The legacy of WCW Starrcade

Page 2 of 4
December 29, 2011

When Ted Turner purchased Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW became its own entity in 1991, Starrcade quickly became the Atlanta-based organization’s marquee event. The first two spectaculars under the WCW banner featured a BattleBowl Battle Royal as the main event. This particular contest would give WCW’s top competitors, who won matches earlier in the evening, the opportunity to prove that they were the elite who stood apart from the pack. In 1991, Sting was crowned the winner of the inaugural contest. A year later, The Great Muta outlasted all other competitors to win the bout.

The arrival of Hulk Hogan in 1994 raised the stakes for WCW and Starrcade, making it the end of year’s must-see pay-per-view event. 1995 and 1996 saw two very competitive main events where the stakes were also very personal, settling rivalries that had existed for many years. In 1995, Ric Flair challenged “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW Championship – putting an exclamation point on a  rivalry had intensified since 1992, when Savage defeated Flair for the WWE Title at WrestleMania VIII.

Another very personal rivalry that came to a head in 1996 was between “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan. With The New World Order getting stronger and Hogan asserting his position in WCW and sports-entertainment history, Piper claimed that he was the bigger icon and wanted to settle the score with Hogan. Piper won the match, but the rivalry was far from over; seven years later, Hot Rod again interfered in Hogan’s affairs, this time during his match against Mr. McMahon at WrestleMania XIX.

The true spirit of Starrcade would live on in 1997 with one of WCW’s biggest rivalries ever culminating at the event. As Hulk Hogan and The nWo dominated WCW, the organization’s face-painted franchise, Sting, transformed himself and waited for the perfect opportunity to strike. Once a charismatic figure with bleach blond hair sporting neon colors, Sting began wearing black and white, and silently observed everything from the rafters of arenas all over the country. He would descend to the ring every so often to fight off The nWo, but he would not compete for nearly a year. Challenging only Hogan, viewers would tune into WCW Monday Nitro to see how the two would taunt each other next, or when Sting would drop down from the rafters.

View Comments