* While working a house show in Dallas at the Sportatorium, a fan who had been going to World Class shows for 30 years without causing a problem finally snapped and attempted to shoot Jake “the Snake” Roberts. A few days later Roberts suffered a concussion and missed a bunch of scheduled TV tapings and house show matches.
* Terry Gordy was fired for failing a drug test. Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham were put over Dr.Death and Gordy for both the NWA and WCW tag title belts in late September, essentially rendering the Clash 19 and Bash ’92 a complete waste of time. The Steiners were penciled in to face Windham and Rhodes at Halloween Havoc but not only were they having issues with their contracts, but Rick Steiner suffered a pectoral injury.
* WCW taped an angle where Scott showed frustration with Marcus Bagwell (who was subbing for Rick) to begin a heel turn. In an effort to appease Scott Steiner and convince him to stay on for a singles push, they had him defeat Ricky Steamboat for the TV title. A few days later, Scott refused to work at a TV taping due to deep thigh bruise and that marked the end of the Steiner Brothers in WCW until the spring of 1996.
* Barry Windham began to act heelish, basically from the moment he and Dustin won the tag titles and onward. He and Rhodes even came to blows in the weeks leading up to Halloween Havoc.
* Paul E Dangerously continued to watch his empire crumble as he and Madusa began to have issues over their joint involvement with Rick Rude.
* Chris Benoit has been signed to a contract. Johnny Gunn (aka Tom Brandi, aka Salvatore Sincere) has started making appearances on TV. Sid Vicious is negotiating to return. Tony Atlas has come in to feud with Ron Simmons. Robbie Walker (Did you just ask WHO?) was brought in and given a slight push as Simmons’ buddy. He had a decent look but being African-American was the main reason for his brief push.
* Rumors are swirling that Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton are on the chopping block as Watts continues to try and cost-cut talent. (Thankfully that didn’t come to pass.) JYD, Vinnie Vegas, Tracy Smothers and Curtis Hughes are all also rumored to be heading out the door. Butch Reed was fired after missing a TV taping.
* Brian Pillman doubled down on his heel turn by slapping Brad Armstrong again and wrestling him on several TV shows. In early October Steve Austin and Pillman began teaming.
* Shane Douglas made his return to the company and got a renewed push with Magnum TA serving as his mentor of sorts. He then formed a tag team with Ricky Steamboat after saving him from an attack by Austin and Pillman.
* Terry Taylor is gone from WCW and has resigned with the WWF. Greg Valentine quit in early October after he realized his bookings were drying up.
* Kensuki Sasaki was given several highlight packages in preparation for his upcoming tour of WCW.
* Damien Demento got a tryout. He’d end up in the WWF shortly afterward.
Halloween Havoc 92 October 25th, 1992
Bruno Sammartino and Tony Schiavone run down the card.
Missy Hyatt waits by Rick Rude’s locker room to find out if he’s ready to wrestle twice tonight.
Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura explain that medics are on stand by for what may happen when Sting and Jake the Snake finish with one another.
Johnny Gunn, Tom Zenk, and Shane Douglas vs. Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton and Michael Hayes
Badstreet USA is back!!! Arn belittles Gunn before laying in some boots – the crowd cheers. A six-way skirmish breaks out and the faces clear the ring with dropkicks to a chorus of boos. Did I mention they were in Philly tonight? The future ECW mutants aren’t having any of the pretty boys.
Zenk comes in but Arn and Eaton use tag team expertise to control him to earn another big pop. Hayes tries his luck and complains about a tights pull, then plays to the crowd who agree that Zenk cheated. The arena is very dark, even the ring seems to be under a veil of darkness. Douglas and Eaton grapple as Ventura complains that Douglas looks like a “right-wing republican”. JR cuts him off before he can continue his weird rant.
