April 4, 2007
Matt Peddycord

NWA Starrcade ’89: Future Shock
December 13, 1989
Atlanta, GA
The Omni

This year for the NWA’s biggest show of the year, they’ve taken All-Japan’s concept of the Real World Tag League tournament and applied it to both singles and tag divisions. This round-robin-style tournament (it’s named the Iron Man/Iron Team tournaments here) is based on a point system: 20 points for a pinfall/submission win, 15 points for a countout victory, 10 points for a DQ win, 5 points for a 15-minute time limit draw and zero points for a loss. The singles contestants are NWA World Champion Ric Flair, Sting, NWA U.S. Champion Lex Luger and NWA World TV Champion Great Muta. The tag team contestants are the NWA World Tag Team Champions The Steiners, Doom, the Road Warriors and the Wild Samoans who are subbing for the recently injured Skyscrapers. Scott Steiner had punctured Sid’s lung at the last Clash and put him out of action for six months. Flair vs. Funk was blown off at the same Clash in November and now Terry Funk has seen the errors of his ways and turned into a straight-laced color commentator. Honestly, the Clash card probably should’ve been Starrcade, as it was such a great card comparatively. You should just never perform an experiment that your audience isn’t used to seeing on your biggest show of the year. Also, Arn Anderson had left the WWF right after Survivor Series and is already back in the NWA alongside his pals Ole Anderson and Ric Flair to reform the good guy Four Horsemen along with their newest addition: Sting. That should set the stage quite nicely here. I felt I should catch you up on things since we’re moving on past the Flair/Funk feud.

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Terry Funk for the singles matches, and Jim Ross and Jim Cornette for the tag matches!

Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Doom (w/Woman & Nitron) – Iron Team Match

These two teams are already feuding, so this really isn’t anything fresh. Nitron is a seven-foot-tall WCW nobody who hung out there til the mid-90s. He is possibly better known as Big Sky. Ringing any bells? The Steiners are the tag champs here, but it’s irrelevant in this tournament. Also, Doom is still wearing their masks and would keep them on until February at the next Clash. Scott and Simmons start it off with FISTS OF FIRE. Scott hits a quick powerslam for two, but then runs into a boot in the corner. Rick gets a tag and puts Simmons down with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Reed tags in and takes over on Rick. That doesn’t last long as Rick comes back with a powerslam and tags in Scott. He grabs a headlock and then delivers an atomic drop for two. Rick tags in again and works a chinlock for a while, but then Scott tags in and connects on a backbreaker for another two. Next, Simmons gets a tag and ducks a clothesline up against the ropes to send Scott flying out to the floor, allowing Reed and Nitron to beat the crap out of Scott. Back in, Simmons hits a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Reed comes in for more punishment and stomps Scott out to Nitron and Simmons. Back in again, Scott becomes face-in-peril and gets beat down with power moves like you would expect from Doom. The mistake comes when Reed tries to suplex Scott back in the ring from the apron and Scott falls on top for a near-fall. Reed attempts a piledriver, but Scott backdrops out and levels Reed with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. HOT TAG TO RICK! Rick nails Doom with Steinerlines until Nitron trips him up. Rick has had ENOUGH of that guy and finally goes over and KO’s him into 1990! Haha, 3,000 people go CRAZY for it. That’s not saying some people in attendance didn’t like it, that’s just how many people are at this show! All four men end up brawling on the floor, but Rick makes it back in the ring right before the ten-count to earn the win by countout. (12:24) Better than their Havoc match, but that finish is just lame. **½

