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Chairshot Classics: NWA Starrcade ’88 – True Gritt

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Turner has officially taken over! Starrcade ’88 is still under the NWA banner, however Jim Crockett Promotions couldn’t keep up the battle with Vince McMahon and the WWF. We’re now called World Championship Wrestling and this is the first pay-per-view under Ted Turner’s ownership. With Starrcade traditionally a Thanksgiving night event, we have now moved into December to avoid the head-to-head competition. With that being said, let’s dive in, shall we?

In The Arena: Tony Schiavone & Magnum TA welcome us to the show and run down our card for the evening,  the send us down to ringside with Jim Ross & Bob Caudle for their thoughts before our opening contest.

Match #1 for the NWA United States Tag Team Championships: NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) vs. Kevin Sullivan & ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams
The two teams clearly bring diverse styles. Sullivan and Fulton start the match. Sullivan powers Fulton to the corner with chops and punches. Sullivan whips Fulton, but Fulton comes back with a big boot and a near fall. They exchange shots but Fulton takes control. He lands a right to Sullivan and makes the tag to Rogers. Rogers delivers a back body drop, and the tag is returned to Fulton. Sullivan uses his strength to power Fulton toward the opposite corner so he can make the tag to Steve Williams.

The two slow down the tempo. Fulton grabs Williams with an arm bar and immediately tags Rogers back in. Williams tries to power out of it, but Rogers’ move set is too quick. Fulton is tagged back in. Williams reverses an Irish whip to the corner, but he misses Fulton with an attempted elbow to the head and he hits the corner hard. Their teammates rush the ring. Both members of the Fantastics take Williams over with a snap suplex. When the legal men are alone once again, Williams is able to deliver a military press to Fulton. Williams follows it up with a huge lariat and Fulton falls out to the floor. Once down there, Fulton rolls under Williams and delivers a dropkick.

Both Fantastics dropkick Williams after a run in, but Williams is easily able to recover with a quick belly to back suplex on Fulton. Williams misses an elbow drop and Rogers is tagged in. Rogers lands a drop kick but Williams is barely phased, he tags in Sullivan. The two double clothesline Rogers. Now on his on, Sullivan misses a clothesline and tumbles over the top rope. Once back in the ring, the two men tie up and Rogers puts on a side headlock. The two run the ropes and Rogers shows his agility by reversing a back body drop into a successful drop kick. Members of both teams are in the ring. Williams takes control driving heads into turnbuckles.

Sullivan comes back into the ring to take a cheap shot on Rogers. Williams and Fulton are the legal men in the ring and Williams is delivering stomps before getting backed off by the ref. Williams finally returns Fulton to the ring with a powerful vertical suplex but only gets a 2 count. Back to their feet, Fulton ducks an elbow and catches Williams off guard with a rollup. Williams is back in control and Sullivan rushes the ring for some more cheap shots. With no apparent legal tag, Sullivan is now the man in the ring for his team. A tag is made to Fulton and Williams. Williams delivers a knee to the face to Fulton and then catches him in a bear hug.

Fulton gets the crowd behind him as he tries to escape. He gives a thumb to Steve William’s eye and he makes a tag to Rogers. Sullivan rushes the ring after a tag and it’s now Rogers and Sullivan. Sullivan gets a knee up on his charging opponent but he is gorilla pressed from the top rope when he tries to follow it up. Now it’s Rogers’ turn to attempt a high risk move off the top rope but Sullivan gets his knees up. Tag is made back to Steve Williams who slowly pulls Rogers up. A quick clothesline from Williams as the crowd boos. Williams taunts Rogers and delivers more knees. Another tag is made to Sullivan.

Kevin whips him to the ropes and hits a clothesline but only gets a two count. The crowd is getting behind Rogers who is trapped in a headlock. Rogers fights back with a shoulder block, but he’s immediately taken back down to the mat and Williams is tagged back in. Dr Death drops him over the top rope and delivers a headbutt. Williams with a lateral press but he only gets a 2 count. Williams has Rogers trapped in a reverse chin lock on the mat. He fights his way to his feet and he breaks the hold. After a whip to the ropes he dropkicks Williams, but Dr Death is still quick to tag Sullivan back in and Kevin catches him before he can make a tag himself.

