Nickrjís rant for Starrcade 1988 subtitled True Gritt!
Live from the Scope arena in Norfolk, Virginia on December 26th 1988. This was a month after Ted Turner bought the NWA from Jimmy Crockett. Dusty Rhodes was fired as head booker and replaced by Ric Flair. I thought this would be an interesting show so thatís why I bought it on Ebay. Letís get to it! This video opens with a lot of ads of other NWA videos from this era.
Your hosts are Jim Ross and Bob Caudle
US Tag Team Title Match: The Fantastics (Tommy Rogers and Bobby Fulton) VS Kevin Sullivan and Steve Williams
Sullivan starts it with Fulton and chops him in the corner. Bobby comes back with a kick to the gut and a 2nd rope Lou Thesz press for 2. Tie up and a chop fest develops. Rogers comes in and hits a backdrop. Fulton is back in and Williams gets a blind tag on a side headlock. Jason Hervey is shown in the audience and JR says heís a big fan of the NWA. Dr. Death gets an arm wringer and the Fantastics start to work on the right arm. Rogers frees himself of the wristlock. Fulton back in again and goes to the left arm. Doc misses a charger and a double monkey flip in the corner. Williams blocks another one and press slams Fulton. Cut to a bear hug by Willams. Fulton comes out with an eye poke. Rogers gets the tag and hammers on Sullivan but runs into a boot. Sullivan goes to the top and is slammed off the top. Rogers goes to the top but Sullivan catches him with the knees. Williams is back in and hits a clothesline. The Varsity Club double teams Rogers and Sullivan gets a sloppy tackle for 2. Chinlock by Sullivan. Rogers gets up but takes a knee to the gut. Legdrop by Doc. Doc drops him over the top rope followed by a head butt for 2. Chinlock by Doc now. Extended one at that. Rogers gets up and hits a dropkick but is caught by Kevin and slammed. Double stomp by Sullivan for 2. Suplex blocked by Tommy and reversed. Fulton gets the hot tag and cleans house on the Varsities. 4 man brawl now and Fulton hammers on Doctor Death. 10 punch count in the corner and he hooks the sleeper. Rogers puts Kevin in one too. Dr. Death drops Fulton on the top rope and gets the pin at 9:49 for the titles! The match lasted 16 minutes and itís not a bad opener. **
The Midnight Express (with Jim Cornette) VS The Original Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose with Paul E Dangerously)
This was at the beginning of the Cornette/Dangerously feud. 4 man brawl to start and the ME clean house. Jim wants Paul E. to come in the ring. Condrey is double suplexed in the ring by the ME and hiptossed. Stan Lane continues with Condrey. They tie up and Condrey is thrown to the outside and hit with Cornetteís racket. Lane ties up with Condrey put is backed up and Dennis does the 10 punch count but it is countered. Randy Rose comes in and ties up. Bobby Eaton is in now and a hard elbow drop to the head. Eaton with an elbow and he hits Rose to the outside where Corny uses the racket again. Rose is caught in the ropes and rammed into the post outside by Lane. Rose wants a timeout but no go. Lane comes back in and gets a shoulderblock and a cross body for 2. Condrey is back in and is hammered as well. Eaton is in but Dennis starts fighting back but heís rammed into the corner. Eaton goes to the top and hits a flying elbow. Crowd is really loving this! Lane back in and snapmares into the chinlock. Dennis goes to the ropes. Lane fakes a superkick and they tie up again and Eaton is back in and hits a bulldog. Lane comes back in and they double team Rose. Elbow by Lane and he blocks a monkey flip. Eaton back in and a lot of quick tagging as Lane hits a splash on the ropes. Elbow by Eaton but he misses a charge in the corner. Condrey now hammers on Eaton. Eaton takes an atomic drop on the outside. Rose hammers on Eaton and kicks him in the gut. Condrey is back in and powerslams Condrey but Rose misses the Rocket Launcher. Lane gets the tag and hammers on both OME. Enzuguri on Rose. 4 man brawl erupts and Paul E uses the TELEPHONE OF DOOM but Cornette hammers him. Rose covers Lane for 2 but the ref sees the phone and questions Rose about t and The ME hit the double goozle for the pin at 12:13 which was actually 17 minutes. Good matchup ***. The OME pound on Cornette and the ME now. But Eaton makes the save with the tennis racket.
