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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #13 – WCW Starrcade 1998

Harry decides to take a detour from the Indies and right into the heart of the Attitude Era; but the WCW side. WCW was still going strong, but take a trip down memory lane with Harry in case 1998 isn’t burned into your memory.

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In the last edition of ‘What I Watched’, I made mention of potentially wanting to cover some more mainstream shows with this run of the series (the original run focused mostly on PROGRESS (which I plan to get back to) and Impact Wrestling). This particular show holds a special place to me as back when I was first getting back into wrestling as a seventeen year kid (parents hated it and wouldn’t let me watch), my Uncle Gordon (may he R.I.P.) bought me a pair of VHS tapes at the local flea market (yes, I’m that old). Those VHS tapes were Fall Brawl and World War III 1998. While neither show is particularly good, they build to a time where WCW was not yet complete garbage and to their biggest show of the year; WW3 sets up Kevin Nash as the challenger to Bill Goldberg’s title at this very show.

I’ve now watched all of the Nitro’s and Thunder’s in addition to those PPV’s once again and now I head back to a show I’ve seen several times before but this time with the added perspective of all relevant TV from the time (Saturday Night still exists but is clearly the C show at this point). Join me as we get into the WayBack Machine to go back to the 27th of December in 1998 as ‘What I Watched’ presents WCW Starrcade 1998 from Washington, DC.

 

What I Watched #13

WCW Starrcade 1998

12/27/1998

Washington, DC

Runtime: 2:49:10 (Peacock…the convenience for a wrestling fan to have more or less every PPV available at the click of a button is something that would have blown seventeen year old Harry’s mind)

 

THE RESULTS

  • Match 1: WCW Cruiserweight Title- Billy Kidman © wins 3 way, pinning Juventud Guerrera @ 14:57 in a match that also included Rey Mysterio Jr.
  • Match 2: WCW Cruiserweight Title- Billy Kidman © pins Eddie Guerrero, Shooting Star Press @ 10:49
  • Match 3: Norman Smiley taps Prince Iaukea, Norman Conquest @ 11:32
  • Match 4: Perry Saturn pins Ernest Miller, DVD @ 7:07
  • Match 5: Brian Adams (Crush)/Scott Norton def. Fit Finlay/Jerry Flynn, Norton pins Flynn @ 8:56
  • Match 6: WCW TV Title- Konnan © taps Chris Jericho, Tequila Sunrise @ 7:27
  • Match 7: Eric Bischoff pins Ric Flair, brass knux @ 7:08
  • Match 8: Diamond Dallas Page pins The Giant, Cutter counter out of super chokeslam @ 12:46
  • Match 9: WCW Heavyweight Title- Kevin Nash pins Bill Goldberg ©, Jacknife PB @ 11:20

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Cruiserweight Title Series

*Gonna count this as one overall match description because they tell a story that goes from match 1 over to match 2. Kidman comes off like a superstar between the two matches and it’s understandable why he ended up getting a stronger push going forward. The opening triple threat is the better of the two matches but the finish comes off a little counterproductive as a Rey dropkick is the catalyst for the Kidman sunset flip. Why wouldn’t Rey break up that cover that he caused? (****) As for the singles match with Eddie, it’s a pretty good story of rallying by Kidman from the onslaught by the fresh Guerrero. Unfortunately, we get a ton of involvement from Rey and Juvi at ringside which takes the focus off the two men actually in the contest and thus lowers it slightly compared to the opener even if the ring work is top notch. (***½)

Norman Smiley vs. Prince Iaukea

*Iaukea at the time was a case of too much, too soon. I never really cared for him until he came back as the Artist and was managed by Paisley (the future Queen Sharmell). I like Smiley quite a bit as I found his antics entertaining and I am a fan of the British catch style. That said, whoever made the decision to give them eleven and a half minutes at the biggest show of the show should have been kicked off the booking committee. It’s just way too much filler and stalling on a show that had gotten off to an incredible start. (*)

Ernest Miller vs. Perry Saturn

*WCW Saturn had so much momentum going into this feud. I mentioned Fall Brawl earlier and it is widely agreed that the best match on a bad Fall Brawl show is a “Raven’s Rules” match between Raven and Saturn. The crowd is hot for that whole match, the work is good (a few moments here and there) and the story is excellent.

