They don’t call him the “Hit Man” for nothin’. Living up to his famed moniker, Calgary’s Bret Hart made his presence felt in World Championship Wrestling by single-handedly rubbing out the New World Order’s best laid plans. An honorary guest referee at Starrcade ’97 – the WCW’s premiere event held this year at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. – Hart excellently executed the nWo’s bid to turn the Monday Night Nitro television program into nWo Nitro by haymakering WCW / nWo vice-president Eric Bischoff (as he did his former WWF boss Vince McMahon) and awarded the win to Larry Zbyszko. More importantly, Hart alone iced the nWo’s underhanded scheme guaranteeing Hollywood Hogan a tainted victory over the man they call Sting.
That’s if you can call Sting’s win over Hogan a victory. Notorious for never surrendering a title belt “cleanly” if you discount the Ultimate Warrior’s triumph at WrestleMania 6, Hogan once again ends an agonizingly prolonged World Heavyweight Title reign conveniently under the shadow of controversy.
The dubious Nick Patrick selected as the referee set the tone for the first ever match between the leader of the nWo and Sting. In an unusual circumstance, Hogan, the champion, entered the ring first to a loud chorus of boos. White lighting flashes illuminated the MCI Center as a laser light show accompanied the eerie Sting monologue heard at Halloween Havoc. Hogan cast his eyes to the ceiling expecting the Dark Warrior to swing down from the ceiling. He did not. Black trench coat billowing behind him and baseball bat in hand, Sting walked the aisle staring right at Hollywood.
Throwing off his trench coat and dropping the bat everyone could see what Sting had been working on instead of wrestling for the last 18 or so months – his bicep muscles now almost out-bulk Hogan’s record setting pythons. Hogan threw his headband in Sting’s face. The Dark Warrior retaliated with a hard slap. Blocking Hollywood’s punches and dealing some of his own, Sting had Hogan backpedaling.
“Come on hero,” spit the champ laying jackhammer forearms smashes followed by a clothesline and a slam on the Stinger. A series of drop-kicks answered Hogan’s taunts as the Dark Warrior knocked him through the ropes and out onto the floor.
Returning to the ring, Hollywood suplexed Sting but to Hogan’s surprise the maneuver did no damage at all. Sting stood right back up and pummeled the champ in the corner. Both men out on the floor, Stinger missed a Stinger Splash hitting the steel retaining fence heavily. Hogan smashed Sting with his own bat, posted and crotched him on the same fence.
At 11 minutes and 21 seconds, Hogan hit his Big Foot and signature Leg Drop. Nick Patrick showed his true colors laying down a three count faster than DPP slaps on the Diamond Cutter (or so the announce crew would have us believe).
An angry Bret Hart power walked to ringside stopping the time keeper from ringing the bell. “This won’t happen again,” said the guest referee punching Patrick in the chops. The Hit Man used his authority to restart the match. Norton and Bagwell of the nWo stampeded the ring but Sting dispensed with them then crushed Hogan with two Stinger Splashes. The self-proclaimed wrestling icon had his legs wrapped in the Scorpion Death Lock. At 12 minutes and 48 seconds into the match Hogan submitted. WCW wrestlers who had been sitting near the squared circle all evening flooded the ring congratulating Sting. The Giant held him high. Sting’s only words of celebration were said in Spanish to the camera.
The next WWF pay-per-view is nWo Souled Out on January 24, 1998.
Starrcade ’97 Results
: Starrcade is the first wrestling event ever held in the MCI Center.
Dean Malenko (challenger) Vs Eddie Guerrero (champion) (Cruiserweight Title match)
: The commentators announce the happy news that Dean Malenko’s wife gave birth to their first child on Christmas night.
: At 10:18, Guerrero posts Malenko’s leg injuring him for the rest of the encounter.
: Malenko attempts the Texas Clover Leaf but Guerrero grabs the ropes.
