Wednesday 1 March 2017

WCW Starrcade 1997 Review

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This is a big one ladies and gentlemen, this is WCW’s Starrcade 1997. A year’s worth of build for one moment, for Sting vs Hogan. Our hero, the hero of WCW, Sting finally gets his hands on Hogan and the World Championship. We have had terrible finishes, over-booking to the extreme but somehow, someway, Sting vs Hogan is going to happen and it is going to be amazing. One of the biggest pay per view buyrates up to that point, WCW’s answer to Wrestlemania. I am pumped, I want to see Sting vs Hogan, I want to see this card, I want The NWO to be dead and buried forever! They cannot possibly screw up this match right? Right? Right????????????????????????? Let’s find out!

Opening Promo

This is epic, Sting is walking around a set similar to The Crow with images of Hogan projected onto buildings, it’s eerie, it’s dark but it’s cinematic and simple. Set looks awesome, fireworks galore. Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Dusty Rhodes welcome to the action. There is some confusion about who will be a referee for this match. Also, WCW wrestlers are in the crowd to watch Sting kick Hogan’s ass, a nice little touch.

(WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match) Eddie Guerrero © vs Dean Malenko

My favourite heel in WCW taking on one of his best friends in the business, Malenko and Eddie have wrestled thousands of time by this stage, I am almost certain of that. Eddie slaps and pokes the bear before assaulting Malenko, takedown by Eddie but Malenko is too quick for the champion. Malenko pummels Eddie, Eddie complains of closed fists. Eddie asks for a handshake, Malenko unleashes forearms before Eddie turns the tide with a elbows and scraping Malenko’s face off the ropes.

Malenko answers with a calf kick and a suplex, more right hands from Malenko. Standing switches before Eddie grabs the arm and tries for a springboard hurricanrana, Malenko counters for a powerbomb. Alabama slam by Malenko, jacknife cover for two. Powerslam by Malenko for two, Eddie is not happy with Malenko. Eddie begs for Malenko to bring it, Eddie tries to leave the arena. Eddie blindsides Malenko with a chop block, uppercut by Eddie. Forearm shot to the chest, chops to the chest. Snapmare and stomp on the face by Eddie, low dropkick by Eddie. Malenko blocks a suplex with knees and hangs Eddie on the top rope, huge clothesline for two by Malenko.

Snapmare into a reverse chinlock, transition into a headscissors. Flapjack by Malenko. Eddie begs for mercy, Eddie kisses Malenko’s foot. Dropkick by Malenko, we reset after Eddie powders. Test of strength, Malenko is winning and steps on the hands of Eddie. Eddie backs Malenko into the corner, Eddie looks for a tornado DDT, Malenko shoves off Eddie and drops Eddie onto the turnbuckle. Back suplex for two, Eddie reverses an Irish whip and nails a boot to the mid-section. Malenko looks for a suplex but Eddie slides out to the apron and hotshots Malenko hard. Eddie slingshots onto the leg of Malenko, Eddie wraps the knee around the ringpost and dropkicks the steel steps into Malenko’s knee. Eddie applies an ankle lock, trying to get Malenko to quit.

Powerbomb by the champion for two, Eddie tries for a victory roll but Malenko counters for a wheelbarrow suplex, two for Malenko. Right hands by Malenko, Eddie blocks a corner clothesline but Malenko nails a backbreaker for two. Irish whip reversed by Eddie, Malenko elevates Eddie to the apron. Forearm by Malenko, Eddie and Malenko are on the top rope. Eddie looks for a frankensteiner, Malenko counters for a massive flapjack. La Magistral by Malenko for two as Eddie grabs the ropes.

Powerbomb by Malenko, Texas Cloverleaf but no, Eddie kicks the injured leg of Malenko. Eddie misses a dropkick and is on the floor, Eddie shoulder thrusts the knee, missile dropkick to the knee by Eddie and a beautiful Frog Splash on the knee.

