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Starrcade Countdown: 1994

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 94

- Welcome to rock bottom, as Hogan’s egomania results in the main event of the biggest WCW show of the year involving Brutus Beefcake. To put things in perspective, this was during my WCW boycott period, and I didn’t even read the results of the show until about a month after, and I didn’t see the show for the first time until 1997. I think I still watched Worldwide wrestling back around this time, because I recall seeing a lot of Larry Zbyszko v. Terra Rizin’ matches. Hey, remember when WCW actually developed future World champions instead of signing them 10 years past their prime? Bets are currently flying as to who the next dumbass talent release will end up being. I personally say Lenny Lane, with the whole West Hollywood Blond thing being the spark that ignites his star in the WWF when the inevitable signing occurs once his contract expires.  (2011 Scott sez:  I believe Lenny Lane is now doing kids birthday parties for a living.  So I was bit off on my assessment of his future potential.)  

- Before I forget, props go out to James Fabiano, who answered my plea and called into Meltzer last night, not only asking about the finish to the Nasties-Sting/Hawk match, but going above the call of duty and plugging Rantsylvania and Wrestleline at the same time. Now that’s dedication! I should point out that with mentions on WCW Live and Meltzer’s program, I’m a “Byte This” mention away from “hitting for the cycle”, so to speak. So someone get to it and call up Kevin Kelly and ask why the WWF won’t send me review copies of the new WWF videos! Make me proud, Netcop groupies!  (2011 Scott sez:  In recent years, WWE actually did start sending me review copies of their DVDs, long after the point when I stopped caring about reviewing them.  That’s irony for ya.  Never did get that mention on Byte This, though.) 

- Live from Nashville, TN.

- Your hosts are Tony & Bobby

- For the sake of my own sanity, I’m omitting all the backstage promos that look like ECW’s “Taped on a hand-held camera by an epileptic 4-year-old” promos and Mean Gene interview segments, because they all suck. I’m also omitting the PWI Awards segments, because they were fixed by Turner anyway (2011 Scott sez:  …allegedly) and I refuse to acknowledge any fanbase that would be so retarded as to vote Hulk Hogan “Wrestler of the Year” for 1994 when Bret Hart was clearly a bigger draw with better matches, if one compares Wrestlemania X’s buyrate (and two ***** matches) to Bash at the Beach’s lesser numbers.  (2011 Scott sez:  Pretty sure Bash at the Beach blew away Wrestlemania in buys that year, actually.  It stood as WCW’s biggest PPV ever until Starrcade 97 and did something like 600K buys when everything was counted.  Can you IMAGINE a WWE show doing 600,000 buys outside of Wrestlemania these days?  Vince would have a ticker tape parade for John Cena and flood Twitter with celebratory press releases.) 

- Opening match, US title: Jim Duggan v. Vader.

Duggan and Vader brawl on the floor. Duggan punches a lot, Vader does nothing but sell. There’s something you don’t see every day. Duggan with a bodypress (!) and a bodyslam (!!) for two. Duggan hits a good stiff clothesline and elbowdrop for two. What, did someone invent a time machine and pull the Duggan from 1985 for this match? He gets knocked out of the ring, and Vader stomps him upon re-entry. Sloppy pump splash gets two. Is he hungover tonight or something? We get a bunch of stalling, then Vader goes for the moonsault and misses. Duggan comes back with a crisp lariat. Damn, a motivated Duggan is pretty good. I haven’t seen him go like this since the UWF days. Tony is already spouting the company line about WCW being #1. Yeah, #1…FOR ME TO POOP ON! (2011 Scott sez:  I was watching a lot of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog back then.) I think there’s a juxtaposition pun involving “Konnan O’ Brian” I could work in if I was feeling really motivated, but for this crap show, why bother? Three-point stance gets two, but Race puts Vader’s foot on the ropes. My roommate also comes to the conclusion that Vader is stinking up the joint at this point, with no prompting on my part. Race distracts the ref, and various shenanigans result in Duggan getting run into his own 2x4 and hit with the inverted powerbomb for the pin and the title at 12:02. Mark your calendar: DUGGAN carries VADER to a decent match. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m dubious about that.  I’ll have to check it out on YouTube sometime to see if I was crazy there.) 

- Jean Paul Levesque v. Alex Wright.

