Friday 28 January 2022

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that gets more internet traffic than Scarlett Bordeaux’s OnlyFans! Pfft, I wish right? It’s time for WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 headlined by The ThunderDome Match! It’s Halloween Havoc so it has to be scary, a massive cage above the ring with Bob Caudle and Jim Ross speculating what will happen in that main event. Looking at this card, it is not what I expected for the show with Pillman challenging for a big championship this early into his run in WCW while we have Steiners vs Doom and The Dudes challenging The Freebirds? Well if you say so, let’s get it on!


Mike Rotunda vs The Z-Man

Oh God no, please no! Z-Man is taken down before grabbing a side headlock on Rotunda, shoulder block by Z-Man. Rotunda is not happy with this development, nice shoulder block again by Z-Man. Stalling from the great Rotunda, another side headlock from Z-Man. Hip-toss from Rotunda, Rotunda misses his elbow and eats a dropkick to the face. Rotunda does not give a clean break off a lock-up, thumb to the eye from Rotunda. Rotunda sends Z-Man to the floor, Z-Man comes back into it with some arm-work. Rotunda breaks the hold before being caught in a hammerlock. Side headlock takedown from Z-Man before Rotunda counters with a head-scissors. Rotunda uses the ropes for leverage before rolling to the floor, Rotunda sends Z-Man to the floor.


Z-Man cannot re-enter the ring as Rotunda stomps on the head of the rookie. Suplex into the ring from Rotunda, two for Rotunda. Abdominal stretch from Rotunda, Rotunda uses the ropes for leverage. Time and time again, Rotunda uses the ropes for an advantage before Nick Patrick stops that. Sleeper in the middle of the ring, Z-Man fights out before a massive flying clothesline by Rotunda. Rotunda misses a dropkick though, Z-Man is firing up. Whip to the buckle, elbow from Z-Man. Eye-rake from Rotunda, whip to the buckle is reversed as Rotunda tries a dicing crossbody but Z-Man rolls through for the win.


As awful as I thought it would be and Z-Man is being rejected by the fans here as the boos are quite audible in this one and the cheers are loud when Rotunda is whooping Z-Man. Regardless, Rotunda continues to be the most boring person I have to watch wrestle inside of the ring, not many people I would hold below Rotunda on a consistent basis. Very boring opening match so I am hoping this is not a sign of things to come.


Winner: Z-Man over Mike Rotunda via Roll-Up!


The Midnight Express & Dr. Death Steve Williams W/ Jim Cornette vs The Samoan Swat Team W/ Oliver Humperdink

Cornette and his Express continue to do battle with The Samoans despite the fact that Paul E. Dangerously has been dropped from the angle. Tama from The Islanders is here to make sure we have three Samoans. No idea what is going on here to be honest especially with Humperdink as their manager. Lane and Tama start the match, Eaton smashes Tama hard. We have a third stand-off, incredible how many times they will pull that. Lane and Eaton deliver an elbow to Tama, Eaton works the arm before Tama reverses the hold. Eaton reverses the hold before Tama rakes the eyes and lands a scoop slam. Samu comes in and misses an elbow as Eaton waffles The Samoans. We have another stand-off, why?


Chop from Samu which staggers Eaton, Eaton dodges the splash and in comes Williams. Jabs to all 3 Samoans, it breaks down momentarily before we have a tackle on Fatu. Crowd is loving this, Fatu and Williams in the ring. Massive clothesline on Fatu, shoulder tackles on Samu and Fatu. Eaton works the arm of Fatu, tag to Lane who lands his karate kicks before applying a side headlock. Fatu decks Lane with a clothesline, tag to Samu. Eye-rake on Lane, Samu lands his own thrust-kick. Standing dropkick from Samu, Lane fights back on his knees and a tag to Williams. Samu is hesitant, lock-up. Chops from Samu and a headbutt, Williams sends Samu to the corner and  lands a corner clothesline.


Samu eats a right from Eaton and Williams, snap-mare into a leg-drop from Williams. Another disgusting right from Eaton, neck-breaker from Eaton. Samu and Eaton reset, Eaton elbow drops Samu in the head. In comes Lane as Samu has his head massaged, Fatu tags into the match.


