Time for Halloween Havoc, and given the way WCW’s TV was before this show, I’m actually looking forward to it! That being said, at the time of the PPV, I think a lot of people weren’t. In a bad stroke of luck, Game 7 of the World Series was on this night, and with the Atlanta Braves playing, that took a huge chunk of WCW’s fans out of the equation. It’s also a bit difficult to look past this Chamber of Horrors abomination that opens the card. However, it’s time for me to get on with it and start the show.
– October 27th, 1991, from UTC Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are our hosts here, and they want to talk about the Halloween Phantom a little bit. Well, we’ll talk about that when it’s time. Instead, they discuss what happened earlier.
What happened earlier, is a skit where Cactus Jack and Abdullah the Butcher pull up to the arena in an Oldsmobile. Eric Bischoff is outside, by the way. Then, he encounters the Diamond Studd and Diamond Dallas Page, who were driving a sportscar. Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes pull up in a nice convertible, and THE ENFORCERS show up and slam Barry Windham’s hand in the car door. Can explain that pretty easily. At a TV taping, Barry Windham broke his wrist by doing a bulldog on someone. Hence the angle. I am surprised that somebody slammed a car door on his broken wrist.
The Diamond Studd, Big Van Vader, Cactus Jack, and Abdullah the Butcher vs. The Steiner Brothers, Sting (WCW US Champion), and El Gigante in a CHAMBER OF HORRORS MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: This match is infamous, but this was not the originally planned match. In the first place it was planned for the One Man Gang to take the electrocution, suffer brain damage, and become a preacher. Obviously, that didn’t happen. This match was also booked to have Barry Windham in Vader’s spot, and Oz in Cactus Jack’s. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with babyface Barry Windham teaming with those other guys? Obviously, the switch was for the best. I’ll explain the stipulation as well, if somebody explains it. Gary Michael Cappetta does, and the CHAMBER OF HORRORS is a cage match. The point of the match is to put somebody in the TORTURE CHAIR and pull the lever, then the person in the chair is the loser of the match. Looks to me like WCW was trying to justify their ridiculous expense on that cage from the first Halloween Havoc show, as they’re using it here for the third time. Also, yes, Vader is back in WCW. Cactus Jack has a chainsaw! Scott Steiner looked a bit out of shape in his return to the ring, at least on his previously injured left arm.
Match Review: Great way to start the match with four guys fighting outside the cage, those being Sting, Rick Steiner, Cactus Jack, and Abdullah the Butcher. Sting throws Cactus into the cage, and Rick Steiner’s revving the chainsaw. Please…don’t do that. Sting levels Abby with the KENDO STICK, and Vader gets a turn too. There are caskets in the cage, and some jobber comes out of one and Scott Steiner starts throwing him around. Nick Patrick is wearing a helmet-cam. Vader has the mask off! This is destined for disaster. Sting gives Vader a clothesline to send him over the top and into the cage, that’s a nice bump. Diamond Studd is trying to leave the cage, but El Gigante pulls him down. Sting hits Vader with a plancha, and it’s obvious to me these two had great chemistry from the very beginning. The Steiners give Cactus their absurd elevated DDT, and the electric chair nearly lowers onto poor Cactus. YES, THE CHAIR IS IN THE RING. How do you have a wrestling match when there’s no space in the ring? Vader sits Rick Steiner down in the chair, but nobody’s at the lever to kill him. As such, Rick clotheslines Vader over the top and to the outside. Sting drops a lid of the casket on Cactus Jack’s head, and now we have a bunch of dudes on the ramp with a stretcher. This rules. Abby tries to climb out of the cage now, as Studd has been slammed on a coffin. Cactus is gouged all the way open, and he takes a kendo stick shot to the head as well. So far, I’m digging this. Genuinely. Cactus and Sting climb the fence now, and Sting rams Cactus head-first into the fence repeatedly. One of the jobbers has been handcuffed to the fence. That seems necessary. Cactus gets back in the ring, not that anything can happen in there. Abby is bleeding too! Then, Sting grabs Cactus and throws him into the cage from the ring, which is one of the dumbest bumps I’ve seen in my life. He nearly fucking killed him and there’s NO PAD ON THE FLOOR. WHAT THE FUCK. The Studd tries to put Sting in the chair, but Scott Steiner attacks him with a chain. HAHA, THE LEVER IS IN THE ON POSITION. I don’t see any electrocuting. Why would the cameraman show that? Vader slams Rick Steiner on the floor, then takes the stick to Gigante’s gut. Abby has a spike and is gouging Sting’s face with it, I think he’s bleeding too at this point. The match has slowed down from its insane pace, and the switch once again falls into the on position. Why didn’t someone do this right? Scott Steiner hits the Studd in the nuts, and Rick hits Abby with a KENDO STICK. Rick Steiner’s nearly in the chair, but Scott makes the saave with the kendo stick. Now Cactus climbs the fence near the switch, and he’s waiting for them to put Rick Steiner in the chair. Instead, Rick puts Abdullah in the chair, locks him in, and an unwitting Cactus ELECTROCUTES Abdullah for the loss at 12:36.
