Today’s wrestling fan is pretty spoiled. Every single month, we are treated to a big event that advances storylines and presents great matches and entertainment. Back in the good old days, you just had one a year. In that case, you must deliver, right?
After the long, drawn-out set up of last time, I feel as though we need to rip the Band-Aid off and just jump right into Entry #2. Fellow Swoggle Squad member Rich Camillucci joined me in this viewing, which is the first for both of us.
Spoiler alert: it will probably be the last.
PAY PER VIEW NUMBER 2-NWA STARRCADE 1984: THE MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE
Written on 5/12/14
-THE FIRST THING YOU SEE: The end of Starrcade 1983 and Ric Flair climbing the top rope about to finish off Harley Race.
-After reminding us that last year was pretty damn good, we go to Gordon Solie and Bob Caudle. They are either in front of a green screen or 1984 just looks weird. Wait…there is a blackout behind them. That is the NWA tech guys at work. They are in a glass case or something.
-We are LIVE in the Greensboro Coliseum and the announcer, Tom Miller, has a ton of notes in his hand that are just a mess. Meanwhile, the wrestlers in the first match just walked in like nothing was going on.
MATCH NUMBER ONE: NWA JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH-Denny Brown versus Mike Davis (Champion)
-Earl Hebner is the referee and he looks just as old as he does now. Did Vince McMahon poach him too?
-Denny Brown looks like Marty Jannetty now.
-The stationary camera keeps shaking like a kindergartener during their first show and tell presentation.
-Decent action followed up by Rich proclamation that he wasn’t expecting this athleticism.
-I just realized the bell never rang.
-So far, this has been a boring Dragon Gate USA match. It isn’t bad, but it could be better.
-Brown takes a nasty tumble to the outside. Naturally, Davis exits the ring, PATS HIM ON THE BACK AND LETS HIM GET BACK IN THE RING. I guess that answers the heel/face dynamic question I was going to bring up.
-That far away corner camera makes me think I’m watching a Fire Pro Wrestling game.
-The NWA lettering on the ring canvas looks overly embroidered.
-I was going to swear about Hebner screwing up, but now I’m just very confused as to what just happened.
WINNER: Denny Brown in 5:30 to win the title after a Davis belly-to-back into a pin. Brown gets his shoulder up at 2 and Davis doesn’t.
-The announcer says the wrong result, the audience sounds lost and the two participants hug despite the controversy. They air a replay of the finishing move, but not the moment in question. Unbelievable.
FINAL WORD: It wasn’t shabby until the sloppy ass ending. It was so sloppy that the whole thing now seems shabby.
-Yay! Tony Schiavone in the locker room again this year! Ric Flair paces behind Schiavone while he hold the skinniest microphone ever. His wrap up is dreadful and he stumbles over his words like the Shockmaster stumbles through a wall.
MATCH NUMBER TWO: Mr. Ito vs Brian Adidis
-Solie and Caudle talk about Adidis as a very young, popular up-and-comer. He obviously set the world on fire from there because I’ve never heard of him until just now. The Greensboro bitches were shrieking for him, though.
-Rich naturally notices Adidis’ hairy ass legs.
-Hebner is refereeing this match as well. Is it Dave?
-Despite Ito’s continuous hair pulling, there has been crisp chain wrestling throughout so far.
-We got some loud chops and A FINISHING MOVE?!?!?!
WINNER: Brian Adidis in 3:09 after an Airplane Spin
-The replays probably could be sped up a little bit.
FINAL WORD: The finishing move was AN AIRPLANE SPIN.
-Was the lease on the building on a strict time regimen? We already have the next match participants in the ring.
MATCH NUMBER THREE: FLORIDA HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE- Mike Graham vs Jesse Barr (Champion)
-Just like Valentine and Piper last year, Graham and Barr didn’t talk about wearing different colored tights.
-Mike Graham will forever look like a science teacher.
-Tight Indian Death Lock and stellar submission selling early on.
-It is weird seeing Jesse Barr before Haku ripped his eye out.
