WCW Starrcade 1993: 10th Anniversary Review

starrcade-1993-logo

Hello everyone and welcome to the Starrcade 1993 review! I’m quite excited for the main event of this show; as for the rest of the card, not so much. There are some undercard matches with some potential, but most good or great workers are saddled with inferior wrestlers. Regardless, I have hope! If last year’s show can be good with the Lethal Lottery and Battlebowl, then this show can be good too. Will it? Lets find out.

The show began with an absolutely tremendous video, chronicling Ric Flair’s life from childhood to present, then showed Vader as a total beast. Not only was the video great, but it was short too. There’s no wasted time in the video; it was perfect. Then, Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura, the two commentators, hyped the entire card, especially the main event. Vader and Harley Race are shown arriving at the arena. Vader is a riot. In the video he just keeps saying “We’re going to have a party!” and “I like this kind of party!” It was pretty hilarious. Then, it showed Vader training in ring, which was also really entertaining. Afterwards, a video with Gene Okerlund and Ric Flair in Flair’s home is shown. Flair hugs all his kids in a really nice moment. He then bids his wife farewell and leaves. Gene and Ric are so good at selling the emotion of this match as they go to the arena. Man, they are really putting over the main event. This feels like a big deal. Then, its time for the first match…

2-cold-scorpio-marcus-bagwell-vs-paul-orndorff-paul-roma

2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell (w/ Teddy Long) vs. Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma (w/ The Assassin)

            This match was a fun enough match and a solid way to open the show. It started off hot with Roma and Orndorff attacking the faces, and then the faces cleaned house with some fun double team moves. Scorpio and Bagwell were very explosive as a team, and kept the pace up while on offense. This was shown further, as they got a large control sequence, doing some dynamic work on both the heels’ arms. The arm work was never boring, as they endeavored to keep the pace up, and the heels sold for them well. Roma was especially good, constantly complaining that Scorpio pulled the hair or that some other cheating occurred. The best was when Scorpio had an armbar on, and Roma complained it hurt like that would persuade the ref to break the hold. However, although this match was structured as a classic heat segment match, the faces controlled way too much of the math. Especially considering that the faces lost, I understand giving them so much offense. However, the heat segment was incredibly short, which made the hot tag ice cold. Then Scorpio ran wild, but, again, it wasn’t for long enough before the finish. This match had poorly budgeted time, as the first segment of face control went too long and compromised the rest of the match. It was fun, sure, but the heat and the finish suffered. On top of that, even though most of the action was fun, there was significant sloppiness. For example, Orndorff hit one of the worst scoop slams I’ve ever seen. Also, the finish looked terrible, as the Assassin put a foreign object into his mask, which wasn’t all that noticeable, then hit the weakest headbutt in the history of wrestling. It looked so weak and Scorpio got pinned off it. Just awful. However, even with the flaws this is fun enough for an opener tag match, so I can’t complain.

Rating: **¾

Post match, there is a Gene Okerlund and Ric Flair segment in the Limo, where they discuss the ramifications of Flair putting his career on the line in the main event. The build is just so great for the main event. I’m really hyped to watch it. Then, the next match is…

awesome-kong-vs-shockmaster

King Kong (w/ Awesome Kong) vs. The Shockmaster

No, not that Awesome Kong. This was merely a fat dude in a mask. The match was a total squash for Shockmaster, so it was nothing special. The Kongs attacked him before the bell, but Shockmaster got control and won during the match. The only fun part here was listening to Shiavone be confused over which Kong is which. Apparently Awesome Kong was supposed to be in the match, but King Kong decided to wrestle instead. Odd.

Rating: *

Post match, King Kong tried to hit Shockmaster but hit Awesome Kong instead. Then, Schiavone and Ventura recap the dark match, and say that The Boss (Big Bossman) will replace The British Bulldog in Rick Rude’s title match. They cut to Ric Flair’s limo arriving at the arena and Ric Flair entering the building. Our next match is…

steven-regal-vs-ricky-steamboat

Lord Steven Regal (c.) (w/ Sir William) vs. Ricky Steamboat – 15 Minute Time Limit – WCW Television Championship Match

