Open: Bob Caudle & Tony Schiavone are ringside and welcome the loud crowd at the Omni in Atlanta. Standing by at the Greensboro Coliseum is Johnny Weaver who explains that there are over 17,000 excited fans there as the event was taking place at two separate sold out venues, and broadcast back and forth via closed-circuit television. Back to Caudle and Schiavone who induce a big crowd pop with mention of Dusty Rhodes returning from injury to be in action tonight. It is announced that both cage matches will take place in Greensboro. Schiavone explains that all major titles except for the TV title will be on the line tonight and we’re ready to kick off the action starting in Greensboro with the National Anthem (after an odd tech error that shoots us backstage for an awkward moment with Weaver)!
Match #1 for the Vacant NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship: Krusher Kruschev vs. Sam Houston
Caudle emphasizes that it’s anyone’s game despite Kruschev’s size advantage. The two lock up, Kruschev quickly throws Houston backwards on his head. Lock up, Houston uses momentum to send Kruschev through the middle rope onto the floor. Kruschev returns to the ring angry and misses a clothes line. He turns around the two exchange punches, crowd pops. The two regroup. Kruschev looks baffled by Houston’s ability to match him. He lifts Houston up by the neck with both hands and slams him to the mat. Tries to follow with a standing elbow drop, Houston moves. Back to their feet, lock up, Kruschev powers Houston to the rope and delivers a knee, but when he whips him to the rope Houston counters a gorilla press and lands on his feet. Kruschev misses a series of punches while Houston lands retaliatory punches. Houston applies a long headlock.
Finally Kruschev is able to whip Houston into the ropes and a the two have a fast paced series before Houston is able to take him down with a headscissor take down. Locked in a head scissor submission, Kruschev powers his way up. He maneuvers to pin Houston’s shoulders in a couple of near falls. Kruschev gets to his feet, picks Houston up off the ground and carries him to a seated position on the top rope. Houston deflects Kruschev away from the turnbuckle. Houston misses an axehandle but connects a dropkick. Some mat work followed by a strong arm bar by Houston. The crowd pops when Kruschev writhes in pain. Krusher breaks the hold and whips Houston into the ropes and lands a massive backdrop. He taunts the booing crowd. More heat as he lands a 2nd backdrop. Kruschev whips Houston into the ropes and catches him for a long bear hug. Houston breaks it with a punch but, but Kruschev body slams Houston in the middle of the ring and heads for the top rope.
Houston wills his way up and dropkicks the turnbuckle before Kruschev can do anything. Houston delivers a long series of punches both on the mat and at the turnbuckle. Houston whips Kruschev into the opposing turnbuckle and calls for the bulldog. A 3 count is made, but Kruschev had his foot on the rope. Houston celebrates his win unaware of this. When he turns, Kruschev delivers the Russian Sickle, covers and Houston gets his leg on the rope, but the ref misses it and we have a new champ.
Winner and NEW NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion: Krusher Kruschev (Russian Sickle)
- EA’s Take: For the first time in the three years of Starrcade, our opening bout involves not one, but TWO men I’m familiar with! Bonus! The master of the Russian Sickle, Barry Darsow, will of course be known for his portrayal of Smash in the WWF later, but this was his big break after making noise in Georgia and Florida. Unlike Nikita, Krushev was an American who was not portraying himself as Russian, merely a sympathizer. The hot babyface here, Sam Houston, is a second generation star, the half-brother of Jake Roberts. His arrival in the Mid-Atlantic immediately put him on the map, which will happen when you’re billed as the protege of Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA. If I were to rate this match against the past two Starrcade openers, bar none this will be tops of the list. A nice, slow burn to this one and I found the reversal spots to be wisely placed, allowing for the crowd to get further behind the young Houston.
Match #2 is a Mexican Death Match: ‘The Raging Bull’ Manny Fernandez vs. Abdullah The Butcher w/Paul Jones
The winner of this match is the first man to grab the sombrero. The action starts quickly with Abdullah dominating the action, beating Manny with a couple of foreign objects and quickly splitting him open. Abdullah chokes him on the ropes before Fernandez makes a comeback, Manny gets him to the mat and jumps off the turnbuckle, clocking The Butcher with his boot. Several more boot shots follow, Abdullah’s got the crimson mask, The Raging Bull attempts a running shot with the boot now, but The Butcher trips him up. Abdullah takes the boot and uses it on Manny, makes his 1st attempt for the hat, but Fernandez hits him with a low blow.
