NWA Starrcade 1983: A Flair for the Gold Review

Hello everyone and welcome to my WCW Starrcade review!!! Instead of watching Payback (because I misses a good bit of it), I decided to be productive and start this damn review series already. I’m sorry it took so long for me to get this out. I was busy with homework and such. Anyway, I’ve never seen this before, so I’m definitely excited! Lets begin!

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The show just kinda starts. No intro, no video, nothing. That’s really weird, yet somewhat refreshing. Anyway, there is no dillydallying; we go straight to…

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The Masked Assassins vs. Bugsy McGraw & Rufus R. “Freight Train” Jones

Let me just say these names are awesome. Bugsy McGraw?! Rufus R. Jones?! I want them to be my name. This match was very standard, but fun. None of these guys were in that good of shape, and no one was really all that GOOD, but it was fun. Rufus and Bugsy played good faces, and their dancing got the crowd excited. The Assassins were every heel you’ve ever seen, and they were adequate. There was absolutely nothing really wrong with this match; a little sloppy and bland, but fine.

Rating: *¼

 

We see Tony Schiavone backstage in Ric Flair’s locker room. This is apparently the first time interviews have been backstage. I would bet that’s bullshit, but it’s not a big deal. Tony hypes these interviews big time, and sells the main event. Decent enough. Next is…

Johnny Weaver & Scott McGhee vs. Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin

Another random undercard tag match. I’m curious to see young Kevin Sullivan, but other than that, this doesn’t seem too interesting. There were a few nifty sequences, but the 2 heat segments absolutely killed the flow. Also, the finish was a real anticlimax. It could have been worse.

Rating: *½

Gary Hart gives the heels a weapon, and they beat down the faces. Angelo Mosca comes out, gets hit by the object, and yet is still able to chase the heels off. Eh.

Barbary Clary asks some fans that they think is going to win the main event and they all say Ric Flair FTW.

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Tony Schiavone is backstage again, this time in Harley Race’s dressing room. Race cuts a good promo, saying he heard from his friends that Flair is hurting, so he will hit Flair where it hurts. Next up is…

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Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher

The announcers hyped this a little last match, saying it was so violent that Puerto Rico banned this match from ever happening. So Carlos came all the way to the mainland to fight Abdullah. They go back and forth brawling, which is pretty standard. Colon uses a weapon Abdullah dropped to get vengeance of some kind. The referee gets annihilated in hilarious fashion by Abdullah kicking out of a pin, launching Carlos onto the ref, and then elbow dropping the ref. Abdullah wins via outside interference during a figure four. This was pretty meh.

Rating: *¼

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Tony Schiavone is backstage with Angelo Mosca. He yells about the “wrath of the spike” and saying Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin are dicks for attacking a 21-year-old boy. He then says Flair will win the main event. Very nice promo. I’m surprised!

Barbary Clary asks some more fans who will win the main event. They said Ric Flair. Next is…

“Chief” Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood vs. Dick Slater &“Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr.

            The announcer tries to announce the presence of Dusty Rhodes, but his mic got cut. LOL! This match was pretty damn good! It was some nice technical wrestling early, but two heat segments followed that, which is not appreciated. While I am not a fan of heat segments at all, these were well done, mostly because Youngblood was absolutely phenomenal at taking a beating. Throughout this match, he was awesome; he teased comebacks, had exciting offense, and kept the pace up. Wahoo looked a bit past his prime, however, and the match dragged a bit when he was in. I did enjoy this, though, and it is the best match of the show so far.

Rating: **¾

 

Wahoo is a dick and beats up the heels (who won clean) after the match. WHAT A GREAT FACE! The heels hold his arm under the bottom rope and dive off the top to “injure” the arm. He started it.

Tony interviews Ric and Ric cuts a pretty decent confident face promo. Jay Youngblood aimlessly wanders through a promo before Ricky Steamboat mercifully cuts him off and ends it.

Barbary Clary is in the audience with Dusty Rhodes. The audio cuts in and out, but from what I heard, the promo sounded good. Next up is…

Charlie Brown (Seriously?) vs. The Great Kabuki (c.) – TV Title Match – Title vs. Mask

Let me give you a summary of this match. Punch, punch, punch, sleeper, sleeper, claw, claw, claw, punch, kick, punch, kick, elbow, pin. This was very basic and was essentially 1 big heat segment. The claws were boring and the sleepers added nothing. It was just a below average brawl with nothing really compelling. The crowd liked it, though.

Rating: ¾*

Sidenote: Apparently Charlie Brown is Jimmy Valiant, who I have heard of. Apparently Valiant still wrestles at age 72. Good for him! I won’t search any of his matches, though.

The announcers interview Dude Walker, and he says Ric Flair works hard and will win the main event.

Tony Schiavone is backstage again. Bob Orton and Dick Slater talk about trying to take out Flair for Race and cash-money. They say Race is tough and will win. Race says himself, Orton, and Slater will break Flair’s neck and end him

Barbary Clary is back with Dusty Rhodes and the mic actually works. Dusty challenges the winner of the match and says he thinks that Race can’t lose. This leads to…

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“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine – Non-Title Match – Dog Collar Match

            This wasn’t the most complex match in terms of movez, but there were 2 very important factors that make this great, intensity and psychology. Both guys seemed like they hated each other, and wanted to maim the other. What many bad brawls lack is the feeling of true hatred that makes the spots matter, but that wasn’t an issue here. Every spot, from the choking, to the brawling on the floor, to all the creative uses of the chain, was filled to the brim with hatred. Also, Valentine was awesome at being an asshole and targeting Roddy’s injured ear. Roddy then was able to fight back from underneath in very compelling fashion. The finish was a bit of an anticlimax, and the match was a little slow and goofy for the first few minutes, but the brutality and creativity from both of these legends should be commended.