Drop toehold by Lane who works the arm, Fatu is back up to his feet and pulls the hair. Clothesline misses but Fatu counters the crossbody for a powerslam, Fatu misses the elbow drop and Lane tags in Eaton. Eaton works the arm, eye-rake and tag to Tama. Eaton lands a punch, bulldog is countered as Tama sends Eaton into the ring-post. Eaton is dropped on the guardrail, The Samoans are here to get their heat now. Tama measures and chops Eaton hard in the chest, tag to Fatu who lands a clothesline and a headbutt for two. Eaton continues to get rocked by the three Samoans, headbutts and leg-drops are on the menu for Eaton. Elbows again from Samu, headbutts from the aprons. Lane tries to make the save but nothing can be done. Triple beatdown on Eaton, headbutt rocks Eaton again.


Tama bites the arm of Eaton, sidewalk slam from Tama for two. Williams makes the save, Williams wants a piece but we have to wait. Fatu has a shoulder-claw on Eaton, Tama wants a slingshot splash but Eaton blocks with his knees. Tag to Williams, diving axe handle to Tama. Clothesline and military press slams, scoop slams and military press slam onto the three Samoans. Powerslam for two, neck-breakers from Lane. The match is breaking down, enzuigiri onto Tama. Cornette knocks down Humperdink but Tama shoves Lane into Cornette’s racket and Tama covers for the win.


Balls to the wall action in this one, everyone in this match just brings the heat to this. From the opening bell with Eaton’s first right hand on Tama to the second that Williams receives that tag, everything is fast-paced and full of snap. Eaton does a fantastic job selling the beating at the hands of The Three Samoans while Williams is electric inside of that ring, finally getting to do what he could as a babyface. Everyone in this match brings it and the result is a very exciting six-man tag match.


Winners: The Samoans over Team Williams via Racket To The Head!


Wildfire Tommy Rich vs The Cuban Assassin

Assassin jumps Rich to start before Rich fires back with big scoop slams and elbows, Assassin powders to the floor. Assassin thumbs the eyes, throws Rich to the apron. Rich messes up an apron sunset flip and the crowd give it to Rich. Important to note we are here in Philly so those damn ECW fans must be occupying those seats. Assassin is caught in an arm-drag before Assassin fights back and chops Rich. Whip to the buckle, Rich dodges the splash and works the arm. Rich continues to work the arm, Assassin works the arm then after out-foxing Rich. Headbutt from Rich, Assassin lands a suplex. Rich crotches Assassin before an elbow from Rich. Assassin is sent to the corner and tries a diving crossbody and Rich lands a Thesz Press for the win.


Garbage match, the sunset flip sets the tone for the match. It is just so dull and lifeless, like neither man should be in the ring on PPV for a mainstream company.


Winner: Tommy Rich over Cuban Assassin via Thesz Press!


(NWA Tag Team Championship Match) The Dynamic Dudes W/ Jim Cornette vs The Fabulous Freebirds ©

Give me The Steiners murdering Garvin & Hayes again with suplexes because I have a feeling that the crowd is going to have no mercy on these two dudes.  The Freebirds continue to be annoying but worthy of being the team in the division? I think not as Hayes struts and moonwalks before starting the match, Douglas eats an arm-drags to begin the match. Side headlock from Hayes, leapfrogs and drop-downs before Douglas almost rolls-up the champion. Hayes is not happy, Douglas and Hayes mess-up a spot so here we go, ugly-looking neck-breaker before Garvin comes into the ring.


Tag to Ace, Garvin tees off before Ace fires back. Garvin misses a clothesline and Ace lands a dropkick into an arm-bar. Tag to Douglas who lands on the arm of Garvin, Douglas lands a back body drop. Garvin lures Douglas to the heels’ corner, Hayes works the arm before Douglas flips out of the hold. Tag to Ace who lands a diving axe handle, the champions are knocked down as The Dudes land a big powerslam and dropkick combination on Hayes & Garvins. Loud Freebird chants fill the arena so you know this is not a good thing, Douglas works the arm and avoids a kick from Hayes. Tag to Ace who lands a massive face-buster and elbow, Garvin comes in and is caught in a side headlock from Ace.


