(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
October 25, 1992
Philadelphia Civic Center
It has only been a couple of months since the Great American Bash, but quite a lot has changed in the landscape of WCW. Ron Simmons defeated Vader in a stunning upset to become the first African-American World Champion. The title change happened at a TV taping in Baltimore, which is typical Bill Watts. It took place in the middle of the taping and later aired on Main Event. (I’m starting to think Watts doesn’t care as much about the WCW Title as other titles. It can’t even main event a TV taping.) The win was historic and the crowd reaction was incredible, but WCW didn’t seem to have much planned for afterward. Who would WCW choose to be Simmons’ first challenger? Would they have him face Vader in a rematch? No, that would make sense, so they went in a different direction. They chose the Barbarian, who had returned to the company. They gave Barbarian Cactus Jack as a manager to try and make it interesting. (Jack was injured, so they wanted to give him something to do in the meantime.) Jack trained Barbarian by breaking cinder blocks over his back and bringing in indie wrestlers to spar with him. The vignettes were amusing, but they weren’t enough to save this lackluster feud.
The other big news is the debut of Jake the Snake Roberts in WCW. He jumped the guardrail and attacked Sting. He even gave Sting a couple of DDTs on a chair. Jake decided to make his impact in WCW by ridding it of Sting. (It seems like everyone is determined to do that. I guess, in kayfabe, everyone hates Sting backstage.) WCW decided to go with the Halloween theme and invented a gimmick for their match. Sting and Jake would decide what type of match they would have by spinning an ominous wheel full of stipulation matches. The slogan for this match was, “Spin the wheel, make the deal!” The match would also be an unsanctioned Lights Out Match to give it a more sinister feel. (Lights Out is an old tradition in wrestling. They used to turn the lights off and then on again before an unsanctioned match to signify that the regular portion of the card had ended and the next match was separate from the official proceedings.) Jake’s debut was good, but there was an unfortunate dark cloud over Jake’s entry into WCW. He had originally agreed to a lucrative deal when Kip Frey was in charge, but Watts took over and tore up the original agreement. He signed Jake to a much lower deal, which soured Jake immediately on his time in the company. Jake had left the WWF on bad terms and expected a warm welcome in WCW, but he got the opposite.
Meanwhile, there are a couple of other bits of news. First, the tournament to crown a new NWA Champion took place in Japan. Masahiro Chono won the title and beat Rude, so a rematch was signed for Halloween Havoc. However, Rude is also U.S. Champion, so he was ordered to defend both belts on the show. The Dangerous Alliance would hire some lawyers to contest the idea, but we shall see how that unfolds. Rude then apparently sent Madusa to scout Chono, which somehow involved her attending his wedding and his kids’ little league games. Jim Ross would refer to it as espionage. The second bit of news is that Terry Gordy quit WCW the day of this show. He had a disagreement with WCW over working with NJPW because Gordy’s loyalty lay with AJPW. The disagreement led to him quitting, so Steve Austin will replace Gordy.
The show opens with the usual clip art of a haunted house. Sting howls at the moon and Jake Roberts laughs ominously before ghostly images of wrestlers float down the stairs. Then, Tony Schiavone welcomes everyone to Philadelphia. (WCW finally got their PPV in Philly after the misfire earlier in the year.) Bruno Sammartino joins Tony for analysis and he says he’s quite excited. (I would never peg Bruno for being the type to celebrate Halloween, but this is the second time they’ve used him on Halloween Havoc.) Tony talks about the unsanctioned Lights Out Match between Sting and Jake Roberts. Bruno says it could be career-ending for either man. They show a graphic that lists the possible match types.
What is a Prince of Darkness Match?? Does that mean they have to wrestle Ozzy? There are some good choices on the list, but there are also some lame ones. Let’s hope it doesn’t land on something stupid. They wouldn’t do that—right?
Then, they talk about the WCW Title Match and show clips of Cactus Jack training the Barbarian. Tony says that Barbie is preparing for Simmons’ powerslam, so they show wrestlers taking turns slamming him. Next, they talk about the Unified Tag Team Title Match and Tony says that Gordy isn’t there. They also show clips of Rhodes & Windham fighting with each other, so Tony says there is dissension. Finally, they talk about Rick Rude having to wrestle two matches and they say there will be two referees in the NWA Title Match. Both competitors will choose their own ref, so they go to Missy Hyatt, who is trying to discover who Rude picked.
