Starrcade ’85

|Date: November 28, 2022
|Venue: Greensboro Coliseum Complex & Omni Coliseum |City: Greensboro, North Carolina & Atlanta, Georgia
| Attendance: 30,000

|tweet me: @BastionBlogger

The show kicks off with a little intro before Bob Caudle and Tony Schiavone welcomes us to the show. They throw very quickly to Johnny weaver who is backstage.

“Truckin'” Tom Miller, the ring announcer, welcomes us to Starrcade 85 too. They then play the national anthem. A lot of this is in the dark.

Sam Houston vs. Krusher Kruschev – Mid-Atlantic Championship match

Background: Buzz Tyler, the previous Mid-Atlantic champion left the company a few months ago leaving Mid-Atlantic Wrestling without a champion. A match was made between these two men to declare a new champion.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.

Starrcade PPV Record: Both men wrestle at Starrcade for the first time tonight.

Match: Krusher uses his superior strength in the early going whilst Sam Houston attempts to use his speed. It’s a back and forth start to match as Houston uses head-scissors to ground Kruschev whilst Krusher hits powerslams and back body drops. I feel Kruschev over-sells some of the offence from Houston. Both of these men have wrestled once on WCW PPV before and neither man lost. Kruschev heads to the top but Houston crotches him with a dropkick. Houston hits a big bulldog and hooks the leg but Krusher gets his foot on the bottom rope. Houston celebrates like he won but Kruschev hits him with a big clothesline and then hooks the leg for the win! Sam Houston actually got his foot on the bottom rope there but the referee didn’t see it.

Result: Krusher Kruschev wins the Mid-Atlantic Championship by pinfall.

Review: This was an ok match to kick things off. They didn’t set the world alite but it was the kind of match you’d expect from two men with different styles. It’s not one I’d go back and watch in a hurry. Fairly basic offence from both men. But a big win for Krusher Kruschev who becomes the new Mid-Atlantic Champion. It had a controversial ending so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rematch between the two.

Rating: 3.5/10

“The Ragin’ Bull” Manny Fernandez vs. Abdullah The Butcher – Mexican Death Match

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV singles match between these two men.

Starrcade PPV Record: Both men have wrestled at Starrcade once before and both men won their previous match.

Match: The only way to win this match is for a competitor to climb a pole and grab a sombrero. Abdullah attacks Manny as the bell rings and it is not long before Fernandez is busted open. Fernandez fights back, taking his boot off and leathers The Butcher with it. Abdullah is busted open too but he fight sback and hits Manny with his own boot. Abdullah is the first man to attempt to grab the sombrero but Fernandez stops him. Paul Jones, Abdullah’s manager, tries to get involved but the referee on the outside holds him back. Fernandez whips Abdullah with his belt but The Butcher takes control once more. Manny hits an impressive suplex and then his finisher, the flying burrito. Abdullah The Butcher avoids a headbutt off the top but misses with a shoulder charge which allows Manny Fernandez to climb to the top and grab the sombrero for the win!

Result: Manny Fernandez wins by grabbing the sombrero.

Review: This was a fun match. It was what you’d expect from an Abdullah The Butcher match, plenty of blood and hardcore action. Manny Fernandez has a fast-paced style and it made for a decent enough match.

Rating: 6/10

Johnny Weaver is backstage with Krusher Kruschev who says that he is proud to win the Mid-Atlantic Championship. He thanks Ivan and Nikita Koloff and says that they will retain the tag team championships against The Rock n Roll Express.

Ron Bass vs. Black Bart – Texas Bull Rope Match

Background: Former tag team partners collide in this match. JJ Dillon and Ron Bass had a falling out earlier this year but Dillon remains in the corner of Black Bart. If Ron Bass wins this match then he will get a 5 minute match with JJ Dillon right after.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV mstch between these two men.

Starrcade PPV Record: Ron Bass is 1-0, Black Bart is 0-1.

