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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Halloween Havoc ’89: Settling the Score

November 18, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Halloween Havoc ’89: Settling the Score  

Halloween Havoc ’89: Settling the Score
by J.D. Dunn

  • October 28, 1989
  • Live from Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Bob Caudle.

  • Opening Match: Mike Rotundo vs. Tom Zenk.
    Zenk had just come over from AWA, which was dying anyway, so he’s the hot new thing. Rotundo was treading water after the Varsity Club failed to set the world on fire as tag team champions. Zenk uses his quickness early, avoiding an elbowdrop and dropkicking Rotundo to the floor. Zenk targets the arm, but Rotundo grounds him with a headscissors (and a handful of ropes). Zenk charges wildly but gets tossed. That leads to the rope-assisted abdominal stretch and a chinlock. Eventually, Rotundo hits a crossbody, but Zenk rolls through for the pin at 13:23. Pretty boring as a match, but it got its point over with the plucky Zenk overcoming the experience and treachery of the veteran Rotundo. **

  • Six-Man Tag: The Midnight Express & Steve Williams vs. The Samoan SWAT Team & The Samoan Savage (w/Oliver Humperdink).
    The Samoan Savage is Tama from the Islanders. I don’t even remember exactly why Humperdink is managing them, only that they’re on loan from Paul E. Dangerously. It nearly breaks down several times, but Tommy Young keeps restoring order. When they do get a one-on-one, it’s a pretty damned stiff match for those who like that kind of thing. Eaton gets tossed and crotched on the ring barricade to the “oohs” of the audience. Fatu hiptosses Eaton on the concrete, and the Samoans take over. Eaton blocks a pump splash and gets the hot tag to Dr. Death. He cleans house and tosses one Samoan on the other two. Big powerslam to the Savage, but the other Samoans make the save. Lane and the Savage do the worst neckbreaker ever, and Lane hits an enzuigiri. Humperdink tries to get involved and gets popped by Cornette. Lane stops to find out what’s going on and gets knocked into Cornette. The Savage winds up on top for the win at 18:20. This would be the catalyst for tension between Corny and the Midnights. The match was brisk, stiff, and it never got boring. ***

  • Gary Hart insists that there is no quitting in J-Tex, so they cannot possibly lose. Terry Funk says much the same thing only more colorfully.
  • Tommy Rich vs. The Cuban Assassin.
    Ugh. Rich is about 10 years past his prime (which was, btw, his rookie year). Cuban Assassin (Fidel Sierra) never had one. The Philly fans hate Rich with a passion. After eight boring minutes, Rich pins the Assassin with the Dick to the Mouth (8:26). 1/4*

  • The Freebirds have words for the Dynamic Dudes.
  • NWA World Tag Team Titles: The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Dynamic Dudes (w/Jim Cornette).
    The babyface Dudes nearly get booed out of the building. The control for nearly eight minutes, working in Midnight Express-ish maneuvers with middling execution. The fans are just getting more and more pissed by the second. Finally, Hayes suckerpunches Ace off an O’Connor Roll and gets the biggest face pop of the match. The announcers finally just start acknowledging how over the Freebirds are. Ace blocks the DDT and tags out. The Dudes clean house, but when they go for the Wipeout (slingshot backdrop suplex), Garvin yanks Ace’s feet out from under him. Hayes falls on top for the win and a huge face pop at 11:27. Interesting for the crowd reactions, but that’s about it. **

  • The Steiners vs. Doom (w/Woman).
    This is Doom’s PPV debut. Gee, who could they be? Nancy Benoit is managing them at this point. She first started appearing in the crowd as a huge Steiner fan named “Robin Greene.” The Steiners liked her so much that they brought her on as a valet, but their manager Missy Hyatt got jealous. Robin got upset and went to Kevin Sullivan (her real-life husband and perennial Steiner rival). Sullivan found Ron Simmons and Butch Reed… erm, these two black guys under masks, and gave them to her as a gift. This is not a good debut in terms of wrestling quality, but they do look like total badasses that can match power with the Steiners. Scott hits the Frankensteiner and takes Doom #1 to the floor. That leaves Rick to powerslam Doom #2. Woman sneaks up and loads up Doom #2’s mask. That allows Doom #2 to headbutt Rick for the win at 15:33. Doom took a little time to gel, but they were a fine team after that. *3/4

