The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 90
(2011 Scott sez: Oh god, this one is formatted with bulleted lists. The 90s were a crazy time for me.)
• Live from St. Louis, Missouri.
• Your hosts are Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously.
• Opening match: Beautiful Bobby v. Tom Zenk.
This is essentially Eaton’s solo debut. Zenk is supposedly on a 35 match winning streak here, sheeyah right. Boring mat wrestling for most of the match—armbar, hammerlock, etc. It picks up very nicely as Zenk suplexes Eaton to the rampway, then hits a plancha. JR calls Paul a “psychoceramic” at one point. Eaton with the bulldog-Alabama Jam combo, but he doesn’t go for the pin and Zenk recovers. Hmm, thought that’d be the finish. Good ending sequence as Eaton misses a second Jam, then Zenk misses his missile dropkick (I hate that phrase, but it’s in vogue) (2011 Scott sez: I certainly lost that battle…) and Eaton small packages him for a tough win. *** Average match that redeemed itself in the end.
• Tony Schiavone interviews Dick The Bruiser, who will referee the Sting-Black Scorpion match later tonight.
Pat O’ Connor Memorial Tag team tournament quarterfinals:
• The Steiner Brothers (USA) v. Col. DeKlerk & Sgt. Kruger (South Africa).
DeKlerk is Rocco Rock, and Kruger is Big Josh/Doink/Matt Bourne. Steiners are US champs at this point. DeKlerk pulls out some neat-o keen shit, including a SWANK leg lariat and then a tope suicida, which Rick ruins by simply catching him and dropping him to the floor. He then tosses him into the ring and Scott finishes it with a Frankensteiner. Lasted all of two minutes. Wish I could have seen more, DeKlerk looked great. **1/2
• Norman Smiley & Chris Adams (UK) v. Konnan & Rey Mysterio (Mexico).
No, not that Rey Mysterio, the older one. But it is “Screamin” Norman, back before anyone knew who he was. Konnan still has his mask and his muscle definition at this point. Adams and Smiley are current Nitro fodder. (2011 Scott sez: Things ended even worse for Chris Adams, unfortunately.) Very lucha style match, and very good. Crowd is DEAD of course. I’m totally into this one, but it ends kind of abruptly as Konnan hits a groovy reverse suplex off the top rope on Smiley and then bridges him for the pin. ***1/2 If this were on Nitro today, the ‘net would be raving about it.
• Rip Morgan & Jack Victory (New Zealand) v. Mr. Saito & The Great Muta (Japan).
Victory goes “moo” a lot. Saito punches a lot. I go make something to eat. Muta with a german suplex on Victory to advance. *1/2
• Bull Johnson & Troy Montour (Canada) v. Victor Zangiev & Salman Hasimokov (USSR).
Oh, great, these two goofs are who I get representing Canada? Couldn’t they even spring for Benoit & Wellington for one match? The Russians look completely opposite from just about every wrestler today. One is thin, bald and hairy; the other is short, stocky, and, well, hairy. This is like a train wreck—the Russians are pulling out all sorts of UFC submission and amateur wrestling stuff, and the fat Canadians have no idea how to sell it properly. Hasimokov suplexes Montour and armbars him for the “before there was such a thing as a tap-out” submission. *
• Tony interviews Sting.
• Terry Taylor v. Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York).
This is just prior to Rotundo jumping ship to the WWF as IRS and Taylor taking over as head of the York Foundation. The “computer” had predicted a Wallstreet win in under 8:32, so there’s a clock counting it down at the bottom of the screen. (2011 Scott sez: They should have hired the computer to book the show.) The usual warmed over stuff from both guys here. Taylor was seriously underrated and it’s a shame the Red Rooster ever happened to him. Taylor hits the “fivearm” but Wallstreet is in the ropes. Quickly, Wallstreet recovers with a stun-gun and Samoan drop for the pin with 1:44 remaining. **1/2 Not great, but decent.
• Motor City Madman & Big Cat v. Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey.
Madman and Cat made the HUGE mistake of pissing off Sid at the Clash that led up to this show, so we get a one-shot Skyscraper reunion to teach them who the master and ruler of the world is. Not surprisingly, Motor City Madman is never heard from again after taking a double-powerbomb in less than a minute. * for a couple of double-teams by the ‘Scrapers and for ridding the world of the Madman. Curtis Hughes was allowed to live due to his not sucking as badly as his partner.
• Tommy Rich & Rick Morton v. The Freebirds.
Little Richard Marley (Rocky King) is still the valet at this point. Robert Gibson, still recovering from major knee surgery, hobbles out to ringside with the faces. Crowd gets a good “Freebirds suck” chant going, and I’m not inclined to disagree. Morton tries here, but let’s face it, it’s fucking Tommy Rich and the Freebirds. So it’s basically a comedy match as the ‘Birds drag it down to their level. Marley’s interference backfires, and Morton rolls up Garvin for the win. ¼* The ‘Birds wipe the mat with Marley afterwards, drawing Morton and Rich in to make the save. But that leaves Gibson alone, so the ‘Birds kill him, too. Smart thinking, guys. The Freebirds would introduce a brand new manager a couple of weeks after this, an escapee from the last days of the AWA. You may have heard of him, actually...his name was “Diamond” Dallas Page. (2011 Scott sez: I found it somewhat more interesting that I didn’t mention both Rich and Morton turning heel and joining the York Foundation after this initial go-around as a team.)
Pat O’ Connor Memorial Tag team tournament semi-finals:
• The Steiners v. Konnan & Mysterio.
