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WCW Halloween Havoc 1992
by Scrooge McSuck
- Premiering in 1989, Halloween Havoc would adopt its reputation for being over-the-top and campy in presentation to go along with the season. That year gave us the Sting hoax in the Main Event (and an amuse bouche of the Black Scorpion), and 1991 upped the ante with not only a ridiculous stage set, but among other things, the Chamber of Horrors. Surely, the 1992 edition of Halloween Havoc can't manage to add to that legacy.
Spoilers: Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal. OH CRAP.
- Presented LIVE on Pay-Per-View on October 25th, 1992 from the Civic Center in Philadelphia, PA Lucky for WCW, the Toronto Blue Jays wrapped up the World Series the night prior, negating a Game 7 against the Atlanta Braves (the 1991 PPV ran opposite the Twins/Braves deciding Game 7). Tony Schiavone and Bruno Sammartino are here to welcome us to the show (Bruno in '92?! Forgot about that one), and Jim Ross and Jesse "The Body" Ventura are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. We quickly run down the 12 options on the wheel for tonight's Main Event between Sting and Jake "The Snake" Roberts... (as presented by the WCW production staff)
- Texas Bull Rope
- Spinners' Choice
- Russian Chain Match
- Dog Collar Match
- "I Quit"
- Barbed Wire
- Lumber Jacks with Belts
- Prince of Darkness
- Texas Death Match
- Coal Miners Glove
- First Blood
Most of these have obvious stipulations, but the one I want to clarify is Prince of Darkness. Fancy words for "Blindfold Match." In the dark match before the PPV began, Erik Watts and Van Hammer defeated Vinnie Vegas and Diamond Dallas Page.
The Z-Man, Johnny Gunn, and Shane Douglas vs. Arn Anderson, Beautiful Bobby Eaton, and Michael P.S. Hayes:
This seems a bit random, but my knowledge of '92 WCW isn't my strength. We're deep in the Watts era of WCW, with no padding surrounding ringside, and top rope moves are ILLEGAL. Anderson and Gunn start. Lockup to the corner and Arn pinches his cheek before driving a knee to the midsection to a solid pop. Whip across the ring, Gunn flips over in slow-motion and knocks Arn back with a dropkick. Arn teases going to the top but Z-Man dropkicks him down, as does Douglas and Gunn to Eaton and Hayes, to a chorus of boos. Back inside, the pretty boys work the arm. Arn takes Z-Man down with a drop toe hold and tags in Eaton. He nails Z-Man with a big right and the crowd LOVES the abuse the heels are giving out. Z-Man comes back with a back body-drop and dropkick. Hayes in to a huge babyface reaction. I know it's Philly, but JESUS. Crisscross and Douglas with a deep arm drag. I don't care for the tassels on Douglas' boots. Eaton back in and he gets caught in the arm bar. Eaton with a cheap shot in the corner but Douglas regains control with a flying head-scissors and leg whip. Ventura dislikes Douglas because he looks like a right-wing Republican. Wow, Jesse, I'm sure you won't go crazy in the future. Anderson counters a Z-Man sleeper with a back suplex. Hayes comes off the ropes with an elbow drop and grabs a chin-lock. Z-Man's comeback is cut short with a swinging neck breaker. Arn with a blind tag, nailing Z-Man with a world class clothesline, AND HE PLAYS TO THE CROWD LIKE A TOTAL BABYFACE. Z-Man takes Hayes over with a suplex and tags in Douglas. He runs wild briefly but Eaton clips the leg (the crowd loves that, too). Eaton with a flying knee drop across the leg. STANDING OVATION. Figure-Four Leg Lock applied, with Hayes offering extra leverage while Arn takes shots at the knee. I'm positive the crowd would cheer the use of a gun. Douglas surprises Arn with an atomic drop and the two smack heads. Gunn with the hot tag, running wild on Hayes. Heck breaks loose with all six men in the ring. Arn gets dumped over the top but the referee misses it. Gunn with a Thesz Press on Hayes, and that wins it at 11:04. Crowd erupts with boos. Fine action highlighted by the bizzarro-world reactions from the crowd. **1/2
- Missy Hyatt asks Harley Race to get her in Rick Rude's locker room. He declines.