Missy is outside Rude’s dressing room and she’s dressed for Halloween—or maybe Mardi Gras. She says there’s a lot of stuff going on in the dressing room and she wants to find out what’s going on with the two title matches Rude has to wrestle—or does he? (Don’t give out spoilers, Missy!) Then, she introduces Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura before saying she is going to vote for Jesse for president. (That’s a scary thought.)
However, they cut to Jim Ross and—Skeletor? Ross sarcastically asks if it’s Jesse, so he takes off his mask to reveal that it is. (Damn, I was hoping for Skeletor on commentary. That would be glorious.) J.R. tries to talk about spin the wheel, make the deal, but Jesse would rather make a joke about Ross’s face. He says Jim scared him with that mask he’s wearing, so Ross thanks him for that. Then, Jesse yells about the choices on the wheel while they show the equipment for each match type. They also talk about the possibility of it being spinner’s choice and Ross says Jake has promised his cobra will be involved. He says they have antivenom on hand.
Z-Man, Johnny Gunn, & Shane Douglas vs. Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, & Michael Hayes
Michael Hayes has turned heel again and joined forces with the remnants of the Dangerous Alliance. He’s considered a fringe member, as he’s helping with managerial duties. (I’m not sure he’s a good fit for the group. It seems weird.) Meanwhile, Shane Douglas has returned to WCW after a tiny WWF run that went nowhere. He, and Z-Man are teaming with a newcomer, Johnny Gunn. (Some of you might know Gunn better as Salvatore Sincere—or perhaps not. He isn’t exactly noteworthy.) This is part of the youth movement that Tony will talk about during the show, but this crowd couldn’t care less for the face team. They boo them heavily throughout this match.
Gunn and Arn start the match and Arn backs him into a corner before pinching his cheek for fun. The fun stops as Anderson hammers him, but Zenk dropkicks Arn off the top rope. The heels regroup, but Gunn & Zenk take turns working Anderson’s arm until he tags Eaton. Bobby hits some hard punches, but he ends up in trouble and tags Hayes. The babyfaces take turns working over the arms and legs of both Hayes and Eaton and even lock Arn in a sleeper, but he breaks free and tags Hayes again. Michael gets the advantage with a sloppy swinging neckbreaker and Eaton wears Zenk down until Z-Man shows life. However, Arn makes a blind tag and clotheslines Zenk to a huge pop. (Even Ventura is surprised by how the fans are reacting.) They double team Zenk until he finally tags Douglas. Shane nails everyone, but Eaton hits a chop block and the heels work on Shane’s leg. They lock him in a Figure Four and double team him until Douglas reverses the hold. Arn quickly tags into the match, but he ends up colliding with Shane and Douglas tags Gunn. The match soon devolves into a brawl and Gunn hits a Thesz press for the win, much to the chagrin of the crowd.
This was a pretty standard tag match. It wasn’t long enough to find a good rhythm and the face team barely did anything. This was not a good showcase for the young talent and the victory did little for them. However, the crowd reactions made this match amusing to watch. The fans hated the face team and it made me chuckle. (I guess WCW forgot they were in Philly, so putting a lame team out there was sure to garner boos.)
Winners: Zenk, Gunn, & Douglas (11:02)
Missy is still outside Rude’s dressing room, but she can’t get inside. She bemoans the fact that there’s so much going on in there. (You know Missy hates it when so much happens in a locker room and she’s not involved.) Harley Race then approaches the door, so Missy tries to flirt with him to get inside. (I guess Missy has heard Harley’s cock of the walk promos.) Harley says he’s there to watch the WCW World Title Match and to answer Missy’s question, no, she can’t get inside. She tries to follow him anyway, but an arm shoves her out the door. Missy says it’s the first time she’s not been invited into a locker room. (I believe it.)
Tony and Bruno then question why Harley would enter Rude’s locker room. Bruno says that Harley could have watched the match on Pay Per View, so he thinks there’s something up with the situation. (You don’t say!? On a side note, I wonder what Bruno thought of Missy’s comments. I know he’s not a fan of anything sexual in wrestling.)
Ricky the Dragon Steamboat vs. Flyin’ Brian
Brian Pillman has finally turned heel. His growing frustrations boiled over when Brad Armstrong pulled out of a Light Heavyweight Title defense due to injury. Pillman would attack him and now they paired Brian against Steamboat. Ricky is looking to teach Pillman a lesson in attitude. I like the simple storytelling. Plus, they’ve slowly built Brian’s heel turn for a while. It’s good character work.
