Date: December 19, 1999
Location: MCI Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, Bobby Heenan
Location: MCI Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We have arrived. We have reached the biggest show of the year for WCW. It's the final pay per view of the year and the final Starrcade of the 1990s. Over the years this show has been a showcase for legends like Sting, Ric Flair, Lex Luger and Hulk Hogan. There have been great matches, moments and shows in general, many of which have been some of WCW's best shows of all time. Now, forget everything I just said, because this is going to be one of the biggest disasters in the history of......I would say professional wrestling but that has nothing to do with what I'm about to sit through. Let's get to it.
We open with a Scott Hudson narrated highlight package to preview the card. Up first in the package: the Revolution vs. Jim Duggan/his mystery partners. I'm pretty sure every match gets some time here, but my goodness they aren't off to a rousing start by making me think about all of the impending disasters.
Now we get a standard opening video, focusing on the powerbomb match and then the World Title match.
Disco Inferno/Lash Leroux vs. Big Vito/Johnny the Bull
Disco lost a lot of money gambling (which I don't think he ever paid back) to the Mafia so Don boss Tony Marinara sent Big Vito and Johnny the Bull after him. Lash helped Disco out and basically started a war against the mob, setting up this tag match. It's also probably the match that has gotten the most build on the card. Normally I would ask why a match like this is opening the show, but the more I think about it, what else do they have?
It's a brawl to start with Vito punching Lash down early on. A nice suplex drops Lash again and Vito nails a good looking superkick. Heenan gets in another of his lines that are open to interpretation as he wonders why the people in the back are so quiet. Off to Johnny who eats a dropkick from Lash and a clothesline from Disco for one.
Disco stomps away in the corner but Johnny sweeps the leg (because he's the best in town) to take over. Vito scores with a hard running clothesline and Johnny's swinging neckbreaker gets two. We hit the chinlock for a bit before something like a double powerbomb plants Disco again. Vito spends too much time mocking the crowd on the ropes though and hits the mat, allowing the hot tag to Lash.
Everything breaks down and the goons are dropped with clotheslines. A gorilla press drop puts Lash down but he avoids a top rope spinning legdrop. Disco hits a top rope splash for two but Vito comes off the top to break up the save (granted the really slow count made it a bit easier). Vito reverses a whip from Lash and sends him into the Last Dance from Disco by mistake, setting up Vito's spinning DDT for the pin.
Rating: C. Totally acceptable tag match here, but I have a feeling we've just seen the match of the night. It's the old power vs. speed formula which has worked for the better part of ever and worked here as well. The story made sense and was actually different for a change, but this could have been on almost any given Nitro. Still though, totally acceptable.
Post match Disco gets beaten up and thrown in the body bag, along with a bottle of ether. The mob takes him back to the parking lot and throw him in their car to take them away.
Goldberg vs. Hart is No DQ. If that was the stipulation beforehand, I haven't heard of it.
Scott Hall is out of the US Title match due to a knee injury so Benoit is the champion.
The announcers run their mouths to fill time on a show with 13 matches. Keep in mind that this is coming after a backstage segment. Not only is it boring for the PPV audience, but it's letting the crowd come down after a decent opener.
Cue Chris Benoit to say he doesn't want the title this way, so it's officially vacant. However, he'll still have the ladder match against anyone that wants to face him for the title.
Cruiserweight Title: Madusa vs. Evan Karagias
Evan is defending and Madusa offered sex to get this show. After she earned the shot, Evan dumped Madusa for Nitro Girl Spice, making this just another title match but with man on woman violence because Russo is obsessed with this idea. Madusa dives off the top to take out Evan and Spice before sending him into the barricade. They head inside where Evan slaps her in the face and plants her with a powerslam, only to miss a Lionsault.
Madusa dropkicks him down but gets slammed off the top. A powerbomb puts Madusa down for two so Madusa powerbombs him right back. They head outside with Evan diving onto Madusa, but Spice gets on the apron to distract the champ. It's just a ruse for the worst low blow ever, setting up Madusa's German suplex for the pin and the title.