A body slam and stomps to the abdomen from Sullivan. A pinfall attempt but he only gets a two count. Rogers reverses Sullivan’s attempts at a vertical suplex and hits one of his own. Fulton is tagged in and hits Williams with a back body drop. Rogers squares up with Sullivan and Fulton hits Williams with punches at the turnbuckle as the crowd counts along. Williams tries to fight out but finds himself caught in a sleeper hold. Sullivan rushes the ring but Rogers catches him in a sleeper as well. Fulton attempts a Lou Thesz press but it backfires and he is thrown onto the ropes for a hot shot by Williams. A pin is made. He kicks out but it is a half second too late.
Winners and NEW NWA United States Tag Team Champions: Kevin Sullivan & ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams(Williams/Hot Shot)

  • EA’s Take: Solid opening bout between two teams who definitely have contrasting styles. This is our first look at The Varsity Club (Sullivan & Williams) in tag action, although the faction had started back in February when Mike Rotunda & Rick Steiner were brought into JCP. Sullivan was a bit of an outlier for the group in terms of his character, retaining his dark persona as the figurehead for The VC. Behind the scenes, legitimate issues between The Fantastics and Sullivan would arise. ‘The Gamesmaster’ would take over the book for WCW, so he was in control which forced The Fantastics to depart in 1989. We won’t be seeing them again on pay-per-view as a tandem, but they would continue teaming on the independents and Smoky Mountain Wrestling.

In The Arena: Tony Schiavone & Magnum TA go over replays of the finish between The Fantastics & Williams/Sullivan, speak on our next match and what’s to come later.

Match #2: The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) w/Jim Cornette vs. The Original Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey & Randy Rose) w/Paul E. Dangerously
Eaton and Lane clear the ring and Cornette cuts a quick promo on Dangerously (Paul Heyman). The four men start to brawl as Lane and Eaton welcome the Originals into the ring with some force. Lane and Condrey kick it off and Lane immediately knocks Condrey out of the ring where he meets a shot from the tennis racket. Dangerously has big issues with it. Condrey and Lane lock up. Condrey hits a shoulder to the midsection and hammers him Lane some punches at the turnbuckle. This is reversed when Sweet Stan carries him back to the center for an atomic drop.

Rose enters the ring for the Originals and Cornette is up taunting on the ring apron. A tag is made to Eaton and the Express deliver a double teamed elbow. Eaton is taking control and knocking Rose out to the floor where he is now attacked by Cornette’s tennis racket. Dangerously is ringing the bell in protest. Rose tries to re-enter the ring but Eaton knocks him right back out. On the outside, Sweet Stan throws him into the ring post and then back into the ring. Rose wants a timeout but he doesn’t get one. The two tie up and Lane is tagged back in. They run the ropes and Lane ends it with a cross body press.

A tag is made to Condrey but Lane is quick on the attack. A tag is made to Eaton, but he’s slow to get in the ring as Condrey appears to be coming to life. Eaton knocks him to the mat and heads for the top rope. Beautiful Bobby hits an elbow drop from the top rope. Eaton knocks down Rose at the apron and tags Lane back in. Lane delivers a spinning kick and snapmare take down before holding Condrey in a headlock submission. The hold is broken and they are back to their feet. Lane locks up again, but he makes another smart tag to Eaton who catches Condrey in the midsection before hitting a bulldog.

Mercifully, Rose is tagged in but Eaton and Lane are really doing well with these quick tags. Lane lands an elbow. Rose is fighting back to little avail and Eaton is tagged back in. So much quick work by the Express here. A whip to the ropes and an elbow by Eaton. Irish whip to the corner but Condrey moves and Rose is tagged back in. Eaton finds himself trapped at the turnbuckle and he is double teamed by his opponents until his partner and Cornette save him. Back in the ring, it’s Condrey and Rose’s turn to enjoy the quick tags and Eaton is feeling the pain. Bobby is pulled down to the floor and Rose hits him with an ax handle from the turnbuckle.

Dangerously takes a cheap shot at Eaton on the apron and Cornette chases him around the ring but does not catch him. Everyone is back in their appropriate corners and Eaton is caught in a headlock. Eaton is whipped to the ropes but reverses the momentum with a swinging neck breaker. He immediately looks for a tag, but Condrey is able to make his first. Rose with a vicious clothesline to Eaton. He makes a pin but only gets 2. Eaton is caught in Rose’s reverse headlock as he reaches for Stan’s tag. Rose lifts him for a pile driver but Eaton reverses the attempt with a back body drop.

