TimeandtheRani: It’s been said before, but Hogan was a disgrace as a performer at this time. A minus 2 star match with Randy Savage? That just shouldn’t be.
That’s right kids, we’re now knee deep in the era of “Hogan stalls for 45 minutes!” It’s the GOLDEN AGE OF WRESTLING! Embarrassing as last night’s main event was, it’s still a huge step up from where we were 6 months ago during the Doomsday Cage Match at Uncensored, so we’ll take the positives where we can get ‘em.
Stefonics: I remember thinking Piper showing up was super lame when it happened. I thought he was way past his prime back then and him wrestling at that point did nothing for me. Still love his interviews but had none desires to watch him wrestle. I felt those feeling again while reliving this show.
Well Piper was a little past his prime, at 42 years old. He probably felt a lot older, since he “retired” at Wrestlemania 3, all the way back in 1987. Other than the Goldust feud earlier that spring, he’d spent much of the previous 3 years serving as a part time announcer, and a part time WWF figure-head. The thing about Piper that you need to remember, is that WCW really had no credibility against the nWo. Every conceivable threat to their power had either been recruited to the group, neutered, or was sulking in his room that his friends don’t trust him anymore. Piper always had balls the size of watermelons, and would have no problem strutting into the nWo locker room and putting them in their place. Which is exactly what WCW was missing.
Cerebus: I remember liking this show a lot, but reading this makes me wonder WHY I liked it.
There were two things that stuck out to me about Halloween Havoc in particular. For starters, the undercard was straight up quality for the most part. Everyone, except for The Giant, seemed to put in a pretty good effort. The Faces of Fear continue to be the finest tag-team on the planet, Rey Jr and Dean Malenko showed us why the Cruiserweight division is the freshest breath of air since Mike Tenay replaced Chris Cruise, and even the Outsiders seemed to put in a good effort.
But it was all overshadowed by the crotch-rot of a main event. For the last month and a half, we’ve been subjected to this nonsense involving Elizabeth’s loyalties in a storyline that never made any sense to start with. Is she in love with Randy? Did she sign with Hulk Hogan? Why did any of this happen when last winter she was tossing Savage’s money into the crowd and having orgies in Ric Flair’s hotel room at night? And when push came to shove … it was completely ignored! So what’s the point of the regular TV shows if it’s all to be negated when the chips are down? Why DIDN’T Liz factor in to the finish somehow since they spent the month insinuating she would? The easy answer is Because WCW. The much deeper answers are left to Eric Bischoff, I suppose, who’d probably tell you it was the fault of Standards and Practices.
But we move forward, with hope. Hope for a better product. Hope for WCW, in the guise of Roddy Piper. Hope that the Faces of Fear are given free reign to tee off on the Outsiders. Hope that Liz is buried in the desert by the Filthy Animals. Yes, it’s time for WCW Monday Nitro!
We are LIVE in Phoenix, Arizona, and TONY SCHIAVONE is with LARRY ZBYSZKO wearing a Superman shirt. Larry drops his first “New World Odor”.
