(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
December 13, 1989
At Clash of the Champions IX, the Flair/Funk feud came to a thrilling conclusion. Flair beat Funk in an I Quit Match and afterward, the two men shook hands. Gary Hart was furious about the handshake and attacked Funk, which turned him babyface once more. That feud ended, but WCW decided not to jump into anything substantial immediately. Instead, they opted to start building towards a future match. They chose to use Starrcade to begin that build and set-up two Iron Man round robin tournaments for both the top 4 singles competitors and the top 4 tag teams. Unlike with a single elimination tournament, round robin tournaments pit every competitor against each other in turn and a points system determines the winner. Those two tournaments would fill the entire show, which means that no titles are on the line for what is supposed to be the biggest show of the year for WCW. It also means that only 12 competitors are being showcased at this event. It was a bold move on WCW’s part. Let’s see if it was successful.
The show begins with what looks like an early version of the WCW Saturday Night opening from the mid to late 90s. Computer screens show clips of all the competitors being showcased at this event, but they didn’t bother to edit out the injured Skyscrapers. Gary Cappetta then welcomes everyone to the show and the national anthem plays while a military color guard keeps watch in the ring. Then, Jim Ross begins the event by talking about the four greatest singles competitors and the four greatest tag teams competing in what he calls the Iron Man division. Ross welcomes his fellow commentators for the night, Terry Funk and Jim Cornette. Funk will announce the singles matches and Cornette will announce for the tag teams. Funk talks about the time limits and says the wrestlers will have to act fast. Cornette then explains the points system. A pin or submission will earn the winner 20 points. Count out victories will earn them 15 points. DQ wins will earn 10 points and a draw results in 5 points to both sides.
Cappetta then introduces the four tag teams in the tournament. They all stand on the multi-tiered stage as they are introduced. The Steiners are wearing their tag team titles, but Rick has his on backward. I can almost hear JBL grumbling about how that’s disrespectful.
The Steiner Brothers vs. Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron)
Cappetta explains the points system to the audience as Doom walk to the ring. Woman has hired a new bodyguard because apparently, Doom isn’t enough. He’s a tall man named Nitron, who dresses in leather and wears his sunglasses at night. Wait a second. Nitron looks familiar. Hey, that’s Tyler Mane! He played Sabertooth in X-Men and Michael Myers in the Rob Zombie remake of Halloween! I didn’t know he was a wrestler! The Steiners make their way down the ramp next, as Ross tells everyone that the Skyscrapers won’t be in the tournament. Sid suffered a punctured lung in a match with the Steiners and wasn’t cleared to compete. Cornette says that Oliver Humperdink did some legal maneuvering and got the Samoans to replace them in the tourney.
Scott and Simmons start the match and fight into the corner. They shove each other and Scott hits a powerslam for a 2 count. Scott then hits a Steinerline and tags Rick. Simmons and Rick trade control of the match until Rick hits an overhead belly-to-belly suplex and Ron tags Butch. Reed takes control quickly, but Rick answers back with another powerslam and tags Scott. He slows the pace down a bit, so Cornette does his best to put over the tournament as something important. He also makes a subtle dig at the fact that the Midnight Express isn’t in it. Rick and Scott tag in and out and control Reed with holds until Simmons tags into the match. Scott flies out of the ring on a missed clothesline, so Simmons distracts the ref to allow Nitron and Reed to attack him. Scott is sent back into the ring where Ron hits another powerslam for a 2 count. Doom use more double teaming and cheating to keep Scott under control. He tries valiantly to fight back, but Simmons hits an Alabama slam for another 2. Reed comes in and dumps Scott outside again, but Rick makes sure that he’s safe. Scott then reverses a suplex into the ring, but the ref is out of position and can’t make the count. Finally, Scott hits a belly-to-belly suplex and makes the hot tag. Rick hits some Steinerlines and a powerslam, but he pulls Simmons up on a pin attempt, for some reason. He goes for more, but Nitron trips him and Rick chases him out to the floor. The two teams begin brawling outside the ring, but Rick rolls back inside just before the 10 count, which gives the Steiners the count out victory and 15 points.
