Starrcade 1987 – WCW Sunday Night RetroView

It’s time again to continue our journey back through the annals of WCW. Our next (NWA) WCW Sunday Night RetroView is Starrcade 1987: Chi-Town Heat. 

The show begins immediately with a vintage 1980s shot inside the UIC Pavillion. Tony Schiavone, with a majestic mustache, and good old Jim Ross welcome us to the show. And we’re off to the races. 

Starrcade '87: Chi-Town Heat - Wikipedia
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Starrcade 1987
Six Man Tag Match
Eddie Gilbert, Larry Zbyszko & Rick Steiner vs Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes & Sting

Sting & The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Rick Steiner, Larry Zbyszko & Eddie Gilbert: Starrcade 1987 | WWE
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Sting gets a raucous ovation when announcing the competitors. Steiner and Sting begin the match, and once it’s wild how much Bron Breaker resembles his old man when the Dog Faced Gremlin was in his prime.

After a brief exchange between Sting and Steiner, all six men come in, and chaos ensues. Once everything settles Steiner gets tossed around by Garvin and Hayes before tagging out to Zybszko. 

A “Larry Sucks” chant fills the arena. Not much happens before Zbyszko tags in Gilbert, who gets embarrassed by Hayes before calling for a timeout. 

Sting finally gets his hands on his former mentor, as Ross calls it. Gilbert gets beat up for a bit by Sting, but it’s when Garvin tags back in that the nefarious trio takes advantage.

When Gilbert finally makes the tag, a fired-up Sting comes in and cleans house. But a timely placed thumb-to-the-eye by Zybszko brings his momentum to a halt. 

At an old-school wrestling show moment, the timekeeper announces that there are only three minutes left in the time limit. Michael Hayes gets the hot tag at the two-minute mark, and all hell breaks loose again.

All six men begin brawling in the ring before Hayes seemingly wins with a bulldog, but Zybszko’s leg lands perfectly on the bottom rope, ending the three-count. 

With one minute left, it comes down to a bear hug by Steiner on Hayes before Steiner hits a beautiful belly-to-belly suplex.

The final ten seconds count down as Hayes’ roll-up pin attempt falls short of beating the clock. We have ourselves a time-limit draw. 

Winners – Neither Team 

Schiavone and Ross discuss what just went down before going to Missy Hyatt in the locker room, and she talks up the excitement of what’s still left to come. 

Starrcade 1987
UWF Heavyweight Championship Match
Steve Williams © vs Barry Windham

Steve Williams vs Barry Windham (NWA, 11-26-1987) | Tape Machines Are Rolling
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Both men enter into some of the best generic 80s sports rock theme’s ever. Williams starts the match with a hip top and an even more impressive full-body press. 

Barry Windham, however, avoids the slam, and we have an early stalemate. Some amateur wrestling ensues and gets a solid reaction from the crowd during the second stalemate. 

Schiavone and Ross do a great job selling the overall athleticism of these two. This is quite a change of pace from the wild six-man match before it.

The pace is much slower, and the crowd slowly begins to get restless. They erupt when Williams’ attempt to leap over Windham ends with Windham’s head with a blow below the belt. The crowd gets angry when Windham doesn’t go in for the kill. 

At the five-minute mark, some boos begin to ring out. The match ends pretty abruptly after Widham’s attempt at a dive sends him crashing over the top rope. 

Once he crawls back in, Williams cradles him for the win, but the crowd is not happy. 

Winner – Steve Williams

Starrcade 1987
Skywalkers Match
The Rock N Roll Express vs The Midnight Express w/ Bubba Rogers and Jim Cornette

The Rock 'n' Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express - Skywalkers Match: Starrcade 1987 - YouTube
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We got ourselves a good old-fashioned scaffold match between two legendary teams. To win, you have to send both your opponents from the scaffold to the ring—pretty simple concept. 

During introductions, Cornette gets a thunderous chorus of boos. The Rock N Roll Express received a hero’s welcome in Chicago. Great camera work gives us a full-frame shot of the ring with the scaffold high above it. 

The four men quickly climb to the top of the scaffold, but Big Bubba attacks Ricky Morton, making it two-on-one. Ross immediately points out that Cornette had this planned from the start. 

Big Bubba attempts to climb the scaffold but is cut off by a tennis racket-wielding Morton, and the crowd goes bananas.

