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[1996-12-29-WCW-Starrcade '96] Eddy Guerrero vs DDP

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Just the last minute or so. The NWO comes down and lays out Page, leaving an opening for Eddy to take the U.S. title.

 

In one of my favorite moments from this era, Eddy throws the belt down and gets the better of Hall, Nash and Syxx for a minute or so before the numbers finally catch up to him. The crowd popped huge, and when Nash laid Eddy out, he had a drink thrown at him. People did not want to see that at all. They point strongly to an Eddy/Syxx feud and then air an ad for Souled Out.

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Quite the good match too with a hot finishing stretch again, also Benoit vs Jarrett was better as a whole. Good angle at the end, building two babyface at once basically, the soon-to-turn DDP and the already over Eddie getting the US belt in the process. It's a testament to how over Eddie was as the Outsiders got a huge babyface reaction winning against the Faces of Fear, but Eddie still gets the most babyface support here.

 

On a sidenote, Sullivan using himself to get Benoit over and putting the US belt on Eddie really puts in perspective the rampant paranoia of the early 00's, because if anyone pushed these guys from the start, it was Sullivan.

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Diamond Dallas Page vs Eddy Guerrero - WCW Starrcade 1996 Vacant US Championship

 

A match just year later between these two would be a dream match for me. As it stands, this was another very good match on a card that literally does not have one bad match. Of course, Starrcade 1996 was missing that one truly transcendent match to rank among the best cards of all time. This match pits white meat Eddy Guerrero against cigar-smoking, scuzzball white trash DDP. Both find more success once they turned, but here they put on a nice little match. DDP tones down the stooging and big bumping early probably because he was anticipating his babyface turn and wanted to present a more serious character. Eddy outwrestles him and when DDP tries to intimidate him with his size, Eddy does not back down with an overhand chop. Eddy hits a nice cross body to the floor to reach the climax of his shine. DDP slips through a ten count punches to drop Eddy face first on the turnbuckle. DDP used that to turn the tide against Sting in 1999. I liked that a nice heel transition spot, good stuff Dallas. DDP works a nice ab stretch attacking the ribs and using the ropes. I definitely prefer the ab stretch to the reverse chinlock, a lot more options at your disposal while you are catching your breath. DDP runs shoulder first into the post. Eddy takes advantage with a brainbuster, which is the prelude to the CRASH AND BURN! Could not land the Frogsplash. DDP thinks it is wise to go upstairs, but his balls meet the top turnbuckle. Hey, one last DDP heel bump is a nice parting gift. Eddie gets a series of nearfalls to avoid the Diamond Cutter, but cant avoid the Spinning Powerbomb, which is DDP's nearfall, before the overbooking. Hall drops him with the Diamond Death Drop (it would have been cool if they brought up that history) because DDP refuses an offer to join the New World Order. This all happens unbeknowst to Eddy who hits the frogsplash for the win. It was a very strong fundamentals performance, but without the color of a usual DDP heel performance it feels tepid. DDP clearly did not want to overshadow Eddy so Eddy was still presented as the face. This all led to a very restrained feel. It is strange this entire card featured a ton of good, but not great wrestling and mostly because nobody wanted to let loose. Another good match, I can't complain about that. ***

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Really good finishing stretch with some great counters and creative spots, especially DDP leaping off the top turnbuckle into an inverted atomic drop from Eddy. Eddy wins the U.S. title in a tournament final with help from the Outsiders, making DDP pay for spurning them. Eddy manages to hold off the 3 of them for a minute, but doesn't make a break to run away and gets laid out and Syxx leaves with the belt. One match for Souled Out set up.

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Fun finish with Eddy winning and then fending off the NWO. DDP is over like huge now and Eddy got a rep bump too in there. Nash beating up Eddie is a bit much but NWO was still fresh enough where that didn't really matter. 

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