Going Old School: Starrcade '90
Posted by Matt Adamson on 02.17.2008
"The four men you see are only messengers. There is only one true Black Scorpion, and it is I. MUAHAHAH!"
1990 was the year of Sting. He had started the year as a Horseman. Spent several months injured, but due to some quality long term booking was still relevant to the angle between him and Ric Flair. Once Sting came back and won the World Title from Flair at the Great American Bash, a new mysterious competitor arrived. The Black Scorpions spent months tormenting Sting and dropping hints about his identity. WCW practically revolved around this storyline at the time. It was so much of a focus that the two pay per views that were during this period (Halloween Havoc and this one, Starrcade) were loaded with filler. Since Halloween Havoc was spewing with filler, WCW spared us the torture of watching Moondog Rex vs. Junkyard Dog and went the gimmick approach for the second year in a row with the Pat O’Connor Memorial International Tag Team Tournament. Thankfully this Starrcade wouldn’t be relegated to being completely devoted to the gimmick and the rest of the show would, for the most part, be quite interesting.
December 13th 1990 from the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri, in front of a crowd of 7,200 fans.
Starrcade ‘90 - Collision Course
Hosts: Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously. Yes, and it was damn good, in my opinion the best team in commentary history and this event is just top notch from that standpoint.
Sam Muchnik opens the show which is a cool little tribute to him and all he did for wrestling in St. Louis. One problem for us watching at home… his mic isn’t working for the feed. Once it starts up, he thanks some jerks and talks about wrestling being the oldest sport and that we’ll see a great card. Thanks man, Capetta could have told us that.
The Star Spangled Banner is played and in a stroke of genius, Capetta talks through at least half of it while introducing the color guard… or whatever they call those guys with the easiest job in the military.
Bobby Eaton vs. Z-Man
Eaton was in his very first stretch as an important singles wrestler after The Midnight Express had called it a day back at Halloween Havoc. Z-Man, who is the always arrogant Tom Zenk is on some ridiculous 35 match winning streak. Apparently it took a few of these trials before actually getting some success with Goldberg. Z-Man would wind up winning the TV title not too long after this and as I recall they would still be pimping his winning streak as late as February. History didn’t agree. Eaton would actually go on to main event a Clash of the Champions in 1991 in a tremendous match against Ric Flair for the World Title in what would be the last important match Flair wrestled before he left for the WWF.
Eaton is billed as being from “The Darkside”. Huntsville, Alabama must SUCK. Good little opener to get things going and showcase just how meaningful Eaton would be. Zenk keeps this match from becoming what it had the potential of being. He botches something and I can’t tell what. Yeah, it was that bad. Lots of quick back and forth action. Eaton actually takes a suplex on the entrance ramp (the elevated ramps WCW and ECW used to use) that can’t feel good. Eaton hit’s a picture perfect Alabama Jam but doesn’t go for the pin. Hilarious moment finds Zenk doing a jumping spread eagle toe touch to celebrate a successful move. Inside cradle by Eaton gets the three. Good match, decent choice for the opener.
Winner: Bobby Eaton
Match Rating: **½
Tony Schiavone is with Dick The Bruiser who gets a mixed reaction. He is the guest referee for the main event.
They have this Parade of Nations next which is just awful. They say the winners will be deemed “Champions of the Universe”. I’m sure The Body Thetans of the Galactic Confederacy would beg to differ. Basically this is just a bunch of women who are less than attractive carrying flags up and down the ramp. Wow, please give me more of this excitement.
Tournament Match: Round One: Sgt. Krueger & Col. Derklerk vs. The Steiner Brothers
The only important things to know is that the team here you don’t know is supposed to be representing South Africa. It should also be known that Derklerk is none other than Rocco Rock, so immediately we see the legitimacy of this as an “international” tournament. Good fast back and forth action in the match with some good execution by the Steiners. One of the best squash matches I’ve ever seen. If all jobbers did as good of a job as these two, they might still be around today. Frankensteiner wins it for the Steiners.
Winners: The Steiner Brothers
Match Rating: **½
Tournament Match: Round One: Chris Adams & Norman Smiley vs. Rey Mysterio & Konnan
Rey Mysterio is not the one most of you would know, but rather it is his uncle, and Jim Ross finds it impossible to read his name correctly calling him Mysterik. Well, Norman Smiley is in this one, so that means good things. He’s actually quite impressive in the ring, very smooth in everything, like a Ricky Steamboat arm drag. Adams and Smiley (who represent Great Britain) show some great teamwork and fluidity. Konnan is way out of his element as the clash in styles here hurt him the most. He does manage to get some good work with Smiley on the mat. Bridge on Smiley by Konnan for the pin. Good match, but the ending was quite anti-climactic.
Winners: Rey Mysterio & Konnan
Match Rating: **¼
Missy Hyatt, who is actually looking rather good surprisingly is with Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York. You’d know York better as Golddust’s wife Marlena. Wallstreet is Mike Rotunda. They talk about how a computer told them that Wallstreet would beat Terry Taylor in under 8:32.
Tournament Match: Round One: The Royal Family vs. The Great Muta & Mr. Saito
The Royal Family are Jack Victory and Rip Morgan. They tag a lot, but punch and kick way too damn much when Muta isn’t there to carry them. Sadly, Muta is hardly in the match, so you’d imagine how pissed I am. The one guy with a shitload of talent and he ends up on the apron most of the match. What little time he does spend in the ring is highlighted by a fantastic handspring elbow. I absolutely LOVE that move. Belly to Back Suplex by Muta on Victory gets the three. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it could also have been much better. At least the right guys went over.
Winners: The Great Muta & Mr. Saito
Match Rating: *¾
Dangerously is with Muta & Saito. Saito is a badass Japanese mutha’ on the mic. Talks about being ICHIBAN. So bad ass. I wish I was half as bad ass as Mr. Saito.
Tournament Match: Round One: Bull Johnson & Troy Montour vs. Salmon Hasimikov & Voctor Zangiev
Johnson and Montour are from Canada. Don’t you think they could have sprung for somebody better than these two? Damn, I mean just about anybody who has ever wrestled in Canada would be a better choice. The other team are From Russia. Actually, they are from Tblisi, which a few months after this would be in the nation of Georgia. The Russians wrestle a style nearly a decade ahead of its time. Lots of shoot style stuff that was lost on the crowd, but its pretty brilliant. They have excellent skills on the match, but they were unable to showcase them in this match as its just entirely too short. Hasimikov pins Montour with a Belly to Belly and holds him down. Ah, A for effort for the Russians as they were basically given blobs of goo to work with and put on a passable match.
Winners: Hasimikov & Zangiev
Match Rating: **
Tony Schiavone is with Sting in the locker room. Ooooh a throwback to the early Starrcade’s. They talk about the Black Scorpion and how Sting’s head is clear. He says we’ll find out who the Scorpion is tonight.
Michael Wallstreet vs. Terry Taylor
Wallstreet is with Alexandra York and this is one of the very first appearances of the York Foundation, which was basically a stable that relied on computers to tell them what to do. Wallstreet would be gone from WCW, off to the WWF and slightly repackaged as I.R.S. Who would take his place in the York Foundation? None other than Terry Taylor, who would go by Terrance. Taylor isn’t far off having been humiliated as the Red Rooster. I’m sure he snuck in a warning to Wallstreet here. Taylor got involved in this by pissing off York. Let that be a lesson gentlemen, never piss of a woman who is MUCH hotter than she is letting on.
There is a little timer in the corner of the screen telling us how much time is left of the promised 8:32. Wallstreet spends much of his time stalling outside the ring consulting York to start. Yeah, where that sense of urgency, you only have 8 minutes you asshole. Lots of good catch-as-catch-can wrestling, but too much stalling. Wallstreet sets himself up in a formula for this match of move, stall, move, stall. It’s not a good formula, but he fits some cheating in there to change things up at time. Stock Market Crash gets three for Wallstreet with 1:42 left in his time. Disappointing considering who was involved. I wish Rotunda hadn’t let this gimmick change his style.
