Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: December 27, 1993
Location: Independence Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Jesse Ventura
It’s all about Ric Flair here as he is putting his career on the line for once more chance at being the World Champion. Unfortunately that means he has to face off with Vader, an unstoppable monster who has dominated WCW in 1993. That being said, it’s Flair in North Carolina at the biggest show of the year. Do you want to bet against him? Let’s get to it.
We open with a montage of photos of Flair’s childhood and early life which transitions into shots of his career. They’re really pushing this as his last match and doing an effective job of it. This transitions into shots of Vader mauling various people. Good opening.
We get some clips of Vader arriving with Race earlier today. The champion then had a workout in an empty arena. To contrast this, we see Flair at his house, kissing his wife goodbye and heading to the arena in a limo. Announcer Gene Okerlund is with him.
Paul Orndorff/Paul Roma vs. 2 Cold Scorpio/Marcus Bagwell
Roma and Orndorff would eventually become a regular team known as Pretty (Roma) Wonderful (Orndorff). Both guys are from the WWF and both have seen far better days at this point. Bagwell teamed with a long list of partners over the years with Scorpio being his current teammate. They also have Teddy Long as their manager, who receives an award for being Manager of the Year. The Pauls have the masked Assassin as their manager to counter.
It’s a brawl to start with Marcus and Scorpio clearing the ring with a pair of double dropkicks. Bagwell and Roma finally get things going with Roma pounding him down, only to be caught by a crossbody for two. Bagwell cranks on the arm before it’s off to Scorpio for more of the same. A middle rope punch to Roma’s shoulder keeps Bagwell in control and it’s off to a short arm scissors. Roma finally takes him down to escape and brings in Orndorff.
The other Paul (called Paula by the fans) charges in and gets caught by a wristlock from Scorpio. A few flying headscissors puts Orndorff down and it’s off to an armbar. Off to Bagwell for a splash for two. Back to Roma who is caught in an armbar of his own followed by an atomic drop. The good guys double team Roma with a quick drop toehold from Bagwell, setting up a badly botched splash from Scorpio. Roma was sitting up (presumably making it his fault) so Scorpio landed on the back of Roma’s neck in a scary looking move.
Thankfully Roma isn’t paralyzed and can scream about Scorpio hurting his arm. We’re over seven minutes into this thing and the vast majority has been spent on armbars. Back to Bagwell as Orndorff FINALLY gets in a few shots to take over. The commentary goes out for awhile, presumably due to boredom. Roma hits a few backbreakers and stops to check his hair.
Back to Orndorff for a Saito Suplex (modified belly to back) for two. Roma comes back in and misses a top rope splash, allowing for the tag off to Scorpio. Bagwell and Roma fight on the floor as 2 Cold hits a top rope fist to Orndorff. A spinwheel kick takes Orndorff down as the Assassin puts something in his hood before headbutting Scorpio, allowing Orndorff to get the easy pin.
Rating: D-. This was about as boring as you can get without falling sound asleep. The Paul’s were a very basic tag team who gave you nothing at all of interest. Bagwell and Scorpio could have been any two guy as they added nothing whatsoever. This was a very boring match overall and continues the tradition of lame opening matches at Starrcade.
We cut back to Flair and Okerlund in the limo. Flair is very somber here and wants to keep his career going while realizing that this could be his last time. Flair says he has to win because if not, who else would say Woo.
Awesome Kong vs. Shockmaster
Awesome Kong is a 450lb masked man. Shockmaster is a 400 klutz who had one of the most infamous moments in wrestling history when he debuted. He was Sting’s partner in a WarGames match, but during his debut he tripped over a piece of wood and fell flat on his face, causing his mask to fall off and make him look like a complete idiot. Anyway, Awesome’s partner King (what else would it be?) double teams Shockmaster to start before Awesome pounds away in the corner. Shocky comes back with a crossbody and a slam to win. This was barely 90 seconds in total.
The announcers run down the rest of the card. The British Bulldog is out of the International Title match and has been replaced by The Boss.
Flair and Gene arrive.
TV Title: Ricky Steamboat vs. Steven Regal
Regal is defending and as usual, this has a fifteen minute time limit. The champion bails to the corner to start and we stall early on. They grapple a bit with Steamboat taking him back to the corner, causing Regal to have a consultation with Sir William. Back in Steamboat is holding his arm for some reason. Regal takes it to the mat and grabs the arm into a wristlock. They trade arm control until Steamboat takes him down with a kind of armdrag.
