WCW Starrcade 1988: True Gritt
by Scrooge McSuck
- This is, I believe, the first PPV to be featured under the new ownership of WCW. Since the last PPV, the NWA/WCW roster lost the likes of Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, The Sheepherders, and Nikita Koloff, among others, and were about to lose Dusty Rhodes and Barry Windham as well, so the roster that was so deep was starting to thin out. However, this card looks like it has promise, so we don't have to worry about anything yet.
- But before we go to the show, it's THE time, and we get a bunch of commercials for various NWA VHS and Beta releases, including Starrcade '86: Night of the Skywalkers, Jim Crockett Sr. Cup '88, the 1987 Great American Bash Tour '87, featuring the Wargames matches, "The Danger Zone", hosted by Magnum T.A. and Missy Hyatt, Starrcade '87: Chi-Town Heat, Great American Bash '88: The Price for Freedom, and Best of Starrcade 1983-1987. Order the Danger Zone now, and you will get a calender of the NWA wrestlers and Missy Hyatt. This eats up about 10-minutes of the 2-hour long VHS tape, by the way.
- We're (not really) live (anymore) from the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, VA, held on December 26th, 1988. Broadcast duties fall on the tandem of Jim Ross and Bob Caudle, unless otherwise noted, but I don't think we'll have to worry about that here.
- NWA U.S. Tag Team Championship Match:
The Fantastics © vs. Kevin Sullivan & Steve Williams:
Good enough choice to open the show, I guess. The Fantastics won the titles in a Tournament, besting the combination of Eddie Gilbert and Ron Simmons at the previous Clash of the Champions (that would be the fourth, just incase), so they've only had the straps for 19 days at this point. Sullivan and Williams comprise two-thirds of the Varsity Club. Futlon and Sullivan lockup into the corner, and no, Sullivan doesn't give a clean break. Irish whip, and Fulton with a boot to the face, followed by a Lou Thesz Press for a two count. Lockup into the corner, and Fulton hammers away. Rogers tags in, and takes Sullivan over with a back drop. Rogers with a headlock, and Fulton tags in with the same. Hey, it's Jason Hervey and the same girl he was with at the 4th Clash of the Champions. Dr. Death tags in, scaring off Fulton. Rogers works the arm, but Williams counters a wristlock. Fulton and Williams trade wristlocks. Whip to the corner, and Williams misses a charge. Fulton tries for a monkey flip, but it takes both Fantastics to pull it off. Fulton tries again, but it doesn't work, and Williams presses him into the air a few times before slamming him down. Obvious clip job, as we suddenly join the middle of a bearhug spot. Rogers and Sullivan tag in and exchange blows. Whip to the corner, and Rogers eats boot. Sullivan heads to the top rope, but gets slammed off, as we're announced of the time. Rogers heads to the top rope, but gets double booted on the way down. Williams tags in and kills Rogers with a clothesline. Sullivan tags back in and comes off the ropes with a clothesline as well, but that only gets a two count. Sullivan with a chinlock, and hey, it's Teddy Long doing the job of referee! Williams tags in, and drops a leg across the back of the head, then drops Rogers throat-first across the top rope. Williams with a headbutt, and covers for two. Williams with the chinlock, now. Rogers fights free and connects with a dropkick. Sullivan cuts off the tag and slams him down hard, then does a double chest stomp for a two count. Rogers blocks a suplex and takes Sullivan over with his own. Fulton gets the hot tag and hammers away on everyone. Irish whip and back drop on Dr. Death, followed by a snapmare. Fulton with mounted punches in the corner, then applies a sleeper hold. He tries the Thesz Press on Williams, but gets caught, and Williams drops him throat first across the top rope, then covers for the three count at a clipped 9:51, giving the Varsity Club the U.S. Tag Titles. ** Looked like a decent match, but the styles clash was too much, and about half of the match was clipped out, so it's hard to really judge it.
- The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Original Midnight Express (w/ Paul E. Dangerously):
(Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Sweet Stan Lane vs. Loverboy Dennis Condrey & Ravishing Randy Rose)
I'm sure this one will take a paragraph to explain, because I don't know where to start. Paul E. had been managing Condrey and Rose in the AWA, and they were the original version of the Midnight Express, although their partnership is considerably less memorable from the early 80's in comparison to either the Eaton/Condrey or Eaton/Lane versions. Paul E. brought the "Originals" in to prove that they were better than Cornette's latest version of the team, and after a few sneak attack beatings, we've got this match. Both teams come out to the same music, a rip off version of the theme from the movie... yep, the Midnight Express. How could you not see that one coming? For the record, this is probably my favorite theme used in WCW/JCP, except maybe the Horsemen theme that was used later in the WCW era.
