Tim Watches The Worst Of The WWE Network: WCW Starrcade 1991
You know what would be a great idea for a one off TV special? A random drawing tag team tournament where there were 40 guys and you drew them into random teams and had them wrestle and the winners all went on to a battle royal. Maybe even a two ring battle royal. Really not a terrible idea for an episode of Raw.
You know what would be a terrible idea for the biggest show of the year?
Starrcade 1991 took place somewhere in the south. I missed it. Maybe Norfolk? The building looks like Norfolk. The show kicks off with Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross introducing the concept of BattleBowl and pitching it to Magnum TA, Eric Bischoff, and Missy Hyatt, who will be drawing the names tonight. The first match is Michael Hayes and Tracy Smothers vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Hayes regular partner Jimmy Jam Garvin. The idea of Jim Garvin and Bagwell as a team is something that really excites me. Garvin is fine with this as well. The Freebirds, as they are, are babyfaces at this point, as is Bagwell. Smothers is apparently a heel. Smothers is apparently one half of the US tag champs, even though he came down with no belt. His partner is Steve Armstrong. Why wouldn’t they have a belt?
Maybe this is the Omni in Atlanta. Eventually I am going to get annoyed enough to check. I’ll give them two matches to tell me again. It is Norfolk, Jim Ross mentioned it. I have watched too much WCW and Crockett since I recognized the town based strictly on the venue. Tony says that Mike Graham is one of the best trainers a young guy could have. Bagwell and Smothers finally do something. Garvin tags in and struts. Tracy tries to take advantage but doesn’t. Garvin hits an awful drop kick and kicks Smothers to the outside with a big boot. I have typed more words than this match has warranted thus far. This is the most southern wrestling open match of all time. Bagwell is back in, and Smothers takes control and tags Michael Hayes. Hayes was never great, but damn is he bad here. He does fuck all and tags in Smothers. Jesus this match. Let me see how long this is…
Wow. Something finally happens when Hayes and Garvin end up in the ring together. They don’t do anything. Literally. They lock up, back each other off, lock up again, one guy tries something that the other avoids, they finally arm drag one another and strut. Fuck me. Eventually they both tag out. Smothers finally does some shit to Bagwell, but Bagwell tags Garvin right back in. This is awful. Bagwell gets two on a cross body and punches Hayes. This brings Hayes in and he punches Bagwell and Garvin. This leads to an argument between Hayes and Garvin and Bagwell hits a fisherman’s suplex to get the win. What the fuck. Somewhere, a young Vince Russo was watching the Freebirds argue and he got harder than a diamond in an ice storm.
Back to Missy, Eric and Magnum. The next team is the Dangerous Alliance of Steve Austin and Rick Rude and they are taking on Big Josh and Van Hammer. The best part is they have cameras in the locker room, but apparently they can’t hear what is going on, so Rude has no idea he is the partner of Austin. Another thing that sucks about this show is that there are no ring entrances. The guys just march down to the ring with no music. Neither Austin nor Rude have their belts on. Austin is the TV champ and Rude is the US champ. At least this is babyface vs. heel, so the match should be a little better. Hammer and Austin start off and it’s about what you would expect from this experience level Steve Austin against this (or any) level Van Hammer. It’s always funny to see technical wrestling Steve Austin with his blonde hair and neon tights. Rude and Austin obviously work well as a team, since they are stablemates, and they control the match for a bit. Hammer selling is actually not half bad, especially for a green guy his size. Hammer tags in Big Josh and Josh makes a pretty good comeback, but he tries the log roll, which is basically running on Rude’s midsection, but Rude no sells because of ABS!! That is a fucking amazing spot. Josh sends the Alliance packing and they regroup outside. Big Josh is the fucking man here. Josh and Austin have a really good exchange. Hammer’s offense is way worse than his selling and bumping. This is a very odd match, with Hammer and Josh working over the Dangerous Alliance. The crowd does not care at all. Rude and Austin finally take over and it is way less fun than when Big Josh was in control. This feels like a pretty good tag team match that no one cares about. They show the locker rooms, and it’s great. Just a bunch of wrasslers in their gear watching wrestling. And Liger. Liger in the heel locker room. The crowd does pop for a moment when Hammer makes the hot tag, but his comeback is brutal. Rude makes a blind tag, hits the Rude Awakening, and gets the win. This wasn’t an awful match, but it does drag a bit when Josh is getting worked over.
There’s a guy with a great sign giving his room number at the hotel to Madusa.
