Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Thanksgiving Surprise: Starrcade Magic Returns to Greensboro

by Bruce Mitchell, Senior Columnist for PWTorch.com
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

When WWE announced that their Thanksgiving weekend house show in Greensboro would be branded WWE Starrcade, I shrugged. There hadn’t been a Thanksgiving Starrcade show in Greensboro in thirty years and between it being WWE and, well, thirty years ago, I figured this wouldn’t be much more than a token gesture.

I wasn’t mad. There are great things in these days too, and you miss out when the past overtakes you.

Thanksgiving Night Mid-Atlantic cards were one of the coolest things ever, where the biggest major league showdown matches between the biggest Mid-Atlantic stars, and where one year, the biggest match in the world, Jack Brisco challenging Dory Funk Jr. for the NWA title, took place.

Ricky Steamboat
and Shinsuke Nakamura

(Photo courtesy of Jonny Fairplay)
For many fans around here the greatest shows they ever saw weren’t Wrestlemanias, but Starrcade/Mid-Atlantic Championship Thanksgiving Night shows at the Greensboro Coliseum. All-time greats, including a significant portion of the WWE Hall of Fame, cemented their legends in this building on these nights.

Then the world changed, as it always does.

The Mid-Atlantic Gateway has a mission statement. WWE has a different one. WWE Starrcade figured to be another WWE house show, except maybe Goldust would wrestle a match, and Ricky Steamboat and The Rock’n’Roll Express would wave to the crowd. WWE has spent decades trying to rewrite history in their favor, so no way this was what it should be.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

White ropes, Starrcade banners, loads of great old video footage, the return of the legendary steel-grey steel cage match, built before our eyes just like Klondike Bill used to do…

The Hardy Boyz talking about what it meant to sit in these seats and dream dreams, Arn Anderson with his first spine-buster since the one he threw at that Wrestlemania, Goldust morphing into the flip-flop-flying Natural Dustin Rhodes…

Dusty! Dusty! Dusty!, The New Day getting The Rock’N’Roll Express to dance, NWA Champion Harley Race and his challenger on a new throwback Starrcade ’83 t-shirt…

(Photo courtesy of Lee Petry)

Modern day innovator Shinsuke Nakamura bowing in respect to all-time innovator Ricky Steamboat…

Oh, and it turned out that early on I wasn’t the only skeptic about all this. Tickets weren’t selling that fast.

Even that worked out, because WWE called in the Great One, the one name synonymous with professional wrestling in the Greensboro Coliseum, and it all turned around.

So, as it turned out, on Saturday night, November 25th, 2017 The Nature Boy Ric Flair drew yet another big house in the old barn on the corner of Lee Street and High Point Road.

There is something indomitable, even now, in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

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More on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway from Bruce Mitchell:
The Lightning and Thunder of the Nature Boys
One Night at the WRAL Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Tapings

Visit the Pro Wrestling Torch website at PWTorch.com.

"Four Horsemen" on Amazon.com                                  Mid-Atlantic Gateway Bookstore