October 25th, 1992
Live from Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia Civic Center)
Announced attendance: 7 000 (capacity: ca 12 000)
PPV buyrate: 165 000 (+45 000 from Halloween Havoc 1991’s 120 000)
Hey guys, welcome to my review of WCW Halloween Havoc 1992. Featuring a special “spin the wheel make the deal” Sting v. Jake Roberts main event, Ron Simmons defending the World Championship against The Barbarian, and Rick Rude competing for two championships in the same night.
Here is the list of champions in WCW (and NWA) heading into the PPV:
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Ron Simmons [84th day of his reign] – previous champion: Big Van Vader
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Masahiro Chono [74th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair, before it was vacated/deactivated
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Rick Rude [341st day of his reign] – previous champion: Sting
- WCW World Television Champion: Scott Steiner [26th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ricky Steamboat
- WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Champions: Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes [34th day of their reign] – previous champions: Miracle Violence Connection
Enjoy the review!
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse Ventura
Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Michael Hayes vs. Shane Douglas, ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk & Johnny Gunn
Philadelphia gives the young babyfaces a warm reception like only Philly can! Arn & Gunn to start. Arn cheapshots Gunn and gets a pop for it as he fires away, but Gunn shoots him into the buckle with a dropkick. The rest of the babyfaces clean house with stereo dropkicks, and the crowd boos them. Zenk comes in to work on the arm, but Anderson drop toeholds him into his corner and tags in Eaton. Great ring awareness there by AA. Bobby SMACKS Zenk a couple of times, getting a tremendous pop for it, before they get into a criss cross sequence. Zenk wins that one with a backdrop followed by a series of dropkicks, which the crowd doesn’t find that amusing. They love Michael Hayes getting tagged in and doing his usual shtick, though! Shane Douglas takes over with an armdrag, but a knee to the gut cuts him off. It’s off to Eaton again, who ends up running into Shane’s armdrag as well. Flying headscissors by Shane followed by a single leg takedown, and Zenk stays on the leg with a figure four.
A tag to Arn Anderson breaks up the hold, however, and Arn escapes a sleeper attempt with a backdrop suplex. Hayes drops an elbow, and he works a chinlock. Maybe someone oughta go for a pin in this match, huh? The fans want the DDT. Hayes teases the DDT but instead hits a swinging neckbreaker just to be a dick, yet he still gets cheered for it. And hey… HE TRIES A PIN! It gets two. Cute spot with AA making a blind tag and sneaking in with a clothesline on Zenk, which the crowd loves. Jesse is flabbergasted by such a reaction. Welcome to Bizarro world, Maggle! Eaton drops a flying kneedrop from the top on Douglas’ leg, as now the crowd is literally jumping up and down at seeing the happy-go-lucky babyfaces getting their asses handed to ’em! Eaton gets the figure four, but Douglas still regroups and atomic drops Anderson into the buckle before making the ice cold tag to poor Johnny Gunn. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN BIZARROLAND! In the midst of the confusion, Johnny manages a quick Thesz press and pins Hayes at 11:02. I don’t think I need to describe the crowd’s reaction to such ending, right?!
- Rating: Well, it was certainly entertaining. In-ring wise, the match was whatever and all kinds of whacky, but the crazy crowd reactions made this a fun opener. **1/4
Meanwhile, Harley Race walks up to Ravishing Rick Rude’s locker room. More on this story later on.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Steamboat’s entrance theme is slightly remixed here. I don’t remember him ever using this version, but it still fits him. Chopfest to start as Steamboat gets some nearfalls with a pair of running shoulderblocks. Pillman dumps him but the Dragon skins the cat. Back in, Steamboat gets an O’Connor Roll for two and Pillman sends him face first into the buckle on the kickout. Brian follows it up with a powerslam, but he stops to point at his head. Rule #1 in wrestling: NEVER point to your head, it always backfires on you. And before I even finish typing the previous sentence, Steamboat plays possum and jams Brian’s face into the mat. Such a good spot. Ricky goes to work on the arm. Pillman escapes that predicament with a drop toehold into a headlock, but is immediately outwrestled back to a hammerlock from Steamboat. So with the wrestling not working, Pillman turns to cheating, which earns him a few chops with extra mustard. Huge backdrop from Steamboat. Brian headbutts him in the gut, though, and a rake to the eyes finally cuts Ricky off. Brian pounds away and cheats some more, until Steamboat leapfrogs over him and returns the favour with blatant choking.
