THE AUDIT: HALLOWEEN HAVOC 1990 REVIEW “TERROR RULES THE RING”

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Ian R. Singletary, back again with our next Audit. And as all you people rush to H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, or your local tax man, this IRS gives you the option to sit back, relax and read this Audit (without fees). In case you didn’t know, February is WCW month. Each week for the month of February I’ll be AUDITING a different NWA/WCW PPV. Last week I Audited one of the better PPV’s throughout history, NWA Great American Bash ’89. This week we jump ahead a year, and we go from celebrating Independence day, to all Hallows Eve. It’s time for the tax man to AUDIT Halloween Havoc 1990 “Terror Rules the Ring”. We’re looking at the live version, so no edits, every match complete and all interviews intact.

NWA’s HALLOWEEN HAVOC ’90
“TERROR RULES THE RING”

 

 

It was October 27th, 1990 from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, IL. With TEN matches on tap, including…

* NWA World Champion Sting vs. Sid Vicious
* U.S. Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger vs. Stan Hansen
* NWA World Tag Team Champions Doom vs. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson
* U.S. Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers vs. The Nasty Boys
* Tommy Rich & Ricky Morton vs. The Midnight Express
* The Renegade Warriors vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
* Terry Taylor vs. “Wild” Bill Irwin
* The Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Rex
* The Wild Eyed Southern Boys vs. The Master Blasters
* Brad Armstrong vs. JW Storm
– An appearance by David Copperfield… or The Black Scorpion

Dark matches featured Tim Horner over Barry Horowitz (8:35), as well as Rip Rogers over Reno Riggins (3:57)

 

We kick off the show with an opening video sequence featuring a presumed Haunted House, surrounded by a giant steel gate, featuring the ghosts of Stan Hansen, Sid Vicious, Sting, and Lex Luger! Oh yeah. It’s Halloween Havoc!

We start out on a position note, our commentators for this PPV are Jim Ross & Paul E. Dangerously. Jim Ross informs us that we’re SOLD OUT! We get our first shot of the announcers, JR looks to be dressed as a gangster of some sort, makes sense with Chicago, I suppose. Paul E. is decked out in Dracula attire, but tosses his teeth to make it easier to speak.

Ross & Paul E. throw it up to the stage, where Tony Schiavone is standing by with Rocky Morton & Tommy Rich. Schiavone, by the way, is dressed as the Phantom of the Opera. In the background is the ominous cube that the Black Scorpion would use later in the show to reappear. I guess we’re just supposed to ignore it, because they have nowhere to put the damn thing. Morton sends a shout out to Robert Gibson, who is at home rehabbing a legit knee injury. Morton promises Gibson will be back soon and the Freebirds will pay. Tommy Rich does a generic “somebody say sumthin bout fired up” comment, and OFF WE GO to the ring!

(Notes going in: We’ve got The Midnight Express (Eaton & Lane) vs. Morton & Rich. We’ve seen enough MX vs. R&R matches to get an idea of what to expect here. This match is going to be good… I hope. Wildfire was originally scheduled to work JW Storm on this show, likely to do a job, with the Gibson injury, Rich got thrust into a much better situation. Rich was even looking in decent shape by this point, though I’m confused whether his gear was just that cheap looking, or if he was dressed as a hobo for the match. This was sort of an odd choice of match, Morton was feuding with the Freebirds, the Midnights were feuding with the Southern Boys, but for some reason the tag teams were all jumbled around on this card. As far as kicking off the show, you couldn’t ask for much better.)

Ricky Morton & “Wildfire” Tommy Rich vs. The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) with Jim Cornette

Another note as we get going, the ring ropes are all orange for the holiday, with the middle rope featuring black stripes. Nice touch I thought, back then. You didn’t see things like that, ever. The Chicago crowd is heavily behind the Midnights, who also happen to be the heels. Ross comments that Jim Cornette is always in a Halloween costume, dressing like a clown. Referee is Nick Patrick. Eaton on the offense early and the fans pop for everything he does. Morton with some tackles, and he and Eaton go into a nice crisscross sequence with slide through’s and leapfrogs, ending with Eaton taking a backdrop and a RANA takeover from Morton. Rich sneaks in a big punch and Eaton takes a powder outside. Dangerously admits since he retired that Cornette is the best manager left in wrestling. Lane tags in but gets cornered in the baby face corner. Eaton sneaks up from behind, but eats a punch from Morton. Rich reverses a hiptoss on Lane, then gives one to Eaton, another for Lane, another for Eaton. Rich locks BOTH Midnight Express members into an abdominal stretch type hold and Morton jumps up onto the back of Rich and cranks back to add leverage. It was very MINICHOKU PRO-esque and way ahead of it’s time. The fans aren’t sure what’s going on until the move is released. Pretty damn cool. Cornette on the apron, Morton knocks him off. You see the fans like the Midnights, but not Cornette.

Lane comes back on Rich with some karate kick work, but the faces get right back in control. Rich holds Eaton from behind while Morton does a monkey flip, nice simple double team move. The MX try the same spot, but Morton moves, and Lane ends up monkey flipping Eaton, because apparently once you land on your opponent you have to follow through with the move. Regardless, it was a nice spot. Eaton falls to his knees in the corner and Rich whips Lane, ass first, into the head of Bobby. Eaton & Lane argue, but Cornette smoothes things over. ANOTHER GREAT SPOT. Rich & Eaton crisscross, Tommy slides outside while Eaton continues to bounce off the ropes. Rich chases Cornette into the ring and Eaton runs right into Corny. The simplest things just turned into masterpieces.

Morton in with Eaton, Ricky misses a blind tag, Eaton reverses a whip off the ropes and the MX do what they do best, innovative tag team work. Eaton tosses Morton up in a backdrop and Lane catches Morton on the way down with a powerslam type move. Crowd pops for it, and Lance acknowledges the fans. And NOW, after almost 11 minutes of great action the HEAT just begins. Slingshot clothesline by Lane, and the MX take over on Morton. Morton misses a charge in the corner and hits the post, Eaton tosses Ricky outside and comes off the top, but there’s so much shit in the way that when Bobby comes off the top to the floor he pretty much misses Morton, but Ricky sells it anyway. Cornette sneaks in a cheap shot, blasting Morton with the butt of the tennis racket into the throat. Back in the ring Lane shows off his karate skills with kicks to Morton, followed by more double team heel work.