Time for another drawing! Dustin Rhodes whose name is greeted by some boos. His partner is Richard Morton. That’s right, a heel Ricky Morton. They are facing Larry Zybysko and El Gigante. Holy shit. That is an all time awful team. Madusa is out with Larry. Hopefully that guy shows her his sign! Larry and Dustin start off, and they are already talking about the communication issues between Gigante and Larry. Gigante is the worst big man ever. He is leaning over the top rope, thus not making him look at all impressive. Stand tall if you are seven and a half feet tall! Rhodes tags in Morton, Larry talks in Gigante, so Morton runs away and tags Rhodes back in. Gigante goes and grabs Morton anyways and slams him. Rhodes tries a dropkick and Gigante just brushes it off. Larry keeps yelling at Gigante. Gigante has done two things: body slams and a wrist lock. He is as bad as everyone has told you. Morton saves Rhodes from a pinfall. Gigante won’t listen to Larry, and Larry gets more and more frustrated. Larry eventually slaps Gigante, which leads to Gigante eating a double dropkick from Rhodes and Morton and getting pinned. What a mess. The stuff with Larry and Dustin was ok, but jeez was everything else awful. At least it was only about 5 minutes.
Match 4 will be Bill Kazmier and… what the fuck? Jushin Thunder Liger!! That’s is an all-time wacky tag team. They are facing DDP and Mike Graham. That too is an all-time awful wacky team. Mike Graham takes about 2 minutes to leave the locker room. What an idiot. This is super green as shit DDP, so DDP against Kazmier could be awful. There’s a poster in my gym of all the great feats of strength that Bill completed, and it is a damn impressive list. Liger and Graham start off. Graham can’t even take a head scissors properly. He fucks up the next spot too. Liger tags in big Bill and just says fuck this shit. Mike Graham might be the worst wrestler in this match. Graham throws Page around like he is a small child. He even does the Shawn Michaels skin the cat spot. He tries a splash from the top and he almost hits Page even when Page rolls out of the way, like ¾ the way across the ring. Pretty amazing. Kazmier sells for a bit, which is not his strong suit, and tags Liger in. God, this match is insufferable. Every kick that Liger does is a karate kick, because he’s Asian you see. This is like a fucking AWA match from the 70’s where there’s no real flow and every time someone tags in they just square off and it’s as if the match starts over. There’s no continuity, no real heat segment, anything. Every match has been like that. It’s almost as if these matches were all consisting of guys that have never worked together as opponents or partners. It’s no surprise that the best match was the match where one of the teams had actually been tagging together in some fashion leading to the show. I am paying attention to literally anything else during this match. Now Graham and Liger are putting holds on each other. Now Bill and Page tag in and START ALL OVER!! FUCK THIS MATCH!! FUCK IT!! I’m going to get my son ice cream.
Fuck. These guys are still wrestling. Liger did a flip dive over the top rope, and the crowd actually wakes up. Page breaks up a pinfall after a Liger moonsault. Fuck him. They should kick his ass out of the Hall of Fame. Kazmier slams Liger onto Page, who isn’t the legal man, for the pin. The ref is my fucking hero for not enforcing the legal man rule and allowing this match to end. Mike Graham was the shits. Everyone was the shits. This whole match was the shits. This whole show has been this shits.
An ad for Superbrawl 2, and it takes place on February 29! Holy shit it’s Lethal Leap Year!!!!
Match number 5. Jesus. That means five more after this. Lex Luger is the first name. He’s the champ here. His partner is Arn Anderson. That’s a hell of a team. They will face Terrence Taylor and the Z-Man. Wow, this match actually has potential to be good. Except that Taylor is a heel and Zenk is a face. Harley Race is out with Luger and Arn. Arn shakes hands with Luger and Race. Arn knocks Terrence off the apron, but when Zenk sends him outside, Taylor nails him with a right. Taylor and Zenk work well together at the beginning and send Luger and Anderson packing. Luger and Zenk are in now. Believe it or not, this was a main event match at house shows earlier in 1991. This is pre accident Luger, so he still moves really well and puts a lot of effort in. Taylor tries a sunset flip, but Anderson tags in and takes over. Taylor really is a great babyface. Zenk eventually makes a tag and goes entirely too fast for his own good. He almost trips over himself trying to run the ropes. Race trips him up allowing Anderson to hit the DDT. Taylor saves Zenk, but the heels take over on Zenk. There are a few good spots where it looks like Zenk is going to make the tag but he somehow gets cut off. The crowd pops when Taylor comes in, and he makes a great hot tag. The fact that he was a heel going into this match, after watching him as a face here, is just typical WCW incompetence. He gets a two off of a bunch of cradles and Anderson has to save Luger after a Doctor Bomb. The ref is busy with Zenk, which allows Anderson to hit Taylor from outside and Luger to hit the piledriver for the win. What a match. Really good traditional tag team match. All four guys looked good, but Taylor was the star here. Probably ***1/4 or so.