            Ugh, this should have been so much better than it was. I’m quite disappointed at how this match transpired. This match started okay, with a nice collar and elbow tie up sequence and some good arm wringer spots. However, Steamboat did not want to work tonight, as he just stalled and rested this whole match. The champion should at least been the one stalling, as he can keep the belt by time limit draw, but no, Steamboat stalled forever. Then, he locked on some pretty lengthy armbars too, which were pretty rough. While the holds were technically well executed and these two were good enough to keep the match decent, there was just a lot of nothing happening here. The worst is that Steamboat’s strategy here goes contrary to logic, as he should push the pace and try to win before the draw. Instead he locked in long rest hold to wear down Regal. Once the ring announcer said there were only five minutes left, I thought Steamboat would pick up the pace. He didn’t He waited until three minutes to actually start trying to win. That pissed me off royally. Also, It was clear these two were doing the draw from the start, adding to the boredom on my part. This match wasn’t bad, but I’m very disappointed on how it turned out. It seemed like neither guy cared at all.

Rating: **½

Post match, Shiavone and Ventura talked about Ric Flair and his change in attitude. However, our next match quickly began…

tex-slazenger-shanghi-pierce-vs-cactus-jack-max-payne

Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce vs. Cactus Jack & Max Payne

            I don’t really know what to say here. I mean, this definitely wasn’t good, but it wasn’t totally offensive either. It’s a match that’s just there; it fills up the time it takes, then is immediately forgotten about. There was no real story to speak of, as neither team got the heat and no one really did anything more than random stuff. When a match has no story, the action needs to carry the match, but the action here was nowhere near good enough to carry this. It was pretty slow for a while, where everything was lethargic but well executed, but once the pace picked up it got pretty sloppy. Some example are when Cactus hit one of the worst dives I’ve ever seen, or when Payne no sold a top rope axe handle and just slapped on a submission. Plus, there was tons of stalling at the beginning, making this match even more worthless. The only real thing of note is that Cactus’ team got the lion’s share of the offense and won, making it clear they were the team with the highest ceiling. Otherwise, this match was a bore and a total waste of space.

Rating: *½

Next, Gene Okerlund hyped the hotline and introduced Kyle Petty, a NASCAR driver. He said “you know” about 700 times while cutting a pretty rough promo about Ric Flair. Then, its time for the next match…

dustin-rhodes-vs-steve-austin

Dustin Rhodes (c.) vs. Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Col. Parker) – United States Heavyweight Championship Match – 2 out of 3 Falls Match

            Right here is a match that was totally inoffensive yet also totally forgettable. Early going the story was pretty simple, with Rhodes outsmarting Austin and Austin having to escape to the outside to regroup. In theory, this is a solid enough story to begin the match. In execution, this was a pretty boring portion, with Rhodes using endless headlocks only for Austin to stall of the outside. It was so boring. Once the match got going, though, it was perfectly fine. Austin got the majority of the offense midway through, being the heel, and Rhodes hit some solid moves throughout to stay alive. However, the action here wasn’t flashy enough to be exciting or story driven enough to be compelling. Overall, it was a well executed, if bland portion of the match. However, post fall 1 Austin got some color and the match heated up a bit. It never got truly epic or anything, but the action picked up to a decent extent. However, fall 1 was the vast majority of the match, as everything after that was very brief. I mean, the match got better as it went, but it goes from painfully boring to forgettably okay. I don’t hate this match or think its bad, I just know I will forget about it very quickly.

Rating: **½

(Sidenote: Having throwing someone over the top rope as a DQ is so archaic and stupid. I just hate it so much.)
Post match, the announcers hyped the rest of the card and gave the story behind Rick Rude vs. The Boss. Then, there was some brief hype for the tag match. None of this was too long, as the next match begins shortly…

rick-rude-vs-the-boss

“Ravishing” Rick Rude (c.) vs. The Boss – WCW International World Heavyweight Championship Match

