Halloween Havoc 1992: This Show Has To Be A Big Joke On Somebody. It Has To Be.
Date: October 25, 1992
Location: Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jesse Ventura
Tonight is about Spinning the Wheel and therefore making the deal. The main event is Jake Roberts vs. Sting in a feud that I’m not sure anyone ever quite got. The idea is that you have 12 gimmicks on a wheel and whatever it lands on is the stipulation. In other words, it’s Raw Roulette. Other than that we have Ron Simmons defending against The Barbarian of all people. It was an odd time to say the least. Let’s get to it.
The opening video has the usual haunted house theme.
Tony and Bruno Sammartino do some hosting/analysis stuff.
The twelve matches on the wheel are:
Texas Bull Rope
Lumberjack With Belts
Prince Of Darkness
Coal Miner’s Glove
We get a video of Cactus Jack training Barbarian for the powerslam. That’s different.
Terry Gordy isn’t here so Steve Austin is teaming with Steve Williams in the tag title match.
Rick Rude has to wrestle twice tonight. Missy Hyatt says nothing of note about that but says she’ll vote for Jesse Ventura for president. Ok then.
Z-Man/Johnny Gunn/Shane Douglas vs. Arn Anderson/Michael Hayes/Bobby Eaton
This should be good. Gunn is more famous as Tom Brandi. So we have three guys who are young and muscular vs. a heat machine and two wrestling masters. We’re in Philadelphia. You can fill in the blanks yourselves. Gunn and Anderson start things off with Anderson pounding him into the corner. Gunn comes back with a bad dropkick and Z-Man hits one of his own. The good guys clear the ring and get booed out of the building.
Z-Man comes in legally and cranks on Arn’s arm until Bobby comes in to take over. Eaton pops him with a right hand and the place ERUPTS. Off to Hayes who gets cheered too because he’s the king of playing to a crowd. Shane comes in to work on Michael’s arm and is booed in the process, which isn’t something you would ever expect to see in Philly. Back to Eaton who is armdragged down immediately.
Eaton takes Shane into the corner and pops him with a right hand too, but he gets promptly taken down by a flying headscissors. Back to Z-Man who these people just hate. He hooks a leg bar as Jesse rants about Shane probably being a right wing Republican. Z-Man hooks a sleeper on Anderson but it’s quickly countered. Back to Hayes who pounds away and hooks a chinlock on Zenk. Eaton comes in but leaves quickly with a blind tag to Arn.
Anderson KILLS Z-Man with a clothesline and the place erupts again. Even Jesse is stunned by this and he doesn’t stun easily. Hayes hooks a rear chinlock but Zenk slams him into the mat to escape. Double tag brings in Shane vs. Anderson but Eaton cheap shots Douglas in the knee to stop the comeback, again getting a pop from the audience. Eaton drops a top rope knee drop onto the knee and hooks a Figure Four (with help from Hayes of course). Shane turns it over and atomic drops Anderson, but they hit heads. Hot tag to Gunn and everything breaks down with Gunn hitting a Thesz Press to pin Hayes. The booing is great.
Rating: C+. If this has been ANYWHERE other than Philadelphia, this would have been an excellent opener. I can’t say the fans turned on the good guys because they were never on their side in the first place. You had to know this was coming if you knew anything about the city, but the match itself was fine. Jesse’s reactions to the crowd were entertaining too as he sounded genuinely surprised.
Harley Race says Missy Hyatt can’t talk to Rick Rude. Smart man. Race isn’t supposed to be here apparently.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Brian Pillman
This should be awesome. Pillman is a heel here and would hook up with Steve Austin soon. The fans have no problem cheering for Steamboat so the crowd is back to normal. Steamboat chops him to start and hits a shoulder for two. Pillman throws him over the ropes but that doesn’t work on the Dragon. Steamboat plays possum and rams Pillman’s face into the mat to take over. Dragon busts out the armdrag/bar combination and takes over.
