WWE Starrcade Live Attendance Report
The namesake of Starrcade returned to Atlanta for the first time since 1992 – this time under the WWE banner. Since 2017, WWE Starrcade has essentially been used as WWE Network bonus content by broadcasting an hour out of, what would be, a standard house show. Nostalgia with a dash of the current WWE roster – your mileage will definitely vary.
Seth Rollins vs. Erick Rowan
It’s not a secret that Seth Rollins has experienced quite the switcheroo in terms of crowd reaction, but that wasn’t much of a problem here. As the first superstar to enter the Infinite Energy Center, Rollins received a loud and warm reaction from the Atlanta crowd. Rowan, as usual, practically entered the arena to crickets.
Standard, short dark match contest here. Rowan would use his size and strength to his advantage, taunting to the crowd, getting arrogant with Rollins. Eventually, Rollins would gain momentum with his signature moves and seal it with the Curb Stomp for the win.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) w/ Sami Zayn vs. The Miz
Before the match, Zayn cut a promo about the amount of disrespect he’s received from the Atlanta crowd-feeding into his hype man introduction of Nakamura. Worth noting that The Miz was very over in the building.
After some decent action, Zayn distracted The Miz long enough for Nakamura to gain the victory, retaining the Intercontinental Championship.
The Kevin Owens Show w/ Ric Flair
The show went live on the WWE Network with Kevin Owens chatting with Ric Flair. Huge ovations for the 2-time Hall of Famer. There were some technical difficulties with Ric Flair’s mic in the arena, with the crowd chanting “We can’t hear you!” not shortly into Flair’s speech.
Flair thanked the greats of Starrcade’s past: Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, and even Sting. Flair recalled how he wanted to be the best wrestler of his day and events like Starrcade made that possible for him.
Owens proposed that he and Flair deliver the signature “Wooooo!” together, but they were interrupted by Gallows and Anderson of The O.C. before they can.
Trash talk ensued, even with Flair throwing out “Botch Club” as a nice jab. Shortly, The Streets Profits raced to the ring and challenged The O.C. to an impromptu tag bout.
The O.C. vs. The Street Profits
It can’t be overstated how good both of these teams are. The tag match itself was fairly standard, but Gallows, Anderson, Dawkins, and Ford were mostly selling their personalities and charisma at this moment. The match kept the energy level appropriate energy level to kick off the show.
Street Profits got the victory with Ford’s ridiculously-good-looking frog splash. They celebrated with Ric Flair immediately afterwards.
Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match for WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: The Kabuki Warriors (c) vs. Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
Based on crowd reaction, Lynch, Charlotte, and Banks are very over with the audience. Bliss received a warm welcome returning from injury.
The match itself was all over the place, but the ending sequence popped the crowd pretty well until the Kabuki Warriors retained. There was a growing sense that Flair and Becky would walk away as Champions, considering Starrcade’s history in Atlanta with another legendary Flair. When that didn’t happen, you could sense some disappointment within the crowd.
Bobby Lashley and Lana entered the arena, proclaiming that the scheduled Last Man Standing Match with Lashley and Rusev would not be happening – as Lana had filed a restraining order against Rusev in Atlanta earlier today.
Lashley was declared the winner via forfeit, but Kevin Owens interrupted the celebration with a challenge of his own.
Bobby Lashley (w/ Lana) vs. Kevin Owens
The crowd was really into this match. Loud chants and reactions for Kevin Owens throughout, huge heat on Lashley. The crowd erupted when Rusev entered from the crowd and beat Lashley with repeated chair shots, announce table slams, trashcan shots, etc.
Aleister Black vs. Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega)
Following the Starrcade going off-air from the WWE Network, Andrade and Black put on a solid match you’d expect to see on a SmackDown episode. Andrade had a small pocket of Latino supporters, but Black was the crowd’s clear favourite.
Black picked up the win, but Vega took to the mic declaring the last match a fluke. She issued an open challenge to anyone on the roster to take on Andrade next.
Andrade vs. Ricochet
I don’t even think the match lasted 2 minutes. Ricochet gained some offence and took Andrade out with the 630 for the victory.
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
This was a fun dark match. Huge reactions to both stars, especially Atlanta’s hometown hero AJ Styles. Orton was in a good mood, playing up his antics with bored, disillusioned reactions to the crowd. At times, this felt like a televised match, with Styles and Orton hitting all of their signature moves. But Orton squeaked out a victory with an RKO.
Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
Every time I’ve seen Roman Reigns on a show in the South, he draws a huge reaction. This was no different here, and the match structured this to a great result. As Reigns made his way to the ring, he was attacked from behind by King Corbin, who already draws insane crowd heat wherever he goes.
Corbin would spend most of the match beating down or outsmarting Reigns with heelish tactics. Well-timed Superman punches and a spear put Reigns over the top for the win.
Steel Cage Match for WWE Universal Championship: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Braun Strowman
“The Fiend” persona has taken the WWE by storm. It is, by far, one of the most fascinating characters in the entire roster and Atlanta couldn’t have been more ready.
Wyatt’s entrance, complete with The Fiend’s hideous face on a custom Universal Title belt, is super cool and affecting. Strowman was very over, but he was almost eclipsed with the intrigued generated by Wyatt.
The match itself wasn’t anything special. Strowman, tried as he might, would overpower The Fiend constantly… but it was never enough to keep him down for good. Eventually, Wyatt incapacitated Strowman with a flurry of offence in his comeback – and basically crawled out the steel cage door for the win.
An anti-climactic ending, for sure. The Atlanta disapproved of the result with loud boos, and confused “That’s it?!” expressions.
While The Fiend character is the talk of the WWE right now, it’s abundantly clear that the character’s match appeal depends heavily on his opponent.
So we’ve come to realize that WWE Starrcade is basically a glorified house show – with the benefit of a single televised hour. That’s fine – the WWE has to put those WWE Network subscriptions to use. It’s a fun, three-hour event for wrestling fans who are within city limits. For anybody that’s travelling from out-of-town, or out-of-state like yours truly, you can’t help but feel slightly disappointed in what could have been a better show.
All pics courtesy of Anton Jackson, all videos courtesy of WWE