Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Dan Spivey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dan Spivey. Show all posts

Monday, 21 March 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW Wrestlewar 1991

February 24, 1991
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona

You have to give World Championship Wrestling credit where it’s due. For all the company got wrong during their time, they did a fantastic job in generating interest around the War Games match at WrestleWar 1991.

At least they did for this writer.

In my recent Clash of the Champions 14 review, I talked about how the whole event was essentially one long promotional vehicle to advertise WrestleWar.

I must admit, it worked on me.

By the time I’d finished watching Clash 14, I was more eager to watch this show than any other wrestling event I’ve seen in ages.

Without further ado then, forgive me if I cut this intro short and get right down to Phoenix, Arizona to see if WrestleWar ‘91 was an event worthy of the hype.





It's Time for WrestleWar

Our show tonight began with an ariel camera granting us some beautiful and dramatic shots of the Arizona mountains as a Tony Schiavone voice-over told us that the state would play host to WrestleWar, an event Schiavone actually made it to sound like a legitimately huge deal.



I mean it, I know it’s fun to rag on Mr. Greatest Night in the History of Our Sport and his propensity for hyperbole at the height of the Monday Night Wars, but Schiavone sounded truly genuine here.

That, combined with those fantastic ariel shots made this a really good PPV opener. That itself was surprising because most of WCW’s PPV openers sucked.

Anyway, cutting live to the arena, Schiavone repeated himself about how important tonight was, only this time he was on camera.

The current AEW announcer then hyped the War Games match before running down the rest of the card and, honestly, at this point in our review, I’m genuinely excited about what’s to come.

With his run down complete, Big Tony passed over to our announce team, Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes.

[side note, I’ve been doing this for so long now that every time I write ‘Jim Ross,’ I automatically start to write ‘and Jerry “The King” Lawler’ right after it.]

JR and King The American Dream also expressed their enthusiasm for War Games and with that, it was onto our opening contest.

World Championship Wrestling Six-Man Tag Team Championship
WCW Six-Man Champions Ricky Morton, ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich, and The Junkyard Dog vs. The Big Cat and State Patrol (Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker & Lt. James Earl Wright)

At first, all of my enthusiasm for WrestleWar ‘91 went right out of the window.

Even with big stars like Ricky Morton and The Junkyard Dog involved, this just didn’t seem like something I was going to care about at all.


Not even the fact that this was for the short-lived six-man title did it any favours, as the champions didn’t even have a single title belt between them which made it feel like any other match.

Then, things finally got underway and I was pleasantly surprised.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a bad burner or anything and I’m never going to suggest that you go out of your way just to watch it, but it was a perfectly serviceable opener in which all six men turned up to work.

The result of their cumulative efforts gave us a bout which did its job, entertained and kept things more interesting than it possibly had any right to.

After a decent 10+ minutes action, things broke down into a free-for-all and, in the midst of the chaos, Morton snatched a pinfall to help his team retain their WCW Invisible Title.
Your Winners and Still Six-Man Champions: Ricky Morton, Tommy Rich, and JY

Somewhere out in the arena, Tony Schiavone congratulated Alexandra York on the recent success of The York Foundation.



Having joined York’s enterprise back at Clash of the Champions 14, Terry Taylor stood behind the future Marlena as she boasted about her successful company and her plans to recruit more wrestlers.

With the mic then pointed at him, Taylor put himself over with a decent promo which proved that his time in the York Foundation was the most interesting Terry Taylor would ever be in his whole career.

Wrapping things up, Terri told us that she predicted a win for her man against Tom Zenk in less than 15 minutes and 28 seconds before Other Terry added his own one-word prediction: 

Pain

Brad Armstrong vs. Beautiful Bobby Eaton

As Brad Armstrong made his way to the ring, JR told us that the grappler had a younger brother currently fighting in Operation Desert Storm.



Hmm, wonder whatever happened to that kid?

Meanwhile, Bobby Eaton was billed -as always- as hailing from The Dark Side, something which always amused because it seemed so at odds with the rest of his character.

The two immediately went at it in a flurry of fast-paced, back-and-forth offence that made you believe this was going to turn into one hell of a match.

Before long, however, the babyface Armstrong slapped an armbar on his opponent, followed it up with another armbar, and then, just to spice things up, went right back to the original armbar.

For this writer, it felt like the match went from super exciting to mind-numbingly tedious in the snap of a second.

Things didn’t look like they were going to get any better when Eaton turned things around and applied a chinlock.

Thankfully, things did pick up again and we got a spirited build to the finish that resulted in Eaton picking up the win courtesy of the Alabama Jam.

The beginning and end of this match were good, but that middle but made me totally tune out and I could never get back into it.
Your Winner: Beautiful Bobby Eaton



After a quick commercial for our next PPV meeting with WCW, Superbrawl, Ross and Rhodes put over the upcoming WCW/NJPW Supershow and an upcoming exhibition match which was designed to promote that show.

Miss A & Miki Handa v. Mami Kitamura & Itsuki Yamasak

The four women involved in this match were met with near silence as they walked to the ring, the only sound being Dusty making fun of his inability to pronounce their names and then commenting on how good they looked in their outfits.



It’s to each of their credits though that they very quickly won over the crows and had JR and Dream taking them very seriously thanks to a stellar-performance in the ring.

Seriously, this was a strong match that turned an apathetic crowd into ardent supporters of the four wrestlers involved and was a compelling watch from start to finish.

After a tremendous effort, Miss A rolled up Itsuki Yamasak to score the fall.
Your Winners: Miss A & Miki Handa



Elsewhere in the arena, Missy Hyatt announced that she was going to be the first woman to ever conduct an interview from inside the men’s locker room, an achievement that she first claimed was a stand for women’s equality but later admitted was just a chance to find a “babe.”

Nature Boy Buddy Landell vs. The Natural Dustin Rhodes

The last time we saw Dustin Rhodes here on Retro Pro Wrestling, he was teaming with his daddy back at the 1991 Royal Rumble

Here, he and Buddy Landell had the worst match on the card so far.

There was nothing technically wrong with it, it was just incredibly bland.



Though the two did have parts of the small crowd on their side for most of the match, it was a very uninspired affair that felt more like they were there to fill time than to genuinely entertain.

After a few minutes of mediocre action, Dustin picked up the predictable win.
Your Winner: Dusty Rhodes


Backstage, Missy Hyatt got all excited about finding herself a babe as she became the first woman interviewer to go inside a women’s lockeroom.

Her excitement soon dwindled when all she found was Stan Hansen in his undies who spat tobacco at her and yelled at her to leave.

