Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Scott Watches Halloween Havoc '90

October 27, 1990 from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago-town. This show has no silly nickname. It just is Halloween Havoc '90. That's different. Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously are hosting, and this is the year they start doing all the get-ups. TONIGHT! Oh, they don't tell us. Skipped on the commercial release: Terry Taylor beat Bill Irwin, Brad Armstrong beat J.W. Storm, The Master Blasters beat The Southern Boys, Junkyard Dog outlasted Moondog Rex (3:15).

Tony Schiavone (Phantom of the Opera) is with Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich. Robert Gibson is hurt, so Wildfire is filling in. To the ring!

Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich v. The Midnight Express

Morton is sporting a strange-looking ponytail and Rich has his hair slicked back because he apparently hates that awful haircut they made him get after sporting that tremendous bowl fringe for a while. The Midnights have, in my view, been in the three best matches of 1990 so far. Maybe when I get done with 1990 I'll put up my top tens for the first three years of this up. I would again mention that I didn't watch Bunkhouse Stampede, but whatever. Flair-Hawk was pretty good. Yay. The 1989 list is fun, since it's composed of four guys for the top seven. Morton really looks like he's heavier than last time out, but he probably isn't. I think it's just that goddamnedable ponytail and some new pants. Wildfire is wearing his stonewashed-looking trunks. Eaton and Morton start. They do a really fun rope-running sequence where Morton bounces all over the damn place. Stan Lane jumps over the top rope to the floor at Morton with a kick, which as best I can tell doesn't connect, but hey. Cornette pops Morton with the racket a minute after someone at the desk opens either a beer or a soda can. Morton gets slammed on the ramp, and the Midnights ROCKET LAUNCH TO THE RAMP. Fuck yeah!

Oh by the way, Tommy Rich hasn't been in this match yet. Sweet Stane mocks Morton with a little dance. Eaton hits a Diamond Cutter on Morton after a blind tag. This is an extreme version of Playing Ricky Morton by Ricky Morton. Tide can turn when Eaton runs into the post outside, and Morton gets a Frankensteiner on the floor (since it's not Scott Steiner, Ross calls it a Japanese headscissor). But the tide doesn't turn, because Jim Cornette is a smart man and gets a kick in on Morton to slow him down. Eaton gets the Alabama Jam back in the ring, but hesitates and doesn't pin him. He wants the referee to count ten. Here comes Stan with his redneck karate. And Tommy Rich still has not been in this match. I bet Tommy found this to be a tremendous night's work. Paid to stand on the apron on pay-per-view. Morton starts firing back on Lane with right hands, but can't get clear for a tag. Rocket Launcher coming, but Morton gets the knees up. Tommy gets the hot tag, and it's punches and bodyslams and a Thesz press broken up for two. Rich gets to the top, but Cornette cracks him with the racket. Then the Southern Boys, with Cornette outfits and tennis rackets, hit ringside. Rich uses Cornette's racket on Lane -- 1, 2, 3. This was it for the Midnight Express. Cornette and Lane would head out of town, while Bobby Eaton stayed forever.

Tony is with Sting, who faces Sid Vicious later tonight. This is a great, great promo. "I just don't want Sid to make the mistake of lettin' his BUTT overload his you-know-what, his MOUTH, his MOUTH overloadin' his you-know-what, YEAH! I'm excited..." Anyway, here comes the Black Scorpion with his incredible voice. Apparently while he runs around, he talks really slowly. Then he makes some girl disappear. Or actually she doesn't. Sting is being held back by referees. I don't know why. Fantastic. Ross and Paul E. have ditched their retarded outfits. Tony has not. Let's move on.