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Flyin' Brian:
We've entered the era of Pillman's first heel run in WCW. Presented originally as a pretty boy with heart, it was kind of a surprise to see him take on the heel role so well. Thankfully, Steamboat doesn't do the fire breathing gimmick here, the gimmick that everyone makes fun of WWF for, but neglects he brought with him to WCW. This is billed as a "Special Challenge" Match. Lockup to the corner and Pillman doesn't hesitate throwing a cheap shot. Steamboat fires back and comes off the ropes a shoulder tackle for two. Steamboat skins the cat and cradles Pillman for two. Steamboat hits the buckle and feigns injury, luring Pillman into an arm bar. Whip and Steamboat with another shoulder tackle, followed by a deep arm drag and back to the arm bar. Pillman with a drop toe hold counter but Steamboat regains control. Steamboat with chops and a big back body-drop. He plants Pillman with a slam but is caught off-guard with a headbutt to the midsection and thumb to the eye. Whip to the ropes and Steamboat with the double choke lift and slam. Whip and now Pillman is playing possum, nailing the distracted Steamboat with a forearm. She smears Steamboat's face into the canvas and pounds away with right hands. Whip and Pillman with a spinning head-scissors for two. Whip and Steamboat with a back-slide for two. Pillman slams him face-first to the canvas and grabs a blatant choke hold. He positions Steamboat across the top turnbuckle and slaps him across the face. Pillman climbs up with him but Steamboat counters a super-plex, dropping Pillman face-first. He leaps off the second rope but Pillman dropkicks him in mid-air for a near-fall. Pillman argues the count and is taken down with a back suplex. Whip is reversed and Pillman grabs a sleeper. Steamboat with a leverage move to the corner to force the break. Pillman climbs the ropes but gets slammed down. Pillman tries taking a walk but Steamboat gives chase. Back in the ring, Pillman nails Steamboat entering the ring with a running knee lift. They trade chops, with Steamboat having the advantage. Pillman bails again, with Steamboat again in pursuit. Pillman pops Steamboat in the face with a knee and hits a cross body press for two. Steamboat with a back breaker and flying sunset flip for two. Pillman with a jackknife cover but Steamboat counters for the three-count at 10:34. This was as packed of a 10-minute match as you could get. I felt like this had another 4-5 minutes in it, but sometimes cutting it a little short is the better move. ***½
- Teddy Long (now a locker room correspondent) is backstage with NWA Champion Masahiro Chono, along with his entourage. Hiro Matsuda has selected Kensuke Sasake as one of the referees for tonight's match.
- BREAKING NEWS: Terry Gordy has been suspended by WCW, so Steve Williams has picked "Stunning" Steve Austin as his replacement for tonight's Tag Team Title Match. BREAKING NEWS PART TWO: Rick Rude's U.S. Championship is on the line, but he won't be defending it himself. Rude's "Designated Hitter" will be Big Van Vader taking on Nikita Koloff, and if Koloff wins, Rude loses the U.S. Title. This PPV seems very bait-and-switchy.
