- I'm skipping over Clash of the Champions VIII since it's not available to me either from my personal collection or from online searching. Sorry. Featured on the card... The Road Warriors vs. The SST, Tom Zenk's Debut against the Cuban Assassin, Sid Vicious destroying Ranger Ross, the Freebirds defending the Tag Titles against the Steiner Brothers, Flyin' Brian vs. Norman "The Lunatic", Steve Williams vs. Mike Rotunda, Lex Luger defending the US Title against Tommy Rich, and Ric Flair and Sting taking on The Great Muta and Dick Slater (subbing for Terry Funk) in the main event featuring Flair being smothered with a plastic bag.
- Originating on October 28th, 1989, from the Philadelphia Civic Center in (you guessed it) Philadelphia, PA. Jim Ross and Bob Caudle are calling the action, as usual with these shows from this time frame. I should note, this is the Turner Home Entertainment version, so expect some clip jobs during the undercard matches.
The Steiners attack before the bell, and we've got a slugfest in opposite corners. Whips are reversed, sending both Doom members into each other, and the Steiners take Doom down with simultanious belly-to-back suplexes. Back in the ring, and the Steiners send Doom back out with clotheslines. In the ring, Scott and Doom #1 lockup, with Doom #1 taking control. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Scott nails a clothesline to the back of the head. Scott with a snapmare, followed by a knee drop for two count. Rick tags in and takes out both Doom with his signature clotheslines. Doom #2 tags in and hammers away. Irish whip is reversed, and Rick puts him down with a forearm for a two count, then slaps on a chinlock. Doom #2 escapes with an inverted atomic drop, and Doom #1 tags in and falls over performing a headbutt. #1 appears to be Ron Simmons. Rick blocks a suplex attempt and takes Doom #1 over with his own. Rick slaps on a headlock, and Scott tags in, coming off the top rope with a clothesline for a two count. Rick tags in and Doom #1 nails him with a move that would later be known as the Stone Cold Stunner. Doom #2 (Butch Reed) tags in and puts the boots to Rick. Irish whip, and Doom #2 with a clothesline, complete with over-sell from Rick. Doom #2 drops Rick across the top rope for a two count. Irish whip, and Rick with a boot to the face of Doom #2. Scott tags in and plants Doom #2 with a front-face suplex. Doom #1 tags in and is quickly taken down with a belly-to-back suplex. Scott with a pair of elbow drops for a two count. Scott with a snapmare, then applies a chinlock. Scott hits the ropes, and Doom #2 nails him in the back. Doom #1 with a snapmare, and Doom #2 comes in off the top rope with a double axehandle.
Scott gets tossed out of the ring, where the punishment continues as both Doom members drop Scott across the security rail. Irish whip, and a double elbow from Doom for a two count. Doom #1 covers again, then slaps on a chinlock. Scott tries to fight free, but takes a knee to the midsection. Doom #2 tags in and does some punchy-kicky-chokey. Doom #2 tosses Scott over the top rope while the referee is ditracted by Rick. Scott with a sunset flip into the ring, and with a little help from Rick, takes him over for a two count. Doom #2 with a swinging neck breaker for a two count. Crowd is kind of note into it, as both Doom members can be heard talking smack. Doom #1 tags in and takes Scott over with a powerslam for a two count. Double slam by Doom gets another two count. Doom #2 tags in and applies a front facelock. Rick gets the tag, but the referee didn't see it, of course. Doom with a Spike Piledriver on Scott, but he's Superman, and kick out at two. Doom #1 slaps on another chinlock. Irish whip, and Scott with a boot to the chest. Rick finally gets the hot tag, and unloads on Doom #2. Irish whip, and Rick with a back drop. Irish whip, and Rick with a charging clothesline, followed by another to Doom #1. Scott comes in and gives Doom #1 the Frankensteiner (hurricanrana) and Rick takes Doom #2 over with a powerslam. Woman gets on the apron as Rick takes Doom #2 down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Woman loads up the mask of Doom #2 as Rick is preoccupied with Doom #1. Rick goes for another belly-to-belly suplex, but Doom #2 headbutts him, and covers for the three count at 15:32. ** Not a bad match, but a little too long. The Steiners brought a lot of energy and an impressive move-set, but Doom really didn't do much, except for the occasional cool double team moves.
