Just so that everyone doesn’t think I’m picking on Vince Russo, I decided to watch Starrcade 1994 last night. I made it about 15 minutes in before the first match started. I can see I am going to HATE this show. They opened the show with a replay of a pretty good Randy Savage promo from Saturday Night (which in typical WCW fashion they called Main Event) where Savage promised to show up at Starrcade and either slap Hulk Hogan in the face or shake his hand. After that, some hillbilly that I have never heard of came out in a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey to sing the national anthem. They were in Nashville, so I have no idea why he was wearing a Tampa Bay jersey. At least when WWE has someone out to sing the national anthem, they are usually presentable. This looked like some hayseed they found in the crowd who could happen to sing. Bitching mullet though. However, Tony Schiavone’s mullet was not to be out done.
Next we get a video of Hulk Hogan accepting the wrestler of the year award from PWI. Hogan came off as the world’s biggest mark for himself here, so it was probably the most real look at Hogan ever. Sting was sitting there too for some reason. Maybe they show his speech later. So Hogan said that people all over the world were asking when he was going to come back before he had come back earlier in the year and he thanked “the WCW” for the chance to wrestle Ric Flair. Why this was on the show is beyond me. This was Saturday Night or Power Hour material.
We finally get a match and it’s Vader challenging Hacksaw Jim Duggan for the US title. You know, a 1984 Duggan vs. 1992 Vader match would have been awesome. This, however, is not that. I would have preferred some more video packages. It’s not like this was all time bad, and on a lot of those Russo shows this would have been among the better matches on the show, but it was just such a mismatch of styles and it wasn’t a match up that worked in either guys favor. Vader needs someone willing to take an ass whipping and Duggan needs someone to bump for all his dumb looking bullshit. And it wouldn’t be WCW without some sort of bullshit finish. Duggan ran into Race who was holding his own 2×4 at the time and that led to Vader using his reverse powerbomb for the win. The reverse powerbomb is like a wheelbarrow face buster, but it was basically a move for guys to scared to take the powerbomb from Vader. This show is off to a rocking start!
Wow. There is a promo from the Three Faces of Fear that is the epitome of a bad “wrestling promo.” It’s so freaking bad. Avalanche yells and screams, Beefcake looks like a complete tool, Sullivan talks about the end of Hulkamania, and they are carrying a tombstone that says Hulkamania will “rest in agony.” Avalanche’s singlet is offensive in the crotchular region. This is where it was determined that this show looks like people from your neighborhood, mostly the dads, having a wrestling show.
Jean Paul Levesque is out next, and if you watch this match and think “hey, that guy is going to be one of the most influential and important men in wrestling in 15 or so years” you are a fucking liar. He was a big green dude with a HELL of a head of hair. He wrestles Alex Wright, a smaller green dude with a less impressive head of hair, and they had a pretty solid match. I’ve always been a big Alex Wright fan, and I enjoyed watching this. They did some good mat stuff which Wright got the better of, so JPL hits a great punch and takes control. JPL controls the match for a while and it’s completely different from what you see from HHH. He looked so young and was really working hard despite his level of experience at this point. He goes up top and misses an elbow, allowing Wright to come back and run wild for a minute. They go back and forth some before Wright gets a roll up for the surprise win. Not a great match, by any means, but a solid match that was easy to watch. This was the kind of match that would fit right in on Raw or Smackdown now.
Honky Tonk Man vs. Johnny B Badd is the scheduled TV title match, but Honky quit before this show when he wasn’t offered a contract. They wanted to pay him something like $1,000 per appearance, but he said no. Can you imagine? In 94 someone was willing to pay Honky Tonk Man $1,000 per appearance. Fuck. That’s amazing. So Arn Anderson is the replacement. Arn is the ultimate wrestler who looks like your dad. He’s the “looks like your dad” heavyweight champion.
OMG the Stockyard. Don’t let me forget to talk about the Stockyard.
So Arn and Johnny have a match that two guys who didn’t know they were wrestling one another until about 30 minutes ago would have. It was just… there. They did some spots, some nearfalls, and Badd got the win with a roll up. There is literally nothing to say about this. Honestly, this was the most nothing happening match that you have ever seen.
They did another PWI award segment with the Nasty Boys winning the tag team of the year award. Must have been a shit year for tag teams. Saggs yelled, and then passed the award to Knobbs so he could yell. Horrible.
