Written by: Arnold Furious
So WCW was disappearing down the toilet rapidly. The television shows were becoming even more of a joke. Case in point; Scott Hall’s name had been banned from mention on all WCW programming. Unfortunately nobody told Kevin Nash who continued his usual trend of cutting promos about Scott Hall whenever he was given mic time on Nitro. On Thunder in early December matters got worse. With Hall’s name banned WCW couldn’t cover for the constant mentions of him during Nash promos without resorting to beeping it out. Instead of yanno, telling him to stop doing it, that’s what happened. Only because Scott Hall wasn’t allowed to be mentioned WCW didn’t have anything to cut to, like past footage of Hall, to cover up the horrendous audio-visual problems during the taping of Nash’s interview. Like the overhead lamps swinging around clanging while he spoke. Someone near the top cut the footage altogether but somehow, and this IS WCW we’re talking about, it got on the air anyway complete with bleeping, clanging and insane lighting. The resulting promo made no sense whatsoever. Not new for WCW but a new low in terms of combined fuck up’s nevertheless.
Meanwhile Ric Flair had promised a “major name” to face Scott Steiner at Starrcade. This immediately got everyone on the dirt sheets and the Internet talking about who it might be and whether it was a talent raid. Flair was talking as if this name were on a par with Steve Austin or the Rock. Nope, it was Sid Eudy, again. Softball season must have been over. Sid was brought in under the grounds that he wasn’t taking a job in Starrcade’s main event, which I’m sure thrilled Scott Steiner (the lunatic out of control guy with the belt he’d be facing). But when plans changed to incorporate a finish that, gasp, made sense Sid rebuked. He didn’t want to lose and threatened to walk out on the company. Quite where he was going is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile the other half of this main event, Steiner, lost it completely. He cut another of his famous shoot promos on Nitro calling DDP out and saying he had no balls. Steiner being the same guy who got into a verbal fight with DDP’s wife that caused her to quit the company and quite possibly began the end of the Page’s relationship. Understandably DDP was upset and got in Steiner’s face. Steiner’s response? He tried to remove DDP’s eye. DDP later said he feared for his life and was lucky to walk away. WCW wasn’t only in the toilet. Now the bowl was cracked and the water was leaking out.
And by water I mean money. Despite the huge talent cuts and production cuts WCW was still haemorrhaging cash at an alarming rate. Russo’s booking had killed their only remaining reliable source of income; the PPV money. Everything else had been pissed away on frivolities. By the end of 2000 and after another dismal buyrate for Starrcade (0.11) WCW had lost $62M on the year. That’s not a typo by the way. Sixty two. Million. Dollars. And this was during the hottest boom wrestling had experienced since the very height of Hulkamania.
We’re in Washington DC. Hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden and Scott Hudson. Yeah, I praise Stevie Ray and he’s gone. And Mark Madden is still there! Only in WCW. We’re joined by Chavo Guerrero Jr now liberated from the Misfits in Action and freshly crowned as cruiserweight champion.
Three Count v Evan Karagias/Jamie Noble v Yung Dragons w/Leia Meow
This is a ladder match to win a title shot at the cruiserweight belt. In other words it’s not really a tag match. Quite why any of them are making tags at the start is anyone’s guess. But hey, it IS WCW. The match isn’t helped by Shannon Moore brutally botching a suplex right from the off and dropping Kaz on his head. Chavo is talking on commentary about how cruiserweights are coming back to prominence. Well, stealing the show certainly! Not necessarily getting paid for it. The bunch of idiots finally realize they can just bail for the ladders and do so. Three Count sneak theirs in first but the Dragons knock them off. Chavo tells us the envelope doesn’t have a contract in it but a signed 8 x 10. Heh. With the ladder in play Kaz moonsaults onto it crushing Three Count. Karagias blows the next spot dropping Kaz on his face…onto the ladder. Poor Kaz. Of course the title shot is tomorrow night on Nitro. Build up the free show using the PPV. I love WCW. Noble and Karagias argue so Yang missile dropkicks them both. Helms decides this would be a good time for a suicide dive and that cues the dives spot that defines this as a WCW cruiserweight match. Noble is left alone with the contract but Yang shoves it over and Noble wipes out everyone on the floor. Yang starts stacking furniture. Is he feng shuiing the ring? Evan climbs the structure and Kaz flips at him so Evan powerslams him off the ladder. Crowd is digging this. It’s no TLC or anything but for WCW it’s pretty entertaining. Helms and Noble battle on the ladder and Helms hits a neckbreaker off it. We get the duelling ladders and its Yang and Moore going up. Helms heads up the other side Noble. Noble sunset flips Helms off and Moore hits a neckbreaker on Yang. Meanwhile Evan grabs a ladder. Noble is on his way up but Leia Meow takes him down and whips him. Evan runs her off. More ladders in there. Evan decides to showboat but Yang palm strikes him into a flip double team powerbomb from the Dragons. The Dragons build a platform with the ladders the crowd buzz starts as they notice how dangerous it all looks. Three Count run the dragons into the structure knocking them both down. Noble in to Tombstone Moore. Evan stomps Helms and now Kaz is in there again. Noble takes a pisser off the structure. Evan punches Kaz off there. That looked painful. Evan falls into the buckles. Yang v Helms on the ladder bridge then! Moore flips up to rana him off. Yang that is. He flips back up and Noble joins Three Count but Helms biels him off. Three Count are both up there and grab the contract together at 13.49 to presumably both earn a shot at the title. Regardless no one is beating Chavo anyway. ***1/2 for a creative spotfest. They got past a few early mistakes and had a good match. In WCW. Right near the end!
