Starrcade ’87

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Starrcade

November 26, 1987 (Thanksgiving)

The UIC Pavilion

Chicago, Illinois

This was the first time that Starrcade ventured away from the Greensboro and Atlanta areas and many believed that was a mistake. However, it wasn’t the only issue that this show faced. Up until this point, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) had run the Starrcade shows on closed-circuit television, but now they wanted to venture into the Pay Per View market. Vince McMahon and the WWF saw this as an encroachment on their territory, so Vince answered back by promoting his own PPV, Survivor Series, on the same night as Starrcade ‘87. Vince also went as far as to tell cable companies that if they tried to air Starrcade then they wouldn’t get WrestleMania IV the following year. Some companies acquiesced, so Starrcade’s viewership was heavily cut. This wouldn’t be the last time that the two wrestling promotions would run shows on the same night. This behavior would escalate until the cable companies finally had to step in and tell them to stop behaving like children. Of course, years later this tactic would return, leading to the famous Monday Night Wars, but we will cover that much later.

The other major story going into this show was JCP’s acquisition of the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF). Crockett had wanted to expand, much like Vince McMahon had so he started buying some of the smaller remaining territories. This was also considered a mistake by some and would ultimately lead to JCP’s business taking a downturn. The buyout of the UWF meant that this show had a lot of new faces and some new titles, as you will see in this review.

The show opens with a shot of the crowd and a bit of a light show. It then cuts to the commentators for the night, which are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross! I was happy to see J.R. for the first time on this blog. However, I do have to admit that I still miss Gordon Solie. Tony and J.R. welcome us to the show and wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. They do a quick rundown of the card and tell us that 5 championships are on the line.

Eddie Gilbert, Larry Zbyszko, & Rick Steiner (w/ Baby Doll) vs. Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes, & Sting (w/ Precious)

This opening match is packed full of new faces. This is Sting’s first appearance on this blog and it definitely won’t be the last. This is also the first appearance of Rick Steiner. You might be wondering where is Scott. Rick started wrestling before his brother. Scott would come along a couple of years later and form the Steiner Brothers tag team. For now, Rick is going solo. It was odd seeing Rick without his trademark amateur wrestling headgear. I guess that’s something that he added later. The two teams are introduced by Tom Miller and I found it amusing that Gilbert is billed from “every girl’s dream”, while Sting is billed from “every man’s nightmare”. It was a nice touch and played on the story of this match. Gilbert had been a mentor for Sting, but Sting left his entourage over philosophical differences, if you will. I have a couple of more observations before I get into the match. One, Sting has a ridiculous looking rat-tail on the back of his blonde flat-top. Two, this is a very different looking ring than usual. They have light gray ropes and turnbuckles and the letters TWN are written on the apron. It stands for “The Wrestling Network”, which was a joint promotion of JCP and the smaller territories that they had acquired. It didn’t last very long.

Steiner attacks Sting to start and clotheslines him down. He then attempts a charge, but Sting moves and Rick goes flying through the ropes. The cameraman focuses on Steiner and misses Sting’s dive, so it appears like he randomly falls from the sky. All 6 men end up in the ring for a short brawl and Sting’s team cleans house. They maintain control for a bit, and Hayes comes in to play a little game of “got your nose” with Larry Zbyszko. He punches him down and does a little Moonwalk for the fans. Eddie Gilbert tags in, but gets knocked down and wanders into the wrong corner, where Sting smacks him. Sting then tags back in and works with his former mentor for a bit. He tries to work Eddie’s arm, but Gilbert slams him and tags out to Steiner. Sting tags out to Jimmy Garvin as well, but not before getting in a quick shot to Rick. Steiner is able to overpower Garvin and tag out to Larry, who beats on Jimmy while Precious looks horrified. Larry gets a powerslam for a 2 count and then tags in Gilbert, who hits one of the best looking Atomic Drops I’ve seen in a while. He then hits a backbreaker, but the ref is apparently daydreaming and has to be reminded to get down and count. Gilbert’s team maintain control for a while with frequent tags and Steiner’s power moves. We are informed that 10 minutes has gone by, as Larry locks in an abdominal stretch. Garvin is able to hip toss his way out and tag in Sting. Sting takes over for a bit, until the ref is distracted and Gilbert throws Sting over the top rope. Hayes complains, but the ref didn’t see it happen, so he can’t DQ them. Sting is in trouble for a little while and Steiner gets a sleeper hold on him. He manages to fight out and finally tags out to Hayes, as Gilbert enters the match. All 6 men end up in the ring and another brawl starts. Hayes hits a running bulldog, but Larry gets his foot on the ropes. Hayes then attempts a sleeper, but Gilbert breaks it up with an attack off the top. We are then informed that there’s less than a minute left, as Steiner comes in and grabs a bear hug. That’s not a smart move with such little time left. He realizes this and turns it into a belly-to-belly suplex, but only gets a 2 count. Gilbert then tags in, but gets rolled up for a 2 count, with only 15 seconds left. Hayes then hits a sunset flip, but it’s too late because time has run out on the match. Sting hits Steiner with a Stinger Splash for good measure, but the match is already over.