Levesque is the ultimate example of wrestling being a giant metaphor: The snake that consumes it’s own tail to survive. Every time you think there’s no one left to carry the torch, wrestling cannibalizes it’s castoffs and jobbers and creates another star. Case in point, failed WCW prospect Terra Rizin, who was given a decent gimmick in blueblood snob Jean Paul Levesque as a potential junior partner for Steve Regal. Rightly feeling that he had no future in WCW with this kind of plan, Jean Paul took a chance with the WWF as a singles wrestler, floundering in the midcard for years before hitting upon the right gimmick retooling at the right time and winning the World title, despite a noted lack of moves not involving his knee. Yup, just call Mr. Levesque HHH now. The lesson, as always, is that you never know where your next star is going to come from. Anyway, enough deep pontificating, on with the crappy wrestling! Wright and Levesque do an extremely condescending mat-wrestling sequence that is obviously for show, drawing the ire of the crowd. I mean, some old school is nice now and then, but these two had a year experience combined, MAYBE, at this point, and were not the ones to be taking it to the mat at this point, and on a major PPV no less. Jean Paul obliges the bored crowd by stomping Wright, then hitting a leg lariat, something I’ve never seen him do since. Stalling and resting follow. Levesque was VERY green at this point, and you can imagine how bad that made him, considering that he hasn’t improved too much in the five years since. (2011 Scott sez:  Clearly this was written before the Cactus Jack matches in 2000 where I developed a man-crush on HHH for a while.)  Wright comes back after an eternity and flips over him in the corner, getting a reverse rollup for the pin at 14:00. Yes, they gave the rookies 14 minutes, don’t ask me why either. *

- World TV title: Johnny B. Badd v. Arn Anderson.

Honky Tonk Man walked out of the promotion literally earlier in the day, for some stupid political reason. Otherwise it’d be him challenging here. (2011 Scott sez:  If Honky had stuck around long enough to join the nWo in 1996, he probably would have made more money than he could ever spend on sequined black-and-white jumpsuits in his lifetime.  Or he could have been the mentor for Disco Inferno and revived his career.  I love Honky and I’m glad he’s doing good for himself on the indies, but it was a short-sighted and stupid move on his part to leave just as WCW was getting hot, because the WWF run was obviously the wrong career move to make.)  Weak wrestling sequence to start. Arn has “tells” like a poker player for when he isn’t bothering to make an effort, and the principle one is arguing over hair pulling. If he’s arguing over a hair pull a minute into the match, it’s gonna suck. Arn hits a spinebuster out of nowhere to take control, and he goes his usual stuff (abdominal stretch, sleeper-reversal, knucklelock into crotchshot) and Badd comes back. Top rope sunset flip gets two. Arn reverses to a Flair pin in the corner, but the ref sees the feet on the ropes and breaks it up. Arn is distracted, and Badd rolls him up for the super-weak pin at 11:19. I blinked it and it was 1982 all over again there. *1/4 Arn would go on to win the title a few weeks later.

- The Nasty Boys v. Harlem Heat.

I don’t remember hardly anything about the title lineage from Pretty Wonderful through the Outsiders, but a check of the title history of the WCW tag belts reveals that Harlem Heat had actually won the belts from Bagwell & Patriot on December 8, so that must have been a TV taping or something. I dunno, WCW’s continuity was so screwed up in 94-95 that they could practically declare anyone the champions and find footage to support it. Don’t even get me started on the Bunkhouse Bunk/Dick Slater thing. Anyway, the Heat is definitely not carrying the belts or announced as the champs here. Big disjointed brawl to start. Booker T gets his arm worked over, which is a nice bit of psychology, but it doesn’t actually, you know, GO ANYWHERE, so whatever. Sags gets caught in the heel corner (remember when the Heat were heels?) and worked over by…shudder…Stevie Ray. Nerve holds! Chinlocks! Bearhugs! It’s like the Poor Richard’s Almanac of Restholds or something. Knobbs gets the hot tag, and another melee breaks out. Sherri hairsprays Booker T by mistake, Sags drops the Shitty Elbow on Stevie, and Sherri comes in for the DQ at 17:46. See, that’s EXACTLY the sort of irritating non-finish that always bugs me after sitting through 18 minutes of resting. ½*

- Kevin Sullivan v. Mr. T.

I pity the fool who ordered this show in 94. Oh, shit, I’m making Mr. T jokes now, how pathetic is that? (2011 Scott sez:  At least the Mr. T stuff is still understandable by 90% of the audience 10 years later.  Some of the “of the time” references I made in 1999 are pretty cringe-worthy now.)  We get about 30 seconds of “brawling”, Santa Claus runs in, reveals himself to be Evad Sullivan, hits Kevin with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone, and Mr. T gets the pin at 3:49. Why do I bother even wasting a perfectly good paragraph on stuff like this? DUD

- Avalanche v. Sting.

