Through the Years: WCW Matches & Angles from Clash 16 to Halloween Havoc 1991

 

As I’ve said repeatedly, WCW was a complete disaster at this time, with no creative direction and truthfully no plan either. I am interested to see if WCW went with a racial program in further interactions between Ron Simmons and Lex Luger. I’m also interested to see how they fill programming between a terrible Clash of the Champions and Halloween Havoc. I need SOMETHING here to get interested in. In a hilarious news bit, WCW had to cancel a show in Phoenix because they didn’t have ropes big enough for the ring. I don’t remember if I mentioned that DDP was turned into a television commentator only, and eventually with it in mind to make him a wrestler. I am deliberately skipping a title change, by the way. The Patriots took the United States Tag Team Championships from the Freebirds in a terrible 16 minute match. There is absolutely no way I’m reviewing that.

 

– Taped to air September 7th, 1991, on Worldwide, from the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia

 

LEX LUGER ON THE ATTACK

Don’t have a video of this one, but the title sums it up. During one of Barry Windham’s squash matches, here comes Lex Luger and his buddies Harley Race and Mr. Hughes. Luger takes Windham down and drops some elbows on him, then throws him outside to Race and Hughes. After all three guys remove the padding at ringside, Luger smacks Windham’s face into the concrete! Ron Simmons comes out for the save, but it doesn’t work and the poor guy gets triple-teamed. This is here to explain that Windham and Luger’s thing didn’t end.

 

– Taped to air September 7th, 1991, on WCW Pro, from the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia

 

Dustin Rhodes vs. Steve Austin (w/Lady Blossom) for the WCW Television Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: It was just a matter of time before Dustin got this chance. It’s strange to see a match held between two guys who were obviously quite green. I mean, the WWF and WCW didn’t often do that. I dig it, though. This title belt really needed an upgrade, it looked very old and I believe the NWA lettering was still on it.

Match Review: They lock up, and tumble into the corner for a clean break. Austin trips Dustin, who comes back with a trip of his own. Dustin and Austin exchange wristlocks, with Austin doing a great arm drag and Dustin returning the favor. Dustin uses a backslide for 2, and a small package also gets 2. After another arm drag by Dustin, he bars the arm for some time. Austin gets out and misses a charge to the corner, so back to the arm they go. Austin gets out again, and this time he hits Dustin with a clothesline. Austin backdrops Dustin, and that gets 2. A knee to the gut gets 2, and Austin goes to a chinlock. Dustin misses a charge after he breaks the hold, and flies all the way to the outside. Austin hits him on his way off the apron, and tosses him back in. They trade punches, and Dustin knocks Austin down with elbows. Dustin dropkicks him, and takes Austin down with the BULLDOG. Blossom grabs the rope and puts Austin’s foot on it during the count, then Austin goes for a cradle that gets 2. Austin decides to throw Dustin over the top, and that’s a disqualification at 6:40. Cheap finish. Dustin gets back in the ring and dropkicks Austin, which ends the segment.

My Thoughts: I would have liked to see a quicker pace, but the match was fine. Obviously, they were building towards a bigger match between the two, and they had one at Halloween Havoc. Smart booking. **, I know they can do better with more time.

 

– Taped to air September 14th, 1991, on WCW Pro, from the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia

 

Mr. Hughes (w/Harley Race) vs. Tom Zenk

They had advertised this match fairly heavily. It’s funny that this didn’t actually turn out to be a match, and I see why they advertised it. Harley Race got on the microphone and started talking shit to Tom Zenk, he was excellent in this role. When Zenk responded, out came THE TOTAL PACKAGE. The fans still cheer Luger to some degree, I have no idea why. Luger talls Zenk that he has one chance to apologize. He doesn’t, so Luger attacks him and gives him a PILEDRIVER. GOODBYE TOM ZENK (if only). HERE COMES BARRY WINDHAM AND RON SIMMONS, who get the trio of goons to leave the ring. This stuff is pretty good, I must admit.

 

– Taped to air September 21st, 1991, on World Championship Wrestling, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

 

Mr. Hughes (w/Harley Race) vs. Barry Windham

Pre-Match Thoughts: Now this is an actual match, and it seems to be a good one. Maybe. Hopefully. I don’t know. Before the match, Luger had an interview that was far more heelish than his previous ones. That’s not exactly surprising or anything. It was time to turn up the heeling to 10. Of course they’d have Race go out there with Hughes, playing up this trio thing pretty well.

