Growing up in October was always one of my favorite months. October consisted of my birthday and Halloween. Who doesn’t love horror movies and candy? It also contained one of my favorite Pay Per Views, WCW’s Halloween Havoc. WCW always tried to have some kooky match with some weird stipulation to try and make the PPV scarier.
Who doesn’t remember the “Chamber of Horrors” match where Abdullah the Butcher was put in the electric chair and electrocuted by Cactus Jack. Or the “Coal Miner’s Glove” match between Sting and Jake Roberts. Some of the ideals worked and some fell flat on their face, but at least they tried something different to get people interested.
For me, 1989’s Halloween Havoc was the PPV that I was most excited for. It stands as my favorite PPV of all time, and has my favorite match of all time, the Thunderdome cage match with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Sting against The Great Muta and Terry Funk. For the youngsters and those of you who have not sat down and watched this classic, here is my review.
The purpose behind Halloween Havoc was to give WCW/NWA a fourth PPV to battle with WWE’s four yearly PPV’s. WWE had Survivor Series in November at Thanksgiving, and WCW took Halloween. Several matches on the card have absolutely no build up, they are thrown together to get one person over.
One more note: There is some slight differences between the home video release, and the one on the WWE network. Several of the matches on the home video release have been edited to fit on the 2-hour VHS. On the network, the majority of the entrance music has been changed because they did not own the rights, but the matches are complete.
On commentary is Jim Ross and Bob Caudle. If you want to hear how a match should be called, listen to Ross. He is at the top of his game, and no-one tells a story better. Caudle has a calm demeanor and does a good job playing off of Ross.
Tom Zenk vs. Mike Rotunda
This match is put on the card to help build Tom Zenk. Zenk was new to WCW while Rotunda has been there for several years, and worked as Television Champion and World Tag Team Champion. Rotunda is a wrestling machine, he stretches and lays on Zenk for the majority of the 13 minute match.
The Samoan Swat Team vs. The Midnight Express and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams
This is the blow off from The Great American Bash: War Games match. Any match that the Midnights are is is going to be great, as they are two of the best workers ever. The SST fire dance to go along with Halloween music is an awesome entrance. They are underrated workers as well.
The match is back and forth for the first half, with the midnights and William’s with the upper hand. The SST gets the advantage when they work over “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton. Eaton is a great worker and is one of the best sellers in the business. He also has one of the best working punches. Listen in as he smacks the SST with it. When Williams hits the ring late in the match the crowd explodes and is fully behind him. The match has a solid ending, and should have continued a solid feud between the two groups, but it ended with this match.
Tommy Rich vs. the Cuban Assassin
This may be the worst match on the card. Rich was a former NWA Heavyweight Champion who was trying to find his niche in the company, and The Cuban Assassin, a solid worker, but mostly used as a glorified jobber. This one is a slow paced match with Rich using one of the least believable finishers to get the win: The Thez Press.
The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Fabulous Freebirds for the World Tag Team Championship
The Dynamic Dudes came in under the tutelage of Jim Cornette. They are billed from the sunshine state and carry skateboards, but neither are from California or can ride a skateboard. Coming in they are supposed to be the fan favorite, but mostly it is the smaller kids cheering for them and the Freebirds get the majority of the pops.
The match goes back and forth with the Dudes getting the advantage early on, even though there is several botched moves. The turn comes when Hayes delivers the best left in the business. In the end, The Freebirds teamwork wins out. The chemistry between the two teams is not there, you can tell Douglas is young and green, but eventually becomes one of the best in the business.
Doom (w/ Woman) vs. The Steiner Brothers
The lead up to this match is one of the better story lines. Rick Steiner had met a lady, Robin Green, and started going out with her. She eventually turns on the Steiner Brothers, making them lose their chance at tag team gold. The lady now called Woman, brings in the mystery team to get her revenge on the Steiners.
Both members of Doom are physically imposing and the two teams have a physical back and forth match. The fans love the Steiners and erupt when Rick deliverers each Steiner-line. The Steiners have the advantage and are about to get the win, when Woman cheats to help give Doom the win. This is just the first match in a long line of matches between the two.
Brian Pillman vs. Lex Luger for the United Stated Championship
Brian Pillman is the underdog coming into this match, weighing 225lbs compared to Luger’s 275. This is one of the few matches that have been successful when putting two fan favorites against each other. Pillman has an energy about him and for only being in the wrestling business for two years at this point, he looks very seasoned.
Luger on the other hand seems rougher around the edges and does not sell like a veteran should. Pillman grounds Luger for the majority of the match and is brutal with his chops. but Most of the match it seems like it is going to be the night for Pillman to take home the gold, but one mistake causes Pillman to lose his momentum and allows Luger to retain.
The Road Warriors vs. The Skyscrapers
The Skyscrapers come in undefeated, and have hardly been taken off their feet. Sid Vicious and Dan Spivey are a physically imposing duo and tower over both of the Road Warriors.
As soon as Iron Man starts and The Road Warriors rise up from the depths, the chill bumps start to rise. Once the Warriors hit the ring, the crowd pops for Hawk and Animal and there is nothing else like it.
The match is a physical, back and forth one between the two teams. There are times that the Skyscrapers throw the LOD around like rag dolls, really showing their strength. The Road Warriors also work well together, something that I think is often overlooked.
The match sets up what should have been a long running feud between the two teams, and it would have been if not for Sid getting injured later in the year at Clash of the Champions.
Ric Flair and Sting (with Ole Anderson) vs. The Great Muta and Terry Funk (with Gary Hart)
All four are in tremendous shape, and I don’t know if I have ever seen Funk look so good. The hatred between Flair and Funk really shows through and when they look at each other you can see the disdain in their eyes. If you want to watch the setup for this match, watch the previous two PPV’s and the Clash of the Champions VIII where Funk attacks Flair and ties a plastic bag over his head.
The match starts out as a normal Tag match and eventually turns into a Texas Tornado Tag, where all four men are in the ring at the same time. Action goes all over the place. In and out of the ring, up on the side , and high at the top of the cage. The most exciting part of the match is when Sting jumps from high up in the corner of the cage and comes down on Funk. I still feel myself getting excited when he leaps across the ring. Funk really sells like he is being brutalized. All four men give an outstanding match, and the finish is one that builds up all four wrestlers and puts the feud on another level. If you want to see the finish of the Funk/Flair feud watch Clash of the Champions IX and the “I Quit” match between the two.
I hope this peaks your interest enough to give it a watch. It still brings enjoyment to me every time I see it