MOCKTober Countdown: WCW Halloween Havoc 95

– The Netcop Retro Rant for Halloween Havoc 1995. (This is definitely a show where I initially hated it, and then grew to love it in time.) – Live from Detroit, Michigan. – Your hosts are Tony and Bobby. – We are informed that Ric Flair has been attacked by Arn Anderson & Brian Pillman outside the arena, which may put the tag match with Flair & Sting against Anderson & Pillman in jeopardy. – Opening match, TV title: Diamond Dallas Page v. Johnny B. Badd. Remember when DDP was doing the opening match? (Well once he got to WWE, that would start happening again.)  “Badd” comes out of the dressing room, but the real one jumps DDP from behind to start the match. Bit of a brawl outside the ring, as Badd takes out Max Muscle and then puts a bucket on Page’s head. Whatever. Back in the ring and Badd with an armbar. Did Kim get a nosejob between then and now?  (She certainly had everything else worked on.)  Long wristlock-and-reversal sequence to waste time. Badd with a hiptoss into a cover for two. Badd with one of the TEN PUNCHES OF DOOM!, but Page dumps him face-first on the turnbuckle. Kimberly refuses to give him a “10”. See, Kimberly’s function used to be hanging around Page’s matches and holding up a big “10” sign whenever DDP did a good move. Yes, they actually pay people to think this stuff up. Page with some kicks and punches for a couple of two counts. Cross-corner whip, reversal and belly to back by DDP. Kim relents and gives him a 10, albeit reluctantly. Pancake piledriver for two. See, the angle was that DDP won 7 million dollars playing bingo, but it was actually Kim’s card, so she’s pissed off that he’s getting all the money.  (And why exactly have we not had a lottery winner gimmick since then?  What a WONDERFUL idea for turning someone heel!  The plucky babyface goes on a big losing streak, wins millions in the lottery and tells off his boss in Austin-like fashion, but then becomes a big jerk like the Million Dollar Man.  Classic soap opera!) It led to a big feud with DDP and Badd that led to Badd leaving for the WWF. DDP with the lucha-esque “El Chinlocko Reverso”. Badd with a backslide for two. Page with a clothesline. Page was horrible at this point, btw. Sunset flip try but Page sits on the shoulders for two and then Badd finishes the move for two. Page bodyslam for two. Another Greco-Roman chinlock. Badd escapes, but Maxx Muscle helps Page take him down again. I don’t know what became of Maxx, but he was just a big roid freak so I don’t really care.  (Wikipedia says that he retired in 2002.)  Back to the chinlock. Crowd is comatose. Badd with a belly to back to escape. Badd makes the superman comeback with a pair of atomic drops and a series of lefts. Flying headscissors and Badd off the top with a double axehandle, which Kimberly gives a 10, but the referee only gives two. Ligerbomb for two. Hiptoss reversed into a DDT by DDP. Only gets two. Diamond Cutter, but Badd holds the ropes and gets two. To the corner for the 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM! and DDP bails out over the top. Badd chases with a somersault plancha and tosses DDP back in, then slingshot splashes him for two. Maxx grabs him from the outside, miscommunication from the heels and Badd rolls him up for two. Badd gets dumped out and Maxx misses a charge at him. Another miscommunication spot and it’s enough for a new champion as Badd gets the pin. Bad match with a good ending to save it. ** – Zodiac (w/ Rey Mysterio’s music) v. Randy Savage. Zodiac is of course Brutus “the Booty Disciple Clipmaster without a Face” Beefcake. Savage and Zodiac fight outside the ring as an idiot fan runs into the ring. Security and the ref kick the crap out of the little puke to a big pop from the fans. They get back in and Savage finishes it about 10 seconds later with the big elbow. DUD  (Fun fact:  Zodiac was originally going to be the gimmick given to Tom Zenk in 1991, and then they held onto it for FOUR YEARS before finding someone dumb enough to take it.)  – Hotline shill as Gene notes Jimmy Hart was talking to someone he used to represent in another federation. Quick soundbites from Johnny B. – Revenge match: Road Warrior Hawk v. Kurasawa. No, it’s not the Japanese filmmaker, although if I made that joke only mdb and 5 or 6 others would probably get it anyway. Kurasawa is just some Japanese guy who liked to work on the arm. (DUDE!  That’s Manabu Nakanishi!  He’s friggin’ awesome!)  He wasn’t over, in case you couldn’t guess. Hawk batters him to start with the shoulderblock and neckbreaker. Fistdrop for two. Another two. Chops. Cross-corner charge misses but Hawk doesn’t sell. Gut wrench suplex by Hawk. Powerbomb, but Parker hooks the leg, allowing Kurasawa to slam Hawk, but miss an elbow off the top. Hawk clotheslines him over the top, then comes off the apron and clotheslines Parker. Hawk hits the ringpost, allowing Kurasawa to hit a pair of suplexes back in the ring and pin Hawk. Que? Parker was holding the ropes, but that came out of nowhere. Still, surprisingly decent match out of Hawk. **1/2  (Like I said, Nakanishi was awesome.)  – Jerry Lynn v. Sabu. (Did I read that right?)  Yes, you read that right. (Whew.)  