Context around Halloween Havoc 93:
- The NWA was so adamant to stop Rick Rude from beating Ric Flair at Fall Brawl for the NWA World title that they went so far as to take WCW to court over the naming rights and the right to change the finish. It was then that the NWA learned that Bill Watts had paid for the rights to the “NWA” name and thus WCW was in the clear.
- Local newspapers covered the trial and revealed that Rude was to defeat Flair, and also mentioned that several months of taped matches were in the can with Rude as champ.
- WCW fired back at the NWA by trying to sign Road Warrior Hawk and Ted Dibiase to contracts, this coming after it was revealed that those two men (and Terry Funk) were the three top candidates to win the title once the NWA took control back.
- Dibiase was offered a $1000 dollars a match deal, and was told his debut would be a thirty minute draw with Dustin Rhodes at Halloween Havoc. He scoffed at both parts of this offer.
- WCW finally settled things with the NWA by changing the title to the WCW International title, supposedly recognized as a “World title” by foreign promoters.
- Dustin Rhodes is being built to be the star of the promotion, with his name being the most often cited when projections of who will unify the World titles is debated. Rhodes hasn’t delivered ratings when put in big TV matches though. (Meltzer has also hinted that Sid was scheduled to beat Vader in December for the WCW title and beat Rude at SuperBrawl to unify the gold.)
- WCW is paying people to sit in the front rows of their main TV tapings because too many African-American fans were on camera and WCW felt that hurt their perception.
- The Erik Watts heel turn aired, and then WCW ignored it and just kept booking him as a face.
- WCW started putting Flair over Rude at house shows, without mentioning any title being involved. The fans then assumed Flair regained the NWA title, only no physical title is used and many people are leaving shows confused and disappointed.
- WCW signed an agreement to run at a bar in Georgia every Tuesday. The shows will be used mostly for young wrestlers to gain experience. The debut show drew 42 fans.
- Hulk Hogan’s movie “Mr. Nanny” was released nation wide. It drew less than 4 million dollars in its first two weeks. WCW offered Hogan TV time to plug his movie, but he declined the offer.
- Former WCW/JCP star Nikita Koloff appeared on the TV show “America’s Funniest Home Videos”. He won third place in their weekly contest for a video of he and his daughter cutting wrestling promos in the mall.
- 2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Bagwell beat the Nasty Boyz for the World tag team titles at a TV taping. The match was shown the night before the Halloween Havoc PPV aired. The title match was set up by an earlier match that was taped to air on WCW Saturday night and ended up not being shown because a MLB game went long.
- Sid Vicious taped a babyface turn to set up his Starrrrrcade 93 World title match with Vader. WAY more on how that got derailed coming in my next review.
- Maxx Payne has turned babyface. Ron Simmons and Paul Roma are going heel.
- The Hollywood Blonds taped their split. Brian Pillman turned face after Steve Austin hired Col. Parker to be his manager and Pillman was less than accepting.
- Mean Gene debuted as a TV interviewer. He called Sid Vicious by his WWF name in one of his first interviews.
- They have taped several promos and angles to build to the planned Ric Flair/Ricky Steamboat vs. Nasty Boyz Starrcade match that was destined not to take place.
- WCW bombed at the Omni (their biggest arena in theory) again. Scalpers outside who had front row seat tickets ending up selling some for as low as a dollar reportedly. The Omni Thanksgiving show, once the biggest card of the year for the area, has already been canceled.
- A bit off topic, but if you want to know why ECW gained such a favorable albeit underground rep that lives to this day, consider that at the same time that WCW was such a shit storm, Paul Heyman had just taken over as booker. The big ECW show of this time period saw Public Enemy debut, a scaffold match, a baseball bat match, future ECW legends Shane Douglas and The Sandman squaring off and a featured contest with Stan Hansen and Terry Funk teaming up to face Abby the Butcher and Kevin Sullivan!
Halloween Havoc 93
We open with a video of kids trick or treating. The kids want to go home and watch this PPV. One persistent kid insists on going to one last house first. It turns out to be Tony Schiavone’s house. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! He implies he killed his wife and is now baking her dismembered body. I hope he’s wearing something under his robe now that the kids are in his house. He promises the kids he’ll show them “Spin the wheel, make the deal” and they scoff at his suggestion. Way to bury your own gimmick. He then morphs into a monster and the kids run away. Ok then.
