Competition is great. In the wrestling business, it has contributed to the Monday Night Wars and the lack of consistently great WWE TV since 2001 because nobody has significantly challenged Vince. Before Ted Turner’s purchase of Jim Crockett Promotions, there was plenty of underhanded competitive maneuvers by both sides. On Thanksgiving Day in 1987, Mr. McMahon made a big move.
To compete with the NWA’s premier event, Starrcade, Vince created the Survivor Series to run head-to-head against the Granddaddy of Them All. Going one step further, Vince reportedly threatened cable providers to pull his event from availability if they also offered Starrcade 1987. To the mainstream, WWF has a giant compared to the David that was the NWA.
Granted, NWA would get some revenge (without the large financial benefit) the following year with Clash of the Champions against WrestleMania 4, but this was the first show in a mini-war between the two. We will visit the other battles soon.
In the Battle of Thanksgiving 1987, can Chi-Town Heat win my heart over Survivor Series?
PAY PER VIEW NUMBER ELEVEN-NWA STARRCADE 1987: CHI-TOWN HEAT
Written on 7/9/2014
-THE FIRST THING YOU SEE: A NEW SONG!!! Hooray! A NEW ARENA!!! Hooray! The title card appears and lights/lasers blind the audience as does Tony Schiavone’s moustache. It’s okay, though; Jim Ross is finally here. They send it down to the ring immediately.
-Badstreet USA!!! That is good to hear. Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin strut to the ring alongside…STING?!? What a combination…and by that, I mean Sting walking to Badstreet USA. Hayes dances like a goof.
-In the ring, Rick Steiner wears a pink, glittered vest. Eddie Gilbert is billed from “Every Girl’s Dream”. Larry Zbyszko, with Baby Doll, is really not convincing me that he normally wears that Adidas jacket he has on.
-Hayes and Garvin aren’t officially together yet. Sting is billed from “Every Man’s Nightmare”. Who is going to be billed from “Every Child’s Closet”?
MATCH NUMBER ONE: Sting, Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin w/Precious vs Rick Steiner, Eddie Gilbert and Larry Zbyszko w/Baby Doll
-The scaffold is set up. Oh boy.
-Ross mentions that Sting was recently in a group with Gilbert and Steiner. That’s a weird group.
-Steinerlines early on, which are more badass than his pseudo-Zubaz tights.
-Holy shit, Sting! He just did a dive to the outside and followed it up with a high missile dropkick from the top rope. He is a very early MVP of the PPV.
-A brawl breaks out soon after. The crowd is going crazy for this. I like the hot start.
-Rick Steiner wears two different colored boots. What an idiot.
-The camera work has been crap so far. They sort of missed Sting’s dive earlier and now they keep cutting to the audience in the middle of the action.
-Big “LARRY SUCKS” chant.
-Being out of Georgia and North Carolina has already been very beneficial for this show. Chicago needs to be a home base for a large wrestling company still (and Billy Corgan’s thing doesn’t count).
-This is maybe the first time I’ve ever watched Eddie Gilbert actually wrestle.
-I can’t help imagining Scott Steiner is in the crowd yelling like a mark for everyone to stop beating up his brother.
-Garvin is taking the heat now after the babyfaces have controlled the momentum for the first half of the match.
-Jesus, Rick Steiner is defined. It’s funny considering he can’t define words. His powerslam is great, though. Now, he slaps on a fucking bearhug.
-It is announced that ten minutes have elapsed. You can feel what is coming.
-Ross and Schiavone have very little chemistry because they do the same thing, one significantly better than the other.
-You can tell Sting is green, but he exudes potential.
-The timer is accurate to my watch. Two minutes remain as Hayes gets the hot tag.
-All six are now in the ring and the babyface each punch a heel in the corner for the ten count. Hayes hits a bulldog and Zbyszko gets his foot on the rope at the last second for a good near fall.
-With 45 seconds left, Steiner slaps on another bearhug and follows it with a big belly-to-belly. It was the first back bump Hayes took the whole match.
-Good timing on Hayes’ sunset flip to Gilbert with…
WINNERS: Time Limit Draw in 15:00
-After the bell, more brawling ensues and Sting hits a Stinger Splash. Then, everyone sort of leaves.
FINAL WORD: A great opening six man tag that highlighted the future of the company wonderfully…and kept Larry Zbyszko’s involvement to a minimum.
-What does TWN mean on the ring apron?
