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 Tom Zenk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Zenk. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 June 2021

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions X - Texas Shoot Out

WCW Clash of the Champions X - Texas Shoot Out
February 6, 1990
Memorial Coliseum, Corpus Christi, Texas

Long time Retro Pro Wrestling readers will probably be aware that we haven’t exactly gone about writing WCW reviews in any kind of logical fashion.

After throwing in a random 1992 review written years before this blog existed, the regular WCW coverage started with the 1996 PPVs because I had an urge to relive the formation of the New World Order.

It was only after I then worked all the way through to WCW Greed that I then went back and started from the beginning with NWA Starrcade 1983.

The same goes for Clash of the Champions. I reviewed the first Clash of the Champions (featuring a good Sting vs. Ric Flair match) ages ago and haven’t bothered with the series since.

Today that changes.

From now on, we’ll cover the first five years of 1990s WCW in chronological order, following the storylines between Clash shows and PPVs.

At some point when I’m in the mood, we‘ll go back and look at the 1988 - 1989 Clash shows,  but for now, let’s dive into Clash of the Champions 10: Texas Shoot Out






Welcome to the Shoot Out Saloon 

WCW Clash of the Champions X - Jim Cornette and Jim Ross
We started tonight’s event with the kind of opening video that could only have come from the early 90s.

It took the form of a Western-themed video game in which pictures of various wrestlers would pop up in and around buildings with names like ‘The Shoot Out Saloon.’

As soon as the pictures popped up, the wrestlers would promptly get shot in the head and fall down.

It was weird, wonderful, hilarious and terrible all at the same time.

Live in the arena, Jim Ross welcomed us to the Texas Shoot Out before introducing us to his broadcast colleague, the one and only James E. Cornette.

Ross then proceeded to run down tonight’s card, but he was talking so quickly that it was impossible to follow anything that he was saying.

Fortunately, Cornette spoke a little more slowly as he shilled the opportunity to talk to Sting on the WCW hotline later that evening.

What a Rush!

WCW Clash of the Champions X - The Road Warriors faced The Skyscrapers
From there, Ross and Cornette sent us down to ringside where a tuxedo-clad Terry Funk told us that he was now called ‘Tuxedo Terry.’

Funk said nothing of note here. His job seemed mainly to shout out various wild-west themed phrases to hype up the crowd. It was entertaining, sure, but probably unnecessary.

I’m also going to assume that Funk was injured or just didn’t want to wrestle here because only WCW would book a Texas-themed show and have proud Texan Terry Funk reduced to a bit-part commentator.

Anyway, once Funk had finished shouting about nothing, he sent it to the back where the much-more subdued Gordon Sollie interviewed The Road Warriors.

The two gave us their typical shouty promo in which they promised to capture the tag team titles.

Although I could be wrong (especially after skipping two years of Clash shows), this was the first event I ever recalling hearing Hawk utter his famous ‘What a rush!’ line. 

The Samoan Savage (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams 

WCW Clash of the Champions X - The Samoan Savage faced Dr. Death
The Samoan Savage
vs. Dr. Death - doesn’t it just sound like one of those made up matches you’d see featured when a sitcom needs to feature pro wrestling as part of its storyline?

Fortunately, WCW made sure that you didn’t have to watch a sitcom if you wanted a good wrestling-related laugh. They provided their own in the form of a pre-match vignette entitled ‘Dr. Death: Prescription for Punishment’ which may just be the greatest thing you’ve ever seen in your life.

It featured Dr. Death as an actual doctor, or rather a paramedic who burst out of an ambulance wearing his wrestling trunks and some kind of vaguely medical-looking shirt.

After yelling about rescuing somebody, the good doctor stormed off and stormed back carrying some random dude on his shoulders. After throwing the unfortunately unconscious randomer into the back of the ambulance, Williams proceeded to give him the worst CPR you’ve ever seen.

When that unsurprisingly failed to revive the hapless soul, Williams yelled ‘ QUICK! TO THE HOSPITAL!’ and the ambulance drove off with Dr. Death hilariously pressing his face against the glass window.

It was just so bizarre.

Were we to believe that Dr. Death was an actual doctor now? 

If so, why was he doing the job of a paramedic?

More importantly, what medical service in the world would allow their staff to run around in their underpants?

More importantly than even that, why would any patient in the world want to be treated by a man named Dr. Death who -if the title of this thing was to be believed- could only prescribe punishment?

I spent so much time pondering all these questions that I paid hardly any attention to the match which, to be fair, wasn’t all that interesting anyway.

The most interesting thing to happen was that Woman came down to ringside, took a seat, and looked absolutely beautiful.

In the end, Williams beat The Samoan Savage with a backslide.

Thank goodness it wasn’t something more serious so that he didn’t have to try and revive him with more crappy CPR.
Your Winner: Dr. Death

The hilarity continued next with a video promoting Wrestle War ‘90: Wild Thing.

