WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock | WCW Sunday Night RetroView

WCW Sunday Night RetroView fans, it’s time for a deep into the vault for today’s RetroView. Today we are looking back at WCW Starrcade 1989. This edition of WCW’s biggest event of the year, is a unique one. It features Iron Man and Iron Team Tournaments. Meaning, each tournament featured four wrestlers or four teams and they have themselves a round robin tournament. 


Mike Reviews: NWA/WCW Starrcade 1989 – Scotts Blog of Doom!
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The show begins with a short 80’s centric video package showing each of the competitors. In the Iron Man Tournament is Sting, Ric Flair, Lex Luger and the Great Muta. Competing in the Iron Team tournament is The Road Warriors, Steiner Brothers, New Wild Samoans and Doom. 

After the National Anthem, Jim Ross welcomes us to the show before he’s joined on commentary by Terry Funk. Helping analyze the team round robin tournament is Jim Cornette.

Throwback Thursday: NWA/WCW Starrcade '89: Future Shock, As Seen on WWE Network | Wrestling DVD Network
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Jim Cornette goes over the point system for the tournaments. 

  • Pinfalll or submission victory equals 20 points.
  • Count out victory equals 15 points.
  • Disqualification victory equals 10 points
  • A draw will earn the wrestlers five points. 

WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
Iron Team Tournament Match 1
Steiner Brothers © vs Doom

The stage setup is great as the announcer introduces all four teams competing in the Iron Team Tournament. Doom makes their way to the ring accompanied by Woman and her bodyguard Nitron. Rick and Scott, the current WCW Tag Team Champions, make their way down second. 

Scott Steiner and Doom number one as Jim Ross calls him (Ron Simmons) beginning the match. Steiner hits a beautiful power slam early. 

Side Note: Scott Steiner in his prime was absolutely untouchable athleticism wise.

NWA WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock Review | My Journey Through Wrestling
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Scott’s brief flurry to star the match brings in Butch Reed rather quickly, who gets the advantage on Rick Steiner. That is until he’s hit with an overhead suplexed by the “Dog Faced Gremlin.” It doesn’t take long for Nitron to get involved when the fight spills to the floor. 

Back in the ring Simmons returns the favor on Scott Steiner with a beautiful power slam of his own. Doom is able to isolate Scott until Steiner ends the assault with a belly to belly suplex. Rick gets the hot tag and goes to work with a Steiner line on Reed as the match clock ticks under two minutes. 

Nitron once again gets involved, but he’s met with a vicious clothesline on the outside. Then, all hell breaks loose much to the delight of the crowd. The finish comes when Rick rolls back into the ring beating the ten count earning the Steiner Brothers 15 points. 

Winner – Steiner Brothers

Up next ring announcer Gary Gepetta introduces the four singles competitors in the Iron Man Tournament. The Great Muta looks like a million bucks as does Sting. Lex Luger is wearing some strange black and silver robe. Ric Flair, the WCW World Champion, dazzles in his patented purple robe. 

WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
Iron Man Tournament Match 1
Sting vs Lex Luger

Two former friends face-off in this match. Terry Funk proclaims that these two are the future of pro wrestling to which Jim Ross calls them the prototype of a modern athlete. After Sting receives a boisterous ovation from the crowd, Luger tries to leave the arena. Sting chases him down before dragging him back to the ring. 

Showing off the athleticism early, Sting keeps Luger off balanced with a furious attack. It’s when it heads to the outside that Luger takes control. Back in the ring Sting regains control, countering all of Luger’s offensive attempts. 

Ross with a great call… Luger has yet to sustain an offensive attack.”

Sting hits a picture perfect drop kick before he gets caught by Luger while attempting a cross body from the top turnbuckle. Luger’s power is always impressive to see. 

In control, Luger hits a power slam before attacking Sting in the corner. Here’s where baby face Sting was one of the best. Fired up by Luger’s punches and kicks Sting fights his way out of the corner. With the final 30 seconds ticking down, both men were on the apron. Luger pulls both over the top rope and into the ring before falling on Sting. From here, Luger uses the ropes to get the pin on Sting and earning 20 points. 

Winner – Lex Luger

WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
Iron Team Tournament Match 2
Doom w/ Woman vs The Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering

Woman leads her team out again with a different dress on for this match. The Road Warriors donning their black tights and black spiked shoulder pads, look like total bad asses. 