Pillman gets backdropped and slammed a few times, so he pokes Steamboat in the eyes to take over. See? Being evil does pay off. Steamboat is like screw this getting beaten up and chokes Pillman over his head. Brian blasts him in the back of the head when Steamboat has his back turned to take over. The headscissors gets two for Pillman and he chokes away a bit on the ropes. The Dragon blocks a superplex but jumps into a dropkick for two.
Pillman is getting frustrated because he can’t put Steamboat down so Ricky hits a Russian legsweep to put both guys down. There’s a sleeper and the Dragon is in trouble. Steamboat falls into the corner to ram Brian’s head into the buckle to escape. Pillman starts running but he catches Steamboat coming back in with a knee lift. A cross body off the middle rope gets two for Pillman. Steamboat goes up and hits a top rope sunset flip for two. Pillman counters but Steamboat counters the counter into a sunset flip for the pin.
Rating: B. This is what you call a fast paced wrestling match between a talented face and a talented heel. To put it short, the idea worked. They worked very well together as you would expect them too, with both guys looking crisp the whole way through and the crowd reacting well to it. Good stuff here indeed.
Masahiro Chono, the NWA World Champion, selects Kensuke Sasaki as his guest referee. Harley Race will be the other one. Wait so why was it surprising to see him earlier?
Bill Watts has some announcements. Terry Gordy has been fired for breech of contract and Steve Austin will be replacing him in the tag title match tonight. Also Rick Rude has whined too much so Vader will substitute for him in the US Title defense.
US Title: Nikita Koloff vs. Vader
Rude is the actual champion but Vader is subbing for him. This is No DQ. Rude comes out too but doesn’t stick around. Race gets thrown out too. Vader hits him in the face and Koloff doesn’t really move. They slug it out a lot and Vader splashes him to take over. A HARD clothesline takes Koloff down as does a headbutt. Koloff is sent to the floor but comes back with some power offense of his own. He hits a crossbody to the back for two which is a move I’ve never seen before.
Off to a chinlock which goes on for a good while. JR talks about a thirty minute time limit and I can’t help but chuckle. Can you imagine these two going half an hour against each other? Vader finally breaks it but gets cradled for two. Koloff hits another cross body of all things for two. He’s not the kind of guy I would expect to use that but he’s the speed guy in this when you think about it.
Vader rolls to the floor to stall and then does it a few more times. Koloff finally has enough and goes out after him, but the Sickle hits the post and Nikita is in trouble. Back in and Vader goes into mauling mode, running over Koloff and sending him to the floor. There’s a HARD chair shot (remember that it’s no DQ) and we go back in where the powerbomb retains the title for Rude.
Rating: D. You know considering this was No DQ, there was a total of one thing that would fit that gimmick. They flew through this and I can see why they clipped it on the VHS. The full version was about three times as long and it wasn’t anything better. Koloff more or less disappeared after this.
Steve Williams is glad to have Austin as his new partner.
Tag Titles: Steve Williams/Steve Austin vs. Barry Windham/Dustin Rhodes
Windham and Rhodes are defending here. This is actually the Unified Tag Titles but who cares about stuff like that? This was supposed to be the rubber match with Barry/Dustin vs. the MVC but Gordy is gone. Austin is in purple here which is a weird thing to see. Williams (as in the person using his real name unlike Austin whose last name is also Williams) starts with Dustin and it’s time to talk about football.
Appropriately enough they get down in three point stances and collide but the second time Williams suckers him into a clothesline to take over. Dustin clotheslines him down as well before hooking on a wristlock. Off to Barry who is having problems with his partner at this point. It’s power vs. speed here with the speed of Windham taking over in the form of an armbar. Williams armdrags him right into the corner of Rhodes and there’s a tag.
They fight over a wristlock with neither guy being able to take over for the most part. The fans chant for Flair (I think) and it’s off to Austin, who hits a dropkick to take over on the incoming Windham. While in purple. Imagine that one. Austin gets caught between the champions like a pinball and is knocked to the floor. Back in and Dustin hooks a headlock on the mat.
Jesse talks about his time in the East West Connection and how he and Adonis didn’t get along outside the ring but they did in the ring. See, back in the day wrestlers who became commentators actually TALKED ABOUT THEIR CAREERS and used those stories to make points about the matches they’re commentating on. It’s not that hard. Austin works on the leg but it doesn’t do that well.