The fight begins on the scaffold, Morton utilizing the tennis racket every chance he gets. Robert Gibson is bloodied from the early two-on-one disadvantage. 

Kudos to these four all-time greats for using the tight space to make magic. The tennis racket eventually gets used on Morton. Bobby dons a crimson mask midway through the match. 

Gibson is the first man eliminated after trying to swing monkey bar style across the bottom of the scaffold. Not but two minutes later, Eaton is forced off the scaffold, giving Rock N Roll Express the victory. 

Winners – The Rock N Roll Express

After the match, Big Bubba climbs to the top of the scaffold to face off with Ricky Morton, who accepts the challenge. 

Morton distracts the big man before punching him below the belt and making a quick escape down the scaffold. The crowd loved every minute of this. 

Starrcade 1987
Unification Match for the NWA and UWF World Television Championship
Nikita Koloff (NWA TV Champion) vs Terry Taylor (UWF TV Champion)

10 Champion vs. Champion Matches You Totally Forgot About
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Taylor struts out with Eddie Gilbert in tow. Nikita Koloff enters, and he gets an average reaction. During introductions, Taylor receives a plethora of boos, but now Koloff gets some cheers during his intro.

A “Nikita” chant breaks out early in the match before Taylor quickly finds out going power for power against Koloff is a bad idea. 

It needs to be pointed out that the referee for this match is a young Earl Hebner. The power of Koloff keeps Taylor off balance early. 

Schiavone and Ross did a great job of playing up the rivalry between these two. The crowd loves seeing Taylor get tossed around by Koloff. 

Each time Koloff gets the momentum going, Taylor makes a timely escape to the ring side area to regroup with Gilbert. 

It’s not until Taylor uses a thumb to the eye to gain a slight advantage, but it doesn’t last long as Taylor finds himself in an arm lock seconds later. 

Schiavone calls Koloff a superior athlete, continuing the compliments of his game plan. Koloff’s first major mistake is when he missiles his vicious clothesline, and Taylor quickly goes on the attack. 

With an injured arm very apparent on Koloff, Taylor goes to work focusing on the limb. Gilbert physically interjects himself for the first time once Taylor distracts the referee. 

Late in the match, Taylor gets Koloff in a figure four but it isn’t enough as Koloff gets the win after finally hitting his Russion Sickle Lariat. 

Winner – Nikita Koloff

Starrcade 1987
NWA Tag Team Championship Match
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard w/ JJ Dillon © vs The Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering

Top 10 Best Road Warrior Matches, According To
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One fall, there is a forty-five-minute time limit in this one. The Road Warriors, straight from Chicago, get the loudest reaction of the night so far. 

On the flip side, Blanchard and Anderson get a boisterous amount of boos. Anderson and Hawk begin the contest and Arn gets full body pressed from the top turnbuckle right out of the gate. 

The champs are quickly sent reeling. Once back in the ring, Hawk unleashes his offense on Anderson, sending the Enforcer ringside in retreat. 

Both Road Warriors display their freakish strength in the early portion of this match. The Warriors’ early advantage causes Ross to mention how Arn and Tully might be in trouble. 

Everything the Horsemen try to do doesn’t seem to work until a full body press attempt by Hawk is thwarted by a drop kick to the knee by Blanchard. 

From here, the Horsemen begin to dissect their opposition. A chair shot to the leg on the arena floor puts Hawk in an even worse position. A Blanchard-applied figure four does more damage to Hawk’s injured knee. 

When the hobbled Hawk finally makes the tag to Animal, the crowd goes berserk. Chaos begins, and amidst it, the ref is sent crashing out of the ring.

With the ref recovering, the Road Warriors hit the Doomsday Device to become the new NWA World Tag Team Champions. 

Or so we thought, Tommy Young, the referee in charge, overruled the call, claiming a disqualification giving Blanchard and Anderson the win. 

The disqualification came from the weird old rule of the NWA, disqualifying wrestlers for throwing their opponent over the top rope. 

The fans are not happy. 

Winners – Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson

As the ring crew get the cage set up for the final two matches, we get an interview with Nikita Koloff. He is proud to be the unified Television Champion. 

After Koloff, JJ Dillon talks up how Lex Luger is going to defeat Dusty Rhodes. He describes the perfect athlete as one with the perfect plan. 

