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CIRCA
WCW Halloween Havoc 1998
May 14, 2004

by Denny Burkholder
Courtesy of WrestleLine.com

 

-- My version is the commercial WCW home video release.
 
 
-- From the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nev.

-- Our commentators are Tony Schiavone, Mikey Tenay and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

-- The Nitro girls do a dance number to start us off.

-- Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Rick Steiner about his upcoming brother

vs. brother match vs. Scott Steiner. Buff Bagwell interrupts to say we're all sick of Big Poppa Pump and the nWo. Bagwell asks Rick Steiner if he can be in his corner tonight and the Dogfaced Gremlin says yes, even though he doesn't know if he can trust him.

WCW Television Title:
Chris Jericho (C) vs. Raven.

Raven sits in the corner as with the microphone as Jericho comes to the ring. Raven says he wasn't scheduled to wrestle tonight, this match was a last-minute addition, and he doesn't feel like wrestling so he's leaving. He heads back down the aisle and Jericho gets on the mic saying that all the Jerichoholics were looking forward to seeing him wrestle an icon such as Raven, the leader of the Flock - the biggest bunch of morons in WCW. And the match begins.

For only being six minutes or so, this was a very strong opener with plenty of action. Both guys were going 100 percent. You could even hear the crowd react to little things like Raven trying to whip Jericho into an exposed turnbuckle... do people even care about spots like that anymore? The finish came when Kanyon ran out to help Raven and got on the apron. Raven whipped Jericho into Kanyon, who took a sacrifice bump to the floor to help his leader. Raven caught Jericho in position for the Evenflow DDT but Jericho pulls his legs out from under him and makes Raven tap to the Lion Tamer, retaining the TV Title. Jericho being the wiseass that he was in WCW in 1998, jumps up and down repeatedly to celebrate his win, stopping every few leaps to ask the ref to raise his arm in victory one more time.

-- Jimi Hendrix' "Voodoo Chile" blares, inadvertently switching to the nWo theme as Eric Bischoff and Hollywood Hulk Hogan come to the edge of the aisle for a promo. Hogan says he intentionally crucified his nephew Horace Hogan last week because he wasn't ready to wear the nWo colors (or lack thereof). We get a clip of Hogan and various nWo members beating Horace last week on Nitro. If you're keeping score, it was The Giant, Scott Norton, Vincent and Stevie Ray in the ring with Hogan for this particular nWo beatdown. Man, did that faction get convoluted in the final few years or what? Hogan tells the Warrior that when he crosses the line from the darkness into the world of visionaries such as Hogan, he's gonna get beat up.

Winner Gets a Cruiserweight Title Match Later Tonight:
Disco Inferno vs. Juventud Guerrera.

Disco Inferno's spinning disco ball entrance graphic is replaced by a pumpkin for the holiday.  Juvi was sans mask at this point in his WCW career. Not too bad of a match, if a little disjointed in places. Disco did an OK job working with Juvi's lucha moveset, and countering it with more traditional American stuff. Both guys were working hard, but probably due to some pacing issues, a few of the spots looked sloppy (usually when Juvi was on the offense, which makes it look like Juvi was moving a little too fast for Disco). Disco Inferno wins with a nice-looking spike piledriver. The crowd was a little quieter for this one, which is forgivable since they were hot for the opener and they'll be seeing Disco on more time tonight, anyway.

-- The Nitro Girls shake a little booty for us.

-- "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner comes out to the nWo theme this time, and cuts a promo running down Buff Bagwell and Rick Steiner, invoking the name of Buff's mother to conjure memories of one of WCW's lamest angles ever. BPP asks Buff to make the Rick vs. Scott match more interesting by turning it into a tag team match, with Buff and Rick vs. BPP and The Giant. How is that a better match than Rick vs. Scott? JJ Dillon comes out and asks BPP if their WCW tag team titles will be on the line in the match, and Scotty says they will. JJ Dillon then adds the caveat that if they lose the tag titles tonight, Scott will THEN be forced to wrestle Rick one-on-one. Just like that, an advertised match becomes a "maybe if you're lucky" match based on a worse match being booked on the fly. OK then.

-- More jiggling from the Nitro Girls.

WCW Cruiserweight Title:
Billy Kidman (C) vs. Disco Inferno.

