The SmarK Rant for WCW Starrcade 90 “Collision Course” – 12.16.90
Don’t have to ask me twice to do old WCW PPVs.
IN STEREO where available. What are we, millionaires? I want my WCW PPVs in good old mono, like Jesus intended.
Live from St. Louis, MO, drawing a pretty decent 7200.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Paul E. Dangerously
This one had a lot going on, with the Black Scorpion angle coming to a close, plus a random tag team tournament of “international” teams because reasons.
Sam Muchnick joins us to give a special speech to the crowd, which is how you know this is the PPV version, because that was sure cut from the VHS release.
Beautiful Bobby Eaton v. Tom Zenk
Bobby is listed as being from “the Dark Side, formerly Huntsville AL”. That’s quite the move. This is Bobby’s PPV debut as a single after Stan Lane and Jim Cornette fled the promotion the month before. Also JR notes that the Z-Man is a bachelor. You don’t say?
BREAKING NEWS: Ric Flair suffered injuries in a limousine attack by Doom, so he’s out of the tag title match and replaced by Barry Windham. We’ll have to keep an eye on that situation.
Zenk gets a crossbody out of the corner for one, and then does it again for two, as Paul passes on rumors that Bobby’s former tag team partner was dating Yoko Ono and that’s why they split up. Oh man, what if THAT’S where Lauren Boebert came from? It would explain so much. Zenk works a hammerlock on the mat, but Eaton punches him in the face to escape and gets a babyface pop for it. Also he dedicates the punch to Paul E at ringside, which I assume was WCW playing the long game. 4D CHESS! Zenk escapes a monkey flip and lands on his feet, then hits a dropkick for two out of that. Zenk goes back to the arm and Eaton reverses to a wristlock and then puts him on the ramp with a cheapshot. Eaton tries a suplex back into the ring, but Zenk suplexes him out onto the ramp instead and then follows with a crossbody onto the ramp. Back in, JR and Paul argue about the top rope rule and Jim declares Paul to be a “psychoceramic”, and then clarifies that meant “crackpot”. Ha. Eaton hits a neckbreaker and goes up with the Alabama Jam, but Zenk rolls out of the pin attempt and then dodges a blind charge. Zenk makes the comeback with a dropkick for two, but Bobby catches him with a neckbreaker and goes up again for another try. This time Zenk counters with a superkick and goes up for his own missile dropkick, but THAT misses, and Eaton cradles for the pin at 8:44. They had some really good chemistry and this was a good opener, although a bit short. ***1/4
Dick the Bruiser joins Tony for an interview, and now he’s going to be refereeing the World title match instead of whatever he was originally doing on the show.
Of course, before we can begin the tag team tournament, we need the traditional parade of flags, carried by models, so that we can learn that the winners will be crowned THE CHAMPIONS OF THE UNIVERSE. So you’re telling me the winners are gonna be some kind of, what, “Universal Champion”? Like anyone would ever pay to see THAT.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament: Col DeKlerk & Sgt Krueger (South Africa) v. The Steiner Brothers
The “South African” team is a real deep dive of 90s weirdos, as DeKlerk is Ted “Cheetah Kid / Rocco Rock” Petty, and Krueger is Ray “Doink the Clown ‘94” Apollo. He looks a bit like Matt Borne with a receding hairline so I can see how he got the gig. Rick quickly hits both Africans with a clothesline, but Krueger puts Rick on the floor and follows with a somersault tope. And Rick totally no-sells it. Back in the ring, Scott comes in and destroys both geeks and finishes the Flyboy with the Frankensteiner at 2:12. Well that was brisk but HOLY CRAP that dive from Petty was crazy. *1/2
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament: Norman Smiley & Chris Adams (Great Britain) v. Konnan & Rey Mysterio (Mexico)
No, not that Rey Mysterio. He’d still be in elementary school in San Diego. WCW makes sure to spell Rey’s name wrong, twice, as “Rey Mysteric”. Konnan is very young, obviously, and still has his mask. The Mexicans double-team Smiley and hold him upside-down, but Adams breaks it up and superkicks Mysterio to the floor. Over to Konnan, who takes Smiley down with a headscissors in the corner, but Smiley catches him with a fisherman’s suplex. Konnan with a backslide for two, but Adams comes in with a chinlock and everyone suddenly brawls in the ring, apparently getting the signal to go home right away? Konnan hits Smiley with a suplex for two, but then the British go to work on him again so I guess not. Adams and Smiley work Konnan over, but Smiley gets dumped onto the announce table at ringside, and Konnan suplexes him back into the ring and pins him with a bridge at 5:30. And then Capetta announces the winner as “Rey Mysterioso” for good measure. This was really bad, as they were on completely different pages and the finish looked messed up on top of it. ½*
Michael Wallstreet and his new manager Alexandra York join Missy Hyatt, and apparently the computer is predicting that Michael will be winning in less than 8:32. You have to love that Rotunda was literally a boat captain a month before this and just suddenly becomes a stock mogul and no one cares.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament: Jack Victory & Rip Morgan (New Zealand) v. Great Muta & Mr. Saito (Japan)