Lance Storm w/Elix Skipper/Major Gunns v Ernest Miller w/Miss Jones
Storm points out it took America 37 days to do an election. He calls America’s democracy a joke pointing out the man with the most votes lost (this would be right after the Gore-Bush election). And what part of Canada is Long Island in Elix? Cat adds another pointless promo requesting Storm take Mark Madden with him back to Canada. This match is merely a backdrop to the angle where Hacksaw Duggan is debating his heel turn and how he’d like to go back to the USA but Storm is busy telling him he can’t go back because he’ll never be forgiven for the turn. The girls almost get into a more interesting fight but Storm ushers Tylene out of the ring. It must have bothered Storm that his matches only got interesting in WCW when Major Gunns jumped in there. Simple fact of the matter is they never put Storm in with someone who suited him technically. Morrus, Miller and even Awesome aren’t wrestlers capable of technically sound matches. Not on Storm’s level. So Storm can’t do his match. Miller blatantly goes low but the ref lets it go for some reason. Skipper jumps on the apron and bashes Cat in the neck, which is also a DQ but if the low blow gets ignored then fuck it. Miller bails to beat the crap out of Skipper but that gives Storm an opening. Miss Jones goes to kick Storm in the face but he ducks the ref gets KO’d. Miss Jones and Major Gunns get into it and the crowd get excited as does Tony who starts shouting “the hip, the hip, the hip” as Gunns falls. Storm finally turns up with a springboard missile dropkick but the ref is still nursing his face. Miller comes back with kicks. Jim Duggan strolls out here and the crowd seem happy to see him. He comes in with a 2 x 4 but doesn’t use it. He does bash Miller anyway and Storm finishes with the Maple Leaf leglock at 7.25. *1/2. No build up on the leg injury and did we really need Duggan to run in on top of Skipper and the catfight? It was nearly good booking if it weren’t for the fact they’d probably have had a better match without it.
POST MATCH Duggan poses reluctantly with Team Canada but Gunns gets a hold of his wood and Storm puts the boots to him. Miller comes back to clean house even though Duggan cost him the match.
BACKSTAGE an ambulance arrives for the ambulance match and Awesome is driving it.
ELSEWHERE Buff Bagwell claims to be the company’s new interviewer. I guess Pam Paulshock got fired then. Buff interviews the Filthy Animals. Kidman is SO white. It’s disturbing.
ELSEWHERE Reno gets abused by the Thrillers for hanging around with Vito and Marie. I still can’t remember what that deal was.
ELSEWHERE Crowbar actually gets to talk. Daffney squeals at him saying he’s losing his edge. She sounds like Itchy. Terry Funk jumps him and we have a hardcore match.