They trade chops and shoulder blocks early and Brian tries to throw Ricky over the ropes, but he skins the cat back inside and rolls up Brian for a two. Then, Steamboat lures Pillman in by playing opossum and goes after Brian’s arm. Steamboat cuts off any comeback attempts with arm drags and reversals until Pillman takes some cheap shots. They surprise each other with head scissors and backslides, so Pillman goes back to the dirty tactics. Then, Brian attempts a superplex, but Steamboat reverses it. He goes for a flying axehandle, but Pillman dropkicks him out of the air and locks him in a sleeper hold. Steamboat breaks it by ramming him into the corners, but Brian grabs it again from the apron and snaps Ricky across the ropes. He then goes to the top, but Steamboat slams him and they fight to the floor. Brian catches him entering the ring and they trade chops, but Ricky gains the advantage. Pillman bails and tries to catch him at the ropes again, but Steamboat knows better. Then, they trade near-falls on a cross body and a flying sunset flip. Pillman goes for another pin, but Steamboat flips him over and hooks him for a surprise three-count.
This was a really good match and I loved the storytelling. Steamboat wanted to teach him a lesson by using Pillman’s frustration against him. I like how he goaded him into losing his cool and making mistakes. You can tell Pillman is still perfecting his heel persona, but that factored perfectly into the match. He’s still towing that line between face and heel and they used that for the story. This is simple wrestling storytelling done well. Plus, the loss can fuel his continual shift to the dark side.
Winner: Ricky Steamboat (10:25)
Teddy Long is backstage and he says, “As you can see, fans, I’m in the locker room of the NWA Champ, Howard—Mr. Chono.” (Who is Howard!? I had to rewind it a couple of times and I swear that’s what he said.) The mistake causes everyone in the room, except Chono, to roll their eyes. Teddy then introduces the distinguished guests. First, he names the NWA President, Seiji Sakaguchi. (He at least got that name correct.) Second, he introduces Kensuke Sasaki and Hiro Matsuda. Then, Teddy talks about Missy’s failed attempt to find out who Rude picked as his ref. He says he’s going to find out who Chono picked. He asks Matsuda, who confers with his colleagues and tells Teddy that Sasaki is the choice. Finally, Teddy says there’s been a ruling about the U.S. Title Match, so he sends it back to Tony. (Chono never said a word during this segment. They established the referee for the match, but this did nothing to put over Chono. He was an afterthought, which isn’t good when the fans barely care about the match.)
Tony is with Bill Watts and they recap Chono choosing Sasaki as his ref. Watts then says that we know Harley Race is Rude’s choice. (I don’t think that was ever stated. They threw away that reveal in the laziest way possible!) Then, they talk about Steve Austin replacing Gordy in the Tag Title Match. Watts says that Gordy has been suspended for breaching his contract. Next, they finally talk about the U.S. Title Match. Watts says that Paul E.’s attorneys have been threatening WCW, so they’ve agreed that Rude can appoint a substitute. Big Van Vader will now act as a surrogate champion against Nikita Koloff, but Rude will lose the title if Koloff wins. Also, Watts says that it will be No DQ and Madusa is still barred from ringside. (I know they want to give Vader something to do, but I wonder how he feels about this demotion.)
No DQ Match for the U.S. Title: Big Van Vader (c) vs. Nikita Koloff
Rude leads Vader and Harley Race to the ring and we see that Rick has shaved off his mustache!! (He doesn’t look right clean shaven!) However, Ole Anderson appears and informs Cappetta that Rude and Race are also barred from ringside. Ross then questions how Race can be impartial later if he’s in collusion with Rude. Jesse starts equating it to politics, so Ross changes the subject.
