WCW Halloween Havoc 2000

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The final Halloween Havoc has arrived…with a thud. Realizing this was at a time when WCW was at it’s lowest point as a company and they were about 6 months or so from being sold to Vince McMahon I can understand why this PPV was so terrible. You could tell from beginning to end no one in charge of WCW had a clue how to properly book a wrestling card and the talent just could not compensate for such poor decisions.

I will briefly cover each match since this is the final Halloween Havoc and will not even mention who won since it does not matter on what turned out to be such a terrible show.

The Natural Born Thrillers vs. The Filthy Animals vs. The Boogie Knights – A lot of talent was in the ring for this match…Rey Misterio. Jr., Billy Kidman etc…but you really got the feeling this one was booked on the fly…the wrestlers seemed confused and this match seemed like it was thrown together at the last minute. Everyone seemed puzzled and gave off that sense of ‘I just want to get this over with”.

Reno vs. Sgt. Awol – No…no…no…neither one had a lick of talent and Sgt. Awol looked like some overweight guy who just walked in that night and management let him get in the ring and make an ass of himself. Pure garbage.

The Misfits in Action vs. The Perfect Event – Oy…these four (Chavo Guerrero, Cpl. Cajun, Shawn Stasiak, Chuck Palumbo) were okay, but this was another match that had a weak storyline and seemed thrown in just to fill up some time.

Buff Bagwell vs. David Flair – Just a bad match…it had a storyline, but the match itself was terrible because of David Flair…he tried, but he did not try hard enough. He had no business wrestling and came off pitiful. Buff Bagwell was an excellent in-ring performer at one time, but this was when he was clearly in his “I don’t give a flying shit” phase and should have just left the business right then and there.

Mike Sanders vs. Ernest “The Cat” Miller – This was a ‘boxing’ match and I was prepared for the worst, but it was actually a good match! Miller clearly had an athletic background and did a damn good job making his kicks and punches look impressive.

Mike Awesome vs. Vampiro – Okay match…could have been better…most memorable part was Vampiro speaking. He has this goth/horror intro and look that made me interested and then when he got in the ring and on the mic his voice ruined the whole damn thing…nothing intimidating or ‘horrific” about him…he should have went with the silent gimmick like Sting when he first started the Crow character.

General Rection vs. Lance Storm and Jim Duggan – General Rection…so sad…Bill DeMott is a solid wrestler, but this play on words was just plain stupid and you could tell in his pre-match promo he did not like the name as well. I also felt bad for Duggan who has said recently he did not like the anti-American gimmick WCW forced on him and you could really tell in this match. Lance Storm is another great talent who was wasted by WCW. Despite all the potential downfalls of this storyline, the three of them did a good job and had an overall entertaining match.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Sting – Two top notch performers who were saddled with a match that featured Sting being attacked throughout by several fake Stings…ignorant booking and a waste of two very talented wrestlers.

Booker T vs. Scott Steiner – Booker T is one of my favorites…okay match, but Steiner spent 90% of the time attacking referees and going after fans that it became quite mundane. It got worse when Steiner used a ‘steel’ pipe to attack several people in the ring and it was clearly made of rubber. Just sad.

Goldberg vs. Kronik (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) – Only 3 minutes long which made it by far the best match of the night and marking the end of the Halloween Havoc PPV’s.

This was undeniably the worst of the Havoc PPV’s and I could not help but feel bad for the talent, especially knowing they were so close to going out of business and on the verge of being bought out by McMahon.

For the next handful of weeks I am going to discuss some wrestling related programming and events along with PPV’s. I subscribed to the WWE Network on day one and have enjoyed it immensely. There is a lot of great programming on the network and a lot of various goings on in the real world of wrestling over the past several years that I would like to give my thoughts on and hear other’s opinions of as well.

Thank you for reading and I appreciate all comments!

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 1997

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The 1997 edition of Halloween Havoc was another good one. WCW did have some truly good years and deserved to have a short reign at the top of the pro wrestling ladder and this PPV was a good example of why.

The highlights:

Yuji Nagata over Ultimo Dragon – An exciting match between two very talented cruiserweights. Ultimo Dragon was a solid performer and had many memorable matches in WCW.

Chris Jericho beats Gedo – Nine times out of ten Jericho has a great match and this was no exception. This is the first time I have ever seen Gedo and he worked quite well with the future Y2J.

