Thursday, 12 September 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1999

October 24, 1999
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada

Despite his biggest contributions to professional wrestling taking place twenty years ago, there are still some fans who, even to this day, have it out for writer Vince Russo.

The man who brought car-crash style production and swerves aplenty to the Monday Night Wars, the man who injected as much sex into the product as possible, and the man who just couldn't resist sticking everything on a pole has often been accused of many crimes, including turning World Championship Wrestling into an almost unwatchable product.

In Russo's defence, however, WCW was already practically unwatchable before he ever got there.

So far, we've covered all of the company's 1999 PPVs from January to September of that year, and almost all of them were either stupid, complicated, or just plain crap.

That was without Russo's help.





Tonight, Halloween Havoc 1999 would be the first WCW PPV to take place under the reign of Russo, but would it be any worse, or any better, than the company's previous garbage?

Let's head to the MGM Grand Garden Arena to find out.

It's Showtime, folks!

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan called the action
Our show tonight began with an opening video package looking at the main rivalries in the company. Goldberg and Sid Vicious hated each other, Hulk Hogan and Sting hated each other, and we'd see those matches later.

Out in the arena, ominous music played as we panned past the traditional Halloween Havoc stage (remember that giant demon thing holding the inflatable pumpkin) and down to our announcers, Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.)

Without explaining where usual colleague Iron Mike Tenay was, two dropped a bombshell on us:

Rey Mysterio Jr. had been injured so he and Kidman had been forced to surrender the tag team titles. Tonight, Kidman would team will fellow Filthy Animal Konnan to battle two other teams in a three-way, anything goes match to determine new champions.

But first, this:

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Disco Inferno vs. Lash LeRoux

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - WCW Cruiserweight Champion Disco Inferno battled Lash LeRoux
There once was a time when WCW's cruiserweight division gave us awesome opening contests featuring technical and high flying action from the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr., Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera and Dean Malenko.

Those days seemed to be far, far behind us.

Today, we got this, a battle between WCW veteran Disco Inferno and relative newcomer, 'The Ragin' Cajun' Lash LeRoux. Much like the Lenny Lane/Kaz Hayashi battle from last month's Fall Brawl 1999, this was a decent effort in its own right but wasn't a patch on those earlier cruiserweight classics.

The main difference, of course, was that the Mysterios and Guerreras of this world had their own unique style which made cruiserweight matches stand out, whereas this just seemed like a standard wrestling match between two smaller dudes, albeit with one or two flashy moments interjected.

In the end, Disco hit the chartbuster and LeRoux took an impressive bump halfway across the ring before being pinned by the champion.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Disco Inferno

Post-match, LeRoux got up and attacked Disco, planting him onto the title belt with his Whiplash finisher.

Benoit and Malenko Leave the Revolution

Earlier in the day, Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko had arrived at the arena to be greeted by Revolution teammate Perry Saturn. Saturn wanted to know why the two had not been in touch, prompting Malenko to inform the former ECW star that he could take The Revolution and stick it up his ass.

"And you can relay that same message to Shane," added Benoit as he and Malenko stormed off, effectively leaving the group.

Harlem Heat are Mad

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Mike Tenay interviews Harlem Heat
At both Fall Brawl 1999 and the previous month's Road Wild 1999, Harlem Heat had entered as challengers and left as the WCW tag team champions, which pretty much tells you that they struggled to hold onto the titles for very long.

Now they'd lost the belts again thanks to some dodgy goings on from Hugh Morrus and Brian Knobs. Tonight, however, Booker T and Stevie Ray promised to win the belts once again in a compelling interview segment with Mike Tenay.

"Now, can you dig that!?!" yelled Booker T at one point.
"I can relate to that," nodded Tenay in what was an unintentionally hilarious moment.

Street Fight for the Vacant World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
The First Family of Wrestling (Brian Knobbs & Hugh Morrus w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Filthy Animals (Konnan & Billy Kidman) vs. Harlem Heat (Booker T &  Stevie Ray)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Hugh Morrus, Brian Knobs and Jimmy Hart of The First Family
The First Family came down for this one wearing Halloween masks, which was a pretty cool touch.

The Filthy Animals then came down wearing the tag team title belts, carrying on WCW's longstanding tradition of people who aren't actually the champions wearing the belts.

When the match got underway, it was actually a really fun, chaotic street fight up until the nonsense finish.