Rhodes charges into a boot but he comes right back with a lariat to take over and get two. Windham comes in with another clothesline for another two and the same off a suplex. Back to Doc who is taken down immediately. They slug it out but Windham misses a charge and lands on the floor. Back to the future Rattlesnake as the challengers take over. Suplex gets two.
Williams comes back in and charges into a quickly broken sleeper. He ties Barry up on the floor in a hold and brings in Austin. Austin works on the arm with a hammerlock slam and it’s back to Dr. Death. Powerslam gets two as JR sounds like he wants to marry Williams. This is nothing new but it’s a bit more pronounced here. Williams breaks a chinlock with a jawbreaker but Williams brings Austin in to prevent the tag.
Barry breaks up a superplex and hits a middle rope lariat for two. Hot tag to Dustin and he cleans house with rapid fire elbows to the head. Bulldog takes Austin down but Williams makes the save. Dustin’s rush of offense is stopped cold and the challengers take over again. A corner splash puts him down again and there’s a Boston Crab. That gets followed by a body vice from Austin but even an interfering Windham can’t break it.
Dustin uses the ropes to get free and we get the always cool back bridge into the backslide for two. Dustin tries to come back against Williams but Dr. Death just casually takes him down with an amateur move. Austin and Rhodes slug it out and the future bald one takes over. Big shock right? Rhodes is busted and Williams goes after it like a maniac. That’s another fitting action for him.
Off to a chinlock from Austin which is one of the first rest holds of the match so far. An elbow misses though and Rhodes gets a small package for two. Williams hooks a chinlock as we have five minutes left. Austin drops a double ax with four to go. He hooks a half crab which is kind of stupid at this point. Dustin gets taken down again at three minutes left but the challengers don’t seem all that interested in going for the kill. Windham gets the tag but the referee doesn’t see it.
There goes the referee and it’s time for a replacement. Williams hits a clothesline for the pin on Windham out of nowhere….but he’s not legal so it’s a Dusty Finish. Dustin pins Williams but he’s not legal either. There’s the lariat to Austin for two. Everything breaks down and we have a minute left. Dustin tombstones Austin with 30 seconds to go but both guys are down. Time runs out with them all standing around which is odd but the rest of it was awesome so I’m cool with it.
Rating: B+. I really liked that ending sequence with the false finish because it was the right call from a rules standpoint. The rest of it was really good as it was an extended formula tag match from four guys who were all very talented. This worked quite well and thankfully the MVC was gone forever. Williams and Rhodes would lose the titles to Steamboat and Douglas less than a month after this.
We go to Vader/Race/Dangerously with Paul taking credit for all of the success tonight. He takes credit for everything until Madusa shows up. She thanks everyone but Dangerously for winning the world title (which I guess is coming later). Dangerously goes OFF on her, talking about how HE is the one that did everything and it’s because he’s a man.
Madusa is just a woman and there is beneath him and subservient. She’s been there to take care of Rude’s needs but she was only hired for that because the other hooker was busy. He fires her from the Alliance and jumps in the air, so she hits a high kick to the face and DESTROYS HIM as even Vader and Race run away. The place ERUPTS and Jesse is freaking out. This was awesome in so many ways.
Sting comes out to spin the wheel and it lands on a Coal Miner’s Glove match. Why? My guess would be a gas leak in the WCW offices. This is one of those moments in WCW where you just shake your head and facepalm, because that is probably the worst possible choice they could have made. Somehow this took four minutes.
NWA World Title: Rick Rude vs. Masahiro Chono
Harley Race and Kensuke Sasake are guest referees here. Now these two had a masterpiece in Japan in a tournament final where Chono won the title, so this has potential. If you know anything about WCW in 1992, you should know what that means. Madusa comes out with Rude, making him the face after that previous segment. Oh and Chono is defending here. Race, Rude’s selection, will be refereeing inside the ring. That took about three minutes to decide.