Irish whip, and Luger presses Pillman up in the air for a crash landing. Luger drops Pillman throat-first across the top rope, then takes time to trash talk the crowd. Irish whip, and Luger takes Pillman's head off with a clothesline. Pillman is back to his feet and throws out some desperate offensive blows, but Luger boots him and takes him out with another clothesline. Luger with a clothesline to the back of the head to a big babyface pop. Luger stomps away on the back of the head of Pillman, then drops a series of elbows across the neck. Luger with a delayed vertical suplex, but he takes his sweet time to make a cover, and only gets a two count as a result of it. Luger drops a pair of elbows across the chest of Pillman. Pillman attempts a comeback, but Luger tosses him out of the ring in retaliation. Luger pulls him back to the apron and slams a forearm across the chest. Pillman with a shoulder to the midsection, and a surprise sunset flip for a two count. Luger throws a clothesline, but Pillman ducks, and Luger goes over the top rope, to the floor. Back in the ring, and Pillman with mounted punches in the corner. Luger counters but running Pillman across the ring and nailing an inverted atomic drop. Luger picks Pillman up and places him on the top turnbuckle. Luger follows up, but Pillman shoves him off. Pillman comes off with a sunset flip for another two count. Irish whip, and Pillman comes off the ropes with a diving back elbow. Whip to the corner, and Pillman with a back drop. Pillman heads to the apron, then springs off the top rope with a clothesline, but Luger gets a leg on the ropes before a pinfall can be made. Pillman with a snap neckbreaker, then heads to the top rope, missing a missile dropkick. Irish whip, and Luger with a stun gun for the three count at 13:20 to retain the United States Championship. I'm somewhat surprised the finish was clean, but again, Pillman wasn't that much of a contender yet. ***1/2 Pretty good match, and 1989 is proving to be Luger's best year in wrestling. Of course, it didn't hurt being in the ring with such talents as Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat, and Flyin' Brian on all of the PPV's that year, but hey, whatever works. It's sad to see that Luger CAN go, but almost all of his career, he always looked like he wasn't putting a full effort into his performances.
Animal and Spivey start. Lockup, and Spivey with a series of lefts. Irish whip is reversed, and Animal clotheslines Spivey out of the ring. He blows the "go-over-the-top-rope spot" in the process. Back in the ring, and Animal works the arm. Hawk comes off the top with an axehandle, then applies a wristlock. Irish whip, and a shoulder block doesn't budge anyone. Hawk puts Spivey down with a diving shoulder tackle, and it's time for another regrouping outside the ring. Sid tags in for the first time, and he hammers away. Irish whip, and Sid blows a CLOTHESLINE. Hawk hits his own, but Sid doesn't sell it very much. Lockup into the corner, and Sid hammers away. Whip to the corner, and Sid misses a charge. Animal tags in, and they nail a double elbow. Animal slaps on a headlock, but that doesn't last long. Irish whip, and a shoulder block does nothing. Sid misses a clothesline, and Animal comes off the ropes with a flying shoulder block, sending Sid out of the ring. Long traded in a modest, normal key, for an over-sized gimmick key. Hawk tags in and wants a test-of-strength with Sid. Sid takes control of it, but Hawk fights back up with it and takes Sid over. Animal tags in and slaps on an armbar. Sid takes it to the corner for some double team action. Irish whip is reversed, and Animal nails Spivey with a clothesline. Animal applies a wristlock, and Hawk tags in to work the arm some more. Sid tags in and takes Hawk over with a headlock. Hawk with a head scissors, but Sid kips up(!), and takes Hawk down with a clothesline. Sid scoops Hawk up an gives him a helicopter spin! Spivey tags in and plants Hawk with a side suplex for a two count. Irish whip, and Hawk nails Spivey with a clothesline. Spivey is up first though, and baseball slides Hawk out of the ring. Sid takes advantage of the situation, dropping Hawk across the security rail. Back in the ring, and Spivey takes Hawk over with a suplex for a two count. Whip to the corner, and we get some double team action. Sid hammers away and flattens Hawk with a clothesline. Spivey tags in and nails a clothesline of his own. Spivey tries for a suplex, but Hawk blocks and takes him over with his own suplex. Sid tags in and slaps on a front facelock. Hawk scoops Sid up and tags Animal, but the referee didn't see it. Didn't we see that happen in a match already on this show? Spivey sends Hawk to the corner, then charges in with an avalanche. He tries for it again, but Hawk boots him and nails a clothesline. Animal gets the real hot tag, and nails Spivey with a dropkick. Irish whip, and Animal with a diving shoulder tackle. Animal and Sid slug it out, and soon Hawk is in the ring with Spivey, too. Animal with a powerslam on Sid, and now Long and Ellering get in the ring. Spivey nails Hawk with the giant key, and it's a Disqualification at 11:38. The Skyscrapers continue to beat up on Animal with the stupid key. Hawk nails Spivey with a clothesline from the top rope, then bashes them both with the key to clear the ring. * For some cool big man power stuff, but for the most part, kinda sluggish, boring, and sloppy. Teams like the Skyscrapers and Road Warriors are fun to watch when squashing opponents, but in long matches? No thanks.