They shove each other around to start and trade stiff punches until Vader clubs Koloff into the corner. He then hits Nikita with an avalanche attack and a clothesline before throwing him to the floor. However, Vader makes the mistake of posing, so Koloff takes him down with a cross body to the back. They fight to the floor and Vader rams him into the guardrail before hitting him with a chair. A fan takes offense to the attack, so he throws his entire beer onto Vader. (I’m surprised Vader didn’t lose his cool. Ventura even acknowledged it and he sounded pissed.) They return to the ring and Koloff attempts a sunset flip, but Vader sits on him. He then cuts off Nikita’s comeback with a clothesline, chokeslam, and a second-rope splash, but he only gets a two-count. Then, Koloff attempts to reverse a chinlock into a back suplex, but Vader tries to turn it into a headlock takeover. It doesn’t go as planned and Koloff lands awkwardly. Vader gets his receipt when Koloff nearly drops him on his head on a suplex. Nikita follows it up with multiple shoulder blocks and a Russian Sickle that sends Vader to the floor, but when he attempts another one, he hits the ring post. Vader sends him back inside and hits an avalanche splash before powerbombing Nikita for the win.
This was a decent enough power match and I liked the finish, but it wasn’t thrilling. There were a couple of shaky moments and they could have used the No DQ stipulation a bit more. The match did a good job of making Koloff look like a valiant fighter, but I don’t think it did much for Vader. (On a side note, the OSW guys could do a jocks watch for Vader. He spent half this match adjusting his gear. He’s mostly covered, so I’m not sure why he’s so worried about his waistband.)
Winner: Vader (11:35)
Next, they show an ad for Starrcade. Battlebowl is back for a second year and the voiceover says that it will push the best to be better and the rest to get out of the way. (Oh, joy! Battlebowl is back! I can’t wait. That’s sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell.)
Then, Ross & Ventura talk about the Tag Title Match. J.R. asks how Rhodes & Windham will deal with the substitution, but Ventura says it won’t matter because they’re not getting along.
Teddy Long is with the team of Steve Austin & Steve Williams. (Hey, it’s two different Steve Williams! That’s a fitting team!) Teddy says they will be facing Rhodes & Windham in a rematch for the Unified Tag Team Titles, so he asks if Williams is confident in his new partner. Doc laughs and says, “Trick or treat!” He explains that the treat is Austin is his new partner and the trick is that Rhodes & Windham have to face them to beat them. (That’s not a trick. That’s how title matches work.) Williams then asks how Austin feels, so Austin tells Rhodes & Windham the original game plan is out the window and they will see them in a few seconds.
Then, they go to Missy, who is with the Unified Tag Champs, Rhodes & Windham. Barry is staring at the ceiling and making stupid faces. It looks like he’s taunting the boom mic. (Is he drunk?) He stops long enough for Missy to ask if they can put aside their differences to face a team they didn’t expect. Windham says there are no problems between him and Rhodes and then he sings the praises of Steve Austin. Missy simply takes him at his word and doesn’t press him further. (Come on, Missy! You can do better than that!)
NWA/WCW Tag Team Title Match: Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham (c) vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams & Stunning Steve Austin
Rhodes & Windham beat Gordy & Williams for the Unified Tag Titles and this was supposed to be a rematch. That wasn’t meant to be, so maybe we will get a match that isn’t boring. (I’m not holding my breath.) One positive thing I can say is that Williams does wear an awesome robe to the ring. It has red flames and a skull logo on the back. (I kind of want one.) Before the match, Ross refers to the ref as, “Randy ‘Don’t call me Pee-Wee’ Anderson.” Jesse asks for an explanation, but Ross ignores him.
Rhodes and Williams begin the match and go head-to-head, football-style. Doc hits some chop blocks, but Dustin answers with a lariat. Then, they trade arm holds until Dustin snaps Williams’ arm over the ropes. Austin and Windham then enter the match and Austin is bounced around like a pinball before trading some mat holds with both men. Rhodes & Windham both take turns hitting Austin with lariats, but Austin goes to the eyes. Then, Windham and Williams trade chops and punches until Barry crashes out of the ring on a missed lariat. They meet at the ropes and botch an O’Connor Roll reversal, so Austin enters the match and wears down Barry for a bit. Windham finally makes a tag after blocking a superplex and hitting a flying clothesline. Rhodes is a house of fire and hits both a lariat and a bulldog, but Williams breaks up the pin. Sadly, Rhodes falls victim to double teaming and they begin another long heat segment. Williams & Austin lock him in different submissions and attack a cut on Dustin’s head from a previous match. The clock ticks away as the attack continues and the ref misses a tag by Rhodes. The ref is distracted by Windham, so Austin & Williams throw Rhodes over the ropes. However, in the chaos, Randy Anderson is knocked out of the ring. Nick Patrick arrives and takes over in time for Austin to roll-up Windham for a three-count. Anderson sees this and waves off the pin because Rhodes was the legal man. The timekeeper is confused and keeps ringing the bell, which only adds to the confusion. All four men brawl and Rhodes reverses a Tombstone that looks a bit dangerous. (Austin got lucky, but it’s scary foreshadowing.) The time finally expires before anyone can get a pin.