Steamboat goes back to the arm, but Pillman seems to be fading and Ricky backs away. SIKE! Brian pops right back up and takes over with a cheapshot. He rams Steamboat’s face on the mat and pounds away, but Dragon uses the chops to stay alive. Tilt-a-whirl slam attempt by Steamboat, which Brian turns into a flying headscissors for two. Backslide by Steamboat gets two. Pillman with a faceplant and he goes after the hair. Brian takes Ricky upstairs for a superplex, only to get shoved back down. The Dragon goes aerial, only to be met by a dropkick from Pillman in midair for two. Steamboat hits a backdrop suplex out of instinct for a double KO spot. Brian gets back up first and grabs a sleeper, with Steamboat ramming his head into the buckle to escape. Pillman catches him from the apron with a necksnap, however. Brian goes up but gets slammed off. Steamboat is feeling it now, and Pillman is like “fuck it I’m outta here”. Ricky follows him and takes him back to the ring, only to be met with a kneelift. Steamboat makes the comeback with the chops, but Pillman bails again. The Dragon follows him yet again and Pillman tries the kneelift trick once more, but this time Steamboat ducks and Brian lands on his ass. High crossbody gets two for Flyin’ Brian, but Steamboat responds with a backbreaker. He goes up for a flying sunset flip that gets two. They take it to a pinfall reversal sequence from there, and after trading a bunch of nearfalls back and forth, Steamboat catches Pillman at 10:25.
- Rating: There wasn’t much of a storyline involved here. The two had a really good wrestling match for ten minutes, with Brian getting to showcase his new heel tendencies some more. It could’ve been better with some kind of buildup, but it was still quite enjoyable as expected. ***1/2
Teddy Long is in the back with NWA Champion Masahiro Chono, who’s standing by alongside Hiro Matsuda, Kensuke Sasaki and then-NWA President Seiji Sakaguchi. Chono handpicks Sasaki as his special guest referee for tonight.
Tony Schiavone interviews Bill Watts on the platform. Cowboy has a number of announcements regarding tonight’s matches: Rick Rude handpicked Harley Race as the second referee for the NWA Title match with Chono; Terry Gordy is gone from WCW for breaching his contract, and Dr. Death picked Stunning Steve Austin as Gordy’s replacement to challenge Windham & Dustin for the tag titles; Rick Rude went to his lawyers to avoid facing Nikita Koloff for the US Title and found someone to defend the belt for him – Big Van Vader. OH SHIT!!
No DQ Match – WCW United States Heavyweight Championship: Big Van Vader (representing Rick Rude) vs. Nikita Koloff
Madusa was originally banned for Rude v. Nikita. Furthermore, Ole Anderson sends Rude and Harley Race to the back as well. Slugfest gets things going as they trade stiff shots back and forth. Vader ends up winning that battle before squashing Nikita with an avalanche in the corner. Clothesline follows and Nikita gets turned inside out. Vader dumps him and stops to celebrate, allowing Nikita to fight back and hit a reverse crossbody for two. Koloff works a chinlock on Vader but he quickly escapes and roughs him up. He misses a second avalanche, though, and Nikita cradles him for one. A great crossbody gets two and Vader bails. Koloff makes the fatal mistake of going after him, as he ends up tasting the railing. Vader hits him with a chair on the outside and gets a beer thrown at him by a fan. Nikita attempts a springboard sunset flip back in, but Vader just sits down on him and KILLS the poor guy. Goodness gracious. Vader hits another huge clothesline just for fun, and then adds a chokeslam. He goes up for the flying splash of death… and Nikita kicks out?? Something tells me that’s not a wise idea, Nikita! Vader with a chinlock and Nikita can’t get him up for a backdrop suplex. He manages to block a suplex attempt by Vader though, before hitting one of his own. Nikita gets all fired up and makes the comeback, slugging away in the corner but Vader no-sells a pair of shoulderblocks. A third flying one does take him down and Nikita gets two. Powerslam by Nikita(!) gets two. Elbowdrop gets two. He shitcans Vader over the top with the Sickle, but since this is no DQ you just saved yourself a drink! Nikita tries another Sickle on the floor, but only hits the post. Thanks for coming, Nikita. Vader adds a few more shots back in just because he can, and once he’s satisfied he casually finishes Nikita with the Powerbomb to retain Rude’s US Title at 11:35.