Out in the arena, Tony Schiavone found Missy’s misfortune hilarious, but the whole thing was kind of stupid.

The Royal Family (Jack Victory & Rip Morgan) vs. The Young Pistols (Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong)

Jack Victory and Rip Morgan were supposed to be a Royal Family, but came out in medieval garments that made them look like old-worldly servants while medieval flute music played as their theme.



Maybe they really were royalty, albeit royalty with access to a Delorean which accidentally took them back a thousand years.

Meanwhile, Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong had dropped the ‘Wild-Eyed Southern Boys’ name and become The Young Pistols, no doubt in an attempt to get rid of the whole confederate flag gimmick they’d been working in the past.

After the opening moments of exciting action, the arena lights went out, prompting the two teams to spend a few minutes wrestling under a spotlight.

If you want to know the truth, it actually looked pretty cool.

The actual match was cool too.

The Young Pistols put their speed and agility against The Royal Family’s brute power to give us a bout which, though certainly not spectacular, was very entertaining with nary a dull moment in sight.

The heels dominated for much of the contest, but at the final moment, the good guys reversed Victory & Morgan’s double face buster attempt to score the win.
Your Winners: The Young Pistols

Out somewhere in the arena, Diamond Dallas Page made his PPV debut in an interview with Tony Schiavone.



In a compelling promo, Page put his gift of the gab to work in putting over The Fabulous Freebirds and how they were going to”drop Doom like a bad habit” when the two teams met in the ring.

The future Hall of Famer then turned his attentions to Doom's manager, Teddy Long, and began ranting about how the opposition’s manager had a peanut head.

Naturally, this brought out Long, who told off Page and promised that Doom would reign supreme later tonight.

This was a pretty damn good segment.

It’s interesting that Long and DDP were such strong characters that neither Doom nor The Fabulous Freebirds needed to be in a segment that was supposed to be about them.

No Disqualification Match
Terry Taylor (w/ Alexandra York) vs. The Z-Man

Despite being a babyface, The Z-Man got almost as many boos as Terry Taylor as the two made their way out for a No Disqualification match that failed to take advantage of such a stipulation in anyway.

Look, I like Tom Zenk. Even though there are plenty of people who will tell you that Z-Man was a goof who deserved to be booed, I think he had a certain role to play and played it well.

Likewise, Terry Taylor was a genuinely interesting character for the first (and perhaps only) time in his career as he took on the role of ‘The Computerised Man of the 90s.’

I’d even fairly enjoyed their outing together at Clash 14, but this felt like a wasted opportunity.

The only reason for the No DQ rule was that both men had beaten the other via disqualification in previous outings so now they were going to settle the score once and for all.



It was a good concept for a match that was ruined by the fact that -other than a split second where Taylor choked his opponent with a cable ok the outside- nothing happened to make this unlike any other generic singles match.

That’s not to say it was a bad match. It wasn’t all that interesting, but it wasn’t terrible or anything, but it just seems a shame to promote a no DQ match and not take advantage of the opportunity to do something different.

Still, this was WCW in the 90s, so I shouldn’t be too surprised, nor should I be surprised that the company would give Alexandra York a computer that didn’t turn on and then give us multiple shots which clearly showed her typing into a computer that wasn’t switched on.

It was kind of dumb, but it did give me the opportunity to say something interesting about this otherwise run-of-the-mill match, as did the appearance of Nikita Koloff.

Koloff had last been seen on PPV two years ago at Wrestlewar '89, but tonight he was in the crowd with The Great Muta and Hiro Matsuda, both of whom were in town to promote the WCW/NJPW super show.

Back to our match, after a competent but boring match, Z-Man looked to have the victory only for Ms. York to distract the official.

The referee (who JR liked to tell us was a rookie at every opportunity) refused to stop arguing with York, even when Z-Man told him that he needed him to count the fall.

The ref refused, instead focussing his efforts purely on The York Foundation leader, but the second Taylor rolled up his opponent with a handful of tights, you can bet your sweet ass that the ref was right there to count the fall.

It was a dumb end to a dumb match between two decent performers who probably deserved better.
Your Winner: Terry Taylor

After the match, Ross and Rhodes hyped an upcoming appearance by El Gigante on Paul E. Dangerously’s Danger Zone interview segment.

“I tell ya, I’ve seen El Gigante training. I’ve seen him running, I’ve seen him hiding!” Exclaimed Dusty, who apparently didn’t seem to realise that telling fans that a babyface had been “running and hiding” was probably not a good idea.

Let’s Get Racist!

Speaking of things that weren’t a good idea, Dangerously then made his way to the ring and immediately began a racist tirade against illegal immigrants and Latin people in general.


El Gigante then sauntered to the ring, where the goal was for Heyman to put over the big man as the special referee for an upcoming cage match between Sting and Ric Flair.

Instead, the future WCW boss simply amplified the racism before Gigante had enough and destroyed Dangerously with a body slam.

I get that this was of it’s time and everything, but this segment really didn’t age well and I doubt was all that well-received at the time.

Let’s Promote the Japan Show!

If Clash of the Champions XIV had been one long promotional vehicle for tonight’s show, WrestleWar ‘91 was itself shaping up to be a promotional vehicle for the big. NJPW/WCW crossover.



Up next, Schiavone told us us that WCW’s “Rolling Thunder ‘91 Tour” would be working its way to Tokyo Egg Dome where Sting would face The Great Muta.

As the former TV champion stood by, Hiro Matsuda told Schiavone that he (Muta) would beat Sting.

It wasn’t much of a promo and, to be honest, didn’t really get me very excited about watching the big Egg Dome show.

Maybe this next match would:

Stan ‘The Lariat’ Hansen vs. Big Van Vader

This match was awesome.

Unlike anything else in WCW (or the WWF for that matter), the bout saw Hansen and Vader throw wrestling protocol right out of the window and just absolutely beat the living shit out of one another.


They brawled around the ring, they took it to the outside and threw chairs at one another, Vader dropped Hansen on the guard rail before Big Stan threw Big Van into the ring steps, then the whole thing went back in the ring again.

At some point, however, the ending did become predictable. Things were so out of control that it seemed like only a matter of time before referee Randy “Pee Wee” Anderson called for the double DQ finish.

The ending was inevitable, but that didn’t detract away from what was a great match that this fan would have happily seen go a lot longer.
Double DQ

Thankfully, we did get more from these two as Vader went to the top and destroyed Hansen with an impressive top rope clothesline before Hansen battled back and choked Vader with his bull rope.

The two brawled all the way to the back and that was that.

