WCW Starracde 1993 Review
Monday, December 27th, 1993 – Independence Arena – Charlotte, North Carolina – A show that I used to rent a lot when I was younger, I wanted to review was this very show, World Championship Wrestling’s Starrcade 1993! Starrcade 1993 was tenth anniversary of WCW’s WrestleMania and what better way than put the biggest star in the main event in his home town? Let’s get into the tape!
A piano music track plays when the pay-per-view opens, showing up the history of Ric Flair, the challenger in the main event of the card. Then we see the WCW Champion, Vader, with some heavy metal rifts. Pyro goes off and our announcers welcomes us to the show, Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura! To my surprise, “the Body” Ventura’s in a suit! Looking pretty good for the future Minnesota Governor!
Tony and Jesse show us a video of Vader and his manager Harley Race making it early to the arena to train. Vader’s is in a awesome leather jacket and sweat pants and Race is in a suit. I guess it’s a good thing McMahon wasn’t booking WCW in 1993, if so, Vader may have been fired for being the World Heavyweight Champion and not wearing a suit.
When the show opened, Ric Flair hasn’t arrived at the arena. “Mean” Gene Okerlund was sent to “the Nature Boy”’s home to get him (pretty much) and Flair was telling his family “goodbye’s” with a side of hugs and kisses. A babyface Flair is always a great thing in my eyes.
The main event sees Ric Flair putting his career on the line for Vader’s WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Okerlund put that over with Flair on their limo ride over and Flair’s pretty calm, telling “Mean” Gene that he knew what he was getting into when he signed the contract for the card.
2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell (with Teddy Long) versus Pretty Wonderful (Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma) (with the Assassin)
After Scorpio and Bagwell got into the ring with Teddy Long, Long was given the 1993 WCW manager of the Year award. Great work, playa, I’m hoping you’ll get the 2012 WWE General Manager’s Assistant award.
When Pretty Wonderful entered the ring, the four men started to brawl, not starting the match until referee Nick Patrick can gain control of the competitors.
One thing I appreciate about the two teams in this match is, each guy has matching attire to his tag partner. Scorpio and Bagwell are wearing bright orange and black full tights and Pretty Wonderful are wearing black trunks with words written in red on the back. Matching team attires are always a must in tag team competition!
The crowd seemed pretty into Orndorff and Roma, chanting “Paula!” at Roma, I’m assuming to give him a hard time for having a girl’s first name. Reading his body language whenever the crowd chant it, I can’t blame him for hating his name.
Off and on the crowd’s pretty quiet for this match and at times they’re into the match. More times than not they’re quiet. I have to say not the greatest way to open the card this Monday night before 1994.
The end of the match seen Teddy Long distracting Nick Patrick, allowing the Assassin to put something in his mask, headbutting Scorpio, and Mr. Wonderful picking up the pinfall!
Winners: Pretty Wonderful with a wonderful victory!
We go back to the limo ride with Okerlund and Flair seems un-Flair like they put over that this very December night in 1993 could be the last time we see “the Nature Boy” in a professional wrestling match. I have a feeling that this might be Ric Flair’s last match (of course, adding in scarcasm with that sentence).
Awesome Kong (with King Kong) versus the Shockmaster
A big man versus another big man match, which means we’ll see a lot of high-flying and a lot of techincal wrestling for this match! Yes!
When the Shockmaster got in the ring, King Kong and Awesome Kong attacked the Shockmaster. A few minutes passed and Randy Anderson gained control of the match and forced the one-on-one rules. Thanks Randy Anderson!
The match was a short-match, around ninty seconds. Big body slam was how it ended.
Winner: the Shockmaster and the Natural Disasters for a huge earthquake happened after the body slam.
We go back and see Ric Flair and Gene Okerlund arrive at the arena and a faint “Wooooo!” from the fans. “Mean” Gene told Ric “good luck” with his main event match.
WCW World Television Championship match :: 15-minute time limit :: Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat versus Lord Steven Regal (champion) (with Sir William)
I remembered that for most of his career, William Regal wrestled under the first name of Steven. Both first names sounds classy, especially how good of a wrestler Regal is, and how well he comes across, he’s a great heel.