Rey Misterio, Jr. defeats Eddy Guerrero – Two of the most talented wrestlers of all time. They were both great athletes and rarely had bad matches. They had a terrific in-ring chemistry that left you wanting both to win.

Randy Savage defeated Diamond Dallas Page – Another fun match between two guys that worked well together. It ended with interference from a fake Sting which surprisingly did not take away from what was a good match with a good story.

The lowlights:

Lex Luger losing to Scott Hall – Could have been a decent match if not for all of the interference. We are starting to witness the major issue with the NWO angle, it made no sense. Okay I get it, they are pretending to be an invading group trying to destroy WCW and from time to time they should get the upper hand. The problem is they got the upper hand way too often and made the rest of the roster look weak which does not help to sell an angle.

Roddy Piper vs. Hollywood Hogan in a steel cage match – it was okay, but seemed to go too long (even though is was only a 16 minute match) with more interference from the NWO which made me roll my eyes.

Despite those two matches it was another solid Halloween Havoc.

The final 3 will all be reviewed in next week’s post. 1998-2000 had some memorable matches, for bad or worse. This is when the wheels were coming off and WCW was nearing the end of it’s existence.

It is always nice to have competition no matter what industry you are in, but WCW really deserved to be put out of their misery which can be seen in the last 3 Halloween Havocs.

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.

 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1994 & 1995

Oh, WCW. You tried so hard during this time period, but with a handful of exceptions, you still were not at the WWF’s level. We are now at the point where Hulk Hogan left the WWF for WCW, but it initially did not work as well as Ted Turner thought it would. That will change in a few years, which I will get to in a couple of weeks, but at this date you could tell the crowd were not that excited to have Hogan in WCW. With that in mind, let’s quickly look at 1994:

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We start with Johnny B. Badd vs. The Honky Tonk Man for the Television Championship. Badd wins, but that is not what I remember the most. Johnny B. Badd was a stupid gimmick. Stupid, stupid, stupid. One of those gimmicks that makes me cringe if I am watching wrestling with a non fan. The thing that really surprised me was that he was an excellent worker. He was a fairly big guy who happened to be an excellent high flyer. A great athlete who got stuck in a ridiculous gimmick. When he went to the WWF as just plain Marc Mero it must have been somewhat of a relief for him to get away from this character.

Other matches of note:

– Dustin Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson which was an excellent match between two great workers with Rhodes getting a big win.

– Nasty Boys vs. Terry Funk and Bunkhouse Buck with the Nasty Boys getting the win in a short 8 minute match that still told a good story and was a lot of fun.

– The main event was Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair with the loser ‘retiring’. This match was a mixed bag. It took place in a steel cage which can provide a ton of excitement and with characters like Sensuous Sherri and Jimmy Hart outside of the ring getting involved from time to time and Mr. T as the referee/special enforcer there were some fun moments. The issue was Hogan who was clearly at a point in his career where people just did not care as much about him anymore, especially in WCW. Ric Flair was way over as always, even though he was clearly the heel in this match, and Ric really seemed to carry the match. Hogan won which was not unexpected, but you could clearly see the signs that he was not as ‘over’ in the WCW as he was during his long WWF run.

Now to Halloween Havoc 1995…oy…we will start with the good.

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Johnny B. Badd over Diamond Dallas Page – they put on a great match with a lot of good moments and DDP started showing that he was a future main event player.

Kurasawa vs. Road Warrior Hawk – very short match, but still fun with Kurasawa getting the dirty win with his feet on the ropes.

Now the bad…

Hulk Hogan vs. The Giant in a monster truck battle on the top of the arena – good grief…just stupid, stupid, stupid. Hogan won and afterwards ‘accidentally’ pushed The Giant off the top of the arena into the nearby river. Oy…

Main event was Hogan vs. The Giant again for the WCW World Title – “Surprisingly” The Giant showed up dry and unfazed. It was slow and plodding and ended with Jimmy Hart turning on Hogan. The “best” part though is when the Yeti arrived. Why he was referred to as The Yeti is beyond me since he was dressed as a mummy, but just the whole gimmick was stupid, stupid, stupid. Professional Wrestling has always had over-the-top characters, but this one was too ridiculous for even wrestling.

Next week I will discuss only the 1996 edition since this was actually a darn good PPV with some newer faces and the luchadores who started to have an impact in WCW.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1992 & 1993

These 2 Halloween Havoc’s were very interesting since they seem to be a who’s who of former WWF stars with one that I did not realize had a stint in WCW.

