Through the Years: WCW from Halloween Havoc to Starrcade 1993

First and foremost before getting into anything else, we must talk about THE STABBING. This is the best story I’ve heard about it:

Sid got fired after that and Arn Anderson didn’t come back for some time. Also, this led to a lack of trust between Sid and the other organizations he worked with, so he never was pushed as prominently as he previously was. Both those guys should have been dead. The cause of it was that Sid was talking to Arn about how Arn made so much less than him and he told him to retire. Now, moving on…I finally figured out how Maxx Payne turned babyface. He saved Johnny B. Badd from a beatdown and shook hands with him. Okay!

– Taped to air October 30th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night from Columbus, Georgia

Sid Vicious (w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. Ric Flair (w/Fifi) for the #1 Contendership at Clash of the Champions

Pre-Match Thoughts: I know I’ve already reviewed that Clash, but this seems like essential viewing. I also haven’t seen a singles match in a while. This match made their booking difficult because they had to have Vader face Flair and then do another match between them at Starrcade.

Match Review: They lock up, and Sid shoves Flair down hard. No surprise there. Flair runs straight into the brick wall, then Flair comes back with chops to cause Sid to leave the ring. That’s weird. When Sid gets back in there, he clobbers Flair on the back a few times and throws him upside down into the corner and out to the floor. Sid brings Flair back in for a big boot, but Flair blocks it and trips him so he can choke him. Sid rolls to the outside again, and Flair goes up top for a double axehandle. Flair throws Sid over the rail, but Sid doesn’t intend to leave. Flair meets him on the floor again, and knocks him back over the rail. Sid sells too much for how big he is. He gets back in the ring and hits Flair with a big clothesline, then stomps on him until Parker walks over and chokes him. Sid grabs a chair, and thanks to the distraction he softly hits Flair on the back with it. Sid suplexes Flair back into the ring for 2, and now we have a commercial.

Back from the break, Sid has Flair in a bear hug. Sid then slams him and goes back to the bear hug. After a powerslam by Sid, he covers for 2. Back to the bear hug, which Flair breaks and heads up top after. He goes for a cross body, but Sid catches him with the bear hug. Come on. This is the first match I’ve skipped any of. Sid slams Flair, then misses an elbow drop. Flair wraps Sid’s leg around the post, then beats him up for a while. Sid rams Flair into the corner, then hits him with a big boot. Flair kicks Sid away, but gets thrown hard into the corner. Flair runs to the other side, then flies off the top with a big right hand. Flair back suplexes Sid, then covers him for 2. Flair goes up top again, and lands a double axehandle. He puts the FIGURE-FOUR on Sid, and Parker gets on the apron as Sid reverses it. Parker rushes in and attacks Flair, getting Sid disqualified at 16:44.

Sid is upset, and grabs Parker in anger. This wasn’t the first time that happened. This time WE’RE OUT OF TIME as Sid CHOKESLAMS him!

My Thoughts: That match was absolutely terrible, and what makes it even worse is that they’d clearly built for Sid to get the title shot and beat Vader only for him to try to kill someone. That’s unfortunate. Giving Sid the title as a babyface would have been really bad for WCW, though. I was so bored by this and couldn’t take very much more of it. Flair didn’t really try his best, Sid tried but sucked, and it just wasn’t any fun. No idea why Sid sold like a small guy. *.

Also on this show, we had the Hollywood Blonds break up.

This was a double-edged sword. The Blonds could have done so much more, but both guys were ready for big singles pushes. Unfortunately WCW thought Pillman wasn’t, and Austin’s only lasted for a year or so. Austin paired with Parker didn’t make any sense either, even though I dig them both. People were shocked seeing Austin take out Pillman, so it was well done.

– Taped to air November 6th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, Georgia

Harlem Heat vs. Arn Anderson and Paul Roma

Pre-Match Thoughts: Even knowing Harlem Heat weren’t any good then, I need a space filler and this is going to be it. If you don’t like it, you can skip on reading this. Going forward, ideally I want to get a look at as many different wrestlers as possible. In this case, it’s possible!