This was a decent match, but that ending left a bit to be desired. That is one problem of these round robin tournaments. They have to utilize some lame finishes to get the right amount of points for the story. However, there was some good action in this and Doom is improving as a team. On a side note, get used to the word “powerslam” because it is a theme of the night.
Winners: The Steiner Brothers (Count Out – 15 Points) (12:24)
Cappetta then introduces the four men for the singles tournament. They all stand behind curtains that rise as they are announced. Muta is introduced first, followed by Sting. Gary states that Sting was voted as the most popular wrestler of the year and he gets a pretty good reaction. He also looks like he’s slimmed down a bit. I guess he worked on his conditioning for this night. I don’t blame him because this tournament looked exhausting. Luger is introduced next to loud boos and he is wearing a ridiculous robe. Flair is introduced last and gets a good reaction, but Sting’s was the loudest.
Lex Luger vs. Sting
Sting and Luger are quickly introduced again for their match and both men waste no time in heading to the ring. Ross claims that these two will control the direction of wrestling in the 90s. That’s not necessarily the case, but they will be a big part of it. Luger gets distracted by the crowd reaction and threatens to leave, but Sting chases him up the ramp and attacks him.
They fight back to the ring and Sting keeps knocking Luger down before daring him to get to his feet. Sting misses a running clothesline, but he lands on the apron and knocks Lex down again. Then, he hits a slingshot splash for a 2 count. He keeps Luger off his feet with multiple clotheslines until Luger falls out of the ring. For some reason, Ross takes a moment to talk about Atlanta fans celebrating the anniversary of Gone with the Wind. I’m not sure what that has to do with the match. The two men fight on the outside and back into the ring where Sting hits a flying cross body for another 2. Luger keeps trying to reverse Sting’s offense, but he can’t. Sting goes after his arm and Luger sells it by screaming. The ref asks Lex if he quits and Luger replies, “No,” but Sting responds by yelling, “Yes!” Sting then attempts another cross body, but Luger catches him and hits an inverted atomic drop. Terry Funk decides that Luger is his pick to win, now that Lex is in control. Luger focuses his attack on Sting’s midsection and Funk jokes that Lex must have been a punter in football. They brawl in and out of the ring, but Lex wastes time by taunting the crowd and fixing his hair. He hits a powerslam and goes for the Torture Rack, but Sting flips out of it. Sting then starts to hulk-up. He attempts a move, but Luger was apparently out of position. Sting has to choke him instead and they fight to the floor. They brawl on the apron and Nick Patrick orders them to re-enter the ring. The two men awkwardly fight over the top rope and Lex lands on top of Sting. He pins him and remembers at the last second he’s supposed to use the ropes for leverage. He barely manages to grab them as Patrick makes the 3 count to give Lex 20 points. Sting complains to the ref, but it falls on deaf ears.
This was a good match, but that finish was awkward. These two always have good chemistry and most of the match was enjoyable. Lex did a great job of playing the weaselly heel. I like the story they told, despite the finish.
Winner: Lex Luger (Pinfall – 20 Points) (11:31)
The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron)
Why is Doom already wrestling twice but the Samoans haven’t wrestled yet? Jim Ross tries to explain this by saying the order was determined by random draw, but it feels like they could have spread these out better. Neither team gets theme music, for some reason, which means we don’t get the awesome Road Warrior’s theme.
Animal and Reed start the match. Reed flexes at him. It’s a wonder that the commentators still pretend not to know that it’s Butch Reed. They lock-up and Reed comically complains that Animal pulled his hair. Animal answers this complaint with a dropkick and some flexing of his own. He then tags Hawk, who works over Reed’s arm until the two men get into a shoulder block contest. Simmons tags in and tries his hand at some shoulder blocks, but Hawk catches him with a powerslam. Man, it really is the night for that move! Animal ends up in trouble to some double teaming by Doom and soon Hawk meets the same fate after missing a corner charge. Reed beats on Hawk for a bit, while Cornette makes fun of Bill Apter for trying to draw attention to himself with his bright red sweater. Butch then hits yet another powerslam!! He also uses the ropes for leverage on a chinlock, but he gets caught. He decides to try the next best thing by nearly decapitating Hawk with a clothesline. Hawk finally fights back and tags Animal. He proceeds to hit, you guessed it, a powerslam!! He makes a pin attempt, but Reed kicks him directly in the face and all four men brawl in the ring. Reed attempts a piledriver on Animal, but Hawk nails him with a flying clothesline and Animal pins him for 20 points.
