Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that cuts a longer promo than Triple H! It’s time for Starrcade, the first-ever Starrcade in 1983 as we see Ric Flair battle Harley Race for The NWA World Heavyweight Championship! A Flare for The Gold, WCW’s Wrestlemania if you will but it’s important to note that this came 2 years before we had our first Wrestlemania. It’s a big night and a memorable for sure and if you checked out the prior review, you would know this is uncharted territory for me, I know the wrestlers on this card and I know the big angles of the era and the years that follow but never had I sat down and truly watched many of Flair’s reigns, Dusty’s war with The Horseman, the rise of Sting, the various incarnations of The Horsemen, The Dangerous Alliance and Hulkamania coming to town. What surprises await me? Will I enjoy this wrasslin as opposed to the glitz and glamour of WWF’s sports entertainment? Let’s find out!
The Assassins vs Rufus R. Jones & Bugsy McGraw
Bugsy and Assassin lock up, shoulder block by Assassin but Bugsy lands a hip-toss and a scoop slam, Bugsy goes for the mask but Assassin is simply too fast for him, powdering to the floor. 16,000 in the Greensboro Colosseum, a full-house to witness Flair vs Race. Gordon Solie and Bob Caudle welcome us to the action as Bugsy continues to get the better of Assassin, Bugsy out-slugs Assassin. The thinner Assassin is in the ring now, hoping to do better than his heavier partner. Side headlock, Bugsy is knocked down with a shoulder block but Bugsy continues to maintain control, hip-toss and scoop slam. In comes The Freight Train with a massive elbow and dance. Assassin 2 is down, cover for two.
Hip-toss from Jones who steps on the head of Assassin 2, knees to the ribs and arms. Right hand from Assassin 2 who hurts his hand on Jones’ hard head. Tag to Bugsy who works the arm, Assassin 2 batters Bugsy to the corner. Assassin 1 is in, he is hesitant to lock-up with Bugsy. Assassin 1 works the arm, Bugsy lands big elbows and tags Jones. Jones continues working the arm, headbutts to the arm. Double thrusts from Jones, Assassin 1 continues to back-off but Jones lands two big right hands. Whip to the opposite buckle, Assassin 1 uses something to rake the eyes of Jones. Tag to Assassin 2, Jones manages to headbutt low as Bugsy gets the tag. Jabs and headbutts, elbows and a right hand. Everyone is in the ring, atomic drop on Assassin 2. Back body-drop, Assassin 1 comes in with the schoolboy and steals the win.
Nothing wrong with that for an opening match, the crowd loves the babyfaces in Bugsy and Rufus while hating the heels, classic wrestling done right. The Assassins bump all over the ring for the babyfaces and Jones & Bugsy have a lot of charisma to them, match was a breeze to get through. Could not have been an easier watch, great way to kick things off!
Winners: The Assassins over Bugsy McGraw & Rufus R. Jones via Schoolboy!
Johnny Weaver & Scott McGee vs Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin W/ Gary Hart
Lewin & Sullivan should be tremendous fun to watch in this one, very familiar with their work in Florida and their feud with The American Dream. Scott and Kevin work an electric pace to start off, two dropkicks from Scott. Tag to Lewin who wants to chop Scott, side headlock and a tag to Sullivan. Scott grabs a headlock, in comes Johnny Weaver. They run the ropes, in comes Lewin. Test of strength, Weaver works the arm of Lewin. Tag to Scott, Scott continues working the arm. Lewin has a head & arm triangle which brings Scott to the corner of Sullivan, Sullivan and Lewin take turns battering Scott. Knees from Sullivan and a nice arm-bar, Lewin continues to chop and stretch Scott, Scott reaches out for Weaver. They tease the tag with Sullivan distracting the referee, Weaver cannot enter the ring.
Sullivan and Weaver combine to batter Scott, more quick tags and beat down of Scott. Scott fights back though, a headbutt staggers the young fighter. Lewin is in and Lewin chokes at Scott. Sullivan is over-zealous and Weaver is able to be tagged in, massive bulldog with Lewin making the save. Sullivan survives the second bulldog, Lewin stomps all over Weaver and quick tag to Sullivan who batters the arm of Weaver. The referee is holding back Scott as Lewin drops a knee onto the arm of Weaver for the win, Scott tries to batter the two heels before Gary Hart takes an object out of his boot which allows Lewin to stab Scott over and over, there is blood everywhere.