Why do I mention that? Because this feud with a green as goose poop Miller took all that momentum away. As big of a piece as Miller would become for WCW, he was barely TV worthy at the time and it comes off as a huge step down for Saturn. Saturn gets a W but overall for the scope of his career, this has to be considered a loss in the long run. (*½)

Brian Adams/Scott Norton vs. Fit Finlay/Jerry Flynn

*Biggest show of the year, right? Before you all get your collective panties in a bunch, I know why this match is on the card. Scott Norton was the IWGP (New Japan) Heavyweight champion at the time and I would imagine this match ends up airing on their TV show. That doesn’t make it any more fun to watch in 2022. Fit Finlay would go on to have a banger of a run in the WWE but you would never guess it here. Flynn ends up eating the fall and yet somehow would become a relevant (ish) member of the roster later in 1999 and early into 2000. As for Brian Adams, he would thankfully soon find new life as part of KroniK with Bryan Clarke (the former Wrath/Adam Bomb). (½*)

WCW TV Title- Konnan © vs. Chris Jericho

*Sigh. The politics alone on this match are enough to drive you up a goddamn wall. I’ll let you look into that story on your own. But suffice to say, the better performer is sacrificed here because he refused to kowtow to Bischoff’s demands.

The match itself isn’t bad. I’ve never been a big fan of Konnan (always thought he was more sizzle than steak) but he holds his own here and is (arguably) one of the most over guys in the company at this point. Chris Jericho is my favorite wrestler of all time but he is still pretty hit and miss in the ring at this point as well. The clean tap out by Jericho doesn’t come off as a surprise given the behind the scenes machinations but selfishly, it feels like the wrong decision. To be fair, Konnan would drop the strap the next night on Nitro anyway to Scott Steiner, so I guess I can deal with using it to elevate Steiner when you know Jericho is out come April. (**½)

Eric Bischoff vs. Ric Flair

*Speaking of behind the scenes machinations…honestly, it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been. Bischoff has always taken a competent ass kicking and Flair is in fine form here for his first match in approximately eight months. The finish is going to piss some people off, but I can appreciate the long term storytelling involved with it (Curt Hennig handed Bischoff the knux. The same Hennig who slammed the door on Flair’s head at Fall Brawl ‘97). We get a rematch the following night on Nitro where Flair gets the win back, in the main event, to gain control of the company for ninety days. Why would you do that? Because Nitro would have probably three to four times the audience the PPV would. And to pop a rating, of course. (**½)

The Giant vs. Diamond Dallas Page

*For as much as I disliked Konnan, DDP was the exact opposite to me. Yes, he got to where he was in the company by who he knew (Neighbors with Bischoff, close with Hall and Nash). But  Page busted his ass to improve at his craft to justify the spot he ended up in. Giant was clearly unmotivated in WCW by this point. However, he and DDP have really good chemistry and it shows during the course of this match. Pretty good big man/less big man story here and the finish is one for the highlight reel for WCW in 1998 as Page turns the super chokeslam that Giant had been using into a Diamond Cutter in mid-air for the three count with a huge pop. (***)

WCW Heavyweight Title- Goldberg © vs. Kevin Nash

*So, this is a tale of two stories. The behind the scenes story and the in the ring story. The behind the scenes screwery is the bigger of the two as the man who has the book is the man who ends The Man’s streak. That seems like a horrible idea for morale but what are you going to do? Goldberg’s first loss was promised to Hogan in exchange for Hogan putting Goldberg over for the title at the July show at the Georgia Dome. Hogan ends up taking time off to film Muppets in Space (or “run for president” according to WCW) and Nash ends up getting the W instead. That sets up January 4th and the beginning of the end for the company with Goldberg and Nash are slated to have a rematch that turns into Nash vs. Hogan. That leads to three words that will make most wrestling fans asshole pucker: “fingerpoke of doom”.

As for the match itself, it’s honestly not bad. It’s not good, but Goldberg was never known for having great matches and Nash’s best matches have always been against guys who can play to his strengths (not really Goldberg’s forte). They work a mostly ground game with submissions being exchanged before going to a finish sequence that will get people talking for a number of reasons. First; Disco Inferno interferes… Disco has zero business being anywhere near the main event of Starrcade. Second; Bam Bam Bigelow gets involved. This one I don’t mind as much because they had been building to a Bigelow vs Goldberg match. Bigelow gets dispatched and while the zebra is distracted by Bigelow, Scott Hall tasers Goldberg to lead to the Jackknife. I’m sure most of you have seen the finish before. It looks decent, I think. It protects Goldberg as well as he doesn’t take a clean loss. Unfortunately, it’s all irrelevant with where things go in just eight days. The build to Goldberg’s redemption is sacrificed to feed Hogan’s ego and there isn’t a person alive that can convince me that was a good idea. (**)

 

THE FINAL REACTION

The show starts amazingly. Seven and a half stars in two matches. The cruiserweight division truly carries the undercard in most of these older shows and Kidman proves to be no exception here as he puts in a fantastic performance over the two matches. Then, things go off a cliff. I like Norman Smiley, Perry Saturn and Fit Finlay. But none of those matches were Starrcade worthy. Jericho/Konnan annoys me but that’s a definite personal bias. Your mileage will vary. The Flair/Bischoff match is fine for what it is, DDP/Giant is surprisingly good and the main event mostly delivers on what you’d want from it. As a fan, I feel the good outweighs the bad here, but some of the bad is so bad that it drags down the show overall. Call it a 5.5 and know that if you do watch on Peacock, I’d keep the FFWD button on your remote handy.

