Independence Arena
Charlotte, North Carolina
December 27th, 1993
Commentators: Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura

Open: A sentimental video package plays featuring pictures and videos of Ric Flair’s life and career as he’s putting it all on the line tonight against Big Van Vader.

Video: Vader arrives with Harley Race at 2:00pm, Race tells him to keep his focus as they enter the arena for a pre-show workout. In a separate video, ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund has gone to Ric Flair’s home as he’s prepared to leave for the event. He says goodbye and hugs his children. Gene talks to Flair as he explains the kids are worried about tonight. They get in the limo, Flair knew what he was doing when he signed the contract, but he has a lot to prove.

Match #1: Pretty Wonderful (‘Pretty’ Paul Roma & ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff) w/The Assassin vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell w/Teddy Long
Teddy Long is presented with a plaque naming him the 1993 Manager of the Year prematch, voted for by fans using the WCW Hotline. They waste no time to have an all out brawl. Scorpio and Bagwell throw their oppenents into one another. They dropkick Roma out of the ring and hit Orndorff with a double hiptoss. Bagwell lifts Scorpio for an assisted pele kick on Wonderful. He tries a quick pin but Nick Patrick wants order. The babyfaces hold the ring and they finally head to their corners as the crowd taunts Orndorff. Bagwell and Roma start the action. Roma is hesitant to lock up. Roma throws a kick to the gut and Paul with some high impact blows. To the ropes, Bagwell ducks and hits a crossbody. Arm drag into an armbar by Bagwell as Roma complains he pulled his hair. Bagwell with leverage on the wrist and he tags his partner. Scorpio with some quick forearms as he works over the damaged arm. Scorpio grabs a wristlock and dives over the top rope to slingshot Roma. Back to the wristlock and it’s a quick tag to Bagwell. He goes to the hammerlock and drives Roma shoulder first into the corner. Snapmare by Bagwell and a leg drop across the shoulder. Bagwell continues to hammer but it’s Roma with a desperation scoop slam. He’s able to tag in Orndorff but Bagwell greets him with an armdrag. Tag is made to Scorpio who hits a double ax handle. He holds the wrist and drives him with headbutts. Orndorff goes to the eyes to break it and hits a European uppercut before booting Scorpio to the ramp. Front face lock, he tries a suplex but Scorpio lands on his feet. The Cold Man tries a victory roll but Orndorff holds the ropes. Scopio flips back and lands a hip toss. He climbs to Orndorff’s shoulders and takes him down with a head scissor. He holds Orndorff down with a modified head scissor submission. Tag is made to Bagwell who comes in with a big splash that earns a two count. Back to the wrist but Orndorff reverses with a drop toe hold. A tag is made to Roma but he gets the drop toe hold as well. To the ropes they go, Bagwell catches Roma’s boot, taunts him and hits an atomic drop. Arm drag by Bagwell and he holds the arm. He twists the wrist and tags in Scorpio. An impressive sequence while hitting the ropes that ends with a hiptoss by Bagwell and a splash by Scorpio. He makes the cover and Roma kicks out. Scorpio pounds on Roma’s head and knees him in the forehead. Modified hammerlock drop by Scorpio and Bagwell is tagged back in. Roma reverses the wristlock and tags in Wonderful. European uppercuts and some kicks to the ribs for Bagwell. Orndorff drives his face into the canvass and elbows the back of Bagwell’s head. A scoop slam and another driving elbow by Orndorff who appears to have a lot of energy. He sends him for the ride, but Bagwell ducks and hooks in a sleeper. The partners rush into the ring, Patrick backs off Scorpio allowing a cheapshot from the top by Roma. Back breakers by Roma while Scorpio protests that there was no tag. Pretty Paul elevates with an elbow and Bagwell kicks out. He tags in Orndorff and they each take liberties. Belly to back suplex by Mr. Wonderful and Scorpio is still incensed. Quick tag is made to Roma who snaps Bagwell to the mat. He sends Bagwell for a power slam but he pulls off the cover and heads for the top rope. He tries the big splash but Bagwell moves. Orndorff is tagged first but he misses the elbow, so here comes 2 Cold. He beats Orndorff down with rights and sends him to the ropes for a leaping forearm. Roma rushes to help but he’s drop kicked to the floor. Scorpio with a snap suplex on Orndorff and he heads to the top rope. Roma tries to pull him off the turnbuckle but Bagwell saves the day. Orndorff staggers to his feet and he’s hit with a double ax on the top of the head. Spinning karate kick by Scorpio. The Assassin climbs onto the apron and he’s decked by The Cold Man. Snapmare by Scorpio on Orndorff and he measures Wonderful while The Assassin puts something into his mask. Scorpio charges Orndorff, he’s lifted up and Assassin delivers a headbutt. Orndorff falls on top of Scorpio to pick up the win.
Winners: Pretty Wonderful (Orndorff/Outside Interference)