However, Condrey is the first to be tagged in and he goes to work with knees on Eaton’s back and midsection. Lane rushes in without a tag but he’s redirected by the ref as the Originals keep on Eaton. Beautiful Bobby is choked on the ropes and then he’s hung by his legs from the 2nd rope. From the apron, Cornette pleads with him to get out of there. More double team work, but the Originals miss their “Rocket Launcher”. This opens up the hot tag made to Stan Lane who is delivering shots to both of his opponents much to the dismay of Dangerously. Lane with many impressive kicks. He attempts a pin as Eaton drives Rose out of the ring.

Dangerously breaks up the pin attempt by hitting Lane on the back of the head with his phone. Cornette rushes the ring! The crowd goes wild as Cornette takes a shot at Dangerously and proceeds to chase him out of the ring. Condrey tries to take advantage of the knocked out Lane by pinning him but referee Teddy Long spots the phone. Off the distraction, Lane and Eaton execute the Double Goozle and get the pinfall before it can be broken up by Rose.
Winners: The Midnight Express (Eaton/Double Goozle)

  • After The Bell: All six men brawl and Cornette really takes a beating. Bobby Eaton is finally able to clear the ring out.
  • EA’s Take: Pretty unusual circumstance here with Eaton, Lane & Cornette all playing babyfaces for the first time on PPV. They continue using heel tactics as well, something that’s still rare for a “good guy”. We get our first look at Paul E. Dangerously, the only guy in the world who could make Corny a loudly cheered personality. The Original Midnight Express is in fact the actual original combination. Rose & Condrey are long in the tooth at this point, but the combination that really put the name of the team on the map (Eaton & Condrey) has broken apart when Condrey essentially left JCP like a thief in the night in 1987 with no explanation. Personally, I always found Lane & Eaton to be the most entertaining incarnation of the duo. This is the last we’ll see of these four going at it as Condrey would again up and leave prior to Chi-Town Rumble in February of ’89.

Match #3: The Russian Assassins (#1 & #2) w/Paul Jones vs. Ivan Koloff & Junkyard Dog
JYD and #1 start the action and Dog immediately gets a near fall off of a small package. JYD throws #1 into the ring post and follows with a clothesline. There is an attempted pin but Paul Jones pulls his foot on the ropes. #2 is tagged in he’s immediately sent over the top rope by JYD. Koloff throws the opponent back into the ring for a pinfall but Jones once again pulls the foot to the ropes. Ivan Koloff is tagged in and he has all the offense against #2 which includes a small choke slam. #2 tries to fight back and works Koloff over in the corner. He attempts an Irish whip but Koloff gets his boot up.

Koloff hits a Russian Sickle but Assassin #1 breaks up a pin attempt and is tagged back. Koloff delivers an elbow. He reverses an attempted back body drop with a sunset flip but the referee is distracted. JYD is tagged back in and A1 is hit with an elbow followed by a snap mare take down. JYD is rattled when he misses a headbutt and both men are slow to get up. A1 is able to tag A2 and the two work back and forth for a minute. JYD is victim to an Irish whip with a successful boot by A1. A tag is made to A2 and they attempt their Russian Missile but JYD moves. Dog is looking for a tag and he gets it. Ivan takes on both Assassins and Paul Jones gets knocked off the apron.

The Assassins are whipped together in the center of the ring. After the collision, Ivan is able to land a trademark Sickle. As this is happening, Paul Jones is giving the other assassin a foreign object to put in his mask. Ivan’s pin attempt is broken up by a headbutt using the foreign object. The ref did not see the headbutt and cannot distinguish which Assassin is #1 or #2, thus who is legal, and a pin is made.
Winners: The Russian Assassins (Foreign Object)

  • EA’s Take: Short, slow, plodding and boring. JYD is by far the best part of this match, but his best days are behind him and it’s only because he could still pop the crowd. Ivan’s well past his prime and he’s out the door less than a month later. Then, you’ve got The Russian Assassins that I don’t fully understand. For whatever reason, the Russian gimmick continues to be part of the go-to gimmicks, but The Cold War was nearing an end in the next couple of years. By this time, hatred towards the Russians was waning, as evidenced by face turns from Nikita & Ivan. We’ll get to see one of those Russian Assassins later on without his mask (Jack Victory), but the other (David Sheldon) is probably best known as the original Black Scorpion. So that shows you how well his career went.