Hardcore title – Crowbar (c) v Terry Funk
Daffney stands around in the background screaming. Hudson points out the lack of logic in Funk’s title shot seeing as they had a qualifying series for the #1 contendership and he didn’t win it. As per usual we get a load of plunder shots. This time at least in the rather novel location of the inside of one of the moving trucks. Crowbar gets bieled out of it through a table. Daffney squeals at him. Funk runs her off. More plunder shots. Funk gets his head shut in a door and Crowbar has handcuffs. Funk gets a receipt for the door slamming although you can’t see the foot blocking it. Daffney screams some more. Funk cuffs Crowbar but the cuffs aren’t close together. Funk tries to replicate the Foley-Rock chair shots and Crowbar tries to mimic Foley’s insanity. Luckily for him Funk only has the energy for two really good chair shots. They head to the ring and there’s another chair shot. “He’s 80’s hardcore…like Ginger Lynn” – Madden. Ok, that one made me smile. Table into play and Funk puts Crowbar on it. Daffney pulls him off. Zurt. Funk goes after her but Crowbar is back up with chair shots. Funk has the common sense to block them. Now Crowbar can use the handcuffs as a weapon and chokes Funk out with them. Crowbar with a pescado that breaks the table…for 2. Daffney chair throws Funk and celebrates loudly. More chair shots for Crowbar. Well, that’s a concussion. Funk hits a piledriver on a car door and that’s your pin at 10.21. **. A surprisingly energetic hardcore match. You have to appreciate Funk’s effort and this felt a lot fresher than most of WCW’s hardcore bouts.
Big Vito/Reno w/Marie v Kronik
So who’s paying Kronik to wrestle here? No one knows. Adams gets the mic and tells Marie they expect payment in full, which of course makes no sense. Are Vito and Reno supposed to be brothers? I don’t remember that. I guess they’re both bald. And no one cares about them. And who was this Marie character? I don’t recognise her. Nothing from the usual sources. Kronik bail to hit Marie up for money, which upsets Vito only for Clark to hit a friggin’ cannonball off the apron. Adams appears to be chatting up Marie. Hey, the referee is ginger. WCW stoops to new depths. Vito gets picked off and takes an assortment of abuse from Kronik. Out come the Natural Born Thrillers because they love watching midcard crap. Hudson speculates that the Thrillers may have paid off Kronik to reach Reno a lesson. Adams with a fuckin’ dropkick. Where is this coming from? Kronik have hit more high flying moves in this match than the entire rest of their collective careers. Reno is now distracted by the Thrillers presence. Vito struggles over and gets the hot tag. And Reno turns on him with the Roll of the Dice. Then Reno pins Vito for the win? Um, apparently that’s legal and counts at 8.18. *. Kronik had their work boots on for a change. Shame the angle had such a crappy pay off that forwarded nothing.
POST MATCH Marie is upset. She’ll be even more upset when she gets fired. Reno pays off Kronik and the commentators catch up. Reno goes to celebrate with the Thrillers and Tony explains just how stupid this storyline was. Basically Reno suckered him in so he could pay money to turn on him again. Er, what? That makes no sense at all. Kronik throw in a freebie by giving the already fucked up Vito the High Times.
BACKSTAGE Three Count claim joint number one contendership. Chavo barges in to complain about the bad paint job they did on his house last week. Chavo suckers them in then knocks them both out with the title belt. And the heel in this is?
Ambulance match – Bam Bam Bigelow v Mike Awesome
Awesome is still saddled with that stupid 70’s gimmick but strips it off pre-match as if to say he’s taking this one seriously. This is just a brawl around ringside and trade chair shots to the back, which look like crap after Funk-Crowbar. Bigelow manages to put his fist through the back window of the ambulance, which is safety glass and breaks like cling film. At least they didn’t do something as retarded as use real glass. Back into the ring, which of course makes no sense because you can’t win there, and Bigelow hits a DDT. Bigelow is bleeding from the window spot. Awesome pulls out a table, which usually gets me quite excited in ECW or FMW. But with Bigelow? Any table spot is going to be contrived. And low and behold Awesome takes a huge run up to allow Bigelow to backdrop him through it. Crowd is bored. Awesome gets slammed on the front of the ambulance and Bigelow starts ripping off the lights. This isn’t a good environment. Awesome nails Bigelow with one of the lights, which is Bigelow’s own fault for tearing it off and Bigelow falls into the ambulance through the roof to take the loss at 7.56. ½*. So much for that run of better than expected matches.
US title – General Rection (c) v Shane Douglas
No Torrie Wilson this evening. Shane has himself yet more promo time to try and explain the storyline, which he fails to do. Shane dominates to start with but Morrus fires back with chops. They brawl a bit until Shane uses the ropes for a low blow. He then goes low half a dozen times, which Morrus no sells. Oh, come on! BORE-HUG from Morrus. Crowd is suitably bored. I fast forward because it goes on for several minutes. Morrus goes up looking for the moonsault but Shane knocks him off. Piledriver but Shane can’t be bothered to pin. If he was in Mexico he’d be lynched. By the wrestlers. Shane works a chinlock for a while but Morrus gets out and hits a press slam. They fuck up something on the floor Shane takes a header into the ring post busting himself open. Slam sets up the moonsault but this time it misses. Shane pulls out the Pittsburgh chain. Morrus ducks that. Out comes Chavo Guerrero to throw the chain back to Shane but then he grasses Shane up to the referee thus resulting in a cheap DQ at 9.46. ¼*. Lousy end to a bad match.
