Ring Rust Review: Starrcade 1987

This edition of the RRR will take a break from the current happenings in the world of wrestling because once again we are going back in time to review one of my favorite cards Starrcade 1987: Chi-town Heat. Now it isn’t coincidence that this card is also featured on WWE 24/7 this month, cause that’s where I found it again so lets take a stroll down memory lane.  If you don’t have the 24/7 service or just plain refuse to give Vince your money well I’m sure you can find a VHS copy of this (anyone still have one of those?) on Ebay.

The opening match sees a young wrestler named Sting team up with Michael “PS” Hayes & his future Freebird brother Jimmy Garvin vs. Larry Zbyszko, Rick Steiner, & “Hot Stuff “Eddie Gilbert. Now this was a great opening match which showcased a young Sting & “pre Steiner Brothers” Rick Steiner, this match went back and forth until the 15 minute time limit ran out so the match was a draw, however from the crowd reaction it didn’t matter. It was also great to see Eddie Gilbert who left us far too soon. Later on Jimmy Garvin cut standard NWA promo putting over all the faces on the card as well as the NWA, now in this case standard doesn’t mean bad, I loved the promos of this era, the wrestlers didn’t mind putting over other matches and wrestlers.

Next we have the UWF Champion Dr. Death Steve Williams (another great that just recently left us) vs. The Western States champion Barry Windham. A little history WWE Hall of Famer Bill Watts used  to promote for Mid South Wrestling, Bill wanted to go national and try to compete with “The Big Three” AWA, NWA, & WWF. Going national with a name like Mid South was not going to cut it, so the name changed to UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation). Unfortunately the promotion never stuck and Watts sold to Crockett, as for the Western States Heritage Championship it was only around a couple of years and was retired a while later when then champion Zbyszko left for the AWA.  On to the match was I have to admit was the driest on the card, to many hand shakes for me and the crowd seemed dead, but it was meant to be a scientific match and it delivered with Dr. Death winning with a roll up.

One of the features of the card (at least for me) was the United States Tag Champions Midnight Express the Lane & Eaton version (it sucks that WWE doesn’t have the original MX music) vs. The Rock & Roll Express in a Skywalkers match (don’t ask me how they got this past Lucas). Growing up I loved these two teams and I looked forward to every match. For those who don’t know a Skywalkers match is just another name for scaffolding match (can you image what the ECW guys could have done with this type of match) which was popular among the tag team of the era, at least in the NWA territories. The Rock & Roll Express came up on top (pun intended) in the encounter with the help of Jim Cornette’s tennis racket

Next up is the unification match for UWF/NWA Television titles UWF Champ Terry Taylor vs. NVA Champ Nikita Koloff. Nikita started strong but thanks to Eddie Gilbert’s interference Taylor came back for a bit before going down to Koloff’s sickle and becoming the unified champion. Another match I loved was Tully & Arn (Horsemen) vs. The LOD, The Road Warriors, the Warriors were home time favorites who at this point never held the belts, the LOD dominated the match only to lose via DQ due to a stupid rule by the NWA in which a wrestler who throws someone over the top rope will get disqualified.

The double main event is next starting with Dusty Rhodes vs. Lex Luger, if Dusty wins he gets Lex’s U.S. belt, but if Lex wins Dusty is gone, this match was inside a steel cage, and back and forth they went, the great thing about this whole card was all of the matches were at least over ten minutes long, these guys were able to tell great stories in the ring. After a chair was introduced by Lex’s manager James Dillon and was promptly used by Dusty via the DDT to win the match and his career. The final match also held inside the cage was NWA champion Ron Garvin vs. Ric Flair. Now back then a champion was decided by committee, for some reason said committee decided Flair should not be that champion, hence Ron Garvin was given the title, after a lackluster start the committee saw that it was not the right time to take the belt so back we go, you can tell Ron was not into this match maybe knowing the outcome, the fans were chanting for Flair more than Garvin, who was suppose to be the face. So after taking a wicked head shot on the cage Ron was knocked out thus ending his month long reign.

I wish I had enough space to do this card justice, this was a great time in wrestling, it was the hay day of tag team wrestling, and while they might not had the production value or exposure of the then WWF, The NWA had matches and cards equal if not better than WWF or AWA.  Thanks for joining me down memory lane, next time we go back to 2010 and that all that Hulk Hogan/Bret Hart nonsense, until then keep the comments coming and let’s watch