Lasts a little under three minutes with an anti-climactic ending (and you thought Goldberg was bad...). Mysterio goes for a rana and Rick simply powerbombs and pins him out of nowhere. Tres disappointing. *1/2 But then I guess there’s 14 matches tonight... (2011 Scott sez: And Rick Steiner is kind of a dick…)
• Zangiev & Hasimokov v. Muta & Saito.
Again, the Russians do lots of UFC stuff, which isn’t in style for years yet, so Saito just punches a lot. Saito with a belly-to-back suplex for the pin in another quick match. *
• Tony interviews Doom.
• US Title match: Stan Hansen v. Lex Luger (Bullrope match).
Hansen is the single most disgusting person on the face of the earth. Luger still has some semblance of talent at this point. Not my favorite type of match by any means (touch all four corners is not an instinctive way to win, ya know?) but it’s a pretty intense brawl for what it is. Not that great overall, however. (2011 Scott sez: Dig that insightful commentary! That basically means I wasn’t in the mood to take notes during the match or I was on the phone with my annoying nutcase girlfriend at the time or something. I’m onto your tricks, 1999 Scott!) Skip to the finish, as Luger drops three legs on Hansen and touches three corners, but knocks out the ref by accident while touching the fourth. Nick Patrick comes in and Hansen drags himself and Luger around the ring, touching four corners, and Patrick awards him the match to retain the US title. But wait! Randy Anderson suddenly recovers, tells Patrick that he saw Luger touch the fourth post, so Luger is the winner and 4-time US champion. ** Gotta love the Dusty Finish...
• WCW World tag team title match: Ron Simmons & Butch Reed v. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham (street fight).
This is a rematch from Havoc 90, where the Horsemen and Doom went DCOR. It was supposed to be Anderson and Flair here, but Flair got beat up by Doom previous to this show. And this is a vicious, brutal match. I love it. Stiffest belt-lashings you’ll ever see...Hulk Hogan take note. And EVERYONE bleeds. Everyone hits their finishers and everyone kicks out. Stiff shots galore. The Horsemen go for a second-rope finish, but Simmons escapes Windham’s grasp and clotheslines Anderson as he comes down. Then Windham small-packages Reed as Simmons covers Anderson. Nick Patrick has to count both pins, since everyone is legal in a street fight. So it’s a double three count, no winner, Doom retains the titles. Icky finish, terrific match. ****1/4 Interesting to note that another blowoff for this feud was suggested by Jim Ross, but a massive overhaul of the booking committee (Ole Anderson was turfed almost the minute this show went off the air) changed the entire direction of WCW shortly after. And not for the better...
• Tag tournament final: Steiners v. Muta & Saito.
Saito is dead weight, so Muta carries this one. Not a great match at all. Saito spends most of it trading suplexes and no-selling. He has a sleeper on Scott, and Rick comes off the top rope with a sunset flip for the win. **
• As usual, WCW now manages to take a perfectly good show and completely fuck it up...
• WCW World title match: Sting v. The Black Scorpion (cage match, title v. mask).
The end of the worst feud, ever. Four Scorpions come out of the dressing room, then a flying saucer thing lowers itself from the ceiling and a fifth Scorpion emerges. I am not making this shit up. This just kills the good flow that the show had built to this point. Finally, Sting makes his entrance. The Scorpion doesn’t wrestle like anyone in particular, which makes it very hard to tell who he is if you didn’t know. But there are clues, which I’ll run down for you in case you don’t already know his identity. The Scorpion is faced with an interesting challenge: He has to take great pains not to do any of his trademark stuff, while at the same time putting on a good match. It doesn’t work all that well. Clue #1: Scorpion puts both feet on the ropes during a chinlock. Clue #2: White hair pokes out from beneath the mask. Clue #3: Sting gives him the Stinger splash, and he flops to the mat face-first. Clue #4: At one point, the Scorpion is on the top rope and Sting shakes him off, causing him to crotch himself on the top rope. Know who it is yet? At any rate, Sting gets him in the Deathlock, but he wriggles free. Sting rams him into the cage and rips off the mask...but another one is underneath. He has somehow managed to blade himself through the mask. Sting to the top, and a flying bodypress finishes off the Scorpion for good. **1/4
• Now the other Scorpions attack, and Sting and the Bruiser fight them off one-by-one, ripping off masks as they go (Col. DeKlerk and the Angel of Death, who was the original choice for the Scorpion, btw, are clearly seen). Now Arn Anderson and Barry Windham rush the ring and lock Sting and the Scorpion in and start destroying Sting. We’ve got less than a minute left in the PPV’s alloted time, when suddenly Sting recovers and tears off the Scorpion’s final mask to reveal...
...that we’re out of time.
It’s Ric Flair, of course. And now we’re really out of time.
End of show.
The Bottom Line: A really good show that at least salvaged something out of a bad year for WCW. My thoughts on the Scorpion are available in my Clash 15 rant at Rantsylvania.com so I won’t bore you with that, but it was a good effort on WCW’s part here. (2011 Scott sez: That domain isn’t there anymore, but you can read the Clash 15 rant here: http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/video_reviews/32757)
Too little, too late to save Ole Anderson’s job, however. (2011 Scott sez: In later shoot interviews, Ole now claims that he was already fired months before this show and Dusty Rhodes was running things. Despite Dusty still being in the WWF at this point. I guess he was just running EVERYTHING.)
A recommended show. (2011 Scott sez: ?!? Does this SOUND like a recommended show? Go back to reviewing Thunder and leave this to the professionals, 1999 Scott.)