Welcome back to the retro TJRwrestling WCW reviews where we are breaking down every Pay-Per-View during the “Monday Night War” era. We are fresh off of World War III, which saw Scott Hall win the whole thing after some aid from other members of the NWO. That puts him in line for a title shot in February at Superbrawl. This show also takes place a couple of weeks after The Montreal Screwjob, and Bret Hart is now officially with the company. The biggest build leading into the event though is the culmination of a storyline over a year in the making with Sting facing Hogan for The WCW Heavyweight Title to close out the show. TJRWrestling boss man John Canton covered this show as well, so I think you should check out his review as well, as he did a fantastic breakdown of the show, and the main event. You can read all the reviews we have in the retro WCW section here. Let’s see how it turns out!
December 28th, 1997
MCI Center in Washington, D.C.
They start the show with an ominous package showing Sting looking down from the rafters and setting up the big main event with “Hollywood” Hogan.
We are brought into the arena by the voice of WCW, Tony Schiavone. He welcomes us to the show and talks about how this match is 18 months in the making. He is joined at the broadcast desk by “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and Mike Tenay. Bobby Heenan is absent this time around which is weak. We find out that the referee for the Sting vs. Hogan match will be handpicked to make sure things are called right down the line. They show groups of wrestlers that are at ringside like Harlem Heat, Disco Inferno, and Glacier, just to name a few. Dusty hypes up the rest of the show the only way he can, as they go down to the ring for the first match of the night. It is also announced that Kevin Nash vs. The Giant was supposed to happen on this show, but Nash won’t be there.
WCW Cruiserweight Title Match
Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Dean Malenko
They start the match off jawing with one another as the referee stands between them. Guerrero eventually gets the advantage with some shots to the back and both men start exchanging holds on the mat. Malenko grabs the advantage with some shots to the head and works him into the corner. Guerrero reverses course and gets Malenko in the corner, but it’s short-lived and he is taken down with a kick to the head. He follows that up with a suplex and does the 10-punch count to the head. Malenko grabs a waist lock and hits a big powerbomb after Guerrero comes off the ropes with an attempted Hurricanrana. He puts Guerrero down again with a slam for a near fall. They wrestle on the mat before getting back to their feet and Malenko takes him down again with a powerslam. Guerrero gets fired up and challenges Malenko to keep hitting him. Guerrero scurries to the outside as Malenko tries to grab him. Guerrero jumps back in the ring and takes out the knee of Malenko and follows that up with an uppercut. He continues to pound on Malenko in the corner and gets him down to a knee. Malenko tries to fight back, but Guerrero gets a thumb to the eye. He hits a dropkick to the head. He tries a suplex, but Malenko reverses it and drops him on the ropes. Malenko hits a clothesline and covers him for a two-count. He snaps Guerrero over and starts working on the head and neck area. They get back to their feet, and Guerrero is taken down again with a big move. Guerrero begs Malenko to hold off of him, but he is met with a dropkick instead. Guerrero rolls to the outside to regroup before climbing back in and both men square off. They have a test of strength in the ring with Guerrero being taken down to his knees and Malenko hitting him with a dropkick. Guerrero gets pissed and charges Malenko into the corner. It’s short-lived again as Malenko tosses him from the top rope and hits a suplex for a two-count. Malenko tries to suplex him again, but Guerrero slides off his back and drops him across the top. Guerrero uses the ropes to work on the head and leg area of Malenko on the outside. Guerrero starts wrapping his leg around the post and uses the steel steps to dropkick Malenko’s leg again. He rolls him in the ring as the rest of the roster looks on from ringside. Guerrero works on the leg some more and continues to keep Malenko grounded. He hits a big powerbomb and gets a two-count. Guerrero jumps up on the shoulders of Malenko, but he gets dropped down and Malenko grabs a near fall. Malenko maintains control and hits a backbreaker. He grabs Guerrero by the hair and slams him down into the corner. Guerrero reverses an Irish Whip and sends Malenko into the opposite corner. Guerrero climbs to the top, but Malenko is going up right after him. They tussle on the top and both men come crashing down to the mat. Malenko rolls him up quickly and gets another near fall. He picks Guerrero up and puts him down with a big Powerbomb. He goes for The Texas Cloverleaf, but Guerrero fights him off. He sends him to the outside and Guerrero comes off the top with a dropkick to the knee. He comes off the other turnbuckle with a Frog Splash and covers him to retain the title after 14:57.
