BEDROCKtober Countdown: WCW Halloween Havoc 98

The Netcop Rant for WCW Halloween Havoc 98. I didn’t intend to do one, but y’all won’t leave me alone… – Note: My roommate and his crack-smoking brother were busy having a domestic altercation for a good chunk of the first hour and a half of this show, so if I missed or glossed over anything important, it’s because I was distracted.  (Oh man, adventures with Andrew.  My use of the term “domestic altercation” here is an extreme understatement.  Anyway, in a related story, my CD player broke down around this time, so Andrew “acquired” one for me and sold it to me at a very reasonable price.  I’m going to assume he just had one around the house so I can sleep better at night.  Eventually he got better as a person and I considered him a friend for a few years after that.  Not anymore, sadly.  I’d like to get on my high horse and presume that my lineage is any better, but my brother is also a recovering addict, and in fact used to work for the Hell’s Angels as an associate before doing something really stupid to lose the job. Family, what can ya do?)  – Live from Lost Wages, NV – Your hosts are the Usual Gang of Idiots. – Opening T&A: The Nitro Girls “dance”. – Opening yakfest: Scheme Gene brings out Rick “Dumbest Man in the World…Next To Sting” Steiner. (Steiner’s more of a “Duh Duh” idiot, whereas Sting is a gullible idiot.  Different things.)  I’ve finally figured out that those knobs on Rick’s jacket are little bulldogs. Buff Bagwell comes out to offer to be in Rick’s corner, because he’d NEVER, ever, turn on him. No, seriously. Honest. This time he means it. Would he lie to us? – Opening match (finally): TV title, Chris Jericho v. Raven. Raven whines about his losing streak vis-a-vis a conspiracy against him. (There kind of was, in fact.)  Hey, maybe he should talk to Jericho. Jericho verbally berates him until Raven attacks and gets levelled by Jericho. Raven clotheslines him out of the ring and uses the STEEL steps to his advantage. Back in and Jericho gets to do his thing, hotshotting Raven and hitting the springboard dropkick, but misses a dive off the apron. Jericho goes headfirst to the STEEL steps again, but Raven takes his trademark upside-down bump to the STEEL railing. Back in and more international objects are utilized. Sleeper by Raven. Suplex to escape and a senton. Jericho with a charge out of the corner and gets caught with a powerbomb. They exchange more stuff. Raven gets the Even Flow for two, Jericho gets the Liontamer but he escapes. Kanyon jumps on the apron and gets knocked by Raven accidentally, allowing Jericho to get the Liontamer for real. Too much action to call in the last sequence, and a great opener. ****  (That is a great forgotten classic that deserves to be on a DVD somewhere.  Get on that s---, WWE!)  – Hogan comes out to talk, as PPV watchers switch channels by the thousands. He’s wearing an nWo Nitro shirt, thus confirming that they had nothing better to do with the 1,000,000 shirts that were produced for that purpose in late 1997. (Why not send them to starving kids in Africa like they do with the losing Super Bowl merchandise?  I know if I’d gone two weeks without proper nutrition, I’d be like “Sweet, a Hollywood Hogan t-shirt!”  I forget which comedian I paraphrased/stole that joke from, but kudos, because it’s a great one.)  – Meng v. Wrath. (I think this match would make the blog’s brain explode.) Wrath beats him out of the ring and hits the somersault off the apron he was working on while with Mortis. Back in the ring and Wrath hits a couple of clotheslines to force Meng to sell. Meltdown attempt #1 fails and Meng takes control. Crowd is gone. Does Meng even have any idea how to play to/against the crowd anymore? (He’s the MONSTER MENG!  He doesn’t care about the crowd!)  More slow boring offense from Meng. Wrath with a uranage for two. Meltdown for three. Good pop for Wrath. 1/4*  (And then Nash squashed him.  I mean, honest, I get the point of the winning streak ending like it did, because they were setting up Nash as the guy who ends streaks, but talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.)  – #1 contender’s match: Disco Inferno v. Juventud Guerrera. (#1 contender for what?  Drunken karaoke champion?) Disco takes control early but Juvy hits some flying stuff. They do an awkward spot that leads to a Rocker Dropper from Juvy, and Disco gets monkey flipped right out of the ring and Juvy follows him out with a flying headscissors on the floor. Back in and Disco with the chinlock. They trade more stuff and Juvy ends up hitting a wicked cross-body to Disco on the floor. Juvy flips out of a suplex and hits a rana. He goes for the Juvy Driver but Disco flips out and tries an inverted suplex, but both guys end up escaping and knocking each other out. Disco gets two. Juvy with a sunset flip but Disco smacks him down and does the Macarena, then uses the GIANT SWING OF DOOM~! and falls headfirst on Juvy’s crotch. It gets two. Disco goes to the top and takes way too long and gets crotched. Juvy with the rana off the top, and he goes to the top himself and nails the FLYING BODY ATTACK OF DEATH~! Juvy with the Rube-Goldbergian bulldog for two, but puts his head down on a whip and Disco hits the SWANK jumping piledriver for three. No Macarena, however. ***1/4 – 10 brownie points to whoever can identify who Rube Goldberg is and why I refer to Juvy’s bulldog in that matter… (Offer no longer valid.)  – More Nitro girls! You’re telling me they couldn’t have chopped 19 minutes of this s--- out? And were they handing out breast implants at the door or what?  (10 brownie points to whoever can explain the logic of having NITRO Girls on a PPV.)  – More time wasting as Scott Steiner and the Giant challenge Rick and Buff for the tag titles later in the night. Never mind they probably knew that the show would run long as it is. I dunno, this is kind of suspicious. They NEVER used filler material before this (if you don’t count the wrestling, har har) on PPV, so why suddenly start sticking AT LEAST 10 minutes’ worth of interviews and Nitro Girls in there?  (In fact they did know the show was running long and they told cable companies well in advance, but 1998 wasn’t exactly the technical heyday that it is now, and most of them just weren’t able to block off all four hours, even with advance notice.  Thankfully, Bell Expressvu, or whatever the hell it was called at that point, was one of the ones who did.)  – Alex Wright v. Fit Finlay. Case in point, this match, which they already had in the can from the Thunder tapings a few nights before. There was no reason to even show this. How can Mike Tenay hype Hogan-Warrior II with a straight face.  (Because he’s dead inside?  That would certainly explain how he can watch Joseph Park get hit in the face with a hammer and just shrug it off.) And why are they talking about the main event during this match? Are there some channel surfers who were watching other PPV events and just suddenly decided to buy this one halfway through? This match is nothing incredibly special, as they go through the motions for about five minutes until Wright hits a reverse neckbreaker out of nowhere for the pin. Call it about **1/4.  (Trust me, the much more entertaining brawl was happening live in my apartment.)  – Lodi v. Saturn. Lodi is from “anywhere in the world but Las Vegas, Nevada”. I think we’ve made all the gay jokes about Saturn’s attire that can be humanly made. (But not about Lodi’s!)  A Saturn squash with Lodi stalling punctuated in between. T-bone suplex, falcon arrow suplex, Death Valley Driver. Next match. 1/2*  (Kudos to Lodi for really stepping up his sign-making game around this time.)  – The Idiots blather to waste more time. – More Nitro girls. – Cruiserweight title match: Kidman v. Disco Inferno. See, now why couldn’t this have been on Nitro? Disco controls to start but Kidman comes back with a botched flying headscissors. Disco with a drop toehold on the bottom rope. Disco mocks him and hits an elbow. Kidman takes a blind charge and Disco ducks, sending Kidman to the floor. Disco follows and Kidman improvises a springboard bulldog using the steps! Ouch! Kidman to the top but misses a splash. Disco gets two. Chinlock from Disco. To think that last year he was TV champion and losing to a woman. (It’s like it was only yesterday!  