While most of the action took place inside the ring, Harlem Heat went backstage for a brawl with Brian Knobs. Stevie Ray blasted Knobs with some kind of Egyptian mummy type thing after which, Booker made the cover and one referee made the three count.

In the ring, and off camera, Billy Kidman pinned Hugh Morrus and another referee made that three count, which made the fans pop.

The fans then went silent as the referees debated the finish and awarded the belts to Harlem Heat, despite nobody in the live audience having seen what went on backstage.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat

And so, for the third PPV in a row, Harlem Heat won the tag team titles, making them ten-time champions.

Let's hope they held onto them a little longer than a few weeks this time.

You know what else? I'm not even going to pin this one on Vince Russo because WCW had done stuff that was way, way more dumb than this long before he ever got there.

Let's talk about spanking...

Backstage, Ric Flair stormed into the arena with a crowbar in his hand and David Flair hurrying behind him.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 -  Kimberly and Diamond Dallas PageOut in the arena, Diamond Dallas Page and his wife Kimberly came out to talk about Ric Flair giving Kim a spanking on Nitro.

In a horribly cringe-worthy promo from both, Kimberly claimed that Page gave her way better spankings before Dallas himself took the mic to make as many "lol spanking it can mean masturbating" puns as he possibly could.

Somehow, all this talk of spanking gave DDP the idea to turn his upcoming match with Nature Boy from a regular match into a strap match.

God, that was horrible.

Perry Saturn vs. Eddie Guerrero

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 -  Torrie Wilson looks smitten after getting kissed by Ric Flair
Prior to the match, we got a backstage segment in which Mike Tenay informed Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson that The Filthy Animals would be banned from ringside.

Kidman was irate about this, but stormed off anyway, taking future Hall of Famer Torrie with him.

Tenay then questioned whether the Rolex he was wearing was the one he'd stolen from Ric Flair, but Eddie cut him down and promised to bring an end to the Revolution out in the ring.

Once things got started, the match itself became pretty good indeed.

OK, so some fans will no doubt be turned off by how long Eddie spent holding Saturn down on the mat in a submission move, but for this fan, that only added to the enjoyment.

After a solid see-saw battle, Ric Flair ran in and beat up Eddie with his crowbar as revenge for the stolen Rolex. Kidman and Torrie also ran in, but Kidman got attacked with the crowbar and Torrie got a kiss from Nature Boy, though she apparently really liked it so it was OK.
Your Winner via DQ: Eddie Guerrero

After all that, Flair had apparently forgotten to reclaim his Rolex and, after heading backstage once, had to come back out and get it.

That was dumb but, again, no more so than a lot of things we'd already seen on WCW TV so far in 1999.

Bagwell wants Jarrett

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 -  Buff Bagwell called out Jeff Jarrett
Out in the back, we saw Goldberg beating Sid Vicious to a bloody pulp, only for Vicious to get up again and ask Big Bill if that's all he'd got.

Sid looked a mess though I think Bobby Heenan summed it up best:

"He looks like he's had about fifty-five tomatoes shoved in his face."

I don't know why, but that cracks me up.

Anyway, out in the ring, Buff Bagwell made an appearance to claim that he not only had a problem with "those two writers from up north" (Russo and Ed Ferrera) but also with Jeff Jarrett.

Only the week before, Jarrett had appeared at WWF No Mercy 1999 in a losing effort against Chyna, then immediately jumped to WCW and begun waging war on people.

Tonight, he ran down to answer Buff's challenge and the two got into impromptu fisticuffs before Lex Luger arrived for reasons that were inadequately explained (something to do with Elizabeth).

Finally, Luger went to bash Jarrett with a guitar but got Buff instead.

OK, now I'm finally starting to get annoyed with Russo for the distinct lack of actual wrestling on this show.

Speaking words of wisdom...let it bleed

Out in the back, Sid was being stitched up after his earlier beatdown. He could have immediately refused treatment if he didn't want it, but instead, the big drama queen waited until Mike Tenay and a camera crew were there before he tossed the medical professional aside and stood up with blood pouring down his face shouting "LET IT BLEED! LET IT BLEED!"

Somewhere in the background, Paul McCartney was standing by with a piano.

Brad Armstrong vs. Berlyn (w/ The Wall)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 -  Berlyn (w/ The Wall) faced Brad Armstrong
After yet another quick clip in which we saw Eddie Guerrero on the phone telling Rey Mysterio to return to the arena (Rey had taken Konnan to the hospital after the earlier tag match), we went back to the ring for this PPV-calibre match.

