DATE: October 25, 1992
VENUE: Philadelphia Civic Center (Philadelphia, PA)
COMMENTATORS: Jim Ross & Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Spin the wheel, make the deal. Spin the wheel, make the deal. SPIN. THE. WHEEL. MAKE. THE. DEAL. SPIIIIIIIIIN THEEEEE WHEEEL MAAAAKE THE DEEE-okay you get my point.
- WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: “The All-American” Ron Simmons
- WCW UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: “Ravishing” Rick Rude
- WCW WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION: Scott Steiner
- WCW/NWA UNIFIED TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham
- Shane Douglas, Tom Zenk, & Johnny Gunn vs. Michael Hayes, Arn Anderson, & Bobby Eaton (**)
- Ricky Steamboat vs. Brian Pillman (***1/4)
- Big Van Vader (on behalf of Rick Rude) [c] vs. Nikita Koloff for the WCW UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/4)
- Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham [c] vs. Steve Williams & Steve Austin for the WCW/NWA UNIFIED WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (**3/4)
- Masahiro Chono [c] vs. Rick Rude for the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (1/2*)
- Ron Simmons [c] vs. The Barbarian for the WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (**)
- SPIN THE WHEEL MAKE THE DEAL: Sting vs. Jake Roberts (*3/4)
–Tony Schiavone and Bruno Sammartino welcome the home audience on the interview stage. Hype for the 12 different match types on the wheel in which to spin to make a deal. Hype for the WCW World Title match plus some talk/clips of the recent issue between Tag Champs Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham.
–Missy Hyatt is outside of Rick Rude’s locker room, waiting to ask him about tonight’s scheduled matches he’s going to participate in…OR IS HE?
-Cut to ringside where Ross and Ventura also check in. Ventura sorta has a costume on and also mistakes Ross’ face for the scariest mask he’s ever seen. It’s a dumb joke but Ventura makes it work. Mention of the anti-venom being backstage in the event Jake Roberts brings his Cobra to the main event.
Shane Douglas, “The Z-Man” Tom Zenk, & Johnny Gunn vs. Michael “P.S.” Hayes, “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson, & “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton
Douglas makes his Halloween Havoc return, last appearing at the inaugural event in 1989 as one-half of the Dynamic Dudes. Gunn is perhaps better known from his brief WWF run as Salvatore Sincere/Tom Brandi; here he looks like a carbon copy of Zenk but with longer hair. Hayes has been working for the Dangerous Alliance as an advisor for Anderson and Eaton but is returning to the ring for this match.
Gunn dropkicks Anderson into the corner, Anderson tries to come off the top but gets dropkicked to the floor by Zenk. More dropkicks to Hayes and Eaton and the babyfaces are on fire…for a crowd that absolutely HATES them. Tough crowd. Zenk becomes the Ricky Morton of this match, taking abuse from all three heels who are treated like royalty by the older Philly crowd much to their surprise (and Hayes’ delight, who never shies away from an adoring audience). Douglas eventually gets the “hot” tag, right hands to everybody in the vicinity until Eaton clips the knee and the crowd once again goes wild. Eaton locks in a Figure Four, Hayes lending himself for some leverage on the apron. Anderson tags in and cracks heads with Douglas after an atomic drop. Hayes gets the tag but so does Gunn and after some clusterf*ck brawling with all six men, Gunn picks up the pinfall with a Thesz Press.
Shane Douglas, Tom Zenk, & Johnny Gunn defeated Michael Hayes, Arn Anderson, & Bobby Eaton via pinfall (11:03)
- Not a bad match by any stretch of the imagination but to be honest the Philly crowd giving stadium-level pops to the Dangerous Alliance was the real star of the match. Having three young-ish guys beat three veterans is indicative of WCW’s youth movement at the time, unfortunately they weren’t the youths that the fans wanted to see pushed. (**)
-Hyatt is still camped out in front of Rude’s locker room when Harley Race shows up. She tries to get him to let her into the locker room but he refuses, shutting the door on her. Hyatt mentions this is the first time she hasn’t been invited into a locker room which is…fair.
-Back to Schiavone and Sammartino, who think Race is up to something. Harley? He’s a boy scout!
