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 Tommy Rich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tommy Rich. Show all posts

Friday, 25 February 2022

EVENT REVIEW: Clash of the Champions XIV - Dixie Dynamite

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Dixie Dynamite
January 30, 1991,
Georgia Mountains Center, Gainesville, 

Only six weeks had passed between Clash of the Champions 14: Dixie Dynamite and WCW’s last big show, Starrcade 1990, and yet a lot had happened in that time.

Behind the scenes, Ole Anderson had been stripped of his powers as head of the booking committee following the disastrous Black Scorpion storyline, a fiasco which had ended with Ric Flair being revealed as the mysterious peddler of hackneyed stage magic.

Since Starrcade, Flair had dethroned Sting to reclaim the world title.

It was the right move. As over as Sting was, every attempt by the WCW brain trust to relegate Nature Boy to the midcard had failed.

The fans knew that Flair was special, and as such, any attempt to have him compete lower down on the card simply backfired as his matches outshone more high-profile bouts on that card.

So here he was, back in his rightful place at the top of the mountain, and was now recognized as the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion due to the increasingly strained relationship between WCW and the NWA.

Of course, later that year, Naitch would take the Big Gold Belt over to the WWF, the company from which Dusty Rhodes had just returned in order to take over from Ole on the booking committee and serve as one of our commentators for the evening.

How would things go down as WCW quite literally attempted a fresh start in 1991? Let’s head down to Gainsville, Georgia and find out, shall we?

It’s Time for Dixie Dynamite

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes called the action

Tonight’s show opened with a basic opening that highlighted our two marquee matches before we got some animated credits featuring all of WCW’s major stars.

As the show began, Dusty Rhodes and Jim Ross welcomed us to Clash of the Champions before sending it over to Garry Michael Capetta for the introduction of the US National Anthem.

With all that done, it was on to ringside for our opening contest.

Non-Title Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons) vs. United States Champion Lex Luger and Sting

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Sting waits for a tag from Lex Luger

As Dusty Rhodes told us that their manager, Teddy Long, was absent due to being out on a spending spree, Ron Simmons and Butch Reed came to the ring to their usual theme tune, one which was far too sprightly and energetic for a team called DOOM.

Tonight, they locked up with Sting and Lex Luger in a decent match that was really only memorable for a spot in which Luger and Simmons continually ran into each other with shoulder tackles for a solid minute or so.

Towards the end, the Total Package was attacked by his upcoming Wrestlewar ‘91 opponent, Dan Spivey, leaving Sting to duke it out with the tag team champions solo.

He did his best, but ultimately got back body dropped to the outside by Reed and won the match via DQ due to the ‘no going over the top rope’ rule.
Your Winners via DQ: Sting & Lex Luger

Post match, Doom continued to attack but were eventually sent packing by Sting & Luger.

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Missy Hyatt says the sexiest wrestler is Tom Zenk

Following a commercial break, Missy Hyatt told us that Tom Zenk had won WCW’s Sexiest Wrestler contest due to him having a tan and being single.

We’d see the Z-Man in action next.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Tom Zenk vs. Beautiful Bobby Eaton

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Tom Zenk defends the Tv title against Bobby Eaton

This was a quality match that was about as good as you were going to get from an undercard bout on a Clash of the Champions show.

Beautiful Bobby Eaton had Z-Man’s number for such a large portion of the contest that a victory seemed inevitable, yet at the last possible second, the champion edged his way to victory thanks to a backslide that barely -and I mean barely- earned him the three count.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Tom Zenk

A post-match replay showed that Beautiful Bobby kicked out of the pin attempt before referee Nick Patrick’s hand hit the mat for the third time.

That should have been enough to earn Eaton a rematch, but Zenk had technically already lost the title back to Arn Anderson in a match that hadn’t aired yet, so that wasn’t about to happen.

The York Foundation Expands

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Ms. Alexandra York

Backstage, Alexandra York told us that she had found the perfect wrestler to bring onboard into the York Foundation.

York, of course, would need to add to the ranks of her organization with her main man taking up a new role as a tax man in Connecticut.

‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich & Alan Iron Eagle vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin)

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  The Fabulous Freebirds

This one had all the makings of a decent TV match and would have been a fun watch were rookie Alan Iron Eagle not so inexperienced.

He frequently looked so lost and adrift next to his experimented partner and opponents that I honestly started to feel bad for him.

It was a good effort from Tommy Rich and The Fabulous Freebirds, sure, but nothing anyone was ever going to be raving about afterwards.