The canvas catches on fire during all that, and the referee has to stomp it out. Given that Abdullah didn’t do many jobs, I suppose that he didn’t consider this to be a job. Or that he was the only one willing to do this. Anyway, Cactus wakes the poor guy up, and Abby runs him over. He then kicks the ring crew, and starts beating up the medics in hilarious fashion. THIS RULES.
My Thoughts: I don’t really know what to say about this one. You know, it’s really not as bad as I’ve heard in the past, but it was a waste of some great wrestlers and bumpers to put them in this kind of match. At the same time, you have to look at the match itself. Cactus Jack bumped his ass off. He was doing shit that was absolutely insane and befitting of the match. The match was strong as a match until the chair was lowered, but even after that there were good points. However, despite how much I enjoyed it, there were big negative points. The stipulation was not what they said it was going to be. WCW said there would be horrors in the cage. Where were they? The referee cam was the absolute worst thing. The switch falling into the wrong position was a joke and extremely business exposing. Worst of all, Abdullah didn’t sell being ELECTROCUTED and the medics at ringside weren’t used. Really doesn’t make any sense to me, plus, how could Cactus Jack be that dumb? It all averages out to a DUD. This will be a guilty pleasure for me for a long time. The crowd cheering his electrocution was really funny too.
Eric Bischoff is in the back and dressed up as a vampire, and Missy Hyatt is a really hot showgirl. They’re interviewing the Young Pistols, who don’t know who the WCW Halloween Phantom is. They want to take the Patriots belts. Maybe they turn heel by interfering in the the tag title match!
The Creatures vs. Big Josh & PN News
Pre-Match Thoughts: Oh dear. Why do the Creatures have the music of one Psychosis? I don’t know the reason WCW was always compelled to do stupid shit. These guys wore masks, and walked to the ring looking all strange. Hopefully they have a terrible in-ring gimmick too. That’s the only thing that would save this nonsense. PN News rapping saves it some as well, I didn’t think about that. It was hilarious that PN News mentioned a fat lady and the production cut to…fat ladies. This show has started well. At least this is so bad I can’t help but love it as opposed to the last Clash or the Great American Bash.
Match Review: I can only tell the Creatures apart by their body types. The shorter one will be called #1. Big Josh starts with him, and gets clobbered. #2 tags in, and trades bombs with Josh, until Josh brings in News for a huge splash on the guy in the corner. News does the same to #1, and gives him a dropkick too. Fat guy dropkick! #1 gouges the eyes, and these guys exchange tags for a while. News crushes #1, then tags in Josh for a clothesline from the top onto #2. Josh gives #1 a German suplex, and follows that with a high backdrop. News tags in, and gives this guy a belly to belly throw of sorts. News misses a splash in the corner, so both guys have to make tags out. Josh hits #2 with a belly to belly suplex, and that gets 2. #1 tags back in there, rakes the back, and Josh POWERBOMBS him. Time for this match to end, I’ll say. Josh hits #1 with a double chop, and follows with the BUTT SPLASH. News tags in, heads up top, and there’s the RAPMASTER SPLASH for the victory at 5:16.