JUVENTUD GUERRERA vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW world television title)
Two pieces of good news here; firstly, Steven Regal was NOT killed by Ron Studd overseas unlike his rival Fit Finlay. Secondly, Juvi is back to getting title shots. Seriously, that’s all this guy does, is lose matches and get title shots. There’s the Cruiserweight title that he’s fought for on September 16, September 21, and October 5, the tag-team titles on September 30, the Mexican heavyweight title on September 15, and now the TV title. Either he’s got some nude photos of Tony Schiavone he’s threatening to release, or he’s a regular at the Gold Club. This is Regal’s first title defense on TV since winning the belt from Luger on August 31, which kinda negates the purpose of having a “TV Title”. Meanwhile, the cameras pan all the way up to the top of the arena, and spot STING, sitting in a luxury box near the rafters. Sting, word to the wise, GET OVER IT. The NWO PROPAGANDA CREW start parading signs through the crowd, with SYXX welcoming us to nWo Nitro. He promises to take the Cruiserweight title, and urges Sting to make the right choice and join the nWo. Is there a match happening? Does it feature my main man Steven Regal? Apparently none of this matters. Well it does to me! I will not be denied my play by play! Juvi hits a dropkick and calls for the Firebird splash. Regal moves out of the way, and dances around in excitement for his brilliance. The Regal stretch ends things quickly at 3:21. *
TONY SCHIAVONE tries to get a word with Regal, but spends the first minute focusing on Sting, who gets irritated with the attention and walks away. Then, before we can hear from his Lordship, we take a commercial break. Go to hell, WCW.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. MIKE ENOS
You’ll note that Nick Patrick is not assigned to this match, which seems strange for a DDP appearance. Well, it’s because he’s sought legal advice from a lawyer, and we’ll hear from them later tonight. Page bitch slaps Enos so hard that the referee sells it too. Enos responds by taking Page out to the floor, where he proceeds to get the tables turned as Page whips him into the guardrail. Back in, Page hits a sitdown powerbomb for 2, and a pretty loud pop. Page, through his months long winning streak, is getting over. DDP heads to the top, and hits a clothesline, but everyone’s attention it turned because THE OUTSIDERS have appeared in the crowd. Matches don’t matter anymore! Enos hits an overhead belly to belly that doesn’t matter. The neckbreaker doesn’t matter. The legdrop especially doesn’t matter. This is made clear as we pan to the crowd a half dozen times as the Outsiders do such exciting things as holding up the tag-team titles, and stand there. Page is hit with a hot shot on the throat, and Enos hits a clothesline, which I’d be concerned about if any of it mattered. After a meaningless powerslam from Enos, Page reverses a fireman’s carry into a Diamond Cutter for the pin that doesn’t matter at 4:39. The Outsiders applaud DDP, telling us what we’ve all known for about 3 months, that Page is either an nWo recruit, or has been a member all along. No rating, because this didn’t matter.
JIM POWERS (with Teddy Long) vs. DEAN MALENKO (in a non-title match)
Despite what we were told in the previous segment, NICK PATRICK is refereeing this match. I hope his previous issues with Teddy Long don’t influence him to make bad decisions here. It’s also nice to see the WCW brass, in light of the fantastic Cruiserweight matches we’ve seen in recent history, are sending the champ out on his first night with the title to face a talentless juiced up monkey. I’m thinking I might be a little too cranky to be properly objective tonight. A little Meng and Barbarian would probably cure what ails me. AC GREEN sits in the front row wearing an nWo shirt. Tony blames this turn to the dark side on the lack of positive presence in his life, since Charles Barkley left him. Oh Jesus. Powers works a headlock for far too long. Long enough to give PSYCHOSIS time to appear at the top of the ramp, and threaten to kill Malenko. See, now THIS I approve of. New World Odor count hits 4. Malenko drives his knee into the midsection of Powers, but misses a blind charge on the follow through. Powers hits an atomic drop, and slams Malenko’s head into the buckle 10 times. It’s always 10. A clothesline gets 2. A punch to the noggin gets 2. A running knee sets up Powers to declare it’s over, and he hits a running powerslam getting … well, nothing, because Patrick is arguing with Teddy Long about the fact he isn’t making counts. Malenko then uses a reverse monkey flip to score the pin at 5:12. “Hotly contested!” declares Tony. *1/2
JEFF JARRETT vs. RICKY MORTON
I don’t even know what to say about this. In fact, as much hate as I want to give this, your alternative is Billy Gunn against Freddie Joe Floyd. Morton hits a crossbody for 2. Jarrett comes back with a hot shot, and points to his head! He threatens to strut, but doesn’t follow through. A standing vertical suplex is followed by Morton’s head to the buckle. A crossbody off the top sees Morton roll through, and he scores a 2. Jarrett is pissed, and hits a hard swinging neckbreaker to set up the Figure Four … but Morton packages him for 2! A monkey flip from Morton gets 2. Jarett comes back with the single leg atomic drop, and is able to put on the Figure Four this time for the win at 3:43. **
THE GIANT appears in the crowd, threatening to huff and puff and blow Nitro down. Dear god, he’s not a man, he’s a wolf! Maybe John Tenta was wrong all this time! He says all the Horsemen are pathetic, because they fight scared. He promises Jarrett’s day is coming, and he will feel the chokeslam.
TONY SCHIAVONE wants to know how Jarrett feels about that? Jarrett tells the Giant to get down to the ring right now and they’ll finish matters. Jeff issues a challenge directly to Hulk Hogan, and urges WCW to unite. He says he’s got more wrestling in his blood than even Piper does, because he was born into the business. He vows WCW will be around for a long, long time. I don’t think he can be trusted.
HIGH VOLTAGE vs. THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS
I’m pretty sure I’ve had nightmares involving this specific match up. Rougeau demands respect be shown to Canada, as they butcher the National anthem. Voltage puts a stop to that, with dropkicks all around. NICK PATRICK is your referee. The countdown is displayed prominently, because hour #2 is about to kick off, and amongst FIREWORKS, we change things over to ERIC BISCHOFF, MIKE TENAY, and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN. Bischoff gives us all the insider juice. Randy Savage, scheduled to be here, will not be. The Canadians hit Kaos with a double hotshot, and follow with Rougeau scoop slamming Ouellette onto Kenny. A double team Thesz press off the top sets up the Quebec Crash, but THE NASTY BOYS run in to destroy Voltage for a DQ at 4:46. * Saggs angrily stews about Hollywood Hogan turning on them, and insists they don’t need to belong to any group. Knobbs says they might not be liked or wanted, but they’re still NASTY! I wish they’d be nasty somewhere else.
JIMMY GRAFFITI vs. REY MYSTERIO JR.
Rey’s all fired up about the loss of the Cruiserweight title, and promises to get it back. Still, he takes time to pose for the crowd, and Graffiti attacks before the bell. A sitdown powerbomb gets 2. Rey fires back with a monkey flip, while Tenay actually has the stones to say Graffiti’s been opening eyes since his debut last week. Mike, I trusted you! Why do you lie? A springboard moonsault gets 2, and Rey follows by hitting a Frankensteiner that carries Graffiti to the floor. Graffiti whips Rey into the guardrail, and hits a running senton off the apron. Back in, Graffiti hits a legdrop with a lazy cover for 2. Rey takes him down with a dropkick, and finishes with the West Coast Pop at 3:25. Rey claims to be hurt … on the inside, without the belt. Oh god. Go see Sting, you two can dry each other’s tears. **
Back from a break, AC GREEN is getting into it with NICK PATRICK for some reason. Apparently Green’s way of antagonizing him is to scream “NWO BABY!” and points to the shirt he’s wearing. I fail to see WHY that would bother Patrick, but he’s all fired up.