Paul actually floats the theory that Muta was the Black Scorpion here, which by the way would have been awesome and might have saved this show. Muta dropkicks Victory to the ramp and hits him with a dive from the top, and it’s over to Saito. Snap suplex on Morgan, and Muta comes in with a spinkick and drops the power elbow. Saito teases the Scorpion Deathlock, but Victory breaks it up and Morgan gets a back suplex for two to take over. Saito as a babyface in peril is certainly a choice. The Royal Family double-teams him on the floor, but Morgan tries a middle rope legdrop and Muta gets a hot tag and cleans house. Handspring elbow on Victory and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, and Muta pins Victory with a german suplex at 5:40. The Japanese team gets a big pop for that, but they were being set up to be the mega-heel fall guys of the tournament so I’m not sure why they were booked that way here. This was OK. *1/2 And then afterwards, Saito does a generic “AMERICANS ARE SOFT AND TERRIBLE!” heel promo out of the 70s so the fans know to boo them from now on. Also want to add that this was a weird year for Saito, as he was AWA World champion earlier in the year and ended up here by the end of the year.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament: Bull Johnson & Troy Montour (Canada, Eh?) v. Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hashimikov (USSR)
This was supposed to be a Ukranian team, but…actually never mind. I don’t know which maple syrup factory they dragged Johnson & Montour out of, but without going back to the Observer review to check, I presume this was supposed to be an actual Canadian team like Benoit & Wellington or Bad Company or something and things fell apart. Still though, THIS was the best they could come up with to represent “Canada” in the tournament? Even their “keys to victory” graphic notes that they’re not favored to win against the Russians. Also both teams look like a couple of doughy Crockett jobbers. Couldn’t they go out and get some Russians who look like traditional wrestling Russians for this? I’m pretty sure Ivan Koloff would have done a job for $200. Zangiev hits Johnson with a legit belly to belly and the guy doesn’t know how to go up for it, so that looks terrible. Over to Hashimikov, and he takes Montour down with a suplex and shoot pins him at 3:57 in yet another messed up finish. This was AWFUL, as the Russians looked like they had no idea how to actually “work” in a worked match. DUD
So that was quite the first round.
Sting joins Tony backstage and talks about how The Black Scorpion has been messing with his head, but now his mind is clear.
Michael Wallstreet v. Terry Taylor
I heard Elon Musk bought Alexandra York’s computer for $5 billion and now it’s worth $2.50. Luckily Wallstreet’s suit tears off and reveals tights underneath, because otherwise he’d have to wrestle an entire match in a suit and tie and who could imagine him doing THAT? Taylor chases him out of the ring to start, but Michael rolls him up for two in the ring. Taylor comes back with a clothesline for two, but Wallstreet goes to an armbar while York takes notes on the “computer”, perhaps buying crypto. That’s so dumb, can you imagine being able to just carry a computer around like that? Everyone knows computers are huge boxes hooked up to heavy CRT monitors. Why, I imagine with the newer and bigger processors from Intel, they’ll be big enough to fill a room by 2022! Also she should be careful, I’ve heard the crypto market is going to crash in 32 years. This does, however, lead to the obvious question we’re all thinking right now: Did she pay New Jack to allegedly murder her ex in Bitcoin? Wallstreet uses an abdominal stretch, but apparently the computer tells him to use the ropes and he gets caught by the referee. I’m skeptical of the AI on display here. Taylor makes the comeback with a jawbreaker and drops a knee for two, and an atomic drop into a suplex gets two. Taylor with the five-arm for two, but Wallstreet is in the ropes. Wallstreet hits a stungun and follows with the Stock Market Crash (samoan drop) at 6:48, winning the match with a couple of minutes to spare under that 8:32 prediction. OK, the Stock Market Crash is a hell of a finisher name, and now I’m kind of sad that he left for the WWF pretty much immediately after this and we never got it again. This was just a match, but at least there was a storyline of sorts. **1/2
The Motor City Madman & Big Cat v. The Skyscrapers
For those keeping track on your Pat O’Connor Memorial Tournament betting line, this was NOT a tournament match, so please don’t get confused. This was a weird deal, as the Skyscrapers randomly reunited as babyfaces for no real reason, for this one match, and then Sid was back to a single right after and then left for the WWF. Motor City Madman was also weird, as he was just this guy who no one knew and suddenly started getting a push in WCW, before disappearing from the business again. The Scrapers decimate these goobers and finish the Madman with a double powerbomb at 1:00, barely able to convince him to go up for it and basically having to muscle him into the air. Why even bother? -* Afterwards, they do a quick promo with Paul E and promise that if they decide to reunite again, it’ll be their decision to do so. Well, they never did, and this was the last time they ever teamed.
Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich v. The Freebirds
For those keeping track on your Pat O’Connor Memorial Tournament betting line, this was NOT a tournament match, so please don’t get confused. So, I don’t want to make any accusations, but the Freebirds are decked out in Confederate flag gear and facepaint, and they have a black guy as their servant. I’M JUST SAYING, some people might say that looks questionable. The Rock & Rich Express clears the ring to start and Ricky chases Hayes to the floor and tries to run him into the post, but Hayes blocks it and does a goofy supervillain laugh about it. So then Robert Gibson, on crutches at ringside, runs him into the post in a funny spot. Back in the ring, the faces do stereo figure-fours and the Birds bail and strategize. Back in the ring, the faces with more wacky 80s double-teams, but the Birds take out Morton behind the ref’s back. Little Richard Marley gets involved and screws up, and Garvin chokes him out, so Morton rolls up Garvin for the pin at 6;14. And then the Confederate sympathizers beat their black manservant and leave him for dead. I’M JUST SAYING. The Birds would somehow shake off this low point in their career and end up as tag team champions two months later after changing managers yet again. This was pretty awful. *
Stan Hansen joins Tony and announces that his US title match with Lex Luger tonight is now a Texas Bullrope match.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament: The Steiner Brothers (USA! USA!) v. Rey Mysterio & Konnan (Mexico)
Konnan is selling a bad leg on the way to the ring, but still springboards in from the top rope anyway. Konnan takes Rick down and wraps him up in a leglock on the mat, but Scott comes in with a powerslam and they hit the elevated bulldog right away. So Konnan limps away and brings in Mysterio, and Scott takes him down with a slam and goes to a chinlock. Over to Rick, as Mysterio tries a rana, but Rick powerbombs him for the pin at 3:00 and then laughs it off like a complete dick. Gigantic disappointment. ½*
Barry Windham & Arn Anderson join Tony to discuss Flair’s attack earlier in the night, and now the tag team title match is going to be a street fight because they good and pissed off about it. So I don’t want to think too closely about WCW storylines because that leads to madness, but was the implication then supposed to be that Teddy Long was in on Flair’s plan as the Black Scorpion and staged the attack so that Flair could be in the main event later in the show? What was Flair’s plan going to be if he didn’t get attacked? It’s a real black mark on the otherwise airtight Black Scorpion storyline.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament: Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hashimikov v. Great Muta & Mr. Saito
Muta trades takedowns with Zangiev while Dangerously bemoans that the Russians don’t look like Russians. “Should they have red Soviet birthmarks?” wonders JR. Saito manages to get Zangiev in the Scorpion, but Zangiev has no idea how to sell it and Saito just lets it go. Over to Hashimikov, who takes Muta over with a suplex whether he wants to go up or not, so Saito comes in and hits Zangiev with an even bigger suplex and pins him at 3:10. This was a disaster on one level, but at least it was an entertaining dumpster fire with the Russians apparently not knowing that wrestling is a work and the Japanese being IN NO MOOD for this shit. *
Teddy Long and Doom join Tony and remind us that HOMIE DON’T PLAY DAT and the Horsemen will find out tonight.