Best Match/Moment: Kidman vs Juventud vs. Rey Jr. Don’t expect much in the way of selling here but the moves come a mile a minute and everything is crisp in its execution.

Worst Match/Moment: Norman Smiley vs. Prince Iaukea (yes, the tag match got a lower score but I get why WCW did what they did for that with the NJPW partnership)

Overall Show Score: 5.5/10

MVP: Billy Kidman kills it for the first forty or so minutes of this PPV. He has to get the honors here.

 

THE SIGNOFF

And thus wraps up Starrcade 1998 and my first venture into one of the “Big Three” for a ‘What I Watched’. The peaks are pretty high (the opening triple threat ties the ACW four way for best match of the return) but those lows…oof. So, where do we go from here? Well, since I covered WCW…I feel equality is required. I won’t go back to Rock Bottom (for now at least) as that show is pretty brutal top to bottom. So for the WWF, we will look ahead to the new year and our eventual first WWF show will be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. As for ECW, most likely it’ll be Guilty as Charged 1999 which takes place just 14 days after Starrcade.

But what about the Indies, you ask? Well, I head back to 2018 for the next planned show(s). All American Wrestling based out of Chicagoland is on the docket and a double shot weekend will lead to a pair of reviews back to back from the same promotion. It’s “Destination Chicago” for a “Defining Moment” up next here on ‘What I Watched’. Hope to see you there. Thanks for reading, everyone.


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Attitude Of Aggression #285- The Big Four Project Chapter 10: Summer Slam ’91 & Survivor Series ’91

The guys discuss the most “feel good” Summer Slam ever, The Undertaker burying Hulkamania, Ric Flair’s arrival in WWE, plus much more!

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Attitude of Aggression

The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 10 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. In this chapter, the three amigos, Dave, PC Tunney, and DJ, reconvene to discuss two more huge events in pro wrestling history: Summer Slam ’91 and Survivor Series ’91. Summer Slam ’91 is generally regarded as one of the better Summer Slams in history, and one of the most face friendly PPVs ever. With three title changes, The Mountie going to an NYC jail for the night, and the marriage of Macho Man and Elizabeth, it is easy to see why it is such a beloved event in WWE history. But dark clouds were rapidly approaching. Here in Chapter 10, the guys delve very deeply, indeed, to look at all this and much more including the emergence of Bret “Hitman” Hart as a true force on the singles scene, the Legion of Doom making history, the backstage drama that led to the exit of The Ultimate Warrior from WWE (the first time), the steroid scandal that caused many to sour on Hulkamania, the reluctant reinstatement of the Macho Man to the active roster, the arrival of Ric Flair in the WWE, the Undertaker winning his first WWE Championship, and so much more. Join us here for another epic installment of The Big Four Project!

**NOTE: This Episode was recorded prior to the events of the WrestleMania XL Kickoff**

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio daily editions, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.

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Classic Royal Rumble

Attitude Of Aggression #282- The Big Four Project Chapter 9: Royal Rumble ’91 & WrestleMania VII

The guys discuss a massive upset at Royal Rumble ’91, an epic match and unforgettable moment at WrestleMania VII, plus much more!

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Attitude of Aggression

The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 9 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. In this chapter, Dave is again joined by the one and only PC Tunney, along with the returning DJ of the Mindless Wrestling Podcast, to discuss two more huge events in pro wrestling history: Royal Rumble ’91 and WrestleMania VII. Royal Rumble ’91 featured one of the biggest upsets in WWE history as Sgt. Slaughter dethroned The Ultimate Warrior for the WWE Championship. The events leading up to that match, and afterwards, superimposed on real world events taking place at the time, created some unforgettable moments, matches, and history. Here in Chapter 9, the guys delve very deeply, indeed, to look at all this and much more including Hulk Hogan winning back-to-back Rumbles, Virgil breaking free of Ted DiBiase, the blindfold match at WrestleMania VII between Jake “The Snake” Roberts & Rick Martell, the epic retirement match between Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior, one of the greatest moments in WrestleMania history, Hulk Hogan becoming a 3x WWE Champion, and so much more. Join us here for another epic installment of The Big Four Project!

About the Chairshot Radio Network

Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio daily editions, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.

The Chairshot Radio Network
Your home for the hardest hitting podcasts and radio shows!

All Shows On Demand

Listen on your favorite platform!

iTunes  |  iHeart Radio  |  Google Play  |  Spotify
Listen, like, subscribe, and share!


Chairshot Radio Graphic


Powered by RedCircle


Let us know what you think on social media @ChairshotMedia and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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