Winner and STILL WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This was a way solid opening match. Guerrero was on an absolute roll at this point and was just having quality matches left and right. Malenko is no slouch either, so this had all the makings of a standout match. Malenko was on offense for most of the match, but both men really had standout moments. I loved how real Malenko laid his stuff in. Great start to the show.
Scott Hall makes his way down to the ring next. He is fresh off his win at World War 3, which guarantees him a shot at the WCW Heavyweight Title. Hall grabs the mic and starts with the usual “Hey, Yo”. He says that being in DC for the holidays is just too sweet. He says the NWO is glad to be here. It’s survey time for Mr. Hall. Hall asks everyone if they are with them or against them. Hall asks how many people came here to see WCW and the NWO. Obviously, there were more WCW cheers than anything. He says that he knows people want to see Hogan beat up Sting and he will get to face the winner. He then drops the news for people in the arena that Kevin Nash won’t be there tonight. He says that Nash mentioned they have a problem with him, they can meet him face to face. Hall calls out The Giant and a referee so that he can claim victory. The Giant makes his way down to the ring and grabs a mic while he is there. The Giant says that he is a forgiving man. He knows why Nash isn’t there. It’s because he doesn’t want to face The Giant. He says that sooner or later Nash will return and he will be waiting for him. He calls Hall “Slick” and Hall starts to attack him, but The Giant knocks him down. He presses Hall over his head and tosses him down. He signals for The Chokeslam, but instead, he hits a Jackknife Powerbomb before leaving the ring.
Collective Thoughts: I always loved Hall’s promos during his run here. He was the epitome of a “cool heel”. The reason Kevin Nash wasn’t at the show has been debated for a long time. Nash says that he had a mild heart attack over the holiday season, but some people believe that he didn’t want to do the job to The Giant. This was almost 25 years ago and doesn’t matter at this point, but I would like to think Nash wouldn’t miss a show because he didn’t want to do a job. I don’t know though.
Six-Man Tag Team Match
Team NWO (Scott Norton, Vincent, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage) (w/Elizabeth) vs. Team WCW (Rick and Scott Steiner, and Ray Traylor) (w/Ted DiBiase)
They first help Scott Hall to the back before getting back to the ring. What stand-up guys they are. Also, you want to talk about members of The NWO that were just mid-card level guys teaming with Savage, look no further than this match here. Savage starts fighting with some of the guys at ringside as he makes his way down.
Savage and Scott are the first two to start for their teams. They wrestle each other into the corner, but Scott pulls off before Savage can hit a shot to the face. Savage grabs a headlock, but Scott sends him into the ropes. Scott pounds on the back and comes off the ropes, but Norton gets a knee to his back. Savage takes advantage and starts choking Scott on the middle rope and dropping an elbow across it. Norton tags into the match and he hits a chop to the chest of Scott and hits an ugly Samoan Drop. He stomps on the back of Steiner and holds him in place as Savage comes off the top with a double-ax. He hooks Savage and hits a Double Underhook Powerbomb. He presses Savage over his head and sends him down to the mat again. That brings everyone into the match and The WCW guys make quick work and they clear the ring. Scott moves Elizabeth to go after Savage, but he slides back in the ring. Scott makes a tag to his brother and he hits Norton with a Powerslam and clothesline. He hits another powerslam and covers him for two. Traylor tags in the match and takes Norton down to the mat with a shot to the head. He continues pounding on him, but Norton gets him into their corner. All three men work on him which gives Vincent the advantage when he tags in the match. He hits some offense before being slammed down quickly. He makes his way back to his feet and Traylor takes him down with a suplex. Scott is back in and he kicks Vincent in the face. He hits a Belly to Belly Suplex and talks all kinds of trash. Team WCW makes some quick tags in and out and continues to isolate Vincent to their corner. Rick is the last one to make a tag and he locks Vincent up on the mat. He brings him into their corner and tags Traylor back in who continues to assault on Vincent. He goes for a splash, but Vincent rolls out of the way and he makes an ice-cold tag to Norton, who takes Traylor down with a clothesline. He works him in the ropes and Savage gets some kicks to the midsection. Vincent is back in and works on the legs of Traylor, but he is taken down when both men run into each other. Traylor sits up and makes a tag to Rick, who knocks every member of The NWO down. He hits scoop slams on everyone and even picks Norton up for a slam. They pick Vincent up and The Steiners hit a Super DDT. What a move. Scott hits Vincent with a Frankensteiner, but Savage breaks up the pin. That’s the second big move Vincent took and didn’t get pinned. Scott fights with Savage on the top, but Norton comes over to hit Scott with a slam. Savage comes off the ropes with The Elbow Drop and pins Scott after 11:06.