Eric Bischoff welcomes us. Tony Schiavone is dressed as Jesse Ventura. Ventura is dressed as a doctor. He explains he’s a gynecologist and this cracks up the giant woman (I think it’s a woman) who is seated behind him. He attempts to anal probe Schiavone as we go to the ring.
Ice Train, Charlie Norris and The Shockmaster vs. The Equalizer and Harlem Heat
UGH. Six minutes into the PPV and I’m already looking for the bourbon. Stalling to start. I can assume they stall because none of these men know how to lock up. When Tugboat is your cagey vet responsible for carrying things, you’re in trouble. Basic stuff from the youngsters before Typhoon tags in (to a big pop) and starts sitting on the limbs of Booker T. Things are dull when the jabronis are in there, to the point that play-by-play is pointless.
Shockmaster comes back in because the Equalizer is too big for Norris (who is 6’6 himself.) Uncle Fred gets another big fan response and they chant “whoop there it is” when he delivers a shoulderblock. Booker T tries a scissors kick on Norris that connects with the same force as a bag of feathers. Norris sells it anyway. Big Steel Man comes in once again and mauls all the heels. He ends it with a bizarre bear hug move where he crashed down on his own knees while holding up T. This somehow finished Booker off. I was expecting a dreadful match, but it was just actively dull, minus the bizarre love the fans had for Uncle Shocky.
Terry Taylor is going to be a ref later on and promises to call it down the middle.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Paul Orndorff
Orndorff is replacing Yoshi Kwan. I approve! The Assassin is with Orndorff. Orndorff jumps Steamboat, but The Dragon roars back with chops. Orndorff slams Steamboat on the ramp and he sells it big time. Wonderful nails some suplex variations and tries to tie Steamboat up in a pinning situation. The Dragon arm whips Mr. Wonderful to the mat and uses several different methods to contort Orndorff’s arm in unnatural directions. Orndorff endures having his arm wrung around the ringpost and an attempt to dislocate his shoulder by chucking him in the air by his arm. Steamboat then drives Orndorff’s shoulder into the ringpost. The Dragon snaps off some vicious chops into Mr. Wonderful’s chest and drives him into the railing shoulder first.
Steamboat’s mean streak continues in the ring as he takes Orndorff’s hand and bends his fingers in painful directions. Orndorff is cowering in the corner but The Dragon hounds over him and delivers chops to Wonderful’s head. Orndorff goes to the floor to try and regroup, so Steamboat slams his head into the ramp. The ref finally intervenes and holds Steamboat up, which allows Orndorff to cheap shot him. The Dragon’s face is slammed into the edge of the mat multiple times and then he is flung over the barricade and unto the mat.
Back in the ring the men collide on a crossbody and both are down. Orndorff tries to use the ropes to cradle Steamboat but the ref catches him. Wonderful is chucked to the ramp, where Steamboat launches down on him with a chop from the top rope. He sends Orndorff back in the ring and delivers another aerial assault for a near fall. Orndoff gets one shot in and tries for a desperation piledriver. Steamboat flips out of that and both men trade cradle pin attempts. Orndorff is slingshotted into the ringpost and rolled up in a nearfall I completely bought. Steamboat hits the flying crossbody but the Assassin takes the ref’s attention elsewhere. The Dragon shoves the ref and ends up being tossed to the floor. The Assassin loads his mask up and KO’s Steamboat. He ends up being counted out in a lame finish to an AMAZING match. The fans are outraged by the heels bastardly behavior. Watch this NOW. Wow!
TV Champ Lord Steven Regal vs. Davey Boy Smith
They start with some nice mat wrestling as both men go hold for counter hold. Regal tries an Irish whip, but Smith cartwheels away. Regal does a cartwheel in response and gets flipped over by the Bulldog for his troubles. This leads right into another counter wrestling sequence, with Smith escaping all of Regal’s takedown attempts. Regal finally gains control and wears away as Smith with several armlock variants. He bops Smith with a number of European uppercuts before locking him in a can opener, which I can’t say I recall seeing outside of some MMA bouts.
Regal ties up Smith’s arm and jabs elbows into his ribs. Regal does all the little things to make these “rest holds” interesting. Smith mounts a brief offensive flurry, but Regal kicks him in the now softened up rib meat of the Bulldog. Regal locks him in a STF variation, with a full nelson locked on instead of a crossface. Schiavone annoys me by calling this a move designed to waste time, instead of a torturous submission lock. Regal locks on a Million Dollar Dream, which Bulldog slips out of and places his Lordship into a fireman’s carry. This helps give Smith his last gasp at victory as time ticks down. He hits a quick suplex and nails a powerslam. Regal kicks out, which makes me think Smith blew the finish by hitting his finisher too soon. Smith is obviously blown up and is sucking wind as he stares at the ref. A piledriver sets up a final pin attempt as time runs out on the Bulldog. Regal’s awesome, and Smith is as good as the guy who carries him, so this was a really good match that told the story through the moves executed.
