Both the WWF and NWA were going head to head like fighter jets in Top Gun because I have no other analogy I can use and that was the first thing that popped into my head because it was on last night.
This Starrcade was called “The Sky Walkers” which sounds like a bad 80’s TV Show spin-off of the Star Wars films. There were no “Sky Walkers” here. There weren’t any “Skywalkers”. There was no Luke. There was no Anakin. There wasn’t even Shmi. I think that was her name. I honestly don’t remember and that movie was shit anyhow so I don’t care, either. There was one match that involved climbing stuff, referred to as “a Skywalk” and it was 7 minutes long in a near-four-hour event.
I’m guessing that Magnum TA’s accident really messed things up. He was slated to fight Flair for the gold but the accident ended that dream, so the Crockett legion was probably forced to scramble because who the fuck wants to build Starrcade around Flair and Nikita goddamn Koloff?
I also loved how they separated the words, “Sky” and “Walkers”, allowing them to use the name and, at the same time, preventing George Lucas from hosting a legal convention inside of Jim Crockett’s ass.
Now that I put that lovely visual inside your head, it’s time to review Starrcade ’86! May the force be–uh, I mean, May you join me in spirit!
We are LIVE(!!!) from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC for Starrcade ’86!
We are also LIVE(!!!) from The Omni in Atlanta, GA for Starrcade ’86: Wrestling Strikes Back!
The ring has a giant scaffold above it, perfect for Sky Walking.
Tom Miller brings us in and it’s National Anthem time.
Tony Schiavone (w/ Bro-stache) and Rick Stewart are at The Omni in Atlanta, GA…so I guess we’re doing the split-arena thing again.
From Greensboro, we have Bob Caudle and Johnny Weaver who’s STILL shit on the mic.
MATCH #1: Nelson Royal & Tim Horner vs. Don & Rocky Kernodle
Horner and Rocky start us out with some neat reversals and counters. Rocky misses a dropkick and tags in Don who hits a huge powerslam on Horner for two. Don is tagged in and shoulderblocks Royal but Royal comes back with an Abdominal Stretch. That’s also short-lived as Don hip tosses Royal to the mat. Royal tags in Horner again who cradles Don for two. Don comes back with a hip toss after a headlock. Horner gets to his feet and tags Royal who hits a Sleeper. Before he’s taken down, Don tags Rocky who climbs the ropes and comes into the ring with a Flying Sunset Flip on Royal for two. Rocky hits a slam but misses a Crossbody. Royal gets a one count and tags in Horner who hits a nice powerslam in stride for two. The two men try to hit a flying shoulderblock and end up hitting heads and then fall to the mat. Don gets tagged in and he hits a Delayed Suplex on Horner for two. Big body drop by Don but he misses the running headbutt. Horner gets up and hits a quick dropkick for two. Don reverses an Irish Whip and hits a big clothesline. He’s winded and tags in Rocky who hits a nice Press Slam on Horner for two. He tries a side suplex but Horner reverses. It’s a series of roll-up pins and Horner finally gets the three count to end it.
WINNER: Royal and Horner via pinfall.
GRADE: Solid “B” for me. Everyone, however, is so unmemorable and generic that I had to watch this twice to see who was who. Hope I got the names right. Doesn’t matter because, with the exception of Horner, most of these guys were blah.
- Don Kernodle left the NWA in ’86 and would wrestle independently. Since 2002, him and his brother, Rocky, have wrestled for the CWF several times a year.
- Rocky Kernodle also left in ’86. See above.
- Nelson Royal stopped wrestling shortly after this.
- Tim Horner left the NWA in 1987, competing in the WWF through the rest of the 80’s as a Jobber to the Stars. He was co-owner of the Smoky Mountain Wrestling through the first half of the 90’s (where he would also compete) but had a falling out with Jim Cornette. He returned, for a short time, to the WCW as a Jobber to the Stars before retiring.
Garvin counters with a handstand and gets out, then hits a hip toss…and guess what? Armstrong hits ANOTHER HEAD SCISSORS. Stewart remarks, after a huge block of silence, that the ref’s gotta “watch out because that move can be turned into an illegal chokehold”. Armstrong gets out and Garvin’s in a headlock and this just gets worse as it goes on. Garvin gets out of it with a side suplex and then dumps Armstrong out of the ring. Once he gets back in, Garvin pins him for a two count, then drops Armstrong’s neck on the rope to finally prove that these guys know more than leg submissions. Garvin tries several pins on Armstrong which doesn’t work. He shoulderblocks Garvin and gets his own two. Armstrong whips Garving into the buckle and gets two. Garvin tries a sleeper and small package but Armstrong reverses. Neither gets the pin. Garvin slams Armstrong and goes to the top rope. He misses a splash and the bell rings because time’s up and the crowd, for some reason, is losing their shit over a draw.