Match Review: Roma locks up with Booker, and Roma then arm drags him. A dropkick sends Booker to the outside, and when he gets back in there, he hits Roma with an elbow on the break. Booker then misses a charge to the corner, so Roma arm drags him again. Booker breaks the armbar with forearms, then Roma gives him a cross body for 2. This is quite sloppy. Arn tags in and slaps the armbar on Booker, who finally breaks it and tags his brother in. Arn drops an elbow on Stevie’s leg, then Roma tags in and works a toe-hold. Booker attacks him to break it, then makes a tag in. Lots of punch-kick-forearm here. Booker slams Roma, then misses an elbow drop and Arn tags in. Arn gets trapped in the corner, but nearly fights out only for Stevie to hit him with a big boot to the face on his way in the ring. Stevie misses a charge to the corner, but catches Arn with an inverted atomic drop anyway. Booker tags in for a double clothesline, then goes to a chinlock. When Arn breaks it, he nails Arn with a flying forearm for 2. Stevie tags in for a double elbow, and that also gets 2. Arn tries a sunset flip, but Booker makes the blind tag and headbutts him for 2. Booker goes back to the chinlock, but Arn DDT’s him when he gets up this time. Roma makes the tag in, and cleans house for a while. He hits both with dropkicks, then gives them a noggin-knocker, but they’re black so they have hard heads as it goes. Now all four are in there, and Roma collides with Booker. Stevie Ray then walks over, and pins Roma when Roma’s foot is on the ropes at 12:07.

My Thoughts: That wasn’t a good match, and it was compounded worse by having such a bad finish. I understand Harlem Heat couldn’t get embarrassed every week, but I don’t understand the booking there. If Paul Roma is on that Four Horsemen level, he can’t lose the match that way. *1/4.

– Taped to air November 13th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, Georgia

Vader (WCW Champion) and Steve Austin (w/Col. Robert Parker and Harley Race) vs. Ric Flair and Sid Vicious (w/Fifi)

Pre-Match Thoughts: It’s fair to say this could be really, really good. How could it not be? I don’t see any way. Sid officially turned face, as you can see. The Kongs just attacked him, though. Now Vader pounds on him and gives him a splash on the floor. Sid has been left on the floor and he isn’t getting up. Flair’s going to need a new partner, and it’s ARN ANDERSON.

Vader (WCW Champion) and Steve Austin (w/Col. Robert Parker and Harley Race) vs. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson

Match Review: The faces hit the ring, and we’re getting a full blown brawl. Flair throws Austin to the outside, and Vader trades bombs with Arn for a while. This is cool. When Vader and Austin try to get in the ring, the brawl resumes! Flair hits Vader with a big right from the top, then gets picked up and dropped on the railing. Arn and Austin continue fighting as Vader splashes the rail on accident, then Arn and Austin keep trading abdominal stretches. Flair works Vader over with a chair, then tags into the match to deal with Austin. Flair wrecks him with chops, then tags right back out. Arn goes to work on Austin’s left leg, but Austin gets up and hits him with some big forearms. Austin goes to the second rope, but Arn hits him on the way down. Flair tags in for a big chop, then Vader makes the tag in. Vader pounds on Flair, but Flair returns the favor. Vader bumps off a chop, then Flair rakes his nose. Arn tags in for an elbow from the second rope, then Austin switches in too. Flair runs in to stop Arn from getting beaten up, and Arn elbows Austin over the top rope thanks to that. Austin attacks Flair from behind thanks to a distraction, then Vader throws Flair into the rail. Back in we go, and Austin stands on Flair’s face. Vader tags back in, clobbers Flair for a while, and sends him to the outside. Austin throws Flair into the rail, then when they go back in, Flair goes upside down in the corner. He tries to leap on Vader, but instead Vader SUPERPLEXES him for 2. Austin makes a tag in, and he drops some knees on Flair for a bit. Austin suplexes Flair for 2, then backdrops him. Flair comes back with a clothesline, but falls down and eats another forearm. Flair fights back some, but Austin traps his leg. Flair comes back with an inverted atomic drop, and there’s the tag to Arn.

Arn rushes in and drops a knee on Austin, then goes to the second rope only to eat a boot on the way down. Vader tags in there and nails Arn with a clothesline, then runs him over. Arn does block a charge to the corner, then takes Vader down with a back suplex. Arn clotheslines Vader over the top, then follows him out there. Arn picks Vader up and drops him on the rail, then pops Austin with an elbow when he tries to run in the ring. Arn drops Vader with the SPINEBUSTER, but with Austin’s distraction, Vader can get up and clothesline Arn. Austin throws Arn to the outside, then clotheslines him with the rope on his way in. Austin does a couple jumping jacks to show how in shape he is, then drops Arn throat-first on the top rope. Vader suplexes Arn, and now we have a commercial. Damn.

