Friday 5 May 2023

WCW Starrcade 1995 Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that asks the questions that have already been answered! It’s time for WCW’s Starrcade 1995 and I am fuming, you want an easy way to make me mad? Build all these interesting angles and then at your biggest show, throw them all aside for a battle bowl or in this case a series of matches between WCW and NJPW talent when the last PPV was perfect for this kind of thing being called you know a World War PPV. So this PPV is dominated by NJPW with Masahiro Chono, Shinjiro Otani, Koji Kanemoto, Jushin Liger and Kensuke Sasaki all making appearances on the card while we have a triple threat between Luger, Sting and Ric Flair to decide who will face the World Heavyweight Champion Randy Savage later in the night. What is this card? Let’s get this done with.


Chris Benoit vs Jushin Thunder Liger

A best of seven between WCW & NJPW to decide who wins the World Cup of Wrestling, I cannot believe they are doing this on their biggest show. Classic rivalry renewed here as Chris Benoit who was formerly The Pegasus Kid and later Wild Pegasus takes on Jushin Liger. Again, heels in WCW will play babyfaces here as they take on evil foreigners. At least Liger is known to the fans due to his battles with Brian Pillman in 1992 and even on the very first Nitro.


Lock-up and Benoit throws Liger to the mat, Benoit continues to out-power Liger. Side headlock by Benoit, shoulder block and leapfrogs and speed from both men. Arm-drags by Liger, dropkick. Baseball slide by Liger and an apron senton, crowd loves Liger. Dusty Rhodes is on commentary so you know tonight will have a special flavour, Benoit goes for a test of strength and pushes down Liger. Liger lands a beautiful head-scissors and a spinning wheel kick, chops from Liger. Tilt-a-whirl back-breaker by Benoit for two, Liger counters a powerbomb with an arm-drag, dropkick from Liger and Benoit powders. Benoit kicks Liger in the ribs and lands a snap suplex, Benoit lands a beautiful belly to back suplex. Left-arm lariat from Benoit, high-angle Boston crab from Benoit.


Liger escapes and strikes back at Benoit, Benoit goes low with a kick and plants Liger with a German suplex for two. Benoit is tripped for Liger who applies The Romero Special, Benoit is in agony. Liger transitions into a camel clutch with Benoit screaming out in pain, Benoit stands up with Liger on his back and plants him on the mat. Benoit tries a belly to back but Liger floats-over, Liger counters the tombstone for a slam. Liger climbs high, Benoit catches Liger. Top rope superplex, Benoit sells smacking his head off the canvas. Benoit covers for a close two, scoop slam by The Crippler. Benoit climbs high and misses The Diving Headbutt, Liger is dancing and prancing before grabbing Benoit by the hair.


Rolling Kappu Kick in the corner by Liger, Ligerbomb for a close two! Brainbuster from Liger! Benoit lands two German suplexes on Liger, Benoit lands a massive powerbomb and climbs to the top rope one more time. Benoit lands his Diving Headbutt, Kevin Sullivan has a problem with Benoit and Benoit is distracted by Sullivan and Jimmy Hart. Liger grabs Benoit in a hurricanrana and steals the win!


Nice match from these two who know each other so well, Benoit and Liger have great chemistry with one another and the bumps are crisp and nasty. Loved how physical it was, the finish leads into a big feud that will be coming soon and have big implications for both men but yeah from a neutral standpoint, it’s hard to see how the hot Horsemen who have been just reunited are going to feud with the comical Dungeon of Doom.


Winner: Jushin Liger over Chris Benoit via Hurricanrana!


Koji Kanemoto vs Alex Wright

It is really crazy to think that WCW said this is what we will do for Starrcade. Like the fans would be familiar with the likes of Liger, Chono and Muta but to bring over various juniors like Otani and Kanemoto is a brave choice. It’s even braver to put them with Alex Wright who has been floundering I would say during 1995, the babyface who is just a little too bland to really connect with the audience.


Kanemoto is in black pants with a sash looking like he’s come right out of a Bruce Lee Kung-Fu Movie. Big fan of Kanemoto and his work, don’t remember this look but certainly makes me laugh. They trade control to start out with both men showing great mat-work, Kanemoto takes down Wright by the leg before Wright lands an enzuigiri. Uppercut by Wright, Kanemoto doesn’t seem interested in selling for Wright. Kanemoto has wrist control before Wright uses a hip-toss. Japanese arm-drag and head-scissors from Wright, dropkick and Wright lands a spear to the chest. Wright lands a flying crossbody and both men spill to the floor, Wright is in the ring while Kanemoto comes back slowly. Baseball slide by Wright, plancha from Wright. Kanemoto regains control in the ring and lands chops, right hand to the head and more big chops.


