November 26, 2011
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
November 26, 1987
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross
Fun Fact: This is the first NWA PPV event put on by Jim Crockett. Unfortunately for him, it also ran head to head with the WWFís first annual Survivor Series. The WWF gave most cable companies an ultimatum and told them that if they aired Starrcade over Survivor Series, then they wouldnít be allowed to air Wrestlemania that following match. As a result, Starrcade drew only half the buy rate of Survivor Series.
Fun Fact II: In 1986, Bill Watts decided to rebrand Mid-South Wrestling into the Universal Wrestling Federation. Despite utilizing talent from other territories to keep his promotion fresh, Watts couldnít compete with WWF and JCP. Watts also took a hit from the collapsing Oklahoma oil industry and could no longer afford to run UWF. On April 9, 1987 Watts sold UWF to Jim Crockett. Even though many of the top stars fled to WWF, JCP or WCCW, UWF remained in business through the end of 1987. Despite Crockettís promises to Watts, he would use very few of Wattsí stars and also let the titles eventually fade into oblivion instead of utilizing them in his storylines. And just like that, one of the most storied and well-loved territories officially died a sad death. The following major UWF stars would migrate to WWF after the sale: Ted DiBiase, Big Bubba Rogers, One Man Gang and Sam Houston. And these stars stayed with the promotion, eventually being absorbed into JCP: Sting, Rick Steiner, Eddie Gilbert, Shane Douglas, Terry Taylor, Brad Armstrong, Missy Hyatt and announcer Jim Ross.
1) Sting (Steve Borden), Michael Hayes (Michael Seitz) & Jimmy Garvin (James Williams) vs. Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner (Richard Rechsteiner) & Larry Zbyszko (Larry Whistler)
Fun Fact: Thanks to the UWF buyout and ever-changing territorial scene, we have quite a few new faces on this show. The first is the man called Sting, who was portrayed by Steve Borden. In 1985, Borden began his career as Flash in CWA, teaming with Jim ďJusticeĒ Hellwig. After apathetic fan reaction, the team turned heel and were rechristened as the Blade Runners. Borden changed his name to Sting and Hellwig took on the moniker of Rock. In 1986, the Blade Runners jumped to the UWF but their run as a team would be short lived, as Hellwig quickly left the promotion. Sting hooked up with Eddie Gilbertís Hotstuff & Hyatt International stable, eventually winning the tag team titles on three separate occasions. Sting eventually turned face after he was turfed from the stable. Sting was reportedly on the fast track and was set to win the UWF TV title at the time of the JCP buyout. Seeing big things in the young Borden, JCP booker Dusty Rhodes kept him strong during the UWFís dying days and set him up for a major run with JCP.
Fun Fact II: Michael Hayes began wrestling in Tennessee in 1977. It was there in 1979 that he began teaming with Terry Gordy, and the two named themselves the Fabulous Freebirds. They would also eventually add Buddy Roberts to their stable as well. After a run in Georgia, the Freebirds migrated south to WCCW where they would strike it big. On Christmas night 1982, Hayes served as a special referee for the NWA title match between Ric Flair and the beloved Kerry Von Erich. Hayes would turn heel, smashing Von Erich with the cage door and igniting a red-hot multi-million dollar angle. They would also form an alliance with Jimmy Garvin, who was often considered an honorary Freebird. After a cup of coffee with WWF in 1984, the Freebirds joined AWA in 1985 until leaving for UWF in 1986. The Freebirds would eventually split up and Hayes turned face prior to the merge with JCP.
Fun Fact III: A lifelong wrestling fan, Eddie Gilbert began his career in 1979. In 1982, he hooked with the CWA, spending some time teaming with his father, Tommy. Gilbert would turn into a vicious heel during his run with CWA, and eventually jumped to the UWF in 1986. There he started his famed stable, Hot Stuff International, Inc. After stealing valet Missy Hyatt away from John Tatum, the stable was renamed Hotstuff & Hyatt International. Gilbert would end up marrying Hyatt in 1988. Prior to being absorbed into JCP, Gilbert also spent time with CWF in Alabama, where he had a stint as wrestler and booker. His assistant there was a young Paul Heyman and the two would eventually reunite years later. Hyatt began her career with WCCW in 1985 as a manager for boyfriend John Tatum. Hyatt and Tatum signed with UWF in 1986 and soon after Hyatt and Gilbert began having an affair, causing a rift with Tatum within the promotion. Hyatt would then leave Tatum for Gilbert on TV as well.