Match: Ron Bass takes the early advantage, laying into Black Bart with the bell that sits in the middle of the bull rope. Black Bart is bleeding immediately. It’s all Ron Bass in the early going. Black Bart soon takes control and uses the cowbell to bust Bass open. There hasn’t been a lot of commentary in this match. But there’s been plenty of blood. The fight goes to the outside where Ron Bass continues the offence. Ron Bass is a much more natural heel. Bass continues to use the cow bell, going up to the middle rope and hitting Bart with the cowbell which is enough for the three!

Result: Ron Bass wins by pinfall.

Review: This match was ok. The physicality and blood was what made it. I don’t think there was ever any doubt on who the winner was going to be. Ron Bass wins and gets his hands on JJ Dillon.

Rating: 5/10

J.J. Dillon gets in the ring as soon as the match is over and attacks Ron Bass.

Ron Bass vs. J.J. Dillon – Five minute Texas Bull Rope match

Background: JJ Dillon used to be the manager of Ron Bass but a falling out between the two led to the stipulation being made that if Ron Bass could beat Black Bart he would get a 5 minute match with JJ Dillon.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.

Starrcade PPV Record: Ron Bass is 2-0, JJ Dillon wrestles at this event for the first time tonight.

Match: Dillon goes right to work on Ron Bass, laying into him with the cowbell. He tries to choke Ron Bass but Bass fights him off and then uses the cowbell on his former manager. The referee gets caught up in the melee so Black Bart gets in the ring and hits Ron Bass with a piledriver. He then drags JJ Dillon on top of Ron Bass and the referee wakes up and counts the three!

Result: JJ Dillon wins by pinfall.

Review: Well I was surprised by this result. It’s certainly a result which keeps the feud going. And a massive win for JJ Dillon.

Rating: 3/10

Superstar Billy Graham vs. The Barbarian

Background: These two men were tag team partners under the guidance of manager Paul Jones. Billy Graham would eventually see the light and end his allegiance with the stable. The two men would then be announced for a match at Starrcade with an arm wrestling match preceding it.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.

Starrcade PPV Record: Billy Graham is 0-1, The Barbarian wrestles at this event for the first time tonight.

Match: So this starts with the advertised arm wrestle which is won by Billy Graham. Paul jones then attacks Graham with his cane before Barbarian joins in the assault. The bell rings to get the match underway. For the third match in a row somebody is bleeding within seconds, this time it’s Billy Graham. It is all Barbarian in this match. Graham avoids a legdrop but Barbarian hits him with a clothesline. Barbarian then attempts his top rope headbutt but Graham moves. Billy Graham applies his trademark bearhug and just as it looks as though The Barbarian is out, Paul Jones attacks Graham with his cane. After the match The Barbarian and Paul Jones continue the assault on Superstar Billy Graham.

Result: Billy Graham wins by disqualification.

Review: This match was ok. I like The Barbarian but Billy Graham has definitely seen better days. They should have split these matches involving blood apart. And it was also similar to the previous match just with Paul Jones instead of JJ Dillon. I would have preferred to have seen Barbarian win tonight but a DQ finish protects both men.

Rating: 3.5/10

Terry Taylor (c) vs. Buddy Landell – National Championship match

Background: Buddy Landell made the challenge for the National Championship held by Terry Taylor. The decision was made to go with this match.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.

Starrcade PPV Record: Both men wrestle at Starrcade for the first time tonight.

Match: It’s a back and forth start to the match. Terry Taylor shows some fire as he slaps Landell in the face. Buddy Landell is the biggest Ric Flair tribute act going. Terry Taylor seems the more powerful of the two. Buddy lays in some chops but runs into a big boot and sells exactly like Ric Flair would. There is blood all over the mat from the previous three matches. Landell applies a chinlock as his manager, JJ Dillon arrives at ringside. Taylor nearly wins with a roll-up. Taylor just stands on Landell’s face at one point. Landell knocks Taylor into the referee, taking him out. JJ Dillon gets up onto the apron with his shoe but Taylor sends Landell into Dillon before setting up Buddy for a superplex. Dillon trips Taylor on the way down, Landell lands on top of Taylor and the referee counts the three!