POST MATCH Shane opens up Morrus with chain shots so Chavo runs back in for the save so Shane knocks him out too. What the hell? Why would Chavo do any of that? None of it makes sense. Again, Tony points out nonsensical all this is. Yeah, when Tony Schiavone can’t even begin to explain what’s happening you know your angles don’t make any sense.
PROMO – Glacier. They did that last month. Everyone thought it was a joke.
BACKSTAGE Buff gets a word with Nash & DDP. They collectively mock the kids from the Natural Born Thrillers and Nash in particular isn’t taking this seriously. DDP at least makes an attempt to cut a remotely serious promo. Buff asks Nash another question after the interview is over. “What, we gotta kill some time?” – Nash. Is WCW over yet?
Jeff Jarrett/Harris Brothers v The Filthy Animals (Konnan/Kidman/Rey Jr) w/Tygress
This is billed as a street fight but Jarrett makes it a bunkhouse match as well. Which is pretty much the same thing. We have all sorts of crap in the ring including a bar and a popcorn machine. As with the earlier hardcore match and the ambulance match this is a combination of brawling and plunder shots. Jarrett gets his face shoved into the popcorn machine. “That’s dangerous” – Tony. Sure. Might get some salt in his eyes. Jarrett boots Rey in the groin to prevent the Broncobuster. They start setting something up with the bar and the Animals throw Jarrett through it. That’d do it but Fathead makes the save. Ron gets bulldogged into a stop sign/trashcan. Rey breaks out the Arabian facebuster with a WRONG WAY sign. Rey fakes out Ron with the 619 before sending Kidman over with a pescado. Rey tries to rana Jarrett but gets powerbombed over the ropes into a dumpster. The ref suddenly decides it’s time to enforce tags. What? Ron makes the mistake of trying to powerbomb Kidman but you know how that goes. I don’t get why tags are being enforced now. After all there are no disqualifications in this match anyway. I guess it’s to cover for Rey’s selling of the powerbomb but it comes off as stupid. Kidman gets picked off for a while until he manages a bulldog on Jarrett. There’s so much crap in the ring. Bits of cans and wood and stuff. Konnan gets the hot tag and starts with the rolling clotheslines. Terrible X-Factor on Jarrett but he then turns into the H-Bomb. Out comes a table and Rey is moving. He brings a broom with him and double clotheslines the Harris’ with it. He beats Jarrett onto the table and looks for some springboard action. The Harris’ catch him and H-BOMB him through the table. Kidman hits the Rydien bomb, Kid Krusher and looks for the SSP on Jarrett. Fathead breaks a bottle over his head. With Kidman out on his feet Jarrett picks him off with the Stroke for the win at 12.31. **1/4. Entertaining crap. Again it seemed a lot more energetic than usual.
Tag titles – The Perfect Event (Palumbo/Stasiak) (c) v Kevin Nash/Diamond Dallas Page
Didn’t this happen last month? Apparently the Insiders were stripped of the belts because they pinned the wrong guy so Flair made this rematch. Mike Sanders accompanies the champs out here but that brings out Ric Flair to make his Starrcade appearance and order Sanders to not interfere. If Sanders comes close to the ring the belts automatically change hands. Flair says the same thing twice and then changes it to “one foot in the ring”, which is typical of Flair to blow an announcement. Much like last month’s match this starts out with the old guys largely dominating. Even Nash gets to dodge something using his “speed”. DDP crotches Stasiak on the ring post for giggles but then the heat on DDP kicks in. Much like it did last month. If you’re going to run the same match you could at least change it slightly. The crowd get on Sanders’ case calling him a homo. Nash mopes around in his corner. FEEL THE WORKRATE~! DDP takes a header into Stasiak’s groin for the second piece of crotch abuse for young Shawn this evening. He’d later make a career out of prat falls so it’s good he’s getting practice. This provides enough of an opening for Page to fight back and discus lariat on Palumbo. He takes offence and goes low but Page still gets the hot tag. What? No fake hot tag? At least the tag is ACTUALLY hot as the crowd pop and stay hot as Nash cleans house. Sanders goes low on Page on the floor, which somehow is ok because he’s not in the ring. Stasiak blasts Nash with the belt but Page takes him out with the Diamond Cutter and makes the save. Out comes Jindrak and O’Haire but that just means more Diamond Cutters. O’Haire cuts him down and looks for the Seanton for the DQ but DDP crotches him. That leaves Nash alone with Palumbo. Down come the straps. Jack Knife finishes this at 12.04 presuming that Palumbo was actually legal, which I think he was. **1/2. They sure had formula down. I’m thrilled they actually got something over!