Fun Fact IV: Rick Steiner was a renowned amateur-wrestling star at the University of Michigan, eventually transitioning to the pro game after graduation. Steiner cut his teeth with the AWA, Montrealís International Wrestling and the UWF before being absorbed into JCP in 1987. During his time in UWF, Steiner was a member of Eddie Gilbertís Hotstuff International, Inc.
Fun Fact V: Larry Zbyszko trained under the legendary Bruno Sammartino, making his official pro debut in 1973. He would compete in Pittsburgh and Vancouver before a run with WWWF. In 1975, he worked California and Mexico before heading back to the WWWF in 1976. He and Tony Garea would have a short tag title reign, but the pressure of living in Brunoís shadow was beginning to overwhelm him. Larry challenged Bruno to an exhibition match, threatening to retire if his mentor didnít accept. Bruno eventually agreed and the match was set for January 22, 1980. During the bout, Bruno tossed Larry to the floor, where Larry grabbed a wooden chair and cracked Bruno in the head with it, leaving his mentor in a pool of blood. It was a shocking turn and would be one of the most memorable heel swerves of that era. Zbyszko generated insane levels of heat and was often attacked by fans. The two men would war throughout 1980 with Larry adopting the nickname ďNew Living LegendĒ as a jab at Bruno. On 8/9, Bruno won the feud in a steel cage match at Shea Stadium. In 1981, Zbyszko left the WWWF and spent time in Georgia before heading north to the AWA in 1984. Larry had a very successful run with AWA but was eventually banned from the promotion after an assault on Nick Bockwinkel. Larry then joined JCP, adopting Baby Doll as his manager.
Scott: Wow this really feels like a completely different promotion from what weíve seen in the last two or three Starrcades. Gone are the old, flabby worn down guys from other promotions eating up spots. With Wattís Mid-South gone, all this hot infusion of talent came in and totally rejuvenated the promotion. Of course we continued our war between Vince McMahon and the Crocketts as JCPís premiere PPV took a buy rate hit due to Vinceís blackmail involving Survivor Series. More on that as we move along. One thing I love about watching these shows is that the NWA crowds are red hot for everything. Thatís a big deal here since this is JCPís first foray outside the southeastern US. Essentially in AWA territory, JCP invaded a little bit here, but it worked out for them, as the UIC Pavilion crowd is red hot for this match with all fresh characters and workrate. Clearly Sting was the centerpiece here. Dusty Rhodes knew he was destined for stardom and sure enough he was. The babyface Freebirds help Sting here against Stingís former Hot Stuff Incorporated guys. The match ends in a draw which I didnít understand as I thought the babyfaces should have just gone over. Give Stinger his first big PPV win but it didnít happen. I was never the biggest Zbyszko fan but he fit here as an experienced hoss with the young Eddie Gilbert and the green Rick Steiner. Obviously the announcing is a big upgrade as Jim Ross, the precursor to the ďGood Olí JRĒ days of the Attitude Era, makes his big show debut here and he just blows away anything weíve heard in PPV announcing so far. He and Tony really put over the storylines and the matches with specifics instances and personality analyses, unlike the dull repeated generalities that Bob Caudle brought to the table. The action is hot and Sting really puts over his character but canít get the win. A solid opener to the show and the crowd is ready for a big night of action. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Well what a difference a year makes as this infusion of talent thanks to the UWF buyout has really freshened up the promotion. And they waste no time introducing this new talent, as five of the six men here are making their NWA supercard debut. Also making his debut is Jim Ross, who would become a top announcer for the promotion through 1992. And what a difference there as well. I like Bob Caudle, but Ross and Schiavone worked very well together, called the action, explained the storylines and histories and were great in general throughout this show. Despite the depth of talent here, Sting was clearly the one being groomed as a future star as he flew around the ring with reckless abandon. The crowd was hot right out of the gate and all three faces were pretty over. I liked the teamwork they showed early as well, working quickly and with precision. The heels wouldnít be outdone as Gilbert and Zbyszko knew how to put on a heel teamwork clinic with Steiner providing the raw power. With a nice mix of youth and experience and all six men in great shape, this was just a well-worked professional six-man tag that did its job well. As the match wound down, things degenerated into a wild brawl and there was some good drama mixed in too. I could have lived without the time limit finish, but this was still a lot of fun to watch and I really could have gone for another ten minutes or so to really further develop the story. As is, this is an effective opener that introduces us to a bunch of fresh new talent. Grade: 2.5
Result: Time Limit Draw at 15:02
2) Barry Windham vs. Steve Williams for UWF Heavyweight Title
Fun Fact: Steve Williams was a standout football player and amateur wrestler at the University of Oklahoma, transitioning into pro wrestling in 1982 with the nickname ďDr. DeathĒ already in place. After training under Bill Watts, Williams debuted with Mid-South Wrestling. He would form a successful team with Ted DiBiase before striking out on his own and winning the UWF Heavyweight title from Big Bubba Rogers in 1986. He would carry the title with him into JCP after UWF was bought out.