My Thoughts: This was a Worldwide match, in terms of presenting two jobbers as important pieces. Instead, Joey Maggs and Johnny Rich did their usual thing and did the job. WCW was hellbent on getting all their workers on a card sometimes and this was the result of that. *. Can think of a lot more matches on this card that should have gotten more time.
Terrence Taylor (w/Alexandra York) vs. Bobby Eaton
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is probably going to be one of those matches that needed more time. Its being hyped as a match between two top ten guys, which is a good enough reason to get two of your best workers in a match with each other. Hey, it’s a practical use of the rankings! Eaton has the Midnight Express music back for some reason. That’s not good. He is ranked #7, and wants to challenge for the TV title. Taylor is wearing a tuxedo to the ring, so I guess the gimmick matters again. If only WCW could have been consistent with this stuff. They also dropped the computer reports so long ago that I can’t take that seriously anymore either.
Match Review: After some shoving, the trash talk begins. I’m cool with this. Taylor arm drags Eaton, talks more mess, and does so again. Eaton blocks an arm drag, then gives out some of his own and a clothesline sends Taylor to the floor. Eaton threatens to smash the computer, but Taylor puts a stop to that and gets back in the ring. They trade punches, with Eaton getting the best of it. Taylor throws Eaton to the outside, and throws him hard into the rail. Eaton backdrops Taylor over the rail, and pulls him back over it to smack him around. Back in the ring, Eaton grabs Taylor and nails him again for 2. Eaton goes to a hammerlock, then reverses an arm drag in a way that he arm drags Taylor at the same time. Never seen that. After more hammerlocking, Taylor breaks it with a jawbreaker. He pushes Eaton out to the ramp, but Eaton atomic drops him and bodyslams him. Eaton heads up top now, and down he comes with a KNEE DROP ONTO THE RAMP. They get in the ring and Taylor dumps Eaton to the outside, giving him a chance to rest. Eaton makes it to the apron, and gets thrown into the buckles and kneed into the rail. These two have already surpassed my expectation for match length. Taylor clotheslines Eaton on the floor, and has time to get a computer report now! Taylor clotheslines Eaton hard in the corner, drops a knee, and covers for 2. Taylor throws Eaton out to the ramp again, and this time gives Eaton a GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB. Taylor is getting good heat for once too. Taylor drops some knees on Eaton’s back, then slams him. Taylor heads up top, and down he comes with a big splash that gets 2. Taylor applies a chinlock, and when Eaton gets out, Taylor knees him in the gut. He kicks Eaton out of the ring as well, and Eaton barely makes it to the apron in time. He comes in with a sunset flip from the top rope, and it gets a close 2 count. Taylor clotheslines Eaton, drops another knee on him, and gets 2 again. To the chinlock again, and then a sleeper. Eaton jawbreaks his way out of the hold, that’s what Taylor usually does. Taylor blocks a splash attempt, then goes for a pump splash in the corner that Eaton blocks! Eaton hits him with some punches, and follows that with a big backdrop. Eaton goes to the corner for more punches, and follows that with a suplex that gets 2. Eaton also gives Taylor a neckbreaker, and heads up top only for Taylor to shake the ropes and crotch him. Taylor goes for a SUPERPLEX, but Eaton knocks him down and hits him with ALABAMA JAM for the victory at 16:39.
My Thoughts: These two really went all out to have a good match. Obviously, the knee drop on the ramp was sick, but how about a powerbomb on the ramp? Doesn’t get much better than that in terms of potential bumps on that stupid, unnecessary ramp. They both worked so hard, and were given time to have the best match possible and show their value. In the case of Eaton, whose push had stalled, he was given a new spot that reflected his effort in this match. Not so much in Taylor’s case. ***1/2, and if this isn’t the best match here, this is going to be a pretty good show. WCW definitely needed something like this, I’m just surprised they didn’t pack the show with meaningless garbage to take away from matches like these. Maybe they did anyway. While I’m thinking about it, why did WCW take away these guys last names? They call Eaton, “Beautiful Bobby.” Makes no sense to me.