This was an okay opener, but it wasn’t that thrilling. There were a few spots that were entertaining, but it was overall a bland match. I didn’t care much for the time limit draw ending.

Winners: Time Limit Draw

Tony and J.R. recap the match, before throwing to Missy Hyatt, who is in the back. Missy talks about the excitement in the air tonight and says that the opening match was great. She then talks a little about the main event between Flair and Garvin. There is an awkward pause next, where it seems like she might have forgotten what to say, so she throws it back to the commentators.

UWF Heavyweight Title Match: Dr. Death Steve Williams (c) vs. Barry Windham

With a nickname like “Dr. Death”, I don’t think Williams will get many patients at his clinic. I kid, of course. Williams comes to the ring wearing an Oklahoma University jersey and the UWF Title around his waist. I can’t help but notice that the design of the belt is one that ROH would mimic, years later. Before the match, we are told that Windham is the Western States Heritage Champion (that’s a mouthful), but his title isn’t on the line.

The two men shake hands before the bell and we’re told that they’re good friends. They start off with a little criss-cross action and Windham ends up getting hip tossed. Williams then presses him over his head and lifts him a few times, but Barry drops behind him before he can get slammed. They then go into a mat-wrestling sequence, but it ends in a stalemate. The two men end up scuffling to the outside, but Barry suggests they re-enter the ring. The fans boo this sign of sportsmanship. They trade suplexes, but Barry has trouble getting Williams over with a gut-wrench. Williams then gets a side headlock, but Barry turns it into a side suplex. However, Williams manages to keep the headlock…for a while. Some fans yell “boring” at them, so Barry fights out and the two go back and forth for a bit. Williams attempts a leapfrog, but Barry is so tall that Steve lands groin first against Windham’s head. Williams is down on the mat in pain and Barry surprisingly gives him time to recover. He even stops the ref from counting him out. The fans give Barry crap for not attacking, but he ignores them. Williams recovers and Barry takes him down with a headlock, which is reversed into a head scissors. Windham fights out and goes for a cross body, but Williams moves and Barry tumbles over the ropes to the outside. He smacks into a table and looks dazed by the fall. Windham gets back into the ring, but Williams has no plans to return the courtesy that Barry had shown earlier. He grabs Barry with an Oklahoma Roll and gets a 3 count.

I get the story that they were telling with this match and I wanted to like it, but the match itself was slow and boring. They lost the crowd with this one.

Winner: Steve Williams

Skywalkers Match: The Rock n’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette & Big Bubba)

Yes! A Rock n’ Roll Express vs. Midnight Express match! What a treat…oh, it’s a Skywalkers Match. They brought this gimmick back again, sadly. This is a new combination for the Midnight Express. Dennis Condrey is gone and has been replaced by Sweet Stan Lane. Tom Miller introduces the participants and tells us that the Skywalkers Match is “probably” the most dangerous match in wrestling. Probably? Way to sell the match, Tom! Show some confidence! The two teams jaw at each other, while referee Earl Hebner tries to get them to climb. Bobby Eaton hugs Cornette, who tells him it will be okay.