Oh wait, it was.)  Disco Sucks chant. Ricochet clothesline from Kidman, but Disco returns with a faceplant. Disco lays the smack down in the corner and teases a dance, drawing great heat. Belly to back suplex for two. More trash talk from Disco. He misses the boogie elbow off the second rope and Kidman with the sitting powerbomb for two. Cross corner whip and Kidman eats elbow, but manages to snap off a powerslam for two. Dropkick misses. Disco nails the piledriver for two. Kidman up with a springboard bulldog, but Disco turns it into a suplex and hits a gourdbuster for two. Macarena Driver gets turned into the facebuster and that of course leads to the shooting star press for three. Disappointing. **1/2 Allow me to add my voice to those saying that he should take two months and tour Japan. – Gonnad’s music video. Just guess how much I loved this. It should be noted that he equates his music with weed, alcohol, heroin and crack. Great message to be sending out to the kids. (Better this than Skrillex.)  And it’s yet another five minutes that didn’t need to be on PPV. – WCW World tag team title match: Scott Steiner & The Giant v. Rick Steiner & Buff Bagwell. Tony at least pays lip service to continuity by noting that nWo rules apply to the tag team titles and the nWo can pretty much do whatever they want with them. Buff isn’t even dressed to wrestle. If you need to know what happens here, just go back and read my Havoc 95 rant because THE SAME F------ THING HAPPENS HERE. Tony has the temerity to actually bring up the name of Ch__ky the evil doll. I won’t dignify it by writing it. Giant beats on Rick to start, and then Scott gets his licks in. Nothing notable enough to type going on. It’s so sad that Scott turned on Rick in FEBRUARY and they’re just fighting for the first time now. Rick comes back and stupidly tags in Bagwell, who promptly turns on Rick, duh. The announcers try to sell Bagwell as being REALLY convincing this time, unlike the other 14 times. Scott and Giant continue the assault on the partnerless Rick as Bagwell retreats. Fans start a spontaneous Goldberg chant in hopes of coaxing him into helping. Giant better lose some weight if he wants to jump ship. (He did OK for himself in WWE.)  They don’t take fat boys up North. Giant teases some pinfalls but refuses to pin him. Rick fights back but Scott crotches him. That’s about four in the same match. Giant slowly….climbs…the…ropes and hits Scott with a missile dropkick by mistake. Rick comes back with the usual, nails a bulldog off the top on the Giant…and gets the pin? See, the faces are generally supposed to lose in these situations. (Oh yeah, this was the tremendously entertaining portion of the WCW booking period where they had Rick Steiner and Kenny Kaos as tag team champions, as well as a brief stint with Judy Bagwell as a champion.)  Well, anyway, we get… – Rick Steiner v. Scott Steiner. Scott bails but Rick drags him back into the ring. Rick destroys his brother to great crowd reaction. (Running theme at the apartment that day.)  Scott crotches him again to retake control. Tenay notes that it makes four, if you’re counting. Well, Mike, some of us ARE, thank you. Rick comes back but Buffy returns with a Bill Clinton mask and Stevie Ray. Buff cleans house with the ODOR EATER OF DEATH~! and the bell rings. But the match seems to be continuing. Buff counts a couple of two counts himself but Rick keeps kicking out so Buff dumps the ref. Rick takes out Buff and nails the bulldog on Scott, and Nick Patrick runs in to count the final three. Entertaining crap. Call the whole thing ** because I’m feeling generous.  (By “generous” I mean “A few drinks into the show.”)  – Video package for Hall v. Nash. – Scott Hall v. Kevin Nash. The ring entrances give me time to change my laundry and go get my dinner ready. I’m serious. (One thing about apartment living that I will NEVER miss is shared laundry facilities.  Home ownership is worth it strictly for being able to do laundry whenever and however often you damn well want, without scrounging for quarters.)  