WWE Starrcade Recap & Analysis (11/25): Two Steel Cage Title Matches, Legends, Throwback Theme, More

I was fortunate enough to attend WWE Starrcade in the fabled Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC. The building felt like the olden days of Starrcade with a nearly sold out crowd that was fairly hot most of the night. The three and a half hour super-show event was entertaining from top to bottom. Below are some notes and tweets along with match results and analysis.
*Match ratings are personal discretion. Feel free sound off your thoughts in the comments section below if you were in attendance.

- Notes:
* Solid attendance. Lower bowl completely full, upper bowl half full. Only tarped area was behind stage as with every WWE event. Estimated 12,000-15,000 people.
* Hot crowd most of the night. Biggest reactions for AJ Styles, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, The Usos, Charlotte, and Rusev.
* The Legends were a productive and important part of the evening.
* There was a stationary hard cam to assist viewing for those in the building. There may have been some footage captured for future use, but I wouldn't get my hopes up for a WWE Network release of this event.
* They used old school graphics for the matches on the titantron for a neat throwback feel.

Bobby Roode def. Dolph Ziggler (Arn Anderson as Special Enforcer)
Match Rating: 7/10

Great to see Anderson back in a WWE ring, although he lied in wait most of the match. Very good back and forth opening match with both guys getting their respective stuff in. Beautiful stalling suplex from Roode that stayed up for at least 15 seconds. Ziggler worked the crowd nicely to setup for a Roode comeback. A Fameasser and a Zig-Zag only pick up two counts. Ziggler goes for a chair, in which Double-A would not allow. Ziggler and Anderson face-off in the ring and Ziggler gets hit with one of the best spine busters there's every been. This sets up Roode for the Glorious DDT and the win. In a hilarious spot, referee Charles Robinson carried Ziggler to the back in his arms.

Bludgeon Brothers, Mike Kanellis, The Colons, and Rusev (w/ Aiden English) def. Breezango, The Ascension, Tye Dillinger, and Sin Cara
Match Rating: 5/10

The lower card was fun, and that is what this match embodied. Nothing more than a comedic time killer to get a lot of guys on the card. You also got to see more personality and movesets from the guys you may not see on television. The faces did a full team "10" spot with Dillinger on turnbuckle punches. The Bludgeon Brothers come in, clean house, including their own teammates, and get the win with their Crucifix style power bomb. Bludgeon Brothers were fairly over with the crowd, but not nearly as much as Rusev. Happy Rusev Day, by the way.

Naomi def. Tamina (w/ Lana)
Match Rating: 4/10

Naomi is still quite over with the crowd. Not a lot of buzz for Tamina until Lana makes an appearance for a big pop. The pace was slower and the offense was a bit awkward at times. Naomi works at a much different pace than Tamina and the powerhouse couldn't quite keep up with the selling of Naomi's athleticism at times. Perfectly fine lower card match in which both ladies worked hard. Naomi wins with the split legged moonsault.

"The Natural" Dustin Rhodes def. Dash Wilder
Match Rating: 5/10

The match was preceded by a tribute video to WWE HOFer Dusty Rhodes. Dustin Rhodes came out to the traditional Goldust music and jacket, only to reveal the throwback gear of cutoff denim and cowboy boot style wrestling boots. Dash Wilder tried his best to be a productive heel, but you could tell he was having the time of his life in his home state. Perfect short homage and tribute match. Bionic Elbow, Bulldog, victory. After the match, Rhodes cut a promo about being proud to be there in honor of his Father.

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat Appearance

The Dragon talked about how storied the Greensboro Coliseum was to the wrestling business, and called it "their Madison Square Garden." Steamboat got a bit emotional when recalling some memories. He told stories of his great US Title matches in the past, and introduced us to our next match.