            I think this match is pretty much summed up by the audible groan I made when I saw the terrible finish here. Just ugh. This wasn’t actively bad or anything, but it never went above and beyond to do something half decent, never left first gear, and never really had any fun back and forth action to speak of. The only story here was The Boss muscling around Rude with generic babyface offense, while Rude did heelish things to stay alive, like eye gouging or running the face across the ropes. Otherwise, it was pretty much just stuff happening because this match got 10 minutes. Also, Boss, who was never really all that good, got the lion’s share of the offense. Just great. To nitpick, one spot just pissed me off to no end. At one point, Bossman, on the outside, did a suplex onto the apron from the ground, but then draped Rude’s legs over the top rope. Only issue though, Rude could get out at any time as his leg was just draped over the top rope with nothing tying him there or anything. It looked so shit and so fake. Other than that, it was just stuff happening in really boring fashion. Then, the finish rolled around and was botched pretty bad, with it clear the Boss’ shoulders just weren’t down at all. Whatever. At least the match ended. While not actively bad, the match was boring beyond belief and overall just not entertaining. Isn’t entertainment what wrestling is ultimately?
Rating: *¾

Schiavone then proceeded to plug the next PPV, Superbrawl III. The most awkward moment happened, when Shiavone just said, “You’re a good looking man.” out of nowhere to Ventura. Um, time for the next match…

the-nasty-boys-vs-sting-hawk

The Nasty Boys (c.) (w/ Missy Hyatt) vs. Sting & Road Warrior Hawk – WCW World Tag Team Championship Match

            I’m at a loss for words. I have nothing to say other than this match fucking sucked. Like, fuck this match. Honestly, just fuck this match. Its nearly thirty goddamn minutes long, no one does anything, and there’s a screwy finish. I don’t even know what to say. Should I get into the details of the bullshit? I’d be here for hours to be honest! I hate it. I really, really hate it. I will say the only positive about this shitshow was, when the faces were on offense very early, they had some cool power moves. Like Hawk military pressing Sting over the top rope onto the Nasties was cool. Other than that, I have nothing. Honestly, how many ways is there to say nothing happened. Lets find out! The Nasties stalled for eons right after the bell rang, playing to the crowd, exiting the ring, etc. Also, as soon as any action would occur, they’d leave. Legit, it was: Sting does an arm drag, and the Nasties leave, Hawk does some power moves and the Nasties peace out. Then, they got a terrible heat segment on Hawk where they worked the arm for no reason. Then, Hawk no sold out of nowhere, missed a clothesline, and that was it for the comeback. The ref then missed the hot tag in that classic heel spot used well by the likes of Arn Anderson or the Revival, but in this match it was shit. Then, not thirty seconds after the ref missed Hawk’s tag, he got the coldest hot tag ever. This is when the match falls to pieces. To say every botched or illogical spot would take all day, but lets name a few:

  1. One of the Nasties hit the worst bodyslam ever
  2. Someone got thrown over the top rope in front of the ref yet there was no DQ
  3. There was another hideous scoop slam
  4. Another dude got thrown over the top for no DQ
  5. Another horrid powerslam occurred
  6. Sting just straight up missed a double clothesline

I could keep going, but I won’t. Also, the heat segment on Sting (yes, there are TWO HEAT SEGMENTS) was so horribly dull, with it mostly being abdominal stretches. Then, after another cold hot tag came the finish. Sting and Hawk hit the Doomsday Device and Missy Hyatt broke up the pin. She broke up the pin after over 28 minutes. That’s the finish. That’s it. That’s the fucking finish. Just get out of here with that shit. Oh! I almost forgot. Missy Hyatt was god fucking awful here. She would just scream and shout random shit like a petulant child in the worst way possible. She would get attached to words and phrases and just incessantly repeat them. Some of the worst ones were “Cheater! Cheater!” and “LOD is history” and “Nasties are the beeest”. At one point she literally goes “na-na-na-na boo-boo”. SHUT THE FUCK UP! Oh my god this match went thirty minutes. HOW? Who gave them that time?! This is just so bad I can’t handle it. I’m out man. There’s nothing else to say. Fuck it, you know?

Rating: DUD

Mean Gene then promoted Max Payne and Cactus Jack on a special phone line. Then, its finally time for our MAIN EVENT!

 ric-flair-vs-vader

Vader (c.) vs. Ric Flair – WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match – If Ric Flair loses, he will retire

