July 21, 2009
Alexander Settee

Starrcade 1983, November 24, 1983, Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
Announcers: Gordon Solie & Bob Caudle

In honour of the opening of the new JCP section of the website, here’s a look back at the first Grand Daddy of Them All, Starrcade 83. This supercard was built around the story of Ric Flair coming back from a neck injury that nearly forced his retirement to attempt to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Harley Race. By the way, this review is based on the WWE 24/7 version of the show, so if anything important is missing, blame them. Recycled Content Alert: I covered the main event when I reviewed the Ultimate Ric Flair Collection, so that match is cut and pasted from there.

Opening Match, The Assassins (w/Paul Jones) vs. Bugsy McGraw & Rufus R. Jones
Bugsy and #1 start out with #1 getting a shoulderblock, but then running into a hiptoss. Both guys miss elbows, but then Bugsy gets a slam and goes for the mask, but #1 escapes to the floor. Back in, #1 knees him and then sends him off the ropes, but Bugsy ducks and comes back with an elbow. It breaks down into a slugfest which sees #1 knocked back to his corner, but he makes the tag to #2. #2 has just as much success as hit partner, running into a slam and getting hiptossed. Tag to Rufus, who is the reigning Mid Atlantic Champion coming in here, and he immediately takes over, knocking #2 down and covering for 2. He goes to work on the arm for a bit. #2 tries to fire back, but makes the mistake of aiming for the head, and since Rufus is black, you know how well that goes. Rufus connects with some headbutts and tags Bugsy. #2 backs him to his own corner and tags #1, but Bugsy is able to escape the double team. #1 tags back out, so #2 goes to a wristlock, but Bugsy fires out of it and tags Rufus, who hooks his own wristlock. #2 nails him in the head again, showing that he’s not a quick learner. They trade shots, which ends badly for #2, and then he gets sent to the corner and goes down. While there, he may or may not have found a foreign object, but in any case he rakes the eyes to take over. Tag to #1, who pounds away, but Rufus fires himself up and makes the tag while #1 also tags. But hold on, because #1 comes right back in with no tag. Bugsy beats on #1 with an atomic drop and backdrop, but suddenly here comes #2 (the legal man) and he rolls up Bugsy for the 3 count at 8:12. My personal belief is that the best way to start off a supercard is to put a babyface team over in a hot tag match, so as far as I’m concerned the wrong team won. The crowd was into it before the finish though, so it wasn’t a total loss. *1/2, which is * for the match, and ½* just for Tommy Young successfully keeping track of which Assassin was legal in the end.

Johnny Weaver & Scott McGhee vs. Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin (w/Gary Hart)
Our next tag match sees McGee and Sullivan kick things off with McGee getting a couple of dropkicks. Sullivan tags out to Lewin, who grabs a side headlock and tags again. They lockup with McGee getting a blind tag to Weaver who comes in and gets a side headlock on Sullivan. They criss cross, but Sullivan holds on and tags Lewin. Weaver hits some elbows and tags out. Sullivan gets the tag as well and he goes to work on the arm. McGee gets a false tag after not being controlled that long, but the ref was with Lewin. He puts Weaver back out which allows a switch by the heels. The Lewin and Sullivan team then tags in rapid fire fashion, barely staying in long enough to do much of anything. McGee finally makes a comeback and tags Weaver, who takes on both guys. He hits a bulldog on Sullivan for 2, but a second try is countered by sending him to the corner. Now Weaver is caught on the heel side of the ring as they work over his arm. McGee tries to come in and help, but the ref puts him out and that allows Lewin to come in off the top and drop a knee on Weaver illegally. He then takes over without a tag and covers for the 3 count at 6:42. Post match sees McGee try to attack Lewin and Sullivan. He dropkicks Gary Hart, who then passes Lewin a spike of some sort and they stab McGee in the face with it. He’s bleeding like nuts from that. Angelo Mosca tries to make the save, but he takes the spike in the arm for his troubles. This was alright, action-wise, but that finish felt like it came out of nowhere. *

Tony Schiavone interviews Harley Race in the locker room. He has his friends in the territory who have told him all about Flair’s weaknesses and he’s going to be sure to exploit them later on.

Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher
Supposedly this match was banned from taking place in Puerto Rico, so Colon had to come here tonight to get his hands on Abdullah. The announcers mention that this show is being seen in Puerto Rico, which I guess must be true because otherwise what would be the point of bringing this feud in? Abdullah, of course, has his foreign object, which he uses on Colon immediately. He then gets a whip and a clothesline, followed by an elbow for 2. Colon fires back and then pulls out Abby’s object and uses it against him repeatedly. Abdullah is bleeding already. Colon hits a kneelift, and then drops a leg and an elbow for 2. Abdullah throws Colon on top of the ref in the process of kicking out and then goes for an elbow, but Colon moves and the ref gets hit. Colon fires back and hooks a figure four, but in comes Hugo Savinovich (yes, the WWE’s Spanish announcer, who was managing Abdullah in Puerto Rico at this point) and he nails Colon to break it. Abdullah covers and gets the 3 count from the now recovered referee at 4:28. DUD

Tony is now with Angelo Mosca who swears revenge against Sullivan and Lewin for what happened earlier and lets us know that he will definitely be out there to referee the Tag Team Championship match later on tonight. Scott McGee is there as well, continuing to bleed for the earlier attack. He might want to have that taken care of pretty soon.

Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood vs. Dick Slater & Bob Orton
A few months back, Slater and Orton answered the call from Harley Race to put Ric Flair out of wrestling. They injured Flair’s neck during a TV match, and collected the bounty. Of course Flair is now back, but that doesn’t mean all is forgiven, so Slater and Orton now have to face a couple of Flair’s friends who are out for revenge. Dusty Rhodes is also introduced to the crowd at this point, as he is apparently here to challenge the winner of the main event. Slater and Wahoo are in first. Wahoo whips him to the corner and he goes over to the apron. Back in, Wahoo take shim down and tags Youngblood who grabs an armbar. He’s sent off the ropes, but still gets a slam. Slater cradles him for 2 and then they trade holds. Slater counters a hammerlock with a legsweep, but gets kicked off to the apron. Back in, Slater gets a side Russian legsweep for 2 and tags Orton. Orton hits a knee to the back and a backbreaker, and then takes him back down with a snapmare. Elbow misses, so Orton bails, but Youngblood chases him around. Orton successfully makes it back to the corner and tags Slater, but then ends up staying in for some reason. Orton gets sent off, and now he tags. He then gets a backbreaker and Slater drops an elbow. Gutwrench suplex gets 2, and then Slater tosses Youngblood. Orton stomps him on the floor and drops him on the barrier. Wahoo comes over and helps his partner back in, but still on the wrong side of the ring. Back in with Orton, Youngblood starts a comeback with a shoulderblock, but runs into a big boot. Orton drops a knee and then tags out. Suplex gets 2 for Slater and then he sets up a piledriver, but Youngblood backdrops out. He then comes off the ropes and they collide. Tag to Orton, and then Youngblood makes the hot tag to Wahoo and he beats on both guys with little difficulty. Atomic drop for Orton, followed by a tomahawk chop. After a slam, he drops an elbow and gets 2. Orton makes the tag, and now Slater is able to regain control. He stomps Wahoo down and covers for 2. Tag to Orton and they hit a double elbow. Kneedrop gets a 2 count and Orton tags again. He holds Wahoo so Slater can take a shot from the top, but Wahoo turns him and Orton gets hit instead in almost a mirror image of the finishing spot of the Wrestlemania main event that Orton would also be involved in. Wahoo then takes out Slater with an atomic drop and tags Youngblood. They hit a double elbow, but Orton comes back to dispose of Wahoo. Youngblood dropkicks both guys leading to Slater and Wahoo brawling on the floor. Youngblood then misses a dropkick on Orton and gets choked. Slater returns and they set Youngblood up for an Orton superplex, which he hits, and that gets the 3 count at 13:08. Then, just because they have to be total dicks, Slater and Orton try to break Wahoo’s arm by jumping on it while it’s draped on the apron. Good stuff here, although I find it kind of strange that the heels have won every match so far. **1/2

Now Tony is with Ric Flair in the locker room for a rebuttal to Race’s promo earlier on. Basically he says that he’s ready, and then wishes Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood good luck in their match later on. Steamboat and Youngblood then offer their thoughts.

And then out to the arena where Barbara Clarey is with Dusty Rhodes. The interview is marred by audio problems, but the jist of it is that he wants a piece of whoever comes out of tonight as the World Champion.

NWA Television Championship vs. Mask Match: The Great Kabuki (w/Gary Hart) vs. Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown is actually Jimmy Valiant, doing the “Babyface loses a Loser Leaves Town Match, and then comes back under a mask” gimmick, so Kabuki and Gary Hart need to get the mask off and prove who it actually is. Brown knocks Kabuki right out of the ring and then chases him. He sends Kabuki to the post a couple of times and then even rams him with a chair. Back in the ring, Brown drags Kabuki to the corner and posts him to the groin. After some choking he hooks a sleeper, but Hart puts Kabuki’s foot on the ropes to get the break. Kabuki gets some chops and kicks and then hooks a claw, but Brown escapes. Brown hits a couple of backdrops, but then gets nailed. Kabuki takes a shot from the top and goes to the claw again. This lasts awhile before Brown eventually gets out, but just as quickly he gets put right back in the hold. The arm drops twice and then the 24/7 folks fast forward us in the only noticeable in match clip of the show. Kabuki goes up and drops an elbow for 2. He goes for the mask, but can’t get it so he gives up and hits a spin kick. Brown Boogie Woogies Up and fires away. His corner whip is reversed, but Kabuki misses a charge and Brown drops an elbow for 3 to win the TV Title at 10:35 (shown). Started out alright, but once Kabuki took over it ground to a halt as seemingly all he wanted to do was sit there in that claw. ½*

