Sunday, March 9, 2014

NWA/WCW Halloween Havoc 1989

The show begins with Jim Ross and Bob Caudle running down the card, then cutting to Gordon, whose audio isn't working until a few sentence in. The mere sight of Gordon next to all of this Party City crap is sad. The opener is Captain Mike Rotunda against the Z-Man. Captain Mike is a wrestler, not a boat captain here. Mike Rotunda's putting more effort into selling his headlock than he did at anything after about '90 or so. I'm not exactly sure when he stopped caring, but it should become readily apparent at some point thanks to this network. MORE HEADLOCKS. MORE ARM RINGERS. I think that hot young star Bo-Ring is going to be getting a huge ovation during this. A HEADSCISSORS USING THE ROPES FOR LEVERAGE is the big highspot here. I've actually never seen that before - usually it's just an abdominal stretch. They're putting over Mike's ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WRESTLING. For. Fuck's. Sake. Neck snap by Rotunda. I'm astonished he did a move that required a bump. Outside-in suplex by Rotunda leads to him taking nine years to make a cover and only getting 2. ABDOMINAL STRETCH WITH THE ROPE! Nick Patrick and his mullet catch him. Chinlock, oh thank God, things were actually happening for a second there. Flying clothesline hits, but a dropkick misses. Zenk hits the bell-ringer Piledriver-position jumping thing and a crossbody for the win. YAY IT'S OVER!

BRUNO AND CHRIS CRUISE are backstage cutting a promo. Chris Cruise looks relatively young here, although his hairline still hated him at this point. Dr. Death and the Midnight Express are out. They teamed in the War Games at the Bash, and man should Cornette have just been Dr. Death's manager everywhere because he'd have helped him a ton. Dr. Death was such a perfect nickname. THE SAMOAN SWAT TEAM HAVE FIRE AND ARE THROWING IT AROUND, and they're teaming with the Samoan Savage. I already love this match. The Savage's reddish/blonde streak in his braided hair stands out massively in '89 and he's got what would be Headshrinker gear on, but instead of the basic green, it's a nice dark yellow with some shading to it. Cornette is advising the Dudes right now, so hopefully that Clash goes up soon. They put over Stan Lane being discovered by Ric Flair at a beach party...that sounds like the opening to several kinds of porno. Samu jumps into the buckle but misses, and does a giant flip bump halfway across the ring.

Dr. Death bowls him over...goddamn, he really should've been given a Goldberg push in the U.S. He has so much intensity, but was overall safer, less careless, and so much better in the ring. He's also the only guy to make this basic singlet look work for him - it's so small in the chest that it makes him look even bigger. Jim Ross put over driving Dr. Death to the hospital to get 108 stitches over the eye, and the scar being visible. Ross puts over Eaton starting in the ring at 16 and Cornette starting selling concessions just to get in the matches, and then becoming a photographer before turning pro. It's amazing how you could take an established part of his heel act in the photographer, expand on it with reality, and turn the whole rich thing on its ear a bit if you want to by saying without saying that he wanted to prove that there was more to a man than money. Very odd legdrop by Doctor Death. he just stood and fell right down, it's not pretty, but it looks rough, dangerous, and realistic. Samu is so much skinnier than Fatu here. The SSTs crotch Bobby on the railing. "The Samoans don't have the amateur background! They don't know about grapevining the leg or the finer amateur holds." YEAH NO SHIT!? Stan gets bonked into Cornette on the apron, and they lose, setting up more dissension between them and the Dudes.

Gary Hurt cut a promo with a crazy-jacked Terry Funk. TERRY FUNK HAD ABS! The Cuban Assassin is up to face Tommy Rich in a match with a 20 minute time limit. The state of the offense on Fidel, and my God the outside-in sunset flip from Tommy was awful. They show a fine shot of an armbar and a few empty seats in the front row. A group of friends must've gone to the bathroom to snort some coke to stay awake for the rest of this match. Bo-Ring got put over huge by the crowd. You know the big elbow drop you'd try to throw when you were 10? Yeah well, Sierra missed it. This is so much worse than even Rich in the AWA in '87, and at least then, he had a bit of fire to him and a memorable dress angle. And that swank Ribiera Steakhouse jacket. Tommy Rich "the youngster" looks no less than 45 here. Headbutt to the something or other by Sierra, followed by a knee lift close to the air near Rich's head for 2. Thesz Press got the win, or at least a thing resembling it. The Freebirds are the Hayes/Jimmy version and they're in white, black, and blue. Jimmy Jam looks so ungodly bad as a Freebird. Johnny and Shane get a world tag title shot!