Before the next match, JR told us that we were going to hear more about Superbrawl. When he said “more,” he meant “the exact same graphic as we saw before.”

Ross and The Dream then hyped up our next match, which would be the last appearance of the old-school NWA US title as WCW struck out as its own separate entity and swapped to its own titles.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Lex Luger vs. Dangerous Dan Spivey.

Autocorrect keeps changing the name to Dangerous Dan Spicy and I can’t stop chuckling at that.

Spicy or not, the challenger and his opponent exceeded expectations here with a fine match that got more compelling as it went on.



In the opening moments, it looked as though this was going to descend into a lackluster big man power match, but before long both men picked up the slack and found their groove to deliver a genuinely riveting performance.

Spicy Spivey dominated, for the most part, hitting Luger with big-time moves like a tombstone piledriver and a top rope elbow which, while it wasn’t exactly Savage-like, still looked impressive for a man of his size.

Every time, the champion dramatically kicked out and eventually battled his way back, ultimately retaining his title after an exciting finish which saw Spivey throw him off the top rope only for The Total Package to reverse the subsequent pin attempt for the fall.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Lex Luger

Post-match, Luger made his way over to Tony Schiavone, Grizzly Smith, and Nikita Koloff, the latter of whom was supposed to present the new US title belt to the champion.


Instead, Koloff smacked Lex in the face with the belt and proceeded to cut a scathing promo.

In it, he lambasted the WCW Championship Committee for telling him that, since he had been retired for two years, he had no rights to claim a title shot and would thus have to prove he was worthy.

Attacking Luger, said Koloff, was his way of proving that he meant business, and dethroning the man who beat him for the US title back in 1987 would ultimately show the WCW Powers That Be that he was indeed worthy of holding gold.

That was great.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin w/ Diamond Dallas Page, The Diamond Dollls and Big Daddy Dink)

Flanked by two beautiful ‘Diamond Dolls,’ the charismatic Diamond Dallas Page rocked and rolled, strutted and strolled down to the ringside while his team, Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin both struggled to get any attention on them.



Once in the ring, Page took to the microphone and, in the most long-winded fashion ever, announced that he was stepping back from being ringside with the Free Birds, and that he would be replaced by the group’s new road manager, Big Daddy Dink (Oliver Humperdink).

To be honest, this was a good thing.

The larger-than-life DDP didn’t so much ooze charisma here as he did spray it like a ruptured fountain, The problem was that he didn’t yet have the mic skills to backup his overwhelming personality, so the whole thing started to get very annoying.

Seriously, every third phrase out of his mouth was “GOOD GAWD” and you ended up hating it more and more every time he said it.

The result of all this was that The Free Birds, you know, the guys actually wrestling the match, were completely overshadowed by their manager, a manager who wasn’t yet skilled enough to warrant all of the attention.

It was not a good start.

Fortunately, things got much better once Doom hit the ring and proceeded to have a good but largely forgettable match with Hayes and Garvin.

After a somewhat short encounter, Reed pulled out an international object and went to take out Hayes, but the future Doc Hendrix ducked and Simmons bore the brunt of his own partner’s attack.

As Hayes fell to the mat, Garvin -who had himself been knocked silly- was shoved onto Simmons by Humperdink.

One three count later, The Free Birds had fluked their way to a title win.
Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Freebirds

As Page returned to celebrate The Freebirds big win, Butch Reed and Teddy Long turned on Ron Simmons, starting the letter’s singles face run.

Meanwhile, Hayes & Garvin had already lost the titles to The Steiners in a pre-taped match that had been recorded six days prior but wouldn’t air for another few weeks, making them the only team to have technically had a negative title reign

Up next, Jim Ross promised us ‘more’ about Superbrawl, but of course, it wasn’t more at all, it was the exact same clip of the event’s logo and date that we’d already seen twice.

From there, Ross and Dusty interviewed some kid who had won a sweepstakes competition.

JR asked the youngster who his favourite team in the War Games match was. The poor kid either misheard or misunderstood, because he answered with ‘Doom,’ all while looking bummed out about Reed & Long’s earlier betrayal.

“Well, I don’t think they’re going to be a team any more!” quipped JR, throwing gasoline onto the bonfire of misery this poor, nervous kid was already experiencing.

The duo then showed us a clip of Brian Pillman being destroyed by The Four Horsemen, putting a question over Pillman’s head about his health. Finally, they reminded us that Arn Anderson was out of the match due to injury and would be replaced by Larry Zybysko.

Let the War Games Begin!

As the arena went dark, dramatic music played, and bright colored lights flashed over a cage that was lowered to the ring while blazing with fireworks.

It was, honestly, pretty awesome.

Tony Schiavone then reminded us all of the War Games match before finally, it was back to the action.

War Games
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair, Sid Vicious, Barry Windham, and Larry Zybysko (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Sting, Flyin’ Bryan and The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

This match was incredible.


As Barry Windham stepped into the ring for his team, Ross and Rhodes speculated about how unwise it would be for Pillman to start the match given his recent injury.

Naturally, Pillman then broke away from the pack and leapt into the ring before his teammates had a chance to stop him, all in the name of getting revenge for the Horsemen’s attack.

And man, did he get his revenge.

For the next five minutes, Flyin’ Brian destroyed Barry Windham, flying around the ring with a barrage of attacks and grating his foe’s face against the cage until he bled.

It looked tremendous.

A coin toss was then held to determine which team would get the two-man advantage and, as if it wasn’t obvious, it fell in favour of the heels.

Flair then entered next, followed by Sting, Larry Zybysko, Rick Steiner, Sid Vicious, and, finally, Scott Steiner.

All the while, the two teams waged war on each other in a manner most awesome.

At one point, the faces all put the heels in figure four leg locks at the same time in one of the main highlights of the match.

Later, Pillman and Sid found themselves alone in one of the two rings.

Big Sid lifted Brian up for his signature powerbomb, but there wasn’t room. As such, Pillman’s legs struck the cage roof and he landed head-first on the match.

Sid quite visibly checked that Pillman was ok before picking him up for a second devastating (though thankfully not life-threatening promo).

At that point, Brian’s buddy, El Gigante ran to the ring and declared that his fallen friend was in no fit state to continue.

Referee Nick Patrick agreed and called off the match, giving the win to The Horsemen.
Your Winners: The Four Horsemen

As Gigante carried a lifeless Pillman out of the arena, the Horsemen celebrated having emerged victorious in one of the best matches of that year, if not that decade.

Finally, Patrick told JR and Dream that he stood by his decision as he didn’t want to be responsible for Pillman getting hurt.