Match #4 for the NWA World Television Championship: NWA World Television Champion Mike Rotunda w/Kevin Sullivan vs. Rick Steiner
There is a stipulation that Kevin Sullivan be locked in a cage suspended from the arena, much like Cornette was at a previous PPV. The two start with a shoving match that turns into a brutal punching match until Steiner knocks Rotunda out of the ring. Rotunda is slow back. The two lock up, Steiner reverses a wrist lock and follows it up with a fireman takedown. Another lockup and Steiner has some leverage. He holds Rotunda in a headlock. Try as he may, Rotunda isn’t quick to break it. They run the ropes and Steiner powers him down when they collide. The crowd barks as Rotunda rolls to the floor and tries to call for a timeout.

Sullivan glares on from the cage. Back in the ring, the two men lock up and Rotunda manages a drop toe hold. This doesn’t last long as Steiner offers a reversal back into a hammerlock. Rotunda breaks the hold and both men are back to their feet. Rotunda finally gets something going with a belly to belly suplex but he misses the follow up elbow drop. The two square each other up and Steiner works Rotunda to the corner. Rotunda fights back with a right hand. The two run the ropes and Steiner delivers a cross body. Both men are quickly up to regroup. The crowd is clearly behind Steiner and Rotunda wanders to the floor, bothered.

The two run the ropes and Rotunda sends Steiner through the middle rope to the floor. He follows him and hits a hot shot on the metal gate before pulling him back to the apron. Rotunda dropkicks him back out. As Steiner tries to return to the ring, he receives an elbow to the back of the head. Back in the ring, Rotunda is quick with a back body drop plus a flurry of of rights and kicks. Rotunda holds a relatively helpless Steiner in a headlock and he gets leverage from the ropes when the ref isn’t looking. The crowd reacts every time Teddy Long questions this, but Rotunda plays innocent. Long finally breaks it up.

Rotunda goes back on the attack. Steiner starts matching him, but Rotunda stays on offense with a big elbow. Rotunda only gets a 1 count and he immediately puts Steiner back in a chin lock. Steiner starts fighting back with some elbows but Rotunda stops him in his tracks with a huge clothesline after breaking the hold. Steiner is whipped to the ropes but he reverses Rotunda’s offensive attempts with a sunset flip. He only gets a 2 count. They run again and Rotunda misses a dropkick. The two lock up on their feet and Steiner almost catches him off guard with a small package. Steiner whips Rotunda to the ropes and hits a massive clothesline. The tides have turned and Steiner hits rights followed by a back body drop.

As this is going on, Steve Williams is in street clothes wandering slowly to the ring. Steiner hits a power slam and Rotunda barely kicks out at 2. Steiner hits a patented belly to belly suplex and the bell rings immediately. Steiner celebrates, but Teddy Long is saying no. Tommy Young is down to the ring to confer with Teddy Long. In the meantime, Sullivan is now out of the cage and down to the ring. Tommy Young says they need to continue the match. Rotunda makes the first move, but Steiner is able to whip him into Sullivan who is now standing on the apron. Steiner covers him with a lateral press for a 3 count. The crowd ERUPTS!
Winner and NEW NWA World Television Champion: Rick Steiner (Outside Interference)

  • EA’s Take: The former partners do battle here in what I’d call another solid match as Steiner gets the big win. Strange finish too where the bell seemed to ring unprompted since they didn’t ever show ‘Dr. Death’ as the man ringing it. If you go to a movie and the ending sucks, it doesn’t matter what else happened because that’s the lasting impression you’re left with..even if the crowd exploded for the pinfall. This finish wasn’t quite to that level, but it hurts it in my book. Rick is set for a big push and the people are loving him since he broke away from The Varsity Club. It won’t last long on his own however, as Scott is coming in the beginning of 1989 to form without question one of the best tag teams of all-time. For Rotunda and The Varsity Club, their road will continue on after adding Dan Spivey, as well as the previously seen ‘Dr. Death’ to the group not long before this match.