Cornette begged the fans to give them a warm round of applause, so they got booed something fierce. Garvin and Hayes get pyro! Hayes is actually still jumping over the top rope at this point. That beer belly is something else though. Garvin just looks like a middle-aged man playing rockstar, although he's at least in decent shape. Ross said that while purists may not like Garvin in the group compared to the past version, Hayes is a world tag champion for the first time ever. Ross put over Shane's degree in education, while Johnny has a degree in marketing! Ross puts over getting an education and being in their chosen sport, and having a degree to fall back on. The Dudes have neon orange gear with neon green caution tape with DUDES on the ass. Good God. ACE IS ACTUALLY CALLED BIG JOHNNY HERE. Oh my God, that's amazing. Nice flip using the ropes from Shane. Dudes hit some nice offense, and get booed massively. This thing reminds me now of Batista's push not getting over, and WWE just pushing him anyway. MASSIVE Freebirds chant breaks out. Running Scotty 2 Hotty facebuster from Johnny gets boos. One guy with a mustache holds up a Dudes #1 sign, then quickly puts it down. Johnny's using VINTAGE NOVA CONTRIVED BULLSHIT, going with a headlock on Garvin and a headscissors on Hayes. MASSIVE you suck chant for the Dudes. Hayes gets a cheapshot on Johnny and a huge pop for it. Running knee from Garvin gets a huge pop. Cheapshot on the floor gets a huge pop. CHEAPSHOT FROM GARVIN ON THE APRON GETS A POP. This match rules. Massive Freebirds chant is breaking out. They're booing every strike from Johnny and cheering everything the Birds do. Now they're chanting DDT. The DDT was avoided, and they booed. Shane backdrops "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin...which is another reason this gimmick doesn't quite work. Jimmy as an affiliate works, but him as a full-blown member just changing his outfit doesn't work. Garvin wins via cradle reversal. This was fascinating to watch.

Steiners are out to face Doom. Rick has a black singlet with neon purple, green, and white trim...and it's still not the worst singlet they've ever had. Woman and THE TAG TEAM COMBINATION OF DOOM came out. This is the masked era for them. No "Strut", but they've got a nice menacing theme that fits them anyway. STEREO GERMAN SUPLEXES BY THE STEINERS. Fantastic opening spot. Bob says "their strength is deceiving" - how? THEY LOOK LIKE GIANT STRONG MEN. Ross plugs the hotline with a post-game show. I'm shocked a "Woman is about to burn" line made it through. Rick Steiner, fresh off the LD gimmick, apparently got a dog tattoo because he wanted a dog wherever he wanted. Scott Steiner was going to be a teacher before Rick turned him to wrestling...boy is that ever like a Homer getting Barney drunk moment there. Scott's singlet is a yellow zebra stripe design with white on the left side, because why not. Fairly basic tag match here. They're just doing a bunch of moves. Nothing wrong with it, but it's not very exciting. Simmons hits a powerslam for no count due to Rick breaking it up. Spike piledriver on Scott gets 2. Woman loads up the mask and a headbutt gets the win. Well, at least they got a good finish out of it. WOMAN'S TEAM OF DOOM wins.

Lex is backstage flexing next to Gordon. Lex says he's the champion of the '90s and Gordon asks if he's been champ before, because if that's so, he can be beat. Some generic-looking cheerleaders came in the most conservative cheerleading outfits ever to give Brian a big league entrance. Luger got a big light show against his muscles. Ross put him over as being the youngest starter in pro football history at 19, and a man who would rule the wrestling world. Luger was a three-time U.S. Champion by this point - a rarity! They talked about how wrestlers reach their prime later and Bob hoped that was the case for announcers too. In Ross's case, that's definitely true. MASSIVE tackle and punches by Pillman! I loved Brian doing something  a bit different after a leapfrog. Instead of running on the opposite side, he went to the left instead. It's a small change, but memorable. Ross brought up Pillman being a high-impact football player, and in 2014, I can't help but wonder what his brain would've looked like now. Desperation toss of Pillman to the floor from Luger. Outside-in sunset flip gets 2. Pillman goes for the corner mount punches, but is hit with an inverted atomic drop. Superplex countered and turned into a sunset flip off the top for 2. Air Pillman springboard clothesline gets 2 due to Luger being in the ropes. Pillman goes for a dropkick off the top and...misses and Luger bumps...whoops. Hot shot from  Luger gets the win.