Again not that bad, checking my timeline it seems like this is a very tame rendition of Sullivan’s Satanic Worshipper gimmick with Lewin under his spell, the unveiling of Lewin is tremendous as he came up out of the sea like a monster, Cornette would later do the same with Leviathan (Batista) in OVW but solid and Scott gets a gusher going over the assault with the object.
Winners: Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin over Scott McGee & Johnny Weaver via Diving Knee Drop!
Abdullah The Butcher vs Carlos Colon
A match so brutal and violent, it’s been banned from Puerto Rico. No stranger to violence is Abdullah The Butcher, the brawling hardcore icon who waged wars with The Funks, Bruiser Brody and everyone who was worth a damn when it came to brawling and having hardcore matches. Carlos Colon is bitten immediately on the head, big thrust shots and headbutt from Abdullah. Choking in the corner, uppercuts and headbutt continue coming as Carlos is in serious trouble. Clothesline and elbow drop from Abdullah, fork to the head behind the referee’s line of vision. Carlos fires back, stabbing Abdullah with whatever object Abdullah used previously. So we are just watching two men stab and bite one another, referee seems powerless.
Abdullah is down to a knee, Abdullah is being stabbed in the mouth and head, Abdullah has seen better days as the referee continues to watch on in horror mostly. Kicks and punches from Carlos, massive leg drop from Carlos. Abdullah kicks out, elbow dropping the referee who was in the way. Carlos fights back with a massive dropkick, Carlos works the leg and applies a figure four! Somebody charged the ring? We don’t know this man? It’s Hugo Savinovich! Abdullah covers for the win!
Well that was an interesting affair, not the bloodbath I expected so maybe they should not have bothered with this match?
Winner: Abdullah The Butcher over Carlos Colon via Foreign Object to the Head!
Bob Orton Jr. & Dick Slater vs Chief Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood
We get a screen graphic for this match, signals a bit of an importance here I guess. Important to note that Dick Slater and Bob Orton were the two men who answered the bounty on Ric Flair’s head so they have a whole lot of heat going into this match. Slater and Wahoo lock-up, both men chop one another before Slater is whipped to the buckle and flips out to the apron. Lock-up, Wahoo has a wrist-lock. Tag to Mark who works the arm with a leg drop, arm-bar, Mark lands a scoop slam but Slater sweeps the legs into a jacknife cover for two. We reset, Slater takes the arm into a hammerlock before Mark counters for his own hammerlock. Slater bends over looking to sweep the leg but Mark’s position is good at first before Mark kicks Slater to the apron. Orton and Slater take control on Mark, massive back-breaker from Orton.
Wahoo is not happy, Orton lands a snap-mare but Mark dodges the elbow drop. Orton runs to the floor, we have a chase and Mark lands a hip-toss in the ring. Tag to Slater who is hesitant, Orton decides to continue and the heels talk strategy. Orton lands a back-breaker with Slater coming in for an elbow drop, Slater steps all over the face of Mark. Hard right hand decks Mark, gut-wrench suplex by Slater for two. Slater hurls Mark to the floor, Orton batters Mark as the referee disagrees with Wahoo. Mark is dropped back-first on the guardrail, Slater stomps Mark before tagging in Orton who slaps on a reverse chin-lock. Orton eats a shoulder block but lands a boot to stop that flurry, massive stomp to the head and Orton slaps on another reverse chin-lock. Tag to Slater, Slater lands a headbutt and a back elbow. Beautiful suplex for two, Mark escapes the clutches of the heels and tags in Wahoo who is chopping and beating up Orton.
Inverted atomic drop and massive chop to the back of the neck, Irish whip and a scoop slam, Wahoo lands a chop for two. Another cover with Orton’s foot reaching the ropes, Wahoo stands on the head of Orton. Orton trips up Wahoo, tag to Slater. Stomping away, Slater is in control. Tomahawk chops are rocking Slater, Orton gets in a cheap shot and Slater lands a back suplex for two. Leg drop from Slater, elbows to the face of Wahoo. Orton tags in and delivers a vicious knee drop to the head of Wahoo, two for Orton. Slater goes high and tries an elbow but Wahoo dodges, Slater takes out Orton. Atomic drop from Wahoo, tag to Mark and they land a double chop. Orton knees Wahoo in the back to the floor. Orton manages to tag Slater, Mark lands a dropkick.
