KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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WWE STARRCADE 2019 REPORT
DECEMBER 1, 2019
STREAMED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton
-The announce team discussed how WWE is paying tribute to Starrcade with this show, but failed to mention NWA or WCW by name.
-Kevin Owens made his entrance to host the Kevin Owens Show to kick off Starracade. Owens wasted little time before introducing his guest, Ric Flair. The Atlanta crowd reacted appropriately with many “Woos!” Flair began speaking, and the crowd began chanting “We can’t hear you!” Owens, thinking quickly, swapped mics with Flair – the crowd cheered.
Flair spoke at length. Some quotes: “36 years ago, nobody back there who’s gonna be wrestling tonight was alive. Look at me – how lucky am I to be here? I want to thank the late, great Harley Race, the first Starrcade ever. I want to thank Dusty Roads, the guy that thought about putting this great event together. Then you bring up Sting. How great is Sting?”
Owens prepared to get the crowd to “Woo!” on the count of three, but the O.C.’s music interrupted, as Gallows and Anderson came down the ramp. Gallows said what we should be celebrating tonight is how they are the best tag team in the world. Anderson suggested they run O.C. highlights for the remaninder of the show.
Owens interrupted and suggested they show highlights of their buddy Styles losing the U.S. Championship to Rey Mysterio. Owens then asked what we’re going to do about this. With that cue, the Street Profits music played, with Ford and Dawkins running into the ring. They stood opposite the O.C., and Ford asked, “How about we cook up some highlights tonight in Atlanta, Georgia?” Ford offered to take care of the O.C. for Owens and Flair. Owens said that was a great idea, and he would get back to his popcorn. The bell rang.
(1) THE O.C. vs. STREET PROFITS
Anderson started against off against Ford. Ford got the upper hand with flashy moves and mimicked some Flair strutting. He leveled Anderson with a drop kick then tagged in Dawkins. Dawkins carried on the offense, and covered Anderson for two after a drop kick. Ford tagged back in and took Anderson down with yet another drop kick. He made another pin attempt, then applied an arm bar. Anderson got to his feet and pushed Ford into the O.C.’s corner, allowing Gallows to tag in.
Gallows caught a reverse elbow from Ford in a neutral corner, but then Gallows knocked Ford off the ring apron with a superkick. While the ref was preventing Gallows from climbing out to ringside, Anderson snuck in and nailed Ford with a European uppercut on the floor. Back in the ring, Gallows peppered Ford with repeated strikes in the corner, then leveled Ford with a big roundhouse kick. Anderson tagged in and applied a side headlock to Ford.
Ford reached and struggled toward his corner, but Anderson cut him off and maneuvered him back to the opposite corner. Gallows tagged in and continued the punishment, including another two-count pin attempt. Gallows applied a chinlock to Ford while Dawkins emphatically urged Ford on from the Profits’s corner.
Ford battled to his feet and eventually took Gallows down with an enzuiguiri. Ford made a diving tag to Dawkins, who executed a Hot Tag Attack against both members of the O.C. In spite of this spree, Anderson had tagged in and landed a turning spinebuster to Dawkins. Gallows tagged in and hit a side suplex, then covered for another two-count. Anderson tagged back in, and the O.C. set up for the Magic Killer, but Ford scrambled into the ring from the floor and broke up the move.
Ford threw Gallows out to ringside through the ropes, then crushed him with a high cross body over the top rope. In the ring, Dawkins gave a non-turning spinebuster to Anderson, then tagged Ford in, who had since blazed from the floor up to the top turnbuckle. Ford launched into a five-star frog splash, hitting Anderson squarely. He pinned for the three-count. Flair was shown at ringside, on his feet, smiling and applauding. After replays from the match were shown, Flair joined the Profits in the ring to celebrate.
WINNERS: Street Profits by pinfall.
(Meyers’s Analysis: Quality action throughout, and the match was a bookended nicely with involvement with Flair. Flair seemed a little spaced out during his time with Owens, and genuinely confused at what to do when the crowd was chanting they couldn’t hear. In spite of that, the segment still worked and the Street Profits were able to shine while supporting a legend.)
Backstage, we happened upon Banks running into Bayley. They ran down the low-rent town, and mentioned that they were the first ever womens’ tag team champions, and they aspired to win the belts back tonight. Said Banks, “Double champs: Double pay; double duty ’cause we’re gonna slay.” Bayley asked if Snoop taught her that, Banks indicated he had.
(2) BECKY LYNCH & CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. ALEXA BLISS & NIKKI CROSS vs. BAYLEY & SASHA BANKS vs. KABUKI WARRIORS (C) – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Four-Way Match
All four teams got full entrances, so it took a while to get this match started. The announce team established the Fatal Four Way rules: Only two wrestlers can be legal at a time, and you can tag in a member of any team; the first team to score a pinfall wins the match and the titles.
The first elongated exchange came between Flair and Asuka. Flair had the upper hand, but Banks leaned in and tagged herself in, and Flair out. Cross tagged in via Asuka, and overpowered Banks. Banks turned the tide, and Banks and Bayley double-teamed Cross in their corner.
Lynch tagged in via Cross, and the crowd reacted positively, but Banks and Bayley continued their double teaming to dominate the champion in their corner. Lynch managed to kick Bayley off of her, then dove to tag in Bliss, who went on a run of offense against Bayley.