It's a brawl before the bell, with the Midnights sending the Originals out following a pair of back drops, allowing time for Cornette to get on the house mic and threaten to kick Paul E.'s "butt." We get formal introductions, Both teams are from the Dark Side, and we don't get Lane's introduction of Cornette. The Express bring Condrey into the ring with a double suplex, then Eaton takes him over with a hip toss while Lane clotheslines Rose out of the ring. Lane and Condrey lockup, and Condrey finds himself out of the ring, where he's met by a tennis racket shot from Cornette. Paul E. rings the bell himself in protest, but that's not allowed. Back in the ring, and Condrey mounts Lane with punches, but Lane easily counters with an inverted atomic drop, sending him out of the ring, again. Cornette begins prancing around the apron, mocking the Originals and Dangerously. Rose tags in to try it out with Lane. Irish whip, and Lane with a drop toe hold, followed by an elbow drop from Eaton. Irish whip, and Eaton with a back elbow, followed by a right that sends Rose out of the ring, where he gets a taste of the racket. Again, Paul E. rings the bell in protest. Eaton hammers away on Rose, who teeters between the ropes before being knocked back to the arena floor. Lane meets him and rams Rose into the ring post. Back in the ring, and Rose wants mercy. Lane tags in and grabs a headlock. Irish whip, and Lane with a shoulder block, followed by a cross body for a one count. Condrey comes in and offers a hand, so Lane kicks him in the stomach for it. Eaton tags in and is quickly pounded on. Lane hangs Condrey up from the apron, but Condrey remains in control, pounding Eaton on the apron. Eaton fights him off and heads to the top rope, and comes off with an elbow drop. Eaton knocks Rose off the apron, and Lane tags in, taking Condrey over with a snapmare, and applying a chinlock.Lane cradles him, but Condrey rolls into the ropes. Lockup, and Lane with a headlock. Eaton tags in. Irish whip, and Eaton with a fist to the midsection, followed by a running bulldog. Rose tags in, as does Lane. Eaton cheap shots Rose, and Lane puts him down with an elbow. Whip to the corner, and Lane blocks a monkey flip attempt. Lane with a double throat thrust, and Eaton tags back in, pounding away. Lane tags in, and leap frogs over Eaton and lands across the back of Rose , but can't get a pin attempt. Irish whip, and Eaton connects with a back elbow. Whip to the corner, and Eaton crotches himself on a charge.
Condrey tags in, and stomps away on the face of Eaton. Rose pulls Eaton out of the ring, and connects with an atomic drop. Back in the ring, and we get a mild clip job I think, with Rose in control of Eaton. Eaton tries slugging it out, but gets caught in the corner and hung up in the ropes. Condrey tags in and plants Eaton with a powerslam. Rose tags in, and gets launched off the top, but misses the splash. Lane gets the hot tag, and he unloads on everyone with karate kicks. Lane shows off his stripper skills before nailing Rose with an enziguri. Eaton comes in and brawls with Condrey, and in the ring comes Paul E., who nails Lane with the telephone. Cornette comes in and knocks Paul E. into the next century. The referee starts counting, but stops when he sees the cell phone. Rose pleads with him, but the crowd tells Long what's up with cheers. In all the confusion, the Midnights nail Rose with the Double Goozle, and Lane covers for the three count at a clipped 12:11. After the match, the Originals attack with Cornette's tennis racket, and Cornette gets knocked out with the telephone. The beatings continue until we simply cut to the next match. Well, this feud is FAR from over, even though Starrcade should be the night of ending feuds. *** Pretty good match, but without that five minutes of the Originals working over Eaton, it seemed to be missing something, with it coming across more of the Midnights wiping the floor with the Originals for most of what was shown.