WCW United States Championship Match:
Big Van Vader vs. Nikita Koloff:
No Disqualifications here, and Madusa (Rick Rude's manager) is banned from ringside. Senior Official OLE ANDERSON has added barring Rick Rude and Harley Race from ringside to the stipulations before the bell. This guy just won't go away. They try to psyche each other out with flexing. Lockup goes nowhere. Lockup #2 and Vader throws a right to the side of the head. Koloff fires back with rights, backing Vader to the corner. Vader turns it around, throwing his signature rights and lefts. Ventura comically calls out J.R. for claiming Vader has a Super Bowl ring with the Rams (their only Super Bowl appearance was a loss to Pittsburgh at this point in history). Koloff gets tossed but he's back up and attacks, taking Vader down with a cross body to the back. Vader fights out of a chin-lock and continues to pepper Koloff. Whip across the ring. Koloff avoids a charge and rolls Vader up for a one-count. Cross body press for another one-count. Vader takes a walk and I guess Count-Outs are still in the table despite the No DQ stipulation. Vader takes control, dropping Koloff across the guard rail and smacking him across the back of the head with a chair. Back inside, Vader easily sits down on a sunset flip attempt. Whip and Vader with a wild clothesline, followed by a super-sloppy chokeslam. Vader with a splash from the second rope for two. Koloff survives a chin-lock, but a back suplex is blocked in a very ugly, odd-looking counter. Koloff returns the favor with a suplex that basically spiked Vader on his head. Koloff pounds at the midsection and unloads with mounted rights in the corner. He rocks Vader with shoulder tackles, taking him down on the third for a near-fall. Koloff with a slam of the mastodon for another two-count. Koloff with a running clothesline, sending Vader over the top rope. I love that Superfan Vladimir is front-row center with a WBF tank on. Koloff follows and clotheslines the post. Back inside, Vader pulverizes Koloff and drops an elbow before finishing with a sloppy Powerbomb at 11:54. Well, this was something. Sloppy and at times seemed like uncooperative work, all for the sake of someone defending a title he wasn't the holder of. This would be the end of Koloff's in-ring career, suffering a herniated disc in his neck mid-match. Koloff would turn to religion the following year and never looked back, minus very few and far apart appearances (one notably in the early days of NWA-TNA). *½
- Battle-Bowl returns for Starrcade '92. NO ONE CARED ENOUGH TO ORDER THE SHOW.
- Teddy Long is backstage with Dr. Death and Stunning Steve. What an odd team. Missy Hyatt gets a response from Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham, who most definitely are on the same page.
Unified Tag Team Championship Match:
Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham (c) vs. "Dr. Death" Steve Williams & "Stunning" Steve Austin:
This has some potential on paper, but who knows what Dr. Death shows up. It's not like his track record in the 90's in North America has given us many classic matches. Rhodes and Windham have teased some problems lately, and it's only a matter of time until something happens. Austin working without knee pads, let alone his signature knee braces from later years, seems odd to look at. Williams and Rhodes start. Williams doesn't budge on shoulder tackle attempts. They do the football stance and Williams outsmarts Rhodes, hitting him with a lariat, followed by a series of leg clips. Charge to the corner and Rhodes pays him back with a lariat of his own. Windham in to work the arm. Whip to the ropes and Williams with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Windham with a dropkick, followed by an arm drag into the arm bar. Rhodes knocks Williams into the corner with a dropkick, allowing Austin to tag in for the first time. He thumbs the eye of Windham and throws some right hands. He even throws a dropkick, a move I don't remember seeing him do too often. Crisscross and Windham gets a dropkick of his own. Austin plays the role of ping-pong ball and is knocked out of the ring. Ventura relates to his time with the late Adrian Adonis as a partner he didn't always get along with, but they got the job done in the ring. Austin flips out of an atomic drop and stretches out the hamstring of Rhodes. Whip to the corner and Rhodes pops Austin with an elbow for a two-count. Rhodes charges into the corner and meets the boot. He has enough to block a monkey-flip and nails a lariat for another two-count. Whip and Windham with a lariat for two. Austin fights his way to his corner and tags in Williams, who is immediately caught with a headlock. He forces a break with shoulders to the midsection and they trade rights, with Windham backing him up. Whip and Williams ducks a diving lariat, causing Windham to go rolling out of the ring. Williams with a basement dropkick, keeping Windham out of the ring.
Windham counters a suplex and takes Williams over with a sloppy O'Connor Roll. Austin with a slam and fist drop from the second rope for two. He takes the larger Windham over with a suplex for another two-count. Windham surprises Williams with a sleeper but is sent into the buckle and Williams hits a cross body press for two. Austin keeps Windham grounded, going to work on the arm. Windham fights free but staggers into the wrong corner and tags WILLIAMS in his dazed state. Whip and Williams with a powerslam for two. Windham breaks a chin-lock with a jaw breaker but is unable to get to his corner. He straddles Windham across the top turnbuckle, but Windham manages to slug him down and hits a flying lariat for two. So... top rope moves were allowed after all? I know at the prior Clash of Champions they were a DQ! Rhodes finally gets the tag and runs wild with rights on both opponents to a nice pop. Whip and lariat to Austin, followed by a bulldog but Williams makes the save. Crisscross and Williams nails Dustin with a clothesline. Whip to the corner and Dr. Death charges in with an avalanche. He pulls Dustin away from the ropes and applies a high-angle Boston Crab. Austin with a knee to the back of the head for two. Austin flips Dustin across his shoulder with a back breaker, but Rhodes is able to push off the ropes and counters into a cover, but Austin bridges out at two. Dustin gets the back-slide for two. Austin with a short clothesline for two.