- Steiners 15
- Doom 0
- LOD 0
- Wild Samoans 0

Sting vs. Lex Luger – Iron Man Match

Sting and Luger get into a crowd reaction battle to start, which is kind of cool. Luger decides to leave, so Sting beats him back into the ring. Luger ducks out of a charge which sends Sting clean over the top rope, but Sting lands on the apron and clotheslines Luger down to set him up for a slingshot splash (!) for two. Sting follows up and clotheslines Luger out to the floor! Man, this should’ve been the opener. Luger yanks Sting out with him, but loses a battle with the guardrail. Back in, Sting catches Luger with a crossbody off the top for two. Luger begs away in the corner, so Sting goes for a ten-count corner punch. Luger brings Sting out for an inverted atomic drop, but he misses with it and Sting levels him with a clothesline for two. Nice. Sting grabs an armbar to slow things down for a bit. Luger backs Sting into the corner and whips him across, but charges into a knee and a dropkick gets two. Sting comes off the top again, but Luger catches him in mid-air and gives the inverted atomic drop. Why not one more, Lex? Luger goes to work on the abs of Sting with a gutbuster and a forearm to the gut off the ropes. Luger then kicks him out to ringside and slams him into the guardrail. Luger tosses Sting back in and works the crowd for a moment. He gets back into the ring and puts Sting down with a double-ax handle for 1-2-NO! Luger wins a slugfest and follows up with a powerslam. Luger goes for the TORTURE RACK, but Sting flips off his shoulders. Luger starts to kick away, but Sting begins to NO-SELL and kick back! Sting hits a suplex for two, and then Luger rolls out to the floor. Sting takes him to the guardrail and brings Luger back in with a clothesline on the apron, but Luger falls on top and grabs the ropes to get the REAL CHEAP win. (11:31) It started out fast and furious, but then it slowed down real quick and ended terribly. **¼

- Lex Luger 20
- Sting 0
- Ric Flair 0
- Great Muta 0

The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. Doom (w/Woman & Nitron) – Iron Team Match

Animal and Reed begin the match. Reed gets controlled right at the start by LOD. We clip to Hawk making a comeback on Reed and making a HOT TAG TO ANIMAL! He connects with shoulderblocks, but now we have a pier-six brawl. During the confusion, Reed attempts a piledriver on Animal but Hawk nails him with a TOP-ROPE CLOTHESLINE instead. Animal covers for the 1-2-3. (8:31/3:00 shown) This made it look like nothing more than an LOD squash. Not enough here for me to rate it.

- LOD 20
- Steiners 15
- Doom 0
- Wild Samoans 0

Ric Flair (w/Ole & Arn Anderson) vs. Great Muta (w/Gary Hart) – Iron Man Match

Muta is still undefeated after ten months in the NWA, which makes this match notable. Muta dominates Flair to start and hits the Handspring Back Elbow, but Flair comes back with chops and goes for the FIGURE-FOUR! Gary Hart gets up on the apron as Buzz Sawyer and the Dragon Master (both members of Gary Hart’s J-Tex Corporation) run down to try and interfere, but Ole & Arn stop them. Flair goes over to grab Hart, but Muta kicks him back down. Muta hits the backbreaker and delivers the MOONSAULT, but Flair brings up the knees and cradles Muta up for the 1-2-3! (1:57) So ends Muta’s win streak and basically his credibility as a star in the US, as he would drop the TV belt to Anderson about a month later before heading back to Japan. That was TONS of fun for two minutes. *½

- Lex Luger 20
- Ric Flair 20
- Sting 0
- Great Muta 0

Rick & Scott Steiner vs. The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) – Iron Team Match

This is the first meeting between these two historic teams. It’s one of those mutual respect matches. Hawk starts off with Scott. Scott tries to bring Hawk down to the mat, but Hawk nails him with an enziguri kick. Hawk catches Scott’s foot, but gets flipped over. Rick tags and gets TAGGED with a clothesline from Hawk for two. Animal tags in, but then he gets nailed with a Steinerline. Animal delivers a shoulderblock, but Rick comes back with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Hawk and Scott both tag, but it’s Scott who takes a press slam for two. Animal tags in, but takes another Belly-to-Belly Suplex for 1-2-NO! Scott whips Animal in the corner, but Animal fires back with a clothesline. Hawk tags and hits a Canadian Backbreaker drop for two. Scott punches back and sets Hawk up for a Belly-to-Belly Superplex, which doesn’t go well for Hawk. Animal tags and applies a bearhug. That gets two. Hawk comes in for a powerslam, but Rick makes a save and causes a big brawl. LOD delivers the DOOMSDAY DEVICE on Scott, but Animal tries to pin him with a bridge and Scott lifts up a shoulder at two which gets the three-count on Animal. (7:27) Good match, but I dislike that finish very much. On a personal note, the next time these two teams would face each other would be at my first wrestling show on March 11, 1996 when the Steiners made their surprise return (at least to a nine-year old kid named Matt) on Nitro. **½