Dropkick to Slater and a dropkick to Orton again, Orton is being rocked all around the ring. Mark tries whipping Orton, Orton survives thanks to the help of Slater who holds onto his partner which makes Mark miss the dropkick. Orton has Mark up high, the superplex connects and Wahoo is too slow to save his partner.
Solid tag team match, big fan of the work of Orton and Slater while I know Wahoo was a powerhouse and quite the babyface in his day. Heels get more heat after the match, they are quite hated by the fans so I am all for it. A lot of tag matches on this card though, might be wearing me down a little bit, I am having a little bit of NJPW syndrome where I can only handle so many tag matches. Good stuff though, very happy with this match.
Winners: Dick Slater & Bob Orton Jr. over Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood via Superplex!
(NWA Television Championship/Mask Match) Charlie Brown vs The Great Kabuki W/ Gary Hart
More match graphics so everyone knows Charlie Brown is Jimmy Valiant while Kabuki is a foreign heel who the fans love to hate, Brown tees off with big right hands. Into the ring-post, Kabuki meets it hard. Brown uses a chair to rough up Kabuki, Kabuki meets the ring-post hard. The crowd is loving Brown, big love for Brown. Gary Hart is furious with this lack of officiating from the referee, Brown stomps Kabuki low, choke from Brown. Sleeper from Brown, Kabuki is in serious trouble. Kabuki is fading fast, this could be great for Brown. Kabuki fights out but falls into the sleeper again, Kabuki escapes and lands chops and spinning kicks because he is a master of The Martial Arts Brudda! Claw-hold from Kabuki, Brown begins to fade. Brown survives the claw, whip to the buckle. Brown is rocked though, massive kick from Kabuki.
Kabuki is on the top rope, Kabuki motions for a massive chop and applies the claw. Did we not see this for an age just seconds ago? More selling and twitching from Brown. Another diving chop, two for Kabuki. Brown begins to fire up, Kabuki’s attacks have no effect as Brown dodges a corner kick and Brown pins Kabuki with an elbow drop.
I do not understand the appeal of Jimmy Valiant but the crowd sure do love him, this match was dogshite though. Kabuki and Valiant had won of the most boring matches I have ever seen, the announcers cannot even tell us if the championship changed hands which sums up this disaster.
Winner: Charlie Brown over The Great Kabuki via Elbow Drop!
(Dog Collar Match) Roddy Piper vs Greg Valentine
Two men who are going to beat the piss out of one another, that’s what I want to see. We know what Piper can do given the right material while this will be a test in my eyes for good old Greg Valentine because Valentine is one mean son of a gun but can he give me a match that is worth watching? Piper had been working through all the heels so Valentine might be just another victim when all is finished. The commentators talk about the history between the two as well as how the chain can be used in this match, possibly the most dangerous match in professional wrestling. Piper and Valentine are in a tug of war, not good for either man’s neck. It looks quite funny but you just know its going to get good once they meet, Valentine is so hesitant. Piper lands the first hit with the chain, both men back-up and start once more.
Valentine misses two blows, they get close again as Piper whips the knees of Valentine and Piper closes the distance, big chain shots to the head. Piper tortures Valentine with the chain before Valentine fires back with right hands and shots to the ear. Valentine starts choking Piper with the chain, the chain is around the eyes of The Hot-Rod. Elbows to the head, pinpoint accuracy from Valentine. Piper lands a knee-lift and chokes back at Valentine, Valentine is in some serious trouble, it’s double-wrapped around the face of Valentine. More shots to the face, Valentine is being choked by Piper’s strength and using the turnbuckle. Valentine is in serious trouble, Piper continues to unload rights and bites the head of Valentine. Valentine is gushing blood from Piper’s attacks, Valentine manages to choke Piper with Piper wiggling free at the end.
