WCW Starrcade 1997 Review

WCW Starrcade 1997 Review
Date: December 28, 1997
Attendance: 17,500
Location: MCI Center, Washington

It’s time for the big one. Starrcade 1997 was pulling people into pro wrestling from all directions and was one of the higher buys WCW ever saw for one of their PPVs. Of course everyone is only buying this for the Sting vs Hollywood Hogan and I have to say, I have never seen this so I'm anticipating it greatly.

This was no doubt one of the better storylines we have seen in pro wrestling. Hollywood Hogan has been built up into an unstoppable force with his goons from the nWo and it was made to look like only one man could stop him. The dark character was played to perfection by Sting and he never even had to say a word. Crowd has been loving it and should be one cracking battle.

Your commentators are Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone and Mike Tenay.

We have breaking news from the last 36 hours and in fact, the referee for the big one is unknown. JJ Dillon will pull a name out of a hat with all the candidates to officiate the contest (which is everyone obviously). Kevin Nash is also not in the building supposedly but lets get to it!

Cruiserweight Title Match: Eddy Guerrero (c) vs Dean Malenko

Dean Malenko to this point has had the most amazing year. Has jobbed to random crackheads and won numerous titles. Defeated people big and small and was the best wrestler in WCW for mine in 1997.

Crowd is red hot and things start off quickly with both competitors laying into each other with fierce blows. Eddy fights back after a suplex from Malenko and goes for a springboard hurricanrana but cops a powerbomb for his troubles. Quick role up which then turned into a powerful slingshot slam on Guerrero. Quick succession of pins get only 2. Malenko then catches Guerrero off the ropes and nails him with a powerslam but only 2! Eddy goes to the outside to catch his breath before going after the knee of Malenko. A fan holds up a sign “Hogan is older than dirt” heh! Meanwhile Eddy starts kissing Dean’s feet and asks for a truce. Get a mouthful of dropkick before resorting to the outside again. Another sign “Hogan is an emo”. Loving Washington’s work! Great back and forth action as Eddy reverses a suplex over the top and smashes Malenko’s head on the rope. Heads straight back to the knee, punishing it on ring posts and stairs. The action had me totally hooked and this one is over when Guerrero goes up top and hits a missile dropkick to the knee of Malenko. Heads up top again and the frogsplash settles this one.

Rating: **** - I really enjoyed this. Eddy plays the heel role better than anyone I believe and everyone in the crowd was desperate for him to lose. Thats exactly what you want. Malenko again put on a fine display and I really was wishing he finished the year with a title under the belt. The guy truly deserved it.

We get nWo music pumping and its Scott Hall wearing one half of the Tag Team belts. No, they are definitely not the champions. Survey time it is but fuck, can’t they keep this shit on Nitro? No one gives a fuck about which side the crowd is on. Carrying on, Hall states Nash is really not in the building and asks for a referee so that Giant’s hand can be raised.

Giant grabs a mike and says they will cross paths one day and this isn’t over. Hall starts throwing some tame punches and Giant picks him up and plants him. Picks him up and gets ready for the chokeslam. Pauses, considers it and instead plants him with a huge powerbomb. I guess this is the replacement for the match that isn’t taking place.

We get no reason for Nash’s absence which is pure bullshit as everyone deserved to know. Not a huge fan of Hall but credit to him for coming out and taking the hit. Was made to look silly, considering he is the #1 contender after World War 3. Looks like we are going to have to settle for that.

nWo (Savage, Norton and Vincent) vs The Steiners and Ray Traylor w/ Ted Dibiase.

I have no idea why this fat piece of shit Ray Traylor is in this but I guess WCW saw something in him. Maybe a buffet breakfast in the morning.  Out of nowhere, more nWo music and the Macho Man begins to make his way to the ring with Elizabeth. So the match hasn’t even started yet and there are already 10 people near the ring. Crikey!

Its a very crappy and sloppy start with moves not being completed properly. All of a sudden the ring is clear and Team nWo is on the outside. The Big Flossman is tagged in and pulls out this taunt that makes the crowd cringe. Vincent is getting absolutely smashed with the WCW dudes pulling out a lot of quick tags. Anyways, a clash of heads brings about the hot tag and a Steiner DDT will get the win. No it won’t, Norton breaks up the pin. Brawls everywhere on the outside. Scotty S puts Vincent on top and nails the frankensteiner but again the pin is broken up by Savage coming in from the outside. Scott then goes after Savage and puts him up top going for the Frankensteiner. Norton re-enters and nails him with a fall back slam. Savage elbow drop and this one is over!

