Classic Wrestling Review: Halloween Havoc ’90

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Halloween Havoc

October 27, 1990

UIC Pavilion

Chicago, Illinois

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Since I’m off work today, and I will be busy Saturday, I decided to release this review early. It helps that this was a shorter PPV than usual. The reason for the shorter length is because the WWE Network version is not the full show. The story I read online is that the master tape was damaged, so WWE had to upload the home video edition. There are a few matches that were cut. I looked through what isn’t included and we’re not missing much. However, I noticed that one of the removed matches was a Master Blasters match. This was Kevin Nash’s first tag team and would have been his first appearance on this blog. The Master Blasters were notorious for being quite terrible, so I developed a theory about what really happened to the master tape of this event. I even have proof to back up my theory!

This photo was taken by security at the WWE warehouse. The guard on duty said that Nash was going for Superbrawl 1 next, but he chased him out of the building. I’m onto you, Nash!

The major storyline for this event was the continued NWA Title reign of Sting and his problems with The Four Horsemen. He will defend his title against Horsemen member, Sid Vicous, on this show, but he has other issues on his mind. Shortly after winning the title, a mysterious masked man started tormenting Sting. He spoke with a voice that sounded like James Earl Jones if he smoked ten packs a day and gargled with rocks. He called himself The Black Scorpion. He claimed to be connected to Sting’s past. He mentioned California and Tulsa as hints about their history. There’s nothing wrong with a good mystery man angle, but WCW decided to take it over the top in the way only they can. The Black Scorpion started trying to intimidate Sting with what he called black magic. This mostly comprised of cheap birthday party magician tricks. Sting faced the Scorpion at Clash of the Champions, but it wasn’t the real Scorpion. Sting soon discovered that multiple men were wearing the mask. To top things off, Sting still had to deal with the Horsemen. Sid was given a title shot, while Flair & Anderson would team up to go for the tag team titles on this show.

You would expect this Black Scorpion idea to come from Jim Herd, but it was the idea of Ole Anderson, who had taken over as the booker. The idea was to keep the identity a mystery until they could build up someone as Sting’s new challenger. The storyline was dragged out for months, but they didn’t have an endgame planned, as you will see over the next couple of WCW reviews. It’s yet another example of what a mess WCW was at this time.

The show opens with what looks like a Microsoft clip-art image of a haunted house. They zoom in on the gargoyle statues and enter through the front door. Ghostly images of wrestlers float down the staircase before the show goes to the arena. Jim Ross welcomes everyone to Chicago and he’s accompanied by his fellow commentator, Paul E. Dangerously. J.R. and Paul are dressed in costumes. Ross is Al Capone and Heyman is Dracula. Paul E. tries to speak with his vampire teeth in his mouth, but he can’t form words. He spits out the teeth and talks about how excited he is about the four title matches on the card. I was glad to see this commentary duo. I enjoyed their work together in 2001. Heyman isn’t quite at that level yet, but he’s still good and it’s refreshing for WCW to have a heel commentator for once.

Tony Schiavone is on the stage with Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich. They’re standing in front of some strange metal contraption that will come into play later. Tony is also in costume. He’s dressed as the Phantom of the Opera and for some reason, he’s wearing lipstick. WCW provides their first scare of the night because I nearly had a mini-heart attack when I saw Morton. I thought he had cut off his mullet, but he simply had it in a ponytail. Ricky starts by saying hello to Robert Gibson, who is at home with an injury. He then talks about the Freebirds, who injured Robert. Morton says that Bad Street will soon be under bad construction. Then, he talks about trick or treating and says they will trick the Midnight Express tonight. Tommy Rich speaks next and says that somebody was talking about what the big treat is going to be. It was your partner, Tommy. He’s literally standing right next to you! He just spoke! Way to pay attention! He then says everyone is going to see the greatest night in professional wrestling in the history of professional wrestling.

Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich vs. The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette)

Morton & Rich make their way to the ring and we get our first look at the new WCW logo in the entrance. WCW would use this for a while. I always liked the way it looked like it was partially sinking into the stage. It’s almost an inadvertent metaphor for the company. The next thing I notice is that WCW used an orange and black color scheme for the ropes. It’s a nice touch for the Halloween theme.