Stan Lane takes Morton out to the ramp and slams him, Bobby Eaton comes OFF THE TOP ROPE WITH A ROCKET LAUNCHER ONTO MORTON ON THE RAMP! Crowd loves it. Morton tries a reverse rolling cradle, but misses a blind tag to Eaton. While Morton has Lane in a roll up, Eaton jumps in and hits a DIAMOND CUTTER on Morton! Technically, Eaton was trying for a swinging neckbreaker, but Morton took the moves straight down and it looked 10 times more deadly. Crowd pops huge again. Eaton follows with another unique move, a slingshot into a backbreaker for 2 and a half. Cornette AGAIN lands a cheap shot with the racket.  Stan Lane lures Rich in to distract the referee to Stan could toss Morton OVER THE TOP ROPE. That’s illegal in WCW! Eaton throws Morton into the post and charges, but Ricky moves and Eaton hits the post. Morton then executes a huracan rana (or what Ross calls a “Japanese head scissor”) on the floor onto Bobby! Eaton still up first throws Morton back in. Bobby goes to the top rope, ALABAMA JAM legdrop! But Bobby doesn’t cover. Damn Bobby COVER! I’ve known this outcome for 24 years, and I’m still getting into this thing! Cover, Bobby, Cover! Eaton has Patrick count Morton down, Morton makes it to his feet at the 8 count. Lane back in with more karate kicks to Morton.

Ricky starts to MORTON UP, he trades blows with Lane and gets the best of Stan momentarily, but Lane trips him up and tags Bobby. The MX go for another ROCKET LAUNCHER, but Morton gets his knees up! Eaton tags in Stan, but Ricky with the MORTON ROLL, hot tag to the Wildfire! Rich is on wildfire against the Express. Tommy with his finisher, the THESZ PRESS (or what some people call “the cock to the mouth”) on Lane, Eaton breaks the count. The referee is busy with Morton & Eaton, Rich goes to the top rope, and Cornette cracks Rich across the back with the tennis racket! Damn that had to hurt! Rich bumps into the ring, and Lane covers!

Then the oddest damn thing happens. The Southern Boys both come out dressed as Jim Cornette. I shit you not. They come out wielding rackets, with cheap knockoff Cornette suits, complete with pillows stuffed into their guts, and nerd glasses for some reason?!?!? Back to the match, Rich kicks out on two, while Steve Armstrong of the Southern Boys whacks Cornette in the ass with a racket, causing Jim Cornette to drop his racket into the ring. Morton backdrops Eaton over the top rope onto the ramp. Referee Nick Patrick becomes distracted by Morton & Eaton, while Rich picks up the Tennis Racket and WHACKS Stan Lane with it! Rich covers Lane for the 1, 2, 3! Damn what a match. Morton & Rich get the win in 20:49.

Winners: Morton & Rich

(Post Match Thoughts: I’m not a “hold-for-hold” type of reviewer, I generally try to focus on the basics and the high spots. But what can you do when 3/4 of the match was high spots? Believe me, I left a lot of the basic stuff out, these guys crammed a lot into 20:00. Unknowingly at the time by anyone, this would be the last night we’d ever get to see the Midnight Express in their prime. Cornette & Lane would leave WCW at the next TV Taping. It’s a shame because a Midnights vs. Southern Boys feud would have garnered a lot of excellent matches. It wasn’t the most amazing performance of their career, Lane did seem a little off, but it was a really good match nonetheless. Eaton really owned this match. From the simple Michinoku Pro spot, to the other double team moves and spots, these guys were far ahead of their time, always trying new things and never trying to have the same match. And believe me, they had plenty of matches. Kudos to Rich as well, who filled in the Robert Gibson roll without much of a miss. The finish with the Southern Boys was a little goofy, but what do you expect on a show dedicated to Halloween? ***1/2)

– We’re sent backstage to the “Wicked Witch” Missy Hyatt. Hmm, I wonder how far off from the truth that is? Missy plays a heel as she tries to rhyme some poetry and talk up the heels on the card. You can hear Bill Irwin’s whip cracking throughout the promo. They cut back to the ring, but Missy’s audio is still on. You can hear Hyatt ask “are we through?”, followed by “thank you”. And if somebody told her she did a great job.. Well.. They were lying. Back to the ring for Irwin vs. Taylor

(Taylor vs. Irwin Notes going in: What’s to say? Taylor was originally slated to meet “Wildcat” Wendell Cooley who had recently showed up in WCW, but Cooley had apparently flown the coop, and instead Bill Irwin makes one of many random PPV appearances that would last all the way into 1993. This guy had something on somebody I tell you. Irwin is clean shaven with short hair, he doesn’t even look threatening, but he’s an adequate hand in the ring. On the other end, Terry really never recovered from the Red Rooster gimmick.)

Terry Taylor vs. “Wild” Bill Irwin

Ross & Dangerously are joined by Jack Brickhouse, a legendary announcer from the Chicago area dating all the way back to the Dumont Network. Brickhouse not only handled the Chicago Bears, he also covered some of the earliest wrestling matches on TV. Referee is Randy Anderson.

