WCW Halloween Havoc 1992 Reaction
Posted by Nicholas Jason Lopez
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
World Championship Wrestling and the early 1990’s are about as gimmicked as professional wrestling could be.
Check out our review of Starrcade 1991 for an example of this.
With this particular event famous for its “Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal” concept (just imagine Raw Roulette for more current readers), Sting and Jake “The Snake” Roberts would settle their longtime feud with 12 possible “unsanctioned” scenarios.
On top of that, WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude would “compete” in two matches, Flyin’ Brian-Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat would face off in an exceptional match (by early 90’s standards) and there was a moment between Paul E. Dangerously (or Paul Heyman for those current peeps – how ya doin’?) and Madusa that wouldn’t be forgotten.
Coming from Philadelphia, we got snippets of what “hardcore” would soon look like. This crowd helped to make this show more bearable.
– It’s not a 1990’s Pay-Per-View event without a kooky, Halloween-themed intro. We got Sting howling at a moon, as the camera rushed into a “haunted house.” Faces of various talent raced down creepy stairs and out of the house in “ghost form.” Oh, god. Make it stop. Well, this Philly crowd was lively. We cut to Bruno Sammartino and Tony Schiavone as the night’s analysts. They discussed the previously mentioned “Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal” concept. Their chemistry was laughable. Schiavone would say something and make a point, then Sammartino would literally take what he said and repeat it, with maybe a changed word or two. Also discussed was Rude’s two matches. Naturally, they sent it to Missy Hyatt, who stood outside Rude’s locker room. All the commentary members were dressed in costumes of course, Hyatt included. We then cut to the actual commentary team of Jesse “The Body” Ventura/Jim Ross. They made a fine duo. Ventura was extra enthusiastic. We did like the idea of laying out all the visual aides of weapons on the floor to sell the possible stipulations. They even supposedly really had some anti-venom present in case they needed it. Oh, kayfabe, never die.
– The Six-Man Tag between Arn Anderson/Beautiful Bobby/Michael Hayes and Z-Man/Johnny Gunn/Shane Douglas was certainly a random ensemble. Looking back at this now was obviously interesting for other reasons. For some reason, we always thought Douglas only existed in his Extreme Championship Wrestling “Franchise” gimmick during that time, but we got a snippet of that here. Nobody will ever beat Dean Douglas though. Ugh. It was apparent from the crowd reaction that the heel veterans would have to save face. That was fine for Anderson, as he relished in the pops for his right hand strikes. Douglas pulled out a pretty headscissors as he twirled around. Looking at the front row on the hard camera, we were pretty sure that was who’d later become known as ECW’s “Straw Hat Guy.” Anderson brought Z-Man down with a clothesline as he snuck around, Z-Man not knowing he was now the legal man. The crowd let out another large pop for that. The veterans bent the rules wherever they could and got cheered for it. This is what Jerry “The King” Lawler would call “Bizarro World.” Anderson was so popular with this crowd, he might as well have ran for office. The action broke down as everyone hit the ring at one point. In the most anticlimactic finish possible to a high-energy match, we got a Lou Thesz Press by Gunn on Hayes for the three-count. The crowd didn’t dig that, obviously.
– Cut to Hyatt, who still couldn’t get into Rude’s locker room. Harley Race walked into the shot, informed us he was only there to watch the matches. Apparently, he wasn’t supposed to be there. Hyatt was kept out of any further loop as he went inside and closed the door behind him. It’s hard to tell exactly where this room is in the arena. It actually feels like it’s not far from the stage, but that can’t be possible.
– The Brian-Steamboat match already sounded like a dream on paper. For all the flack early 1990’s WCW gets, this was one of those chances to prove us wrong. Brian must’ve recently turned heel based on his mannerisms. We never knew the “Flyin’ Brian” character had a heel run in WCW. You live and you learn, we guess. He scored heat with the crowd, as “Brian Sucks!” chants rained down. That was probably profanity back then. Cover your ears, kids. Looking at this crowd again. Straw Hat Guy is decked out in a straw hat (his namesake), a blue hawaiian short-sleeved button-down and white khakis. He was doing Bray Wyatt before Wyatt was ever a thing. Come to think of it, he even had Waylon Mercy beat. The “Brian Sucks” chants began again, so much so that Ventura said he couldn’t directly reference it on air. So 90’s. Brian did good with his heel work, making sure to fit in cheap shots and play the crowd. Brian applied a sleeper, to which Steamboat ran into the corner and rammed Brian’s head into the turnbuckles on two opposite sides before he let go. After a couple of pinfall trades, it was Steamboat who got a cradle package pin over him to finish it. That was pretty good there.