This wasn’t quite as boring as previous Williams tag matches, but it was still dull. The last few minutes were a little more exciting, but they were an overbooked mess. You can tell there was some awkwardness because of the last minute changes and this match suffered because of it. I wonder what the original plan would have been if Gordy hadn’t quit.
Winners: Time Limit Draw (30:00)
Tony is with Vader, Harley Race, and Paul E. Dangerously. He talks about Vader retaining the U.S. Title on behalf of Rick Rude, so Paul E. replies that he wants to give credit where it’s due—to himself. He says it was his idea and, while it’s an honor to give half the purse money to Vader and Race, it was still all him. Madusa arrives and shoves Paul E. aside to congratulate Vader, so Paul E. says he’s had it with her. He says he’s the brains and the muscle of the Dangerous Alliance because he’s a man. Paul E. yells at Madusa and calls her an inferior woman whose only been good for taking care of Rick Rude’s needs. He then compares her to a hooker and fires her from the Dangerous Alliance. He even spells out the word because he says she’s a stupid woman. He hilariously hops up and down like an angry cartoon character while he does it. However, Paul E. makes the mistake of shoving her, so Madusa hauls off and kicks Paul E. in the head. Officials have to drag Madusa off of him, while she screams that she hates him. He responds by claiming he could beat her with one arm tied behind his back. (This was great stuff. Heyman was highly entertaining and the crowd erupted when Madusa kicked him. Both of them played their parts perfectly.)
Ventura says he loves it and Ross talks about how Madusa is a trained wrestler and kickboxer, but Ventura tries to brush it off by saying she’s a woman. Ross doesn’t seem amused.
Next, it’s time to spin the wheel and make the deal! Sting makes his way to the stage and watches the wheel slowly rise from the floor. Ominous music plays and fireworks explode. (They must have spent half their budget on this.) Tony tells Sting it’s time to spin, so he pulls the lever. Sparks fly as the wheel spins and then it makes a rather abrupt stop on—the Coal Miner’s Glove Match. (Oh—that’s disappointing. Some people think the wheel wasn’t gimmicked, but they clearly stopped it on that match. I don’t know why they would choose this.) The fans boo the decision and I don’t blame them. Ventura does his best to explain the match. He says a hardened steel glove will be placed on a pole and the participants can use it as a weapon. (Oh, great! Is Vince Russo hanging out backstage!?)
NWA World Title Match: Rick Rude (w/ Madusa) vs. Masahiro Chono (c)
Cappetta introduces some dignitaries at ringside before the match. He announces the NWA President, Seiji Sakaguchi, and Japanese Olympic wrestler, Manabu Nakanishi. (Gary butchers Nakanishi’s name and Ventura mocks him for it.) He then introduces the special refs, Sasaki and Race. Rude comes to the ring with Madusa, despite her being fired. He does his usual spiel, so Ventura jokes that he’s talking about Ross. There’s also a coin-toss to determine which ref will be inside the ring and which will be on the floor. Race wins, so Sasaki is made an outside official. Ole also pats down both refs, at Matsuda’s request. A loud, “We want Flair,” chant then begins.
Rude taunts Chono to begin, so Ross questions whether he knows how to speak Japanese. Jesse says everyone in Minnesota knows it. Rude attempts some eye rakes, but both men trade holds. Chono begins working Rude’s kidneys, so Rick bails outside for a lower-back massage from Madusa. When he returns, Chono continues the attack and wears Rude down with back submissions until Rude hits a jawbreaker. He follows up with a swinging neckbreaker and begins focusing on Chono’s neck. Some fans yell, “Boring,” but the pace continues. Chono manages to break free and goes for the STF, but Rude halfway blocks it until Chono finally releases him. Rude then answers with an ultra-safe piledriver, but Chono gets a foot on the ropes and they go back to rest holds. The fans become distracted by something in the crowd, but they’re not missing much in the match. Chono eventually fights back and Rude misses a missile dropkick. Chono tries to follow up with a Mafia Kick, but he accidentally hits Harley Race and sends him crashing onto Sasaki. (Wow! That’s a two-for-one ref bump special. I’m impressed!) Chono uses the opening to throw Rude over the top rope, but Rick returns to hit the Rude Awakening. There is no ref, so Rude goes for a flying knee-drop and misses. Chono then locks him in the STF and both refs call for the bell. Sasaki says Chono won by submission, but Race says Rude won by DQ. Race’s decision stands because he was the ref in the ring.