-Earl Hebner is STILL the referee. He is going to wear that pair of shoes out. Screw it, he is the MVP of the PPV thus far.
-Hopefully none of these wrestlers get turned out with all the hair pulling going on.
-Barr and Graham engage in a test of strength. Rich begins to play on his phone.
-The camera keeps trembling like your mind imagining a Fabulous Moolah lap dance.
-Graham puts Barr is the least flashy Figure Four of all time. Rich announces that Mike Graham has forever ruined the Figure Four for him forever. Ric Flair is pissed backstage because Graham took half of his match.
-I’m glad that Mike Graham shaved his back for the biggest show of the year. #SARCASM
-Is there something wrong with the ropes? They look like they are made of black PVC pipes and they sound like a woodpecker.
-Second Figure Four of the match. We are now setting the over/under for the whole show at 10 and a half.
-REF BUMP! The first of Earl Hebner’s PPV career! He no sold it like Goldberg.
-How many trunk pulls and little cheats is Jesse Barr going to need to win? Oh, that many…
WINNER: Jesse Barr in 11:45 to retain his title after a roll-up with his feet on the ropes.
FINAL WORD: This was the match that defines the phrase “two stars.”
-We cut to footage of JJ Dillon, Ron Bass, Tully Blanchard and Black Bart beating up Dick Slater and Ricky Steamboat. I’m shocked Dick Slater is a babyface.
-Apparently every important match on this show is predicated by cash. Steamboat is putting up $10K later on tonight against Tully Blanchard.
-The crowd is buzzing. Someone popular is entering.
MATCH NUMBER FOUR: TAG ELIMINATION MATCH- The Zambuie Express w/Paul Jones vs Assassin #1 and “Avalanche” Buzz Tyler
-How, when and why is the Assassin a babyface?!?! I guess the black militants he is wrestling can do that.
-The Zambuie Express are comprised of Elijah Akeem and Kareem Muhammad. I felt awful typing that.
-Good to see Buzz Tyler wearing the robe Lucky Cannon would wear in FCW almost 20 years later.
-I would love to know the fucking backstory to this mess.
-Buzz Tyler looks like the love child of General Zod and William Riker from Star Trek.
-EARL HEBNER IS STILL WORKING!!!!
-If you ever need any support in public or need to sway a jury during a trial, just do the knee knocking dance every babyface did in the 1980s.
-This match isn’t bowling shoe ugly. This is orphan bowling shoe ugly.
-The match has completely broken down, the crowd is trying to stay into it and, once again, I don’t really know what just happened.
WINNERS: Buzz Tyler and Assassin #1 in 4:48; Tyler and Muhammad were seemingly counted out and eliminated. Assassin pinned Akeem after a headbutt and Tyler pushing him into the pin.
FINAL WORD: Before the Undertaker, we had Assassin #1’s Starrcade streak. In all seriousness, that was so bad that Solie and Caudle can’t even explain what just happened.
-Instead of trying to make sense of the mess that just occurred, Solie and Caudle recap like only they can.
-Schiavone is backstage with Dusty, who is wearing big ass glasses, a crappy hat and a ring jacket as a blanket. The highlights of this promo: Dusty makes up the word “colorvised”, he can apparently put the NWA Title in his pocket and he speaks like Muhammad Ali about the referee of the main event, Joe Frazier.
MATCH NUMBER FIVE: BRASS KNUCKLES TITLE- “The Ragin Bull” Manny Fernandez vs Black Bart (Champion) w/ JJ Dillon
-It is announced that this match has no rules and will be fought until there is a winner.
-Solie says that the sombrero Fernandez threw into the crowd was worth $200. Manny Fernandez got ripped off.
-We finally have a new referee. He is dressed like a retired EMT for some reason.
-The fists of Fernandez and Bart are taped more than Raw every other week in 1995.
-Seth Rollins got the inspiration for his dyed hair from the back of Manny Fernandez’s hair.
-We have our first blade job! It came after a simple punch from Bart.
-Manny Fernandez wrestles like he just watched the Karate Kid. It was the hip thing that year.