Nick Patrick is back and shows the belt to Steamboat and Steamboat shows off the belt, and the fans cheer. Patrick grabs the title back and shows off the belt and the bell rings.
Ventura tells us that being the challenger in the time-limit championship match, he has to be the aggressor if he wants to capture the belt. Thanks Jesse for the proverb!
The match is very slow paced with a lot of holds. For a wrestling fan like I who’s a smark, I appreciate the technical wrestling and appreciate European chain wrestling. Story-telling at it’s finest whenever Steven Regal’s showing off his technical skills.
Ventura was mentioning that Steamboat needs to pick up the pace if he wants to win the match and capture the Television title from Regal. Can’t argue with “the Body” with that statement, you have two people to beat in the TV title bouts, the champion and the clock.
When Gary Michael Cappetta (the ring announcer) announced that there was three minutes left in the match, Steamboat started to pick the pace up, trying to ware Regal down more to capture the Television gold. Come on Steamboat!
After each minute, the fans get more into the match when Cappetta announces that another minute goes and the pace picks up in the ring. The crowd cheers when Steamboat flew off the top rope when Cappetta counts down the last ten-seconds. Sorry Ricky “the Dragon,” you didn’t win the gold on this December night.
Winner: the time limit yet the smarks are the real winners.
Schiavone and Ventura talks more about the WCW Title main event and Tony tells Jesse that he’s concerned for Flair, that he might retire tonight. Ventura mentions that retirement isn’t as bad as people think it is, heck, Ventura mentioned, look at him, he became a successful color-commentator, Flair can strive to be like Jesse after he lost to Vader.
Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce versus Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne
I just relized, Tex Slazenger would finish 1990’s in the WWE as Mideon! I never knew Mideon wrestled in WCW, especially when Mick Foley was there in the early ’90’s!
Schiavone and Ventura tells us a 1993 history lesson where on a Saturday Night taping in April, Vader put Cactus Jack out of action and Ventura helped Jack onto a streacher and, according to Schiavone and Ventura, no one thought he’d come back. Vader must of put a huge beating down on Cactus for the announcers to think that.
For the size of the guys in the match, I’m not surprised that the crowd isn’t into the match, unless Cactus does his signature moves. Along with that, I’m not surprised these four men aren’t any good in the techical skills, but that’s okay, right? Everyone has to wrestle a different kind of story, but the only thing bad about this match is, the crowd seems to not care for the match.
The match ends when Cactus hit the double arm DDT for the win.
Winners: Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne! I suppose as well as Cactus’ cacti ights.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund welcomed Kyle Petty, a NASCAR driver back in ’93, and interviewed him on the “Mean Gene” position. Okerlund asked him about retirement because Petty’s father retired recently. Petty said that it’s a shame if someone has to retire at the top of their game and hopes that Flair doesn’t have to retire during his prime.
WCW United States Championship match :: Two-Out-of-Three Falls match :: “Stunning” Steve Austin (with Col. Robert Parker) versus “the Natural” Dustin Rhodes (champion)
I watched the WWE Fully Loaded 1998 pay-per-view last weekend and the WWE Intercontinental title was also in a two-out-of-three falls and both Triple H and the Rock went to the full time limit. I hope, for a second weekend, I don’t see another draw (especially when we seen a draw already on this very card).
Both Rhodes and Austin do a lot of ground-chain wrestling, which is great to see. I wish the fans at the arena in 1993 and fans in 2012 would appreciate seeing chain wrestling, as well as technical wrestling. Wrestlers nowadays aren’t anything like they were during this time period.
A funny conversation that Ventura and Schiavone were discussing Parker’s cigars. Ventura questioned Schiavone, wondering why Col. Parker’s cigars are never lit when he’s ringside and having one in his mouth. They talked some politics, which doesn’t surprise me coming from one of my Governors.
Rhodes had a taped right fist for the matched and the announcers kept mentioning it and Ventura, as usual, questions why Rhodes has to have a taped fist. I think that’s a conspiracy Jesse!
