The SmarK Rant for WCW Starrcade 99 – 12.19.99
As you might imagine I have blocked this entire period out of my memory and I literally only remember the main event. So this should be interesting.
AAAAAAAAAH! SCARY SPIKY LOGO IS COMING AFTER ME!
Live from Washington, DC, drawing 11,000
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson & Bobby Heenan. Scott is very excited to be there, but the other two not so much.
Disco Inferno & Lash Leroux v. Big Vito & Johnny the Bull
Yes WCW came up with a mafia themed gimmick and actually named the main guy “Tony Marinara”. In case you had forgotten that one. Vito beats on Lash and gets a suplex to start, and then puts him down with a bit of Italian martial arts, which checks out because I think “ninja” is one of the only gimmicks that Vito hasn’t played over the years. Over to Johnny, but the babyfaces double-team the arm in the corner, giving us our first “full arm drag and twist” from Tony of the night, and Disco gets a legsweep for two. So the alleged storyline is that current Twitter brain surgeon Disco Inferno borrowed $25,000 from a guy named TONY MARINARA and thought this was a good idea, and was unable to pay it back, so the mafia came after him and this makes Disco a babyface. The future Mamalukes double-team Disco and Stamboli goes to a chinlock after a neckbreaker. Double team slam follows and somehow it’s the HEELS who are getting over with this match because Vito is a reasonably competent wrestler in there with three goofs. Lash gets a hot tag and the babyfaces clean house. Lash makes his ridiculous comeback, but the Bull hits him with a press slam. Lash comes back with a bizarre neckbreaker, and Disco gets a flying legdrop, but Vito saves with his own splash, and gets two, but Lash saves THAT. Disco somehow hits his own partner with a stunner because he’s the dumbest babyface ever, and Vito gets the pin on Lash at 10:00. This was a decent opener for the most part, but the finish was WAY overbooked with too much going on. **1/4 Oh and Disco gets doused with ether and carried away in a body bag. Well that’s a shame. But then we follow them backstage, where they immediately let Disco out of the body bag and change their mind, shoving them in the trunk of their car instead and driving him off, probably to murder him for their $25,000. Eh, what are you gonna do?
FUTURE SCOTT HERE: I’ve returned from 2 hours later in the PPV through the magic of scrolling back up the document, and I’m bumping this opener up to *** after sitting through the clown parade of garbage booking and screwjob finishes that follow this match. That might constitute a spoiler, I guess. But congratulations to Disco Inferno for not being the worst thing on a PPV for once!
Meanwhile, the announcers note that Scott Hall injured his knee, so Chris Benoit is now US champion via forfeit. Bobby Heenan calls him “Mr. Lucky”. Yeah about that. So Benoit joins us, and he wants a MATCH, so he issues an open challenge for anyone who wants to answer.
Cruiserweight title: Evan Karagias v. Madusa
Even if you hadn’t known who was booking the show at this point, this clearly had the stank of Vinnie Roo on it. Madusa hits him with a dive to start, so Evan slugs her down in the ring and follows with a corner clothesline. Evan misses a moonsault and Madusa comes back with a missile dropkick, but Evan slams her off the top as this is really unpleasant to watch. Karagias with a powerbomb for two, but Madusa tries a piledriver, loses him, and manages to drop him with a powerbomb instead for two. That was terrifying. They fight to the floor, but Evan’s new love Spice distracts him and then gives him a terrible low blow, allowing Madusa hit a german suplex for the pin and the title at 3:33. Bobby notes that this is typical of women, who always team up to betray men. Absolutely terrible. Between Karagias openly beating on his supposed ex-girlfriend and them managing to miss every spot, this was really bad on many levels. I have no idea who thought this was a good idea, but…no, actually I know exactly who thought it was a good idea. -* Also in the Observer at the time, Dave joked that he wasn’t terribly bothered by the title change because it would be impossible to bury the title any further than they already had. What is it that the kids say these days in these situations? Oh yeah, HOLD MY BEER. That’s the one.
WCW Hardcore title: Norman Smiley v. Meng
Norman has a funny promo before the match where he gets terrified by a director “sneaking up on him” to count him down and was one of the few bright spots of this era. Norman wears full football gear and brings a cart of weapons, but Meng ignores all of them (EVEN THE GIANT CAN OF SURGE!) and hauls Norman to the back for a beating. So they head into catering and Norman runs away. So this brings Fit Finlay and Brian Knobbs out of nowhere and they all brawl with Meng while Norman runs away and hides. So Fit knocks Meng out with a lead pipe and leaves, and Norman pins him at 4:25 to retain. DUD
Meanwhile, someone delivers a golden crowbar to David Flair.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma gets kidnapped by the Misfits.