-Hmmmm….what was Black Bart doing underneath the ring all that time? Well, will you look at that? He’s bleeding!
-If John Cena did the Five Knuckle Shuffle like Manny Fernandez did whatever splash/fist drop combination I just saw, I’d be onboard with him again.
-Big props to Gordon Solie for telling us exactly what camera number it is above the ring. It is camera #7 in case you were curious.
-1984: when referees take bumps and they get right back up so they don’t miss the end of the match.
WINNER: Fernandez in 7:38 to win the Brass Knuckles Title after Dillon throws Bart his rope and Manny rolls him up while distracted.
-Rich just noticed something very important: there is NO PHYSICAL BRASS KNUCKLES TITLE. Was it something new and the NWA was giving it 90 days to get over before actually making one?
-They refuse to show the three count during match replays. It always stops at two.
FINAL WORD: Punches are cool, I guess.
-Seven minute intermission. I miss cigarettes.
-Schiavone is backstage with Ricky Steamboat. Rich and I talk box office projections as opposed to listening to it. I overhear the phrase “lower floating ribs” and I immediately become worried that I’m supposed to have those. The real highlight of the promo: the pipes behind Steamboat look like a butt.
-More recapping from Solie and Caudle. I imagine they just don’t talk to one another in real life.
-Schiavone now with Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon. Tully Blanchard wears a sweet Starrcade 1984 t-shirt that looks like the ColorTyme logo.
-Solie mentions Don Shula. Rich listens up. It ends up meaning nothing.
-An awfully dubbed rock song is played as Paul Jones enters with a member of the Zambuie Express. I’d rather hear the silence than this crap. Speaking of crap…
MATCH NUMBER SIX: LOSER LEAVES TOWN TUXEDO STREET FIGHT- Paul Jones w/Zambuie Express vs Jimmy Valiant w/Assassin #1
-I will never know why Jimmy Valiant was so over. Just because of the bad taste in my mouth from Starrcade 1983, I’m making Valiant LVP of the PPV already.
-Rich and I debate the strategy of Valiant wearing a tuxedo t-shirt under this tuxedo.
-In Starrcade tradition, the bell rings while men that aren’t in the match are still in the ring.
-The first move in the match is just straight strangulation. Valiant ties Paul Jones’ neck to the top rope. Take that, Justin Roberts!
-It hasn’t been made clear if you win the match by stripping your opponent. If so, then Valiant is an idiot because he just took off his own jacket.
-Jimmy Valiant chokes Paul Jones’ eyes. I meant to type that.
-There is something weird about watching a grown man undress another man in front of everyone in a wrestling ring. Paul Jones is now officially in his underwear.
-Paul Jones just bladed RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA while in a SLEEPER HOLD. We saw it gush out. Rich yells out the fact of the century: we have a man bleeding in a tuxedo match.
-Ref bump, the seconds start brawling and leaving the ringside area and that must mean this one is about over.
WINNER: Paul Jones in 5:25 after JJ Dillon interferes and knocks Valiant out with something and Jones pins him.
-Rich and I cannot make out the object JJ Dillon used on Valiant. We think it is either a Monster Energy Drink or a canister of tennis balls.
FINAL WORD: Nothing can make me moan and groan like a tuxedo match and Jimmy Valiant.
-Schiavone backstage with Ric Flair. The promo is focused, to the point and utterly lacking in entertainment.
-The next two entrances happen simultaneously to the same crappy rock song. I’m still confused as to how Dick Slater is a babyface.
MATCH NUMBER SEVEN: MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH- Dick Slater vs Ron Bass (Champion) w/JJ Dillon
-Rich: “Ron Bass’ tights make Matt Classic’s trunks look non-exaggerated.”
-Rich: “I’m going to poop!”
-Dick Slater keeps going after JJ Dillon and he keeps kissing his hand and smacking his ass towards Ron Bass. I really am starting to love this guy.
-Slater channels the Junk Yard Dog with his grounded headbutts. Yep, he did it again. Dick Slater is the current MVP of the PPV.