Disco is all business for his second match of the night, walking to the ring with a look of purpose and a towel over his shoulder like some kind of cage fighter. Except for the bell bottoms. This is the long-haired, white wife beater and jean shorts version of Kidman. At one point Disco whips Kidman into the corner and he falls to the mat. The camera picks up some funny dialogue from Disco as he decides to mock Kidman, except he forgets to kayfabe. "Come on, Pete!" (Oops!) "Come on, Kidman! 'Turn the music down!' 'Yes, mom.'" Kidman retains with a shooting star press in a fun match. Disco was on his game tonight, which sort of made up for having to see him wrestle twice in the same PPV.

-- The nWo theme blares again, but this time, we're actually getting a match out of it instead of a promo!

WCW Tag Team Titles:
Scott Steiner & The Giant (C) vs. Rick Steiner & Buff Bagwell.

In one of the most embarrassing sights of WCW's final years, Paul Wight is walking to the ring wearing his title belt and SMOKING A CIGARETTE. Nothing says "I care about my job" like an athlete smoking on his way to a competition. Somehow, this didn't work for Paul Wight the way it did for Sandman. Immediately the match becomes Wrestlecrap Heaven as Tony Schiavone mentions that not only does Rick Steiner have the support of Buff Bagwell, but he's got Chucky (the evil doll from the movies) on his side, too! That's remarkable. Rick Steiner starts like the proverbial house of fire and does damage to Scott. Buff begs for the tag, and did ANYONE back then NOT smell this turn coming a mile away? Buff lays the boot to Rick and hammers him, then flees the ring to allow Big Poppa Pump and The Giant to finish him off. I shit you not, Tony Schiavone and Mike Tenay are speculating in commentary that Judy Bagwell may have had a roll in all of this. Yikes. We also find out this is a no-DQ match and apparently was all along. I guess you can't fault them for gimmicking the match on the fly... they booked it on the fly, too. The match ends with Scott holding Rick in position as The Giant goes to the TOP ROPE and delivers a MISSLE DROPKICK (!), but hits Scott instead. Rick finishes off The Giant with the top rope bulldog to win the tag team titles for himself and Buff Bagwell, AND earn the match against Scotty.

Scott Steiner vs. Rick Steiner.

Rick fights off Paul Wight to get Scotty in the ring alone. A bunch of Steiner-style suplexes between the two brothers before a man in a suit wearing a Bill Clinton mask is spotted assaulting WCW officials outside the ring. Stevie Ray appears out of nowhere to hand the masked man a slapjack (a slapjack, of all things?) which he uses to knock out both Rick Steiner and the referee. Bill Clinton unmasks. It's Buff Bagwell, again. He couldn't have just run back out to the ring in his wrestling gear? Buff uses referee Charles Robinson's arm to try and count the pin for Big Poppa Pump, but Rick gets the shoulder up at two. Top-rope Frankensteiner and they do the same thing ... Rick gets the shoulder up again. Buff and BPP go for the double clothesline but Rick nails Scott instead and hotshots Buff on the ropes. Top rope bulldog and Rick pins Scott as referee Nick Patrick runs in to make the count. What an overbooked bunch of crap this was... all for the purpose of putting Rick Steiner over as a world-beating mega babyface. We all know how that turned out.

-- Scott Hall vs. Kevin Nash is up next. Background: Scott Hall turned on Nash at Slamboree by helping The Giant beat his former best friend. Hall had returned to WCW after taking time off to deal with his chronic personal problems, so WCW made an angle out of it and portrayed Hall as a drunken idiot, spewing beer on Eric Bischoff and showing up to work inebriated. Kevin Nash cut a promo at one point telling Hall he would say the words that struck a nerve with Scott like no others: "it's last call." This match is called the "Battle of Respect."

Scott Hall vs. Kevin Nash.

Hall comes down the aisle looking drunk and holding a drink, which looks to be either dark beer or liquor. Or Mr. Pibb. Hall's got the nWo traditional theme. Nash is representing the nWo Wolfpack, or nWo red and black, and he's got the pseudo-hip hop Wolfpack theme song. Hall starts off by throwing the drink in Nash's eyes and attacking him on the outside. Nash gets back in and allows Hall to punish him before whipping him from corner to corner and giving him the side slam. Nash goes for the jackknife but Hall bails. Back in and they lock up, but Nash shoves Hall down. Hall looks at Nash like he doesn't know what else to try. Then goes for an arm wringer and slaps Nash in the head a bunch of times. Nash regains control and pounds Hall. Nash gives him the back elbows and knees to the gut in the corner, saying things like "Have another drink!" and "How about a double?" Hall looks helpless by now and Nash asks if he's had enough. Big boot to Hall's face. Nash lets Hall get to his feet and gives him a jackknife (with quite a bit of velocity, actually). Nash: "I think you'll have a double." One more big jackknife for Hall and referee Mickey Jay is asking Nash to pin Hall already. Nash stands over Hall and gives the crotch chop, then leaves the ring without pinning Hall. Hall wins by countout due to Nash kicking his ass and leaving.

