Ben is back with the second installment of PTBN’s newest column and looks at a match concept that had potential but lacked execution.
First thing I would like to say before we begin is thank you for the great reaction that I have been given in regards to the first column. It’s the first time I’ve ever written this kind of column and even at 38, I still have a fragile ego. So again thank you for reading and/or leaving a comment.
For the second installment, column I am going to go is a little seasonal and retro. We are going back 27 and 26 years to Halloween Havoc ’92 and ’93 and I am going out forth the argument that:
“Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal wasn’t that bad.”
WCW had tried to do a themed match at Havoc ’91. This was known as the Chamber Of Horrors and if you want a good laugh, I recommend giving it a watch, it will make Final Deletion look highly logical in comparison. By the time 1992 rolled around, a blood feud had developed between Jake Roberts and Sting due to Jake costing Sting a shot at the WCW World Title.
The match was signed for Halloween Havoc 1992 and was dubbed ‘Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal’. As fans we were there would be 12 match choices on a wheel and whatever was landed on would be the stipulation that the match would have. In a very un-WCW move they did a good job of keeping the combatants apart (save for an 8-man tag at a Clash). What was a WCW move was the way they decided to preview the match without the two touching. It was the first (but by no means the last) WCW mini movie. This involved Sting going to a dingy biker bar that Jake frequented (they didn’t have to do that much stretching of the truth). In addition to Jake, it also involved several bikers, Madusa and a midget. The best part of the movie was at the end when the two stood face to face and shot early 90s lasers at each other from their eyes. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and YouTube it.
Onto the match itself which was a disaster. The issues started before the match had even begun as the wheel wasn’t rigged and it landed on probably the worst choice of all: “The Coal Miner’s Glove.” This turned the match into your standard (blank) on a pole match. Not only was the glove was hung at an almost unreachable height, Jake was having one of those nights where his demons took over and the ending involved him stumbling and trying to get a snake to bite his face
Despite the disaster of a match, they bought it back the next year. This time though it was put in the hands of two professionals who specialized in beating the snot out of each other. Vader had put Cactus Jack out of action early in 1993 which gave Jack a well-deserved break. You would think WCW would have learnt their lesson after the mini-movie but this time they furthered the feud by showing a series of TV reports dubbed “Lost In Cleveland.” This showed that Jack has become homeless and was suffering from amnesia. They then gave the impression that he had to be persuaded to go back into the ring. It was that bad that when Jack got back in front of a crowd even WCW dropped the idea and he sold it like it was all a hoax.
The match of the night is a bit of a hidden classic that you should go see it on WWE Network. A real hard-hitting affair which shows off the best of what both men had to offer. WCW for once learned from their mistakes by rigging the wheel so it landed on the match choice that they wanted it to: a Texas Death Match. Like I said, if you haven’t seen the match then go do so, it’s an easy 4*+ affair.
This was sadly the last Spin The Wheel match. They could easily had carried it on in ’94 for example with Flair vs. Hogan. My opinion is that this was a great idea for the end of a feud that was (shock, horror) badly executed by WCW. They were able to set up the matches, so they should also have the brain power to rig the wheel to provide the result that they wanted instead of now where it’s remembered for mostly the wrong reasons. If you carry it on, its another unique hook for a show in a similar way to Fall Brawl and WarGames.
Thank you again for reading if you want to email me, I can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @benl1981. Next time we go back to 1994 and the launch pad for (ugh) The New Generation.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and does not reflect the opinion of Place To Be Nation.