Paul Jones being held back by the referee and The Raging Bull goes to work with body shots using the boot. He makes an attempt at the hat, but takes a shot from Abdullah with the boot. Abdullah attempts the hat, but Fernandez whips and beats him with his belt. Punches exchanged. Abdullah headbutts The Raging Bul to the mat and misses an attempted running elbow drop. Fernandez hits him with a running lariat. More hits with the belt followed by an impressive suplex. Fernandez’s hat attempt thwarted by a low blow. Abdullah head butts him but Fernandez ducks a clothesline and hits him with ‘The Flying Burrito’. Fernandez to the top rope but misses a splash. Abdullah misses a turnbuckle thrust and hits the post. This allows Fernandez to grab the hat and win the match.
Winner: ‘The Raging Bull’ Manny Fernandez
- EA’s Take: Ahh yes, the 80’s…when politically correct didn’t exist. If you’ve followed along from Starrcade ’83, you already knew what to expect going into this one from Abdullah and we saw a lot of the same from Fernandez last year. Abdullah is a legend if you look at what he did for the hardcore style, which is why he’s a WWE Hall Of Famer (Yes, I’m aware it’s a bit of a joke, but still). Fernandez’s efforts in the ring that I’m familiar with are limited to these events, so it has got me thinking. If Abdullah is considered a “fore-father of hardcore”, does Manny deserve the same consideration?
Backstage: Johnny Weaver is with Krusher Kruschev, Krusher claims to be the happiest man in the world and thanks The Koloffs for making him the”Russian” athlete that he is, vowing to show all Americans that they’re physically superior. Kruschev addresses The Koloffs’ match later, warning that The Rock n’ Roll Express is about to learn the same lesson.
Match #3 is a Texas Bullrope Match – If Bass Wins, He Gets A Match With James J. Dillon: ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass vs. Black Bart w/James J. Dillon
A tug of war ensues with the rope, Bass kicks Bart to the ground, wraps the rope around Bart’s neck in the corner and delivers some punches with a cowbell, causing Bart to bleed. Bass continues the offense, Bart has a few comeback shots here and there, but Bass is abusing him with the cowbell. Bart finally gets in a low shot and gains control of the bell. After the first shot, Bass is cut now, Bart works hims into the corner and digs at his forehead with the bell. Exchange of punches and Bart delivers some elbows. Bass manages to get Bart down and slams his head into the mat. He wraps the rope around the forehead of a screaming Bart, more punches are exchanged before Bart attempts to clothesline Bass over the ropes.
Bass avoids it and Bart launches over the top rope to the floor, The Cowboy jumps to the other side of the ring apron, then delivers a jumping blow with the cowbell. Back to the ring, more cowbell shots to Bart followed by a kick. He wraps the rope around the back of Barts neck to pull him in for 3 big punches. Bart falls to his back. Pinfall attempt, kickout at 2. Both men back to their feet. Bart with some offense, whips Bass to the ropes but Bass hits a shoulder takedown. Both men lying on the mat. JJ Dillon pleading at ringside for Bart to get up. Bart is up first and misses a punch. From his knees, Bass hits another cowbell shot. When Bart tries to get up the rope is pulled, flipping him to the mat. Back on their feet, punches are exchanged and Bass is backed into the corner. Bart misses a running lariat. Bass maneuvers Bart into position, climbs to the 2nd rope and delivers one final cowbell blow to put it away.
Winner: ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass (Cowbell Shot)
- EA’s Take: The Long Riders are no more and Bass is the one who “sees the light”, leading to this slugfest that can be completely summed up in one sentence: both guys clobber each other with a cowbell until there’s a three count. A little unusual putting two hardcore-type matches back-to-back as well. This would serve as a finale for the former partners, Bart going on to feud for and win the Mid-Atlantic Title before leaving for World Class. The Cowboy’s departure is still more than a year away, but it’s yet another departure from NWA upcoming nonetheless.
Match #4 is a Texas Bullrope Match: ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass vs. James J. Dillon w/Black Bart
JJ Dillon tries to take advantage of the situation by rushing Bass and kicking him to the mat immediately after the bell. He stomps and kicks Bass while he’s down before the ref can tie them together, Dillon hits Bass with the cowbell and gets a 2 count. Dillon chokes him with the rope, The Cowboy makes the crowd pop as he starts the comeback to his feet. JJ tries to run from the ring, gets yanked back, pleading with Bass not to hit him with the cowbell. Bass declines and clocks him, busting Dillon open, then continues the attack and gets JJ wobbly-legged. He does the same punching spot with the rope around the back of Dillon’s neck, Bass goes for one more big shot with the cowbell, but hits the referee on his wind-up. The Cowboy goes for the pin without realizing the official’s down, Bart takes the opening, hits the ring and ambushes him. BHe spikes Bass with a piledriver, drags Dillon on top for the cover and JJ steals the win.