This was a pretty good power match. It also helps that we finally got a good finish. I was kind of disappointed that it was short, but it’s understandable.
Winners: The Road Warriors (Pinfall – 20 Points) (8:31)
Ric Flair (w/ Arn & Ole Anderson) vs. The Great Muta (w/ Gary Hart)
They go straight into the next match. Are there not any promos on this show? Muta comes out first with Gary Hart and Ross jokes that Hart looks like Scrooge. He says this because Norman the Lunatic is in the crowd. He’s dressed as Santa Claus and he’s interacting with fans. I will explain more about Norman when I cover his first match. Flair comes out next and the Andersons accompany him. Arn is already back in WCW. That didn’t take long. As I mentioned in the last review, Tully sadly didn’t get rehired.
The two men get off to a quick start and Muta blocks a hip toss with a thumb to the eye. He then fights Ric into a corner where he hits rapid 10 punches and his handspring elbow. Flair fights back and they get into a chop-fest that apparently gives Funk flashbacks. Ric starts working the leg and locks in a Figure Four. However, J-Tex members, Buzz Sawyer and The Dragonmaster, run down to interfere. The Andersons begin brawling with them, so Flair lets go of the hold to help. Muta attacks him and hits a backbreaker. He then goes for his moonsault, but Flair gets his knees into Muta’s gut and rolls him up for a 3 count.
Are you kidding me!? First, they have this high-caliber match go less than two minutes. Then, they throw away Muta’s first pinfall loss in a tournament with nothing on the line? Ross casually mentions that it’s the first time Muta has been pinned. It was the right person to pull off the feat, but it was done in the wrong way.
Winner: Ric Flair (Pinfall – 20 Points) (1:55)
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering)
Now, we’re talking! This is a match I’ve been wanting to see. Sadly, they’re still rushing through the show and neither team gets theme music. Also, the Samoans still haven’t wrestled. The order for these matches is so strange. Cornette calls this match the insensible force meeting the illiterate object because both teams are more brawn than brains.
Hawk and Scott start the match and Hawk hits an enziguri, but Scott fights back with a rolling takedown. Rick tags in, but Hawk clotheslines him for a 360 bump and the Road Warriors take turns fighting him. Rick fires back with a Steinerline that jacks Animal’s jaw and also reverses a belly-to-belly suplex. However, Hawk breaks up the pin attempt. Hawk and Scott re-enter the match and Hawk press slams him. Hey, at least it wasn’t a powerslam, right? Hawk then hits a big boot, but he nearly falls over in the process. These two teams are already getting tired. Scott and Animal then trade off moves and Animal barely kicks out of a pin attempt. He does manage to return the favor from earlier by clotheslining Scott right in the face. Hawk returns to fight Scott into the corner and Scott hits a belly-to-belly off the turnbuckles, but Hawk gets no elevation and lands on his face. He has to tag Animal, who grabs a bear hug to get some rest. Scott fights back, but Animal tags Hawk, who hits a—powerslam. Rick breaks up the pin attempt and all four men brawl. The Road Warriors then hit a very tired version of the Doomsday Device and Animal bridges into a pin. Both men’s shoulders are down and Scott gets his up at the last second, which gives the Steiners the win.
Well, that was disappointing. It would have been better if these two teams weren’t so gassed. Plus, that ending is horribly overused. I hope that these two teams get a chance to face each other and redeem themselves before the Road Warriors head off to the WWF.