Morton & Rich take off their entrance gear and you can see that Rich has one of those temporary heart tattoos on his arm. Did he get that from a Cracker Jack box backstage? The Midnight Express enter next and Cornette grabs the mic. He introduces the Express and says that they scare more men than Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi combined. Ross informs the audience that Robert Gibson will be out for 6-8 months due to reconstructive knee surgery, but Paul E. questions why Morton would choose Rich as a partner. Heyman claims that rednecks can’t rock and roll.

Eaton and Morton start and they keep fighting into the ropes for a break. They trade hip tosses and Irish whips before going into a criss-cross spot. Ricky catches him with a back drop and a hurricanrana, so Bobby bails to the outside. He returns and they get into a slug-fest, but the Midnights use a blind tag and combination moves to put Morton in danger. They send Ricky outside, where Cornette uses his racket. Ricky tries to answer back with a sunset flip, but the ref is distracted. The Midnights continue attacking poor Ricky on the floor and then hit a Rocket Launcher onto Ricky while he’s on the ramp! They send Ricky back inside while Lane does the Cabbage Patch dance in celebration. Morton attempts another comeback, but they use ref distractions and more attacks by Cornette to stop him. Eaton eventually hits the Alabama Jam off the top, but he doesn’t cover him. He opts for the knock-out count instead but Morton is up at 8. The Midnights then go for the Rocket Launcher again, but Ricky raises his knees and makes a warm tag. Rich comes in and punches both men before slamming Eaton. He then hits a Thesz Press, but Eaton breaks up the pin. Rich then attempts a top rope move, but Cornette hits him while the ref is distracted. The Midnights are about to capitalize, but The Southern Boys arrive in Cornette costumes. They attack Jim, who drops his racket into the ring. The ref is distracted by the chaos, so Rich hits Lane with the racket and pins him for the win.

It was a pretty good match, but without the proper Rock n Roll Express, the fans weren’t as invested. Rich did almost nothing in this match until the end. Was he injured too? It was a good match for an opener, but I’ve got some bad news. This is sadly the last PPV match for The Midnight Express. Jim Cornette and Stan Lane would shortly leave WCW. Cornette was fed up with Herd and all the nonsense, so he quit. Eaton would stay in the company, but The Midnight Express has come to a quiet end.

Winners: Morton & Rich (20:49)

There is an edit here where some matches were clipped from the show. Then, Tony is with Sting. Tony warns him that the Black Scorpion said he would be there. Sting replies that he knows that, but he has a match with Sid. He says that he hopes Sid doesn’t let his butt overload his you know what. Um—I don’t know what. Sting realizes he flubbed the line and corrects himself before trying to blame it on being too excited. He says he doesn’t know about the Black Scorpion. He has tunnel vision for Sid. Tony then calls Sid a big situation. What? Like that guy from Jersey Shore? Sting agrees with Tony, but he says he’s psyched and ready to go. Tony brings up the Black Scorpion again, which seems to draw him out of hiding. The Scorpion calls Sting’s name, but Sting thinks it’s Tony and tells him to say it again. Finally, Sting realizes The Scorpion is behind him and turns to look.

The Black Scorpion says he wants to show Sting a sample of his black magic. He grabs a member of the tech crew and drags her to that metal contraption from earlier. They step inside and the Scorpion raises a curtain. Sting tries to stop him, but security holds him back, for some reason. The Scorpion and the woman then disappear in a puff of smoke and reappear on the interview stage. I have to admit, that was actually well done. The Scorpion tosses the woman at Sting and he catches her while the Scorpion flees. Paul E. then freaks out about what happened. This segment was silly and poor Sting still isn’t great at cutting promos. Things are not going well for Sting’s title run, so far.