The Revolution (Shane Douglas, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko & Asya) v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Mike Rotundo, Rick Steiner & Kevin Sullivan
Yes, it’s the reunion of the Varsity Club as Duggan’s mystery partners, which is also pretty unfair because Asya is on the heel team, plus Shane Douglas is busy doing color commentary due to injury, so it’s effectively 4-on-2 for the babyfaces. Oh yeah and there’s stips: If Duggan wins, the Revolution has to be janitors on Nitro, but if the heels win, Duggan has to renounce the USA. Also Kimona Wanalaya randomly debuts as a cheerleader here who I think was called Leia Meow later on. Of course they never mention her name and she just disappears for the rest of the match. Also does anyone else see Asya now and only see Marjorie Taylor-Greene? Have we ever seen them in the same place? Duggan goes at it alone with Saturn and Malenko in a god-awful opening sequence, but Malenko hits him with a flag and Saturn gets two. Dean and Perry double-team him in the corner, but the Varsity Club comes in and cleans house and then beats on Asya, before shockingly turning on Duggan because I guess this needed a swerve. And then Shane leaves commentary and pins Duggan at 4:54 to win. WTF was this garbage? -**
Meanwhile, the Misfits have Oklahoma trapped in a cage.
Vampiro v. Steve Williams
MORE STIPS! Oklahoma is in a shark cage at ringside, with a microphone to do commentary during the match, and if Vampiro wins he gets 5:00 with Oklahoma as well. Vampiro attacks off the cage and runs Doc into the railing, and then beats on him in the corner while they go way inside with Oklahoma doing a whole bit about “announcing in soundbites”. Vamp with chops on Doc, but he comes back with a chop block and his own chops in the corner as the commentary joke is like the sour cream in the back of my fridge: 3 weeks past the expiry date. So the Misfits all run into the match and Doc cleans house on them and single-handledly beats on four guys, but Vamp lays out Doc with a spinkick. But then Doc suplexes him and slugs away, but he shoves the ref for the DQ at 5:00, so Vampiro wins. WHO BOOKED THIS CRAP? Never mind, we know. Oh also Williams refused to do a job here so that’s why they did the DQ finish. -**
Vampiro v. Oklahoma
So Vampiro is all beat up by Dr. Death and Oklahoma starts the match, doing his own commentary while putting the boots to Vampiro, but the Misfits all attack him, so Oklahoma goes low on Vampiro to take over again. But then the Misfits all attack him AGAIN and we get a 5-on-1 beating on a manager before Vamp pins him at 2:22. Wow what a hero. How do you fundamentally misunderstand a simple concept like this?
Meanwhile, Harlem Heat squabbles and Stevie Ray walks out on Booker before they even make it to the match.
Creative Control & Curt Hennig v. Harlem Heat & Midnight
This is yet another repackage for the Harrissesessesses, in this case as “Patrick” and “Gerald” in what passes for a subtle dig at the WWF in Russo’s world. So as noted, Stevie Ray is not there, leaving Booker and Midnight alone. Also this is a six-man match to determine the #1 contenders to the tag team titles but that’s like the least of the problems here. Booker gets double-teamed by Ronald and McDonald but Midnight comes in with a FULL ARM DRAG AND TWIST on one of them. But Hennig comes in and hits Booker with a kneelift. Booker fights back on either Tik or Tok with an axe kick and Midnight gets a hot tag, but Hennig immediately cuts her off and clubs her to the floor. Elon and Kanye work her over out there, and back in for more beating from Curt. Actually I want to apologize to Kanye because he’s probably not as bad as these two. For someone who bitched non-stop about getting shut down by standards & practices, Russo sure managed to book a lot of man on woman violence on this show for kids. It’s actually rated 18+ on the WWE Network, which I imagine is because of exactly that. Finally Stevie Ray comes out while the heels triple-team Midnight, but Stevie takes the ref and thus he misses the hot tag to Booker. But then the match just continues anyway and they don’t even point it out, and Hennig hits Booker with brass knuckles and someone pins him at 8:00. This show is on quite a roll. DUD So yeah Stevie Ray turned heel and it led to nothing here.