Then, all was left was for our announcers to recap some of the night’s highlights and, with that, Wrestle War ‘91 was over.






I started this review asking whether Wrestle War 1991 was capable of living up to the hype.

Having watched the whole thing, I can not categorically say yes, yes it was.

Though not every match was perfect, there was a lot of good to great stuff here leading up to a phenomenal War Games match that would end up going down as a classic.



Thursday, 27 January 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1990 - Collision Course

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Event Poster
December 16, 1990, 
Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri

It's entirely fitting that Starrcade 1990 - Collision Course was the last Starrcade event to have an association with the National Wrestling Alliance and the first to feature the proper WCW branding that us fans would go on to know, love, and instantly recognise.

Why?

Simple:

In the early days, Starrcade was a place were old-school stars like Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, and, of course, Ric Flair, would all go to war with their opponents on cards steeped in NWA tradition and straight-up professional wrestling.

Tonight, as Sting looked set to defend the iconic World Heavyweight Championship against the goofy Black Scorpion, it was becoming more and more obvious that this was a company moving away from that tradition and old-school pro wrestling approach and towards the kind of ill-fated attempts at sports entertainment that would give the guys over at Wrestlecrap enough ammunition for years.






Still, this wasn't yet the kind of show dominated by the likes of the Ding Dongs, Oz, and other awful gimmicks. The Black Scorpion aside, there was still a lot of straight-up wrestling to be enjoyed here.

Would that help make this a good show, or would Ole Anderson's voice overs, a goofy guy in a mask, and a storyline that its creators were clearly scrambling to find a decent ending for, all put a dampener on things?

Let's head to the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri to find out, shall we?

On a Colission Course

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Jim Ross and Paul Heyman called all the action

Tonight's show opened with one of WCW's usually naff opening videos, this one featuring some of tonight's stars featured in the shape of actual stars which floated through the cosmos before a bunch of rocks exploded because, you know, COLISSIONS and stuff. 

With that uninspired opening out of the way, our announcers Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously welcomed us to Starrcade and ran through some of tonight's matches before sending it on down to your writer's favorite ring announcer, Gary Michael Capetta

The Opening Ceremonies

For his first act of the evening, GMC introduced us to a man he called "The Greatest Promoter of All Time," Sam Muchnik

After waiting patiently in the corner with Missy Hyatt on his arm, Muchnik took center stage and began to speak with the microphone so far away from his face that it was hard to hear him properly.

From what we could hear, Muchnik put over professional wrestling as the greatest and oldest sport in the world, thanked Ted Turner, Jim Herd, and a bunch of WCW excutives, and finally welcomed us to the Kiel Auditorium.

This was followed by the playing of the national anthem and, finally, our opening contest. 

Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. The Z-Man

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Bobby Eaton faced The Z-Man in a good match

This was Bobby Eaton's first PPV singles match, and what a match it was. 

He and The Z-Man gave a great performance from start to finish and the results were utterly enjoyable. 

No nonsense, no fancy gimmicks (apart from Beautiful Bobby weirdly being billed as from "The Dark Side"), just straight-up pro wrestling the way it was meant to be done. 

After a fantastic opener, Z-Man missed a top-rope dropkick, allowing Eaton to roll him up for the one, the two, and the three.
Your Winner: Beautiful Bobby Eaton 

Somewhere out in the arena, Tony Schiavone interviewed Dick The Bruiser

The ring veteran had originally been scheduled to officiate the finals of the upcoming tag team tournament but now he was going to referee the cage match between Sting and The Black Scorpion later on in the show.

With that in mind, The Bruiser, sounding like he'd smoked 100 packs of cigarettes a day for 100 years, told Schiavone that since he was undefeated in cage matches, he was the perfect man for the job. 

Alrighty then.

The Parade of Nations 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Pat O' Conner Memorial Tag Team Tournament Brackets

Up next, Garry Michael Capletta MC'd what he called "The Parade of Nations."

Basically, this was a group of attractive women who walked down the entrance way and back, each one carrying the flag for a different country involved in the upcoming Pat O'Conner Memorial International Tag Team Tournament.

After each of the flags had been displayed, Jim Ross and Paul E. Heyamn looked at the tournament brackets before our show finally got underway. 

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 

(South Africa) Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk vs. (USA) The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

If you recall, Ted 'Flyboy Rocco Rock' Petty was playing the role of Col. Deklerk with either Ray Apollo the man most likley to be Sgt. Krueger, though please leave me a comment if I'm wrong on that one. 

The two had earned their right to compete in this tournament by winning a sub-standard match against another "South African" team back at Clash of The Champions XIII, though this match was somehow even worse. 

It was, for all intents and purposes, the briefest of squash matches. 

The South African team (neither of which were actually South African) would try for a move, Rick and Scott Steiner countered it, and that was that for about three minutes until Scotty hit the Frankensteiner to put this mess behind us. 
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers (advance to the next round)

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 
(Team Great Britain) Gentleman Chris Adams & Norman Smiley vs. (Team Mexico) Konnan & Rey Misteric)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Konan and Rey Mysteric

Here we had Konan teaming with Rey Jr's uncle, Rey Mysterio, though apparently WCW couldn't agree on what to call him.

GMC introduced him as "Rey Mysterio," all of the graphics had him listed as "Rey Misteric" and later, Jim Ross called him "Rey Mysterioso."

Whatever he was called, Rey Sr., Konnan, Norman Smiley and Chris Adams gave us another fun match which surpassed the last tag team match by a thousand miles. 

Moving at a fast pace with plenty of high-flying and technical offence, this was a very good effort that kept the fans (including this one) highly entertained from first to last. 

After an entertaining contest, the Mexican duo picked up the win to go on to face The Steiners later in the show.
Your Winners: Konnan & Rey Misteric/Mysterio/Mysterioso

Post match, Mysterio dove over the top rope, missing Chris Adams by a quarter mile and taking himself out. It was a silly move. 

A Word With Wallstreet

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Missy Hyatt interviews Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet

Out in the arena, Missy Hyatt interviewed Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet, both of whom were confident that Wallstreet would beat his rival Terry Taylor in under eight minutes.

Why? Because Ms. York's computer had declared it so, of course. 

This wasn't the greatest promo segment in the world, but it served its purpose, and the whole computer gimmick was always fun.

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1:
(Team New Zealand) The Royal Family (Rip Morgan and Jack Victory) vs. (Team Japan) The Great Muta & Mr. Saito 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Mr Saito hurts Jack Victory as The Great Muta look on


This wasn't the best of the three tag team matches we'd seen so far, but it was still a decent effort with some good action. 