Winner(s): Randy Savage, Scott Norton, and Vincent
Match Rating: 2/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: Konnan was originally scheduled to be in this match, but he was replaced by Savage at the last minute. The match as a whole was fine, it has some nice tag work, and both teams isolated different members to their side of the ring. The Steiners hitting Vincent with that Super DDT was impressive, and he got hit with a Frankensteiner right after. Scott Steiner taking the fall was a little surprising, although, it doesn’t really hurt The Steiners stock much in the end. I would’ve thought Traylor would have been the one to get beaten.
Mean Gene makes his first appearance of the night in the aisle way. Obviously, he has a lot to talk about on the WCW Hotline. After he is done harping on that, he brings out JJ Dillon. JJ says that WCW is a united front tonight and that there will be a lot going on tonight. JJ says it’s time to announce who the referee will be for the night. He says they put all the names of the referees in a hat and that they randomly picked a name to be in the match. Nick Patrick is the winner and even with Gene having reservations about that pick, JJ says the decision is final. More on this, later.
Bill Goldberg vs. Steve “Mongo” McMichael
This match was supposed to happen last month, but McMichael attacked Goldberg before he could get to the ring.
Goldberg jumps out of the ring and both men start fighting in the entranceway. Goldberg throws McMichael into the guardrail and picks him up on his shoulders to carry him to the ring. Goldberg rolls him in and grabs a table at ringside. He puts it up against the post and gets in the ring. McMichael hits him as he comes in and starts working on him in the corner. He throws him to the other side and hits a Sidewalk Slam as he comes back. He throws Goldberg into the ropes, but Goldberg comes back with a flying clothesline. He tries to pin McMichael twice before tossing him to the outside. He tries to throws McMichael into the table he set up, but he fights out. He slams Goldberg against the apron and rolls him back in. McMichael climbs up top and comes off, but Goldberg catches him with a shot to the gut. He grabs McMichael by the hair and starts working on the leg with a rolling leg lock. Goldberg gets up and continues to work on the leg by snapping it over. He throws McMichael into the ropes and hits an elbow to the chin. McMichael with some world-class selling as Goldberg picks him up and hits him with a spear. He picks him up after two and goes outside to set up the table on the floor. He comes back in and throws him into the corner. He picks McMichael upon his shoulder and tries to throw him to the outside through the table, but McMichael fights it off and actually gets a two-count. Goldberg gets back up quickly and hits a dropkick that sends McMichael out to the floor. McMichael gets on the apron and starts fighting with Goldberg, but gets shoved off through the tables. There are audible ECW chants after that spot. McMichael tries to hit The Mongo Spike, but Goldberg fights out and hits The Jackhammer to win after 5:59.
Winner: Bill Goldberg
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This is the first time I got to review a Goldberg match on these Pay-Per-View reviews. The Goldberg that was in this match was very different than the one we see hanging around today. This guy was jacked and hungry at the time and this was the absolute right decision to put him over. McMichael did what he could, but neither of these guys is ring generals. The match was what you would expect.
Ravens Rules Match
Saturn (w/Raven) (c) vs. Chris Benoit
This is the first time Raven has been on TV for a few weeks. He has had matches scheduled, but always found a way to get out of them. Raven grabs a mic and says that when he signed with WCW he would not conform to their rules. He said that there are separate stipulations to his matches. Raven says that he chose not to wrestle tonight. He says that he is allowing Saturn to destroy Chris Benoit and finish what The Flock has started. Raven was the original opponent for Benoit tonight.
