(Author's Note: As a supplement to episode 5 of our podcast covering Starrcade '89, I figured since my notes were so long, I might as well share them for your reading pleasure to follow along with as you listen. - Adam)
Starrcade 1989 Podcast Notes
December 13, 1989
The Omni - Atlanta, Georgia
This show is based around two one-night round robin tournaments, one singles tournament, and one tag team tournament.
We’ve got Jim Ross on commentary with Terry Funk delivering commentary on the singles and Jim Cornette on the tag.
Tag team participants:
- The Road Warriors
- The Wild Samoans (aka Samoan Swat Team)
- The Steiner Brothers (World Tag Champions)
Singles tournament participants:
- Great Muta (TV Champion)
- Ric Flair (NWA Champion)
- Lex Luger (US Champion)
1. Doom vs. The Steiner Brothers - 5
So many fans masquerading as empty seats. Scott ate a serious knee in the corner from Simmons (aka Doom #1 as JR calls him). Rick got a nearfall off a big powerslam. Cornette hypes on commentary how innovative the one night round-robin tournament is. Well, it was only done once and never again. I guess that says how successful it was. Anyway, digging the physicality thus far as both teams just lay into each other. Backbreaker by Scott was sloppy. This random Nitron dude in Doom’s corner lays into Scott after he takes a bump to the outside. Who in the hell was Nitron? Not sure but his punches look like shit. Hot tag to Rick with only a few minutes left in the time limit. Doom looked good to start but about halfway through it seemed like they started to conserve energy. Chaos at the end with a huge brawl on the floor but somehow Rick snuck in the ring to avoid getting counted out. Fun match though.
Score: Steiners - 15, Doom - 0
2. Sting vs. Lex Luger - 4
Lots of fire from Sting to start off with, brawling in the aisle, stiff clotheslines, and a big flying splash into the ring. Luger has gotten in roughly zero offense in and we’re about halfway through. First offensive move from Luger was about 10 minutes as he countered Sting flying off the top rope with an atomic drop. Noticed Luger a few times blatantly calling spots. Not sure what happened when Luger was tied up in the ropes and Sting stopped and just started choking him. One minute left and they are doing a meandering brawl outside the ring. Cheap pin by Luger and a shitty spot where both guys fall over the top back in the ring ends this.
Score: Luger - 20, Sting - 0
3. Doom vs. The Road Warriors - 4
Two straight matches for Doom. Can’t imagine they have a ton of gas left in the tank after the war with the Steiners. Another hard hitting match so far with LOD just starting out hot. Hawk goes hard into the ringpost. Some good rotation on a powerslam by Simmons (aka Doom #1). Having a 15-minute time limit on each match in each tournament has made this an easy, fast watch so far. Doom looking gassed towards the latter half. Nitron seems to be mysteriously missing from Doom’s corner, not that he was really missed anyway. Top rope clothesline finishs this off after a scrum.
Score: LOD - 20, Doom - 0
4. Great Muta vs. Ric Flair - 2
Ok, so there’s Norman the Lunatic dressed as Santa Claus at ringside randomly. Don’t really remember these two ever tying up so this should be interesting. Liked chop exchange. What the hell is going on? Arn and Ole get into a huge brawl with Buzz Sawyer and Dragonmaster at ringside, who show up after Muta gets trappe in the figure four. Really sad this only went a few minutes.
Score: Flair - 20, Muta - 0
5. Road Warriors vs. Steiner Brothers - 5
JR calls an enziguri a “savate kick”. Does he even know what a savate kick is? Some stiff clothelines, including one that rocked Animal’s night. So far, this has been nothing but a fight. Scott nearly gets decapitated by Animal on a clothesline out of the corner. Loved Corny’s line that the biggest beneficiaries of this match will be Blue Cross Blue Shield. Good lord, Scott hit a really rough belly-to-belly from the second rope that dropped Hawk directly on his neck. Ugh, the Doomsday Device looked like shit but a guess it played well into the finish as they did the old double shoulders on the mat finish.
Score: Steiners - 20 (35 total), LOD - 0 (20 total)
6. Great Muta vs. Sting - 4
Two guys here that are winless thus far in the tournament. Liked the nice story the set in the beginning with both guys really needing a win, made this feel important. Muta locks in a Cattle Mutilation of all things in a submission attempt. Sting reverses in and starts nailing Muta with “American right hands” as JR calls it. Pace felt a little slower than some of the previous matches thus far. Sting looks completely gassed. Big superplex rattled the ring letting Sting get the win. Not really a great match, but not bad either. Felt like both guys were saving themselves for later in the show.
Score: Sting - 20 (20 total), Muta - 0
Here’s the leaderboard at halftime!