Johnny B. Badd (w/Teddy Long) vs. Jimmy Garvin (w/Michael Hayes)
Pre-Match Thoughts: From that to this. Typical WCW in every sense of the imagination. It would be fine if Hayes was in the match, as they could put on something good. Garvin wasn’t any good anymore, and barely ever was any good. Actually, Jim Ross explains that Michael Hayes is hurt. That makes sense to me. Maybe he’s not really hurt and will take care of Badd somehow. I’d like that. Badd is really pushing it this time with the makeup and stuff. Getting overboard. In fairness, could you imagine being given this gimmick, as a new guy in the wrestling business? He had to go far with it, and it would seem that the further he pushed it, there was a better chance it would get dropped. Eventually it did! The Freebirds wore Braves caps to the ring to make sure they got cheered.
Match Review: The bell rings, and Badd hits a punching mitt. The match should start at this point. After about a minute or so, the match does start, and Badd punches Garvin. Badd then goes for a hip toss, but Garvin gives Badd a big one to knock him over the top. In addition to that, Hayes takes his arm out of the sling and hits Badd. Didn’t take long for them to divulge Hayes faking injury. Back inside the ring, Garvin powerslams Badd and hits him with a big forearm to knock him out of the ring again. Again Badd gets in the ring, and Garvin takes him down for a leg drop on the left arm. Garvin bars the arm, but Badd rakes the eyes and clobbers him. Badd hits Garvin with a flying clothesline, then goes to a chinlock. Long gets on the apron and tosses Badd a towel, which he chokes Garvin with. That’s cheap. Badd follows that with a backdrop, and boots Garvin in the face. After a clothesline, Badd heads up top and comes down with his absurd sunset flip, nearly breaking his neck before the 2 count. Badd slams Garvin next, and leaps off the top rope with a huge flying elbow that gets 2. Badd slams Garvin AGAIN, and back up top for Garvin to hit him on the way down. Badd then misses a charge to the corner and flies over the top, revealing a really jacked up mouth. Don’t know how he got busted open. Probably the sunset flip or the forearm by Garvin. Garvin brings Badd in the hard way, and misses an elbow drop. Badd goes for a leap frog, but they both run into each other. Badd gets up first, but Garvin plants him with the DDT. Long gets on the apron for a distraction, so no count. Left hand by Badd, and there’s a 3 count at 8:26. Garvin did have his foot on the bottom rope during the cover, but Long pushed it off. Hayes then hit Long for good measure after the match.
My Thoughts: This was far better than expected on every level. For one, Garvin worked really hard. You don’t get that often. Two, Badd tried a lot of ridiculous spots and bumped. Some worked, and some didn’t. I give credit for the effort. Best of all they had a finish that saved face for Garvin. Hayes was not injured, and I’ll explain more about that later. Anyway, I’d give this **1/4. They were close to having a better match, but things like the botched sunset flip stopped it. Good effort.
Missy Hyatt is looking for the WCW Phantom, and comes across Bobby Eaton. He doesn’t know anything and walks away from her. He looked like a dunderhead.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Steve Austin (w/Lady Blossom) for the WCW Television Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Now, given that Dustin is the booker’s son, both of these guys are getting a big chance to put on a good match. No idea if Dusty wanted to put the title on Dustin or not. Maybe he didn’t think he could get away with it. Um, Lady Blossom’s, um. Um. Too noticeable. Austin really had the perfect package to be made into a star. Look, good valet, wrestling ability, agility, ability to get heat, and people would eventually find out he could be the biggest babyface in the history of the wrestling business. Austin was balding already.