Fun Fact II: Barry Windham is the son of the legendary Blackjack Mulligan. He trained under his father and debuted in November 1979 at the age of 19. He would have a lengthy run in Florida, including three runs with the tag team titles along with his brother-in-law Mike Rotundo. In November 1984, Windham and Rotundo signed with the WWF, where they would have another successful run, winning the tag titles twice. After losing the belts to the Dream Team, Windham abruptly left and returned to Florida while Rotundo remained with the company to fulfill his bookings and go out on a good note. In the fall of 1986, Windham joined JCP and would go on to have a series of tremendous bouts with Ric Flair. In 1987, he worked the mid card as well as competing on the UWF side of the promotion, eventually climbing the ranks high enough to challenge Williams for the Heavyweight title here.
Scott: Here we have a couple of young studs battling for whatís going to end up being a defunct title anyway. Steve Williams is a big bruising stud thatís all about big power moves and pimping his love for the Sooners. Williams is Jim Rossís personal favorite but he keeps it down the middle so as not to irk his new audience as of course they love their favorite son Barry Windham. Barry had a hot feud earlier in the year with Ric Flair over the World Title, including a tremendous TV match in January. On the house show circuit Windham and Flair would wrestle ninety-minute draws that would have crowds from Greenville to Jacksonville on the edge of their seats. These two wrestle down the middle as babyfaces, for instance after a botched leapfrog led Windham to accidentally head butt Williams in the crotch, he waited until Williams got to his feet to continue the match and didnít take advantage of it. Eventually Windham would hit the floor on a move, get dazed and then at the last minute Dr. Death would roll him up and get the win. This was a solid but unspectacular match that showcased another Mid-South Alumni. Grade: 2
Justin: Our next match features two more fresh faces battling over the UWF Heavyweight title. Both of these guys were studs in their primes here and Jim Ross was pretty damn pumped up over it. The match started with some quality matwork with things remaining even with nice sportsmanship. Unfortunately things fell apart when Williams couldnít get high enough on a leapfrog and ended up getting headbutted in the groin by Windham. You could tell it was legit as Williams was in obvious pain and kept rubbing his crotch throughout the rest of the match. Windham would let him recover and reset the match, but it turned out to be a fatal mistake as Williams did not afford Windham the same luxury after Windham tumbled to the floor. Williams would quickly cradle Barry and retain his title. The match was disappointing and the finish was pretty lame, but I am assuming that is due to the impromptu injury to Williams. It is too bad as this could have really been something special if not for the injury. I am looking forward to more Windham matches as he was really great during this stretch. Grade: 1.5
Result: Williams d. Windham to retain UWF Title with a cradle at 6:50
3. Rock Ďní Roll Express vs. Midnight Express in a Scaffold match
Fun Fact: The Midnight Express has a new look since the last time we saw them. Stan Lane began his career in Florida in 1974. In 1982, Lane left Florida for Mid-South, where he began to team up with Steve Keirn as the Fabulous Ones. The team lasted until 1987, and engaged in some great feuds along the way. In early 1987, Dennis Condrey abruptly vanished from JCP, leaving Bobby Eaton on his own. Eaton and Cornette chose Lane to replace Condrey and the new and improved Midnight Express was born on 4/4. They would win the tag titles on May 16 and would hold them for a year.