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. “Flyin” Brian Pillman
Now this is something I can sink my teeth into. Pillman is in the middle of a heel turn here, coming out all cocky and arrogant while his high-tempo babyface music plays in the background. Steamboat is Steamboat and everybody loves him, this reviewer included.
Pillman tosses Steamboat out, Steamboat skins the cat and goes for the pin with an O’Connor Roll but gets sent into the buckles when his opponent kicks out. Pillman turns his back, Steamboat plays possum and surprises him with an armbar. Hip toss, deep armdrag, you know the drill. Pillman uses the hair to throw Steamboat to the mat, angering the Dragon who goozle throws him and also uses the hair to throw his opponent around, utilizing this rare match against someone smaller than him to show off some strength (as Ventura notes on commentary). Pillman counters a slam with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors for a two-count. Steamboat blocks a superplex and comes off the top, Pillman countering his signature high crossbody with a dropkick that pops the crowd; unfortunately it’s not enough to net Flyin’ Brian the win. Steamboat slams Pillman off the top buckle and rolls him back in, tripping him so he can avoid a cheapshot like he experienced earlier in the match. Steamboat connects with a backbreaker and hits a top rope sunset flip for the 1…2…Pillman counters into a jackknife roll-up for the 1…2…Steamboat turns it back into a sunset flip for the 1…2…3!
Ricky Steamboat defeated Brian Pillman via pinfall (10:34)
- Great on paper, great on execution. I enjoyed this one a lot and honestly I would’ve been down for an even longer match between the two. What a contest to have as the SECOND match on your PPV. Loved the finishing sequence of the various pins and counters. Heel Brian Pillman rules but you already know that. (***1/4)
–Teddy Long, now a backstage interviewer apparently, is standing by from the locker room of Masahiro Chono. Chono’s spokesman Hiro Matsuda informs Long that Kensuke Sasaki is Chono’s appointed official for his upcoming title defense.
-Cut to Schiavone on the interview stage joined by “Cowboy” Bill Watts. Watts spills the beans that Harley Race will be Rick Rude’s appointed official for the World Title match later tonight, then says Rude has forced WCW into a corner with all sorts of lawyer mambo jumbo and that Big Van Vader will be defending the U.S. Title on his behalf so he doesn’t have to wrestle twice on one show.
Big Van Vader [c] vs. “The Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff for the WCW UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Rick Rude and Harley Race accompany Vader to the ring, Rude handing him the U.S. Championship, but senior official Ole Anderson has them banned from ringside. Madusa was previously announced as being banned in the leadup to the original match.
Koloff doesn’t back down from the former WCW World Champion, landing some rights to start but Vader soon enough tees off on him in the corner followed by a corner splash and lariat. Koloff connects with a running forearm and a crossbody to the back for a two-count. Koloff continues the attack, causing Vader to roll out of the ring to catch his breath. Koloff follows and Vader hits him with a chair to the back. A fan throws a beer at Vader, Ventura LAYS INTO THE FAN on commentary. Back in the ring Vader counters a sunset flip with a seated splash and a splash from the middle buckle but Koloff somehow manages to kick out of the lateral press. Koloff tries a belly-to-back suplex but Vader deadweights him; Vader eventually gets taken over with a messy vertical suplex. Koloff manages a SCOOP SLAM on the big man as well; action moves to the floor and Koloff misses a Russian Sickle, running his arm directly into the ringpost. He tries to keep going with one arm but Vader is too much and he gets the pin with the Powerbomb soon after.
Big Van Vader [c] defeated Nikita Koloff via pinfall; Rick Rude retains the WCW UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (11:54)
- Unfortunately this ended up being Koloff’s final match, suffering a herniated disc in his neck from a Vader clothesline. He would retire shortly after this, becoming a born-again Christian and future TLC reality star. Not a great match to go out on either; watching Vader wreck people is fun but they did next to nothing with that No DQ stipulation outside of a chairshot so that felt pointless but they were backed into it thanks to previous build. (**)
-Teddy Long is with the makeshift team of “Dr. Death” Steve Williams and “Stunning” Steve Austin (real name? Steve Williams). Williams’ usual partner, Terry Gordy, got himself indefinitely suspended from WCW, but Williams is still confident in his chances with Austin and is HYPED UP.
-Missy Hyatt interview Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham, who deny that they have an issue with one another.
