WCW Halloween Havoc 1993 (10/24/1993)- New Orleans, LA
Hello and welcome to BRM’s Monthly “This Day in Wrestling History” Review Series. As promised in May before our Summer of Sapolsky started, we are returning to an era I know relatively little about: Early-nineties WCW. Like the last time we visited this period, the purpose of my picking this show as to force myself to watch a match that had been on my list for years but I just hadn’t ever gotten around to watching. Last time, that match (Sting & Luger vs. Steiners) delivered in spades. Hopefully I’ll be able to say the same thing about the main event of WCW Halloween Havoc 1993.
INCREDIBLY STUPID OPENING VIDEO- I thought we were done with the mini-movies at this point.
Anyway, there are a bunch of annoying kids who are every cliché of a group of kids from the early nineties that you’d see in this sort of thing. They’re trick-or-treating. Most of them want to go home because Halloween Havoc is about to start. But the PPV is on the 24th, not the 31st, so why are they trick-or-treating? (This is your friendly reminder that if you’re not trick-or-treating after sundown on October 31st, you’re not doing it right. If someone shows up at your door before that time, give them no candy and tell them to go away!)
They go to a creepy house, which turns out to be Tony Schiavone’s. Tony is being all creepy. At first they seem to imply that Tony murdered his wife and is cooking her corpse in the oven for consumption, but it turns out that he’s actually a scary monster. The kids run away, which was a real shame because they were so f*cking annoying (especially the short one playing the tough guy) that the only acceptable payoff for exposing us to them would have been to see them get ripped limb from limb and die screaming.
Tony and Jesse and in costume tonight. Unfortunately, Tony was not the monster from the video package. Jesse was a doctor. Tony was Jesse.
CHARLIE NORRIS, ICE TRAIN, & THE SHOCKMASKER vs. HARLEM HEAT & THE EQUALIZER- 4.25/10
On the heels’ way to the ring, Booker T- technically still “Kole” at this point- was cutting a competent promo into the camera. The Equalizer decided to join him, and just kept saying “rip their face off! Rip off! Rip it off!
This was… a match that felt out of date for 1993. Poor Booker had to submit to a bearhug from the Shockmaster. The Shockmaster and the Equalizer brawled after the match.
ERIC BISCHOFF INTERVIEWS TERRY TAYLOR- meh
Bishoff was dressed as what a appeared to me to be a Confederate solider with a cowboy hat. Terry referred to him as “General Custer.” Terry apparently politicked very hard to get appointed as the referee for Flair vs. Rude. He claims that he will make up for all of the bad things he has done over the years by calling this match right down the middle.
RICKY “THE DRAGON” STEAMBOAT vs. PAUL ORNDORFF (w/the Assassin)- 7.75/10
I really loved this match. The story was that these two have this big feud, so Steamboat was resorting to tactics he wouldn’t usually use (and also Steamboat worked the arm and Orndorff worked the head to set up for the Piledrvier… and for the eventually headbutt with the loaded mask finish). Lots of good brawling and exciting stuff here, some of which you wouldn’t expect to see in 1993. Steamboat was a wonderful babyface, even when resorting to tactics like running the opponent into the ringpost. He even had me believing that he might make it back into the ring in time on the finish.
TONY SCHIAVONE ANNOUNCES THAT WCW INTERNATIONAL HAS RECOGNIZED THE BIG GOLD BELT AS A WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE- good
WCW WORLD TV TITLE MATCH: Lord Steven Regal(c) (w/Sir William) vs. Davey Boy Smith- 6.5/10
Standard TV Title fair. Good wrestling, with the babyface showing up the heel early on, the heel getting an advantage and then trying to play for a draw, and the babyface getting a two-count as time expires.
VADER SPINS THE WHEEL, THUS MAKING THE DEAL- It’s a Texas Deathmatch.
What deal is being made here? That part never made much sense to me.
During the next match, Tony would tell us that their “researchers” were “looking up the rules” to a Texas Deathmatch. So they put matches on the wheel without knowing what the rules were? What if it landed on some match-type that no one could find the rules for?
WCW UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: Dustin Rhodes(c) vs. Steve Austin- 7/10
They zoomed in on a sign that proclaimed “Stunning Steve is the wrestler of the 90’s.” Here sure was.
Buffer said that Austin was a former tag champ “with a member of the Hollywood Blonds.” Did someone forget to give him Brian Pillman’s name?
Austin hurt his knee, so Dustin worked it over. Austin worked the head and neck. I could have done without the screwy-ness on the finish, though. Yes, it sets up the angel afterwards with Austin laying Dustin out with the belt, but that’s the sort of thing you do on TV to build up to the PPV, not something you do on the PPV.
WCW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio (w/Teddy Long) vs. the Nasty Boys (w/Missy Hyatt)- 8.25/10
Missy was introduced as the Nasty Boys’ “escort.” The announcers made the expected jokes. With the benefit of hindsight, we can now make a Buff Bagwell joke as well.