Regal tries a hiptoss but gets caught in one by Steamboat, resulting in another standoff. A headlock gets no one anywhere so we get a crisscross instead. Steamboat gets a quick sunset flip for two before Regal grabs the ankle to slow Ricky down. Steamboat comes back with a slam and hits a top rope chop to the champ’s head for two. Back to the armbar on Regal before Steamboat trips him to the mat.
We’ve got five minutes to go (making the time limit about thirteen and a half minutes apparently) as the armbar continues. Four minutes left as Ricky adds a headscissors to his armbar. We’re at three minutes as Steamboat speeds things up. I didn’t ignore anything between five and three minutes as it was all just armbars and headscissors. They go outside with Regal sending Steamboat into the barricade.
Back in with two minutes left and Steamboat accidentally rams his head into the buckle. A Japanese armdrag puts Regal down and they head to the mat before failing on a bridge up. Steamboat hooks a butterfly suplex for two as we have a minute left. They head to the floor again where Ricky rams Regal into Sir William before going back inside. The high cross body misses Regal though and the time limit expires. This would happen a lot in TV Title matches.
Rating: D. Another weak match here as the majority of the time limit was spent in armbars and time killing holds. That’s the problem with almost all TV Title matches: a heel champion would spent long stretches of matches laying around doing nothing, which made for some very uninteresting matches. More dull stuff here.
Tony and Jesse talk about Flair a bit.
Cactus Jack/Maxx Payne vs. Tex Slazenger/Shanghai Pierce
Payne is a grunge rocker while Slazenger and Pierce are big Texans with Pierce wearing a mask. They would wind up in the WWF as the Godwinns if you remember them. Cactus is fresh off a world title feud with Vader and is one of the hottest stars in the company. Payne and Shanghai get things going and collide in the middle of the ring, sending both guys staggering back a bit. Pierce takes him down with a running shoulder block and let’s stop to look at each other.
Maxx slams him down, causing Shanghai to bring in Tex. Jack gets the tag as well and they stare at each other a bit more. Cactus takes him into the corner but walks into a right hand to slow him down again. A boot to Tex’s head puts him down again and it’s back to Payne. Maxx hits a BIG clothesline to take Slazenger down as the match continues plodding along. Tex charges out of the corner and hits a kind of bulldog to take Maxx down. Off to Shanghai who is immediately caught in a belly to back suplex for no cover.
Back to Cactus who pounds Pierce down before charging into the heel corner. Everything breaks down and the Cactus Clothesline puts Jack and Pierce on the floor again. Slazenger goes over the top to the floor as well, so Payne backdrops the 300lb Jack over the top onto Tex. Back in the ring and Maxx puts on the Payne Killer armbar but Tex makes the save. A double clothesline puts the Texans down and it’s back to Cactus. He ducks a Pierce clothesline which winds up hitting Tex, allowing Cactus to hit his double arm DDT on Pierce for the pin.
Rating: D+. This wasn’t horrible and it was a step above the other tag match, but man alive this show isn’t doing anything well right now. These four guys are all big and mostly slow, which made for a dull and slow match here. Cactus was insanely popular though and kept the crowd interested in the match for the most part.
Here’s an interview with NASCAR driver Kyle Petty to fill in some time, because we couldn’t talk about the matches or anything right?
US Title: Steve Austin vs. Dustin Rhodes
“The Natural” Rhodes is defending but Austin is rapidly becoming the character that would make him the legend that he was destined to be. He also has Colonel Robert Parker as his manager and this is 2/3 falls. Jesse entertains himself by making fun of the Hooters girl (“You can’t call her the Natural.”) as they fight on the mat for basic control. The champion puts on a headscissors but Austin quickly makes a rope. An elbow to the head puts Austin on the floor and we take a breather.
Rhodes pounds in knees to Steve’s arm but Austin rolls right back to the floor. Back in again with Dustin taking him down to the mat with a headlock. Austin fights up and kicks him in the ribs, only to be caught in a backslide for two. Austin bails right back to the floor as the match stops all over again. This time though Austin pulls him to the mat and hits an elbow on Dustin’s chest to take over.
Now Rhodes knocks Austin into the crowd before heading back inside. Steve looks very frustrated and a big right hand frustrates him even more. Back to the headlock because we haven’t spent enough time in that hold yet. Austin escapes and drops some knees, only to be popped in the jaw again. Rhodes is thrown to the floor but he comes back in with a sunset flip for two. A belly to back suplex puts the champion down and Austin gets a lazy two.
