SHOCKtober Countdown: WCW Halloween Havoc 90

– Live from Chicago, Illinois. – Your hosts are Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously. (Man, I always loved this show, mainly because it had such a different and fun atmosphere.  Maybe it was the red ring setup or something, but it just clicked for me.  Makes me wonder why WWE has never done a more obvious Halloween homage PPV in October?)  – Opening match: Tommy Rich & Ricky Morton v. The Midnight Express. Sadly, this is the last Midnight Express match before Cornette and Lane ran off to start SMW. Slow start with Eaton and Morton. They do a very complex criss-cross sequence that ends badly for Eaton. But the Express come back with a Bubba Cutter to take control of Morton. Morton rolls out of the ring and Cornette rams the TENNIS RACKET OF DOOM into his throat, just for kicks. Speaking of kicks, Morton gets the shit kicked out of him by Stan Lane back in the ring. Cornette distracts the referee, and the Express gives Morton a Rocket Launcher on the rampway. Paul E must have loved that rampway, because he uses it for his ECW PPVs now. Eaton runs through his neckbreaker and slingshot backbreaker sequence. Tommy Rich has literally not been in the ring once yet. That’s a very smart move on all parts. Every time I see Rich, I’m reminded of an impersonation that Paul E. did of him during an ECW chat session, as a drunken Rich greets Lance Russell with “Hey, ev’rybody, it’s Laaaaaance!” You have to hear it to appreciate it, I guess.  (Man, poor Tommy just did not age gracefully.)  Eaton hits the Alabama Jam, but showboats and doesn’t cover. He asks for a 10 count instead. Morton makes it to his feet. Lane kicks the hell of him again. The Express goes for the Rocket Launcher, but Morton gets the knees up. Morton gets the hot tag to Rich (ooo, Tommy Rich, now that’s scary…hope he doesn’t throw up on them…), but Cornette nails him with the tennis racket in short order. Aw, too bad. Then it gets goofy as the Southern Boys/Young Pistols come out dressed like Cornette to distract the Express, allowing Rich to hit Lane with the tennis racket and get the pin. Cheap ending. Goodbye, Midnights, it was fun. ***  (Jim Cornette has a whole story about this particular show and where the Southern Boys bit was supposed to be going that is HILARIOUS.  It involved ridiculous bumps into pumpkins and all sorts of bullshit, and suffice it to say that we got off easy with the Cornette impersonations.  In fact, I think Terry Funk ended up using the pumpkin piledriver spot years later.  It kind of ended up being the last straw that sent him packing.)  – Sting comes out to offer some words for Sid Vicious, but (you guessed it) The Black Scorpion interrupts the interview and makes an audience plant disappear. Sting is of course held by the unstoppable force of inertia from walking the 15 feet to the other stage to stop this heinous act. Man, that Scorpion, he’s so evil. (At least he fit the theme of the show.)  Buyers of the Netcop Busts were treated to this gem and several other segments involving the Black Scorpion. – The Renegade Warriors v. The Freebirds. Mark your calendars: There actually exists a team I HATE MORE THAN THE FREEBIRDS. Yes, folks, Chris and Mark Youngblood JUST SUCK THAT MUCH. The crowd lustily boos them upon their entrance. The Freebirds have Little Richard Marley (Rocky King) as their valet at this point. The Freebirds score an 8 on the Johnny B. Badd Fag-O-Meter tonight, as Hayes is wearing sequined pants, pink tinted hair and copious amounts of mascara. It just shows how terrible the Youngblood Retards are when the Birds can go for this kid of cheap heat and still get CHEERED. One of the fat stupid indians plays face in peril, but I don’t care which it is. Thank god for alcohol, sez I. (Wait, I was DRUNK when I was writing this originally?  What was the first clue?)  It occurs to me that if the late Rick Williams and Jim Hellwig ever teamed up, Renegade Warriors might be a good name for them. This goes a mind-numbing 18 minutes before Retard #1 gets the hot tag to Retard #2. Btw, while I desperately search for something interesting to talk about, I think Futurama could become a pop culture icon, like the Simpsons. It’s just that good. (Not quite iconic, but certainly more respected these days.)  