This was a slow and dull match with a lame finish. These two don’t appear to have good chemistry. I know they’re both capable of better, but not against each other. The fans already care little about the NWA revival and this isn’t helping matters.
Winner: Rick Rude (by DQ) (22:23)
After the match, Race and Sasaki get into a fight, so Kensuke sends Rude out of the ring and suplexes Harley. The fans finally wake up and pop for the attack, so at least Sasaki got over with them.
They show another Starrcade ad before Ross and Ventura discuss the match. Jesse says he agrees with Race’s decision, but he complains about the Japanese nationalism in the ring. Ross changes the subject again before Jesse goes on a tirade. They show clips of Cactus Jack training the Barbarian. Jack uses a sledgehammer to break cinder blocks on Barbie’s back. (I have to point out that pumpkin effigy of Ron Simmons in the background. That’s a bit questionable. I almost didn’t notice it.) Then, they show a slow-motion replay of the blocks hitting Barbarian in the head. (Someone backstage found that funny.)
WCW Title Match: Ron Simmons (c) vs. The Barbarian (w/ Cactus Jack)
Ron Simmons gets a Goldberg-like escort to the ring, which includes Teddy Long, but Long doesn’t stick around for the match. Ross talks about how Burt Reynolds is a big fan of Simmons. (Did WCW invite him to the show? I guess they wasted too much budget money on that wheel and couldn’t afford him.) The fans do the tomahawk chop for Ron, so Ventura uses it as an opportunity to mock the Atlanta Braves for losing the World Series. (I’m sure Turner was happy about that.)
They lock up and shove each other around before trading shoulder blocks and clotheslines. Neither man goes down until Simmons hits a jumping shoulder tackle. Barbs regroups with Cactus on the outside before returning and clubbing Ron into a corner. Simmons reverses the attack and sends Barbarian outside, but Barbarino catches him at the ropes with a hotshot. Then, Cactus distracts the ref and Barbarian rams Simmons into the post and hits a clothesline. He also rams him into the guardrail, but Nick Patrick sees him and demands they return to the ring. Simmons tries to answer with a sunset flip, but Barb locks him in a modified Cobra Clutch for a while. Simmons eventually breaks it, but he can’t capitalize until Barbarian misses a flying elbow. (They sure are being lax with that top-rope ban tonight.) Ron answers with a spinebuster, but he only gets two. He then continues with a shoulder block, slam, and a shoulder tackle, but Cactus distracts him. Barbarian uses the opening to hit a big boot from behind and throws Ron to the floor. Jack returns him to the ring and Barbarian hits a flying headbutt, but Simmons also kicks out at two. Then, ol’ Barbara-Ann tries to continue his attack, but Simmons catches him in a powerslam for the win. (I need to find more nicknames for Barbarian. I’m running out of them.)
This was a slow and basic power match. They sadly had to wrestle Barbarian’s style and it wasn’t good. I’m not sure who thought this was a good pairing. I don’t understand why they didn’t do a rematch between Simmons and Vader. The finish of this match was kind of weak, so it didn’t even do the job of making Simmons look strong. This is not a good way to begin his reign.
Winner: Ron Simmons (12:41)
Tony and Bruno talk about the match and Bruno calls the Barbarian tough, but he says Ron showed the world he is the champ. Then, Tony talks about the youth movement in WCW, so Bruno brings up Bill Watts’ son, Erik Watts. They invite Erik to join them and the crowd immediately boo. (Erik never stood a chance. His presence in WCW screams nepotism and the crowd knows it. It also doesn’t help that he’s terrible in the ring and bland on the mic.) Erik thanks Bruno for his kind words and says that competition in WCW is the top around the world. Ron Simmons thankfully arrives to save the segment and takes over talking. He says his win is another step in his long reign. (I have some bad news for him.) He then tells Erik that he has a long way to go, but he’s on a roll. Bruno praises Simmons for overcoming the Barbarian and that maniac, Cactus Jack. Simmons says he takes that as a compliment because Bruno was a great champion. (Why wouldn’t he take it as a compliment?) Simmons then poses with the belt and Erik Watts obnoxiously claps for him. (This segment didn’t do Erik any favors. You could see him reading either cue-cards or a teleprompter, despite only having a couple of lines. This guy is dead in the water.)
