Monday, August 3, 2015

WCW Starrcade 1994

Quick Note: The following musing was written prior to the whole Hulk Hogan racial controversy, so don't expect anything touching that particular subject. Believe me, there are a lot of other ugly aspects to Hogan as a human being that we can spotlight instead.

From December 1994, the 11th edition of WCW's "Granddaddy of Them All" features Hulk Hogan defending his WCW World Heavyweight Championship against the Butcher! The Butcher is perhaps best known as Brutus Beefcake in WWF and also for being Hogan's BFF. Thanks to the WWE Network, I am getting to watch this show in its entirely for the first time. I've heard of this show, I've read about this show, and now I get to watch this show...

And instantly regret it.

Vader defeated U.S. Champ Hacksaw Jim Duggan to win the title. Duggan, of course, won that title from a young Steve Austin in under half a minute, just after he had been "rewarded" the title due to former champ Ricky Steamboat's retirement. Some would've call this the influence of Hogan at play here, but then Duggan would lose the strap to Vader. So much for influence, I guess... Anyway, the match itself was fine and disturbingly ends up being the best match of the show. It's nothing fancy, but it gets the job done, with Vader being the monster heel and Duggan being the never give up hero who gives his all, but succumbs to brute force in the end.

Next up is a match between German wunderkind Alex Wright and French blueblood Jean-Paul Levesque that nobody seems to care about. And for good reason because this match is boring. Hey, speaking of boring, this Levesque character looks awfully familiar. Almost as if I've seen him somewhere. I wonder if his promos are as boring as his wrestling because good lord, this is god awful. Oh, by the way, Alex Wright won the match, but considering the future of these two fellas, who really won in the end?

TV champ Johnny B. Badd defeated Arn Anderson to retain the title. Originally he was supposed to be fighting Honky Tonk Man, but because Honky fucked off for some reason, we get Anderson instead, who's resorting to bitching about Badd breaking all the rules before finding opportunities to break the rules himself. Is it sad for me to say that I enjoyed their gimmicky boxing match at Uncensored than I do this match here? Oh, and by the way, Anderson would eventually win the TV title some time later.

The Nasty Boys defeated Harlem Heat via DQ when Sherri interfered. At the risk of sounding repetitive, is it wrong for me to say that I enjoyed their gimmicky concession stand brawl at Uncensored than I do this match here?

Mr. T defeated Kevin Sullivan with an assist from some guy dressed as Santa Claus (I think it was "Evad" Sullivan, but I don't recall) in a match that made me wish that I was watching the Wrestlemania 2 boxing match he had with Roddy Piper. Oh well, at least it was short.

Sting defeated Avalanche (the late John Tenta a.k.a. Earthquake) via DQ. It told a good classic tale of the little guy trying to lift the big guy before eventually succeeding and truth be told, it was a match that you knew they were giving their all, but perhaps you needed to be in the right frame of mind to truly enjoy this one. For what it was, it was alright, it was somewhat enjoyable in the right mindset, but at the same time, both guys had better matches in their career.

And finally, you got Hulk Hogan defending the WCW World Title against Brutus Beefcake... er, sorry, I meant, Brother Bruti... wait, sorry, I meant THE BUTCHER, whose only claim to be being number one contender is that Ed Leslie is Hogan's best friend in real life. And that's pretty much the only noteworthy thing worth mentioning about this match because... fuck that shit... Hogan wins, by the way... but that goes without saying.

I haven't been watching wrestling in 1994, let alone WCW. So I can only imagine the disappointment of longtime WCW fans in seeing WCW events going from Hogan vs. Flair to Hogan vs. Butcher. And, no disrespect to Ed Leslie, but regardless of what name he goes under, he's not that a big deal and I don't think he ever was that big a deal. The only reason he was in that match getting that title shot on WCW's grandest stage was because he was Hogan's best friend. And if the match were any good, this wouldn't have been an issue. But like I said, Ed Leslie in the main event because he's Hogan's BFF was the only noteworthy thing about this match. The less said about anything else, the better.

For all the criticisms levied towards the way John Cena is presented and portrayed, at the very least, you're bound to get some enjoyable matches and Cena is more than capable and willing to provide said matches. You'd be hard-pressed to say the same for Hulk Hogan and his entire WCW run.

This PPV did mark the first WCW PPV appearance of the Macho Man and it was teased throughout the show as to whether Savage would join Hogan or stab him in the back. I can't honestly say that this wasn't an intriguing bit because it was; especially given the volatile relationship between the two and they bring that to light. Not as intriguing watching it now because, well, it's been years, but for the time, it was something to build towards... and of course, Savage joins Hogan for however long that lasted. And in a post-match celebration, they teaser Vader as the next challenger to Hogan's throne... yeah, good luck with that.

Starrcade 1994 was terrible. It's never a good sign when the first match of the card - your OPENING MATCH - is your BEST match and then it just goes downhill from there. The main event was a Hogan blowjob, the rest of the card was barely passable fare and I'm being generous in that regard...

Nah, this show sucked. Big time.

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