The two teams begin to climb, but Bubba grabs Ricky Morton and hits him with the Bubba Slam, before stomping on him for good measure. This gives the Midnight Express a 2 on 1 advantage and they slam Robert headfirst into the rickety railing, knocking one side loose. Eaton stomps on him and they slam Robert’s head into the walkway until he’s bleeding. Bubba starts to climb up to help, but Ricky has recovered and hits him with Cornette’s tennis racket. Ricky climbs, with the racket in hand, and starts hitting the Midnight Express with it. Tony says it looks like Ricky is swatting flies. The two teams crawl around carefully and fight, until Eaton produces some powder and throws it in Ricky’s face. He then tries to kick Ricky off of the scaffold, while Cornette celebrates. Stan goes to punch Robert, but he ducks and Lane hits Eaton by mistake. Bobby starts to lose balance, but Ricky knocks him onto his stomach. Tony points out that Ricky inadvertently saved Eaton from falling. Stan attempts to push Robert off, but he holds on for dear life. Eaton then gets the racket and whacks Ricky with it. He goes for Robert as well, but Robert grabs the loose bar from the railing and hits Eaton in the head. Bobby drops the racket and it falls into the ring. Meanwhile, Stan has been pushed down onto the scaffolding, so Cornette tosses the racket back up to Eaton, so he can save him. The problem is that Robert snatches the racket away and starts hitting Eaton with it. Bobby is now bleeding as well, as Stan and Ricky fight down onto the lower scaffolding. Stan moves out onto the underside of the walkway, but he ends up getting knocked into the ring. Eaton grabs hold of the scaffold with all of his might, but Ricky has the racket and starts spanking him with it. Eaton climbs down onto the underside of the walkway to get away, but Robert starts kicking at him until he falls, giving The Rock n’ Roll Express the win. Cornette is furious and orders Big Bubba to climb up the scaffold and attack. Bubba climbs up and gets the racket, but decides he doesn’t need it. He takes off his coat and hat and throws them into the ring, before daring Ricky to bring it. Ricky does the old “What’s that over there” distraction and punches Bubba in the balls, before climbing down the scaffold. He then grabs Bubba’s hat and coat and puts them on before celebrating the win.

This wasn’t that great, but it was slightly better than the last Skywalkers Match. There was enough entertaining stuff to keep it from being a disaster, but it’s still not a gimmick match that I want to see. Hopefully, this is the last time that they use it.

Winners: The Rock n’ Roll Express

Tony and J.R. recap the matches so far. J.R. then talks a little about the UWF Title Match and points out that Dr. Death wasn’t willing to give Barry the same time to recover that Barry had done.

Bob Caudle is backstage with Jimmy Garvin, Precious, and Michael Hayes. Bob says that Jimmy must be disappointed that his team didn’t win. Jimmy says he’s not because they may not have won but they didn’t lose either. He says that his team was confident and that it was a great match. He then tells us that he’s excited to be at Starrcade and excited about all the careers on the line. He also says he’s concerned about the Tag Title Match because he and Hayes want to challenge the winners. Next, he talks about his “brother” Ronnie’s match and says that it’s Ronnie’s day. He talks about being proud to be a part of the NWA, which he calls the winning team in wrestling. He says that it won’t be his fault if Ronnie beats Flair tonight. (Hey, he’s stealing Snitsky’s gimmick!) He also predicts that Dusty will win his match. He then continues telling us how excited he is. He’s excited. EXCITED, I TELL YA!! Caudle finally has to inform him that his interview time is up because he won’t stop talking.

Caudle then turns to interview Dr. Death Steve Williams. Steve has donned his OU jersey again and is holding his title belt. Caudle says there was controversy over his win. I don’t recall any controversy. Williams ignores his comment and says that they’re talking about the gold, the Superbowl, and the Olympic Champion. I don’t think they were talking about almost any of those things. He then says they’re talking about the UWF Championship, which is finally correct. He says that he takes his hat off to Windham because he had his chance to dominate like the Sooners did the weekend before. He tells us that Starrcade is the biggest event in wrestling and then talks about he started at the bottom and now he’s here. He claims that he’s 110-210% and calls himself the wrestling machine of the year. He says that Windham gave him one of the best matches he’s had, before calling himself the wrestling machine again and talking about going down a lonesome highway. I’m not sure if Williams was cutting a promo or writing a song.