Zenk gets boo’d for more babyface spots before Anderson lays him out to a huge roar. All three heels batter Zenk down before he makes a not so hot tag. Douglas tags in and is cheap shotted by Eaton with a shot to the knee to another huge cheer. Eaton and Arn torture Douglas with leg damaging moves to an ever louder response. When all three men gang up on Douglas behind the refs back, the crowd euphoria is boisterous and clear –Arn and Hayes even play to them amidst the cheating. Gunn finally tags back in and all three heels feed themselves to him for bodyslams before all six men brawl again. Gunn connects on a Thesz press for the win on Hayes and the crowd is quite unhappy. All three faces play to the crowd anyway. Match was perfectly acceptable wrestling only notable for the fans reactions.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs.”Flyin” Brian Pillman
They trade chops before Steamboat suckers Pillman in for an armdrag. Steamboat chucks Pillman around by the arm then grinds him to the mat. Some of the regular ECW fans are in the front row, including “Hat Guy”. Steamboat chokes and chops away as he’s bigger than Pillman and thus can play the role of aggressor. Pillman blocks an Irish Whip attempt by dead weighting him before walloping The Dragon with a big punch that drops him.
Pillman tries a superplex but Steamboat fights him off before being caught with a dropkick. Pillman drops Steamer’s neck on the top rope but fails to end it with a sleeper. Pillman is caught on the top rope and slammed off. This fires Steamboat up and the two men brawl around ringside. The Dragon makes his way off the top rope with a sunset flip before the men trade roll ups, which leads to Steamboat hanging on for the duke. I was totally expecting the newly turned heel to get the big win. Another solid match, and one that set up more rematches for down the road. Overall a little disappointing, but they were building to bigger things.
Masa Chono chooses Kensuke Sensaki as his ref for tonight’s NWA title match. Rude’s ref is Harley Race.
Bill Watts announces that Rick Rude has made legal threats to get out of his US title defense, Big Van Vader will replace him. Terry Gordy is suspended, and Steve Austin will replace him later tonight.
Match for Rick Rude’s US Title: Surrogate Champion Big Van Vader vs. Nikita Koloff
Ole Anderson sends Rick Rude, Harley Race and Madusa away from ringside. The bulls have a stand-off and they take turns no selling each others shots before Vader corners his prey and clubs Koloff down. JR tries to claim Vader is a former Super Bowl champion and Ventura takes him to task since Vader’s Rams never won the Super Bowl. Koloff does a 360 flip off a big clothesline and is dumped to the floor.
Nikita jumps Vader from behind and manages to knock him off his feet. Vader clubs away again as the action goes back to the floor where Koloff is chucked into the railing, dropped on the railing and then thumped with a chair. Back in Vader sits on him, blasts him with another big clothesline, a chokeslam and a second rope splash. Koloff kicks out – I was a bit surprised. The chokeslam looked a little sloppy and I thought that Koloff might have messed up his neck. Koloff tries a back suplex, but Vader just sits down instead of taking the bump. Koloff then tries a suplex, but Vader barely manages to flip over before crashing awkwardly to the mat. Koloff rocks Vader with a slew of punches and manages to slam the monster. Vader is clotheslined to the floor. Koloff wastes a ton of time playing to the crowd before finally going after Vader. Koloff tries a clothesline but whacks his own arm into the ring post accidentally. A powerbomb finishes Koloff’s night. Not very good as the selling was minimal and the ending was never in doubt.
NWA and WCW World Tag Team Champions Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams and “Stunning” Steve Austin
The faces aren’t in matching ring gear, a first for their matches on these big shows. A subtle nod to their tension? Rhodes tries to knock Williams around, but that obviously doesn’t work. Williams just clotheslines Rhodes and drops him with several chop blocks. A third attempted charge ends in Rhodes surprising him with a clothesline. Windham comes in and manages to neutralize Doc’s offensive attempts. Rhodes tags back in and Dr. Death grinds him to the mat right away. As they trade arm bars, ”We Want Flair!” chants start.
