I’ve never watched a single Starrcade. I was never a WCW kid. As we all know, that company and the at the time WWF were in a bitter war and you needed to choose sides or blood would be spilled. I would proudly state that WCW had old washed up wrestlers with “fake muscles” and a cushioned ring and padded floors. World Wrestling Federation wrestling was real. Tatonka was a real Native American wrestler and I loved him, dammit.
I remember catching a glimpse of what I think was a Starrcade around ’97/’98 and Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper were fighting the fight to settle the 30 year score once and for all, inside a steel cage. A fan jumped the barricade and got in the ring that night, that fan got the shit kicked out of them. Man I hope that was a Starrcade event because I’ll get to it eventually.
I’m older now, and instead of remaining in love with wrestling, I let my love continue to grow with age. I’m more in love with wrestling now than ever, and I’ve since dropped my WCW grudge but I’ve still never seen the spectacle of Starrcade with my own eyes. Why is this Pay-Per-View so special? Is it true that it’s WCW’s Wrestlemania? Who is this Sting? Okay, that last one was a joke. But the point is I’m finally at a point in my life where I can give Starrcade a chance.
I started from the very beginning, back in 1983, six years before I became a thing. The match card was huge featuring Abdulah the Butcher vs. Carlos Colon, Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine in a Dog Collar Match, The Brisco Brothers vs. Jay Youngblood and a fresh young Ricky Steamboat, and Ric Flair vs. Harley Race in a steel cage for the gold. “Flair for the Gold” was the events subtitle. I was excited.
Man Starrcade ’83 was some NWA-ass wrasslin’. None of these wrestlers looked like Seth Rollins or AJ Styles. Not one ab. These wrestlers were on a beer and more beer diet and that’s fine because once they’re in the ring, their matches are believable fights. I think that’s something that gets lost often in today’s wrestling because everyone is moving so fast and is comfortable with fans being “smartened up”. No, don’t be comfortable with us knowing what you do. Don’t be okay with us catching you calling matches in the ring on national television. Everyone today isn’t like that, but it hurts me personally when I see that aspect of “The Business” dying. Slow down guys, tell that story, make me want to believe it’s real.
I know this would not fly now for a variety of reasons, but I was mostly looking forward to the Dog Collar Match between Rowdy “Roddy” Piper and Greg Valentine. The match was so barbaric; so great. These were tough guys; a different kind of tough than what we’re used to today. I’ve never seen someone “work an ear” tough before. They were mindlessly tough enough to have a dog collar strap around each person’s neck with the leash leading to the opponents collar. What logical wrestling sense would permit that today?
Harley Race looked like a true late ’70s champ with that beautiful perm and mutton chops to compliment. Shout out to Angelo Mosca for cutting an epic promo with an arm swelling up with blood and his son passed out wearing a full crimson mask right next to him. The crowd and locker room energy looked to be siding with Ric Flair, will he be the man to reign the NWA title through the 80s?
Going back and watching Flair in his prime, and learning more about why the people he beat to become The Man were so important changed the way I watch wrestling now. My eye is more refined because I witnessed the classics and visualized them being innovative. I felt like I watched the original fights. I got to feel as energetic as that crowd in attendance watching Ric Flair pin “The King” Harley Race and shifting wrestling.
On a wrestling alone, Starrcade ’83 is one of the greatest wrestling events I’ve watched. It changed my wrestling landscape and at the end of the day made me fall into a deeper wrestling love. Now let’s celebrate my declaration of love like then U.S Champion, Charlie Brown “from Out of Town”.