- Steiners 35
- LOD 20
- Doom 0
- Wild Samoans 0

Sting vs. Great Muta (w/Gary Hart) – Iron Man Match

Slow start as they trade full-nelsons. Muta backs Sting into the corner and comes out with a mule kick. Muta grabs a headlock, but Sting escapes and sends Muta flying with a monkey flip. He follows that up with a suplex for two. Sting tries for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK out of nowhere, but Muta gets to the ropes. He heads out for a breather and comes back in and goes to the eyes. He follows up with a backdrop and the awesome twisty elbow drop before applying a modified butterfly lock. Sting manages to roll through it and deliver a press slam for two. Jumping elbow drop follows before he goes to a chinlock. Muta backs Sting into the corner for some shoulder driving. Muta hits the backbreaker and tries for the MOONSAULT, but Sting moves and he lands on his feet. Sting stands up, but Muta is there with the jumping back kick. Muta heads up again, but Sting crotches him and delivers a superplex for 1-2-3. (8:47) Nothing like their GAB match, but still pretty solid stuff. **

- Lex Luger 20
- Ric Flair 20
- Sting 20
- Great Muta 0

The New Wild Samoans (w/Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. Doom (w/Woman & Nitron) – Iron Team Match

This is the most dreaded match of the evening. Thank God it’s edited. The New Wild Samoans are formerly known as the Samoan Swat Team, but Fatu & the Samoan Savage (or better known as Tama) are the two chosen Samoans for this tournament. Anyways, we get a shot of Norman the Lunatic (infamously known as Bastion Booger in the WWF) who is dressed up as Santa Claus and giving out candy to children. Yeah, that’s not creepy. They immediately clip to the Samoan Savage being OWNED by Doom. That is, until Reed goes for a bulldog and Savage shoves him off. Simmons gets a tag and after some double-teaming, Doom gets two. Savage then avoids a flying clothesline and makes a hot tag to Fatu. He hits the jumping headbutt for two on Reed. Big brawl erupts. Fatu and Reed knock their heads together, but Fatu lands on top thanks to Humperdink for the 1-2-3. (8:22/3:22 shown) What a ridiculous finish. Woman looks PISSED, but a win here for Doom wouldn’t matter anyway. This was cut down too much for me to rate.

- Steiners 35
- LOD 20
- Wild Samoans 20
- Doom 0

Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair – Iron Man Match

Flair comes out alone this time because he knows Luger has NO friends, so he’s not worried about outside interference. They JIP to about ten minutes into the match with Luger completely in control. Flair rolls out to the floor after he takes a press slam and then takes a neck snap on the top rope on the apron. Luger tries a suplex, but Flair counters into one of his own. Flair gets a backslide for two. He tries the Flair Flip out of the corner and runs down the apron to come off the top, but Luger catches him on the way down with a clothesline. Luger hesitates a cover for two. Flair gets dumped, but comes back in with a sunset flip for 1-2-NO! Flair randomly goes up top and is of course slammed down, but then Luger misses a jumping elbow drop. Flair hits the back suplex and locks in the FIGURE-FOUR as the time-limit expires. (15:00/6:15 shown) Again, not enough here for me to rate and plus it wasn’t the best of finishes. Both men get five points a piece.

- Lex Luger 25
- Ric Flair 25
- Sting 20
- Great Muta 0

The New Wild Samoans (w/Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. Rick & Scott Steiner – Iron Team Match

We jump ahead to nearly ten minutes in and this time, the Samoans are naturally playing the heels. Scott is being dominated by the Samoans with more of the same Samoan offense. Scott gets dumped and attempts a sunset flip, but it’s blocked and then he gets stuck in a bearhug. He fights out, but the Savage goes low and covers for two. Back to the bearhug. He escapes again, but goes down to a powerslam for two with two minutes remaining. Fatu tags in and receives a FRANKENSTEINER out of nowhere! Like night and day, people. Scott can’t capitalize though. Next, he avoids a splash but a failed tag to Rick causes a big brawl between the two teams. Rick levels the Samoans with Steinerlines. Meanwhile, Scott backdrops one of the Samoans over the top rope behind the ref’s back. Humperdink protests and the ref actually listens to him and DQ’s the Steiners. (14:05/5:56 shown) Not enough, but another real terrible finish considering the ref didn’t see ANY of what happened.