Williams in to keep Dustin on the canvas. He tries to fight from underneath, but Williams is able to trap the ankle and tags Austin back in. Rhodes and Austin trade rights until Austin levels him during the big Dusty tribute spot. Williams with a float-over snap suplex for two. Williams with short rights, targeting a small laceration above the left eye. Rhodes blocks being sent to the turnbuckle but can't reach his corner. Austin with a snap mare into... a chin-lock. At this point of the match, that seems like awful clock management with a 30-minute time limit (each match has been introduced with a set time limit, with the recent title matches at 30 and prelims 20). Rhodes fights free but gets caught with a powerslam. Austin goes for a little extra, missing an elbow, and gets cradled for two. Williams tags in to prevent another tag attempt. Williams with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Now Williams grabs a chin-lock as Gary Michael Cappetta gives the 5-minute countdown. Rhodes escapes with elbows to the body but is quickly cut down with a knee. Austin with a double axe-handle from the second rope. Before hooking a single-leg crab. See, like almost every other spot, emphasis coming off the MIDDLE rope. I'm confused. Rhodes with elbows to the back of the leg to force a break. Austin picks the ankle but is blasted in the face by Rhodes' cowboy-inspired boots. Windham gets the tag... but the referee didn't see it. Williams and Austin chuck Rhodes over the top rope, away from the view of the referee. Windham scoops up Austin with a slam, knocking the referee out of the ring, too! A second referee rushes down to count a fall in the ring with Austin on top of Windham, but the original referee waves it off because Windham wasn't the legal man. Rhodes back in with an O'Connor Roll on Austin for a near-fall. Bedlam and chaos as we try to figure out what is going on. Rhodes with a diving lariat on Austin for two. Austin grabs the tights, sending Rhodes into the corner. He drives a knee to the midsection and scoops Rhodes up, only for Rhodes to counter with a Tombstone piledriver. The clock runs down, and it's a Time Limit Draw at 30:25. Well, that must be under Soccer clock rules. A tie is as good as a win for the Champions, so there should've been more suspense for a final near fall FOR the challengers, not against. Still, a text-book example of a great babyface performance from Dustin Rhodes, with strong work from everyone else involved. ****
- Tony Schiavone is with Big Van Vader, Harley Race, and Paul E. Dangerously. Paul E. takes credit for the idea of having Vader defend the U.S. Title for Rick Rude. Wait, did he say he gave half of the winner's purse to both Race and Vader? I think he misspoke there. Madusa storms the podium, and Paul E. doesn't want anything to do with her. I love how Race casually steps away from them, leaving Paul E. to get his. Paul E. practically calls her a hooker before firing her, causing her to kick him upside the head and pound away. Race nor Vader tries to stop her. I feel like we already saw this between Paul E. and Missy Hyatt, just the year prior, with Paul E's degrading her simply because of her sex, and now they're rehashing it here. I don't think it has much room to grow because Paul E. would be gone a few months later, and Madusa would relocate to the WWF as Alundra Blayze the following Fall with that angle dead.
- We're halfway through the PPV, and NOW is the time for Sting to come out for the big moment. Yes, WCW sold the PPV without telling us what the main event's gimmick would be (and with a wheel of 12 choices, that's outstanding blind hope). Despite that, this did one of the best PPV numbers for WCW. When people say Sting wasn't a draw, or Jake Roberts wasn't a marketable heel in 1991-92, THEY SOLD THIS PPV, WITH A DUMB WHEEL GIMMICK, AND DID OUTSTANDING BUSINESS (by 1992 standards). The wheel is spun, and the choice is... COAL MINER'S GLOVE. Jesus, they gimmick the wheel (and yes, the wheel is gimmicked, not even WCW was that stupid), and chose one of the lamest ones on the table. I like that the "V" in Havoc is the needle that points to the winning choice.