: The champ drop kicks the Ice Man’s knee from the top rope then Frog Splashes it too.
Winner: At 14 minutes and 56 seconds and still WCW Cruiserweight Champion…Eddie Guerrero.
: Scott Hall comes to the ring does his poll thingy and announces the Kevin Nash will not be wrestling The Giant tonight. “Ok, Frankengoof. You can tell everyone you’ve won,” says Hall mocking The Giant.
: The Big Man arrives and calmly acknowledges that he will have to wait a little longer to face Nash. Hall upsets The Giant by punching him in the face. Hall gets headbutted and Jack Knife – Power Bombed.
Vincent / Scott Norton / Macho Man Vs The Steiner Brothers / Ray Traylor
: Macho Man subs for an AWOL Konnan.
: Vincent is announced as the nWo’s Director Of Security.
: At 9:45, The Steiners Spike-Piledrive Vincent. Norton makes the save. Their attempt to do the same to Macho Man is busted up by Norton who slams Scott Steiner. Macho connects with the Top Rope Flying Elbow Smash.
Winners: At 11 minutes even, Vincent / Scott Norton / Macho Man.
Bill Goldberg Vs Steve “Mongo” McMichael
: Goldberg is without Debra.
: Mongo is still flashing the Four Horsemen sign.
: Goldberg punches Mongo off the ring apron at 5:13. McMichael falls through a ringside table. The fans chant ECW! ECW!
Winner: At 6 minutes and 1 second, Bill Goldberg with the Jack Hammer Slam.
Saturn Vs Chris “The Canadian Crippler” Benoit
: Raven chooses not to wrestle again subbing Saturn in his place to “finish off” Benoit.
: 45 seconds in, Billy Kidman lands with The Shooting Star Press off the ring apron as Sick Boy flying clotheslines Benoit from behind.
: Outside the ring, Benoit pretzels Saturn into the Crippler Crossface. The Nest swarms him. Raven has a stare down with Benoit but Hammer punks the Wolverine. Raven executes a DDT. Saturn applies the Rings Of Saturn.
Winner: Saturn at 10 minutes and 51 seconds.
Buff Bagwell Vs Lex Luger
: Bagwell says Luger’s new name should be Lex Loser.
: At 2:26, Bagwell goes and gets Vincent from the back to help out.
: As the ref lies comatose, Luger Torture Racks Bagwell. The fans stand cheering.
: Macho Man and Vincent interfere but both are Racked too.
: Norton beans Luger with Rick Steiner’s dog collar. Bagwell covers.
Winner: At 16 minutes and 44 seconds, Buff Bagwell.
Curt Hennig (champion) Vs Diamond Dallas Page (challenger) (U.S. Title Match)
: DDP Diamond Cuts Hennig for the win, takes the belt and celebrates in the crowd.
Winner: And new WCW U.S. Champion…Diamond Dallas Page at 10 minutes and 37 seconds.
Eric “Easy E” Bischoff Vs Larry Zbyszko (Nitro On The Line match)
: If Bischoff wins, the nWo lays claim to Monday Night Nitro. If Zbyszko wins he gets a match against Scott Hall.
: Scott Hall escorts Bischoff down and remains at ringside.
: Zbyszko comes out to the Nitro theme song.
: Though the Hit Man admonished Zbyszko numerous times during the match, he punches Bischoff after Easy E kicked Zbyszko with a loaded boot (which actually flew out into the audience and never hit Zbyszko).
: Hart atomic drops, clotheslines and puts Hall in the Sharp Shooter as Zbyszko chokes out Bischoff.
Winner: Via disqualification at 11 minutes and 12 seconds, Larry Zbyszko.
Hollywood Hogan (champion) Vs Sting (challenger) (WCW World Heavyweight Title match)
Winner: And new WCW World Heavyweight Champion…Sting at 12 minutes and 48 seconds.
Total event time: 2 hours and 46 minutes.