Ace lures in Hayes who eats a back-drop and a head-scissors by Ace, the fans continue to boo the Dudes. Shoulder block and O’Connor roll from Ace, Garvin shoves off Ace and Hayes lands a massive left from the apron. Belly to back suplex and knee from Garvin, Douglas stands over his partner. Ace is in serious trouble, Hayes lands another cheap-shot to the head of Ace. Garvin lands another kick to the head to stagger Ace, Garvin tags in Hayes who lands right after right on Ace. Ace fires up with roundhouse right hands before Hayes lands a massive elbow to the head. Combination clothesline from Hayes, Ace blocks the DDT. In comes Garvin and in comes Douglas, back body-drop and dropkick from Douglas. Make it two, Hayes eats a dropkick too. Noggin-knocker and Ace lands a double clothesline. Double knee to Hayes, The Wipeout is coming but Hayes trips Ace and Garvin crushes Douglas for the win.


A disaster in terms of reaction for the babyfaces, Douglas and Ace are absolutely despised in WCW at the time. Hayes and Garvin are having a solid run but I still think Hayes must be in the ear of someone who has power in the company because I just can’t see Hayes at the level they have him at here. Decent tag match at the end of the day but things are not looking good for The Dudes.


Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds over The Dynamic Dudes via Crossbody!


The Steiner Brothers vs Doom W/ Woman

Woman was Robin Greene, a fan of Rick Steiner who had problems with Missy Hyatt. This leads us to Doom, a massive tag team to brawl with The Steiners. This is meaty from the get-go, this just start drilling one another before we see stereo German suplexes from The Steiners. Double clotheslines and it’s a dog pound right now. The Steiners control the ring, Scott and Doom 1 start us off. Whip to the buckle and clothesline from Scott, snap-mare into a knee-drop. Cover for two, tag to Rick. Rick batters Doom 1, Irish whip and a Steinerline. Make it two as Doom 2 gets taken out too, more big right hands from the big guys. Reverse chin-lock from Rick, inverted atomic drop from Doom 2. Doom 1 comes in, headbutt from Doom 1. Rick blocks the suplex and lands a suplex of his own, side headlock and tag to Scott. Diving Steinerline from Scott for two, reverse chin-lock from Scott.


Tag to Rick, hammerlock is countered with a jaw-breaker from Doom 1. Doom 2 comes in with a fist-drop, massive clothesline from Doom 2. Rick is dropped across the top rope for a close two, Rick boots Doom 2 in the head and in comes Scott. Gourdbuster suplex from Scott, tag to Doom 1. Eye rake and headbutt from Doom 1 before Scott lands a massive German suplex, elbow drops from Scott for two. Snap-mare into a chin-lock, Doom 2 lands a cheap-shot from behind and allows Doom 1 to take control. Doom 2 climbs high, diving axe handle finds the mark. Scott is thrown to the floor and dropped across the guardrail, Doom 2 repeats the actions of Doom 1. Tag to Doom 1, Irish whip and double elbow to the face of Scott for a close two.


Reverse chin-lock from Doom 1, Scott escapes but cannot take control. Doom 2 stomps Scott and chokes Scott with the ropes. Doom 1 snaps the neck of Scott using the ropes before Scott is hurled to the apron by Doom 2. Doom 1 chokes Scott as Rick loses his cool at ringside, Scott is tossed over the top rope which would have been a DQ had the referee seen this manoeuvre. Doom 2 stomps all over Scott who is on the apron, Scott lands a slingshot sunset flip but Doom 2 survives and lands a neck-breaker for two. In comes Doom 1, Scott fights back and back but an eye rake slows down Scott. Powerslam from Doom 1 for two as Rick makes the save.


Double suplex to Scott, Doom 1 covers for two. In comes Doom 2 who clamps on a front chancery, Scott tries powering over to his corner. Doom 1 distracts the referee so that when Rick receives the tag, it’s missed. Spike piledriver on Scott, Doom 1 covers. 1..2.. Scott kicks out! Reverse chin-lock from Doom 1, Scott escapes and Rick has the tag. Back body-drop for Doom 2, more right hands and we have a Steinerline. One for Doom 1 too, Frankensteiner on Doom 1. Rick powerslams Doom 2, Woman is on the apron. Rick is distracted, Rick wants to suplex her. Woman puts something in the mask of Doom 2, a headbutt cracks Rick in the head and Doom pick up the win.