Saturn tries to hit Benoit from behind, but is taken down with a chop. Benoit comes off the ropes and Saturn tries to get a sleeper on, but Benoit fights out and hits a jawbreaker. He sends Saturn into the corner and hits some vicious chops to the chest. He continues the assault and keeps stomping on Saturn and teasing Raven on the outside. He continues pounding on Saturn in the corner, but he eventually fights out and hits Benoit with a suplex. He stomps on Benoit to keep from grounded before moving him to the corner. He pounds on him there, but Benoit fights back and takes him down with a shot to the leg. He knocks Raven off the apron, but that allows Saturn to hit him from behind. They all go out of the ring and the rest of The Flock attacks Benoit on the outside. Kidman hits a Shooting Star Press from the apron, which was impressive, and Raven stands over Benoit. Saturn brings him in the ring and snaps him over to grab a chin lock. Saturn hits a neck breaker on Benoit and covers him for a two-count. He hits a scoop slam and goes for an impressive-looking moonsault, but Benoit gets a knee up. Saturn is still the first one up and sends him into the ropes and takes him down with a high knee to the midsection. He sends Benoit in again and hits another high knee followed by a leg drop to the back of the head. He throws Benoit into the ropes again and tries the high knee again, but this time he gets rolled up for two. Saturn keeps Benoit grounded with a Camel Clutch and continues pounding away on the back of the head. He works Benoit over to the ropes and starts choking him on the middle rope. Benoit tries to fight out, but Saturn catches him and hits a Brainbuster for a two-count. Benoit hits a sunset flip after Saturn misses a clothesline, but both men are taken out after hitting each other. Benoit gets back to his feet and starts kicking Saturn in the midsection. Saturn fights back and throws him down to the mat and starts choking him with his boot again. Benoit is on the apron and Saturn drops an elbow across the throat. Saturn hits another slam and starts to climb up to the top rope. Benoit meets him there and starts pounding away and sends Saturn crashing to the outside. Benoit tries a Baseball Slide, but Saturn moves out of the way. Benoit gets The Crippler Crossface on Saturn on the outside, but he is jumped by all the members of The Flock at ringside. Saturn tries a moonsault, but Benoit moves and he hits only members of The Flock. Benoit sends him inside and hits a Snap Suplex. He signals that he is going up top and starts to climb up. He comes off and hits The Diving Headbutt, but The Flock hits the ring again. Benoit takes them all out one by one until Raven gets in the ring and hits The Even Flow DDT. Saturn puts him in the Ring of Saturn and the match ended after 10:50.
Match Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: I like both of these guys so this match was good, but all the outside stuff was weak towards the end. I get it, it’s “The Flock” mentality, but Benoit fighting them all off got a little much at times. When these two were going at it, though, it was a hard-hitting battle and everything was stiff and awesome. Benoit would continue to feud with members of The Flock and would end up having matches with a lot of the members of the group.
Buff Bagwell vs. Lex Luger
These two would eventually go on to form a team called Totally Buff, but for right now, it’s WCW vs. NWO.
Bagwell jumps out of the ring immediately as Luger tries to go after him. The bell rings and both men lock up in the middle. Luger works Bagwell into multiple corners, but they have a stalemate. Luger spits in his face and it sends Bagwell down to the mat. Bagwell gets a thumb to the eye and is now in control of the match. It is short-lived though as Luger overpowers him and hits a scoop slam. He picks Bagwell up in a Press Slam and he clotheslines Bagwell over the top rope to the floor. Bagwell calls for Vincent to come out from the back and he starts walking up the aisleway. Vincent comes out to the ring and he escorts Bagwell back to the ring. Bagwell gets back in the ring and he gets a kick in on Luger. He stomps on the head and tosses Luger to the outside this time. He follows him out and tries to slam him against the rail, but Luger reverses it and sends Bagwell into the guardrail and post. He throws Bagwell back into the rail before rolling him back in the ring. Bagwell tries to get the ropes, but Luger is there and he continues to keep the advantage. He shoves Bagwell in the corner and sends him hard into the other side. Vincent gets up on the apron, but Luger sends him flying. Bagwell uses the distraction to gain an advantage and hits Luger from behind. Vincent starts choking Luger on the middle rope and Bagwell continues to stomp away on him to keep him grounded. He picks Luger out of the corner and slams him down again. Bagwell continues working on the back and talking trash to the camera. Luger mounts a little bit of a comeback, but Bagwell hits him again. Luger charges out of the corner and hits a clothesline, and both men are down. Bagwell is the first one up and tries a cover, but only gets two before going back to wearing Luger down. They show Harlem Heat at ringside watching the match in the ring. Luger fights back and ducks a clothesline before hitting one himself. He tries to stay on top, but Bagwell knocks him down again. Luger gets a rollup for two, but Bagwell gets up and knocks him down with a clothesline again.