-Schiavone mentions Magnum TA, Bob Caudler and Missy Hyatt working backstage tonight. We cut to Missy, surprisingly without a dick in her mouth. She’s not very good at talking, as it turns out. The dick might have helped.
-Ross and Schiavone set up the UWF Title match. This hasn’t failed already? Barry Windham enters with the title. Distinct, but different, music plays and Steve Williams enters with his own title. Dr. Death is wearing a Sooners jersey. The title card clears it up for me that Williams is the UWF Champ. Windham is the Western States Heritage Champion because that title is necessary.
-How much leather does Barry Windham need? Neither man gets a great pop, despite Tom Miller’s big introduction and football cadences by Williams.
MATCH NUMBER TWO: UWF TITLE MATCH- Barry Windham vs Steve Williams (Champion)
-The Code of Honor is followed.
-Dr. Death impressively overhead slams Barry with two presses.
-Sloppy chain wrestling and boring catcalls make up the first two minutes after the gorilla press. The crowd boos when neither man tries to fight the other when they land outside the ring.
-Windham’s gutwrench is no sold.
-Dr. Death’s headlock remains locked in despite a nice belly to back deadlift by Windham.
-Williams tries a leapfrog, but Barry accidentally headbutts him in the dick. The crowd gets on Barry for not following up the damage and instead showing sportsmanship.
-Williams sells a lot of pain and Barry continues to look like a pussy for letting him regroup.
-Windham has been the only Western States Heritage Champion ever. That makes it prestigious.
-Windham takes a big bump over the top rope after missing a cross body.
-Barry reenters and I’ll take anticlimactic for $500, Alex.
WINNER: Steve Williams in 6:50 to retain the title after an Oklahoma Roll.
-The crowd boos everything about that ending.
FINAL WORD: I boo everything about that ending and the booking of that entire match.
-The Midnight Express’ bootleg theme is again absent, but so is Dennis Condrey. Stan Lane and Bobby Eaton walk to the ring with Big Bubba Rogers and Jim Cornette, wearing a louder outfit than usual. The Rock N Roll Express enter to a calmer pick than before. This is a Skywalkers match. Poor Bobby Eaton (and I’m referring to his presence in another scaffold match as well as his physique).
-The United States Tag Titles are not on the line.
MATCH NUMBER THREE: SKYWALKERS MATCH- The Midnight Express w/Big Bubba Rogers and Jim Cornette vs The Rock N Roll Express
-If Vince Russo were booking this feud, an Asian team would join dubbed Panda Express. Actually, it would be Pander Express.
-The bell rings and everyone is still in the ring.
-The scaffold seems lower than last year. That means it is safer. Boo.
-Seriously, when does Earl Hebner jump?
-The structure is much more secure. Boo.
-Bubba assaults Ricky Morton in the ring before he gets a chance to climb. HUGE Bubba Slam and Gibson gets beaten down from above.
-Gibson is busted open and Bubba has started to climb. My excitement is quelled when Morton hits him with Cornette’s racket.
-Schiavone actually makes a good call, stating that Morton appears to be swatting flies with the racket on the scaffold. He has struck Eaton at least one dozen times in the head with it.
-Powder to the eyes is a prerequisite scaffold match spot. Eaton, also bleeding, provides it again. There seems to be a formula to this, but it sadly means that there is no imminent danger to this match like there was previously. On the flip side, everyone involves seem more nervous.
-Stan Lane isn’t a bad looking dude.
-The railing on the scaffold gate breaks again! There is Jim Crockett Promotions.
-Lane is now hanging off the ladder underneath. Morton follows as Gibson and Eaton keep using the racket.
-Lane basically eliminates himself as he hangs from the other side and simply drops off. Eaton is on his own now.
-Morton is spanking Eaton’s ass with the racket. He does so until Eaton rolls onto the other side of the scaffold. The smacks continue. Again, poor Bobby Eaton.
WINNERS: The Rock N Roll Express in 10:21 after kicking the Midnight Express off the scaffold.
-Bubba has climbed the scaffold! He throws the racket away and takes his jacket off. He’s ready to fight. What an image. Morton tells Bubba to look over there, Bubba takes the bait and Morton hits Bubba in the dick, running away afterwards. That is such a Cena move. Ricky Morton is the LVP of the PPV for that shit.
-Cornette throws a great tantrum.
FINAL WORD: This felt like the express version of last year’s scaffold match, pun intended.