I almost called it a rap video before I realized that would be insulting to the rap genre. What it was, was clips of various wrestlers set to an 8-bit beat while a guy would spit out fierce rhymes like:

‘The Steiners,
They’re brothers,
They wrestle as one...
...but they do not scare
The brothers Ander-son”

I’ve a feeling that when I wrap up this review later in going to recommend watching not for any of the actual matches but simply for all these insane videos.

Sting is Out of the Horsemen

WCW Clash of the Champions X - Ole Anderson kicked Sting out of the Four Horsemen
After teaming with Ric Flair in the main event of Halloween Havoc ‘89 and then seemingly earning his respect by beating him in a singles match at Starrcade ‘89, Sting had officially been a member of The Four Horsemen for all of about six weeks.

Tonight, he came to the ring with the Nature Boy and The Brothers Ander-Son. Ostensibly, they were out for an interview with their former rival Terry Funk, but it turned out it was all a rouse so that Ole Anderson could kick Sting out of the group for having the audacity to challenge Flair for the title at Wrestle War. 

To the surprise of nobody, this led to the Horsemen turning heel again by doing a number on Sting.

The Mod Squad (Spike & Basher) vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman & The Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  The Mod Squad
Just when you thought you’d heard of all the wrestlers who could have possibly mattered, along come The Mod Squad to prove that there’s always going to be a couple of guys who fly under your radar.

To give them credit, Spike and Basher looked to be a competent tag team who performed well as they took the fight to Flyin’ Brian and The Z-Man, but it was pretty clear from their unremarkable appearance and lack of fanfare that their only job was to get the babyfaces over.

To be fair, they did their job well. 

This was an enjoyable (if forgettable) little tag team match with a predictable win for the good guys.
Your Winners: Flyin’ Brian and The Z-Man

Moving on quickly...

Cactus Jack Manson vs. Mil Mascaras

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Cactus Jack Manson faced Mil Mascaras
Our old friend GMC referred to Cactus as Captain Jack Manson, which is probably why Cactus later chased after him and then ended up tripping backwards over a chair in a funny spot.

The actual match was good but, much like the Mod Squad earlier, it was fairly apparent that Manson was there mainly to make  Mil Mascaras look good.

He did that pretty well, counting the Mexican legend’s abundance of headscissor take downs with some wild brawling in a short but entertaining match.

Update: It was only after I finished this review that I was reminded that Foley had spoken about this match in his first book, where he discussed how awful and egotistical Mascaras was, leading to Mick doing his big "flying off the apron" spot to ensure he came away from the match more over than the luchadore legend.

Anyway...



After a few enjoyable minutes, Mascaras kicked his opponent off the apron onto the concrete floor then finished him up with a sweet flying splash for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner: Mil Mascaras

Returning from a commercial break, Cactus staggered into the crowd and headed towards 'The Tough Guys' - a band who had been playing during the ads. 

For seemingly no reason, the future WWF Champion targetted drummer 'Wilde Wolfe' (JT Southern), who for some reason was wearing the exact outfit that Brutus Beefcake is wearing in his Wikipedia page picture.

The two started brawling until cameras cut to the back, where the ever-gorgeous Missy Hyatt insisted that we tune in to see her co-hosting a show with Jim Ross.

Norman Wants Hot Dogs

Elsewhere, Gordon Sollie had to explain to Norman The Lunatic that the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation added to his match with Kevin Sullivan meant anywhere in the arena, not just in the ring.

Clutching a teddy bear and beaming from ear to ear, the big man got very excited about the prospect of taking Sullivan up to the hot dog stand and grabbing a few hot dogs after pinning his arch-nemesis.

Falls Count Anywhere
Kevin Sullivan vs. Norman The Lunatic

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Norman vs. Kevin Sullivan - Falls Count Anywhere
Before Norman made his entrance, we got a vignette of him visiting a petting zoo and talking to a pig as though it were Kevin Sullivan.

Seriously. WTF was I watching here?

Falls counted anywhere in the building, so of course, the two spent 90% of the match brawling in and around the ring before finally making their way backstage for the oh-so-wacky finish.

Sullivan hid in the women's bathroom, which was a big no-no for Norman. The big friendly lunatic at first refused to go in, but when the last remaining lady ran out of there, he stormed in and closed the door behind him.

Cue lots of crashing and banging before Sullivan stepped out of the door and collapsed on the floor, followed by Norman, with Nick Patrick raising his hand in victory.

Although it was a silly finish, most of the actual brawling up to that point was a lot of fun.
Your Winner: Norman the Lunatic 

After the break, we got a live “Funk’s Grill” with The Total Package Lex Luger.

It was very confusing.

Funk had been a babyface back at Starrcade ‘89, had come across as a babyface in the earlier Sting/Horsemen bit, and even started this segment with a babyface-like apology for the heinous beat down of Sting at the hands of Flair and Anderson.