Awesome match, a tonne of psychology, lots of selling, lots of well thought out moves with meaning, Guerrero continues to be the best heel on the roster, handshakes, begging for mercy and kissing the feet of his opponent. Malenko nails some huge moves, crowd was big into the match and the finish was great, leg was worked over for the entirety of the match and Eddie Frog Splashes the knee to secure the victory. Worked the body part and it played into the finish, perfect psychology from Eddie and Malenko.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero over Dean Malenko via Frog Splash!

Scott Hall Promo

Scott Hall comes out to explain the absence of Kevin Nash who was scheduled to face The Giant at Starrcade. Hall comes out wearing a fake tag team championship as the war with The Steiners is still on apparently. Hall does his usual shtick of Hey Yo, let’s do a survey etc. Hall also mentions he will face the winner at SuperBrawl, seems they were sticking to their plans on that one. Hall makes fun of The Giant, out comes The Giant. Hall attacks The Giant, Giant presses Hall above his head and Powerbombs Hall to send a message to Kevin Nash. Good segment that the fans were into, trust me when I say this would be better than the actual match.

Scott Norton/Randy Savage/Vincent W/ Miss Elizabeth vs The Steiner Brothers/Ray Traylor W/ Ted Dibiase

Hilariously, Norton and Vincent walk Hall to the back and then calmly turnaround and walk back to the ring for their match. Vincent on Starrcade? Randy Savage teaming with these two? Ok so Konnan was originally announced for the match but Savage comes in and The NWO & Savage come off like massive babyfaces. The perplexing booking of WCW continues with this silly company.

Scott wants Savage, lock-up and Scott pushes back Savage. Side headlock by Savage, shoulder block by Scott. Slap by Savage, slap by Scott. Norton cheap shots Scott and Savage drops Scott across the top rope, tag to Vincent who is choking Scott with his boot. Tag to Norton, chops by Norton. Scott eats a Samoan drop and a backbreaker. Tag to Savage, double axe handle to the back. Scott catches Savage for a tiger bomb, gorilla press by Scott. Team WCW clear the ring and The Steiners pose. Norton is legal, Scott talks Rick. Norton clubs Rick, powerslam by Rick. Clothesline by Rick, another powerslam for two. Tag to Traylor, headbutts and right hands by Traylor. Traylor is backed into the corner, Norton and Vincent put the boots to Traylor.

Vincent is caught for a spinebuster, Vincent pokes the eyes and punches away at Traylor. Traylor reverses an Irish whip and nails a huge slam. Tag to Scott, belly to belly by Scott. Scott slaps the shit out of Vincent, tag to Traylor. Knee to the head of Vincent and tag to Rick, reverse chinlock by Rick. Rick bites the head of Vincent, tag to Traylor. Traylor misses a headbutt, Norton is legal. Clothesline by Norton, right hands by Norton. Tag to Vincent, Irish whip and they bang heads. Tag to Rick, Rick hammers Norton, Vincent and Savage. Powerslam by Vincent, scoop slams to Norton and Savage. Match breaks down, Vincent is all alone, spike DDT but Norton makes the save.

Scott has Vincent, setting up for The Frankensteiner, Scott nails The Frankensteiner but Savage makes the save. Exploder suplex to Savage, Norton electric chair drops Scott and Savage drops The Elbow. The NWO walk away with the win in this match.

Alright tag team match, not much of a heat segment. If anything, Vincent was the one selling the most in this match, Savage is the most over man in this match. Huge babyface like pops for Savage, you would swear The NWO were the good guys.

Winners: Team NWO over Team WCW via Elbow Drop!

Mene Gene & JJ. Dillon

Who is going to be the referee? It was drawn fairly and at random, the referee’s names were put in a hat and picked out in a fair manner. Nick Patrick is the official referee, Patrick was a former NWO referee and this raises a few groans from the people in attendance.

