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Monday Night Mayhem DVD Review: “Starrcade: The Essential” Collection
Produced By: WWE Home Video
Written By: “Wild” Bill Brown

****

Content: 9.0

Dream matches & everlasting moments are reflected upon in this three-disc-set of wrestling history. Starrcade began out of the National Wrestling Alliance & was the beginnings of closed-circuit & Pay-Per-View world-wide wrestling extravaganza’s. You will look at this events origins, the evolution, & now re-live the sometime forgotten legacy. Witness the NWA growing in local Carolina’s territory to becoming World Championship Wrestling & all the moments in between. See the up’s & down’s, the innovations & the mistakes, & all the glorious moments. This latest presentation by World Wrestling Entertainment is a great review, and for the newer fan, a mandatory learning experience to see how the wrestling business has evolved.

****

Video & Audio: 8.5

Documentary pieces are well put together, guiding you through the years in a sequential order. The old-school footage looks great, and the audio is crisp & clear. Dolby Surround sounds great, and the music back-ups mix well with the presentation. The matches mostly shot by Jackie Crockett, the NWA/WCW, & Turner Home Entertainment crews hold up very nicely through the re-mastering of WWE Video. No High-Definition showing in this set, as it was well before its time obviouslym but there is no complaint to the way all footage was preserved & used in this title.

****

The Documentary: 8.0

It was nice to get a fifty-minute summary of the history of Starrcade & a review of the key moments in the events history. If you were a long-time fan, it is “true-view.” Newer fans will get the historic educational view at the building of “The Grand-Daddy’ Of Them All,” as the event was called. See various clips at local television station managers, as well as NWA board clips as the event was created & came to fruition on Thanksgiving night in 1983. Wrestling back then in the Crockett territory was built on emotion, and there were some serious promos that drew the gates. “A Flair For The Gold,” a vicious Dog Collar Match with major heat & intensity, an “I Quit” Match,” & Scaffold Matches were all staples of the out of the box thinking to draw the fans. “Kayfabe” was also a must to keep storylines believable in the wrestling fans minds at that time. While some concepts were revolutionary, some were far reaching such as “Battle Bowl,” The Iron Man 1989 Tournament that did not draw well or even the Pat O Conner Tag Team Cup, which was not even mentioned at all. Yeah, remember that one? But through this documentary, you will see the change of the company & the way business was presented. The comments in the panel are interesting to listen to, as the WWE did a decent job getting some cool names to talk about the event that were associated through much of its history. The constant reminders seeing the legacy of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair & how important he was, the tragic end of Magnum TA’s in-ring career, the building of Sting beating the nWo or the streak of Goldberg coming to an end, this nice-but way-too-short documentary portion on the first disc was still enjoyable, but it only serves to wet your mouth for more, which leads into the matches being presented.

****

The Matches: 9.0

“Mean” Gene Okerlund, Tully Blanchard, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, & David Crockett, Road Warrior Animal, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, Jim Ross, or Magnum TA are mainly the men who will guide you through the top 25 battles of Starrcade, as selected through online voting by the “WWE Universe” at WWE.com. The results show that many of the most-remembered bouts, especially the last six, drew on the huge unbelievable buildup based on grabbing the fans reality & making them want to see something special. Many of the matches unfortunately are so historic that they were previously released on many other video releases through the WWE, but this event had those classic matches and they are needed once again to show this magnitude of these events. When watching some of the finishes on some of these matches as well, you can see that Dusty as a booker was not a good move long-term for business through the 80’s, because there are a handful of these top 25 matches that ended in screw jobs, or as what was commonly known as “The Dusty Finish.” You kind-of get insulted (even now) to know that by screwing the fans, the end result was NWA Crockett being sold, and if only it was realized before it was too late, then maybe history would not have unfolded the way it did.