Match Review: Austin slaps a headlock on Dustin, which gets reversed and turned into elbows by Dustin. Austin trips him, but Dustin counters and locks up the leg until Austin makes the ropes. Austin comes back with a shoulderblock, but Dustin nails him with a clothesline. After a dropkick, Dustin covers for 2. Dustin takes Austin down with a headlock that gets reversed into a head-scissors, which is also countered. After Austin makes the ropes, he takes Dustin down with his own headlock. After some great reversals, Austin hip tosses Dustin and misses an elbow drop. Austin blocks a cradle, but Dustin clotheslines him over the top. No disqualification there, fortunately. Austin gets back in the ring, and he back suplexes Dustin for 2. Austin gets booted on a backdrop attempt, and Dustin tries a bulldog only for Austin to throw him away. Dustin goes back to the headlock, and it is announced that five minutes have passed. Austin gets out, but Dustin gives him a cross body for 2. Back to the headlock, Austin counters with the head-scissors, and has Dustin pretty well locked up. Dustin gets out for more headlocking, but misses a cross body and flies out of the ring. Austin goes to the outside and punches him a lot, busting the challenger open. Awesome. Lots of blood there, too. Austin hits him with a double axehandle from the top, and finally sends him back inside. Austin drops Dustin with a gutwrench suplex that gets 2, then puts a chinlock on him. Laughed hard at the camera zooming in on Blossom’s chest. That felt deliberate. Dustin tries for some offense and tries a monkey flip, but Austin blocks it and clotheslines him for 2. Dustin uses a small package for 2, and they do a series of reversals that all get 2. Dustin clotheslines Austin for another 2 count, then misses a dropkick for 2. Blossom gets in some slaps on Dustin, who misses a leapfrog body guillotine. Dustin atomic drops him, and hits him with a clothesline for yet another 2 count. Dustin throws Austin to the outside, and posts him. More blood! After another post shot, it is announced that two minutes remain in the time limit of 15 minutes. Dustin powerslams the champion for 2, and opens him up worse with a series of punches. Dustin hits Austin with the big elbow, but Austin kicks out at 2! Dustin takes Austin to the corner for punches and elbows, following that with a double axehandle that gets 2. Dustin heads up top and comes down with a FLYING CLOTHESLINE, but Dustin only gets 2 on the cover, as the bell rings for a time-limit draw at 15:02.
My Thoughts: This was another good match, on the verge of being a great one. I can’t really think of anything they could have done for it to be better other than for the match to be longer. Obviously, there should have been a point where they had a longer match with that being the case. It did feel like an important match too, with both guys bleeding and working on the cuts with punches. At least the offense was important and fit with the match structure. Also nice to see good matches on WCW programming. ***1/2, same as the last. The draw was predictable, but this was a harbinger for this championship becoming much more prestigious and important.
The Starrcade 1991 commercial hypes BATTLEBOWL. Sounds great, even though I’m sure it wasn’t. After all, Starrcade 1992 wasn’t that fun.
Oz vs. Bill Kazmaier
Pre-Match Thoughts: Oz has dropped the ridiculous mask, Kevin Sullivan as his manager, and the silly lights during his entrance. Guess that’s the end of poor Oz. This match sounds absolutely terrible on every level and there’s really no way it won’t be. What are the odds it isn’t?
Match Review: These two lock up and shove each other to no avail, then Kazmaier goes to a headlock. Oz gets out, but Kazmaier clotheslines him and follows with a sloppy bodyslam. Time for a test of strength, which Kazmaier would clearly win if this was real. He does win it, then stomps on Oz’s fingers. Kazmaier hip tosses Oz, but misses a charge to the corner and Oz nearly kills Kazmaier with a back suplex. Poor bastard. Kazmaier winds up on the apron and skins the cat back in, then gives Oz a clothesline. Kaz follows that with a TORTURE RACK, and that’s the finish at 3:58.
My Thoughts: This was awful, but it could have been far worse. I mean, it bored me almost to the point of sleep, but I’ve seen far worse too. -*, these two clearly never should have wrestled each other. Both guys had dangerous offense, and neither of them looked like wrestlers. The four minutes on this could have been on a different match.
Doug Somers vs. Van Hammer
Pre-Match Thoughts: Why are they dragging this show down with their bullshit? I don’t get it. It’s such typical WCW to make sure they got all their acts on the card at any possible cost. The cost here appears to be spots between matches to slow things down and give fans a chance to hit the restroom. Instead, they can do it during matches like these! If this guy is nicknamed heavy metal and has a gimmick where he brings an electric guitar to the ring, why does he have such an awful theme?