Winners: The Steiner Brothers (Pinfall – 20 Points) (7:27)
Sting vs. The Great Muta (w/ Gary Hart)
Now, the singles competitors aren’t getting music either. It’s kind of sapping the energy out of this show. Both men quickly get into the ring and Muta spits out his green mist.
They circle each other and lock-up before trading full nelsons. Then, they back into a corner and the ref calls for a clean break, but Muta hits a flipping mule kick. Funk says he wishes he could do some of those flips. Don’t worry, Terry. You’ll be doing moonsaults off ladders when you’re 60. The two of them then do some leapfrogs and Sting monkey flips Muta before suplexing him for a 2 count. Sting wears him down, hits an atomic drop, and goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Muta makes it to the ropes. Muta then rolls outside where Gary Hart gives him a belly rub. I’m halfway surprised he didn’t give him a treat too. Muta re-enters the ring and dips his fingers in the mist before raking Sting’s eyes. He also hits a back drop and a snap elbow before locking in a cattle mutilation!! That’s not a move you often see during this time period! Sting eventually flips out of the hold and angrily attacks Muta. Nick Patrick warns him and I swear he calls Sting by his real name, Steve. Sting tries to wear him down, but Muta backs him into a corner. Muta hits a backbreaker and goes for the moonsault, but Sting moves. Muta lands on his feet and kicks him before heading to the top again. However, Sting hits a high dropkick that crotches Muta and he follows it up with a superplex for the win.
I’m starting to feel bad for Muta, but at least this match was competitive. It was really good but short. These two always have good matches against each other.
Winner: Sting (Pinfall – 20 Points) (8:41)
Ross, Funk, and Cornette recap what has happened so far. Funk talks about how there’s a three-way tie at the top of the singles tournament. He says that it looks bad for Muta but good for the other three men. Ross then talks about how the Samoans have an advantage because they’re rested. Cornette calls the Road Warriors’ loss a shocker and talks about how the Samoans have been sitting back and watching. Cornette predicts that the Steiners will win, but he says he will have to see the Samoans. Funk then predicts that Luger will win the singles tournament and Cornette agrees with him.
The New Wild Samoans (w/ The Big Kahuna) vs. Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron)
Finally, the Samoans are wrestling, but it’s not the usual pairing. WCW opted to go with Fatu and The Samoan Savage as the team of The New Wild Samoans. Oliver Humperdink still manages them in his “Big Kahuna” gimmick. The Samoans are already in the ring and Doom waits patiently for the introductions before joining them. The camera then shows everyone another shot of Norman Claus giving out candy to kids in the crowd. I’m not sure someone named “The Lunatic” should be giving candy to kids. Cornette asks what Norman has in his bag. Ross tells him it’s candy, but Cornette jokes that Norman has a few of his tennis rackets in there.
Fatu and Reed start and they power each other around the ring. Reed slams him and flexes, but Fatu isn’t impressed. Fatu then reverses a slam attempt and hits a running—powerslam. Reed and Fatu start trading headbutts that stagger both men, so their partners tag into the match. Simmons grabs The Savage and hits—oh, come on!! The Savage answers back with a kick, but he misses a flying splash. Reed returns to the match and wears The Savage down with a fist drop and a swinging neckbreaker, but The Savage fires back with chops. Simmons makes a blind tag and The Savage botches something that I couldn’t discern. Doom start double teaming and fight The Savage to the outside, while a security guard has to tell some fans to back away from the guardrail. The Savage manages to hit a sunset flip coming back inside, but it’s ineffective. However, he does shove Reed away on a bulldog attempt. Doom uses a ref distraction for some double teaming and Reed nearly breaks The Savage on a sloppy slam. Then, he misses a splash and Fatu tags into the match. All four men end up brawling and Fatu collides with Reed. Both men are dazed, so Kahuna pushes Fatu on top of Butch for the win.
This match was average, but it was heatless because it was heel vs. heel. I feel like the match might have been better if Doom wasn’t so tired, but it’s hard to tell. Also, Doom is getting the Muta treatment on this show. I feel bad for them, but not nearly as much as I do with Muta.