Snap-mare into a knee to the back of the head, Kanemoto tries winding up the crowd but it’s for very little reaction. The fans chant USA at German born Wright so God knows who they are cheering for, Kanemoto dropkicks and kicks Wright all over. Wright tries suplexing Kanemoto into the ring, Kanemoto reverses and lands a tiger suplex but Wright is in the ropes. Kanemoto lands a Diving Moonsault but decides not to pin Wright, Kanemoto kicks Wright in the head over and over. More chops, whip to the opposite buckle. Wright leapfrogs Kanemoto and lands a German suplex for two, Wright keeps on the attack. Whip to the opposite buckle, elbow and a slam. Wright is climbing high, slingshot splash. Kanemoto has his foot on the ropes, Wright is on the top rope with both men trying dropkicks.


Wright is whipped to the corner, Wright leapfrogs to the top rope. Diving crossbody for two, Kanemoto kicks Wright in the chest. Scoop slam and twisting senton for two, Kanemoto climbs to the top rope. Wright avoids the diving crossbody with a dropkick, Wright lands a diving missile dropkick. Wright places Kanemoto on the top rope, superplex in the middle of the ring for a close two. Kanemoto reverses an Irish whip and Wright tries the leapfrog but Kanemoto lands the stun-gun and rolls-up Wright for the win.


They worked hard but the crowd did not give a damn in the slightest, I knew it was a brave decision to put the two out there on PPV, Kanemoto wasn’t going to give you 100% here, it was clear from the start and the finish wasn’t as smooth as it could have been.


Winner: Koji Kanemoto over Alex Wright via Roll-Up!


Lex Luger vs Masahiro Chono

Sweet Jesus we have one of the Three Musketeers coming in here against Luger who should be white-hot as a freshly minted heel. How could either man lose this match? I don’t see either man losing this match so this could be a disaster, Luger is cheered despite taking out Hogan & Savage. This is such an awful idea, let’s get it on though.


Luger slaps on a side headlock, shoulder block knocks down Chono. Military press drop from Luger, crowd has come alive for Luger. Vicious kicks to the ribs by Luger, Chono ducks and lands a flying forearm. Make it two, Yakuza Kick by Chono and Luger is on the floor. Both men stall before a test of strength, Luger cheap-shots Chono. Chono is man-handled into the corner, stomps by Luger. Chono blocks the suplex and drills Luger, knees in the corner and a choke by Chono. Luger fights back but is caught in a sleeper, Chono delivers a reverse DDT and applies The STF. Luger is in the middle of the ring and not doing well, Luger survives but eats an inverted atomic drop. Chono lands his Yakuza Kick again, Chono is climbing high but Luger counters with an elbow to the throat. Torture Rack from Luger! Chono taps!


Decent payday for Chono I imagine to lose like that to Luger, fans are cheering for Luger like a massive babyface which again fits the circumstances but damn man, throwing all this away for a random World Cup on your Wrestlemania Show is just nuts.


Winner: Lex Luger over Masahiro Chono via Torture Rack!


Johnny B. Badd W/ Diamond Doll vs Masa Saito

My boy Johnny B. Badd with Kimberly who looks fantastic and is flipping around the ring like a cheerleader, no DDP or continuation from feud but you can see the early formations of The Nitro Girls here. Masa Saito is a block of a man and I cannot see these two men’s styles gelling at all, this could be a disaster but let’s see how it goes between Saito & Badd.


Saito pushes Badd to the ropes, clean break and a bow. Hip-toss from Saito, sweep from Saito who looks for a cobra clutch like manoeuvre on the ground here. Both men are chopping one another, Badd celebrates prematurely as the two continue to chop one another. Side headlock and a throat shot from Saito, Badd is rammed off the turnbuckle. Sonny Onoo chokes Badd with the Japanese Flag behind the referee’s back, Kimberly is very concerned. Saito Suplex! 1..2.. Badd kicks out! Clothesline by Saito for two, Onoo attacks Badd again. Russian leg-sweep for two, Badd reverses an Irish whip and lands a knee-lift. Diving axe-handle from Badd, Badd climbs high again and lands his diving sunset flip for two.


Saito is begging for mercy and bows, Badd kicks Saito and throws his lefts and rights. Let it end soon oh Lord! Snap suplex by Badd, Onoo is on the apron and Saito measures and attacks Badd by the back and we have a DQ as Saito lifts Badd over the top rope.