- Ivan Koloff & The Junkyard Dog vs. The Russian Assassins (w/ Paul Jones):
Talk about a crappy match to follow up the previous tag matches. I've covered this a couple of times already, but in short, JYD is a last minute replacement for Nikita Koloff, and thus the feud just seems like a waste of time. JYD had only left the WWF about a month earlier, so it's pretty surprising to see him already working a big PPV so soon after. The Assassins are Jack Victory and the Angel of Death, a.k.a the guy allegedly slated to be the Black Scorpion before someone realized no one gives a fuck who that is. If JYD and Koloff win, the Assassins unmask and Paul Jones retires. Dusty must still be booking these shows. JYD and Assassin #1 start, and JYD quickly tries a roll up, then does his signature headbutts. Whip to the corner (very weakly done), and Assassins posts himself. JYD with a clothesline for a two count. Assassin #2 tags in and he hammers away. Irish whip is reversed, and JYD knocks the Assassin over the top, to the floor. Back in the ring, and JYD covers, but Jones pulls the leg under the ropes. Koloff tags in and the faces with a double elbow. Irish whip, and Koloff choke slams Assassin for a two count. Assassin pounds away and chokes. Whip to the corner, and Koloff beats the charging Assassin. Koloff to the second turnbuckle, and he nails a clothesline for a one count. Assassin #1 tags in and is quickly hit with a back elbow. Irish whip is reversed, and Koloff comes off the ropes with a sunset flip. He rams the Assassin's head into the head of the JYD, and they nail Assassin #1 with a double clothesline. JYD with a snapmare, but he misses a headbutt. Assassin #1 hammers away, then tags in #2, who puts the boots to the dog. The Assassins try some double teaming, but it doesn't work in their favor. The Assassins remain in control at the moment. Whip to the corner and Assassin #1 with some crappy offense. JYD avoids "The Russian Missile", and Koloff gets the hot tag. Koloff hammers away on everything walking with weak forearms, including Paul Jones. Everyone's in the ring and the Assassins get whipped into each other. Stuff happens and Koloff hits the sickle on Assassin #2. Assassin #1 loads his mask and headbutts Koloff, then makes a cover for the three count at 6:48. Who didn't see that coming? Seriously, never trust the team or person who has everything to gain with the stipulations. * Match was pretty boring, but wasn't the worst I've ever seen, and it was kept short. Koloff would vanish from WCW television shortly after, so I guess this feud never really had a blow off. As if anyone cared.
- NWA Television Championship Match:
Mike Rotundo © (w/ Kevin Sullivan) vs. Rick Steiner:
The blowoff, of sorts, of the Varsity Club split. Steiner, the long-time lacky and bitch of Sullivan and Rotundo, finally had enough of being treated like a a dim-witted joke and broke off on his own, getting sympathetic heat in the process against the jock bully in the form of Rotundo. Sullivan is being suspended over the ring area in a cage, just to make everything seem a little more fair... I guess that means Dr. Death will run in. Rotundo has been the reigning T.V. Champion for almost all of 1988, over-coming all challengers and even gaining praise from Jim Ross for being such a great champion. Shoving match to start, followed by a slugfest, won by Steiner. Horrible clip job, as we see Rotundo applying a chinlock, and he's covered in sweat. Rotundo uses the ropes for leverage, just to let you know. Rotundo with a boot to the face, followed by a european uppercut. Steiner throws a desperation right, but Rotundo remains in control. Steiner keeps fighting back, but takes a knee to the midsection. Irish whip, and Rotundo with a back elbow, followed by an elbow drop for a one count. Rotundo goes back to the chinlock. Steiner fights free, but Rotundo kills him with a flying clothesline, complete with over-sell. Irish whip, and Steiner surprises Rotundo with a sunset flip for a two count. We hear the 15-minute mark being called. Irish whip, and Rotundo misses a dropkick. Steiner cradles him on a slam attempt for a two count. Irish whip is reversed, and Steiner nails a STIFF clothesline. Steiner with mounted punches in the corner, and out comes Steve Williams. Irish whip, and Steiner with a back drop. Irish whip, and Steiner with a powerslam, but that only gets a two count. Belly-to-belly suplex from Steiner, and suddenly Dr. Death rings the bell, trying to trick everyone that the Time Limit expired. Suddenly, Tommy Young comes to ringside to dispute the finish. Sullivan is free from his cage, but Tommy Young calls for the match to continue. Rotundo sucker punches Steiner, but gets thrown into Sullivan, who's arguing with the referees from the apron, and Steiner quickly covers for the three count from both referees, and we have a NEW Television Champion at 6:58 (clipped from about 17:00), to one of the loudest pops you will ever hear, especially considering the placement of the match on the card. Steiner laps around the ring with the belt in celebration. ** Nothing much from the match is really showcased, but the reaction for the finish alone means one of two things, or possibly both... the crowd really took a liking to and felt bad for Rick Steiner and really, really hated Rotundo and Sullivan (good hate). It's amazing how fictional storylines can tug at people like that.