-Ross and Schiavone recap the UWF Title match and speak about the possibly underhanded way Williams won. Schiavone throws it to Caudle backstage.
-Caudle interviews Hayes, Garvin and Precious. Garvin cuts an incredibly middle of the road babyface promo. He previews the rest of the entire card and challenges the Tag Champions, whoever they may be later. He wishes the best for his brother, Ronnie, in the main event. Take a second to breathe, Jimmy. Damn! Why isn’t Hayes cutting this?
-After Garvin stops talking, Williams enters and talks about capitalizing on Barry’s mistake. He talks about the Sooners never giving up and giving 110-210 percent at all time. Dr. Death also calls himself the Wrestling Machine of the Year. He certainly isn’t the Wrestling Promo Machine of the Year.
-The scaffold is down and JR and Tony preview the TV Title Unification match coming up.
-Overly cocky heel music plays leading Terry Taylor to the ring with Eddie Gilbert. The song changes, but sadly not to In the Air Tonight with Nikita Koloff’s entrance.
MATCH NUMBER FOUR: TV TITLE UNIFICATION MATCH- Terry Taylor (UWF TV Champ) w/Eddie Gilbert vs Nikita Koloff (NWA TV Champ)
-Nikita weighs in at 137 kilos. In other words, Michael Hayes’ breakfast.
-Pushing and lock ups make up the first 90 seconds of the match.
-Taylor continually backpedals because Nikita looks ready to kill at any second.
-Nikita snorts and sticks his tongue out in the middle of a wristlock. Nothing like intimidating on defense.
-Nikita could have been the early Undertaker with all of these no-sells.
-Look at what I’ve written so far. Seven minutes have passed. Needless to say, it’s been boring.
-I’m starting to see why the Red Rooster happened. Taylor just seems like a bitch.
-For the first time I’ve seen since this project started, feet on the ropes haven’t worked for the count of three.
-Ten minutes in: Taylor still working the armbar. Not a lot to write home about.
-Schiavone calls Nikita “the Super Athlete”. There you go, Rusev. Have fun.
-Taylor avoids the Russian Sickle and Nikita bounces off the corner, looking vulnerable finally.
-I think Nikita and Taylor called dibs on working the arm backstage.
-Even on offense, Taylor seems soft. Current LVP of the PPV.
-Every Hebner is a self-important dick that has to stand up for himself in every match.
-Gilbert clips Nikita’s leg and Taylor locks in the Figure Four. He is caught cheating again and Hebner admonishes. Gilbert sneaks another cheat in.
-The heels collide. Let’s go home!
WINNER: Nikita Koloff in 18:55 to unify the NWA and UWF TV Titles after hitting Terry Taylor with the Russian Sickle.
FINAL WORD: It may have been the clash of styles, but I was very disappointed by this. The 15 minute TV Title time limit should have been used.
-Edit and the intros for the next match are underway. No Horsemen music for Arn and Tully’s entrance is pretty silly. The Road Warriors pop is real even without “OHHHHHHHHHHHH WHAT A RUSH” and LOD enters. Their black spiked pads look is really their best.
MATCH NUMBER FIVE: NWA TAG TITLE MATCH- Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (Champions) w/JJ Dillon vs The Road Warriors w/Paul Ellering
-At this point, I’ve noticed this show has been streamlined. There is less filler, no wasted time and zero Paul Jones and Jimmy Valiant crap.
-I just made the Road Warriors in Chicago connection. No wonder they are so huge right now.
-Hawk and Arn start, with Arn being great already, selling fear at every turn.
-I wouldn’t tell the Road Warriors to their face that their tights are too high, but they are.
-A press slam for LOD is just like a normal bodyslam for anyone else.
-Hawk hits a sweet dropkick. Animal hits a sweet catch powerslam.
-Even a simple clothesline looks deadly from the Road Warriors.
-Hawk spits at JJ Dillon. It had good distance.
-Every time the Horsemen try and build offense or get a double team going, the LOD comes right back.
-Gorilla press throw into a bearhug into a punch into a bend! The Road Warriors are like the Motor City Machine Guns with these combinations. They are the new MVPs of the PPV.
-Arn loudly screams “I’m tired of your shit” upon tagging in. Less than one minute later, two more press slams with pumps occur. Those are starting to get a little redundant. Hawk’s knee finally gets cliiped and the heels get the advantage finally.
-Tully hits Hawk’s leg with a chair behind the ref’s back. Arn follows it up with a DDT for a good nearfall.