Hall hammers Nash right from the start and chokes him out with a cable. Hall trash talks him over the PA and brings him back in the ring for more abuse. At least he’s not “drunk”. (Although he was likely drunk.)  Big Wolfpac chant. Edge attempt early but Nash fights him off. The Idiots note that Nash isn’t really fighting back. (He is pretty passive-aggressive.)  Nash with two cross-corner whips and a sidewalk slam, not called anything by Tony or anyone else. Slugfest. Hall with the usual as the Idiots trip all over each other to call the Outsiders the GREATEST TAG TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SPORT~! Wasn’t that the Steiners about a half an hour ago? (Plan change.) Nash comes back with his usual. Nice to see the huge contract hasn’t affected Nash’s work ethic or anything. Nash proceeds to destroy Hall with knees in the corner while mocking his drinking problem. Big boot and a powerbomb. Another one, and Nash simply walks away, not wanting to beat Hall. Hall wins by countout. *1/2  (And yet Nash STILL got the Starrcade title shot after losing a major match by countout!  I hope someone got fired over that one!  Oh yeah, Bischoff did, never mind.)  – US title match: Bret Hart v. Sting. Bret stalls *forever* before Sting drags him in and beats on him. Bret retakes control (very slowly) and stomps and chokes. Man, the Nitro brawl was way better than this. Crowd is dead. I would have thought they’d have been able to work together much better. Bret with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM!, but Sting catches him off the second rope and applies the Scorpion. Sting works on the leg, but Bret plays possum. Sting stomps on the knee anyway, which allows Bret the opportunity to load up an international object. Sting gets it but the ref blocks, allowing crotchshot #5509 on the evening. Okay, this time it’s the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! for real. They end up on the floor and Bret drops Sting on the STEEL railing. Watch that potty mouth, Bret. Ref checks on Sting and gets an elbow in the mouth for his trouble, then Bret drops a leg on him for good measure. They exchange some stuff (carefully stepping over the referee) and Sting gives Bret a superplex which is for naught. Stinger splash but Sting nails the ringpost. Bret grabs the BASEBALL BAT OF DEATH! and wallops Sting a few times, then applies the Sharpshooter as the ref revives to count the “submission”. Ugh, five minutes too long with a silly ending. Bret NEVER did this sort of thing in the WWF. He always won clean, even if he had to cheat outrageously on the way. This was just a typical cheap Hogan ending. **, and I’m very disappointed in both guys. Sting does a stretcher job. Reports say this will lead to a Sting vacation. Well, f---, what do you call ALL OF 1997???? Maternity leave?  (Bret so did not give a single s--- by this point.)  – THE MOST ANTICIPATED RETURN MATCH IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SPORT! : Hulk Hogan (w/ boa) v. The Warrior (w/out “Ultimate” or a hope in hell of winning). The Idiots wax about Hogan needing to beat the Warrior until I feel like singing ABBA’s “Waterloo” in tribute. Waterloo, everybody’s got their Waterloo… Duelling “Hogan sucks” and “Warrior sucks” chants to begin. (Hey now, let’s settle this right now and agree they both suck, OK?)Warrior apparently calls his fans the Warriors. I’m surprised he hasn’t launched a lawsuit against them, too, for copyright violation. Nothing personally offensive meant to anyone, but if you liked this match you’re a goddamn crack-smoking braindead moron.  (People have quoted that line many times.  I take a certain amount of pride in it.)  