Match Review: Hammer immediately slaps a headlock on this poor guy, and they both a spot leading to a clothesline by Hammer. Hammer powerslams Somers, then backdrops him. After an elbow and leg drop, Hammer starts signaling for the finish and drops Somers with a botched slingshot suplex for the victory at 1:13.
My Thoughts: This was originally booked as Michael Hayes vs. Van Hammer, but there was no way Hayes was going to do a job there. He didn’t refuse to do it, but Hayes would have gotten cheered and that wasn’t the point. DUD. Considered rating this lower because of how many moves were botched. Can’t polish a turd.
WCW Light Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final: Richard Morton (w/Alexandra York) vs. Brian Pillman
Pre-Match Thoughts: This sounds like another potential bright spot on the card, so no complaints. Both guys got a promo before the match, which makes this feel more important than the others, which did not have anything of that sort. The obvious cause for concern, at least for me, was how they were going to treat a light heavyweight champion. I have no idea and am looking forward to finding out. For some reason, Nick Patrick has the stupid ass helmet cam back on. Jim Ross keeps calling it the refer-eye. Stop please. Cheap looking new title, to be honest.
Match Review: This camera is going to hurt my head. The two wrestlers swing and miss at each other, until Morton arm drags Pillman. Morton ducks to the outside after dodging a clothesline, and gets some assistance from the computer. Pillman blocks a hip toss, then gives Morton a bodyslam and a spinning wheel kick to knock him out of the ring. When Morton gets back in there, he hits Pillman with some punches only for Pillman to come back with a double axehandle from the second rope for 2. Pillman takes Morton down with a headlock, and a shoulderblock gets 2. Pillman goes back to the headlock, but this time Morton counters with a head-scissors. Pillman gets up and puts the headlock on again, and when Morton gets out this time, he nails Pillman with a back elbow. Morton misses an elbow drop, so again back to the headlock. I’m not sure about the pace of this match. Morton gives him an inverted atomic drop, which is one way to pick up the action. Morton throws Pillman to the outside, but Pillman gets up quickly and cradles Morton for 2. Morton clotheslines Pillman for 2, and goes to work on the arm with an armbar. After a while, Pillman gets up and hits Morton with a big clothesline. Morton goes to the eyes, and puts a back suplex on Pillman for 2. Pillman fires off an enzuigiri, and backdrops Morton. Morton comes back with punches, but Pillman has chops for him. The two guys collide with each other and fall out to the floor, where Pillman gets posted. Both guys get up to the apron and Pillman gets on the top rope, coming down with a cross body that wins him his first singles title in WCW at 12:43!
My Thoughts: This was absolutely disappointing in the most shocking sense possible. They just sat in slow holds, never working anything nor selling anything to a degree that would merit the match being slow. I was actually having a hard time paying attention to this and got extremely bored. Nearly shut it off, even. It’s not like this was terrible, or that these guys were terrible. This was simply the wrong match for the two to work. Not that I’m a wrestler or anything, that’s just my critique. New division, work a new style, *. Pillman was hurt heading into the show so that might have had something to do with it.
The WCW Halloween Phantom vs. Tom Zenk
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is where people would find out if the Phantom was the real deal or just another jobber. After running the Creatures out there early in the show, I bet people were thinking on the masked jobber side of that. People didn’t know who the Phantom was, if he would take off his mask, or what. The gimmick work during the entrance was actually really good.
Match Review: As soon as the forearms start, I can tell who it is. That man takes Zenk down with a clothesline, then bodyslams him. The Phantom knees Zenk in the gut, and follows with a gutbuster. Zenk dropkicks this guy, but the Phantom knees him and hits him with a NECKBREAKER for the victory at 1:28.
My Thoughts: I wish Tony Schiavone hadn’t given away who it was. Standard match, nothing to really discuss. Zenk on the other hand had house show challenges coming up against Lex Luger. Was this punishment for Zenk’s steroid arrest? Perhaps. 1/2*.
The Patriots (WCW US Tag Team Champions) vs. The Enforcers for the WCW Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: The gap in talent is going to be extremely apparent during this match. It’ll probably be to the point where I wonder why this match is even happening. The Enforcers rule as a team and may even be able to carry these scrubs. One can hope. Don’t know whose idea it was to put these two together as a tag team, but it was a pretty good one. Firebreaker Chip and Todd Champion look more like strippers than wrestlers.