Piper whips the chain across the head of Valentine, Valentine answers back. Piper throws a chair, Valentine is rocked. Piper pulls Valentine up to the apron, the referee was in the middle of the two and Valentine takes control with a shot to the face, Valentine works that damaged ear. Piper is thrown into a number of chairs, bleeding from his ear I believe. Valentine continues decking Piper with big right hands with the chain, Piper will not quit though. Valentine continues decking Hot-Rod, Valentine bits the ear of Piper. Piper uses the chain to come back into the match, Valentine continues to maintain control with vicious elbows and right hands. Picture perfect elbow drop by Valentine for two, more elbows to the top of the head.
Valentine was going for a third elbow drop but Piper uses the chain to pull down Valentine, Piper has gone berserk with a flurry of right hands. Piper feels the blood from his ear, chain-shots take down Valentine. Piper cracks Valentine over the head, Piper continues to touch his ear and lands a fist-drop to the head. Piper rounds off multiple right hands, Valentine answers with a clothesline. Valentine knee drops Piper on the chest with Piper continue to kick out, Valentine is irate and lands another fist drop for two. Piper blocks a suplex and lands a suplex, Valentine sends Piper to the corner and slaps on a sleeper. Piper almost passes out before cracking Valentine in the face with the chain, Valentine lands a middle rope elbow to the head, elbow drop from Valentine. Valentine is on the middle rope, Piper pulls Valentine into his fist. Right hands from Piper and Piper folds up Valentine with the chain.
A bloody war from these two, certainly felt the animosity between these two in this match, it is everything you would want from a match with this stipulation. Piper and Valentine start off cautious, neither man wanting to fall victim to a shot from the chain, the violence is on full-display as both men take turns destroying one another with the chain, Piper bites at the head of Valentine, causing the champion to bleed everywhere while not to be out-done, Valentine cracks open Piper’s ear, that damaged ear which Gordon Solie has told us about throughout the match. Piper’s comeback was fantastic as the people love Piper, just wish the finish was executed better, Valentine falling off the rope and losing to a punch to the throat could have been handled better. However, this was a brawl and a violent spectacle which I was sucked in, hats off to these two.
Winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper over Greg Valentine via Roll-Up!
(NWA World Tag Team Championship Match) The Brisco Brothers © vs Jay Youngblood & Ricky Steamboat
These two have battled for quite some time with The Briscoes showing heelish tendencies which led us to this match here and now, Steamboat and Jack to start. Clean break from Steamboat, side headlock from Jack with Steamboat looking for his chop but Jack knew what was coming. Arm-wrench from Jack, tag to Gerald who lands a big axe-handle before Steamboat takes down Gerald who is not happy about being out-done by Steamboat. Hammerlock from Jack, Steamboat flips out and lands an arm-drag, Jack begs for mercy. Tag to Gerald, Gerald backs Steamboat into the corner, no clean break as Gerald lands huge forearms in the corner. Front chancery from Gerald, lock-up with Steamboat being backed into the corner. Hard left gut punch and hard Irish whip from Gerald, Steamboat puts on the brakes and sends Gerald to the corner. Chop and tag to Youngblood.
Side headlock takedown for two, Gerald is caught in an arm-bar with no escape given to them from Youngblood. Tag to Steamboat who climbs high, diving axe handle from Steamboat. Youngblood does the same after receiving a quick tag, Youngblood chops down Jack so Gerald cannot tag anyone. Gerald goes low with a kick, Jack comes in and double-teams Steamboat. Jack drops Steamboat on the top rope, snap-mare into a knee drop. Back body drop from Jack, Gerald lands a double arm suplex with a cover for two. Waist-lock from Gerald, squeezing the life out of Steamboat. Hip-toss into a short-arm scissors from Gerald, Steamboat powers up with Gerald on his arm and electric-chair drops him down. Youngblood gets the hot-tag, chops onto Jack. Jack reverses a suplex and lands a beautiful suplex, kicks to the ribs from Jack who tags in Gerald.
Double tackle from the champions, Gerald is getting into a war of words with special referee Mosca, Steamboat receives the tag and chops everything in sight. Jumping chop from Steamboat, double chop from the challengers. Tag to Steamboat again, assisted dropkick and shot to the throat. Tag to Youngblood, assisted splash for the win!
Talk about abrupt! If you thought the last one was abrupt, this match raises the bar. I felt like It came out of nowhere, was really expecting a lot more considering who was in the ring, Steamboat was excellent as always and the champions were unlikeable so I don’t have a problem with that at all, just thought for the position on the card, it would have delivered more but nothing wrong it overall, just a little abrupt for my taste!