****

The Top 25 Matches:

Disc I

“Mean” Gene Okerlund: #25

“The Match Of The Decade”
?Rowdy? Roddy Piper vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan
WCW Starrcade — December 29, 1996: *Not a classic, but a major deal for WCW in 1996.*

Jim Ross: #24

“Iron Man” Singles Tournament
Sting vs. The Great Muta
NWA Starrcade — December 13, 1989: *The Great Muta was only beaten once, and this tournament had their first-ever match.*

Jim Ross: #23

Unified World Tag Team Championship Match
Barry Windham & Brian Pillman vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat & Shane Douglas
WCW Starrcade — December 28, 1992: Stiff, solid, & awesome ring work.*

“Mean” Gene Okerlund: #22

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash
WCW Starrcade — December 27, 1998: *The “streak” comes to an end.*

“Mean” Gene Okerlund: #21

BattleBowl
WCW Starrcade — December 29, 1991: “Nothing fancy…a Battle Royal of winners. Not a great match, but historic.*

Tully Blanchard: #20

WCW United States Championship Match: Best Two-Out-Of-Three Falls”
Dustin Rhodes vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
WCW Starrcade — December 27, 1993: *The lights go out, juice, & an interesting finish.*

Disc II

Tully Blanchard: #19

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
The Road Warriors vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard
Alternate Commentary: Todd Grisham & Road Warrior Animal
NWA Starrcade — November 26, 1987: *The first “screwjob” & a bad one to watch as a Warriors fan.*

Tully Blanchard: #18

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger
WCW Starrcade — December 29, 1996: *Ring work at a top level…a great match to enjoy.*

Tully Blanchard: #17

Scaffold Match
The Rock ?N’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express
NWA Starrcade — November 26, 1987: *Not as historic as the first Scaffold Match in ’86, but still very grasping.*

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair: #16

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger
NWA Starrcade — December 26, 1988: *Luger gets screwed by the Athletic Commission for bleeding a “trickle” of juice.*

Jim Ross: #15

Eddie Guerrero vs. Shinjiro Otani
WCW Starrcade — December 27, 1995: Previously-released a few titles ago, but a great bout to remember.

Road Warrior Animal: #14

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & Sting vs. The Road Warriors
NWA Starrcade — December 26, 1988: *The Road Warriors work as heels for a rare time.*

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair & David Crockett: #13

“King Of Cable” Tournament Final
Sting vs. Big Van Vader
WCW Starrcade — December 28, 1992: *A great story of the “little man” fighting the “big man”…A well laid-out bout.*

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair & David Crockett: #12

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
The Brisco Brothers vs. Jay Youngblood & Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
NWA Starrcade — November 24, 1983: *See how tag team wrestling can capture the fans “heels vs. babyface” style.*

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair & David Crockett: #11

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair
NWA Starrcade — November 28, 1985: *A rematch at the previous year’s Starrcade, with the booker main-eventing.*

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes: #10

WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
WCW Starrcade — December 28, 1997: *Nice to see this make the list…Crisp, clean wrestling.*

Disc III

Road Warrior Animal: #9

“Iron Man” Tag Team Tournament
The Road Warriors vs. The Steiner Brothers
NWA Starrcade — December 13, 1989: *First meeting between these two legendary tag teams in the “Iron Man” Tournament.*

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes: #8

Ladder Match for a Contract For The WCW World Cruiserweight Championship
3 Count vs. Jamie Knoble & Evan Karagias vs. The Jung Dragons
WCW Starrcade — December 17, 2000: *Perhaps one of the most-innovative athletic displays ever shown in WCW.*

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes: #7

“Iron Man” Singles Tournament
Sting vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair
NWA Starrcade — December 13, 1989: *Sting was being groomed & built to take over the company.*

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes: #6

Dog Collar Match
Greg Valentine vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
NWA Starrcade — November 24, 1983: *A brutal match, as Piper & Valentine worked very stiff.*

Road Warrior Animal: #5

Scaffold Match
The Road Warriors vs. The Midnight Express
Alternate Commentary: Todd Grisham & Road Warrior Animal
NWA Starrcade — November 27, 1986: *The “pumpkin” was the demo, and both The Midnights & Cornette felt the impact.*

