For a while in the ’80s, WCW/NWA’s Starrcade was the company’s answer to the then-WWF’s “Wrestlemania.” A creation of the legendary Dusty Rhodes, the event was a huge deal, often regarded as the Super Bowl of wrestling shows. Playing a huge role in the eventual pay per view system, the industry depends on so much today, Starrcade is without a doubt a topic of conversation that should not be skipped when discussing the development of the wrestling business over the last 30 years.
However, in the process of telling this story in “Starrcade: The Essential Collection,” WWE Entertainment has lost something in translation. While the three-disc set is chock full of excellent matches, the documentary itself is lackluster at best. Of course, hearing about the creation of the event from Rhodes, Barry Windam and other WCW/NWA front office personnel is great, but after a while, the documentary runs flat, jumping around to various points in history, failing to address all of the reasons why the program failed.
As a result, this offering isn’t for everyone.
Sure, it’s interesting to hear about what Eric Bischoff thought of the show and how Magnum T.A.’s near-lethal car accident affected both the event and the company, but it’s all put together in a way that makes it feel less polished than some of the other DVD offerings available and even a bit jumbled.
The end result is a compilation that is best judged on the quality of the extra features.
With 25 of the best matches in the program’s history, this set will be a treasure to behold for old school wrestling fans and those that miss the days of WCW. Everyone from Hulk Hogan to Great Muta and Harley Race are featured in the set and even better sleeper matches like a more “Stunning” Steve Austin vs “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes are classics in their own right.
At the same time, seeing things like “The Battlebowl,” which for those who have yet to experience it, is easily one of the most bizarre battle royals in the history of the industry, and is a bit weird, considering this is supposed to be an essential collection. While it’s an important footnote in the history of the program, one can think of many other matches that could have made this set in its place. A small handful of the matches featured also appear on other sets, making this a questionable buy for the wrestling fanatic that owns a plethora of other documentaries.
Nevertheless, the set is an interesting one and one that is full of content and as a result, there’s something every wrestling fan can enjoy here. It may not be enough to warrant a purchase, but it will be enough to induce a few moments of nostalgia.