NWA Starrcade '88: True Gritt

Live from Norfolk, VA

Airdate: December 26, 1988

Attendance: 10,000

Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Magnum T.A., Jim Ross, and Bob Caudle

Will the NWA, now under the Turner umbrella, introduce a new champion? Or will they maintain the status quo? Let’s find out!

Match 1 for the NWA US tag team titles: The Fantastics (champions) versus the Varsity Club


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Really good opener as the Varsity Club showed they would not lose to the pretty boy tag team. Speaking of which, the dynamic had run its course in wrestling by this point.

After the match, Tony calls it an upset, and then he and Magnum preview the battle of the Midnight Express.

Match 2: The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) versus the Original Midnight Express (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)


Rating: ****1/2

Summary: Excellent tag team match that had the Norfolk faithful on the edge of its seat for over fifteen minutes.

After the match, Condrey wallops both Lane and Eaton, and Cornette with the racquet. Rose then nails Cornette with the phone. As Rose holds Cornette, Dangerously hits his nemesis in the midsection with the phone. Finally, Eaton gets ahold of the racquet to chase Dangerously and his men away. The beatdown following the match adds a ½* to the match rating.

Back in the locker room, Magnum interviews the Varsity Club.

Match 3: The Russian Assassins (w/ Paul Jones) versus the Junkyard Dog & Ivan Koloff


Rating: *

Summary: Did you really think that Koloff and JYD would win given those stipulations? Tell ‘em, Al!

Match 4 for the NWA World TV title: Mike Rotunda (champion w/ Kevin Sullivan) versus Rick Steiner


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Great story told here as the recently-dismissed Steiner gets his comeuppance against the Varsity Club by beating Rotunda for the TV title.

After the match, an ecstatic Steiner made two victory laps around the ring as Long awards him the belt.

Tony and Magnum then review the match as we see the replay.

Match 5 for the NWA US title: Barry Windham (champion w/ JJ Dillon) versus Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)


Rating: ***

Summary: Since Bigelow was more or less tied to New Japan, he wasn’t laying down here. From what I could see, the Norfolk faithful saw Bigelow as a WWF guy so most of them rooted for Windham.

Back in the locker room, Magnum interviewed the NEW World TV champion—Rick Steiner. To say Steiner’s elevator doesn’t reach the top floor would be putting it mildly.

Match 6 for the NWA World tag team titles: The Road Warriors (champions w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & Sting


Rating: **1/2

Summary: While this seemed like a blockbuster on paper, the execution didn’t live up to the billing. Due to the Turner buyout, blading became an absolute no-no. Since Rhodes bled profusely due to the spiking incident, ultimately he was fired. I wonder if/when we’ll see the “American Dream” again.

After the match, while Rhodes holds Ellering, Sting gives Hawk an enziguri.

Tony and Magnum then analyze the previous match via instant replay.

Match 7 for the NWA World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion w/ JJ Dillon) versus the “Total Package” Lex Luger


Rating: ****1/2

Summary: While this was certainly Luger’s best match, his constant no-selling irritated me and affected the quality of the match.

After the match, Luger argues with Young about the use of the ropes to no avail.

Back in the locker room, Magnum interviews Flair with Dillon. According to Flair, Luger will NEVER wrestle him again for the World title. Care to bet on that one, Ric? Nevertheless, he finished the promo with “you (Luger) are history, and I…am the champ.” During the promo, Cappetta prepped the Norfolk faithful for the Bunkhouse Stampede. While not shown, JYD won the match.

Tony then refers to Flair as “Mr. Starrcade.”

Conclusion: Hands down, this is the best wrestling show of 1988. With two ****1/2 matches and other good ones, this show is an 80s wrestling fan’s dream. With no blood but great wrestling action, gather the whole family and tune into this show on the WWE Network ASAP.

See you for WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XIX!

Rating: 1.80

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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