This match serves as another great example of what was wrong with the NWA. Chono is a great wrestler. I don’t think anyone that knows what they’re talking about is going to dispute that. Chono is 29 here and in the prime of his career. That being said, I’d be surprised if more than 3% of the audience watching this show knew who he was. From what I can find, this is his first televised singles match EVER in WCW. I mean, the match had been hyped on TV and all that, but the fans are just supposed to buy into this guy as the world champion without EVER seeing him wrestle? That’s never going to work.
The fans want Flair before we get going. Rude talks trash….in English. Jesse: “He’s from Minnesota. All Minnesotans speak Japanese as a second language.” Feeling out process to start and they fight over a hammerlock. Chono takes him to the mat and the rest holds begin. The first one is an armbar which eats up a minute or so. Rude comes back with a slam and some elbows for two.
Chono gets up and slams Rude down and we hit an armbar. And then we stay in the armbar. There has to be something going on behind the scenes here. I mean think about it: how can these guys go from having a classic (and it was a classic) to being this BORING? Clearly they know how to have an exciting match and they work pretty well together, but this is just LONG stretches of them laying on the mat in a hold that isn’t going to get a submission and that bores the audience to death.
Now Rude comes back and hits some right hands, which are the most interesting part of the match so far. Jesse says Rude is shaved so he could drop weight. Ventura is trying but man alive there’s only so much he can do. We hit the chinlock as things slow right back down. Chono comes back and takes Rude right to the mat for an STF (finisher) attempt, but Rude blocks. Instead Chono just uses the leg part and things get boring again. Imagine Cena prepping for the STF for two minutes. See how the fans could get bored REALLY fast?
We’re fifteen minutes into this. Read back through the description. Does that sound like fifteen minutes worth of action? Rude piledrives him but Chono gets a foot on the ropes. Rude, likely out of boredom, fires off some more fight and WE HIT THE CHINLOCK AGAIN. JR is so bored that he’s talking about Rude’s arm wrestling career. If that chinlock isn’t your cup of tea, here’s a sleeper instead.
At least in this one the fans (including Hat Guy in the front row) are looking at a fight in the stands so they’re not missing anything. This would be opposed to the rest of the match when the fans aren’t missing anything while looking at the match. We hit twenty minutes as Jesse talks about Ben Franklin winning the world title against Thomas Jefferson back in 1796 in a 2/3 falls match. Rude shifts to a headlock but misses a top rope dropkick. Chono accidentally charges into Race and knocks him to the floor. He sends Rude into the corner where Rude lands on both referees…..and that’s a DQ. Rude hits the Awakening but it doesn’t count.
Rating: T. As in THIS is why the NWA died around this time. We had a boring match with a guy that no one cared about with a bogus ending. Why am I supposed to care about this match? Neither guy was impressive at all and the match brought down what had been a good show so far. Just awful here.
Post match there’s an argument over who wins by DQ. Sasaki beats up Race.
We look at Cactus Jack training Barbarian for the world title match. This would consist of having Barbarian on all fours with cinder blocks on his back. Jack breaks them with a sledgehammer. This is in the montage used on Are You Serious.
WCW World Title: Barbarian vs. Ron Simmons
Yeah it’s THAT Barbarian. See, for some reason WCW decided that the big names should go after the NWA Title while the WCW Title was treated like a midcard title. Simmons has a HUGE entourage bringing him to the ring. Barbarian is a Jack surrogate as Cactus is injured. They stare each other down forever and feel each other out before Barbarian pounds him down in the corner. Simmons comes back and Barbarian bails to the floor.
Barbarian gets a Stunner over the top rope to take over again and sends Ron to the floor. No one cares about this match at all and I can almost guarantee they’re not going to get the fans to care based on how good (and I use that word loosely) the match will be. Barbarian rams him into the post and then into the railing as this is already dragging less than five minutes in.
Back in and Ron hits the absolute worst sunset flip of all time for two. Barbie hooks a LONG cobra clutch which looks more like an armpit claw but whatever. A top rope elbow misses and Simmons gets a chance to breathe. They slug it out but Simmons channels the power of football to hit a bad spinebuster for two. Simmons misses a clothesline but Barbarian sells it anyway.