They ram heads and yet again we lay around. This has been another dull match in a series of them tonight. Back up and Rhodes hits an elbow to the head but Austin falls on top during a slam attempt, getting another near fall. Austin misses a middle rope knee drop and Dustin connects with a lariat. A powerslam gets two as Parker is up on the apron. Dustin throws Austin int Parker but Steve goes over the top, giving him the first fall in a DQ.
Austin is busted open and Parker has to be taken to the back after being attacked by Dustin. The second fall starts and there go the lights. Thankfully we have a spotlight ready as Dustin hits a suplex for no cover. They head to the corner with Rhodes pounding away and the lights are back. In a quick ending, Austin shoves him off the ropes and grabs the trunks for the pin, the second fall, and the title.
Rating: D. I’m getting tired of these lame matches. Austin and Rhodes are WAY too talented to have such a bad match, but the majority of this match was spent doing very basic stuff which had no excitement to it at all. There’s nothing to see here at all, as is the case with all of the matches so far tonight.
WCW International World Title: The Boss vs. Rick Rude
This is the Big Gold Belt and WCW International was supposed to be a parody of the NWA Board which was neither funny or interesting at all. Basically there were two world titles from September to April or May. Rude won the title from Flair at Fall Brawl and Boss pinned him in a non-title match a month or so before this. Boss of course is Big Bossman from the WWF. They talk a lot of trash to start before Boss shoves him away. Boss takes it into the corner in a brawl but the referee pulls them apart.
Boss says bring it on as Rude is cautious about going after him. Rick finally goes after Boss with right hands before cranking on the arm a bit. A HUGE backdrop puts Rude down though and a backbreaker gets two. The match stays pretty slow as we hear about a new WCW Commissioner who will be named later. Boss takes it to the floor and slams Rude down with a thud. In a creative move, Boss picks Rude up for a suplex but instead of dropping him down he hangs Rude’s legs over the top rope to leave Rude hanging upside down.
Boss slides back in and Rude sits up, only to be punched in the jaw, sending him back out to the floor. Back in and it’s off to a bearhug but Rude bites Boss on the nose. Boss charges into a knee in the corner, only to catch Rude coming off the top with a right hand to the jaw. Rude avoids a charge at the ropes and Boss crotches himself, allowing Rude to roll him up to retain out of nowhere.
Rating: D. Another lame match here as there was no time to develop anything. Most of this match was stalling and Boss pounding on Rude before the champion scored a quick win. This is the kind of match that you would see on a regular TV show rather than a pay per view, which is the case with a lot of the matches tonight.
We cut to the announcers to hear Tony say that Jesse is a very good looking man. It’s as random as it sounds.
Tag Titles: Sting/Hawk vs. Nasty Boys
The Nasties (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags) are the champions and this was initially going to be Ricky Steamboat/Ric Flair, but again the card had to be changed due to the Sid issue. The champions also have Missy Hyatt as their manager here. Hawk and Sting stand in the ring while the champions stall on the outside. We stall a lot before we get going with Sting vs. Knobs. Actually scratch the get going part as Brian stalls even more. They finally lock up with Sting armdragging him down, leading to more stalling.
Sting shrugs off a ram into the corner and drops an elbow before knocking Jerry out to the floor as well. Hawk comes in and picks up Sting, throwing him over the top and out to the floor onto the Nasties. Now it’s legally off to Hawk vs. Jerry with Hawk growling Jerry down. Jerry pounds him in the corner but Hawk will have none of it and chops Sags down. Off to Knobs but the Nasties bail to the floor again. Back in and Hawk pounds on Jerry before hitting a running shoulder, sending Jerry back to the floor again. This is more dull stuff so far.
Back in and Hawk hits an enziguri of all things and it’s off to Sting for a suplex. The challengers start working on the arm as it seems we’re in for a long match tonight. Sting cranks on an armbar before it’s back to Hawk, only to have him miss a charge into the corner and slam his shoulder into the post. Jerry blasts him in the back with a chair which doesn’t draw a DQ for no apparent reason. Missy gets in a slap as well before it’s back in to work on Hawk’s arm (wing?) for a bit.
After a leg drop gets two for Knobs it’s off to an armbar. Now Sags comes in for a cross armbreaker but Hawk pretty easily turns it over. Knobs hooks a Fujiwara Armbar as the match continues to drag along. Hawk fights up and knocks down both champions before making the hot tag to Sting. Another double clothesline puts the Nasties down as we hit fifteen minutes into the match. We get down to Sting vs. Knobs but Jerry tries to interfere, only to hit his partner by mistake.