Scott: One of the cornerstone wrestling feuds of the 1980s. Two teams almost identical in the way they work in the ring and almost as many World Titles between them. However I immediately donít have good prospects here because Iím just not a fan of scaffold matches. You really canít move around up there to put any legit moves on, and itís a lot of tiptoeing and punching. Then I start watching, and I realize this is much better than the MXEís loss to the Road Warriors in 1986. Obviously Ricky and Robert are much more mobile than Hawk and Animal. Then thereís the presence of the awesome Big Bubba Rogers. He takes out Ricky while Robert was climbing the scaffold. Stan Lane has since replaced Dennis Condrey as one half of the Express and while I liked Condrey, Lane is a better-looking guy with a better physique. I still donít like Scaffold matches but this one has just a bit more juice in it than the previous match. It seems that after the first try the previous year the bookers figured out how to make this match more entertaining without seriously hurting anybody. Eventually Ricky & Robert get Stan & Bobby off and the MXE are 0-2 now in scaffold matches. Big Bubba climbs up looking for retribution but Ricky hits the twig & berries and escapes. Overall itís a better scaffold match than the first one, but Iím still not a big fan of it. Grade: 2
Justin: Just when you may get excited about watching another classic war between these two teams, it wasnít meant to be thanks to the scaffold gimmick, which clearly hamstrung them from delivering their usual gem of a match. Man I really hate scaffold matches. You think they would have learned their lesson when Jim Cornette destroyed his knees last time. Before he can climb the scaffold, Big Bubba wipes out Ricky Morton on the mat. That would allow the MXE the chance to double team Robert Gibson on the scaffold. Morton would recover and take out Bubba before finally ascending the scaffold, tennis racket in hand to help his partner. As much as I hate the gimmick, I will admit this yearís edition is better than 1986ís match as we got a little more action and some good teases. The RNR would eventually force both members of the MXE to the mat to win the bout, which ended up being a solid enough brawl. After the bell, Cornette instructed Bubba to go get revenge, but he would be outsmarted and Morton would punch him in the junk, allowing the RNR to scamper away and escape unscathed. Just because this match ended up being solid, that doesnít change my mind about this stupid dangerous gimmick. They would have been much better suited to let these two tear the crowd down with a straight tag match. Grade: 2
Result: Rock Ďní Roll Express d. Midnight Express at when Bobby Eaton falls at 10:23
4. Nikita Koloff (Nelson Simpson) vs. Terry Taylor in a Unification match for the NWA and UWF Television Titles
Fun Fact: After appearing at Starrcade 1985, Terry Taylor moved on to Mid-South wrestling where he had a successful run. He would win that promotionís TV title and after JCP purchased UWF, Taylor sparked a feud with the NWA TV Champion, Nikita Koloff. Taylor, Eddie Gilbert and Rick Steiner assaulted Koloff and left him unconscious, allowing Taylor to steal Koloffís belt. Koloff wanted his belt back but Taylor and Gilbert struck again and laid him out once more, this time draping the NWA TV Title across Koloffís prone body. It was then decided that the two titles would be unified here. Taylor would quickly leave for WCCW and eventually WWF after this show, but he will eventually return.
Fun Fact II: Nikita Koloff had defeated Tully Blanchard to win the NWA TV Title on 8/27.