After a few minutes of everyone doing their best, Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin blasted Iron Eagle with a double DDT to score the win for the Freebirds.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

Following a quick commercial for the upcoming War Games ‘91 event, Ross and Rhodes spoke to Tony Schiavone and Paul E. Dangerously, who were located elsewhere in the arena.

This was all done to hype Paul E.‘s upcoming arm wrestling match with Missy Hyatt, though all it really achieved was giving Dusty Rhodes a chance to insinuate that Dangerously might be gay,...

...because, you know, this was the 90s and the idea that a man might be homosexual was still a hilarious concept back then. 

Jumpin’ Joey Maggs vs. Sid Vicious

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sid Vicious pins Joey Maggs

Poor Joey Maggs didn’t stand a chance here.

Sid Vicious got a super special entrance, appearing on a rotating podium with a spotlight on him to highlight his enormous, dominating crowd physical presence.

The man from Wherever He Damn Well Pleases then toyed with Maggs for about a minute before putting him out of his misery with a powerbomb.

It wasn’t much of a match, but Sid was awesome and so over that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.
Your Winner: Sid Vicious

Post-match, Sid has his own emergency medical technicians come down to help poor Maggs, but the Four Horsemen member continued to attack Maggs even while On a stretcher.

A commercial for WCW’s new wrestling hotline followed. That number, as I’m sure no WCW fan will ever forget, was 1-900-909-9900

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sid Vicious is interviewed by Tony Schiavone

Heading back to the show, Sid gave an interview to Tony Schiavone in which he boasted that his goal for 1991 was to prove that he did indeed rule the world.

Ricky Morton vs. Terry Taylor

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Terry Taylor headlocks Ricky Morton

I won’t lie, I enjoyed this far more than I ever thought I’d enjoy a Terry Taylor match.

As Jim Ross put over what great friends Taylor and Ricky Morton were, the two spent the first half of the match duking it out in a good face vs. face style match were both proved to be incredibly evenly matched.

That part of the match was good. It was just a pure, honest-to-goodness pro wrestling match with plenty of speed, plenty of holes and counter holds, and generally plenty to enjoy.

Then Alexandra York appeared, and after questioning whether his opponent was in cahoots with her, Taylor smashed Morton from behind and basically turned heel mid-match.

As if Taylor heeling it up and continually pointing at York didn’t get the job done, WCW decided to eliminate all semblance of subtlety by playing a pre-recorded inset promo in which Alexandra confirmed that yes, Terry Taylor was the newest member of The York Foundation.

The ending of the match was a little messy. Morton leapt at Taylor with what looked like a dropkick attempt. Taylor moved, and Morton came crashing down, inadvertently landing on Terry with an awkward and accidental senton before being rolled up and pinned.

The ending was a disaster, but everything else was wonderful.
Your Winner: Terry Taylor

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Bill Apter presents Sting with his PWI awards

After a quick commercial break, we got a pre-recorded segment in which Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Bill Apter presented Sting with two awards:

PWI Wrestler of the Year and PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year.

Sting must have just gotten out of bed or something, because although he did try to express his surprise and delight, he really sounded like he couldn’t give a sh*t about either award.

Returning to the arena, Dusty Rhodes abused his position as booker to give himself some promo time so that he could air his own political views about the Gulf War.

If you questioned the president or you didn’t think going to war over the price of oil was a good thing, you were certainly no friend of The American Dream’s.

You have to wonder if Dusty’s promo was unplanned or if he at least went a little too far for TBS’ liking as he issued something of an apology at the start of our next contest.

Ranger Ross vs. El Cubano

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Ranger Ross gets set for action

This is the first time we've seen Ranger Ross on Retro Pro Wrestling since Wrestle War 1989.

Here, he was thrust back into the spotlight so that his army ranger gimmick could help WCW capitalise on the support for the US troops in Dusty’s beloved Gulf War.

The match itself was nothing, a by-the-numbers filler that served no real purpose and that played out to near silence from the live crowd.

Still, in going up against masked jobber El Cubano, Ranger Ross did at least look impressive and you have to wonder if he could have been a bigger star given a different gimmick and a decent push.

Naturally, the Ranger won. Nobody was surprised, nor did they care.
Your Winner: Ranger Ross

A quick commercial for War Games followed, after which it was back to the action.

The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham) vs. The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood)

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Barry Windham & Arn Anderson

Although the ending was never in doubt here, The Renegade Warriors played their roles as babyface fodder to the nefarious Four Horsemen perfectly well.

The result was a fun TV tag match with nary a dull moment in sight.

Was this the best tag match you’ve ever seen in your life?

