WOODSTOCKtober Countdown: WCW Halloween Havoc 2000

The SK Rant for WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 (Let’s wrap up this countdown with one of the low points of WCW’s lowest point.) – I’m always accused of being biased, so I’m going to add one positive thing to every match so you can’t say that I didn’t find any. – Live from Lost Wages, NV – Your hosts are Tony, Stevie & Mark. How bad is it when Stevie Ray has leapfrogged both Mike Tenay and Scott Hudson into the regular PPV spot? Opening match, WCW World tag titles: Mark Jindrak & Sean O’ Hare v. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Kidman v. The Boogie Knights. I really wish the champs would have their names on their boots or something, because I still can’t tell the difference. (Thankfully Sean would at least distinguish himself enough in WWE that today I could tell the difference were I stupid enough to want to watch this show again.)  Kidman & Wright double-team Jindrak to start, but Wright turns on Kidman. O’Hare gets the same treatment. Kidman shoulderblocks Disqo for two. (Oh yeah, this was when Disco changed his name to Disqo because of Cisqo.  Fun fact:  I have no f------ idea who Cisqo is because I didn’t listen to any kind of top 40 radio or music shows between the late 90s and a few years ago.  It constantly amazes my wife when I have these giant pop culture blind spots of stuff that she assumes everyone shares knowledge about.  But I digress.)   Wright dropkicks Jindrak for two. He gives Jindrak what appears to be a high knee, but Jindrak goes down about two seconds before the move connects. Wright uses the Edge & Christian assisted suplex on Jindrak for two. Man, Wright is outworking everyone else in the match by 100% here. O’Hare comes in and cleans house on the smaller guys, making them look like jobbers. How ironic. The champs hiptoss Kidman into the ring, and the Boogie Knights double-team Rey Rey as the pointless highspots start. They fire off a bunch of them until Sean O’Hare finishes Disqo with the Seanton bomb at 10:05 to retain the titles. This was what it was. **1/2 Positive thing: The right team won. – Hardcore title match: Reno v. A-Wall. I haven’t watched Nitro or Thunder in months so I’m totally lost as to the point here, but I vaguely recall the whole deal with Reno winning the title on a reversed decision a few weeks ago. The Idiots stress that this is OLD SCHOOL HARDCORE, BABY, as those “Start in the back and fight to the ring” rules have gone the way of Tony Schiavone’s self-respect. (I love the idea of “old school hardcore”, given that the entire style they’re ripping off originated about two years before this show took place.  Maybe 5 if you’re counting ECW, but who does?)  Rhetorical question: When was the last time a hardcore match in WCW was actually fought under those rules, because I haven’t seen one of them since about July? Reno puts Wall through a table 10 seconds in to just completely cheapen the gimmick. Do the people booking these matches have ANY idea how to effectively use things like tables? Notice how the WWF makes the fans chant for them for 10 minutes before one gets pulled out? There’s a reason. It’s called DRAMATIC TENSION. We get to hear the term “old school hardcore” about 14 times. Fight to the rampway and into the back, which was supposed to be the kind of thing that we didn’t want to see anymore and thus was eliminated. My head hurts. Wall throws one of those imitation plastic monitors that you see in IKEA displays at Reno, and luckily he ducks to avoid the serious injury that hollow plastic props can cause. Hmm, there’s a picture on the screen, but it’s not plugged in? WCW: Swedish for “crap”. (Oddly enough, IKEA now uses real TVs in their displays, or least they do at the Edmonton store when I’m lucky enough to get out there and spend ridiculous amounts of money on stuff I don’t need.  Maybe it’s a good thing Saskatoon isn’t big enough to ever get an IKEA.)  Back to the ring, more tables. Yay, more tables, that’ll make them their 60 million dollars back. Reno gets his neckbreaker thing on a table for the pin at 10:45. What exactly is that move supposed to be doing to cause damage? Basically he’s just turning him over. In fact, the brunt of the blow is on Reno, because he’s the one landing on his back and taking the weight of Wall on him. (And yet 80 zillion indy guys now use that move, to the extent that “Roll the Dice” has basically become the generic name for the move.  