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Terry Funk interviews Lex Luger
Then, from out of nowhere and for seemingly no reason whatsoever, Funk turned on the crowd and started calling them morons.

After ripping on the WCW roster for not having the guts to help him fight off the Horsemen, Funk turned his attention to a man he claimed would help him, but apparently didn’t.

That man was Lex Luger, who spent the majority of his promo time talking about Sting before finally deciding to list off his “allocades” (he meant accolades, presumedly).

Before Luger could get very far with putting himself over, however, Funk snatched the microphone from him and inexplicably began yelling “BUT I’M A COMMENTATOR! I’M A COMMENTATOR!” as if replying to an unreasonable request from Luger that The Total Package hadn’t actually made.

The US Champion then began to talk about his upcoming title defence, but Funk clearly got word in his ear that the segment had to be wrapped up, and that was pretty much that.

This isn’t the first time I’ve said this in this review, but WTF did I just watch? 

The New Skyscrapers (Dangerous Dan Spivey & Mean Mark Callous w/ Theodore Long) The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Precious Paul Ellering)

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Teddy Long led The Skyscrapers into battle
Sid was out injured, so Theodore Long had replaced him with some gangly ginger fella called Mean Mark.

Prior to the bell, we got promos from both teams. Teddy Long put over his men as the most dominant tag team in pro wrestling before we got a video package of Hawk and Animal randomly destroying some cars with sledgehammers and a pneumatic drill to prove how tough they were.

Hawk then promised that he and Animal then promised to topple The Skyscrapers and that's pretty much what they did in this rather non-descript big man match.

After a few minutes of passable action, The Road Warriors hit a Doomsday Device but then the referee seemed to vanish in thin air so The Skyscrapers beat them down for the no-contest.
No Contest

After a quick commercial break, it was onto the next match.

Mask vs. Title Match
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner) vs. Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons)

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Doomed faced The Steiners in a Mask vs. Title match
Before the bell, we got more pre-recorded comments from both teams. Butch Reed cut a terrible promo for Doom in which he promised they would drop a bomb on The Steiners while Scott Steiner literally said nothing more than “Doom! Get Ready!

The actual match was decent enough, with a hot crowd and some good but not great action.

Towards the finish, Rick Steiner ripped Reed’s mask off, put it over his own head and then made the pin.
Your Winners and still tag team champions: The Steiner Brothers 

Afterwards, Ron Simmons made a big deal about finally taking his mask off.

The Horsemen Ride 

Before our main event, we got a backstage interview in which Ric Flair and The Andersons talked to Gordon Sollie.

Naturally, they said nothing about their upcoming match other than Flair off-handedly mentioning that they had one.

Instead, the whole focus was on The Horsemen’s issues with Sting.

It was compelling stuff, sure, but it would have been nice for them to acknowledge their upcoming match.

Cage Match
J-Tex Corporation (Buzz Sawyer, The Dragonmaster, and The Great Muta) vs. The Four Horsemen (NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, Ole Anderson, and Arn Anderson)

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen
The crowds hated The Horsemen for turning on Sting, which made Buzz Sawyer, The Great Muta, and The Dragonmaster the default babyfaces.

Not that the crowds were actually rooting for them or anything.

They spent the entire match chanting for Sting and when the popular fan favourite did show up, they went crazy.

Before Sting could get his hands on Flair, he was pulled away by a referee, Wahoo McDaniel, Tom Zenk, and Brian Pillman.

He later tried again, this time landing awkwardly as he jumped down from the cage and limping away with an injury that would take him out for months.

The actual match was nothing. It served no purpose other than to build tension between Sting and Flair.

It mattered so little that at one point, Buzz Sawyer hit a flying leap off the top of the cage (a move that wasn’t so commonplace in those days) and the crowd didn’t bat an eyelid.

Then, Ole Anderson pinned Sawyer but the crowds didn’t break from their ‘We Want Sting!’ chant to even acknowledge that the match was over.

Honestly, I think all six men could have sat in the ring on their asses playing cards in the nude and the audience wouldn’t have noticed.
Your Winners: The Four Horsemen 

Afterwards, Flair charged after an injured Sting and the two brawled as the credits rolled.









If you’re looking for exciting pro wrestling action, don’t come anywhere near this show.

Ok, some of the matches weren’t awful, but there was nothing that you’d class as ‘must see’ and the main event may as well have not happened at all.

If you’re looking for one of the most hilarious, confusing, cheesy, and baffling shows of all time, then Clash of the Champions 10 is for you.

From Dr. Death’s ambulance skit to Terry Funk’s inexplicable heel turn and the all kinds of insanity in between, this was one of those “so bad it’s good” shows that was ridiculously entertaining for all the wrong reasons.



Other 1990 pro wrestling reviews: 
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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.