Rated R Reviews: NWA Halloween Havoc ’90 – 10/27/90
October 27, 1990
WCW declared that “Terror Rules the Ring” for this show, and they weren’t too far off. You don’t know true terror until you’ve seen the Renegade Warriors, the Master Blasters, and the Nasty Boys trying to actually work!
The Midnight Express . . . bids farewell to WCW with one, final, classic performance.
The Nasty Boys . . . show why they’re more known for street fights with Cactus Jack and Max Payne, than their regular tag matches.
Sid Vicious . . . puts on a better performance than the NWA World Champion.
RICKY MORTON/TOMMY RICH vs. BOBBY EATON/STAN LANE
It’s pretty fitting that the swan song of the one the greatest tag teams of all time, the Midnight Express, comes at the hands of someone they’d abused for years on end, Ricky Morton. The match itself goes pretty much how you’d expect it to, with Ricky Morton assuming the position and the Midnights doing a respectable job of dismantling him. There’s some funny comedy stuff before that to tease some dissension in the ranks, such as Eaton monkey flipping Lane, and Eaton running into Cornette (with a huge bump from Jim).
Once it’s time to settle down and start beating on Ricky, everything flows perfectly. The Midnights hold up their end with some killer spots, like the Rocket Launcher on the ramp, as well as smartly cutting off Morton from making any sort of comeback, and Morton’s selling is awesome as always. Shortly after the Rocket Launcher spot, Eaton drops the Alabama Jam and is smart enough to just celebrate to give Morton time to come back to life rather than making the quick cover and having him kick out. Morton makes the improbable comeback by getting up knees on another Rocket Launcher and tags in Rich. The match breaks down with Cornette using the racket and then the Southern Boys causing a distraction to let Rich use the racket on Lane to give the Southern Rock Express the win. The only real knock on this match is Rich, he’s not bad, but he’s no Robert Gibson. Farewell, Midnights, thanks for the memories. ***1/4
TERRY TAYLOR vs. BILL IRWIN
The Red Rooster versus the Goon! Why does this go eleven minutes? Hell, why does this go more than four minutes? What’s so great about 1990 Bill Irwin that the world needed to see? Irwin does bust out a tombstone piledriver (even called as such by Dangerously, a month before Undertaker’s debut), and throws a few decent looking strikes, but he’s your average generic heel. Taylor at least has some charisma, but he’s not much better since Irwin is carrying most of the offense. The one great touch from Taylor is an atomic drop, and then holding onto Irwin for a bridging backdrop. The announcers, well mostly Paul, try to put over the idea of Taylor’s neck being really worn down, but there’s nothing from Taylor to give that impression. Taylor winds up winning on a flash cradle when he crucifixes Irwin out of his arrogant cover. Yes, Taylor needed a fluke win to beat BILL IRWIN!
BRAD ARMSTONG vs. J.W. STORM
This was during Brad’s “Candyman” gimmick. Unfortuantely, the gimmick had nothing to do with saying his name five times while looking in the mirror. That would pretty awesome if you said his name five times in a mirror and Brad Armstrong appeared and worked your local Indy show. Storm is big and jacked, but Brad is a better wrestler, which makes all the difference. Storm badly botches an O’Connor roll, and Brad is right there to pick up the pieces with an inside cradle to win. Storm honestly isn’t horrible in any other sense, aside from the O’Connor roll and the dropkick, his work looks fine, and he adds a smart touch with a hotshot Brad to stop Brad from breaking his bearhug.
MASTER BLASTER BLADE/MASTER BLASTER STEEL vs. TRACY SMOTHERS/STEVE ARMSTRONG
If not for Cornette’s interference to play off the earlier angle, this wouldn’t be worth mentioning. The Master Blasters are just low-rent Road Warrior clones, without any of the things that made Hawk and Animal fun to watch. They knock Steve and Tracy around for a while, and then the Southern Boys double team to make a comeback and hit their finisher. Cornette interferes and the muscleheads win.
MICHAEL HAYES/JIMMY GARVIN vs. MARK YOUNGBLOOD/CHRIS YOUNGBLOOD
How much do the Youngblood bros suck? The only reason this is even slightly watchable is because of Hayes and Garvin! How much do the Youngblood bros suck? The fans chant for the DDT and start booing when Mark Youngblood counters it. After eighteen minutes that feel more like eighty, Hayes hits the DDT (to a monster babyface pop) and ends the suffering.
RICK STEINER/SCOTT STEINER © vs. BRIAN KNOBBS/JERRY SAGGS (NWA United States Tag Team Titles)
The huge brawl that kicks this off makes the match look like it has some promise, but then the Nasty Boys try actually working, rather than just brawling, and that’s the end of the fun. I appreciate that they put some thought into the control segment by targeting Scott’s back, but both Kobbs and Saggs are so dull that they almost kill the crowd that had been red-hot at the beginning of the match. Instead of using technically sound, but heatless rest holds, they should have just used their fists and put the boots to him, along with their couple of good spots like the spike piledriver and the bodyslam on the floor. Scott finally makes the hot tag to Rick and the match breaks down as usual leading to the Steiners winning after the Frankensteiner. All things considered, WCW should have just booked this as a Chicago street fight.