The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Little Richard Marley) vs. The Renegade Warriors

This match sees the return of Mark Youngblood. You may recall him from my reviews of the early Starrcades. He has returned a little bit heavier and he’s teaming with his brother Chris as the Renegade Warriors (not to be confused with The Renegade). Also, The Freebirds have added a roadie. They took a wrestler named Rocky King and renamed him Little Richard Marley. He reminds me of a prototype of Velveteen Dream.

The Renegade Warriors enter first in one of the most stereotypical Native American entrances I’ve seen. They’re carrying war drums that they occasionally play. The fans don’t seem impressed. The Freebirds then enter next and I see that Garvin still hasn’t figured out how t-shirts work. They’ve dressed Marley up to look like Robert Gibson and have him limping around to mock the man. Paul E. then brings up how they also attacked Alan Iron Eagle (Joe Gomez), which is why this match was signed.

Mark and Michael Hayes start the match. Hayes stalls with a little moonwalk before attacking. The Renegade Warriors take the advantage when Chris hits a flying double clothesline, so the Freebirds regroup. The Youngbloods play their drums for a moment before they continue fighting. Ross and Heyman get into an argument about the Freebirds attitudes, so Paul E. accuses Ross of being biased. Meanwhile, Garvin comes in and takes control with a series of headlocks. Chris tries to fight back, but he’s shoved into a punch by Hayes. The Freebirds use a ref distraction to toss Chris over the ropes and let Marley attack him. The Freebirds then both slow it down with some chinlocks, but the fans chant, “DDT.” The crowd doesn’t care about the Renegade Warriors and it amuses Hayes. Chris tries to fight back and even back drops Hayes on a DDT attempt, but the Freebirds use more distractions and cheating and chinlocks. Chris finally slams Hayes off the top rope and makes a tag to no reaction. Mark drops both men and Chris hits a double clothesline before all four men brawl. Chris even brings Little Richard into the ring, but this causes a distraction and Hayes hits a DDT. Garvin then pins Mark for the win.

This was a slow and basic match. The fans couldn’t care less about the Youngbloods and the Freebirds were happy to turn it into chinlock city. I almost would have traded this match for the Master Blasters match. Then I would have at least gotten to make fun of Kevin Nash. They should have cut this one instead.

Winners: The Freebirds (17:28)

Tony is with Horsemen members, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, & Sid. Arn is wearing a WCW crew member’s t-shirt. Did he help set up the ring? Arn says that in a short time four men will enter the ring with no good guy/bad guy scenario. Whoa, way to break kayfabe, Arn! He says that the four men get to be all men, no strings attached, with the prize being the World Tag Team Titles. All he asks is that Doom be all the men they can be. He tells them that if they duck out the back door, the life they save might be their own. Flair then says that tonight in Chicago, they will walk the aisle to the tag team championship and then watch Sid take the World Title. Sid then screams about how it’s Halloween and the trick is for Sting to get out alive. He also says the treat is Sid Vicious. He says he rules the world and then yells, “Four Horsemen forever!”

NWA U.S. Tag Team Title Match: The Steiner Brothers (c) vs. The Nasty Boys

This is the WCW PPV debut of The Nasty Boys, Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags. They were a couple of childhood friends who decided to get into the wrestling business together. They made their debut in the AWA and Memphis before coming to WCW, but this would be a short run. This is before they had the cushy position of being buds with Hulk Hogan, so they are a lot more motivated than they become later in their careers.

The Nasties make their entrance and Ross informs everyone that they’re the #3 ranked tag team in the world. He also calls them street smart and accuses Heyman of being the president of their fan club. Then, they show a fan in the crowd wearing a Frankenstein’s monster mask and a t-shirt that reads, “I’ve been Steinerized.” That fan is my new hero. The Steiners enter next, but they start brawling with the Nasties at the ring apron.