Short feeling out process and Irwin eats a boot in the corner. Taylor comes off the top with a missile dropkick to the FACE of Irwin for 2. Taylor works a grounded headlock.  Brickhouse drops names going WAY back, many of them to the pre-television era. Irwin breaks free but misses a kneedrop, Taylor gets a backslide for 2. Irwin finally takes control with a big right hand and a PUMP BOOT TO THE FACE OF TAYLOR. Mean while, Jim Ross namedrops the legendary “Marigold Arena” where wrestling took place several decades ago. Brickhouse makes mention of wrestling being around for over 5,000 years, to which Paul E. quips “and Gordon Solie has been around for all but 3 or 4 of them”. Brickhouse namedrops another dozen legends of the 40’s and 50’s. Irwin works a chinlock, but at this point the match becomes a backdrop to the commentary. The commentary banter is far more entertaining. Brickhouse outs over some of the current talent, Paul E. kindly tries to bring the announcing back to the ring, but nothing is happening. Terry escapes the chinlock, but gets caught in a sleeper. Taylor escapes with a jawbreaker, and clothesline. Terry lands an Atomic Drop into a back suplex combo, and a bridge for 2. Irwin slides out of a body slam and hits a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER on Taylor. And YES, for all the smarks out there it was called a Tombstone at least a 8 years before the Undertaker. Irwin tosses Taylor onto the ramp. Boy guys are making use of that ramp. Taylor reverses something and sends Irwin into the ropes and Bill falls off the ramp. Back in the ring Taylor with a suplex and kneedrop for 2. Irwin regains control and escapes a sunset flip and hits Terry with a nice clothesline. Taylor counters a suplex with a small package for 2. Irwin argues with the ref and Taylor school boys for 2. Irwin misses a charge in the corner and Taylor lands a swinging neckbreaker. Irwin comes right back with a spinebuster. Irwin nonchalantly lays back across Taylor’s stomach to cover, but Terry hooks him into a cruficix type cradle and takes the win in 11:48.

Winner: Terry Taylor

(Post Match Thoughts: This was a fitting match for Brickhouse to commentate, as it’s an old school, by the books, heel vs. baby face match. I personally enjoyed the commentary more than the crap match in the ring. I’m a big fan of Taylor, but this was not one of his finer nights. These guys just went out there to fill time and put on your basic match. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing right with it. I thought it was shitty Taylor was always getting these fluke shock wins out of nowhere against guys who were nothing more than glorified jobbers in WCW, Terry was better than that. While technically, not “bad”, it was also technically, not “good” either. It did pick up near the end. Commentary gets a *, the match was just there, maybe 3/4* at best. I’ll give the entire thing a * )

– Oh shit, here we go! To the stage with Tony Schiavone who introduces the NWA World Champion, Sting! Tony brings up Sting’s issues with both Sid and the Black Scorpion. The champ proceeds to cut one of the worst promos he’s ever done, and that’s with only 3 or 4 lines. First, Sting says Sid let his butt overload his “you know what”. Once he realizes that “butt” and “you know what” are the same thing, he corrected himself “letting his mouth overload his you know what”. Sting goes on to claim that Sid is Vicious, and he’s big… and blah blah… You can tell they’re just waiting for it…and …3…2…1… Cue the Black Scorpion in the background!

Ole Anderson’s ridiculous graveled voice plays over the p.a. speakers as the Black Scorpion appears on the entrance ramp conveniently set up behind Sting. The Scorpion warns Sting and then proceeds to steal a young lady stagehand. The Scorpion takes the young lady with him into his mystical magic box of doom. By the time Sting arrives to the cube-o-doom, pyro shoots out and the curtain drops to reveal… NOTHING! The Scorpion & the woman have vanished. Now I have no idea where they went, but if he crossed state lines with that lady, he’s in FBI territory now.

Don’t look now!!! He’s behind you Sting! Now the Scorpion is on the front stage and Sting is on the entrance ramp! It’s AMAZING, it’s MYSTICAL, it’s BLACK MAGIC! At least according to the Scorpion. Sting jumps off the entrance ramp and rushes over to the stage. The Scorpion releases releases the girl and she jumps off the stage into the waiting arms of Sting. The Scorpion flees in a not-so-magical way as he just scurries off set. Sting puts the girl on her feet and she runs away, without so much as a thank you. WHAT A BITCH! Sting looks confused, but Jim Ross & Paul E. look far more puzzled. Dangerously plays this thing to the nine. Ross tried to sell a puzzled look, but Dangerously was over the top, acting scared of what he just saw. Yes, it was scary all right, but he hasn’t seen The Freebirds vs. Renegade Warriors yet!

(Brad Armstrong vs. JW Storm Notes going in: J.W. = Jeff Warner. Storm was a big jacked up guy they wanted to push for his WWF look, but he didn’t last long. Storm also had a short stint in WWF in early 1992, mainly on house shows. I believe he got into the boxing world, but his promoter was busted for rigging fights. Sort of ironic isn’t it? Storm’s biggest push was in Portland where he teamed with Art Barr as the Juice Patrol, where they painted themselves up like Beetlejuice. Brad has recently been given tights with red and white stripes and been nicknamed “Candyman”. Poor Brad. That guy was one of the most natural talents that EVER existed. To quote Barry Windham; “there are guys like Brad Armstrong who never make it, and you just can’t explain why”. The Candyman squeaks onto this show after Storm’s original opponent, Tommy Rich, was bumped up to the opening match.)

“Candyman” Brad Armstrong vs. JW Storm

Argh, even Brad’s music screams JOBBER. It’s promo music the NWA used for ads. Jim Ross says that JW has yet to be pinned on “WCW”. Storm overpowers Brad early and blocks a hiptoss and clotheslines the shit out of the Candyman. The pro-heel crowd pops. I won’t lie, it did look good. Brad uses some good, basic wrestling to take Storm down momentarily, but JW comes back with another clothesline, and an elbow, and to the chinlock we go. As I look around, it appears nobody in the crowd is even paying attention to the match. Armstrong breaks free but runs right into a HOT SHOT from Storm. Storm surprises me with a running dropkick, and he got up there, pretty agile for a guy his size. Storm continues the onslaught with a suplex, powerslam, and gut wrench. Storm tries another dropkick, but Brad sidesteps. It’s time for the Candyman to make a comeback, and the crowd goes MILD. Seriously, no noise. A kneelift & standing dropkick from Brad. Storm completely blows a reverse rolling cradle, so both men get up and Brad just hooks an inside cradle for the win in 5:05.