  • Off The Top: I’ve expressed how much I liked this pairing of Scorpio and Bagwell on several of these PPV Flashes and how I was surprised that they never rose higher together, so I did a little research. They were the 1992 tag team of the year, very popular with the fans, but apparently developed some confusing heat with one another that started a plane ride. Strangely, it has escalated in recent years as they’ve replied to one another on the shoot interview scene. If you ever watch the clips, I think Scorpio has been watching a few too many New Jack shoots, personally.

Video: ‘Mean’ Gene and Ric Flair continue their limo ride to the arena, quietly discussing everything that’s on the line tonight. Flair is appreciative of Gene’s friendship whether he wins or loses. Gene reflects on all the memories he’s made for himself and all the fans over the years. Flair tells a story of a fan who approached him, asking who will be the one to “Wooo” if he loses. He told him he will be the only one to do that and he’s not going anywhere.

Match #2: The Shockmaster vs. Awesome Kong w/King Kong
The Kongs ambush Shockmaster and send him for a double clothesline. They hold him in place for a splash in the corner. Awesome hits a splash on the mat while the ref gets King out of there. Kong with rights and forearms, Irish whip but Shockmaster gets the big boot up. He charges him with a clothesline and then sends him for a flying body press. King Kong is on the apron Shockmaster knocks him off. He lifts Awesome Kong for a body slam and he picks up the quick win.
Winner: The Shockmaster (Body Slam)

  • Off The Top: This match wouldn’t have thrilled me even if it was on WCW Saturday Night let alone Starrcade, but they’re trying to maintain a dominant big man so it is what it is.

Backstage: Flair’s limo has arrived at the arena, surrounded by police. Gene shakes his hand and sends him on his way.

Match #3 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
Steamboat grabs the belt and holds it up to an ovation. Steamboat corners Regal and the ref tells him to back off. Regal doesn’t want to be touched and stays in the corner. Steamboat charges with a single leg pick up and Regal lectures the ref to get him away so he can take his time. Finally a collar and elbow, Regal gets position on the ropes but they keep going. Steamboat drops to a knee but he pushes the champ’s chin, Regal backs to the ropes and it has to be broken. Steamboat charges right back in and Regal retreats again to the corner. Now it’s Steamboat stalling as he appears to favor his arm. Single leg by Regal, he steps on the bicep and takes a wristlock. Steamboat flips to his feet but Regal works him back to the mat. Steamboat up again and he reverses it. Regal somersaults and regains control. Steamboat says touché and flips out of it and whips Regal down hard. Hammerlock into a side headlock by Regal, to the ropes they go, they each block hip tosses and Steamboat takes him down with a double leg and flips over to bridge for a pin. Regal kicks out, but Steamboat is quick with the hiptoss. Regal reels back to slow it down. Collar and elbow, side headlock take down by Steamboat and Regal is forced to keep getting his shoulders up. To the ropes they criss cross. Steamboat counters Regal’s pick up and flips the champ on his back. Regal is quick to move to an ankle lock. Steamboat climbs up but Regal kicks him in the ribs and holds onto the ankle. Steamboat puts his boot to Regal’s head and stands up for an enzigure. Scoop slam by The Dragon and he heads for the top. He flies with a big karate chop and Regal must kick out at two. Steamboat hooks on an armbar and maneuvers for leverage. The champ works to his feet and they hit the ropes. Shoulder block by Steamboat and he goes back to the arm. Regal leaps up to his feet, lifts Steamboat with a fireman’s carry but the challenger escapes. He grabs a wristlock as there are 5 minutes left in the 15 minute time limit. He muscles Regal to his back and the champ must keep his shoulders up. William tells the fans to shutup as “USA” chants start. Steamboat drives the knee into Regal’s tricep. He cranks back on the wrist but Regal doesn’t submit. Steamboat flips over with a modified hammerlock. He tries moving into some roll ups but can’t get 3. Regal tries bridging out of a head scissor submission. Back to their feet, Regal clubs with high impact forearms and then turns Steamboat around for a European uppercut. More from the champ, but Steamboat gets some adrenaline and chops Regal out of the ring. Sir William approaches him with the umbrella but Steamboat turns around and catches him in the act. He pursues William and chases him around the ring, baiting him into a Regal dropkick. Steamboat is rolled back into the ring, Irish whip, Steamboat tries leapfrogging Regal but is pulled face first on the mat. Regal applies a reverse chin lock and chops Steamboat. Steamboat reverses an Irish whip but Regal comes back with an elbow. Steamboat with a desperation arm drag and hits another one. Regal grabs a head scissor but Steamboat somersaults into a cover. Regal bridges out of it, he hooks the arms but Steamboat fights out. Butterfly suplex by Steamboat and Regal kicks out. The champ bails out to the floor but Steamboat catches him. He knocks William and Regal’s heads together and rolls Lord Steven back in. He heads up to the apron but William holds his boot. Steamboat kicks him into the post and slingshots Regal across the top rope. He tries a flying cross body but Regal moves. Both men are slow to get up at the 10 second mark. Steamboat ducks a right and scores with a German suplex but he’s out of time. Regal retains the title on a draw.
Winner: Time Limit Draw