Jim Ross: #4

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Sting vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan
WCW Starrcade — December 28, 1997: *Over a year of building, but Hogan still did not put Sting over like he should have.*

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair: #3

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Harley Race
WCW Starrcade — November 24, 1983: *This set the groundwork that Starrcade was built on in 1983.*

Tully Blanchard: #2

NWA United States Championship ?I Quit” Steel Cage Match
Magnum T.A. vs. Tully Blanchard
NWA Starrcade — November 28, 1985: *There may never be a match like this one that gets the fan attached ever again.*

“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair: #1

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair’s Career Is On The Line
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Vader
WCW Starrcade — December 27, 1993: *Yet another reminder to any fan about the true legacy of Ric Flair…A great choice for the #1 match in Starrcade History & a match that was not even going to happen had Sid Vicious could have kept it together back then.

****

The Verdict:

A “must-have” for any fan to put in their wrestling library. A well put-together piece of wrestling history through the rise in popularity. Other than alternative commentary on a couple of matches, there are no video extras, but it goes without saying that the 25 matches selected can be a substitute this time to those wonderful “bonus features.”

****

Overall Recommendation:

Highly-recommended to any fan.

****

Final Thoughts:

Harley Race quoted it best. “Starrcade was the start of what we now know as Pay-Per-View.” If you do not know how this all started, you owe yourself & need this in your home-video wrestling library.

Overall Rating: 8.6

****

This DVD was reviewed By “Wild” Bill Brown. Visit the official website & MySpace pages of The Mayhem’s official DVD reviewer at www.BBrownVideo.com & www.MySpace.com/BBrownVideo.

As part of our fallout coverage of the WWE Royal Rumble live this Monday night, January 26th (beginning @ 8PM ET/7PM CT), The Big Mosh & Blade will be giving away a Monday Night Mayhem/WWE prize pack, featuring a copy of the all-new “Starrcade: The Essential Collection” DVD (courtesy: www.TicketRelief.com), plus a Monday Night Mayhem T-Shirt. Give us your post-Rumble PPV comments & thoughts by calling The Mayhem Line @ (877) 666-2110 (presented by Old Time Wrestling), via The Mayhem’s e-mail inbox (@ MondayNightMayhem@hotmail.com), and/or The Mayhem’s official MySpace page (presented by www.TicketRelief.com), located @ www.MySpace.com/MondayNightMayhem.

*We are now just mere hours away until the 2009 Wrestling Radio Awards, found exclusively at www.WrestlingRadioAwards.com. As many long-time listeners of the program know, “Your Home Of Wrestling Radio” has been privileged to win several previous WRA honors, including: the 2008 “Media Interview Of The Year” with WWE Hall Of Famer & the voice of MyNetworkTV’s “SmackDown,” Jim Ross, the 2007 “Media Interview Of The Year” with Eric Bischoff (co-hosted by The Mayhem’s National Correspondent, Scott Hudson), the 2006 “Female Interview Of The Year” with Jackie Haas, as well as the Best-Booked Show of 2005 & 2007.

The Big Mosh & Blade have brought to you, the loyal member of The Mayhem Nation, the most diverse booking of guests found anywhere in 2008, and throughout the past several weeks, you have been asked to make your vote count in the following categories: “Male Interview Of The Year” (“The Immortal” Hulk Hogan/Jesse “The Body” Ventura), “Female Interview Of The Year” (Brooke Hogan/Beth Phoenix/Velvet Sky/Erin Murphy), “Media Interview Of The Year” (Eric Bischoff/Jason Hervey/Dennis Rodman), in addition to Host Of The Year (Mosh/Blade), Show Of The Year, & “People’s Choice.” Log onto www.WrestlingRadioAwards.com LIVE this Monday night, January 26th (@ 7PM ET/6PM CT), prior to Monday Night Mayhem going live to see which awards MNM take home!