Result: Buddy Landell wins the National Championship by pinfall.

Review: This match was ok. It felt like an old-school back and forth match. Not a very fast pace. In the end it was Buddy Landell that won the match that could have gone either way. Screwy finish of course.

Rating: 3.5/10

The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Arn & Ole Anderson) (c) vs. Wahoo McDaniel & Billy Jack Haynes – National Tag Team Championship match

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two tag teams.

Starrcade PPV Record: Ole Anderson is 0-1, Wahoo McDaniel is 1-1, Arm Anderson and Billy Jack Haynes wrestle at Starrcade for the first time tonight. Wahoo McDaniel becomes the first man to have wrestled on all three Starrcade events.

Match: Billy Jack Haynes and Arn Anderson kick off the match and Haynes really showcases his power. The fans are as loud as I have heard them tonight as Billy Jack Haynes and Wahoo McDaniel dominate the champions. The Andersons soon take control, slowing down the pace and keeps Wahoo away from his partner. Soon all hell breaks loose wirth all four men but as the referee pulls Billy Jack Haynes away it allows The andersons to continue their double team on Wahoo McDaniel. McDaniel finally makes the hot tag to Billy Jack Haynes who picks up the pace. Wahoo is tagged back in and Ole trips him from the outside but Arm pins McDaniel and gets the three!

Result: The Minnesota Wrecking Crew retain the National Tag Team Championships by pinfall.

Review: This match was ok. I feel like it could have been a lot better. The finish didn’t make a lot of sense either. I’m not sure why Billy Jack Haynes would have tagged in Wahoo McDaniel. And then a fairly basic triple a pin. for the win. I’m glad they protected Billy Jack Haynes as he looks like a star. The Andersons retain tonight and continue their tag team title run.

Rating: 4/10

JJ Dillon and Buddy Landell are interviewed backstage by Johnny Weaver. They are both smug following their victories tonight.

Tully Blanchard (c) vs. Magnum T.A. – Steel Cage I Quit match for the United States Championship

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.

Starrcade PPV Record: Tully Blanchard ia 1-0, Magnum TA wrestles at Starrcade for the first time tonight.

Match: It’s a back and forth start to the match with the crowd right behind the popular Magnum TA. Both men fire each other into the cage. And, as is the theme with this show, it isn’t long until both men are bleeding. Both men refuse to quit. Tully lays into Magnum with the microphone in what is a really gritty, raw matchup. Blanchard has long spells of dominance and screams at TA to quit. Babydoll throws a wooden chair into the ring and Blanchard breaks it up and attempts to drive a spike into the top of the head of his opponent but Magnum fights him off. Magnum then uses a spike and bludgeons Blanchard. Tully says “yes” and quits!

Result: Magnum TA wins the United States Championship.

Review: This was a great match. It felt real, it was just so raw and you could feel so much hatred between the two. I really enjoyed this one. Magnum TA wins the match and becomes United States Champion. An amazing match to cap off an excellent rivalry between two of the brightest stats in professional wrestling.

Rating: 9/10

Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively vs. The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey)Atlanta Street Fight

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two teams.

Starrcade PPV Record: Jimmy Valiant is 1-1, the other three wrestle at this event for the first time tonight.

Match: All hell breaks loose in this one from the start. Big Mama is in the corner of Valiant and Lively, Jim Cornette manages The Midnight Express. Miss Atlanta Lively is a big old unit. The Midnight Express are dressed in tuxedos. There’s blood from the beginning. Valiant and Eaton fight into the crowd early on whilst Condrey and Atlanta Lively go at it in the ring. Valiant applies a sleeper to Condrey. Lively has to keep adjusting “her” wig. The Midnight Express use some powder on Valiant and Lively. The Midnight Express then whip Jimmy with their belts. Both teams strip the other and Jim Cornette lays out Atlanta Lively with his tennis racket. Bobby Eaton looks for a big legdrop off the top on Valiant but Lively hits him with a big uppercut before pinning him for the three!