“The Natural” Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham [c] vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams & “Stunning” Steve Austin for the WCW/NWA UNIFIED WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Williams goads Rhodes into a tackle-off, then leapfrogs his experienced rival and connects with a clothesline as the crowd pops. Rhodes responds with a lariat of his own, Windham tags in and they work over Dr. Death’s left arm. “WE WANT FLAIR” chants break out as the action continues, Austin finally tagging in for the first time in the contest. Austin gets the upper hand initially but gets pinballed between the champs and sent to the floor dazed and confused. Rhodes blocks a monkey flip and hits a lariat for a two-count, Windham tags back in and also hits a clothesline but it’s not enough. Williams ducks a crossbody, Windham’s error sending him crashing to the mat-free floor. Some odd jank here and there as the challengers work to weaken Windham, Windham escapes a chinlock with a jawbreaker but Austin quickly tags in to avoid Rhodes getting the tag himself. Windham blocks a superplex attempt and connects with a flying clothesline from the middle buckle for a two-count. Rhodes finally gets the tag and it’s Bionic Elbows for everybody followed by the Bulldog on Austin but Williams breaks the pinfall. Windham runs in, ref gets distracted, and Williams belts Rhodes with a clothesline, Austin covering for the 1…2…NOPE.
Williams and Austin take turns trying submissions on Rhodes, the former with a Boston Crab and the latter with an overhead backbreaker Sammartino-style (or Ventura-style, according to the commentary). Rhodes counters and lands on top for the 1…2…Austin bridges up and connects with a clothesline. Rhodes responds with rights, Williams tags in and busts Rhodes’ eye with a series of stiff fists. Williams continues the punishment, five minutes remain in the match as he slaps on a sleeperhold. Windham gets the tag but the ref doesn’t see it, allowing Rhodes to be tossed over the top with no DQ called.Ref get bumped, new ref runs in to count Austin’s lateral press on Windham but he’s not the legal man and Rhodes rolls Austin up for the 1…2…it’s a kickout but the bell rings anyway and everyone cheers. Match is still happening though, Rhodes hitting Austin with a lariat and a Tombstone piledriver but can’t get the pin before the time limit is reached.
Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham [c] fought Steve Williams & Steve Austin to a time limit draw; Rhodes & Windham retain the WCW/NWA UNIFIED WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (30:00 officially, few seconds more by count)
- A real motherf*cker on my attention span; around the halfway mark my mind started wandering. That’s not necessarily a knock on the match though; it was a hard-hitting and even contest, Williams and Austin working well enough together that it almost did seem like they could pull it off. Rhodes came off looking like the badass of the contest, staying in for most of the runtime and both kicking ass and getting his ass kicked. Weird that a makeshift tag team could go the full 30 with the Champs though; I guess that sells that Rhodes & Windham are slowly losing their chemistry as champions as their problems bubble to the surface. I liked it but other people apparently liked it a lot more. (**3/4)
Schiavone is standing by with Big Van Vader, Harley Race, and Paul E. Dangerously. Dangerously takes credit for Vader’s successful title defense on behalf of Rick Rude, giving Vader & Race the winner’s purse of the match to split, and says this was all him. Madusa interrupts and Dangerously goes OFF on her, saying he’s the Dangerous Alliance because he’s the man and Madusa is nothing but a subservient woman hired to cater to Rick Rude’s “every” (WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE) need. Dangerously fires Madusa and condescendingly tries to spell it out to her, Madusa responds with a martial arts kick and bits the sh*t out of him until pulled away by refs and security. Dangerously, however, continues to boast saying he could beat Madusa with one arm tied behind his back.
- Absolute banger of a segment, from Dangerously staying on-brand as a misogynist and Madusa beating the sh*t out of him in response. I loved it. Great stuff here. Wish it would lead to cool stuff in 1993 but it doesn’t.
SPIN THE WHEEL, MAKE THE DEAL
Sting is introduced to make the big spin of the wheel, which gets its own pyro and entrance music as it emerges. The level is pulled. Will it be a Texas Death Match? A Cage Match? EVEN better it’s a…Coal Miner’s Glove match?!? Ooof either WCW has bad luck or they went in wanting the worst gimmick match on the wheel to main event. Ventura explains the rules to the rest of us at home: a metal-covered glove will be on top of a pole and the first one who grabs it will be able to use it on their opponent. Right on. Mid-South as f*ck, too bad there’s no tuxedo element.