We come back, and Vader has a chinlock on Arn. Vader then goes for a backdrop, but misses a butt splash when it gets blocked. Austin tags in, then slams Arn and drops a knee on him for 2. We get some pin reversals after that, and Arn catapults Austin into the corner. Arn gets in a HOT SHOT, but he still can’t make the tag. Vader’s elbow drop cuts Arn off, then he puts Arn on the top rope for a superplex. Instead, Arn blocks it and knocks Vader down. He still can’t tag out though. Austin gets in there and suplexes Arn, then goes to the second rope for an elbow smash that gets 2. Austin tries to get the pin by sitting on Anderson, but it isn’t going to work. Arn finally makes the tag, but the referee didn’t see it. So, Vader hits Arn with a clothesline. What a LONG heat segment this is. Arn is punching at air at this point. Vader beats Arn up some more, then gives him a Samoan drop for 2. So much variety in this match. Vader goes to an armbar/nerve hold, then tags in Austin for a back suplex. Arn nearly makes it to the corner anyway, but Austin grabs him and kicks him in the gut. Vader tags in, goes to the second rope, and comes down with that standing splash. Everyone is TIRED. The commentators also made sure to bury Sid. Vader slams Arn for 2, then plants him with a DDT. Austin covers for 2, but Arn’s feet are under the ropes. Austin slams him, then heads up top for the first time. His knee drop lands, but Arn kicks out at 2. Wow. Arn still can’t get over there and I think this may have gone on long enough. Right when I say that, Austin goes to a bear hug until Arn punches his way free. Vader tags in again, drops an elbow on Arn, and covers for 2. Only two minutes remain of programming, they say. Austin tags in again and goes up top for a ROCKET LAUNCHER, but Austin misses.

ARN FINALLY TAGS OUT, and Flair goes crazy as the crowd does too. He backdrops Austin, then beats up Vader too. Flair backdrops Austin, then gives him a back suplex. Flair goes for the FIGURE-FOUR, but Parker reaches in to break the hold. Austin is beating up Flair, and WE’RE OUT OF TIME right when Vader goes up to the second rope and misses the VADER BOMB. COME ON. That was 33 minutes.

My Thoughts: The bumps Vader took, man. Now what really happened was that with Sid leaving, they needed to edit out the ending where he walked out there and beat Vader up. That match was good even though it was entirely too long. It drove me nuts seeing that long heat segment, by the time it was over I was drained of all energy. I don’t like rating matches without endings, but I thought it was ***1/4. Everything until and at some points including the heat segment was great. Especially the brawl at the start.

– Taped to air November 27th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Dalton, Georgia

Steve Austin and Paul Orndorff (w/the Assassin and Col. Robert Parker) vs. Arn Anderson and Paul Roma

Pre-Match Thoughts: I don’t mind this match at all. It’s nice to see them putting decent matches on television, because doing these articles is torture otherwise. Arn Anderson had implied previously that he didn’t really trust Roma. This was taped well before the stabbing in case that’s in doubt. If it wasn’t, obviously this wouldn’t be happening.

Match Review: Arn is upset because he was attacked the week before, so he hits the ring quickly and forces the heel team to the outside. Orndorff and Arn will start the bout off, and he throws Arn into his corner. Arn fights out, then calls in Roma for a standoff. Things normalize, and Orndorff gets trapped in the wrong corner. They beat him up, then Roma tags in for a shot from the top rope. Orndorff tags out as well, and Austin drops a knee on Roma. They fight over a wristlock, until Austin takes Roma down with a headlock. Austin then goes for a bodyslam, but Roma reverses to his own. Austin ducks to the outside, then tags Orndorff in for an elbow from the top. Orndorff misses an elbow drop, so he slaps Roma instead. Now Roma chases Orndorff around, which leads to Austin attacking Roma from behind and Orndorff hitting Roma with a clothesline. Austin drops a knee on Roma, which gets a terrible canned reaction. Oh no, not this stuff. Roma gets thrown to the outside and into the rail, then Orndorff hits him with something for a while. Don’t know what that was. Back inside, Austin hits Roma a ton and Orndorff stomps a mudhole in him. Roma takes Orndorff down with a cross body for 2, but Orndorff fires off a back suplex in response. Orndorff hits Roma in the gut, then goes to a chinlock. When Roma gets out, Orndorff cuts him off with a knee to the gut. Orndorff signals for the PILEDRIVER, but Roma backdrops him. Austin makes the tag in, and Arn does too. Arn nails Austin with a back elbow, then cleans house on both these guys. Everyone winds up in the ring, and Arn drops Austin with the SPINEBUSTER. Roma accidentally distracted the referee, then Orndorff comes off the top with a knee drop. Now Austin covers Arn, and the Assassin tells Roma not to make the save. He doesn’t. WHAT? Austin and Orndorff get the pin after 11:11 as a result of that.

