WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 & 1999

My original intention was to review the final 3 Halloween Havocs today and move on to other wrestling PPV’s, but I have had such difficulty getting through the final one in 2000 that I will just go over ’98 and ’99 now and force my way through 2000 for next week. The quality of shows is getting worse and worse.

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1998 actually could have been a great PPV if it was not for one match that was so embarrassingly bad that it brought the rest of the show down.

Starting off with the good:

Chris Jericho beats Raven – Two great characters and terrific performers who started the show off on the right foot. Lots of great high flying spots which ended with Raven submitting to the Lion Tamer.

Disco Inferno over Juventud Guerrera – Disco Inferno was a ridiculous character but he could perform well in the ring. The winner of this match received the right to face Billy Kidman later in the show for the Cruiserweight Championship which leads us to…

Billy Kidman defeating Disco to retain the belt – Kidman was a great wrestler and this match came off great. Fast paced with some great spots with Kidman winning using the shooting star press.

Bret Hart taking out Sting – A match that everyone wanted to see for a long time and finally got the chance. Overall, a good match between two legendary performers.

Now for the one match that destroyed it all…

Hollywood Hogan vs. Warrior – Holy crap was this bad. I have heard about this match for years as being possibly the worst of all time and although I cannot confirm that since I have yet to see every wrestling match of all time I can validate the fact that this match is the worst I have seen yet. I would rather watch Al Snow vs. Big Bossman in a kennel match (look it up on Youtube) 100 times in a row than watch this stinker a second time. It was supposed to be a historic rematch for the ages, but the problem was, in my opinion, Hogan. At this point in his career he just could not put on a great match anymore. He needed to have the right person to work with and even though I feel Warrior was perfectly fine in the match, the way it was scripted no one could look good. The icing on the cake is when Hogan attempted to do the old fireball in the face trick and he fumbled his way through it and wound up burning himself in one of the most embarrassing moments in his career. I feel the main issue is WCW itself. The fall of the organization was beginning and bad booking and pure ignorance is what started the fall.

Amazingly enough, there was one more match that night and thank goodness for it…

Bill Goldberg retained the World Title over DDP – Many people consider it the best match ever on a Halloween Havoc card and they are correct. Both guys were in their prime and busted ass to compensate for the previous match that almost destroyed the show. What I did not know was that when this show aired live the people who had paid for the PPV did not get to see the final match. The PPV lasted well over 3 hours and the cable/satellite companies were prepared for 3 hours, which is the standard, so the show ended abrubtly. The match was aired on Monday Nitro the next night for free and WCW had to refund the people who purchased the show the night before.

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1999 was just weird. It seemed rushed together and was just a giant cluster you-know-what.

Eddy Guerrero beating Saturn was fun. Rick Steiner over Chris Benoit was good. DDP getting a big win over Ric Flair was neat. Then there was Hogan being beaten by Sting. Hogan lies down and tells Sting to pin him which he does. No explanation. Everyone in the crowd sat there with blank looks on their faces as did I. Just nonsensical garbage that should have been explained.

At the end of the show was a 3 minute out of nowhere match with Goldberg winning the World title over Sting. Huh?! The outcome of the match was fine but the shortness of it was bizarre to say the least. The longest match was just shy of 13 minutes which gave this show the feeling of being rushed together and everyone involved just wanting to get it done with and get out there ASAP. WCW was now on its last legs and it really shows.

One more Halloween Havoc to go and I can finally move on to the good stuff.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1996

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Now things are getting interesting in WCW.

This is the year when the NWO angle started which helped WCW to have a 2 year or so run as the top wrestling promotion in the U.S. Even though it was a huge angle that lasted a few years too long, the true key to WCW’s success at this time was the new crop of wrestlers they had on their roster and this Halloween Havoc was a great example of this.

The PPV started off with Dean Malenko defeating Rey Misterio, Jr. to win the Cruiserweight Championship – This was a great example of the talent level WCW had at this time as these two got the show off to a fantastic start. Two top notch wrestlers who had differing styles that worked perfectly together.

Diamond Dallas Page over Eddy Guerrero – Eddy Guerrero was a great mix of high flyer and mat wrestler. DDP was a guy who got his start in the business at a later than normal age, yet kept himself in shape and worked hard to put on some classic matches that defied time. This was a terrific match that really showcased both performers.

Syxx over Chris Jericho – Never really liked Syxx/123 Kid/X-Pac/Dumbass (not an official name), but he could put a good match when he tried and with Chris Jericho at the top of his game this was another excellent match from an overall great show.

The Outsiders beat Harlem Heat for the Tag Team titles – Excellent match from four big guys who could put on a great show when they worked at it. Harlem Heat always seemed to work hard and put on good matches. The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) got lazy towards the end of their WCW run, but when they put out the effort, as they did in this match, they really showed everyone how talented they truly were.

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After all of these good matches you cannot help but be concerned about the main even featuring Hollywood Hogan and Randy Savage. Even though Savage was late in his career, he still put on some classic matches, but Hogan was definitely past his prime. Fortunately, this match was worked perfectly with a bit of comedy thrown in. Hogan came out wearing a hair piece that came into play during the match when Savage pulled it off and wore it himself. Overall, this was a good, solid main event despite Rowdy Roddy Piper coming out at the end and giving one of the most boring promos ever. I love Roddy Piper. He was a great wrestler and terrific promo guy. This was a poor example of it. It went so long the PPV just abruptly had to end which was great, since it got to the point of embarrassment.

Despite the ending promo, this was an excellent show that proved WCW could be a very good promotion when they tried.

1997 was pretty solid as well and will be the sole PPV featured next week.