Sunday, 20 September 2015

Retro Review: Snickers WCW/NWO Halloween Havoc 1998

Get your retro hats and your old-school slippers on and settle in for Retro Review!

In this edition we travel back to 25th October 1998 for the 10th incarnation of WCW's Halloween Havoc. Bill Clinton was the president of the United States and Tony Blair was the prime minister in the UK. B*Witched were a top of the UK charts with Rollercoaster, whilst across the pond, The First Night by Monica was ruling the airwaves.

The PPV was main evented by Goldberg defending the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Diamond Dallas Page, although due to WCW over running, many PPV providers cut off their feed before the match began. This meant that most house holds would have seen the Hollywood Hogan vs. The Warrior bout last. The show also features matches involving Chris Jericho, Bret Hart, Sting, Scott Hall, Raven and more. But was it any good?

Match 1 - WCW World Television Championship

"Lionheart" Chris Jericho (C)



After a load of random shit happens, it's 12 minutes before the first bell on Halloween Havoc 1998. These two guys are more than capable of stringing together an enjoyable opening bout, and for the most part I was into this bout. There's some nice ECW style brawling on the outside, although a horrible dive off the apron from Jericho hurts the early part of the bout. If the botchy dive hurt the match, a blatant low blow in front of the referee from Lionheart almost completely ruins what is actually a well-done closing sequence. There's just no need for it and it only leads to confusion over who is actually supposed to be the heel in the contest. By the time Jericho had reversed an Evenflow DDT attempt into the Liontamer (thanks to some tomfoolery from Kanyon at ringside), I'd lost interest with what should have been a good start to the show.

Winner - Chris Jericho via submission in 7 minutes, 49 seconds.

Next PPV -
Jericho would successfully defend his World Television Championship again at the next month's PPV, World War Three, overcoming Bobby Duncum, Jr. Raven on the other hand wouldn't make another PPV appearance until March 1999's Uncensored, falling to Hak in Falls Count Anywhere match that also involved Bam Bam Bigelow.

Because there hadn't been enough bullshit already on the show (I've left out the Nitro Girls and the commentary team rambling to each other), Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff cut promos on the entrance way....for reasons. Hogan goes on about his attack on nephew Horace, whilst then moving onto his match with Warrior tonight. If someone had brought the PPV, they surely already had all the build-up they needed for the match, just stick a video package of the feud on before it and get on with things. There is no need for a promo this long.

Match 2 - Singles




"Let's put Wrath over strong!" "But Wrath is shite" "Aye, but we're WCW!" Seriously Wrath (better known as Adam Bomb) was shite, he looked knackered after two minutes and his strikes were some of the worst I've ever seen, poor old Meng (better known as Haku) doesn't do much to help things either.

Winner - Wrath via pinfall in 4 minutes, 23 seconds.

Next PPV - Wrath would go on to defeat Glacier at World War 3, whilst also competing in the Three Ring Battle Royal. Meng didn't receive another PPV bout until November 1999, with a swift victory over the Total Package at Mayhem.

Match 3 - WCW World Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contenders

Disco Inferno

Juventud Guerrera

Juventud Guerrera wrestles around Disco Inferno to produce a pretty decent Cruiserweight bout. There's plenty of high flying action from Guerrera which for the most part looks good, a Frankensteiner and spinning wheel kick off the top stand out as particular highlights. There's a couple of moments that niggled me, like the indy-riffic repeat spot when Inferno get's lost taking a modified rocker dropper and some bizarre moments where both wrestlers do stupid taunts instead of going for the pin and Inferno hitting a fucking low blow in front of the ref (That's two on the show so far). Seeing as this match was to get a shot at Kidman's Cruiserweight title later on in the night, I couldn't have been more annoyed when Inferno picked up the victory with a piledriver.

Winner - Disco Inferno by pinfall in 9 minutes, 39 seconds

Next PPV - Disco Inferno would take part in the Three Ring Battle Royal at World War Three, whilst Guerrera would drop HIS Cruiserweight title to Kidman (Go figure).

Match 4 - Singles

Alex Wright

Fit Finlay

The crowd could not have cared less about Fit Finlay (better known as just Finlay) and Alex Wright and quickly turn on the bout chanting "Boring" for quite some time. The pair do nothing to try and get the crowd onside, but personally I enjoyed the bout that they put together. Full of uppercuts and chops, there's a physicality that is missing from a number of the contests on the rest of the card. I thought the finish was rather clever also, as the two miss a big move each before Wright is able to hit a neckbreaker for the victory. The two should have tried something to get the crowd involved and interested, but it's clear that not enough had been done previously to give the MGM Grand Arena a reason to care about what was going on either.

Winner - Alex Wright via pinfall in 5 minutes, 9 seconds.

Next PPV - Wright would take part in the Three Ring Battle Royal at World War 3, whilst Finlay would skip forward to Starrcade in December where he'd team with Jerry Flynn in a losing effort against Brian Adams & Scott Norton.

