How can you tell it’s December? It has gotten colder, unless you’re where I’m from where it was just 81 degrees. People are all about the Christmas shopping, unless you’re like me where I already got everything I needed online. The Walking Dead is on it’s annual midseason hiatus, unless you’re me where I don’t even watch the show. So how the hell can I even tell when it’s December? Because I have a slew of matches that took place during THIS VERY MONTH. Once again, I use the WWE Network as a historical reference, so fire up your subscription and watch each and every one. Let’s hit the showy road through December.
LEX LUGER VS. RIC FLAIR – STARRCADE – DECEMBER 26, 1988
Luger and Flair were, at one time, stablemates in the renowned Four Horsemen. Ultimately, however, Luger felt the Horsemen were holding him back and quit the group, making him an enemy of his former friends. Luger’s tag team partner, Barry Windham, turned on him and took his spot in the Horsemen. Luger worked his way through the Horsemen and got a title shot at the World champ, Ric Flair at the Great American Bash, but fell just short due to a controversial stoppage because of Luger’s bleeding during that match. Eventually, the rematch was set for Starrcade, the biggest show of the year.
RIC FLAIR VS. VADER – STARRCADE – DECEMBER 27, 1993
The original main event for Starrcade ’93 was supposed to be Sid Vicious vs. Vader for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. However, a scissors-wielding Sid got into a fight with Arn Anderson at a hotel, getting Sid fired, and leaving a hole in the main event slot. In steps Ric Flair to face the big man, Vader, for the title. Flair agreed to put his career on the line for his shot at the title. Let’s face it, no matter what the outcome, do retirement stipulations ever stick in wrestling?
BRET HART VS. THE BRITISH BULLDOG – IN YOUR HOUSE 5 – DECEMBER 17, 1995
The British Bulldog had turned heel back before SummerSlam ’95. He had challenged then-WWF Champion Diesel for the title at In Your House 4, with the winner to face Bret Hart down the road. Bulldog won the match by disqualification, as Bret got into a scuffle with Diesel at ringside while doing commentary for that match. Bret then defeated Diesel at Survivor Series ’95 to claim the WWF Championship and his first major challenge was the Bulldog. But…what’s all that red stuff on Bret’s face during this match??
DEAN MALENKO VS. ULTIMO DRAGON – STARRCADE – DECEMBER 29, 1996
This was a hell of a way to open Starrcade ’96. The main event was Roddy Piper vs. Hollywood Hogan, but this one was the show stealer. This match was meant to unify the WCW Cruiserweight championship and the NJPW J-Crown Championship. If I may borrow from Chris Jericho’s list of holds here, we see a Single Leg Boston Crab, the STF, various suplexes, an ankle lock, moonsaults, a Texas Cloverleaf, a brainbuster and a Tiger Suplex…WITH a bridge. Plus a whole lot of that there mat wrestling stuff.
BILLY KIDMAN VS. REY MISTERIO JR. VS. JUVENTUD GUERRERA – STARRCADE – DECEMBER 27, 1998
Billy Kidman was the WCW Cruiserweight Champion coming into this Triple Threat match. Rey and Juventud were in the midst of a run with the Latino World Order (LWO) led by Eddy Guerrero. Rey had been forced to join after losing a match to Eddy, who was hanging around ringside during this match. Not many triple threat matches can hold up to this one. Also, if you linger around after the conclusion, you might just find a little bonus match between Kidman and Eddy. Good stuff here, during a time when the weight of the nWo was crushing the quality of WCW.
RIKISHI VS. THE UNDERTAKER VS. STEVE AUSTIN VS. TRIPLE H VS. THE ROCK VS. KURT ANGLE – ARMAGEDDON – DECEMBER 10, 2000
Steve Austin, only two months before, had returned to the ring after neck surgery. He was written out on-screen when he was rundown by a car driven by Rikishi. Rikishi was hired by Triple H to take Austin out. Rikishi did it for The Rock. The Rock had lost his WWF Championship to Kurt Angle. Kurt Angle had just come off a defense against The Undertaker where he had one with the help of his brother, Eric Angle. So then-Commissioner Mick Foley puts all this drama in one match, Vince McMahon claimed to be worried about the welfare of his performers and tried to halt the match. This all went somewhere, but the carnage was awesome, and there is even a decent bump to satisfy your bloodlust.
CHRIS BENOIT VS. EDDIE GUERRERO VS. EDGE VS. KURT ANGLE – SMACKDOWN! – DECEMBER 5, 2002
The Big Show had defeated Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series ’02 for the WWE Championship, in a match that featured a double turn, as Lesnar became the face. Lesnar would end up getting suspended for tearing the place apart. The Smackdown brand needed a new #1 contender. So four of the best guys on the Smackdown roster got down with a Fatal 4 Way match to determine who got the shot. Anyway, the ghost of Chris Benoit will not allow a milestone marker for this match, so enjoy a bonus hip hop challenge between Rikishi and John Cena, THEN stay tuned for the match afterward.
RYBACK & TEAM HELL NO VS. THE SHIELD – TLC: TABLES LADDERS CHAIRS – DECEMBER 16, 2012
On the original card for this show, Ryback was supposed to get another crack at CM Punk’s WWE Championship. However, an ill-advised attack by Ryback on Punk put Punk on the shelf with a knee injury. The Shield were busy making their presence known by attacking various WWE Superstars, especially the WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan). It was decided to team Ryback with Team Hell No, hoping that their combined forces would disable The Shield in a TLC match. The result was a wild six-man brawl throughout the arena, and a force to be reckoned with in the form of The Shield.
ADRIAN NEVILLE VS. SAMI ZAYN – NXT TAKEOVER: R-EVOLUTION – DECEMBER 11, 2014
This was it for Sami Zayn. After several failed attempts to capture the NXT Championship from Adrian Neville, Sami stated that he would leave NXT if he failed in this last attempt. It took place at the TakeOver: R-Evolution special. Zayn also said that he thought he was “too nice” to win the big one. Tension had developed between the two over the way Neville had won their last encounter. This match created a lot of buzz, and it is my choice for the best December match of ALL TIME. However, if you keep watching after the conclusion, you will also witness another moment that created a lot of buzz.
There you have my selections for some of the greatest matches that happened in the month of December. Other notable selections include:
Magnum TA vs. Ole Anderson – World Championship Wrestling – 12/28/85
The Midnight Express vs. The Original Midnight Express – Starrcade ’88
Ric Flair vs. Sting – Starrcade ’89
Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas vs. Barry Windham & Brian Pillman – Starrcade ’92
Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero – Armageddon ’02
Los Guerreros vs. Edge & Billy Kidman – Smackdown – 12/26/02
Chris Benoit vs. Brock Lesnar – Smackdown – 12/4/03
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H – RAW – 12/29/03
Brian Kendrick & Paul London vs. Matt & Jeff Hardy vs. MNM vs. William Regal & Dave Taylor – Armageddon ’06
Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin – TLC: Tables Ladders Chairs ’09
William Regal vs. Antonio Cesaro – NXT – 12/25/13
Thanks for reading, enjoy the links and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy Festivus to you all.