Rating: D-. So not only did they have a swerve, they had only the bare bones of a match as this was nothing more than a spot fest with no flow to it. Yeah Mysterio and Guerrera would do a bunch of spots, but at least they knew how to make them exciting. This was less than four minutes long and more about the fact that Madusa is a woman. In other words, they were trying to recreate Chyna without putting in the effort of building her up in DX all those years. That's Russo's philosophy: just go to the end goal without putting in any of the work and then blame the fans for not caring.
On the storyline front, let's recap what just happened to Evan: he was duped into giving Madusa the shot by the offer of sex, then Madusa won the title shot again in a triple threat, then Evan got pinned on Thunder for no apparent reason, then the other woman, who was involved in this story to distract Evan, turned on him to give Madusa the title for no reason other than to mess with Evan, who made the mistake of being a champion and going after a pretty girl who seemed interested in him. Oh and Madusa hit cheated to win the title. I'm not sure if she was the face or the heel here, but I'm sure WCW didn't know either.
Norman Smiley is dressed up like a Washington Redskin for his match with Meng. He certainly isn't scared and ignore the scream when the producer tries to count him out of the interview. Sudden moves like that just are not necessary when Norman is a coiled spring ready to explode! Ignore the fact that the Hardcore Title is practically identical to the ECW Title.
Hardcore Title: Meng vs. Norman Smiley
Norman the coward is defending. They throw weapons at each other to start before Meng shoves the cart full of weapons runs Norman over. It's in the back without Norman ever making it to the ring and Norman blasts him in the head with the chair for almost no effect. Norman runs away through catering before Meng slams him through a table.
Meng throws a cinder block at his head but Norman avoids the whole death thing. Smiley dives behind some boxes to hide, allowing Finlay and Brian Knobbs to come up and beat Meng down. Well kind of as Meng no sells the chair and trashcan shots until Finlay NAILS him with a lead pipe to knock Meng silly. Norman comes out and covers to retain.
Rating: D. Norman is a guy that tries so hard but can't get out of this hardcore nonsense. This was your standard hardcore match with Meng dominating and Norman screaming a lot but somehow escaping for the title. In other words, it's your standard TV match being held at Starrcade because Russo doesn't know the difference between the shows.
Meng beats up Nick Patrick for reasons.
David Flair has a gold crowbar delivered to him and seems very happy.
Oklahoma and Steve Williams are ready. There's nothing more to this segment.
Oh wait there is, as we cut back to see the Misfits kidnap Oklahoma.
We recap Jim Duggan vs. the Revolution, which is based around the idea of the Revolution thinking they're a sovereign nation and wanting to deface the American flag. Bringing Duggan in makes sense there, but the Powers That Be says there's nothing to his love of America and made him a janitor because that's funny or something.
Jim Duggan/??? vs. Revolution
It's Asya/Saturn/Malenko/Douglas here and we have no idea who the partners are here. If Duggan wins, the Revolution has to be the janitors for 30 days, but if Duggan loses, he has to denounce America. Duggan's partners are.....the Varsity Club, a team which hit its peak in 1988/1989. In case you're like, young or something, it's Rick Steiner/Kevin Sullivan/Mike Rotundo with Leia Meow (ECW's Kimona) as their cheerleader.
Shane sits in on commentary to make it a handicap match. Dean and Duggan start things off but Saturn comes in less than ten second in. The Varsity Club gets in some cheap shots in the corner before Duggan hammers away with forearms to the back. Dean comes in again for an elbow to the face and a slam, followed by the three point clothesline for two.
Saturn gets the same off a missile dropkick as Heenan points out that Duggan hasn't tried to tag out. Just get to the swerve we all know is coming from here. Saturn misses a middle rope splash but Dean hits Jim in the head with a flag. Everyone comes in with the Varsity Club cleaning house, including tying Asya in the Tree of Woe for Sullivan's running knee. Then they turn on Duggan because what else were they going to do here? Shane runs in for the pin as the Varsity Club keeps beating up Saturn on the floor.