Match 5 - Singles



Squashy McSquash, because WCW. (Also this was Lodi's first PPV bout)

Winner - Saturn via pinfall in 3 minutes, 50 seconds

Next PPV - Saturn would be on the losing side of a tag team match at World War 3, teaming with Kaz Hayashi opposite The Cat & Sonny Onoo. Lodi would be unsuccesful in the Three Ring Battle Royal.

Match 6 - WCW Cruiserweight Championship

Kidman (C)

Disco Inferno

This isn't terrible, but it's definitely not any good. There's a nice call back to Inferno's earlier piledriver victory, with Kidman able to escape in a nice sequence, but it's repeated about three times and get's completely over played. Especially when Inferno looks like he's going for a powerbomb instead of a piledriver, just because that's what the reversal calls for. Just like Inferno's earlier match, their is a lot of frustrating stalling that makes it hard to suspend disbelief, like why is Inferno doing the macarena before hitting a piledriver? There's little attempt to tell a story off the previous match and even Kidman's Seven Year Itch doesn't look particularly good here. Way too long.

Winner - Kidman via pinfal in 10 minutes, 49 seconds

Next PPV - At World War 3, Kidman would succesfully win the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship from Juventud Guerrera (he'd dropped the belt to Guerrera on Monday NITRO a few weeks prior) whilst also competing with Inferno in the Three Ring Battle Royal. 

Match 7 - WCW World Tag Team Championship

Scott Steiner & The Giant (C)

Buff Bagwell & Rick Steiner

Even Stevie Wonder could see the Buff Bagwell turn coming a mile off. Turning on your partner in a title match doesn't help the belts at all, but attacking your partner and rejoining the nWo and then walking to the back, just makes you look like an idiot. For some reason WCW was focused on putting Rick Steiner over super strong and despite Bagwell turning on him, Steiner is able to overcome both Scott Steiner and The Giant...for reasons. The Giant coming off the top rope for a dropkick was a really silly spot, that really wasn't needed in a match likes this. And now Buff Bagwell has won the tag titles, despite clearly not being interested. WCW. As per the pre-match stipulations, not only did Rick win the tag titles (because championships are clearly not enough) but he also got 15 minutes with Scott straight away.

Winners - Buff Bagwell & Rick Steiner via pinfall in 8 minutes, 24 seconds

Next PPV - Scott Steiner and The Giant would be involved in the Three Ring Battle Royal at World War Three. Buff Bagwell wouldn't be seen on PPV until May 1999 at Slamboree where he would unsuccesfully challenge Scott Steiner for the United States Heavyweight Championship. Rick Steiner also wouldn't be seen again until that PPV where defeat Booker T to win the WCW World Television Championship.

Match 8 - No Disqualification

Rick Steiner


Scott Steiner

I don't think I've ever seen someone put over as strongly as Rick Steiner on this PPV, seriously the crowd loves every second of it, but why oh why was Rick being treated as the saviour of WCW at this point?
Winner - Rick Steiner via pinfall in 4 minutes, 46 seconds (Clearly not fifteen minutes, so why the fuck did you mention it? WCW)

Match 9 - Singles

Kevin Nash

Scott Hall

I talked about this match a little in the Kliq Rules Blu-Ray review and the bout is still as annoying now as it was a few weeks earlier. Having Scott Hall play out his alcoholic "gimmick" on TV is just mind boggling, and the whole set-up of the match has me completely confused. Nash is supposedly the babyface, because he is. As he takes the piss out of Hall's problems throughout the match (shouting "Here's a double" before delivering two knees to the stomach) but then hits a two Jacknife Powerbombs before fucking off and losing by countout. This makes no sense, if Nash is happy enough to verbally berate Hall, why wouldn't he want to get the pin on his old pal?

Winner - Scott Hall via countout in 14 minutes, 19 seconds

Next PPV - Nash would go on to win the Three Ring Battle Royal at World War 3, Hall was also part of the bout.

Match 10 - WCW United States Heavyweight Championship

Bret Hart (C)


There is shit loads of stalling at the beginning of the match, as my hopes that this match could be any good slowly washed away. The commentary is absolutely horrendous before the bell rings, as someone quips that this rivalry is more important than the title. Then why the fuck is the title on this feud? If the feud has become bigger than the belt, than what's the point of having a belt in the first place? Also if this piss-poor Hart vs. Sting feud is bigger than the United States Heavyweight title then you might as well forget that belt altogether.

Man, Bret Hart vs. Sting is a dream match, isn't it? Both men use the same move as their finishers, so surely this will be good? To fuck is it. The match should write itself, both men try to work the back and both men try to lock in their signature holds. But noooooooooo. That would be silly, wouldn't it WCW? Bret Hart takes out the referee and then there's all sorts of shenanigans going on and the crowd couldn't have cared less. Hart is not convincing in his heel role, and clearly couldn't be bothered with this match. There's no passion from him and it hurts the match.