- Rating: I really enjoy watching Big Van Vader, and I thought this was a really good match. Vader decimated Nikita Koloff so bad that he literally ended his WCW (and wrestling) career. Good physical tussle, and I really enjoyed Nikita’s comeback spot. I like how he went for pins after every big move, wanting to get out of the match with this animal as soon as possible. It added a great sense of urgency to it. Ultimately, Nikita missing the second Sickle was what cost him, and I appreciate that touch. It wasn’t a total squash, but rather a very impressive dominant win for Vader as he looks to get a rematch soon with Ron Simmons. ***
WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Championship – Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams & Steve Austin
Dustin & Barry are starting to develop some signs of dissension lately. Rhodes can’t shoulderblock Doc to start. Dustin is challenged to try another one by Williams, who leapfrogs over him and clotheslines him. “Sucker in that rookie”, says Jesse! Doc takes over with a pair of chopblocks, before he ends up walking into a clothesline from Dustin. It’s off to Windham as now the veterans go at it. They get into a criss cross sequence won by Windham with a dropkick, as he then armdrags Doc and goes to work on the arm. Dustin comes in to snap Williams’ arm à la Macho Man’s necksnap, and Austin finally gets tagged in. Stunning Steve takes over with a thumb to Barry’s eye and rams his face into the buckle. Barry catches Austin with a dropkick off a criss cross, as Austin gets caught between a rock and a hard place and bails. Back in, Dustin works a headlock on Austin, who tries to reverse and gets a handful of nearfalls in the process. Austin finally escapes and he pounds away, as he now goes after Dustin’s legs. Austin eats an elbow off a blind charge, though, and Rhodes gets two. Rhodes misses a blind charge of his own over in the other corner, but Austin misses a monkey flip as well and Dustin hits a running clothesline for two. Windham comes in with a running clothesline of his own for two more. Vertical suplex gets two.
Doc destroys Barry with a bunch of shoulders in the corner. Windham charges for a crossbody out of desperation, but Doc moves out of the way and Barry shitcans himself. Back in, the Steve Williams Connection double-team Windham and Austin hits a Bret-like middle rope elbow for two. Doc gets caught in a sleeper by Barry, however Doc breaks by ramming Windham’s head into the post. Hammerlock by Austin. The future megastar follows it up with a pair of hammerlock slams, and Barry accidentally tags in Williams while selling in a nice spot. Doc cuts the ring in half and cheapshots Dustin to draw him in, powerslamming Windham for two. Austin goes for a superplex on Barry, which is never a good idea. And indeed Barry knocks him off the top and gives him a flying clothesline for two. They collide for a double KO spot and Windham finally makes the hot tag to Dustin. He runs wild and even hits the bulldog on Austin, but Doc breaks up the count. That leads to a pier six brawl, allowing Doc to cut off Dustin on a criss cross behind the ref’s back. Dustin just SMASHES poor Rhodes with shoulders in the corner before putting him in the Boston Crab. Austin even pulls off Jesse’s inverted bearhug to continue the work on the back. Dustin manages to escape with a huge assist from Barry, and they trade nearfalls in a pinfall reversal sequence before Austin hits a clothesline for two.
Austin tags William back in, who is like a shark smelling blood. He roughs up Dustin’s injured back and midsection, as the challengers continue to cut the ring in half. Dustin tries to make a small comeback using Dusty’s gimmick, but he can’t complete the big bionic elbow and Austin sends him flip flopping & flying to the mat! Doc gets two with a floatover snap suplex. Rhodes rams Williams’ head into the buckle but not even that can stop this bull, and Austin works a chinlock while driving his knee on Dustin’s vertebrae. That’s how you add psychology into it rather than just using it as a boring “resthold”. Austin misses an elbowdrop off a powerslam, but Doc immediately covers for it by coming in and hitting an overhead suplex for two. Belly to belly gets two. Doc works a sleeper now, as we get Cappetta’s announcement that we have five minutes left on the clock. Austin puts him in a half crab until Dustin kicks him off and makes the hot tag to Windham… but the ref misses it! Windham powerslams Austin but takes the referee down as well in the process. A second ref comes down, and Doc clotheslines Windham while Austin gets the pin and the titles. The original ref calls it off as he had missed the hot tag, however, and the match continues with 1:30 left. Dustin clotheslines Austin for two. Elbowdrop gets two more. There’s only one minute left now. Austin picks Dustin up for a powerslam, but Dustin rolls through into a tombstone piledriver. He takes his time going for the pin, though, and while it only gets two, time expires allowing him and Barry retain at 30:00. Shenanigan city!