Early on in the match, Buff grabbed Missy and forcibly kissed her. The early 90s, ladies and gentlemen.
Other than that part, this was an excellent match! Classic babyface in peril stuff, with a team of exciting, young, high-flying babyfaces taking on the big, mean, slovenly but still very tough and dangerous heels. They had me so sucked into Buff’s quest to finally make the tag that I jumped out of my chair when he finally made it… and then they pulled the rug right out from under me with the heel finish when everything seemed to be going right for the babyfaces. The one-day title reign probably wasn’t a good idea, but I do think that the finish kind of made it work for me.
ERIC BISCHOFF INTERVIEWS COL. ROBERT PARKER & SID VICIOUS- This was great, but for some reason both the video and audio faded out in the middle before coming on again, like Sid said something that Peacock didn’t like and edited off.
STING vs. SID VICIOUS (w/Col. Robert Parker)- 6.25/10
This wasn’t great at times, but it was a passable rendition of the valiant babyface overcoming the dominant monster. The Colonel’s interference backfired setting up the finish, which was some poetic justice.
We got another weird fade-in and fade-out while Tony and Jesse were chatting after the match, so maybe it’s just an issue with the master tape and this is their way of covering it up?
WCW INTERNATIONAL WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH WITH TERRY TAYLOR AS SPECIAL GUEST OUTSIDE REFEREE: Ric Flair(c) (w/Fifi) vs. Rick Rude- 6.75/10
Rude has a pumpkin on the butt of his tights with “trick or treat” written on it. He’s also got an image Flair on one leg of his tights and Fifi on the other.
Flair dominated early and had the Figure Four on for quite a while. Rude cut him off to start the heat… and then didn’t really sell his knee ever again. The heat went on for a long time with Rude working over Flair’s back. Terry Taylor tried to help Rude win. Flair made his big comeback… and it all ended in a Dusty Finish, with the crowd chanting “BULLSH*T!” Rude tried to kidnap Fifi, but Flair saved her. Flair went for the Figure Four on the ramp, but the referees pulled them apart.
TEXAS DEATHMATCH: Cactus Jack vs. Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race)- 6.5/10
The rules of this match, as per the graphic on the screen which Tony read, were as follows:
1. No disqualifications
2. Fall don’t count (and Tony added that this meant that the wrestlers can pin each other but it won’t matter)
3. Thirty-second rest between falls
4. Falls anyplace in building (which, of course, Tony read as “falls will count anyplace in the building,” even though ten seconds earlier he had told us that “falls don’t count”)
5. Match continues until one man can’t get to his feet before the 10 count
Notice anything missing? YUP! They forgot the most important part! That a ten-count is only applied after someone scores a fall (which, by the way, means that the falls do count. They just don’t end the match). And Gary Michael Cappetta announced it this way to the crowd, too. WCW, everybody!
They brawled all over, including into a hole in the stage that was part of the set. Cactus went to pin Vader in the hole, but the referee refused to go down in the hole to count. Dude! What part of “falls count anyplace in the building” do you not understand?
These guys beat the sh*t out of each other. They didn’t even use much in the way of weapons. They just pounded on each other and threw each other onto the floor, and it looked brutal. This was a really good brawl, and I’m sure that back in 1993 it was even more impressive, but there were two factors that severely detracted from this legendary match that made it not come anywhere close to that status in my eyes.
The first of these issues was the thirty-second rest periods between the falls. They sucked all of the drama out of the gimmick because they gave the wrestlers so much time to recover between the count and the falls that they were pretty much always up on their knees when actual count started. Between that and killing the moment of the match by having nothing happen for thirty seconds, these stupid rest periods strangled this match.
The second issue was the finish, which… well… made me fell like I was watching WCW in 1999, not 1993. Said finish had Cactus make it to his feet, but Vader distracted the referee while Harley zapped Cactus in the thigh with a taser, putting him back down for the count. Yup. A nice, big, fat, f*ck finish, ruining a brutal brawl. Then, to make it worse, Cactus got up afterwards and gave Harley the Double-Arm DDT. This felt like one of those finishes that the booker has to come up with because the guy who was supposed to lose didn’t want to do a job, and this was all done to placate the loser. Based on everything I’ve heard about Mick Foley, I can’t imagine that this was actually the case (what seems more like to you: Mick Foley being selfish, or Dusty Rhodes deciding to book a PPV full of screwy finishes?), but it certainly felt like one of those backstage bullsh*t “that doesn’t work for me, brother” finishes.
This was a very disappointing show from WCW. The line-up was quite stacked, but so many of the top matches failed to deliver, with the top two matches turning out to be an unfortunately appropriate summation of the show as a whole: they had some big moments early on and in the middle that made you think they might be able to save themselves, but then they were killed in the end by frustrating booking.
Next month we’re going to look at a WWF show from a similar era. I don’t know if the show will be any better, but at least I’m pretty sure there won’t be any annoying children in mini-movies.
WCW, ECW, UPW, etc
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