Result: Jimmy Valiant and Miss Atlanta Lively win by pinfall.

Review: This was a fast paced match. It was an all out brawl from the get-go and I enjoyed it. I didn’t expect Valiant and Lively to win though, I thought The Midnight Express would. I’m led to believe that Ronnie Garvin is under the wig but he looks a bit big to be Garvin. Jim Cornette gets stripped after the match, he is great value. A fun match tonight.

Rating: 6/10

Magnum T.A. is backstage and says that anyone who wants a shot at his United States Championship is welcome to it.

Ivan & Nikita Koloff (c) vs. The Rock n Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) – Steel cage match for the NWA World Tag Team Championships

Background: The Rock n Roll Express defeated Ivan and Nikita to win the tag team championships a few months ago but it wasn’t long before The Russians won them back. Another match was made for the championships but this time inside of a steel cage.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two teams.

Starrcade PPV Record: Ivan & Nikita are 1-0, The Rock n Roll Express wrestle at Starrcade for the first time tonight.

Match: Krusher Kruschev and Don Kernodle are on the outside of the cage. Nikita Koloff and Ricky Morton kick off the match and Nikita uses his strength whilst Morton uses his pace. Ivan Koloff soon tags in and the challengers take control, making quick tags against Ivan. The Rock n Roll Express are so popular. They dictate a fast pace against Ivan Koloff. Morton hits a couple of big right hands off the top. Nikita Koloff tags in and gets his team the advantage. I like this Nikita Koloff a lot. He dominates against Robert Gibson and makes quick tags with Ivan. All hell breaks loose and the referee gets knocked down. Ricky Morton manages to tag in, the referee sees it, Morton rolls up Ivan Koloff and gets the three! After the match the three Russians triple team Robert Gibson until the lock room empties and The Russians scarper.

Result: The Rock n Roll Express win the NWA World Tag Team Championships by pinfall.

Review: This was a really great tag team match. The psychology was spot on, the crowd were hot for it and we got the result we wanted. It was a real styles clash but the chemistry was good.

Rating: 7.5/10

Ric Flair (c) vs. Dusty Rhodes – NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship match

Background: The main feud heading into Starrcade was between Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Flair was in his third reign as the champion, and his reign at the time had lasted for over a year. On September 29 at the Omni in Atlanta, after Flair defeated Nikita Koloff in a steel cage match, Nikita and Ivan Koloff attacked Flair until Rhodes came and fought them off. Ole and Arn Anderson then came, and, along with Flair, beat down Rhodes. Flair broke Rhodes’ left ankle with a diving knee drop, and applied the figure four leglock.

Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV meeting between these two men, Ric Flair beat Dusty Rhodes at last year’s Starrcade.

Starrcade PPV Record: Ric Flair is 2-0, Dusty Rhodes is 0-1.

Match: This match has that main event feel. These two men have to right the wrongs from the terrible match at last years Starrcade event. Dusty Rhodes struts and jives in the early going. Ric Flair soon takes control and dictates a slow pace. Rhodes takes a breather on the other side of the guardrail. It’s back and forth from here. Flair can’t get Dusty up for a suplex so Rhodes hits one of his own. Both men are targeting the others foot. The two men exchange chops. Flair heads to the top but as you’d expect, Dusty throws him off. Rhodes sells his foot and Flair attempts to lock the figure four on a couple of times but Rhodes kicks him off. The fight goes to the outside where Rhodes smashes Flair off the barricade. Back in the ring and Dusty has the better of Flair. Flair goes back to work on the leg of Rhodes, softening him up for the figure four. Ric Flair locks on the figure four but Dusty manages to break it. Rhodes then fires up but the referee gets knocked out of the ring in the process. Dusty Rhodes applies a figure four but out come Arn and Ole Anderson who attack Dusty. Another referee comes out, Dusty rolls up Flair and gets the 3!