In The Arena: Tony Schiavone & Magnum TA again go through the action of the previous match

Match #5 for the NWA United States Championship: NWA United States Champion Barry Windham w/James J. Dillon vs. Bam Bam Bigelow w/Oliver Humperdink
The two lock up twice and break up with hostility. On the third lock up, Bam throws Windham across the ring. They lock up again and Windham uses his leverage to get BBB to the corner. He delivers some rights, but upon a whip to the corner, Bigelow catches him over his shoulder and delivers a crazy gut buster over his shoulders. After a consultation with Dillon, Windham is back in the ring and squares up Bigelow. They reach for a test of strength but instead, Windham goes on the attack with some rights and kicks.

Windham delivers a side suplex but Bigelow is back to his feet immediately. He scares Windham back to the floor and the crowd is loving it. JJ Dillon looks flustered. Windham is very slowly back to the ring. They lock up, run the ropes and BBB hits a shoulder tackle as Windham begs for mercy. Upon next lockup, Windham rakes the face and delivers some rights that only appears to make Bigelow angry. BBB delivers a military press to the delight of the crowd. They lock up, and Bigelow goes for big rights at the turnbuckle and Windham falls on his face as the crowd cheers. Bigelow delivers a dropkick and Windham tumbles over the top rope.

Dillon wants a DQ but the refs having none of it. Back in the ring, Bigelow lands some more kicks to the midsection and follows it with an impressive vertical suplex. Lateral press for a 2 count. Bigelow applies a reverse chin lock and Windham struggles. Windham slowly fights back and throws Bigelow out to the floor and he lands on his knee. The commentators acknowledge problems Bigelow has had with his knee. Windham is on the floor with some rights and the two make their way back to the ring. From the apron, Bigelow is able to take Windham down and he leaps over for a splash but he only gets a two count.

Bigelow lifts Windham for another military press and he heads for the top rope. BBB attempts an atomic splash but misses. Windham pulls Bigelow to his feet and delivers some chops and rights. Windham then delivers a brutal lariat and taunts the crowd. Windham delivers a side suplex and goes up for some punches at the turnbuckle. He whips Bigelow to the ropes and lands and dropkick that knocks Bigelow to the floor. Bigelow is run into the ring post and rolled back in the ring. Windham applies his patented claw and he taunts the crowd. Bigelow fights his way back to his feet but to no avail. The Claw is broken by the ropes.

Windham picks up Bigelow for a body slam and he goes for an elbow drop but misses! Bigelow is back to his feet delivering rights! They run the ropes and both end up over the top rope and down to the floor. Bigelow delivers an atomic drop, but is then ran into the post. Windham rolls back into the ring. Despite Bigelow rolling right back into the ring, and no clear audio of the referee’s counting, apparently Bigelow was counted out.
Winner and STILL NWA United States Champion: Barry Windham (Count-Out)

  • EA’s Take: I sound like a parrot with this one, but again, just solid and another confusing finish. I will say this though; it’s certainly true that time can help give someone perspective. Bam Bam Bigelow was such an underrated talent to the business. I allways liked the guy in real time, but never thought of him as the special talent he really was. Hardcore wrestling fans always acknowledge him for his agility given his size, but let’s parlay that onto the time when he broke in. Wrestling was starting to get slightly more creative during this time, but there weren’t many big men participating in the creativity. Therefore, The Beast From The East was special.

Backstage: Magnum TA is in the locker room with new NWA World Television Champion Rick Steiner, Rick saying that Mike Rotunda is a tough wrestler, but every dog has his day and today was his. He speaks about getting sick of being called stupid by Kevin Sullivan and dealing with his tricks.

Match #6 for the NWA World Tag Team Championships: NWA World Tag Team Champions The Road Warriors (Animal & Hawk) w/Paul Ellering vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes
Upon the RW’s entrance to the ring, the four immediately start brawling. Rhodes and Sting clear the ring and the crowd loves it. The ring announcer gets to do his job and they finally settle down and start. It’s Animal and Sting. After a tie up, they run the ropes until Sting drop kicks Animal out of the ring. Back in, Sting holds a strong wrist lock and he tags in Rhodes. The Dream beats Animal down and to the outside of the ring once again. Slowly back to the ring, Animal tags Hawk. Rhodes and Hawk exchange blows. Dream tags Sting back in who holds Hawk in a wrist lock. Hawk battles out, and delivers a flurry of rights and kicks.

