Starrcade 1994: This Is Why They Ran Off Austin And Foley

Starrcade 1994
Date: December 27, 1994
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Attendance: 8,200
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

 

This show is the first of a new era for WCW. Now instead of the old style of long matches with the focus being on athleticism and storytelling, the show is based around the idea of spectacle and over the top characters and what would become known as sports entertainment. There is certainly something to that style as it made the WWF the top company in the wrestling world, but it’s a big shift from one style to the other which may or may not work all that well in WCW. Let’s get to it.

 

We open with the usual montage of the matches tonight.

 

Santa Claus, as played by Kevin Sullivan’s brother Dave, is here.

 

Before we get going, some singer named Aaron Tippen sings the national anthem. Why he’s wearing a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey in Nashville is never explained.

 

We recap Randy Savage debuting on an episode of WCW Saturday Night and saying he had a problem with Hogan being world champion. He wanted to see Hogan but was told that Hogan would be in Nashville on December 27, so Savage promised to show up.

 

To keep the show from starting even longer, we see Hogan being presented with the PWI Wrestler of the Year award.

 

US Title: Vader vs. Jim Duggan

 

Duggan is another guy that was brought into WCW and then beat Austin in 45 seconds for the US Title back in September. If you’re not familiar with him, Duggan is an American patriot, who promises to give everything he’s got in all of his matches. It’s really basic but worked quite well for him over the years. It’s a brawl in the aisle to start with Duggan pounding Vader down. Duggan is kind of a clueless putz but he’s a good brawler who can hang with Vader in a fist fight.

 

They fight on the floor with Vader being sent ribs first into the barricade. I don’t think the bell has rung yet. Vader tries to get in and Duggan jumps him again with more right hands. A clothesline drops Vader again and a second puts him on the floor. Back in and Duggan this a cross body for two and a delayed body slam for the same. Duggan keeps pounding away as Vader has been on defense the entire way through. Another clothesline puts Vader down and a knee drop gets two.

 

Off to a chinlock as Race is panicking on the floor. Vader finally comes back with some punches, only to have Duggan fire off even more big right hands. The challenger smacks him in the head though and Duggan is staggered. Jim clotheslines him down for the third time but Vader is in the ropes to break up a pin. In something very out of character for Duggan, he goes up to the middle rope and completely misses an elbow drop. Vader goes after the ribs as Duggan is now in trouble.

 

A slam puts Duggan down and there’s the Vader Bomb (a middle rope pump splash if you’ve never seen it) for two as Jim gets his foot on the ropes. Vader loads up another Bomb but Duggan kicks him down, only to be run over by a standing splash. Race gets in some choking with the referee not paying attention like a good evil manager. Vader slaps his arms around Duggan’s ears to put him down but Duggan rolls away from the moonsault.

 

Back up and Duggan hits the fifth clothesline of the match to put both guys down again. Duggan’s Three Point Clothesline hits but Race breaks up the cover. Vader goes up top but dives into a powerslam like he did two years ago but there’s no referee due to Race again. Duggan loads up another clothesline but Vader shoves him into Harley, who was holding up Duggan’s 2×4. Vader picks up Duggan and drops him on his face for the pin and the title.

 

Rating: B-. This was shockingly good with Duggan working HARD out there to keep up with Vader. They had the fans believing that Duggan could survive the monster which is all you can ask for with guys like Vader. This was also a good way for Vader to bounce back as he hadn’t had the best year in 1994. He would get to feud with Hogan over the first two months of 1996.

 

The Faces of Fear have a tombstone for Hogan. They all promise to hurt their opponents tonight. Sullivan implies that someone has been paid to help against Hogan.

 

Alex Wright vs. Jean-Paul Levesque

 

Levesque used to be known as Terra-Rizin but now is a French aristocrat character. Wright is from Germany, is 18 years old and loves to dance. Feeling out process to start with Levesque taking over via an armbar on the mat. Wright spins out and dropkicks Levesque down before breaking a wristlock the same way. Now Alex takes over with an armbar of his own before Levesque puts on a headlock. Wright counters into a headscissors in a sequence that works so well that they do it all over again.