The idea here was that Nash was proving a point to Hall and trying to beat some sense into him. It is always awkward watching very real personal issues turned into wrestling storylines, and this wasn't any different. Maybe WCW thought this angle would allow Hall to come to his senses in real life, too. If that was their goal, I guess you can't fault them for trying, even if it failed.

-- The Nitro Girls are here to dance, dance, dance.

WCW U.S. Title:
Bret "Hit Man" Hart (C) vs. Sting.

This is the red and black "Wolfpack" variation of Stinger, complete with goatee. It's the Sharpshooter vs. the Scorpion Deathlock, and Schiavone and Heenan point out that they're "jealous" of each other's finishing maneuvers. Bret Hart stalls a lot in the early going, forcing Sting to come out of the ring and drag him in. Bret's the heel here, obviously. Bret controls for a long time. He hits the legsweep and goes to the ropes, but Sting wakes up and counters into the Scorpion, as Bret grabs the ropes for the break. This is a pretty slow-paced match. Even the announcers are giving us dead air at times, and the fans are very quiet considering the level of talent in the ring. Bret goes down after a leapfrog, faking a knee injury. He gets a foreign object. Sting tries to punch Bret in the corner but referee Billy Silverman catches his arm, and as Sting turns around, Bret low blows him. Bret goes on another loooong and sloooow stretch of offense. Bret works over Sting from behind as he stands on the apron. Sting throws a back elbow to fight him off and hits the ref by accident. Bret sees the knocked-out ref on the mat and gives him a legdrop for good measure. Cool. The match continues, leading to Sting superplexing Bret (whose ass lands on the referee's feet... ouch). Sting goes for the Stinger Splash but gets too much height and ends up smashing his head on the ring post. Sting hangs over the ropes and Bret works him over with his own baseball bat. Bret brings the bat into the ring and hits Sting again, then revives the referee and puts Sting in the Sharpshooter. Billy Silverman raises Sting's arm three times, and he is out, so Bret gets the win. Sting gets stretchered out, with the announcers speculating that he's concussed from hi head hitting the ring post.

For being a dream match of sorts, this was sort of a disappointment. Neither guy seemed to be at his best, and everything was just really slow and plodding. The ending was cool, though. It's not every day you actually see a match end with the arm-raising thing.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan (C) vs. The (Ultimate) Warrior.

There's the strange "Voodoo Chile"/nWo theme song mix for Hogan again. Must be a money thing with the rights to Hendrix's music, because I can't think of any other good reason to cut off a song like "Voodoo Chile" for something far inferior.

The Warrior actually looks in awesome shape considering he'd wrestled sporadically at best in the years leading up to this. Then again, he was never a very good wrestler, so his physical fitness never had much to do with his wrestling schedule anyway. Hogan had been looking like hell for a while now, and the fake black beard wasn't helping at all. This match, of course, was precipitated by Eric Bischoff bringing the Warrior in as the latest in a string of ex-WWF stars to appear in WCW looking for some kind of long-sought revenge. Warrior's stay in WCW was brief, as this match was a disaster and the angle leading up to it was rife with problems. There was the infamous "OWN" (get it?), or "One Warrior Nation" faction started by Warrior as the babyface version of nWo black & white. Warrior's esteemed faction featured such luminaries as Horace Hogan. Warrior appeared on Nitro every week leading up to this in a veil of smoke and theatrics, including through a trap door in the ring that more than one other WCW wrestler wound up injuring themselves on. Hogan was seeing Warrior's reflection in the mirror and all kinds of other goofy shit that goes with your standard Ultimate Warrior storyline.

Your standard Hogan-Warrior stuff to start. They crisscross while running the ropes and Hogan ends it with a bodyslam, which Warrior no-sells and bodyslams Hogan in return. Warrior spazzes out on the ropes for no reason at all, then clotheslines Hogan to the outside. Warrior follows Hogan out and much eye-gouging and punching ensues. The usually-reliable Mike Tenay on commentary: "A fine wrestling match has turned into an out-and-out fight." Oh, Tenay... you had me, then you lost me. You were doing so well until you called this a "fine wrestling match." Back in, Warrior drops down as Hogan runs the ropes and nearly trips while trying to hop over him, hitting ref Nick Patrick in the process (looked like a planned ref bump that almost didn't happen because Hogan was clumsy). Hogan grabs Warrior in a front facelock and calls for the nWo troops since the referee is down. The Giant comes down and Hogan holds him fo the big boot, which Hogan eats when The Warrior ducks. Warrior clotheslines the Giant out of the ring, then punches Stevie Ray and Vincent off the apron as they try to enter. With Hogan and Nick Patrick both down, Warrior looks down the aisle to see if any more nWo members are coming, then covers Hogan when the coast looks clear. Uh, Warrior... you might need a ref. Warrior THEN goes to wake up Nick Patrick and Hogan backdrops him. Patrick wakes up and counts two.