-What is up with the refereeing? This same EMT dude from earlier grabs Slater’s foot to prevent him from stomping Bass and that changes the tide of the match.
-Dick Slater continues to tickle me with his Harley Race/Terry Funk rope bounce as he is continually punched.
-The pace of this match has been very good compared to everything else on this card so far. It feels more modern than anything.
-Not only does the ref looks like a retired EMT, he looks like an old gas station attendant.
-Ron Bass’ back…woof! Maybe more like MOO.
-This referee loves to bump!!!! Slater throws him out of the ring and then he finally gets his hands on JJ and slams him. Slater hits the leg drop and we have ourselves a winner. Just not the one I wanted.
WINNER: Ron Bass in 9:17 by DQ after the ref returns to the ring and calls it against Slater for his throw earlier.
FINAL WORD: It wouldn’t take much to be the best match on this show so far, but Dick Slater put in another solid effort.
-Solie promotes the rest of the card and “hopes that we remain attentive”. I’m trying, Gordon.
-Close up on the American flag and a USA chant. The National Anthem starts and I again exclaim that THE NATIONAL ANTHEM SHOULDN’T PLAY IN THE MIDDLE OF A SHOW. This rendition is on a trumpet and the person playing it sexes it up too much. The last note is totally incorrect. Once the song concludes, the entrances begin in complete darkness.
MATCH NUMBER EIGHT: Ole Anderson and Keith Larson w/Don Kernodle vs Ivan and Nikita Koloff
-We learn that Keith Larson is injured Don Kernodle’s brother.
-I imagine that Ole Anderson is cursing in his mind that he came out to the National Anthem just because that ornery prick probably hates that song.
-Anderson and Larson jump the Koloffs at the bell. I’m happy to see referee Tommy Young finally at work.
-This Keith Larson guy bothers me for no reason. It might be because he looks like Buddy Landell.
-The tag rope is literally a rope. I hope you can visualize that properly.
-We are five minutes into the match and Ivan Koloff continues to be dominated.
-A bleep????? Who said Benoit?
-Eight minutes in, Nikita Koloff finally tags into the match. He is way too fit for this period in time.
-UGH!!!! There is a popped zit on Nikita’s back that we get too close to during a bear hug. Bigger UGH: a bear hug.
-Ole Anderson as a babyface is like putting Hitler on the German flag.
-Ole hot tags Keith Larson. This just doesn’t hold my interest.
-Another brawl that covers up the end of the match. Nikita take Kernodle out on the floor and…
WINNERS: The Koloffs in 15:01 when Ivan pinned Larson after hitting him with a chain.
-The camera wasn’t anywhere it needed to be. This is so hard to follow.
-Kernodle shatters his crutches on the Koloffs. He seems perfectly fine to me.
-After the post-match beatdown, the faces celebrated and hug like nothing happened.
FINAL WORD: That was too long, too boring and too erased from my memory already.
-Just a random guess: Vince McMahon hated Gordon Solie.
-More shitty rock muzak is dubbed over as Ricky Steamboat enters wearing a lei. The heel stock song from Paul Jones’ entrances brings Tully Blanchard out. He has a sweet ring jacket. I’m tempted to make the jacket the new MVP, but I won’t out of respect for Dick Slater.
MATCH NUMBER NINE-TV TITLE NO DQ, NO RUN MATCH WITH $20K ON THE LINE: Ricky Steamboat vs Tully Blanchard (Champion) w/JJ Dillon
-Forty seconds into the match and there has already been more passion exuded in the moves performed and more story told than anything in the rest of the song.
-Steamboat sells a rib and back injury early. Tully hammers that area, prances about and plays a great heel in general.
-Just as things get good, there is a weird section of “psychological warfare” where Tully and Steamboat just walk around each other for literally 2 minutes. No moves or strikes occur.
-Steamboat is selling his ribs so much, Rich and I want to eat ribs for dinner now.
-In the midst of some strikes, Tully comes up bleeding (naturally) and Steamboat’s next action is blatantly spitting in Tully’s face.
