Through the Years: WCW Matches and Angles from Halloween Havoc 1991 to Clash 17

 

It’s time to see what WCW could do after a decent PPV, and it turns out that they had taped most of their TV for this period before that PPV. Their TV taping schedule struck hard here. Regardless of how stupid it sounds, after Halloween Havoc and Barry Windham having his hand broken on television, they had matches taped for him that they aired. Oh yeah, they sure did. I’m going to watch a few of them too. One of these sounds so good that I’d be an idiot not to watch it. Let’s go to that one!

 

– Taped to air November 2nd, 1991, on WCW Pro, from Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama

 

Arn Anderson (WCW Tag Team Champion) vs. Barry Windham

Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m super interested to see how the commentators talk about Windham’s injury. If they even talk about it, that is. These guys were a great tag team, but those days were completely over. I’m eagerly anticipating this. There’s another match between the two that took place in 1992 that goes about 30 minutes. I have that scheduled to watch too.

Match Review: After these guys talk to each other for a while, and Arn starts the action with a slap. Windham knocks him out to the floor, and tells the referee to get out of his way. Arn tries a hammerlock, but Windham elbows him in the face. Windham puts a headlock on the Enforcer, but they break and Arn takes him down with one. Windham comes back up to his feet and hip tosses Arn, then Windham goes to a headlock takeover. Arn reverses to a head-scissors, which Windham gets out of and follows with a big right hand. Arn comes back with his own left, and misses a knee drop. Windham goes to work on the left knee, using a stepover toe-hold. Arn gets out and tries a knee to the gut, but Arn falls down too. Windham wrenches the leg around the post, goes back to the toe-hold, and eventually goes for a FIGURE-FOUR. Arn blocks it, heads up top, and Windham slams him down. The figure-four is on now, until Arn is able to roll out of the ring. Windham follows and beats him up, giving him a shin-breaker. Arn comes back with a post shot, and wraps the left arm around the post too. Back on the inside, Arn goes to an armbar and uses the ropes for leverage. The hammerlock follows with similar attempts for leverage, until Windham breaks it. Arn boots him in the face, and both guys sell their respective injuries for a while. Arn goes back to the hammerlock, until being elbowed in the face. Windham goes to a sleeper, until Arn turns his body and trips him. Arn and Windham then collide with each other, and Arn heads up to the second rope. He comes down with nothing and Windham boots him in the face, then Windham blocks a charge to the corner with his boots. Windham up to the second rope, and down with a big clothesline for 2. A powerslam also gets 2, and Arn tries a piledriver after that. He gets backdropped, but follows with a sunset flip that gets him the 3 count. Ron Simmons comes down to the ring and tells the referee Arn held the ropes, which is the truth. So, Windham runs up to Arn, cradles him up, and picks up the real victory at 16:14!

My Thoughts: This was a good match, which had actual psychology and was built around the use of holds and strong selling. I really liked the match a lot, it’s nice to see a bout with that kind of format. To some people it’s slow, and truthfully, sometimes to me it is. Not this time, though. I can’t explain why not, maybe because they actually sold the effects of the holds that were applied. ***, nice to see a clean job too.

 

– Taped to air November 2nd, 1991, on Worldwide, from Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama

 

Larry Zbyszko (WCW Tag Team Champion) vs. Barry Windham

Pre-Match Thoughts: I don’t think this will be better than the previous match, but Zbyszko wasn’t in a whole lot of singles matches at this point of his WCW run. Windham was also about to go on the shelf, so might as well watch his matches while I can.

Match Review: Zbyszko goes right into stalling, and takes a sign from the fans that he rips! They finally lock up, and Zbyszko wants to stall more. Zbyszko takes Windham down with a headlock, it gets reversed into a head-scissors, and Zbyszko goes out to the apron. His stalling in this match is as hilarious as it is ridiculous. Zbyszko tries the headlock again, it ends up the same, and Windham follows with an arm drag. Zbyszko’s selling in this match is the absolute best. Windham takes Zbyszko down with a hip toss, then charges at Zbyszko and flies over the top like a dumbo. Zbyszko posts him, throws him into the rail, and gives him a bodyslam. Zbyszko pulls Windham back in the ring for a suplex that gets 2, and continues to stomp away at his younger opponent. Windham comes back with some punches, but misses a dropkick and Zbyszko covers for 2. A neckbreaker gets 2 for Zbyszko, and he puts Windham in a stiff looking chinlock. Here comes Arn Anderson to the ring, as Windham misses a charge to the corner. Zbyszko slams Windham for 2 again, but Windham comes back with a sunset flip that gets the victory at 7:34!