Winners: The Samoans (Pinfall – 20 Points) (8:22)
Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair
Luger gets entrance music, so they are inconsistent with it. The music isn’t enough to prevent Lex from looking slightly annoyed. Flair also gets music. I’m guessing that these two refused to enter to silence. The Andersons aren’t with Flair. They don’t explain why, but it’s probably because of the brawl from earlier. Luger gives his U.S. Title to a ring attendant and the camera follows her. She tries to show off the belt, but she holds it upside down. Flair plays to the crowd for a moment and holds up the Four Horsemen sign. Hmm, I feel like that might come into play later.
They lock-up and Luger powers Ric into the corner. He flexes, but the cameraman misses it. The only reason I know he flexed is because I heard him make his usual flexing noise. The fans start a “Luger sucks” chant, which annoys Lex. They also periodically chant another word at him, but I won’t repeat it. This crowd seems preoccupied all night with Lex’s supposed sexual orientation. The two men then go to the mat and trade holds, takedowns, and pin attempts. Luger yanks Flair down by the hair, so Ric chases him to the ropes. They fight into a corner and Flair chops him. Lex tries to no-sell them, but Ric goes rapid-fire until Lex bails outside. Flair follows him and chops him around the ring and back inside again before working on Luger’s arm. Luger becomes more focused on yelling at fans than selling, so Ric gives him some hard knees to the arm. Luger keeps looking for ways to fight back, but Ric counters them all and seems determined to rip off Lex’s arm. Luger almost takes control, but Ric answers with rapid roll-ups. However, he can’t keep him down. Funk says that he wants Luger to win because he respects Flair, but he doesn’t like him. Luger finally fights back with a hotshot and some noisy kicks. He then press slams Ric and fights him to the floor and at the ropes. Flair manages to reverse a suplex and gets a 2 off a backslide before they start trading chops. Flair does his bump in the corner and comes off the top, but Luger clotheslines him. Flair fights back and tries going to the top again, but Luger slams him. Luger tries to capitalize, but Flair reverses into a back suplex and locks in the Figure Four. There are mere seconds left in the match and Luger flails around in pain. Cappetta counts down the remaining time, but Luger holds on until the match ends in a draw.
This was a great match. It had some really good tension at the end and the crowd was rightfully hot for it. This was easily the best match of the night, so far. It’s starting to feel like they’re trying to gain sympathy for Luger. Is a face turn in the works?
Winner: Draw (5 Points to both men) (17:15??? Seems WCW is playing a bit loose with those time limits.)
The New Wild Samoans (w/ The Big Kahuna) vs. The Steiner Brothers
Cappetta introduces the Samoans and Humperdink stands completely still with his arms in the air. I thought he might have fallen asleep. He then makes some more crazy eyes at the camera, but thankfully we don’t get a direct shot. I feel like he might steal my soul if I look at him. Both teams get music, so I’m guessing someone decided no music was a bad idea. The Steiners make their way to the ring and Rick feigns an attempt to slide down the ramp, but he thinks the better of it. Scott snatches a kid from the crowd and gives him a ringside seat. He even lets him hold the tag belts. The kid’s brother soon joins him. Then, the two teams get into the ring and get on all fours to stare at each other. Rick mocks the Samoans’ pre-match ritual before the Steiners play Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who starts.
Rick and The Savage start, but Rick starts swatting at flies, or something. They trade punches and missed moves until Rick hits a Steinerline. The Savage rolls outside and loses a hair extension, so Rick places it in his headgear. These teams are clearly trying to buy some rest time by doing comedy spots. The Samoans regroup in the aisle and a fan tries to swipe at them. Cornette jokes that the fan has had too many sips of liquid courage. Rick and Fatu get back into the ring and trade hip toss attempts before Rick hits another Steinerline. However, the Samoans use some twin magic to switch places. The two teams fight back and forth until The Savage accidentally hits Fatu on an attack. They start fighting, so Humperdink calms them. Scott maintains control until he misses a dropkick and the Samoans take him outside to crotch him on the guardrail. They use ref distractions to double team him and even bite him, which draws Rick into the ring to bite The Savage. Sadly, he only distracts the ref for more cheating. Scott tries to fight back, but Fatu takes him down with a bear hug. Scott eventually fights out and hits—you know the drill. The ref keeps getting distracted on pin attempts by Scott, but he manages to hit the Frankensteiner. All four men end up in the ring and Rick hits some Steinerlines, but Scott throws one of the Samoans over the top rope. Humperdink tells the ref what happened, so he calls for the DQ.