The Junkyard Dog and Ivan Koloff VS The Russian Assassins (with Paul Jones)
JYD is recently coming over from the WWF. Both Assassins are masked so I donít know whoís who. JYD starts with #1 and rolls him up but no cover. Head butts and he throws him into the post for 2. #2 comes in now and gets an eyerake but heís hammered to the outside. Ivan throws him back in and once again Jones breaks the count on the outside. Koloff is in and he hits a double elbow. Chokeslam by Koloff for 2. Eye rake by #2 though. He runs into a boot and Koloff hits a 2nd rope clothesline for 2. #1 is back in and takes an elbow. Sunset flip but the ref is distracted. JYD is back in and a double clothesline. Snap mare but he misses a falling headbutt. #1 starts hammering away and tags #2. #2 kicks away and taunts Koloff to allow a double team miscommunication. #1 back in and he gets a low kick and an eye rake. #2 is in and misses the Russian Missle. Koloff gets the tag and hammers on both Russians and Paul Jones. They are rammed together. 4 man brawl and #1 collides with Kolloff. Atmoic Drop into a clothesline but Paul Jones puts a foreign object in #2ís mask and #2 head butts on Koloff for the pin at 6:47. Whatever. 1/4*
THE VARSITY CLUB EXPLODES!! Kevin Sullivan will be put in a cage and suspended to the ring in the aisleway. Shove fest to start and Rick hammers on Mike. Rotundo gets back in and goes to the chinlock and uses his feet on the ropes for leverage. JR reveals a clip job that Rick Steiner hit his head hard on the floor outside. Teddy Long (whoís been the ref in every match thus far) catches Mikeís feet on the ropes. Mike continues to hammer on Rick but he fights back but Mike gets a low kick and an elbow. Elbow drop for 2 and he goes back to the chinlock. JR points that Mike has held the TV title for one year. Back up Rick takes a flying clothesline. Sunset flip by Rick for 2. Rotundo misses a drop kick and Rick gets a small package for 2. Clothesline by Rick and the 10 punch count as Steve Willams comes down to the ring. Backdrop by Rick followed by a powerslam for 2. Belly to Belly suplex but the bell is rung by Williams so itís unofficial. Tommy Young comes down and explains to Gary Capetta that Steve rang the bell and he explains it to Teddy as the cage is lowered and Sullivan comes out. Teddy restarts the match and Rotundo gets the sleeper but is thrown into Sullivan and Rick gets the pin at 6:51 (Actually 18 minutes) for the TV title and a big time pop! Rocking match ***1/4
Tie up and Bammer powers Windham into the corner. Another tie up and itís broken. Bigelow gets a shove. Another tie up and Barry gets some shots in the corner but Bammer picks him in a torture rack and drops to his knees. Ouch! Barry appears to be hurt and goes to the outside to clear his head. Back in Windham has on a black glove and Bigelow no sells a back suplex. Barry to the outside again. In the ring Bammer gets a shoulderblock and some more stalling occurs. Barry gets an eye poke and he hammers on him but Bigelow no sells that as well. Press slam by Bammer. Barry goes to the outside again. Yawn. They tie up once more and Bigelow does the 10 punch count. Actually 5 and Windham does a flop. Dropkick to the gut by Bigelow and Windham goes over the top rope but he wasnít thrown over. Headbutt by Bammer and a kick. Veritcal Suplex by Bammer for 2. Chinlock by Bammer. Barry gets back up and starts hammering and he throws Bammer thru the ropes and Bammer lands on his bad knee. He hits the slingshot splash though but doesnít want the 3. Press Slam by Bigelow. He goes to the top rope and misses the flying headbutt. Shouldíve pinned him after the slingshot splash. Barry is back up now and he starts hammering on Bammer now. Running lariat. Belly to back suplex by Barry. Windham now does the 10 punch count followed by a dropkick sending Bammer outside. He rams him into the ringpost. Barry gets the claw hold. Bigelow makes it into the corner though. Barry slams the huge Bammer and he goes to the top and misses his flying elbow. Bammer gets up and pounds on Windham. He catches Windham and they both go over the top and land on the cameraman. Atmoic drop into the post by Barry Barry hits Bigelow to the post and beats the count back in the ring at 16:13 to retain. Slow match but it picked up towards the end. *3/4 I thought Bammer would win because Windham would go to the WWF by the summer of 1989.