Tony and J.R. then talk a little about the upcoming Bunkhouse Stampede shows, before talking about the upcoming title unification match. In the background, you can see that the ring crew has removed the scaffold from around the ring. I’m impressed that they pulled that off while the interviews were happening.

NWA & UWF TV Title Unification Match: Nikita Koloff (NWA) vs. Terry Taylor (UWF) (w/ Eddie Gilbert)

The assimilation of the UWF into JCP has begun. Since both companies have a TV Title, they are combining the two in this match. Terry Taylor’s music starts to play, but the first person we see emerge from the entrance is Earl Hebner. It looks like he feels awkward coming out while someone’s music is playing. UWF TV Champion Terry Taylor comes to the ring wearing a very Flair-like sequined robe and he is accompanied by Eddie Gilbert. NWA TV Champion Nikita Koloff is out next and he’s getting pretty good reactions, despite still being billed from the Soviet Union. The two men get in each other’s face, but Hebner separates them so he can collect their belts.

Nikita starts by repeatedly shoving Taylor out of a lock-up. They back into a corner and get a clean break, as Nikita warns Gilbert to stay back. This distraction allows Taylor to hit an arm drag, but it has no effect. They keep fighting into the corner and Taylor attempts a cheap shot, but Nikita blocks it. Taylor then tries to work the arm, but Nikita makes faces at him in response. Nikita powers him down to the mat with an armbar, but Taylor fights back to his feet. He dives over the top rope to break it, but Nikita holds on and pulls him back into the ring. Gilbert complains to the ref that he should have broken the hold, so Nikita makes some faces at him too. Taylor ends up headbutting his way out of the hold and slams Nikita’s head into the turnbuckle, but it does nothing. Nikita grabs the arm again and Taylor tries in vain to punch his way out of it. Nikita then gets an endless series of hammerlocks. At one point, Taylor gets his foot on the ropes, but for some reason Hebner kicks it away. He gets his foot on the ropes again and this time Hebner breaks the hold. Taylor bails for a breather, but he gets back inside and foolishly attempts a slap fight. Taylor keeps bailing to the outside, but Nikita eventually pulls him back in by the hair. Taylor gets a knee up on a charge and tries to pin with his feet on the ropes, but only gets a 2 count. Sadly, Nikita goes back to the hammerlock again. Taylor manages to get his foot on the ropes and then rakes the eyes to gain control. Taylor tries a headbutt, but it doesn’t work and Nikita takes him down with a choke. Koloff then goes for The Sickle, but Taylor moves and Nikita crashes into the corner. Taylor knocks him to the outside and slams him into the guardrail and the post, shoulder-first. This finally gives Terry the advantage and he starts working the arm and shoulder. He even uses ref distractions to allow Gilbert to get some shots. Nikita eventually reverses a couple of moves and hulks up for some 10 punches, but Taylor turns it into an inverted atomic drop. He attempts a pin, but Nikita gets a foot on the ropes. Taylor argues with the ref and gets rolled up for a 2 count. Nikita comes back, so Taylor bails out and lures him back into the ring, where he hits him with a knee. He then distracts the ref so that Gilbert can clip Nikita’s knee with a chair. Taylor then locks in a Figure Four and uses Gilbert for leverage. This continues for a few times, until Gilbert gets caught and Hebner makes Taylor break the hold. Taylor accuses Earl of being partial. While Taylor argues with the ref, Gilbert tries to interfere again, but Nikita pulls him onto the apron. Terry goes to charge and accidentally hits Eddie, so Nikita nails Taylor with The Sickle and pins him for a 3 count.

This match started slow, with all of the endless hammerlocks, but it picked up towards the end. I would even say that it turned into a pretty decent match. The ending was pretty good, which helped elevate it even more.

Winner: Nikita Koloff (New Unified Champ)

NWA World Tag Team Title Match: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (c) (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering)

Both teams come out to edited music on the network version. The Road Warriors dubbed theme doesn’t fit them at all. It sounds like some heavy disco. Tom Miller introduces the teams and says that Arn & Tully represent the “dreaded Four Horsemen”. At this point, The Four Horsemen consist of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, & Lex Luger. Luger had taken the place of Ole Anderson.