Scott: Our longest match of the night is a switch of personalities from what weíve normally seen. In the past Terry Taylor was a straight up good guy getting pops from the southern ladies a couple years earlier and Nikita was the Russian Nightmare who struck fear in all who face him. Now after the injury the previous year to Magnum TA, Nikita was turned face and feud with Ric Flair, and heís still a fan favorite. Taylor went to the UWF, turned heel and joined Hot Stuff Incorporated, then won the TV Title. So here we see the unification of the two TV Titles. Iím kind of surprised that this match got the most time of any on the card. Then again weíre dealing with two capable guys. Nikita was on fire in 1986 and it culminated with a great performance against Ric Flair at last yearís Starrcade. 1987 was just as good as he won the TV Title and defends it here on the biggest stage. Taylor has always been applauded as a great technician in the ring but now tries his hat at being a hated heel with Eddie Gilbert. It definitely works here as he tries to take apart the big Russian through leg strikes and wear down moves. Of course you didnít think JCP would let the UWF guy win did you? Hahahaha. Nikita wins with the vaunted sickle and he is the undisputed World TV Champion. I like this match as the crowd is hot and both men brought their working boots to make the longest match of the night, maybe the best. Weíll see. Grade: 3.5
Justin: The UWF/NWA warfare continues but this time we get a high stakes unification match between the two TV champions. Taylor was a very good heel and I liked the dichotomy here with the rugged brawler facing the scientific technician. Koloff would use that power to dominate early, no selling Taylorís offense in the process. The story early focused on how Taylor would be able to overtake Koloff to grab control. Nikita was dominant with his grinding mat offense, wearing Taylor out. Things finally turned when Koloff whiffed on a Russian sickle, leading to Taylor zeroing in on Nikitaís arm. As the match wound down, things really picked up with some great false finishes leading into a hot finish that had the crowd really rocking and garnered a huge pop when Nikita got the win. I thought this match was really well booked and crisply worked. This was just a great match with two pros that I really got into. Nikita now reigns supreme as the unified TV champion and Taylor heads out of town once again. Grade: 3.5
Result: Koloff d. Taylor to unify Television titles with the Russian sickle at 18:58
5. Road Warriors vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard for the NWA Tag Team titles
Fun Fact: On 9/29, Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson defeated the Rock Ďní Roll Express to win the NWA Tag Team titles.
Scott: Wow, this is a tough one for me to watch, as weíre looking at two of my favorite tag teams of all time. Tully and Arn in their prime. Hawk and Animal in their prime. World Tag Team Titles on the line at the biggest show of the year. As expected, the Road Warriors dominated the action early, just pasting the champs with punches and power strikes. Arn and Tully, the meticulous Horsemen they were, tried their best to frustrate the challengers but early on they just kept getting stonewalled and beaten down. Then the switch on momentum occurs when Arn chop blocks Hawk in the knee and the Horsemen start to attack that left knee. Then we have our first Dusty Finish of the night. Tommy Young was knocked out. During that time Arn Anderson fell over the top rope, apparently by Animal on a backdrop. The match continues and the Road Warriors had apparently won the titles by replacement referee Earl Hebner's count. However Tommy Young apparently saw Arn go over the top rope and disqualifies the challengers. That was a lame way to end the match but I guess the Road Warriors werenít going to lay down, ha thatís a laugh. So we have the end-around finish. The match wasnít as good as I thought it would be as the match was split into two halves with a Dusty Finish. The Horsemen retain their titles. Grade: 2.5
Justin: In the middle of their hometown, the Road Warriors were set to square off with Horsemen for their chance at NWA gold. At this point, the Warriors were just overwhelming beasts and they showed that power off proudly early on. The crowd was really hot here, digging the hometown boys. Tully would grab control for his team and began picking apart Hawkís knee. I could watch Arn & Tully work over a body part all night long and Tully even takes a chance to bust Hawkís knee with a chair as well. Eventually Tully bumps the ref Tommy Young, likely intentionally in an attempt to save the titles. As the ref was on the floor, Animal dumped Arn outside over the top. He then hoisted Tully up and Hawk hit him with the Doomsday Device. A second ref hit the ring and counted three, giving the Warriors the titles. Or so we thought. Tommy Young slides back inside and reverses the finish, DQíing the Warriors because Animal tossed Arn over the top rope. It was a cheap Dusty finish and really took the fire out of the Chicago crowd. I donít see why they couldnít let the result stand and then do the reversal or a title switch back later on TV. The match was fun and hot but the end soured things. Grade: 3
Result: Anderson & Blanchard d. Road Warriors to retain NWA Tag Team titles by disqualification at 13:27
6. Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Runnells) vs. Lex Luger (Larry Pfohl) for the NWA United States title in a steel cage match; a ninety day suspension for Rhodes was also on the line
Fun Fact: Larry Pfohl experienced a decent amount of success on the gridiron in college, Canadian Football league and in the UFL. In 1985, he met up with wrestler Bob Roop and Roop convinced him to try out wrestling. Adopting the ring name of Lex Luger from Superman villain Lex Luthor, Pfohl began training under Hiro Matsuda before making his debut in September 1985. After a successful run in Florida, Luger signed on with JCP in 1987. Luger became an immediate associate of Ric Flairís and officially became a Horseman after Ole Anderson was booted from the group. Thanks to an assist from JJ Dillon, Luger defeated Nikita Koloff for the US Title on July 11.