NWA World Championship Match:
Masahiro Chono (c) (w/ Hiro Matsuda) vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude (w/ Madusa):
In a weird gimmick, both men are allowed to choose a referee, with Kensuke Sasake and Harley Race selected by the obvious sides. Still better than Ole Anderson. So, Madusa is still managing Rude despite what felt like a total babyface turn... Because WCW. Rude's pre-match promo is his usual routine to insult the crowd before removing his robe, so he's DEFINITELY a heel. This is a 60-minute time limit, and OH GOD don't go that long, though I've heard good things about a match these two had in Japan earlier in the year. Ole Anderson flips a coin to determine which referee remains in the ring, and woah, RACE won the toss. I bet the babyface team of every WarGames wish they had that coin. Maybe I'm going crazy, but is that a "We Want Flair" chant? Lockup to the corner and a clean break. Another lockup, another break. Rude goes to the eyes and pounds away. Whip is reversed and Chono with a hip toss. Rude grabs a side headlock but Chono counters with a back suplex. Rude seems unphased, gyrating his hips at the crowd in response. They do a bit of chain wrestling, with Chono taking Rude to the canvas. Rude forces a break in the corner, driving a series of knees to the midsection. Chono regains control as they keep up with the mat-based holds. Chono throws a series of kicks, sending Rude to the floor for a breather. He brings Rude back in with a snap suplex and works the back. Snap mare out of the corner and Chono turns Rude over with a Boston Crab. Rude gets to the ropes, so Chono grabs a seated chin-lock. Rude fights to his feet, taking Chono down with a jaw breaker. Rude blocks a sunset flip attempt and connects with a swinging neck breaker for two. Rude grabs a chin-lock and holds it for a while. Chono escapes and goes for the STF, but Rude prevents it from being fully applied. Rude hits a piledriver, but Chono is in the ropes for the pin attempt.
Rude goes high risk and misses... only to remain in control and take Chono over into another chin-lock. The hell was the point of that spot? Rude holds this one for a solid 3-4 minutes and is so dull something happens in the crowd that draws the attention of the ringside fans. Rude climbs the ropes again and hits a glancing missile dropkick. Chono charges with a boot and accidentally nails Race. Rude gets tossed over the top while Sasake checks on Race. Rude blocks a suplex back in and hits the Rude Awakening, but we still don't have a referee to count the fall. Rude misses a flying fist drop. Chono sweeps the leg and hooks the STF, with Sasake calling for the bell at 22:32. Race disputes the decision and raises Rude's hand in victory. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! Race says Chono is DQ'ed for tossing Rude over the top rope. Too bad Rude can't win the belt on a DQ. Heck breaks loose, with Sasake beating on Race. That man was still taking bumps in 1992?! This was incredibly dull and featured a dumb finish. Rumors at the time suggest Bill Watts instructed them to take it easy, so not to upstage the top matches, a rumor that would add fuel to the fire with another infamously poor outing from an International talent in the form of the Great Muta. The match wasn't good, but it wasn't negative stars bad. *
WCW Championship Match:
Ron Simmons (c) vs. The Barbarian (w/ Cactus Jack):
If you thought the WWF booking in 1992 was all over the place, THE BARBARIAN is challenging for the World Title, on a PPV, PERIOD. Doesn't matter what year, just the fact it's happening is enough. Simmons became the first African-American World Champion, defeating Vader at the TV taping in Baltimore, MD on August 2nd, and THIS is the best we can do for the guy as far as challengers go? I know it's a deeper storyline involving Jack but come on... Lockup and neither man with an advantage. Lockup to the corner and they trade shoves. Barbarian with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Simmons stands tall on a second attempt. They meet in the middle for another shoulder stalemate. Double clothesline and still no effect. Simmons with a diving tackle and dropkick to finally take Barbarian off his feet. Lockup to the corner and Barbarian with knees to the midsection. Simmons fights out of the corner, throwing sledgehammer punches, sending Barbarian to the floor for a conference with Cactus. Simmons aggressively pursues and gets hung up across