All four men brawl to the floor and Scott sends Sags into the post while Rick fights Knobbs. Sags hits Scott with a chair and then they enter the ring. Sags attempts a superplex, but Scott drops behind him and hits a release belly-to-belly off the top. Knobbs tries to get involved, but Rick takes care of him. Sags then ducks for a back drop, so Scott answers with a Tiger Driver. The Steiners then hit The Steinerizer, which must be new because Heyman is amazed by it. However, the ref is distracted and Knobbs hits Scott with a chair. The Nasties start swapping without tags and hit Scott with a pump handle slam and a gut-wrench suplex. Knobbs then grabs an abdominal stretch and yanks Scott’s singlet up his crack for—leverage?? The Nasties swap some more and use a bear hug, but Scott turns it into a belly-to-belly. Rick has enough of them cutting off the tag, so he comes in and hits a Steinerline, but he flies out of the ring on a second attempt. The Nasties then hit Scott with a spike piledriver, but the ref tries to get Knobbs out of the ring. Rick uses the opening to hit Sags with a chair and cuts his head open with the shot. However, the Nasties are still able to cut off Scott’s tag attempts. This continues until the Nasties miss an assisted corner splash and Scott tags Rick. He hits some Steinerlines and a double noggin’ knocker before all four men brawl. Rick hits a flying Steinerline, but falls victim to some double teaming until Scott trips the Nasties. Scott eventually hits a Frankensteiner on Knobbs and nearly breaks his own neck in the process, but its enough for the win.

This was a great match. It was nice to see a motivated Nasty Boys and the Steiners were their usual awesome selves. I saw this match years ago on a WCW compilation tape, but it was edited. It’s even better to see the full match.

Winners: The Steiners (15:24)

They start to show a replay, but it’s interrupted by the Nasty Boys attacking the Steiners. They hit them with the tag belts and ram Rick into the ring post a couple of times before Scott chases them to the back.

Next, Tony is with Scott Steiner. I’m guessing one of the clipped matches was before this because time has clearly passed. Scott says he told everyone there was going to be blood and guts and he tells the Nasty Boys they bit off more than they can chew. Scott then warns them they aren’t done, but he’s interrupted by a concessions vendor getting too close. Scott continues his promo, but the vendor attacks him from behind and reveals himself to be Jerry Sags. Both Nasty Boys then attack Scott and hit him with trays and the tag belt before Knobbs yells about how they’re not scared. Paul E. laughs about the attack, so Ross calls him an idiot.

NWA World Tag Team Title Match: Doom (c) (w/ Teddy Long) vs. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson

It’s strange seeing Flair go for the tag titles, but I know it’s mostly meant to be a distraction. Ric & Arn make their entrance first and I can tell that Flair is showing some frustration with his position on the card. It’s practically written on his face. It would only get worse, but I’ll cover that more later. Teddy Long then leads Doom to the ring and Cappetta calls him, “The Godfather of professional wrestling.” I thought that was Kama Mustafa. Ross then talks about Doom’s football backgrounds, to no one’s shock.

Arn and Simmons start and dodge each other’s lock-up attempts, but Ron shoves Arn to the mat. Arn tries to answer back, but Simmons reverses an attempt to suplex him to the floor. The Horsemen regroup and Flair ends up kneeing Simmons in the back. However, Reed returns the favor to Arn. The Horsemen then take control with some double teaming. Butch keeps trying to break it up, but all he does is distract the ref. Simmons finally fires back with a double clothesline and Flair bails. He chases Teddy Long into the ring, but he gets slapped for his trouble. Heyman is practically beside himself that Long would do such a thing. Arn and Reed both demand a shot at the other team members, so Ric and Butch face each other. Flair tries his chops but both he and Arn end up getting press slammed and beal tossed. Flair and Reed then start trading chops and punches until Flair flops to the mat. Reed sends him into the corner for his signature bump and the cameraman has to duck it. This leads to Flair and Simmons fighting on the ramp. Arn ends up tagging in and the two teams take turns double teaming until Arn hits his spinebuster. Simmons powers out of the pin attempt, so the Horsemen start working his leg. Flair eventually locks in the Figure Four and uses Arn for leverage until Simmons reverses the hold. Arn continues the attack on his leg and the Horsemen continually block Ron’s attempts to tag. He finally succeeds after hitting a facebuster and Reed comes in with some punches and a glancing dropkick before all four men brawl in the ring. Anderson attempts a piledriver, but Reed hits a flying shoulder tackle. The brawl continues and Arn manages to hit a DDT, but the pin is broken. The brawl then spills to the floor and into the crowd, so the ref has to count out both teams.