Rating: **½ - Not great stuff here but it was still very watchable, besides Ray Traylor and his King Kong chest whacking. Credit where it due to Savage as he had a high intensity throughout the whole damn thing and basically carried it for the nWo.

JJ Dillon is out and is ready to announce the referee for the main event. Its Nick Patrick of all fucking people. GREEAATTTTTTTTTTT!

Bill Goldberg vs Mongo McMichael.

God dammit Goldberg is one massive unit. If I was speared, I reckon he’d shatter every bone in my body. I’d be able to take this match seriously if Mongo could wrestle though. Goldberg meets Mongo in the entrance and they get it on. No, there is no kinkiness involved, just some clean strikes. Crowd chants Goldberg and they are pretty hot for him, even at this raw stage in his career. They brawl on the outside near a table Goldberg happened to find nearby. Not sturdy at all but back in the ring and a roll through into a leg lock of some sorts has Schiavone impressed. The crowd Is instantly bored by this one and begin paying out on Lodi of the Flock nearby! Good times! Goldberg sets up the table properly on the outside and tries to powerslam him from inside the ring before settling for a tuned down missile dropkick to the outside. Mongo is suddenly on the apron and gets a forearm shot that sends him to the floor and through the table. Jackhammer and this one is finito!

Rating: * - Went far too long for my liking when it should have been no long than 8 minutes. The fact that there was a grand total of about 5 moves makes it hard to watch but we all know where these two went after this feud and thats the only positive I can think of.

Raven vs Chris Benoit

Raven is out to no music and quickly gets on the phone. States he will not be wrestling tonight as he can choose when, where and who he wrestles. It is now:

Perry Saturn vs Chris Benoit

This whole storyline has been a carbon copy of the one Benoit previously shared with Kevin Sullivan. Was forced to go through the Faces of Fear and others in order to get his hands on Sullivan. Has had to do the same with the Flock which is cheap booking if you ask me.

A stuttery promo from Benoit before things finally get under way with Benoit inflicting some pain with those massive chops! Some pretty sloppy stuff before the Flock begins to get involved. Benoit is jumped from behind before receiving a shooting star press from Kidman off the apron. That was nice!  Saturn is on top and now begins to work on the neck. Runs to the corner and hits a cracking moonsault on Benoit but only two. The Crippler fights back before wearing a brain buster but that again only gets two. Crowd has gone so quiet since the 6 man tag match and I don’t understand why, this should be getting more of a pop. A baseball slide by Benoit misses but he reverses the clothesline attempt by Saturn into the Crossface. As its Raven rules, this one can end on the floor. The Flock quickly swamps Benoit and makes the save. Saturn tries a flying cross body but Benoit moves and the whole of the Flock are wiped out. Back in the ring and a snap suplex and a flying headbutt from Benoit has the Flock back inside the ring. The Crippler clears house before Raven actually does something and plants him with the evenflow DDT. Rings of Saturn and this one is over.

Rating: ***½ - I thoroughly enjoyed this, although Benoit was never going to win when it was 6 vs 1 for the entirety of the match. This is about the 3rd time Benoit had been made to look good in a loss. If you’re going to lose, then lose it like that. Maybe 1998 he’ll actually get some W’s on the board. Raven continues to do his job pretty well but we all know the cracks start to appear early 1998 so thats a shame.

Lex Luger vs Buff Bagwell

A battle of strength to start things off. Bagwell is getting manhandled and begins to walk away. Calls out Vincent and here he is again. Says and I quote “Oh its even now Luger, 2 on 1” to the camera. Sooo basically your saying Bagwell is shit? Well I was thinking it....

This of course is the same shit we always get with Lex Luger. 5 mintues worth of being in a sleeper hold, 5 minutes of getting smashed in the back and then its comeback time. Luger does his typical forearms, suplex, powerslam and then gears up for the torture rack. The ref gets in the way and is bumped. Luger puts it on but the official is down. The Macho Man makes his way down the ramp but is caught by Luger and put in the torture rack as well. Norton comes out and well, was supposed to nail him with Rick Steiners chain but it deadest missed him altogether. What a farce this is. Norton wakes up the ref (who wasn’t hit hard at all but is down for an eternity) and Bagwell gets the 1-2-3!

Rating: ½ - This was the most boring piece of shit match for the whole night. Luger is the most overrated wrestler in WCW at that time, I'm sorry. It’s  always forearms, powerslam and torture rack. Luger is like a shit joke. You laugh at it the first time because it is so terrible but once you hear it a few more times, you really want out on jokes altogether.