Winner: Michael Wallstreet
Match Rating: **
Motor City Madman & Big Cat vs. The Skyscrapers
Big Cat is Curtis Hughes, or Mr. Hughes who spent most of his career in the gimmick of a body guard. Motor City Madman is the brainchild of Ole Anderson’s time as head booker for WCW. He had tried to WWFize WCW with guys like this and they just BOMBED. I don’t know off hand of anything else he did in wrestling. The Skyscraper were having their last hurrah here. I don’t know why they reunited them for this show as Vicious was already established and didn’t exactly need to tag with his old partner for any reason really. Spivey was always an on again off again wrestler. He would have his greatest success in early 1990 as part of the Skyscrapers and his best success would be brief as a singles wrestler shortly after this in the U.S. Title program with Lex Luger.
The match itself didn’t really amount to much other than a chance for Sid and Spivey to look like a couple of bad asses. Starts off quick with some brawling. Quick double Powerbomb on Madman gets the win for the Skyscrapers in their last match. Nothing but a squash on a couple of guys that didn’t matter, and it wasn’t even good at doing what it was trying to do.
Winners: The Skyscrapers
Match Rating ¼*
Dangerously interviews the Skyscrapers. They pick him up and say that they do whatever they want./ That was useful.
Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
This is the Garvin & Hayes version of the Freebirds who had been feuding with the Rock and Roll Express in the late summer months and injured Gibson’s leg severely (it would take him nearly a year to recover). The Freebirds have little Richard Marley with them. This guy might very well be the most worthless manager in the history of wrestling. Robert Gibson is making his first appearance since the accident as is accompanying Rich and Morton. The Freebirds are all decked out in their “stars and bars” face paint, just to piss off anybody in the arena who might actually not be a redneck.
They pump the drama up with Gibson, which is a nice change of pace for the show. Freebirds stall of course, which is nothing new. Marley is all over the place but adding NOTHING to the match. Imagine a REALLY LAME Julius Smokes. I like Smokes because he’s actually fun and does stuff that goes over well, Marley is just awful and he sells nothing to boot. Marley gets in trouble with the Freebirds and is getting choked out by Garvin when Morton comes from behind and rolls Garvin up for the three count. Freebirds beat Marley down after the match, but Rich and Morton make the save. Ah, how nice of them. But wait! Gibson is up on the ramp and has nowhere to go and the Freebirds are approaching. They work Gibson over good before Rich and Morton see whats going on and make the save. Bland match, cool after match drama. Overall a good segment.
Winners: Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich
Match Rating *½
Schiavone is with Stan Hansen who as usual is gold on the mic. He talks about his rope, which will be used in the Texas Lariat match later. Too bad Hansen had such a hard-on for Japan. I would have loved for him to stick around the states some more. He was gold.
Tournament Match: Semifinal: Konnan & Rey Mysterio vs. The Steiner Brothers
Konnan is visibly limping to the ring. He really didn’t have anything to sell from his previous match, so he must have been injured. Lots of good mat work in this one and a little lucha thrown in. The Steiners adapt fairly well, but the match doesn’t amount to much as its rather short. Powerbomb by Rick on Mysterio gets the pin and the Steiner’s advance to the tournament final. A good little match that was on its way to being great, but it was way way too short. Damn this tournament bull. 14 matches is too much for 3 hours.
Winners: The Steiner Brothers
Match Rating: **¼
Schiavone is back once again, this time with Arn Anderson and Barry Windham. They talk about Doom and their streetfight with them later as a video plays of Ric Flair being abducted and “beat” by some thugs. Really, they just drag him out of a limo and stand there while nothing happens. I even thought this was lame at the time when I was 11 and firmly believed wrestling MIGHT be real. Anderson and Windham are still cool as all hell though.
