WCW Halloween Havoc, 10/25/98
WCW Halloween Havoc '98
Break out the mistletoe, it's almost time for the 10th annual Halloween Havoc!!!
It's me again, Xavier Doom. You know, the guy who fills in once and
a while and plugs his own page,
Xavier Doom's Slayground
I'm also the guy who writes really weird stuff in his reports.
I once wrote "Break out the mistletoe, it's almost time for the 10th annual
I can't remember when I wrote that. But since we're talking about
It's time. Halloween Havoc is here. Well, almost.
It's one of my favourite cards. Why?
Well, because it has a history of featuring some of WCW's best pay-per-view
Though there have been some notably bad contests and embarrassing moments.
The Havoc debuted back in
1989, when WCW (then the NWA) had a great year.
That year, the NWA was red hot. Ric Flair and Rick Steamboat put on a series
of classic matches for the NWA World title. Terry Funk was on a rampage.
Sting was coming into his own. The Road Warriors were still at the top of their
game. Lex Luger was almost interesting. Sid Vicious,
the Steiner brothers, Brian Pillman, Shane Douglas and The Great Muta were
rising stars. Michael Hayes and Jim Garvin formed the new Freebirds. Ron
Simmons and Butch Reed formed Doom. Other wrestlers that competed in the
NWA in 1989 included Terry Gordy, Steve Williams, The Samoan Swat Team,
and Scott Hall.
Not a bad year at all.
Anyway, let's get back to Halloween Havoc. I'll recap its history here,
and then take a look ahead to this year's card. Let's start at the
Back in 1989, at the first Havoc,
Ric Flair and Sting teamed to take on Terry Funk and The Great Muta in a
Thunderdome cage match.
Flair and Funk were in the middle of a monster feud.
Sting and Muta were feuding over the NWA TV title. And there was some crossover
feuding, with Flair fighting Muta at house shows. Sting and Funk had a
dust-up on television when Funk teased Sting about being TV champ.
"What are you gonna be next, the world washing machine champion?"
It was great booking. Anyway. The four of them got
into the cage at the Havoc and put on a fantastic match. It may have been the
best in Havoc history. (Trivia question: who was the special referee for this
match? Answer at end of report.)
The next year, we hit one of those low points I mentioned above. Sting was
the NWA World champion at the time. His opponent at the Havoc was Sid
Vicious. Sounded great.
But the 1990 Halloween Havoc isn't known for a
fantastic contest between Sting and Vicious. Instead, it is known for the
"imposter Sting" incident. Near the end of the match, Sting and Sid fought
their way to the back. The cameras lost sight of them. Then Sting and
Sid came back to the ring. But it wasn't the real Sting that came back to the
ring. It was Sid's pal, Barry Windham, done up like Sting to fool the referee
(check out the picture). Sid hit a move on Windham and
scored the pin. New champ, right? Wrong. The real Sting came out from the
back, with a length of rope around his wrist. He'd been tied up, apparently.
The match resumed. Sting won. The whole thing was rather embarrassing, and
typical of the booking at the time. The one saving grace for the '90 Havoc
was an amazing tag team match between the Steiner brothers and The Nasty Boys.
In 1991, Lex Luger was WCW World champion. He faced Ron Simmons in a
best-of-three-falls match. It wasn't bad. As close to serious wrestling as
either of these guys could manage. As I remember, Simmons broke a wrist in
this contest. There were some solid performers at this card, including Sting,
Cactus Jack, Abdullah the Butcher, Steve Austin, Dustin Rhodes, Arn Anderson and Larry
Zbyszko. Rick Rude made his WCW debut, and proceeded to be one of the
promotion's best wrestlers for the next 2½ years. However, the rest of the card
featured some of the stupid wrestling characters WCW had at the time.
Characters like El Gigante, Big Josh, P.N. News and Chip the Firebreaker.
Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were at this card. They were being misused as
The Diamond Studd and Oz. A forgettable event.
The '92 Havoc was much better, but it was marred with a bad finish. At the time,
Sting and Jake Roberts were involved in a brief but hot feud. Jake had shocked
WCW by making a surprise appearance at a Baltimore house show on August 2 (pictured).
It was the same night Ron Simmons won the WCW World title from Big Van Vader.
Jake attacked Sting that night, and the feud was underway. At the Havoc,
Sting and Jake were involved in a "Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal"
contest. WCW set up a roulette wheel with a dozen different types of matches
on it. It was spun. And a coal miner's glove match came up. A glove was
put on top of a pole that was attached to the ring post. First guy to climb
the pole and retrieve the glove got to use it. Sting got the glove. He
hit Jake. As Sting hooked Jake for the pin and the win, Jake's snake "bit"
him. It was an embarrassing spot, with Roberts obviously pulling the snake
toward his face. Jake was gone from WCW soon after.
In 1993, we got another "Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal" contest. This time,
it was WCW champion Vader vs. Cactus Jack in a Texas death match. The two
had been building toward
this match for some time. It all started several months earlier when Vader
powerbombed Jack on a concrete floor. Jack disappeared for weeks, the
victim of "amnesia" brought on by Vader's brutal attack. The Texas death match
at the Havoc was also brutal, and both men juiced.
The end came when Vader's manager Harley Race used a stun gun on Jack,
knocking him out. Earlier, Sting and Sid Vicious hooked
it up in a Havoc rematch. Sting won. Ric Flair and Rick Rude duked it out.
Not a bad card. Not a great one.
In 1994, I got a supreme disappointment. Hulk Hogan was just a few months
into his WCW stint. He'd beaten Ric Flair for the WCW title at Bash at the
Beach. That made me mad, because Flair had meant so much to the promotion
in the years when Hogan and the WWF were killing NWA/WCW. Anyway, Flair and
Hogan hooked it up in a cage at the '94 Havoc. Flair said he'd retire if he
couldn't win. I figured Flair and Hogan were swapping jobs here -- Hogan won
the summer match, Flair would win at the Havoc. I was wrong. Flair played the
overwhelmed coward, and Hogan won in convincing fashion. I was so
disgusted, I didn't watch wrestling again for more than a year. Adding
to my indignation was Hogan's behavior during the match. When Flair's
manager Sensational Sherri interfered, Hogan went about the task of beating up
on her. The pic shows Hogan about to slam Sherri -- he would also give
her a clothesline and a boot to the face. I can't believe he was booked to
do this. Pathetic.
I wasn't watching in 1995 when WCW put on one hell of an embarrassing Halloween
Havoc. By this point, WCW was riding the Hogan wave. Numerous former WWF
stars were in WCW, attracted by Hogan's star power. Monday Nitro had just
debuted, meaning that WWF Raw had some serious competition. Unfortunately,
WCW's success came with a cost. That cost was colosally stupid angles.
Hogan was fending off the Dungeon of Doom. At Halloween Havoc '95, Hogan and
The Giant were set to meet for the title. But first, a monster truck contest.
Yup, that's right. No joke. Hogan and The Giant got into these mechanical
monstrosities. The trucks were welded together at the front bumper. The
object was for one truck to push the other out of a big circle on the roof
of Detroit's Cobo Hall. After several ridiculous minutes, Hogan won (of course).
The Giant was angry. He attacked Hogan. Their battle led them to the edge
of the roof. Hogan broke a Giant chokehold.
And The Giant fell off the roof.
Hogan was distraught. But the superhuman Giant not only survived the
fall, he met Hogan for the belt later in the night. The contest was forgettable.
The ending wasn't. Hogan was attacked by his manager, Jimmy Hart. He was
also stomped on by Lex Luger and The Yeti.
is one of those characters
that promoters later say "seemed like a good idea at the time." The Yeti was
probably the worst idea for a wrestler that WCW has ever had.