This was a great match until that weak finish. WCW wanted a feud to give Flair something to do, but they also didn’t want to job out either of these teams. They spend the next couple of PPVs finding ways to avoid decisive finishes, which ruins an otherwise good feud. These two teams have good chemistry. I would rather have a proper finish.

Winners: Double Count Out (18:20)

Next, they show a pre-taped promo from Stan Hansen. He has chewing tobacco spilling from his mouth and he’s holding a small pumpkin. He tells Lex Luger that he will have to deal with him in a few seconds. Then, he says that the pumpkin represents, “Little Lexy.” He spits tobacco onto it and drops it on the floor, but it nearly knocks over the backdrop. Stan is distracted for a moment by this before he warns Luger to worry about his cowbell. He then threatens to take the U.S. Title back to Texas.

NWA U.S. Title Match: Stan Hansen vs. Lex Luger (c)

Stan Hansen was already a legend at this point. He had been wrestling since the 70s and spent a lot of time in the old WWWF and AWA. He also spent a lot of time in Japan. This is his first time on WCW PPV. It would be a short run, but we will see him a couple more times. It’s a shame because I was looking forward to seeing a lot of him.

Hansen enters first and starts knocking over pumpkins on the ramp. He even swings his rope at some fans and Ross calls him crazy. Luger jumps the gun and walks onto the stage while Hansen’s music is still playing, but soon it changes to Lex’s theme. He walks down the ramp while fireworks explode and thankfully his belt doesn’t fall off this time. Hansen threatens him with the rope, but the ref makes him get rid of it. Stan rolls outside and runs around the ring, which scares Paul E., but Heyman still says he likes Stan.

The two men immediately start brawling and Luger gets the advantage, so Hansen rolls outside. Hansen returns and clubs Luger into a corner before throwing him to the floor. Stan then hits an elbow strike off the apron, but he’s the only one who falls. He quickly recovers and sends Luger back inside, but Luger soon reverses a whip and slams him. Stan responds with some kicks and a knee-lift before hitting a surprising headlock takeover. He even hits a back fist, which Ross calls a martial arts strike. I don’t think Hansen is using any Karate. Stan then misses a corner charge and tumbles out of the ring. Lex follows and they brawl by the ramp until Lex sends him back inside. Luger takes control until Hansen headbutts him in the gut and hits a snap suplex. He follows that up with a hard shoulder block and a slam, but the match turns into a slug-fest. Stan breaks it up with another headbutt and a bulldog, but Luger fires back with his barking punches. Stan powers him to the mat and slams him, but he misses an elbow off the turnbuckles. Luger returns fire with a dropkick, slam, and a suplex, but Hansen nails him with a corner clothesline. The ref starts trying to back Stan away and Hansen shoves him to the mat before signaling for the lariat. Luger catches him first with a surprise clothesline, but the ref is still on the mat. Dan Spivey then appears from the back and Ross talks about how he was teaming with Hansen in Japan. Spivey hands Hansen the rope and Stan tries to use it, but Luger back drops him. Lex then attempts a clothesline, but Hansen catches him with the lariat first and pins him for the win.

It was a decent match, but it was kind of slow and heavy on the punching and kicking. I was surprised to see them give Hansen the U.S. Title, but I’m okay with the switch. It was good to have a surprise title change on this PPV, since few titles were swapping on this night.

Winner: Stan Hansen (New Champion) (9:30)

Next, Tony is with Teddy Long, who has the Tag Titles over his shoulders. Tony accuses Long of having a smirk on his face, so Teddy replies, “Homie don’t play that!” There’s a reference I haven’t heard in years. Long then says that he’s proved to the NWA, Ted Turner, and the world that Doom is the meanest, toughest, and baddest team in wrestling. He also tells The Horsemen that they won’t get another title shot because he’s through with them.