The Nasties try to walk out but Sting and Hawk send them back inside. Well that was rather pointless. Sting tries a top rope splash but hits Knobs’ knees. Knobs tries a middle rope legdrop but just lands on Sting instead in a painful looking move. Sting is sent to the floor and clotheslined down by Sags as this match is getting FAR more time than it has any right to have. Back in and Jerry hooks an abdominal stretch until Hawk makes the save. Now, for a change of pace, Knobs comes in with an abdominal stretch of his own as we hit twenty minutes out of the thirty minute time limit.
Sting finally fights out but Sags breaks up a hot tag attempt to Hawk. Sags struggles to pick him up for a pumphandle slam and Brian puts on a lame rear chinlock. Hawk finally comes in and breaks it up out of boredom. Off to yet another abdominal stretch but Sting reverses with five minutes left. Sags breaks up another hot tag and Knobs hits a middle rope splash.
A middle rope elbow connects as well, but the second attempt at a splash hits Sting’s boot. Hawk finally comes in to break up the Nasties’ finisher and there’s the hot tag. Hawk cleans house as everything breaks down. Sting hits the Stinger Splash on Brian and rolls him up for two before putting Knobs on his shoulders for a Doomsday Device, only to have Missy Hyatt break up the pin for the DQ.
Rating: F. We sat through half an hour for that lame of an ending? This was WAY too long with way too much laying around as the Nasties were simply not capable of surviving a half hour long match. Sting and Hawk weren’t the best choice for challengers either but the fans reacted well to them at first. This didn’t work at all for the most part.
WCW World Title: Ric Flair vs. Vader
Vader, with manager Harley Race, is defending and it’s title vs. career. Flair is the hometown boy and of course the crowd favorite. The fans cheer for Flair as they finally lock up. Vader shoves him down to the shock of no one. Flair bails to the floor and gets Vader to chase him a bit before heading back inside. The champion realizes what’s going on and stops with Flair back inside. Back in and Vader cranks on Flair’s hands to put Ric in big trouble.
Tony talks about all the major wins Flair has had at Starrcade as Vader stomps him down. A big gorilla press slam puts Flair down and he rolls to the floor, only to have Vader go out after him. Flair is dropped throat first on the barricade but Flair goes NUTS with chops and punches before ramming Vader into the post. Race nails Ric though and Vader takes over again with a suplex back inside. Another suplex puts Flair down again and Vader blasts him in the face.
A HARD clothesline puts Flair down again and there’s a splash for good measure. Flair’s chops have no effect as Vader is just stalking him. Vader misses a middle rope splash though, allowing Flair to hit a top rope chop to the head. Two more such chops put Vader down and there’s a knee drop to the head. Flair has some momentum going but Vader pops up and clotheslines him down. Vader loads up a superplex but the champion can’t follow up. Flair tries to fight back but gets knocked out to the floor for some shots from Race.
Back in and Flair fires off some hard chops before avoiding a splash in the corner. A second attempt hits though and Flair collapses again. Flair thumbs him in the eye and pounds Vader down with pure rights and lefts. Vader is down on his back and Flair goes for the legs, wrapping it around the post. The fans are going NUTS over this. There’s a chair to the knee and Flair punches Vader down on the floor again. Back in and Vader is dazed as Flair punches him down again.
Flair cannonballs down onto the leg but Vader kicks him down to block the Figure Four. The Vader Bomb misses and there’s the Figure Four as the face are losing it. Race is panicking on the apron but Vader makes the rope. Flair is all fired up but charges into a boot in the corner. Vader gets him down on the mat and pounds away, only to go up and miss his moonsault. Race tries a top rope headbutt but hits Vader by mistake. Flair gets a running start but Vader runs him over. In one last gap, Flair pulls Vader’s leg out and takes him down into a rollup for the pin and the title out of nowhere.
Rating: A. This match still more than holds up with Flair hanging in there as long as he could until he found an opening and refusing to lose. The idea here is that Vader would probably beat Flair most of the times they fought, but Flair won here in his hometown against all odds. It’s still a great match and this still holds up very well.
Flair immediately leaves to avoid being massacred.
Vader destroys his locker room because he wants the title back.
Flair comes back out for a well deserved curtain call.
In the back Flair is with his family and says Vader took it to him, not the other way around. Flair’s family is proud of him as Ricky Steamboat and Sting comes in to celebrate to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. Anything positive with this show is associated with the main event. Other than that, the entire show is about as terrible as you can ask for. Flair vs. Vader is excellent and was voted as the best match of Starrcade’s history on the Essential Starrcade DVD set. While I wouldn’t go that far, it is indeed excellent and well worth checking out if you haven’t before. The rest though is terrible and there’s nothing worth seeing.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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