-One ugly ass neckbreaker by Steamboat is followed up a PERFECT slingshot suplex and other offense. Steamboat screws up and makes up for it.
-Rich: “The ring looks like mud pit.”
-Did every heel keep a foreign object in his butthole? Tully hits Steamboat with it and a cross body for a great near fall.
-Steamboat with a splash from the top rope gets another great two count. Not great…what follows.
WINNER: Tully Blanchard in 13:15 to retain the TV Title by pinfall after hitting Steamboat with a foreign object as Steamboat attempts a sunset flip.
-I’m not sure if it bothers me more that Solie and Caudle never get that upset about the heel tactics or that Tommy Young totally could have seen that illegal.
FINAL WORD: Two professionals put on a solid match with another underhanded conclusion.
-Here comes “Superstar” Billy Graham to bootleg disco music that was cut from Boogie Nights. This is during his stupid karate phase. Just doing this shtick rockets him into position as the new LVP of the PPV. Rich leaves the room immediately to make a phone call. Wahoo McDaniel enters to the heel rock theme from earlier. No crowd reaction at all. What a difference a year can make.
MATCH NUMBER TEN: US TITLE MATCH- Billy Graham vs Wahoo McDaniel (Champion)
-I guess Wahoo is a heel now? The crowd sort of booed during his introduction and he didn’t play to the crowd at all.
-Solie discusses Wahoo’s “change in philosophy.” Did he outwardly support the Trail of Tears or something?
-With Billy Graham in this match, the threat of disease is palpable.
-Wahoo’s chops were pretty solid.
-Chris Masters worked. I just called Graham’s Full Nelson “the Masterlock.”
-Seriously, why did Graham think doing karate shit would work? All I want my Billy Graham to do is talk crazy with Vince McMahon or on Donahue.
-Rich and I start bullshitting over this mess and it happens.
WINNER: Wahoo McDaniel in 4:11 to retain the US Title after a tomahawk chop.
-That’s it?!? Graham runs into a tomahawk chop and it’s over? Graham contests that Wahoo had the tights and the replay show that isn’t close to being true at all.
FINAL WORD: Former WWF Champion Billy Graham lost in four minutes to a simple chop. You want analysis here? Forget it.
-Ten minute intermission. Together, the two intermissions on this show have been longer than any match.
-Caudle says that Starrcade 1984 has already topped Starrcade 1983. In the words of Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, “WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG!”
-Schiavone backstage with the three judges for the main event: Duke Keomuka, Joe Frazier and Kyle Petty. Why is Kyle Petty a judge of wrestling?
-Keomuka is well spoken and Petty starts his comments with “I don’t know”, but never mind that shit! Smokin’ Joe Frazier is punch fucking drunk! Rich says that his words are “stupid sluts.” It is so bad, it is entertaining and vaults him into being the NEW MVP of the PPV. Upon further review, playing Frazier’s promo back with closed captioning on is hysterical.
-BOOM!!!!! One thing of pyro goes off and everyone gets scared. Even the commentators don’t know who or what that was.
-WEIRD music for Dusty’s entrance. It is probably better tonally than “American Dream” for this instance, but Rich thinks he is just trying to “get those pussies wet.”
-Real music from the P.A. plays for the first time all show and Flair enters surrounded by cops again and every referee from earlier. Flair’s robe is pinker than a medium rare steak. I think I’d rather see a robe off than a match right now.
-Kyle Petty’s announcement gets one of the bigger pops of the night. Greensboro!!!!
MATCH NUMBER ELEVEN: NWA TITLE MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE MATCH- Dusty Rhodes vs Ric Flair (Champion) with Special Guest Referee Smokin Joe Frazier
-It is weird hearing Ric Flair billed from Minnesota.
-Solie trying to sell Dusty Rhodes’ training regimen is wonderful.
-The back and forth chops, slaps and punches are entertaining, but it is sad that it took us two hours to get excited about simple strikes.
-There have been many missed elbow drops tonight.
-Flair’s chops back then must have been so groundbreaking and cool. Nothing was that loud.
-Joe Frazier continues to count to three even after a kick out occurs. Can a Starrcade main event have a good goddamn referee?