On the other hand, I don’t see the big deal with the PJs. (What a uniquely late-90s observation to make.)  Anyway, Retard #2 is a house of fire, until he gets DDT’d and pinned. Good riddance. DUD  (Yeah, yeah, I know…) – The Horsemen do an interview. Barry Windham is noticeably absent. That would become important later. – US tag team title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Nasty Boys. This is one of those legendary matches that doesn’t really deserve it, but still made the career of the Nasties. These guys, in a nutshell, don’t like each other, and that’s all the people need to know. Mega-brawl to start. Sags gets Scott on the top for a superplex right out of the gate, but Scott reverses to a belly-to-belly for a big pop. Scott hits a tiger driver and the Steiners do the top rope bulldog for another mega-pop. Welcome to the spotfest. Knobs nails Scott with a chair for a two count to give the Nasties the advantage. Knobs with a powerslam for two. Sags with a pumphandle slam, and a gut wrench suplex for two. Knobs kills the flow with an ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF SEVERE HURT. Mike Rotundo must be flattered to have this kind of influence on the sport. Bearhug bores me further. Scott breaks with the belly-to-belly. Rick comes in without a tag and cleans house, but misses a charge and flies out of the ring. This allows the Nasties to spike piledrive Scott for two. Rick nails Sags with a chair while Knobs is escorted out, and Sags blades for the hell of it. Knobs goes back to the bearhug. Sags applies a Boston Crab, and Scott powers out of it. Knobs goes to the camel clutch, thus running the full gambit of the WORLD’S SHITTIEST RESTHOLDS. What is this, a Sid match? The Nasty clothesline misses and Scott gets the hot tag. Rick rips some heads off, and belly to bellies Knobs for two. The Nasties double-team Rick, but he manages a double top rope Steinerline that was only a *wee* bit contrived. The Nasties slam Scott on the floor and go back to working on Rick, but Scott pulls Sags out of the ring, and then rolls back in to finish Knobs with the Frankensteiner. Hmm, at the time I would’ve given you 10-1 that the Nasties would walk out with the belts, but the Steiners retain. The Nasties were instantly over because of this match, and since WCW is run by chimpanzees, they weren’t under long-term contract and ended up becoming *WWF* tag champs mere months later. **3/4  (Yeah, what WAS up with that?)  – Scott Steiner gives a post-match interview and amazingly doesn’t say “Hooches”, “Freaks” or “Big Poppa Pump is your hookup”. The Nasty Boys attack him dressed as concession workers. – World tag team title: Doom v. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson. The storyline here is youth and power v. age and treachery. Doom is too powerful, so the Horsemen cheat like nuts to compensate. A chase breaks out and Long slaps Flair in the face, drawing “Ooooos” from the crowd. Flair cheap-shots Reed to take control. Doom quickly comes back to destroy the Horsemen and are obviously playing the faces here. Flair challenges Reed to a boxing match and gets killed. (Flair and Reed used to have really good matches together on the territory circuit, actually.)  Flair goes for the tag, but Flair Flops before getting to the corner. He follows with a Flair Flip and Simmons puts the boots to him on the way across the apron. Finally the Horsemen cheat again and regain control over Ron Simmons. Arn gets the spinebuster for a two count. The Horsemen go to work on the leg. Inevitably the figure-four follows. Simmons reverses and Arn does his “fight the man down to the mat on a test of strength but try to drive my knees into his abdomen and end up going crotchfirst to his knees” spot. (That’s what it’s called.  Look it up on Wikipedia!)  Simmons gets a sunset flip, but Arn makes the tag on the way down. Arn puts his head down and Simmons rams him to the mat and gets the hot tag. Pier-six erupts and Reed gets a shoulderblock off the top rope for two. Arn hits the DDT for two. Simmons gets a two count off the save. Then it totally breaks down and they all fight outside the ring for a double countout. Weak ending to a great match. **** – US title match: Lex Luger v. Stan Hansen. It should be noted that my mom thinks Hansen is the most disgusting human being on the face of the earth. (It’s true.  