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1992 was a fun show overall with the following highlights:

Big Van Vader vs. Nikita Koloff was a good match between two big guys that showed that WCW did have some of their own talent that could compete with WWF. Same with the tag team match between Barry Windham/Dustin Rhodes and Steve Austin/Steve Williams. All four putting on a great match with Rhodes and Austin continuing their exciting feud.

The three matches featuring former WWF stars were over all good. Ricky Steamboat going against a young Brian Pillman was an excellent match and they really seemed to have a great chemistry together. Rick Rude vs. Masahiro Chono was also great with Rude not only showing his great in-ring ability but his heel personality was always very over with the crowd and provided some very memorable moments throughout his career.

The guy that I did not realize had a stint in WCW was Jake “The Snake” Roberts. He was involved in a ‘spin the wheel, make the deal match’ where early in the show his opponent Sting had to spin a large wheel to determine what type of match they had (steel cage, texas death match, etc…). It wound up being a coal miner’s glove match where whoever climbed up a pole first in the match could grab the suspended glove and knock their opponent out (it was supposedly metal lined). The match was fine for the most part until the end when Roberts used his gimmick of pulling the snake out of the bag to taunt his opponent but was instead bit on the face himself. It was an actual snake (cobra I believe) and clearly de-fanged. The problem was Roberts had to be overly physical with the snake in order to make it look like he was being bit. Let’s just say PETA would have been all over him today for how roughly he treated the snake.

Overall, a solid PPV and worth a watch.

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1993 was probably the best Halloween Havoc up to this point. Just a brief synopsis of the standout matches:

Paul Orndorff vs. Ricky Steamboat – two legends put on a great match and showed that both could still work well

Lord Steven Regal vs. Davey Boy Smith – two very different styles of wrestling that really worked well together

Dustin Rhodes vs. Steve Austin – this match seemed to be a bit of a tradition for a few years and never got old since they both had such great in-ring chemistry

Nasty Boys vs. Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio – simply awesome…Bagwell and Scorpio had silly gimmicks at the time, but were amazing athletes and performed some very memorable high flying moves off the top rope

Sting vs. Sid Vicious – they had a feud for a while and always managed to be entertaining

Rick Rude vs. Ric Flair – two legends who kept the crowd into the match throughout

And finally, Vader vs Cactus Jack – this was a Texas Death Match which is basically no DQ’s, falls count anywhere. Both guys beat the heck out of each and really put everything in to it which made for a fun match.

I am getting close to finishing the Halloween Havoc PPV’s and there is definitely some interesting moments where you really start to see where WCW went wrong as a company. When I get to my synopsis of those shows I may briefly go down to reviewing just one since I will have a bit more commentary.

Otherwise, next week is 1994 and 1995!

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 & 1991

I am going to combine some PPV’s so as not to bore anyone with match by match descriptions and just discuss the highlights, and any notable lowlights, and catch up to what I have watched on the WWE Network so far.

First off is WCW Halloween Havoc 1990.

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The first highlight for me was The Steiner Brothers vs. The Nasty Boys. Two very popular tag teams who were at the top of their game in this match. Nasty Boys were the heels and what I have always been impressed by is the fact that they excelled as either the bad or the good guys. Many wrestlers struggle when they are out of their comfort zone, but not The Nasty Boys. They seem to love being the heel just as much as they love being fan favorites. What they lacked in athletic ability they more than made up for with ring psychology. They were great at working a match and The Steiner Brothers are one of the best teams of all time for them to work with. The Steiner’s are very athletic and really know how to work the crowd. They spent a large portion of their careers as faces and it worked. They had a very long run as a tag team and are truly one of the greatest teams of all time. The Steiner Brothers won in a very exciting match that deserves a re-watching.

The other notable match was Sting vs. Sid Vicious. It was surprisingly fast, about 12 minutes long, but was fun either way. The ending was slightly confusing since Sid pinned a fake Sting, but suddenly the real Sting runs out and wins the match. Kind of unnecessary, but interesting to say the least.

The rest of the card was not very notable with the exception of Stan Hansen vs. Lex Luger. Stan Hansen was not a great worker in my opinion and him coming out with chewing tobacco running down his chin was just plain gross. Hansen winning the match was even worse.

Next up is WCW Halloween Havoc 1991.