Starrcade 1987
NWA United States Championship Cage Match
Lex Luger w/ JJ Dillon © vs Dusty Rhodes

10 WCW & WWE Wrestlers You Completely Forgot Won The Big Gold Belt
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Luger enters first to some more of that sweet, generic 80s sports rock theme. And, of course, Dusty Rhodes is welcomed to a chorus of cheers. Man, he was so over in the 80s. 

This match isn’t just for the gold; it also puts Dusty Rhodes’s career on the line. Dusty’s intro rivals the Road Warriors in excitement. 

Luger, despite being from Illinois, receives well-deserved boos. A dramatic camera shot of the cage being locked leads us to the ringing of the bell. 

Luger’s first attempt to slam Rhodes into the cage is met with an elbow from the American Dream. 

This caused Ross to mention Dusty Rhodes’s vast experience in cage matches. That experience keeps Luger off balance early on, including an attempt at a sleeper hold. The first five minutes belong to Dusty Rhodes. 

Sidenote: We get a wide-open shot of the cage on the ring, and it’s cool for a pro wrestling photographer like myself to see the guys doing the same thing back in the 80s.

Dusty’s strategy shifts its focus to Lex Luger’s left arm. When Luger finally seizes control, he immediately rams Rhodes into the steel cage multiple times. 

The attack obviously busts open Rhodes. Luger begins to work over Rhodes, using the cage as his weapon of choice. Never willing to surrender, Rhodes continuously battles back. 

At the fifteen-minute mark, Dusty fires up like only he can. Schiavone calls it the Dusty Rhodes Comeback. With momentum on his side, Rhodes captures Luger in the Weaver lock. 

This causes JJ Dillon to get involved, and he throws a chair inside the steel cage. But as Luger goes to pick it up, Dusty Rhodes hits him with a DDT on the chair to become the United States Champion. And the crowd explodes into cheer. 

Winner – Dusty Rhodes 

Jim Ross builds up the moment with excited commentary congratulating the new champion. 

Starrcade 1987
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
Ron Garvin © vs Ric Flair w/ JJ Dillon

Wrestlespective / Starrcade 1987: Ron Garvin vs. Ric Flair
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Flair’s music hits, and the crowd’s anticipation begins to build once again. The Nature Boy comes out in a spectacular white and silver robe. Then Ron Garvin comes out in simple red tights, the world title, and a red towel around his neck. 

During the intros, Flair receives a mixed reaction from the Windy City crowd. Garvin receives a few more boos but overall pretty mixed reaction as well. Jim Ross says that both men know the price it takes to win. 

Schiavone and Ross work well together on commentary. The two exchange chops and slaps early on. Garvin wins the early exchange, finishing it with a hip toss. 

Soon, Garvin employs the same strategy as earlier in the night as he focuses his attack on Flair’s right arm. The Garvin stomp gets a solid reaction from Schiavone and the live audience. 

When Flair gains control he obviously works over the legs of his challenger in attempts to set up the figure four. 

It’s not long after that Flair locks Garvin in the figure four. Ross proclaims that Garvin will let his leg break before saying, “I quit.” Garvin eventually reverses the hold, forcing Flair to release it. Schiavone mentions how much pain Garvin seems to be in. 

At the ten minute mark, Flair two attempts at slamming Garvin’s face are stopped before Garvin sends Flair crashing into the steel. 

Garvin follows by grating Flair’s face across the cage, and the blood begins to flow for the Nature Boy. 

Of course, when Flair goes to escape, he gets tossed from the top turnbuckle, which allows Garvin to then apply his own Figure Four.

The two end up on the top turnbuckle together before Flair is thrown to the mat. A pair of close two counts follow as the intensity rises. 

Garvin looks to have it won with his knockout punch, but Flair kicks out right before the three count. A slam against the cage, followed by a cover from Flair, leads to the Nature Boy becoming World Champion yet again. 

Everyone is standing in celebration as Flair is hugged by JJ Dillon ringside. Flair lets out a boisterous woo, and the crowd emphatically responds.

Winner – AND NEW World Heavyweight Champion, Ric Flair

The trip back to the golden era of Starrcade was another great one. But would you expect anything less from a show with Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair in double main events?

Until next time.

Starrcade '87: Chi-Town Heat - Wikipedia
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