My dad and I would be watching Worldwide and Hansen would cut a promo with the chewing tobacco dripping out of his mouth and my mom would want to puke seeing it and absolutely hated the guy.)  Luger had been US champion for a mind-boggling 18 months at this point, so he was about due for a loss. And here’s something uniquely Luger-ish: When he won the title from Michael Hayes, he was a face. He turned heel a couple of months into his title reign, stayed there until February of 1990, and then turned face again on behalf of Sting. So he actually did two full-blown turns during the course of his reign and ended up back where he started. Hansen controls with brawling tactics early, sending Luger to the floor and battering him. Pretty dull kick and punch match follows as Luger makes the comeback. Lex was getting mighty lazy by this point. I’m not sure why WCW bothered with the Hansen push, because he was clearly waaaay over the hill by this point. (Probably just related to getting him for some Japan dates.)  Hansen gets two off a bulldog. He misses an elbowdrop and Luger comes back again with a dropkick. Luger is doing nothing here. More brawling and Hansen shoves the referee out of the way. Luger catches Hansen with a clothesline, but the ref is out. Dan Spivey comes down and tosses the bullrope into the ring for Stan, but Luger blocks. Luger goes for another clothesline, but Hansen catches Lex with THE LARIAT OF DEATH out of nowhere and pins him for the title. Ugly match. *1/2 Crowd doesn’t really appreciate that one. – Main event, NWA World title: Sting v. Sid Vicious. I’m surprised they didn’t just put the title on Sid here and get it over with. Sting is wearing pink and black makeup. What does it mean? A secret alliance with Bret Hart? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT! Sid hits a backbreaker on Sting right away, but Sting no-sells. Hah, how does it feel, Sid? Sid bails to escape the Scorpion deathlock. They fight outside the ring. Back in the ring and Sting works on the arm. Sid hits a clothesline to take control. Sting gets a fluke two with a sunset flip, but another clothesline turns the tide again. Sid goes to the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF HIDEOUS DISCOMFORT. Powerslam for two. Sting tries the Stinger splash but misses. Sid showboats and Sting gets a flying bodypress for two. Sid continues hammering away at Sting. Sid is NOT ready for prime time yet at this point. They fight onto the rampway, allowing Sting the opportunity to do a running dive back into the ring, then a pescado onto the floor. They fight out to the floor, and Sid runs back to the dressing room. Sting follows. They return, and Sting looks…flabbier. Sting goes for a bodyslam and Sid falls on top for the pin?!? New champion, end of show. The Bottom Line: Well, I don’t remember Sid ever being the champion, but I guess I was wrong and…oh, wait, the real Sting is back with a piece of rope tied around his wrist. The real Sting hits a Stinger splash and rolls up Sid for the pin to retain. The fake Sting was Barry Windham, by the way.  (That was a pretty clever finish in the days before 800 fake Stings running around Nitro.  Unfortunately they immediately blew off the angle instead of making people tune into another show to see what shenanigans were afoot.  Like really, wouldn’t that have been the perfect setup for a Starrcade rematch?  Sting gets massively screwed out of the belt, goes for revenge, maybe uses a fake Horsemen to get his own revenge on them?)  The Real Bottom Line: This is a pretty mediocre show. There’s a better Doom-Horsemen match at Starrcade 90, but enough people still talk about the Nasties-Steiners match that it’s probably worth tracking this show down for a look. The Sting-Sid overbooking goofiness is pretty inexcusable, however. But then that’s Ole Anderson booking for ya. Mildly recommended.  (Another show where I’d want the full version somehow.)