Fun Fact II: As 1987 rolled on, Dusty Rhodes began looking to Johnny Weaver as a mentor and even began using Weaverís sleeperhold as a finisher. On 10/17, Lex Luger said he would accept a title match challenge from Rhodes only if Dusty agreed to Lugerís stipulations. Luger and Matsuda also began to pick on Johnny Weaver to further goad Rhodes, and Dusty would eventually accept the suspension stipulation.
Scott: Now this match here has its positives and negatives when it comes to running a promotion. First the positives. You have the young lion Lex Luger, the guy positioned for a great career based simply on his physique. Luger never really cared about having much in the way of workrate, somewhat taking the Hulk Hogan philosophy, but he did look like a future main eventer. On the other side the American Dream, still one of the most popular guys in the world. JCPís booking worked very uniquely from other promotions. They had no problems moving guys around on the card to give equal heat to matches. Of course Dusty was booking things, so he would position himself a little lower on the card to make the undercard really hot to go along with a great main event. On this show the main event doesnít have the sizzle of past Starrcade main events, so maybe the undercard needed a little bit of sizzle to help back it up. This is probably the main event 1-A to the World Title match. Hereís the problem though. JCP and the WWF worked differently in booking styles. WWF would hold off on special gimmick matches until a feud is percolating to the point of explosion. Then a cage match would be booked or some other type of violent gimmick. JCP books the feud and doesnít worry about gimmicks. Unlike here, Vince would never book two cage matches in one show, much less back to back. Of course thatís more for convenience so they donít have to take it down and put it back up again. JCP was more concerned with having matches end violently than the cosmetics of how a gimmick looked on camera, which was Vinceís philosophy in the WWF. The match overall is pretty good though, as Luger pretty much let Dusty dictate the tempo and pace of the match. I hate however, when they use regular match rules in cages. For instance you can go to the ropes and your opponent has to break a hold. Thatís so dumb in a cage match setting. Youíre using a weapon, the cage, so why have DQ issues with hold breaks, etc? No sense. Dusty gets the big win, which helps here because the next match has, letís say crowd issues. Grade: 3
Justin: Another math brings us another big time debut, this time in the form of the chiseled Lex Luger out of Florida. As young as he was, Lex really brought a great look and presence to the table and was being used in a great role: the muscle in a legit heel stable. Dusty used his elbow to start, staggering Lex. Dustyís mentor Johnny Weaver was at ringside here and was in possession of the key to the cage. Dusty would make multiple attempts to hook the Weaver sleeperhold, but Lex kept slipping free. Dusty worked the arm, but Lex would eventually swing the pendulum and I really enjoyed all of his taunting and flexing in between his methodical offense. Dusty bled from the cage, which was no surprise at all. In an impressive spot, Lex almost got Dusty up in the torture rack. Lexís strength was awesome. After some basic arm work by Lex, Dusty fired up a great comeback, rallying the crowd. JJ would eventually take out Weaver, obtain the key and open the cage door. He slid a chair into the ring, but it would backfire as Dusty dropped Lex onto the chair with a DDT to give him the win and title to a huge pop. This was a very good cage match and a real war. I always dig hot power matches and these two delivered the goods for me. Lexís run would over and a change in attitude was coming. Dusty has gold once again. Grade: 3
Result: Rhodes d. Luger to win NWA US title with a DDT on a chair at 16:26
7. Ric Flair vs. Ronnie Garvin for the NWA World Heavyweight title in a steel cage match
Fun Fact: Ronnie Garvin defeated Ric Flair to win the NWA World Heavyweight title on 9/25/87. Jim Crockett had decided that he wanted a face champion walking into Starrcade with Flair chasing to regain his title. Crockett approached multiple wrestlers with the offer, but because it was a given that it would only be a two month reign, they all rejected the offer. Garvin, knowing this would most likely be his only chance to win a World title, accepted. The plan backfired in the end as fan interest waned and they quickly turned on the mid-card stalwart Garvin as champion, clamoring for the heel Flair to be back on top. Flair issued the Starrcade challenge on 10/17.