Arn and Hawk start and Arn starts trash talking him. He gets grabbed by the throat for it and Hawk whips him into the corner. Arn catches him with a back elbow coming in and goes up top, but Hawk press slams him. Arn bails for a moment, but when he goes back inside he’s overpowered again. He bails out the other side, but he sees Ellering and warns him to stay away. There’s a stand-off between managers for a moment. Arn climbs back inside and tags in Tully, who gets powered down to the mat and clotheslined. He tries to bail too, but Animal throws him back inside the ring. Hawk hits a high dropkick and gets a 2 count. Tully attempts a cross body, but Animal catches him and hits a powerslam for a 2 count. Arn comes back in and leaps over Animal on a corner whip, only to turn around into a clothesline. Tully ends up coming in to try and double team, but they both get clotheslined. Hawk tags in and press slams Tully into Animal’s arms for a bear hug. Tully fights back and tags in Arn, who fires himself up and gets a headlock, but gets shoved away. He then goes for a piledriver, but gets back dropped and press slammed. Hawk and Tully eventually tag in and Hawk goes for a press slam, but Arn clips his knee. The Horsemen then take over and start working over Hawk’s leg. They slam it into the post and pull him to the outside. They use a ref distraction so Tully can use a chair on the leg. Arn then hits a DDT, but Hawk powers out at 2. Tully comes in and tries a Figure Four, but Hawk stops him, so Tully continues the leg work. Eventually he does get a Figure Four and holds it for awhile. When it seems that he won’t get a submission, he tags in Arn, who gets a couple of 2 counts. Arn goes to attack on the mat, but ends up catching a leg in the groin and Hawk tags in Animal. Tully trips Animal up and all 4 men end up in the ring. In the chaos, Tully gets shoved into referee Tommy Young, so Hebner comes down to take over the match. Animal ends up back body dropping Arn over the top rope, right in front of Tommy Young. The Road Warriors then hit the Doomsday Device on Arn and pin him for a 3 count. They begin celebrating with the belts, but Tommy Young comes in and tells Hebner that he’s disqualified The Road Warriors for throwing Arn over the top rope. The fans boo the decision and chant “Bullshit”.

This was a great match, but break out the brooms because that finish was Dusty! The ending really takes away from what was an otherwise good match.

Winners: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (by DQ)

Jack Gregory and Magnum T.A. are backstage. Magnum says that the previous match was one of the greatest he’s seen in a long time, but Arn and Tully are still the champs. The two of them talk about the upcoming Dusty/Luger match. Magnum says that Dusty has never owned the U.S. Title and he talks about how not being able to wrestle for 90 days might ruin Dusty’s career. They then talk about the main event. Magnum says that if Ronnie Garvin can put Flair down one more time then he will prove he’s the one and only world’s heavyweight champion.

Bob Caudle is with Nikita Koloff, who has both TV Titles in his hands. Koloff sounds like he has a heavy cold because his fake accent is so thick that I can’t understand him. He says that he has had “many many tough match”. He then says that Terry Taylor is a “gray wrestlerah” or he wouldn’t have been TV Champion. He tells us that he could not be more happy because he has got “Two belt, TWO BELT” and now he’s the only TV Champion. He says that it makes his heart feel good, but the only thing that would make him feel better is winning the world title. He then says that he believes in himself and Dusty Rhodes and finishes by telling his fans that “It’s possibah”, whatever that means. This promo was so over the top that it was highly amusing.

Caudle then turns to interview J.J. Dillon. Dillon says that he can breathe a sigh of relief because Arn and Tully turned back the challenge of the Road Warriors. He then talks about helping Flair train to regain his title, but he admits that he’s been distracted by the Dusty Rhodes situation. He talks about how Dusty has been his nemesis for 7 years now and every time he’s come up short he learned a lesson from it. He says that he’s never been more confident because Lex Luger is genetically gifted, the total package, and the perfect athlete. He finishes by telling us he’s got Dusty backed into a corner because he has the perfect plan.