Winners: Brad Armstrong

(Post Match Thoughts:  That’s two back-to-back “fluke” wins by the baby faces. The match was nothing, though Storm impressed me a little, very little. Maybe impressed isn’t the word, more like surprised. He had potential, though. The crowd didn’t care unless Storm was killing Armstrong, nobody was even paying attention. The finish was obviously supposed to be Brad reversing Storm’s rolling cradle, but that got botched up and they went into a small package for the finish. Brad really didn’t even do anything offensively, which is sad because he’s one of the most talented men on the show. Shit like this doesn’t need to be on PPV, it served no purpose. It was too short to serve a purpose, didn’t get anyone over, and your new bad ass did the job to a guy who wasn’t winning at the time. I’m happy Armstrong won though. 3/4*)

– Back to Tony Schiavone, with Jim Cornette dressed up as a Confederate Soldier, or a Southern Boy. Take your pick. Cornette comments on the Sting & Black Scorpion angle, and then explains why he’s dressed in the soldier uniform. Cornette says he’s done some genealogy work on the family tree of the Armstrongs, the Smothers, and the Cornettes, and he’s going to be discussing it during our next match. That should be fun, at least! Cornette plans to join Jim Ross, who he says is down there by himself. Schiavone corrects Cornette than Dangerously is with Ross. Cornette quips “that’s right, like I said, down there by himself”.

– As we prepare for our next epic encounter, we’re shown Trucker Norm & The Juicer at ringside, handing out candy and goodies to the kids around the ring. Cue the smarky comments about Art Barr handing out candy to kiddies given his pending felony. Their normal gimmicks aren’t costume-ey enough, so Norm dresses up as a giant fat pumpkin, and the Juicer (Art Barr) puts a jester costume on over his Beetlejuice gimmick. Barr was good… Why can’t we have a Juicer match over some of this other crap? Like the next match.

 

(Southern Boys vs. Blasters Notes going in: Definitely a mismatch going in. We’ll see…)

The Wild Eyed Southern Boys (Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers) vs. The Master Blasters (Blade & Steel)

The Master Blasters are one of the many Road Warrior ripoff teams. “Blade” is Al Green, who later worked in another Road Warrior rip-off team “The Wrecking Crew” as well, and later as “The Dog” during the dying days of WCW. “Steel” would gain fame later under the name Diesel and his real name Kevin Nash. Both are greener than grass here. As promised, Cornette joins commentary, and much like the Taylor/Irwin match, the announcing becomes the entertaining part of the match. Here’s some of the things we learn about Family Trees. Paul E. is the “sap” in his family tree. Dangerously claims Cornette’s from Kentucky so his family tree doesn’t branch. Steve Armstrong’s relative “Benedict Armstrong” was a deserter in the Civil War. Apparently, none of Smothers family served in the Civil War, because they wore women’s clothes to escape being involved. Cornette says that’s why his name is TRACY, his uncle’s name was Ethel.

Meanwhile, there’s actually a match going on, Steve Armstrong clotheslines Blade out of the ring early on, so he tags in the big man Steel (Nash).  Nash has fun tossing around Smothers, while Cornette continues to talk about family codes of arms. Smothers comes off the second rope but Nash catches. Steve Armstrong comes off the top rope with a dropkick into the face of Nash and Tracy lands on top for a 2 count. Cornette continues, his family convinced the south to lose the war on purpose, so that the north would have to remain in the northern states as punishment. Nash tags back to Al Green. Smothers is sent into the ropes and is met with a knee in the back from Nash. Smothers tries to tag out and is met with a stiff ass clothesline from Green. Crowd pops for that. Nash shows off some tremendous agility with a huge leapfrog over Smothers, he really got up there, and a powerslam for 2. Cornette leaves commentary, but remains at ringside for the match. The Blasters continue with control, until Blade comes off the top rope and lands right into the boot of Smothers. Armstrong gets the hot tag, and the fans don’t make a sound. Wow, has this show killed the crowd after such a hot opener. The Southern Boys hit Nash/Steel with a double dropkick, then nail Green/Blade with a double shoulder tackle. The Boys land their finisher on Blade, Smothers scoops him up in a bear hug/waistlock and Steve comes off the top with a flying dropkick! Referee Nick Patrick COMICALLY holds back Nash, who acts like he’s fighting with all his might. Steve covers Blade, but the ref is arguing to get Smothers out of the ring. Cornette reaches in and pulls Armstrong off of Blade. Steve pulls Cornette up onto the apron, and Nash hits Armstrong in the back of the head with a clothesline, which happens to cause Steve’s head to bounce off the tennis racket for an added attraction. Blade covers Armstrong, and Cornette exacts some revenge from earlier when the Blasters get the win after 7:17. After the match, the Southern Boys grab hold of Cornette, rip off his jacket, and give him a SPANKING.

Winners: The Master Blasters

(Post Match Thoughts: The Blasters were green, and not just Al Green. The Southern Boys helped them through the match to where it wasn’t all that bad. Still not much there, but it was a match, and you could see potential in Nash, it;s just too bad by the time he made it, he had already learned he didn’t need to leave his feet. Based on their talent, the Southern Boys were wasted in this spot, but what can you do? *)

– Okay, now I KNOW they’re just throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks. BRAD ARMSTRONG is interviewed by Tony Schiavone for absolutely no reason. Was he just walking by and they asked him to cut a promo? I mean seriously? Brad comments on his brother Steve’s match, Hansen vs. Luger, and the Sting/Scorpion situation. At no point do they discuss Brad Armstrong. Well that makes sense. What makes even less sense is that they find the need for this interview, and it lasts all of 30 seconds at best. That’s probably for the best though.

 

(Freebirds vs. Renegade Warriors Notes going in: It’s been a long time, but I have nightmares of this match from years gone by in the early 1990’s when this event was one of the first VHS Wrestling tapes I owned outright. )

The Renegade Warriors (Mark & Chris Youngblood) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) with Little Richard Marley