Absolutely not, but there was certainly nothing to complain about, not even the predictable finish which saw Anderson and Windham pick up the fall.
Your Winners: The Four Horsemen

If you hadn’t already noticed that this show was one giant commercial for Wrestle War ‘91, we got another ad for the War Games match before the next commercial break.

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Tony Schiavone and Stan Hansen freestyle rapping!

When we returned, Tony Schiavone showed us footage of Stan Hansen and Big Van Vader beating the living sh*t out of each other in Japan.

That led us to Schiavone’s interview with Hansen, who claimed that the Japanese audiences liked seeing real men fight while American audiences only liked ‘pretty boys’ who painted their faces.

It was tough luck for the Americans as Hansen announced that he and Vader would meet at Wrestle War.


Buddy Lee Parker vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker thinks he's The Big Boss Man

Introduced while already in the ring, Buddy Lee Parker was dressed in a hat and blue cop shirt that made him look for all the world like a low-rent Big Boss Man.

After taking that attire off, the future Power Plant trainer played his part in putting over the white-hot Brian Pillman in an entertaining but very short match.

Much like the previous contest, the ending was never in doubt here, and after showing off his impressive skill set, Flyin’ Brian easily disposed of his opponent.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

As we went to commercial, Jim Ross told us to call a special number to join the official WCW Fan Club.

Coming back, he and Dusty talked to the camera while El Gigante sat in the crowd.

The weirdest point was that neither announcer acknowledged him. He just sat on the front row like a regular fan, which was just a little strange.

Paul E. Gets Beat By a Girl

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Paul E. Heyman is distracted by Missy Hyatt's boobs

Up next, we had the special arm-wrestling match between Paul E. Dangerously and Missy Hyatt, with country DJ Rhubarb Jones as the guest arena.

Both competitors locked arms, but then Missy backed away, first to roll her sleeves up and then to remove her jacket, revealing that she was wearing skintight exercise attire that drew all the focus to her boobs.

When I say all the focus, I mean all of it, even Paul E.’s.

The man who would, years later, be involved in a storyline that saw him sniffing Lita’s panties, got so distracted by Missy’s boobage that she easily beat him.

From there, we were all supposed to laugh at Paul E. because being beaten by a woman was an embarrassing thing in the ‘90s, though honestly, given the choice between winning an arm-wrestling match with Missy Hyatt and enjoying a close-up view of her boobs, I certainly know where my priorities would lie.

Finally, before we got to our main event, we got a clip of future Wrestlemania XI star Lawrence Taylor hanging out with Ric Flair, Kevin Sullivan, Michael Wallstreet, and Alexandra York.

If you ask me, this was another weird move.

Why would hanging out with a famous and popular football player make us want to hate that contingent of heels?

WCW World Heavyweight Championship 
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Scott Steiner (w/ Rick Steiner) 

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Scott Steiner challenges Ric Flair for the world heavyweight title

Prior to the bell, GMC introduced Hiro Matsuda, who was there on behalf of New Japan Pro Wrestling to see the outcome of this match as the winner would head to the Tokyo Dome to defend the title against Tatsumi Fujinami later that year. 

Then, El Gigante was introduced. He made his way into the ring, shook hands with The Steiners and then offered Ric Flair a handshake too. 

Flair refused, so the giant simply went and sat back down and watched the match.

Capetta also informed us that the time limit for this match was "TV time remaining," and when the announcer later started to tell us when there were 10, and then 5 minutes left, the time-limit draw ending became very predictable. 

Still, everything before that was good stuff. 

The story here was the young, gifted athlete out-wrestling his opponent, only for the crafty veteran to rely on dirty tricks in order to regain the upper-hand. 

Though it wasn't a five-star classic, it was entertaining stuff which ended when Steiner hit the champion with a belly-to-belly.

The challenger made the cover, the referee counted to two, and then, just as everybody knew it would all along, the time limit expired.
Time Limit Draw (Ric Flair retains the title)

Post match, The Steiner Brothers thought Scotty had won the match and were understandably frustrated when Nick Patrick broke the news. 

With TV time done, Ross and Dusty signed off, and that was another Clash of the Champions show in the bag. 

On the whole, Clash of the Champions XIV: Dixie Dynamite had been a good show for what it was. This is especially true when you consider that what it was, was simply a 90-minute commercial for Wrestle War '91 and the War Games main event. 

Sure, if Clash 14 had been a PPV, I'd be writing it off as a dismal failure, but for a TV special, it did give us a bunch of matches that ranged from decent to good. Skip the Ranger Ross and the Freebirds match, and you've got a good bit of wrestling television here. 

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.



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. 