My Thoughts: Okay, that was really stupid. the match was also not very good. Obviously this was headed towards Roma turning on Arn, and while that didn’t happen, Roma turned on Erik Watts and announced he was going to team with Paul Orndorff. Everything else was window dressing and the efforts were quite low. Not a whole lot to think or say about this one. 3/4*.

Rick Rude (WCW International Champion) and the Nasty Boys (WCW Tag Champions, w/Missy Hyatt) vs. Sting, Ricky Steamboat, and Ric Flair (w/Fifi)

Pre-Match Thoughts: This might be pretty good! What happened was that Sting and Steamboat faced the Nasties on the previous episode. Rude came out to attack Sting, and that led to he and Steamboat finding a partner of their own. Choosing Ric Flair for this spot makes a ton of sense because there wasn’t anyone else. Cactus Jack had pretty much disappeared.

Match Review: Steamboat wants to start with Sags, but Sags ducks to the outside. Sags gets back in there, and Steamboat dropkicks him and his buddy Knobbs to clear the ring. Steamboat tries to get a sneaky roll up of Knobbs, but Knobbs rolls out of the ring. Knobbs wants some of Sting, he says. So we’re going to get that, I think. Knobbs hits Sting with some forearms, but Sting fights back and hits him with a clothesline. Sags runs in and gets nailed with a back elbow, then Sting hits Knobbs with another clothesline. Flair tags in for the first time, and clotheslines Knobbs a few times himself. Sags tags in there, then works over Flair until Rude tags in. Rude does the same to Flair, then slams him. Rude swivels his hips at Sting, but Flair gets up for an atomic drop. Rude then pinballs between all three opponents, and Flair gives him an inverted atomic drop. Knobbs makes the tag in, but is given a drop toe-hold and Flair brings in Sting for a stepover toe-hold. Sting rams Knobbs into the corner a few times, then misses a STINGER SPLASH and Sags dumps him to the outside.

After a commercial, Rude has a bear hug on Sting, then switches to a chinlock. Sting gets out by moving out of the way when Rude tries to jump on him, then Sags elbow drops Sting to keep him in the wrong corner. Sting does ram Sags into the canvas, then makes the tag to Flair. Flair cleans house like it’s 1985, then slaps the FIGURE-FOUR on Sags until Rude rakes his eyes. Rude backdrops Flair over the top even though he isn’t allowed to, and Rude hits him with one of the title belts. Sags picks Flair up and slams him, but misses a leg drop. Now Knobbs tags in and throws Flair over the top. Steamboat gets involved, but Sags rams Flair into the steps anyway. Knobbs drops Flair with a gutwrench suplex, then Flair tries to fight back. Instead, Rude gets in there and puts a figure-four on Flair! Steamboat runs in and breaks the hold with a knee drop, then Knobbs drops some elbows on Flair without even having tagged in. Okay. Sags tags in there and drops some elbows on Flair, then Rude gets back in for some punches. Rude goes right back out, and in comes Knobbs. Flair fights back on him, and they collide with each other. Flair finally makes the tag to Sting, who goes crazy as he tends to do. He hits everyone with clotheslines, gives the Nasties a noggin-knocker, and now all six guys are in the ring. Rude goes for the RUDE AWAKENING on Steamboat, but Sting catches Rude with a roll up for the victory at 20:03.

My Thoughts: I wasn’t a huge fan of this match, I felt like the structure was odd and that the action was too slow. Most of all they were just filling time which isn’t one of my favorite things to see. I dig all of the people in this match, but they did nothing but the basics. **.

– Taped to air December 4th, 1993, on Worldwide, from MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida

Steve Austin (w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. 2 Cold Scorpio

Pre-Match Thoughts: I was going to make a comment about how WCW learned their lesson from the previous tapings, but instead they taped a ton of television months beforehand. Lots of the stuff on it didn’t make any sense when seen out of context. This is a nice matchup and one I’ve looked forward to seeing for a little while.