  • Off The Top: It’s all about subtleties with Regal, and it’s the little things like cowering out of the way to waste time at the beginning of a time limit match. Lots of great mat work in this one, if I were booking I would set up a rematch with a no time limit stipulation.

Match #4: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne vs. Ted Slazenger & Shangai Pierce
It’ll be Payne and Pierce to get the action rolling. Collar and elbow tie up and there is a quick break. They lock up again, Pierce with a side headlock, to the ropes and neither moves on a shoulder block. Pierce boots the gut, they hit the ropes and Pierce takes him down. Payne reevaluates. Payne with a boot this time and to the ropes again, this time Payne with the shoulder block. He scoop slams Pierce and he backs to his corner. Here comes Slazenger… and here comes Jack. Collar and elbow, Slazenger with position in the corner and he lays in a few rights. They lock up, Jack blocks a right and sends Slazenger down with shots to the jaw. Jack drives him into the turnbuckle but Slazenger comes back with an elbow. He goes to the eyes and sends him for an Irish whip. Jack gets his boot up and comes back with a few strikes. Tag is made to Payne as Jack grabs the wrist. Elbow from Payne and he grabs the wristlock and makes a quick tag back. Jack yanks him down by the arm, goes for a cover and Pierce has to make the save. Jack decks him on the apron while Payne takes care of Slazenger. Double team clothesline by Payne and Jack. Pierce tries pulling his partner out but Jack won’t have it. Tag is made to Payne, Irish whip but Slazenger moves and comes back with a bulldog. Slazenger is up first, boots Payne in the head and tags in Pierce. Clubbing forearm and to the ropes they go. Payne comes in with a sunset flip and gets two. Payne ducks a right and hits Pierce with a belly to back suplex. Payne makes a tag and Jack goes to work with rights and a headbutt. Slazenger comes in to save his partner and Payne takes exception. Jack clotheslines Pierce over the top rope and falls to the apron himself. Slazenger confronts him and instead he’s slingshot to the floor. Payne lifts Jack with a backbody drop outside to fall on top of Slazenger. Back in the ring, Pierce blindsides Payne. He heads to the top, tries a double ax handle but Payne cuts him off. He pulls him down with an armbar submission but Slazenger makes the save. Payne ducks a double clothesline and hits both opponents with one instead. Tag is made to Jack and he’s immediately ambushed by the Texans. Slazenger holds Jack in place, Jack ducks and Tex is clotheslined to the outside by his own partner. Pierce glances over to check on his fallen partner, he turns around and walks right into a double-arm DDT.
Winners: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne (Jack/Double-Arm DDT)

  • Off The Top: This match had really poor flow for which I don’t blame Jack, he brought the most sense to it all. While it seemed like a creative idea, that assisted back body drop by Payne couldn’t have been much sloppier unless Foley fell square on his head on the apron. Cactus Jack has a funny spot on this roster. He’s popular with the fans, he’s not main event but he’s certainly not undercard. He’s not the most technical guy in the world but he can give you a good match. Lord knows he’s willing to put his body on the line. It seems like they either have something specific that is really great, like working with Vader, or otherwise they don’t quite know what to do with him. They know they definitely want him on the show, so he’s thrown into debacles like this. 