-Dusty slaps on a Figure Four. We are hitting under, by the way.
-It might be too late, but I think Dusty needs to get that birthmark checked.
-There is a weird, found footage-style camera angle from the audience that is used for the first time the whole evening. Thanks for that, Blair Witch.
-It is nice to see Ric Flair do his usual spots without all the excess skin flying around. We have enough of that with Dusty.
-Frazier’s counts are pretty unpretty.
-It has taken WAY TOO LONG to hear our first WOOOOOOOOOOOO of the evening.
-Dusty catches Flair as he ascends the top rope! New diary segment: The Ric Flair Top Rope Record!!! Flair’s lifetime top rope PPV record: 1 for 2.
-Dusty and Flair brawl on the floor and Dusty’s head goes into the ring post. Giggity giggity goo!!!
-Dusty has a bad cut on his right eye. Flair targets it and Dusty begins to Fatten Up. That is Hulking Up, but with Dusty Rhodes.
-Frazier keeps stopping everything and checking that eye. I don’t like the looks of this.
WINNER: Ric Flair in 12:10 after Joe Frazier stops the match due to the cut on Dusty Rhodes’ eye.
-Dusty tries to kill Frazier post match and the result of this match causes Rich to deeply laugh from his belly.
-Jim Crockett hands Flair the $1 million check and Flair has spent half of it already. Meanwhile, Crockett hopes he doesn’t cash it for a few weeks.
FINAL WORD: In the main event of the biggest show of the year, with $1 million on the line, a laceration ends the fight. Maybe we give Russo too much shit.
-Nine minutes left and all I can think of is “This led to Dusty vs Frazier, right?”
-Schiavone with Flair backstage. We get a close up of the check and I try to write down the routing number. By the way, it is a normal sized check. We couldn’t get an oversized check for this? Flair’s promo is short and sweet.
-Solie and Caudle discuss the events of the evening as everyone leaves…except one COOL ASS BLACK GUY who stands behind unsuspecting Solie and Caudle. He does funny stuff and they finally cut to another camera. I hope that man wasn’t shot, with it being the Carolinas and all.
-Schiavone backstage with Dusty now who is accompanied by Manny Fernandez. Such great irony: Dusty warns Flair to spend his money well. That will end with a big Dean Ambrose “Nope…”
-Dusty cuts a fantastic PISSED promo and then shoves Tony Schiavone for no reason other than being mad. In the bottom of the ninth, Dusty Rhodes becomes the MVP of the PPV.
-Solie and Caudle sign off and still photos and replays air. It looks like it is over until…
-ANOTHER JOE FRAZIER INTERVIEW!!!! Schiavone tries to get his story and the closed captioning is back on. I cannot encourage you to seek this out enough. Just wetting your appetite: Frazier is quoted as saying “The blood was bleeding.”
THE LAST IMAGE: Tony Schiavone
THE WRAP UP
FINAL MVP of PPV: I’m tempted to go Joe Frazier, but I simply can’t condone it. Dusty Rhodes gets my nod for his two great promos and passion.
FINAL LVP of PPV: Definitely Billy Graham. A piss-poor performance, gimmick and overall night for the Superstar.
MY FAVORITE MATCH: Tully Blanchard vs Ricky Steamboat
MY LEAST FAVORITE MATCH: Wahoo McDaniel vs Billy Graham
WWE HALL OF FAMERS IN ACTION: 6 (Jimmy Valiant, Tully Blanchard, Ricky Steamboat, Billy Graham, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes)
DEARLY DEPARTED IN ACTION: 6 (Mike Davis, Mr. Ito, Mike Graham, Elijah Akeem, Kareem Muhammad, Wahoo McDaniel)
FINAL THOUGHT: I was excited because of how good Starrcade 1983 was. This was akin to a WCW 2000 PPV with all of the screwy endings, poor booking and awful in-ring action. MULLET DOESN’T RECOMMEND
NEXT TIME: WrestleMania I. It will be a nice change of pace. Plus, you can understand Muhammad Ali.