From 1983 to 1987, Starrcade was produced by Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), the dominant promotion of the NWA, and aired on Thanksgiving Day. In 1987, the WWF scheduled a pay-per-view of their own, WWE Survivor Series, on Thanksgiving night and demanded exclusivity from cable providers on carriage of the event. In order to prevent such a problem, Starrcade was moved to December the following year and the show was held around Christmas Day, mostly in the days following, beginning in 1988.
Also in 1988, JCP was sold to Ted Turner due to financial problems and became WCW though Starrcade was held under the NWA banner until 1990. It is widely regarded as WCW's counterpart to WrestleMania.
From the 1960s to the 1980s, it was tradition for JCP to hold major professional wrestling events on Thanksgiving and Christmas, mostly at Greensboro Coliseum. In 1983, JCP created Starrcade as their supercard to continue the Thanksgiving tradition, and spread it across its territory on closed-circuit television. It popularized broadcasting on closed-circuit television and was financially successful. From 1987, Starrcade was broadcast on pay-per-view, the first NWA event to do so.
The rights to the event now belong to WWE (formerly the World Wrestling Federation). In November 2008, WWE 24/7 Classics aired a special as a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the event called The Essential Starrcade. This five-part series counts down the top 25 matches in Starrcade history. In January 2009, WWE Home Video released Starrcade: The Essential Collection as a three disc DVD set.
- Starrcade 1983: A Flair for the Gold - November 24, 1983
- Starrcade 1984: The Million Dollar Challenge - November 22, 1984
- Starrcade 1985: The Gathering - November 28, 1985
- Starrcade 1986: Night of the Skywalkers - November 27, 1986
- Starrcade 1987: Chi-Town Heat - November 26, 1987
- Starrcade 1988: True Gritt - December 26, 1988
- Starrcade 1989: Future Shock - December 13, 1989
- Starrcade 1990: December 16, 1990
- Starrcade 1991: Battlebowl/The Lethal Lottery - December 29, 1991
- Starrcade 1992 - December 28, 1992
- Starrcade 1993 - December 27, 1993
- Starrcade 1994 - December 27, 1994
- Starrcade 1995 - December 27, 1995
- Starrcade 1996 - December 29, 1996
- Starrcade 1997 - December 28, 1997
- Starrcade 1998 - December 27, 1998
- Starrcade 1999 - December 19, 1999
- Starrcade 2000 - December 17, 2000