Rating: F. This is STARRCADE 1999 and they bring out the Varsity Club? If they were going for some kind of nostalgia/history thing here, they completely missed the point as the Varsity Club's biggest moment was when they were fighting each other, assuming anyone remembered/cared about that in 1999. As it is, this is just another four minute match capped off by a beatdown to make it a Jim Duggan story. What is the mass appeal here and who thought the one thing this show needed was MORE people running around?
Shane tells Duggan he has 24 hours before he has to renounce America. They drape the Revolution flag over him, only to take it right back off.
The Misfits have Oklahoma in a shark cage to make sure he stays out of the Vampiro match.
Vampiro vs. Steve Williams
If Vampiro wins, he gets five minutes with Oklahoma. The Misfits wheel out Oklahoma in the shark cage but he has a headset on and can still do his Jim Ross jokes because.....screw the sarcasm. This whole thing is stupid. Vampiro dives off the cage to take Williams out and the brawl begins on the floor. They head inside with Oklahoma yelling at the commentators. Williams fires off a chop so Oklahoma shouts CHOP over and over.
Some three point tackles take out Vampiro's legs followed by some chops, but Oklahoma gets bored saying chop over and over. A belly to belly superplex sends Vampiro flying but brings in the Misfits. Williams cleans house with ease and suplexes Vampiro down again. He hammers on Vampiro but shoves the referee down (how have we not had a ref bump tonight?) for a DQ, setting up Vampiro vs. Oklahoma.
Rating: D. So their solution to make us care about Vampiro is to have him get beaten up until the referee gets knocked down while Oklahoma gets to do his same joke over and over and over and over and over. I feel like iTunes on repeat (who uses records anymore?) saying this but STOP USING THE SHOW FOR YOUR OWN STUPID JOKES THAT AREN'T EVEN FUNNY IN THE FIRST PLACE!
The five minute clock starts immediately.
Oklahoma vs. Vampiro
Security gets Williams out of here as we're still waiting on Oklahoma to get out of the cage. Oklahoma gets in after about two minutes and kicks Vampiro in the head. More slow stomps connect before Vampiro hits a single chop, only to have Oklahoma nail two straight low blows. A quick Rock Bottom drops Oklahoma and the Misfits come in for some shots, which the referee doesn't seem to mind. The Nail in the Coffin ends this mess.
To recap, Vampiro needed the help of a punk rock band (how many of the fans actually know who they are?) to beat Oklahoma, who beat the tar out of Vampiro for most of the “match”. Again, the announcers are getting the push at the sake of someone like Vampiro, who may or may not be entertaining but he's an actual wrestler.
Russo tells Hennig/Shane/La Parka/Creative Control that he has something big planned for tonight so he can't quite focus on their match. Thanks for letting us know about this an hour into the show instead of building it up for a few weeks, but they probably didn't know a few weeks ago.
Stevie Ray tells Booker he won't have his back tonight.
Harlem Heat/Midnight vs. Curt Hennig/Creative Control
The winning tag team is #1 contenders so Hennig and Midnight are just kind of here to fill in the roster, because Heaven forbid we just have a regular tag match. My goodness there are suddenly a lot of empty seats across from the cameras. I couldn't have missed those earlier. There's no Stevie so it's a handicap match with more man on woman.
Gerald stomps Booker into the corner to start before no selling a spin kick to the face. So much for this one changing the tide of the show. We look at the ladder for later and come back with Midnight in without seeing what happened in between. I'm betting Gerald lost a Canasta game and had to allow the hot tag.
It's quickly back to Booker who gets beaten down again but quickly gets over to tag in Midnight for some dropkicks. Hennig clotheslines her out to the floor and the heels take over again. Back in and Creative Control takes over on Midnight as Hudson talks about the big events of the night: the return of the Varsity Club and Disco being thrown into a car. We get the old “referee doesn't see the tag” spot as Stevie Ray comes out, only to be sent to the back by Booker.
Midnight gets slammed down and Patrick drops some elbows for two. He misses the middle rope elbow though and Midnight gets over for the hot tag. It doesn't count as Nick Patrick was “talking to Stevie Ray.” That's true, but THEY WERE LOOKING AT THE TAG. As in Nick clearly realized he wasn't supposed to see it and you can see him try to snap his head away in time so it doesn't look that bad but it doesn't work. Hennig sneaks in with a foreign object to knock Booker silly for the pin and a delayed bell.
Rating: D. As usual, this was an angle disguised as a match. On top of the match being boring for the most part and yet another woman being in there for the sake of being in there (Midnight was fine but the announcers spent the whole match talking about how awesome it was to have a woman in there, which just puts more attention on the fact that she's nothing special), the gaffes like Nick seeing the tag made this a huge mess. Above all else though, I just do not care because I haven't been given a reason to care. These people are just characters with little development so it's really hard to get interested.
We recap Jarrett vs. Rhodes. Basically Dustin returned as something resembling a child abductor but he decided he wanted to be Dustin Rhodes because THAT has such a great track record for him. Jeff thought it was funny that Dustin's dad got fired so the feud began again and of course it turned into a bunkhouse match to make it about cowboys and hardcore.
Dustin, wearing a Dusty Rhodes shirt, talks about the match but Jeff jumps him to start.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Dustin Rhodes
Jarrett runs Dustin's knee over with a wheelbarrow and hits him in the throat with a kendo stick. They slam each other into the wheelbarrow before heading inside for the first time with Jeff taking a cowbell to the head. Well you knew the bullrope and cowbell were going to be involved somehow. Some bell shots knock Jarrett onto the announcers' table but hitting him in the head with a metal bell doesn't sound as good as throwing powder in Jeff's face.
Dustin pulls out a whip and nails both Jarrett and the referee before duct taping the referee to the ropes. Jeff shrugs off a shot with some chaps (you think I care enough to react to that at this point?) and kicks Dustin low as Curt Hennig comes out to untape the referee. We hit the sleeper as Jarrett tries to make this wrestling for reasons I don't understand.
Dustin finally suplexes his way out and gets two off a Boss Man Slam. Shattered Dreams connects but Hennig pulls the referee out at two. That earns Curt some Shattered Dreams of his own and all three head up to the entrance. Dustin plants Hennig with a bulldog but Jeff climbs the ladder and blasts him with a guitar for the pin.
Rating: D. Ok. What else do you want me to say here? Two guys who are feuding over someone not even working for this promotion anymore had a long (by this show's standards) match and the heel had someone else come in to basically make it a handicap match. The good guy fought back and then the two beat him without anything overly interesting happening.
Jeff Jarrett continues to not by over but gets pushed to the moon (dig that huge win over DUSTIN RHODES!) because he beat up a woman in the WWF and that's clearly like porn to Russo. These guys weren't really putting in a ton of effort though and it's clear that no one has anything special without some kind of character behind them. It's just two old school style guys having a boring match and that's not something I want to watch for eleven minutes.
David Flair makes the headless teddy bear stroke the golden crowbar. Somehow, there isn't a single bit of innuendo in that entire sentence. Why David is wearing a Halloween Havoc shirt isn't clear.
Page says his hands will have a crowbar in them tonight and then those same hands will give Flair a bang.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. David Flair
IT'S A CROWBAR ON A POLE MATCH!!! This is like Russo's hit parade if I had to pay $30 to see it. This match is due to David stalking Kimberly after Kimberly slept with Ric Flair instead of David. So yeah, we have sex, insanity, illogical stories and a thing on a pole. Like I said, the hit parade rolls on. The crowbar is pitifully low as anyone of average height could reach it from the mat.
David sneaks up from behind with the gold crowbar (different from the one on the pole) but Little Naitch (who should be in David's corner in theory) takes it away, because even if you're insane and carrying a crowbar, you MUST follow the rules! The referee checks on Page and says the match will be a forfeit, but Page shoves Penzer away and wants to go.