Cage Match for the NWA U.S. Title: Dusty Rhodes vs. Lex Luger (c) (w/ J.J. Dillon)

Oh boy, I’ve been looking forward to covering Lex Luger on this blog. I get great amusement out of his loud selling. Lex is known for yelling for everything, even when he’s the one doing the move. This match is ripe with loud noises from Lex. Luger comes out first and he’s wearing his own sequined robe. Does every heel in the NWA have one of those? He’s accompanied by J.J. Dillon. Dusty comes out next and climbs to the top of the cage to pose for a moment. Tom Miller introduces the participants and Luger is booed, despite being from Chicago. Miller then tells us that if Dusty loses he cannot wrestle anywhere for 90 days. He also tells us that Johnny Weaver will be on the outside. He will hold onto the key to the cage to prevent the Horsemen from interfering.

The two men circle each other to start. They lock up and back into a corner, where Dusty is cautious of a clean break. Luger tries to slam Dusty into the cage, but gets an elbow in response. The two circle again, but this time Lex flexes for Dusty, so Dusty struts and does some flexing of his own. They end up backing into a corner again, but this time Lex cheap shots him and gets punched and elbowed in return. Dusty hits an atomic drop and Luger lets out a very loud “AHHHHHHH”. Dusty then goes for the Weaver Lock early, but Lex fights his way out of it and gets a side headlock, while Weaver watches, looking amused. Dusty reverses Lex and goes for another Weaver Lock, but Luger reaches the ropes. Lex starts throwing punches, but for some reason he yells “OH” with each one he throws. He then goes for an elbow drop and gives us a mighty “AHHhhahAHHAHhhhh”…only to miss the move. Dusty then locks in an armbar and turns it into a hammerlock, while Luger begins breathing like he’s going into labor. Dusty wrenches in the hammerlock, while Luger screams and continues his weird breathing. He manages to fight back, but he misses a charge and Dusty goes back to the arm. Tony tells us he’s doing this to rob Lex of his ability to do the Torture Rack. Luger fights back again and slams Dusty into the cage and grates his face until he’s bleeding. Luger punches the cut and drops an elbow for a 2 count. Dusty tries to reverse a whip, but he sells his back, so Luger goes for the Torture Rack. He gets him up, but he can’t lock it in and stumbles back into the corner. He opts to grate Dusty’s face against the cage instead. Luger then grabs his own armbar and wrenches on it, while yelling “AHHH” with each twist. Luger uses the ropes for leverage on an armbar, but I’m not sure about the logistics of that. He keeps doing this and Dusty pushes at the ref for not doing something about it. Dusty fights back and hits a DDT, but Luger powers out at 2. That’s the second time tonight someone didn’t just kick out but powered out after a DDT. Is that supposed to be a shot at Jake Roberts? Dusty then locks in the Weaver Lock and climbs onto Luger’s back. J.J. Dillon has enough and nails Weaver with a chair, before retrieving the key. He goes to unlock the door, but Hebner stops him. Luger knocks Hebner down, so Dillon grabs a chair and throws it into the cage. Luger goes for the chair, but Dusty catches him and hits a DDT onto it. He then pins him for a 3 count. J.J. Dillon gets in the ring and looks frustrated with Luger, as Dusty collects his belt and celebrates on his way to the back.

This match was pretty good, but it dragged a bit in the middle. The long hammerlock spot ground it to halt, but Luger breathing like a pregnant woman and making odd sounds at least kept it entertaining. It just wasn’t enough to make it into a great match.

Winner: Dusty Rhodes (New Champion)

At the commentator’s table, Tony asks how you can top that. J.R. says that the next match might be able to do it. Tony then brings up Flair winning a cage match at Starrcade ‘83 and says it might happen again tonight.

Cage Match for the NWA World Title: Ric Flair (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. Ronnie Garvin (c)

Yes, you read that correctly. Ronnie Garvin is the champion going into this match. Jim Crockett knew that he needed something big since he would be going head to head with Survivor Series. He decided to have Flair lose his title prior to this show and win it back here. He figured that would drum up more interest in the show. The problem is, that meant he had to find someone willing to be a transitional champion for a few weeks. Most wrestlers didn’t want to do it because it would probably just make them look bad, but Garvin was willing to step up into the role. He knew it was the only chance he’d probably ever have of being a world champion. However, fans didn’t really buy his title run. As you will see in this match, they didn’t react too well to Garvin as champion. Flair comes out first to a mixed reaction, but Garvin is nearly booed out of the building when he arrives. Before the match starts, Garvin tosses his towel into the crowd and we see the fan who caught it high-five his friend.