Rating: ****

Sidenote: This match is so brutal that Roddy Piper’s hearing and equilibrium was damaged for real. That is dedication.

Roddy celebrates before Greg attacks and chokes him. What a great heel! The ref eventually breaks it up, but the brawl continues. Greg beats Piper down and leaves him alone in the ring. This leads to one of the best shots in wrestling where Piper swings the chain over his head as the crowd goes crazy. I love it. So good.

Tony Schiavone interviews Flair, and he cuts a promo saying he will get revenge for Race and his cronies breaking Wahoo’s arm earlier. He says he is prepared, ready to fight Race, and win the belt. Wahoo says that he worked hard with training Flair, and he would bet all his money on Flair. Decent promo.

Barbary Clary is in the audience, and interviews Don Kernodle, who says that Steamboat and Youngblood are great, and he wants to see Flair win the gold. This leads to…

Jack & Jerry Brisco (c.) vs. Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood – NWA World tag Team Title Match – Titles Can Change Hands Due to DQ

            Angelo Mosca is the special ref! He is officially my boy. Ricky Steamboat is absolutely jacked in this match. Jeez! This match was pretty damn good. I really liked it; there was solid, if unspectacular, tag psychology, and almost everything was crisp and executed well. The heat was a bit slow for my taste, but the technical wrestling and the wonderful double-teams more than make up for it. Angelo also got involved for the finish, which automatically makes this 5*. Very nice!

Rating: ***½

The crowd pops big for the title change, but the heels beat up the faces (which has happened in almost every match). Angelo makes the save, though, ‘cause he’s a badass, and the faces clean the ring. Really great segment.

Tony Schiavone is backstage with Ric Flair, who is now dressed in his gear. That raises the question, was the dressing room full when Ric changed? Was Schiavone there holding a micophone the whole time? Was the camera ready to start rolling the whole time? Charlie Brown comes in, screams about bringing the belt to the people, and leaves. He can suck it. Roddy is backstage and cuts an awesome promo about his feud with Valentine. The revolving door continues when Steamboat and Youngblood cut a promo. Youngblood sucks at promos; he just rambles on and on and on. Steamboat saves it with a fairly decent promo about the team adapting to styles and overcoming adversity. Alright.

Barbary Clary is at ringside with some people and Dusty. He rambles a bit before asking the 3 ladies who they think will win. They say Flair, and Rhodes hypes his challenge to the winner of the main event.

Next up is the national anthem performed by James “Tiny” Weeks in the dark. Seriously, they forgot/ just didn’t want to turn the lights on. The mic shorts out a few times, which is funny since they just ran the credits and praised the prod staff. James sucked at singing, which is a shame for him. Finally, we get to our MAIN EVENT!

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Ric Flair vs. Harley Race – NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match – Steel Cage Match

This Flair entrance has become iconic. It’s just a very nice shot, with a rabid crowd surrounding the confident Flair. Race enters to a chorus of boos. The crowd is HOT!

This has a real big fight feel, and is one of the most important matches of all time. Just like with the rest of the show, there is a passing of the torch from the old guard to the new guard here, as the focus shifts to the future. This is a pivotal moment in wrestling, and one of the biggest matches in NWA history.

The referee is Gene Kiniski. This match was a little disappointing, but pretty damn good. The pace was slow, but the story of Race going after the neck was well done. These guys established their roles early, with Race working as the confident, wily heel, while Flair is the fiery, young face. Race beat the hell out of Flair for a solid 10 minutes and brutalized the neck in the process. Flair’s comeback was good, and I loved when Flair got revenge by using the piledriver and slamming Race’s head into the cage. I do feel this match did go too long, though, since both men were exhausted in the later stages. The selling of the exhaustion was great, but it was a bit long-winded and lead to some sloppiness. Cut off 5 to 10 minutes and you have a 4*+ match. Instead, this is just very good.

Rating: ***¾

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Flair celebrates with the title and the faces (including ANGELO MOSCA) congratulate Flair. The torch has been passed from one generation to the other. Ric Flair is the new NWA Champion and the new face of NWA. Flair’s wife enters and they celebrate together as well. Flair cuts a heartfelt promo thanking everyone and saying how big a moment this is for him. He thanks everyone and says this is the best night of his night. What a great segment overall.

Tony Schiavone is backstage with Ric Flair and Flair thanks all the people who helped him train and gave him the opportunity. Everyone celebrates and pours champagne. Dusty Rhodes comes in and reminds Flair that he has challenged him.

After 20 more minutes of interviews and talking, we are finally played out by Gordon Solie and Bob Caulde. A video package highlighting the show plays and the show finishes.

Overall:

This show was really fun overall. The undercard wasn’t very good, but we got a decent tag match out of it. I didn’t expect much from a 1980s undercard, though, so it overdelivered. The last three matches were all really good. Piper vs. Valentine was an absolutely awesome brawl, the tag title match was crisp and smartly worked, and Race vs. Flair was a nice cage match. I can’t really call it good, since the first half wasn’t any good at all, but the end brings the rating up above average. The last thing I will say is, this was damn fun!

Overall Rating: **¾

So that was Starrcade 1983! I’m going to keep a list of the top 10 Starrcade matches in history throughout this review. Anyway, I will see you next time for Starrcade 1984, which I heard is a joy! See you soon.

Top Ten Matches in Starrcade History:

  1. Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper – ’83 – ****
  2. Harley Race vs. Ric Flair – ’83 – ***¾

-Terrance Smith

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