I'm just kidding.

This was mediocre at best.

They'd built up Berlyn as a super huge deal, only to throw him into a feud with perennial lower-carder Brad Armstrong. Not only that, but they had Armstrong pick up the win here after several minutes of a match which would have been better suited to mid-card filler on WCW Saturday Night.
Your Winner: Brad Armstrong

Post-match, Berlyn and The Wall beat up on Armstrong.

A word with the Nature Boy

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Mike Tenay interviews Nature Boy Ric Flair
Out in the back, Mike Tenay interviewed Nature Boy Ric Flair. Naitch focussed his attention on The Filthy Animals and warned them not to mess with him before Tenay asked about the upcoming strap match with DDP.

It was at this point that a light came on in Flair's eyes and he delivered this awesome, hilarious promo about how much Kimberley had enjoyed her spanking and how much Torrie had enjoyed her kiss earlier.

God bless you, Nature Boy.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW TV Champion Chris Benoit vs. Rick Steiner

Regardless as to what this writer may think of Chris Benoit the man, you'll rarely see a bad word written about one of his matches here on Retro Pro Wrestling.

Having said that, my goodness this was tedious.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Rick Steiner challenged Chris Benoit for the TV title
Rick Steiner's last few PPV matches had all been pretty bad, but you hoped that The Crippler's undeniable talent would compensate for that.

Unfortunately, not even Benoit was capable of stopping The Dog Faced Gremlin from turning this into an absolute snoozefest.

The challenger took control of the match early on and spent most of it switching between long, drawn-out rest holds and suplexes.

At one point, it looked like the babyface challenger was mounting a solid comeback, but then Dean Malenko came down and you instinctively knew he was there to turn on his buddy.

Predictably, The Man of 1,000 Holds walloped Chris with a chair, revived a groggy Mark Johnson (who had taken a tumble earlier) and handed the match to Steiner.

The whole thing lasted about five hours.

OK, so it didn't, but it certainly felt like it.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Television Champion: Rick Steiner

Afterwards, Malenko met Perry Saturn near the entrance, revealing that he'd been part of The Revolution all along.

Out in the back, Mike Tenay reminded Bret Hart about how Lex Luger attacking him had not only cost The Hitman a chance to win the title but had also injured his ankle.

In one of his more sombre promos, The Hitman declared that despite being hurt, he was still ready to take on The Total Package here tonight.

Lex Luger (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Mike Tenay interviews Bret 'The Hitman' Hart about his match with Lex Luger
I mean, this wasn't the worst match ever, but like the previous TV title bout, the more talented worker couldn't make up for the shortcomings of the lesser talented one.

What we got, rather than Bret Hart carrying Luger to a great match in the way he'd carried so many men before him, was a worn-down Hitman going through the motions with The Total Package and selling the leg injury the whole time.

After a few minutes of passable action, Luger locked Bret in a flimsy looking half-crab, prompting the once mighty Hitman to tap out.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Out in the back, Mike Tenay and Bill Goldberg stood around at the scene of the crime from earlier. Pointing to Sid's blood that was on the floor at their feet, Goldberg told Tenay that he got paid to kick people's asses and that tonight, he'd kick Sid's even more.

Madusa is MAD

Up next, Madusa came out looking smoking hot in a bikini to "model" WCW's new cologne.

Walking out to the where Heenan and Schiavone stood, she then took to the microphone to declare that her role here was "BULLS**T!" before storming off.

It always amazes me that WWE never censors out cusswords on the Network.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. Hulk Hogan

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Hulk Hogan lay down for Sting in their non-match
The very fact that this was placed basically in the middle of the card should have told you something was up.

The fact that Hogan didn't come out to the ring the first time his music played should have confirmed it.

After Sting's entrance, Hogan finally arrived wearing street clothes. He whispered into the Stinger's ear, then lay down and allowed himself to be pinned.

That was that.
Your Winner and still WCW Champion: Sting

You know what? It's infuriating to watch this now, but as a grown adult, I actually feel bad for the little kid they showed in the front row wearing a Hulk Hogan bandana and getting excited about the Hulkster's entrance.