Austin tags in and is pinballed in between the babyfaces. Rhodes and Windham take turns abusing Austin with fists and headlocks before Austin wisely tags back in his larger partner. Williams loses a slugfest with Windham but Barry’s lariat attempt finds nothing but air and he crashes to the cement floor. Austin comes back in to inflict punishment on the wounded Windham. A flying elbow, and suplex sets Windham up for Dr. Death to tackle to the mat. Williams ties Windham up in some sort of arm extension. Austin grinds him down with a hammerlock and Dr. Death comes in again to try and finish it with a side headlock.
Fifteen minutes in and Windham fights out of an Austin superplex attempt and finally tags in the well-rested Rhodes. Rhodes explodes on both heels, culminating with a bulldog on Austin. Dr. Death cheap shots him to turn Rhodes into the face in peril now. Doc and Austin ground and grind on Rhodes for several minutes, with Rhodes only able to offer up some occasional punches and elbows in response. Rhodes is opened up hard way and Williams works on the cut to try and get some blood.
Doc locks on another headlock as 25 minutes have passed. With three minutes left they toss Rhodes to the floor and the ref is KO’d. Windham runs in and is pinned by Austin as a second ref makes the three count. The bell rings. Rhodes runs in and knocks Austin into Williams and gets 2.5 and the bell rings. All four men brawl in and around the ring. Oddly Doc and Windham just stop fighting and go back to their corners with a minute left. Rhodes hits a Tombstone and fails to get the win. Then Rhodes gets a few kicks and the match…just ends…30-minute draw. A flat finish.
Please no more Steve Williams getting 30-minute matches on these shows, they just end up being overrun with rest holds when a 15-minute brawl would have been 10 times more entertaining and actually gotten a big response from the Philly crowd. This was technically proficient but I NEVER WANT TO WATCH THIS AGAIN.
Paul Heyman gloats about Vader’s earlier win before being interrupted by Madusa. He cuts a sexist promo on her, admitting she only had a job so Rude had someone to fuck, and makes sure she understands that she is just employed “because the other hooker was unavailable” Holy cow! He then fires her, calls her stupid, screams in her face, and shoves her. Madusa attacks Heyman to a big pop. A slew of suits break them up. Heyman gets back on the mic and talks more shit, until Madusa charges again and he runs like a coward. AWESOME segment. 5 billion stars.
Sting comes out to spin the wheel of gimmicks.
“Wheel of Morality, turn turn turn – tell us the lesson we must learn” Today’s lesson is: Don’t watch WCW PPVs without bourbon by your side.
Smoke and a flashing skull greet Sting and he’s apprehensive to make a move towards the wheel. A coal miner’s glove match pops up as the “winning” gimmick, and the crowd has zero response to that. Ventura tries to sell the stipulation anyway,
NWA World champion Masahiro Chono vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude
Rude shaved his ‘stache! I enjoy WCW bringing in foreign names, but the fans are largely not “smarks” and thus when babyfaces are brought in as basic unknowns the match heat suffers. Chono is greeted with “USA” chants. Harley Race wins the coin toss and will be the inside the ring ref. Sasaki will man the outside. Fans chant “We want Flair!” Rude talks smack to Chono, who doesn’t speak English, Rude controls the onset with fists and forearms. At the first hint of mat work, we get another loud “We want Flair!” chant. Rude drops forearm and elbow shots as the crowd amuses itself by shouting “WOOOOO” back and forth. Chono locks on a hammerlock on the ground to annoy the crowd.
Wrestling super fan Vladimir (who has been seen all across the country at WWF shows) is in the front row here. He was in a WBF shirt, but it appears WCW gave him a company shirt in between matches. Boston crab. ZZZZZZ….JR points out WCW wrestles, the other guys are about posing. Then Ventura points out Rick Rude poses. Chinlock. “Boring” chants from the crowd. Based on how Chono looks here, he must have found steroids soon after, based on how much more filled out he was by 1996. Side headlock by Rude. 15 minutes in and they haven’t done anything. More “boring” chants as the fans have been tortured for most of the last hour.