He was a wrestling
mummy. Rumour has it that he was played by Reese -- the big guy that
was in Raven's Flock. Though I'm sure if you ask Reese, he'll deny he was
The Yeti. Hey -- wouldn't you?
After what was easily the worst Havoc yet (perhaps the worst WCW pay-per-view,
period), WCW came back in 1996 with a hell of a solid card. Halloween
Havoc '96 featured a number of good contests. Dean Malenko and Rey Misterio
Jr. met for the Cruiserweight title.
Arn Anderson and Lex Luger met in
a grudge match -- and Luger was actually pretty intense! He gave Arn a
few chair shots. What most people didn't know at the time was that
Arn was wrestling with one useless hand. He'd been injured a few days before
the card, but wrestled anyway. The injury would force him to
retire. Also at Havoc '96, The Outsiders
took the WCW tag titles from Harlem Heat. And the main event wasn't too bad,
as Randy Savage carried Hollywood Hogan to a decent match (for Hogan).
Hogan won with the help of The Giant, Ted DiBiase and referee Nick Patrick.
After the match, it was surprise time. Bagpipe music started up and
Roddy Piper came to the ring. The fans popped big for him.
It was Piper's first NWA/WCW appearance in 13 years. And he told Hogan to
straighten up and fly right. They jawed back and forth until WCW ran out
of satellite time. This confrontation led to a Hogan-Piper
non-title match at Starrcade that Piper won.
The next Halloween Havoc featured Hogan and Piper again. This time, the
two met in a cage match. No, it wasn't great. And it certainly wasn't the
action-packed cage match that WWF put on three weeks earlier when it
presented Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at In Your House Badd Blood.
But Hogan and Piper were better than a lot of people thought they would be.
It was what you can now expect from Piper -- a lot of brawling. A little
boring, but hey, Piper still hustles in there. The highlight of the match
was watching the two oldies climb the cage. Piper won, but again, it was
a non-title match (though it was originally promoted as a title encounter).
At the end, a "fan" jumped in. The guy was a plant. Anyway, better than
that encounter was a contest between Randy Savage and Diamond Dallas Page.
They met in a death match. Havoc '97 also featured an intergender match. Disco
Inferno did the job to Jacqueline. So to speak. And, hey -- how can I
forget the Rey Misterio-Eddy Guerrero contest? It was WCW's match of the
year. A great match that showcased the incredible talents of both men.
So, the question now is, what can we expect this year? Well, it looks like
a lot of what we've been getting from WCW pay-per-views in recent months. A few good
matches, a few bad matches, and too much Hollywood Hogan.
In fact, this year, we get the contest that the WWF never gave us: the rematch
between Hogan and The Warrior. I'm sure many of you have seen the
first match, at WrestleMania VI, in 1990. The whole wrestling world took notice.
Warrior prevailed, cleanly pinning Hogan. It was the Hulkster's first clean
loss during his historic 1984-93 WWF run. People call that match a classic.
Heading into Halloween Havoc '98, some people are expecting the rematch to be
nothing close to a classic. After all, it's been nearly a decade since they
first met, and it wasn't
like Hogan was a rookie in 1990.
As far as I'm concerned, the only real difference
between their first meeting and the one scheduled for the Havoc is the hype.
The WWF had hyped Hogan-Warrior to the point where these guys could have put on
a headlock derby for 30 seconds, and it would have been called a classic. WCW has
had the chance to hype the rematch. But it hasn't really worked out that way.
There's been some terrible booking heading into the Havoc, with Warrior making
an ass of himself everytime he's been on television. He is getting a lot of
cheers, but many fans are now booing Warrior and are showing little interest in
the match. So we head into the Havoc with this as the main event. Don't
expect much. But expect Hogan to win.