Bunkhouse match: Jeff Jarrett v. Dustin Rhodes
OK this at least has potential be a good match. This stemmed from Dustin initially debuting as a child molester named Seven (no really), before turning on his own gimmick and just being Dustin Rhodes again. So they fight in the backstage area to start and Jarrett has a wheelbarrow of weapons as they brawl to the ring while we get to hear from Tony Schiavone about how they’re feuding because Dustin was jealous that “Jeff Jarrett was the chosen one getting the push from the Powers that Be”. WCW seriously gave Vince Russo a shitload of guaranteed money to write this bullshit and have the announcers say it. I just want to remind everyone who complains that MY dad jokes and pop culture references are lame. They fight on the floor and Dustin throws powder at Jarrett and then whips him with a belt, then attacks the ref and tapes him to the top rope for some reason as well. Jarrett goes low as Curt Hennig joins us now and frees the ref, and Jarrett hits Dustin with a kendo stick and gets a sleeper. So this referee, literally beat up and abducted by Dustin, could just call for the bell, but instead chooses to continue calling it down the middle and tests the arm instead. Dustin makes the comeback but Hennig interferes freely and Jarrett gets two. How are they managing to fuck up this simple match so badly? Dustin takes out Hennig and does the big ballshot in the corner, but Hennig saves again, so Dustin kicks him in the nuts and fights to the floor with Jarrett again as this continues dragging on. So Dustin fights with Hennig some more, but Jarrett hits him with the guitar and pins him at 11:24. What was the point of having Hennig out there for the entire match? Whatever. **
Crowbar on a pole match: David Flair v. Diamond Dallas Page
It wouldn’t be a Russo PPV without something on a pole! Although there is a crowbar on the pole, David had his golden crowbar from earlier and knocks DDP out. The ref is about to call it a forfeit win by Flair, but Page beats up the ring announcer to stop the announcement, and thus it doesn’t count. Yes. So he fights back and gets a rollup on David for two, but David puts the boots to him and gets a DDT for two. David runs him into the corner and gets two, but Page fights back with a lariat and they’re both out. So David recovers first and gets the figure-four, but Page reverses. So Flair gets the easily-retrieved crowbar from the pole, but Page hits the Diamond Cutter and pins him at 5:14. I mean, I guess it could have been worse for a David Flair match, and it was also the first match tonight since the opener without a screwjob finish, so that’s a pair of positives. * Page goes to beat on David with the crowbar afterwards, but Daffney Unger debuts and covers him up to save him.
Miss Elizabeth on a pole match: Lex Luger v. Sting
So the storyline here is that Lex Luger has Elizabeth locked into a three-year contract of servitude like he’s Tony Khan, and she wants out of it like she’s everyone in AEW! Glad I could clear that one up for everyone. Sting was far, far beyond giving a crap at this point, with WCW basically forcing him to take some time off and get his shit together. When even a Vince Russo-led WCW thinks you’re a mess, you have some issues. Sting gives Liz the “industrial strength mace” to use on Luger before the match, because this is one time in history that he’s actually smarter than the heel and can see the obvious swerve coming. So they have a lazy brawl outside to start and Lex yells at Elizabeth outside because they’re totally on opposing sides in this conflict. So she slaps him and Sting makes the comeback, but then they’re both out. So Liz brings in the “mace” and SHOCKINGLY TURNS ON STING OH MY GOD I DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING AT ALL and it turns out to be silly string. So Sting comes back on Lex and hits a flying splash for two off that. But then she returns with the bat this time, so Sting just tells her to put it down and leave. But she hits him with the bat anyway and that’s a DQ at 5:30. And Luger leaves him laying and apparently breaks his wrist with a chair for good measure. So after all that meta-commentary nonsense the heels STILL get one over on him. * Also when she hit Sting with the bat, you could clearly hear it go “thunk” because it’s made of rubber.
Master of the Powerbomb match: Sid Vicious v. Kevin Nash
I do believe this is the feud that gave us the famous “half the brain” promo from Sid. Whomsoever hitteth the first bomb of power here gets the win, according to the ancient scrolls. Nash gets some knees in the corner and the framed elbow, and a “clothesline” gets two. Sid tries for the powerbomb, but Nash hits him in the nuts as Tony Khan awards a special chair to the lucky fan who bought the ticket to the fortieth nutshot tonight! So they “fight” to the “floor” as this “match” continues with Sid “hitting” Nash with a “chair”. Air quotes are losing all meaning for me. Back in the ring, Sid gets a legdrop and a slam and Nash just doesn’t give a shit here. But can you blame him? Nah. Ref is bumped, because of course he is, and Sid gets the powerbomb, but it’s not a LEGAL powerbomb because the ref is out, and Jeff Jarrett comes out and hits Sid with a guitar. “This match is a travesty!” notes Scott Hudson. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Nash tries a powerbomb but his back is too sore, so he just tells the ref that he powerbombed Sid and he wins via stupid ref instead. Yes, Nash won because he was so lazy that he didn’t even do his own finish in a match where you can only win by doing your finish. You have to respect that on some level. -***
Hey remember way back in the opening match when they had a decent tag match and then everything that followed happened? I think I’m gonna go back and upgrade the rating to reward them for somehow not annoying me to the point of wanting to smash my computer screen.