Hayes & Garvin were wearing makeup at this stage. The Birds’ roadie, Little Richard Marley, is wrestler Rocky King. Marley is sporting Robert Gibson tights to mock Gibson’s injury at the hands of the Freebirds. Referee is Randy Anderson. this match was signed after the Birds injured the Renegade’s friend, Allen Iron Eagle, on TV. Lots of stalling and powdering to the floor by the Birds early on, and I do mean lots. Youngbloods with an armlock. The match spills to the floor briefly and Marley gets a few licks in on a Youngblood. One good spot early, when Garvin kicks out of a rolling cradle and pushes the Youngblood right into a left hook from Hayes on the apron. There’s a good 9 or 10 chinlocks by the Freebirds during the heat. I shit you not. Most of the match is just rear chinlocks, they don’t even vary it up. Before I know it, we’re 15 minutes in of this shit! Chris Youngblood FINALLY escapes and hits Hayes with a cross body, but Hayes goes RIGHT BACK TO THE CHINLOCK. The fans are completely pro-Freebirds, which makes the dragging out of this match even more pointless. Hayes goes to the top, rope because he does that all the time, and Chris slams him off the ropes. Hot tag to Mark Youngblood, and Garvin tags in as well. Mark with chops, backdrops, Chris runs back in with a double clothesline. Bless them, the Youngbloods are trying, but it’s a little too late to save this shitter. The Renegades with 10 punches in opposite corners, Little Richard jumps onto the apron and gets the attention of Chris Youngblood and the referee. Meanwhile Mark Youngblood rolls up Jimmy Garvin in a rolling cradle, and Hayes jumps in and catches Mark with a DDT, the crowd pops HUGE for the spot, as do I, because that means this shitstorm is O-V-E-R, and I mean over as in DONE, not over as in the crowd loved it. Garvin covers Mark and this one is finally put out to pasture after 17:27 of agonizing misery. That..Was..Shit..

Winners: The Birds

(Post Match Thoughts: WTF was that? The sub-title was right, Terror did in fact “Rule the Ring” in this match. How the hell do you follow all those dull matches and promos with a near 20 minute snooze fest of chinlocks? I mean WTF was this about? Who thought this was a good idea? I can excuse Garvin to some degree, he was working on a bum leg. The Youngbloods weren’t exactly lighting the world on fire here, and Hayes had already lost interest in the wrestling aspect of his character. When T.H.E. edited this show down to two hours, why wasn’t this the FIRST thing to go? It actually made it to the video release. Why weren’t the Renegade Warriors fed to the Master Blasters, and the Southern Boys vs. Freebirds? I know the WCW had overdone the Birds/WESB by this point, but I’d still rather see that again. It’s behind us now, so let us try and forget it. 1/4* just because it existed, but damn I’m tempted to add a ‘negative’ mark in front of that number.)

– It’s Tony Schiavone standing by with the Horsemen. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Sid Vicious. Oddly, Barry Windham isn’t on the card, or in this interview. But we’ll see why later. Flair says the Horsemen are taking the World Tag Team Titles and Sid is taking the Heavyweight Title from Sting. Sid agrees.

(Steiners vs. Nasty’s Notes going in: Now this was a match I was looking forward to! In a matter of a few months, the Nasty Boys had really taken the NWA by storm as a serious tag team contender. I was never a big Nasty Boy fan during their WWF days, but their initial run in the NWA was great in my opinion. They brought a new style to the ring and really let it all hang out. The Steiners were the Steiners, and in 1990 they could do NO wrong. This match had been set up after the Nasty’s had made themselves known that they wanted at the Steiners, they proceeded to attack and beat down the brother duo a month prior to this match at the contract signing.)

United States Tag Team Championship Match
The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) (c) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs / Jerry Sags)

Jim Ross wonders if this match belongs to the Frankensteiner, because it was made for a day like this. This gets going RIGHT away as the Steiners charge the ring. We have a completely different crowd now. Except for the occasional spot-pop, the crowds been asleep since the end of the first match, but NOW THEY’RE AWAKE! Wild action inside, and outside the ring to get it started. Sags busts a chair over the back of the head of Scott, ouch. We’re not a minute into this thing, and Scott Steiner slides out of a frickin SUPERPLEX and turns around and nails Sags with a OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX OFF THE MIDDLE ROPE!

Yeah, we’ve got a different crowd, they’re going insane. Some back and forth follows between Sags & Scott Steiner. Sags telegraphs a backdrop, Scott counters with a sit-out Tiger bomb! Good Lord, we’re three minutes into this match and the Steiners debut their Assisted Flying Bulldog from the top rope!

Scott puts Sags on his shoulders and Rick comes off with the bulldog, the fans go f*cking crazy. While the ref forces Rick out of the ring, Knobbs smashes Scott in the back with a steel chair to stop the cover. Knobbs illegally covers, but Scotty kicks out! The Nasty Boys work Scotty’s back with some nice variations of slams and suplexes, making some illegal switches in between. Knobbs uses an abdominal stretch, Sags prefers a bear hug on Scott. Scotty finally escapes the beahug by using a Belly to Belly Suplex!

Knobbs uses his brains, luring Rick Steiner in to prevent Scott from tagging. Rick explodes on Knobbs with a STEINERLINE! Rick tries another Steinerline, but Knobbs ducks and Rick goes flying outside. Referee Nick Patrick checks on Rick while the Nasty’s hit a SPIKE PILEDRIVER on Scott! While Patrick forces Knobbs out of the ring, Rick returns an early favor and breaks up the cover, hitting Sags in the back of the head with a chair and busts Sags open the hard way. The nasty’s continue to work over Scott with a bear hug, a Boston Crab, and a seated chinlock. The Nasty’s go for their signature spot where Sags whips Knobbs into the corner on their opponent, but Scott ducks and Knobbs smashes into the turnbuckles while Scott shoots out of the corner with a STEINERLINE on Sags. Now Scott and both Nasty Boys are down! HOT TAG TO RICK! Sick ass Steinerlines to both Nasty Boys and Rick forces Knobbs over in a belly to belly. Sags stops the count but Scott’s back in. Scott mounts Sags for 10 punches in the corner but Sags knocks him out of the ring, and Scott takes a wicked bump over the corner post to the floor. The Nasty’s then dump Rick to the floor, but Rick goes right to the top rope and reenters with a DOUBLE STEINERLINE FROM THE TOP!

Nasty Boys take right back over, but miss a double clothesline on Rick. Scott trips both Nasty’s from outside the ring and pulls Sags to the floor and posts him. Rick with another stiff ass Steinerline on Knobbs in the ring.  Rick teases the crowd, calling for Scotty to do the Frankensteiner, and the entire crowd gets up on their feet! FRANKENSTEINER on Knobbs, and it’s all over! 1, 2, 3. Ain’t nobody getting up from that. Steiners retain after 15:21. Hell of a match.

Winners: The Steiner Brothers

The Nasty Boys attack immediately after the match, ramming Rick into the post, and beating Scott down with the title belts. Jim Ross states “this feud will never end, it’s not over yet”. I was all for that.