- Steiners 35
- Wild Samoans 30
- LOD 20
- Doom 0

Lex Luger vs. Great Muta – Iron Man Match

This is just heel vs. heel, which leaves the crowd nobody to get behind. Luger sells the leg injury he sustained in his match with Flair. It only makes SENSE! They edit this one to about four minutes into it as Muta whips Luger (who LIMPS into the corner!) for the Handspring Back Elbow. Muta works the leg, but Luger fights back with an eyepoke and an elbow drop for two. Luger stands up, but Muta clips the knee to put him right back down. Muta grabs a half-crab and then switches over to the Mutalock, but Luger makes the ropes. Muta continues the work on the leg. Luger tries to fight back and nails Muta with a clothesline. Luger wins a slugfest and tosses Muta out to the floor, but comes back in with a sunset flip for two. Nevertheless, Luger hits the powerslam and calls for the TORTURE RACK, but Muta slips out of it and sprays Luger in the face with the GREEN MIST for the DQ. (11:08/7:10 shown) Just a weird, heatless match with another nonsense finish to justify the points system. *½

- Lex Luger 35
- Ric Flair 25
- Sting 20
- Great Muta 0

The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. The New Wild Samoans (w/Sir Oliver Humperdink) – Iron Team Match

It’s come down to a ‘winner takes all’ situation here. Basically, LOD NO-SELLS everything until Hawk catches one of the Samoans with a TOP-ROPE CLOTHESLINE to win the whole thing. (5:49) They just made the Samoans looks like JOBBERS. ½*

- LOD 40 – WINNERS
- Steiners 35
- Wild Samoans 30
- Doom 0

Sting vs. Ric Flair – Iron Man Match

At this point, Sting is a Horsemen alongside Ole, Arn & Ric, which would make this very interesting at the time. Sting grabs a headlock to start. Flair shoves him off, but Sting hiptosses him around and Flair takes a breather. Back in, they have WOO-off. Sting tries to go the mat, but Flair picks him up over his shoulders and places Sting in the corner for some head games. Sting overpowers an overhead wristlock and puts Flair down with a press slam. They trade shoves and Flair bails out again. Back in, Sting counters a hiptoss into a backslide for 1-2-NO! Flair doesn’t like that a dang bit and chops Sting into the corner. Sting blocks another hiptoss and delivers one of his own. A pair of dropkicks and a clothesline follows for two. Flair begs away, but then kicks Sting in the knee and tosses him out to the floor. Haha, jerk. Flair takes him into the guardrail and then brings him back into the ring with a stalling suplex for two. He tries for the pin once more, but Sting kicks out at two. Rolling Knee Drop connects. He brings Sting down to the mat with an Oklahoma roll for a couple more two-counts. Inside cradle from Flair gets another two. Flair is just getting desperate now. Flair hits another suplex for two. Flair whips Sting hard from corner to corner and follows up with a butterfly suplex for 1-2-NO! Sting is kicking out of everything, but the crowd is nearly drained at this point. Sting comes back with a clothesline out of nowhere for 1-2-NO! Flair rolls out to the floor to set up an attack, but Sting starts NO-SELLING! Sting comes back in with a sunset flip, but Flair punches out of it. Oh man, Flair tries to suplex Sting to the floor, but its reversed back in for 1-2-NO! Flair chops back, but it has no effect on the Stinger. He backs Flair into the corner for the ten-count punch and flips him out with a hiptoss and a clothesline for 1-2-NO! He hits the Stinger Splash and goes for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK, but Flair gets into the ropes very quickly. Flair grabs Sting out of nowhere for the shin breaker to set up the FIGURE-FOUR! Sting grabs the bottom rope, but Flair continues to kick on the leg. Flair chops him down and delivers the Rolling Knee Drop across the knee. For some reason, Flair then grabs a headlock, which Sting reverses into another backslide for 1-2-NO! There’s one minute left in the match! Sting’s still selling the knee injury, which is more than I can say for John Cena at ‘Mania. Flair connects with another shin breaker and pounds on the leg some more before going for the FIGURE-FOUR, but Sting counters into an inside cradle for 1-2-3! (15:53) This match sets the stage for not only Sting’s eventual title win, (which was originally scheduled for WrestleWar in February, but we all know why that didn’t go down) but foreshadows Flair’s 22nd heel turn out of the 40 or so that he’s done throughout his career. This was their usual stuff, which is always fun. Post-match, Ole & Arn want to confront Sting about what he just did, but Flair lifts Sting’s arm up in celebration all the same. At the next Clash in February, the Horsemen would beat up Sting and kick him out of the Horsemen for his aspirations to become World champion over Flair to kick start Sting’s successful chase for the gold. ***

- Sting 40 – WINNER
- Lex Luger 35
- Ric Flair 25
- Great Muta 0

Final Thoughts: This was never done again and for good reason. It was filled with terrible finishes basically all the way through and honestly; who wants to see four Samoan matches? The singles tourney matches were okay, but none of them were really fresh or all that interesting. Let’s be truthful here, the tournament meant absolutely nothing. Skip this show. Thumbs down for Starrcade 1989.

wordpress stats plugin