Winner: James J. Dillon (Interference)
- EA’s Take: It’s kind of crazy to think about because he looks much older, but JJ was only 43 years old at this time, so stepping in the ring wasn’t really too uncommon for him yet. The NWA’s version of Bobby Heenan, Dillon is still backing a stable of performers, like most managers of the time. He’ll quickly ascend up the managerial ladder and overshadow Paul Jones, much like this match did the one previous.
Match #5 Arm Wrestling Challenge: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham vs. The Barbarian w/Paul Jones
This contest is for a $10,000 prize. Barbarian seems unfamiliar with the rules. Long bout. Both men drop to their knees and struggle. As Graham is about to win, Paul Jones hits him with his cane leading to a bloody Superstar and a DQ.
Winner: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham (Disqualification)
Match #6: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham vs. The Barbarian w/Paul Jones
Match begins with Barbarian taking advantage of the cane shot using vicious headbutts and kicks. Whips Graham into the ropes for a big boot that connents, tries to follow with a leg drop that’s off the mark and Graham comes back with some punches. He shoots Barbarian into the corner, but Barbarian rebounds right out and shoves Superstar to the canvas. Barbarian to the top rope for the flying headbutt, Superstar avoid it, quickly back to his feet with some kicks, whips Barbarian into the ropes and applies his trademark Bearhug. The Barbarian tries going for punches to break free, but Graham wrenches it in tighter until he starts to fade. Ref goes to check the arm, Paul Jones again gets involved, cracks Superstar with the cane and we get a second disqualification.
Winner: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: When Jones attempts another cane shot, Graham intercepts it, hits him once in the corner before Barbarian comes in from behind. Superstar falls to the floor and Barbarian follows, only to slam Graham into the post. The two stumble outside the barricade and Barbarian scores with a chair shot now, the ref is able to finally separate the two and declares raises Superstar’s hand.
- EA’s Take: The Karate Kid version of Billy Graham is no more and he’s back to being his old ‘Superstar’ self, at least gimmick-wise. Barbarian is another bruiser of course, so while it’s nice to have two names that most would be familiar with, the sledding is not so smooth. If you’ve seen one arm wrestling match, you’ve seen them all in terms of pro wrestling standards. Also, they just went to the second location for this match without saying anything. Very unusual.
Match #7 for the NWA National Heavyweight Championship: ‘The Nature Boy’ Buddy Landel w/James J. Dillion vs. NWA National Heavyweight Champion Terry Taylor
Landel teases a lockup and instead fluffs his hair and taunts the crowd with a…moonwalk?!. Lockup, Landel powers Taylor into the corner, but Taylor jumps up and they go nose-to-nose. Lockup again and we go to the ropes. Ref breaks it up. Landel slaps Taylor on the chest and Taylor slaps him across the face in return, Landel cowering around the ring on his backside. Ref backs Terry off. Lockup, arm bar by Landel this time around and he taunts the crowd some more. Taylor finally breaks free with an arm drag. Lockup and they go to the ropes once again, the ref breaks them apart, Landel attempts two cheap shots which are blocked by Taylor, who in turn lands a right. Regroup. Lockup, Landel with a snapmare takedown.
Headlock on the mat. Taylor muscles Landel over for a quick near fall, but The Nature Boy gets his positioning back. Both men to their feet with the headlock still applied, Taylor is able to reverse the maneuver into an armbar. Landel to the mat, armbar still applied. Taylor gets the shoulders down for several near falls, knees the affected arm and both men to their feet. Lockup to the corner. Knees to the stomach from Landel followed by chops, whips Taylor to the opposite corner, but Terry reverses and scores with a big boot. He shoots Landel to the ropes and hits a back body drop, goes to the ropes himself for a knee to the head and a finds a 1 count.
Armbar by Taylor, Landel reverses it and lands a stiff punch. Landel laying on a series of punches in the corner followed by a snapmare takedown. Landel applying a front headlock on the mat. Once to their feet, Taylor reverses with a side suplex, followed by a backbreaker. Taylor with a standing leg drop and attempts a pin but Landel has his leg on the rope. Landel whips Taylor into the corner and delivers a running lariat. 2 count. Landel in position for a snap suplex but Taylor reverses into a small package. 2 count. Landel gets up hot and stomps Taylor. Landel applies a chinlock. Taylor up to his knees, walks a few steps and throws Landel into the bottom turnbuckle. Taylor with some chops in the corner followed by a snapmare. Taylor stands on Landel’s face and then pulls him up for a suplex. 2 count.