Sunday, 19 December 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1990

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 - Event poster
October 27, 1990 
UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois

According to legend, the original master tape of WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 was destroyed long ago, meaning all we're left with is the Turner Home Entertainment VHS version with omits a bunch of singles matches and gives us four tag matches, a US title bout, and the world title bout. 

While personally I typically prefer to watch a full event when I'm reviewing something for Retro Pro Wrestling, I'm not going to be too distraught about never seeing the following matches:

* Terry Taylor vs. Bill Irwin
* Master Blasters vs. The Southern Boys
* Brad Armstrong vs. J.W Storm
* The Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Rex.

Instead, I'll focus this review on the matches we can watch as we head down to Chicago one fall evening in late 1990 for Halloween Havoc: Terror Rules the Ring.

Spooky Time

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Jim Ross & Paul E. Dangerously
We began tonight's event with a short, animated introduction that zoomed in on a haunted house as spectral images of Sting and Sid Vicious drifted on and off the screen. It wasn't all that spectacular, but at least it was there.

With that over, we went live to Chicago where Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously welcomed us to tonight's show. 

Dangerously was dressed as a vampire, while Jim Ross went with that classic Halloween costume, "Man Wearing a Hat."

The Greatest Night of Professional Wrestling

From there, Ross sent us over to Tony "Phantom of The Opera" Schiavone who was standing by for an interview with Ricky Morton and 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich. Morton gave a shoutout to his injured partner, Robert Gibson, and promised that they'd one day get revenge on the Fabulous Freebirds for taking Gibson out of action.

For his part, Gibson ranted loudly about what a great night of professional wrestling this was going to be and, with that, it was down to ringside for our opening contest. 

Ricky Morton & 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich vs. The Midnight Expres (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Midnight Express
This was as good of an opener as you were ever going to get on a WCW show. Sweet Stan and Beautiful Bobby were always a great team and their endless series of matches with the Rock 'n' Roll Express never failed to deliver. 

Even swapping Gibson for Tommy Rich didn't change that. This was fun, exciting, with lots of big spots (a Rocket Launcher to the outside, for example) that you just didn't usually see on American TV at the turn of the 90s. 

After an exciting match, The Southern Boys came down dressed up as Jim Cornette and got stuck into an all-out mele. In the resulting fracas, Jim Cornette's tennis racket was used against his team, giving the win to the good guys.
Your Winners: Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich 

Black Magic

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Tony Schiavone Interviews Sting
Our next segment started innocently enough.

Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting about his ongoing rivalry with the Black Scorpion and his upcoming title defence against Sid Justice.

The champion had been dealing with both men since Sid issued a challenge at the end of Sting’s win over the Scorpion at Clash of the Champions 12.

The Stinger was all fired up about tonight, but before he could get very far he was interrupted by the Black Scorpion.

“Sting, Sting, let me show you an example of my black magic!” Said the Scorpion.

Except, by black magic, what he really meant was stage magic because all he did was pick a plant from the crowd and run behind a curtain.

Sting struggled to get to the frame holding the curtain on account of some random security dudes, and when he got there, there was a puff of smoke and Scorpion the girl were -shock of all shocks!- completely gone.

Except they weren’t, because they simply reappeared on the other side of the stage moments later, a move that was so obvious I’m sure even the little kids in the audience knew that they simply exited stage left, ran around, and re-entered stage right.

This was so bad it was hilarious.

Afterwards, Ross and Dangerously sold the whole thing like a much more impressive feat test than it was.

The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin & Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes w/ Little Richard Marley)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Fabulous Freebirds
Interestingly, this was Mark Youngblood’s first appearance on a major NWA/WCW event since Starrcade ‘83.

Here, it was his younger brother Chris Youngblood (who sadly passed away earlier this year) that spent the bulk of this match playing the face-in-peril for the Fabulous Freebirds.

It wasn’t a sound booking strategy for the match. Usually the tag team formula builds sympathy for the battered face and ensures a big pop when he eventually makes the hot tag, but there was none of that.

The crowd didn’t really care for The Renegade Warriors and constantly chanted for either Jimmy Garvin or Michael Hayes to end it with their DDT.

Eventually, the fans got their wish.

After Mark Youngblood tagged in to absolute silence, a big fracas ensued which also saw the Freebirds’ “Roadie,” Little Richard Marley, getting dragged into the completion.

At one point, Chris Youngblood looked to have Jimmy Jam beat with a roll-up but the ref was too busy trying to break up a fight between Mark and Little Richard.

That meant that Hayes could hit the DDT and his team could win the match.

The finish was decent, but everything else about this match was a total snore.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Four Horsemen
Out on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone interviewed Nature Boy Ric Flair, The Enforcer Arn Anderson and Sid Vicious about their upcoming matches.