We get the opening bell and David hammers away because how else was this going to be competitive? David counters a sunset flip and punches Page in the face for two. A clothesline gets the same as we're still waiting on any attempt at the crowbar. Flair hits a low blow and puts on a Figure Four but Page turns it over for the break. Flair gets the crowbar, misses a swing and eats the Diamond Cutter for the pin.
Rating: F. Remember when Chris Jericho would lose and then go insane and beat the post with a chair? That's how I feel here. There was no reason for this to be on pay per view or for this to be a gimmick match other than to make the match more believable. In other words, they can't have a good match without making it a gimmick and the match can't be good because it's a gimmick. Who other than Vince Russo could book a sub four minute match into a paradox while almost completely ignoring the gimmick that causes the paradox in the first place?
Page gives him a middle rope Diamond Cutter post match and it about to hit him with the crowbar but the yet to be named Daffney runs in to cover Flair up. Page leaves instead of hit the crazy chick.
Heenan wants a beer. I don't drink but can someone get me a hammer to crush my own skull?
We recap Luger vs. Sting, which has seen Luger treat Liz like garbage (more anti-women porn for Russo), which sent her running off for Sting to help him. At the same time, Luger “inadvertently” cost Sting some matches and kept trying to make it up to him, only making it worse in the process. Their match tonight is for Liz's freedom, which she totally and completely wants of course.
Total Package vs. Sting
In the back, Sting gives Liz “super high octane” mace. The STEROIDS chant begins and Luger quickly sends Sting outside. Some whips into the barricade have Sting in more trouble before some elbows get two. Sting no sells a ram into the buckle and Luger gets caught between slaps from Sting and Liz. A double clothesline puts both of them down because of those two and a half DEVASTATING minutes of action.
Liz comes in to check on Luger and sprays the mace at Sting, but it's silly string because Sting actually outsmarted someone!!!!! Even the announcers acknowledge how shocking this is. Sting makes his comeback and hits a top rope splash for two. A pair of regular Stinger Splashes look to set up the Deathlock but Liz comes in with the ball bat for a very loud sounding shot to the jaw for the DQ.
Rating: D+. I'm upgrading this because of the bat shot and the string. Other than that, this was a big mess with the whole thing not even breaking six minutes despite it being one of the bigger matches on the card. This changes nothing as Liz is freed from Luger but apparently wants to stay with him, making this whole thing a big waste of time. Imagine that.
Luger Pillmanizes Sting's arm post match. Remember two years ago when Sting was in the biggest match in WCW history? How was that just two years ago?
To recap, that was the tenth match of the show and, assuming you count Madusa as a heel, the third match where the heel didn't either win or get the last laugh after the match. Those three are Vampiro and the Misfits beating up Oklahoma (who dominated the “match”), Page over David Flair and Norman Smiley over Meng where Norman was treated like a goon all match. Is there any doubt why so many fans are leaving their seats halfway through the show?
We recap Sid vs. Nash in the powerbomb match. I've watched the shows setting this match up and now I've watched the video and I'm still not exactly sure why they're fighting. They've fought a few times but I'm not sure why they started in the first place. Again though, I doubt WCW does either other than “hey, they're both big!”
Sid Vicious vs. Kevin Nash
You win by using a powerbomb instead of a pin or a submission because we just couldn't have either guy do a real job for the sake of.....probably some legal deal actually. Nash takes over to start and hits the framed elbow and a side slam for two. A low blow breaks up Sid's powerbomb attempt and it's time to go outside so they don't have to wrestle. Sid hits him in the back with a chair but stops to tell the fans to shut up. Good grief dude at least know what you're supposed to be doing out there. Back in and Sid tries to start a powerbomb chant but the fans are mostly silent. Well to be fair that's what Sid wanted.
The referee FINALLY GETS BUMPED, right before Sid hits a powerbomb. Cue Jeff Jarrett with a guitar to knock Sid out cold. The referee slowly gets up and Nash loads up a powerbomb but his back is out. Now the referee turns around as Nash is holding his back and Sid is down. Nash: “Yeah I powerbombed him.” Referee: “WELL OK THEN!” Nash wins. Scott Hudson: “I refuse to refer to Nash as the master of the powerbomb!” Oh dang man. No Scott Hudson endorsement? This is a sham of a reign as powerbomb master!