Then, Ross and Paul E. welcome Missy Hyatt for some predictions on the main event. Paul E. is busy talking on his phone, so Missy grabs the mic and says that she predicted that Sid would win first. She says that it will be easy for Sid because The Black Scorpion has messed with Sting’s mind. Her voice cracks while she talks and it’s quite annoying.

NWA World Title Match: Sting (c) vs. Sid Vicious

Sid enters first and he’s billed as being from, “Wherever he darn well pleases.” That has to be my new favorite hometown for a wrestler. There is one fan in the crowd who has a sign that says, “Sid rules.” He has his fans. Sting enters next and he fires himself up as he walks the ramp. He appears to be talking to himself. Perhaps the Black Scorpion has driven him crazy. It could also be this ridiculous storyline that did the trick. Sid plays to the crowd before getting in Sting’s face. Sting then tries to play to the crowd, but Sid clubs him.

Sting fires back and goes for a cross body, but Sid catches him and hits a backbreaker. Sting simply shakes it off and hits a clothesline before going for a Figure Four. Sid quickly rolls outside for a breather. He returns and they lock-up, but Sid rakes the eyes. However, he takes himself over the top rope with a missed clothesline. They brawl on the floor and Sting reverses him into the post before going back inside and grabbing an arm wringer. Sid reverses it and they cycle through some holds until Sid kips-up and hits a clothesline. Sid takes control and tells the fans to shut up. Sting tries a sunset flip when Sid ducks, but Sid punches him. He then makes the mistake of posing, so Sting completes the flip. Sid powers out and tries a nerve hold for a while. Sting keeps trying to fight back, but Sid hits a powerslam. Sting even goes for a Stinger Splash, but it misses. Sid catches him at the ropes and starts clubbing him across the chest. A young Sheamus takes notes. Sting then tries a surprise cross body off the top, but it’s still not enough. The two men trade off missed elbow drops and fight onto the ramp, which Paul E. doesn’t understand. He points out that Sid has to beat him in the ring. Sid slams him and heads back into the ring, but Sting answers by hitting a running cross body from the ramp! He then dropkicks him outside and hits a slingshot cross body before the two men brawl into the aisle. The Horsemen arrive, which distracts the ref, so Sid fights Sting to the back. After a few moments, they return, but the camera cuts to a suspiciously wide shot. They fight into the ring and Sting attempts a slam, but Sid falls on top of him and gets a 3 count to everyone’s shock. Ross is confused, but Sid is declared the winner. Fireworks explode and balloons drop from the ceiling, BUT WAIT! Another Sting emerges from the back with a rope dangling off his arm. Ross says that this is the real Sting. He enters the ring and apparently the ref realizes what’s happened. Sting hits a Stinger Splash and rolls up Sid for the real victory. The live crowd has no idea what to make of any of this, but they cheer.

This was a pretty decent match until that ridiculous finish. The commentators did a good job of explaining it to the TV audience, but the live crowd was bewildered. It fell flat and nearly ruined what was an otherwise fine match. Stuff like this and the dumb Black Scorpion storyline were only damaging an already lackluster reign for Sting. If you were wondering who the fake Sting was, it was Barry Windham. He cut his hair and painted his face. The camera missed the shot of the two Stings facing off in the aisle, but it was shown on the replay. Pretty much everything about the execution of that finish was botched.

Winner: Sting (12:38)

Jim Ross meets Sting at ringside for a word. He says they only have 30 seconds left. Sting tells Sid, The Horsemen, and whomever that was, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another!” He then says he will be there to defend his title, no matter what happens. It’s obvious that Sting is legitimately annoyed by both the match and the state of his title reign. Sting then leaves and Paul E. throws a fit, so Ross cuts him off and says goodnight.

Final thoughts:

This was another show that had great action that was marred by utter silliness. I would still call it a decent show, what little I saw of it. I wish it was fully intact on the network. The silliness was entertaining, but it also makes me feel bad for Sting. It almost felt like WCW was trying to sabotage his title run. It only gets worse from here for him. The show itself is still worth a watch, especially the Steiners/Nasty Boys match.

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My next review will be the WWF’s Survivor Series ‘90.


Written by Paul Matthews

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