WINNER: No contest
GRADE: F. This was awful. Got a bit better towards the end but it was too little, too late. The ending sunk it.
Post-match, Garvin and Armstrong brawl. Garvin gets tossed from the ring. Precious gets in Armstrong’s face and Garvin sneaks up on him. Armstrong, however, tosses Garvin from the ring again.
Back in Greensboro…
MATCH #3: Shaska Whatley & The Barbarian vs. Baron von Raschke & Hector Guerrero
This is a “special grudge match”. All four dudes just brawl, then it’s a Reverse Irish Whip spot where the heels run into one another. Guerrero and Whatley are together to start. Whatley gets the upper hand and tags Barbarian who misses a big boot. Guerrero tries a cross body but Barbarian catches him and drops his neck on the ropes. He gets Whatley to hold Guerrero and then charges at him but Barbarian flies outside the ring. Baron comes over to beat on Barbarian. Whatley gets in the middle of it. Whatley beats on Guerrero and tosses him back in the ring. Barbarian hits a HUGE powerslam and leg drop and tags in Whatley. Whatley hits an Irish Whip and body drop. Tag to Barbarian who boots Guerrero in the face and hits a HUGE backbreaker after that. BIG headbutt by Barbarian and another tag to Whatley. The heels do a big double backdrop and get two. Guerrero tries to make a tag but can’t.
Whatley puts Guerrero in the heel corner where Barbarian holds on to him. Whatley starts hitting punches and tags Barbarian who hits another huge boot to the head. Two count. Guerrero struggles to try to get a tag but Barbarian stops him and hits backbreakers, tagging in Whatley who headbutts Guerrero. Guerrero FINALLY counters an Irish Whip and tags Baron who beats on both men, then kicks at Whatley, hitting the Claw but Barbarian comes in to interfere. It’s a brawl. Whatley miss a corner splash, Baron hits an elbow after he hits the mat and pins for three even though Whatley pretty much kicked out of the pin, but ok.
WINNER: Baron & Guerrero via pinfall
GRADE: C-. Eh…Guerrero got destroyed for most of this and then Baron comes in, hits a few moves and wins the match? Blech.
- Hector Guerrero was the lesser-known brother of Chavo and Eddie. He would compete in the NWA and AWA until 1990…where he made an appearance as one of the WWF’s more infamous gimmicks…more on that soon…
- Pez Whatley would wrestle for the NWA until 1990 when he went to the WWF. He would wrestle there for two years as a Jobber to the Stars and make a return to the WCW in 1995.
- The Barbarian left the NWA for the WWF in 1988.
- Robert Jeaudoin (AKA “Bobby Jaggers”) was a former officer with the United States Army and served in Vietnam for a year and a half. Following the war, he had a small career in wrestling, finishing up with the NWA in spring of 1987. In July of 1988, his colleague, Bruiser Brody, was murdered (in self-defense) in their locker room by wrestler Jose Gonzalez, which made him re-think his career in the business. He made it to the WWF but his career was short-lived, working as a Jobber. He would end up retiring in 1991. Following this, Jeaudoin went back to school, studying engineering at KC University and ended up working for the Department of Homeland Security as a road and bridge specialist in 2007. In 2012, Jeaudoin passed away due to Renal Failure from a contraction of Hepatitis C during his years in Vietnam. He was 64 years old.
- Barry Darsow (AKA “Krusher Kruschev”) would finish out his time with the NWA at the end of 1986 where he would go on to wrestle with the WWF…as “Smash” of Demolition.
Wahoo punches at Rude in the corner, then whips him, repeatedly, with the strap. Rude’s busted open as is Wahoo. Wahoo hits a chop off of an Irish Whip and then ties up Rude’s wrists and goes to tap each turnbuckle. He gets two, then three and then tries to get the last one. Rude locks his foot on the rope and kicks out. Rude stomps Wahoo and goes to the top turnbuckle, hitting a forearm to the throat. Rude ties up Wahoo’s wrists but Wahoo kicks free. Rude goes up top again but Wahoo rolls out of the way and pulls Rude down, hitting an elbow drop. Wahoo ties up Rude and gets three posts. He drags to the 4th with all his might but Paul Jones interferes. Wahoo nails him and hits the 4th buckle for the win, I guess. It’s not clear. Jones and Rude tie up Wahoo and stomp away at him.
WINNER: Wahoo McDaniel
Post-match, Baron and Guerrero make the save.
- Rude would leave the NWA in mid-1987 and move on the WWF.
- Wahoo would go to AWA late in the decade and make a return to WCW in the early 90’s.
- Houston would leave the NWA at the end of the year and turn up in the WWF in mid-1987.
- Dundee would leave the NWA after 1987 and come back to WCW as a manager to Steven Regal, re-branded as, “Sir William”.