 

Back to the mat for another armbar by Wright as this match is very basic so far. Then again both guys are rookies so they don’t exactly know how to work a long match yet. Levesque has enough of this wrestling stuff and punches Wright in the face to take over. Jean-Paul chokes away in the corner and takes Wright down with a spinwheel kick. A shoulder block gets a very slow two count for Levesque and he ducks a cross body to send Wright crashing into the mat.

 

Alex gets kicked in the head while on the floor as Heenan makes Hogan’s Heroes jokes. Levesque breaks up a sunset flip attempt via a right hand before putting on a chinlock. Wright fights up and hits another dropkick for two before being put in the chinlock again. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker puts Alex down but Levesque misses a top rope elbow. Wright hits a quick backdrop but Jean-Paul gets up and they ram heads, putting both guys down. Alex flips over Levesque out of the corner and a rollup is good for the pin.

 

Rating: C. This was just ok and again there was no reason for this match to be happening. Wright continued to be a guy that WCW was moments away from pulling the trigger on for years to come. The really interesting guy here though is Levesque, who soon after this was offered a spot as Steven’s Regal’s tag partner. Thinking he had no future with the company, he was granted his release and signed with the WWF, who gave him the same gimmick (minus being French) and named him Hunter Hearst Helmsley, which he later shortened to Triple H. In other words, WCW had Triple H, Austin and Mick Foley (Cactus Jack) and let them all go. Think about that for a second.

 

TV Title: Arn Anderson vs. Johnny B. Badd

 

Johnny is defending and this was supposed to be Honky Tonk Man challenging, but he walked out on the company literally earlier in the day so Anderson is a replacement. Anderson is also a member of the Stud Stable with Colonel Parker and a monster called Meng with him here. He runs Badd over to start and does a little dance in a funny bit. Johnny takes it down to the mat and hooks a hammerlock to steal a page from Anderson’s playbook.

 

Anderson gets caught in a headscissors but quickly gets to the rope. Now we talk about Johnny’s underwear for no apparent reason until Anderson hooks a top wristlock to take Badd down. Johnny takes over with an armbar before armdragging Arn out to the floor. Back in and Badd pounds away, only to charge into Arn’s spinebuster for no cover. Heenan starts talking about Mr. T. vs. Sullivan out of nowhere as Parker talks trash at Badd.

 

Arn hooks an abdominal stretch and grabs the rope for some extra cheating. We get another Anderson signature spot as he takes Johnny down to the mat with a test of strength grip before jumping into the air and landing on Badd. For once though, Anderson doesn’t get crotched. Off to a chinlock as the match is starting to drag, which to be fair is due to these two having no issues. Anderson grabs a sleeper but Badd reverses into one of his own, only to be caught in a jawbreaker. Badd comes back with a sweet knee lift and a top rope sunset flip for two. A quick rollup is good enough for Johnny to retain the title.

 

Rating: D+. The lack of a story hurt a lot but at the end of the day they had like five hours to set this match up. Anderson was a great choice for a fill in spot like this as he held the title so many times before so he had a reasonable chance of taking the belt. That’s exactly what he did in about two weeks, which makes me wonder why he didn’t just win it here.

 

The Nasty Boys win Tag Team of the Year. Who would actually vote for them is beyond me.

 

Nasty Boys vs. Harlem Heat

 

Harlem Heat, a pair of brothers from Texas named Stevie Ray and Booker T, had actually won the tag titles a few weeks before this but the TV show hadn’t aired yet, meaning they aren’t listed as champions yet. I believe the Nastys are the good guys here. It’s a brawl to start with Sags hitting a pumphandle slam on Booker for two. Booker, the speed guy of the team, starts with Sags and takes Jerry down with a forearm to the face.

 

Sags comes back with a standing slam before bringing in Knobs for a double back elbow. Stevie takes a double elbow of his own and the Nasties are in full control. Booker is sent to the floor and taken down by a clothesline before being thrown back inside. Stevie gets in a shot and the Heat finally takes over via an elbow to Brian’s face. Knobs comes right back with a clothesline, allowing the Nasties to start clubberin (a Dusty Rhodes term, meaning to pound the tar out of someone in the corner) Stevie down.

 

Jerry stays in to work on the arm but Stevie gets in an elbow to bring in Booker. Knobs is in as well with a DDT on Booker’s arm for two. Off to an armbar as the resting begins. Sags comes back in with an armbar of his own but Booker sends him to the floor, allowing for a bicycle kick to Sags’ jaw.