The Great Muta & Mr. Saito vs. Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov
Amazing Greco-Roman stuff by the Russians. They execute everything they do perfectly smooth. They use some truly awesome and unique moves at the time which were sadly lost on the audience. It’s nice that this match is a little longer than their first, because it allows them to be showcased a little more. Hasimikov is the god of suplexes I’m convinced. Benoit had nothing on this guy. He is just so fluid and smooth. Its all so convincing. Strangely the match ends with a suplex, but it’s done by Saito on Zangiev. Awesome match, but too short. If this had been able to go on a little longer, who knows how great it could have been.
Winners: Great Muta & Mr. Saito
Match Rating: ***
Schaivone is with Doom who are with Teddy Long who says, “Homey don’t play dat!” I always loved long for that kind of thing right there. Simmons says they aren’t losers. Reed says he’s the master of streefights and Long says, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Oh, what a throwback!
Hansen and Luger had been feuding since early fall and Hansen had won the U.S. title from Luger at the last Pay Per View, Halloween Havoc. Hansen had been in Japan since 1986 when he was in the AWA. This is his first major appearance for WCW and would be his last. Luger had spent early 1990 feuding with Ric Flair over the World Title to no avail. His U.S. title reign was the first the title had seen in some time to really not achieve much in terms of excitement. The U.S. title had been an object of which many great feuds and matches had been built around for many years. Luger’s reign was just sort of… there.
Hansen went right to the brawling and it was fierce. The guy, considering how out of shape he looked had as much agility as some of the smallest fit guys on this show. Hansen throws lots of solid clotheslines and Luger matches them with style. Hansen makes good use of the rope and hog ties Luger to drag him around. He looked like a real wrangler. He is the ultimate opportunist and since he is tied to Luger has limited opportunities to use object outside of the rope, so he takes off his boot and give Luger a solid beating with it. Luger hit’s the fourth corner, but hit’s the ref milliseconds before he hit’s the corner and the ref is out. Match continues as Hansen gets all four corners and his awarded the match, but the original referee wakes up and says he saw the original victory by Luger and awards him the title. A great little brawl that I think too many people let the swerve ending get in their way of enjoying it.
Winner and NEW champ: Lex Luger
Match Rating: ****
Jim Ross is with Luger who yells and talks about winning the title. If there is something I like more about today’s wrestling, it’s that there isn’t as much senseless yelling.
Once Ric Flair lost the World Title to Sting, he really had nowhere to go but to team up with long time pal Arn Anderson and go after the World Tag Team Titles. Of course the Horsemen were the biggest heels in the promotion at this point and anybody who they were going after was suddenly a baby face. Such was the case with Doom who had been heels since they began teaming together under masks in late 1989. Many fans decided to not align themselves with Doom and instead become fans of the Horsemen and several years before Steve Austin became a tweener, we had these two teams. Both were bad ass rule breakers, but the fans were torn. Ric Flair was supposed to be in this match as well, but was taken out by Doom before the event and Windham would be his replacement.
Doom are with Teddy Long and some huge guy that not even the commentators know. Quick thinking match as all four use whatever is closest to them to get done what they need. Lots of violence, but no lame props or setups like they do in WWE where they remove the monitor before throwing their opponent into the table. I hate the spot, its cheap and pathetic. But with none of that crap here, we’re looking good. They make good use out of everything around them, weight lifting belt, boots, whatever they can, but without the cheese. This is pretty much a flawless streetfight as it actually looks like a legit brawl with a few wrestling moves thrown in for impact. The only problem comes with the finish and its excusable. Anderson is hit by Simmons with a VICIOUS clothesline and covers him while Windham rolls up Reed. Both are counted down for the three. Would have been perfect if not for a slight miscalculation by Simmons as he was about one noticeable second behind in his covering of Anderson. Realistically The Horsemen should have won this, but that wasn’t how it was booked. No decision is the result. AWESOME brawl capped off by controversy and a hell of fun brawl after the match. Maybe 4 other Streetfight matches hold up as well as this one did. If done today, this still would still be as much fun, even without the terrible set up spots that everybody seems to love so much these days.