Time for another awful team I am sure!!! Ricky the Dragon Steamboat and Todd Champion vs. Cactus Jack and Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. Before Parker can even leave the locker room, Abdullah the Butcher beats the hell out of him. Ross says that this was because Abdullah wanted to be Jack’s partner. Todd Champion is a big jacked up geek. Abdullah comes out to be Jack’s partner, but officials send him to the back. Parker starts to come out, but Abdullah beats the hell out of him again. So the match is 2-1 with the advantage to the babyface team. Is Russo booking this thing? When Steamboat and Jack are in, this is obviously pretty good. When Champion is in, not so much. Parker is shown trying to crawl to the ring. Jack hits the second rope elbow to the outside on Champion. Parker valiantly makes it to the ring and Jack tags him in. Jack proceeds to throw him into the ring and Steamboat delivers a comeback and gets the win about 30 seconds later. What a boring match. They did this whole story where the babyfaces beat a heel them that tried their best despite the efforts of the promoter. What a backwards match. And the action wasn’t great either.
Time for another drawing!! Sting and Abdullah the Butcher vs. Brian Pillman and Bobby Eaton. If they keep Abdullah out of this thing, this could be really good. Abdullah walks down with a big smile on his face and he seems to be happy to be Sting’s partner, but The Butcher attacks him. Than Pillman come’s out to save Sting, but his partner, Bobby Eaton, goes right after Sting. Sting and Eaton start off and just go at each other. Really great action between these two. Except the Butcher keeps interfering and attack Sting. This is unique. Sting goes into the corner where Abdullah is and Abdullah chokes Sting. Pillman comes out to help Sting. While Sting and Eaton are fighting, Pillman BODYSLAMS Abdullah the Butcher. So of course they don’t show it. Now Pillman won’t tag Eaton. What the hell is going on here? Sting blocks a tombstone, and everyone is in there. Cactus tries to interfere, but it backfires and The Butcher is laid out. Sting hits a crossbody on Eaton for the win. After the match, Jack and Abdullah brawl to the back. Terrible match.This whole show is terrible matches. You would think, with 40 guys, you would be able to put together some good matches, but it’s almost as if they actually drew these teams randomly. I would refuse to believe that if this wasn’t WCW.
Another terrible match is forthcoming. Rick Steiner and The Night Stalker vs. Big Van Vader and Mr. Hughes.
Another great moment of “I don’t know if they called my name or not” with Hughes. If Steiner’s partner was anyone else, this might not be terrible. Leading into this show, Vader and Hughes had called out Steiner in the past. The Night Stalker is Adam Bomb, or one of the Brian’s from Kronik. Clark I think. Hughes and Vader have an awesome match against the Steiners in January at the Clash. Worth going out of your way to see. Rick Steiner tosses Vader around like Vader is a lightweight. And he hits a plancha! Rick Steiner is a mad man. He’s tossing both guys, and it’s really pretty watchable when he is in there. Unfortunately, Night Stalker tags in eventually and aside from a decent top rope clothesline, he was awful. He won’t even stay down for the big splash, so Vader just fucking splashes right on his head for the win. Rick Steiner earned all *1/4 here. He was great.
There has to only be like 2 tag matches left. Please God let there only be two matches left.
Scott Steiner and Chip the Firebreaker vs. Arachnaman and Johnny B. Badd. So, this match is really boring. Scott and Chip win another one of those “every time someone tags in the match restarts” specials. Cool. So, since there is really nothing to say here, I am going to use this space to try and make this a better show. If one Steiner is going to win and one is going to lose, why not put them against each other? And if both of the WCW Special Forces guys are going to go through, why not have them just team up? Scott Steiner and Vader vs. Rick Steiner and Night Stalker is at least an intriguing match due to the Steiners facing one another. Especially when you started the show talking about “What if the Steiners face each other!” If you put Chip and Champion together, you could put Hughes and Steamboat together as a team. You could have put Pillman with Arcachnaman and have them carry the Special Forces guys to an ok match, and lose, and put Johnny B Badd with Eaton to take on Sting and Abdullah.
Basically, taking the same 40 guys, and assuming that you want Luger and Sting as the main focus of the battle royal, with Steamboat and Rude as the secondary focus, I think the only match I would keep the same would be Luger and Anderson vs. Taylor and Zenk. The problem is that there was SO much trash on this roster too. Gigante, Kazmier, Page, Graham, Garvin, Hayes, Chip, Champion, Night Stalker. I’m sure I’m missing a few. But there’s no reason that the only team that fought each other was the Freebirds and there’s no reason no teams were drawn together. There was the Dangerous Alliance team, but they really aren’t a team.