Flair - 20
Sting - 20
Luger - 20
Muta - 0
Steiners - 35
LOD - 20
Doom - 0
Samoans - 0
7. Wild Samoans vs. Doom - 4
This is the last we’ll see of Doom, they’re 0-2 and mathematically eliminated from winning. First time the Samoans have appeared in the tournament. Nitron is back. Fatu and Reed exchange headbutts and both guys stagger backwards. Samoan Savage crashed and burned on the mat after attempting a flying headbutt. Some jawing by Doom as I clearly heard Simmons yell “come on island boy”. Some nice psychology and basic by Doom, cutting the ring off and isloating Samoan Savage. Collision spot and having Fatu randomly land on Doom #2 seemed like a lame spot to finish this off.
Score: Samoans - 20, Doom - 0 (Final Score: 0)
8. Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair - 6
JR says that Flair loves to use the chop and says that “Luger’s chest is as wide as the interstate”. Some stalling to begin with. Damn, Flair chops the living shit out of Luger in and out of the ring. The pace seems to be a bit slower than the other single matches, wonder if they are just working towards a draw since they only have 15 minutes? I have a feeling they are because Flair is working rest holds (a hammerlock) and Terry Funk just referenced a draw on commentary saying “it wouldn’t do either man any good”. Flair gets some nearfalls on a series of roll-ups halfway through and goes back to working on the arm with seven minutes left. Big gorilla press by Luger send Flair to the outside with less than five mintues left. Luger’s punching looked like shit. Vicious clothesline caught Flair in mid-air coming off the top rope. Good tease at the end with Luger locked in the figure four and trying not to submit.
Score: Flair - 5 (25 total), Luger - 5 (25 total)
9. Wild Samoans vs. Steiner Brothers - 3
Final Steiners match of the night here as we approach the end of the tournament. Two teams here that just seem to enjoy hurting people. Lots of stalling and general complaining by the Samoans. Ten minutes in and there really hasn’t been a whole lot I’ve liked. Samoan Savage works a bearhug trying to get a submission win. Yep, don’t think thats gonna work on Scott. Please tell me this isn’t going to a draw as well, two straight draws would not be cool. Good face in peril segment by Scott but Samoan’s offense consisted of mainly clubbing blows to the back. Ref loses complete control as everyone is confused. Steiners get DQ’ed but it’s never explained why.
Score: Samoans - 10 (Total: 30), Steiners - 0 (Final Score: 35)
10. Great Muta vs. Lex Luger - 3
Final match for each guy here. Luger at this point has 25 points and Muta has a big ol’ goose egg. Luger definitely favoring the knee, playing into the last match where he was locked in the figure four by Flair. Muta spends the majority of the match working over the knee. Funk mentiones on commentary that this is a match where the fans don’t care about it. Good observation, didn’t even realize this was heel vs. heel. Luger really favoring the knee but hits a clothesline that levels Muta. Super awful hip toss by Luger. Muta spits the green mist and gets DQ’ed for his troubles.
Score: Luger - 10 (Final score: 35), Muta - 0 (Final Score: 0)
11. Wild Samoans vs. Road Warriors - 4
Final match in the tag team tournament. Animal completely no sells a piledriver. Awesome moment where Animal tries to bound off the ropes but barely hits them, walks up to Samoan Savage and just hits him really damn hard with an elbow. Both teams looking completely gassed, as I don’t mean on steroids. This also seemed really disjointed at parts, especially the end where everyone was in the ring and Hawk hit a top-rope clothesline for the win.
Score: LOD - 20 (Final Score: 40), Samoans - 0 (Final Score: 30)
Tag Team Final Standings:
LOD - 40
Steiners - 35
Samoans - 30
Doom - 0
12. Sting vs. Ric Flair - 5
Pretty obvious that this would go on last. Also interesting to note that this was the last pay-per-view event of the 1980s and it was headlined by these two. Sting seemed a lot less fatigued than Flair. Interesting pin attempt as Flair hooks in an abdominal stretch and rolls it into a nearfall. Big vertical suplex get a two-count. Sting no-sells a bunch of chops on the floor. Some good back and forth at the 10-minute mark and Sting starts gaining control. JR says both men are fatigued. Well, not only them, but me as well as I’ve just sat through 3 hours of seeing the same 4 singles and same 4 teams wrestle each other. Sting’s rat tail looks ridiculous, just thought I’d point that out for the record. Action was kind of slow in the beginning but ramped up after the ten-minute mark. Flair got overly confident and got caught in a small package to close out the match, the show, and the tournament. Game, set, and match.
Singles Finals Standings:
Sting - 40
Luger - 35
Flair - 25
Muta - 0
Well, after watching three hours of the same four teams and same four singles people wrestle each other the whole night, I feel like I’ve been run through a gauntlet. Maybe doing one of these tournaments on the show would have been fine, but not both. Props though for WCW having the balls to put on a wild show like this.