Starrcade (1987) was the fifth annual Starrcade professional wrestling supercard event produced by Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) under the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) banner. It took place on November 26, 1987 from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. It was the first NWA event to be broadcast live on pay-per-view, and was also shown on closed circuit narrowcast at 100 different venues, as previous supercards had. This was the first major JCP event to feature wrestlers from the Universal Wrestling Federation, which was purchased by JCP shortly before the event.
VHS cover featuring various wrestlers
|Promotion||National Wrestling Alliance|
Jim Crockett Promotions
|Date||November 26, 1987|
|Tagline(s)||Chi-Town Heat-Glory Bound|
The main event was a steel cage match between Ric Flair and Ron Garvin for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. After the event, Flair feuded with Sting. The event also included a steel cage match between Dusty Rhodes and Lex Luger for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship, a match between The Road Warriors and the team of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard for the NWA World Tag Team Championship, and a match between Nikita Koloff and Terry Taylor to unify the NWA World Television Championship and the UWF World Television Championship.
The event involved wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in the scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
Starrcade was headlined by the match between Ric Flair and Ron Garvin for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The booking committee wanted to end Flair's reign as the champion, but their top preferences of who to be the new champion could not be chosen due to the circumstances. Garvin was chosen instead, and he defeated Flair to win the title on September 25. He was not well accepted as the champion by fans.
Jim Crockett Promotions had previously aired Starrcade only on closed-circuit television while the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), a competitor, had started to air events on pay-per-view in 1985 with WrestleMania, and was very successful. The 1987 Starrcade was the first pay-per-view event of the National Wrestling Alliance. To compete with Starrcade, the WWF introduced the Survivor Series event, and held it on the same night as Starrcade. The WWF also limited the amount of pay-per-view providers that would carry Starrcade by not allowing providers to carry WrestleMania IV if they did not carry Survivor Series exclusively. Only a small amount of providers carried Starrcade, and it drew a 3.30 buy rate while Survivor Series drew a 7.0 buy rate.
|Ring Announcer||Tom Miller|
The pay-per-view opened with Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner and Larry Zbyszko taking on Sting, Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin. Sting, Hayes and Garvin had the early advantage until receiving a front powerslam from Zbysko, whose team dominated Garvin until Sting tagged in. Sting fought off Zbyszko, Gilbert and Steiner but Zbyszko rake his eyes. Sting was dominated until Hayes and Gilbert tagged in. All wrestlers came in, and Hayes, Sting and Garvin performed mounted punches. Zbyszko, Gilbert and Steiner had the advantage after Gilbert performed an axe handle to Hayes. Hayes fought back with the small package on Gilbert. As Hayes had Gilbert in the sunset flip, the match ended in a time-limit draw.
Next, Steve Williams defended the UWF Heavyweight Championship against Barry Windham. The match went back and forth until Williams applied the side headlock. After breaking the hold, Williams attempted to jump over Windham, but Windham's head hit Williams's groin. Windham leaped at Williams but fell outside the ring, as Williams avoided his opponent. After Windham came back into the ring, Williams pinned Windham with an Oklahoma roll to win the match and retain the title.
The third match was a Skywalkers match between The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) (accompanied by Jim Cornette and Big Bubba Rogers) and The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson). The match started with Rogers attacking Morton, as Gibson was double-teamed on the scaffold. Rogers attempted to climb the scaffold, but Morton attacked him, Lane and Eaton with Cornette's tennis racket. Eaton fought back by throwing powder at Morton and Gibson. The teams went back and forth until Lane climbed under the scaffold. Morton followed Lane, and pushed him off. Morton and Gibson then attacked Eaton until he fell, and The Rock 'n' Roll Express won the match.
After this, NWA World Television Champion Nikita Koloff faced UWF World Television Champion Terry Taylor (accompanied by Eddie Gilbert) to unify the titles. The match started with Koloff targeting Taylor's left arm. Taylor gained the advantage by sending Koloff's head into the guard rail outside. Taylor then targeted Koloff's left arm and shoulder with the use of the ringpost. Gilbert attacked Koloff's left knee with a steel chair, and Taylor applied the figure four leglock. After Taylor accidentally knocked Gilbert off the apron, Koloff performed a Russian Sickle, and pinned Taylor to unify the titles.
In the fifth match, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard defended the NWA World Tag Team Championship against local favorites, The Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal). The Road Warriors had the early advantage. As Hawk had Blanchard in the gorilla press, Anderson attacked Hawk's left knee, which the champions continued to target with the use of the ringpost and a chair. Anderson attempted a seated senton, but Hawk raised his knees and hit Anderson's groin. The Road Warriors regained the advantage, and Blanchard knocked referee Tommy Young outside the ring. Animal threw Anderson over the top rope with a back body drop. The Road Warriors then performed a Doomsday Device on Anderson, who was pinned by Animal, with replacement referee Earl Hebner counting the pin. However, the original referee reversed the decision and disqualified the Road Warriors for throwing Anderson over the top rope. Anderson and Blanchard won the match and retained the title.
Next, Lex Luger (accompanied by James J. Dillon) defended the NWA United States Heavyweight Champions against Dusty Rhodes in a steel cage match. Johnny Weaver held the key to the cage. Rhodes would be suspended for 90 days if he lost. The match started back and forth until Luger sent Rhodes's head into the cage, and grinded his head against it. Luger attacked Rhodes's left arm until Rhodes fought back, and applied the sleeper hold. Dillon attacked Weaver with a chair and took the key. As the referee attempted to stop Dillon from unlocking the door, Luger ran into him, and Dillon threw in the chair. Luger attempted to pick it up, and Rhodes performed a DDT on the chair. Rhodes then pinned him to win the match and the title.
In the main event was Ron Garvin defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Ric Flair. Garvin had the advantage with forehand chops, mounted punches and the Garvin Stomp. After they exchanged chops, Flair hit Garvin with a low blow and an inverted atomic drop. Flair targeted the left leg, hit a shin breaker and applied the figure four leglock. Garvin fought back after blocking Flair's attempts to send his head into the cage. Garvin hit Flair into the cage, applied a figure four leglock and performed a diving crossbody. Garvin punched Flair, who countered with an inverted atomic drop. Flair then reversed an Irish whip, sent Garvin's head into the cage, and pinned him to win the match and the title.
Ron Garvin's reign as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion had lasted for two months, and he never regained the title. Ric Flair remained the champion for over a year. In early 1988, Sting, who was rising to stardom, challenged Flair to a match at the first Clash of Champions. Flair accepted, and fought Sting for 45 minutes to a time-limit draw. The match made Sting a huge star. Sting continued to wrestle in many matches against Flair, as well as the other members of the Four Horsemen, and their rivalry continued for over ten years.
After Starrcade was outperformed by Survivor Series, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) continued to compete. When JCP held the Bunkhouse Stampede pay-per-view event in January 1988, the WWF held the Royal Rumble event, a television special, on the same night as Bunkhouse Stampede. In return, JCP held the first Clash of Champions, also a television special, on the same night as WrestleMania IV. Clash of Champions was a success, and drew a large cable rating.
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