Sabu worked for WCW for a couple of months in 1995, including this show. Sabu with an Asai moonsault right away. Lynn responds with a cross-body off the top to the floor. Back in and Lynn with a moonsault press for two. Ligerbomb for two. Charge misses and Sabu with a slingshot legdrop for two. Lynn with a belly to back for two. Lynn to the top and Sabu knocks him down and gives him a victory roll off the top for two. Sabu on the second rope and Lynn dropkicks him out of the ring. This is a total spotfest. Sabu finishes it with a slingshot moonsault out of nowhere for the pin. The Sheik tosses a fireball in Lynn’s face for fun. A bad match by today’s standards, but this was totally unlike anything ever seen in WCW at the time. ** – We go to the Taskmaster’s lair, as King Curtis yells a lot and Sullivan looks menacing. I should point out that Eric Bischoff was running WCW at the time. Not that I’m saying it was his idea, but he could very well have said “No, this is stupid, I don’t want to air this on my PPV” but he chose not to.  (Note the similarities to another angle currently stinking up TNA.)  – Mean Gene has some folks who won some motorcycle contest. Hogan (dressed like Hollywood Hogan without the painted beard) and Jimmy Hart present a bike. – Meng v. Lex Luger. Meng actually sells some stuff here. If Luger can win, he’ll wrestle Savage later because they some sort of issue. The Dungeon of Doom feud was so horribly confusing that I can’t even remember what the Luger-Savage thing was about. (Well we know what the issue became about years later…)  Luger with his usual stuff and they end up outside the ring, where Luger rams Meng’s arm into the ringpost. Wow, psychology and stuff. Meng kicks away. But Luger makes the comeback…then misses a charge to the corner. Luger tries a belly to back but Meng falls on him for two. Shoulderbreaker allows Meng the chance to stall. More kicks. Piledriver for two. Choking. Belly to back for two. I’m bored. Luger is (slowly) tossed out of the ring and Sullivan has words with him. The announcers speculate that Luger might be in cahoots, thus marking the last time any member of the WCW announce team made an intelligent comment. Back in and more kicks from Meng. They’ve given this f------ match like 15 minutes so far. Meng misses a dropkick and Luger dumps him out of the ring. Luger suplexes him back in off the apron. Three clotheslines to put Meng down and a backdrop. Another clothesline, and another. Why does he use the one move he can never hit so extensively? But wait, Meng has an international object in his boot and he nails Luger with it…but Sullivan comes in to break up the count, giving Luger the win by DQ. Uh, guys, if Sullivan broke up that pin then LUGER should have been DQ’d. Well, whatever. 1/2* – Arn Anderson & Brian Pillman v. Ric Flair & Sting. Everyone knew what was going to happen here, but it was still great to watch. Anderson and Flair had been bickering leading up to this, and they finally fought at Fall Brawl, with Pillman interfering, allowing Anderson to get the pin. So Flair begged Sting for help, bringing out a dozen kids painted with Stinger paint to plead for Sting’s help in a tag match. So Sting agreed. But Flair got “attacked” earlier in the evening and Sting comes out alone here. Sting and Arn start as the crowd chants “We Want Flair.” They do a full-nelson reversal spot and Arn bails. More chants from the crowd. Sting cleans house on both heels and they bail again. Pillman entices Sting to chase him outside but the attempted double-team fails as Sting takes out both guys. Arn & Brian are getting nowhere here. Sting press-slams Pillman, who tags out to Arn. Arn with some forearms and a piledriver try, but Sting reverses to a catapult that knocks Pillman off the apron to the railing. Boxing match between Sting and Arn, which Arn loses. Arn rams Sting’s head into Pillman’s to turn the tide. Whip and forearm shot to the gut. Stomp to the midsection…and Flair charges into the ring in street clothes as the crowd goes berserk! Pillman hammers Sting into the railing as Flair takes his place on the apron. Flair has a huge bandage on his head. Pillman hammers on Sting in the corner and Sting fights out, but gets caught in the wrong corner and double-teamed. Flair has the crowd in the palm of his hand. He takes off his shoe and swats at Arn with it to break up a chinlock. Sting lifts the knees on a Pillman splash, and Sting fights over to his corner to make the hot tag…but Arn catches him in time with a belly to back for two. Pillman antagonizes Flair enough to draw him away from the corner while Arn hammers Sting some more. Abdominal stretch on Sting, with the requisite cheating. Pillman mouths off at Flair and rubs Sting’s face into the mat. Half-crab with the requisite cheating. Field-goal kick to the ribs by Pillman for two. Double-teaming in the corner, but Sting fights outs against Arn, only to get caught with the spinebuster for two. Pillman with the elbow to the knee. Double-team leg split and Arn works on Sting’s knee some more. Flair is yelling inspirational words to Sting from the apron. God, this is so classic. Flair is the man. Sting escapes an Arn bearhug put Pillman takes him down again right away. Chops in the corner (whoo). Kind of a half-nelson by Pillman. But Sting fights out of the corner again, and rams the heels’ heads together to take them out. He sucks up every ounce of energy…and tags Flair! The crowd goes nuts! FLAIR TURNS ON STING! The Horsemen ride again and the crowd is absolutely shell-shocked. A beatdown results to bring the angle to it’s payoff. See, this is how it should have happened this time around: Flair and Anderson allow themselves to be demoralized by Bischoff to the point where they relent and join the nWo, then one day flip out and destroy some poor nWo sap. Psychological warfare at it’s finest. ***  (I’m even more deeply into this angle today than I was back then.  