  • Lex Luger says he’ll be champion as long as he wants to be.
  • U.S. Title: Lex Luger vs. Brian Pillman.
    Pillman escapes a couple of tie-up attempts and mocks Luger. It’s hard to pull off a cocky babyface act, but Pillman does it nicely. Luger gets cocky and tries to toss Pillman, so Pillman darts back in and spears him. A dropkick sends Luger to the floor, and Pillman chases him around the ring. Back in, Pillman grabs a wristlock for a bit. Luger whips him to the corner, but Pillman blocks his charge with a boot. The Superfly Splash misses for Pillman, and Luger takes over. A lariat to the back of Brian’s head knocks him for a flip, and Luger gets a big face pop (in Philly). Pillman comes back with a sunset flip and ducks a clothesline, sending Luger to the floor. Pillman hits a springboard clothesline, but Luger is in the ropes. D’oh! Pillman goes up and MISSES a missile dropkick! Pillman goes for a crossbody off the ropes, but Luger catches him in a Stun Gun for the win at 16:49. Good stuff. You’d think of it as a “big man vs. little man” match, but these two didn’t look that far off from each other in style and strength. 1989 was a great year for the Luge. ***1/2

  • Elsewhere, The Road Warriors talk about being underdogs to the Skyscrapers.
  • The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. The Skyscrapers (w/Teddy Long).
    The Skyscrapers are Sid Vicious and Danny Spivey. Ross notes that the Warriors were the first to paint their faces, but I’m think Kabuki pre-dated them. Lots of no-selling early, which makes sense in this context. Everyone slugs it out. Finally, Vicious goes down off a flying shoulderblock. He redeems himself by overpowering Hawk during a test of strength. Hawk powers up and monkey flips him, though. Sid kips up and delivers a Helicopter Bomb. A sideslam gets two for Spivey. Spivey dropkicks Hawk to the floor, and Sid drops him on the railing to turn Hawk into the face-in-peril. The match grinds down after that as the Skyscrapers aren’t exactly offensive powderkegs. Animal gets the hot tag and cleans house on Spivey, but he turns and goes face-to-face with Vicious. Huge pop for that. The managers both hop in, and Teddy Long uses the Golden Key to knock out Ellering. The ref sees the key being used and disqualifies the Scrapers at 11:38. Call me crazy, but I kinda liked it. Sometimes you just want to see musclebound men pound each other. And sometimes you just want to do things that sound less gay… not that there’s anything wrong with that. **1/4

  • Thunderdome Cage Match: Ric Flair & Sting (w/Ole Anderson) vs. Terry Funk & Muta (w/Gary Hart).
    Cool moment to start as a piece of decorative canvas catches fire “from the electrified cage,” and Muta mists it out. Only Muta can prevent forest fires. Bruno Sammartino is your guest referee. The only way the match can end is if the second throws the towel in. Not really recappable early on. Funk acts like a maniac. Flair uses all his heel tricks, but he’s using them on the heels, so he gets pops for them throughout. Sting tries to shove Muta *through* the cage, but he winds up playing face-in-peril. Flair chases Funk up the cage and chops him while he’s hanging from the top of the cage. Funk falls back into whatever you’d call the tree-of-woe on a cage. Flair chops the snot out of him (literally, as we see from a close-up). Muta disappears under the ring for no reason – and he’s the sane one on the team. Great spot as Flair locks in the figure-four on Muta and Sting swings from a rope into a dropkick on Funk. Sting tries it again but crotches himself, and Funk ties him to the cage. Muta busts out the MUTALOCK~! on Flair. Ole helps Sting get free, and he dives off the high part of the cage onto Funk. Funk appears to hurt his knee, which just gives Flair a target. He hits a kneebreaker. Muta goes up for the moonsault, but Sting crotches him and shoves him to the floor. FIGURE-FOUR ON FUNK! Sting comes off the top with a splash on Funk. And another. Muta tries to attack Bruno and gets knocked back out. Gary Hart jumps up on the apron to object, so Ole pastes him with a right to the jaw causing Hart to drop the towel. Bruno takes that as a submission at 22:02. Not a classic, especially when compared to many of the great 1989 main events, but it’s a fine match that both brought the months-long feud between Flair and Funk to a head and set up Sting’s later title run. ***1/4
  • The 411: An incredible 1989 was starting to wind down and would eventually go out like a lamb with the pointless Starrcade '89. The sheer number of tag matches show that they were starting to put more emphasis on that aspect of the show, and that would continue on through 1990. The main event is pretty good, the Luger/Pillman match is a show-stealer, and the six-man is incredibly hot. That makes this one a recommendation, despite some crap low on the card.

    Thumbs up.

    Final Score:  7.0   [ Good ]  legend

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