THE SPECIALISTS Nostalgia Review: WCW Halloween Havoc 1992; Sting vs. Roberts, Simmons vs. Barbarian, Rude vs. Chono, Vader vs. Koloff and more
Oct 30, 2008 - 3:05:04 PM
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By: Brian Hoops, Nostalgia Specialist
This week's look at nostalgia takes us back 16 years to WCW's October PPV event, Halloween Havoc 1992. Havoc took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 25, 1992. This was a PPV that was booked by Bill Watts and as we observed in my review of the Clash of Champions 20, held in September, 1992; Watts booked a very impressive TV show but was challenged in booking PPV events. This event was attended by 7,000 fans in the Civic Center, about average for what they were drawing at the time. The PPV buy rate was .90 buys, up from the Havoc 1991 event which drew .80 and well above the 1992 Great American Bash which drew a poor .40 buy rate. With the increasing buy rate, I think we would have to conclude that Watt's TV programs were beginning to build interest in the product. However, the PPV would be very disappointing in my opinion, especially after coming off such a strong September Clash of Champions event. The main event was "spin the wheel, make the deal" pitting Sting vs. Jake Roberts; where the stipulation of the match would be determined by a spin of a roulette wheel.
The dark match was won by Erik Watts and Van Hammer, teaming up to defeat the Vegas Connection of Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash) and Diamond Dallas Page in 12:00 when Watts pinned Page. One of the biggest criticisms of Watts was pushing his son before he was ready for the push.
1. Johnny Gunn, Shane Douglas, and Tom Zenk defeated Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, and Michael Hayes when Gunn pinned Hayes in 11:02. The Philadelphia crowd was solidly behind Anderson, Eaton and Hayes. Anderson and Gunn started out the match and when the face team gained control, the crowd booed loudly. Eaton came in and received even more crowd support. The wrestling in the match was good but the best part of the match was the crowd reactions. If they were smart going into the match or even if they would have changed the finish of the match as they were working to have Eaton, Anderson and Hayes win; the crowd reaction would have been huge and the crowd would have been into the PPV from the beginning. Finish came when Gunn pinned Hayes with the "Lou Thesz Press" and the crowd booed the finish. Match was decent with excellent crowd interaction but a real booking snafu in not having the heel team win in my opinion. **
2. Ricky Steamboat defeated Brian Pillman in 10:25. Pillman was still in the midst of his heel turn, which started in May of 1992. Pillman and Steamboat would later further their feud during late 1992 and into 1993, mostly in tag teams against each other. Match was solid but not spectacular. Finish came when Steamboat gave Pillman a back breaker and went to the top hitting a sunset flip. Pillman reversed out of it and tried to pin Steamboat but Steamboat reversed the pin attempt for the pinfall victory. This match was nowhere close to the level of Pillman vs. Liger or Pillman vs. Zenk from the first half of 1992. * 3/4
3. Big Van Vader defeated Nikita Koloff in 11:35 in a match for the WCW U.S. Heavyweight Title. Rick Rude was the WCW U.S. Heavyweight champ at the time and he was scheduled to defend the title against Nikita Koloff on this show and also to challenge Masa Chono for the NWA World Heavyweight title. Instead of having Rude wrestle twice, Watts gave a promo indicating that Rick Rude hired Big Van Vader to wrestle for him to defend the U.S. title against Nikita Koloff. I had no problem with a Van Vader vs. Koloff match, but all summer WCW had been building to a Rude vs. Koloff program and this was to be the blowoff to the feud, so it was disappointing that Rude and Koloff never got to face each other in this match. The match was no DQ and was very good and hard hitting with Vader controlling the action early. It was either in this match or another one between these two soon after that Koloff hurt his back and had to retire from active ring action. Finish came when Koloff tried to hit Vader with the Russian Sickle outside the ring and Vader moved and Koloff hit the ring post. Vader threw Koloff back into the ring, gave him a powerbomb and got the three count for the win. ** ½
4. Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes wrestled to a time limit draw with Steve Williams and Steve Austin in a match for the WCW and NWA World Tag Team titles. Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes were the champions as they won the belts on September 21 from Terry Gordy and Dr. Death Steve Williams at a house show. Williams and Gordy won the belts at the GAB in July by defeating Windham and Rhodes, so this match was to be the blowoff return match of the feud for the belts. However, Gordy was suspended from WCW so Williams picked Steve Austin as his partner for this match. This brings up two interesting points. First, why wasn’t Steve Austin originally on this PPV? Secondly, Steve Austin's real name is Steve Williams; so you have Steve Williams teaming with Steve Williams in this match against Rhodes and Windham. Rhodes and Windham were beginning to tease dissention between the two; which would eventually lead to their breakup as a tag team after they lose the belts in November. The match was decent but nothing special. The highlight was at about the 28:00 mark, referee Randy Anderson was knocked out of the ring and Austin pinned Windham; a second ref ran in and counted the pin; the bell rang and Austin and Williams celebrated like they had won. Anderson came back in the ring and ruled Windham was not the legal man and the match continued until the time limit expired. * 1/2
Tony Schiavone attempted to interview Vader and Harley Race but Paul E. Dangerously interrupted the interview, taking credit for Rude's victory. Madusa also came out and interrupted Dangerously, leading to Dangerously berating Madusa and firing her from the Dangerous Alliance.
Sting came out to spin the wheel for the main event. The wheel stopped on a "Coal Miner's Glove Match", establishing the stipulation for the main event of the evening.
5. Rick Rude defeated Masa Chono by dq in 22:@3 for the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Kensuki Sasaki and Harley Race are chosen as special referees for the match. A coin toss determined Race would be the in ring referee while Sasaki is the referee outside the ring. You know Race is somehow going to be involved in the finish. There was a tournament in Japan to determine the NWA champion, which saw Chono defeat Rude and this was the rematch bout. They started off slow with lots of mat wrestling and it never really picked up from there. The same agent must have booked this match as the tag team title match as Chono accidentally hit Race, knocking him out of the ring. Chono then threw Rude over the top rope to the floor. Rude got back in the ring and gave Chono the "Rude Awakening" but no ref to count the pin. When Rude went to check on Race, Chono locked the STF on Rude. Sasaki called for the bell for a tap out by Rude, but Race overruled him saying Chono was disqualified for throwing Rude over the top. Rude won by DQ, but Chono held onto the belt. The match was a disappointment for me. ½ *
6. Ron Simmons pinned the Barbarian in 12:41 to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Title. I have always like Simmons and his athletic background and intensity; however he was in no way ready to carry the company as world champion. His opponent didn’t help either as no one believed WCW was going to put the strap on the Barbarian. Simmons could be decent, but was a better heel and needed someone strong to carry him if he was going to have a good in ring performance. I thought the match was very poor for a world title match. Barbarian worked on Simmons throughout most of the contest, including hitting the diving headbutt off the top rope. Simmons kicked out at 2 ½ to no response from the crowd. Simmons powerslammed the Barbarian and pinned him for the victory. *
7. Sting defeated Jake Roberts in 10:34 in the non-sanctioned "Coal Miner's Glove" match. The match was a standard match between the two, but nothing special. Finish came when Roberts hit the DDT on Sting and tried to climb the pole to reach the glove. Sting recovered in time to knock Roberts off the pole. Cactus Jack then came out, bringing Jake's cobra with him. While Roberts took the snake out of the bag, Sting climbed the pole to reach the glove. Sting hit Roberts with the glove and the snake fell on Jake and bit him. Sting covered Roberts for the pinfall. Jake was great as he staggered to the back with the snake attached to him and Cactus tried to help but was afraid of the snake. * ¼
Summary: At the time, I remember feeling this PPV was a major disappointment and re-watching it 15 years later I feel the same way. Much of the booking didn't make sense and there were too many matches that didn't deliver. None of the matches is a must see and the PPV itself is not a must see.
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