Much like my roommate’s brother, but that’s another story. Hogan stalls, Warrior stalls. Warrior calls for a test of strength. Hogan beats on him. Only two or three actually hit. Hogan with more alleged offense. Test of strength. The boring chants begin. They trade wristlocks and do the criss-cross-slam spot, which Warrior no-sells and responds with his own. Hey, where I have seen that before? Hogan gets clotheslined to the floor, but at least he doesn’t blow out his knee this time. Weak brawling on the outside. Mike Tenay calls it a “fine wrestling match” and I feel like slapping him around for whoring himself like this. Back in the ring and Patrick gets bumped. The nWo comes out to help and they botch it one-by-one. Hogan with a belly-to-back for two. Hogan whips Warrior with the WORKOUT BELT OF DEATH! and chokes him out. This is turning into a Roddy Piper comedy match. Elbows that always miss, well, miss. Warrior fucks up a chop block but misses the big splash. Now Warrior’s got the WORKOUT BELT OF DEATH! and gives Hogan some without a DQ. Now Hogan digs out the “fireball” but it fails. (Man, when nitrocellulose can’t even save a match, you’re in trouble.  Jerry Lawler could draw a house for years on end with well-timed fireballs.) This is just sad, my friends. So now Warrior has to improvise something to cover up. Double axehandle off the top, which Hogan blocks (called as such by the announcers) but Warrior fails to sell so Hogan sells getting hit and the Idiots just sit there silently for a while. Hogan blades and sets up the legdrop, which misses. Horace Hogan wanders out with a chair as Warrior hulks up. THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DEATH! Bischoff distracts the referee as Horace nails Warrior with a weak chairshot to the back, allowing Hogan to get the pin. Geez, where’s the Disciple when you need him, Warrior? (Selling coke on the subway.)  What a f------ farce this was. -** I would have boosted it to a DUD had the attempted Warrior barbeque gone down, but it didn’t.  (That rating feels a bit generous to me.  I’m thinking –****)  – WCW World title match: Goldberg v. Diamond Dallas Page. It’s pretty sad when Hogan does 20 minutes of every cheap Memphis heel tactic known to man and Jerry Lawler and gets zero reaction, but Goldberg and Page blow the roof off the joint with a straight wrestling match. It’s sad in that Hogan is probably going to repeat the same match at World War III and get the World title, not in that straight wrestling matches are bad.  (Boy, Hogan really REALLY wanted that win back, but Nash’s asskiss-fu was stronger, I guess.)  I really, really hope the Braindead Suits in charge of WCW are paying attention. (They weren’t.  Ever.)  Goldberg tosses DDP around out of the lockup to a huge pop. DDP mouths him off and they go tumbling out of the ring. DDP takes down Goldberg, who flips and lands on his feet. Fireman’s carry and cross armbreaker from Goldberg. DDP up with a jawbreaker and he takes control with some good wrestling. Goldberg tosses him and DDP with a necksnap off the top rope. Whip to the corner and russian legsweep for two. Goldberg is selling and everything. Front facelock slows things down. Goldberg knees out and spins off a neckbreaker. Suplex variation from Goldberg and a sidewalk slam. He should be wrestling like this all the time. Back with the cross arm-breaker on DDP. Whip and DDP with a flying headscissors, but Goldberg with a superkick. Charge and Goldberg goes to the post and fucks up his shoulder. See, now DDP should have gone to work on the arm, but that’s a minor point. DDP with a clothesline off the top for two. Goldberg whips DDP off the ropes with one arm but gets DDT’d. DDP signals for the Diamond Cutter but Goldberg pops up and spears him, further injuring the arm. The crowd is rabid. And he’s STILL selling the arm injury! He goes for the jackhammer but the arm is gone and Page gets out and hits the Diamond Cutter! Gets a very dramatic two count. Page tries a suplex but Goldberg reverses to the Jackhammer for the win. Best Goldberg match ever. What the hell, I’m feeling generous. ***3/4 – World War III promo. The Bottom Line: Two really good matches, one good match and a whole lot of mediocre->crappy stuff is good enough for a thumbs up from me. Show ran WAY too long, however and there was way too much filler, however, so this isn’t a glowing recommendation by any means, but WCW avoids the hot pokers this time around with a good effort.