation. Steamboat corners Regal and the ref tells him to back off. Regal doesn’t want to be touched and stays in the corner. Steamboat charges with a single leg pick up and Regal lectures the ref to get him away so he can take his time. Finally a collar and elbow, Regal gets position on the ropes but they keep going. Steamboat drops to a knee but he pushes the champ’s chin, Regal backs to the ropes and it has to be broken. Steamboat charges right back in and Regal retreats again to the corner.
Now it’s Steamboat stalling as he appears to favor his arm. Single leg by Regal, he steps on the bicep and takes a wristlock. Steamboat flips to his feet but Regal works him back to the mat. Steamboat up again and he reverses it. Regal somersaults and regains control. Steamboat says touché and flips out of it and whips Regal down hard. Hammerlock into a side headlock by Regal, to the ropes they go, they each block hip tosses and Steamboat takes him down with a double leg and flips over to bridge for a pin. Regal kicks out, but Steamboat is quick with the hiptoss. Regal reels back to slow it down. Collar and elbow, side headlock take down by Steamboat and Regal is forced to keep getting his shoulders up.
To the ropes they criss cross. Steamboat counters Regal’s pick up and flips the champ on his back. Regal is quick to move to an ankle lock. Steamboat climbs up but Regal kicks him in the ribs and holds onto the ankle. Steamboat puts his boot to Regal’s head and stands up for an enzigure. Scoop slam by The Dragon and he heads for the top. He flies with a big karate chop and Regal must kick out at two. Steamboat hooks on an armbar and maneuvers for leverage. The champ works to his feet and they hit the ropes. Shoulder block by Steamboat and he goes back to the arm. Regal leaps up to his feet, lifts Steamboat with a fireman’s carry but the challenger escapes. He grabs a wristlock as there are 5 minutes left in the 15 minute time limit.
He muscles Regal to his back and the champ must keep his shoulders up. William tells the fans to shutup as “USA” chants start. Steamboat drives the knee into Regal’s tricep. He cranks back on the wrist but Regal doesn’t submit. Steamboat flips over with a modified hammerlock. He tries moving into some roll ups but can’t get 3. Regal tries bridging out of a head scissor submission. Back to their feet, Regal clubs with high impact forearms and then turns Steamboat around for a European uppercut. More from the champ, but Steamboat gets some adrenaline and chops Regal out of the ring. Sir William approaches him with the umbrella but Steamboat turns around and catches him in the act.
He pursues William and chases him around the ring, baiting him into a Regal dropkick. Steamboat is rolled back into the ring, Irish whip, Steamboat tries leapfrogging Regal but is pulled face first on the mat. Regal applies a reverse chin lock and chops Steamboat. Steamboat reverses an Irish whip but Regal comes back with an elbow. Steamboat with a desperation arm drag and hits another one. Regal grabs a head scissor but Steamboat somersaults into a cover. Regal bridges out of it, he hooks the arms but Steamboat fights out. Butterfly suplex by Steamboat and Regal kicks out. The champ bails out to the floor but Steamboat catches him. He knocks William and Regal’s heads together and rolls Lord Steven back in.
He heads up to the apron but William holds his boot. Steamboat kicks him into the post and slingshots Regal across the top rope. He tries a flying cross body but Regal moves. Both men are slow to get up at the 10 second mark. Steamboat ducks a right and scores with a German suplex but he’s out of time. Regal retains the title on a draw.
Winner: Time Limit Draw
- EA’s Take: It’s all about subtleties with Regal and it’s the little things like cowering out of the way to waste time at the beginning of a time limit match. Lots of great mat work in this one, if I were booking I would set up a rematch with a no time limit stipulation because this one was just a clinic.
Match #4: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne vs. Tex Slazenger & Shangai Pierce
It’ll be Payne and Pierce to get the action rolling. Collar and elbow tie up and there is a quick break. They lock up again, Pierce with a side headlock, to the ropes and neither moves on a shoulder block. Pierce boots the gut, they hit the ropes and Pierce takes him down. Payne reevaluates. Payne with a boot this time and to the ropes again, this time Payne with the shoulder block. He scoop slams Pierce and he backs to his corner. Here comes Slazenger… and here comes Jack. Collar and elbow, Slazenger with position in the corner and he lays in a few rights. They lock up, Jack blocks a right and sends Slazenger down with shots to the jaw.
Jack drives him into the turnbuckle but Slazenger comes back with an elbow. He goes to the eyes and sends him for an Irish whip. Jack gets his boot up and comes back with a few strikes. Tag is made to Payne as Jack grabs the wrist. Elbow from Payne and he grabs the wristlock and makes a quick tag back. Jack yanks him down by the arm, goes for a cover and Pierce has to make the save. Jack decks him on the apron while Payne takes care of Slazenger. Double team clothesline by Payne and Jack. Pierce tries pulling his partner out but Jack won’t have it. Tag is made to Payne, Irish whip but Slazenger moves and comes back with a bulldog.
Slazenger is up first, boots Payne in the head and tags in Pierce. Clubbing forearm and to the ropes they go. Payne comes in with a sunset flip and gets two. Payne ducks a right and hits Pierce with a belly to back suplex. Payne makes a tag and Jack goes to work with rights and a headbutt. Slazenger comes in to save his partner and Payne takes exception. Jack clotheslines Pierce over the top rope and falls to the apron himself. Slazenger confronts him and instead he’s slingshot to the floor. Payne lifts Jack with a backbody drop outside to fall on top of Slazenger. Back in the ring, Pierce blindsides Payne. He heads to the top, tries a double ax handle but Payne cuts him off. He pulls him down with an armbar submission but Slazenger makes the save.
Payne ducks a double clothesline and hits both opponents with one instead. Tag is made to Jack and he’s immediately ambushed by the Texans. Slazenger holds Jack in place, Jack ducks and Tex is clotheslined to the outside by his own partner. Pierce glances over to check on his fallen partner, he turns around and walks right into a double-arm DDT.
Winners: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne (Jack/Double-Arm DDT)
- EA’s Take: This match had really poor flow for which I don’t blame Jack, he brought the most sense to it all. While it seemed like a creative idea, that assisted back body drop by Payne couldn’t have been much sloppier unless Foley fell square on his head on the apron. Cactus Jack has a funny spot on this roster. He’s popular with the fans, he’s not main event, but he’s certainly not undercard. He’s not the most technical guy in the world, but he can give you a good match. Lord knows he’s willing to put his body on the line. It seems like they either have something specific that is really great like working with Vader or otherwise they don’t quite know what to do with him. They know they definitely want him on the show, so he’s thrown into debacles like this.