Let’s go back to April of 1993 when Vader was WCW World Champion, and Cactus Jack already had a countout victory against him (aired 4/17, taped 4/8).
On the April 24 (taped 4/21) edition of WCW Saturday Night, Vader unleashed hell upon Cactus Jack by not only breaking his nose legitimately but also powerbombing him on the concrete floor resulting in a LOUD THUD that scared wrestling fans worldwide.
As a result of the powerbomb, Cactus Jack suffered a legitimate concussion. His absence would be explained by WCW with amnesia, a little bag, and god-awful vignettes that were created to mock Cactus Jack’s whereabouts. If you’ve never seen them, consider yourself lucky.
So where did it lead: At Halloween Havoc, six months after the powerbomb, Cactus Jack returned to face Vader in a Texas Death match. Logic would dictate that babyface Cactus Jack would get his revenge, but WCW logic would prove otherwise. After all, Vader had Harley Race in his corner. Better days were certainly ahead for Mick Foley however.
Here is my reflection of their Halloween Havoc match:
Match 8 Texas Death: Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race) versus Cactus Jack
- Cactus Jack jumped Vader on the ramp to begin the match.
- As Vader punched Cactus Jack, he removed the head gear.
- Moments later, Cactus Jack received a camera from a fan and nailed Vader with it.
- Next, he gave Vader an unprotected chair shot to the head.
- After a vicious clothesline by Vader, Tony informed us that the WCW title was not on the line.
- Cactus Jack was BUSTED OPEN!
- After Cactus Jack delivered a belly-to-back suplex on the ramp, Race lumbered over with a chair, but Cactus Jack caught him.
- He then gave Vader a protected chair shot.
- In the graveyard, Cactus Jack delivered a chair to the back.
- They then rolled into the grave marked for Vader. SPOOKY!
- Shortly afterward, Cactus Jack emerged and his eye looked grotesque.
- Vader then emerged and was BUSTED WIDE OPEN.
- Nevertheless, a running clothesline put Vader down for 3.
- 30 second rest period.
- As Vader made it to his feet, Cactus Jack hit him with…a cactus!
- When Vader fell to the floor, Jack hit him with an elbow drop for another 3 count.
- After a second 30 second rest period, Vader made it to his feet.
- Cactus Jack then threw a wooden table into the ring.
- A subsequent cross-corner whip by Vader was reversed by Jack into the table but only got a 2 count.
- In a loud and sick thump, Jack attempted a sunset flip from the apron to the floor.
- Vader then nailed him with the legs of a cushioned chair.
- Race was shown with a cattle prod. So that’s where Scott Hall got it!
- After a slam, Vader climbed to the top turnbuckle, hit a moonsault, and pinned Cactus Jack.
- As the rest period expired, Vader threw him onto the ramp.
- When Jack jumped on Vader’s back, Vader fell back with a very loud SPLAT!
- Vader followed with a semi-protected chair shot then a DDT onto the chair.
- Trainers checked on Cactus Jack, but Vader chased them off.
- After clearing some debris, Vader pinned him.
- During the 30 second rest period, Race grabbed the cattle prod.
- Cactus Jack then DDTs Vader on the chair.
- With both men down, Cactus Jack rose to his feet, but Race shocked him with the cattle prod!
- Vader got up before the count of 10 and was declared the winner.
Summary: This match served as an excellent precursor to what ECW became in the mid- to late-90s. Even though it was a great bloody brawl, what was the point of Vader’s victory here? Jack had been hospitalized, put through the ringer with the WCW vignettes, and then lost the blow-off match?
After the match, Jack grabs Race and DDTs him on the chair on the ramp. Small victories count for something, right?
What do you think of Vader’s assault upon Cactus Jack, the amnesia angle, and their match at Halloween Havoc?
Please be sure to check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com.