US title, ladder match: Chris Benoit v. Jeff Jarrett
Yes, we need a replacement for Scott Hall, so it’s ANOTHER JEFF JARRETT MATCH tonight. Benoit is obviously a man of honor according to the announcers, in a take that didn’t age very well. So they brawl on the floor right away and you HAVE to imagine that there’s literally no way they could fuck up a ladder match with these guys. Benoit beats on him with chops and immediately hits a superplex. He goes for the ladder, but JJ cuts him off and hits him with it. You can also start a drinking game if you’d like where you take a drink every time Scott Hudson makes a joke about Scott Hall being nicknamed “Last Call” but you’ll be pretty drunk by this point in the show. That might not be the worst idea. Benoit gets busted open by the ladder via baseball slide, and Jeff drops the ladder on him a few times and then runs Benoit into the ladder in the corner. This gives us a wacky spot where Benoit gets his leg caught up in the rungs, so Jeff takes him down with a legsweep out of the corner with the ladder. That was pretty cool. Jarrett makes the climb, but Benoit hangs him in the Tree of Woe on the ladder and climbs. Jarrett manages to use physics to pull the ladder over while hanging upside-down in another cool spot, and they both climb the ladder and do a slugfest. Benoit dumps him off and climbs, but Jarrett pushes him over and drops him on the top rope. Jarrett climbs again, but Benoit dumps him onto the top rope as well and climbs again. Jarrett goes up and dropkicks the ladder like someone pulling a tablecloth in a magic trick, leaving Benoit to take a flat back bump from the top of the ladder in another incredible spot. Benoit rolls under the ladder and dropkicks it into Jeff’s face and goes to the top of the ladder, ignoring the belt and dropping the headbutt on Jarrett from the top instead. And then he climbs again and claims the title at 10:15. The term “un-fuck-up-able” gets thrown around a lot these days, but this certainly qualified as they somehow managed to have a great match with a clean finish on a PPV booked by Vince Russo. ****1/4 Oh and Jarrett won the title the next night on Nitro anyway.
WCW World title: Bret Hart v. Goldberg
At the very least, this one did have some intrigue and heat behind it, which quickly evaporated during and especially after the match. Goldberg overpowers Bret to start, but Bret takes him down with a headlock and works on that. Goldberg with the press slam and he goes for an anklelock, but Bret tries to reverse to a Sharpshooter. God, enough with the lame Dax Harwood tribute spots. They fight to the floor off that and the ref is already bumped 4:00 into a no-DQ match. So they just ignore that poor bastard and continue fighting on the floor while another disposable referee takes his place. Back in the ring, Goldberg proves my point about the worthless nature of referees as another one bites the dust and Bret gets the ringpost figure-four. Apparently referees just come as prizes in boxes of cereal or something. Back in the ring, Bret goes after the leg as this match is going NOWHERE and there’s like 5:00 left in the PPV. Bret works him over in the corner and gets a figure-four, but Goldberg turns it over and Bret makes the ropes. Goldberg slugs back and Bret continues beating on the knee in the corner, but Goldberg slugs back and we get yet another ref bump. This gives us the most unintentionally historic thing on the whole show, as Goldberg gets an unassuming superkick and ends Bret’s career with it. So after all the swerves and turns and weapons and shocking debuts, the only thing anyone remembers about this PPV comes from a nothing transition spot, which we (by which I mean Bret) is still talking about 23 years later. Spear follows, so Roddy Piper comes out as the 17th referee, while Bret clips Goldberg and gets the Sharpshooter, and Piper immediately calls for the bell with all the enthusiasm of me loading this show up on the WWE Network three hours ago, and then takes the belt back to the dressing room with him before half-heartedly giving it to Bret on the way out. “It’s Montreal all over again!” declares Scott Hudson as the show just goes off the air. If by “Montreal” you mean 2.5 hours of non-stop bullshit screwjob finishes and inside jokes, yes, this show was definitely Montreal all over again. **1/4 Did the thing with Piper doing the bidding of Vince Russo as evil referee even lead to anything? I don’t even remember or care. I literally have the Observer open detailing the episode of Nitro that followed this show and I can’t even be bothered to go read and find out, that’s how little I care at this point.
Was this show better than having Covid last week? I THINK so. Maybe. I mean the ladder match certainly was. I’d rather watch that ladder match than suffer from intense headaches and bouts of violent coughing caused by fluid buildup in my lungs. But taking that out of the equation? I had to think about it. That has to tell you something.