Sane tagged in via Bliss. Bliss followed through with fruitless pin attempt on Bayley, but Sane entered the ring and smashed her with a backhand fist. Sane offered Bayley a dual high five, then gave Bayley the same backhand. She moved to the ropes and yanked Bliss’s hair backward against the top rope, then stomped on her midsection before covering for a two-count. Sane applied a single-leg crab to Bliss.
Bliss crawled to a rope to break up the hold, but this allowed Banks to tag in via Sane. She suplexed Bliss and covered for two. Bayley tagged in was quickly tagged out by Asuka, who used her ringtime to waggle her ass at Flair and Lynch. When Asuka charged at Bliss in the corner, Bliss lifted up both knees to block, then fired Asuka into the corner with a drop toe hold.
Bliss crawled toward Flair and Lynch, but Asuka dragged her away. Bliss leveled Asuka with a right cross, then tagged in Lynch, who took out both Kabuki Warriors with frantic offense. She knocked Banks and Bayley off of their apron. She hit Bexploder suplexes against Sane, Lynch, and Bayley. She proceeded to hit a double-DDT against both Kabuki Warriors. Lynch hit a leg drop to Sane from the middle rope, then covered, but Asuka broke up the pin.
Asuka tagged in via Sane, who double teamed Lynch, but Cross tagged in amidst the action. She hit a high cross body against both Warriors, then all wrestlers became involved in a flurry of violence. When the smoke cleared, Asuka had locked the Asuka Lock onto Cross, who quickly tapped.
WINNERS: Kabuki Warriors by submission.
(Meyers’s Analysis: I’m always impressed by any match of this magnitude when I can’t pick up on any miscommunications or botches. Kabuki Warriors and Bayley / Sasha excelled as heels with effective double teams. Lynch was highlighted as the strongest single force in the match, which befits the champ. If there is such a thing, this was a quality Fatal Four Way tag team match.)
(3) BOBBY LASHLEY (with Lana) vs. RUSEV – Last Man Standing Match
Lashley and Lana made their entrance first. In the ring with a mic, Lana explained how she was thankful for her hot boyfriend, Lashley. She also explained there would be no Last Man Standing match tonight, because she came to Georgia early to file another restraining order against “that monster of a man.” Lashley covered her ears as the crowd chanted, “Rusev Day!” She said they would glady take the victory via forfeit. The ref raised Lashley’s hand, and the bell rung.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley by restraining order.
(Meyers’s Analysis: I can’t help but think someone will intervene, and not allow the Starrcade broadcast to end like this.)
Kevin Owens’s music played and he quickly addressed the crowd from the stage. “No one cares about the two of you and your stupid relationship!” When Lana told Lashley to ignore Owens, Owens asked if that’s the same as everyone ignoring her “stupid Russian accent for the last five years.” Lashley offered Owens the same ass-whipping that he was going to give Rusev. Owens concurred and entered the ring.
(4) BOBBY LASHLEY (w/Lana) vs. KEVIN OWENS
The bell rang, and Owens quickly took Lashley out with two clotheslines and hit a cannonball in the corner. He briefly battered Lashley at ringside, then toppled Lashley over with a somersault senton off the ring apron. He rolled Lashley back into the ring, but Lashley rolled out the opposite side.
When Owens came through the ropes to the apron nearest Lashley, Lashley swept his feet and knocked him back-first onto the apron. Lashley took charge outside of the ring, slamming him into an announce table. In the ring, Lashley took control with heel maneuvers. He took Owens down with multiple shoulder thrusts in the corner. Lashley applied a chinlock.
Owens broke free, but Lashley continued the punishment with strikes in the corner. Owens blocked two suplex attempts, then landed his own suplex. The crowd chanted, “Kevin Owens!” Owens hit a couple right hands, but Lashley hit a Flatliner and paced slowly around the prone Owens.
Owens fought back with chops in the corner, but once again, Lashley stopped him in his tracks, this time with a front kick. He fired Owens out to ringside through the ropes, and the crowd began booing. Owens rolled back into the ring at the ref’s nine-count.
Lashley immediately laid in more punches and whipped Owens into the corner, but Owens dodged Lashley’s charging attack. Both men climbed the corner and Lashley set up for a superplex. Owens battled and head butted Lashley to the mat, then landed a senton across the injured ribs of Lashley. Owens scrambled to the opposite corner and hit a frog splash to Owens, and covered for a believable near fall.
The men countered a few moves against one another in the middle of the ring, culminating with Owens hitting Lashley with the Stunner. At last, Lana slithered into the ring and had the ref’s full attention, thus robbing Owens of the potentially precarious pinfall.
Owens walked in a circle, shaking his head at this turn of events. This mental mistake allowed Lashley to strike, but Rusev managed to defy his restraining order and blitz the ring, attacking Lashley. Rusev and Lashley fought around the arena, with Rusev ultimately standing victoriously with a chair held high in the ring.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley by disqualification.
(Meyers’s Analysis: The crowd is clearly behind Rusev, and as such Owens had their full support. It was classic heel behavior for Lana to interrupt the match when Owens had all but won the contest. Owens was plugged into this angle as a nice stop-gap until we are subjected to its proper continuation on the December 2nd edition of Raw.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Ignoring that WWE continues to disgrace the Starrcade brand with a televised house show, this was an entertaining hour-plus of professional wrestling. Flair kept his head above water with the help of Owens. Street Profits shined in support of Flair. The women’s tag match was frenetic yet solid. Lashley vs. Owens was decent, highlighted by Rusev appeasing the crowd with his eventual apperance. Owens is the MVP of the broadcast portion of this show.