Vader comes out to spin the wheel and make a deal. He spins a “Texas Death Match”. The build had been hinting towards a barbed wire match, so some fans might have been disappointed.
US Champ Dustin Rhodes vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
Rhodes has glittery chaps on, prompting Ventura to call him a gay cowboy. Austin begs off right away and tries to frustrate Rhodes by running from him. Austin proves he was just executing a ruse by quickly roughhousing Rhodes to the mat with elbows and fists. He controls Rhodes for several minutes before Austin takes a nasty bump over the turnbuckle and sells like his knee is blown out. Austin tries to ward off the attack that is obviously forthcoming, but Rhodes catches him and downs him with a kneebreaker, then locks on a kneelock. Rhodes follows Austin near the ropes and Austin pokes his eye. Then he low blows Rhodes to buy himself some recovery time.
Austin zeros in on a knee drop and then takes time to rub his injured knee. Rhodes gets pissed off now and unloads with some big haymakers. Rhodes tries for a bulldog, but Austin dumps him crotch first on the ropes. Rhodes punches his way out of a stun gun but Austin is still near the ropes and he braces against them for a 3 count. Nick Patrick determines Austin cheated and restarts the match. Austin is busy looking for the belt and Rhodes rolls him up for another somewhat lame finish. Match was solid but unspectacular. Austin lays him out with the title after the match. Since the Blonds were breaking up anyway, the end probably should have had Pillman trying to interfere and it backfiring to try and add some heat to the angle.
World tag champs 2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. The Nasty Boyz
Missy Hyatt is wearing a bra for a top. Does she think she’s Sue Ellen Mischke from Seinfeld?
The heels try to jump the champs, but they are run off. Hyatt gets kissed and the fans love it. The faces clear the ring after a second attack attempt and Scorpio launches on the heels on the floor. The faces control things until Scorpio slows things down, which plays into Saggs game and he’s able to use some blunt force forearms. Bagwell tags in and tries a Thesz press. Saggs tries to use a stun gun instead but misses the ropes and drops him to the floor. Hyatt gives him a hard slap while down there. Saggs delivers a back suplex on the outside of the ring that looked (pardon the pun) nasty.
The Nasties take over and spend endless minutes working over Bagwell in their own dull fashion. Scorpio tries to tag in but the ref misses it. Bagwell knocks both heels loopy and makes the legit tag. Scorp batters both heels with leg kicks. A four-way skirmish breaks out and Missy Hyatt gets involved. Scorpio hits the 450 splash but Saggs hits him with his boot and Knobbs steals the win and the titles. This had its moments but the Nasties did their best to make things as uninteresting as possible during their heat segment.
Sting vs. Sid Vicious
Sid is normally jacked up, but he looks like he took the Brahma Bull HGH before this PPV to prep for his pending World title push. Sting blasts Vicious around the ring, hits a suplex, then batters him to the floor where they brawl into the audience. That wasn’t a thing that happened in 1993. He hounds Sting back into the ring and delivers a flying clothesline. Col. Parker distracts Sting and that allows Sid to hit a chokeslam. Vicious then poses instead of going for the kill. Col. Parker helps again by choking Sting with a towel. Sid batters Sting with a sideslam as the crowd actually chants “powerbomb!” Sid hits a very gentle looking chair shot to Sting’s back. I’m not sure if I’d rather have him kill Sting with the chair shot or kill the business by hitting a soft shot like that.
Sid locks Sting in a chinlock and the fans are torn on who to root for. At least Sid’s face turn makes sense when you see reactions like this. Sid locks on a bad looking bearhug, where he leaves tons of space between he and Sting’s bodies. The fans are still chanting for the powerbomb. Sting fires up and hits a pair of Stinger splashes on Sid, but he only sells them for a second. They tangle near the ropes and Parker trips Sid accidentally. Sting rolls Sting up for the pin as Vicious tries to resist killing Parker. The match wasn’t good, but it was entertaining, if that makes sense. Sid being terrible yet awesome all at once is one of the great dynamics in wrestling physics that experts have been trying to decipher for the past twenty-five years.
