NWA WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
The theme of Starrcade that year was a round robin style tournament (for singles and tag) made up of the top current stars and stars of the future. Singles wrestlers include Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, and the Great Muta. The tag teams include Doom, the Steiners, Road Warriors, and The New Wild Samoans. The winners of both tournaments will be the stars of the 90s.
Terry Funk is the special analyst for the singles matches, while Jim Cornette fills the same role for the tag team matches. The points system goes as follows: 20 points for pinfall/submission, 15 for count out, 10 for DQ, and both men/teams receive 5 points in the event of a draw. The winners will be the man/team with the most points at the end of the night.
All four teams appear on the stage for introductions.
Doom vs Steiner Brothers
Scott and Ron start the match. As I mentioned in the last show, Doom's masks show off all of the features of the faces. So if you couldn't tell them apart by their distinctly different noses, mouths, eyes, and facial hair, you can tell who is who by Butch Reed wearing an elbow pad. Rick tags in and quickly gets hit with the Stunner. So weird that the move didn't catch on in the US until Austin, even though Ron Simmons and I feel like one of the Freebirds were doing it in 1989-1991. I wonder why no one was using it for years. It is a quick, OUTTA NOWHERE finish that can be done to anyone. Cornette talks about how this kind of tournament is common in Japan, but done over the course of weeks instead of one night. Not a lot going on in this since both teams have 3 more matches in the night. Scott goes flying to the floor and is double and briefly triple teamed. Doom has an additional manager, a giant dude named Nitro. Great powerslam from Ron. 110th style spinebuster a little later. Desperation belly to belly from Scott. Hot tag to Rick. 2 minutes remaining in the time limit. Huge powerslam. Steinerlines everywhere. Ron gets laid the fuck out with a super stiff punch/lariat combo. The gif can't really do it justice, because the sound was a big part of it. Sounded like someone throwing a ham off a roof. Steiners win via count out, giving them 15 points.
The singles competitors are introduced on the stage.
Sting vs Lex Luger
Sting was voted by the fans as the most popular wrestler of the year. Lex is definitely not as popular and is so upset by his reception that he walks out on the match. Sting gets him back to the ring before a 10 count. Sting goes flying over the top, but holds on to the rope, ducks a clothesline, hits his own, and does a splash over the ropes back in. Sting is athletic as fuck. He hits a few more clotheslines in the ring and Lex bails to regain some composure. Lex momentarily trips Sting up and has the advantage, but Sting turns it right around on the floor. Sting is solidly in control of this contest. Sting is my favorite super face because he was so much more athletic and explosive than Warrior/Hogan/Cena. Lex just can't get anything over on Sting. Because Sting is fucking rad. Standing dropkick. Lex catches the second high cross body attempt and turns it into an atomic drop. Another. Gut buster. Second rope double ax handle. Sting is in trouble. Sting fires up. Weird spot where Lex was on the ropes and it seemed like Sting was going to crossbody him over the ropes only for him to stop and choke Lex. Lol. Less than a minute remain and both men are on the floor. Lex steals a pin, holding the ropes for leverage. Lex Luger receives 20 points.
Road Warriors vs Doom
Animal and Butch begin. Hawk quickly comes in. I feel like Doom is going to get fucked on this show. They're the lowest team on the totem pole and the newest team in general. Ron and Hawk have a series of shoulder blocks ending in a surprise powerslam from Hawk. Great standing dropkick from Hawk, even if he might have missed. Dude had great extension on it. Shortly after, he takes his patented shoulder into the ring post bump, which he hits so hard it actually turns him sideways and spinning to the floor. Hawk plays FIP for a while. Lariat from Butch. Hawk is....doomed. YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. Hot tag to Animal. Power slam. Butch tries to give Animal a piledriver. Hawk comes off the ropes with a diving lariat, giving LOD the win. They now have 20 points.
The Great Muta vs Ric Flair
Muta immediately attacks Flair and has him in danger seconds in. Handspring elbow. Powerdrive elbow. Flair fires back with chops and a knee breaker. Figure four! Gary Hart and his men try to interfere, with Ole and Arn Anderson fighting them off. Flair gets his knees up on the moonsault and scores a small package for the win. Ric Flair now has 20 points. The fuck, this wasn't even 2 minutes. And also Muta's first loss in the NWA. That's some bullshit.
