This week, in the spirit of Halloween, we’ve chosen the Chamber of Horrors match from WCW Halloween Havoc ’91, which is spectacular in that it has just about every single bad idea you could think of thrown into one match. Members of the site @TimWelcomed, @typicalROHfan and @TomBlackett give their (lack of) expertise on the action.
Part 1: Eric Bischoff is not a good interviewer.
Eric Bischoff is in a suit standing… outside of the arena, I guess? Cars are pulling up but there’s also a lot of grass behind him. Something feels out of place. Bischoff tries getting interviews but these guys are just too busy for him. Especially Barry Windham who is getting his hand slammed in the door like a chump.
Eric Bischoff just seems like a douchebag. It’s amazing how one person can maintain the high level of douche chills over a span of 22 years but EB does it.
Highlight of this for me is Larry Zbyszko and Arn Anderson smashing Barry Windham‘s hand with the car door. Zbyszko telling Bischoff to “get out the way, you jerk” was a glorious moment that made me just feel in my bones that we would see these two co-main event Starrcade 7 years later.
First of all, WWE not adopting Halloween Havoc as one of their annual PPVs is CRAZY. It’s a really fun name, the theme is ridiculously easy to do cool sets and posters and stuff with and, really, wrestling and Halloween are just made for each other. Both celebrate people dressing up like idiots and running around doing dumb stuff, so why keep them apart? It’s a natural fit!
Having said that though, the Chamber of Horrors might not be the best example of ‘doing it right’. In the opening interviews, Eric Bischoff is DREADFUL. He looks good in a tux, but beyond that, he delivers everything in the same hokey tone and doesn’t seem to be able to react to anything naturally. DDP is in full Andrew Dice-Clay mode, asking Bisch “What are you, parking cars now? SEEYA!” We love Andrew Diamond-Dallas-Clay.
Onto the entrances, and there are two teams (catchily named ‘team number one’ and ‘team number two’), who all come out to the same generic theme. Cactus Jack has a chainsaw. Abdullah the Butcher is carrying… something else, I’m not sure what. Finally, Sting gets to come out to his own theme, and everyone goes NUTS. Without any explanation of how it works, the match begins!
Part 2: The Chamber of Horrors!
This match is going to be nuts. Sting is way too hyped. So much so that his belt fell off. The revolutionary Refer-Eye Camera has changed the way that I look at entertainment. We get Cactus Jack almost being smashed by a small room containing an electrocution chair (Oh wait, no. It’s THE CHAIR OF TORTURE) that was being lowered into the ring. In his defense, wrestlers do not have to worry about that usually. You can tell Scott Hall was ready to leave this company… and then come back by this point. The Refer-Eye camera is making me feel sick. Schiavone, using his master logic, declares the best strategy would to be to stay away from THE CHAIR OF TORTURE. Abdullah gets electrocuted. That whole deal looked way more dangerous than it should have.
The talent in this match is amazing. Such a Hall of Fame worthy list such as Sting, the Steiners, Scott Hall, Abdullah the Butcher, Vader, Mick Foley and…………. El Gigante. The match starts with utter confusion. Rick Steiner has a chainsaw. What is going on?!
Sting is swinging a kendo stick in 1991. Sting confirmed to basically be the inspiration behind ECW existing. Now there’s a camera on a ref’s head. Confirmed to be an Eric Bischoff idea since we saw it brought back recently in TNA and be as pointless as it is here.
A giant chair of torture is coming down. It almost killed Mick Foley! This might be the worst gimmick match idea ever yet not as bad as Sting’s yellow pants. Scott Steiner trying to choke people to death with a chain is saving this. Imagine Steiner with his chain vs. Triple H and/or Ric Flair and/or Hulk Hogan and/or Eric Bischoff in a shoot.
Foley murdered his teammate Abdullah the Butcher to give their opponents the win. Or himself the win. Or Abdullah the win. I really can’t tell. Either way, how rude!
Okay, so this match is REALLY HARD TO WATCH for a few reasons. Every hard camera shot makes it impossible to see what’s going on because the cage bars blur everything out and the video quality isn’t too hot. However, it’s not much better from inside the ring because they have a new gimmick called the ‘refer-eye camera’, which is basically a camera mounted on the referee’s head that shakes around and provides a terrible view of the action.
The object is ‘to put your opponent in the Chair of Torture’, and after a few minutes of completely incomprehensible wrestling, the smaller cage with the chair finally comes down. That somehow manages to make things worse though, since they’ve now cut the already confined space for eight guys to wrestle in by half.
There’s an AMAZING bit during the match where Sting and Cactus Jack are wrestling on the outside, and the Stinger just tosses a coffin lid up in the air for it to land on Cactus. Like, he doesn’t swing it at him or anything, just tosses it up and lets gravity do the rest.
More awkward ‘wrestling’, before we finally get to the ending. With Rick Steiner in the chair, Cactus just has to awkwardly hang onto the cell with his hand on the switch, waiting to pull it. However, he doesn’t bother checking before he does, resulting in his good buddy Abdullah the Butcher getting fried.
Part 3: Aftermath and final thoughts.
Cactus Jack is squealing like a pig in honor of The Butcher but Abdullah comes to and starts causing hell. This match is one of the greatest experiences in the history of Earth. I feel like I will wake up soon.
Abdullah the Butcher did not really die but his career did as he would go to wrestle for ECW after this.
My main takeaway from this match is that Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone should have been the announce team for every wrestling event in every wrestling promotion ever.
After the match, Cactus Jack mourns over his fallen comrade, before a deranged Abdullah jumps out and, in shades of Kane at the Royal Rumble ’99, he starts attacking the white outfitted ‘ghouls’.
This match though, man. The whole thing was like a seven year old’s fever dream of what a horror-themed wrestling match could be – coffins with masked guys jumping out of them, chains on the cell which people can be handcuffed too, a bunch of ‘ghouls’ watching from the walkway… nobody seems to know what to make of it, and the wrestlers just give up after a while. Not that I blame them!
Anyway as a bonus treat (or trick), here’s Eric Bischoff dressed as a vampire with Paul E. Dangerously for the unmasking of the Halloween Phantom, also from Halloween Havoc ’91. Enjoy, and happy Halloween!