Imagine getting all geared up to see one of your favourite wrestlers only to have that happen. OK, the more this show goes on, the angrier I'm starting to get with Russo.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Sid Vicious vs. Goldberg

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Sid Vicious faced Goldberg in a bloody war
Before this one could get underway, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall came out to attack Goldberg as he made his entrance.

The big man battled back and went on to take the fight to Sid Vicious, not just fighting him, but utterly, utterly destroying him.

The cut he had created on Sid's head had healed by now, but Goldberg quickly bust it wide open again and Sid bled like a stuck pig. Wearing the proverbial crimson mask, the champion absorbed so much punishment and kept coming back for more, staggering around the ring and covering it, his opponent, and the rest of his body, in his own thick, dark blood.

It was an incredible sight. What's more, it was an incredible performance. Sid refused to stay down but was clearly in no fit shape to continue and eventually, the referee had to stop the match.

I kid you not, this was probably the best Sid match you'll ever see, even better than the time he beat Shawn Michaels for the WWF title at Survivor Series 1996.
Your Winner via stoppage and NEW US Champion: Goldberg

Caked in blood and barely able to stand, Sid still wanted more from Goldberg but Rick Steiner came out and saw to it that the battered and beaten former champion finally got taken to the back.

Damn, that was awesome.

Sting issues an open challenge

Up next, Sting made his way to the ring and announced that he hadn't come to Las Vegas for a night off; he wanted a fight and was determined to get one.

The champion issued an open challenge and vowed to return later to take on whoever wanted to step up against him.

Strap match
Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly) vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Ric Flair faced DDP in a strap match
Rather than your typical 'touch-all-four-corners' strap match, this one was designed more like the one Triple H and The Rock had just a few months earlier at Fully Loaded 1999. In other words, it was basically pinfall or submission, anything goes match, albeit with the added novelty of a strap.

Though it wasn't on a par with the HHH/Rock outing, it was as good as you were going to get from The Nature Boy at this stage in his career and was undoubtedly one of the best matches he'd been involved in for a good long while.

The two brawled through the stands and around the ringside area, with Page busting Flair wide open.

In the ring, Nature Boy recovered and slapped on figure four, but just when it looked like he was out of the game, he bounced back and got a cover.

Charles Robinson counted to two, but either Flair forgot to kick out or something dumb happened, so Robinson had no choice but to call it a three count and ring for the bell.

Covering up for the clearly botched finish, Page hit the official with a Diamond Cutter.
Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page

Afterwards, David Flair ran down with a crowbar, but Kimberley got it from him and handed it to Page so that he could whack Ric in the testicles with it, though not before first choking him out with the strap and beating the hell out of him.

DDP's attack was so vicious that Nature Boy had to be stretchered off, only to be attacked by The Filthy Animals. Kidman, Rey, Konnan and Eddie (With Torrie filming) battered Ric, shoved him in the waiting ambulance and drove off with it.

Quite.

Sting vs. Goldberg

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Sting had an impromptu world title fight against Goldberg
The announcers told us that this was a non-title match. This would be important a few minutes later because, after about seven or eight minutes of mostly forgettable action, Goldberg no-sold all of Sting's offence, hit a spear and a jackhammer and won this poor excuse for a main event.

Charles Robinson then handed Goldberg the title and Dave Penzer announced him as the new champion.
Your Winner and apparently new World Heavyweight Champion: Goldberg

Afterwards, Sting hit Robinson with the Scorpion Death Drop to bring this awful show to a close.

The following night, WCW would announce that the match had been non-title, but that Sting would be stripped of the belt anyway for attacking Lil Naitch.





So, was a WCW PPV better or worse under the leadership of Vince Russo?

It was worse.

Way, way worse.

At the start of this show, I didn't think that was possible. World Championship Wrestling had done so much dumb, illogical, boring, or our outright terrible stuff on their 1999 PPVs that I just couldn't imagine anything Vince Russo could do to top it.

Then he turned Halloween Havoc 1999 into a glorified episode of Nitro with far too many backstage segments, far too much nonsense, and far too many awful matches.

Yes, the US title match was amazing, and yes, Page/Flair was good for what it was, but man, when Hogan lay down for Sting, the crowd absolutely hated it, and so too, for that matter, did this writer.

If your local BDSM club is closed and you want a new way to have punishment inflicted on you, sit down through this trainwreck of a show.

Otherwise, steer well clear.



1999 events reviewed so far
Other WCW Halloween Havoc events
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