Hogan whips and chokes The Warrior with his weightlifting belt. Warrior fights out, goes for the big splash and misses. Warrior uses Hogan's weightlifting belt to pound Hogan, then argues with the ref about it. Hogan uses the opportunity to get out a small baggy and a lighter in the corner, as what might have been the planned finish gets horribly botched. Hogan tries to ignite a fireball and throw it at Warrior. The stuff won't light, so Hogan makes this phantom throwing motion at Warrior and Warrior starts to sell it, until he sees there wasn't any fire. Then a flash of fire goes off in Hogan's hands by his waist and startles him. There goes that idea! Warrior, now improvising, punches Hogan down and goes up for a pair of flying axehandles. Hogan low-blows Warrior, clotheslines him and drops the big leg. He gets ready to drop another leg as h sees Horace Hogan coming down the aisle with a steel chair. Warrior rolls out from under the second legdrop attempt. Now Eric Bischoff is at ringside along with Horace. Warrior drops Hogan with a pair of clotheslines and signals for the gorilla press slam. Horace gets in the ring and cracks Warrior with the chair while Bischoff distracts Nick Patrick, and Hogan wins via pinfall.

Post-match, Horace Hogan squirts lighter fluid on the Warrior as WCW head of security Doug Dillinger wrestles a lighter away from Hogan, as if he'd have actually succeeded in lighting it anyway.

What can I say about that match that the gory details don't illustrate? Total train wreck, even by Hogan or Warrior standards.

-- Michael Buffer is out to introduce our main event for the WCW World Heavyweight Title. Lllllllet's get rrrready to rrrrumbllllllllle.

WCW World Title:
Goldberg (C) vs. Diamond Dallas Page.

DDP earned his title shot by winning War Games at Fall Brawl '98. Goldberg does the grandiose entrance surrounded by security guards following him from his dressing room door to the entrance ramp. DDP had not been WCW champion yet, and this was painted as two babyfaces against each other with DDP chasing his lifelong dream.

The match was pretty entertaining considering Goldberg's lack of experience. It was back and forth until Goldberg's shoulder met the ring post on a spear attempt. DDP controlled for a while, and Goldberg eventually whipped him into the ropes and tried for a hip toss. DDP countered it into a nice-looking DDT. DDP signals for the Diamond Cutter, and out of nowhere, Goldberg nails him with the spear. Goldberg used the hurt shoulder though, so he can't capitalize. Goldberg slowly gets up and goes for the jackhammer with one good arm. His first attempt to lift DDP fails. He lifts him on the second try, but DDP flips through it and hits the Diamond Cutter. The crowd loves this. DDP goes for the pin and it really looks like it could be a finish, but Goldberg gets the shoulder up at two. DDP tries for a vertical suplex, lifts Goldberg but drops him, and Goldberg uses the momentum to lift DDP into vertical suplex position. That's all she wrote, as the jackhammer finishes DDP off and Goldberg retains the WCW Title.

And that's the show. I'd actually mildly recommend this for anyone curious or reminiscent about the glory days (and ultimate demise) of WCW. This show is a classic example of all that was right about WCW (guys like Jericho, Raven, and Disco busting ass in the undercard) while showing some of the biggest reasons why it was doomed. From the entire Steiner vs. Steiner storyline and the fact that they worked Chucky the evil doll, Judy Bagwell AND a cigarette-smoking Paul Wight into the angle, to high priced but undermotivated talent like Hall, Nash, Hogan, and (on this night, even if it was out of character) Sting and Bret Hart. Incredibly overbooked stuff that doesn't go right (Hogan's fireball). Real-life crisis turned into an on-air storyline (Hall vs.Nash).

And to top it all off, the rookie champion and the overachieving DDP busting ass in the main event slot to try and save the show. They helped Halloween Havoc finish on a good note, but there certainly was a whole bunch of garbage on the program overall.

 
E-MAIL DENNY
BROWSE THE CIRCA ARCHIVES


  
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