Back to Tony as he’s now with Race, Orton, and Slater. Orton and Slater brag about what they just did to Wahoo and confidently state that Race will walk out with the gold.

They then redo the Dusty Rhodes interview without the audio problems this time. He predicts that Race will win tonight, which would not be a popular opinion among the crowd.

Dog Collar Match: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine
This is the final blowoff of the long feud between the two of them, and although Valentine is the US Champion, that title is not on the line here as this is strictly a grudge match between two guys who want to kill each other. They do kind of a tug of war with the chain and then when they get close, Piper whips Valentine with it and Valentine backs off. Valentine then misses a shot with the chain and they trade blows before backing off again. Piper attacks, but Valentine fires back and wraps the chain around his face. Piper comes back with a kneelift and the wraps it around Valentine’s face. He then puts the chain around the post and holds Valentine in the corner with it. They go to the floor and brawl out there for a bit. Piper drags him to the apron where the ref gets in between, so Valentine tales advantage and gets a shot in. Back to the floor where Piper gets sent to the post and thrown onto some chairs. Valentine then stomps him from the apron as the commentators play up the ear injury that Piper had coming in here. Back in, Valentine beats him with the chain as we now see that Piper is bleeding from the ear. Valentine can’t get a suplex, but keeps on him and drops an elbow for 2. Another elbow then gets another 2 count. Piper jerks him down by the chain, and then starts going nuts, whipping him with the chain. They trade shots now, which ends badly for Valentine, but he does come back with a clothesline. Kneedrop gets 2 as does a shot with the chain. He tries a suplex, but it’s blocked and Piper hits one of his own. Both guys are down and when they recover, Valentine gets a sleeper. The arm drops twice, but Piper is still in it and he nails Valentine with the chain to escape. Valentine drops a forearm from the 2nd rope, but a second try misses. Piper hammers him, then covers and gets the 3 count at 16:08. This was a great violent brawl, which was exactly what it needed to be. ***1/2

Once again we go back to Tony, this time with Flair and Wahoo McDaniel. Flair says that Orton and Slater will pay for their actions, and that he’s still ready for Harley Race.

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match: Jack & Jerry Brisco vs. Jay Youngblood & Ricky Steamboat
As mentioned earlier, Angelo Mosca is the guest referee for this match. Jack and Steamboat start out with a lockup and clean break. Jack gets sent off, but holds on to avoid the chop. Jack goes to a wristlock and tags Jerry, but Steamboat takes him down with a drop toehold and he tags right back out. Jack gets a hammerlock, but Steamboat flips out and hits one of his patented armdrags. Tag to Jerry, who won’t give a clean break on a lockup and takes some shots at Steamboat. Steamboat then blocks a corner whip and rams Jerry to the buckle. Tag to Youngblood who takes Jerry down with a side headlock. Jerry gets to the corner for the break so Youngblood hooks an armbar. Jerry tries to slam out, but Youngblood holds on and rolls him over for a couple of 2 counts. Tag to Steamboat who comes in with a top rope chop. Tag back to Youngblood who hits a double ax off the ropes on the way in and gets 2 from it. Tag to Steamboat again, but Jerry boots him and makes his own tag. Jack drops Steamboat on the ropes and goes to a side headlock. Steamboat is out and comes off the ropes, but gets backdropped. Jerry gets a double underhook suplex for a few 2 counts, followed by a hiptoss. He hooks a keylock, but Steamboat rolls over, pick him up and drops him on the mat. Both guys tag with Youngblood controlling, but when he tries a suplex, Jack reverses it. Tag to Jerry and they hit a double shoulderblock. Jerry jumps on him and gets 2 as Youngblood makes the ropes. Suplex gets another 2. He then gets the Oklahoma Roll, but that only gets 2. Jerry argues the count with Mosca and ends up shoving him, so Mosca shoves him right back. This lets Youngblood tag Steamboat who hits a chop. Mosca then stops Jack from getting involved. Tag to Youngblood and they hit a double chop. Tag back to Steamboat who lifts Youngblood up for a dropkick. Another tag to Youngblood. Steamboat hits a slam on Jerry and then presses Youngblood on to him. He covers and gets the 3 count to win the NWA Tag Team Titles at 13:00. Post match sees the Briscos attack, with Jack hooking the figure four, but Mosca prevents Jerry from making the bonecrusher leap from the top and they subsequently clear the ring. Great little tag match with a good quick pace. Now they’ve gotten in the groove with some babyfaces winning, so the fans are really into it too. ***1/2

Tony is still in the babyface locker room where he gets reaction from new TV Champion Charlie Brown, who’s really excited about his victory. Roddy Piper then promises that he’ll now be coming for Greg Valentine’s US Title. Finally, new Tag Team Champions Youngblood and Steamboat promise to take on all comers.