Shark, Avalanche, Golga, Earthquake, John Tenta, take your pick. As my dad would say: Same shit, different pile. (2011 Scott sez:  RIP, John.  Never mind me there, you were a talented and classy guy.)  Stall stall stall to start. Avalanche moves like a slug, controlling Sting with power stuff. This situation continues for a while. Sting kicks him in the leg to come back, so Avalanche stops to catch his breath outside the ring. Talk about a futile chase. Back in for that epic hallmark of excitement: The HEADLOCK! And a bearhug. Finally, he goes for the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DOOM, but Sting pops up in a nice sequence, and the ref is bumped in a less-than-nice sequence. Sullivan comes in, they rough up Sting, Hogan makes the save and another ref comes in to call for the DQ at 15:22. Wait wait…let me get this straight…we needed 15 minutes, a ref bump, and ANOTHER ref, all for a cheap DQ to protect JOHN TENTA??? Am I missing something here, or did WCW distribute special IQ-lowering drugs with every PPV?

- Exciting video package recaps that epic Hogan v. Beefcake feud.

- WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Brother Brutus “The Zodiac Barber Butcher Clipmaster Disciple Bootyman with No Name or Face” Beefcake.

Now, I’m not saying Beefcake isn’t marketable, but the name speaks for itself, I think. I should also note that Scott Hudson totally stole that gag from me for a WCW Saturday Night episode a couple of months ago, and then lifted Scott “Last Call” Hall from me as well. On the bright side, I completely endorse Hudson stealing my stuff because it means that at least the QUALITY announcers in the promotion get to highlight my material. If Tony started swiping my jokes, I’d be seriously worried about my rep. (2011 Scott sez:  I’m much more flattered by stuff like Five Moves of Doom making it onto WWE TV, because I know for a fact that there are more than a few people in WWE who have read my stuff for a long time, and that in some small way I’m influencing what they’re doing.   It’s a good feeling.)  Anyway, we go right to punching and chopping, which leads to alleged brawling on the floor. Hogan does some devastating chest-rakes to take over. You’d think a guy who was 6’4” and 300 pounds wouldn’t have to fight like a girl to get over, but what do I know? Beefcake catches him with a high knee coming in, and were this 1985 it’d be CURTAINS for Hogan. Sadly, it’s 1994 at this time, so the pain continues. (2011 Scott sez:  Nothing wrong with a high knee as a finisher, actually.  I mean, you’re jumping in the air and hitting the guy in the jaw with your fucking KNEE, what more do you need?)  The BITCHSLAP OF DEATH off the second rope misses completely, and to be honest I’m not 100% sure of what he was gonna try anyway. Hogan comes back and runs through his usual series of tired stuff, which gets a pop from the fans WCW had paid off to cheer for him. Beefcake gets the sleeper, and once again, if it was 1985, we’d be outta here, but Hogan escapes yet another of Beefcake’s old finishers and comes back. Big boot! Legdrop! Run-in! It’s like the WWF all over again. And people think RUSSO is bad for reliving his glory years. Sullivan and Avalanche literally stand on the apron and wait for Hogan to complete the pinfall at 12:04 before they come into the ring and beat him up. Well, if you’re gonna punk someone out, at least be CONSIDERATE about it. ¼* Randy Savage, who was either gonna “shake Hogan’s hand or slap his face” does the run-in and teases doing the latter before settling on the former. And that would eventually lead to the historic Clash XXX, home of the infamous “Reviving Elbow”. If you want to know what that’s about, e-mail Rick Scaia and I’m sure he’ll be happy to write a few paragraphs on the subject like he did back in 95.  (2011 Scott sez:  Hogan and Savage teamed up to face the Dungeon on that Clash, and with Hogan seemingly down and out, Savage dropped the big elbow on him to put him into Hulk-Up Mode and save the day.  It’s actually kind of brilliant in a “breaking the fourth wall” sense)

The Bottom Line:

Was this WCW 1994 or WCW 2000 once Vince Russo gets turfed for booking like a retard? Don’t laugh – it happened before when WCW got desperate enough after 1993, and 1999 turned out almost as bad. You just never know when the evil influence of the Orange Goblin can return to rear it’s ugly, overly tanned head, and this show is proof. (2011 Scott sez:  Boy, did 2000 go worse for WCW than anyone could have possibly imagined or even guessed at.  I mean, joking about Russo getting fired and the company going out of business is one thing, but…)  Anyway, videos like this should come with a warning label: The Surgeon General has determined that Hulk Hogan’s booking can be hazardous to your intelligence. Watch at your own risk.

Strongest recommendation to avoid.