Bagwell continues to pound away on him and Luger can’t quite stay on the offensive. Luger backs into the corner and gets some kicks laid in, but Bagwell sends him into the ropes and locks on a Sleeper Hold. Luger is almost counted out, but gets a second wind and drops Bagwell with a Suplex to break the hold. Bagwell goes for a splash, but Luger gets the knees up. Luger starts to fight back and sends Bagwell into the ropes and hits a few clotheslines. Luger with two Atomic Drops and he knocks Vincent off the apron again. He knocks Bagwell down and signals for The Torture Rack. He instead sends Bagwell into the corner and hits a vertical suplex. Vincent climbs up top, but Luger throws him off. Luger takes out both men in the ring and signals for the end again. Luger pounds on Bagwell in the corner as the referee pleads with him to stop. Bagwell hits Luger from behind and he takes the referee out with him. He gets Bagwell up in the Torture Rack, but the referee is out. Savage comes down to the ring, but Luger takes him out and gets him in a Torture Rack as well. Scott Norton comes down to the ring and hits Luger in the head with a chain and he puts Bagwell on top of him. Norton drags the referee over and Bagwell picks up the win after 16:36.
Winner: Buff Bagwell
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This match was an example of just because you get some time, the match isn’t always the best. It was fine for what it was, but I have seen better from both guys. Bagwell spent a lot of the match on the offensive which is good in the sense of him getting the rub from a guy like Luger. Savage coming down to the ring wasn’t shocking and Bagwell picking up the win just adds fuel to this fire.
After the match, Elizabeth runs down to the ring to check on Savage.
WCW United States Title Match
Curt Hennig (c) vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Ric Flair was scheduled to wrestle here, but he was taken out a few weeks ago on Nitro.
Page rolls him up to start the match, but only gets one count. Page gets an elbow to the side of the head and starts working on the shoulder of Hennig. Hennig fights out and jumps outside while telling Page “I am too smart for that”. Hennig gets back in and gets a shot to the head of Page and takes him down to the mat. He stomps away on the taped ribs of Page, but Page comes back with a fury and takes Hennig down to the mat and puts him in a chin lock. Hennig gets back to his feet and works Page into the corner and hits from chops to the chest after breaking the hold. Hennig sends him into the corner, but Page takes him down to the mat again. He sends Hennig to the outside and comes out after him to bring him back in. Hennig drops him throat-first across the top rope and regains the momentum. Hennig kicks Page and he flies out of the ring. Hennig works him again the railing and hits a chop to the chest before sending Page into the stairs. Hennig continues working on the ribs and sends Page into the ring. He continues to stand on the back of Page and continues to kick him in the head. Page tries to fight back to his feet, but Hennig does a good job keeping him grounded. Page starts to fights back and sends Hennig into the corner, but he gets a foot up and Page is back down on the mat. Hennig starts choking him and gets his feet on the ropes for leverage. Page breaks the hold and starts mounting a comeback. He exchanged blows with Hennig as he gets up and he sends Hennig over the top rope. He comes out after him with a splash and he sends Hennig over the guardrail. He rolls Hennig back in at the count of nine and he brings him to the other side and pulls him crotch first into the post. Page goes for a Diamond Cutter, but Hennig grabs the ropes. Hennig goes for the pin, but Page kicks out at two. Page rolls him up for another near fall, but Hennig takes him out as they both get back up. Hennig preps Page for The Hennig Plex, but he reverses it into an armbar. They get back to their feet and hit each other and both men fall to the mat. Hennig sends Page into the ropes, but he comes back with a Diamond Cutter to picks up the win and the title after 10:52.
