In wrestling circles it has become known as the “Bret Hart finish” based on Vince McMahon’s real-life betrayal of Hart in his final WWF match before heading to WCW. The WWF has unimaginatively used it a bazillion times since. Last night at Starrcade ’99, broadcast from the M.C.I. Center in Washington, D.C., it was WCW’s turn to ruin a half-decent title bout. This time it wasn’t Hart but Bill Goldberg who got messed over.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the main event match, heaps of praise are in order to Chris Benoit and Jeff Jarrett for their stellar impromptu ladder match. Scott Hall, Benoit’s original opponent, couldn’t compete due to a legit knee injury. Breaking with their scripted support of The Outsiders, the Powers That Be declared a forfeit awarding the U.S. title to Benoit. Not wanting to win the belt that way, Benoit issued the challenge and Jarrett accepted. The outcome was a match that alone was worth the cost of ordering the pay-per-view. The eminently talented Benoit and Jarrett worked hard and bumped hard substantiating that their push by WCW is well deserved.
A true measure of a professional wrestler is whether he or she can “carry” a less capable colleague through a match. That attribute has been a trademark of Bret Hart’s career. Working with Hart, Goldberg put on his best effort to date at Starrcade. Like him or not, Goldberg has unquestionably come a long way from the kick – punch – stomp machine he once was.
The beginning of the WCW World Heavyweight Title bout was as strange as the conclusion with champion Hart coming out first and Goldberg second. Both competitors shook hands before getting down to business in a display of good sportsmanship. The Hit Man was shoved off at his first two attempts at a lock-up. The third found Goldberg on the mat in a headlock. Goldberg got to his feet, slingshot Hart to the ropes bowling him over with a shoulder block. Goldberg turned a Power Press into a Power Slam driving Hart to the canvass. Two clotheslines had the same result on the WCW Champion.
Goldberg smartly rolled Bret into an Ankle Lock. The Hit Man turned the submission move into a Sharpshooter but Goldberg powered his way out. A kick to the gut had Hit Man scrambling for a breather outside the ring. Bret and Goldberg brawled on the outside taking out referee Billy Silverman. Scratch referee Number One. Goldberg stepped up his attack ramming Hart into the steel security fence and the announce table. Referee Charles Robinson took over the officiating duties. The poor sucker wouldn’t last long. Goldberg’s side-suplex on Hart brained Robinson. Scratch referee Number Two. The Hit Man dodged a Spear by Goldberg sending the former football played into the turnbuckle. Referee Number Three hit the ring.
Hart worked on Goldberg’s leg then set him up for his Figure Four-around-the steel post move. Hart didn’t get it cinched in quite right so the announcers covered for him by saying Goldberg has the presence of mind to partially block it. Inside the ring, Hart continued inflicting pain on Goldberg’s weakened leg punctuating his attack with a Figure Four. Again relying on the strength in his legs Goldberg broke the hold. Champion and challenger traded blows in the corner. Drawing back his arm to deliver a punch, Hart clocked the new ref. Down went official Number Three. Goldberg hit a standing side kick and a Spear. With a dejected look on his face, Roddy Piper assumed control of the match. Distracted by Piper’s arrival Goldberg left himself open to a shot block to his knee. Hart barely wrapped Goldberg into the Sharp Shooter when Piper called for the belt and left the ring looking even more depressed than he was before.
Piper left with the WCW World Title belt. A furious Hit Man chased after Piper looking for answers. Piper handed him the belt back without saying a word.
- The next WCW pay-per-view is Souled Out on January 16.
Starrcade ’99 Results
Disco Inferno, Lash Leroux Vs Big Vito, Johnny The Bull
- A positively enjoyable bout highlighting Big Vito’s skills which were underused in ECW. He sure does do a mean DDT. Dazed, Disco drops Leroux with the Last Dance. Vito lands a DDT for the win. Maranara, Johnny and Vito chloroform Disco and put him in a body bag. Johnny carries Disco through the curtain where they remove him from the bag. Ummmm, that was worth the effort stuffing Disco into the bag, wasn’t it? Disco is dumped into the trunk of a car. Maranara shifts the car into reverse by accident, corrects his mistake and drives off.
- Winners: Big Vito, Johnny The Bull at 9 minutes and 40 seconds .
- Match Rating: 6 / 10.
- Benoit cuts a promo in the ring. He reiterates the disappointing decision by the Powers That Be to give him the title via forfeit. Benoit lays down a challenge to anyone in the back to face him later in the evening.
Madusa (challenger) Vs Evan Karagias (champion) (Cruiserweight Title Match)
- Karagias is accompanied by former Nitro Girl, Spice. Karagias has to get his own entrance music…fast! The WCW Hotline theme doesn’t cut it. Really sloppy match that brings on the “boring!” chants. Spice jumps up on the apron and distracts Karagias with some gratuitous chest rubbing. Spice low blows him. Madusa rolls him up for the victory. Spice and Madusa leave together. Spice is licking her lips while looking at Madusa from behind. Can you say lesbian-love angle coming up? The announcers hype the fact that Madusa is the first woman to hold a MAJOR title in WCW. I guess the Women’s Heavyweight Title was nothing, right?
- Winner: …and new WCW Cruiserweight Champion…Madusa at 3 minutes and 32 seconds.
- Match Rating: 1 / 10.
Meng (challenger) Vs Norman Smiley (champion) (WCW Hardcore Title Match)
- Norman’s in football gear. They quickly brawl into the back. Norman dives like a NFL linebacker through a curtain. From out of nowhere, Brian Knobbs and Fit Finley Pearl Harbor Meng. Finley cracks Meng with a steel pipe in the back of the head. Smiley, who has been hiding under a table the whole time, climbs out and pins Meng.