-Everyone in red tights has the ability to do the Figure Four.
-Animal gets the hot tag and hits his own sweet dropkick. The match starts breaking down and Tully hits Tommy Young out of the ring. Arn is propelled over the top rope, which Young barely sees on the floor while Hebner comes out to help.
-Safest Doomsday Device ever leads to a three count by Hebner. The crowd blows the roof off of the place.
-Read this like William Shatner in Star Trek 2: DUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTY!!!!!!!
WINNERS: Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard by DQ in 13:25 to retain the titles after Animal throws Arn Anderson over the top rope.
-LOD still leaves with the titles as the crowd craps all over this, chanting “BULLSHIT” loudly. The replay looks bad, as Young really didn’t see Animal duck Arn, who went over the top.
FINAL WORD: A well-structured tag match that is ruined by refusing to give the crowd the feel good moment for the hometown heroes. If I had a time machine, I would eradicate the over the top rope rule from the NWA.
-Whoever Jake Gregory is, he annoys me and he is backstage with Magnum TA. They discuss the upcoming US Title match and Dusty’s career “possibly” being on the line.
-Caudle is backstage with Nikita Koloff, who has both TV Titles. Nikita speaks in a really heavy accent to the point where you can barely tell what he is saying. Good job learning that, Scott. He also speaks some Russian as well. Lana needs to do more work to inch up on him to become the best fake Russian ever. I want to say that Nikita says “I want to say” a lot.
-JJ Dillon is now interviewed, breathing a sigh of relief that the Tag Titles have been retained. He cuts a decent promo about being preoccupied with Dusty Rhodes for the better part of seven years now. He is confident Lex Luger will retire Dusty Rhodes. I can’t imagine trying to do something for seven years and having to bank on Lex Luger to get it done.
-Instead of Luger’s badass 80s theme, some generic stuff leads Lex out with a ring robe even more generic. Dusty Rhodes has another new song and a red bandana on his hand. I’m shocked he climbs to the top of the cage as quickly as he did.
MATCH NUMBER SIX: US TITLE CAGE MATCH; IF DUSTY LOSES, HE MUST LEAVE WRESTLING FOR 90 DAYS-Lex Luger (Champion) w/JJ Dillon vs Dusty Rhodes
-Johnny Weaver holds the key to the door outside. Let’s trust the oldest guy with that job.
-Lex Luger isn’t a hometown hero like LOD.
-Both are wearing plain, black trunks. It looks like a drastic before and after for the Biggest Loser.
-Luger poses and makes his titties bounce. Dusty dances, flexes and his titties bounce…just from moving.
-I am not looking forward to years upon years of Luger’s fake yelling.
-Dusty is constantly slapping on the sleeper, dubbed the Weaver Lock by the commentators.
-Luger attempts an over-exaggerated running elbow, goes two steps too far and jumps really high, yelling like a doofus. It is better to be boring (like Terry Taylor) than sheer shit. Lex Luger is the new LVP of the PPV.
-If you close your eyes, it sounds like Lex Luger is on a roller coaster.
-Lex gets on offense, throwing Dusty into the cage. Dusty is now bloody.
-Dusty hits a dropkick. To say it wasn’t pretty would be an understatement.
-Luger rebounds with a crappy backbreaker and barely gets Dusty up for a Torture Rack. I’m not sure if it was on purpose or not.
-Dusty has some lazy fucking kickouts.
-Why does Luger hide using the ropes to help his submission? It’s a cage match, for crying out loud!
-A close up of Luger shows his heavy breathing. He is more blown up than a toy in Sid’s backyard.
-Dusty starts to Hulk up out of nowhere. He hits his trademark punches and sloppy as hell DDT.
-Weaver Lock in the center of the ring. Dusty is on Lex’s back. JJ hits Weaver in the back with a chair on the floor. The referee is now down. He grabs the key, but throws the chair over the top of the cage.
-Why does the referee have to be down?
WINNER: Dusty Rhodes in 16:25 to win the US Title after a DDT onto the chair.
-The replay shows Luger being a slow piece of crap.
-It takes minutes before the official announcement is made to the live crowd. That is so annoying.
FINAL WORD: When Dusty Rhodes is the workhorse, you are in for an interesting time.
-Schiavone and Ross talk about the upcoming main event. Flair’s theme hits and the crowd pops. While crazy lasers are everywhere, Flair walks to the ring in a white robe. The song that played at the start of the show hits and that just doesn’t look right. Ronnie Garvin enters with a red towel on his neck and the NWA Title around his waist. Wasn’t he wrestling as a women two years ago?