Of course, in order to fit a whole tournament on the show as well as other matches, all of these opening contests were kept quite short, but that was a good thing as it meant none of these matches dragged and were each pretty explosive in their own different ways. 

After a pretty good few minutes of action, The Great Muta drilled Jack Victory with a suplex to pick up the win for his team. 
Your Winners: The Great Muta & Mr. Saito 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Mr Saito and The Great Muta celebrate their victory


Post-match, Paul E. interviewed Mr. Saito and his silent partner, The Great Muta

Saito insisted that he and Muta didn't care who they had to face in the tournament, they were the best team and would prove it tonight.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 
(Team Canada) Bull Johnson & Troy Montour vs. (Team U.S.S.R) vs. Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov 

I'll be honest with you, dear readers, I've never heard of a single one of these competitors and Googling around doesn't seem to turn up much beyond a few sparse Cage Match profiles. 

The crowd clearly weren't too familiar with these two teams either as the match played out to near silence despite it being a technically competent performance. 

The men from the Soviet Union were billed as accomplished amateur wrestlers and Olympic athletes and thus used their skills to keep Bull Johnson & Troy Montour suitably grounded until a big-time German suplex sent Team U.S.S.R into the next round.
Your Winners: Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov

Following the bell, the Canadians constantly tried to get at their opponents, only for the referee to hold them back. 

Sting is Ready


WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Sting gives a backstage Interview about his match with The Black Scorpion


Out in the back, Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting.

Cool, calm, and collected, the World Heavyweight Champion insisted that he was more than ready to take on The Black Scorpion and reveal his rival's identity once and for all.

A far cry from the Stinger's usual hyped-up, SHOUT-REALLY-EXCITEDLY promo style, this was good stuff that showed the champ was taking things seriously and lent a molecule of credibility to what had otherwise been a ridiculous storyline.

This was then followed by a look back at a confrontation between Terry Taylor and the duo of Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York which had taken place on WCW Saturday Night, leading us to our next match.

Terry Taylor vs. Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York) 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Alexandra York leads Michael Wallstreet into action


Given Wallstreet and York's insistence that Taylor could be beaten in 8 minutes, a countdown clock displayed in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen for the entirety of the match.

Fortunately, it didn't distract too much from what was a solid yet unspectacular match.

The former Red Rooster came out swinging from the opening bell, battering his arch-nemesis with gusto before Wallstreet took control and maintained it for the majority of the match.

After a decent outing, the one-time Varsity Club member hit the Wallstreet Crash to win the match with 1 minute, 42 seconds to spare.
Your Winner: Michael Wallstreet

The match was followed by a commercial for the upcoming Wrestlewar 1991 PPV coming up in February. The show was set to feature a War Games match and, I have to be honest, I'm looking forward to watching it. 

The Motor City Mad Man & Big Cat vs. Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey

You know what a show featuring a seven-match tag team tournament needs? more tag team matches! 

More importantly, this was the first time we'd seen Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey teaming as The Skyscrapers on PPV since Halloween Havoc 1989, although Jim Ross informed us that Sid was still a member of the Four Horsemen. 

Interestingly, I didn't even have time to type that sentence before the whole the whole match was over.

Sid and Big Dan pummelled their opponents and destroyed The Motor City Madman with a spiked powerbomb in barely sixty seconds.

The crowd were hot for The Skyscrapers, but this was really nothing. 
Your Winners: The Skyscrapers 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - The Skyscrapers manhandle Paul E. Dangerously


After the match, Dangerously tried to interview The Skyscrapers, telling the crowd that this was a one-night only reunion. To correct him, Sid and Spivey lifted the announcer up and intimitated him by insisting that they would decide whether or not it was a one-night only thing.

Ricky Morton & 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich (w/ Robert Gibson) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael 'P.S' Hayes & Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin w/ Little Richard Marley)   

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Jimmy Garvin confronts Little Richard Marley


You know, by the time this match ended, we were only one hour and twenty minutes into the show and we'd already seen eight matches. Apparently, there are 14 on this card, so it looks like we're going to be here a while. 

That little grumble aside, this whole feud had come about when The Fabulous Freebirds had taken credit for destroying Robert Gibson's leg, forcing his partner Ricky Morton to tag with 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich in the meantime. 

Gibson accompanied his partner to the ring tonight while hobbling down on crutches and at various points getting involved in the match.

The match itself was OK. 

The crowd were on fire, which helped proceedings, but the actual action never went beyond decent, which pretty much sums up most of Starrcade 1990 so far. 

Towards the finish, Little Richard Marley went to jump off the top rope to assist Michael Hayes in breaking one of their opponents' legs, but Gibson knocked Marley off the ropes and straight into Jimmy Garvin. Garvin grabbed Marley by the throat, allowing Morton to get the roll-up for the three count.
Your Winners: Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich

Post-match, the Freebirds beat up Marley and double-suplexed him. Morton and Rich ran in for the save, but while they were distracted, Hayes and Garvin simply left the ring and knocked Gibson on his ass with a double clothesline. 

Stan 'The Larriat' Hansen Explains How a Strap Match Works

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Tony Schiavone looks disgusted as he interviews US Champion Stan Hansen


Out on the arena floor, Tony Schaivone interviewed US Champion Stan 'The Larriat' Hansen

As wild and out of control as ever, Hansen explained that he was defending the title in a "Texas Larriat" match and began to outline the rules, which were basically those of a strap match.

Hansen was a lot of fun here.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament - Semi Final
Team Mexico (Konnan & Rey Mysterio) vs. Team USA (Rick & Scott Steiner)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Tony Schiavone interviews Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

This was another one of those matches that just sort of seemed to be there. It was neither good nor bad, but just kind of happened.

The Steiners beat up on Konnan for a bit and nailed him with their patented top rope bulldog, then they beat up on Rey Mysterio, who Rick Steiner eventually put away with a powerbomb.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Back on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone interviewed Four Horsemen members Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

The two started their promo while we were shown a video of Ric Flair recently getting dragged out of his limosine and attacked (hence Windham substituting for him tonight). 

This made it almost impossible to hear what Anderson was saying, and it was only later on that we heard him raging about how he and Windham had nothing to lose and would take it to Doom in their upcoming street fight.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament - Semi Final
Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov vs. Mr. Saito & The Great Muta 

This was much better than the previous match, but it wasn't fantastic or anything, just some very competent wrestling displayed in a very short space of time, all leading to a win for the Japanese contingent when Mr. Saito drilled one of the Russian dudes into the mat.
Your Winners: Mr. Saito & The Great Muta 

Out on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone spoke to Doom and their manager, Teddy Long, about the upcoming streetfight. 