The Enforcers beat up Windham after the match, but here comes RON SIMMONS to chase them from the ring.

My Thoughts: This wasn’t the end of this little mini-feud, as WCW had taped even more stuff between the four. No complaints as far as that goes. Was surprised by the finish, and thought Zbyszko’s stalling early in the match was highly amusing. Both guys worked hard after that, so I’ll put a **1/2 rating on this. Windham was REALLY good at this point in time.

 

Rick Steiner SPEAKS!

Tony Schiavone was there to interview Rick Steiner about singles competition, and it looks like Steiner is still doing the dumbass gimmick. He hadn’t talked in so long that I really didn’t know. Steiner started talking about Lex Luger, and he said he could beat Luger. Of course, that draws out Lex Luger, Mr. Hughes, and Harley Race. Luger does the Ric Flair thing of building up his competition, then tells Rick Steiner he better stay in tag team wrestling. Luger then pats Steiner’s head, and Steiner tells Luger when he beat him. So, Luger says that Steiner has no respect, and he’s going to teach him some in the ring. Right now!

Lex Luger (WCW Champion, w/Harley Race & Mr. Hughes) vs. Rick Steiner

Non-title match, of course. I dig this scenario. Luger attacks Steiner when he crawls into the ring, and keeps kicking away. Luger’s wearing dress shoes, this is really Flair like. Luger nails Steiner with a huge clothesline, and goes for the PILEDRIVER, only for Steiner to backdrop him. I’m actually rooting for someone, in a match that happened 24 years ago. Steiner starts no-selling, and gives Luger a high backdrop. He misses a charge to the corner, and Luger does the same. Steiner gives Luger a HUGE German suplex, follows with a belly to belly suplex. He hits Mr. Hughes with a STEINERLINE, suplexes Race into the ring, and hits Luger with a BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX FOR THE WIN AT 2:00. HE PINNED THE WORLD CHAMP! The best thing about this was Steiner’s complete lack of reaction. All in all, a perfect segment to build a title match up on short notice.

 

Johnny B. Badd (w/Teddy Long) vs. Bobby Eaton in a SUBMIT OR SURRENDER MATCH

Pre-Match Thoughts: I have absolutely no idea why this match is taking place. Did WCW just do a series of these matches? I’m sure they did, because that’s what WCW often did. Is this supposed to be about which guy is more beautiful? I don’t understand this on any level. I also don’t understand why this one episode of TV has so much interesting stuff on it. That’s unlike WCW on every level. Pinfalls do not count is the basic interpretation of the rules.

Match Review: Badd does his usual deal, with the dancing around the ring and all, until they lock up. Eaton arm drags him, but Badd goes to the armbar after some punches. Eaton hits him with big right hands, and a clothesline knocks him out of the ring. Eaton gives him a drop toe-hold when he gets back in the ring, and tries to make him quit with a hammerlock. Eventually Eaton hip tosses Badd over the top, but there isn’t a disqualification in this match. It’s SUBMIT OR SURRENDER. Long distracts Eaton so that Badd can put the boots to him, and Badd hits Eaton with a clothesline. Up top he goes, and here comes the ridiculous sunset flip spot for no count at all. Dumb move. Eaton tries a cradle, but there are no pinfalls. Why do wrestlers do that? Badd throws Eaton over the top, and follows for a hip toss on the floor. Count-outs appear to count, so Badd runs back in the ring. Badd hits Eaton with a clothesline on the apron, but Eaton blocks a charge to the corner. Eaton follows that with a backdrop, and gives Badd a backbreaker. He asks Badd to be counted down, but Badd gets up before 10. Badd slams Eaton, then heads up top for a big FLYING ELBOW. Badd puts a chinlock on Eaton, but Eaton gets out and delivers a neckbreaker. Eaton goes up top himself, and down he comes with his own FLYING ELBOW. They botch a spot, and both guys go down selling it like a collision. Both guys were counted down, but the first one to get up will be named the winner. Badd is up, but the referee’s distracted. So, Eaton knocks him down, the referee turns around, and Eaton wins after about 9 minutes!

My Thoughts: I guess this was supposed to be a series of matches. Badd was really green, but did his best even though some spots got messed up. Eaton did well, and kept the match moving at a decent pace. **1/4, not much story implications here, I believe.

 

– Taped to air November 2nd, 1991, on World Championship Wrestling, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

 

ARACHNAMAN DEBUTS

 

Poor Brad Armstrong, always getting the absolute worst gimmicks to work with. This one is copyright infringement at that. Absolutely nonsensical in every way, really. You can make of this whatever you want, but the finish for this new jabroni was a rolling cradle.