Winner and NEW WCW United States Champion: Diamond Dallas Page
Match Rating: 2.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This was Page’s first major title in WCW. It was a solid outing from both men with Hennig getting a lot of time on offense. They spent a lot of time outside of the ring and threw each other from pillar to post. It wasn’t a technical classic, but it was cool to see Page pick up a big win here. He was starting his red hot run. This is the type of match that should be used to put over a title like The US Title, so good on them booking these two in it.
Bret Hart makes his way out to the ring. He is the special guest referee for the upcoming match. His WCW PPV debut was kind of underwhelming.
Eric Bischoff (w/Scott Hall) vs. “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko
If Zbyszko wins the match, he gets to wrestle Hall at Souled Out next month. He is also decked out in all of his old wrestling gear, which was probably cool for him.
The bell sounds and both men start off the match feeling each other out. Bischoff gets a shot to the head and celebrates it. Bischoff tries to keep his distance and use his quickness to stay out of the grasp of Zbyszko. Bischoff calls him off and jumps to the outside to talk strategy with Scott Hall at ringside. Bischoff tries to punch him in the head, but Zbyszko slaps him in the mouth. He tries to shoot in, but Bischoff gets a kick to the side of his head that knocks him down to the mat. That pisses Zbysczo off and he charges Bischoff into the corner. Hart pulls him off and puts Bischoff in a Sleeper Hold, but Hart tells him to break the hold again. He locks his legs around the neck of Bischoff, but Hart is there again to tell him to break it up. He hits Bischoff with a scoop slam and starts to stretch his legs out. Bischoff gets to the ropes and Hart makes him break the hold. Bischoff squirms out of the ring and Hall tries to get him back on his feet. Zbyszko is out after him and sends him headfirst into the post. Hart tells Zbyszko that he has been wrestling for too long to not know the rules and he ignores it before going back outside to throw Bischoff back into the stairs. Zbyszko and Hart bicker back and forth in the ring, which allows Bischoff to get back to his feet and in the ring. Zbyszko goes to punch him, but Hart pulls the fist away and that allows Bischoff to gain the advantage. Bischoff stays on offense and continues kicking him in the head. He continues the assault in the corner, but the fans get behind Zbyszko. Bischoff starts to wear himself out after the flurry of offense and Zbyszko starts to attack him. He hits Bischoff with some shots to the head and hits a Vertical Suplex. He throws Bischoff into the corner and hits a Swinging Neckbreaker. He picks Bischoff up and puts him in The Tree of Woe and knocks Hall off the apron for good measure. Hall gets back up on the apron and puts a steel plate in the kick pad of Bischoff. He kicks Zbyszko’s lights out and Bischoff starts to celebrate. Hart decks Bischoff and sends him down to the mat. Hart takes out Hall as he gets in the ring. The crowd is losing it as Hart puts Hall in the Sharpshooter in the ring. Zbyszko is choking Bischoff on the other side of the ring and Bret Hart announces him as the winner? What a weird ending. It went 11:12.
Winner: Larry Zbyszko
Match Rating: DUD
Collective Thoughts: This was more of a story than a match, but surprisingly, they both got a good bit of offense in. Hart being involved early on made you think he was facing The NWO, but by the end, he was Team WCW. I have a sneaking suspicion we will see him again tonight. With the win, Zbyszko will now go on to face Scott Hall at Souled Out in January.
Michael Buffer is in the ring and that means it’s time for The Main Event.
WCW World Heavyweight Title Match
“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Sting
This is one of the most talked-about matches to this day. I will leave my thoughts on the whole thing in my synopsis of the match. Sting has a really cool entrance and he is in a match for the first time in 18 months.