Steiner Brothers vs Road Warriors
Fuck yeah. Team of the 80s against the team of the 90s. Hawk and Scott start the match. Scott immediately gets Hawk to the mat. The second attempt ends in an enzuigiri. Scott responds with a leg lace roll through thingy. Rick tags in and gets his head knocked off. Tags are made. Hawk not only press slams Scotty, but walks with Scott over his head. Big boot. Scott belly to bellies Animal. Animal responds with a stiff lariat out of the corner. Scott comes back with probably the ugliest belly to belly superplex you'll ever see. Amazing Hawk didn't destroy his shoulder or neck on that. Animal tags in and slows things down with a bear hug. LOD hit the modified Doomsday Device, which Animal turns into a pin. Both sets of shoulders are down, but Scott gets his up at the last second. Steiners win! 20 points for the Steiners, giving them a total of 35. This was pretty rad. The two most popular teams, both strong as fuck, in a short compact match where almost all the moves were bombs.
Sting vs Great Muta
Muta locks in a full nelson to start the match, which Sting breaks and applies one of his own. Muta backs Sting into the corner and does a Misawa like rolling mule kick to break it. Roll through/drop down/leapfrog sequence ends in a dope monkey flip from Sting. Sting nearly locks on the Scorpion. Muta gets to the ropes and rolls to the ring to consult with Gary Hart, who rubs Muta's tum tum for a bit. Lmao. Also. Muta looks so over this shit. Just dreaming about going back to Japan. Cattle mutilation! Sting rolls through and unloads some punches. Press slam. Muta gets back on offense with nefarious tactics. He lands on his feet as Sting dodges a moonsault. Spin kick. Muta goes back up and gets crotches. Superplex gets the win for Sting, giving him 20 points. Wtf. A superplex? Also, Muta goes from being undefeated in the NWA WCW to losing two matches in a row on the same night.
JR, Cornette, and Funk talk about the tournaments so far and what may happen next. Cornette is picking the Steiners to win it all. Funk picks Lex.
The New Wild Samoans vs Doom
So here's the deal. The New Wild Samoans (actually announced just as the Wild Samoans) are Fatu and Tama (as the Samoan Savage). The Skyscrapers were supposed to be in this, but Sid had an injury that took them off the show. No explanation was given to why Tama was replacing Samu in the team and why they changed from the SST to Wild Samoans. Samu was still in the NWA and wrestled some singles matches during this period. Tama and Fatu are twins, and both had twins. Fatu's sons being the Usos. They are the nephews of Afa and Sika and the older brothers of Umaga. Fatu and Butch start the match. Lol, such a racist headbutt spot where it takes four or five for either guy to feel it because black guys and Samoans have super hard heads. Tama misses a Superfly splash on Ron. There are broken dreadlocks all over the ring. It's like a Kofi match. Fatu and Butch collide, with Fatu falling on Butch for the pin. 20 points for the Samoans. Doom went 0-3 in the tournament.
Ric Flair vs Lex Luger
World champion vs US champion. They had a series of matches in 1988, with Lex never winning the big one. Now, the roles have reversed as Flair is a face and Lex is a heel. Lex is legit shook at the fan response. Despite this, he gets Ric to the mat early with a headlock takeover. Ric gets out and Lex begs off. Lex no sells chops in the corner, so Ric keeps throwing them until he is forced to sell them. They're basically wrestling the same match as last year, but with Lex as Flair and Flair as Lex. Butterfly suplex. Flair works a hammer lock for so long they cut to a shot of the scoreboard for 15 seconds. Series of near falls from Flair. Lex just can't get anything going. He finally gets a hot shot to change the tide of the match. I wish Flair has press slammed Lex. Flair pops back with a vertical suplex, but can't follow up on it. He reverses a hip toss into a backslide. Flair Flip. He gets caught with a lariat coming off the top rope. At least he didn't get slammed. Maybe he's saving that for the match with Sting. Never mind, he gets slammed from the top minutes later. Somehow this seems to fire Flair up as he hits a back suplex and locks on the figure four right after. The time limit expires. Both men receive 5 points, giving both a total of 25 points.