 

Oz vs. Sting for the WCW United States Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: WHY? I have no idea why I’m checking this out, much less why this took place. Wonder if anyone knew they were watching two future legends go at it.

Match Review: These two lock up, and Sting tries to slam Oz. Oz slams Sting instead, and does so for a second time. Sting ducks under a clothesline and slams Oz, but Oz comes back with a shoulderblock. A clothesline follows that, and Sting tumbles out to the floor. Sting heads up top as Oz turns his back, and flies in with a clothesline that gets 2. Oz fires off a back suplex, and picks Sting up to drop him throat-first on the top rope. Oz chokes away at this poor guy, and gutwrench suplexes him for 2. Oz puts his head down, but blocks a sunset flip. That happens twice, Sting tries a third, and this time he gets Oz down for 2. Sting sends Oz into the corner, but misses the STINGER SPLASH. Oz misses his own charge to the corner, so Sting heads up top and comes down with a cross body that picks up the victory!

My Thoughts: This wasn’t good, but it’s about as good of a match as Kevin Nash could possibly have had at this time. They didn’t slow down, worked hard, and Sting had Oz dish out some good punishment. As stated, couldn’t have possibly been better. *1/2 was the peak of this gimmick and Kevin Nash’s wrestling abilities at that particular time.

 

– Taped to air November 9th, 1991, on WCW Pro

 

The Enforcers (WCW Tag Team Champions) vs. Barry Windham & Ron Simmons

Pre-Match Thoughts: This would be the end of their mini-feud, seeing as Windham had shattered his wrist and couldn’t tape anything further. I’ve been looking forward to this match a lot, it’ll be interesting to see if Windham and Simmons had worked on any tag team moves, given they were going to be pushed as a duo for the time being. With Zbyszko being part of the match, he wasn’t on his usual commentary duty. No idea why this wasn’t a title match. Schiavone even talked about Windham being injured.

Match Review: Windham and Arn lock up, and Windham quickly fights his way out of the corner. Windham takes Arn down with a shoulderblock, and they fight over holds, culminating in Windham putting a hammerlock on his opponent. Windham dishes out a HAMMERLOCK SLAM, and goes back to the hold until AA makes the ropes. Zbyszko tags in and Windham arm drags him, then brings in Ron Simmons for the first time. Simmons hip tosses Zbyszko, and leg drops the arm as he locks it up. Arn tries to make a tag and falls into the ring, so Windham makes an illegal switch in. The fans say that he tagged in, so Windham has an armbar on Zbyszko. Arn knees Windham in the back when he runs the ropes, and Arn tags back in there. He throws Windham hard to the outside, where his partner throws Windham into the rail. Arn puts his head down, but tags out before the sunset flip. Zbyszko uses a neckbreaker for 2, and tries to follow that with a suplex only for Windham to reverse it. Simmons tags back in, and gives Arn a big backdrop. Zbyszko’s next, and Simmons puts a sleeper on Arn until Larry breaks it. Simmons eats a knee from Zbyszko as he tags in, and Zbyszko puts a front face-lock on him. There’s a distraction so the referee doesn’t see Simmons tag out, and the Enforcers work a choke after that. Zbyszko puts a chinlock on Simmons, until Arn tags in and heads up to the second rope. He comes down with a double axehandle, but Simmons hits him on the way down and Arn has to block a tag. Zbyszko slams Simmons for 2, then Simmons boots him in the face. Simmons and Zbyszko make tags, and Windham backdrops Arn. He follows that with the lariat, but Zbyszko breaks it. All four guys brawl for a bit, then Windham goes for a SUPERPLEX. Arn runs into the ring and clocks Windham with his title belt, which is good for a victory at 10:31.

My Thoughts: Good match here, and with Arn getting the pin over Windham, it would seem that’s the end of the feud and all of that. **3/4, with good action the whole way, just like you’d expect. Not like Windham would be around to even participate in the rest of the feud. Let’s not forget that Ron Simmons had a messed up wrist too, and he wasn’t going to be around either. So, heading into Clash of the Champions, WCW had to come up with something different. I wonder what it is that they did…

 

– Taped to air November 16th, 1991, on WCW Pro

 

The York Foundation (WCW Six Man Tag Team Champions, w/Alexandra York) vs. Dustin Rhodes, Tom Zenk, and Big Josh in a STEEL CAGE MATCH

Pre-Match Thoughts: I have absolutely no idea how the York Foundation got these belts. Of course, they are Richard Morton, Terrence Taylor, and Thomas Rich. At least they won something! I’m confused as to why this was taped for television, and I don’t know the location of the event. Too bad, I guess. Dustin would actually get a regular tag team partner soon, as some of you may know. NO SPOILERS! In the promo before the match, it seems like Dustin has somewhat dropped the Dusty speak. Also, the titles aren’t on the line. So why is this a cage match? It’s not often you’d see one on television.