WCW International Big Gold Belt titleholder Rick Rude vs. Ric “Nature Boy” Flair
Rude looks at least ten years older than his actual age here. The road and the drugs will own you. Terry Taylor is the special ref on the outside of the ring. This is actually Rude’s second fake World title, as he was the first World Class Championship Wrestling “World” champ in 1986 when the WCCW backed out of the NWA.
Flair takes it right to Rude with chops and a suplex. Rude misses with a flying knee and Flair locks on a figure-four in the opening minutes. Rude endures the hold for a bit before making it to the ropes. Flair smashes Rude’s knee into the ringpost as both refs just stand idly by. Rude and Flair flip over the top and both go crashing to the floor. Flair hits a flying forearm and dances a jig in celebration.
Flair tries a second flying attack and Rude catches him in the bread basket. Rude tries to use a chair, but Taylor takes it away. Rude locks on a chinlock, lest things get too interesting. While Flair is down, Rude shakes his wee wee at Fifi’s face. More chinlocks by Rude follow. Flair flips over the top rope and is then locked in a bear hug once he gets back in. The early portion of this match was going so well, but Rude’s killing it dead here.
Flair delivers a Rude Awakening, but is too worn down to make a quick cover. Flair then tries another top rope move but eats a boot to the face. The ref is bumped. Taylor comes in and he is then bumped. Rude takes out the brass knux but Flair steals them and KO’s Rude. Taylor tries to make the count, but the second ref saw Flair use the knux and DQ’s Flair. What do you know, another lame finish to a match tonight. Rude kidnaps Fifi after the match and the camera angle makes it look like he is muff diving as he carries her down the aisle. Flair saves her and we…move along.
Texas Death Match: World Champ Vader vs. Cactus Jack
They do a terrible job explaining the rules, first saying pinfalls don’t count, then saying you have to pin your opponent then wait 30 seconds then the ref will do a 10-count that the person pinned must rise up to his feet or lose the match.
Jack pounces on Vader on the ramp and they trade dirty boxing shots. Vader’s wrist is slammed into the railing. Vader cracks him with fistic fury for that. Jack steals a fan’s camera and cracks Vader with it. Vader is killed with an unblocked chair shot to the skull. This angers the beast and he wallops Jack with a stiff clothesline and more punches in bunches back in the ring. Jack suplexes Vader on the ramp and then back suplexes him for good measure. Jack is bleeding from Vader’s stiff shots. Jack drives fists into Vader’s skull before upgrading to a chair, which he drives into Vader’s head and back. They fall into an open grave on the entrance set and Vader crawls out of the hole bleeding. Jack downs the champ and gets the first three count. Vader makes it up, so Jack takes props from the stage and hits him with them. Vader is knocked off the rampway and nailed with a flying elbow for another fall. Vader survives that and even gets some fans chanting “Vader!”
Vader yanks Jack off the ramp but Jack is game for more violence. Jack brings a table in the ring. Vader is chucked into it, and then Jack picks it up and smacks Vader with it. Jack tries a sunset flip as things return to the floor, and Vader misses a butt splash. They brawl into the crowd a bit before Vader backdrops Jack onto the floor. Vader drags him back in the ring and nails a Vadersault for a fall. Jack survives and they brawl back onto the ramp. Jack piggybacks on Vader, so Vader falls back and squashes Jack. Jack later admitted he did that spot in hopes of suffering a career ending injury so he could retire and cash in on insurance. He ended up with a lacerated kidney.
Vader smashes a chair over Foley’s head and DDT’s him on the ramp. EMTs come out to check on Jack’s corpse but Vader shoves them off and makes the pin. Jack survives. Jack DDTs Vader on a chair and lands on a chair accidentally himself. The ref decides to count both men as down. Jack rises first but Harley Race jolts him with a stun gun behind the refs back. Vader gets up and the ref counts Jack out. This was an absolutely brutal (in a good way) match with (wait for it) yet another lame finish. Skipping the thirty-second “rest period” would have made for a much better flowing match.
Since this was non-title and a gimmick match, Jack should have won this here, then Vader could win the blow off at the Clash or Battle Bowl or even Starrrrcade.
Final thoughts: This PPV is a hard nut to crack, as at least two of the matches presented were among the top of bouts on any WCW mega show in the calendar year, yet much of the other matches were lackluster. Next up is the Clash of Champions with Flair vs. Vader!