World Tag Team Title Match: The Road Warriors (with Paul Ellering) VS Sting and Dusty Rhodes
The Roadies turned heel by turning on Dusty. Despite being heels theyíve got a lot of fans here tonight. 4 man brawl to start and the faces knock the Warriors out of the ring. Sting starts with Animal. Animal misses a punch in the corner. Tie up and a shoulderblock by Animal and a dropkick by Sting. Sting goes to work on the right arm of the Animal. Tag to Dusty who hits an elbow and takes him down. Hawk comes in now and he ties up with Dusty. Dusty powers him in the corner.† Sting is back in and he works on the right arm as well. Hawk kicks away on the gut of Sting. Sting comes back with a right hand. Power slam by Sting followd by an elbow. Animal gets the tag and hits a press slam. He drops Sting on the top rope but Sting blocks it and hits two clotheslines. Sting goes to the top and hits a flying bodypress on the floor on Animal! Wow this guy is motivated tonight! Rhodes gets the tag again and pounds on Animal because heís JUST TOO FAT. He rams his leg to the post twice. Hawk gets the tag and does a test of strength. But Dusty kicks him and tries to hook a figure four but Animal breaks it. Hawk on the outside rakes Dustyís eye and tries to bust it open. Back in Hawk hits a standing dropkick and rakes Dustyís injured eye some more. Dusty starts no selling however and he hits a standing dropkick. Animal goes back to work on the eye though and goes to the chinlock. Hawk comes in and hammers on Dusty some more. Sleeper by Hawk but it is countered. Sting gets the hot tag and he hits a face slam on Animal. Dropkick to the back by Sting and he hits the Stinger Splash. He sets up the Scorpion but Hawk makes the save. Hawk throws Sting over the top but the ref didnít see it. The Roadies double team Rhodes but Animal takes a low kick and Sting hits a flying body press but Paul comes in and breaks the count and draws the DQ at 11:17. Bad ending but a very good match ***1/2 Rhodes would leave the NWA soon after and join the WWF by the summer of 1989 and do nothing for a year and a half.
If Ric Flair is DQíd Luger gets the title. Funny as itís the day after Christmas and Lex is wearing Red and Ric is wearing green. Could this be a secret alliance with Santa Claus? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT!! Lex throws Flair into the ropes but Flair puts on the brakes and Flair tries to imtimidate Luger. Tie up into the corner and they go to the ropes and Flair gets a chop. Flair puts on the brakes again and Luger clotheslines Flair over the top. He takes his time outside before coming back in. Flair gets a hammerlock but Luger reverses. They tie up and Flair gets a side headlock and a shoulder block. Flair wants a test of strength and Flair gets some chops and a shoulder block. Powerslam by Luger. Press slam for 2. Luger works on the right arm now. Flair is whipped stomach first into the corner. Chop by Flair which is no sold. They go outside but Tommy Young tells Luger to go back in the ring. Kick by Luger into the gut but Luger throws Flair stomach first again and Flair with a flop. Luger goes to the hammer lock and works on the back. Elbow by Flair but heís taken down again. Shoulderblock by Luger and a hiptoss. Flair gets an eyepoke though. Flair with some chops but Luger no sells it. They go outside again and Luger works on the arm outside and throws him to the post. Back in the ring Luger continues to work on the left arm. Flair starts to fight back and hits a shoulderblock but Luger hits a clothesline for 2. Vertical suplex from the apron to the middle of the ring for 2. He misses the horizontal elbow though. Flair starts to work on Luger. He throws him thru the ropes. Flair chops on Luger outside and he rams him into the railing. Snapmare by Flair. He hits the kneedrop. Chop by Flair and a snapmare followed by a double stomp. Chop by Flair and an elbow. Luger starts no selling again. Luger pounds on Flair and hooks the sleeper. Back suplex by Flair though. Flair with a kick and a snapmare. Flair tries the Figure Four but is cradled for 2. Hard chop and another snapmare. Flair goes to the top but is caught by Luger and superplexed. Beautifully executed for 2. Luger hooks the figure four on Flair. Flair makes the ropes though. Luger hammers on Flair but Flair throws him over the top after the ref was knocked down. Luger goes to the top and hits a flying bodypress for 2. Gut shot by Flair and Luger blocks a hiptoss and gets a backslide for 2. 10 punch count by Luger. Flair is flipped upside down in the corner. Suplex from the apron to the middle of the ring by Luger. Flair gets up and chops on Luger but with no affect. Press slam by Luger. Power slam. And then he grabs JJ on the apron. Flair trips Luger and hits a chair across the right knee and Luger sells it now. Flair goes after the injured right knee now. Chop block by Flair. Knee drop to the leg and he hooks the Figure Four. Luger turns it over though and Flair breaks it. Flair goes back to work on the right leg. Snapmare by Flair and a knee drop to the leg. Flair goes to the top rope but is caught by Luger and slammed from the top. Luger is thrown thru the ropes but is nailed on the apron. Luger is fired up now. Press slam by Luger but he collapses on his bad leg. Luger thrown thru the ropes again. Sunset flip by Luger for 2. Luger blocks a forearm and does the 10 punch count and hits a clothesline for 2. Power slam by Luger. He hooks him on the torture rack but he collapses on his leg and Flair gets the pin with his feet on the ropes at 30:55 to retain. Great matchup! ****1/2
Summary: This was the first major show under Ted Turner and Ric Flair but that doesnít mean the action was all bad. There were 4 very good matchups here and in turn set up an awesome 1989 for the NWA. RECOMMENDED for some great old school action. I love 80ís NWA!! (Unlike 90ís WCW)