Main Event, NWA World Heavyweight Championship Cage Match: Harley Race vs. Ric Flair
Gene Kiniski is the special referee for this match. They stare each other down prior to the bell, which finally rings, and we’re underway. Clean break off a lockup. Flair gets a side headlock, but Race escapes. Another lockup sees Race get a cheapshot on the break, but Flair fires back and grabs a side headlock. To the ropes again and Race catches him with a knee. Lockup again, and this time Flair gets the cheapshot and snapmares Race over into a rear chinlock. Race gets to his feet and sends Flair off the ropes. High knee hits, but he misses dropping the headbutt. Flair chops and gets a side headlock takedown, pinning him for 1 in the process. Race, in turn, rolls Flair over for 1 and Flair switches to a front facelock. He rolls back on top for 2, but Race escapes and nails a suplex. Incidentally, if anyone has ever wondered why Gordon Solie pronounces it “soo-play”, it’s because the word has French origins, and in French, “plex” makes the sound “play”, so Solie, and the few others who pronounce it that way are correct, while everyone else is wrong. “Soo-plex” is the anglicized version of the word. That suplex gets 1 for Race. He misses an elbow and Flair tries a bodyslam, but can’t get it with Race falling on top for 2. He drops a knee and holds it on the throat, but Kiniski pulls him off. The head is rammed to the buckle as Race is working over the previously injured neck of Flair. He drops a knee again, and then hits a piledriver. No cover yet, as he drops an elbow first and then only gets 2. Swinging neckbreaker gets 2, and he follows that up with more knees to the neck. He rams Flair to the cage and nails a powerslam for 2. Flair tries to fire back but Race stops him with a headbutt, then drops another while Flair is down. Flair is sent to the cage a couple more times and is now busted open. Race works him over in the corner, but Kiniski is pulling him off again. This gives Flair the chance to come back with some chops and elbows, but Race stops him again with the headbutt. Corner whip is reversed and Race hits the buckle. Flair rams him to the cage then gets a snapmare and drops a knee. Race has been busted open as well. Flair puts the boots to him and gets a piledriver for 2. He wrenches the neck and follows up with a double underhook suplex for 2. Chop leads to Race being sent to the cage twice, and now Kiniski is getting in Flair’s face. Back off already Gene, it’s a freakin’ cage match. Race comes back with a headbutt and grates Flair on the fence. Flair is thrown to the cage again, but comes back with some kicks and knocks Race down for 2. Back suplex sets up the figure four, and he hooks it. Race fights and is finally able to turn it to where they get tangled in the ropes. Race is up and tries a suplex, but Flair falls on top for 2. Race drops a headbutt and then goes to the 2nd rope and drops another one from there for 2 following a delay in going for the cover. Suplex gets 2, followed by dropping a knee and ramming Flair to the cage again. Kiniski is still getting in the way, and pulls Race right back. Flair blocks a suplex attempt and gets one of his own. He misses an elbow and Race gets up to grab a side headlock. Kiniski gets knocked down in the melee following which Flair fights out, goes up and connects with a flying bodypress for the 3 count at 23:50. The finish looked kinda botched as I think Race was supposed to trip over Kiniski on the bodypress, but Kiniski was out of position. Terrible refereeing job aside, this was a great, violent classic between two guys that you really believe to hate each other. ****1/2

There’s a lot of post match stuff here as well. First, many of the babyfaces storm the ring to celebrate with Flair, who cuts a promo thanking the fans. The celebration continues in the locker room where Dusty Rhodes fulfils his promise of challenging the winner by letting Flair know that he’s next in line. Then in the heel locker room, we get reaction from Harley Race who promises to be back. After some more comments from Flair, Steamboat, and Youngblood, Bob and Gordon wrap things up and we’re out.

The undercard didn’t really provide anything special, and indeed even felt a little depressing with all those heel wins, but that was more than balanced out when we got to the top of the card, especially the big three matches which all delivered big time and saw the babyfaces all reach the tops of their mountains to the delight of the crowd. So it turns out to be a great show and certainly deserves a thumbs up and a high recommendation to see if you haven’t before.

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