By the way, if you thought the first Hogan-Warrior match was a classic, I
invite you to take another look. Strip away the hype, and you have an
overbooked, overdramatic snorefest. If you want a real classic, watch any of
the Ric Flair vs. Rick Steamboat matches from 1989 that I mentioned above.
I suppose that comment will get me some hate mail. Send it
Anyway, the match that should have been the main event at this year's Havoc is the
WCW title match pitting Bill Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page. Here are two
guys that are ready to give us a good match. Without Hogan's self-centered influence
poisoning WCW's booking, this match would probably have been promoted properly.
But the build-up has been buried during Nitros and Thunders while the nWo
has been pushed. Let's face it, this match should be the main event. And
it should be very good. If recent booking is any indication, Goldberg will
win after outside interference distracts or impedes DDP.
Sting and Bret Hart could put on one of the better matches of the night.
They've been hyping this as a scorpion deathlock vs. sharpshooter contest.
Unfortunately, the odds of WCW booking a clean finish here aren't high.
If WCW lets these two guys go, we could get a great match. Hart's skills
are legendary. And while Sting isn't the technical wrestler Hart is, Sting
is a fantastic wrestler in his own right. Put Sting in there with a guy like
Hart, and we could be in for a treat. This one's tough to call. But again,
I expect outside interference to ruin the finish.
I'd like to say that I'm expecting a lot out of the meeting between the Steiner
brothers. But after several months of waiting, this one's
a non-starter. And it's not like Rick and Scott are the same wrestlers they
were in 1992. Back then, they were amazing. Now, it's amazing to see how
far they've fallen. Both lack the intensity that made them the best team
in North America just six years ago. The build-up to this one was drawn out
too long. And add the ridiculous promo on the October 12 Nitro that saw Rick
getting a warning about Scott from Chucky, the doll from the Child's Play
movies, and I'm grabbing a beer or watering my toilet during this one.
The winner? I'll say Rick. But who the hell cares?
Scott Hall vs. Kevin Nash. Oh my. Potential for a great one. Not that
either of these guys are technical wizards. They aren't. But these are
two superstars. Misused superstars, certainly. But superstars nonetheless.
If -- and this is a big if -- these guys come to play, we should
get a great show. Nash seems to have lost something recently. He's almost
disappeared into the nWo Wolfpack. Maybe he's bored. Maybe he's pissed off
with WCW for splitting him up with Hall. Whatever. I'm hoping that at the
Havoc, he'll put forth the kind of effort he's capable of. And I'm also
hoping to see him reconcile with Hall. That would mean an end to a feud that
was a bad idea in the first place. And it could mean the end to the angle
that has seen Hall act like a drunk. I say that Nash wins this match.
Lower in the card, we're being promised Juventud Guerrera vs. Disco Inferno.
Here are two young guys who can wrestle. Disco's schtick is a little much
for me, but he does make me laugh from time to time. This should be a
decent match. I doubt it will steal the show. But these guys do have talent,
and if the rest of the performances on the card are weak, I guess you never know.
I pick Juvi to win here. WCW seems to want to push him right now.
Anyway, as I write this, those are the only scheduled matches I know of,
but of course, there are bound to be more. And there could yet be changes to the matches
mentioned above. After the pay-per-view, I'll file a report for DDT Digest.
I hope you'll check it out.
And I hope you'll drop by my page
Xavier Doom's Slayground
to take a look. The page is dedicated to a lot of what you've seen in this
report; wrestling history and commentary. I've been watching wrestling for
almost 20 years, so I feel I have some idea of what I'm talking about. The
Slayground is home to The WCW Hall of Shame, The Vince McMahon Hall of Shame,
The Dusty Rhodes School of Fine Broadcasting, a comprehensive wrestling
timeline and a bunch of other stuff that might entertain and educate you.
Then again, it might not.
Enough of that. Enjoy Halloween Havoc '98!!!
Er, that's it.
Well except for the trivia answer, which is Bruno Sammartino.