Shinsuke Nakamura def. Baron Corbin Via DQ (US Title Match)
Match Rating: 6.5/10

Pretty standard, but high quality, back-and-forth match. Nakamura showed respect upon his loudly cheered entrance to the aforementioned Steamboat, while Corbin heeled it up. Nakamura hits a big running knee (don't believe it was a true Kinshasa) for a long two count. Corbin introduces a chair to the match and hits Nakamura on a Kinshasa attempt. This called for the DQ and Corbin retains. To keep the crowd happy, Nakamura set Corbin up in the chair he used and hit a Kinshasa to a nice pop. Nakamura took a few selfies with fans on the way to the back.

Hardy Boyz & Rock 'N' Roll Express

These legendary tag teams came out to introduce us to our four-way tornado tag team title match. King Maxel even made a short cameo on the ramp. The Hardyz said RNRE were their heroes and mentors and bring them out. The recent WWE HOF inductees talked about their battles at Starrcade in the past. New Day then comes out and has a bit of a "twerk-off" with their friends. While fun, it was one of the few true corny segments of the night. Owens and Zayn interrupt the segment to a big pop and off we go to the match.

The Usos def. New Day, Gable/Benjamin, & Owens/Zayn (SD Live Tag Team Title match)
Match Rating: 7.5/10

This was the quintessential house show match, and I mean that in the best way possible. Great action as well as character work. Kofi had Benjamin in somewhat of a trance at one point with the twerking to where Benjamin would follow his every move. Amazing opening exchange with Woods and Gable with some sound mat work and high octane offense. Big pop for a Sami Zayn blind tag. I made note that the transition to faces is complete for the Usos, who received some the biggest ovations of the night. Another funny spot where Zayn was crotched by Gable's noggin via a Woods monkey flip. The Usos turn it into a Super Kick Party of sorts for the finish.

Intermission and Steel Cage installation

Ric Flair

Flair was met by a tribute video of his own. He was truly emotional to be back in Greensboro and said he'd "cried three times already" and was in for a fourth. He talked about past matches as well as catching up with former friends and legends backstage. Most of all, he was there to introduce his daughter Charlotte for her match tonight. He did not accompany her to the ring.

Charlotte Flair def. Natalya (Steel Cage Match For SD Live Women's Championship)
Match Rating: 6.5/10

This was your typical WWE style title match except with a cage surrounding it. Natalya and Charlotte work extremely well together as evident from their past matches. The match started with the loudest collar-elbow tie-up I've ever heard. The slap they made on initial contact reverberated throughout the arena. That set the tone for a fairly physical match. You got the chops, woos, and struts as you'd expect in Flair Country. Charlotte did a nice job working from underneath most of the match. They teased a couple big spots and had me thinking Charlotte would do her moonsault off the top of the cage, but didn't happen. Natalya did hit a superplex from the top rope. Charlotte fought out of the Sharpshooter twice. Charlotte hits a spear out of nowhere and follows it up with Figure Eight for the win.

AJ Styles def. Jinder Mahal (w/ Singh Bros)--(Steel Cage WWE Championship Match)
Match Rating: 6.5/10

First of all, I ranked this one equally with the women's match for a couple reasons. Although Styles made Mahal look like a superstar, there were a lot of logic holes in this match with the escapes, spot placement, chicanery, etc. Lots of "Too Sweet" chants and Styles obliges by throwing up the symbol. Mahal with the early heat by grabbing a microphone, only to be met by a thunderous pop of Styles' entrance. Mahal kept the heat going with a methodical pace in the match in which Styles sold like a million bucks for the bigger opponent. Mahal truly does have a "look" about him that would obviously see WWE find favor in him. The Singh Brothers fail on their first attempt to enter the cage, but eventually find their way in. Styles takes them out initially and gives them Styles Clashes for their troubles, one being perfectly bounced off the cage and into place for the move. They both attempt to escape, but Styles scales the cage first while kicking the door into Mahal's head, where he was attempting the easy way out.

A thoroughly enjoyable show overall. Sound off your comments below! Send any photos or videos of the event to the "submit news" link on the site.


Back To Top