 

Back in and it’s off to Stevie for some strikes of his own. We hit the nerve hold to make sure the match doesn’t get going at any sort of a good pace. Off to a chinlock instead to pick up the pace (now he’s using TWO hands to rest) but Jerry comes back with a jawbreaker. Now it’s off to a bearhug by Booker, followed by a front facelock from Ray. These moves are going on for about a minute and a half each with nothing else at all.

 

Sags gets a boot up in the corner and a clothesline turns Stevie inside out. A double DDT on Harlem Heat is enough for the tag off to Knobs and house is cleaned. The Heat’s manager Sherri gets on the apron to spray Knobs but hits Booker instead, allowing Sags to drop a top rope elbow (popular move tonight), but Sherri comes in off the top for the DQ.

 

Rating: D. This was another long and dull match with WAY too much laying around in rest holds. On top of that we had to wait for eighteen minutes until the lame ending with Sherri coming in. The Heat would get FAR better in the future, but their feud with the Nasties dragged them way down.

 

Post match Sherri gets a Pit Stop. It involves Knobs raising his arms in the air and I think you can figure the rest out for yourselves.

 

Sting receives the Most Popular Wrestler of the Year Award.

 

Here at the show, Sting is ready for Avalanche and loves the fans.

 

Mr. T. vs. Kevin Sullivan

 

Mr. T. was with Mr. T. at the first Wrestlemania and has been associated with him on and off ever since. He’s in a referee shirt and hat here for no apparent reason. T sidesteps Sullivan to start and hiptosses him down….as Santa comes out. Some headbutts put Sullivan in the corner and T pounds away, only to be sent out to the floor.

 

Sullivan rips his shirt over T’s head and pounds away as a cameraman goes down. They stay on the floor with Sullivan continuing to pound away until Jimmy Hart, Hogan’s manager, comes out. The distraction lets him slip his megaphone to Santa (Kevin’s brother) who blasts Kevin in the head, giving T the pin.

 

Rating: F. Was there a point to this that I was missing? It wasn’t even four minutes long and T was on offense for all of thirty seconds. The rest of this was Sullivan slowly beating on T outside before the finish. Other than that, not much to see here at all but I guess T brought in some extra buys for the show.

 

Post match Kevin beats up his brother, giving him a piledriver and whipping him with a belt. Remember that Dave is dressed as Santa Claus.

 

Hogan was hoping that Butcher would come to his senses and get the match called off, but Butcher hasn’t said a word to Hogan. As for Savage, he hopes Randy doesn’t make the big mistake but Hulk is ready if he does. Jimmy Hart swears to never turn on Hogan. This was weird to longtime WWF fans as they were only together in the WWF for a few months before Hogan left, but in WCW it seemed like they were friends for life.

 

Avalanche vs. Sting

 

The fans are of course completely behind Sting. Both guys yell at each other a lot before they shove each other around. Sting hits the first significant contact with a right hand before they go to the corner, where Avalanche starts pounding away at the ribs. Avalanche misses a charge and Sting fires off some quick kicks to the leg. Sting is taken down by pure power though and some elbow drops gets two. There’s a legdrop as well but Sting gets to his feet. Avalanche knocks him right back down and stands his 450lb mass on Sting’s chest.

 

Sting fights out of the corner and kicks Avalanche down, sending him rolling out to the floor. Back in and Avalanche puts on a headlock followed by a big clothesline to take Sting down. A powerslam crushes Sting again for two as the match slows down a bit. To be fair though, that’s the right idea for someone like Avalanche. We hit the bearhug and Sting is in big trouble.

 

Instead of squeezing even more though, Avalanche rams Sting into the corner, but Sting comes out with a sleeper to slow Avalanche down. Avalanche finally rams him into the corner enough to escape, only to have Sting fire off kicks to the leg. The big man loads up his Avalanche seated splash but Sting pops up and fires off clotheslines.

 

A dropkick sends Avalanche into the corner to crush the referee and Sting adds a Stinger Splash on top of that. Sting slams Avalanche and puts on the Deathlock but there’s no referee. Sullivan comes in and the double team allows for the seated splash to hit, but here’s Hogan with a chair for the save as the match is thrown out.