– In the locker room, we had NWA Champion Masahiro Chono, his manager, Hiro Matsuda and the Chairman of the NWA, Seiji Sakaguchi were all present. After some speculation, it was announced by Matsuda that Chono’s pick of Special Guest Referee for his match with Rude would be Kensuki Sasake. Lots of pomp and circumstance, but nothing truly relevant.
– “Cowboy” Bill Watts stood with Schiavone as he spoke about that Rude match development and made a couple of other points. The biggest one was that Rude elected to let Big Van Vader defend his belt against Nikita Koloff, but if Koloff won, he became the new Champion. They brought up a bunch of “legality” mumbo-jumbo to justify it all. It’s cool, we get it.
– The WCW United States Heavyweight Championship No Disqualification match with Madusa barred from ringside between Koloff and Vader was set. Rude/Race originally came out too, but were then ejected shortly before the bell rang. Koloff worked as a babyface and was actually over here, in a “Duke Nukem”-esque sort of way. He tried three times to get Vader off his feet and it worked with a cross body where Vader sold it by landing on his stomach. Vader hit the big splash, but Koloff kicked out. Koloff actually did a snap suplex on the big man, probably not intended that way. He even did a body slam. Koloff’s downfall was when he crashed into the corner ring post. Vader countered with a nice powerbomb to get the win. Interestingly, Koloff suffered a herniated disk in his neck as the result of a stiff clothesline and was forced into in-ring retirement shortly after. There was also speculation that this was Watts’ way of “sending him off.” Either way, it must suck looking back on this.
– With the future as a subject, we seen a commercial that hyped Starrcade 1992 for Dec. 28, with the return of “Battle Bowl.” Wonder if there will be a Lethal Lottery for that one.
– They cut to “Dr. Death” Steve Williams with his newly appointed partner, “Stunning” Steve Austin, as they’d challenge for the WCW Unified World Tag Team Championships. Williams mainly gushed over how happy he was to have Austin as his partner. Mark this the only time in history that these two would collaborate. They could’ve been Steve Williams Squared.
– Hyatt stood with Tag Champs Dustin Rhodes/Barry Windham, who were set to react to what we just saw. The story headed in was that they weren’t on the same page and they decided to put those rumors to rest right before they go out there.
– The WCW Unified World Tag Team Championship match between Austin/Williams and Champions Rhodes/Windham did fine as far as the build. Some good back-and-forth technical wrestling to start. An early highlight included Rhodes working the arm of one of his opponents and actually leaped over the top rope and went to the floor while he still held onto said arm. The action ran smooth so far in. There were some lulls at other points though. Ventura’s commentary was actually effective here. The crowd awoke with Rhodes’ hot tag, as he also had a large cut above this left eye that added to the storytelling effect. It was a little too slow and plodding for our tastes, but there was still excellent ring psychology used throughout. Williams smartly targeted the eye laceration. It wasn’t just the feeling that the match lasted long, because it actually did. Before we knew it, there were five minutes left before the time expired. Then it became three minutes. Then we got a Ref bump. The substitute Referee counted to three on a pinfall for the challengers, but it wasn’t for the legal man. That said, the action continued as the Champs themselves scored a near-fall. Let’s just confuse everyone at this point, huh? 30 seconds left. Rhodes hit a Tombstone Piledriver (we thought The Undertaker made that move famous? In 1992?) for a two and before long, the bell rang because we reached the time limit. An official decision was a draw and the belts didn’t change hands. Probably the best “wrestling” on the show. Some true, old-school stuff.
– Schiavone stood with Paul E. Dangerously and Vader, as Dangerously bragged about him being the mastermind behind everything. Apparently he divided a winner’s purse among Vader and Race. Madusa walked up to them and began to complain to Dangerously. He then preceded to flip out on her in the most misogynistic fashion possible. What a dick. Line of the night was undoubtedly his though – “The only reason why I hired you was because the other hooker had a previous obligation.” That drew a rise out of the Philly crowd. WHAT’CHA GONNA DO WHEN MISOGYNY RUNS WILD ON YOU, BROTHER?!?! He then fired her and shoved her chest. To that, she kicked him in the face and beat him down. That began a brawl as they both had to be restrained. Oh shoot. Wildest pop yet and the best thing to happen on the show to this point.
– “Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal” time was here and out came Sting. This was a big budget, so cue some smoke and a skull prop with flashing eyes. Do you remember that Simpsons episode where they went to Japan and the anime shows had flashing eyes that gave the viewers seizures? It’s just like that. Cheap pyro even went off as the wheel spun. Wow. It landed on a “Coal Miner’s Glove Match.” What on Earth was that? Apparently, a pole would hang high in the corner with the glove hung up on it. Whoever got it down would be allowed to use it and all it took was one hard slap and that was it for the opponent. Right.