Doom is comprised of Ron Simmons and Butch Reed, this is an upgrade for Reed in my eyes who bored me when wrestling in 15-minute singles matches but here we have quite the fun match. Why? Because all these big bastards knock the stuffing out of one another, I have never seen so many dangerous German suplexes and belly to belly suplexes in one match, these guys are flying around the ring. Scott and Rick are so popular, only a matter of time before those tag team championships are around their waists but this was good stuff so I am happy to sink myself more into the feud of Rick Steiner vs Woman.


Winners: Doom over The Steiner Brothers via Headbutt with an Object!


(NWA United States Heavyweight Championship Match) Lex Luger © vs Flyin’ Brian Pillman

A bit too soon though? Flyin’ Brian Pillman has been a breathe of fresh air in WCW, racking up victories against many talents in the company but a shot at Lex Luger this early into his career? I am not too sure, Luger has been a revelation as a heel here, taking out Ricky Steamboat and becoming the smuggest man on the planet.


They lock-up, Luger pushes Pillman to the corner but Pillman escapes and Luger is not happy with this development. Another lock-up, Luger pushes back Pillman and knees the challenger. Big clubbing blows, Luger bounces Pillman off the buckle. Right hands from Luger, scoop slam from Luger. Luger taunts and slaps Pillman, Pillman comes back with a massive tackle. Chops and Luger is whipped to the buckle, back body-drop and a dropkick from the challenger. Baseball slide from Pillman, more chops from the challenger. Pillman looks for his finish, Luger powders wisely. Luger is running from the challenger, Luger fools Pillman and knees him in the head. Clubbing blows from the champion, choke using the top rope from The Total Package.


Right hands and boots from Luger, Pillman leapfrogs Luger and delivers a diving crossbody for two. Arm-drag into an arm-bar from the challenger, knees and clubbing blows from Luger to survive. Roundhouse rights from Luger, Pillman counters a hip-toss and delivers dropkicks followed by arm-drags into the arm-bar once again. Luger escapes again and clubs down Pillman, Irish whip and shoulder block from Luger. Another shoulder block, Pillman leapfrogs and lands a hip-toss followed by a dropkick and then an arm-bar. Pillman wrenches the arm, Luger is down to a knee. Luger escapes it again, Pillman lands a crucifix pin for two. Arm-drag into the arm-bar, Luger pushes back Pillman and clubs the challenger.


Pillman boots away an oncoming Luger, Pillman is on the top rope and Luger dodges the top rope splash. Luger drops Pillman across the top rope, massive clothesline from Luger. Luger stomps all over the head and neck of Pillman, massive suplex from Luger for two. Pillman ends up on the floor, apron sunset flip for two and Luger misses a clothesline and dives to the floor. Pillman wants ten punches in the corner but Luger counters with an inverted atomic drop, Pillman is propped up on the top rope. Luger cannot hit the superplex, siving sunset flip from Pillman for two, back body drop from Pillman and Air Pillman lands but Luger places his foot on the ropes. Neck-breaker from Pillman, Luger side-steps a missile dropkick and Luger lands a stun-gun for the win.


Very good match from these two, I like Pillman a lot but it was very soon into his run to have him in there with Luger so I don’t think anyone was thinking the championship would change hands. On top of that, Luger is over like rover despite being a heel. They work a very solid match here though, Luger bumps all over for Pillman’s offense and Pillman is very capable of making Luger look like a monster. Good back and forth with Pillman almost stealing it with a foot on the ropes, the missile dropkick spot was a little weird, didn’t look to me like Luger swatted away but the finish is solid as Luger did work the neck and done right, a stun-gun/hot-shot can look devastating.


Winner: Lex Luger over Brian Pillman via Hot-Shot!