The Fabulous Freebirds v. The Renegade Warriors

Al-RIGHT! This'll be AWESOME! Chris and Mark Youngblood and the 1990 Freebirds, who have gone back to super-gayness. Jimmy Garvin looks so fat in the face here it's crazy. This is the period where Rocky King was Little Richard Marley. Did You Know? Today, Chris Youngblood runs Renegade Outlaw Wrestling in Texas. Mark retired in '99 but came back in 2006 for ONE NIGHT ONLY. He won a belt. People like doing that in indy wrestling. All vacating belts all the time. The Freebirds are going ultra gay trying to get heel heat, but the Youngbloods are so incredibly not over that it doesn't really matter. They're trying to put the Freebirds over on commentary as killers who injured Robert Gibson and Allen Iron Eagle. Crowd's first real reaction takes a while and it's a big "DDT" chant for the Freebirds. Hayes tries to go into a chinlock to kill off some of the crowd, but it doesn't work. Then GMC tells us that 15 minutes has gone by in this 20-minute time limit. Hayes sets for the DDT, but Chris backdrops him and takes the crowd back out of it. Boy. This SUCKS. Back to another chinlock from Hayes. I think GMC jumped the gun on saying 15 minutes had gone by because this is going what feels like forever after that. So the other Youngblood gets the "hot" tag, and there he goes. Tomahawk chops and all. This match is dying out there. They do the 10-count punches to zero reaction, and now Little Richard is in there, but nothing really comes of it other than the Freebirds get to cheat and Hayes DDTs a Youngblood to the delight of everyone, and this thing finally ends.

Tony is with the Horsemen, except for Barry Windham. Since Barry is absent, Tony joins the group.

Arn does his best to hype up the match with him and Flair against Doom "with no good guy, bad guy scenario." Then Sid screams.

NWA United States Tag Team Title: The Steiner Brothers (c) v. The Nasty Boys

I can't say as though I recommend Google Image searching "nasty boys" if you don't have the SafeSearch filter on. This starts in a pier-six brawl. Saggs hits Scott with a chair, but Scott comes back to hit a super belly-to-belly on him. Knobbs and Rick battle at ringside. This doesn't settle down for a while, as Scotty hits the double-underhook power bomb on Saggs, who then is victim to the insane double team flying bulldog. Knobbs cracks Scott with a chair as the referee's back is turned. Now the Nastys take over. Rick runs in to Steinerline Knobbs, but then tries to follow it with another and propels himself to the floor. Spike piledriver from the Nasty Boys, but they screw up with Knobbs still in the ring, and for the third time a steel chair comes into play, as Rick hits Saggs. A busted open Saggs gets a Boston Crab on Scott, who powers out but Knobbs comes in on him. Rick finally gets the hot tag and it's Steinerlines for all, and a belly-to-belly on Knobbs. Rick gets a flying double clothesline from the top, half of it to the back of Saggs' head. And this is a broken-down brawl again. Scott takes a slam on the floor. Knobbs takes a nasty Frankensteiner for the pin. Really good match, and very different for the time. Nasty Boys attack after the match. "This feud will never end!" exclaims Ross. Actually this feud pretty much ends here, as the Nasty Boys have one more appearance on a major WCW show (the next Clash) before they leave for the WWF.

Tony talks to Scott Steiner, whose promo skills aren't so great. A concession worker attacks Steiner, but oh ho ho it's the Nasty Boys. Knobbs screams.

NWA World Tag Team Title: Doom (c) v. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson

Despite their years being paired together in groups, the big-match Flair/Arn tag team is rare enough that it's still a cool little novelty. Arn and Ron start it out, and Arn has to be cagey because despite generally having been regarded as the power guy in tandems with Tully or even Ole, he's treating Doom like they're the Road Warriors, which just makes Doom look good. Arn wants Butch Reed, and Butch Reed wants the Nature Boy. Flair's just going to be himself, and by 1990 that means plenty of fans are going to cheer for him. Because he's Ric Flair, and this is just Butch Reed. Nobody's really playing babyface, and this match early on seems unusually like two teams trying to show up the other more than anything. I should also mention that, as they always were (including on Raw), Ross and Paul E. are a tremendous commentary team. Both had knowledge, used it, and played off each other wonderfully. With Heyman, Ross has someone who can really hang with him, and Heyman has someone credible enough to punk him here and there and keep things rolling. They make the famous Ross/Lawler combination look pathetic in comparison. Horsemen take over with veteran presence, and Simmons takes the spinebuster from Arn, but kicks out with authority.