JUNKYARD DOG vs. MOONDOG REX
The only reason this seems to be on the card is to give Dangerously an excuse to spout off a bunch of dog metaphors. JYD and Rex cram a decent amount of stuff into the three minutes they’re given, but this is too short to accomplish anything, other than establishing JYD’s hard head. JYD hits himself with a chair when Rex brings it in, and when the ref stops Rex from using his bone JYD headbutts him for the win.
BUTCH REED/RON SIMMONS © vs. RIC FLAIR/ARN ANDERSON (NWA World Tag Team Titles)
Here’s some nice irony, the prior tag titles match seemed to have the tools to be successful, but fell short of expectations. This seems to have “train wreck” written all over it, but it winds up stealing the show. There’s nothing terribly surprising here, aside from Doom’s selling. Most wouldn’t equate Reed and Simmons with good selling, but they’re both really good here. This is a classic case of power versus technique, with Doom being able to knock around Flair and Arn with ease, with the exaggerated bumping and selling that you’d expect, and when Simmons becomes the defacto babyface in peril, the Horsemen are as ruthless as you’d expect and Simmons actually winds up being a very sympathetic babyface in peril.
It also helps that everything here is really fluid and smooth, it’s a million miles away from Simmons’ APA work where he only needed to do his spinebuster and say “Damn!” There’s a great spot where Anderson looks for a piledriver and Reed comes off with his shoulderblock, it could have easily looked ugly, but looks perfect. The Horsemen get their own chance to steal the win a few minutes later when Double A slips out the back door and hits a picture perfect DDT for a near fall. The DCOR booking is the only real knock on the match, but even that lends itself to the anticipation of a rematch. ***3/4
LEX LUGER © vs. STAN HANSEN (NWA United States Heavyweight Title)
Here’s a case where the famous Terry Funk quote is applicable, “Every match is a great match, until it begins.” This was during the time when Luger was pretty good, and he’s in there with Stan Fucking Hansen. How can this not be good? Well, Luger may have been pretty good, but he wasn’t much of a brawler, despite Hansen’s selling and bumping. Hansen even does his big turnbuckle bump where he falls to the floor. The one nice touch is Hansen signaling for the lariat, and Luger beating him to the punch, and that’s followed by the Spivey run in, which accomplished nothing. It didn’t lead to any dissension between Hansen and Spivey, or set up Spivey as an obstacle for Luger to go through to get back to Hansen (Spivey didn’t even come back to WCW until the next PPV, where he and Sid reunited as the Skyscrapers for one night only). It doesn’t even cause a decent near fall for Hansen. Hansen finally catches Lex with the lariat a minute later, without Spivey’s help, and it’s pretty ugly since Lex wasn’t used to bumping the way the AJPW boys would have bumped for it.
STING © vs. SID VICIOUS (NWA World Heavyweight Title)
This match is probably best known for the Windham switch and the fake title change, and credit where its due, it is pretty clever. Compared to Sting, Sid actually looks pretty good, he’s no Kawada or anything, but he sells decently when he gets a chance to. The best moment in that regard is Sid’s shoulder bump into the post and Sting following up with an armbar. Sid also has a knack for some good, smart, spots to cut off Sting’s comeback attempts, such as the lariat and also getting a boot up to halt a charge. Sid wasn’t used to working non-squashes and it shows here, with his reliance on heatless rest holds to fill the time. Sid is still miles better than Sting, who favors blowing off some big spots to hit big moves. The first spot of the match is Sid catching Sting with a backbreaker, and Sting jumps to his feet to restart the action. Later on, Sid blocks a sunset flip with a big punch, and Sting acts like it never happened, and toward the end Sid body slams Sting on the apron, and Sting follows up with a charge down the ramp and a big dive into the ring to lariat Sid.
Flair and Anderson run interference and a painted up Windham pulls the switch and everyone thinks Sid’s won the title (to a surprisingly positive reaction). Then, the real Sting shows up and clocks Sid with the belt (in front of the ref) and gets a quick pin to send the little Stingers home happy. They’re happy that their hero won, I’d have been happy if he wasn’t outperformed by Sid.
The 411: A couple of good tag team outings save this from being a complete waste, but even with the majority of the garbage edited off for the commercial release (Irwin/Taylor, Brad/Storm, Master Blasters, JYD/Rex, and about six minutes cut from the Youngbloods) I still can't recommend this show as a whole.
|Final Score: 5.0 [ Not So Good ] legend|