MATCH NUMBER SEVEN: NWA TITLE CAGE MATCH- Ric Flair vs Ronnie Garvin (Champion)
-The boo-birds are out for Garvin from the fellas, but the women and children are still cheering him. He was the 1987 John Cena.
-The first Flair WOO: confident and drawn out.
-The chops and slaps are loud and crisp early. Garvin is matching Flair thus far.
-“GARVIN SUCKS” chant from the males. I can almost hear the Apple Doooooooooooooooo! This is basic Garvinomics.
-Flair storms towards Tommy Young after a chop, then a Flair flop.
-Ross compares Garvin to Rocky Marciano and Joe Frazier. He wasn’t always the best.
-Garvin Stomp. As I type that, Randy Orton gets a boner.
-These strikes, punches and chops are hard to watch. This is like Kenta Kobashi vs Roderick Strong.
-The crowd is now firmly in Flair’s corner. They are WOOing along.
-One guy in the crowd keeps WOOing like a wolf. That sounds like a bootleg Duran Duran song.
-The crowd gets up for a knee smash followed immediately with a Figure Four. They are hoping it is over.
-Flair using the ropes and yelling “Count him down” to Tommy Young means it isn’t over.
-Garvin reverses the hold, but both guys are in the ropes.
-Garvin continually blocks his face going into the cage and finally throws Flair into it. He then grates Flair’s head into the mesh. That is a Flair specialty just like bleeding, which he is now doing.
-Garvin bites Flair’s wound. It tastes like 300 different women.
-Flair flops from the top rope as both men slugged it out from there. Once he lands on the mat, he gets up and flops again. Great.
-Garvin catches Flair on the top rope. All-time record on PPV for Flair from the top: 1 for 4.
-Garvin locks in his own Figure Four and Flair yelps in pain. He isn’t as bad as Luger, that’s for sure.
-I like the hard hitting nature of this match. It feels like a big match. Garvin hits a top rope cross body for a good nearfall and follows it with a backslide for another two count.
-Garvin may not be exciting to look at, but he can fucking beat you up.
-Both men are wrestling on the top rope again, trading blows. Flair ends up crotched on the top rope. That explains Reid Flair (too soon?)
-Another good sequence: Garvin hits a top rope sunset flip and Flair counters into a pin, holding on the ropes. Tommy Young kicks his hands away and Garvin gets a two count.
-Garvin hits the Hands of Stone after Young gets knocked down. He recovers for another two.
-That heel pop, though!
WINNER: Ric Flair in 17:38 to win the NWA Title after catching Garvin and running his face into the cage.
-The ending of the match is replayed as JJ Dillon comes out to celebrate with Flair. Garvin leaves in the darkness. How sad.
FINAL WORD: All the shit given to Garvin aside, that was my favorite Flair Starrcade match thus far. Give the runt credit...but mostly give it to Flair.
-TWN: The Wrestling Network! They had the jump on WWE 27 years ago!
-Ross and Schiavone quickly recap the show and the video/still package plays to the opening song. It’s becoming almost as dreaded as THAT SONG.
THE LAST IMAGE: RIc Flair and JJ Dillon celebrating followed by “A Presentation of the Wrestling Network.”
THE WRAP UP
FINAL MVP of PPV: I have such a bad taste in my mouth from the tag match that I’m tempted to revert back to Sting, but The Road Warriors were beasts that the crowd came to see and they delivered.
FINAL LVP of PPV: If that is what a Total Package is supposed to look like, can I return Lex Luger if I still have my receipt?
MY FAVORITE MATCH: Ric Flair vs Ronnie Garvin
MY LEAST FAVORITE MATCH: Steve Williams vs Barry Windham
WWE HALL OF FAMERS IN ACTION: 7 (Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Hawk, Animal, Dusty Rhodes)
DEARLY DEPARTED IN ACTION: 3 (Eddie Gilbert, Steve Williams, Hawk)
FINAL THOUGHT: This wasn’t a very exciting show (or providing the most amount of material, hence no pop culture trifecta references). However, the presentation was solid, the matches were mostly entertaining and it felt like a modern step in the right direction in many ways for the NWA. It’s barely one, but MULLET RECOMMENDS.
NEXT TIME: Dusty Rhodes jacks off. Oh, my bad. It’s says “Bunkhouse Stampede” on the WWE Network.