– If you want to feel old, they pan the camera to a young Manabu Nakanishi in the crowd to witness “international history” in the form of the NWA Heavyweight Championship match between Rude and Champion Chono. Madusa accompanied Rude to the ring, as if nothing ever just happened with her and Dangerously. Rude was the face of The Dangerous Alliance and received a face pop by association of the previous segment. Rude got on the mic and did his classic disrobing heat schtick. Nothing says “hero’s welcome” like that. Sigh. They tossed a coin to decide who would officiate inside the ring and who’d do so outside. Race won and as a result, he’d be in the ring, while Sasaki was outside. Rude smack-talked Chono as we started. “He’s from Minnesota, all Minnesotans know Japanese as a second language,” explained Ventura. Even we had to laugh at that one. As for the bout, it was technical rest hold City. The crowd got restless at the snail’s pace, but livened up… for an off-camera altercation. Chono accidentally kicked Race in the face to knock him over the top rope and to the floor. Chono threw Rude over the top rope and he landed on both Officials, to knock them unconscious. Poor Race. He fell into the barricade. His selling was almost comical. The Rude Awakening was hit, but no one was around to call it. Chono put Rude in the STF, as Sasake raised Chono’s arm. Being the in-ring Referee though, Race called it a disqualification for Rude. That still meant Chono was Champ. Wouldn’t Race want to vouch for a restart to give his associate a chance to actually win the belt? Questionable booking here. For some post-match revenge, Sasake bodyslammed Race and cleared Rude out of the ring.
– The WCW World Heavyweight Championship match between The Barbarian and Champion Ron Simmons revolved a backstory that Cactus Jack had been training Barbarian himself with “unorthodox” techniques, like breaking two cinder blocks over his back. Yup, that’s really the extent of it all. Not much in the way of action. Simmons kicked out of the top rope headbutt and countered with a powerslam to get the win. Anticlimactic as hell. Not quite like the opener, but you get it.
– Schiavone/Sammartino brought out Erik Watts, who got some boos for what we just witnessed out there. Simmons walked up, said he was tired and that it was “far from over.” They all then complimented each other. How nice.
– The Unsanctioned Main Event Coal Miner’s Glove match between Sting and Roberts already looked to be short, since there was only about 15 minutes left in the show. That pole was also insanely high up. They both tried early on to retrieve it, but no luck. Nothing noteworthy occurs until Jack comes out with the bag, which means only one thing. There’s a cobra inside. No, not a real deadly one, silly. All we were thinking was “Sting, you better stay up there.” Sting brought down the glove and used it once to deflect the snake into Roberts’ face. He then pinned him for the three, as the snake continued to “bite” him. The blood made it look grimly, until Roberts took the snake off his face and then put it back to sell some more. Who would ever in their right mind do that in real life? Shouldn’t Roberts blame Jack for bringing the snake in the first place? He was doing pretty fine before it. Anyways, it’s all for naught, as Roberts would disappear soon afterwards. It’s 90’s WCW, so STING WINS LOL.
- Six-Man Tag – Z-Man/Johnny Gunn/Shane Douglas def. Beautiful Bobby/Michael Hayes/Arn Anderson via pinfall
- Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat def. Flyin’ Brian via pinfall
- WCW United States Heavyweight Championship – No Disqualifications, Madusa Is Barred From Ringside, If Nikita Koloff Wins, He Becomes New Champion – Big Van Vader (Defending For Champion Rick Rude) def. Nikita Koloff via pinfall to retain
- WCW Unified Tag Team Championships – “Stunning” Steve Austin/”Dr. Death” Steve Williams and Dustin Rhodes/Barry Windham (Champions) to a time limit draw; Rhodes/Windham retain
- NWA Heavyweight Championship – Harley Race To Officiate Inside The Ring – Rick Rude def. Masahiro Chono (w/Hiro Matsuda) via DQ; Chono retains
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Ron Simmons (Champion) def. The Barbarian (w/Cactus Jack) via pinfall to retain
- Unsanctioned Coal Miner’s Glove Match As Per “Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal” Stipulation – Sting def. Jake “The Snake” Roberts via pinfall
About Nicholas Jason LopezJust a 26 year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.
Posted on September 24, 2017, in Throwback PPVs and tagged Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Beautiful Bobby, Big Van Vader, Bill Watts, Bruno Sammartino, Cactus Jack, Dustin Rhodes, Flyin' Brian, Halloween Havoc, Harley Race, Hiro Matsuda, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Jesse Ventura, Jim Ross, Johnny Gunn, Kensuki Sasake, Madusa, Masahiro Chono, Michael Hayes, Missy Hyatt, Nikita Koloff, Paul E. Dangerously, Rick Rude, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Ron Simmons, Seiji Sakaguchi, Shane Douglas, Starrcade, Steve Austin, Steve Williams, Sting, The Barbarian, Theodore Long, Tony Schiavone, WCW, Z-Man. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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