Promotional poster featuring various WWE wrestlers
|Date||November 24, 2018|
(aired November 25, 2018)
|Venue||U.S. Bank Arena|
|WWE Network event chronology|
Starrcade (2018) was a professional wrestling show and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brands. It took place on November 24, 2018 at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio and aired on November 25, 2018. It was the twentieth event promoted under the Starrcade chronology and the second produced by WWE. The event included a special appearance from Hall of Famer Ric Flair.
Starrcade, a live closed-circuit event, was conceived in 1983 by Dusty Rhodes. The event was originally produced under the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) banners. The NWA and JCP regarded Starrcade as their flagship event of the year, much in the same vein that its rival, the World Wrestling Federation, would begin to regard WrestleMania two years later. In 1988, JCP was sold to Turner Broadcasting and became World Championship Wrestling (WCW), with Starrcade being held by WCW until 2000.
After a 17-year hiatus, WWE revived Starrcade as a SmackDown-branded live event on November 25, 2017. On November 16, 2018, WWE revealed that a second, co-branded Starrcade event would be aired as a WWE Network special on November 25, 2018.
|Ring announcers||Greg Hamilton|
Starrcade consisted of professional wrestling matches that involved various different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Storylines were produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live.
On the August 7 episode of SmackDown, The New Day's Big E and Kofi Kingston defeated The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) to become the number one contenders for The Bludgeon Brothers' (Harper and Rowan) SmackDown Tag Team Championship at SummerSlam, where The New Day won by disqualification, but did not win the titles. The New Day would win the championships on the following episode of SmackDown and retained them at Hell in a Cell. On October 16 at SmackDown 1000, The Bar defeated The New Day to win the championship. A rematch was later scheduled for Starrcade.
At SummerSlam, during the WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, Joe taunted Styles by disrespecting his wife and daughter, who were in attendance. An irate Styles attacked Joe with a steel chair, resulting in Joe winning by disqualification, but Styles retaining the title. On August 24, a rematch between the two for the title was scheduled for Hell in a Cell. At the event, Styles countered Joe's "Coquina Clutch" into a pin to retain the championship, despite Styles tapping out to the "Coquina Clutch" which the referee did not see. After the match, Joe attacked Styles. An irate Joe demanded a rematch with Styles. Paige agreed and scheduled a third match between the two for the title at Super Show-Down, which Styles won. A fourth encounter between the two, this time as a steel cage match, was later scheduled for Starrcade.
At SummerSlam, Charlotte Flair defeated Becky Lynch and Carmella in a triple threat match to capture the SmackDown Women's Championship. After the match, Lynch attacked Flair, thus turning heel in the process. Throughout following weeks, the two attacked each other. At Hell in a Cell, Lynch defeated Flair to win the championship. A rematch was later scheduled for Starrcade. On November 22, Lynch was replaced in the match by Asuka after suffering a legitimate facial injury.
On October 16 at SmackDown 1000, Rey Mysterio competed in his first WWE singles match since 2014, where he defeated United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title WWE World Cup qualifying match. A rematch for the United States Championship was later scheduled for Starrcade.
On the October 22 episode of Raw, after Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose captured the Raw Tag Team Championship from Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, Ambrose suddenly attacked Rollins, turning heel. Two weeks later on Raw, Ambrose proceeded to attack Rollins again, after the latter lost the titles in a handicap match against AOP (Akam and Rezar). The following week, Ambrose set his signature Shield gear ablaze, after explaining his attack on Rollins, stating that he was a "burden" to both of his former Shield teammates and they made him weak. After Rollins defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at Survivor Series, it was announced that Rollins would defend the Intercontinental Championship against Ambrose in a Street Fight at Starrcade. On November 22, it was announced that the match would now be held in a steel cage.
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