- NWA United States Championship Match:
Barry Windham © (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink):
This is an interesting match. Bigelow is fresh off a run in the WWF where he was originally booked as the next big thing before injuries and (alleged) politics got in the way, and he's even got his WWF manager in tow with him. I don't recall anything of Bigelow's run in WCW at this point, so I'm assuming it was a throw together match, considering two of the top faces are scheduled for a Tag Title match later in the card. We don't get any introductions, as we immediately cut to them going face-to-chest. Lockup into the corner, and Bigelow gives a clean break. Lockup #2, and another break, although Windham looks agitated. Bigelow shoves Windham across the ring on the third lockup. Lockup into the corner, and Windham with a stiff series of rights. Irish whip is reversed, and Bigelow picks him up on his shoulders and crashes to his knees with Windham across his back in a back breaker like move. Windham comes back in the ring and pounds away, then takes Bigelow down with a back suplex. Bigelow pops right back up, though, and scares Windham out of the ring. Back in the ring, and Bigelow grabs a headlock. Irish whip, and Bigelow with a shoulder block. Windham with a rake of the eyes, but a series of rights have no effect. Irish whip, and Bigelow with a press slam, forcing Windham out of the ring, again. Lockup into the corner, and Bigelow mounts him for some punching, giving Windham a chance to do a Greg Valentine style "timber" flop. Bigelow with a dropkick, sending Windham over the top rope, to the floor. Back in the ring, and Bigelow connects with a headbutt, followed by a suplex of the delayed kind. Bigelow covers, but only gets two, then slaps on a chinlock. Windham fights free and dumps Bigelow out of the ring. Windham follows out and unloads with rights. Bigelow with a headbutt from the apron, and he hits his sling-shot splash, but it only gets a two count because he lets Windham up. Bigelow with a press slam, and he heads to the top rope, but he misses his signature move. Windham does the Ken Shamrock psyche-out scream before anyone knew Shamrock was alive, and pounds away with rights. Windham comes off the ropes and decapitates Bigelow with the lariat. Windham with a back suplex, and he's taking his sweet time to finish Bigelow off. Windham mounts Bigelow in the corner for some punching. Irish whip, and Windham sends him out of the ring with a dropkick. Windham follows out again, and rams Bigelow into the post. Back in the ring, and Windham calls for the end. Irish whip, and Windham applies the CLAW~! Bigelow fights back to his feet and makes it to the ropes for a break. Windham with a slam, and it didn't look very cooperative from Bigelow's part. Windham to the top, but he misses an elbow drop. Bigelow hammers away with rights. Irish whip, and Windham with a cross body, taking both men over the top, crashing to the floor. Bigelow with an atomic drop, sending Windham into the post, but he misses a charge, Windham rolls back in, and it's a Count-Out victory for Windham at 16:15. ** Although it wasn't a bad match, I was very disappointed by it. A slow pace that never seemed to pick up and no real story to it. It just seemed like stuff happening until we got a lame finish. Windham's booking for his latest title defenses haven't exactly left me impressed with his reign.
- NWA World Tag Team Championship Match:
The Road Warriors © (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes:
Now THIS is what I've been waiting to see. The Road Warriors turned heel about two months prior to this, attempting to break the neck of Sting following a 6-Man Tag Match, and brutally attacking Rhodes as well, including driving one of the spikes of their shoulder pads into Rhodes' right eye, forcing him to wear an eye patch for a few weeks. The Warriors then obliterated the Midnight Express to win their first World Tag Titles (in the NWA, at least). One of the more memorable promos leading up to this was one of those super-intense promos from Rhodes, where he promised to retaliate, an eye for an eye. Everyone is crazy over, even the "heel" Road Warriors get monster babyface heat. It's just too hard to hate a bad-ass monster, let alone a bad-ass monster tag team. The Road Warriors have an incredibly obvious rip-off of Iron Man as their theme, with just the obvious melody playing over and over again. The second they hit the ring, it's ON. It doesn't take long for the team of Rhodes and Sting to clear the ring, with Sting knocking Hawk out with a dropkick and Rhodes dropping Animal with a DDT. Now we get the introductions, and the fans are indeed ready for this.
