Missing the Mark

Starrcade imitated from The Omni in Atlanta, Georgia on December 13, 1989 with a slightly low attendance of 6,000 people.

The Pay-Per View starts off with the American national anthem being played while a few soldiers hold up the flag in the ring.

Jim Ross introduces Terry Funk, who will be joining him as part of the broadcast team when it comes to the Iron Man single matches tonight. I guess when you get beaten by Ric Flair that means you have to go back to commentary right? He also introduces Jim Cornette who will be joining him for the Iron Team tag team matches. Cornette explains the point system for tonight’s tournament. The point system looks very much like TNA’s Bound for Glory Series, way too complicated for it’s own good.

Gary Cappetta introduces the four tag teams that will be competing in the tournament. Doom, the Road Warriors, the Wild Samoans and the newly crowned World Tag Team Champions, the Steiner Brothers. The Wild Samoans are a new team formed by their manager, Big Kahuna consisting of Fatu and the Samoan Savage. Rick Steiner shows off his belt but doesn’t realize he put it on backwards. Once the introductions are done, it’s time for the first match of the evening.

Steiner Brothers vs. Doom w/ Woman & Nitron – The crowd looked pretty scattered around the arena. The seating in front of the camera only looked half full. It was a pretty low attendance, which was surprising considering The Onmi could hold around 16,000 people. I guess the fact that it was Starrcade didn’t really sell it out. Although I can see why it didn’t since there really weren’t any “billboard” matches advertised. I guess they didn’t do what WWE does now and tell people to fill those seats so the building looks more full on camera.

Nonetheless, we start off with our first match in the Iron Team tournament. Although we’ve seen this match-up before, none of it felt the same too me. Maybe it’s because there were different factors playing into this match this time around. To start of, you had Nitron, who is a seven foot bodyguard for Woman, who kept interfering in the match and sticking his nose where it didn’t belong. Then there is Doom who have improved as a team since last time I saw them. The Steiners seemed to be outnumbered four to two during this match but eventually they make a comeback with Rick clearing the ring and even giving Nitron a Steinerline for his troubles. The two teams brawl outside until Rick Steiner gets into the ring at the referee’s nine count making the Steiners win the match via count-out.

Gary Cappetta then introduces the four competitors for the singles Iron Man tournament. The Great Muta, Sting, Lex Luger and Ric Flair.

Sting vs. Lex Luger – A match I’ve been waiting to see since I started this journey. Last month at Clash of the Champions 9 in New York, Luger beat up Pillman with a chair after their match. Of course Sting came out to save Pillman and absolutely dominated Luger. That’s pretty much what happened in this match. Sting definitely had Luger’s number and it wasn’t until Sting made a mistake going to the top rope too many times that Luger got that advantage. Both men fought for their lives as the time limit was drawing near. With both men fighting on the apron, Sting tried to get Luger’s big frame into the ring and after several tries he was finally successful, only to have Luger land on top of him, grab the ropes and get the pin. This was the most screwy finish I think I might have ever seen. Luger had him covered but Sting was constantly kicking out, almost flopping like a fish. Despite that, the referee still counted the three like he was blind as a bat. If that was supposed to be the finish, why was Sting kicking out so many times? Regardless, it was probably the biggest botch I’ve seen so far.

Doom w/ Woman & Nitron vs. Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering – Doom dominated Hawk most of the match using constant tags and leverage on the ropes to keep him down. Hawk gets out of Doom’s grip and tags in Animal who wrecks house as expected. Eventually, one of the members of Doom goes for a powerbomb and Hawk comes off the top rope with a clothesline allowing Animal to get the pin and Doom loses for the second time tonight.

Ric Flair w/ Ole & Arn Anderson vs. The Great Muta w/ Gary Hart – This match lasts all but a few minutes. Muta starts off with some fast and impressive offense until Flair gets the Figure Four locked in pretty quick. The Dragon Master and Buzz Sawyer come out to help Muta but Ole and Arn cut them off and fight them outside the ring. Muta goes for the moonsault but Flair gets the knees up, puts Muta in a quick cradle pin and wins the match.

Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering vs. The Steiner Brothers – For the first time ever, these two muscle bound teams face each other. As expected, there was a lot of clotheslines and suplexes in this match. Both teams were constantly going for the pin and the other member would break it up. This happened a lot until Hawk said “Enough is enough and it’s time for a change” and started fighting with Rick after he broke up a pin. The Road Warriors hit a top rope clothesline / back suplex combination. Animal went for the bridge, pinning Scott Steiner but not realizing his own shoulders were down. Scott kicked out at two but the referee counted Animal’s shoulders for the three count. Therefore, the Steiners win for the second time tonight under strange circumstances.

Sting vs. The Great Muta w/ Gary Hart – As expected this was a fast paced match mainly dominated by Muta. Muta wore Sting down with strikes and submissions like the Cattle Mutilation. Eventually, Sting gets the upper hand and hits a superplex on Muta getting the three count.

JR, Cornette and Funk explain that Sting, Ric Flair and Lex Luger all have 20 points. In the tag team side, the Steiners have 35 points and The Road Warriors have 25.

The Wild Samoans w/ Big Kahuna vs. Doom w/ Nitron & Woman – It was just about what you’d expect. Fatu and Ron Simmons have a headbutt battle and come to a stalemate…….cause their heads are hard, get it? Then Fatu and Simmons butt heads again by accident, Big Kahuna pushes Fatu on to Simmons and the Wild Samoans win……cause fuck logic right?

Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger – Now this is a big deal. These days we’ve seen a company’s mid-card champion and the world champion go at it many, many times. But the world champion going against the US champion back in the day? Well it doesn’t get any better than this and it definitely lived up to the hype.

From the opening bell it was fast paced and high impact action. Move after move they were drawing closer and closer to the time limit. Finally, with a minute left, both men went hard at it and gave it their all. Flair locks Luger in the Figure Four but Lex refuses to give up hence the time limit expiring.

The Wild Samoans w/ Big Kahuna vs. The Steiner Brothers – Rick Steiner makes fun of the Wild Samoans as they do their chanting. Rick would pay for it though as he was the one being beaten down the majority of the match by the Samoans. The match ends in a bit of a screwy manor as Scott Steiner throws one of the Samoans over the top rope and they get disqualified because of it. I guess this was the time were throwing people over the top rope was not allowed…..so dumb.

Lex Luger vs. The Great Muta w/ Gary Hart – Muta goes straight for Luger’s leg and works on it for the majority of the match. Luger eventually makes a comeback and tries to do the Torture Rack but can’t do it because of his hurt leg. Muta sprays him with the green mist and gets a DQ.

Wild Samoans w/ Big Kahuna vs. The Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering – Coming into the match the Road Warriors had to win in order to be the winners of the tournament so you knew immediately what was going to happen. This wasn’t much of a match. Road Warriors both get into the ring and Animal does a top rope clothesline and pins one of the Samoans to win the tag team tournament. Boy those Road Warriors really like their top rope clotheslines huh? Steiners come into the ring to congratulate the Road Warriors.

Sting vs. Ric Flair – This was definitely the best match of the night and did you really expect anything less with these two? Every time these two get into the ring it turns into pure gold. Just like the majority of the night, the fifteen minute time limit affected the match as it could have been much better but it was still a pretty decent match.

WCW ended the year of 1989 on a good note with Starrcade, just not on the best one they could. The single and tag team tournament was a good idea, but on the other hand it limited the match quality because of their fifteen minute time limits. Everything felt rushed for time, they didn’t even have enough time for promos.

In my opinion, it would’ve been much more efficient if they had tournament matches on their regular programming culminating at Starrcade for the finals. That way you have room for promos, extra matches, and you could advertise some match-ups on the card which might have boosted the attendance.

Nonetheless, we still got some decent matches on this Pay-Per View, most of them just lacked story and the pizzazz that usually comes with WCW matches.


+ Decent matches

+ A lot of first time match-ups


– PPV felt rushed

– Match quality lacked because of time limit

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.