Match Review: Zbyszko and Chip start, and Zbyszko goes to a quick abdominal stretch. Chip reverses, and Zbyszko reverses that into a hip toss. Chip comes back with a bodyslam for a 1 count, and Zbyszko goes for a neckbreaker that gets blocked and turned into a back slide for 2. Arn tags in, takes Chip down with a waistlock, and winds up on the outside to his displeasure. Arn gets back in the ring and Chip shoulderblocks him, making the tag out after that. Champion puts a wristlock on Arn, who knees him to break it. He brings Champion in from the apron the hard way, and drops a knee on him. Champion brings Arn to the outside the hard way, then reverses a piledriver into a backdrop. Champion picks Arn up for a bear hug, but Zbyszko breaks it. Champion then hits the two with a double clothesline, clearing the ring. Zbyszko makes a legal tag in, and draws Champion into chasing him. Arn makes a blind tag in, and Arn holds him for a kick to the chest by Zbyszko. Arn throws Champion over the top, and Zbyszko throws him into the rail. Back inside, Arn hits Champion with another knee drop. Zbyszko tags back in, bodyslams Champion, and that gets 2. A neckbreaker also gets 2, and he hits Champion with a double axehandle from the second rope. After a backbreaker that gets 2, and Champion finally gets some offense in with a suplex. Both guys make tags, and Chip drops the Enforcers with bodyslams and dropkicks. Chip picks Arn up for a powerslam that gets 2, and everyone’s in the ring. Champion hits Zbyszko with a flying elbow, then Chip runs into Zbyszko on accident. As such, Arn drops Chip with the SPINEBUSTER, and picks up the victory at 9:52.
My Thoughts: They all tried, but this didn’t mesh the way they wanted it to. Hard to make a match with the Patriots work, they weren’t that good. As such this match was super basic and didn’t feature a heat segment that could actually get heat or anything. People in the crowd would have rather cheered the Enforcers. *3/4, and with a good looking main event ahead, I can’t complain too much.
Before the main event, Eric Bischoff is going to interview somebody on the ramp. I can’t believe this guy wound up running WCW. Paul E. Dangerously is here! So is Medusa! Steve Austin’s favorite wrestler, it would seem. Paul E’s interview is great, and he said he’s not going to be a broadcaster anymore. So he’s pissed. Given that he has a manager’s license, he’s going to use it! He wanted to find somebody who can get rid of Sting. The Halloween Phantom gets called down to the ring, and it sounds like he’s going to take off his mask. He does, and it is RAVISHING RICK RUDE. GREAT ACQUISITION FOR WCW! He cuts a promo, and says that he cares about his money and his women. Paul E. has his money, so he’s going to do what Paul says. At least the people with managers get to do promos still in this here WCW. Great segment.
Ron Simmons (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs. Lex Luger (w/Harley Race) for the WCW Championship in a 2 OUT OF 3 FALLS MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: Dusty is there to make sure Race does nothing to have an impact on the outcome of this match. I don’t think anyone really thought Simmons was going to win this match. He wasn’t even the bigger babyface at many of the TV tapings before the show. Great video package before the match with Simmons showing that he prepared for this contest at Florida State. Makes him look super legitimate. He had a wrist injury at the time of this match, and WCW wasn’t sure if he’d be able to participate. If you think Ron Simmons was going to miss out on this chance…there’s no way. WCW still didn’t have the big gold belt back, that’s the first thing I noticed when Luger walked out.
Fall #1: Luger and Simmons stare at each other, lock up, and nothing happens. Luger takes Simmons down with a headlock, then they fight over a hammerlock and Luger grabs the ropes. Luger tries to hit Simmons on the break, but Simmons punches him and misses a dropkick. Luger fires off a running elbow, and works him over for a while, leading to Simmons coming back by smashing Luger’s face into the canvas. Simmons follows that with a clothesline, then powerslams Luger. Simmons drops Luger with a SPINEBUSTER, AND GETS THE FIRST FALL at 4:54! That was shocking.