Yeah, at the time it seemed like yet another Sting the Giant Idiot feud, but it had layers.  Sting and everyone else was well aware that Flair was going to turn on them, and everyone SAID SO, but Sting and Flair were drawn together like co-dependent addicts sharing one last binge with each other, because Flair was compelled by his own nature, and I think deep down Sting wanted Flair to call his bluff so he could beat the s--- out of him and have justification.  It’s just who they are.  Now THAT’S telling stories.)  – Long video review package of the Giant-Hogan feud. – Monster Truck Match: Hulk Hogan v. The Giant. I won’t even get into this one. Needless to say, it’s really f------ stupid. Hogan manages to push Giant’s truck out of the circle, and then they fight. But see, Giant was standing too close to the edge of the roof of Cobo Hall, and Hogan accidentally pushes him off. No, seriously. This is, of course, available on my Netcop Busts compilation as a shining example of one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.  (Giant FELL OFF THE ROOF OF THE ARENA.  And survived!  And they never even tried to explain it!  THUMBS UP!)  – Lex Luger v. Randy Savage. Whereas he was a face in the Meng match, now Luger is heelish here. Crowd is firmly behind Savage. Jimmy Hart makes his way to ringside a few seconds in. Luger pounds Savage in the corner. More rights. Some kicks. Necksnap on the top rope. Heenan flips out on the never-seen page Woodrow a few times because he’s so upset about the Giant falling off the roof. Luger with an axehandle on Savage as he’s draped over the railing. Savage rams Luger to the railing and STEEL stairs to fight back. Back in and Savage clotheslines him from behind and goes to the top, but catches a fist in the gut on the way down. Savage whips Luger to the corner, but eats knee and Luger cradles…but the ref is distracted by Jimmy. Hart and Luger end up colliding and Savage hits the big elbow for three. Bad match. 1/2* – WCW World title match: Hulk Hogan v. The Giant. Hogan enters first and everyone acts all shocked and stuff when the Giant makes his way out. Because he FELL OFF THE ROOF OF COBO HALL. And people say Val Venis is overstated. You know what the sad part is? These guys would go on to main event THREE MORE PAY PER VIEWS! Hogan with rights but the have no effect. Btw, if you think Giant is bad now… Bodyslam attempt but Giant screams like a sideshow freak and breaks out. Cross-corner whip and big boot. More forearms. Chops in the corner (whoo). Giant yells a lot. Maybe he should try All-Bran. Maybe he’s passing kidney stones. Boots in the corner. Cross-corner whip and another boot. Knucklelock brings Hogan to his knees. And he stays there for a while. Elbow and slam by the Giant. Legdrop misses and Hogan is revived. Head to the turnbuckle a couple of times and then the TEN PUNCHES OF DOOM! Biting from Hogan. FINGERNAIL SCRAPE OF DEATH! Cross-corner whip and clothesline, then more punches. Whip and clothesline. Another. Another and Giant goes over the top to the floor. Giant and Sullivan take a walk and Hogan brings them back. Poke to the eyes. More punches. Shoulderblock but Giant won’t go down. Again and Giant goes for the chokeslam but Hogan escapes. More punches and biting. Giant wiht a whip and a backbreaker. Giant stomps on his hands. Whip and a Giant bearhug. Hogan powers out but gets atomic dropped. Another bearhug. Hogan powers out again. Punches from Hogan, but Giant catches him with a chokeslam. Two count and the hulking up begins. He’s a house of fire, you know. Punches, big boot and bodyslam. Legdrop, but Jimmy Hart trips up the referee off-camera. Hogan helps him up and Hart officially turns on Hogan, pasting him with the title belt. Crowd is shocked. Luger and Savage run in to make the save, but Luger then further complicates the issue by turning on Savage! Then the Yeti (Ron Reese) comes in and does the double-team bearhug on Hogan, while, uh, gyrating his hips. The less said the better. The carnage continues. It is announced that Giant wins by DQ, since Hart was Hogan’s manager. The next night on Nitro, it was further announced that Hart had double-crossed Hogan before the match and wrote a waiver of the DQ rule into the contract, giving Giant the WCW World title. This was actually a better match than the ones that followed over the years. *1/2  (This was basically Vince Russo before Vince Russo, so I have to give it a pass just for sheer prescience.)  The Bottom Line: Well, the wrestling wasn’t great (or even good), but the storylines were actually coherent (if really stupid) and the shock booking approach set a change of pace for WCW that would redefine the company and propel them to the top. A recommended show, historically speaking. (It’s a ton of fun!)