Monday, October 6, 2014

Random Network Reviews: Halloween Havoc 1994

Halloween Havoc 1994
10/23/1994 – Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan – Attendance: 14,000

Funny that my last Night of Champions review was in the Joe Louis Arena and I randomly select another show to watch and it's from the same arena. WCW in 1994 is something I don't remember well so this should be interesting. I know that Hulk Hogan was there already and that this was about a year before Nitro would officially begin. I have heard mixed reviews on this show so I have mixed feelings going in but that's the fun in this. Seeing something I've never seen before and forming my own opinion on it. According to the WWE Network description, Hulk Hogan faces Ric Flair in a Career match to main event this which is a wise booking decision as they were the two biggest names in wrestling at the time.

I believe that I saw Muhammad Ali in the front row. The commentary booth has Tony “Greatest Night in the History of Our Spot” Schiavone, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and MEAN BAH GAWD GENE. He plugs the WCW Hotline of course, just dial 1-900-909-9900. We see the National Anthem performed which I thought was a pre-show deal.

WCW World Television Championship
Johnny B. Badd (c) vs. The Honky Tonk Man

Honky Tonk Man is billed from “Honkyland USA”. I can't make this up. Johnny B. Badd has fangs in his mouth because it's near Halloween or something. It took six minutes, but Schiavone calls this the “biggest night in the history of our sport.” When Badd tries early offense, HTM holds the ropes to prevent it. Badd messes up HTM's hair in what has to be considered a vicious move. We cut away mid-match to Sting being interviewed on the WCW hotline. I honestly prefer that. Honky slows things with a rest hold and they do indeed show Muhammad Ali. Badd tries to come back with a sunset flip but gets two, so Honky resorts to another rest hold. Five minutes remain in the ten minute time limit. Badd rallies with a body slam but again gets stopped by missing an elbow. Honky goes back to a THIRD REST HOLD. We get a reminder that there is now four minutes remaining. Do we really need an update every minute? Badd reverses Shake, Rattle and Roll with a back body drop. Honky ends up trying a pin with his feet on the ropes for two. High risk time for Honky as he nails a double axe handle off of the apron. OHMYGOD! With just over two minutes left, Honky applies REST HOLD NUMBER FOUR! Even the announcers are questioning why he's going with slow moves. Badd hits ten punches in the corner as we have one minute left. Oh my god this is going to end in a draw. They brawl as time expires.

The match ends in a time limit draw at 10:00
This was piss poor. It made no sense as the challenger kept going for rest holds to extend the time. Honky came out looking like an idiot and this did nothing for the Champion. Stupid.DUD

Honky tries to attack the Champion after the match but fails and ends up running with his tail between his legs. Tony Schiavone takes us back to a previous WCW show where Hulk Hogan was attacked by a masked man. He was hit in the knee with a tire iron or something and “walked” back from the hospital. The masked man returned and helped Flair take out Hogan. A few weeks later it was revealed that there was more than one masked man. Lastly, an amateur video is shown of Mr. T coming out of a restaurant with Ric Flair. CONTROVERSEY!

WCW World Tag Team Championship
Stars and Stripes (c) vs. Pretty Wonderful

For those who don't know, Pretty Wonderful is Paul Roma and Paul Orndorff while Stars and Stripes consists of Marcus Bagwell and The Patriot. All four men start the match with fist fights which surprises me. According to the infinite wisdom of Schiavone, Stars and Stripes are a good team because they tag frequently. NO KIDDING. Heenan and Schiavone actually get into an argument about what a tag is. Bagwell forces Orndorff to take a breather outside and tries a “USA” chant that doesn't really catch on. Paul Roma comes in and showboats too much, allowing Stars and Stripes to stay in control. That changes quickly as Pretty Wonderful cut the ring in half and beat on Bagwell for a bit. Mr. Wonderful does a weird dancing elbow drop that I never remember him doing. Roma follows with a botched elbow of his own but Bagwell hits a cross body to try and change the tide. Mr. Wonderful is able to stop his comeback attempt though. The Patriot gets tired of waiting for the hot tag and comes in to make this a four man brawl again. I'm not sure if this is the same Patriot from the WWF in 1997 but he is jacked. Bagwell hits a fisherman suplex but the referee is focused on removing the Patriot, so Roma nails Bagwell with a top rope elbow and the titles change hands.

Winners and New WCW World Tag Team Champions: Pretty Wonderful in 13:47
Not a bad match but not really good either. The fans actually popped for the heels winning which isn't a great sign. Decent. **

MEAN BAH GAWD GENE interviews Ric Flair and Sherri in the back. It's the usual Ric Flair greatness. We then get a recap of the build for Kevin Sullivan vs. David Sullivan. Yuck.