Goldberg vs Mongo

Goldberg was a hired gun by Queen Debra to attack Mongo, Goldberg completed his goal and stole Mongo’s Superbowl ring. Mongo took out Goldberg at World War 3 with a lead pipe to the back of the head. Goldberg and Mongo brawl in the aisle way, Goldberg throws haymakers at Mongo. Goldberg carries Mongo to the ring and hurls Mongo in the ring. Goldberg has a table, Mongo attacks Goldberg with little effect, more right hands by Mongo. Knees to the ribs, sidewalk slam by Mongo for two. Flying shoulder block by Goldberg, Mongo is tossed to the floor. Mongo blocks the table, Mongo slams Goldberg into the mat. Shots to the kidneys, Mongo climbs to the top rope.

Goldberg nails Mongo with a shot to the ribs as Mongo dives off the top rope, heel hook from Goldberg, shoulder block by Goldberg. Shitty looking Spear by Goldberg, table is set up by Goldberg. Irish whip by Goldberg, Goldberg picks up Mongo. Mongo holds on to the ropes to not fall through the table, dropkick by Goldberg. Mongo is punched off the apron through the table, Mongo clubs Goldberg and looks for The Tombstone but Mongo’s back gives out and Goldberg drops Mongo with The Jackhammer.

Sloppy and boring, thankfully a short match. Table bump, Spear and The Jackhammer all looked like crap. DUD!

Winner: Goldberg over Mongo via Jackhammer!

Saturn vs Chris Benoit (Raven’s Rules Match)

Raven had signed a contract with WCW to compete but it seems Raven had a few stipulations put in place in his contract, Raven decides not to compete tonight and let Saturn do the dirty work while the puppet master of The Flock watches on from the crowd. Benoit wants Raven but Benoit has no problem beating the piss out of Saturn.

Chop and shoulder blocks by Benoit, sleeper by Saturn but Benoit shoves off Saturn. Saturn tries for the sleeper, jawbreaker by Benoit. Drop toehold by Saturn, Benoit rolls out and chops Saturn. Benoit asks Raven to come in the ring, Benoit spits on Raven, no response from Raven. More elbows and chops by Benoit before Saturn nails a huge head and arm suplex. Stomps to the back by Saturn, chops in the corner by Saturn. Benoit fires back with chops, dragon screw leg whip by Benoit, Benoit knocks off Kidman. Benoit and Saturn spill to the floor, Sickboy springboards on Benoit, Shooting Star Press by Kidman from the apron to the floor. Raven looks over Benoit as Saturn goes back to work.

Snapmare and reverse chinlock by Saturn, neckbreaker by Saturn. Two count for Saturn, scoop slam and springboard moonsault by Saturn. Cover and a two, Benoit puts a foot on the ropes. Knee to the ribs by Saturn, make it two. Benoit counters the third for a roll-up, Saturn explodes out with a clothesline. Camel clutch by Saturn, Saturn chokes Benoit using the ropes. Brainbuster by Saturn, cover and another two count for Saturn.

Reverse chinlock by Saturn, Benoit fights out and nails sunset flip before drilling Saturn with a clothesline. Benoit stomps away at Saturn, eye poke by Saturn. Saturn foot chokes Benoit, Michinoku driver by Saturn. Benoit battles back and tosses Saturn to the floor, Saturn dodges the baseball slide but Benoit applies a Crippler Crossface. Here comes the entire Flock, Benoit is pummelled by six wrestlers, Saturn looks for an Asai moonsault and Benoit dodges, all of The Flock have been wiped out. Clothesline by Benoit in the ring, snap suplex and Benoit calls for the end. Diving Headbutt by Benoit, Benoit fights off Kidman, Lodi, Riggs, Sickboy and Kidman again. Even Flow DDT by Raven, Rings of Saturn and Benoit is unconscious.

Liked the match a lot, Saturn and Benoit are both intense wrestlers and they can bring it whenever they want to and they brought it all on this night. Loved the interaction with The Flock, Benoit knocking back the members and fighting to the odds, we were about to get Raven vs Benoit but not yet because we are building to that match so Raven drills Benoit allowing Saturn to gain the win. Thumbs up for this match and angle!

Winner: Saturn over Chris Benoit via Rings of Saturn!