(Post Match Thoughts: Loved this match, four guys that don’t care to beat the shit out of each other when necessary. The feud continued, I believe the two teams even worked a Cage match at the Omni. Now that, I would have loved to have seen. But it wasn’t meant to be, as Vince McMahon would soon lure the Nastys away to the WWF only a month or so after this event. The Steiners would continue to dominate WCW’s tag ranks until Bill Watts’ reign in 1992, while the Nasty’s would become WWF tag team champions within 5 months from this event. Still, this match was well put together AND executed. I once saw a guy that reviewed this match crap all over it. I know wrestling is subjective, but I don’t know WTF he was watching or expecting. This was great. It deserves ***3/4)

– The Freebirds and Rocky King are with Schiavone. Haven’t we seen enough of these guys tonight? King has fun hobbling around mocking Robert Gibson. Nothing to see here, back to the ring.

 

(JYD vs. Moondog Rex Notes going in: Umm, not really.)

The Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Rex

It’s Halloween, so the JYD comes to the ring in a mask. The camera never even gives Rex his intro. Rex acts scared of the Dog’s mask. Some typical JYD offense. Rex brings a chair in the ring. JYD takes the chair and busts it over his own head repeatedly to remind us of how hard his head is. DUH, REX.. DUH! The referee forces JYD back, and Rex grabs his bone and hits JYD in the midsection with it to take over. A little back and forth, JYD hits Rex in the back of the head with a clothesline. Rex goes for his Bone again, but the referee pulls it away. While Rex & the ref have a tussle over the Bone, JYD hits Rex between the eyes with a headbutt for the merciful quick finish in 3:13.

Winner: The JYD

(Post Match Thoughts: So you wake the crowd up with the Steiners/Nastys match and follow it with this? Well at least it was short. Moondog Rex would go on to have a much more successful 1991 as “Deadeye Dick”, thanks to the masterful booking of Dusty Rhodes. It’s as if nothing even happened here. DUD)

– We heard from the wicked witch earlier on, now we hear from Missy Hyatt dressed as the good fairy. This time Missy just talks about how great she is. There have been a lot of pointless interview segments tonight, I think just to prove they have a production team.

– Back to Tony of the Opera who is with Scott Steiner. Rick is “in the back” selling an injury. Scott talks about their match with the Nasty Boys and how they’re not through with them. At this point, a “concession seller” joins Tony & Scott on the stage. You know, because concessions are sold up on stages, especially during interviews. Scott has vision trouble because even standing two feet away, he can’t make out that the concession guy is actually Jerry Sags in a terrible looking fake beard. Sags BLASTS Scott in the back of the head with the concession tray, and soda and popcorn goes flying everywhere. Knobbs joins in the attack and the Nastys beat down Scott Steiner. Knobbs cuts a short, but good promo, informing the Steiners that the war has just begun. By far, the best interview segment of the night. that shot Sags gave Scott with the tray was just stiff as all hell. These guys were just so ready to work with each other.

 

(Doom vs. The Horsemen Notes going in: A very cool and unique feud going into things. Both teams were very much heels at the time, and the fans picked and chose who they wanted to side with, whether it was the legacy of the legendary Horsemen, or the smash-mouth no-nonsense beat’em-up style of Doom. To some degree it was a feud built on race. While there weren’t major undertones during this feud, there was the whole Flair’s Yacht vs. Teddy Long as a chauffeur gimmick, but that wouldn’t be until later on. Much like the Steiners vs. Nasty Boys match, I look very much forward to this match as you have 4 guys willing to do what they need to in order to put on a great match.)

United States Heavyweight Championship Match
Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed) with Teddy Long (c) vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & “Double A” Arn Anderson

Arn & Simmons start off the match, a feeling out process begins with Anderson ending up on the apron. Simmons suplexes Arn back into the ring. Arn shoots Ron into the ropes, right into the knee of Flair. Anderson takes advantage and hits Ron with a suplex, but Simmons NO SELLS and gets decked by Ron. Simmons then sends Arn into the ropes and Reed retaliates with a knee to Anderson, Arn staggers forward into a Simmons Powerslam! While referee Randy Anderson admonishes Reed, the Horsemen attempt to double team Simmons, but Ron comes back with a double clothesline. Flair gets pissy and gets in the face of Teddy Long, and LONG SLAPS THE NATURE BOY. Teddy wisely hides behind Doom.

Flair & Reed tag in. Flair toys with Reed, but wakes him up with a big chop. Reed fires back with a long series of jabs and a Military Press on Flair. Arn rushes in, but he also gets Military Pressed by Simmons. Reed takes over momentarily the two men trade chops and jabs, Flair with some good selling, leading to a punch combo of Reed and Flair attempting to tag in Arn, but doing the Flair Flop just short of the tag. Reed sends Flair upside down in the corner and out to the ramp, where he’s met by Simmons. Ron no sells a Flair chop on the ramp and beats him down. Now back inside Arn tags in, but Doom remains in control. Finally Anderson gets the upper hand on Simmons, and Reed gets drawn into the ring. Randy Anderson forces Reed out while the Horsemen double team Ron, Anderson puts Simmons in a Boston Crab and Flair drops a knee to the back of his head. The Horsemen then take Simmons to school.

Anderson hits Ron with the Spinebuster, but Simmons kicks out! The Horsemen then work over the leg of Simmons. Flair locks in the Figure Four, and Arn assists with additional leverage from the apron. Simmons eventually powers the hold over onto his stomach to reverse the Figure Four. Flair reaches up and tags to Arn. Anderson takes over, Simmons misses a dropkick and lands flat on his back. Arn gets on top of Ron, but ends up crotching himself on Simmons’ knees. The Horsemen prevent Ron from making the tag and continue to control, Arn tosses Ron outside the ring. Flair tries to sends Simmons into the railing outside, but Ron blocks and rams Ric into the rail instead. Simmons slingshots himself back into the ring with a sunset flip, but Anderson tags to Flair on the way down. It’s Ric vs. Simmons, Ron hits Ric with a clothesline, and Arn with a facebuster, and Ron finally makes the hot tag to Butch Reed!