Taylor with a whip into the corner and lands repeated headshots into the turnbuckle. Ref pulls Taylor away and Landel turns around for a punch that knocks both Taylor and the ref to the mat. Dillon up on the apron with his shoe. Taylor reverses the Irish whip and forces Landel to knock Dillon off. Taylor sets up for his trademark superplex. As he gets Landel up, Dillon trips Taylor causing Landel to fall on Taylor. Pinfall 1-2-3.
Winner and NEW NWA National Heavyweight Champion: Buddy Landel (Interference)
- EA’s Take: Don’t adjust your screens folks, that is in fact NOT Ric Flair, but an essential carbon copy in look and gimmick. Buddy Landel was going for the whole, “I’m the real Nature Boy” thing and it worked to a degree. Honestly, had he gone with another gimmick he may have had even more success. His opponent, Terry Taylor, what can you really say about him? He had solid runs, but is really known for the amount of people he’s broken in and helped further their careers along. The match I found to be fantastic, despite the fact that neither of these men were ever considered “big stars”. They are consummate professionals in the ring and The Nature Boy really could work the crowd. That is vitally important when you’re in the ring against a “white-meat” babyface such as Taylor. It’s funny that Landel is considered the tops of Dillon’s stable right now, since JJ will soon be “upgrading” one Nature Boy for another.
Match #8 for the NWA National Tag Team Championships: NWA National Tag Team Champions The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole & Arn Anderson) vs. Wahoo McDaniel & Billy Jack Haynes
Arn and McDaniel start. They lock up, McDaniel powers Arn to the turnbuckle twice in a row. Lock up once more, McDaniel with a headlock. Whips Arn to the rope, picks him up for Gorilla press slam. Arn falls to the corner and tags Ole. The two lock up followed by an exchange of punches. McDaniel with the upper hand and Wahoo gets a shot in as well. McDaniel makes the tag. Wahoo whips Ole to the rope and hits him with a chop, followed by a snapmare and elbow drop to the head. Ole is able to crawl over for the tag. Arn and Wahoo lock up.
Wahoo ducks a punch and lands a chop. Wahoo with a headlock to Arn followed by a takedown to the mat with the headlock still applied. Arn reverses into a headscissor submission. Arn up to a seated position with Wahoo’s face driven into the mat. Wahoo muscles out and delivers a seated lariat. Both men to their feet. Lock up, Arn with a headlock, falls back into his corner and tags Ole with the headlock applied. Ole with some punches to Wahoo’s back before Arn releases. Ole with a snapmare. Ole with a submission maneuver. Wahoo gets a slap in but Ole quickly gets the tag. Arn continues to work on the arm with holds, kicks and knees.
While still applying a chicken wing, Arn tags Ole once again and Ole picks up where Arn left off. Ole delivers a body slam and gets a near fall. Works Wahoo to the corner for another tag and double team. McDaniel impatiently enters the ring and attacks Ole from behind and all 4 men go at it. The ref redirects McDaniel and Arn puts Wahoo in another armbar. Wahoo trying to fight back with chops but Arn again is able to make the tag. After working the arm some more, Wahoo is able to escape, roll to his corner and tag McDaniel. As he did so, Arn is tagged in and McDaniel delivers punches to both Andersons capping off by smashing their heads together.
Wahoo re-enters the ring until the ref is able to get Ole and Wahoo out of there. The legal men work to McDaniel’s corner where he makes the tag. Wahoo with chops to Arn, whips him to the ropes and delivers a clothesline. A 2 count before Ole makes the save. The ref directs Ole out and he moves to the floor. Wahoo applies a headlock, but Arn is able to whip him to the ropes. Wahoo is tripped by Ole from the floor. 2 count. McDaniel is in the ring upset about Ole. Wahoo works Arn into the Wrecking Crew’s corner while the ref is distracted, and Ole trips Wahoo to the mat and holds his legs down. Arn makes the cover 1-2-3.
Winners and STILL NWA National Tag Team Champions: The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Arn/Interference)
- EA’s Take: As you would expect, superb technical work by TMWC, really demonstrating what dominating tag team wrestling is all about. The 27-year old Arn (Yes, he was bald by 27) comes in as Ole’s kayfabe nephew and immediately reinvigorates his “uncle’s” career. We know Wahoo’s story after the last two Starrcade’s, but his partner is a newcomer in Billy Jack Haynes. Billy Jack comes from Florida and the Portland (OR) area, teaming with The Chief in this heated rivalry, but would abruptly leave the company for the WWF in 1986 after a confrontation with Jim Crockett. It would work out in the end for The Andersons because much like the Drake line, if Wahoo & Billy Jack were a pair of ex’s to ask where they were going, Arn & Role would reply, “Onto better things”.