The finish is so silly, as Sting seems to be getting some momentum and then over fires on a Stinger Splash, hitting his head on the ring post. Which is fine, this works as a finish if you're trying to keep each man looking strong, I suppose. But then Hart twats Sting a couple f times with his baseball bat, before locking on the Sharpshooter for the victory (with the referee coming to just in time). The overbooking isn't needed, both men look so awkward with everything they're asked to do in there. This must have been one of the matches WCW fans people began to get excited about once Hart jumped ship to WCW, I can't begin to imagine how disappointed they were with this.

Winner - Bret Hart by submission in 15 minutes, 4 seconds *STILL CHAMPION*

As Sting is taken out on a stretcher, his selling is spot on and probably my highlight of the entire match. The commentary team however, begins to shill for the Hogan vs. Warrior match later on. WHY? The viewer is already two and a half hours into the PPV, you don't need to convince them about how good the next match might be. You do need to sell the severity of the injuries that Sting has just received.

Next PPV - Hart would go on to main event World War 3, in a losing effort to Diamond Dallas Page over the United States Heavyweight Championship (Hart had dropped the title on the Monday NITRO after Halloween Havoc). Sting wouldn't get another PPV appearance until April 1999's Spring Stampede, where he'd get a shot for Ric Flair's World Heavyweight Championship, in a match that also involved Hollywood Hogan and eventual winner, Diamond Dallas Page.

Match 11 - Singles

Hollywood Hogan


The Warrior

There's even more stalling before this match, because stalling is fucking cool. Hogan shouting "I'm going to kill this guy" in his stupid gimmicky voice, is not at all convincing.

You must have heard how bad this match is by now? If you've never seen it, go and watch it, just so you can share the burden that those before you have had to hold for so long. It's shitty, shitty match. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. The botched fireball spot. Why was this even a thing to begin with? What made the original match so good, was the simple but effective booking. So what do WCW here? They over-book it to shit. There's run ins, from The Giant, Stevie Ray and Vincent, and then Horace Hogan....the same Horace Hogan that Hollywood attacked on NITRO and gave stitches in his head. Yes, Horace Hogan causes the finish by hitting Warrior with a chair. AHHHHHHHHHHHH. 1. No one cares about Horace Hogan. 2. No one cares about Horace Hogan. FUCK THE WCW.

Winner - NO ONE AT ALL. 

Next PPV - Hollywood Hogan wouldn't wrestle on PPV again until February's SuperBrawl, where he'd defend the World Heavyweight Championship (Hogan won the title from Kevin Nash on NITRO) against Ric Flair. This would be Warrior's final PPV appearance in professional wrestling

Match 12 - WCW World Heavyweight Championship

Goldberg (C)


Diamond Dallas Page

The best match of the show and it didn't even appear on the show (For anyone wondering WCW overran with the PPV and the majority of PPV streams did not carry the main event, it was then shown on NITRO the next night)

Seriously, this is one of the best Goldberg matches you will ever see and almost certainly his first good match. As opposed to the rest of the show, it's straight-up wrestling match, which is kept simple with no-runs and no silly twists. After some nice back and forth wrestling early doors, which suits the face vs. face dynamic, Goldberg's missed spear attempt creates a really interesting piece of storytelling for the final section of the match. Goldberg sells his injured arm really well and we get two nice near falls towards the end, with Goldberg kicking out of a Diamond Cutter and then Goldberg unable to get the cover after a Spear. The only real complaint that I can have is that this match just isn't long enough for the two guys to really build something special, whether they were told to keep the match short because the PPV was already over-running or whether this was the original plan I don't know. 

Winner - Goldberg wins via pinfall in 10 minutes, 28 seconds.

Next PPV - Goldberg wouldn't be on the next PPV, because he was only the World Heavyweight Champion. He'd go on to drop the belt to Kevin Nash at Starrcade. DDP would go on to defend his United States Heavyweight Championship against Bret Hart in the main event of World War 3 (after beating Hart for the strap on NITRO)


ATPW Scale Rating (with main event) - 3.05/10
ATPW Scale Rating (without main event) - 2.78/10

We have a brand new lowest scorer on the ATPW Scale! This PPV is seriously, seriously bad. 

The main event is worth checking out, but pretty much everything else should be avoided. Hogan vs. Warrior is what most remember about this PPV and it is one of the worst worked matches of all the times. A number of other big name matches (Hall vs. Nash, Sting vs. Hart) fail to deliver, and the mid and lower card is even worse with no one looking to break out of their place on the card. Three matches that go less than five minutes, that's not cool. If you don't say FUCK WCW, at least five times whilst watching this PPV, then there maybe something wrong with you.

Next time - WWE No Way Out 2009

John Cena put's his World Heavyweight Championship on the line against Chris Jericho, Edge, Kane, MIKE KNOX and Rey Mysterio inside the Elimination Chamber! Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Triple H, Finlay, Randy Orton and more also feature on the show, which has one more Elimination Chamber match, a No Holds Barred match and an All or Nothing match. The WWE and ECW Championships are also defended.

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