Remember that time WWF had a PPV and, in the middle, they did an advertisement for a local eatery? Yeah, me neither. WCW did, however. The Stockyard in Nashville is where the WCW stars eat when they are in Nashville. I went to a website for a restaurant in Nashville called the Stockyard, and I am going to assume it’s the same place. It’s actually a pretty nice looking place, no prices on the menu online so you know it’s pricey and they won a bunch of awards, but I couldn’t believe there was a local restaurant commercial on this live, national PPV. Probably the most WCW thing of all time. Actually, it would have been more WCW if they would have said something about eating a local Sizzler, but this was pretty bush league.
Harlem Heat vs. the best tag team of 1994, The Nasty Boys. These two teams always had pretty good chemistry, so this should be pretty fun. The Nasty Boys control early with their brawling. It’s pretty average until they go outside. They fight for a while outside and all four guys are clubbing each other. Tony asks who the legal man is, and I could hear Stevie Ray in the ring wondering if this was a hardcore match. Things settle down and there is one of the all-time worst botched spots between Stevie and Knobbs. I mean, they looked like two dudes who have never been in the ring before at all. I honestly can’t even describe it. The Nasty Boys actually control a ton of this match working on Booker’s arm. The hit a few divorce courts to the arm, drop some headbutts on the arm, run the arm into the corner. It’s like watching an Anderson’s match if the Anderson’s were fat, uncoordinated and wrestled in baggy pants and t-shirts. The Stockyard actually offers a shuttle service. I would love to talk so some of those shuttle drivers that worked with the WCW guys. The stories they could tell. Somehow, Saggs ends up outside even though he is the legal man, with Stevie Ray, who is not legal. Stevie beats the hell out of Saggs all the way up the aisle and brings him back down. Jesus this match is just taking for fucking ever. Stevie Ray is in now and locks in a nerve hold. He’s been in the match for around 2 minutes of the 18 hours that has taken place, and he has to lock in a rest hold. And now a bearhug. This is BORING. BORING. And it’s Booker T putting the bearhug on. Knobbs is probably the most active guy yet in the match trying to get the crowd back into it.
I thought this would be a 10 minute or so match. This is stupid. That said, the crowd was into it when Knobbs made the tag. He bumbled around and hit his stupid looking offense and yelled a lot. Stevie holds Knobbs for Sherri to attack, but he ducks and she sprays Stevie on accident. So this allows the Nastys to dump Ray and hit a diving elbow on Booker. Sherri tries to interfere and hits Booker instead, leading to a DQ win for the Nasty Boys. How does a manager accidentally hitting their own guy lead to the other team winning by DQ? That makes no fucking sense. After the match, Sherri takes a trip to Pitty City and the crowd pops huge. I looked it up. 17 minutes and 49 seconds. 17 fucking minutes. If this was 10 minutes, I bet it would have been pretty good if not really good, but it was SOOOOOOO damn long.
Sting won the most popular wrestler of the year. I assume all this guys went to the Stockyard to celebrate. Even Bill Apter managed to say “This is Sting” which is something WWE couldn’t get right. Summer and I decided that Sting is the cool step dad who married your friend’s really hot mom.
Sting is doing an interview with Mean Gene. Sting is tired of talking about what he is going to do. He then proceeds to talk about what he is going to do for about 2 minutes. He loves the Stingers, and he is going to be a giant killer when he wrestles Avalanche.
The announcer states that “The following score settling contest is scheduled for one fall.” Wouldn’t all of these matches be to settle a score? Kevin Sullivan is out acting like a loon, and his opponent is Mr. T. Mr T was awful 10 years before this. I can’t even imagine how bad he is in 94. Mr T looks so stupid. He has on a ref shirt and a ref stocking cap. He takes the cap off. About 5 seconds into the match, Evad Sullivan comes out dressed like Santa and is handing out ugly t-shirts to the crowd. In the ring, Kevin does his best to make T look like he knows what he is doing. It’s not working. T is awful when on offense. His selling is a little better because he really just lays there. Sullivan pulls the ref shirt up and you can see why T was wearing a loose shirt over his tight t-shirt because he was not in game shape here. T makes Ralphus look like Misawa. Jimmy Hart comes out and hands Evad his megaphone. Hart distracts the ref, Evad nails Kevin with it, and Mr. T pins Kevin Sullivan.