Match #9 I Quit Match for the NWA United States Championship: Magnum T.A. vs. NWA United States Champion Tully Blanchard w/Baby Doll
To win this match, your opponent must say the words “I quit” and it will also be contested inside the confines of a steel cage. The two lock up. Blanchard whips him down by 1 leg but Magnum kicks him of. Tackle to the mat and the two struggle for the upper hand. Blanchard works him to the corner and the two men return to their feet. Blanchard with the offense first but Magnum retaliates with a series of punches and uppercuts of his own. Magnum attempts to slam Blanchard into the cage but he holds on for a block. Blanchard on offense now and is able to whip Magnum into the case. Blanchard applies a camel clutch but Magnum works his way to his feet. Blanchard with a knee to the kidney. Magnum reverses the Irish whip and picks Blanchard up dropping him neck first on the rope.
The two exchange more punches and kicks. Blanchard falls to his knees but grabs Magnums trunks and throws him into the cage. More submission battling on the mat. Both men back to their feet. Blanchard delivers knees but Magnum able to throw him head first into the cage. Magnum picks him up and does it again. Blanchard is bleeding. Magnum demands, Blanchard refuses and headbutts T.A. in the stomach. Both men on their knees, Magnum delivering labored punches followed by a submission move on the mat. Magnum also has color. The bloodied men do a little brawling. With Magnum on his back, Blanchard demands, Magnum refuses.
Blanchard hits him on the head with the microphone and asks again. Magnum refuses. Blanchard delivers 4 right hands before picking him up and driving him into the cage. Blanchard goes to the top rope and delivers an axehandle. He demands again. With labored breathing, Magnum refuses. Blanchard delivers one standing elbow drop but Magnum moves for the 2nd. Magnum makes a comeback of punches and grabs the microphone. Blanchard refuses. Magnum delivers kicks to the stomach, pulls Blanchard up and clocks him with the mic. Demands again, Blanchard refuses. Both men roll on the mat digging at eyes and pulling on hair.
Both looking weary but exchanging punches from their knees. Magnum demands and Blanchard kicks the mic from his hands. Blanchard hits Magnum with the mic twice and demands again. Magnum refuses. Blanchard with some elbow drops and a knee to the ref. Blanchard throws the ref aside and a wooden chair is thrown into the cage. Blanchard breaks the chair into pieces and kicks the referee. Blanchard attempts to stab Magnum with a broken piece of wood but it is intercepted and they have a power struggle on the mat. Magnum knees Blanchard to the mat, grabs a piece of broken wood and drives it into Blanchard’s forehead. Blanchard quits. Huge pop from the crowd.
Winner and NEW NWA United States Champion: Magnum T.A.
- EA’s Take: This is by far the most enjoyable match of the card to this point, to nobody’s surprise if you’re familiar with Tully & Magnum, two of the most underrated performers in history to me. The rivalry was hot, the crowd was hot. It was the perfect storm and just an absolute war, but was brutally violent and if you’re squeamish may not be for you. Even Baby Doll was key, as her screams of terror for what was happening to Blanchard just draws you in more. Did to me at least. You already know how I feel about Blanchard if you read Starrcade ’84 and Magnum really echoes those same feelings, but on the babyface side. Obviously his name comes from his similarity to Tom Selleck and ‘Magnum P.I.’, which sounds silly now, but at the time Tom Selleck was what my mother would consider a “nice piece of man meat”. So you can only imagine the screams from women for Magnum TA and those would only increase over the coming year. He could have been and SHOULD have been one of the all-time greats, but in October of ’86 a devastating car crash would leave the right side of his body paralyzed for months, taking away his career and nearly his life. It’s really one of the tragedies of wrestling.
Match #10 is an Atlanta Street Fight: The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey) w/ James E. Cornette vs. Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively w/Big Mama
Mayhem ensues at the start when the Midnight Express try to rush their opponents. Lively sprays Condrey in the face with some kind of powder while Eaton and Valiant do battle outside of the ring. Lively chokes Condrey in the ring with a necklace while Valiant works Eaton over with a chair outside. They trade opponents in the ring exchanging some punches and the Midnight Express gets some comeback momentum. Condrey is working Lively in the corner. Valiant tosses Eaton across the cement floor outside the gate and re-enters the ring to save Lively. Eaton makes his way back to the ring but the double team of Lively and Valiant whip Condrey into his partner.