Sting and Animal start officially. Lockup into the corner, and Sting makes a quick escape. Irish whip is reversed, and Animal with a shoulder block. Sting retaliates with a dropkick, sending Animal out of the ring. Back in the ring, and Sting works a wristlock, jerking the arm of Animal. Rhodes tags in, and he unloads with a bionic elbow and claws at the eyes of Animal, forcing him out of the ring. Hawk tags in, and they trade blows in the corner. Rhodes with elbows, and applies a wristlock. Sting tags in and bites the arm behind the back of the referee. Sting bars the arm, and Hawk rakes the eyes to escape. Hawk with a series of rights and boots to the midsection, stomping a mudhole in him in the process. Hawk continues unloading with rights and lefts. Sting returns with a right that floors Hawk, and now Sting is throwing everything he's got. Irish whip, and Sting with a powerslam, followed by an elbow drop. Animal tags in and quickly press slams Sting, then tries to drop him across the top rope. Sting lands on his feet and sends Animal out of the ring with several clotheslines. Sting heads to the top, and dives onto Animal, who's almost in the entrance aisle. Rhodes tags in and he pounds away. Rhodes sweeps the legs and rams Animal's left leg against the ring post. Hawk tags back in, and wants a test-of-strength. Rhodes puts the boot to Hawk, sweeps the leg and goes for the Figure-Four, but Animal runs in and thumbs the injured eye, and Hawk jumps on top, doing the same. Back in the ring, and Hawk connects with a standing dropkick, then claws the eyes again. Rhodes gets back to his feet, taking a beating in the process, and nails a dropkick of his own. Animal tags in and quickly puts the boots to Rhodes. Animal rakes the eyes and goes to a chinlock. Rhodes with a series of blows to the midsection, and Hawk tags in to put lay some punishment on Rhodes. Irish whip, and Hawk catches Rhodes in a sleeper hold. Rhodes with a jaw buster to escape. Sting gets the hot tag and unloads on Animal with rights, then takes him over with a bulldog. Whip to the corner is reversed, but Sting avoids a charge and dropkicks Animal into the corner. Sting heads back, and charges in with the Stinger Splash. Sting goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Hawk quickly boots Sting in the face to break the hold. Hawk dumps Sting over the top rope, but the referee didn't see. The Road Warriors double team Rhodes, but Sting manages to come in with a cross body on Animal. Ellering pulls the referee away and climbs in the ring to draw the Disqualification at 11:17. Rhodes and Sting clear the ring of the Road Warriors afterwards. ***1/2 Really fun, intense fight, with only a brief moment of non-action. Some might question the finish, but going by how the match was hyped up, Rhodes and Sting weren't concerned with winning the tag titles, they, especially Rhodes, just wanted to hurt the Road Warriors, and judging by the lack of pin attempts, that's exactly what they did. Too bad this match couldn't get more time, though.
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Ric Flair © (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. "The Total Package" Lex Luger:
The rematch from Great American Bash '88, where we saw Luger screwed out of winning the title because the Maryland Athletic Commissioner stopped the match because of a gruesome cut that Luger had. I'd once again like to describe Luger's cut as a minor nick from shaving. Just a pathetic blade job, one of the worst I've ever seen. Lockup to start, and Flair grabs a headlock. Lockup into the corner, and Flair with a cheap shot and chops. Flair with a headlock, but he gets clotheslined over the top rope for his troubles. Back in the ring, and Flair with a headlock, then into a hammerlock. Luger counters, but Flair grabs the ropes. Luger with a headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Luger wants a test-of-strength, but Flair sucker kicks him and chops away. Flair grabs another headlock, and he puts Luger down with a shoulder block. Criss-cross sequence, and Luger takes Flair over with a powerslam. Irish whip, and Luger with a press slam for a one count. Luger with a wristlock, as Jim Ross reminds us again of Flair's plane crash in 1975. Luger throws Flair shoulder first into the corner. Flair tries more chops, but Luger no-sells, and Flair runs out of the ring. Back in the ring, and Flair puts the boots to Luger. Luger whips Flair to the corner again, and quickly applies a hammerlock. Flair escapes with an elbow, but a shoulder block goes Luger's way. Luger with a wristlock and another shoulder block. Flair tries for a hip toss, but Luger blocks and takes Flair over with his own. Flair thumbs the eye to break his momentum and pops him inb the jaw with a short right. Luger no-sells more chops in the corner. They head out of the ring again, and Luger wraps Flair's arm around the security rail, then rams him into the ring post. Back in the ring, and Luger seems more concerned with taunting Flair. Back in the ring, and Luger grabs an armbar. Flair fights free and grabs a headlock, then puts Luger down with a shoulder. Luger returns the favor with a clothesline, and covers for a two count. Flair rolls out of the ring, and Luger brings him back in with a suplex, and covers for two, again. Luger hits the ropes and misses the elbow that always misses. Flair with a series of boots to the ribs, then dumps Luger out through the ropes. Flair heads out and introduces Luger into the rail then continues to work him over with boots and chops. Flair rolls back in the ring, and he has words with referee Tommy Young.