Flair and Anderson promised to take the tag team titles away from Doom tonight. No offense to Butch Reed and Ron Simmons, nor to Anderson for that matter, but that match sounds like a waste for a talent of Flair’s caliber.

Anyway, when they were done, Sid shouted really angrily about being the ruler of the world and how he was going to destroy Sting once and for all.

Right on.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Nasty Boys vs. The Steiner Brothers
You know, given the kind of reputation The Nasty Boys would develop in later years, it still comes as a bit of a surprise to be reminded that they were once a formidable tag team capable of delivering some truly entertaining brawls.

Take this match, for example.

Here, Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags stormed out of the gate and into a wild, out-of-control fight with Rick and Scott Steiner that was a lot of fun to watch.

Eventually, things settled down with The Nasties dominating Scott Steiner before the equally as chaotic ending in which the champs retained thanks to the Frankensteiner.

Though it may have been a touch too long for some people, for this writer, any time you get two teams of people who aren’t afraid to just beat the crap out of each other, you’re in for a good time.
Your Winners and Still US Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Post-match, Knobbs, and Sags attacked Rick Steiner until Scotty saw them off.

This led us to Tony Schiavone interviewing Scott, only to get attacked by Jerry Sags dressed as a concession stand worker. Knobbs eventually joined in the attack before stealing the mic to yell at The Steiners.

I won’t say whether this was good or bad, but I will say that when Scott Steiner is the most coherent promo in a segment, there’s probably something up.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed w/ Terry Long)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Four Horsemen vs. Doom
Oh look, another tag team match.

I know there were singles matches on this card that wasn’t up to much, but is it too much to ask to stick at least one on this presentation just to break up the monotony of reviewing four tag bouts in a row?

Despite this being yet another tag match, it was very good one and the best of the four so far, a lengthy, nigh-on 20 minute battle which culminated in a double count out.

That was a smart finish given the need to keep the titles on Doom while still protecting what aura Flair still had about him during this very obvious demotion.
Double Countout

Backstage, Stan Hansen spat on a pumpkin and promised to take the US title from Lex Luger.

It was a unique promo to say the least.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA United States Champion Lex Luger vs. Stan Hansen

This was a decent big man match but not something that would ever warrant repeat reviewing.

The two men battered each other in a slow and brutal fashion until the ref took a nap in the corner.

At that point, Hansen’s protege Dan Spivey ran in to hand his mentor a cowbell.

That didn’t make much of a difference, but one big larriat did, proving enough to end a Lex Luger US title reign that seemed to have been going on forever.
Your Winner and New US Champion: Stan Hansen

Before the main event, Teddy Long gave an interview to Tony Schiavone in which he insisted that Doom would never again have to defend the tag team titles against The Four Horsemen.

This was followed by Missy Hyatt joining JR and Dangerously at ringside just so that Missy could boast about predicting a win for Sid before Paul did.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. Sid Vicious

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Sting vs. Sid Vicious
Sadly, this match was very underwhelming. Sting was finally getting a run at the top after being one of the consistently most over performers on the roster while Sid, despite not being an amazing worker, had always been the most popular wrestler in any match he was in throughout the duration of his WCW run.

Alas, that didn’t translate to a good match.

While there was some exciting moments, there were also long periods of chin locks, arm bars, and nerve holds all of which were entirely forgettable.

What wasn’t forgettable was the finish.

The Horsemen ran in and Sting ended up going to the back to fight them. Then a fake Sting (Barry Windham) came in and got pinned by Sid.

Fireworks errupted, balloons dropped from the ceiling and the fans half cheered, half wondered what the heck had just happened.

It was at that point that the real Sting returned, with the cameras missing a vital shot of him coming face to face with Windham-Sting in the isle.

That would have explained everything. Instead, we just got this confusing moment where referee Nick Patrick, despite counting the fall for Sid, simply shrugged his shoulders and counted another fall for Sting, giving him the win.

The crowds were bewildered but cheered anyway, probably because the mess was over.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

Post-match, a visibly annoyed Sting promised Jim Ross that he would defend his title anywhere at any time against anyone, and that was all she wrote for WCW Halloween Havoc 1990.

The ending of the main event was disappointing because it was actually a clever idea, but it was so poorly executed that it came across as a baffling mess of calamity.

The match itself wasn’t great either, but Midnights/Morton & Rich, Horsemen/Doom, and especially Steiners/Nasties were all worth a watch.

Just skip right past the Fabulous Freebirds match. It’s utterly insane that despite cutting so many matches from their VHS presentation, Turner Home Network left in a match that was just painfully, painfully boring.

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.