WHO BUILDS BUILDINGS, WHO TEARS 'EM DOWN!? PEOPLE! AND THESE TWO PEOPLE ARE GONNA TEAR DOWN SKYSCRAPERS! The Skyscrapers' theme sounds way too much like Eugene's at the beginning. The Skyscrapers in leather chaps and leather vests is something. "WE ARE IRON MEN" is kept in, which is honestly a big shocking. They're rising like Rey and/or Angle, and it's awesome. Brawling big man moves. Nice bit with Hawk kicking Spivey out of a backdrop setup and then that getting no-sold for a lariat. Teddy's outfit is amazing. It's a silver suit jacket of some sort with tux pants. Animal gets a hot tag AND HE HITS A DROPKICK! Teddy has a giant gold key, because why not, and the Scrapers get DQed due to it. "THIS IS LIKE A STREET FIGHT! A MUGGING!" only with a giant gold key. Now Hawk has the key and...doesn't really do much. The faces win by DQ. That was a goddamned ridiculous finish due to the object used.

Ole, Flair, and Sting w/ rat tail are talking with Cruise. OLE WANTS TO SEE STING AND FLAIR KNOCK THE CRAP OUT OF MUTA AND FUNK! THIS IS THE THUNDERDOME, IT'S THE BIG-TIME. IT'S THE NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE! Flair is putting this electrified cage over gloriously. Bruno ran down to be the ref and got a huge ovation. It's amazing to see him on an NWA/WCW show. YAY MUTA'S THEME! There's some goon-looking guy walking backwards behind Muta, which I'm sure makes sense in context. None is given here. Funk doesn't have "Man With a Harmonica", but this theme is damn near just as good. I think it's from a production music library, because I'm sure I've heard it on Adventures of Pete and Pete. "Fanfare for the Common Man" plays for Flair before leading to the regular theme. This match can only end when either Ole or Gary throw the towel in. They put over Bruno as having a world title reign longer than possibly anyone else in history will ever have. Terry's messing with the cage and is now damn near doing the splits between the ring and the cage. Muta puts out a small fire with the mist. They've upgraded the props on the cage to a high school play instead of the middle-school ones backstage.

Flair starts by CHOPPING THE MOTHERLOVING HELL out of Funk. Ross says that Sting started with the Blade Runners, and his FORMER PARTNER hasn't progressed as well. That's about as perfect a burial as you'll find, since he didn't name names, and anyone who got the reference would likely agree. Wacky clownshow spots on the cage by the photographers. Muta went under the ring and Sting's got a rope. They've got a great top on the cage where it's tilted so it would be much harder to actually climb out. It's also so big and the shape means you can't do the spot where a guy climbs up to get into the cage. Figure four on Muta. Tarzan kick with the rope to there were no people who thought it was real by this point, right? Funk's tying the rope around Sting's legs and the cage. MUTA LOCK! Ole's untying Sting. Second spike piledriver on the show, to Flair though, which plays into Funk doing one to him through a table to start this feud. Flair and Funk's gear are covered in Flair's blood. Tarzan crossbody by Sting. Jim Ross talked about Muta attempting suicide by climbing to the top of the cage and then saying he'd be a fried Walking kneebreaker by Flair. Bruno just looks perplexed at this goofiness. Backbreaker sets up the moonsault, but he gets kicked in the balls. Figure four and a Sting splash off the top to Funk. Yet again. Muta tries to attack Bruno, who KOs Muta. Hart somehow accidentally threw the towel in. No one's quite sure why. Ross and Caudle run down the show's events and what is coming in the future. LIKE THE POST-GAME SHOW - ONLY ON THE HOTLINE!

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