- Rating: It took me some time to really get into it, but boy did this turn into a fantastic old-school tag match! Dustin was great at playing Ricky Morton throughout the second half of this match, and the heels’ work over his midsection was very good. The pseudo finish close to the time limit was nice, as Windham did indeed get tagged in and the loss should have counted had the ref seen it, and it served to add more fuel to the fire in the champs’ relationship. This was really good pro wrestling. ***3/4
Paul E Dangerously takes all the credit for Rick Rude’s success and the deal with Vader earlier tonight. He goes on a crazy sexist rant against Madusa, calling her ‘just a stupid woman’ and firing her, effectively ending the Dangerous Alliance. Madusa finally snaps and kicks Paul E’s ass, drawing a huge pop from the crowd!
Sting comes out to spin the wheel & make the deal for tonight’s main event with Jake. The wheel is full of interesting options such as Texas Death, I Quit, Barbed Wire, Texas Bullrope and even a mysterious “Spinner Choice” that means the wrestler gets to control the rules on the fly. With all these nice choices, OF COURSE it lands on…
Cole Miner’s Glove. Yep. Or coal with an A. Whatever.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship – special referees: Harley Race & Kensuke Sasaki – Masahiro Chono(w/ Hiro Matsuda) vs. Rick Rude(w/ Madusa)
Harley Race is Rude’s handpicked referee, while Kensuke Sasaki is Chono’s. A coin toss by Ole Anderson is won by Harley Race, making Sasaki the outside assistant referee. ‘We want Flair’ chants as soon as Harley holds up the big gold belt. These two tore the house down in Japan that summer, but this match doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. Early lockup goes to a stalemate. Rude pounds away but walks into an armdrag and stops for some advice from Madusa. That advice? ‘You should jump ship and throw this useless belt in the trash after you win it tonight’. If only someone ever had the balls to do it, I think it would’ve gotten people talking. Chono explodes out of a chinlock with a backdrop suplex, and he drop toeholds Rude right into a facelock. Rude slugs his way out of the hold, though, and powerslams Chono for two. Rick goes back to the chinlock, which Chono turns into a hammerlock. He tries to overpower Rude into a pinning predicament, but Rude is too powerful for him so Chono lets go and kicks him in the back instead. Rude bails and asks Madusa for a massage on the outside. However, Chono continues to torture him (and me) back inside.
Boston Crab by Chono but Rude makes the ropes. Chono switches to sitting on the back and stays there for what feels like a minute, until Rude finally escapes with a jawbreaker. The crowd finally wakes up for Rude showing off his biceps, and Rude hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Now Rude goes to work on the neck setting him up for the Rude Awakening, putting him in a chinlock that eats up another minute. The thing is the psychology is actually solid in this match, but the whole thing just seems endless. Chono catches Rude off a criss cross and goes for the STF, but he can’t lock it in. Rude turns things around with by raking the eyes. A piledriver seemingly finishes Chono, but he manages to put his foot on the ropes at two. And, say it with me… we hit the chinlock. The crowd seemingly gets loud at something going on in the arena off-camera. I couldn’t see what it was, but it definitely wasn’t the match. Rude misses a missile dropkick off the top and Chono tries to capitalize with a big boot, but he ends up hitting Harley Race instead. Chono throws Rude over the top rope (take a drink), but Rude gets back in and hits the Rude Awakening. Race is still bumped, though, allowing Chono to put him in the STF as the refs FINALLY end this at 22:23. Sasaki declares Chono the winner via submission, but Race DQs him for throwing Rude over the top and that stands as the official decision. Sasaki beats up Rude & Harley afterwards because we… shall… not… move… on.
- Rating: Good lord, this is boring as hell. The psychology wasn’t bad on paper like I said earlier, but this just didn’t work whatsoever in execution. You’re better off just watching their match in Japan and pretending this never happened altogether. 3/4*
WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Ron Simmons vs. The Barbarian(w/ Cactus Jack)
Apparently this is tonight’s “sanctioned main event” according to JR, as WCW isn’t sanctioning a main event as violent as a Cole Miner’s Glove match. I wouldn’t wanna sanction it either, but perhaps for different reasons. An early lockup goes nowhere and they shove each other back and forth. The crowd is scary dead for a World Title match on PPV. Barbarian shoulderblocks Simmons, but Ron no-sells a few more before finally exploding with a running shoulderblock of his own. Dropkick, running forearm and Barb bails. Back in, Barbarian uses the CLUBBING BLOWS to take over, until Ron fights back in the same manner and Barb bails again. Barbarian turns things around by snapping Ron’s neck on the top rope before sending him shoulder-first into the post. Barb adds a clothesline on Ron onto the post and rams him into the railing. Simmons fights back with a sunset flip for two back inside, but Barb takes back control with a cobra clutch of sorts. Simmons rams him into the buckle repeatedly to escape, getting literally no reaction from the crowd, and Barb slams him down. He goes up but misses a flying elbowdrop and Ron’s spinebuster gets two. Simmons runs wild but stops to go after Cactus, allowing Barbarian to big boot him in the back of the head. Flying headbutt follows but it only gets a nearfall. Clothesline gets two. Barb is thinking big boot but ends up charging right into Ron’s powerslam at 12:41.
- Rating: This was whatever. Watchable match but it didn’t feel like a PPV World Title match whatsoever and the crowd was dead. *1/4
Bruno Sammartino congratulates Ron Simmons and tries to get over Erik Watts as well. Yeah.
Main Event – Unsactioned ‘Spin The Wheel Make The Deal’ Coal Miner’s Glove Match – Sting vs. Jake Roberts
The coal miner’s glove is up on a pole and whoever gets it can use it. Roberts immediately climbs up and goes for it, but Sting pulls him off and slams him. Now it’s Sting going up only for Jake to pull him down by the tights. Roberts slugs away and Sting misses a dropkick, so Jake goes to work on the back by driving some knees. He dumps Sting but gets his arm rammed into the post a couple of times. Sting still can’t get the glove, though, and Roberts backdrop suplexes him. He can’t follow up because of the injured arm, however, which allows Sting to stay alive by going back to working the arm. Another unsuccessful climb attempt by Jake as he gets crotched on the top rope, and Sting goes back to the arm. Feel the CRUEL UNSACTIONED VIOLENCE of someone working over an opponent’s body part. Totally something that separates this from any other ordinary match. Jake picks things up a little bit by hitting Sting with a chair and choking him with the wrist tape. The kneelift misses, but so does the Stinger Splash and Jake gets the short-arm clothesline. DDT but Jake hurts his arm in the process as well. It STILL doesn’t keep Sting down long enough for Jake to get the stupid glove (ah come on), as Sting comes back with a weird rolling elbow. Sting climbs but Cactus Jack runs in with a second glove with the snake inside, which he gives to Roberts. But the cobra bites Jake instead… and Sting pins him at 10:34????? Fucking really??
- Rating: What a stupid, pointless, disappointing waste of time. They teased many dangerous matches such as Texas Death or I Quit, delivered a stupid glove on a pole match and then had Sting win after the snake bit Jake. In a vacuum this might look alright so some, but given the MONTHS of build up, the endless ‘spin the wheel make the deal’ teasers and all the hype around it, this was a massive letdown. And this was pretty much it for Jake Roberts in WCW. *1/2
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: I would say the wise the wise thing is to watch this show up to the tag title match, shut it down from there and pretend the rest never happened. The first half of the show was really good and featured some great wrestling, but none of the three matches that actually sold the PPV delivered. That will drag any show down. There’s good stuff to see from this show, though. Mildly recommended. 5/10
Thank you for reading. Don’t miss the next reviews as I get closer and closer to the end of 1992. See you soon!
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Featured image by: Ayan Murtaza