Chono tries an STF, but Rude blocks it. They sit in that for a few minutes. Rude finally fights out and hits a piledriver. Then a headlock. FUCK. This goes on for minutes and minutes and minutes. FUCK FUCK FUCK. A fan gets arrested and everyone watches that and cheers because this match is an abomination. Chono dodges a flying dropkick attempt, then accidentally kicks Harley Race. Chono then tosses Rude over the top rope, where he lands on Sasaki. Both refs are down. Rude gets back in and nails the Rude Awakening. No ref. He tries for a flying fist and misses. Chono locks on the STF and Sasaki calls for the submission. Race says no since he was the assigned in-ring official. Race calls for DQ for Chono tossing Rude over the top. Sasaki attacks Race and Rude after that call. Terrible match, shit finish. MINUS 5 BILLION stars. Augh.
WCW World Champ Ron Simmons vs. The Barbarian
This might be a good match, but the last hour has beaten any goodwill I had for this show away, so I am prepared for the worst. A slew of African-Americans surround Simmons as he makes his way to the ring. JR and Jesse compare it to Ali’s entourage and Ventura wonders how many of them will be around when Simmons loses out on the championship money. Power competition to start- neither man is able to gain an edge. Simmons finally uses his speed advantage to put together some quick blows and send The Barbarian into retreat. New plan from Barbie’s life coach Cactus Jack: Hit harder. That works for a bit but Simmons clubs him into retreat.
Simmons gets stun gunned and sent into the ringpost. Barbarian tries a half-ass “Million Dollar Dream”. Both men have such big muscles that the move isn’t locked in right. Simmons tries to fight out after a few minutes but Barbarian wisely downs him and tries for a flying elbow but that misses. A sloppy spinebuster and a charging shoulderblock down the Barbarian. Jack distracts the champ and Barbie kicks Simmons in the back of the head, then delivers a top rope diving headbutt. When that doesn’t finish him, Barbarian tries a charge and Simmons catches him with a powerslam for the win out of nowhere.
Poor Simmons got stuck with a mid-carder who had no chance of winning as his first PPV opponent. The match was, shall we say, “deliberately paced” and the finish made Simmons look lucky to get a fluke win. Ron had no chance to get over with booking like this. The Clash match with Cactus Jack should have probably just set up a rematch here, with some stipulation the fans could sink their teeth into.
Bruno Sammartino earns his paycheck for the night by putting over Erik Watts.
“Coal Miner’s Glove Match” Sting vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Roberts goes for the glove right away and that allows Sting to get the jump on him. Sting goes for the pole, and that allows Roberts to attack Sting. Roberts chucks him over the top rope. Sting sends him into the ring post several times, focusing on the shoulder of the Snake. Sting does some armwork before Roberts chucks him over the top again. Sting cuts off Roberts advance up the pole and Roberts’ balls suffer the wrath of a fall. Sting uses more armlocks on Roberts’ limb but once again ends up dumped on the floor. Jake whacks Sting with a chair and uses his wrist tape to strangle him. Sting fires up but misses a Stinger splash. Roberts delivers the DDT but his arm is too hurt to make his way to the glove. Sting knocks Roberts back and grabs the glove. Cactus Jack runs down to toss a snake towards Roberts. While Jake preps the snake, Sting cracks Jake with the glove and pins Roberts as the snake “bites” Roberts.
Jake then holds the snake up to his face as it has “latched” itself to him. Jake looks quite silly holding a snake up to his face as Jack freaks out. Roberts sells that he’s poisoned and collapses to the cement. Jack drags him to the back. Sting watches this all unfold and then asks for an ambulance for his blood rival. He gets no music to celebrate with.
Final thoughts: A night of some perfunctory wrestling, with the middle hour being a dull abyss of suck that sunk the card for good. Other than Paul Heyman’s promo, nothing good came out of this event. Let’s just move on and never think about this card again.