Of all the matches to think that would end in a DQ I did not have this on my bingo card, the match is alright considering the contrasting styles but yeah this PPV is doing nothing for me and a whole lot of dull matches up and down the card.


Winner: Johnny B. Badd over Masa Saito via DQ!


Shinjiro Otani vs Eddie Guerrero

Very sad to hear about Otani’s current condition, the future was bright for both men here. So sad to think what the future would hold but anyways, Eddie Guerrero came to WCW and hasn’t had a chance to shine on PPV just yet but this should be a good showcase considering as Black Tiger, these two men would have tore it up in NJPW and much like Benoit, this style is very comfortable for Latino Heat. Otani rakes the eyes but is caught with an enzuigiri, Otani holds the back of his head, clearly rocked by Eddie’s kick to the head.


Eddie lands a snap-mare and stomps on Otani’s face, Otani trips up Eddie and works the leg. Eddie out-manoeuvres Otani and grabs a reverse chin-lock, Otani escapes and lands a monkey flip, Eddie lands a pop-up hurricanrana. Otani powders and recovers, Otani comes back into the ring to eat a dropkick. Scoop slam and tope atomico from Eddie, Boston crab from Eddie. Eddie lands a snap powerbomb for two, brainbuster from Eddie for a close two. Corner clothesline by Eddie, Otani leaps out of the corner and lands a springboard dropkick, springboard plancha. In the ring, Otani lands a dropkick. Otani grabs the hair of Eddie before going back to a foot-choke. Otani uses the bottom rope to choke Eddie, camel clutch with a little face-rake from Otani.


Eddie counters out of the hold with a belly to back suplex, Otani kicks out of the hold. Eddie lifts up Otani but Otani floats out and drills Eddie with a German suplex for a close two. Otani is on the apron, springboard spinning heel kick by Otani. Scoop slam and Otani goes high, the fans boo the Japanese talent. Eddie is too quick, Otani is caught with a top rope hurricanrana. Two for Eddie, Splash Mountain Bomb by Eddie for a close two. Standing switches from both men before Otani trips Eddie into a heel hook, Eddie reaches the ropes but Otani continues to hold on with Eddie screaming out in pain. Eddie side-steps Otani, Otani is sent into the guardrail. Scoop slam by Eddie, Eddie lands a springboard crossbody on Otani.


Otani is dead-weight at this point, Eddie has Otani and looks for a suplex on the floor. Otani suplexes Eddie into the ring, Otani lands a springboard dropkick to the back of the head. Dragon suplex attempt by Otani, Eddie counters with a hurricanrana, Otani rolls through for two. Eddie counters for two but Otani rolls-up Eddie and steals it.


Lots of fun in this one, more talent that is very familiar with one another and they just work at an electric pace towards the end with both men showcasing that junior heavyweight style that would be new to WCW fans, Otani and Eddie kick lots of ass here.


Winner: Shinjiro Otani over Eddie Guerrero via Roll-Up!


Randy Savage vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Tenzan was one part of Cho-Ten and would later become one of NJPW’s legends who stuck with the company through the good and bad, Savage is competing in this cup and will later defend his championship against the winner of a triple threat.


Savage pushes Tenzan to the corner, clean break from Savage. Tenzan is frustrated, Tenzan does not give a clean break the second time around. Tenzan stomps all over Savage, Savage is in trouble now. Savage meets the buckle, Tenzan applies the sleeper and dishes out some chops while Savage stumbles around the ring. Stiff clothesline for two, Savage is fighting back but Tenzan keeps coming back with massive headbutts. Shoulder claws from Tenzan, Savage rakes the eyes of Tenzan. Tenzan whips Savage off the ropes and lands a spinning heel kick. Tenzan lands an excellent throw and taunts the crowd, Diving Headbutt by Tenzan for two. Scoop slam and Tenzan misses the moonsault, Savage clotheslines Tenzan to the apron. Savage wants a suplex into the ring, Tenzan blocks before Savage lifts Tenzan onto the rope. Diving Elbow Drop by Savage and the match is over.


Wow pretty basic, really basic. Savage got beaten for 95% of it only to win like that? Talk about phoning it in, almost makes me want to laugh.


Winner: Randy Savage over Hiroyoshi Tenzan via Diving Elbow Drop!