Fernandez refuses to get into the cage to start. The ref tells him to get into the cage but he refuses. Some wrestlers come running down to “persuade” him to get into the cage. Wahoo McDaniel hits a huge chop and the guys lock him up. The cage is raised above the ring as Fernandez jumps around, shaking the cage. Man, I’d never do that. Apparently, if Jones loses, he gets his head shaved. If Valiant loses, Big Mama gets her head shaved. Valiant sends Jones into a corner, beating the tar out of him. This keeps up for a couple minutes before Jones pulls something from his tights and hits Valiant in the head with it. He pins but Valiant kicks out. He tries again but Valiant gets a foot on the ropes. He clocks Valiant with it again and another kick-out. Valiant hulks up and punches at Jones, hitting a Sleeper. Jones grabs whatever the hell he used before but Valiant knocks it out of his hand, uses it on Jones and wins.
WINNER: Valiant via pinfall
GRADE: D-. Cutesy but crappy.
Post-match, Jones gets his head shaved. The ref tries to unlock the cage and finally does so. Fernandez rushes in and attacks Valiant. Rick Rude joins him. Manny gets a chair and they piledrive Valiant into it. The heels cover Jones’ head and leave. The Monday Morning QB wrestlers arrive and tend to Valiant who deserved better.
- Fernandez would wrestle for the NWA until about 1987. From then on, he would alternate between the Japan, Independent circuits and the AWA. He had one last match in 1999 where he lost to Chris Jericho. There are reports that he is still in the business in a limited capacity.
- For the life of me, I can’t find any real information on Big Mama. Her name was Felicia Fanning. According to a single source, she passed in 2013. It appears as though she runs a furniture store in Florida. A review on the Google Plus site for the store says that Felicia helped them in 2014.
- Jimmy Valiant wrestled up until about 1988 and is retired. He teaches a wrestling school and frequently appears at independent wrestling shows.
Bubba comes back, busted open. He punches at Garvin and locks in a bear hug. Garvin headbutts out of it. Bubba picks him back up again but, again, Garvin headbutts out. Garvin starts hitting shots to Bubba’s head again and Bubba oversells the punch, flipping himself out of the ring. Ref: “One!” Tony: “There’s one!” *Sigh…* Bubba gets up at six and gets back into the ring. More punches and Bubba’s back outside the ring again. Garvin continues to take shots but Bubba grabs him and puts him back in the ring. Bubba goes to the top buckle but Garvin press slams him off. Garvin gets one but Bubba kicks out. The ref gets bumped in the process. Garvin hits a piledriver but Cornette whacks him with the tennis racket. Another ref slides in and counts both men out…somebody at ringside tells the ref that there needs to be a winner. The first man up wins. Garvin was up first but Cornette nails him again and Bubba gets up for the win.
WINNER: Big Bubba
GRADE: D+. This was just very slow and way too clunky. The ending seemed almost botched to me, too.
- Rogers was, in reality, Ray Traylor. This was his professional debut. He finished wrestling with NWA in 1987 and would move on to the WWF in 1988…as The Big Boss Man.
Ole with even more stomps. Gibson punches at Ole but Ole takes him down in the corner and puts a lock on Gibson’s knee. This goes on for a couple minutes and then Arn’s tagged in to continue to spot. Gibson gets to his feet and hits an Enzuguri before making a hot tag. Morton takes shots at both Andersons before Ole tosses Morton into the cage, face-first. And it’s Morton’s turn to take a beating as Ole stomps, punches and kicks Morton. Arn does the same, rubbing Morton’s face against the cage, cutting him open. Morton tries fighting back but Arn locks Morton’s arm. Ole gets in now and tosses Morton, hard, into the corner, then applies an armbar. He lets go, tosses Morton into Arn’s knee and tags in Arn. Arn goes up top to try to take out Morton but Morton jumps up and fights back. Ole leaps in and takes out Morton, then hits a shoulderbreaker, getting two.
Tag to Arn. Morton tries to fight back but, holy shit, it’s just no use. Morton’s just getting beaten senseless. Morton FINALLY hits a kneelift off an Irish Whip but Arn grabs Morton and tags Ole again. Ole hits another armbar and stomps Morton. Morton punches back but the comeback is short-lived. Arn, from outside the ropes, beats on Morton. Ole goes for another armbar but Morton fights back and tries to make a tag. Guess what? Arn comes in and attacks Gibson, then hits a Spinebuster on Morton before taking yet, ANOTHER armbar. Ole’s back in and collides on an Irish Whip. Morton goes for a tag…but Arn stops him and here we go again. FINALLY, Morton fights back and gets enough space but OLE JUST FUCKING ATTACKS HIM and this match drags on. Gibson finally decides, hell with this and gets in the ring to beat up Arn. Suddenly, Morton pins Ole because Gibson dropkicks Morton on top of Ole and it’s over.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: The Rock n’ Roll Express
GRADE: D-. Wow. A giant pile of shit. This was needlessly, pointlessly long with a tacked-on finish that felt like everyone knew this had gone on far longer than was necessary and needed to stop.