Masahiro Chono [c] [w/ Hiro Matsuda] vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude [w/ Madusa] for the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Before the match senior ref Ole Anderson has a coin toss, which Rude wins; that means his appointed referee Harley Race will call the action in the ring while Chono’s ref Kensuke Sasaki will be in charge of all things outside of the ring. Chono defeated Rude to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship earlier in the year in Japan as part of the second-annual G1 Climax which continues to this day in NJPW is much bigger fashion. I think the 30th one is happening right now as of this writing, as a matter of fact.
“WE WANT FLAIR” chants are loud and proud as the action begins, Rude with the opening salvo and Chono with a hip toss. The chants get louder, Rude does a little gyrating to try and get the focus back on him and the match. It works for a second. Rude grabs a chinlock, Chono a hammerlock into an armbar to prevent Rude from a rope break. Rude bails to the floor after getting kicked in the kidneys, Madusa massaging them for him. Despite being fired from the Dangerous Alliance she’s still doing Rude’s bidding, does that mean he’s out too? I don’t know, I’m not going to look into it. Rude grabs a Boston Crab, Chono gets to the ropes and slings him off but Rude continues assaulting the back, this time in a Camel Clutch. Rude hits a swinging neckbreaker, not THE neckbreaker, and arrogantly covers, Chono kicking out at 2. Rude grabs a chinlock, audible “BORING” chants from Philly. Chono escapes and goes for the STF but Rude covers the top of his head to avoid the chinlock portion and the champ eventually just kinda gives up. Rude connects with a piledriver for the 1…2…Chono gets his foot on the rope. Rude tries a flying double ax but Chono just sort of…wanders away from it so Rude connects with some clubbing blows and reapplies a chinlock. Chono escapes, Rude changes to a sleeperhold, something MUCH MORE interesting happens off-camera and gets the attention of the Philly crowd. Even Ross & Ventura acknowledge it. Rude finally breaks the hold after about twelve hours and goes for a missile dropkick; it looks like it does NOT connect and both men sell it anyway. Oof that was awkward. Rude dodges Chono, who accidentally kicks Race out of the ring. Rude hits the Rude Awakening but there’s no one to count. Rude misses a kneedrop from the top, Chono locks in the STF, and Sasaki runs in and calls for the bell. Crowd thinks Chono has won it but Race sets it straight: Rude wins via DQ because he was thrown over the top rope after Race was kicked.
Rick Rude defeated Masahiro Chono [c] via DQ; Chono retains the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (22:34)
- Like watching paint dry. Absolutely brutal. That’s all I really want to say about this one, because goddamn. (1/2*)
Sasaki slams Race and clotheslines Rude to the floor, then gives Race another suplex which finally gets the crowd invested. Sasaki rips off the referee shirt and that’s that. Race sacrificing himself to get people to care about SOMETHING, I admire the dedication.
-VIDEO = Cactus Jack breaks cinder blocks over The Barbarian’s back as part of his training for the next match. That’s some No Holds Barred sh*t right there.
“The All-American” Ron Simmons [c] vs. The Barbarian [w/ Cactus Jack] for the WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Simmons is led out by former manager turned friend again Teddy Long, who holds the championship belt, and surrounded by security guards. It gives it a big fight boxing feel which I think is really cool. ALSO really cool is that the f*cking Barbarian got a PPV World Title match. Obviously it was a bad decision business-wise and was mocked endlessly but I think it rules. The Barbarian kicks ass, you nerds.
Simmons and Barbarian run into each other a whole lot but no one budges, Simmons finally drops his opponent with a leaping shoulderblock followed by a dropkick. Barbarian rolls to the floor to get some advice from Jack, who has somehow become a f*cking COACH. So weird. Barbarian snaps Simmons across the top rope and sends him into the ringpost while Jack distracts the ref; Ross says using the ringpost is illegal in WCW but I call bullsh*t because Bill Watts couldn’t be that ridiculous right? Eh maybe he was, I haven’t gotten that far in my WCW side-watch. Barbarian slows things down with a chinlock, switching it up into a Camel Clutch. Simmons breaks it, Barbarian connects with a thrust strike to the throat and a slam. Barbarian misses a flying elbow, Simmons connects with a spinebuster for the 1…2…not yet. Jack climbs the apron, Simmons hits him but gets sent to the floor thanks to a big boot to the back of the head. Jack quickly rolls Simmons in and The Barbarian hits a flying headbutt for the 1…2…Simmons gets the shoulder up! Barbarian charges at Simmons, Simmons catches him with a snap powerslam for the 1…2…3.