Rating: F. Failure, freaking stupid, for the love of all things good and holy, for goodness' sake, fire them both. Pick any two and that's what the F stands for here. I actually had to get up and walk around for a bit before I started talking about this. They somehow booked a match built around one finisher and then they couldn't even do that finish because Nash didn't want to do the powerbomb.
From a kayfabe perspective, how freaking horrible do the referees in this company look? Ranging from staying down for five minutes off a single shot to not being able to see a tag literally three feet in front of them to saying “yeah, sure I'll believe you when you say you powerbombed him. You would never lie”, these are the worst referees I've ever seen. Oh and then there's Roddy Piper who has a young boy doing his work for him and who hears voices in his head. I would do a Randy Orton joke there but Orton is too good for this show.
Benoit says the open challenge is still, uh, open.
US Title: Chris Benoit vs. ???
Ladder match and the title is officially vacant coming in The mystery opponent is......Jeff Jarrett, because why have two Jarrett segments when you can have three??? And my goodness did he change from jeans to gear in a hurry. It's a brawl in the aisle to start with Benoit chopping Jeff into the ring. Something like an Irish Curse drops Jarrett and a superplex allows Benoit to go get the first ladder.
Jarrett gets up and hits a baseball slide to drive the ladder into Benoit, but Chris whips him into the ladder in the corner a few times to take over again. Benoit gets crotched against the ladder for something like a Russian legsweep out of the corner. Chris is busted open but still able to tie Jeff in the Tree of Woe in the standing ladder, only to find out that it's hard to climb a ladder with someone hanging from the other side.
Both guys go up until Jarrett gets knocked down, followed by both guys going up and getting knocked over for nice crashes. In the best spot of the match, Benoit goes up but Jarrett dropkicks the ladder out from underneath him, sending Benoit down for a huge crash. Benoit is up first and dropkicks the ladder onto Jarrett but Benoit would rather drop a Swan Dive off the top of the ladder instead of grab the belt. Now he goes up and gets the belt for the win.
Rating: B. That might be high but anything above horrible would be ten times better than everything else on this show. Best match of the night here by about 19,000 years and naturally it only has ten minutes because we needed to give Oklahoma two matches and have the really stupid David Flair match instead of giving this another eight minutes. There isn't much to say here other than the guys were doing big spots and making them look good. In other words, the polar opposite of everything else tonight.
We recap Goldberg vs. Hart, which started over Hart wanting to give Goldberg a title shot, and then became an Outsiders story involving the Tag Team Titles. Other than a few one off promos, these two have barely addressed each other.
Bret says he's winning whether Goldberg likes it or not.
WCW World Title: Bret Hart vs. Goldberg
No DQ and there must be a winner with Bret defending. Instead of asking if we're ready to rumble, Buffer tells us we're ready because the fans would probably boo such a question out of the building for making this last even longer. You know how most of the time at Wrestlemania the main event eats up like 40 minutes? The bell here rings with just over thirteen minutes to go in the show. For some reason it would feel wrong if the main event of the biggest show of the year had more time than that.
They shake hands and we're ready to go. Goldberg shoves him down out of a lockup to start but Bret takes him down with a headlock. That goes nowhere so Goldberg gorilla presses him into a powerslam for two. Goldberg tries that rolling leglock but Bret turns it into an early Sharpshooter attempt as only he could do. They fight outside with the referee getting bumped. It's not even a big deal at this point.
Robinson comes out as a replacement and an overly excited (and likely drunk) fan is dancing badly in the front row. A big boot puts Hart down back inside but Robinson gets bumped on a hiptoss. Goldberg spears the turnbuckle as the third referee comes down to see Bret put on the Figure Four around the post. Back in and Bret starts in on the leg and puts on a regular Figure Four. The turn sends Bret running for the ropes so he wraps the leg around the middle rope in the corner.