Funk, the crazy middle-aged man he is, climbs the cage for no apparent reason before we get underway. There's a fight in some of the shrubs attached to the cage, so Mutas climbs up and puts it out with his mist. I'm giving this match an extra 1/4* just for THAT. Flair and Funk start with a lockup. Irish whip, and Funk with a shoulder block. They head to the corner and Flair unloads with chops. Irish whip, and Sting with an ear smack from the apron. Everyone gets in the ring, but it's a stalemate. Flair and Funk lockup again, and Funk puts Flair down with a scoop slam. Flair is up and retaliates with a pair of his own slams, then dumps Funk over the top rope. Flair snaps Funk across the top rope and Sting tags in to put the boots to him. Sting tosses Funk out of the ring and slams him face-first into the cage, then rakes his back in a ode to Hulk Hogan. Back in the ring, and a double clothesline connects. Flair sends Funk to the corners and nails him with a nasty chop. Flair comes out of the corner with his signature knee drop, then knocks Muta off the apron for napping. Muta comes in and gets caught with a double team, and Flair chops the shit out of both opponents. Sting tags in and hits Funk with a dropkick. Muta gets the tag in for the first time, and Jim Ross name drops "the Blade Runners" and takes a shot at "his former partner" in the process. Muta and Sting with some shoving, andf Sting hammers away. Irish whip, and Sting press slams Muta onto Funk, then takes Muta over with a suplex. Flair with a snapmare and some short rights to the top of the head. Flair with an inverted atomic drop, followed by more chops. Flair with another snapmare, followed by a knee drop. Sting tags in and dumps Muta out of the ring. Sting rams Muta into the cage, then rams him repeatedly into the cage while his head is resting between the bars. Back in the ring, and Muta hammers away on Sting. Funk with cheap shots from the apron. Muta with a snapmare, followed by his snap elbow drop and a leg drop. Muta tosses Sting out of the ring, drawing Flair in while Funk works Sting over. Muta and Flair head out of the ring now, and Flair is chopping everything that moves. Funk rams Flair into the cage a couple of times, as Muta brings Sting back in the ring. Muta with a snap suplex, and Funk comes in to drop a knee across the throat. Muta and Funk with a series of elbow drops on Sting. Flair comes in and tosses Muta over the top rope, then chops Funk's skin off. Flair with a suplex on Funk, and Sting takes Muta down with a running bulldog, then he does the same to Funk. Sting hangs Muta up across the top rope and Flair tags in for a double team atomic drop and clothesline. Sting slaps on the Scorpion Deathlock, but Funk breaks it up quite quickly. Funk rams Sting to the buckle, and Muta adds stiff kicks to the midsection.
Muta chokes out Sting while Flair works Funk over on the apron. They start hanging out on the cage, and Flair rams him into it a couple of times. Sting with a suplex on Muta, and Muta rolls out of the ring to do some climbing. Sting goes out after him and Muta gets shocked. Flair continues to work over Funk, who keeps trying to climb the cage. Flair finally yanks Funk off, while Sting and Muta head back in the ring. Flair and Funk climb to the top of the cage, and Flair chops away on Funk, who's hanging from the highest point. Flair uses a rope to swing into Funk. Interesting prop. Inside the ring, Sting press slams Muta after teasing tossing him over the top rope. Funk is hanging by his legs from the cage. Sting tosses Muta out of the ring, and the match has quickly lost any sense or direction. Muta crawls under the ring, then surprises Flair from behind, whipping him into the cage. They exchange chops while Sting and Funk brawl at the top of the cage. Flair with a back suplex on Muta, then slaps on the Figure-Four. Sting uses the rope to swing into Funk feet first. Flair tosses Muta out of the ring again, but Muta comes back in and nails Flair with an enziguri. Sting misses his tarzan swing, and Funk hog ties him to the cage afterwards. Back in the ring, and Muta has a reverse spinning toe hold applied on Flair, then bridges into a front facelock. Ole Anderson helps untie Sting from the cage. Funk and Muta with a spike piledriver on Flair. Sting is still struggling to get free from the cage, so Muta and Funk just beat the crap out of Flair. Sting is FREE, climbs the cage, and comes flying into the ring with a clothesline to Funk for the biggest pop of the night. Sting with boots to Muta, sending him out of the ring... then Muta climbs. WHY!? IFlair goes to work on Funk with chops and knees to the leg. Flair with an atomic drop to the right knee of Funk, followed by a knee drop. Muta nails Sting with a jumping heel kick and connects with a back breaker. Muta heads to the top rope, but Sting knocks him off to the floor. Flair has the Figure-Four on Funk, and Sting comes off the top rope with a splash. Sting heads to the top rope again and comes off with another splash. Muta tries to sucker punch Sammartino, but that fails and Bruno knocks Muta out of the ring. Ole and Hart come in the ring, and Ole knocks Hart silly, which forces Hart to throw up the towel, and Sammartino sees this as a surrender, giving the match to Sting and Flair at 22:05. **1/2 Match was a bit of a mess at times, and the nonsensical attempts to climb the cage killed any momentum the match would gain from the in-ring action. It always came across as obvious that neither team really worked that well together, as it seemed a little sloppy and disjointed at times, and the awkward moments of dead spots didn't help either. Still, there was some fun stuff going on, it was just not nearly as fun or exciting as I would have anticipated.
Final Thoughts: There's a couple of good matches in the main portion of the show, but nothing really outstanding. The Main Event was disappointing despite having four very talented performers having to work around a gimmick match that shouldn't have been that hard to get a good match out of, and the high profile tag matches were very sluggish. Pillman vs. Luger was the highlight of the card, but then you factor in the pathetic undercard, and you've got a really boring show that doesn't really have any historic appeal other than this being the first Halloween Havoc. It's not like it's Wrestlemania or something. Mild Recommendation to avoid.