Ron Simmons [c] defeated The Barbarian via pinfall to retain the WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (12:42)
- Not the prettiest or most interesting match I’ve ever seen but I’m glad it exists and that it was on PPV. THE BARBARIAN GOT A WORLD TITLE SHOT ON PPV Y’ALL. (**)
-Cut to Schiavone and Sammartino on the interview stage. Erik Watts shows up to make comments no one cares about, Ron Simmons stops by to get congratulations from everyone. Simmons says it’s just another step in what he knows will be a long World Title reign. Wellllll…
-Ross and Ventura stall for time as the pole gets set up and secured for the main event. Atop it is a Coal Miner’s Glove. We are main-eventing a PPV with a COAL MINER’S GLOVE.
COAL MINER’S GLOVE MATCH
Sting vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Roberts arrived in WCW by surprise over the summer and immediately targeted Sting. They’ve been feuding since so intensely that only a magic wheel of gimmick matches could help settle their score. Roberts doesn’t have a snake with him but Ross mentions again that cobra anti-venom is in the possession of the medical staff in the event it comes into play. Match is non-sanctioned so anything goes, but there is a ref so WCW is sanctioning it a LITTLE bit.
Roberts tries for the pole early, Sting pulls him off and connects with a pair of slams. Sting goes for the pole, Roberts yanks him back to the canvas and buries some forearms to the kidneys. Action moves to the floor, Sting sends Roberts shoulder-first into the post, putting him at a disadvantage when it comes to climbing. Sting goes for the glove again, Roberts sends him crashing to the mat with a back suplex, hurting his shoulder more in the process. Action moves back to the floor, Roberts cracking a chair over Sting’s back…then rolls him back into the ring for some reason. I would’ve just kept him on the floor and grabbed the glove, but it is what it is. Roberts chokes Sting with his wrist tape and connects with a kneelift which they both sell? Roberts dodges the Stinger Splash and signals for the DDT, hitting him but using his bad arm so he doesn’t get all of it somehow. Roberts goes for the glove, Sting pulls him down then swings AROUND the pole for a strike. That was pretty cool, honestly. Cactus Jack runs down and delivers the cobra to Roberts as Sting gets the glove from the top of the pole. Sting punches Roberts, cobra bites Jake, and Sting quickly covers for the 1…2…3.
Sting defeated Jake Roberts via pinfall (10:35)
- I liked Sting twirling around the pole and the finish, but besides that this was…not very spirited or very good. I wanted to like it more but just didn’t. Too boring. (*3/4)
Cobra continues “biting” Roberts (he’s holding it to his face) as he stumbles to the back, Jack trying to help while also maintaining a respectful and snake-free distance. Sting remains in the ring and feels bad for how that match ended, not knowing the snake was in Roberts’ hand when he clobbered him. Oh well dude, that’s what you get when you SPIN THE WHEEL AND MAKE THE DEAL.
-Schiavone and Sammartino comment on what they’ve seen and give thanks all around for showing up.
-Ross and Ventura close the show, saying the Sting/Roberts feud has only just begun (welllllll). Hype for the next PPV, Starrcade, in December and we out!
FINAL THOUGHTS: Halloween Havoc 1992 did big business for WCW PPV-wise; unfortunately the people who plunked their money down saw a lackluster show with a hyped up gimmick producing the most boring result, an NWA Title match that stunk the joint out, and a card that was mostly meh except for Steamboat/Pillman. Doubt the show was received well then but it definitely doesn’t hold up well now. But I maintain that seeing The Barbarian get a World Title match on PPV is pretty f*cking cool.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Ricky Steamboat vs. Brian Pillman
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Sting spins the wheel, pyro and ballyhoo and…it’s a Coal Miner’s Glove match. Super funny.