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Monday, January 12, 2015

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SOTB Reviews: Halloween Havoc 1994

Welcome Ringers. It is I, the guy who put the bomp in the bomp, buh-bomp, ba-bomp, the guy who brought Hulkamania into the 21st Century...then puked its guts out, Speed on the Beat. As you can tell, we're reviewing Halloween Havoc 1994. Why not 1995, you ask? Well, that's too easy. Plus, if you want a HH '95 review, the gents over on OSW Review do a better job with that clusterbomb than I ever couldwould have, since I wouldn't want to touch that monstrosity with a ten-foot yehh-tayyyyyy (see what I did there?)

True advised that I check out 1994's edition of the PPV to determine "Was It Really That Bad?"



Well, a couple seconds in, we're treated to the HH logo (the one which conspicuously looks like Warrior's facepaint) and a witch flying past the moon. Oh, and Tony Schiavone's voice. So...we're not off to a good start. Bobby Heenan puts over Detroit...then buries Detroit by saying that "[nothing matters in Detroit other than] Hulkamania ending tonight."

After an abysmal performance of the Star-Spangled Banner and a WCW Hotline promo with Sting, we have our first match. It's THE COONJohnny B. Badd versus Honky Tonk Man for the WCW TV Title. So, Johnny B. Badd has fangs and a spider man pseudo-loin cloth on his ass. Already I'm saying what the fuck is this? Heenan agrees, as he says "this isn't a match I want to see." There are more rest holds here than in the Granny Wrestling Federation (and about as much movement, too). The announcer starts counting down the time limit halfway through the match. So...that means either one of two things. We're going to have the most insane spots known to man on some Jeff Hardy shit and an upset or we're gonna have a draw.

We got a draw.

Next up, Pretty Wonderful versus The Real AmericanThe Patriot and Buff Bagwell (Stars and Stripes). I kind of just dozed off in this match. Paul Orndorff is a legend, and pretty underrated. However, by this point, watching Mr. Wonderful was saddening. I mean, he was about a year away from meeting Gary Spivey in one of the worst promos in history. Not only that, but the man's injuries were catching up to him--and fast. The Patriot was just ass, not because of his in-ring skills, but the whole "American Patriot Luchador" thing he had going. Buff (or should I say Marcus Alexander) Bagwell was still coming into his own, and was years away from (possibly) having to fake injuries through his mom. And Paul Roma was just...meh. He wasn't ass, he wasn't great--he was just...there. Pretty Wonderful got the win and regain the Tag Team Belts.

Ric Flair delivers a promo with Sherri, who for some reason is dancing her ass off. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but I've got to ask. Was she tweaking here? Either that or she was trying to mimic Flair's mannerisms. Either way, it didn't look natural. From here, we're given a typical "Screw You Hogan" promo from Heenan (where he almost calls Hogan a SOB) with Tony Schiavone looking confused, dazed, and generally unhappy to be here.

Oh, God. I forgot all about "Evad" Sullivan. This shit is depressing. So, some backstory: "Evad" (Dave) Sullivan is supposed to be Kevin "Booker Man" Sullivan. He's a dyslexic Hulkamaniac who has pissed of Kevin by becoming a Hulk stan. He is also portrayed as being apparently borderline autistic (even having an entrance theme that sounds childish as all hell). I'm surprised WWE didn't bring Dave in to be Eugene's father. Anyhow, "Evad" is in our next match against...THE TASKMASTER Kevin Sullivan.

This match is brought to you by Rogaine. My God, the bald spots are blinding. Bobby Heenan offers up some parenting advice (beat the crap out your kids with a motor oil-covered 2x4 if they piss you off) while the match is depressingly slow and telegraphed. Kevin snatches a Hulk bandanna from a kid, puts it in Dave's mouth and chokes him out with it. Dave recovers and puts the bandanna into Kevin's mouth and then gives Kevin a big boot. They begin to brawl outside after Kevin tricks Dave. Kevin gets counted out after throwing Dave into the ringpost. Weak. Sauce.

Next, we get Dustin Rhodes versus Arn Anderson. This match was full of heavy hits, great technical spots, and more. The end comes when Dustin catches Arn with a roll-up. Now, you know my gripes against men doing roll-ups. However, it sometimes works. It didn't work with Edge on Batista, but here? Yes. Why? Dustin is the novice compared to the cagey vet in Anderson. Plus, y'know, Arn has Col. Parker and Meng with him. This meant that any way you can get a win, you need to take it before Meng kicks your ass.