Buff Bagwell vs Lex Luger

Buff Bagwell vs Luger? Something tells me I am not going to be a big fan of this match. I am not a big fan of either men’s work and is this really the match they have for Luger on Starrcade? I thought Savage was in a silly match for this show but perhaps Luger has the worst match. Lock-up, Bagwell works the back of Luger with punches, Bagwell tries a hiptoss but Luger is too strong. Punches y Luger and a hiptoss, scoop slam and a military press slam. Clothesline and Bagwell is on the floor, Bagwell asks for Vincent to come out and back up Bagwell. Bagwell jumps Luger in the ring, right hands and stomps to Luger.

Luger sends Bagwell into the ringpost and guard rail, Bagwell tastes the guard rail for a second time. Luger works the back of Bagwell, driving his weight down on the back of him. Hard Irish whip by Luger, Vincent is decked by Luger. Bagwell rakes the eyes and chokes Luger with the ropes, foot across the throat by Bagwell. Vincent chokes Luger with the referee’s back turned. Bagwell slaps the head of Luger, Bagwell steps on the head of Luger. Luger explodes with a lariat, variation of a reverse chinlock from Bagwell. Luger battles back to nail a clothesline, Luger ducks his head on an Irish whip and Bagwell nails a clubbing blow to the back, cover and a two count for Bagwell. Clothesline by Bagwell for two, another chinlock from Bagwell.

Luger battles back but Bagwell nails a knee. Sleeper by Bagwell, Luger counters for a back suplex. Bagwell tries for a splash, Luger blocks with knees. Right hands and a back body drop, running lariats. Inverted atomic drop, flying forearm and a shot to Vincent. Suplex by Luger, Vincent is tossed at Bagwell and then knocked to the floor. Luger rams Bagwell into the turnbuckle, stomps in the corner, Bagwell bumps Luger into the referee. Powerslam by Luger, Torture Rack to Bagwell. Savage comes to the ring but Luger slams Savage, Torture Rack to Savage. Here comes Scott Norton with Rick Steiner’s dog collar, Bagwell is placed on top and Bagwell steals the win.

That match dragged, it went forever. On and on, with nothing happening. Bagwell put everyone in attendance to sleep with the amount of rest holds in that match, Luger was boring. Crowd only cared for when he signalled for The Torture Rack. It was just as vanilla you can get, why did Savage come out? If you want Savage vs Luger for the next pay per view, why did Norton score the knockout blow?

Winner: Buff Bagwell over Lex Luger via Shenanigans!

(WCW United States Championship Match) Curt Hennig © vs DDP

Despite poor booking on WCW’s part, DDP continues to be a popular part of the roster. Hennig was meant to face Flair but Flair had been injured so DDP steps in for this match after being made to look like trash at the last pay per view. Lock-up and roll-up from DDP, DDP elbows off Hennig and works the arm with shoulder thrusts. Hennig powders as DDP is in control of this match. Lock-up, Hennig uses a thumb to down DDP. Hennig goes to work on DDP with kicks to the injured ribs of DDP. Snapmare and reverse chinlock by Hennig, DDP wriggles free and takes down Hennig with side headlocks. Chops by Hennig as DDP is backed into the corner, DDP reverses an Irish whip for another side headlock.

Shoulder block by DDP, hair-pull by DDP. Right hand knocks Hennig to the floor, DDP drags Hennig to the ring. Hennig hotshots DDP, Hennig drops his weight on the ribs of DDP. Hennig hurls DDP into the steel steps, more shots to the ribs by Hennig. More weight to the back of DDP, Hennig walks all over DDP. Hennig kicks the head of DDP over and over before applying a crossface. DDP fires up but Hennig runs over DDP with a clothesline, reverse chinlock by Hennig, Hennig uses the ropes for added pressure.

DDP jawbreakers his way out, DDP fires up from the mat. DDP wins the war and Hennig is on the floor, plancha over the top rope. DDP yanks Hennig groin first into the ringpost. DDP motions for The Diamond Cutter, Hennig holds onto the ropes and DDP falls to the mat. Roll-up from DDP for two, Hennig tries for The Hennig Plex and DDP counters for a small package. Two count for DDP, clothesline by Hennig. Hennig tries for a Hennig Plex again but DDP counters with a single arm DDT. Hennig reverses an Irish whip and tries for a clothesline but DDP floats over for a Diamond Cutter, Goodnight Hennig.