In The Arena: ‘Mean’ Gene plugs a WCW Hotline survey and then welcomes NASCAR Driver Kyle Petty. He compares Flair’s retirement match to his father Richard Petty’s retirement from racing, but he’s definitely rooting for ‘The Nature Boy’ tonight.

Match #5 is 2 Out Of 3 Falls for the WCW United States Championship: WCW United States Champion ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes vs. ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin w/Col. Robert Parker
There will be a 30 second rest period between falls. They measure one another and its Dustin with a single leg takedown, but Austin retreats. Collar and elbow tie up and Austin moves to a waistlock, Rhodes reverses it and Austin grabs a rope. Collar and elbow and its Austin with the side headlock takedown. Rhodes counters with a head scissor and he puts it down hard. Austin rolls to the ropes to break the hold and he comes up defensively. Collar and elbow, they fight for position and hit the ropes. Austin with a shoulder block but its Rhodes with an elbow on the comeback. Rhodes tries a pin but Stunning Steve bails out to the floor. Austin takes his time to come back to the ring. Rhodes calls for a test of strength but he’s hit in the gut. Snapmare by Austin, he goes for a chinlock but Rhodes twists into a hammerlock. The Natural drives his knee into Austin’s shoulder. Austin somersaults and breaks the hold on the ropes, he bails to the floor and the fans don’t approve. Back in and they tie up, Dustin with the side headlock takedown. He holds Austin down and Steve smacks the mat. To their feet and to the ropes, its Rhodes with a shoulder block. He keeps going and Austin catches him with a boot. Austin lifts Rhodes for what looks like a powerbomb, Rhodes rolls down his back and puts Stunning Steve into a backslide for two. Austin rolls to the floor to regroup once again. Back in, its Austin with a double leg takedown, a boot to the gut and he pulls Rhodes out to the apron. Steve lays in a big elbow and pulls him onto the floor. They exchange blows and finally Rhodes throws Austin over the railing and into the fan area. Parker tries fanning his client and Austin calls for timeout. Austin offers his hand from the outside but Rhodes isn’t buying it. Austin rolls back in and continues to offer a suspicious handshake. The Natural isn’t having it and he clocks him. Side headlock takeover by Rhodes and he hangs onto the headlock. Up to their feet and Austin causes a break in the corner but not without a cheap right. He goes to work with strikes, a snapmare and an elbow from the ropes. Steve drives his head into the canvass and Dustin must kick out at two. Austin chokes him on the middle rope and Parker taunts him. Kick to the ribs, a snapmare and a knee to the forehead by Austin. Steve tries a cover and Rhodes kicks out, he comes up to his knees and delivers a right. Austin comes to his feet but he’s hit in the gut and takes a few to the chin. Austin slows it down with a kick to the gut and an elbow off the ropes. He tries a cover and only gets two. Austin dumps Rhodes to the outside, but The Natural is quick to get back to the apron. He drives his shoulder into Austin and tries a sunset flip but only gets two. Rhodes with forearms and rights. He sends Steve for the ride and hits him with a dropkick. He tries a cover but Parker pulls his leg. Rhodes takes exception to it and approaches him, allowing Austin to hit him from behind. Rhodes swings with a right but is caught in a belly to back suplex. Slow cover by Austin and Rhodes kicks out. Austin with straight rights but Rhodes fights back. They hit the ropes and collide, both men are down. They’re slow to their feet but immediately slug it out. Rhodes ducks a clothesline and lifts him for a scoop slam on the comeback, Austin holds the ropes and leverages his body on top of The Natural, Rhodes kicks out. Snapmare by Austin and he heads to the 2nd rope, he tries a knee but Dustin moves. Rhodes hits him with rights and the trademarked elbow. To the ropes and its a big clothesline by Rhodes. He sends him again and scores with a powerslam. Austin barely kicks out and Parker is up on the apron. Rhodes throws Austin into his his manager and both tumble to the floor. Because Austin went over the top rope in the process, it calls for a disqualification.
First Fall: ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin
There should be a 30 second rest period, but Rhodes ambushes Austin on the floor and drives him into the ring post. The ref restores some order and gets Dustin back in the ring. Austin is busted open and Parker has been helped to the back by the medical staff. The bell rings to decide the 2nd fall and Rhodes wastes no time to return to the floor and beat on his opponent. He dumps him back in and comes off the top with a double ax handle. The lights in the arena go out and spotlights are being used! Snap suplex by Rhodes and he drops an elbow. He tries a pin but only gets two. Irish whip by Rhodes and he clotheslines a blood Austin. Rhodes stands on the 2nd turnbuckle and delivers a series of rights. Austin grabs him by the waist, drops Rhodes to the mat, rolls him up with a handful of trunks and steals it with a surprise pin.
Winner and NEW WCW United States Champion: ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin

  • Off The Top: This is easily one of my favorite WCW rivalries of the early 1990s. Schiavone’s comment that “we’re looking at two men who will dominate WCW for the next decade” is very funny in retrospect seeing as we’re only a few years away from ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Goldust. Great match, it was seemingly an out-of-nowhere finish, but I’m OK with that once in a while. It makes you go “woa!” and messes with your immunity to the cadence of a match. One thing I would actually emphasize these days is seeing more guys win on secondary, signature moves once every blue moon, not so much on PPVs but on TV, because it would make false-finishes in big matches more dramatic. If Dolph Ziggler goes for a cover after a Famouser, is there any drama in your heart that maybe he actually just won the match? You have to swerve the ‘Smarks’ every once in a while to keep things interesting.

Match #6 for the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship: WCW International World Heavyweight Champion ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude vs. The Boss
They jaw in each other’s face and Boss is enraged. Collar and elbow, Boss with position first but they spin around. Rude finally covers up in the corner and the ref backs him off. Collar and elbow and once again they dance and once again, Rude cowers in the corner. Rude lectures the referee and the crowd pops for The Boss. They lock up again, this time its Rude with position in the corner and he takes a cheapshot as the ref tries to break it. Forearms and rights by the champ. He follows with an elbow and then lays it into the chin. He drags Boss’ eyes over the ropes and gives shots to the kidneys. To the ropes, Boss reverses and sends Rude with a back drop. He sends Rude again and hits him with a big boot. The challenger follows it with a big back breaker, Rude kicks out at 1. Boss sends Rude into the turnbuckle and then an Irish whip. Big rights by Boss and another Irish whip. Rude collapses to the mat. Scoop slam by Boss and he hooks the leg, Rude kicks out. Boss dumps him out to the floor and slams him on the ground. Boss breaks the ref’s count and goes back for more. Boss sets up a vertical suplex and hangs Rude from the top rope. He throws body shots to the vulnerable champ. Rude tries pulling himself into the ring but he runs into right hands. He finally rolls off to the floor but Boss rolls him back in. Bear hug by the challenger and Rude cries out. Rude bites the bridge of the nose to break it, but The Boss fires back with rights. Irish whip but the champ gets his knee up. Rude heads for the top but Boss cuts him off with a right and then drives his face into the mat. He tries busting him on the middle rope but Rude moves. Rude comes off the apron with a sunset flip and he gets the 3 count to retain his title.
Winner and STILL WCW International World Heavyweight Champion: Rick Rude (Sunset Flip)

  • Off The Top: I was happy to see Big Boss Man get his posthumous Hall of Fame due this past year. Other than the flippy Hardcore Championship, his only major title to speak of in either WWF or WCW was a tag title with Ken Shamrock, but he’s a great example of the fact that titles aren’t everything when it comes to leaving an impact on the fans. One thing that’s surprising? His opponent in this match isn’t in the Hall yet. He’s already in mine as you’ll see if you check out my ‘Call To The Hall’ series. It was a heel-friendly crowd tonight, not only did Austin get a good share of cheers after his win, but there were audible “Rude-Rude-Rude” chants when he was in trouble.

