WCW World Cruiserweight Title Match
Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Dean Malenko
I really enjoyed this one but the commentary team said next to nothing about either competitor, the cruiserweight division or the in ring action. Instead they just spoke about the main event. I get that this was a one match show, but you can see here that one of WCW’s biggest mistakes was not focusing on the great stuff that they already had going for them. Guerrero and Malenko’s chemistry was incredible and this match showcased an enthralling combination of flippy action and hard hitting power moves. (***1/2)
Kevin Nash was scheduled to take on The Giant, but to avoid doing the job he simply no-showed the event. Imagine the repercussions a talent would face for no showing WWF’s answer to Starrcade, Wrestlemania. For the record, Nash reportedly called the office that afternoon to say that he believed he was having a minor hear attack, but nobody backstage bought the story and Nash’s avoidance to job for Giant soon became a running joke. We didn’t even get a replacement Hall vs. Giant match, instead The Giant just chokeslammed Hall.
Six Man Tag Team Match
Ray Traylor & The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner) (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. The nWo (Randy Savage, Scott Norton & Vincent)
This was horrible. Vincent/Virgil has got to be one of the least athletic and entertaining ‘talents’ in the history of pro wrestling and his involvement in actual matches completely bemuses me. Funnily enough though, the only highlight here was Vincent taking a frightening bump from a Steiner DDT double team. (-**)
Bill Goldberg vs. Steve McMichael
Two ex-football players did their best here to put together a respectable and entertaining match, but there’s no way such inexperienced wrestlers should have ever been put together. This was so messy and involved a table despite being a regular singles match. (-*)
No Disqualification Match
Chris Benoit vs. Saturn
I really like the idea of Raven’s flock and it was cool to see them in action here, but Raven’s mispronounced opening promo sort of set the disorganised tone for this as the heels prevailed after a scrappy match. Kidman’s Shooting Star to the outside was great but Saturn’s music may be the most annoying I’ve ever heard; not even good annoying like RTC’s! (*)
Buff Bagwell vs. Lex Luger
Starrcade was presented leading into the show as the end of a story arc where WCW were on track to recovering some of their momentum in the war against the now but despite being WCW Champion just four months prior, Lex Luger did another job for Bagwell in a frightfully boring match. (-***)
WCW United States Heavyweight Title Match
Curt Hennig (c) vs. Diamond Dallas Page
I didn’t enjoy this as much as their match at Road Wild, but this was WCW’s only definite victory of the night and I love hearing the crowd pop for the Diamond Cutter. DDP and Hennig worked a solid match and I like both guys.. (**1/2)
Control For Monday NITRO Match (Special Referee: Bret Hart)
Eric Bischoff (w/Scott Hall) vs. Larry Zbyszko
So WCW had just a month prior acquired the former WWF Champion following the most controversial moment in wrestling history, and to take advantage on the excitement Bret Hart brought with him, he was booked to referee a match between a non-wrestler and a retiree. That says it all. Ghastly match. Never watch it. (-****)
WCW World Heavyweight Title Match
Hollywood Hogan (c) vs. Sting
The main event came with many hoping that despite a hugely disappointing pay-per-view,that the ultimate pay-off would more than make up for the rest of the show. Sting was back, and he was back to kick Hollywood Hogan’s ass and reclaim WCW’s heavyweight title. While the record books will state that Sting did win this match, the convoluted manner in which the story unfolded has to be seen to be believed.
After dominating most of the match, Hogan hit his leg drop and Nick Patrick (who had recently returned to action after being storyline suspended for his affiliation with the nWo, and was “randomly” selected to officiate this match) counted one, two… three?
Sting didn’t kick out! Sting had failed in his quest to conquer the leader of the New World Order. According to the announcers though, Nick Patrick’s count was fast, but the issue is, that it really wasn’t.
There are plenty of theories as to what happened here, from Patrick just forgetting to Hogan paying him off to not count fast so he didn’t make the champ look bad. But Nick Patrick’s explanation was that he really did think he was counting fast.
The stunned silence of the crowd was barely broken by Bret Hart getting on the mic to say “This isn’t going to happen again”, in a clear reference to the Montreal Screwjob. So Bret nailed Patrick and became the new referee as the match restarted. Sting applied the Scorpion Deathlock and Bret called for the bell after an apparent verbal “I quit” from Hogan.
WCW wrestlers, many of whom had been awkwardly placed on seats with the crowd for the night, flooded the ring and in an embarrassing moment, Sting capped off the night by shouting something hugely irrelevant and Spanish along the lines into the camera. Even Sting’s incredible entrance couldn’t save this one from my wrath. (-*****)
To close this article and review, I’ll quote Bryan Alvarez and R.D Reynolds classic (The Death Of WCW), which inspired this series:
“And as the wrestlers and the fans celebrated, so did Bischoff. All his hard work, all his patience, it had all paid off big-time. Starrcade ’97 was, without question, the biggest money maker WCW had ever produced.
A $543,000 gate.
An incredible1.9 buy rate, meaning nearly $6 million in revenue.
And the beginning of the end.”
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