Valiant drops to a knee and puts Condrey in a headlock punching him several times with an unidentified foreign object. Valiant whips Condrey into the rope and catches him in a sleeper hold. Cornette wills Eaton back in the ring who engages with Lively. Eaton gets foreign object from his boot. It is some sort of powder thrown into the eyes of Valiant. Condrey and Eaton take advantage and attack him with a series of punches and kicks. Eaton throws the powder in Lively’s face. The Express remove their belts and whip and choke their opponents. Valiant is thrown to the floor and the Express double team Lively. Holding both arms, Cornette enters the ring and hits Lively over the head with some sort of racket. Condrey picks Lively up for Eaton who is preparing an elbow from the 2nd rope. He hits the elbow and Eaton kicks Valiant who was trying to re-enter the ring.
Valiant makes it into the ring but is thrown out again. More double teaming on Lively. Here comes Valiant again who lands punches on both members of the Express. Eaton and Condrey grab him, whip him into the ropes and Valiant goes down from a double elbow. Condrey positions Valiant as Eaton goes to the 3rd rope. Eaton leaps but is cutoff and punched in the face by Lively who falls to the mat. Eaton is knocked out and Lively pins him 1-2-3 just in time as Cornette was attempting to break it up.
Winners: Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively (Lively/Punch)
- After The Bell: Lively and Valiant get ahold of Cornette and strip him to his boxer shorts.
- EA’s Take: This one will probably only leave you feeling one of two ways; either you loved it or you hated it. It’s gimmicky, it’s silly, but it’s also kind of fun, which is what wrestling is supposed to be and sometimes I forget that. While seeing Ronnie Garvin as Miss Atlanta Lively is certainly something I could live without, the guy can definitely perform, as can The Midnight Express. Oddly enough, this version of The ME would really put the team on the map, but most don’t know it was rehashed with Condrey, an original in 1980 alongside Randy Rose in Southeast Championship Wrestling.
Match #11 is a Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Tag Team Championships: NWA World Tag Team Champions The Koloffs (Ivan & Nikita) w/Krusher Kruschev vs. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) w/Don Kernodle
Nikita and Morton start. They lock up and Nikita powers him down into the corner. Morton runs the ropes and hits Nikita with a dropkick. They slow it down and pace the ring. Nikita with a kick to the gut, punch to the back, turnbuckle shot and a kick to the mat. He makes the tag to Ivan. Morton escapes his grasp, runs the ropes 4 times before landing a crossbody. Morton puts Ivan in a standing headlock but Ivan counters by lifting Morton, dropping him crotch first on the ropes and kicking him while down. 2 count. Ivan attempts to launch Morton into the cage, Morton blocks with his foot. Morton lands a few punches and tags in Gibson. Gibson whips Ivan into the ropes and lands a drop kick. Gibson bodyslams Ivan and lands a jumping knee to the skull. 2 Count.
Gibson headlocks Ivan and tags Morton. He works Ivan down to the mat. 2 Count. Reverse headlock and another tag. Gibson tackles Ivan. 2 count. Another reverse headlock and tag to Morton. He chokes Ivan to the ropes, lands a punch, and yet another reverse headlock for a tag to Gibson. Gibson lands elbow from the 2nd rope. 2 count. Ivan finally makes a comeback. Whips Gibson to the ropes but he ducks a clothesline and bear hugs Ivan into the cage. He picks Ivan up and slams him into the cage again. Picks up Ivan and holds him behind the arms while Morton comes off the top rope for an axehandle. Morton’s turn to slam him into the cage and come off the top rope for another axehandle. 2 Count. Tag to Gibson. Punch to the head. 2 count.
Both men up and Ivan fights back with an eye rake and is able to get the tag to Nikita. Ivan holds Gibson in place for a double axe handle from Nikita. Gibson is whipped into the ropes, grabbed in a bear hug and sent face first into the cage. Nikita picks up Gibson for 2 more hits into the cage. Nikita walks to Morton’s corner and gives him an elbow. Morton enters the ring the illegal man trying to attack Nikita and the ref redirects him. Ivan goes to the top rope on his side and delivers an axehandle to Gibson. He picks Gibson up and delivers shoulders to the midsection followed by a launch into the cage. Ivan with a standing elbow. 2 count. Ivan whips Gibson into the rope and sets up for a backbody drop but Gibson stops short and delivers a kick. The exhausted Gibson falls to the mat and Ivan is up first. He tags Nikita who delivers kicks while Gibson is down.