The Road Warriors W/ Paul Ellering vs The Skyscrapers W/ Teddy Long

Did I say the previous tag match was meaty? Sweet Jesus, this is going to be stiff although the match quality might be significantly less interesting in this one. Spivey to start with Animal, forearms and lefts from Spivey before Animal clotheslines Spivey to the floor. Hawk comes in and works the arm, shots to the ribs before Spivey tries a shoulder block. They meet in the middle of the ring before Hawk lands a flying shoulder block to knock down Spivey. Sid comes in and gets a clothesline from Hawk, Sid works Hawk in the corner. Irish whip and Sid misses a splash, Hawk works the arm and tags in Animal. Double elbow, more shoulder blocks and no movement. Animal tees off on Sid and lands a flying shoulder tackle, how will this match end?


Hawk and Sid go into a test of strength, flip over from Hawk and a corner clothesline. Hawk gets beaten down as Sid and Spivey combine, Sid tosses Hawk around the ring helicopter style. Spivey comes in for a sidewalk slam for two, Hawk ducks the clothesline and slaughters Spivey but Hawk cannot capitalize and Sid drops Hawk on the guardrail. Suplex from Spivey, tag to Sid. Corner clotheslines and knees from Sid & Spivey, choke-hold from Sid. Spivey comes in and clotheslines Hawk, Hawk blocks the suplex and drills Spivey. The referee does not see the tag for Hawk so Animal cannot come in, Spivey lands a corner splash on Hawk. Hawk boots back Spivey, tag to Animal. Dropkick on Spivey, flying shoulder tackle. In comes Sid and we have a clubbing battle.


Sid clubs Animal, Spivey drills Hawk in the corner. Powerslam on Sid, Teddy Long drills Ellering with the key, Spivey and Sid batter The Road Warriors with the key, this match ends in a DQ before Hawk comes back and wipes out Spivey. Hawk batters Sid and Spivey with the key and this match is done.


Nowhere near offensive I thought it would be, very enjoyable with the big moves and the stand-offs. However, I would agree with the thoughts of Jim Cornette who has said it was a mistake to have The Road Warriors go up against other giants and big teams, Warriors did their best when in there with the likes of The Horsemen or The Midnight Express. The finish leaves up open for a rematch at Starrcade which is terrifying.


Winners: The Road Warriors over The Skyscrapers via DQ!


(Thunderdome Cage Match) Ric Flair & Sting W/ Ole Anderson vs The J-Tex Coporation W/ Gary Hart

Bruno Sammartino is your special guest referee and is over like rover which is great to see, a mountain of a man and a former WWF guy which is bizarre at the same time to see. So this will be the climax to the feud between Funk and Flair, an electrified steel cage match. Have I seen an electrified steel cage match before? Yes good ones and bad ones, there is the FMW bouts which were nuts and the TNA one which was infamous. Ric Flair and Sting continue to team together while Funk and Muta have formed an alliance. Funk and Flair have been fantastic together in the ring while Muta and Sting tore it up in their match, I am dying for a rematch.


The cage surrounds the ring, there are pieces of grass and twigs on the cage. We can see that the cage catches fire immediately which is a nice touch for realism and Muta puts out the fire with his mist. Flair and Funk begin, shoulder block by Funk but Flair shoots for the legs. Chops by Flair, Funk eats a shot from Sting. Funk collapses to the mat while Flair antagonizes Muta, Muta grabs Bruno and Bruno shoves off Muta. Flair slams Funk over and over before landing a chop, Funk is dropped to the floor. No use of the cage just yet, Muta checks on Funk. Flair hot-shots Funk, tag to The Stinger. Sting comes in with big rights, Funk is tossed to the floor. Funk is rammed into the cage and has his back raked, double clothesline to Funk.


Flair whips Funk across the ring and delivers another sickening chop, knee-drop for Funk and a slap to Muta. Muta attacks Flair, Sting makes the save. Flair continues to chop and drill Funk, Funk is punch-drunk. Tag to Sting who lands a dropkick, Funk gets mouthy with Bruno. Sting and Muta are in now, military press slam with Muta landing on Funk. Suplex on Muta, tag to Flair. Boots by Flair, snap-mare into a flurry of punches. Inverted atomic drop on Muta, knee-drop by Flair and a tag to Sting. Muta is knocked to the floor and shoved into the cage, everyone is brawling now but Muta catches Sting when re-entering the ring. Funk clubs down Sting, snap-mare and flashing elbow by Muta. Flair comes in and has his eyes raked by Muta. Funk chokes Sting on the floor, Muta lands a suplex in the ring.


