Last year, WWE decided to dub one of its house shows around Thanksgiving Starrcade, based off the lineage of the WCW pay-per-view from the past.
This year, they once again carried that on, but added another element to it by recording and broadcasting a portion of it the following night on WWE Network, effectively making it the go-between hybrid of a house show and a pay-per-view, in some ways.
After checking that out, here are my thoughts on the overall presentation…
Elias Segment + Eight-Woman Tag Team Match
The audio for the Elias portion of this was horrible. It’s understandable, to an extent, because this is just the slightest bit above a house show, but for future editions of recording the live events, the production team should tweak this to make sure there’s less reverb.
As far as what was said and what happened, it was completely inconsequential. It was the same Elias song we’ve heard before, Ric Flair’s appearance was good in terms of nostalgia and his ties to Starrcade, but since this isn’t a real Starrcade, it’s pretty pointless, and he offered nothing to the conversation. Having the heels come out and do what they did wasn’t all that entertaining, either.
Then, the match was blah. It’s a house show, so I didn’t expect much, but at least Dana Brooke got something to do, right?
MizTV + United States Title Match + Tag Team Match
So this all starts with Rey Mysterio and Shinsuke Nakamura as guests for MizTV, wherein they basically just say that Starrcade means a lot, mention Flair and Dusty Rhodes again (and Eddie Guerrero and Sting), Nakamura doesn’t care, the end. Waste of time.
Then, a quick United States Championship match is thrown out when The Miz interferes, proving that he’s still a heel, unless WWE treats this as a non-canon show and tries to make him a babyface again on Tuesday.
Rusev makes the save and we get a tag team match, which is pretty much the death knell for something being meaningful.
AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe – Steel Cage Match
By now, I’ve seen these two face each other what, 7 times? There really wasn’t anything else left to show me that I hadn’t already watched in a better format, so I found myself tuning out.
I knew there weren’t any stakes to the match and that they wouldn’t pull off something amazing like a move off the top of the cage, so I wasn’t invested.
What About Everything Else?
This wasn’t everything that happened at Starrcade. If you attended the live event, you saw a lot of other footage that wasn’t included in the broadcast. Here is what we missed out on:
- Drew McIntyre defeated Finn Balor
- The B-Team defeated The Revival
- The Bar defeated The New Day to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
- Baron Corbin issued an open challenge, which he lost to Bray Wyatt. Then, he restarted the match under No DQ rules with Balor, Elias, McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler getting involved. Wyatt won that match, too.
- Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka
- Seth Rollins defeated Dean Ambrose to retain the Intercontinental Championship in a Steel Cage match.
So why did WWE not include all of this material? They already had it recorded, they have no time limit they need to stick to on WWE Network, and we already know the results anyway.
My guess is they want to keep Rollins and Ambrose apart on television to make TLC feel more special, they want Wyatt’s return to be more meaningful and may not actually have anything for him to do yet on TV, McIntyre and Balor can have that same match together on Raw and they’ll not be fully repeating themselves (which may be the same for Revival/B-Team), and maybe they didn’t want The New Day and Asuka to look weak.
That in and of itself makes me wonder why they booked those particular matches, instead of adjusting the card to something that they could broadcast the entirety of. Even if it’s a lesser card, like including people that haven’t appeared much elsewhere (Curt Hawkins, No Way Jose, Shelton Benjamin, etc)
The Future of House Shows
I feel like this was more of an experiment on airing house shows on WWE Network than it was anything else. If that’s the case, this proves they have a lot of tweaks left to do before this becomes a more fluid and worthwhile experience.
I would definitely like to see more events have a special feel to them by utilizing old event names like Halloween Havoc, The Great American Bash, Fall Brawl, New Year’s Revolution and so on.
But more than that, I’d like to see all of these house shows get classified as In Your House again. It just makes sense. In Your House was a series of smaller events, it’s a nicer way of incorporating “house show” into the mix and differentiating them from other shows so people know they won’t have the same quality as something like Money in the Bank, and they can still use the other subtitles, too. “In Your House: Starrcade 2019” should be a thing, just as “In Your House: May 3, 2019” or whatever.
I don’t think these are going to be amazing shows that will bring in many subscribers to the network, but the more content WWE has for its fans, the better, so while this Starrcade in particular wasn’t much to write about, I’m sure at least some people enjoyed it, which makes it a thumbs up in my book.
What are your thoughts on Starrcade 2019? Tell us in the comments below!