orsemen dominating a lot of this one thanks to their brainy tactical prowess. They're making Doom look like a couple of guys who while powerful just ain't got it upstairs yet, and can't hang with Arn and the Nature Boy when it gets past the physical. Flair has to save a pin after Reed shoulderblocks Arn from the top, and then ARN GETS THE DDT! That was perfectly timed stuff. Now they go into the near-fall fest and everybody has a good old goddamned time. Everyone hits the floor to brawl, so check your watches. Aaaand that's the double countout. Great match and what can you really expect in a match where they don't want anyone to lose momentum?

Backstage, Stan Hansen is holding a little pumpkin and shouting. He spits on it.

NWA United States Title: Lex Luger (c) v. Stan Hansen

You know, I think if I'd had my druthers, and I were over 8 years old in 1990, they would've done a Sting-Hansen feud for a little while, sort of like they did with Flair-Funk in '89. They had no one else, so bring in a crazy fuck Texan to spice things up for a few months as a madman threat to the world's heavyweight champion. Instead they brought in Hansen to work Luger, who to be fair also needed the help, and Sting, I guess, is more likely to get something good out of Sid than Luger, as Luger-Sid could have been some atrocious stuff. Hansen isn't at his best by 1990, but he's still pretty good and so unorthodox that his flaws are forgivable since he's so much different than the WCW roster. He comes off as a legitimate dangerous brawler, like Funk did in '89, but of course not to the same degree. Hansen going with Luger is old school power against new school power, rugged Texan blind badass against muscle studd with little sherbet-colored tights. After a lot of punch-kick, fucking Dan Spivey comes down to ringside and tosses Hansen the cowbell. With the ref out, Hansen misses the bell shot, and Luger faceplants him. So the bell is just hangin' out in the ring as the referee comes to, and Hansen drops Luger with the lariat - 1, 2, 3, and Luger's record U.S. title run is over. Had to do something with Luger at this point, and this was as good as anything else they might have done.

Tony is with Teddy Long. Long drops a "homey don't play that" into his promo where he says that Doom don't have to wrestle the Horsemen no more. Now at ringside, JR and Paul are joined by Missy Hyatt and her ridiculous face.

NWA World Heavyweight Title: Sting (c) v. Sid Vicious

Gary says that this has a one-hour time limit. Don't you threaten me, Gary. Sid is way beyond not ready for a world title main event at a pay-per-view event, but they do their best in there. The big moment that's supposed to make me believe in Sid comes when he moves out of the way of the Stinger Splash, which proves he's got Sting well-scouted. The geek in pink pants jumped at him. Then Sid makes an idiot of himself by posing long enough to allow Sting to climb up and get a flying crossbody, but Sid is so awesome he kicks out at ONE. Sid keeps doing this nerve hold. It sucks. JR is pressing Sting as a "fighting champion" even though this is just his second major title defense, and the first one was a bullshit match against the fake Black Scorpion. You've gotta give it to JR and Dangerously here. They're really hard-selling this thing and calling it about as well as possible, when you know that these guys are sitting there aware that this is not up to the standards of the NWA world's heavyweight championship. Years and years of Ric Flair, which followed years of Harley Race (with some assholes thrown in here and there), and now we've got Sting against Sid. I'm certainly not saying that Flair and Race didn't have some crap matches occasionally, but blah blah blah, you know what I'm getting at. Anyway the Horsemen (Flair and Arn) come to ringside, while Sid and Sting disappear backstage. Then Sid pins Sting when they come back. Some people are happy, some people are confused, one guy is talking into a tape recorder. Fireworks go off. But then another Sting comes back with a rope tied around him, as balloons fall, and Sting gets the Stinger splash and the cradle for three, so Sting retains. Retarded, ridiculous overbooking. Not only was Sting contending with the fuckin' Black Scorpion, but then he had to put up with this shit, too.

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