Match #7 for the WCW World Tag Team Championships: WCW World Tag Team Champions The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags) w/Missy Hyatt vs. Sting & Road Warrior Hawk
The Nasty Boys have some words with fans who are cat calling Missy. The Nasty Boys parade around the ring as everyone boos. They take their time to decide who is starting. It’ll be Sting and Knobs. Sags tries to psyche Sting out and Knobs wants him to back up. Collar and elbow, Knobs with position in the corner, he tries a cheapshot but Sting dodges it. Another lock up, arm drag by Stinger and Knobs consults with his partner. Knobs kicks the gut and lays in some rights. Sting’s head meets the corner and they hit the ropes, Sting ducks and scores with an elevated clothesline. He drops and elbow on Knobs and takes care of a rushing Sags. Knobs walks into a right from Hawk  and Sting sends him outside. The Nasty Boys consult with one another, Hawk lifts Sting over his head and throws him on top of the champs. Missy yells that this is cheating. Tag is made to Sags and he gets in Hawk’s face. Hawk wants in so here he comes. Sags tries going in but Hawk intimidates him back. They lock up and Hawk gets position. Sags turns it on him and lays in some rights and forearms. Hawk returns the favor with some big chops, Irish whip but Sags gets the boot up. Tag is made to Knobs, they try double teaming Hawk and send him to the corner. The Road Warrior bounces off and clotheslines both of them. They regroup with Missy on the ramp. Sags re-enters the ring and is immediately pummeled but Hawk. A series of rights and Sags collapses. Standing drop kick by Hawk as he climbs up. To the ropes they go and it’s a big shoulder block by Hawk. He lays in a right and Sags tries to bail. Hawk pursues him. Back in the ring, they hit the ropes, Sags blocks the boot but Hawk hits the enzigure. Tag is made to Sting and they give Sags a double elbow. Vertical suplex by Sting but Sags thumbs the eye. He tags in Knobs who is victimized with a hiptoss and a wristlock. Tag is made to Hawk who stays on the wrist, pulling it over his own shoulder. Knobs goes head first into the turnbuckle, Hawk grabs the arm and tags in Sting who keeps working him over with the wrist lock. Seated arm bar by Sting and he yanks Knobs head up. Quick tag back to Hawk, he sends Knobs to the corner but it’s Hawk who hits the ring post. Down on the floor, Sags takes a cheapshot and then hits Hawk with a chair. Sting checks on his partner, Sags lifts him up and Missy slaps him. Hawk goes after her but Knobs cuts him off from behind. Sags rolls him back in and Knobs stomps away. Tag is made to Sags who drops a knee on Hawk’s elbow. Quick tag to Knobs and he pulls him down to the mat. He drops a leg and tries a cover, Hawk kicks out. Armbar on the mat by Knobs and he tells Hawk to give up. LOD chants break out. A tag is made to Sags who drops a headbutt on Hawk’s shoulder. Sags locks in a submission as Hawk struggles to roll over to Sting. Tag is made to Knobs and they double team Hawk. Scoop slam by Knobs and he tries a cover. He goes back to a shoulder submission as Sting pumps up the crowd. Missy taunts him from the floor. Hawk works up to his knees and pounds on the mat. Up to vertical and he pulls Knobs in for a clothesline. A