*All new & old Mayhem listeners can still check out the archived programs/shows of “Your Home Of Wrestling Radio” seven years of audio excellence. You can re-live the live on-location remotes (including The Mayhem’s WrestleMania 23 Countdown Special in Detroit’s Hilton Garden Inn), plus some of your favorite WWE superstars (Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Christian, Charlie Haas, Low-Ki, WWE Women’s Champion Beth Phoenix, & Candice Michelle), WWE Hall Of Famers (Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Jim Ross, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, “Superstar” Billy Graham, “The Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart, The Iron Sheik, Tito Santana, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Harley Race, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, & Don Muraco), the finest in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA President Dixie Carter, Jeff Jarrett, Terry Taylor, Jim Cornette, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, “The War Machine” Rhino, Team 3-D, “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, The Motor City Machine Guns’ Chris Sabin/Alex Shelley, Eric Young, “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal, The LAX’s Homicide, Beer Money’s “Tennessee Cowboy” James Storm/Robert Roode, Matt Morgan, Sheik-Abdul Bashir, Cute Kip, “The Guru” Sonjay Dutt, BG James, Kaz, & Lance “Rock” Hoyt — along with TNA Knockouts Christy Hemme, The Beautiful People’s Angelina Love/Velvet Sky, Traci Brooks, ODB, So-Cal Val, & Taylor Wilde), Ring Of Honor’s warriors (ROH Champion Nigel McGuinness, “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries, Claudio Castagnoli, & Kenny King), ECW originals (ECW’s founder Tod Gordon, “The Franchise” Shane Douglas, Raven, The Sandman, Rob Van Dam, Francine, 2 Cold Scorpio, New Jack, Axl Rotten, Lance Storm, Mike “Nova” Bucci, “The Pitbull” Gary Wolfe, & Danny Doring), some of the greatest managers in the history of our business (Percy Pringle III/Paul Bearer, “The Doctor Of Style” Slick, JJ Dillon, & the late Gary Hart), the voices that have called the sport/sports-entertainment for years (World Class’ Bill Mercer, the Mid-Atlantic/NWA’s Bob Caudle, & WCW/AWA’s Lee Marshall), the beautiful managers/valets that have graced the squared circle (Missy Hyatt, Terri Runnels, Lisa “Ivory” Moretti, Dawn Marie, Nora “Molly Holly” Greenwald, Jackie Haas), wrestling legends/personalities in the years, past & present (Bruno Sammartino, Jerry Jarrett, Terry Funk, Dory Funk, Jr., Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan, “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko, Sid, Tully Blanchard, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, “Bushwacker” Luke Williams, The Honky Tonk Man, Barry “Smash” Darsow, Virgil, Diamond Dallas Page, Vader, “Nasty Boy” Brian Knobbs, Konnan, Bruno “Harvey Whippleman” Lauer, “The Wildman” Marc Mero, D-Lo Brown, Scotty 2 Hotty, David “Gangrel” Heath, Chris Kanyon, “Wildcat” Chris Harris, Nick “U-Gene” Dinsmore, Chris Nowinski, Tomko, & The Highlanders), & some of the most well-known athletes & entertainers in pro-sports, the MMA, stage, & screen, including: Dennis Rodman, Jim Kelly (NFL Hall Of Famer), Frank Trigg, Dave Coulier (“Full House”),” Dustin “Screech” Diamond (“Saved By The Bell”), Tiffany, “The Red Hot Redneck” Trishelle Cannatella, “The Mistress Of Mayhem” Erin Murphy, Frank Stallone, “Candy Girl” Nikki Ziering, Aries Spears (“MAD TV”), Gary The Retard (“The Howard Stern Show”), Greg Fitzsimmons (stand-up comedian/VH-1’s “Best Week Ever”), Jason Peter (former NFL Defensive Tackle, former Nebraska All-American, & author of “Hero Of The Underground), Erin “Steel” Toughill (“American Gladiators”), & Dan “Nitro” Clark (“American Gladiators”). All this & so much more…now available World Wide & 365 at www.MondayNightMayhem.com.

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