The two men stand face to face as the bell sounds and the match gets underway. Sting shoves Hogan into the corner, but Hogan brushes it off and he plays to the crowd a little bit. They lock up and Sting gets some shots to the head of Hogan. They have a standoff again only this time Hogan gets some shots in and gets Sting in the corner. He throws him to the other side and is quickly in after him with a clothesline. He gets a back rake on Sting and works him against the ropes. Hogan picks him up and hits a Scoop Slam and tries a series of elbows, but misses the last one. Sting punches him and sends him to the outside of the ring. Hogan is being taunted by fans at ringside before slowly making his way back to the ring. Hogan gets a headlock on as he comes back in and takes Sting down with a Shoulder Block. He sends Sting to the ropes, but he reverses it and hits a dropkick on Hogan that sends him packing to the outside again. Hogan climbs back in the ring and Sting grabs a headlock on him. Hogan shoves the referee away, but Sting keeps the hold on tight. Hogan sends him into the ropes, but gets taken down with a shoulder block. Sting comes back off the ropes only this time Hogan gains the advantage and knocks him down. Hogan hits a suplex, but Sting no-sells it and is right in Hogan’s face. He pounds on him in the corner. Hogan gets a rake to the eyes and sends Sting to the outside. Hogan comes out behind him and slams him against a table and hits Sting with his own bat across the back. He sends Sting into the post and starts pounding him against the guardrail. Sting reverses a whip into the other side and comes in with a Stinger Splash, but hits nothing but steel after Hogan moves. He crotches Sting on top of the steel railing and Hogan gets back in the ring. He comes back out for Sting and hits an Atomic Drop before laying the boot to his neck. Hogan sends him into the ropes and he hits The Big Boot and hits The Hogan Legdrop. Nick Patrick counts the three, but Bret Hart is there to stop David Penzer from ringing the bell. Nick Patrick and Hogan jump out of the ring to confront Hart and he knocks Patrick out. He chases after Hogan he was going up the aisle and Sting is ready. The match restarts and Sting hits a Stinger Splash. Members of the NWO come out to the ring, and Sting fights them off. He hits Hogan with another Stinger Splash and puts him in the Scorpion Death Lock. Hogan gives up and Hart calls for the bell with Sting winning the title. The match went for 12:53 all together.
Winner and NEW WCW Heavyweight Champion: Sting
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: So, there is a lot to unpack from all of this, and not just in the ring. I covered the match earlier in the year when Luger beat Hogan for the title and I mentioned that Sting was allegedly unhappy about that move. Well, this was the payoff of that. Sting was going to be the only one to beat Hogan for the title, and I am sure that seeing Luger win it earlier in the year didn’t do much for him and the way he felt going into this match. That’s first off. Secondly, Nick Patrick was supposed to do a fast count, but he clearly counted at normal speed here, which messed the ending up and made what Bret Hart did look foolish. There were also reports, mostly claims made by Bischoff himself, that even though Sting had a ton of time to get ready, he was not as mentally or physically prepared for this match as he should have been. The match overall was not very good. It was a standard Hogan match for the time, and Sting didn’t do a bunch to really prove he was the man. I probably bumped the rating up a little more than I should have, but what can you do. It’s exciting to see Sting carry the title into the beginning of 1998, but what a convoluted, overbooked mess this was.
After the match, members of WCW come out to the ring to celebrate with The Stinger. They hoist him high and the fans are losing their minds. Sting celebrates with the title as the announcers put him and WCW over big time. The lasting image of the show is WCW standing tall in the ring as they fade to black.
Overall Show Rating: 4 out of 10
This was billed as WCW’s biggest show ever. Looking at it in 2021, I would say that is still accurate based on the way they were hyping up the main event. I mentioned earlier that match in particular was one that is still talked about today, and it was all because of the way it was booked. Having Sting go over clean was the only way to do this and it just seems like they overthought it. What do I know though? As for the rest of the card, there wasn’t much there to be pumped about. The opening match was the only match that I gave above three stars and I honestly think WCW under-delivered here. Now, they were in their hottest period ever, so it didn’t affect them as much, but this show was pretty bad. Let’s get to 1998 and see the rise of guys like Goldberg and DDP that will make it one of the best years in WCW history. Also, as I mentioned at the beginning, John Canton covered this show as well and did a fantastic breakdown of it. I recommend peeping his review as well as mine, but we both hated the show.
What did you think of WCW Starrcade 1997? Loved it? Hated it? Thought it was overbooked? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Take care of yourselves, and each other. I will be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.