The New Wild Samoans vs Steiner Brothers
Rick keeps interrupting the Samoans beginning rituals. I can't tell if it is on purpose or if it is because he was still basically Eugene at this point. Tama and Rick start the match. Steinerline. Another dreadlock falls out and Rick puts it in his head gear. A fan who looks like Scott Hudson almost gets his ass kicked. A whole lot of stalling in this. Tama accidentally hits Fatu and they almost get into a fight before hugging it out. Why are these savage warrior types doing stoogy Memphis spots? Weird. Scott gets crotched on the guard rail right in front of two old ladies who seem really concerned over his taint and balls. Frankensteiner OUTTA NOWHERE. Scott is unable to make a tag and Fatu tags out to Tama. Rick comes in any way and hits some Steinerlines. Someone gets back dropped over the top rope. The ref didn't see it, but he still disqualified the Steiners for it anyway. 10 points to the New Wild Samoans, bringing their total to 30.
The Great Muta vs Lex Luger
Lol, Lex is so worn out he needs help getting into the ring. Muta goes after Lex's leg. That's basically the whole match until Muta gets disqualified for misting Lex. Lex gets 10 points, bringing his final score to 35. Muta ends the night with 0.
The New Wild Samoans vs Road Warriors
The totals so far are 35 for Steiners, 30 for Samoans, and 20 for LOD. Depending on how the finish goes, any of the 3 can still win. Animal and Fatu start out. Fatu hits a piledriver about 30 seconds in, which Animal no sells. LOD look pretty beat. Hawk and Tama trade chops. Tama dumps Hawk on his head in a very similar manner to what Scotty did to him earlier in the night. Dropkick from Hawk. Tags are made. Animal can't even go down with his powerslam he's so worn out. It looked like Fatu was going for a back drop. Animal instead runs into him ball first and they just fall over. Animal has nothing left. Tama misses a Vader bomb. Hot tag to Hawk. Hawk wins another match with a flying lariat. LOD get 20 points and win the tag tournament with a total of 40 points. The Steiners come to the ring to congratulate them.
Ric Flair vs Sting
The final match of the ironman tournament. The totals so far are 35 for Lex, 25 for Flair, and 20 for Sting. Again, any of the 3 can still win depending on the finish. Sting goes on an early flurry and Flair bails the fuck out. Flair sits Sting on the ropes and gives a clean break. Extended drop down/leap frog spot ends in a press slam. Flair gets mouthy and gets pushed, so he bails again. A leverage maneuver takes Sting to the floor. He's sent hard into the guardrail and suplexed back in. It looks like the champ has this all wrapped up. But wait. Flair's chops are no longer having an effect on Sting. Sting fires up. Stinger Splash. Flair Flop. Scorpion Deathlock. Flair got to the ropes immediately. He pops up, hits a knee breaker, and applies the figure four. Rope break. Flair continues the leg work. Sting bridges up and nearly wins with a back slide. Another knee breaker. Sting counters the figure four with a small package for the win. This gives him 20 points. Sting ends the night with 40 points and wins the ironman tournament. Ole and Arn Anderson hit the ring and, with a lot of tension in the air, raise Sting's hand.
TO THE SOLIE. Gordon talks with LOD. They did it for the people...and for themselves.
Decent show, but also a prime example of why single night tournaments aren't always a good idea. Especially with workers who aren't used to working one long match per night. You either get matches where guys are holding back for later matches, or are burnt out in later matches. Or in the case of LOD, Lex, and the Samoans, both. LOD vs Steiners was my favorite match on the show. It was exactly what you'd want and expect out of them. A short match where every move was high impact. Flair vs Sting was the second best.
Muta and Doom were both basically killed as talents to take seriously at a high level. Muta in particular went from undefeated in the NWA/WCW to 3 loses in a row on the same night. After this, he'd lose every match he was in before heading back to NJPW in early February of 1990.