An intense promo which -along with the earlier Horsemen promo- made you really believe that the two teams were vying for blood, this one saw Ron Simmons talk about how much he and Butch Reed had needed to fight for everything they had, while Reed himself claimed to have invented the street fight.

OK then.

Texas Larriat Match for the United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Stan Hansen vs. Lex Luger 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Stan Hansen chokes Lex Luger in the corner


This was a compelling match which proved to be one of the best things on the card up until this point. 

Hansen brawled and mauled Luger while The Total Package used his size and brute strength to overpower the champion in an exciting contest which saw both men touch all three corners on multiple occasions.

Eventually, Luger got the fourth corner but took referee Marc Curtis out in the process. 

With the announcers claiming that a prone Curtis simply hadn't seen Luger hit that final corner, Nick Patrick came out and the match continued with Hansen finally touching all four corners.

However, just when you thought it was all over, Curtis popped back up and revealed that he had seen Luger hit all four corners after all, giving him the victory, and the title. 

This was good stuff.
Your Winner and NEW United States Champion: Lex Luger 

Post match, Lex gave a ringside promo to Jim Ross, telling him just how good it felt to once again be the new US Champion. 

World Championship Wrestling World Team Championship Street Fight
WCW Tag Team Champions Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Arn Anderson & Barry Windham head into battle against Doom


This was a damn fine street fight right up until the silly finish. 

All four men went at it full bore, holding nothing back in a wild, chaotic, and violent street fight that was just incredibly fun to watch from start to..well, almost the finish. 

After a tremendous brawl, Barry Windham rolled up Butch Reed while Ron Simmons simultaneously covered Arn Anderson. Unsure of what to do, referee Nick Patrick simply counted the fall for both teams and the match just...somehow ended.
No Contest

It was a dumb finish, and while I get that the idea was to ensure neither team had to do the job, there's still better ways they could have done this. 

The fighting didn't even end there, either. Both teams brawled to the back as Paul E. and JR got really angry and confused about who had won the match. Eventually, as the Horsemen and Doom were separated, Ross told us that it was a no contest but Doom retained the gold. 

This was then followed by another commercial for Wrestlewar in which the voiceover told us we'd seen MAN VS. METAL. 

Hell yeah, I really hope that match is just some random dude taking on the concept of heavy metal music. 

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament Final
Team Japan (The Great Muta & Mr. Saito) vs. Team USA (Rick & Scott Steiner)

During the introductions, GMC told us that this match would determine the WCW International Tag Team Champions. I'm pretty sure that was just a name only and that the company didn't introduce a third tag team title. 

This was another good match, although it did seem a little too similiar to some of the other contests in this tournament. 

The early part saw Scotty putting on a clinic in finesse with The Great Muta before The Dog Faced Gremlin tagged in and matched power and brawn with Mr. Saito. That was a great way to open the match before Scott played face in peril and even ate a spiked piledriver which Jim Ross was sure was going to end things.

It didn't. Scotty managed to make a blind tag to his brother, after which Rick came off the top rope with with a sunset flip for the cover, the count, and the tournament.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Afterwards, The Steiners headed up to the top of the entrance way to meet Tony Schiavone.

Surrounded by the same flag-bearing women from the start of the show, with the giant 7-8ft trophy behind them, Schiavone introduced WCW president Jim Herd who first congratulated all of the teams who had taken part in the competition before finally congratulating "the two best superheavyweights [he'd] ever seen, The Steiner Brothers." 

As fireworks went off, Rick and Scott didn't give a traditional celebratory speech, but instead tipped their hats to the servicemen who were then currently fighting in Kuwait.

Steel Cage Title vs. Mask Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. The Black Scorpion

Special Guest Referee: Dick The Bruiser

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Ric Flair disguised as The Black Scorpion


This was an interesting one in that the pre and post match goings on were far more interesting and entertaining than anything that actually happened bell to bell.

Things began with a gaggle of men dressed in Black Scorpion attire walking to the ring before a large contraption was lowered from the ceiling. 

JR mentioned that it looked like a space craft, though to this fan it looked much more like a giant lampshade. The lampshade-craft folded in on itself as The Black Scorpion's voice boomed through the PA, telling us that the other Scorpions were just his messengers while he was the real deal. 

The contraption then unfolded to reveal the challenger himself before returning to the ceiling. Cameras panned in on the Scorpion, and if it wasn't immediately and abundantly obvious to you who was underneath the mask then you'd clearly never seen a single NWA/WCW show in your life. 

After Sting made his entrance, the match got under way and proceeded to be the most boring thing you've ever witnessed. 

Half the problem was that despite being one of the greatest of all time, the man under the mask was unable to wrestle as he usually would, sticking to a very generic style in an attempt to hide his identity.

It didn't work. 

At various points, the fans began chanting the Scorpion's real identity and that was just about the only time they chanted anything.

Seriously, in all the time that I've been doing this, I don't think I've ever watched a main event play out to a quieter crowd.

Towards the finish, Sting ripped the challenger's mask off, only to reveal that he was wearing a second mask with a very distinctive tuft of blonde hair poking out of the back.

After a fairly dismal contest, Sting hit a flying crossbody to pick the predictable win.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

Post match, Sting attempted to unmask his nemesis, only for the fake Scorpion messengers to hit the ring and attack. The champion and special referee Dick The Bruiser began to attack them and strip them of their masks, revealing each man to be some generic jobber.

Before Sting could get his hands on the real deal, however, Anderson and Windham hit the ring and joined the fake Scorpions in a beat down. 

Z-Man, Ricky Morton and -I think- Terry Taylor all tried to help but couldn't get into the cage until The Steiners came down with some bolt cutters and finally -after a bit of a struggle- got the cage unlocked.

That managed to turn the tide, giving Sting an opportunity to finally rip his rival's mask off and reveal him to be, yes, Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Well, colour me shocked. 

The match sucked, but I won't lie that the ending was pretty exciting.







That boring main event aside, Starrcade 1990: Collision Course was not at all a bad show. 

Though I'm not normally a fan of one-night tournaments, most of the Pat O' Conner stuff was decent while Wallstreet/Taylor and the opening Eaton/Z-Man clash were enjoyable in their own way.

The US title match was a lot of fun too, though match of the night simply has to go to the compelling Horsemen/Doom street fight which is well worth a watch.

Perhaps not the greatest Starrcade of all time, but certainly a decent show until it fell off a cliff with the main event. 