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It started off with a Chamber of Horrors match featuring El Gigante, Sting and The Steiner Brothers vs. Cactus Jack, Abdullah the Butcher, The Diamond Studd and Big Van Vader (the attached poster shows different participants since there was a last minute change) ending with Abdullah the Butcher being ‘electrocuted’ and giving the win to Sting and his team. Very strange gimmick, but bizarrely entertaining.

The best match of the night was Stunning Steve Austin vs. Dustin Rhodes. The two of them always seem to have great matches together and this was no exception. It ended in a time limit draw, but still managed to be a satisfying match between two great performers.

The third and final match of note was Lex Luger vs. Ron Simmons in a two out of three falls match. Both wrestlers put on a great match, really worked well together, and even though Lex Luger won, Ron Simons still came off great.

The quality of the Halloween Havoc PPV’s can be a bit iffy, but I still enjoy them. Something about the whole Halloween theme that entertains me, probably since it is my favorite holiday.

1992 and 1993 to come next week!

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989

For a pro wrestling fan like myself, the WWE Network is simply awesome. I have been subscribed since the day it launched and have not been disappointed. You have on demand access to nearly every WWE, WCW, and ECW PPV and various other wrestling related programming.

One of the things I have enjoyed is getting to watch the WCW PPV’s. I have always preferred WWE’s product and watched an occasional episode of WCW Monday Nitro, but never really saw many of their pay per views. I decided to start watching the annual Halloween Havoc show from the first one in 1989 and plan to watch them all over the next couple of months and give my opinions on the matches and the show itself and will get to just about everything else on the WWE Network over time

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The first thing I noticed about Halloween Havoc 1989 is that the production quality in WCW was several steps below the WWE (WWF at the time). I am not talking about the matches themselves or the wrestlers, but WCW looked like an independent company where the WWE looked like a top notch production. Ted Turner purchased the organization in 1988 and you would have thought he would have put more money into the company, but it did not come off that way. I will save more on this topic for another post and just give a quick rundown on the matches w/o posting the outcomes of the matches themselves in case you want to be surprised.

Match 1 Tom Zenk vs. Mike Rotunda – not too bad for an opening match, which have the tendency to be short and quickly forgotten, and it definitely had some exciting moments and the crowd was in to the match which helps sometimes. Definitely came off as a thrown together match though just to fill some time on the show.

Match 2 The Samoan Swat Team vs. The Midnight Express and Steve Williams – Very fun and all 6 wrestlers were over with the crowd and new how to work a match. The Midnight Express are very ’80s in their look and gimmick, but still come off as entertaining in 2014 because they were excellent performers.

Match 3 Tommy Rich vs. The Cuban Assassin – Nope..nothing to say other than it was an unneeded match and using the Lou Thesz Press as a pin is disturbing.

Match 4 The Freebirds vs. The Dynamic Dudes – I do not like The Freebirds. I know they are considered an innovative and legendary tag team, but they just come off as downright awkward to me. I know non wrestling fans will think that all pro wrestling is awkward, but for myself The Freebirds are the cream of the awkward crop. What I liked the most about this match was the tag team of Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace (The Dynamic Dudes) at such an early point in their careers especially knowing the evolution of their characters in later years.

Match 5 Doom vs. The Steiner Brothers – The best match of the night in my opinion. All four guys are excellent athletes and really put on an exciting match. It came off as a very physical, stiff match and I found myself rooting for both teams even though Doom were the heels.

Match 6 Lex Luger vs. Brian Pillman – Another good match. Both wrestlers were early in their carriers and already showed they would become top tier talent.

Match 7 The Road Warriors vs. The Skyscrapers – Another very fun match. I have always enjoyed the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom. One of my absolute favorite tag teams of all time and even some of their weaker matches late in their careers still entertain me. Sid Vicious and Dan Spivey (The Skyscrapers) played the heel role perfectly.

Match 8 Ric Flair & Sting vs. The Great Muta and Terry Funk – 4 of the all time greats put on an awesome main event match. The gimmick was that the match took place inside a steel cage that was electrified at the top. Ahh wrestling…the silly things you guys come up with. The best part was when they lowered the cage around the ring and one of the top corners caught on fire. Watching the staff climb up the cage to put it out was quite amusing. The match itself was crazy and fun. With Sting early in his career, Ric Flair at his prime, The Great Muta at his green mist spewing best, and Terry Funk at his middle aged and craziest, it was simply great fun to watch.

Overall, it was a fun PPV and interesting to see WCW in the ’80’s when I was mostly watching the WWF at the time.

I look forward to seeing all of WCW’s PPV’s and seeing the evolution of the company.