EDDIE GUERRERO vs. CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman)
Benoit’s a mess from last night, sporting taped ribs. Eddie is too, but he covers his with the singlet so it’s less obvious. I love that in professional wrestling you can have broken bones and torn ligaments, and the bookers decide “you’re good, get out there champ!” About 10 seconds into the match, MONGO MCMICHAEL and DEBRA MCMICHAEL appear on the entry way, to ensure there’s no more slip ups. Which leads to more distractions, as we cut away for JIMMY HART and KEVIN SULLIVAN. Sullivan promises that Woman will be the destruction of them both. Well, not BOTH of you. Benoit knees Eddie in the midsection, and they head to the floor. Little occurs, other than Mongo arguing with AC Green. Benoit applies an abdominal stretch, but Eddie shrugs him off. Chris doesn’t care, and starts chopping away at the injured ribs. Guerrero hits a European uppercut to try and gain control, but both guys knock each other out seconds later. Woman starts to distract Nick Patrick, allowing Mongo to slide in and hit Eddie in the ribs with the Haliburton, and Benoit gets the win at 8:24. So you have Benoit and Guerrero booked against each other, but you decide “you know what, I want you both to sell your ribs and move very slowly”. WCW! *1/2
TONY SCHIAVONE is joined by ALAN SHARPE, who is Nick Patrick’s attourney. Alan says that Nick Patrick has been nothing short of a hard working professional since day 1, and has been unfairly questioned about his behavior lately. Had Chris Jericho not assaulted Nick Patrick last night and further aggravated his neck, he would have been able to properly count during the main event. CHRIS JERICHO charges out, and screams that there’s nothing wrong with his neck, and further to that he’s a paid employee of the nWo. Alan asks Jericho if he has anger problems, but Jericho tells him to get the hell out of here. The lawyer continues to insist that maybe he needs counselling for his rage. TEDDY LONG wants a piece now, calling out both guys as scam artists. Alan is shocked that he’s being questioned like this in front of the world, and this is nothing short of slander. Before this can be settled, WCW quickly cues a commercial.
BOOKER T (with Sista Sherri) vs. LEX LUGER
Booker promises someone’s gonna get hurt. He’s always been my favorite OG. I don’t like his chances here, however. Before we get started, we check in with COLONEL ROBERT PARKER. He says there’s no problems with himself and Harlem Heat, and it’s impossible he was responsible for them losing the belts last night. He’s clearly sincere, he doesn’t even stop to mop his brow! Luger hiptosses Booker, and botches a gorilla press slam, changing it mid-move into a reverse atomic drop. A clothesline sends Booker to the floor, and he looks worse for wear already. He slowly gets back in the ring, looking completely discombobulated. Still, he’s able to dig deep and choke Luger out in the ropes. Luger comes back with a punch to the midsection, and a clothesline for 2. Booker rolls outside to try and find something, but he’s clearly pained. Bischoff gets cute regarding Piper now, by saying he’s pretty sure last night was a one-shot deal because Piper’s the WWF President last time he checked, and they all wish him the best. Luger runs Booker’s face across the ropes, but Booker manages a quick shot to get something going. However, he misses a kneedrop and Luger’s right back in charge as we hit commercial.
Upon return, Luger’s dropping elbows on Booker, and honestly I’m shocked he hasn’t won yet. Still, Booker gets in a kick and follows with the Axe Kick to take charge for the first time. A sidewalk slam sets up the Harlem Hangover, but Luger moves out of the way and preps the Rack. However, STING appearing in the crowd catches Luger’s eye, and Lex runs into the crowd to go talk to his buddy. However, Sting disappears behind the curtain before Luger can get there, as Lex is counted out at 9:09. ** Booker: “I told ya! I’m gonna hurt somebody!”
The Piper / Hogan confrontation from Havoc is aired in full.
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN, THE GIANT, VINCENT, and TED DIBIASE strut down to ringside, looking far too comfortable considering how he felt about Piper the night before. Hogan demands the lights be dimmed, and presented with only a Hollywood style spotlight. Hogan declares the nWo have officially conquered, and won the war. Concerning the “Nacho Man”, who’s watching from his hospital bed, he has mad respect for him for carrying all of WCW on his back last night, even if he couldn’t get the job done. “Don’t worry Macho Man, I’ll take real, real good care of Miss Elizabeth for you.” As far as Piper, he was happy to hear that Roddy told the world last night that he admired Hogan and couldn’t even lace up his boots before turning his skirt and running. DiBiase figures with the foundation of the nWo set while holding the World, US, and tag-team titles, that Hogan can now officially celebrate. And Hogan goes into all the old school poses, and shirt ripping with JUST enough snark to make it delicious. Bischoff’s had enough and orders the show off the air.
So what WAS the point of Roddy Piper appearing if he’s simply run back to the WWF to be president? Is Luger WCW’s only hope? Will Glacier ever come again?
Hopefully Saturday Night brings us clarity.