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- AN. 6, 1996 WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: GUESS WHO WON THE NWA TITLE AGAIN, FINAL JAPAN ATTENDANCE FOR 1995, WHAT IS A TIGER DRIVER AND MORE
- BY OBSERVER STAFF | STAFF@WRESTLINGOBSERVER.COM | @WONF4W
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter (bold, underline)
- PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228 January 8, 1996 (italics)
- STARRCADE '95 (bold)
- Thumbs up 152 (78.4%) (bold)
- Thumbs down 18 (09.3%) (bold)
- In the middle 24 (12.4%) (bold)
- BEST MATCH POLL (bold)
- Eddie Guerrero vs. Shinjiro Otani 113
- Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage 26
- Jushin Liger vs. Chris Benoit 25
- Triangle match 12
- WORST MATCH POLL (bold)
- Johnny B. Badd vs. Masa Saito 93
- Lex Luger vs. Masa Chono 28
- Triangle match 26
- *Kensuke Sasaki vs. One Man Gang 13
- *Votes from fans who attended the show live
- Based on phone calls, letters and fax messages to the Observer as of Tuesday, 1/2. Statistical margin of error: +-100%
- In 1989, after perhaps the most memorable year of a storied career, after a Starrcade at the Omni in Atlanta, there were more than whispers within World Championship Wrestling about its biggest star, Ric Flair. Flair, who had turned 40 that year, came off a series of memorable matches, particularly with Rick Steamboat and Terry Funk in the first full year of Turner ownership of what was once Jim Crockett Promotions. While the year had some outstanding shows, many would be considered right near or at the top of any list of the greatest PPV shows ever, and numerous matches that are still fondly remembered today, it's the man on top in pro wrestling who gets too much credit and takes too much blame. Despite a memorable series of headline matches, from a financial standpoint, the year was a failure, as it turned out, would every year of Turner ownership be, but nobody knew that at the time. The company's star, who got double heat because he was also the booker and doing both jobs wasn't doing him or anyone any favors, was said to be too old, not marketable to children and all that good stuff, and the company's fortunes were going to turn around the minute Sting or Lex Luger got put in the top spot. I heard it many times about the "six-time" (as he was referred to then) world champion, that after they got the belt off him to Sting, there would be no No. 7 and he'd never tie Harley Race for that all-time record that everyone talked about then and nobody even cares about today.
- Six years later, Flair is champion again after a Starrcade that showed both how much and how little this business has changed. Hogan's still on top. Savage is still Hogan's understudy. Just like at Starrcade '89, Sting and Luger, when left to work with each other, can't get any heat and now that both are in their late 30s, nearly the age Flair was when people were saying he's too old and needs to retire, it turns out they were never the future for anyone. Flair was still leading both in a triangular match, doing basically the same moves and spots as he did so many times over the past eight years. But the undercard, featuring performers like Eddie Guerrero, Shinjiro Otani, Koji Kanemoto, Chris Benoit and Jushin Liger showed how much wrestling has changed. Not only a more modern work style and the generation gap between today's wrestling and yesterday's announcers who are left to not get it over because of a lack of understanding of how to call it, but of a melting pot due to videotapes of styles from different parts of the world converging in of all places, Nashville, TN, where the fans grew up watching the likes of Jackie Fargo, Tojo Yamamoto and Jerry Lawler. Now Flair is the veteran living off 20 years of a name, still a good performer and psychologist, but all but his most ardent fans have come off the belief he's the best thing going today, although his title win at the time was probably the best thing for the company.
- Starrcade '95 on 12/27 at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium was a show carried by a strong undercard, but perhaps the most lasting memories were Flair coming out with the WCW title (a decision, ironically enough, made largely by Hulk Hogan for reasons that nobody would ever believe, and something even Flair himself wasn't told about until just before show time) and the return of juice as this wrestling war gets more bizarre by the day. WCW reinstated blading, with Flair bleeding heavily at the finish of his match with Randy Savage, as a reaction to Bret Hart bleeding on the WWF PPV show ten days earlier.
- Jan. 2, 1996 Observer Newsletter: WWE bringing in surprises for Royal Rumble, a look at an ever-changing wrestling business, predictions for 1996, tons more
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