This match is all about power and physicality. Hawk and Ron Simmons have a great sequence of power posturing early on, neither man willing to budge. Although neither team holds the advantage long in this match, it is a display of two quality teams who know what they’re doing. 

Eventually all four men start brawling in the ring which allows Animal to hit a clothesline off the top turnbuckle leading to Doom moving to 0-2 on the night. The Road Warriors victory earns them 20 points. 

Winners – Road Warriors

WCW Starrcade 1989
Iron Man Tournament Match 2
Ric Flair vs The Great Muta

Flair, the six time World Champion at this point,  is joined by Arn and Ole Anderson. Ross plays up the fact that nobody knows Flair quite like The Great Muta. Muta opens the match fast and furious, highlighted by a handspring elbow. 

Flair’s response, his patented chops, which Terry Funk lets the audience know how much they hurt. Attempted interference by Buzz Sawyer and the Dragon Master leads to a wild brawl. 

Muta attempts a moonsault from the top rope amid the chaos, but Flair’s knees counter it. Then, shockingly, Flair gets the quick victory with a surprise inside cradle, becoming the first man to pin the Great Muta. Flair is now tied with Luger with 20 points. 

Winner – Ric Flair

WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
Iron Team Tournament Match 3
The Steiner Brothers vs The Road Warriors

NWA Starrcade 1989: Future Shock Review | My Journey Through Wrestling
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Two fan favorite teams in this match in their first meeting ever as Jim Ross puts it. Both teams trade hard hitting, impactful clotheslines early in the match. Ross and Cornette play up that these two teams are friends but are willing to put friendship aside on this night. Lots of tags between both teams as these are two of the very best teams ever. 

Both teams move at their own pace, masters of what they do best. Scott hits a painfully looking belly to belly suplex from the top turnbuckle to Hawk midway through the match. This ends in a controversial manner after the Road Warriors hit the Doomsday Device. 

Scott Steiner lands on Animal and the ref makes the three count with Scott on top of Animal. With the win the Steiner Brothers now have 35 points. 

Winner – Steiner Brothers

Iron Man Tournament Match 3
Sting vs The Great Muta

Sting vs. The Great Muta: Starrcade 1989 | WWE
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Both men need a win to earn some points towards the tournament, something Terry Funk quickly points out. The chemistry between these two is apparent early with both men countering the other’s offense. Sting’s first attempt at a Scorpion Deathlock is quickly averted when Muta reaches the ropes. 

The athleticism in this match is off the charts. Muta is in prime form here and Sting matches his level of intensity. Muta misses the moonsault again but this time lands on his feet and follows with a back kick. 

Sting counters with an impressive drop kick to Muta who had climbed up to the top turnbuckle. One superplex from the top turnbuckle later and Sting has earned 20 points with a pinfall victory. 

Winner – Sting

WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
Iron Team Tournament Match 4
The New Wild Samoans vs Doom

NWA Starrcade 1989: Future Shock Review | My Journey Through Wrestling
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Woman, now in a purple dress with a silver sash, leads Doom out for their third match of the night. Fatu and Butch Reed start this match. Neither man is willing to give an inch. Reed hits an impressive body slam which Fatu returns in kind. 

There is nothing pretty about this match, just four big dudes beating the snot out of each other. Head butts, power slams and super kicks throughout. The finish is the weakest of the night when an incidental head butt leads the New Wild Samoans getting 20 points for a pinfall victory. 

Winners – The New Wild Samoans 

WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
Iron Man Tournament Match 4
Ric Flair vs Lex Luger 

Both men begin the match posturing to the crowd. A “Luger sucks” chant comes from the crowd, riling up the “Total Package.” Flair, the complete ring general, leads Luger through a stellar match. Luger utilizes his power to counter Flair’s cerebral approach. 

The intensity picks up as the clock winds down, Luger in particular becomes more aggressive as the match goes on. Flair counters a suplex late in the match but Luger is the first man to his feet. 

The two trade punches and chops as Jim Ross proclaims… “Neither man is giving an inch.”

Ross really makes this whole show feel important. Flair gets a close two count with a sunset flip. With just under 30 seconds left, Flair locks Luger in the Figure Four. As Luger fights through the pain, refusing to submit, the clock runs out leading to a draw. Both men receive five points. 

Winner – Draw

WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
Iron Team Tournament Match 5
The New Wild Samoans vs The Steiner Brothers

NWA Starrcade 1989: Future Shock Review | My Journey Through Wrestling
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Heading into this match the Steiner’s lead the round robin with 35 points, the New Wild Samoans have 20. Another match that  is all about power and pain, not finesse and athleticism. 