            I mean, there are a few small flaws here, but by far this was the best match of the night and one of the best matches in Starrcade’s history. The simple story of Flair fighting through seemingly insurmountable odds worked like a charm and added a great layer of emotion to the contest. Vader looked like an absolute killer and did a great job beating down the Nature Boy. He was stiff, slow, and powerful, making him seem like the best horror movie monster ever, lethal and dangerous. Flair also played his part in creating this aura, as he sold great, bumped like an absolute boss, and had great facials to sell the pain and hopelessness. Every time Flair tried to make a comeback, it was squashed quickly; these comebacks were perfectly timed too, far enough apart to make Vader’s beating feel oppressive yet often enough to show Flair still had life. The buildups to knocking down Vader were also superb, as Flair really did feel like he was chopping the man down. He started with chops that seemed to have no effect, but then, after minutes of striking on and off, he finally got punches and top rope axe handles to knock him down. Just great. I will say, though, that one axe handle was just blatantly missed, and even though I’m pretty lenient with botches, that did hurt the comeback quite a bit. Regardless, Race played a decent role early on too, being another obstacle between Flair and winning. At one point, Flair finally got a flurry of offense on the floor, but Race cut him off behind the ref’s back to stifle that momentum in its tracks. That was great. All this buildup with the beat down exploded with Flair’s comeback, as he finally came through all the adversity and got back into the match. His comeback wasn’t only explosive and paced well, but layered and character driven. To comeback, Ric Flair had to channel classic Ric Flair, cheating and using legwork for an end. Not only did Flair work over the leg like a boss, but he also used a chair, displaying that he is still the dirtiest player in the game. The legwork here was so good, as he didn’t do all that much, but had the fans roaring for a potential figure 4. When he locked it in, the place went apeshit. Vader also did well here, showing some desperation as the match spiraled out of control for him, sold well, and hit offense at just the right time to turn the tide but not kill the heat of the match. However, the finish did fall flat, as Race blatantly interfered in the match, which should have been a DQ, and then Flair got an anti-climactic, out of nowhere banana peel rollup for the win. Honestly, the match felt like it had five or so more minutes left in it, but then it ended. Even with that, though, for such a complex, multilayered, well paced, and fun match, this cannot be anything but awesome.

Rating: ****¼

Post match, the crowd lost their minds for Flair’s win. The emotion in that building was just epic and overwhelming. There were literally people jumping up and down. My lord, its just great. Oddly, though, Flair didn’t really bask in it; he bolted to the back. Backstage, Eric Bischoff tried to get an interview with Vader, but Vader was too busy flipping shit and breaking stuff. In contrast, Flair re entered to thank the crowd a bit, and then went backstage. Mean Gene was with Flair’s family backstage when Flair comes over. Ric Flair was very emotional and it’s just great. Sting popped over, and cut a very nice promo with Flair. Then, Ricky Steamboat walked over and cut a mediocre promo. To end the show, Flair just said how fortunate he is. Mean Gene bid us farewell and that’s it. Close curtain.

Overall:
At least one match didn’t suck. I mean, not all matches were bad, but if they weren’t bad they were boring or if they weren’t boring they were poorly executed. Some matches were just awful and soporific. However, a lot of the show was built around hyping the main event, which they did well. Then the main event didn’t disappoint, so that’s good. I will say that the main event here is just must watch wrestling, but the rest of the card is at best skippable and at worst actively bad.

Rating: **

Thank you so much for reading my Starrcade 1993 review! I’m very happy you took the time to check this review out. This show was pretty rough, and I’m sure that next year won’t be better. Who doesn’t want Brutus Beefcake vs. Hulk Hogan main eventing! Ugh. Anyway, I’m making great headway on the AJPW reviews, which is good, and hopefully I can finish the last part of Danielson vs. McGuinness and move onto new rivaries. Other than that, check out new updates and such here, and check out some of my other writings at freeprowrestling.com. If you want to contact me, check here. Otherwise, like, comment, share, or do whatever else you want to do. Thank you for reading and see you next time!

Top Ten Matches in Starrcade History:

  1. Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA – ’85 – *****
  2. Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger – ’88 – ****½
  3. Doom vs. The Horsemen – ’90 – ****½
  4. Vader vs. Ric Flair – ’93 – ****¼
  5. Tully Blanchard vs. Ricky Steamboat – ’84 – ****¼
  6. The Minnesota Wrecking Crew vs. The Rock & Roll Express – ’86 – ****
  7. Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper – ’83 – ****
  8. The Original Midnight Express vs. The Midnight Express – ’88 – ****
  9. Barry Windham & Flyin’ Brian vs. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas – ’92 – ****
  10. Ronnie Garvin vs. Ric Flair – ’87 – ****

-Terrance Smith

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