The heavy north-east rain ruined any chance of a free-flowing spectacle, but despite atrocious handling and running conditions both teams endeavoured to create chances, with two tries apiece in freezing temperatures.
Much go-forward was provided from the Falcons pack, and it was a former Wasps, blindside flanker Mike McCarthy, who put in a man-of-the-match performance with a string of telling ball carries, but it was the collective toil of the front eight which paved the platform for victory as they scrapped for every inch against a rugged Wasps pack.
Right from the kick-off the Falcons were in Wasps faces as Cory Harris hared after the catcher and forced an early turnover as both sides struggled to hold on to the ball in the tackle and at the base of the ruck in the deep surface water as the rain lashed down.
Newcastle settled down for a period of early pressure in the Wasps 22, and were unfortunate not to take an early lead as Matthew Burke fired wide with what would usually be en elementary penalty from in front.
But moments later it was McCarthy who powered his way over for a well-taken try after patient phase play in the build-up allowed Geoff Parling and Mathew Tait to break, before McCarthy played a good advantage and stepped his way to the line from five metres around a heap of bodies.
Burke converted, while one of many up-and-unders from James Grindal forced Wasps skipper Lawrence Dallaglio to knock on.
Wasps, however, got back in to the game through right wing Sackey after England fullback Mark Van Gisbergen created a two-on-one and fed in the former London Irish man for a well-crafted score playing advantage from an earlier Falcons knock-on.
The fullback could not add the conversion as the hosts held on to a narrow 7-5 lead which was to last until the interval, despite Sackey being centimetres short of a second try as he chased down a grubber kick which just had too much legs and rolled dead.
McCarthy made more punishing yards with ball in hand as the half drew to a close, while Tom May drilled a 50-metre clearance punt and then almost created a try as his cross-field kick was defused by Rob Hoadley under the attentions of Mathew Tait in the in-goal area before the half-time whistle came.
With the conditions getting no better as the second half got underway, both teams took to the skies with an aerial barrage of Garryowens from Burke and Van Gisbergen, while Grindal probed the fringes well and Sackey almost grabbed a second try from yet another grubber in to the Falcons 22.
It was ten minutes in to the half when Wasps finally made their pressure tell, and again it was from a drilled kick which skidded to the Newcastle line, with Tait failing to defuse it in the soaking conditions as the Irish fly half made the most of his spill and hacked on to score under the posts.
Van Gisbergen added the extras to assume a 15-7 lead, and it was all change for the Falcons as injuries forced off Tom May (leg), Lee Dickson (knee) and David Wilson (ankle), which meant Cory Harris slotting in to the unusual role of makeshift winger with the hosts running out of backs.
Fly half Walder, on for Toby Flood, stamped his authority on the game by kicking the corners well and exploiting Newcastles new-found competitive streak in the line out as Parling, Perry and McCarthy made their presence felt.
And it was less than two minutes after coming on that Walder made a crucial intervention, kicking to the corner and forcing Van Gisbergen to knock-on and provide the five-metre scrum from which the second try was to come.
From the set piece in the right corner the ball was worked through the hands infield, before centre Jamie Noon, left out of the England side to face Samoa yesterday, battered his way to the line, taking two tacklers with him over the whitewash for the try.
Burke converted to narrow the deficit to just one point, and with an atmospheric Kingston Park boosting the home side, they took the game to the champions with runs from replacement Ben Woods, while Walder fired wide with ambitious long-range drop goal out of heavy midfield mud.
A string of punishing rolling mauls tested the Wasps rearguard, and having got away with pulling the maul down on a number of occasions, referee David Roses patience finally snapped with the clock down to less than 30 seconds, as he eventually blew for a penalty.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and with Burkes body at freezing point after a gutsy 80-minute display from the Aussie fullback, kicking duties were handed over to the Geordie boy, who showed remarkable nerve in blasting the ball high and handsome over the South Stand roof as his side claimed their first home win of the season in nailbiting style.
Tries: McCarthy, Noon
Cons: Burke 2
Tries: Sackey, Staunton
Cons: Van Gisbergen
Pens: Van Gisbergen
15 Matthew Burke (captain)
14 Tom May (Lee Dickson, 53, Owen Finegan, 62)
13 Jamie Noon
12 Mark Mayerhofler
11 Mathew Tait
10 Toby Flood (Dave Walder, 51)
9 James Grindal
1 Micky Ward (David Wilson, 40-54)
2 Andy Long (Matt Thompson, 58)
3 Robbie Morris
4 Andy Perry (Andy Buist, 70)
5 Geoff Parling
6 Mike McCarthy
7 Cory Harris
8 Jason Smithson (Ben Woods, 53)
16 David Wilson
17 Matt Thompson
18 Ben Woods
19 Andy Buist
20 Owen Finegan
21 Lee Dickson
22 Dave Walder
15 Mark Van Gisbergen
14 Paul Sackey
13 Ayoola Erinle
12 Stuart Abbott
11 Rob Hoadley
10 Jeremy Staunton (Alex King, 67)
9 Eoin Reddan
1 Tim Payne
2 Ben Gotting (Joe Ward, 6)
3 Jon Dawson
4 George Skivington
5 Richard Birkett
6 John Hart
7 Tom Rees
8 Lawrence Dallaglio (captain)
16 Joe Ward
17 Alistair McKenzie
18 Mark Lock
19 Gareth Chamberlain
20 James Honeyben
21 Alex King
22 Neil Baxter
Referee: David Rose