T flees to the locker room and Kevin Sullivan beats the hell out of Evad. While dressed as Santa Claus. He piledrives Santa Claus and whips the shit out of him. The crowd actually chants for Hogan, who gives Cena a run in the “shitty friend” category because of course Hogan doesn’t come out. Kevin gets tired of whipping Evad and just leaves.
This show is so boring. At least the Russo shows are wacky enough to be interesting.
Hulk Hogan cuts a fucking fired up babyface angry as shit promo. He is a complete damn fool.
Oh, I forgot. Tony kept going on and on about all the “big celebrities” in the crowd. Summer and I thought it was odd that he mentioned this at least 4 times without them showing someone. So they finally go to a shot of the guy that sang the anthem and he is about 10 rows deep in the crowd. I died. If not for the Stockyard, this would have been the greatest WCW moment in the history of our sport. “Hey, we got a lot of stars here! This guy is such a big star we stuck him in the 10th row!!”
This match is a “Special Attraction” according to Penzer. Avalanche comes out, which instantly makes Penzer a liar. The Man Called Sting is out next (once again the announcer says “this is Sting”) and the crowd is pumped. Announcers are doing the typical stuff about whether or not Sting can get Avalanche in the scorpion. Basically, Avalanche is fat. He shows this by jumping. The crowd boos. Sting beats his chest and the crowd loses it. Wow. Some house show level stalling to begin. I think Larry Z would be asking them to pick up the pace here. A couple minutes in and the match consists of four clubs to the back and a punch. A test of strength allows a hope spot for Sting, but Avalanche maintains control with sluggish offense. If this match goes 17 minutes I might kill someone. Sting tries something, Avalanche counters and hits fat guy moves. Clubs, elbow drops, leg drops, corner charges. They must teach this stuff at every fat guy wrestling school. I bet we get a bear hug soon.
Sting finally takes control with some eye rakes and low blows. Avalanche rolls out and stalls some more. Head lock. I’m telling you, Sting is going to break free, hit the ropes, and run right into a bear hug. A clothesline after Sting breaks free is the most exciting moment of the match so far. Powerslam by Avalanche. I hope they didn’t replace the bear hug with the headlock. That would knock at least 1/2 a star off this match. ALRIGHT!! BEAR HUG!! Tony says it’s a grizzly bear hug. And he only held it for about 5 seconds. Bullshit! Sting goes for his typical high energy comeback. Nah, just kidding. He keeps trying for sleepers. And then, like every dumb babyface, he tries to slam Avalanche and fails. Dummy. “The Faces of Fear in full force tonight.” I’ll say. Tenta gets Sting down and jumps around. Before he can hit the butt splash, Sting gets up and NOW we get the hot comeback. Ref gets stuck behind Avalanche, and then Sting hits a Stinger Splash which must kill the ref. Sting finally slams him, gets the Scorpion, and the ref is dead. Sullivan in, Sting fights him off, but Avalanche recovers and hits the butt splash. Hogan runs out with a chair, well, he makes his way out. Jogged out maybe? Anyways, he’s out to run off the heels and Randy Anderson makes his way down as well to DQ Avalanche. Well, that is 15 minutes of my life I will never get back. The last 2 minutes was fun as shit, but the first 13 were worthless, especially for a shitty DQ finish. Could have done it in 6.
Hogan already ripped his shirt off. I hope he puts another one on and rips it off before his match with Butcher. His programs with the baker and the candlestick maker are legendary, so this match should be amazing.
And back to Bill Apter to announce the manager of the year, Jimmy Hart. Is there a worse role than babyface manager, especially for a guy who doesn’t need a manager like Hogan? Jimmy Hart says this is the greatest day of his life. How shitty a life as Jimmy Hart lived? “Oh, getting a shitty plaque in a conference room at some shitty Nashville hotel is the best moment of my life.” I mean, he had a legit music career. I think that might have been kayfabe.
A video package about the horror bestowed upon Hulk Hogan by the Butcher. Beefcake is wearing two fucking fanny packs during one of these matches. He must have a lot of shit. Hogan interview while he is wearing a speedo. Can’t unsee that. This angle is actually not all that bad if you look past the lack of talent involved. The whole “friend turns against friend” element is timeless, and they did enough stuff where you really didn’t know if was Brutus until the reveal, but looking back it makes sense.
