Sunday, December 27th, 1993-Charlotte, North Carolina-World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship match featured WCW Champion “Big Van” Vader and his manager Harley Race taking on challenger “the Nature Boy” Ric Flair. This match was billed in December 1993 as WCW Championship versus “the Nature Boy’s” career.
I watched this match on the Starrcade DVD set, and I’m happy that WWE did put this DVD set, because I remember going to my local video store and renting WCW Starrcade 1993 on VHS back in the day when I was a young boy, when professional wrestling was real to me. This match to today’s standards was pretty slow due to the slow pace match that champion Vader and challenger Ric Flair had. But for me, I enjoyed watching a slower match. Besides that, this match favorite for me when I was younger. Why? I think I enjoyed this match because it was a slower paced match, and it had two wrestlers that I grew into respecting more and more when I aged, and that’s Ric Flair and Vader. No matter what people may say about these men, for me, I’m starting to fall more in love with their work back during their respected prime. But let’s get into the match and my thoughts of the match.
At the beginning of the match, Vader poses to the crowd. How much do I miss that, seeing big men like “Big” Van Vader and seeing men pose to get the crowd interaction to the match and get their opponents riled up.
These two men lock up with one another and Vader shoves Flair to the mat. This happened a couple of times and we hear Harley Race holler “If you want him Flair, there he is!” Oh Harley Race, and oh how much I miss wrestling managers.
Vader dominated the beginning of the match, with blows to Flair’s head and with short-arm clotheslines. With Vader having early control of the match, we can hear Vader yell at the crowd and for us to hear with the camera: “You ain’t man enough, you ain’t!” If I was a professional wrestler and my opponent would yell at me that if he had control, I would be discouraged and embarrassed.
“The Nature Boy” was able to come out with Flair chopping Vader in the corner, but Vader shoved Natch across the ring.
At this time, Tony Schiavone brought us up to speed, mentioning that at Starrcade, its Ric Flair’s pay-per-view. That from 1983 to 1988, Ric Flair was in the main event match and fought for the National Wrestling Alliance/World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship, and walked out with the World Heavyweight Championship. I guess for fans these days, Ric Flair and Starrcade is like the Undertaker and WrestleMania. WrestleMania is the Undertaker’s yard, and Starrcade was Ric Flair’s yard.
The match goes back and forth, but pretty much dominated by Vader, with Vader Military Pressing Flair, and Flair rolling out of the ring and Vader picked up Flair over his head and dropping him on the steel guard rail outside.
After which, we heard Vader tell the fans: “Who’s the man? That punk ain’t it!”
Another line from Vader that made me smile is: “You ain’t nothing!”
The control of the match went back and forth. Flair gave Vader a knee drop, Vader gave Flair a clothesline and Flair started to bleed from his mouth. With such, Vader hollered: “It’s over!”
After a while, Flair gained control of the match and started to work on his legs. Flair drags Vader to the corner and wrapped his left knee around the turnbuckle. Harley Race was up on the ring apron and with Randy Anderson, and Flair grabbed a chair and nailed Vader’s leg with it. The “Dirtiest Player in the Game” was coming out in 1993 in WCW, and I was in wrestling heaven.
The conclusion of the match saw Vader missing with a moonsault and Flair rolling out of the way. With such, Harley Race climbed the turnbuckle and tried to hit Flair but Flair rolled out of the way and hit Vader. That gave me a good laugh. And when Race stood up, Randy Anderson shoved Race and Race fell out of the ring. That gave me another good laugh, and I wish refs these days were like that.
Forearm shots and chops from Flair to Vader, Vader forearms Flair and Flair went down, Flair takes Vader out at the leg, school boys him, and Flair gets the three count, and wins his eleventh World Heavyweight Championship (thirteenth, in actually, how Flair just came from his WWF run, where he walked out with two WWF title runs).
But to conclude this WCW flashback, this match was one of my favorite matches from my childhood. Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels were the two greatest professional wrestlers back in the 1990’s when I did think, then, that wrestling was real. I am thankful that WWE put this Starrcade DVD together, and this match was voted in for this DVD. This is probably one of my all-time favorite matches, ever. Because of Vader being a bigger man, Ric Flair being a wrestling legend, this match being a slower paced match, and it being a match for a company that’s out of business. As a result, I am Eric Darsie from Minnesota, enjoying my winter break with some old-school wrestling, with a flashback, 1993 style!
Check out more of Eric’s blogs at http://jericholic2009.blogspot.com.
See the match and more Starrcade classics on the WWE Starrcade: The Essential Collection by ordering here.