The two men lock up and fight into a corner. The ref forces a clean break and Flair gives Garvin a good “Woo”. They then start trading chops, which escalate quickly. Garvin lives up to his nickname of “Hands of stone” as he starts chopping the ever-lovin’ crap out of Flair. Garvin hip tosses him, but another chop battle breaks out until Flair is begging off. A “Garvin Sucks” chant breaks out in the crowd, at this point. Flair reverses a whip and gets shoulder blocked and chopped until he flops to the mat. Flair then gets back body dropped and headbutted before Garvin slaps on an armbar. They eventually fight to the corner, where Ronnie does 10 punches and the fans count, despite booing him. He then back body drops Flair again and begins the Garvin Stomp. He manages to stomp every section of Ric’s body. Flair fights back and another chop battle breaks out until Flair is down again, but Ric counters with a low blow. He then hits an inverted atomic drop and Garvin is dazed. Flair hits a snap mare, knee drop, and then starts working on Ronnie’s leg. He hits a shinbreaker and locks in a Figure Four, while using the ropes for leverage. There are a couple of two counts, as Garvin’s shoulders go down and Flair starts yelling at referee Tommy Young. Tommy responds, “He won’t quit!” Ronnie manages to reverse it, so Flair gets to the ropes. Garvin tries to stand, but he’s wobbly legged and falls over. Flair tries to slam him into the cage, as another “Garvin Sucks” chant starts. Ronnie reverses it and sends Flair into the cage a few times, until Ric is bleeding. Flair tries to get away by climbing the cage, but gets his head slammed into the top. Ric flops into the ring and gets chopped into the corner. Flair elbows his way out and climbs to the top rope. As usual, this doesn’t work and he’s thrown to the mat. Garvin now starts working Flair’s leg, but another chop-fest starts and Flair tries to ram him into the cage. Garvin blocks it and goes for a flying cross body off the top for a close 2 count. He then reverses a hip toss into a backslide for another 2. Garvin goes back to grating Flair’s face on the cage and chops him even harder than before, if that’s possible. Flair tries to climb away again, but ends up crotched on the top rope. Garvin goes for a sunset flip off the top, but Flair blocks it and tries to use the ropes for leverage. However, he gets caught. Ronnie then goes for 10 punches, but Flair reverses him to the opposite corner and nearly takes out Tommy Young. The momentary distraction gives Garvin an opening for the knockout punch, but he only gets a 2 count. Flair reverses a whip and launches Garvin headfirst into the post in the middle of the cage wall. This is enough for Flair to pin him for a 3 count. Flair then grabs his title and celebrates with Dillon, as they head to the back.

This was a great match. It was two men beating the snot out of each other. I know that Garvin’s title run wasn’t the greatest of ideas, but the match itself was really good. My only complaints are that the finish was a bit weak and there was almost no fanfare around Flair’s win. He won, he grabbed the belt, and he celebrated for a few seconds. He was headed to the back within a minute. It doesn’t make it seem like such a big deal when it feels like they are rushing through the aftermath.

Winner: Ric Flair (New champion)

Tony and J.R. recap the night and then say their goodbyes. We then close with some highlights from the show.

Final thoughts:

This wasn’t a bad show, but I think it fell flat for me. It didn’t feel as big or as important as previous Starrcades. This wasn’t the best show to put head to head with Survivor Series. The main event was pretty good, but everything else felt average, at best. JCP had lost a lot of talent to the WWF, so they acquired the UWF to bring in new faces. It helped, but this felt like a company in a bit of transition.

Thank you for reading. My next review will be Survivor Series ‘87, where we will take a look at what everyone else was watching on Thanksgiving 1987. I will give my comparisons between the two shows at the end of my next review. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @PaulDMatthews78 and give me your feedback.

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