Sting vs Kensuke Sasaki

Sasaki jumps Sting, we have a lot of history here as Sasaki took Sting’s WCW United States Championship and of course, the prestigious World Cup hangs in the balance. Sting fights back and lands a Stinger Splash within minutes, Sasaki reverses an Irish whip to the corner and lands a face-buster. Sasaki lands a massive clothesline, make it two. Sting ducks the third and lands a dropkick, clothesline to the floor. Powerslam in the ring by Sasaki, Northern Lights Bomb by Sasaki. Stretch-Hold by Sasaki, Sasaki releases the hold and applies his version of The Sharpshooter. Sting escapes, lands a kick and a face-buster before looking to apply The Scorpion Death-Lock. Sasaki gives up and Sting wins!


It's so short, how do I even write about it? It was a match, that’s about it.


Winner: Sting over Kensuke Sasaki via Scorpion Death-Lock!


Ric Flair vs Lex Luger vs Sting

Ric Flair is smarter than Luger & Sting as Flair did not wrestle in the World Cup and therefore, he is fresh. How do I feel about this match? Well, you think Hogan would be involved but nope why would the ex-champion be involved? Also how did Giant not involve himself in this one? Luger loses a coin-toss and must wrestle on the apron as Flair & Sting kick us off, this is a poor man’s version of the triangle match.


Sting shoves back Flair, Flair lets Sting do his thing. Flair kicks Sting, Sting lands his military press slam and clothesline, Flair scrambles to the ropes to avoid a Figure Four. Flair applies a hammerlock to wear down Sting, Flair uses the ropes for leverage. Flair lands a massive right in the corner, Flair works the hammerlock again. Sting fires up, hip-toss and dropkick. Military press slam again, Flair is begging for mercy. Ten punches by Sting, Sting bites the head of Flair. Face-buster by Sting, Flair powders. Sting is lured into Flair, Sting meets the guardrail but explodes out with a clothesline. Sting no-sells the guardrail this time, Flair is begging for mercy. Toss by Sting, Flair avoids the dropkick this time. Flair pounds on Sting before Sting rallies and lands a belly to back suplex, Sting looks for the win and Luger teases breaking up the pin.


Flair smacks Sting into the corner, Luger makes the tag and poses in front of Flair. Flair is on the ring, Luger gives chase. Luger picks up Flair and brings him to the ring, Flair is begging for mercy again. Flair goes low and works the ribs of Luger, shoulder block does not work for Flair. Luger knocks down Flair again and again, Irish whip and military press slam by Luger. Ten punches in the corner by Luger, Flair Flop. Flair suckers in Luger with a nice thumb to the eye, Flair goes after the knee. Chop block with precision accuracy, stomps to the knee over and over. Flair grabs a chair and waffles the leg of Luger, Sting was with the referee. Flair is strutting around in total control, Sting has to watch on from the apron. Flair drives his knee into Luger’s nuts and applies The Figure Four Leg-lock! Luger turns over the hold and reverses the pressure, suplex for two. Flair goes to the top rope, Luger yanks him off the top rope. Flair lands chops with no effect on Luger, Flair wants Sting & Luger. Flair tags in Sting, Sting & Luger now have to fight. Sting & Luger shake hands, Luger is ready to throw down.


Luger pushes Sting to the buckle, clean break. Sting does the same, Luger is not happy with Sting showing him up. Test of strength does not happen as Luger goes low and begins stomping Sting, Sting fights back before Luger lands a huge clothesline. Luger drops Sting throat-first across the top rope, Sting lands a diving crossbody for two. Sting lands a scoop slam but misses a Vader bomb as Luger uses his knees to block. Luger lands elbow after elbow, Sting holds onto the ropes. Back on their feet, Sting blocks a foot and smacks Luger. Luger blocks the scorpion and goes low on Sting, Luger wants a suplex but Sting counters for his own suplex. Sting lands a face-buster on Luger, Irish whip to the buckle. Stinger Splash connects, Sting misses the second splash. Luger has the Torture Rack. Sting kicks the referee with his boot by accident, Flair chop-blocks Luger who collapses to the floor, Flair throws Sting to the floor and both men are counted-out.


So this was one of the matches that had a bit of actual story and meat to it and it was executed poorly, really having someone stand on the apron in a three-way? You basically get 3 singles matches with the fans not exactly shouting to the heavens during the matches, Sting and Luger don’t even have that kind of will they or won’t they kind of thing going on, they just go at it like that. It was entertaining when it was Flair vs Sting or Flair vs Luger but Sting vs Luger was not nearly as interesting and I wasn’t invested sadly.