US Title Match: Curt Henning (c) vs DDP

DDP still has his ribs bandaged up and if anyone deserves to win a title tonight, its DDP. Have found his run throughout the year to be of top quality and nothing would be better than him winning the US Title to finish the year. Well Sting winning I guess would be better but oh well.

Henning begins with the usual nWo sheep antics and heads to the outside. Oh and look at that, it works again. Henning is all over him early and works on the back instantly. Things go to the outside when Page works the crowd and takes Henning right into the middle of the ferals. A springboard over the top to the floor has Henning in a bad way. Back in the ring and DDP goes for the Diamond Cutter, but Henning holds the rope.  Looks to go for his Henning Plex but DDP is able to escape with some clever manoeuvres. Some submission work from the two as Page irish whips Henning, flys around his body and nails the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere. 1-2-3! AND WE INDEED HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: ** - Happy with the result but I though this could have been alot better. Probably guilty for trying a little too hard and was overly sloppy throughout.

Eric Bischoff w/ Scott Hall vs Larry Zbysko

Looks like Bret Hart is the special guest referee for this one. If this is going to be carried out as an actual wrestling match then Larry would destroy him within seconds. As it is, lots of stalling is involved so those seconds extend into minutes which makes this a total waste of time.

Larry whacks on a few choke holds which are broken up by the Hitman. Since when is a sleeperhold an illegal move? Anyways, Larry finally gets his act together and rams Eric into the ring post. Eric Bischoff throw a kazilion punches and kicks in the corner as a grand total of 12 actually connect. Fast forward to about the 9 minute mark for this one to save yourselves some time. Scott Hall gets on the apron as Bret Hart is restricting Bischoff again and puts a piece of metal in Eric’s shoe. Eric connects with the kick but the piece of metal goes flying. Hart catches on with all the shit that is going on and connects with a punch on Eazy E. Hall enters the ring and an atomic drop and sharpshooter has the crowd in a fucking frenzy. Larry then starts choking out Eric which then leads to an embrace. Larry gets his hand raised, even though there was no pinfall or submission, but hey who gives a fuck? I'm just happy this shit is over with.

Rating: ½ - This was shit. No other word for it. It was even lucky to get a half a star and thats just because of all the Bret Hart stuff that went down. I hope to never see Eric Bischoff oiled up ever again. It was a sight for sore eyes!

World Title Match: Hollywood Hogan (c) vs Sting

Well this is the one I have been waiting for all night. I think the crowd as well had been waiting for this one. Sting’s entrance is very creepy but very cool at the same time. It actually adds to the suspense if thats possible.

Anyways, anyone reading this has obviously already watched the event so here are my thoughts on it. I kind of feel lost after watching all of this go down.  This should be the end of the feud but I still find myself asking a thousand questions. First of all, way to go WCW for taking the whole crowd out of the equation in one foul swoop. Hogan dominates for the majority of the match? Are you fucking serious? The crowd was going to play a major factor in how this panned out and whether it would be labelled a success or not. Everyone knew it was not going to be a 5 star match and thats not the reason they bought this damn thing on PPV yet, WCW did their hardest to fuck that part of it up.

Secondly, why the fuck is Nick Patrick officiating a match like this? Why the fuck was a random draw out of a hat needed to pick the ref? Do you use this tactic for every match on any given night? The minute they came out with it and told everyone about this master plan, it was obvious he was going to screw someone over.

Thirdly, why the hell is Bret Hart getting involved in this? So this storyline has been built up for god knows how long, we have a winner in a shit fucking way and then the match is restarted and officiated by a star that has been in the company for two whole weeks? Why does he have any business in this shit? OH MY GOD!

This should have been a clean match, where Randy fucking Anderson or Joe Bloggs is officiating and Sting wins clean. Sting winning after he has been pinned (even though it was a fast count) took everything away from the win and worst of all, the crowd has no freaking idea what was going on after Hogan had gotten the win.

This was just one complete mess and I sat there in front of the TV thinking about what I had just seen. Scratched my head and came here to write about this shit. Whoever it was that came up with this grand plan, I have two words for you: FUCK YOU!

Rating: * - At least they got the right person to win the freakin match. What could have been? Thats the question that will never be answered and its a real shame because the whole blow off to this story has sailed long ago.

PPV Rating: *½
This was pretty shit. Maybe two matches are acceptable while the rest were average or just fucked up. So many god damn matches were overbooked it wasn’t funny and the majority had outside interference involved, which just shouldn’t go down on a PPV.  Once the anger passes, you feel nothing but disappointment and yeah, I'm speechless. If anyone enjoyed this PPV, then you haven’t lived. 

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