There’s a three point shoulder block but Jack has the referee. Barbarian kicks him in the back of the head and sends him to the floor as a result. Back in and Simmons is nice enough to roll three feet to the left so that the top rope headbutt can hit. Once that gets two, Barbarian’s chances are done. Simmons grabs a powerslam out of nowhere for the pin to retain.
Rating: F. The Barbarian just co-main evented a show. This was treated like a worthless match and to be fair, there was good reason to do that. It came off like a bad main event of a C level TV show, which goes a long way to explain the troubles this company was having around this time. Just awful here.
Sting, Bruno and Erik Watts talk about the match we just sat through.
Sting vs. Jake Roberts
Coal Miner’s Glove match, which means there’s a loaded glove on a pole. Jake uses some VERY generic rock music which would later be used by Big Bubba and had previously been used by Austin. This is non-sanctioned and Sting is just MAD over. The story here is Roberts jumped him and laid Sting out so this is revenge. Sting controls early as Roberts stalls. Sting misses a dropkick and Jake goes after the back.
They go to the floor and Jake’s arm goes into the post. Sting goes for the glove (which is about 12 feet above the ring) but Jake makes the save and hits a suplex. Jake sends him to the floor but his attempt at getting the glove results in him being crotched. Sting works on the injured arm for a bit and they head outside again. Jake hits him in the back with a chair and chokes with tape back in the ring.
This match really isn’t working either as they’re basically having a regular match, albeit very rushed. That doesn’t make me think this is a blood feud or all about revenge or anything close to it really. Jake misses a running knee lift but the Stinger Splash misses too. Jake uses the bad arm for the DDT but Sting comes as close to no selling as you can while still selling. Sting does a cool move where he swings around the pole to knock Jack down. Cactus runs out with Jake’s cobra as Sting gets the glove. Sting knocks the snake onto Jake’s face where it “bites” him, allowing Sting to get the win.
Rating: F. As I said, the glove meant nothing here as it had to be the dumbest possible gimmick they could have gone with. Jake would basically be gone after this and wouldn’t be seen in mainstream American wrestling again until 1996. This was absolutely awful though and the ending was so stupid that I can’t really believe I saw it. Keep this in mind when you’re at work: someone was paid to think of this idea.
To give you an idea of how REAL that bite is, Jake pulls the snake away, looks at it, and puts it right back to where it was “biting” him. That’s like something out of a parody of a bad horror movie. Jake is “poisoned”.
We get about four minutes of wrap up to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. I’ve heard of shows going off a cliff before, but this went off a cliff, through the ground and landed in the ocean somewhere. The last three matches are just DREADFUL, combining to be almost an hour with the best match somehow being Simmons vs. Barbarian, which was long and dull. WCW in 1992 has a reputation and if you watch this show, you can see why. The tag match is really good and the Steamboat vs. Pillman match is solid, but other than that there’s NOTHING here other than more reasons to never think about WCW in 1992 after Beach Blast.
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Sitting here watching the Vader koloff match and I noticed a regulars from the wrestling audience, front row in philly who else would you find but straw hat guy. This guy had to have money to spare or he is a true die hard wrestling fan as I have seen him in the same spot at just about all wrestling events in Philly. What’s the furthest back you can remember seeing him fans ?
I think I’ll haveto disagree about the Pillman/Steamboat match, it was very dissapointing. Both guys couldn’t seem to get on the same page as there was a fair bit of confusion during the spots and transitions.
I’d rate it a D+
The sight of Jake holding his own cobra to his face to mimic it biting him turned WCW into an Ed Wood movie.
Pretty much agree with your opinions. I actually missed the last match, but I was kind of surprised the Rude vs. chono match was so awful. I am a HUGE fan of Rude, and I know Chono is not awful in the ring to say the least, by wow was this match boring. A shit ton of rest holds. It felt almost like they couldn’t get past the language barrier or that they just didn’t want to work together. It was really 20+ minutes of nothing.
Save your time and just watch the Pillman/ Steamboat and the tag opener (I actually liked the heel crowd for that match)