For the first time since acquiring WCW in 2001, WWE presented an event with the Starrcade name at their house show in Greensboro, North Carolina last night. It was also the first time the Greensboro Coliseum has hosted the event in 30 years.
There were appearances by Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, along with two steel cage matches.
The attendance was good. The upper deck wasn’t full, but the floor and first level of seating were packed.
– Bobby Roode defeated Dolph Ziggler
Arn Anderson was the special guest enforcer for this match. He didn’t do much early on aside from stopping Ziggler when he attempted to put his feet on the ropes for a pin attempt.
This was a good back-and-forth match that the crowd was popping big for. After Ziggler hit Anderson on the outside, Anderson came into the ring and hit him with a spinebuster. Roode used the Glorious DDT shortly after that to get the win.
– The Bludgeon Brothers, Rusev (w/ Aiden English), Mike Kanellis & The Colons defeated Breezango, The Ascension, Tye Dillinger & Sin Cara
The crowd was behind Rusev and were constantly chanting “Rusev Day.” The Bludgeon Brothers ended the match by taking out Epico, then hitting their double crucifix bomb on Dillinger and pinning him. They also took out Primo and Kanellis after the match. They got a decent pop for playing the tweener role and taking out everyone in their path.
– Naomi defeated Tamina (w/ Lana)
The match was fairly short, ending when Naomi won with a split-legged moonsault. The crowd wasn’t really into this and Lana got involved a few times.
– Dustin Rhodes defeated Dash Wilder
WWE played their tribute video to Dusty Rhodes before Goldust’s music hit. Dustin Rhodes then came out in his Goldust robe until removing it and revealing his old “Natural” attire. They played his old theme music as he walked to the ring. Wilder got some heat early (including a few “FTR” chants), but the match ended quickly after Rhodes hit a powerslam and running bulldog.
Rhodes cut a promo about sitting in the Greensboro stands for Starrcade events in the past and how important it was to him to be in the ring as Dustin Rhodes here.
– Ricky Steamboat came out and cut a nostalgic promo, mentioning raising the bar of the Greensboro Coliseum. They brought up his four United States title reigns, which led into the next match. Baron Corbin also talked trash to Steamboat at one point.
– Shinsuke Nakamura defeated United States Champion Baron Corbin by DQ
The match was back and forth and the crowd responded well. Corbin eventually hit Nakamura with a chair for the DQ. He went for the End of Days on the chair, but Nakamura hit him with the Kinshasa to stand tall.
– The Hardys (along with Matt’s son Maxel) came out to a huge pop before this started. They thanked North Carolina and mentioned how much Starrcade influenced them. They introduced The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, who also cut a nostalgic promo about their history with Starrcade. The New Day came out and all seven of them danced, leading into the tag title match.
– SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos defeated Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable, The New Day, and Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn to retain their titles
The match was relatively quick, with The Usos hitting superkicks before Jimmy pinned Gable with a top rope splash. Owens and Zayn had several spots where they talked trash until the other teams turned against them. The crowd was into everything, but it just felt a little short.
– They assembled the steel cage at intermission. It was much shorter than the typical cage, not extending too far past the top turnbuckle.
– They played a Ric Flair tribute video and Flair made an appearance. The crowd chanting thank you at him derailed his attempt to talk about his past Starrcade experiences. He finally managed to say what he wanted to and introduced Charlotte for the next match.
– SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair defeated Natalya in a steel cage match to retain her title
The crowd was really hot for this due to Natalya’s constant posing and interactions with the front row. The match got a decent amount of time and ended with Charlotte retaining with the Figure Eight. Really enjoyable match overall. Charlotte and Ric Flair strutted on the ramp after.
– WWE Champion AJ Styles defeated Jinder Mahal in a steel cage match to retain his title
The Singh Brothers entered and introduced Mahal to a chorus of boos. He cut his typical promo, speaking to the crowd in Punjabi. Styles ended up interrupting him and the audience went crazy.
This was fairly long and mostly consisted of Mahal throwing Styles head-first into various parts of the cage. When Styles finally looked like he was going to win, the Singhs came into the cage. The crowd went absolutely nuts at this point. Styles fought all three off and scaled the cage. Mahal went to escape through the door, but Styles kicked it into his head. Mahal staggered backwards and Styles’ feet hit the floor to retain.
Styles celebrated and Mahal roughed up the Singhs a bit following the match. The crowd popped big for Styles retaining.
Credit: Travis Mickey