Austin went for an easy cover, not hooking a leg or anything, and got a two count. Ventura mentioned that if he would of hooked a leg or the head or a half nelson, he would of picked up the first fall. I can see Ventura’s logic, if he would of hooked something, he’d have a better chance of scoring a fall, but not necessary that fall.
Col. Parker jumped up on the apron to distract Rhodes and Rhodes threw Austin into him, giving Austin the first fall. How? During this time in WCW, if you tossed someone outside the ring, that’s a disqualification.
Austin – 1
Rhodes – 0
Those two men brawled outside the ring and Rhodes left Austin in a pool of beaten mess. Rhodes threw him into the ring to start the second fall and when this happened, the lights went out and the crew had to pull out some spot lights for the match. During this time, Austin’s been busted wide open.
Austin was being pumpled in the corner and pushed Rhodes off and covered him, grabbed the tights, and picked up the second fall.
Austin – 2
Rhodes – 0
The announcers were surprised that Austin won two straight falls.
Winner: Steve Austin and the disqualification rule that WCW had in place. Thanks!
The British Bulldog was suppose to be Rick Rude’s challenger for the WCW International title but couldn’t compete, so the Boss was bumped into the Bulldog’s spot. I find that funny cause of the whole UFC 151 situation that went down recently. I guess Dana White didn’t watch much of WCW in 1993, or he didn’t take any notes.
WCW International Heavyweight Championship match :: the Boss versus Rick Rude (champion)
When the Boss was coming out, Schiavone said, “He’s one big guy.”
“With one big stick!” Ventura mentioned. That made me laugh, thinking of how dirty that comment is that Jesse “the Body” uttered.
Rick Rude did his pre-match pose down and before he posed, he grabbed the mic and told the fans that he’s the “Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion!” To be honest, I would love if he, in his prime, could face Chris Jericho during his prime. They would have had great promos with one another and would have had great matches too.
A fun fact: the Boss in WCW did the same character the Big Bossman played in the WWF. Oh wait, the Boss is the Big Bossman! Go Bossman! Win the WCW International title!
An odd note I picked up on for this match: the Boss was portrayed to be the babyface and wore black for this match and Rude is the heel and has the colorful tights.
Ventura mentioned Rick Rude’s history before wrestling, being a tough man bouncer in bars in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, before becoming pro. He also is undefeated, to what Jesse knows, at arm wrestling, and that’s a tough thing to do in arm wrestling in Minnesota bars.
Boss is one of the better big men wrestlers and Rick Rude is known for putting on great matches with guys who aren’t the greatest wrestlers, yet this match isn’t the best. It could be the quiet crowd, but I feel like the Boss and Rude don’t have any chemistry together in the squared circle.
Both the champion and challenger got into the center of the ring and the challenger locked in a bear hug. Rude got out of the hug by biting the Boss’s nose. Minnesotans always fight dirty!
After a mistake by the Boss and a sunset flip, Rude retains the title after scoring the pin!
Winner: Ravishing Rick Rude and the whole state of Minnesota!
He’s simply ravishing with that victory!
World Tag Team Championship Match :: Sting and Road Warrior Hawk versus the Nasty Boys (champions – Missy Hyatt)
When Sting and Hawk came out, Ventura and Schiavone put over odd team, saying that the only way they’ll lose is if they defeat themselves.
After the bell rang, the Nasty Boys were taunting the fans and the crowd was booing and Schiavone got after the champions, and Ventura got after Tony, asking him if he expected anything different. One thing I love about watching old tapes, having Jesse Ventura on color commentary, since he called it the way I often see it whenever I watch the old tapes.
For the start of the match, both teams kept the pace pretty slow. Knowing the Nasty Boys and knowing Hawk, those three men are brawlers and their fights don’t last too long, so milking the crowd for as long as they can, I have to give them props.
Several minutes into the match, the crowd didn’t seem too interested into what the four competitors were doing in the ring. To be honest, I really can’t blame them. This being the seventh match in, the crowd didn’t seem to care much on what’s going on. Maybe bad placement for the match? I believe so.