Winner: Ric Flair!


(WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match) Randy Savage © vs Ric Flair

The commentators talk about how Savage is all banged up and now has to wrestle again but Flair wrestled far longer than Savage and doesn’t even get a break so how does that make any sense that Savage would be more banged up or at a disadvantage?


Savage doesn’t even bother taking off his shirt, backslide and the match is almost over. Savage rips the shirt and tosses it at Flair, they lock-up with Flair having Savage in the corner. Kicks and chops by Flair, Flair wants the Figure Four but Savage kicks him off. Savage has a front chancery, Savage lands punches and drives Flair to the buckle. Flair Flip to the floor, Savage misses his diving axe handle. Paul Orndorff is here with a neck-brace, security get rid of him. Flair works the injured arm of Savage, Flair uses chops and the guardrail and finally, a hammerlock to hurt the arm of Savage. Flair continues working the arm but Savage fights back, shoulder block but Flair slaps on a sleeper. Savage runs into the rope so Flair smashes his face off the rope, Savage tries to sneak a pin-fall but Flair is too strong. Whip to the buckle and a back body drop by Savage, two clotheslines for two.


Measured right hands by Savage, Savage climbs high. Jimmy Hart is on the apron and throws Flair the megaphone. Savage is caught in the ribs coming off the top rope with a right hand, Flair tries using the megaphone but Savage lands a shot with the megaphone and a Diving Elbow Drop. Brian Pillman is here, Pillman is throw into Benoit. Flair is bleeding, the referee has missed all of this. Anderson nails Savage with a foreign object, Flair pins Savage.


Alright have to try and digest all of what I just saw, so Savage comes in the fresher man and having just won the World Championship in controversial circumstances at the previous month’s PPV. Savage and Flair have worked one another throughout the year with Savage ending the feud by gaining revenge for his father who was attacked by Flair. Flair had reformed The Horsemen and seemed to be heading towards a feud with Sting as Flair had once again double-crossed Sting yet here we are at the end of 1995 and Flair has beaten Savage and won the world championship. Did Hogan refuse to lose to Flair? Was Savage a transitional champion? Are they going to continue the feud? The match was short considering the nature of the show and I expected a Savage comfortable win as Flair was the one who went the distance to get here but nope, Flair triumphs and stands stall again in WCW. The match itself was nothing special, megaphone spot seemed a bit sloppy and Flair getting all that colour for the match to end seconds later? Wild stuff all around!


Winner: Ric Flair over Randy Savage via Foreign Object!


That was WCW’s Starrcade 1995, an easy enough PPV to breeze through with matches not reaching gigantic lengths but very little epic if any action on this one. I have hated for a long time the WCW concept of taking all their big angles and pissing them away on Starrcade for tournaments or battle bowl, this might take the cake as we have the show built around talent who half of them are not even WCW talent. So face and heel alignments are thrown out the window in favour of cheering the Americans over The evil Japanese and the Japanese talent are not over with the crowd at all. The matches that work well are the ones featuring talent who can work that NJPW Junior Heavyweight style so Benoit and Guerrero have very fun and entertaining matches with Liger and Otani respectively but with the likes of Wright vs Kanemoto and Saito vs Badd, it's a tough watch because they don’t really come together at any point. Luger vs Chono and Savage vs Tenzan are very short and kind of interesting considering how NJPW loved those two and you would think would be keen to protect them but here they are doing the JOBs quite quickly too, same treatment is dished out for Sasaki against Sting. The actual meat of the card comes in the poorly executed triangle, doesn’t really capture the drama that you would want considering the quality of star in that ring but they put over Flair big here as Flair comes out on top, raising questions about booking and how Hogan, The Giant and everyone will fit into this. I felt there was a lot of drama heading into the PPV considering how controversial the last show was and with Luger turning too, you had intrigue and interest but WCW throws this at me and it somehow feels just so WCW.


How did I feel about 1995? It sucks to see Vader out of the company considering how much fun Vader was in WCW, the thought of babyface Vader was interesting to me but alas, it wasn’t meant to be in WCW. Hogan on top in WCW has proved frustrating with The Hulkster phoning it in on multiple occasions and hamming it up to levels that would make any WCW fan change the channel. The influx of ex WWF talent hasn’t lit the world on fire but the wheels are beginning to turn a bit here now with the likes of Benoit & Guerrero coming in, the talent is coming into WCW but at the tip-top there is some weird things going on in the company. What will Hogan do next? Where does Sting fit in all of this? I guess we will see, thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

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