A big moment for DDP, the match was nothing special. It was shorter than Bagwell vs Luger, Hennig was fine as was DDP. I really do not have that much to say about it, there was a little heat segment and all of a sudden, the match was over.

Winner: DDP over Hennig via Dimaond Cutter!

(Match for Control of Nitro) Larry Zbyszko vs Eric Bischoff W/ Scott Hall (Bret Hart = Special Guest Referee)

Hall had beaten Luger at the prior pay per view before the decision was reversed by referee Larry Zbyszko, Zbyszko was laid out Bischoff and Hall, humiliating Zbyszko in the process. Zbyszko represents WCW and if Zbyszko wins, Scott Hall will have to face Zbyszko at the next pay per view. Interest is also on Bret Hart, this is what you have Bret Hart do at his first pay per view and whether Hart is in The NWO or not.

Bischoff kicks and jabs Zbyszko with little success, Bischoff poses anyways. Bischoff stays away from Zbyszko and asks for advice from Scott Hall. Bischoff dodges a takedown and kicks Zbyszko right in the head. Zbyszko charges Bischoff and beats the piss out of Bischoff and rubs Bischoff’s face in the mat. Sleeper by Zbyszko, Bret Hart tells Zbyszko to break the hold. Bret Hart and Zbyszko are in one another’s face, scoop slam by Zbyszko. Standing figure four by Zbyszko, Bischoff makes it to the ropes. Zbyszko stomps on the leg and Bischoff falls to the floor. Zbyszko rams Bischoff into the ringpost, Bret Hart and Zbyszko are having a war of words.

Zbyszko rams Bischoff into the steel steps, Bret Hart pulls back Zbyszko and Bischoff nails a huge kick to Zbyszko’s head, kicks to the downed Zbyszko. Bischoff roughs up Zbyszko in the corner, Bischoff punches himself out. Zbyszko nails a huge boot, clubbing blows to the back. Vertical suplex, Bischoff meets the turnbuckle. Swinging neckbreaker, Zbyszko places Bischoff in the tree of woe, Bret Hart brings back Zbyszko. Bischoff is given a steel plate by Hall, Bischoff has the plate in his boot and Zbyszko is nailed in the head. Bischoff celebrates like crazy, Bret Hart decks Bischoff with a right hand. In comes Hall and Bret Hart beats the piss out of Hall. Zbyszko chokes Bischoff and Zbyszko’s hand is raised.

Well, that was mostly boring and stalling, we do not even get to see Bischoff tap out to Zbyszko. There was no submission, no pin-fall. It is like they wanted to protect Bischoff which would be too funny if that was the truth. Seriously, no idea why Bischoff did not tap like a bitch in Zbyszko’s guillotine choke, it was mostly dull and a waste of Bret Hart.

Winner: Zbyszko over Bischoff via choke?

(WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match) Hollywood Hulk Hogan © vs Sting

This is it, 18 months of build to the biggest match in WCW’s history. The NWO had run wild but whenever things looked bleak, Sting would appear and save WCW, Sting is WCW’s hero and the foil to Hogan. Hogan had beaten Piper, Luger and The Giant but Hogan was terrified of Sting. It was time to pay the piper, Hogan’s fun was over and he must answer to the man they call Sting. Sting’s entrance is all sorts of epic, you have a voiceover and the music playing, the projected images of Sting and Sting appears from the entrance way, baseball bat in hand with a stare that could kill a man. Hogan no-sells it, Hogan is unafraid that the grim reaper is walking to him, poor Hogan.

