Thursday, October 6, 2011

Boo: It's Electric

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

For the first time ever, I've sat down and watched Halloween Havoc 1989.  With the exception of HH '91, I don't think I've ever seen any of these WCW classics.  I did watch some of them on "scramble vision" in the late 90's.

The inaugural event was in Philadelphia.  Jim Ross and Bob Caudle did the play by play for the night.  JR did a nice job giving histories on each man in the ring.  It was good hearing some of his stuff from 'back in the day'.   I forgot that Mr. John Laurinaitis wrestled on the show.  He and Shane Douglas attempted to win the tag team titles from the Fabulous Freebirds.  Who would have thought that Michael Hayes and Johnny Ace would be two of the WWE's top guys backstage some 21 years later?

Muta vs. Sting
The main event of the night touted the first "Thunderdome" matchup.  It was an electrified steel cage match pitting Sting and Ric Flair (rivals becoming buddies) against Terry Funk and the Great Muta.  In a pre match interview, Funk referred to the structure as a 10,000 Watt Boogie.  Bruno Sammartino was the guest referee for the match.

No pinfalls counted in the match.  Ole Anderson was outside the ring for the faces, Gary Hart was outside for the heels.  So one of them had to throw in the white towel for his team.  Before the match even started, part of the cage caught fire.  Muta even climbed up and used his green mist to put out the flames.  It almost seems like an early version of the Hell in a Cell, only a bit more shocking.  The managers were also inside this structure.

Flair measures up Funk
For those who don't remember the history, Flair and Funk had been feuding since Funk attacked Nature Boy after winning the world title back from Ricky Steamboat.  Muta and Sting had a separate program going on.  It's crazy watching how young Sting and Muta are in this match, heck even Funk is in pretty good shape.  And Natch is 40 years old here and looks fantastic too.

The guys know that the top of the cage is electric, what's the point of climbing up there?  Who wants to get shocked like that?  You can't win the match by escaping, so what's the point.  Heck, Bob Caudle just basically asked the same question.  It's good to see Funk was "middle age and crazy" 20+ years ago.

Look close, the towel is in mid air.
There would have been a great shot of Flair chopping Funk, but the camera blocked by a prop on the cage.  The match had a screwy ending.  Flair locked Funk in the figure four and Sting did a couple of top rope splashes on Funk.  Hart refused to throw in the towel.  He and Anderson ended up in the ring, Bruno's back was turned, and Ole punched Hart hard enough to make the towel fly out of his hand.  It handed on Bruno's back, who then called the match.  Disappointing finish, and a somewhat awkward match at times.  I think that's because it was a new concept, but all four men did a great job telling a story.

Other observations: five of the eight matches on the card were either tag team or 6 man tag team matches.  Very interesting.  I think those days are far behind us.

Brian Pillman put up a good fight against Lex Luger.  I always supported Pillman, even during his babyface days.  I really wanted him to win the U.S. title that night, as he was certainly the underdog in this contest.

Why was the Cuban Assassin vs. Tommy Rich on pay per view?  Seems like a WCW Saturday Night match to me.

I enjoyed the 6 man tag between the Samoans and the Midnight Express and Dr. Death Steve Williams.

I've just started watching Havoc '90.  Look for My 1-2-3 Cents on that soon.

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