Nikita bites the bridge of the nose until the ref pulls him off. Bodyslam to Gibson. The ref goes to argue with an irate Morton while Ivan returns to the third rope and delivers another punch. 2 count before Morton breaks it up. Whips Gibson into the rope and kicks him in the kidney. Gibson falls to the 2nd rope. Ivan misses his attempt move on the rope. Ivan walks Gibson to the Koloffs turnbuckle. Nikita is holding his arms and biting his face while Ivan delivers midsection blows. Morton rushes Ivan and pulls him off. The ref redirections Morton once again. Ivan whips Gibson into the ropes, kick to the midsection, snapmare takedown, standing legdrop. 2 count. Ivan misses his next legdrop. Ivan makes the tag to Nikita who takes Gibson down into a seated sleeper hold. Gibson fights out of it but the the tag is made to Ivan. Headbutts and knees to Gibson. 2 count – leg on the rope.
Gibson is brought to his feet and fights back with punches until Nikita rushes the ring and delivers a kidney shot and slams him into the cage. 2 count broken up by Morton. Tag to Ivan. Gibson is whipped into the ropes, he sneaks between Ivan’s legs and delivers a dropkick. Crowd is chanting USA. Gibson attempts a cover but the ref is down. Morton rushes the ring and is hit with a lariat from Nikita. Nikita then hits Gibson with a lariat and Ivan covers but the ref is still down. Both men to their feet. Nikita whips Gibson to the rope who tags Morton in the process. He delivers a backbody drop to Gibson but Morton rushes him into the rope from behind and rolls him into a double leg cradle. The ref is there for a 1-2-3 pin. Enormous pop.
Winners and NEW NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Rock & Roll Express (Morton/Double Leg Cradle)
- After The Bell: The Koloffs are up and grab Gibson. Morton escapes by climbing over the cage, but Krusher Kruschev enters the cage with a chain. The 3 clothesline Gibson with the chain. Triple team clothesline from the top rope followed by whipping Gibson with the chain. Wrestlers from the back come out to fend off the Russians.
- EA’s Take: After being paired together by Jerry Lawler in 1983, Morton & Gibson would arrive in Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985 and quickly take the division by storm. If you are a fan of The Rockers, Michaels & Jannetty, you can thank these guys for it as they are really the originators of the oft-used tandem offense style of tag wrestling…and they are fun to watch. The Russians are still hot as heels with the Cold War still ongoing, Nikita is coming along, but he’s still a little more “sizzle” than “steak” as Good Ol’ JR would say. Ivan is still able to hold a good portion of the work and combining that with the energy of Morton & Gibson makes this one of the better matches of the night.
Match #12 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Dusty gets the crowd going with a strut around the ring. Lockup, Dusty is in the corner and Flair takes a cheap shot when the ref breaks them up. The two exchange chops until Dusty gets about 10 punches in a row in knocking Flair to his back. Rhodes struts. Flair rolls out to the floor and paces. Back to the ring and they lock up again. Flair gets a little offense in before Rhodes takes control again delivering many of his patented elbows. Flair is flustered and rolls out of the ring again. A long staredown ensues. A lockup, Rhodes reverses a headlock into a chicken wing. Flair drops to the mat kicking his feet and screaming. Flair makes it to the ropes and the hold is broken.
Both men to their feet and cautious to lock up. Flair on the offense with chops and digs. Snapmare take down by Flair and a knee to the head. “Wooo!”. 1 count. Armbar by Flair who kicks Rhodes behind the knee. Rhodes yelps and rolls out of the ring. Flair grabs Rhodes as he gets up the apron. Rhodes blocks Flair’s punch and delivers some elbows with Flair stuck on the top rope. Flair to the mat and Rhodes stomps Flair’s knee. Rhodes pulls him on his back to the center of the ring and an elbow to the knee. Rhodes applies a submission hold targeting that knee. Flair in pain attempting to break the hold by putting Rhodes in a headlock.
Rhodes to his feet again holding Flair’s leg. The crowd pops and another elbow to the knee. Flair is able to get up after a poke to the eye. Flair positions for a suplex but can’t lift him as he’s favoring the knee. Rhodes reverses the hold and suplexes Flair. Another elbow and submission hold to the knee. Both men work their way to their feet. Whip to the ropes. Rhodes hits flair with a shoulder takedown. Another whip and Flair puts Rhodes in a sleeper. Rhodes escapes by running Flair into the turnbuckle and Flair goes down. Rhodes pulls Flair to the corner and smashes the knee on the pole.