Dave Sullivan vs. Kevin Sullivan
I don't know if it was his gimmick but Kevin Sullivan shouts “HEY” as he walks to the ring. Dave is in full Hulkamania gear and his theme is even called “I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac”. It's terrible. I'm praying that this is short. Dave knocks Kevin out of the ring and reveals that he is in Hogan attire but with red trunks and not yellow. They go through the motions of some boring offense as Kevin is clearly carrying this, though not very far. He makes the mistake of going to the top and Dave is “Hulking” up. He shoves his bandana in his brother's mouth and hits a terrible looking clothesline. He continues to try and hulk up but the crowd doesn't react. Kevin suckers Dave into believing that he's turned to the good side and he falls for it. They fight outside but Kevin doesn't get inside in time so Dave wins via countout.

Winner via countout: Dave Sullivan in 5:17
It was short so that's a plus. Besides that, this was bad. There was nothing else good about this. DUD

They show a recap of the feud for the upcoming match between Dustin Rhodes and Arn Anderson.

Arn Anderson w/ Colonel Robert Parker and Meng vs. Dustin Rhodes
Meng and Robert Parker are an odd combination, especially with Arn Anderson. Dustin Rhodes is so fat here compared to twenty years later. Rhodes hits a big lariat off the top for two. Anderson is playing the role of the wily veteran as he uses some wise underhanded tactics to gain the upper hand. Things spill outside where Dustin dodges a move and Arn hits the post. Back inside, Rhodes focuses on the arm and starts to work it for a bit. Dustin misses a move and his momentum takes him over the top and outside hard. He rolled far from the ring too. Arn now takes full advantage of this and hits the slingshot into the bottom rope but seems to hurt himself. Both guys now fire away with chops and double clothesline. That's such a 90's spot. It's hard to believe in Dustin as “The Natural” here when he's in such bad shape. He gets a near fall with a lariat and manages to block Anderson's DDT. There's a lady, who kind of looks like a guy in drag in the front row and she is very into the show. It's entertaining. Dustin removes the knee pad and misses a knee drop so Anderson gets a rollup. He tries to use the ropes and gets stopped by the official, so Dustin reverses and rolls him up for three.

Winner: Dustin Rhodes in 9:50
Best match of the show so far, but that's not saying much. It was solid but nothing special **3/4

Arn Anderson attacks Dustin Rhodes after the match and his stupid “Natural” theme song hits. Going back with Mean BAH GAWD Gene, who is with Jimmy Hart, Brutus Beefcake and Hulk Hogan. Hogan rambles his way through a promo where he mentions slamming Andre the Giant in Detroit seven years prior. I heard a lot of “WELL YOU KNOW SOMETHING BROTHER”.

We get a recap of the build for Steve Austin vs. Jim Duggan and it's funny to hear Austin talk because he sounded like he was in Stone Cold mode. He even called Ricky Steamboat a melee mouth punk. 

WCW United States Championship
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin

This is Steve Austin's rematch after dropping the belt to Jim Duggan at Fall Brawl in mere seconds. Austin starts with a sneak attack but ends up eating some shoulder blocks and a slam from the Champion. Duggan applies a sleeper but Austin wriggles free and starts to work the knee. Tony Schiavone tries to say that grounding Duggan is a great strategy but I don't really see it as “great”. Duggan comes back with the longest stalling atomic drop I've ever seen. Duggan's moveset reads like the “Basics of 1990's Wrestling”. It's all generic face stuff. Austin offers a handshake, which Duggan ignores and Austin forgets about instantly because he just goes to the corner. Austin hits back to back double axe handles, but of course, the third fails as Duggan levels him in the gut. He goes to the corner and grabs the referee, hitting a low blow behind his back. Bobby Heenan, in all his greatness says “there goes that trick knee again.” You have to love him. Austin misses a top rope splash and Duggan is making the babyface comeback. As he tries the Three Point Stance, Austin ducks and back body drops him outside, resulting in the disqualification.

Winner via disqualification: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan in 8:02
This wasn't bad but I hate the finish. The over the top DQ works best for a heel using it to retain his title. It was stupid here. **

Steve Austin tries to attack after the match but gets run out of the ring by the 2x4. That's like, three attempted attacks in five matches. Mean Gene plugs the hotline before introducing Sting and getting extremely excited for him. Sting comes out with no face paint but with shades. He will sit in the front row to see what happens in the main event.

The Guardian Angel vs. Vader w/ Harley Race
In the video recap for this feud, The Guardian Angel, or Big Boss Man for those who don't know, lost to Vader at Bash at the Beach by disqualification and he didn't even get caught cheating. He just had a baton in his hand. Good officiating. Vader stops at ringside to bark at Sting and Muhammad Ali which I got a kick out of. His name is dumb here so I'm going to call him the Boss Man for the remainder of this match. He attacks Harley Race before the match in what should be a heel move but it's okay here. They brawl outside for a bit but once they're inside, Boss Man slams Vader onto a fallen Harley Race. Schiavone exclaims “THE GUARDIAN ANGEL HAS GONE BAD”! He hits a splash in the corner that the crowd doesn't react to and that Sting should've shouted gimmick infringement on. The crowd finally pops when Boss Man suplexes Vader but Vader fires back with some stiff jabs. Vader leaps off the second rope but gets caught with a body slam. Boss Man goes up and hits a second rope headbutt for two. Boss Man actually hits an enziguri before knocking Vader outside. Vader turns things around inside and hits the Vader Bomb for two. He tries again but Boss Man gets the knees up. He hits his finisher but decides to focus on Harley again which allows Vader to splash him and win.