Sting lands a nice bulldog on both Funk & Muta, both heels roll to the floor. Hot-shot from Sting, Funk breaks up a Scorpion Death-lock attempt. Funk and Bruno continue having words, Flair and Funk are brawling on the floor. Muta throws Sting to the floor, Ole Anderson cheers on Sting as we continue walking around the ring. Sting is walking away from Funk. Muta chokes the life out of Sting, Flair and Funk are brawling on the apron. Both men are climbing the cage, not sure how wise that is when it is electrified. Muta is climbing the cage, Sting is in pursuit of Muta who is on the cage. Muta gets electrocuted, everyone is brawling on the cage. Flair pulls down Funk, Muta has control of Sting in the ring. Flair and Funk are on top of the cage, how are they not getting electrocuted? Flair tangles up Funk in the cage while Sting presses Muta above his head.


Funk is still in the corner, Sting is in hot pursuit while Muta escapes Flair by hiding under the ring. Muta and Flair are chopping one another, belly to back suplex on Muta. Figure Four Leg-Lock on Muta, Gary Hart refuses to throw in the towel. Nice visual as we have Sting swinging across a rope to attack Funk, Muta slides into the ring behind Flair, Muta kicks Flair in the back of the head viciously. Indian Death-lock from Muta into The Muta-Lock! Sting is tied up in the cage, Sting cannot escape as Funk Piledrivers Flair. Sting cannot break free, Flair is choked by Funk & Muta. Sting finally breaks free, Sting is planning something crazy. Diving crossbody from Sting, chops to Muta. Funk is hobbling, his leg crushed by Sting’s crossbody which is perfect for The Nature Boy.


Flair begins working the leg that was crushed by the crossbody, massive shin-breaker to The Funker. Muta and Sting are climbing the cage high, no electricity here while Flair lands a knee-drop on the knee. Figure Four Leg-Lock is coming but Muta distracts Flair. Muta back-breakers Sting, Sting crotches Muta off-camera I believe as Flair slaps on The Figure Four on Funk. Sting is on the top rope, diving splash from Sting while Funk is in the Figure Four. Another splash on the chest of Funk, Bruno Sammartino wipes out Muta who tried taking him down. Ole Anderson decks Gary Hart and the towel flies out of his hand, Flair and Sting win the match!


Not as good as I hoped, I thought it was hokey at times. It is meant to be a barbaric cage match full of violence to end this feud but that never comes into really for me. We have a lot of Funk and Muta walking around the outside, being shoved into the cage etc but nothing of note there. The most interesting part of the match for me was Sting’s crossbody onto the knees of Funk coming into the finish, I thought it was really well done but apart from that, I felt it lacked the intensity of the other matches between Flair and Funk and this was not as exciting as Sting’s first match with Muta. Disappointing really when the electrified cage stipulation was pretty much abandoned when Funk and Sting etc were climbing to the top of the cage and nothing was happening.


Winners: Team Flair over Team Funk via Throwing In The Towel!


That was WCW’s Halloween Havoc 1989, a good show mostly from WCW. We kick things off in awful fashion with Rotunda in a singles match, I can’t stand the man and will curse him until the end of time but The Z-Man is not doing much for me either so it is not looking too good there. We switch to a be six-man tag match that kicks all sorts of ass and furthers the angle of tension between The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette. The match was 18 minutes long and I was never bored, end to end great stuff. We have Tommy Rich then, very boring match and I think Rich should not be in the company at the time. The tag team matches that follow are good, terrible for The Dudes that they are being booed but the match is decent while The Steiners vs Doom is just big men beating the shit out of each other which I can get behind, same thing with The Road Warriors match against The Skyscrapers but no complaints from me, both matches were an interesting watch. Pillman and Luger is probably the best match on the card, it was not amazing but a solid match with Luger and Pillman coming together to make something very fun while I viewed the main event as disappointing. A cage match should have been intense and bloody or at least have some seriousness/violence to it, I didn’t buy it here. Just felt like a prop that limited the performers instead of aiding them in creating a dramatic story for me to get sucked into. 1989 was such a strange year for the company but there were good things/signs that things could be fun, I am curious to see how they will play out so fingers crossed as we look to end 1989. Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

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