After the Steiner’s open with a flurry of action, the New Wild Samoans regroup on the outside. There is lots of posturing throughout this match before the physicality begins. The Samoans eventually isolate Scott, which seems to be the Steiner Brothers normal match routine. Scott hits a picture perfect Frankensteiner, but can’t use the momentum to tag in Rick. 

As the clock ticks down under a minute left in the match, all four men brawl inside the ring. The New Wild Samoans get the win under dubious circumstances after Scott clotheslines Fatu over the top rope. Back in the 1980’s WCW, that’s grounds for a disqualification. The New Wild Samoans earn 10 points. 

Winners – The New Wild Samoans 

Iron Man Tournament Match 5
The Great Muta vs Lex Luger

Luger, showing the effects of Ric Flair’s Figure Four leg lock, limps to the ring. His injured knee plays a pivotal part in this match as Muta focuses on damaging the limb. Muta’s arsenal of strikes and leg holds impresses Terry Funk as he meticulously wears down Lex Luger. 

Of all the singles matches on this show, this one has the slowest pace. Muta controls most of the match but ends up losing by disqualification after spitting the infamous green mist in Luger’s face. Since he had no chance of winning the tournament at this point, Muta decided to play spoiler and only let Luger get ten points.

Winner – Lex Luger

WCW Starrcade 1989: Future Shock
Iron Team Tournament Match 6
The New Wild Samoans vs The Road Warriors

The Road Warriors need a pinfall or submission to win the tournament, which is what they get in just over five minutes after these two teams put on a physical brawl. Samoan Savage and Hawk start the match off trading vicious chops. Neither man backed down during the exchange. 

Eventually Animal gets isolated from his partner. The hot tag brings in Hawk who lands a shoulder block before all four men start brawling in the ring. Finally, Hawk gets the win after hitting a clothesline from the top turnbuckle.

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Winners – The Road Warriors

After the match, the Steiner Brother’s come in and congratulate Hawk and Animal on winning the Iron Team Tournament. 

Iron Man Tournament
Sting vs Ric Flair

Sting enters first with fresh face paint for the main last match of the evening. Luger leads the night with 30, Ric Flair has 25 and Sting enters with 20. So in order for Sting to win the tournament he needs to defeat Flair by pinfall or submission. Flair can win by pin, submission or count out and he wins the tournament. A draw gives Luger the tournament victory. 

Jim Ross does a great job referencing Flair and Sting’s previous encounters. Leading into this, Sting and Flair were in one of their rare partnership phases. Early on we get a little technical wrestling with neither man getting the advantage. 

When the pace quickens Sting gets the advantage with impressive full body press. Flair doesn’t take kindly to this and he shoves Sting, who responds in kind, sending the “Nature Boy” to the mat. 

After Flair composes himself on the outside we get our first close two count. Sting almost pins Flair with a back slide. Energized by the close call, Flair takes control with his world famous chops. The pace quickens again and Sting nails Flair with chops and kicks of his own. Not too long after the fight spills to the ring side area, where Flair shines. 

Back in the ring, Flair takes complete control, throwing Sting from corner to corner followed by a double armed suplex for a two count. When the fight spills back to ring side, Flair awakens Sting with his knife edge chop. Each one angers the Stinger more and more. 

Flair continues to use the chop, each time giving Sting more and more fire. As the announcer lets everyone know the match has under two minutes left, Sting hits a Stinger Splash. He then applies the Scorpion Deathlock, which Flair counters quickly by grabbing the ring hope as soon as he can. Sting counters the Figure Four in the same exact manner moments later. 

As the clock goes below a minute, Flair begins working on Sting’s leg with added intensity. However, the next attempt at the Figure Four turns out to be Flair’s downfall when Sting counters it with a small package for the 1-2-3. Pyro goes off as Sting celebrates to a raucous ovation. 

Winner – Sting

Ross and Funk aren’t sure what Flair will do after the match and then are surprised when Flair shakes Sting’s hand. Arn and Ole come out after the match, give Sting the Four Horsemen hand sign before Arn raises Sting’s hand. Sting would later join the Horsemen for a brief period.

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So this is a unique show that I enjoyed watching. Interesting concept to take for a promotion to take their obvious top 12 guys and just feature them for entire show. I think this would be a cool concept for a promotion to attempt in today’s wrestling.

Until next time.