A fog of mystery has hung over Starman, he of the pink bodysuit, for 34 years now.
We have learned very little of him since the Pro Wrestling video game debuted for the NES in 1986. We don’t know his shoot name. We’ve never seen his face. Even his place of origin is unclear. In his bio for the game, his nation is noted as Mexico, but it’s followed by a question mark.
Intrigue is a key component to the fictional wrestler’s appeal. The human imagination is left free to wonder just who lies under that mask adorned with a fat, blue star. It is it some unknown Mexican grappler? Is it Owen Hart? Is this dude even human?
The 8-bit classic video game featured a number of fun wrestlers to take control of, from the Mongolian-chomping Kin Corn Karn to the Creature from the Black Lagoon-inspired Amazon. But it’s the man in tights the color of taffy whose image most endures. Decades after kids were button-mashing the Starman’s path to the Video Wrestling Association Championship, he still pops up.
He has inspired art and custom action figures. Virgil wrestled at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3 in Starman gear before revealing his true identity. Indie wrestlers have donned the gimmick for promotions like Pro Wrestling Syndicate.
What if Starman had somehow leaped from the NES world to the real one? And not just in some wink-wink, nudge-nudge, modern, indie way. What kind of career would he have? Would a winner be him?
Let’s begin with the tangible: Starman is listed as 6’3”, 230 lbs. That’s somewhere between a Zack Ryder and an Edge in size. Positive points there.
The game’s choppy animation makes it hard to tell how fast he is, but Starman’s blue boots seem to skitter across the ring faster than his peers. He’s plenty athletic, as well. One of his signature moves is a standing dropkick that he follows with a midair backflip before landing on his feet. Throw in his Flying Cross Chop and spinning gut kick, and he has quite the eye-catching move set.
If we assume that real-world Starman exists during the same time period as his video game self, he’d be working in the late ‘80s. That’s a big plus for him. His high-flying would have grabbed attention aplenty in an era where the slower Southern style was so prevalent.
A guy with decent size who works a cruiserweight style complete with innovative offense is going to get noticed, but Starman also has another ace in his hand—a memorable, distinctive look. Bright, candy-wrapper-esque gear would help him stand out. His gimmick is a marketable one, too. It’s easy to imagine a throng of kids with blue star headbands cheering for their favorite acrobatic enigma of a babyface.
And how perfect of a fit would the Starman schtick be in the cartoony world of late ‘80s World Wrestling Federation?
Vince McMahon could throw him in a feud with the Honky Tonk Man or in a tag team with Koko B. Ware. A series of high-speed matches with Dynamite Kid would be magnificent.
The colorful presentation and exciting in-ring attacks could only take him so far, though.
Look up and down WWE’s title history. Vince crowned many a goofy character as intercontinental champ, but Kane is the only masked man to hold that belt. The Starman act certainly isn’t the kind that gets a guy into the main event, either. Instead, he’d be a perennial midcarder popular with the kiddos.
Starman also has the disadvantage of the gimmick/look potentially being more over than him.
Should a booker get hold of the rights to the character, what’s to stop them from inserting another athletic dude in his place a la Sin Cara? WWE hired Matt Osborne, Steve Lombardi, Ray Apollo, and others to portray Doink the Clown. Impact Wrestling has had a string of guys wrestle as Suicide.
Even with that potential derailment as a possibility, you have to believe the man in the bubblegum getup and star-adorned mask would be set up for success.
That somersault dropkick would wow fans. His gimmick/look would lead to strong merch sales. Beyond that, Starman wields the vital trait of being unforgettable.
You don’t see King Slender knockoffs popping on the indies. It’s not Jocko and Spike from Tag Team Wrestling or Mr. Tattoo Mark Rose from Tecmo World Wrestling who wrestled their way into our collective hearts. It’s Starman who remains on our minds all these years later, whoever that dynamic fellow may be.