Scott: Now we get to our main event, and really for me itís a no-brainer. Itís not often in JCP lore that the babyface would be entering a Starrcade World Title match as the champion. On top of the fact itís a lukewarm character who the crowd really didnít totally wrap their fandom around. Then thereís the Nature Boy, who will always be one of the most popular and hated of all time. Then thereís times like here where heís supposed to be a heel but the crowd just flat out like him more than Garvin. On top of the fact Garvin was kept off camera from when he won the title to now, the mark part of the crowd assumed he was a coward who was afraid of Flair. So really the bookers, Dusty, I guess, torpedoed Garvinís run before it even got going. I honestly donít understand why they even gave him the title in the first place. If they planned on Flair winning anyway, why waste time with a cage match and Garvinís win or any of this? Just have a Flair/Garvin title match and Flair wins, just like all of the other Starrcade main events? I honestly think they should have put this match second to last, or even earlier in the card, and have Dusty/Luger as the main event. It would have worked much better for the crowd, particularly if Dustyís career was on the line. They could have really pumped that up over the weeks prior to the show and get the emotions flowing heading into the match. No one cares about Ron Garvin, pure and simple. This was just as stupid as giving the World Title to Tommy Rich seven years earlier for about a week and a half. I donít know what Garvin was promised to have to do in return for being allowed a throwaway championship reign, but I never understood it. As all of our readers know, Iím not a Ron Garvin fan whatsoever. At least Tony and JR are doing their best to really pump this match up and keep the action exciting. The match itself isnít that bad, I mean it is Flair after all. He can make anybody look good. I just think this entire feud/package was not the right way to go. I definitely would have had Dusty/Luger on last and had this match, without the cage or Garvin as champion, in the middle of the show. The last few minutes of the match isnít bad as JCP crowds arenít as particular about the meat of a match like others are. So they are persuading me to grade this match higher than I really want to. Flair pins Garvin after slamming him into the cage and the crowd is off their rocker, which really shows this match shouldnít have belonged at the end of the show. The crowd persuaded me to make this match better than I originally thought. Damn them. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Twelve months ago I donít think anybody would have ever predicted this match to headline Starrcade. But, with a dearth of main event level faces, Jim Crockett was forced to turn to Ronnie Garvin to take on the roll of transitional champion of the NWA. Schiavone did a nice job setting this match up by talking about Flairís title win inside a steel cage at Starrcade 1983. Even though it was obvious the crowd hated Garvin and wanted to see him drop the strap, this bout still had a big match feel, probably thanks to Flair and the cage set up. During a good toe-to-toe segment, Garvin was able to outslug Flair. Flair fought back and began to work on the leg, eventually hooking the figure four, which resulted in a long struggle from Garvin. Both men were working hard but the match really had no cache as Garvin was clearly in over his head and Flair was doing his best to navigate him through the match. Flair would even blade, as usual, to help build some suspense. Garvin battled back with some stiff strikes and even hooked in a figure four of his own. The two would eventually climb the cage and have a cool little brawl up there. Flair would eventually ram Garvin into the cage and roll him up, taking back the gold that should have never left his waist. While the match was decent, the hot finishing segment and huge pop for Flair bump it up a notch. This wasnít anything spectacular but was a decent World title match to close out the show. And really, it is hard for Flair to ever dip below a good match as that seemed to be his basement at this point. I think these two were capable of more, as the September title change got decent reviews, but they just didnít get going here and the obvious finish didnít help things either. Grade: 3
Result: Flair d. Garvin to win NWA World Heavyweight title after ramming Garvin into the cage at 17:41
MVP: Nikita Koloff & Terry Taylor
Runner Up: Ric Flair
Non MVP: Steve Williams & Barry Windham
Runner Up: Scaffold Match