The two exchange more rights until the Stinger takes the upper hand. Sting whips him for a power slam and follows it up with an elbow drop. Once on their feet, he can’t prevent the tag made to Animal. Animal, immediately delivers a military press followed by a hot shot on the ropes. This doesn’t phase Sting as he comes back with some clotheslines and knocks Animal out to the floor. Sting climbs the ropes and takes a dive on Animal from that height. Back in the ring, a tag is made to Rhodes who immediately goes to work on Animal’s leg using the ring post as a weapon. Animal retreats to the ring and is able to make the tag to Hawk. All 4 men brawl in the ring once again. Hawk and Rhodes tumble out of the ring.

Hawk stomps on Rhodes until he finally stumbles back in. Now Animal is the legal man with Rhodes and he is right on him. Multiple rights, but it seems to be pumping Rhodes up and the Dream lands a dropkick. This kick knocks Hawk back into a tag with Animal who is starts working on Dusty. Animal holds him in a sleeper but Dusty does not give. Hawk comes back in with multiple chops. After a whip to the ropes, Dusty is caught in another sleeper but he’s able to break it with a chin breaker.

Hawk makes it to Animal but the hot tag is also made to Sting. He lands a Bulldog on Animal and follows it with a Stinger Splash in the corner. Sting is set up for the Scorpian Deathlock but Hawk breaks it up and throws Sting over the top rope. Rhodes is at the mercy of the RW double team but Sting is back up to the top rope. He lands a cross body from the top rope. Paul Ellering pulls the ref away from making the count and the bell rings.
Winners: Sting & Dusty Rhodes (Disqualification)

  • EA’s Take: Boy, a lot has changed in the tag team division since the last Starrcade. The Midnight Express are babyfaces and The Road Warriors are heels, which we saw at Great American Bash. Their turn came at the hands of Dusty, violently jamming one of the spikes from their shoulder pads into his eye. This would also lead to Dusty’s firing with Turner execs being less than pleased that he booked the bloody spot. This is probably why Sting carried the action for his side. The match was different because the people didn’t fully want to boo The Road Warriors and Dusty even got some boos from the LOD fans. This match also left me wondering why Sting didn’t continue going after the World Title following his Clash of the Champions match with Flair. I know they went with the Luger turning on The Horsemen angle, but we’ll see why I think that was the wrong call next.

Match #7 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Lex Luger vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair w/James J. Dillon
Flair wastes no time to strut and mock Luger. The two lock up, but Flair holds onto the ropes. The two lock up again and move to the corner. Luger retaliates on Flair’s chops, but the next time Flair holds the ropes he is clotheslined over the top rope. Flair paces the floor. They lock up again and Luger reverses Flair’s hammerlock submission. Luger immediately takes Flair from a side headlock to a shoulder tackle. Flair teases a test of strength and instead takes some cheap shots. They run the ropes and Luger lands a power slam. This is followed up with a gorilla press. Flair retreats to the ropes.

Luger executes an armbar submission as Flair yelps. After a whip to the turn buckle, Flair tries a chop but Luger is fired up. Referee Tommy Young redirects Luger to the ring and Flair lures him into a kick to the midsection. The Package doesn’t take kindly to this and he whips Flair to the turnbuckle and then catches him in a hammerlock. Luger hits several shoulder tackles and a hip toss. Flair reverses the momentum by raking Luger’s eye. Flair attempts to take some offense with chops but Luger is fired up and he chases Flair outside of the ring. Tommy Young is on the floor convincing Luger to take Flair back to the ring.

Lex takes some shots on the ring post and then rolls him back into the ring. Luger holds an armbar submission on Flair as he tries to fight out of it. After running the ropes, the two exchange shoulder tackles, but Luger can only get a two count. From the apron, Luger executes a vertical suplex back into the ring. Flair kicks out at two. Luger attempts an elbow drop but Flair moves. Back to their feet and Flair is taking some offense. He throws Luger through the middle rope and follows him down. Flair bashes Luger on the guard rail and JR reminds the crowd that a DQ could cost Flair a championship.