Match Review: Hughes wrestles with the sunglasses now! These two lock up, and Windham gives Hughes an arm drag. Hughes charges at him, but Windham hip tosses him to knock the sunglasses off. Now Hughes is angry. Windham takes Hughes down with a cross body for no count, then slams him. Hughes comes back with a powerslam, and the sunglasses are back on! Hughes hits Windham with a big clothesline, and slams him to the canvas. Ron Simmons isn’t at the show, as was just stated. Bad news for Windham. Windham gets thrown to the outside for some stomps from Race, and Race gives him the diving headbutt! He throws Windham back in for a headbutt from Hughes, and a big dropkick to the face. After turnbuckle shots by Hughes, Windham appears to be busted open. Windham misses a dropkick, so Hughes puts a sleeper on him and bloodies his dress shirt. Windham gets out with a powerful back suplex, then charges at Hughes and flies over the top. That was a great bump. Race throws Windham into the post given the opportunity, and Hughes suplexes Windham back into the ring. Hughes goes for a FIGURE-FOUR, and it’s locked on! Finally Hughes and Race get caught cheating, so the hold must be broken. Windham gets up and hits Hughes with forearms, then hip tosses him. Windham follows with a backdrop of the big guy, and there’s a powerslam. Windham heads up top, and down he comes with a big flying clothesline! Hughes rolls out of the ring, so Windham clotheslines Race and pulls up the padding at ringside. Now he tries to smash Race’s face into the padding, but here comes Lex Luger with a chair that he levels Windham with for the DQ after 10 minutes of good wrestling.

The triple-team continues on the bloody Windham, but the chair shot did most of the damage.

My Thoughts: This was a good match, there’s no doubt about that. Can’t hate on it at all, both guys had something good going. The odds of WCW doing better matches than that on TV were long indeed. Really fun stuff, I had no idea Hughes could do a match like that given how green he looked the last few times I’d seen him wrestle. Then again, Barry Windham was capable of putting on great performances. ***1/4.

 

– Taped to air October 5th, 1991, on WCW Pro

 

Cactus Jack & Abdullah the Butcher vs. Bill Kazmaier & Brian Pillman

Pre-Match Thoughts: Doesn’t this sound absolutely dumb? I know it does, that’s why I’m watching it. Couldn’t think of a more mismatched tag match to be found. I even added the link! Kazmaier still had taped ribs, that’s commitment to the gimmick given that the attack at the Clash was a month before this episode made air.

Match Review: Cactus and Pillman start, and Cactus goes right to work with forearms. Pillman dodges a charge to the corner, and comes out of another corner with a flying clothesline from the second rope. Kazmaier tags in, and very slowly stops Cactus from doing anything to him. So, Cactus kicks him in the ribs for 2. Kazmaier puts a bear hug on Cactus, then Pillman comes in with a dropkick as the hold is applied. Cactus goes for a suplex on Pillman, but it’s blocked and Abby has to punch Pillman in the face. The big man has tagged in! He runs Pillman over and knocks him out to the floor, then throws him into the rail. Let’s get a Cactus elbow please. After Abby chokes Pillman with a cord, it takes a while for Pillman to get back to the apron. Of course, Abby throws him back into the rail. Cactus throws Pillman back in, and makes a tag. Pillman hits Cactus with a spinning wheel kick, and makes the big tag. Kazmaier runs Cactus over, so Cactus tags out. HELL YEAH, A BEASTS MATCH. Kaz puts Abby in a BEAR HUG, which Cactus breaks with a double axehandle. Now all four guys are in there, and eventually Kaz and Cactus are the only two. Kaz gives Cactus a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER, and Abby cracks Kaz with a kendo stick for the disqualification at 5:12.

Abby beats down poor Kazmaier with that stick, and that’s the end of that.

My Thoughts: This match was really not bad, and was absolutely passable at worst. I was actually quite entertained, other than the minute or so Pillman laid on the floor. Kazmaier wasn’t good or anything, but he was only in this match for a few months and as such he was utilized well. **, I think it might be worth checking out, even.

 

– October 17th, 1991, from the Kokusai Center in Fukuoka, Japan

 

Scott Norton & Hiro Saito vs. Oz & Jushin Liger

 

Why would they make Liger team with Kevin Nash. WHY? Check this out if you’re interested, but it sucks.

 

– Taped to air October 19th, 1991, on WCW Worldwide, from Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia

 

Mr. Hughes (w/Harley Race) vs. Dustin Rhodes

Pre-Match Thoughts: Yet another Mr. Hughes match! At least WCW was starting to put more interesting competitive matches on television. Also, given how hard Hughes was being pushed, there’s no way Dustin pins him.