- Winner: …and still WCW Hardcore Champion, Norman Smiley at 4 minutes and 29 seconds.
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
- David Flair gets a special delivery package in his locker room. It’s a gold crow bar. Who was the sender? Hmmmm. The mystery deepens.
- The Misfits have locked Oklahoma inside a small steel cage to transport him to the ring.
The Revolution Vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan and The Varsity Club
- Duggan’s mystery partners are the reformed Varsity Club – Mike Rotundo, Rick Steiner and Kevin Sullivan. SLAM! Wrestling marks out Big Time! The Varsity Club is led to the ring by former ECW valet, Kimona Wannalaya dressed as a cheerleader shaking her pompoms. So psyched in defending the honour of the USA is Duggan that he wrestles the whole match himself refusing to tag in the Varsity Club. Fed up, the Varsity Club hit the ring. Sullivan does the Tree Of Woe on Aysa. The Varsity Club attacks the selfish Duggan. Shane Douglas says from his announce position…”I see an opening and I’m going to take it!”. Douglas covers a beaten Duggan. Douglas tells Duggan that he must now renounce his citizenship on Nitro.
- Winners: The Revolution at 4 minutes and 53 seconds.
- Match Rating: 4 / 10.
Steve Williams Vs Vampiro
- How long will it take Williams to re-join his mates in the Varsity Club. Does anyone have a stop watch handy? The Misfits roll down the cage containing Oklahoma to the ring. Oklahoma calls the match from the cage. Williams swats the ref and gets DQ’d. Vampiro and The Misfits take turns beating the stuffing out of Oklahoma as Williams is escorted to the back by security.
- Winner: Vampiro via DQ at 5 minutes and 32 seconds.
- Match Rating: 6 / 10.
- The Powers That Be wish Curt Hennig and Creative Control good luck in their match.
- Harlem Heat disagree about Midnight’s usefulness. Stevie Ray wants Midnight gone and withdrawals his support of Booker T. Stevie Ray walks off in a huff.
Creative Control, Curt Hennig Vs Booker T., Midnight
- Midnight does well in her WCW wrestling debut taking some good shots. Stevie Ray finally comes to the ring. He argues with Booker T. and Midnight. Hennig punches Booker with brass knuckles to enable Patrick or Gerald (Who can tell the difference?) to score the pinfall. Creative Control are the number one contenders for the WCW Tag Team Titles.
- Winners: Creative Control, Curt Hennig at 7 minutes and 11 seconds.
- Match Rating: 5 / 10.
Dustin Rhodes Vs Jeff Jarrett (Bunkhouse Match)
- Vets Rhodes and Jarrett put on a satisfying match mixing wrestling with brawling. Since there are no rules, Dustin duct tapes the referee to a corner. Hennig interferes releasing the official and attacking Dustin. Dustin and Jarrett battle back to the entrance way. Rhodes bulldogs Hennig on the concrete floor. Jarrett dives off a ladder breaking a guitar over Rhodes’ head. Jarrett is your winner.
- Winner: Jeff Jarrett at 11 minutes and 18 seconds .
- Match Rating: 7.5 / 10.
- Psycho boy, Flair, is beating up a defenseless teddy bear in his locker room. Impressive.
DDP Vs David Flair (Crow Bar On A Pole Match)
- Wow! David Flair’s has really brushed up on his skills! Amazing Grace, he’s got some moves and executes them admirably too! Flair gains possession of the crow bar though DDP nails him with the Diamond Cutter off the ropes before he has time to use it. DDP is about to pummel Flair with the crow bar. Flair’s crazed fan (winner of the Nitro Girl House Party) falls over Flair protecting him. DDP drops the crow bar, almost Diamond Cuts the ref, thinks twice about it and splits.
- Winner: At 3 minutes and 53 seconds, DDP.
- Match Rating: 4 / 10.
Sting Vs Lex Luger
- Sting suggests Liz bring his bottle of mace to the ring instead of the one she’s carrying. He claims it’s more potent. Liz turns on Sting during the match and tries to spray the mace in his face. All that comes out is that silly string stuff. Sting chuckles. He didn’t ever trust her. Liz leaves returning minutes later with a baseball bat. She swats Sting in the head knocking him out! In what will go down as a great “beating” of ’99, Liz places Sting’s wrist in a steel chair. Luger stomps on the chair and hits it numerous times with the baseball bat. Sting is off to the local emergency ward.
- Winner: Sting via DQ at 5 minutes and 31 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
Kevin Nash Vs Sid (Master Of The Powerbomb Match)
- The ref is out cold. Sid Powerbombs Nash so it doesn’t count. Jarrett guitar-shots Sid. Nash wakes up the official and…get this…convinces him that the reason Sid is unconscious is because he Powerbombed him. Nash is declared the winner. Official Kevin Nash move count equals three. Sid’s equals four for a grand total of seven moves in this match. Ain’t that special? Johnny Diamond hangs his head in shame.
- Winner: Kevin Nash at seven minutes even.
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
Chris Benoit (champion) Vs Jeff Jarrett (challenger) (U.S. Title – Ladder Match)
- Benoit is bleeding badly but soldiers on. A Swan Dive Head Butt is enough to keep Jarrett down while he snags the belt.
- Winner: …and still WCW United States Champion, Chris Benoit at 10 minutes and 15 seconds.
- Match Rating: 10 / 10.
Bret Hart (champion) Vs Goldberg (challenger) (WCW World Heavyweight Title Match)
- Winner: …and still WCW World Heavyweight Champion…Bret Hart at 12 minutes and 8 seconds.
- Match Rating: 6 / 10.
- Total Event Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes.
- Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10.