Luger finally climbs back in, and Flair takes him over with a snapmare, then comes off the ropes with a knee drop. Flair with another snapmare, followed by a Sullivan-like double stomp to the chest. Flair works Luger over in the corner with chops, but Luger starts no-selling again. Luger hammers away with rights and traps Flair in a sleeper hold. Flair manages to escape with a back suplex. Flair with a snapmare, but Luger counts a Figure-Four attempt with a cradle for a two count. Flair with another snapmare, then heads to the top rope, and we all know what happens. Luger crotches him and takes him over with a super-plex, but that only gets a two count. Luger applies the Figure-Four in the center of the ring and almost scores a pinfall with it. Flair struggles his way to the ropes and forces the break. Luger with rights in the corner, and accidentally hits the referee during the exchange. Flair dumps Luger over the top rope, but Luger lands on his feet, scales the ropes, and comes off with a cross body for a two count. Luger blocks a hip toss attempt and back slides Flair for another two count. Luger with mounted punches in the corner. Whip across the ring, and Flair does his signature flip. Luger brings Flair back into the ring with a suplex, and covers for two, again. Luger calls for the end and no-sells more chops from Flair. Irish whip, and Luger with a press slam. Irish whip, and Luger with another powerslam. Dillon hops on the apron and gets assaulted for no reason. In the mean time, Flair rolls out of the ring as the referee is distracted by Dillon. Flair trips Luger up and bashes his knees with a steel chair. Back in the ring, and Flair drops the weight of his body across the knee. Flair drives an elbow into the back of the knee, then Woo's in Tommy Young's face, for whatever reason. Flair continues to dish out punishment on Luger's leg, then drops a knee across the injured leg. Flair follows up by applying the Figure-Four. The crowd is solidly behind Luger, trying to rally behind him. Flair slaps Luger around, and this just makes Luger mad, as he uses everything he's got to turn the move over. Flair takes Luger over with a snapmare, then drops a knee across the leg once again. Flair heads to the top rope, and as predicted, Luger slams him off. Flair dumps Luger out of the ring, then tries hanging him up across the top rope. Luger blocks and puts Flair down with another press slam. Flair dumps him out of the ring again. Luger with a shoulder from the apron, and a sunset flip for a two count. Flair bounces off the ropes for a diving forearm, but Luger barely budges. Luger traps Flair in the corner and hammers away some more. Whip to the corner, and Luger floors Flair with a clothesline for another near fall. Irish whip, and Luger with another powerslam. He calls for the Torture Rack. Luger applies the hold, but his knee blows out, and Flair lands on top, then uses the ropes for leverage to pick up the three count at 30:59, to retain the World Heavyweight Title. ***1/2 Not a classic match by any stretch of the imagination, as this seemed like the best match you could expect from a lesser quality opponent like Luger. Flair let's him do all his stuff to dominate the entire match, but manages to squirm out of losing predicaments, take a few cheap shots, and works a body part that leads to an ultimate fail for the challenger... with a little help of more cheating, of course. The last 10 or so minutes were really exciting, but the first half was really slow, thanks to the limitations of Luger and the extended time given to the match.
Final Thoughts: From top to bottom, a pretty good card, with one exception, and that match was only a few minutes long, so it's not too big of a concern. While nothing on this show is memorable in one of those lasting images for a Best all time kind of thing, there's some really good tag team wrestling and all of the championship matches with significant importance really delivered. Solid recommendation, and easily one of the best examples of what the NWA/WCW had to offer at the time. Then 1989 came and... well, we will see.
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