Butcher is out first doing generic heel mannerisms. Can’t believe Brutus Beefcake main evented Starrcade. Harley Race and Beefcake have that in common. Also, both probably did a shit ton of blow. Hogan is out next without a shirt. And to waste some more money, here’s Michael Buffer. This was a glorious evening of WCW wrestling, and the commissioner is the honorable Nick Bockwinkel. I think Buffer is full of shit. “Tonight, friendship and brotherhood are a thing of the past” according to Buffer. Speaking of Buffer, the buffering is back on the WWE network. “The King of Hulkmania” is how Buffer announces Hogan. Wow, this is some ego shit. Also, not a typo. He called it Hulkmania. They announce Hogan, and then play his music again and shoot off a bunch of fireworks. You know whose show this is. Tony claims that Butcher cannot match Hogan for his strength despite all his anger and ability. Beefcake tries to use a chair, but Jimmy Hart stops him. He must have known that this was not a hardcore match, Tony. They have slowly brawled on the outside for minutes now, including a chest rake from Hogan. Hogan gets the chair and waffles Beefcake with it, twice, and tries to choke him to death with it. And the ref does not DQ Hogan. What a terrible person Hulk Hogan is. I guess you get to break some rules when you are the king of Hulkmania. Butcher hits the high knee, but he hadn’t unlocked the lethal properties of the move yet like he would later on, so he has to keep working over Hogan with some pedestrian heel offense. This is like the least impressive physique Beefcake has ever displayed. He looks better now for crying out loud. Nipple rings and all.
Hogan gets control again and bites Butcher. He also threatens the great Nick Patrick, sending fear into Patrick’s heart that would last until at least 1997. Hogan continues to cheat and Butcher manages to survive and take control. Nerve holds, choke holds, back rakes. I think you could put Hulk and Beefcake in the ring tonight and they could have this same match. The buffering makes this match about 15 times worse than it really is, which is amazing because it’s already an awful match. Butcher finally locks in the sleeper, which means we can finally get Hulk to Hulk up, hit the leg drop, and get the win. Beefcake lets go before the arm drops a third time. Hogan shows that he isn’t out. Butcher goes for the pin, gets 2, and you know what happens next. Hogan hits the boot, Sullivan runs out, Avalanche, um… meanders out, and Hogan fights them off. Leg drop, pinfall, and Hogan grabs a chair to keep the faces at bay. Savage is in, and he’s with the Faces of Fear!!
Thank god, I didn’t think I would get to type that for this show. Savage attacks the Faces of Fear, and along with Hogan runs them off. Hart is running around like he just discovered the cure for cancer, aids, ebola and he destroyed ISIS all at the same time. They still tease a little tension between Hulk and Savage, but they shake hands and, for now, all is well in Hulkmania. Bobby Heenan thought Savage was a man, but he is a wimp, nerd and dork. The Mega Powers pose to the awful American Made theme and the show goes off the air.
Or not. I spoke too soon. This is the show that just won’t fucking end. Savage and Hogan walk to the back, and there’s a bunch of dorks in the locker room waiting to celebrate. Saggs, Alex Wright, Johnny B Badd, Brad Armstrong (WTF) and one of the other Armstrongs. Hogan rants and raves about Butcher being a no good son of a bitch, and Savage goes crazy too. Hogan has a bit of a knock on his head. Bockwinkel is standing there too just not impressed at all. Vader and Race come in and Vader says “you shut your mouth, it’s time to listen to Vader.” Loved that. Vader says Hogan is living with fear, and Hogan is afraid of Vader. Vader doesn’t subscribe to that Ole Anderson school of speaking quiet so people are forced to listen to you. He just yells and screams, and spits, and yells and roars. Vader wants to kill Hulkamania (is that anything like Hulkmania?) and Hulk doesn’t back down, but he does have about 8 dudes with him. Vader keeps trying to get to Hulk, and they go off the air with a scene of chaos. That was easily the best part of this show. The only thing worth watching.
Well, that was a horrible show in a completely different way. Most of it made sense, but it was all really fucking dull. Slow matches, long matches, no one working hard, and just a bunch of boring shit.Not as all around bad as Mayhem, but I would watch Mayhem again before I would watch this again.
Oh, and they had credits. All the credits were serious, and then you get this gem:
Legal Beagle: Gary Juster