Match Review: They lock up, and Austin trips Scorpio quickly. Scorpio reverses to a hammerlock, then they tumble into the corner. Scorpio gives him a sunset flip from the second rope, then arm drags him. That was slick. Scorpio keeps the armbar on Austin for a while, then hits Austin with a spinning heel kick. Scorpio misses a big splash, but Austin’s suplex attempt is turned into a Scorpio sunset flip for 2. Scorpio then goes back to the armbar, which Austin breaks and follows up with a knee drop. Austin hits Scorpio with a clothesline, and that’s good for a 2 count. Austin goes to the chinlock, then sticks his feet on the ropes for more leverage. Scorpio eventually gets up, and the two guys collide with each other. Scorpio starts his comeback with a clothesline, then splashes Austin in the corner. After a back suplex, Scorpio follows with a twisting splash for 2. I thought that was going to be the 450. Scorpio slams Austin, then goes up top only for Austin to arm drag him down. Scorpio then flies into the ring from the apron with an interesting cradle, but Austin grabs the tights and reverses for 3 at 7:24.

My Thoughts: This was a pedestrian match, with Austin’s good bumping and quick offense playing a large part in it. Scorpio got to do a few of his big things, but ultimately I feel like we deserved to see a whole lot more. Too bad we didn’t get that. **1/4.

– Taped to air December 18th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

Rick Rude (WCW International Champion) vs. The British Bulldog

Pre-Match Thoughts: This was supposed to be a non-title match. What happened was that Bulldog left after claiming that he didn’t get paid for their European shows. So, that creates an interesting situation where they had to tape a match very quickly and air it. When Bulldog’s music goes off, nobody walks out. Eventually the match is announced…AS A FORFEIT. Somebody was not very happy about that, it appears. Rude said that Davey was a weak person. After he’s done talking about that, HERE COMES THE BIG BOSS MAN BAH GAWD WE HAVE A NEW WRESTLER IN WCW. THE BOSS TAKES RUDE OUT, and I guess we have a match!

Rick Rude (WCW International Champion) vs. The Boss

Match Review: The Boss immediately boots Rude in the face, getting a huge reaction! He follows that up by clotheslining Rude over the top, then ducks to the outside and wallops him. Boss posts Rude too, then sends Rude back into the ring and clotheslines him. Boss backdrops him, then picks him up for a bodyslam. A knee drop follows that, then an inverted atomic drop. After an atomic drop, I’ve noticed Rude’s taken more bumps here than a LOT of his other matches leading up to this. Rude finally gets something in with a DDT, and some people actually cheered that. Interesting dynamic. Rude hits Boss with a forearm from the top, then gives him a swinging neckbreaker. Rude goes up top again, and this time he knee drops Boss. Rude goes to the chinlock, and when Boss fires up to his feet, he hits Rude with a clothesline. Rude cuts Boss off by throwing him neck-first into the second rope, then pulls him to the outside and posts him. Rude pulls Boss back into the ring the hard way, then stomps on him and goes back to the chinlock. Boss breaks it, then slugs Rude a couple times. Now Rude blocks a charge to the corner, as the Boss appears to be drained of energy. Rude goes up top for a third time, then hits Boss with a forearm. Back to the chinlock, then Rude goes up top AGAIN and gets punched on the way down. Boss splashes Rude in the corner, then jumps on his back. Now Boss uppercuts him and rams Rude into the buckles. Boss then hits Rude with the BOSS MAN SLAM, covers, and gets the clean pin at 10:29!

My Thoughts: For once WCW did something good the whole way through and never once messed it up! I was super surprised by the way things went. The Boss was a good signing for WCW, they needed more talent any way they could get it. The match was good even though there were a lot of chinlocks. I was invested in seeing the result and enjoyed the way things turned out. **1/2. Nothing to complain about here!

Surprisingly, that’s it. I feel like there were a lot of things lacking from their build to Starrcade, but the promotion of Flair/Vader was not one of those things. I thought they did a great job illustrating that it was going to be the end of Flair’s career if he did not win. They did a great job finding celebrities like Charles Barkley who said Flair wasn’t done with his career yet. I was a little confused by the Rhodes/Austin build and didn’t really see any of that. It was strange. The rest of the Starrcade card was talked about, but a lot of what’s left didn’t sound so good. Anyway, I’m going to hop back to the WWF to close out 1993. Crazy that I’m even saying that, never thought I’d watch this much stuff.

Best: The Boss making his debut. Sorry, I just liked this more than everything else. Can’t help it.

Worst: The Hollywood Blonds breaking up. The thing is, it happened so fast. Came somewhat out of nowhere. There was no reason for that.

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.