Thursday, 20 May 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - Settling The Score

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - Event Poster
October 28, 1989 
Philadelphia Civic Center,  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 was the first such event of that name, kicking off an October tradition that would remain with World Championship Wrestling for the duration of the next 11 years. 

In that time, the event became perhaps better-known for the company's unabashed Halloween-themed goofiness as for anything that actually took place in the ring. 

Sure, it gave us as much crap (Chamber of Horrors, I'm looking at you) as it did pure gold (Hello, Mysterio vs. Guerrero), but when most people think of Halloween Havoc, they think of the giant pumpkin and graveyard set, Eric Bischoff dressed as a vampire, or Tony Schiavone being a bit creepy

Yes, over the next decade, it would become abundantly obvious that WCW loved Halloween and that, in turn, made this fan (and no doubt many others), love Halloween Havoc. 

Before we got to any of that though, there was this - the first ever Halloween Havoc which sadly did not feature that epic pumpkin.

Still, despite the lack of over-sized seasonal fruits, let's head down to Philadelphia and review the show any way, shall we? 






Spooky Times

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - Spooky graphics for the main event
Tonight’s opening video wasn’t one of the longest in professional wrestling history but it was one of the most joyfully corny ones and perfectly encapsulated all that Halloween Havoc cheese we mentioned earlier.

As a ‘spooky’ theme that sounded like something off a Sega Master System game chunnered away, we zoomed in on four animated graves of Sting, Ric Flair, The Great Muta, and Terry Funk.

As if that wasn’t enough to scare you out of your wits, the ‘ghosts’ of those four men rose from their graves.

OK, so it sounds crap, and by today’s standards it was, but there was something so innocently naff about it that this fan couldn’t help but smile.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - Chris Cruise made his WCW debut here
And, if you’re wondering why it was those four men in particular that were rising from the dead, it was because they’d been involved in a huge brawl at the end of The Great American Bash and were set to settle the score here tonight.

After that fun little intro, we went live to the arena where Mike Rotunda and Tom Zenk were stood around in the ring while announcers Jim Ross and Bob Caudle welcomed us to Halloween Havoc.

After a brief bit of patter, the pair sent it up to their other colleagues, Gordon Sollie and Chris Cruise, the latter making his debut appearance in any NWA/WCW PPV.

Neither man said anything particularly interesting other than telling us which wrestlers

Captain Mike Rotunda vs. ‘The Z-Man’

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - 'The Z-Man' Tom Zenk faced Captain Mike
Finally, after hanging around in the ring for nearly three minutes, Captain Mike and Tom Zenk were able to get their match underway.

Of course, Zenk -also making his WCW PPV debut- wasn’t actually called Tom
Zenk here. He was simply ‘The Z-Man.’

The actual match was pretty decent. Nothing fancy or overly dramatic, sure, but a competent match between two guys who just looked like they wanted to beat the other one in a wrestling match.

It was well done, with Ross telling us the story that Z-Man hadn’t really been tested since arriving in the NWA and thus the devious Rotunda (who took charge for large chunks of the bout) was his first big challenge.

Fortunately for the man of Z, he prevailed, getting the better of Rotunda at the end of a 13+ minute match.
Your Winner: The Z-Man

Out in the back, WWF Legend Bruno Sammartino told spoke to Chris Cruise about his role as the special guest referee in tonight’s Thunderdome main event.

The interview was mainly here to put over how intense that main event was going to be and, to that end, it was an effective it not necessary exciting promo.

Six Man Tag Team Match
Dr. Death Steve Williams and The Midnight Express (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu, Samu, and The Samoan Savage w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  The Samoan Swat Team
In case you’re wondering, The Samoan Savage was Tama/The Tonga Kid who Retro Pro Wrestling readers will have last met as part of The Islanders all the way back at the 1988 Royal Rumble.

Speaking of The Samoans, they made their entrance doing an awesome fire dance ritual thing which was actually the best part of this entire 20 minute match.

Once they got the ring, both teams kind of just wandered around for a while without doing very much before having a good old-fashioned stare down on the outside of the ring.

It was the better part of four minutes before any two wrestlers actually touched each other, and even then there was more random stalling.

Eventually, things settled down and developed into an ok match that wasn’t horrible but wasn’t terribly exciting either.

About ten minutes longer than it needed to be, this one came to an end when Jim Cornette got up on the apron and waffled The Big Kahuna Sir Oliver Humperdink with his tennis racket.

Tama then pushed Sweet Stan Lane into Cornette, knocking the manager to the floor and the manager to the mat where he was promptly pinned.
Your Winners: The Samoan Swat Team

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Terry Funk looked ripped AF
Backstage, Gordon Sollie interviewed Terry Funk as well as The Great Muta’s manager Garry Hart about tonight’s Thunderdome cage match.

No joke, Terry Funk look more ripped than this long-time fan has ever seen him before.

Flexing his six pack, The Funkster talked about starting a new dance craze in Philadelphia called the 10,000 Watt Boogie, all while Garry Hart stood around looking completely confused.

The Cuban Assassin vs. ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich

The WWE Network dubbed over Tommy Rich’s theme music with what sounds like something that was rejected as the theme to a daytime TV soap.

He started the match in charge, continually taking down The Cuban Assasin and locking him in an arm bar before the Assasin took over and decided he was also going to focus on his opponent's arm.

Again, it wasn’t awful or anything, but it was like watching a throw-away match from WCW Saturday Night rather than a PPV calibre contest.

At one point, they did the spot where The Cuban Assasin went for a piledriver but Rich reversed it into a back body drop. Though basic, that move almost always gets at least a mild pop but here it was met with absolute silence.

Eventually, after ten minutes or so, Rich scored the win with a Lou Thesz press which is probably the only time anyone that wasn’t Thesz himself used that move as a finisher.
Your Winner: Tommy Rich

Backstage, The Fabulous Freebirds shouted a lot to Gordon Sollie about how they were going to destroy The Dynamic Dudes.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin vs. The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace w/ Jim Cornette )

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Shane Douglas puts a hurting on Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin
The Dynamic Dudes
were the babyfaces here but the Philadelphia crowd were having none of that and loudly booed them at every opportunity.

Maybe that was because they’d seen their awful match against The Skyscrapers at The Great American Bash ‘89, maybe it was because they just hated their cheesy gimmick or maybe it was simply because they loved The Fabulous Freebirds.

Either way, watching Johnny Ace & Shane Douglas got the largest heel reaction of the night was far more entertaining than anything either team could have done in the ring.

Not that the match was bad or anything, it was pretty much as good as you were going to get from these two teams, but it was always going to be better known for the ‘bizarro world’ reactions than anything else.