Reed comes in for the hot tag, taking it to the Horsemen and nailing the flying shoulder tackle on Flair for 1,2, Anderson breaks it up. Flair & Reed spill to the floor, Butch sends Ric into the safety rails. In the ring, Anderson is setting Simmons up for a piledriver, but Reed comes OFF THE TOP ROPE WITH A SHOULDER TACKLE!

Reed covers Arn. Reed covers Anderson? 1, 2, Flair breaks it up. WTF? When did Anderson become the legal man? Simmons & Flair now fight to the floor. In the ring Arn nails Reed with the DDT! 1, 2, Simmons breaks the count. Now Ron covers Arn, 1, 2, Arn kicks out at the last second! All 4 men take the fight to the floor and begin to fight their way up the exit aisle, never looking back as Randy Anderson counts all 4 men out of the ring at 18:19.

Winners: Result was a Double Count Out

(Post Match Thoughts: It’s so odd to see Flair put in this position. I actually enjoyed the feud and the matches that came from it, but to see Flair being phased down to tag team action on PPV is kind of sad to see. Even knowing Ric would return from this demotion, it’s still easy to tell he was losing his “main event” feel at this point in his career based on Jim Herd and the booking at the time. Gary Capetta was calling the time limit throughout and shaving the shit off the time. Maybe we could have avoided things like an 18 minute Freebirds/Youngbloods match and we wouldn’t be rushing time during these final 3 matches. This was a good, solid match, and I wouldn’t have minded the finish had they not done an almost identical one on TV a week or two earlier. There were plans to continue this feud through the end of the year so we didn’t need a pin fall here, but as I said, why repeat the exact same finish from TV? Match was solid, plenty of star power, but for a Flair match it was a little underwhelming. I guess it’s the expectation factor. That doesn’t change the rating though, a good solid ***)

– A pre-taped promo with Stan Hansen airs. He has a pumpkin in his hand, which he says is Lex Luger. Hansen spits tobacco all over the pumpkin. Sweet! Stan almost knocks the set down. That’s why he rules.

(Lex vs. The Lariat Notes going in: This whole match started when Stan Hansen had aspirations of becoming the next NWA World Heavyweight Champion, but found out he was ranked #2, while the #1 rank is reserved for the U.S. Heavyweight Champion. Hansen stated he had never been #2 at anything in his life and immediately began a war with Luger in order to attempt to become the U.S Champ & #1 contender. I was a big fan of Luger’s stuff in 1989 & 1990, and I’ve always been a mark for Hansen, so I was salivating for this showdown at the time. Looking back, it may have lost some of it’s flavor over time, but it’s still a pretty cool contrast of stars you wouldn’t normally expect to see in the ring with each other. I wonder if Lex was having Brody flashbacks?)

United States Heavyweight Championship Match
“The Total Package” Lex Luger (c) vs. Stan “The Lariat” Hansen

Referee is Mike Atkins. Hansen jumps Luger to signal the bell, but Lex battles back with a nice elbow shot and Stan regroups outside the ring. Back in, Stan takes it to Lex both inside and outside the ring. Luger battles back with a slam on big Stan, but it’s short lived and Hansen mauls over Luger. Gary Capetta calls “5 minutes” at the 2 minute mark. Pardon my French, but that’s fucking ridiculous. Stan misses a charge into the corner and goes flying over the top rope and to the floor. Luger takes it to Stan outside the ring, and continues in control back inside. Hansen comes back with a Snap Suplex and a big BULLDOG for a 2 count. “10 minutes gone by” at the 6 minute mark. Stan misses a big elbow off the second rope. Luger fights back with a dropkick, slam and a forearm drop for 2. Lex with a nice looking suplex on Hansen for 2. Hansen reverses an Irish whip to the corner and follows in with a clothesline on Luger. As Stan works over Luger in the corner, the referee takes a shot from big Stan and goes down. Hansen goes for the Lariat, but Luger catches Stan with a clothesline instead. With both men down DAN SPIVEY shows up at ringside and tosses the bull rope to Hansen. Spivey came from out of nowhere, and he leaves like he came just as quick. Hansen tries to use the cowbell, but Luger ducks and backdrops Stan. Lex follows with a facebuster bulldog. Luger runs off the ropes for a clothesline but RUNS INTO THE LARIAT! Stan hits his clothesline finisher on Lex and gets 1, 2, 3 after 9:35 to win the title!

Winner: Stan Hansen

(Post Match Thoughts: I’m not sure what I was expecting the first time I watched this for the first time back in 1991. But looking back now, this was pretty much exactly what I’d expect. Lots of punching and kicking doesn’t make this a “great” match, but the guys both got some nice solid spots in when the time called for it. Spivey’s interference was a bit of a surprise, because Dan hadn’t been around in a long while, but Paul E. explained that away by saying Spivey was Hansen’s protégé in Japan. I liked the surprise of Spivey showing up, but I loved even more that his interference didn’t play into the finish. Luger got a comeback and took a clean finish from Hansen via the Lariat. The entire finish alone gets a *, but with the match I’ll go *3/4 for the whole shebang.)

– Are you serious? More interviews? Schiavone is with Teddy Long on stage. Teddy wants everyone to know that “Homey don’t play that!”. Long claims that Doom gave the Horsemen their title shot and don’t owe them anymore. We’ll see about that!

– Back to ringside, Missy Hyatt has joined JR and Paul E. for whatever reason. Missy wants everyone to know that she was the first one to pick Sid Vicious to beat Sting. Kay.

(Sting vs. Sid Notes going in: With Luger & Hansen going at it in the last match, that left Sid Vicious as the #1 challenger for Halloween Havoc. The story here is that Sid is a bad mofo, and the Black Scorpion has played on the mind of Sting. Those two things combined could equal a title change. And if that wasn’t all, the Horsement still had another ace up their sleeve, which you’ll see shortly. I won’t lie, I was a Stinger, but I don’t think there was a fan alive who wasn’t taken back by the intensity of Sid. Back in 1990, this match wasn’t so much about work ethic, which is a good thing, as much as it was about the top hero vs. the baddest man on the planet. Pretty cool in theory, pretty cool on a video box, but let’s see how it plays out when I watch it.)