Sting and Hogan are face to face, Hogan shoves Sting and throws his hat at Sting. Sting slaps Hogan, Hogan is stalling and jaw-jacking with the fans. Lock-up, Hogan backs away Sting, Sting blocks the right hand and nails Hogan. Hogan kicks Sting in the ribs and proceeds to punch Sting all around the ring. Corner clothesline, throat attack and a rake to the back. Eye poke by Hogan, scoop slam and Hogan misses a series of elbows. Dropkick by Sting, Hogan is on the floor. Lock-up, side headlock by Hogan. Shoulder block by Hogan, dropkick from Sting. Make it two and Hogan is on the floor once more. Lock-up, side headlock by Sting.

Sting sits in this side headlock, shoulder block by Sting. Clothesline by Hogan who poses around the ring. Suplex by Hogan, Sting no-sells and hammers away at Hogan. Eye poke by Hogan, punch by Hogan. Hogan rams Sting into the timekeeper’s area, Hogan smashes Sting with his own baseball bat. Hogan chokes the life out of Sting and pummels Sting off the guard rail and the ring apron. Sting misses a Stinger Splash on the guard rail, Hogan poses and jaw-jacks some more. Sting is crotched on the guard rail. Inverted atomic drop and boot choke by Hogan. Hogan taunts, drop The Leg Drop and beats Sting just like that. But wait, here is Bret Hart and Bret Hart gets on the microphone saying Sting will not be screwed.

Sting is up, Hogan is pummelled. Stinger Splash, Sting murders NWO members. Another Stinger Splash and Sting applies The Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan submits and Sting is your champion once more. WCW celebration as all the locker room empties to celebrate with Sting.

So much to talk about in this match. Ok, the match itself was a complete shit-show for the majority. Sting had been portrayed as unstoppable and WCW’s hero. I do not think Sting should have squashed Hogan but it was time for Hogan to get his ass kicked in a dominating fashion by Sting. That did not happen, we had Hogan dominate Sting for the entirety of the match. Sting hit two dropkicks and a side headlock before being soundly beaten by Hogan. Where was Sting’s power? Where was Sting standing up to Hogan? Where was Sting overpowering the overconfident Hogan? The match made Sting look like an absolute chump who was not in Hogan’s league. Abysmal display from Hogan and Sting, didn’t like any of that at all.

Parodying the Montreal Screwjob was an awful idea, this is your Wrestlemania. There is no way that Sting cannot go over in a dominant fashion, you put so much time and effort into this so why in the name of God are you poking fun at WWF? I know they have no shame but why did you not put over Sting strong?

Then, you have the fact that the finish is messed up due to Nick Patrick not making a fast count for Hogan. Patrick counts at normal speed, Hogan wins fairly and we have Bret Hart already at the timekeeper’s area saying it will not happen like this, should I just assume Bret Hart knew Patrick was going to screw Sting? Anyways, Patrick was kicked out of The NWO months ago, why would he all of a sudden re-join the group? Anyways, the finish is lame, it is a waste of Bret Hart, I would have not used him until the Ric Flair feud, that made for some good tv at least. Sting wins the match, looks like a joke in the process and people consider this the beginning of the downfall of WCW and I can see why because this was garbage!

I just feel the life was sucked out of me watching that main event, I cannot imagine being a fan at the time and watching that take place, to think that they thought that was a good idea, a good finish and a good portrayal of Sting is laughable. As the pay per view poster reads, payback is a bitch and WCW started to show the cracks not long after this and on this night where they were atop the wrestling world, it must have been hard to fall so far…

Winner: Sting over Hogan via Scorpion Deathlock!

Starrcade 1997 was not what it should have been, we had Sting win The World Championship and DDP win The United States Championship, two great moments that should have been amazing and the payoff that every WCW fan wanted but this pay per view did not deliver on so many levels. I enjoyed the opening match a lot, it was downhill from there. The Goldberg match and Bischoff match were utter garbage, Luger vs Bagwell went too damn long with dull segments throughout, you had DDP vs Hennig over in a flash which was a good thing because there was not greatness being displayed in that ring and a main event that was trash. Starrcade 1997 is worth seeing only for how badly WCW fucked up that main event, I advise you to watch Hulk Hogan beat Sting like trash until The Montreal Screwjob Spot. Overall, garbage!

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