After some shmozzing between Rhodes and AA, Stunning Steve Austin versus Hacksaw Jim Duggan are up next for the US Heavyweight Championship (a/k/a the US Title in WWE). The crowd was dead for most of this match. However, we get to see Stone Cold before he's Stone Cold. In other words, he's a lot more of a technical wrestler versus being the mudhole-stomper we know and love. We also get mooned by Steve as Duggan grabs way too much of Austin's trunks in a roll-up attempt. I wasn't ready for that. Anyway, Duggan retains after Austin is DQed because he gave Duggan a back body drop outside of the ring. Duggan gets that look in his eyes and proceeds to try and beat Austin with the 2x4. I don't think I've seen many Duggan wins where he wins cleanly, though. Geez...

Vader comes up next, and gives Muhammad Ali props. Oh, I forgot to mention that. A portion of the sales from this event are going to one of Muhammad Ali's foundations in Detroit. So, even though this PPV has sucked much ass, at least it's for a good cause, right?

Vader and The Guardian Angel (Big Boss Man) square off in a big man brawl. This match was brutal. Vader just starts off by beating the hell out of GA (after GA attacked Harley Race, Vader's manager) and clotheslines him out the ring. GA knocks out Vader and starts beating the hell out of Race. Vader oversells the hell out of a GA attack then gets bodyslammed onto Harley Race. More heavy hits come from both Vader and GA and Vader goes up, gets caught, and gets body slammed again by GA. GA goes up for the headbutt and hits an enziguri on Vader (not the first time GA has been able to do this either). GA gets KTFO and Harley Race comes back to taunt GA. Vader Bomb to GA, but a kick out at two. This match is surprising the hell out of me, by the way. Vader does up for another Vader Bomb but GA catches him with knees to the stomach. More near falls come and Harley Race gets suplexed into the ring. Vader gets the win with a splash after the Race suplex. Wow. That's all I've got to say about this match. These two big men moved better than some of the smaller talents and had more spots, too.

Fuck this next match. That's how disappointed in it. Why? The Nasty Boys versus Terry Funk and Bunkhouse Bunk (a/k/a Jack Swagger Sr.)...which ends with Jerry Sags piledriving Funk on top of a pumpkin. Nope. Not even going to touch it. We go from a great match between Vader and GA to...this?

Our main event is Hogan versus Flair in a steel cage career vs. career match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship with Mr. T as the special enforcer. Damn, that was a mouthful. First, it's funny to hear Tony Schiavone correctly identify Hulk's "bandanna" in this match as a durag. Hogan and Mr. T get into it a few times--and Flair attacks Hogan every...friggin'...time. The match was decent (wasn't either of their best, though). It, however, was not a decent blow-off for the feud between the two. Why?

Too much outside interference from Mr. T, Sherri, Jimmy Hart, Sting, and the masked vigilante who's been beating the hell out of Hulk for weeks. Mr. T's inclusion in this match was unneeded. He added nothing and was one of the most bumbling refs I've seen this side of TNA. He missed pinfalls, submissions, got knocked out by Hulk, etc. At least in this confusion we got to see Sherri stripped by Jimmy Hart...right?

Ok, so the rundown of the last few minutes of the PPV: Hulk knocks out Mr. T. Sherri attempts to get in the ring to wake up T, but gets stripped by Jimmy Hart. Sherri climbs back up the cage and is grabbed by the hair by...Sting(?). Sting's then hit in the back by a baseball bat/steel pipe by the masked man. Masked man also knocks out Jimmy Hart and climbs into the cage. Sherri distracts Hulk who gets taken down by Sherri. Mr. T is handcuffed to the ring as Sherri and Flair run Hulk into the steel pipe. This, of course, is instantly nullified by Hulk Hulking Up, clotheslining Flair and Sherri(?), bodyslamming Sherri(?!), clotheslining and bodyslamming Sherri and Flair again, knocking Flair off the cage, giving Sherri the Big Boot and gives one of laziest Big Boot and Leg Drop combos possible to Flair for the win.

Overboooked much?

Oh, yeah...I forgot the return of the Masked Man (with a camera crew who doesn't even try to warn Hulk;way to preserve kayfabe, guys) who's revealed to be...Brother Bruti a/k/a The Bootyman a/k/a Zodiac a/k/a The Man With No Name a/k/a Brutus Beefcake. BB ends up beating the crap out of Hulk with the help of Avalanche (Earthquake in WWF if you forgot) and Kevin Sullivan. The show ends with Hogan in Sting's arms trying to ham it up even more.

Final Thoughts:
That final sequence has fried my brain. Avoid this PPV and just look up the Vader/GA and Dustin/AA matches on the Network or something. Everything else is...no. If you want Hulk/Flair, their match at Bash at the Beach '94 (Hulk's first match in WCW) was better because it wasn't as convoluted as an ending. Hell, I'd almost take Flair vs. Hogan in TNA over this.

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