Back in the ring, Tommy Young gets physical while lecturing Flair. Luger is back in the ring, but Flair hits a snapmare takedown and follows it with a knee to the head. Flair with double feet to Luger’s midsection. The Nature Boy hits several chops, but those chops seem to be waking Luger up. The Package fights back and he catches Naitch in a sleeper hold. Finally, Flair is able to reverse the hold with a side suplex. Flair starts the offense with a quick kick, a snapmare and an attempted figure four, but Luger immediately reverses it into a small package. The pin is unsuccessful, and Flair jumps back on the offense.

He lands another snapmare and heads for the top rope. Luger catches him before he can do anything and superplexes him from the top rope. Luger gives Flair a taste of his own medicine and holds him in the Figure Four leg lock. Tommy Young is forced to break the hold as Flair is on the ropes. Luger nails some rights but Tommy Young is inadvertently hit. Luger flies with a cross body from the top rope, but the count is slow due to the position of the struck ref. Flair hits a shot to the midsection, but after a run to the ropes, Luger gets Flair over for a 2 count on a backslide. Luger is up on the 2nd turnbuckle for the punches as the crowd counts to 10. Luger sends him to the other turnbuckle and Flair only partially flips on it.

The Total Package brings him back to the ring with a vertical suplex but Flair kicks out at 2. Back to his feet, Flair delivers some ineffective chops before getting caught in a gorilla press slam. This is followed with a power slam, and then Luger is distracted with JJ Dillon as Flair rolls out of the ring. Flair trips Luger onto his back and uses a chair on Luger’s knee. Flair comes back to the ring and goes to work on that knee. Flair mocks the referee as he delivers more shots to Luger’s leg. Finally, Flair goes for the Figure Four leg lock.

The crowd is behind Luger as he screams out. Luger flexes in position and tries to turn the maneuver on him. He breaks the hold and both men are slow to get up. Flair takes him over once again with a snapmare and gets Luger’s leg once again. Flair goes to the top rope, but Luger catches him with a gorilla press. Back to their feet, Flair throws Luger to the apron, but Lex is pursuing Flair on pure adrenaline. He whips Flair for another military press slam. Once up, Flair is able to throw Lex out temporarily. Returning to the apron, Luger hits his shoulder to the midsection and comes back in with a sunset flip for a 2 count.

Luger intimidates Flair and backs him into the corner. He punches Flair for a count of 10, delivers an Irish whip and a clothesline for another 2 count. Luger follows it up with a power slam and puts Flair up into the torture rack. As the hold is on, Luger’s leg buckles from under him and Flair falls on top of him. Flair uses the rope for extra leverage and scores the pinfall.
Winner and STILL NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair (Torture Rack Counter)

  • EA’s Take: PWI’s Feud Of The Year for 1988 is the main event of the NWA’s premier event and while I think Luger held his own again, just another decent match on this card. I must say, I was satisfied with Lex’s performances in the last two NWA main events, but of course some of that falls on Flair. I know the “Dirtiest Player in the Game” often had some trick up his sleeve, but the finish was odd on a night where there was just too much of that. There was no real explanation on how Luger’s knee randomly buckled and they could have told a better story/spent more time with Flair really working it over more than usual. This leads to Luger favoring it while using the Torture Rack and a better way to get into the counter that put it away. Lastly, why exactly does Luger NOT go over here? Is that not the point of the story, for the “good guy” to prevail on the biggest stage?

EA’s Finisher: While this show was certainly not bad by any means, it was just vanilla. I like vanilla, but not when it comes to my pro wrestling. It didn’t have any ridiculous gimmick matches and the talent on the card was pretty solid, but there’s that word again…just solid. Nothing standout whatsoever. The company seems to be coming apart already, The Horsemen are no more and they were really the backbone of JCP the past couple of years. Dusty’s on his way out and he was the heart of the company, plus all the other departures. WCW will be able to find new talent, but this is around the time they’d seemingly stop knowing how to build them or package them correctly. The WWF’s stranglehold on the business is in full effect now.

Top Three To Watch
1 – Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Barry Windham
2 – Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair
3 – Mike Rotunda vs. Rick Steiner

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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: NXT TakeOver Toronto (2016)

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NXT TakeOver Toronto
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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 TakeI 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 TakeI 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 TakeIs 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”.
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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WCW Starrcade ’93 – It’s All On The Line!

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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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