Winners: Jay Youngblood & Ricky Steamboat over The Briscoe Brothers via Assisted Splash!
(NWA World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match) Ric Flair vs Harley Race ©
A Flare for The Gold brothers and sisters! Here we are, the moment everyone has been waiting for on this historic night. Harley Race had dethroned Ric Flair for the championship, issuing a bounty on the head of The Nature Boy and ducking his challenge for a long time but there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide as both men enter a steel cage to settle the score, they can only be one winner. Gene Kiniski is the special referee for this one, a lot of history and legacy in that ring before we ring the bell.
The stare-down with Gene providing the rules is a tense as you could wish, Flair and Race back into their corners before the bell does not ring? There we go, they lock-up with Gene asking for a clean break. Side headlock takedown from Flair, Race rolls over for a cover but we have a stand-off. Lock-up, chops and elbows from Flair. Side headlock from the challenger, Race backs Flair into the ropes. Knees from Race, Flair returns the favour and we have a nice snap-mare into a reverse chin-lock. Race shoves off Flair, high knee from Race but Flair dodges the falling headbutt. Chop from Flair for one, side headlock takedown from Flair. Flair continues to work Race who is stuck in a headlock from the challenger, Race manages to counter but misses an elbow drop which allows Flair to reassume control.
Scoop slam does not work as Race is too heavy, Race almost steals one. Knee drop to the head from Race, knee across the throat from Race. Race continues driving the knee into the throat of the challenger, the referee is involved once more with Race being infuriated during the exchange. More choking using the knee from Race, piledriver from Race. Elbow drop and elbow to the back of the head, neck-breaker from Race for two. Shoulder-breaker from Race for a close two, Flair fights back before a headbutt drops Flair. Falling headbutt from Race, Race sends Flair into the cage, using the cage as a weapon. Closed fist to the face, Flair has donned the crimson mask. Flair is able to land a huge right hand, chops from Flair. Elbow to the head, punches from Flair but the referee gets involved once more which allows Race to land a headbutt.
Flair sends Race to the cage, Race is now bleeding. Piledriver for a close two, Flair rips at the neck of Race. Double underhook suplex from Flair for two, Race meets the steel cage once again. Race meets it again, headbutt into the groin from Race. Flair’s head is grinded into the cage, more referee arguing. Headbutt puts down Flair, Flair fires back though with a massive chop. Flair applies The Figure Four, they are in the ropes though so it does not go for Flair. Headbutt from Race, Race tries a suplex but Flair falls on top for another close two. Flair is knocked down by a headbutt, Race is on the middle rope and lands a diving headbutt. Beautiful suplex for two, Flair blocks a suplex and lands one delayed suplex of his own. Flair wants an elbow drop but Race dodges out of the way, side headlock from Race which ends up with Race running into the referee. Flair fights out of the corner with rights and lefts and lands a diving crossbody off the top rope for the win!
Ric Flair ascends to the top of the mountain, not the match I would have wanted to end the show I think the match was actually quite hampered by the referee’s involvement at critical moments, I think Race looked past it here if I am honest. This for me didn’t have the nastiness or heat it should have had for a show closing feud, I thought Piper and Valentine topped this when it came to violence and a bloody spectacle although I never have really known Flair as a great comeback artist in his years wrestling so maybe I shouldn’t have been expecting so much. Regardless, a good match that caps off what they wanted to achieve but I felt it was not as dramatic or hard-hitting as Piper vs Valentine!
Winner: Ric Flair over Harley Race via Diving Crossbody!
That was Starrcade 1983: A Flare for The Gold, a concept that was ahead of its time and an enjoyable watch for the most part. The undercard is largely forgettable but the work inside the ring is fine apart from Carlos Colon and Abdullah but I can look pas it as I said as the action is mostly good between the ropes. The big matches of the night suffer from abrupt finishes and maybe tame finishes if I could apply that word to it, Piper and Valentine is a war and easily my favourite of the night but the finish stops it from being a classic for me while I also love the tag team championship match, the abrupt finish takes away from the hard work that was put in during the other parts of the match so a big event for sure and a big moment historically but I was left disappointed by the big three matches. Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!