Match Review: This starts with a brawl, and Dustin arm drags Hughes once that’s over. Things slow down, and Hughes works him over with big rights. Hughes chokes Dustin with the ropes, and gives him a MASSIVE CHOKESLAM. Hughes drops an elbow on him, but misses the second and Dustin makes it to his feet. Dustin goes to work with elbows, and a hip toss puts Hughes on the canvas. Dustin backdrops Hughes as well, then hits him with a big clothesline. Race gets on the apron for some punishment, and Dustin starts brawling with him on the floor. Hughes runs around to attack Dustin from behind, and he posts the poor kid. The referee then counts, and even though Barry Windham shows up to help Dustin, Dustin gets counted out at 2:58.

My Thoughts: I’m shocked Dustin was made to lose in any way, even via count-out and especially with Hughes destroying him with a post shot. The match was nothing besides that, but I’m still quite surprised. *1/4, more Mr. Hughes matches please. They’re generally fun.

 

– Taped to air October 19th, 1991, on World Championship Wrestling, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

 

Cactus Jack vs. Bill Kazmaier

 

Maybe I’m pushing it by watching this. I’m sure I am, but I need to fill some space here. Let’s see what happens when Cactus has to carry a guy who cannot work AT ALL. This video appears to be cut so that’s good. Kazmaier appears to still be wearing the tape around his rib. And Cactus does a rolling senton from the apron onto him. That’s one way to have a match with somebody like Kazmaier. Cactus is crazy letting this guy pick him up in an inverted bear hug, where when he gets dropped it’s going to be on his head. Eventually Abdullah the Butcher runs out with the KENDO STICK, and cracks Kazmaier over the head with it to NO EFFECT. NOW KAZMAIER HAS ABDULLAH IN A BEAR HUG. Then that’s it. Boo.

 

– Taped to air October 20th, 1991, on WCW Main Event

 

The Enforcers (WCW Tag Team Champions) vs. Rick Steiner in a HANDICAP MATCH

Pre-Match Thoughts: Steiner was cool with the handicap format because he had beaten Arn and Zbyszko in singles matches. It’s funny, the Enforcers weren’t even feuding with him or facing him on the PPV. I guess it was a matter of killing time. Their opponent on the PPV was going to be the Patriots, who they hadn’t really messed with too much either. Arn grabs the microphone before the match, and wants to make sure this is a handicap match.

Match Review: Arn will start this handicap match, which begins a bit slowly. Steiner rams him into the buckle twice, which makes Arn angry. They finally lock up, and Steiner fights out of the corner. Zbyszko gets in the ring, and Steiner nearly gives him a belly to belly suplex, only for Arn to help him block it. Zbyszko tries to work on the arm, and here comes the Freebirds to ringside. I haven’t mentioned what they were up to. You guys will see, just Google the match if you don’t want to keep reading. Arn tags in, and puts his head down, but makes a tag before the sunset flip. Zbyszko uses a swinging neckbreaker for a 2 count, and follows with a suplex that gets 2. Arn tags back in, and Steiner puts him in a sleeper! Arn back suplexes his way out, but Zbyszko tags in and gets kicked in the face. Arn switches back in for a SPIKE PILEDRIVER attempt, but Steiner backdrops him and goes to slam Zbyszko down from the top. Arn attacks him from behind, and now the Freebirds get in the ring…to ATTACK THE ENFORCERS. DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOW? Of course, Steiner got disqualified at the 6:42 mark.

My Thoughts: It’s smart to have the Freebirds turn babyface, as there was absolutely no reason for them to be heel anymore. They got big pops and had been heels for so long that there was nobody for them to feud with anymore. On the flip side, now there was a lack of heel tag teams. The Enforcers were one, but I can’t think about many more. It was also intended to push Barry Windham and Ron Simmons as a babyface team. *3/4 for the match.

 

That’s it for things leading into Halloween Havoc, and with how bad was in the months before this, I think it’s fair to say they did pretty well. Madusa was debuting, which was a pretty smart idea. In something that was not so smart, Paul E. Dangerously was suspended by WCW for sharing information about a match between Lex Luger and Jerry Lawler. Supposedly sharing information, that is. Lawler was going to win the new NWA World Championship belt, with Flair not being part of WCW anymore. He was then going to unify his belt with Luger’s. Jerry Jarrett then claimed that word got out and cancelled the show, which led to Paul being suspended. How dumb. Meltzer said he didn’t even know about it. Anyway, the resolution was that Dangerously was brought back to WCW because there was no proof that he ever did anything and he shouldn’t have been suspended. At Halloween Havoc, he returns. In addition to that, Tom Zenk was arrested for possession of steroids. Not a good look. Next up is that Halloween Havoc card!

Best: Barry Windham vs. Mr. Hughes. They also used Lex Luger really well in this period and got him involved correctly.

Worst: Pairing Oz with Jushin Liger is up there. Suspending Paul E. is similarly bad.

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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