Back to the ring and more stomps and elbows to the knee. More exchanging of chops and weak snapmare to Flair. Rhodes misses a standing elbow drop. Flair limping around the ring but goes to the top rope. Rhodes is up and gives Flair a gorilla press from the top. Both men staggering. Flair is the first to attack and gets Rhodes down on his back. He attempts a figure four leg lock but Rhodes kicks him away. Flair tries again, same result. Flair comes back and stomps Rhodes’ head. Flair picks Rhodes up, puts him in the corner and tries to target Rhodes’ leg but Dusty fight back. He whips Flair to the opposite corner and he does his trademark fall over the turnbuckle and onto the floor. Rhodes follows him to the floor and drives Flair into the ringpost.
He picks Flair up to his knee and smashes him on the gate. Rhodes back into the ring. Flair climbs onto the Apron and Rhodes hits more elbows to the head. Flair is pulled back into the ring and he reverses Rhodes’ attack and throws him over the top rope. Rhodes is quick to return to his feet and he climbs onto the apron and onto the top turnbuckle. Flair rushes over to give him a gorilla press but Rhodes falls and lands on top of him. The ref is delayed to lay down for the count. 2 count. Both men slow to their feet. Rhodes blocks a punch and lands one of his own. Flair to the mat. Rhodes kneels over Flair’s chest and delivers a series of punches. Pulling him back up and to the corner, more elbows and stands on the 2nd rope for more punches. Flair with his trademark face first fall to the mat. Crowd cheering. He pulls Flair back up for another barrage.
Flair is seated and scooting backwards away pleading for no more. Rhodes picks him up near one turnbuckle and whips him to the opposite. Flair flips over the rope again but this time stays on his feet, runs across and climbs the other top rope, but is hit in the midsection when he jumps to hit Rhodes. Flair crawls to the opposite turnbuckle and Rhodes attempts a punt. Flair moves and Rhodes kicks the turnbuckle. Both men are down. Flair is the first one up and takes Rhodes’ bad foot to the rope and stomps it. Flair pulls him to the center of the ring and drops a knee on the bad leg. Flair successfully applies the figure four leg lock. Rhodes is writhing but shaking his head no. Each time he falls backward, the ref makes a 2 count.
The crowd is cheering Rhodes on as he attempts to turn it. A successful turn is made. Both men release and are slow to get up. Flair delivers chops and punches but Rhodes is fired up and returns the favor. Flair is whipped to the ropes and Rhodes delivers a clothesline. 2 Count. The ref is hit by Rhodes on the kickout. Rhodes is trying to apply the figure four but the ref is on the floor. Rhodes successfully applies the figure four. Arn Anderson makes a run in but Rhodes fights him off. Now Ole Anderson rushes the ring and attacks Rhodes from behind knocking him to the mat. Ole pulls Flair on Rhodes for the cover. The ref is delayed in getting back to the ring for the count and Rhodes kicks out at 2. Flair picks up Rhodes and positions for a body slam but Rhodes reverses into a small package. Pinfall 1-2-3.
Winner and NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Dusty Rhodes (Small Package)
- After The Bell: A variety of babyfaces rush the ring to celebrate with Rhodes and lift him up. Flair and The Andersons walk away livid and screaming at the referee.
- EA’s Take: Simple, effective and crowd involved would be the best way to describe this one. PWI’s Match Of The Year for 1985 is a great example to show someone why mic work and storyline will always sell better than a match based off just pure in-ring work. Nothing overly flashy in the ring, you’re not going to see anything innovative, but it’s Flair & Rhodes at their best. What more do you need?
Backstage: Tony Schiavone is backstage with Dusty Rhodes who is being showered with champagne by celebrating babyfaces. Rhodes cuts a promo celebrating the blue collar workers. Schiavone and Caudle then recap the night to close us out.
EA’s Finisher: While the card gets a bit rough after the opening contest, it absolutely picks right back up with a great mix of excellent in-ring work, tremendous physical storytelling and just straight-up overall entertainment. There’s not much in the way of long-term historical significance outside of the title wins by Magnum & Dusty, along with the introduction of some faces we’ll see in the WWF, but Starrcade ’85 is easily the most enjoyable effort of the three to date. There are still minor details, which is a bit of a recurring theme (or at least it seems like New York always did it better on the production side). It’s another case of Crockett trying to one-up McMahon by broadcasting from multiple venues, as WrestleMania 2 just a few months later would pull it off from three, all with a different time zone.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A.
2 – Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair
3 – The Koloffs vs. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
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.
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