Goldberg reverses and hammers away but referee number three goes down. There's the Bret Killer superkick to set up the spear but a dejected Roddy Piper comes out to be the fourth referee. Bret, apparently having shrugged off the spear kicks Goldberg in the knee and MONTREAL STRIKES AGAIN as Piper calls for the bell before Bret turns the Sharpshooter over. Hudson: “NOT MONTREAL ALL OVER AGAIN!” Yes it's Montreal all over again, because THAT'S THE DUMBEST THING THEY COULD POSSIBLY DO!
Rating: D-. The match was watchable but between the whole ending Bret Hart's career and going back to a fake Montreal over two years later with Bret on the good end this time is one of the worst possible ideas they could have come up with. If you want Bret to keep the title on a screwjob then have someone lay Goldberg out from behind or whatever, but good night don't do it like this. I mean, if this is the best they can think of, just close the doors now because Russo is clearly not what he's cracked up to be (oh gee what an understatement) and they need to find ANYONE else to give the reigns over to immediately.
Piper hands Bret the belt and walks off to end the show.
Overall Rating: No. No no, no no no, no no, no no. This is flat out not acceptable as the biggest show of the year for any promotion, or as a show for any serious promotion actually. Where in the world do I even start? Well let's start at the ending actually, as the main event was the longest match of the night at 12:07. This past week's episode of Raw had two matches longer than that and that's a run of the mill TV show.
Above all else, this felt like it could be any given filler pay per view where they're not trying. I know WCW had mixed feelings about how big of a deal Starrcade really was, but at least they would usually give lip service to the fact that it's the biggest night of the year. This felt like Fall Brawl or Uncensored instead of Starrcade and that's a feeling that you can't shake off no matter what.
Starrcade 1999 was Vince Russo with time to come up with his best possible ideas. Somehow he's managed to produce the one of the worst Wrestlemanias and the one of the worst Starrcades of all time, IN THE SAME YEAR. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to do that in the span of about nine months? So much of this can be blamed on the writing and booking too. When you have thirteen matches in a show that runs less than two hours and forty five minutes, there's very little the wrestlers can do to make the thing work.
The Mamalukes vs. Disco/Lash was the best match of the night until Chris Benoit and a ladder took their top spot. That's almost inconceivable that a totally average tag match was as good as this show could do for about 80% of the card. These stories are thrown together with no real rhyme or reason to most of them and at some point the fans just gave up. Yeah, it worked back in the WWF in 1999, but it's the same argument made about TNA now: why would I want to watch a lite version of the same stories with lesser and older talent doing the work?
There comes a point where you have to show your audience some respect or they're going to turn on you. That's where Russo doesn't get the point: he thinks the fans are going to follow whatever he does because they're watching a wrestling show and therefore aren't that smart. That means he can throw some big series of swerves at us and expect us to just go with it with an explanation of “YOU DIDN'T SEE IT COMING!” and then somehow blame us for not getting it. I know this is rambling but after watching this disaster there's no way to have any sort of coherent thought process.
It's just one big surprise after another, but the problem is you can start to see the surprises coming about half an hour into the show. If you train your audience to expect a big swerve, it stops being a swerve and becomes part of the plot. Piper coming out at the end of the big swerve would have worked better if we didn't have so many people turning on each other or one big surprise after another for two and a half hours leading up to it.
It doesn't help that Piper is a legend and hasn't had a good match in about seven years at this point but he's being featured as a major plot point for a story that people don't care about. The build for this show didn't make me want to see it and then the show itself was horrible, making me have no desire to keep tuning in.
What is there that's left untied here? Nash wins to show Sid is worthless, Hall is probably going to come back and take the title from Benoit, and we get to see more Jeff Jarrett. The big cliffhanger here is “WHY DID PIPER SCREW BRET???” If that's the big question going into Nitro tomorrow, I have zero desire to keep watching this promotion, but I'm sure it's my fault for not supporting Russo like he deserves for putting on all this EXCITING TV for me. Total disaster of a show and more like hitting a rock wall instead of starting some new chapter in the company's history as the year is coming to a close.
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