Gigante and Zybysko vs. Hughes and Ron Simmons
Sting and Abdullah vs. Badd and Eaton
Anderson and Luger vs. Taylor and Zenk
Liger and Dustin Rhodes vs. Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong (why not keep two teams together)
Steamboat and Rick Rude vs. Page and PN News
Rick and Night Stalker vs. Vader and Scott Steiner
Special Forces vs. Pillman and Arachnaman
Jimmy Garvin and Bagwell vs. Mike Graham and Buddy Lee Parker
Liger and Steve Austin vs. Cactus Jack and Big Josh (could be a really solid match)
Steve Austin and Tommy Rich vs. Van Hammer and Michael Hayes
At least there you have some sort of intrigue with guys who are feuding teaming together and guys who are usually team mates going against one another. There’s also some wiggle room to play around with guys if you want to do Freebird vs. Freebird, you put Austin with Bagwell (which would have played off the WCW Saturday night feud between Bagwell and the Dangerous Alliance) and switch them up there.
Man, they saved the last for last. Ron Simmons and Tommy Rich vs. PN News and Steve Armstrong. It’s another boring match. I’m sure you are surprised. This is ok when Armstrong is in with either Ron or Rich, but it’s awful when News is in there and every time they tag they start over!! Was this something that happened in 1991 and I just didn’t notice because I was 10. Jesus. This goes almost 12 minutes of nothing and Ron wins with a spine buster.
The two-ring battle royal is next. This was atrocious until it came down to Sting, Austin, Steamboat and Rude. I am sure that news is just shocking. This was almost like a World War 3 deal, where there were two battle royals going on at the same time, one in each ring, and once the last guy was in each ring they would fight to determine who won. All the time I spent watching this I could have been watching Progress. If you have Demand Progress, watch Chapter 45: Galvanize. Such an amazing show. The main event with Pete Dunne vs. Jimmy Havoc was insane and The South Pacific Power Trip vs. British Strong Style was an amazing tag title match. And neither of those was the best match on the show. Mark Andrews and Will Ospreay get that honor. Whoops, it appears I had the rules wrong. Everyone starts off in one ring, once you are eliminated from one ring, you go to the second ring and the last person in the second ring fights the last person in the first ring.
Here’s the competitors: Vader, Bagwell, Jimmy Garvin, Dustin Rhodes, Bill Kazmaier, Liger, Steve Austin, Morton, Todd Champion, Abdullah, Firebreaker Chip, Thomas Rich, Ron Simmons, Ricky Steamboat, Mr. Hughes, Scott Steiner, Lex Luger, Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Sting.
This is your traditional Battle Royal. Oh fuck, I had the rules wrong again. They must go from the first ring to the second ring, and then from there everything else was the same. What a cluster. This is basically 20 guys punching and choking and kicking. And meandering. A lot of meandering. There was only one good thing to ever happen with two rings: War Games. That’s it. All these two ring battle royals are just bad. Why wouldn’t someone just jump over to the second ring and wait for everyone to get beaten and thrown into the second ring? That way, you are fresh and can just beat up the guy thrown into your ring. This whole show is awful. Watching Morton try to take some of Liger’s offense is comedic. They should kick his ass out of the hall of fame too! Guys are fighting outside, guys are fighting inside, this is all unwatchable bullshit. So, after a lifetime and a half, it comes down to Sting winning ring 2 and facing Luger, who won ring 1. The stuff with the two of them is semi entertaining, and the crowd actually gets into it, but it’s too little, too late for this show. Sting wins and the main event for Superbrawl 2 is clear.
Ugh. What an awful show. There was one match that was any good, and one more that was at least tolerable.
Everything else was boring, slow, plodding, not fun bullshit. Some of these shows I’ve have watched have been more insulting to my intelligence or put together worse, but this was easily the most boring show I have watched in several years. If you have the WWE Network, load it up and watch the Luger and Anderson vs. Taylor and Zenk match. There are chapter breaks on this show, so you can get right there. Avoid everything else as if your life depended on it.
Thank God I am going on vacation, because I need it after watching this show. It was more work watching this show than going to my actual work this past week. And it feels like this show was 40 hours as well. I might watch the 96 Battlebowl show, because that was the other kind of awful, but I really don’t think I want to see “The Lethal Lottery” for the rest of my life. Fuck everything about this show and fuck you if you like it. I am going to watch some Progress to get the taste of this failure out of my mouth. Until next time, follow me @OMGlancy on Twitter.