 

Rating: D+. The match wasn’t horrible here but for the goodness’ sake, why in the world couldn’t they have Sting beat a guy like Avalanche here? This is Starrcade, not some random TV show where you need to build up for something else. For the life of me I have no idea what the point of a DQ was here, but 1994 WCW didn’t make a ton of sense at times.

 

Jimmy Hart wins Manager of the Year. Hart preaches to the audience about being saved by Hulk Hogan. Heenan has a stomach ache.

 

We recap Butcher vs. Hogan. In short, they were friends forever and Brother Bruti (Brutus Beefcake was his WWF name) got tired of being in the shadow. He put on a mask and attacked Hogan with a pipe to the knee while aligning with Sullivan in the 3 Faces of Fear. Beefcake was around during a lot of the attacks, as there were two masked man at times, with the other being presumably either Flair or a hired goon. Hogan eventually unmasked him, meaning it’s time for the showdown. Not that anyone wanted to see it, but we’re getting it no matter what.

 

WCW World Title: The Butcher vs. Hulk Hogan

 

Hogan’s music stops for the big match intros then starts up again after his introduction. Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel sends Sullivan and Avalanche to the back. Hogan (the champion of course) shoves Butcher away but Butcher goes to the eyes to take over. The announcers talk about these two being longtime friends, with Heenan saying this is like watching Andy beat on Aunt Bea. They head to the floor with Butcher ramming Hogan into the barricade and choking away with a cable.

 

Jimmy Hart steals a chair from Butcher as Heenan cheers Butcher on. Hogan comes back and sends Butcher into the post before hitting him with a chair. Now Hogan chokes with a cord as well before we head back inside where Butcher hits a running knee to the face. A powerslam gets one for Butcher as he pulls off of Hogan. Butcher misses a middle rope elbow and Hogan comes back with right hands to the head. The champion bites Butcher’s head and pounds away in the corner as Hogan is in full control.

 

Butcher comes back with some throat shots before we hit the nerve hold. Hulk fights up and hits a shoulder block, only to be knocked back into the ropes. There’s Butcher’s sleeper but Hogan is almost immediately fighting up. Butcher takes him back down and lets Hogan go, but Hogan is playing possum. The challenger covers and Hogan of course shoves him off at two. As is Hogan’s custom, he fires off right hands, beats up the other invading Faces of Fear and hits the legdrop to retain the title.

 

Rating: F. At the end of the day, this is Hulk Hogan beating up a guy who has done absolutely nothing of note over the years but is Hogan’s good friend. In other words, this had nothing to do with the Butcher’s ability or anything like that, but rather that he was friends with Hogan. The match was horrible with Hogan never being in anything resembling danger, making this a horrible choice for the Starrcade main event. Other than maybe 1992, this was probably the weakest main event to date.

 

Post match the 3 Faces of Fear stare Hogan down but here’s Savage. Hogan has a chair but Savage asks the other villains to leave. Before they leave though, Savage turns on them and helps Hogan clear the ring. Heenan sounds like he’s having a heart attack. Hogan and Savage pose for a long time as we look at replays.

 

In the back, Hogan and his friends celebrate in the back when Vader comes in to stare Hogan down and challenge him for the title. Two PPV main events in a row would result. This segment somehow also gets seven and a half minutes.

 

Overall Rating: D-. This show was a massive love letter from Hulk Hogan to Hulk Hogan. The post main event stuff sets up some future matches, which Hogan would of course dominate. That was the problem with WCW around this time: it was ALL Hogan and his friends against various heels, most of which were nothing of note. The only decent match on here is the opener and that was just ok. Terrible show here with nothing of value at all.

 

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2 comments

  1. Heyo says:

    I once joked that WCW, in the long run, was pretty much nothing but a developmental organization for WWF/WWE, given how many of their stars ended up headlining God knows how many WWF shows once they jumped ship.

    Seriously, I foam at the mouth of what you could have done with the roster WCW had in 96-98, and instead here we are with a dead WCW and many of their potential stars at that time now considered WWE legends. Way to go, Bischoff. Way to go.

  2. Sebastian Howard says:

    Wow, this is PATHETIC! I can’t believe they followed up the fucking CLASSIC Flair/Vader Starrcade with Hogan/Butcher! Are you kidding me!?