Winners: No Decision
Match Rating: ****¾
Tournament Match: Final: The Great Muta & Mr. Saito vs. The Steiner Brothers
These two teams were seeded one and two and there were no real upsets in this entire tournament. So why are they having this again? Oh right, filler. Rick Steiner gets beat down for much of the early part of the match. Muta and Saito do a great job of preventing the tag to Scott. Despite all the beat down, Rick sells very poorly and thus the hot tag isn’t very hot. The match maintains a fast pace and Muta and Saito dominate for much of it, but all four seem to be running on empty after two other matches. Sunset flip by Rick on Saito gets the Steiners the win. Entertaining enough, but disappointing considering who is involved and that this was the tournament final. I should also mention Scott Steiner’s mullet is a thing of legend.
Winners of the Tournament: The Steiner Brothers
Match Rating: **¾
Next up we have the tournament trophy awards ceremony. There is a 7-8 foot trophy that manages not to get destroyed. They honor Pat O’Connor. Did I mention how odd it is that this tournament would honor a great singles wrestler? Jim Herd presents the Steiners with the Trophy and the Steiners sounds like drunken fools when they talk. Slurred speech is the highlight.
The feud had been going on since late summer and nobody really knew who it was under the guise of the Black Scorpion. Many people were hopeful that it would turn out to be the Ultimate Warrior, but he was still under contract up in Stamford. So, they had to go with who they could find that would work for a good feud beyond this event. Well, Ole Anderson wouldn’t make it as booker past this show, so any of his plans were likely scrapped in favor of a singles push of Scott Steiner that was vetoed, followed by Flair’s feud with Tatsumi Fujinami. This was the end of one of the goofiest feuds in wrestling history and I loved every minute of it. Hell, I was 11 years old. I was scared to death of the Black Scorpion.
The Black Scorpions entrance is unreal. First 4 guys come down dressed like the Black Scorpion and surround the ring. Then a pod thing drops open from the ceiling. Once it reaches the ramp some strobes come on and then stop. The a voice is heard saying “The four men you see are only messengers. There is only one true Black Scorpion and it is I, MWAHAHAHAHA!” Seriously, the most hilarious entrance ever, but I was scared shitless as a child. I think this match is massively misunderstood. First you have Sting who doesn’t know what to expect in the Scorpion and then there is the Scorpion who nobody thinks they know. I think the first half of the match, though boring, is underrated. They spend most of the opening parts of the match feeling each other out. I think that’s some decent psychology. That’s precisely what you would do if you were going up against something unknown. I wish they could have made it more entertaining though. Once the feeling out process is over the match picks up and is quite good. Sting dominates for the most part but is unable to put the Scorpion away. It becomes increasingly clear as the match goes on just who the Scorpion is. They don’t start to use the cage till late into the match. Scorpion works on Stings neck for a bit and the pace quickens. Sting is able to pull off Scorpions mask, but there is another underneath. Loud audible “Whooooo” from the crowd once that mask comes off. Got the hint yet? High Cross Body by Sting off the top for three and the win. Immediately the other Scorpions get in the cage and beat Sting down, but Sting fights them off and takes their masks off. Then it’s the Horsemen who come down, tearing Sting up while the real Scorpion tries to escape. Then a few of the baby faces from the locker room try and make the save, but are unsuccessful. Sting still manages to remove the mask and we find out it is Ric Flair and the Horsemen retreat and the show is over.
Match Rating: ***¼
The 411: Despite all the filler and the fact that there were too many matches stuffed onto this card, it was a lot of fun. Two matches I would count as must-see, and one of those is one of my all time favorites. If the show had been cut down some and things moved around a bit, this had the potential to be among the one or two best Starrcade’s ever. However, as it stands it’s pretty good, mostly due to sheer entertainment value. Check this one out.