Ross and Ventura then discuss the main event while they attach the pole to the ring. Jesse calls it a steel-lined glove, but they show it and it’s clearly leather with some duct-tape around it. Ross then says that both men signed liability waivers. (He’s trying to put over the match. Bless him, but it’s not working.) Jesse knows it’s not working and chooses to joke about using the glove on Ross. J.R. is bothered by the comment, so he tells Jesse he couldn’t even climb the pole. Jesse simply laughs.
Coal Miner’s Glove Match: Sting vs. Jake the Snake Roberts
You can see the frustration on Jake’s face when he makes his entrance. It’s no surprise that he doesn’t last long in WCW. He clearly hated working with Watts and has said as much in interviews. Sting, on the other hand, merely looks disinterested. Jake has accused him of going through the motions in this feud, and I kind of can’t blame him when this is what WCW gives them.
Jake and Sting both make quick attempts at the pole, but Sting ends up slamming him a couple of times. Jake answers with knee-lifts and forearms, but Sting sticks and moves. However, he misses a dropkick and Jake works on Sting’s back. He ends up throwing Sting over the ropes and attempts a DDT on the floor, but Sting shoves him into the post and rams Jake’s arm into it. Sting goes for the pole again, but Jake grabs him and hits a back suplex. Jake sells the shoulder, so Sting goes after it again. Jake answers by hip tossing Sting to the apron and going for the glove, but Sting crotches him on the turnbuckle. The two of them end up brawling on the floor and Jake uses a chair before also using his wrist tape to choke Sting. The ref makes him stop, for some reason. (Isn’t this unsanctioned?) Then, Jake hits a knee-lift—or does he? (I can’t tell. The spot was so sloppy that even the commentators weren’t sure if it was reversed.) Sting tries to capitalize with a Stinger Splash, but he misses and Jake hits a short-arm clothesline and a DDT. Jake is slow to continue because of his shoulder, so Sting recovers and swings around the pole to hit an elbow. (That was probably the only cool spot of the match.) Cactus Jack then appears and brings Jake his cobra and a snake-handlers glove. Jake grabs the snake, but Sting retrieves the Coal Miner’s Glove. He hits Jake and the snake apparently freaks out and bites Jake on the face, so Sting rolls him up for the win. (I say apparently because Jake had to hold the snake to his face. It wasn’t cooperating.)
The match was unremarkable. One guy was pissed off and the other was unmotivated. It showed because these two went through the motions of an already silly gimmick match. The only saving grace was the unintentional humor of the finish. Sting will thankfully move onto something better, but this is the last of Jake Roberts in WCW. His problems with Watts would become worse and Jake would be fired after this show. We won’t see him again for a while.
Winner: Sting (10:34)
After the match, Jake continues holding the snake to his face and hilariously tries to act like he’s being bitten. Cactus Jack tries to pull him to safety, but Jake fumbles around the aisle. Cactus yells for someone to help and even Sting halfway attempts to show concern, but you can tell he couldn’t care less.
Tony and Bruno talk about the match. Bruno says he thought the feud would be over, but he’s afraid it’s only the beginning. (I believe he’s really afraid about this. He probably thinks this is ridiculous.) Ross and Ventura then recap the night and Ross says the Barbarian might deserve a rematch. (Don’t give Watts ideas!) Then, they plug Starrcade and Ross says goodnight.
– Pillman/Steamboat was a really good match.
– The Paul E./Madusa segment was great.
– Everything else was kind of average, at best.
– Ron Simmons’ first opponent was disappointing.
– Erik Watts (enough said).
Performer of the Night:
I’m going to give it to that snake—just kidding. I’m actually giving a tie to Steamboat and Pillman. They both told a great story in their match and Pillman is showing that he’s adapting to being a heel.
This wasn’t a terrible show, but it didn’t set the world on fire. There was one good match and a lot of average to below average stuff. There was also a lot of missed opportunity and bad decisions. I feel bad for Ron Simmons because they easily could have done better for him. It felt like the entire company was going through the motions, not just Sting.
My next review is Survivor Series ‘92. Look for it next Saturday.