The crowd seemed to get into the match when on the floor; Missy Hyatt smacked Hawk with her whip. Ventura and Schiavone seem to get excited when she used it, as with the fans.
When Knobs had Hawk in a rest hold and Hawk slapped the man, trying to get the fans to cheer him into countering the hold, no one cared. Wow, was the crowd that burnt out, or did they simply not care for the match?
A spot that got the fans into the match was when the Nasty Boys, along with the beautiful Missy Hyatt, tried to walk out and get a count-out loss, but the challengers ran out and brought them back to the ring. Smart thinking on both teams. If I were a wrestler, that’s how I try ending each match, if I can’t lose the title by being counted out, why not get counted out?
Each time I hear Gary Cappetta tell us how much time we have left for the time-limit title match, I couldn’t wait for the match to end, since I started to battle sleep half-way through this match. I’m sorry, but these four men didn’t and couldn’t make me care for this match.
The match ended in a disqualification, meaning that the Nasty Boys retained the titles! Thank you whoever had time limits in WCW back then, since this match was hard to keep paying attention during!
WCW World Heavyweight Championship :: Vader (champion – with Harley Race) versus Ric Flair
Vader came out first, which I found to be odd, but this being Ric Flair’s home town, I can handle the challenger coming out second. After Vader and Race came to the ring, Vader walked over to Ventura and barked at him to get comfortable, since he’s about to give the challenger the beating of his lifetime!
When the challenger came to the ring, the crowd all jumped to their feet and remained on their feet during the introductions by Michael Buffer.
For the match, Vader put his championship up on the line if Ric Flair put his career on the line. During this time, career stipulations were rarely done, so this seemed legit.
The first few minutes of the match were pretty slow, doing a slow build for the finish of the match. Flair had Vader chase him around the outside the ring, which the crowd ate up. Once both men got into the ring, Vader got the upper-hand on Flair, making sure the fans were sitting on the edge of their seats.
One thing I love about Vader during this time was whenever he had the advantage, he’d yell at the fans. At Starrcade 1993, he often yell at the fans, asking them, “Who’s the man?” Yes Vader, walking into Starrcade, you’re the man!
A mistake that the champion took that got the fans to cheer was when Vader stood on the bottom rope and tried to splash the challenger. A bad landing for the champion when Ric Flair rolled out of the way, causing Vader to eat canvas, to the cheers of the hometown crowd.
Within moments, Vader got the upper hand again and when Vader had Flair on his shoulder, the champion yelled at the crowd, “Huh?,” waiting for them to boo him out of the building.
When Cappetta announced that 15 minutes of this 45 minute match passed, it surprised me how well these two men paced this match better than the World Tag title match just before this. It didn’t feel like 15 minutes and I wished this match could have gone longer.
The end of the match saw when Race tried to interfere by jumping off the top rope onto Flair, but Flair rolled out of the way and hit his own man, Vader. Randy Anderson, the ref for the match, kicked him out of the ring and moments later, Flair rolled Vader up and scored the pinfall victory!
Winner: Ric Flair, the new World Heavyweight Champion!
Dave Meltzer said on January 3rd, 1994 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (can be found here) that “Ric Flair’s 11th (or 10th, or 12th, depending on what you consider a world title and what you’re willing to accept and ignore when it comes to wrestling history) world title victory was easily the most memorable of all his title wins, and created a unique emotional moment almost foreign to American wrestling.
In what was easily the best job of build-up for a single match in the five-year history of WCW, Starrcade ’93, by virtue of a horrible situation that took place two months earlier in England, was switched from the planned Vader losing the WCW title to Sid Vicious, to Vader losing the title to Flair in a match where Flair put his career on the line.”
Meltzer also gave this match a four-and-three-quarter-star rating, which I cannot argue with. I also wrote about this match at CamelClutchBlog[dot]Com (which can be found here). A great match, but not so much for a whole show. So if you can find the match (which shouldn’t be too hard to find), go out of your way and watch it if you hadn’t seen it before. If you have a few hours and wanted to spend watching some old school wrestling, take time and watch it.