Fall #2: Luger finally makes it to his feet, and goes for a suplex that Simmons reverses. Simmons throws Luger from corner to corner and backdrops him, but Luger goes to the eyes. Luger misses a charge to the corner, then Simmons bulldogs him for 2. The crowd bought the title change, wasn’t expecting them to react that way. Big difference between this and how Bobby Eaton was received when he got his shot. Simmons cradles Luger up for 2, so Luger dumps him to the outside. Simmons comes back in with a sunset flip for 2, and Simmons clotheslines Luger again. Simmons misses a charge and flies out of the ring, so Luger can take control when Simmons gets back in there. Luger drops an elbow for 2, and powerslams Simmons for 2 again. Simmons tires to come back, but runs into a big boot and Luger clotheslines him for 2. Luger takes Simmons down with a suplex for another 2 count, and goes a chinlock after the count. He cheats by putting his feet on the ropes, but Simmons eventually makes it to his feet. He fights out of it, blocks a charge to the corner, and rolls Luger up for 2. Luger goes for a hip toss, but Simmons reverses to a backslide for 2. Simmons goes to the ropes, but Race grabs his feet. So, DUSTY RUNS OVER AND TAKES CARE OF THAT PROBLEM. YES! Race grabs him again, so when Luger charges at Simmons with a cross body, Simmons stays in the ring and Luger goes over the top instead. That leads to a disqualification for Simmons throwing Luger over the top at 16:26.
Fall #3: It begins after the rest period, and both guys look quite wiped out, as Luger is bleeding from the eye. Luger suckers Simmons in and cheap shots him, hitting him with double axehandles. Simmons stops selling to the delight of the crowd, and takes Luger to the corner for some punches. Simmons hits Luger with a clothesline for 2, then backdrops him again for another 2 count. Simmons gets Luger with an inverted atomic drop, then puts him on the top rope for something. Down they come with a SUPERPLEX, but Luger kicks out at 2! Simmons powerslams Luger, then heads up to the second rope for a flying shoulderblock. Luger rolls out of the ring and Simmons follows, ramming him into the rail. Luger then dodges a Simmons charge and causes him to hit the post, then rolls him back in the ring. Luger capitalizes with the PILEDRIVER, and falls on top for the victory at 19:48! It’s funny that Luger called his piledriver the “Attitude Adjustment.” Makes me think Jim Ross came up with that name for Cena’s move. That’s the show!
My Thoughts: The first fall was quite good, however basic. From there the match picked up perfectly. The rest periods with Race and Rhodes trying to motivate their guys were solid. Nice way to spend twenty minutes, watching a good power match. The two out of three falls gimmick probably helped them with keeping structure together and maintaining fan interest in the match. The crowd also bought Simmons as a potential champion, so it’s no surprise WCW went to that well. People often forget that he had challenged for the world championship here, so it’s not like he was given a super push out of nowhere. He had earned it. I didn’t really like the finish to the second fall, given that referees had the discretion to make no-calls. That was the kind of scenario in which they’d make those calls. I’ll go with ***1/4, as I don’t think this was the best match on the show. Still, very good and fun to watch.
I thought this was quite a nice show despite how many unimportant matches there were on this. The unimportant matches were also short, which is a good thing. The two angles with the Young Pistols and Rick Rude were also really well done. Overall, an enjoyable show, and with WWE Network’s chapter features, you can skip stuff if you want to check it out and not waste your time watching the trash on it. It’s also a sign that WCW was starting to look up, because on their other shows before this they didn’t have anything good on them, much less nearly an hour’s worth of good wrestling. Next up for me is WWF from November 1991, leading up to Survivor Series.
Wrestling Time: 1:45:33. That’s a lot, which means the show was wrestling focused, which is the way it should be.
Best: Bobby Eaton vs. Terrence Taylor. I do think this was the best of the two matches I rated ***1/2, however slightly.
Worst: Oz vs. Bill Kazmaier. This did not need to be here.
Card Rating: 6/10. Just on the positive side, and things were looking up for WCW even thought they booked a stupid Battlebowl.