This match was slow and had way too much stalling. I understand that they’re tired, but it didn’t make for a great match. Also, that ending was lame. Since when can a manager tell the ref what happened and have it affect the finish? What happened to calling only what you see?
Winners: The Samoans (DQ – 10 Points) (14:05)
Lex Luger vs. The Great Muta (w/ Gary Hart)
Muta comes out and they’re back to not using music. Luger is out next and he limps to the ring. That is some surprisingly great selling by Lex. Then again, he’s probably legitimately tired.
They fight into the corner a couple of times for clean breaks and then Luger attempts a leapfrog. His knee buckles and Muta pounces on him. He works over Lex’s leg, but Luger attempts to fight. He rolls out of the ring, but Muta follows him and chases him back inside. Luger attempts a suplex, but his knee gives out again. They’re trying to get Lex some sympathy, but the crowd is still hung up on chanting THAT word. Muta hits the handspring elbow and locks in a heel hold, but Luger powers out of it. He can’t maintain control and Muta continues the attack. He locks Lex in a half Boston crab before turning it into an inverted Indian deathlock. Luger reaches the ropes, but Muta continues the assault on his leg. Lex keeps trying to answer back and manages to hit a back drop. He sends Muta outside, but Gary Hart quickly sends him back into the ring. Muta tries a sunset flip and Luger blocks it by grabbing the ropes. For some reason, Nick Patrick kicks his hands away. Are wrestlers not allowed to block a move? Luger then goes for the Torture Rack, but Hart distracts him. When he turns around, Muta spits the green mist in his eyes and gets disqualified.
This was a good match, but the crowd didn’t seem to care. It was another heel/heel pairing. Also, poor Muta can’t even beat a guy that’s hobbled. They are really making him look bad, and that’s not good!
Winner: Lex Luger (DQ – 10 Points) (14:15)
The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. The New Wild Samoans (w/ The Big Kahuna)
This is the final match of the tag team tournament. Coming into this match, The Steiners lead with 35 points. The Samoans have 30 and the Road Warriors have 20. Poor Doom has zero points. Ross calls it a must-win situation for the Road Warriors. Thankfully, the Road Warriors come out to their theme music. Cornette informs everyone that in the case of a tie, the two teams will have an extra match.
Animal and Fatu start the match. Fatu hits a piledriver, but Animal no-sells it and clotheslines him. Hawk then tags in and backs Humperdink away from the ring before getting into a chop-fest with The Savage. Hawk wins the exchange, but The Savage hits a headbutt. Hawk no-sells that and hits a dropkick. Animal then ends up in trouble with The Savage, but he answers back with a—do I even have to say it? I swear someone backstage made a bet on how many powerslams could be performed in a single show. Fatigue leads to Animal and Fatu botching some kind of move, so The Savage tags in and kicks Animal in the face. He then bites him in front of the camera and the ref gives him a warning. The Savage wears down Animal, while the crowd rallies him. Then, The Savage goes for a Vader Bomb, but he misses and Animal makes the hot tag. He hits a shoulder block and all four men end up in the ring. Animal crotches Fatu on the top rope and Hawk hits a flying clothesline to The Savage to win both the match and the tournament. The Steiners come out to congratulate them on their win.
This was an okay match, but it felt rushed. It’s understandable since everyone was fatigued. I’m okay with the Road Warriors winning the tournament. The Steiners still looked strong since they only lost by 5 points.