tag is made to Sing but the ref didn’t see it and he kicks him out. The Nasty Boys send Hawk for the ride, he ducks a double clothesline and gives boots to both of them. Hawk makes the tag and Sting cleans house. Scoop slam for Sags and a drop kick for Knobs. He sends Knobs for a big clothesline but Sags breaks it up. Sting dumps him to the ramp and clotheslines Knobs over the top to join him. The Nasty Boys decide they’ve had enough, Missy grabs the belts and they head for the back but Sting and Hawk won’t have that. They haul the champs back and dump them in the ring. Sting goes for a top rope splash but the knees are up. Scoop slam by Knobs. To the 2nd rope goes Knobs and he hits a big leg drop. He drops another across the neck and Sting must kick out. Knobs throws Sting over the top rope and Sags takes advantage. Missy whips Sting and Sags levels him with a clothesline. Back in the ring, a vertical suplex by Knobs and Sting kicks at two. Tag is made to Sags and he hits the kidney area. Abdominal stretch by Sags as the crowd rallies for Sting. Hawk is going nuts on the apron. Knobs enters illegally while the ref is focused on Hawk. He applies the stretch. The ref drop checks the arm and only gets two. Forearm shot by Knobs and an Irish whip, Sting gets the boot up and tries a sunset flip for two. Sags is tagged in and drops an elbow across the back. Gut wrench suplex by Sags and he tags back to Knobs. He drops an elbow and makes a cover, Sting kicks out. Camel clutch style reverse chinlock applied, Sting turns himself around and walks toward his corner. Knobs goes to cut off Hawk but takes a shot himself. He brings Sting to the opposite corner, front face lock and a vertical suplex by Knobs. He makes a cover and Sting must kick away once again. He returns to the chin lock. Hawk has seen enough and he kicks Knobs off. Sags is in, double ax on the back and makes a cover. Sting kicks out again. Knobs is back in and he goes back to the abdominal stretch. Sting reverses with a hip toss. Sags is tagged in and Knobs holds Sting’s leg so he can’t get to Hawk. Clubbing forearm to the chest and a quick tag back to Knobs who scoop slams Sting. Back to the 2nd rope and he lands a big splash. He calls to do it one more time but instead drops an elbow. Now he’s on the rope, but Sting gets the boot up. Sags rushes over and knocks Hawk off the apron and they give Sting a double team splash. Power slam by Knobs. Hawk blindsides him and takes care of Sags in the corner. Hot tag to Hawk and he ambushes Knobs, finishing him off with a body slam. Sags appears to be hurt in the corner. Sags crawls over to make the save, Sting takes care of him. Hawk goes to the floor to pound on Sags while Knobs takes a Stinger Splash. He goes for the Scorpion Deathlock but Missy runs a distraction. Sting plants a kiss on her, Knobs charges and Sting moves which knocks her off the apron. Sting comes in with a Schoolboy but Knobs barely kicks out. Knobs goes for the eye which slows him down for a minute, but Sting lifts him up on his shoulders. Hawk hits the Doomsday Device, Sting makes the cover but Missy comes in to break up the pin. The ref calls for a disqualification. Sting and Hawk win but the Nasty Boys retain the title.
Winners: Sting & Road Warrior Hawk (Disqualification)