the top rope. Barbarian sends Simmons to the floor and into the post. Barbarian adds a clothesline with Simmons still positioned against the post. Somehow, these attacks warrant a disqualification, had the referee seen them. ZUH?! Back inside, Simmons surprises Barbarian with a sunset flip. There's NO HEAT for this match. Barbarian regains control with a cobra clutch. Honestly didn't expect to see that move from him. Simmons rams Barbarian into the corner to break the hold, but Barbarian remains on offense. He plants Simmons with a slam and misses an elbow drop from the top rope. Simmons spikes Barbarian with a spine-buster for two. He hits Barbarian with a pair of clotheslines and a diving shoulder tackle, then takes a shot at Cactus on the apron. Barbarian from behind with a bot to the back of the head. He climbs the ropes again and hits the flying headbutt for a near-fall. Running clothesline for two. Simmons catches him off the ropes with a powerslam and there's the fall at 12:42. Weak finish out of nowhere to a subpar match. This might be the worst World Championship Match in the history of WCW PPV's (to this point). Maybe Sting vs. Sid from Havoc '90 was worse. ½*
Coal Miner's Glove Match:
Sting vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts:
This match is UNSANCTIONED by WCW. Coal Miner's Glove is fancy talk for Gimmick on a Pole. Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal, you've let me down. Roberts debuted for WCW in August, immediately making Sting his prime target. The two met in an Elimination Tag at the recent Clash of Champions, where Roberts' team walked away victorious. The mini-movie that set up this whole "Wheel" deal is something to behold. Roberts immediately goes for the pole, unsuccessfully. Sting with a pair of slams and his own failed attempt to climb. Lockup to the corner and Sting gives a clean break. Roberts with a knee to the midsection, but he can't hold control. Crisscross and Roberts hangs back to avoid a dropkick. He drives a series of knees into the back of Sting and tosses him over the top rope. IT'S UNSANCTIONED! Roberts follows and gets sent to the post for his troubles. Sting runs back in, slides back out, and pulls Roberts shoulder-first into the post. Sting climbs, and that is one way high-up pole. Roberts blocks the climb and takes Sting down with a back suplex. He sends Sting over the top with a hip toss, but Sting cuts off another attempt at the glove and goes back to work on the arm. Ventura introduces the idea that the glove is never used. Wow, to think WCW could've been even more WCW than they usually are. Roberts takes it to the floor and smacks Sting across the back with a chair. IT'S UNSANCTIONED! Back inside, Roberts chokes Sting with his wrist tape. Sting side-steps a knee-lift, or so it was supposed to be, because it looks like Roberts hit the move, but he sold missing it. Whip to the corner and the Stinger Splash misses. Roberts hits the short-arm clothesline and follows with the DDT. Sting revives pretty quickly and swings around the pole to nail Roberts with an elbow. Suddenly, Cactus Jack comes to ringside, with the snake bag and a handler's glove. Sting gets the coal miner's glove and nails Roberts, which somehow causes the cobra to bite Roberts and cause him to get pinned at 10:35. Well, that's the theory, but in reality, Roberts is pushing the snake up against his face, slapping it around to get it agitated enough to latch on. Everything about this match felt rushed, except a 2-minute portion where Sting worked the arm. They rushed them out to the ring, the finish came out of nowhere, and the PPV is over. Yay. Roberts would work live events opposite Sting until checking himself into the Betty Ford Clinic on November 10th, with his contract officially terminated the next day because Bill Watts is a d*ck. The match was OK, but the finish was another blunder. ½*
Final Thoughts: The show started strong, but boy did the last three matches (or the last hour if you're looking at accumulated time) sink the rest of the show. On paper, none of the matches were too promising, and if you want to give a bit of grace to Sting and Roberts, I challenge anyone to tell me the best BLANK on a Pole Match they've ever seen. The show isn't unwatchable, but it has a feel about it that makes it a show that isn't fun to watch, even with several quality matches featured underneath. Solid recommendation to avoid.
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