In the end, Johnny & Shane picked up Jimmy Garvin but he landed on top of one of them to get the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners and Still World Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Free Birds

Out in the back, The Steiner Brothers gave a messy interview to Chris Cruise about their upcoming match with the debuting team of Doom.

Rick Steiner’s childlike hyperactivity was, of course, left over from his way previous ‘not the sharpest tool in the box’ gimmick whereas Scott Steiner was just...well, he was Scott Steiner.

The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Doom (Doom 1 & Doom 2 w/ Woman)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Woman led Doom into battle against The Steiner Brothers
Although I think most people probably know this by now, Doom were Ron Simmons and the late Butch Reed.

Tonight, as they stepped out onto the stage, Garry Michael Capetta called them The Tag Team Combination of Doom and I honestly think that’s an even cooler name for them.

The match itself was pretty good too. I’m not going to lie to you, dear readers, but I am partial to a bit of old school Steiner Brothers, and though this wasn’t the best match you’ll ever see them in, it was a decent effort all the same.

Not too surprisingly, Woman’s new team picked up the victory when Woman slipped one of her men an International Object which he stuck up his mask and head butted Rick with.
Your Winners: Doom

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Gordon Sollie interviewed Lex Luger about his match with Brian Pillman
Continuing the simple match-promo-match formula, Lex Luger was featured next, telling Gordon Sollie about his upcoming US title defence against Brian Pillman.

Proving that he was always at his best as a heel, Luger claimed that Pillman didn’t have what it took to compete in high profile matches.

When asked how many times he’d been champion, Luger merely replied that he would continue to hold the gold for as long as he wanted.

He’s been champion more than once, proving he can be beat” said Sollie as The Total Package walked off, meaning either Luger had flubbed his lines and there was a point they were supposed to make, or just that Sollie was feeling particularly sassy that day.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Lex Luger vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Lex Luger and Brian Pillman stole the show
The two hadn’t even locked up before Jim Ross started talking about each man’s respective football careers

To be fair, this one time when it at least kind of made sense, as Pillman came down to the ring with a harem of football cheerleaders in tow.

Once they finally did lock up, this turned into a surprisingly good match with great energy and a hot Philly crowd who cheered Luger every bit as much as they did Flyin’ Brian.

The best match on the card up to that point, this was a solid outing that saw Luger almost decapitate Pillman with a stun gun on the ropes for the win.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Lex Luger

Out in the back, Hawk and Animal told Chris Cruise that they’d been underdogs their whole lives which I somehow doubt was true.

In a typically shouty promo, the two promised to topple The Skyscrapers in our upcoming match.

The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious & Dangerous Dan Spivey w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  The Skyscrapers faced The Road Warriors
Though there were a couple of dodgy spots here and there, this was nevertheless a good big man match in which big Sid clearly shone as a main-event-star-in-waiting.

Things came to an end when The Skyscrapers used a giant key that Teddy Long had been carrying with him for unknown reasons and beat up their opponents with it.

Before that it was a very good showing.

Your Winners via Disqualification: The Road Warriors

Out in the back, Chris Cruise caught up with Sting, Ric Flair, and Ole Anderson for their thoughts about tonight’s main event.

While Ole promised not to throw the towel in for his team, an over excited Flair JUST....SHOUTED...WORDS...LIKE THUNDERDOME...YES! And Sting confirmed that it was indeed Halloween and it was going to be HAMMOCK!

He probably meant Havoc though, right?

Thunderdome Cage Match
National Wrestling Alliance World Television Champion The Great Muta & Terry Funk (w/ Garry Hart) vs. National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair & Sting (w/ Ole Anderson)

Special Guest Referee: Bruno Sammartino

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Ric Flair teamed with Sting to face The Great Muta and Terry Funk
I wanted so much to like this match, I really did.

Flair, Sting, Muta and Funk, four legends and awesome workers, one unique cage match concept. It could have been epic.

Sadly it was too convoluted and nothing that happened made no sense.

The Thunderdome cage match was basically a huge cage that, not unlike the Hell in a Cell structure we all know today, went all the way around the outside of the ring rather than around the apron like normal wrestling cages.

The top of the cage curved inwards so that nobody could escape that way and if they tried they would get electrocuted because we were told the top of the cage was electrified.

Not that any of the wrestlers needed to bother climbing out of the cage anyway, as to win, one of the ‘Terminators’ (Anderson and Hart) had to throw the towel in for their team.

Oh, and there was all kinds of decorations around the cage-like trees and Halloween masks and a hangman’s noose that they’d take turns swinging on like it was a Tarzan rope.

So far, so interesting, right?

But it all started to feel off right from the beginning.

Remember, this was a match between people who hated each other so much that they’d been unable to stop brawling at the last PPV and couldn’t be separated.

Tonight, however, all four men came to the ring and happily waited patiently without touching each other while the cage was lowered and put into place.

Then, one of the decorations at the top of the cage immediately caught fire but this was OK because it played into the whole ‘the cage is electric’ real.

Amazingly, The Great Muta sprinted up to the top of the cage and put the fire out with his green mist.

It was legitimately the coolest moment in the entire match.

Things then got underway properly and gave us some decent action but I found myself distracted by the fact that the competitors started randomly climbing the cage.

It wasn’t even as though they were trying to escape because they wanted to get away from their opponents or anything like that. It seemed simply a case of “well this cage is here abs it’s got some cool stuff on it, we better use it.”

Ok, so it was silly but you could sort of understand them wanting to make the most of the gimmick, but what was really dumb was the whole electric cage thing.

At one point, Muta got two-thirds of the way up the cage and acted like he’d been shocked but then later he was hanging right off the top seemingly impervious to all that deadly electricity.

Lack of consistency aside, I will say that the finish was pretty cool.

Flair put Funk in the figure four while Sting lept off the top with a couple of splashes onto the Funkster.

Meanwhile, Muta went to swipe at Sammartino, but Big Bruno planted the Japanese star with a big right. Garry Hart got on the apron to protest but Ole Anderson tackled him abs Hart’s towel flew into the ring, ending the match.
Your Winners: Sting and Ric Flair

Again, there was some decent action in this match, it was just dragged down by making no sense at all.









Perhaps the best thing you could say about Halloween Havoc 1989 is that it was underwhelming.

The main event had so much promise but was nowhere near as good as it could have been. Meanwhile, most of the undercard could be described as “OK” at best, with only Luger/Pillman really standing out as a compelling bout.

Watch for the novelty of seeing the first Halloween Havoc show, but don’t expect to be blown away by the wrestling.


Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.