 

Match Review: York wants to get the key from the person who locked the door, she’ll have to try quite hard. Morton and Josh will start things, and Josh has to fight out of the opposition corner. He clobbers Morton with lefts, so Morton tries to leave. Josh grabs him, pulls him back into the cage, and knocks him off the top rope. Taylor tags in, but Josh blocks his attempt to ram him into the cage. Dustin tags in, so they trade wristlocks until Dustin clotheslines Taylor for 2. Dustin works on the arm, tags in Zenk, and he does the same. Josh and Rich wind up in the ring, and Rich clobbers the poor guy. After a missed elbow, Josh hits Rich with a clothesline. Josh does the log roll to Rich’s chest, which gets a hearty laugh out of me. Rich tries to leave, but Josh hits him in the nuts and crotches him on the top rope. Taylor tags in, and blocks a charge to the corner. Taylor bodyslams Josh, and heads up top for a big splash that gets 2. This match has no heat, but the guys are trying. Taylor follows with a backbreaker for 2, and Rich makes a tag in. He clotheslines Josh and knee drops him, then brings in Morton. Morton clotheslines Josh in the corner for 2, and in comes Rich again. Josh drops him with a belly to belly suplex, and brings in Dustin for a BIONIC ELBOW. Dustin elbows all the heels, low blows Rich, and slams him down from the top rope. Dustin press slams Morton, and we have a bit of a standoff at this point. York harasses the worker for the key to the lock, but again that’s not going to happen. Both Dustin and Morton block cage shots, then Taylor makes a tag in and works the left arm of the NATURAL. Dustin misses a charge to the corner when he has a chance to get in offense, and it’s back to the arm work. I don’t like that referees can enforce rules in these matches, other than the tag rule. Taylor and Rhodes trade punches, then both guys climb up to the top rope. Over comes Josh and Morton as well, and the four guys brawl on the top rope. Morton eats the fence, and Taylor gets thrown down to the canvas. Zenk tags in, but Taylor goes to the eyes and Zenk fires off a superkick in response. Taylor comes back with a jawbreaker, and Rich tags in for a neckbreaker. Morton tags in and Zenk sunset flips him, but the referee is distracted. Morton clotheslines Zenk shortly after, and Taylor tags in for an abdominal stretch. Morton makes an illegal switch in and keeps the hold on, but Taylor makes a tag in and Zenk gives him a cross body for 2. Zenk hits Taylor with an enzuigiri, and Josh makes the tag in. He’s a house of fire, and backdrops Taylor. He throws Morton into the cage, and everyone’s in the ring now. Morton is bloody, and Taylor tries to suplex Josh. Dustin dropkicks Taylor, Josh falls on top, and he picks up the victory at 14:46!

After the match, the York Foundation triple teams Big Josh, throws him into the fence, and busts him open. Morton hits him with a big punch to the back of the head, and it’s time for the York Foundation to make their exit.

My Thoughts: This was, of course, quite good. I don’t understand why the crowd wasn’t into it, given that Zenk and Dustin were usually babyfaces the crowd was interested in. This felt more like a match taking place in a cage than a cage match, if that makes sense. There weren’t many spots based around the cage, and even when they had some, the crowd didn’t care. I don’t understand. I thought Morton and Taylor did a great job, and put more effort into this than the crowd deserved. ***1/4.

 

There were TV tapings that had a lot of interesting things happen on them, but I’m not supposed to talk about them until I review them. I thought this was good enough for a short build to a big show. Lots of interesting things, particularly the Lex Luger and Rick Steiner thing. WCW did intend to get rid of certain people, and I can spoil that. Lady Blossom and Teddy Long were two of them. WCW also banned blood. Lex Luger worked too many dates early in the year and couldn’t work all of the shows later in the year, when he became the champion. That sounds so dumb, and if it wasn’t WCW, I wouldn’t believe the incompetence there. Next up is Clash of the Champions 17. Looks like an amazing show.

Best: Rick Steiner pinning Lex Luger. I loved this angle.

Worst: Not removing matches from taped television after airing an angle where somebody had their wrist slammed in a car door.

Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

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