Ric Flair’s out for the big match and — the hell?! There’s some weird montage with a bushy-haired guy running on the beach and approaching what looks like his Mom or something. It’s set to some late 90’s-esque song you’d hear on college radio. Then, it’s back to the match. Am I gonna die in 7 days, WHATTHEFUCKWASTHAT?!
Magnum TA (who I am assuming that video was for — and it was, I’m learning) had an accident that ended his career. So, they made Koloff the big face. He still got booed because ‘Murica, but this was a move that had to be made as there was no more Harley Race, Steamboat was in the WWF, Dusty wasn’t interested in the title and there really wasn’t anyone else.
MATCH #12: NWA United States Champion Nikita Koloff (challenger) vs. Ric Flair (champion) for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
The two grapple and Koloff shoves Flair back. This happens a couple of times. Flair regroups and then Koloff uses strength to push Flair to the mat before Flair hits chops. Koloff no-sells after two of them and Flair bails from the ring. The action moves back in ring again and another lock up ending with Flair on the mat. Flair yells that Koloff is gonna get his butt kicked. He chokes at Koloff in the corner and then gets hip tossed. A couple more times and Koloff just starts hitting slams, tossing Flair across the ring over and over. Flair begs off and tells the ref to get Koloff to back off. Rope run ends in a shoulderblock and bear hug by Koloff. Flair gets to the ropes and Koloff is told to break. Koloff rams his shoulders into Flair and then whips Flair into the other corner, but misses on a charge. Flair suplexes him but Koloff just gets up like the Undertaker and Flair just bails out of the ring again.
Once back in, Flair begs off again. Another lock up ends in a headlock by Koloff. Flair puts Koloff in the corner and elbows out, chopping at Koloff. Koloff whips Flair into the ropes and hits the Russian Hammer. Koloff charges at Flair but Flair pulls the top rope down and Koloff flies out of the ring. Flair goes outside and pulls Koloff’s knee into the post, then walks back into the ring and clips Koloff, knocking him down. Flair stomps at Koloff and then chops his chest, knocking him down. Flair hits the Figure Four and cheats by holding the rope. Koloff reverses the Figure Four and Flair is forced to break. Flair grabs Koloff’s head and rubs his eyes on the top ring rope, slapping at Koloff’s chest. Koloff hulks up and comes at Flair. Flair chops at Koloff again and tries to swarm him in the corner but Koloff shoves Flair away. He tries to toss Koloff into the corner but Koloff whips Flair into the ropes and shoulderblocks him. He runs at Flair again but Flair sends Koloff outside.
Flair chases and rams Koloff’s head into the metal scaffold that’s still sitting there. Flair puts Koloff back in and runs Koloff’s eyes on the rope again. Knee drop by Flair and he gets two. Koloff is busted open as Flair hits a Side Suplex. Flair gets two again and starts punching at Koloff’s cut. Koloff gets up like the fucking Terminator again and lurches toward Flair, ramming him with shoulders in the corner and then toss slamming him to the mat. Koloff throws Flair into the corner and he does the Flair Flip over the corner and ends up outside. Flair tries to toss Koloff’s head into the scaffold again but Koloff blocks and does it to Flair. Flair is busted open as Koloff uses the scaffold to hurt him some more. Koloff puts Flair in the corner. FLair kicks him and reverses. The two trade shots. Flair falls to the mat. Koloff picks him up and shoulderblocks him on a whip but the ref takes a bump and ends up outside.
Flair punches Koloff and puts him in the corner but Koloff comes running out with a HUGE Russian Hammer. He tries to pin but there’s no referee. Koloff stands up and grabs the ref. Flair runs behind him and hits a knee. He covers but Koloff kicks out as the new ref gets in the ring. Koloff misses the Hammer and hits the ref instead. He’s out. The ref at the beginning of the match re-enters. Koloff chokes Flair in the corner. The ref backs him off but Koloff shoves him. He comes back and tries again but Flair shoves the ref. The two continue to beat one another. The bell rings. Everyone comes out of the dressing room and gangs up on Koloff. The word finally comes down.
WINNER: No contest
STILL CHAMPION: Ric Flair
GRADE: D+. This was boring as fuck. It was like watching Flair wrestle a giant boulder for 20 minutes.
Post-match, the brawl continues as wrestlers on both sides pull Flair and Koloff off one another. WRestlers are piling on top of Koloff to stop him from moving.
Schiavone discusses what we just saw, notifies the audience of the decision and then recaps the action and then we go off the air.
OVERALL: D+. Holy SHIT, that was long, slow, boring and tedious. How bad was this Starrcade? It took me a MONTH to get through this one.