Goldberg v Lex Luger
This is also a retread of last month. At least Luger has spent the intervening time making himself somewhat more legitimate a threat and thus this is now no DQ. Luger bails out to avoid contact, as heels usually do when faces come out last, but Goldberg just goes right after him and we get another of those brawls around ringside. Luger gets himself beaten up and thrown around. Powerslam and this is all by the numbers. Crowd response is actually a little mixed suggesting that Goldberg’s popularity has waned somewhat. Outside again and Goldberg gets run into his old friend the ringpost. I love that footage of him spearing the post when he knocked himself out. Great stuff. Seeing as this is no DQ Luger grabs a chair. Out comes the Sarge Dwayne Bruce with Buff Bagwell talking to him. You can smell the heel turn. Luger tries the ref trick to avoid the spear but Buff pulls the ref out of the way. Sarge goes after Luger but Luger has his brass knucks and knocks Sarge out. Goldberg gets them too but kicks out. Buff is in the ring now and hits the Blockbuster on Goldberg. We’re claiming its “accidental” at this point. Sure. It was blatant. Luger wants the Rack and wastes time posing. Goldberg grabs the ropes and hits a shitty neckbreaker. Spear. Buff lays Sarge out to cement his heel status. Goldberg is clueless to it. Jackhammer and that’s it for Luger at 7.17. ½*. Bad match but at least there was some effort.
POST MATCH Buff nails Goldberg with a chair. Quite why he didn’t do that DURING this no DQ match that could have ended Goldberg’s career is anyone’s guess. So Goldberg/Sarge v Luger/Bagwell eh? Sounds the kind of match that would end Goldberg’s WCW career. *rolls eyes*
WCW title – Scott Steiner (c) w/Midajah v Sid
They slug at each other to start. Steiner’s stuff looks that much more legit than Sid’s foot stomping punches. Steiner overpowers Sid in a test of strength but he’s the babyface so inevitably there’s a comeback and they do that for a while. Sid has clearly been the Hogan babyface school. Midajah runs over to nail Sid with the pipe although it sounded like wood so I thought it was a baseball bat. Steiner uses a chair so I’d presume this is also no DQ. A fan gets in Steiner’s face. “Fuck you” – Steiner. What a gent. Bicep kiss elbow leads to the push up’s. That crappy backbreaker connects. White Thunder belly to belly leads to the Recliner. Midajah has obviously spent too long hanging around Steiner as she’s arguing with the fans too. Sid grabs a rope and survives. Back to the Recliner. Sid powers up as Midajah jumps in there and manages to knock Steiner over. Chokeslam! That gets 2. Cobra clutch from Sid into a slam but the swing wind up knocks the ref over. Midajah sets Sid up for the lead pipe in the back from the champ. Midajah really learned her role during this run. Another ref is out here but Sid kicks out. Now Jeff Jarrett runs out here with the guitar but he miscues as well and Steiner takes the acoustic equaliser. Lots of miscues tonight. Heels are rubbish. Jarrett yanks the ref out but it’s Lil Naitch so he runs around Jarrett and jumps back in for the 2 count. Steiner goes low twice to avoid the powerbomb and the Exploder scores. Recliner again and Sid is nowhere near the ropes. It put Booker out cold before and Sid follows him into la-la land at 10.12. Steiner retains. **. What do you know, it didn’t suck! I’m as surprised as you.
Final Thoughts: I’m actually quite shocked. It’s not so much that this is a good show but just the fact that it isn’t a bad show that’s so impressive. Considering the cavalcade of crap that lead into Starrcade it was almost certainly going to be a disaster. Of course all the booking is horrible but at least some of the wrestlers were caring again at this point. Probably because the sale of WCW was going to happen sooner or later so they’d have to impress the new owners.