  • Off The Top: Not the best showing for any of these 4 guys, there seemed to be some sloppy confusion at times. I think there were a couple factors in play. Sags appeared to be legitimately injured. He tried to soldier on but couldn’t do much, forcing Knobs to essentially work the whole 2nd half, and likely have to change up a lot of plans. It also felt like a match that wasn’t supposed to be as long as it was, but perhaps they were charged with going a half hour due to a time surplus. That’s just my speculation, but the last 10 minutes was lethargic and repetitive.

Match #8 – Career vs. Title: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Big Van Vader w/Harley Race vs. ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
The Flair chants are deafening. They lock up and Vader tosses him backwards. Collar and elbow and the same result happens. Flair bails out to the floor and Vader chases him. Vader is frustrated and slowly reenters. Collar and elbow, a headbutt and rights from Vader. The champ grabs a wristlock and Flair screams out. Slaps to the face by Vader and a big clothesline. He grabs the wrist again and taunts The Nature Boy. Flair blocks a right and tries chops in the corner but Vader just ragdolls him across the ring. Flair regroups on the floor. Collar and elbow, Vader with position and he sends in a series of body shots and stomps. Race heckles him from the outside. Military press slam by Flair and he rolls out to the floor. Vader gives chase and slingshots him across the steel. Flair crawls to the gate, Vader comes in with a splash, Flair moves and starts unloading. He throws Vader head first into the post, but Race cheapshots him. From the apron, a vertical suplex by the champ. Flair rolls to the opposite apron, Vader pulls him up and does it again. Headbutt by Vader and he lays in lefts and rights in the corner. Irish whip by Vader and another one. Flair somersaults over and flops onto the runway. Back to the ring Flair is sent for a devastating clothesline. Measured rights by Vader, Randy Anderson warns him. Flair tries more chops but they don’t effect Vader. Bodyslam by Vader and Flair manages to kick out. From the middle turnbuckle a clothesline to the jaw. Snapmare and back to the 2nd turnbuckle, Flair dodges the big splash. Flair climbs to the top and comes down with an ax handle. A chop by Flair and an ax handle from the other top turnbuckle. He staggers the champ and drops the champ with a 3rd top rope ax handle. Flair delivers a signature knee, but Vader is able to get up and grab a clothesline. He lifts Flair on his shoulder and seats him on the top turnbuckle. Big superplex from the champion. Vader drops an elbow to the gut, he tries a big splash but Naitch moves. Flair hits the ropes but he runs into a brick wall. Flair is dumped to the floor where Race boots his forehead. Flair tries responding with chops, it’s Vader with the Irish whip and Flair moves. Vader reverses the next Irish whip and splashes him in the corner. Race is telling the reeling Flair to quit as Vader pounds away. Wrist lock by Vader but Flair drops him with a long left right combo. He drags Vader to the apron and wraps his knee around the post. Flair grabs a chair and bashes Vader’s knee. More rights and chops drops Vader to the floor. Flair buries his rights while holding Vader in a headlock. He grabs the chair again and hits him across the back of the neck. Big clothesline drops Vader to the floor. Vader climbs back in, Flair continues to pound on the big man and he bites the bridge of the nose. Flair wears down the knee to get ready for the Figure Four. He’s feeling the crowd, he yanks the leg and tries the submission but Vader kicks him away. Vader gets a 2nd wind and goes for the Vader Bomb but Flair moves. He goes back for the Figure Four and this time he locks it in. Race is up and screaming on the apron and the ref tells him where to go. Race maneuvers to show that Vader is holding the rope so the hold is broken. Flair walks into Vader’s big boot and drops an elbow to the abdomen. He drives his elbow into Flair’s face and goes back up the turnbuckles. He launches a moonsault from the top and Flair avoids it. Flair goes for a pin, but Race has climbed to the top rope behind them. Harley tries a diving headbutt, Flair rolls away and he hits his client instead. Randy Anderson pushes Race out and tells him to get out of here. Flair hits a forearm from the ropes and dishes out some chops. He hits the ropes but runs into a wall. From behind, Flair grabs Vader’s ankle to knock him off balance. The big man falls on his back and Flair hooks the leg, we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair (Roll-Up)

  • Off The Top: *Sarcasm Warning* – I’m not sure if the result shocked you, but it turns out Flair’s career wasn’t ended in 1993! The Charlotte crowd was hot for ‘Naitch’ and that always enhances a match like this. I think Flair lost a tooth or two on that top rope clothesline. It sounded extremely stiff and Flair was bleeding from the mouth for the rest of the match. Kind of a surprise finish, but the build to it was great. Rhodes vs. Austin was the best worked match of the night, but all the drama and emotions involved made this the overall best match of the night.

Backstage: Eric Bischoff is trying to get an interview with the fallen champion, but Vader is raging and trashing the locker room.

In The Arena: Flair reappears in the entrance way for a curtain call. He returns to the back to join ‘Mean’ Gene and his family. He’s very emotional, compliments Vader and thanks the fans, he was overcome tonightSting joins them for his thoughts, he congratulates Flair and calls him the greatest World Champion of all time. Ricky Steamboat also offers his hand to The Nature Boy, and calls it a great honor to stand with this great man.

Finisher: Apparently the original brainstorm for this Starrcade saw Vader battling Sid Vicious. In late October, Vicious’ infamous hotel fight with Arn Anderson that featured a double stabbing resulted in Sid’s dismissal and they went with the Flair/retirement angle instead. Winning in 1983 and again 10 years later is a nice little side story for the man most would dub ‘Mr. Starrcade’. He definitely hammed it up with all the prematch segments, and it was a trip seeing a 7 year old Ashley (Charlotte) featured in the open. Anyone who knows anything about Flair knows that he’s incredibly emotional so I’m sure his welling up at the end was, to some degree, a shoot. Some high-highs but a few rough lows. Basically, the 3 matches listed below were awesome, but the rest of the show left more to be desired, so I’ll go with a 5/10 score.

3 On Top
1 – Ric Flair vs. Big Van Vader
2 – Dustin Rhodes vs. Steve Austin
3 – Lord Steven Regal vs. Ricky Steamboat