Winners: The Road Warriors (Final Point Tally: 40) (5:18)
Sting vs. Ric Flair
This is the final match of the singles tournament. They picked a good match to go on last. They waste no time in the entrances. Sting has touched up his face paint. Apparently, he didn’t share any of that paint with Muta, despite them having the same color scheme. Flair comes out next and waves away some of the smoke from his pyro. The Andersons are still not with him. Funk says that Flair needs either a pin, submission, or count out. If Sting and Flair draw then Luger wins. Ross says that Sting needs the same outcome to win. The two men get into each other’s faces, but they shake hands before the bell.
They feel each other out and Sting reverses a hip toss, so Ric takes a breather. He then returns and gives Sting a loud “WOO”, so Sting responds with a war cry. They trade holds and go to the mat, but Flair lifts him and places him on the top turnbuckle. He doesn’t attack. He simply warns Sting and calls for another lock-up. The fans are divided between both men and they are loud. Then, both men go into a drop down/leapfrog spot until Sting press slams Flair. They get into a shoving match and Ric takes another breather. Funk accuses Flair of being too cocky. I like that there is still some animosity between them, despite their handshake. Sting reverses Flair’s moves, so he chops him in retaliation. One of the chops sounds loud as Hell. Sting responds to being lit up by hitting a hip toss and some dropkicks and he’s surprised when Flair barely kicks out of the pin. Flair lures Sting outside and whips him into the guardrail before catching him at the ropes and suplexing him inside. Flair tries some different pin attempts and yells at Nick Patrick for counting too slowly. Flair eventually lures Sting outside again, but Sting starts no-selling his chops. He chases Ric inside and the two reverse each other’s holds before Ric goes back to the chops. Sting absorbs them again and hits 10 punches in the corner before throwing Flair around the ring. He then hits the Stinger Splash and goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Ric makes it to the ropes. Flair then answers with the Figure Four, but Sting also gets a rope break. Flair continues the attack on Sting’s leg, with only a couple of minutes left in the match. They trade near falls, but Flair goes back to the leg again with 30 seconds left. He goes for the Figure Four, but Sting rolls him up for a 3 count and the tournament win.
This was a great match. You could tell how well conditioned they were because they didn’t show signs of fatigue. They are slowly building a feud between these two and it’s a good story.
Winner: Sting (Final Point Tally: 40) (14:30)
The Andersons enter the ring and Flair raises Sting’s hand in victory. They shake hands and Arn Anderson demands that Sting approach him. There’s a tense moment until Arn raises Sting’s hand and holds up the symbol of the Four Horsemen. It would later be revealed that The Four Horsemen have reformed with Sting as the fourth member. We shall see how long that lasts.
Gordon Solie is on the stage and he’s with The Road Warriors. He calls them the tag team champions, which earns him a strange look from The Road Warriors. Hawk says that Atlanta knows who the Ironmen are. He says they come out to that tune every stinkin’ match. Then, he says they lived up to that name again for the fans and for themselves. Animal speaks next. He says that the most die-hard fans are in Atlanta. The credits start rolling, but Animal continues talking. He compares himself to football players and says the Road Warriors are real athletes. Gordon then claims that he’s going to get a word with Sting and Flair, but the show is sadly out of time. You can briefly hear Flair speak before the show ends.
There was certainly some great action on this show, but it’s understandable why people didn’t like it. It’s supposed to be the biggest show of the year, but nothing was on the line. Only a fraction of the roster was showcased. The tournaments are a concept that should have been reserved for Clash of the Champions, or something else. If they had swapped the card from Clash IX with this show, then it would have been a far better Starrcade. Also, the treatment of Muta and Doom was unfortunate. Doom recovered, but Muta was so bothered by the booking that he left WCW within weeks. This was not a good way to end the year.
Well, that wraps up the 80s for both the WWF and WCW. I have now covered the first decade on this blog. I will be doing the “Best of the 80s” next week and a special bonus review of No Holds Barred. I swear I’m not stalling before beginning the 90s. I am looking forward to covering that decade. It’s going to be quite the journey.
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Thank you for reading.