EDITOR'S NOTE: Eric Benner is SLAM! Wrestling's regular Friday columnist.
Friday, December 25, 1998
Little to care about at Starrcade
Let's quickly go over the card, shall we? That is - if I can remember who's competing.
Ahhh, the big title match. Kevin Nash takes on that steam-roller, that streaking mad-man, Bill Goldberg, for the World Heavyweight Title in the main event. There's every reason for this to be a huge match, easily one that could top a mega-card. It's a shame that the Pitiful Three haven't found the time to mention any of them.
Let me elaborate. What we have here is the first match that's probably really going to threaten Goldberg's streak. Kevin Nash has nearly no losses to speak of in his record, and he's notched a lot of the biggest stars. The fact that he won World War Three says it all. Instead, WCW announcers have advertised this match as "the battle of two above-average sized men, one of whom happens to be the champion." Does Nash really care about the belt? I haven't the foggiest idea, and WCW hasn't helped. Does Goldberg? Ditto.
This match could also have been heralded as the horn-locking of the sport's two biggest faces. Kevin Nash, trying only to help Goldberg, has been speared two or three times now, all by accident. Peg this as a clash resulting from a misunderstanding, like the premature gun-shot that starts the war. Again, all I see is two big men are going to fight, and neither of them seem to have perfected that sixth move.
This match just isn't making my blood boil. It could have been The Unstoppable Force meets the Immovable Object, but instead, it's just going to be Kevin Nash's first month with The Book. I was more excited for the Rock's title-defense against Foley, and I already knew what would happen in that one.
Next on the card, we have Bam Bam Bigelow taking on Ra, er, Scott Hall. Why is this match even on a pay-per-view. Not that it won't be a great one, and not that it doesn't deserve to be, but that isn't how it's been portrayed. Hall is just a "random target" in Bigelow's rage. So why would they want to fight near the top of the card of a pay-per-view? This match deserves to be held in a parking lot somewhere. Or again, at least, that's how they're telling it. They should have billed it as two titans colliding, like a grudge-match, not like the arbitrary result of an incidental occurance.
I can barely remember anything else on the card. Luckily for them, no one has to tell me twice that Kidman and Mysterio and Juventud are going to fight for me to remember it. Was this match even built up? At all? I think I saw a Saturday Night match between Kidman, Mysterio, Juventud, and Uncle Eddy, but I can't even remember. What's worse is that so long as Kidman isn't in too bad shape, this will probably be the match of the night.
Konnan's title defense against Jericho should be re-named Jericho's contract negotiations with WCW, since that's all it's about. If he signs, he'll win; if he doesn't, he'll lose. That's all it's telling me. I just hope he goes north if they let him go. I'll miss him.
Oh yeah, Ric Flair is taking off Bischoff, isn't he? Why does Bischoff keep booking himself matches at Starrcade? I don't doubt that this guy is probably tougher than I am, because anyone with a good eye can see that he's been working out for two and a half years now, but I still don't buy him putting up much of a fight against the Nature Boy. This whole heart attack thing just makes me cringe at the idea of a match, it doesn't give me the impression of more even odds.
Diamond Dallas Page, the People's Champ, takes on The Scum Giant Scum. See Jericho match.
I personally am looking forward to watching Ernest Miller tackle Saturn, mostly because Saturn is my favourite wrestling commodity working for Turner. It has nothing to do with the incredibly poor promotion of this match.
I don't even have anything to say about Lex Luger and Scott Steiner.
This is all to say that the WWF has done a better job with each of its last twelve pay-per-views of making me think that something interesting would happen than WCW did with this one, supposedly their biggest of the year. Remember last year? Leaping Larry v. Evil Eric? The first significant appearance of Bret Hart? Ric Flair and Curt Hennig to finish their well-crafted United States title feud? At the top of that card was this monster huge match that was Sting v. Hogan, and I just dug the hype on that pay-per-view so much. I anticipated, I eagerly awaited, I watched, and like everyone else, I whined and complained. I'll probably watch Starrcade '98. I'll probably groan about it just as much as everyone else did last year and will this year. The difference this time is that I don't care.
Here's the reader mail-bag. Keep the letters coming!
Hazel Worthy, from Hazel.Worthy@btinternet.com, writes:
*Recently reading your article the WWF's big talent, I kinda got the feeling you were on to something with this pushing Owen Hart thing, then I started thinking about other wrestlers that need a push, and then thought about the light heavy weight division and how the WWF have been making a mockery of it as late, and then this wrestlers name popped into my head... Chyna, no I ain't joking man, I know what your probably thinking, but I reckon she'd make a brilliant champ, better than Duane Gill anyway, we know she can wrestle, and that there would be no point in her competing for the woman's championship, cos she'd just eat her opponents alive, and think how it could push this story with DX and team corporate, just as Shawn Michaels thinks he's getting all the gold from them, up pops Chyna with more gold for the group! Well I know it sounds crazy, but it could work!! By the way, Merry Christmas!*
I personally was hoping to see Shawn Michaels going with Degeneration-X instead of feuding with them. In his current non-wrestling capacity, I'm not enjoying his heel status at all. As for your idea, let me just say that it's...er...interesting. I'm afraid I have to reject it, but only because I hate inter-gender matches. Nothing good can come of them for the male participant. Remember Jacqueline v. Disco Inferno (I feel like I'm quoting old court cases here)?
Vydas, email@example.com, writes:
*Only the Canadian fans have ever really given a toot about this guy. He just can't get over as a face, and is limited as a heel.*
As much as I hate to say it, you may be right. Owen Hart just has no credibility as a face anymore for so many reasons, and as a heel, he's so old-school that he doesn't go well with anyone. He's a good foil to other wrestlers, but that's about it. I'd like to see him take up the tag game again, though.
Thanks for all the mail this week, folks. Admittedly, most of it read the same, wishing the best for Owen, and I can only agree with that (pretty boring, eh?).
Have a great Christmas and fantastic Holidays. Thanks for reading, thanks for writing, see you in seven.
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.