Result: Dusty Rhodes wins the World’s Heavyweight Championship by pinfall.

Review: This was a really good match. Again, the psychology was spot on. This was the match we should have got last year. My only criticism is the match ending with a roll-up. But this was a great match and a well deserved win for Dusty Rhodes.

Rating: 7/10

Backstage Dusty Rhodes celebrates his title win with the babyfaces. Dusty says that he did this for the blue collar workers.

And that was Starrcade 85. It wasn’t a bad show but there were more bad matches than good ones. The opener between Krusher and Sam Houston went nearly ten minutes which was too long for my liking. I like Krusher Kruschev winning though, it wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting but he is my preferred winner. Not a great match to kick things off, I think the tag team match involving Jimmy Valiant and The Midnight Express should’ve kicked things off. Manny Fernandez and Abdullah The Butcher had a good match, I enjoyed this one despite the daft stipulation. Fernandez wins his hat back, I think I’d have preferred to have seen Abdullah win this one. Decent match though. Ron Bass beats his old mate Black Bart in an average enough match before losing to JJ Dillon. I don’t mind this result, it wasn’t clean so it was a god way for this match to end. Billy Graham beat The Barbarian by disqualification, I think I’d have preferred to see Superstar do the job for Barbarian here. Graham’s best days are behind him, Barbarian has a big upside for the future.

Buddy Landell beat Terry Taylor in another sub-par match. I don’t really get Buddy Landell, he’s a Ric Flair rip-off but he had a lot of charisma. Terry Taylor seems to be groomed for big things and may have a big future. Arn and Ole Anderson beat Billy Jack Haynes and Wahoo McDaniel in a pretty random tag team match. I like Billy Jack Haynes but The Andersons have a lot of momentum right now and were worthy winners. Magnum TA and Tully Blanchard had an absolute classic. Genuinely the best match I have seen since starting this watch through. There was something really raw and gritty about it, they blurred the lines really well. Both of these men are top superstars and with Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes are the top stars in the company. After this title run I’d like to see Magnum TA challenging Ric Flair for the world title. I loved this match.

Jimmy Valiant and Miss Atlanta Lively beat The Midnight Express is another result I would have preferred to have seen go the other way. Miss Atlanta Lively is of course Ronnie Garvin. This was a fun match, they fought all over the arena and there was plenty of blood. But yeah, The Midnight Express should’ve won, it wouldn’t have hurt Valiant or Lively. The Rock N Roll Express beat The Russians in a good cage match. This was one of the highlights of the night for me. Two solid teams. Ricky and Robert bring a lot of energy to the matches and the crowd is hot for them. I’d like to see The Road Warriors in the mix before long. Dusty Rhodes then beats Ric Flair to win the World’s Heavyweight Championship. This was another good match and a big improvement on their match at last years event. The title change would get over-turned though and Flair will get his title back. It’ll go down as a disqualification win for Dusty. I hope this is the end of this rivalry but they have kind of left it open for another match.

Overall, the Magnum, Dusty and Rock n roll matches were very good, there were a few decent matches but more poor ones. It won’t go down as the best Starrcade in history but it isn’t the worst up to now either. If you haven’t seen it then I would suggest watching it for the Tully/Magnum match alone. In fact, you could probably watch it from there to the end as you can’t go far wrong with the last four matches.

Overall Rating: 52.7/100 (ranked 2nd out of 4 NWA/WCW PPVs reviewed)

Match Of The Night: Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A.
Worst Match Of The Night: Ron Bass vs. J.J. Dillon
Surprise Of The Night: J.J. Dillon beats Ron Bass
Worst Booking Of The Night: Jimmy Valiant and Miss Atlanta Lively beat The Midnight Express
Superstar Of The Night: Dusty Rhodes
Starrcade 85 Will Be Remembered For: The cage match between Magnum TA and Tully Blanchard

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