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Sting (c) vs. Sid Vicious

The two men have a stare down to start. It’s a nice, intense moment as Sid turns to play to the fans and Sting does the same. Sid jumps Sting from behind, Sting fights back with a cross body but Vicious catches him! Sid turns it into a backbreaker which Sting NO SELLS! Sting battles back, tries a Figure Four and Sid rolls outside. After regrouping, Sid tries his hand at Sting again, but the Stinger ducks a big punch and Vicious goes flying over the top rope and back outside. Sting follows Vicious out and introduces Sid to the safety rail and the steel post. Back inside, Sting grabs a wrist lock. Sid eventually escapes with the most awkward looking headlock takeover ever, but Sting counters with a grounded head scissors. Sid kips up out of the scissors and puts Sting down with a clothesline. Vicious works over Sting before settling on the very tough to apply trap nerve hold. Sting eventually fights free but Sid counters with a powerslam to remain in control. Sid with more crappy offense, kicks, punches, a choke. Sting reverses an Irish whip to the corner but MISSES the Stinger Splash! Sid knocks Sting to the apron and plays to the crowd, which allows Sting to climb the ropes and come off with a top rope body block. SID KICKS OUT BEFORE ONE! What an asshole. Sid back in control, clotheslines Sting on the apron and gets a 2 count on the champ. Sting gets a second wind and battles back, hitting his facebuster bulldog. Sting rushes at Sid but eats a BIG BOOT from the challenger, and Sting rolls to the ramp. The two go fighting down the ramp, with Sid leaving Sting laying. With Sid back in the ring and Sting several dozen feet away on the ramp, the Stinger takes a running start and flies over the top rope back into the ring and has to clear more than half the ring to reach Sid, and he does, nailing Vicious. Sting dropkicks Sid to the floor and hits him with a plancha.  Sid & Sting go fighting down the exit aisle on the other side of the ring when they’re passed by Ric Flair & Arn Anderson. The Horsemen get the attention of referee Nick Patrick while Sting & Sid disappear, presumably backstage.

Okay, here they come battling back out to the ring! Sting & Sid are back in the ring. And hey, Sting must have touched up his face paint while he was back there! Sid misses a clothesline, Sting scoops Sid up for a slam, but falls from the weight. Sid lands on top. Referee Patrick makes the count. 1, 2, 3! That’s it! SID VICIOUS WINS THE WORLD TITLE at 11:44! Sting rolls out immediately to sulk in defeat. There’s some loser in the second row standing up and calling the action into his little voice recorder.

Winner: Sid Vicious

There’s pyro, there’s celebration, there’s a thousand orange and black balloons filling the arena.

(Post Match Thoughts: Well. That was a shitty finish)

Wait! Wait! Wait! What the hell is this? THERE’S STING! That’s the REAL Sting. The other guy had to be an imposter!

They trickered me!

Sting returns to the ring with a piece of rope tied to one arm. Referee Nick Patrick restarts the match, Sid takes a swing with the World title on the REAL Sting, but the Stinger ducks. Sting fights back, nails Sid with the title belt, for some reason he isn’t disqualified. STINGER SPLASH on Vicious. Sting with a small package, 1, 2, 3! STING WINS! Tack on another 17 seconds and we’ll call this match 12:01 of action. Sting rolls out, Sid is pissed, and the Horsemen have disappeared from ringside.

Winner: Sting

(Post Match Thoughts: The match itself wasn’t much. Sting had a couple of good spots, but overall it wasn’t good at all. Good thing it was kept shorter than most WCW main events, but I think the bookers knew what they had here. Even though going 12:00 exposed Sid, it could have been a lot worse. This was a case of two men with huge auras around them at the exact right time, so booking this match sounded good, it just didn’t play out well in the ring. The odd finish made a perfect fit to a show based around Halloween, tricks, treats, imposters. No, the imposter Sting wasn’t the NWO Sting, but rather the fourth member of the Horsemen, Barry Windham, who was kept off this show to hide his new haircut that he received to make himself up to look like Sting. So it was 4 against one, the entire Horsemen group had plans to screw the Stinger, and it still didn’t work. All of that for nothing, and the director/production completely MISS airing the showdown between the two Stings in the aisle way. Luckily, they were able to show a short cut of the footage before the PPV went off the air. It was all a little confusing, but I give them credit for coming up with something different. Match wasn’t much, give Sting a 1/2* for trying, and another * for the entire finish. We’ll go *1/2)

– Jim Ross quickly interviews Sting after the match. Sting is here to stay baby. OWWWW!

 

THE FINAL AUDIT: This show was all over the place, from some explosive stuff like the Steiners & Nasty Boys, to really good tag team action with Morton/Rich vs. The Midnights. Then again, neither of our two main events that featured the top two singles titles in the company even reached two stars. And let us not forget (although I’d like to) about that near half hour of the show eaten up by the Freebirds vs. Renegade Warriors crapfest. Another positive note, and it should be noted, that this was Paul E’s first live announcing gig after transitioning from manager, and not only did he nail it, he was able to incorporate humor and entertainment into the show without ever taking away from the product, which was just masterful. The commentary really aided this show in moving along. Normally, I hate old VHS releases that chop a show up, but in this case, I guess I really can’t blame T.H.E. for cutting the show down, it really does cut out a lot of the filler. While the sub-title was “Terror Rules the Ring”, there’s a sub-sub title on the VHS box which reads “A Night that will Haunt You Forever”, that very well could be true.

This was a tricky Audit, so it lived up to it’s Halloween tradition. With things ranging from pretty damn good to pretty damn bad, I had to itemize this Audit in order to determine the final decision. Most of the bad stuff was kept fairly short (save for those damn Freebirds), most of the good stuff was given longer time limits, and some of the so-so matches had good or creative finishes so this Audit will squeak by with an approval. I’ll give it somewhere in between a C  and a C- grade, 6 out of 10, there’s enough good stuff here that I’d still recommend viewing the show, but I wouldn’t fault you for skipping the crap in between. Halloween Havoc will pass the Audit, but it won’t be receiving a very big refund!

We’ll continue WCW next week when I’ll be Auditing a PPV from 1991! Until next week, this has been the REAL I.R.S., Ian R. Singletary, catchya later, tax cheats!

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