Winner: Vader in 8:17
Basic slug fest style match. Two of the better big men of all time and it was decent. Could've been better though. **1/4

More WCW Hotline plugging from MEAN Gene. He introduces Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns. He is a boxer and gets interviewed about nothing really. 

Bunkhouse Buck and Terry Funk w/ Colonel Robert Parker and Meng vs. The Nasty Boys
Robert Parker is announced as the best promoter in wrestling. The Nasty Boys, trying to be hip, have Beavis and Butt-Head masks but instead of wearing them, Knobbs just has them on his hands. All out brawl kicks the match off before it breaks down and Saggs sits on Funk and wiggles his rear end. It's like a seated stink face. Funk gets the Pit Stain and reacts hilariously. The teams trade double team beat downs in opposite corners which was funny to me. Funk rolls outside after a beating and starts hitting himself with a chair. What is going on in this match? Saggs gets Funk on the top rope, but not in the corner. Just on the top rope and they kind of stand there doing nothing for a bit until Funk slowly falls outside. I mean slowly. Meng gets on the apron and accidentally knocks Funk out, leading to Saggs hitting Funk with a piledriver onto a pumpkin. Yes, a pumpkin and that ends it.

Winners: The Nasty Boys in 7:56
You know what? I enjoyed that. It wasn't a good match but I found it entertaining and fun. **

Eric Bischoff and Mean BAH GAWD Gene present Muhammad Ali with an award. This was there. Bobby Heenan then passionately promotes Ric Flair and the fact that he's a ten time World Champion. Mr. T will be the special referee and there's speculation about who's side he'll be on as “Hogan sucks” chants can be heard.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Career vs. Career Steel Cage Match
Hulk Hogan (c) w/ Jimmy Hart and Brother Bruti vs. Ric Flair w/ Sensational Sherri

Brother Bruti is such a stupid name, but so is Brutus Beefcake and the Booty Man. Once the bell rings, Hogan attacks Flair with right hands in the corner and a back body drop. Hogan stays in control until Flair goes for the knee. If the knee didn't come into play here, I would seriously question things. Hogan decides that his knee is okay and he powers up and throws Flair into the cage. He gets into a shoving match with Mr. T as he awkwardly stands in place so he can take a double axe handle from Flair. Flair hits a nice suplex for a near fall before driving short punches into Hogan's head and strutting. Hogan crotches Flair on the top rope and starts to bite Flair. Schiavone exclaims “I'VE NEVER SEEN HOGAN ACT LIKE THIS” which is total BS because he's done heel stuff his whole career. Flair chops away in the corner and Hogan “Hulks Up”. Flair attempts to escape over the top although the only way to win is via pinfall or submission. Hogan catches up to him and lights his chest up with chops. Flair rallies and removes Hogan's knee pad so Mr. T stops and shoves him. Flair applies the Figure Four but it's Hogan, so of course he doesn't quit. He turns it over to break it and Mr. T gets taken out by mistake. Flair notices this and stomps on T as Sherri tries to climb in. Jimmy Hart tries to pull her down and removes her dress. Sherri doesn't stop so Sting brings her down. The masked man comes out from under the ring and wails on Hart and Sting. In one of the most badass moments I've ever seen from a female, Sherri leaps from the cage to double axe handle Hogan barefoot! They beat up Hogan and Flair covers, but T has been handcuffed and takes too long. Flair covers but then decides to get up and stomp on T. Dumb. Flair hits a suplex and Hogan is back up to be Superman. Hogan completes the comeback sequence and hits the Leg Drop to win.

Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan in 19:25
I heard great things about this but I wasn't a big fan. Too much stupidity and overbooking for no reason. It wasn't bad, just wasn't amazing. Also, the masked man just disappeared.**3/4

Hulk Hogan celebrates as Muhammad Ali exits and Bobby Heenan sounds like his child died or something. The masked man is finally back and goes to take out Hogan with the pipe, but Hogan stops him. When he unmasks him, it turns out to be Brother Bruti! OHMYGOD! THE SURPRISE OF THE CENTURY! Bruti, instead of acting like a serious contender, is suddnely scared to death. Kevin Sullivan runs out along with Earthquake and they all beat up Hogan. Come to think of it, Brother Bruti came out with Hogan but disappeared. Sting runs back down and takes out all three heels before checking on Hogan. 

Overall: 4.5/10; Below Average. I expected to hate this show but I didn't. While the opener was dreadful and the Sullivan brothers bout sucked, everything else was at least watchable. The main event was the match of the night and everything on the show, besides the two DUDS got two stars at the minimum. Not a recommended show but not the worst show either. Next on “Random Network Reviews” will be “SuperBrawl Revenge”.