Starrcade 2018 was a professional wrestling 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 will air 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 concepted 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, regarded WrestleMania. 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.
Starrcade consisted of professional wrestling matches that involve various different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers will portray villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Storylines will be 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 Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, 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 pay-per view, 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 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 for the first time in her WWE career. 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 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 SmackDown's United States Champion 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.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Bayley, Dana Brooke, Ember Moon & Sasha Banks defeated Alicia Fox, Mickie James, Nia Jax & Tamina in a Eight-woman tag team match (6:50)
- The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (c) defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston) (w/ Xavier Woods) to retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
- Rey Mysterio defeated Shinsuke Nakamura (c) by disqualification in a WWE United States Championship Match (2:11)
- Seth Rollins (c) defeated Dean Ambrose in a Steel Cage match to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Other on-screen talent
|National Wrestling Alliance|
|1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990|
|World Championship Wrestling|
|1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000|
|World Wrestling Entertainment|
|2017 • 2018|
|2018 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views|
NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia • Royal Rumble • Elimination Chamber • Fastlane • NXT TakeOver: New Orleans • WrestleMania • Greatest Royal Rumble • Backlash • NXT TakeOver: Chicago II • Money in the Bank • Extreme Rules • NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV • SummerSlam • Hell in a Cell • Super Show-Down • Evolution • Crown Jewel • NXT TakeOver: WarGames II • Survivor Series • Starrcade • TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs