The SmarK Rant for WCW Halloween Havoc 1993 – 10.24.93
This is a show I do not even remember watching, but I did a rant way back in the day, and I know I ordered the show when it aired live, so I’ve seen it twice. But you could have fooled me.
And we start with a bunch of kids going trick-or-treating in yet another WCW Mini Movie, giving us SPOOKY TONY SCHIAVONE acting like a child molester. How has this not been all over the internet yet? Also, apparently all the kids in the neighborhood are fans of WCW and will be watching this PPV. Come on, one of them’s black! He wouldn’t even be allowed to order it!
Live from New Orleans, LA, drawing 6000 people and a 0.5 buyrate.
Your hosts are Tony & Jesse. Tony is dressed as Jesse and Jesse is “Bourbon Street’s #1 gynecologist.”
Harlem Heat & The Equalizer v. The Shockmaster, Ice Train & Charlie Norris
Come on, this show’s just fucking with me already. Gotta be. There’s no other rational explanation for having this opener. Ice Train works a headlock on Booker to start (they were still Kane and Kole at this point, but WCW can suck it for making me watch this) and overpowers him, then no-sells Stevie’s stuff as well. Shockmaster comes in and works on Booker’s arm as Tony has to seriously call him “one of the most agile big men you’ll find”, which has Jesse immediately calling bullshit. Finally Ice Train gets hit with a cheapshot from the apron and the heels take over, giving us Ice Train selling for an extended period of time while Equalizer is on offense. So they’re doing a closeup on the ropes, with the camera right in Equalizer’s face, and he decides to call a spot right into the camera. Sure, why not. Charlie Norris thrills us with some failed shoulderblocks and Shockmaster comes in to clean up on Equalizer as this is like watching people do a parody of wrestling or something. Charlie Norris misses a blind charge and now he’s the face in peril as we’re 8:00 into this shitshow and I just wish they’d make up their fucking minds already. Charlie Norris looks like someone who would be playing bass in a Bad Company cover band in 2010, not any kind of legit Native American. Uncle Fred gets the hot tag and pins Booker with the bearhug into a slam at 9:50. This has awful selling, awful workrate, offense comprised mostly of bad punches and kicks, and Shockmaster v. Equalizer sold as a serious feud. -**
Ricky Steamboat v. Paul Orndorff
This is the debut of Assassin as Orndorff’s manager after the feud with Dusty ended up going nowhere. Apparently this was supposed to be Steamboat v. Yoshi Kwan but Champion got injured, so at least we get a much better match out of it. They slug it out and Orndorff wins that one and follows with an elbowdrop, but Steamboat rolls him up for two. Orndorff’s right arm is just scary thin here. They brawl outside and Orndorff pounds Dragon on the ramp, but Steamboat tries a tope con hilo back into the ring and just misses completely. That’s kind of funny. Orndorff follows with a backdrop suplex for two, but Steamboat takes him down with a hammerlock in a really awkward botched spot. Steamboat works the arm as they are really struggling to find second gear here. Steamboat with a crossbody for two and he goes back to the arm, running it into the post while Jesse questions why it’s not a DQ. So Tony calls him out: “It’s head-first into the post, you know the rules!” Jesse: “Yeah, I know the rules. (pause) I just don’t like Steamboat.” Steamboat continues throwing Orndorff around outside as this goes nowhere, and back in for more working the arm. This match really needs some kind of narrative or point. And then Steamboat makes the comeback after 10:00 of being in control, and they head back to the floor again. Finally Orndorff stops selling and they slug it out, resulting in Orndorff getting all fired up and throwing Steamboat into the front row. Back in, Orndorff drops an elbow from the top and gets two. They collide on a crossbody in another botched spot and Orndorff tries to pin in using the ropes, but they do the spot where the ref kicks the hands and the babyface reverses and even botch THAT badly. Back to the floor and Steamboat sends him back in via atomic drop and follows with a flying chop for two. Orndorff tries the piledriver, but Steamboat reverses out and they do a messed up pinfall reversal sequence, leading to Steamboat catapulting him into the corner for two. Flying bodypress, but the Assassin distracts the ref. Dragon gets shoulderblocks for two, but he shoves the ref in anger, which allows Orndorff to dump Steamboat over the top rope behind his back. Assassin then headbutts him with the loaded mask and Steamboat is counted out at 18:30. This turned into a really good match despite the botches, because both guys are GREAT pro wrestlers who know how to pace a match and carry the crowd through hard work and selling, but what a shitty finish. ***1/2 Also, not only was the finish itself terrible, but the rule of thumb in wrestling is always that if you don’t deliver an advertised participant, at least put the babyface over so the fans aren’t pissed.
World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Davey Boy Smith
As soon as Michael Buffer specifically points out the 15:00 time limit, you might as well just fast-forward to the draw. They trade wristlocks and reversals and I’m getting worried that Davey Boy might literally explode on our screen if you puncture one of his muscles. More nice gymnastic reversals that you didn’t see from Bulldog at that point, and Davey gets a monkey flip and wraps him up with the bow-and-arrow hold until Sir William distracts him. Regal takes over with a Regal Roll for two and goes to a neck vice on the mat. Regal pounds on him on the mat and drops a knee for two, then back to a hold again. Regal holds him down for a few minutes, but Bulldog powers him up and Regal stomps him down again. Davey makes the comeback with a minute left, but the powerslam gets two and a piledriver gets two as the time expires at 15:00. Just an OK match. **
Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff spins the wheel with Vader and we get a Texas Death Match.
US title: Dustin Rhodes v. Steve Austin
Jesse feels like Dustin wearing sequined chaps in Texas probably wouldn’t go well for him. Austin was still technically half of the Blonds at this point, although the whole breakup was already in motion and even the opening graphic lists him as being managed by Robert Parker. Tony quickly tries to cover for that one by noting “Parker took credit for putting the title shot together” but clearly someone was too far ahead in the script there. Austin goes for a crab and Dustin powers out of it and Austin backs off. Steve gets an elbow and pounds away to take over before working a headlock. Dustin comes back with a dropkick and goes to work on the knee, but Austin kicks him in the nuts behind the ref’s back to take over. The crowd is just dead for this. Austin drops a knee for two and they slug it out, and Dustin makes the comeback with a lariat for two. Austin blocks the bulldog and dumps him on the top rope, but Dustin recovers with a rollup for two and a small package for two. Austin takes him down and pins him with his feet on the ropes at 14:00, but Nick Patrick waves it off and Dustin rolls him up for the pin to retain at 14:30. Well that was a lame finish. Another nothing special match. **1/4
WCW World tag titles: 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell v. The Nasty Boys
In on-screen continuity, Scorpio & Bagwell had only won the belts the night before on WCW Saturday Night. At least Bagwell seems self-aware about how white he is while doing the pre-match dance. I’m still not sure what the point of putting the belts on them for ONE DAY was. Jesse gets the line of the night thus far, as Tony talks about how Missy is escorting the Nasties to the ring now and Jesse retorts that he always thought Missy would be perfect for an escort service. OUCH. Someone get Missy some salve for that sick burn. The Nasties quickly double-team Bagwell, but Scorpio comes flying in with a bodypress onto both heels and the ring is cleared. And then Bagwell hits them with a dive for good measure. Back in, the champs work on Knobbs’ back and Scorpio gets a rollup for two. Double shoulderblock gets two and Bagwell gets two on Knobbs with a Thesz Press. Over to Sags and he gets dominated as well, but fights back with forearms in the corner until Scorpio gets a springboard bodypress out of the corner and works the arm. Finally the Nasties catch Bagwell with a double-team stungun behind the ref’s back, and Bagwell bumps dramatically to the floor and he’s face in peril. Bagwell was really improving dramatically at this point and really got how to be a babyface and draw sympathy. Unlike, say, Erik Watts, his contemporary. Back in, Knobbs with a suplex for two. Sags with a slam for two, and Knobbs comes in with the laziest camel clutch this side of Sid, barely making contact with him. Sags pounds away and spits on him, and the Nasties switch off behind the ref’s back and Knobbs gets two. Knobbs with the bearhug, but Bagwell fights out, so Sags puts him down with a clothesline for two. Bagwell makes the tag, but it’s behind the ref’s back, and the Nasties screw up their double-team and allow the hot tag to Scorpio for real. Moonsault gets two on Knobbs and the heels collide while the managers fight on the apron. Scorpio hits Knobbs with the 450, but Sags clocks him with his boot and puts Knobbs on top to regain the belts at 14:38. Scorpio & Bagwell had tons of potential as a team, but was completely wasted like everything else with Scorpio in WCW. Hell of a match here. ***3/4
Sting v. Sid Vicious
This is to determine the “franchise” of WCW, although hopefully the finish won’t involve Barry Windham in bad makeup this time around. Sting quickly gets a slam and clothesline to send Sid to the floor, and Sid bumps into the crowd as they brawl out there. Back in, Sting gets a flying clothesline for two, but Sid chokeslams him to take over. Sid pounds away and goes to the chinlock while the fans chant for Sid (and Tony’s like “They’re chanting for Sting!”) , but Sting fights up, so Sid powerslams him for two. Sid with an extended bearhug, but Sting fights out and makes the comeback with the Stinger splash times two. They tussle on the ropes and Parker accidentally grabs Sid’s leg somehow and holds him down while Sting gets two, and then Sting rolls up Sid for the real pin at 10:50. Nothing to this one. *1/2
WCW International World title: Rick Rude v. Ric Flair
This is the official debut of the “international board of directors” version of the World title, two weeks after they basically stripped the belt of World title status and buried it dead on TV. Flair gets a giant pyro display for his introductions and Jesse is like “All that for the CHALLENGER?” Flair comes in quickly and goes after the knee, and gets the figure four early. Rude makes the ropes, so Flair wraps the leg around the post right in front of OUTSIDE REFEREE Terry Taylor as Jesse immediately jumps all over that one and questions what the hell Taylor is supposed to be even doing out there? Then back in, Flair goes after the leg again and we get a wacky moment where the camera angle shows the announce table and Jesse goes “Hey, we’re on camera, let’s wave!” and they DO. Rude blocks a sunset flip and gets two, and they tumble to the floor on a bodypress attempt. Rude actually landed on a chair on the way down and nearly broke his neck on it, actually. Flair throws chops as Jesse calls Terry Taylor “a load” with regards to his reffing job, but Rude catches Flair with a punch to block a diving axehandle and sends him into the railing. Back in, Rude with a backbreaker for two. He stops to swivel at Fifi and goes up with the flying fist, but hurts the knee on the way down and only gets two. Rude with the camel clutch and a bearhug as this kind of drags on, but Flair comes back with a sleeper and his own Rude Awakening for two. Backslide gets two. Suplex and Flair goes up, but he lands on Rude’s foot and somehow both referees get bumped. Rude gets a foreign object (actually called as such by Tony), but Flair steals it, hits Rude with it, and gets two from Taylor as the first ref stops the count because he saw Flair using it. So Rude wins by DQ at 19:38 in a ridiculously convoluted and Dusty-ish finish. Pretty dull match. **1/2
Texas Death Match: Vader v. Cactus Jack
They immediately brawl on the floor and Vader punches the post by mistake, allowing Cactus to slug away on the railing and bite him. Jack absolutely lays in a chairshot to the head and they head into the ring, where Vader puts him down with a forearm. He tosses Jack, but Jack suplexes him onto the ramp and then follows with a backdrop suplex out there. Race brings a chair over, so Jack steals that and lays into Vader with it as they fight into the graveyard. Jack is already bleeding from the eye, and Vader emerges from a grave with blood as well. Jack with a clothesline for the first pin at 5:39. So Vader gets 30 seconds to recover, and then Jack hits him with a cactus prop to put him on the floor by the ramp. Cactus Elbow off the ramp gets another pin at 6:57. Vader is up and he’s PISSED, but Jack brings the table into the ring and Nick Patrick hurriedly flips it over to a less-dangerous position, which results in Vader getting whipped into it for two. Back to the floor and Jack tries a sunset flip off the apron and then suplexes Vader onto the railing and follows with a flip dive of some kind into the crowd. Vader dumps him back to the ringside area again and gives him a sick chairshot to the head, and back in for the Vadersault for the pin at 12:04. Jack is up, so Vader goes to work in the corner and tosses him back to the ramp again. Jack tries a sleeper out there, so Vader falls back to escape with a brutal “thump”. Vader just lays him out with a horrifying unprotected chair to the head and adds a DDT onto the chair and now they’ve actually got the trainers out checking on Jack. Vader gets the official pin at 15:00 and Jack recovers enough to get up during the rest period, but while the ref is counting 10, Race zaps Jack with a literal stungun and Vader wins at 15:59. And it’s yet ANOTHER lame finish to a great match. I think ECW and years of knowledge about concussions have dampened the impact of this one somewhat, but holy shit was this brutal up until the stupid ending. They’re literally DDTing each other on chairs and they needed a stungun for the finish? ****1/2 They would have been better off just having the trainers stop the match. Also, if Vader was winning anyway, why did they make this non-title?
Overall…a pretty “meh” show that gets elevated to a mild thumbs up by the tag title and main event matches. Nothing bad outside of the opener, but it’s a completely forgettable show that was rightly wiped from history soon after.