US title: Stan Hansen v. Lex Luger
So as noted earlier, this is a bullrope match (called a “Texas Lariat” match here). So there was a whole thing here, as Hansen was Triple Crown champion at this point, so getting him to do a job was kind of a nightmare and thus we get a match with a ridiculous finish where he doesn’t really “lose”. Hansen attacks, but misses an elbow and Luger slugs him down until running into a low blow. Hansen whips him with the rope and chokes him out in the corner, but Luger takes him to the floor and they fight into the aisle. Back in the ring, Luger hits him with a clothesline, but he goes for a pin like a dope. So then he touches the corners instead, but Hansen cuts him off at three and drops him with a suplex. JR notes that Hansen graduated from the School of Hard Knocks. Wonder if he’s getting a student loan rebate for that? Hansen hangs him from the top rope with the bullrope and then beats on him outside some more, before dropping an elbow back in the ring and touching three corners. Luger yanks him into a clothesline and dumps him to the floor again. Lex beats on him out there and runs him into the post. Back in, Luger uses a pair of legdrops and touches three corners, but Hansen shoves Lex into the ref and knocks both of them out, resulting in Luger touching the fourth corner with the ref out. So then ANOTHER ref comes out while Hansen drags Luger to four corners himself, and declares Hansen to be the winner at 10:14, but the first ref revives and awards Luger the US title instead. See what I mean about the ridiculous finish? So I guess they could edit the finish for Japanese TV if need be and Stan “wins”, I dunno. They were actually working really hard but these two had bad chemistry and the finish was one of the worst in a long line of terrible bullrope match finishes. ***
WCW World tag team title, street fight: Doom v. Barry Windham & Arn Anderson
The ripoff version of La Grange is actually left intact here for some reason. The original plan here was of course for the Horsemen to win and send Flair into the sunset as a tag team wrestler, but plans certainly changed. Also of note, none of the titles tonight are announced as any kind of promotional affiliation, just being called “World tag team title” or “US title” or whatever, to avoid the rather murky question of whether they were NWA or WCW titles at this point. Everyone fights on the ramp right away, and Reed hits Windham with a suplex in the ring for two while Simmons beats the brakes off Arn with his belt outside. Arn smashes a chair into Ron’s knee to fight back, while Reed runs Barry into the post with an impressive shot that busts him open at a minute into the match. But then Barry suplexes Reed on the floor and this is already fucking awesome. Young Tony Khan was probably watching at home and losing his shit. Back in the ring, Barry misses a kneedrop, but then grabs Simmons’ weight belt and lashes him in the face with it before slugging him down. Out on the floor, Arn beats on Reed with a chair and now everyone is bleeding. Simmons with a spinebuster on Windham for two, and Reed slugs him down for good measure. Simmons hits Arn with a press slam and goes up, but Windham goes low and brings him down with a superplex for two. But then REED comes off the top with a flying shoulderblock on Arn, but Windham hits him with a DDT. Simmons hits AA with a chair to the head for two, and Reed piledrives Windham and chokes him out with the chair instead of going for the pin, while Arn hits Simmons in the nuts to take over again. Arn goes up to the middle rope, but Simmons clotheslines him on the way down and pins him, while Windham rolls up Reed for the pin, and so it’s a double pin at 7:30. And apparently tie goes to the champion, so Doom retains. Another bad finish in a series but this was an insane brawl for 1990. ****1/4 I’m assuming this was supposed to lead to another rematch at WrestleWar, but the whole promotion went into a different direction right away.
Pat O’Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament FINALS: The Steiner Brothers v. Great Muta & Mr. Saito
So now we’ve gone from this thing being for the Tag Team Champions of the Universe to being for The International Tag Team Champions. But is that WCW Tag Team Champions of the Universe, or NWA International Tag Team Champions? Maybe that’s why WCW left the NWA, because they couldn’t decide. Muta quickly hits Scott with an enzuigiri, but Scott rolls him into a half crab and Muta makes the ropes. Meanwhile JR and Paul have a funny conversation about how Paul thinks that Hattori as referee is no good, because he’s too honest and won’t favor the Japan team. “You’ve always had a problem with honesty” notes JR. “Well, I don’t see the value in it”, Paul replies. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Rick fights off Saito with a Steinerline and brings Muta down from the top rope and the Japanese regroup. Muta comes in and works on Scott in the corner, then follows with the handspring elbow, but misses a blind charge and Scott suplexes him for two. Saito beats on Scott while JR goes with the low key sick burn, noting that Hattori used to be an advisor for Saito and probably should have advised him to stay away from McDonalds. I don’t know how I missed that one all those years ago but belated kudos to Ross for that snark! Muta takes over on Rick with the power elbow and then tosses him for a shot into the post that dislodges Rick’s headgear, and then follows with a ringbell to the head and a clothesline on the floor. Back in the ring, they double-team Rick and Saito chokes him out. Over to Muta, but Rick flattens him with a clothesline and it’s back to Scott, who hits Muta with a butterfly bomb for two. But then Muta chokes him out behind the ref’s back to take over again. Saito with a Saito suplex for two and they add a spike piledriver. But then Rick makes a blind tag and comes in with a sunset flip on Saito for the pin at 10:55, and the Steiners add the PAT O’CONNOR MEMORIAL INTERNATIONAL TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE UNIVERSE to their US tag team titles. And you thought the Usos were the best brother team ever? I think not. I’m pretty sure that the Steiners are also more Ucey. This was a good match, but they couldn’t hope to follow that street fight. ***1/4
WCW (?) World title v. Mask, cage match: Sting v. THE BLACK SCORPION
They actually managed to set up the cage in pretty impressive time while awarding the trophy to the Steiners, which sadly does not get smashed by any heels. So we get four decoy Scorpions that come to the ring, before something that looks like a giant drone descends to the ramp and transforms into a spaceship of some kind, magically revealing the person who is presumably the real Scorpion, which we know because he has a sparkly cape and the other guys didn’t have it. Remember the clues: He’s from California, or maybe Tulsa, and used to team with Sting! Well I guess that last one was actually true, at least. So let’s all reel off the guys who they could have paid to be in the role and would have been 150% more sensible: Great Muta! Eddie Gilbert! Nikita Koloff! That’s just three off the top of my head. The close up of that chin and nose on the Scorpion gives away the game in the very first shot. Sting grabs a headlock, but the Scorpion suplexes out and then misses an elbow, having to do this weird style of match where he desperately tries to work as generic as possible and not instantly give away his identity. Sting biels him out of the corner while Paul notes that, you know what, maybe the Scorpion was just lying about all the clues all along and they don’t have anything to do with his real identity. Yup, that’s a WCW payoff if there ever was one. I mean, at least the White Rabbit stuff actually led to what everyone was expecting. Scorpion gets a gut wrench for two and puts the boots to Sting. “Come on, Ric!” yells some guy at ringside while everyone goes “Woo”, showing how airtight the act was. Scorpion puts him in a headscissors on the mat and follows with a back elbow for two, but he’s got his feet on the ropes and Bruiser won’t count. Tough talk from a guy wearing the leftover cover from Captain Mike Rotunda’s boat. Scorpion whips Sting into the corner to work the back and follows with an atomic drop, then follows with a corner clothesline for two. Scorpion goes to a chinlock and keeps trying to use the ropes while Bruiser pulls him off repeatedly and Paul makes Popeye jokes. Scorpion slugs him down, but Sting gets a press slam and does his half of the usual Flair match with the clotheslines, but Scorpion runs him into the cage to cut him off. Scorpion chokes him out and I brainstorm some other people who might have been available for a one-shot job. Terry Funk maybe? If they could have pulled off Rick Rude that would have been the million dollar answer, but sadly we were still a year away from him being free. Sting with a suplex for two, but the Scorpion runs him into the cage and chokes him out. Ooh, how about Terry Gordy? They probably could have got him in for one night. Not a top level guy but he’s a name and recognizable face from Sting’s past, and could have done the job before going back to Japan. Sting fights back as this drags on and on, but Scorpion runs him into the cage again. Sting with a bulldog and he finally hits the Stinger Splash and goes for the Deathlock, but the Scorpion somehow just escapes and makes the ropes. So Sting runs him into the cage and pulls off the mask, but there’s a second one underneath. So they fight to the top and Scorpion falls crotch-first on the ropes, and now everyone in the building knows exactly who it is. Scorpion into the cage as he’s not even trying to hide anymore, and Sting runs him into the cage while the Scorpion has somehow gigged himself through the mask, and Sting finishes with a flying bodypress at 18:35 to retain. I don’t know if this one counts in the pantheon of Flair-Sting matches, but if so it’s by far the worst one they ever had. *1/4 So Sting fights off the fake Scorpions, one of whom is original choice Angel of Death, but then the Four Horsemen run in and attack Sting with PPV time running out rapidly. And they do the locked cage gimmick and beat Sting down, until the Steiners save and we learn the super-secret identity of the Black Scorpion is none other than the guy that everyone guessed as the laziest possible answer all along. Because WCW.
And then next month they pulled the plug on EVERYTHING and reset the whole promotion, which shows you how important and notable this dumpster fire of a PPV was. The street fight is well worth checking out, but the rest is veering wildly between dull midcard tripe and completely misguided nonsense. In other words, your usual early 90s WCW PPV. Thumbs way down.