I think that Crossroads might become the new de facto standard name with time, though.)  Oh, sorry, I’m being biased again, feel free to write me and complain about the Rock Bottom or the KICK WHAM STUNNER, because lord knows I care about each and every piece of mail I get from people defending this stuff. ½* An MIA-NBT showdown follows. Positive thing: The Wall didn’t cause serious injury to himself or his opponent.  (Sadly, the serious injury would come just three years later for the Wall, as in death.)  – Impromptu match: Chuck Palumbo & Shawn Stasiak v. Chavo Guerrero & Lash LeRoux. Chavo & Lash dominate Stasiak to start as Madden stresses that THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM between Stasiak & Palumbo while the other two argue that there is. Note to retarded bookers writing this stuff: It’s the year 2000. Just thought I’d let you know. Lash dominates Palumbo, but Chavo gets dumped. Palumbo & Stasiak argue and Stasiak gets rolled up for two, just in case the “Blind Deaf & Dumb Society of America” happened to be in the audience tonight watching and wasn’t sure what the storyline was.  (If they were today, Alberto Del Rio would probably tear up their braille signs and laugh at them, and then they’d sue WWE and win.)  He comes back with a powerbomb for two. Chavito plays trooper-in-peril, but reverses a press slam and gets the hot tag to Lash. He gets nailed and exchanges sleepers with Chuck Palumbo. When was the last time ANYONE used a sleeper in the WWF (not named “X-Pac”)? (Dolph is bringing it back, baby!  And HHH did shortly after this, too.)  You know why? Because it’s a dead move and fans instinctively get bored when it’s used. So of course we ended up seeing three or four of them tonight. Hot tag Chavo, and heel miscommunication allows Chavo to hit the DDT on Stasiak for the pin at 9:22. If they think splitting up Palumbo & Stasiak is gonna help one bit, more power to ‘em, but a little subtlety goes a long way in wrestling and they’d do well to remember it. Match was pretty boring. *1/4 Positive thing: Madden brought “Chavito” into formal use. – Shane Douglas & Torrie v. Konnan & Tygress. Torrie is dressed as Wonder Woman. Konnan, who got severely beat down in the opening match and had to be helped out by EMTs, looks remarkably better as he hits the ring a minute in to save us from seeing any more of Torrie v. Tygress. He and Tygress double-team Douglas, and you immediately know that you’re watching a WCW PPV because Douglas has the World’s Biggest Brace and a double-wrap on his left arm, so Konnan and Tygress work on the good arm. (Well because then both arms are useless, maybe?) Reverse psychology, maybe? Torrie comes in and does the Baywatch Lifeguard Run in gloriously bouncy slow motion at Tygress in the corner, but runs into a foot. I don’t know how one can possibly screw up that spot, but they managed. (Lifting the foot in the corner is a tough gig.  Just ask Kevin Nash.)  Tygress plays T&A-in-peril. Ah, you might ask: If Konnan was so injured that they had to get a non-wrestler to do the brunt of the work, why not just sub him out and use someone else? Answer: Because then all the irate fans who paid to see this match would demand a refund. Hot tag Konnan, and Katie bar the yadda yadda yadda. Everyone stands around waiting for a cue to go home in a charming spot that makes me love WCW THAT MUCH MORE until Torrie does a sort of Franchiser on Konnan that manages to make the move even MORE useless than when Shane does it. I think Konnan and Torrie had to pause for a couple of seconds to figure out who was actually supposed to be selling the move. Konnan MIRACULOUSLY kicks out from that move and hits the X-Factor on Douglas at 8:35 for the pin. See, now I personally wouldn’t have given this anything NEAR 10 minutes with two injured guys and two chicks in there, but everyone says I’m biased so I guess it was okay. -**1/2 Positive thing: Torrie running. – DNA match: David Flair v. Buff Bagwell. I still don’t know what “DNA rules” are supposed to be. Flair brings some beakers in a baggie to at least make an effort to sell the angle. I’d pull up the quote from Vince Russo last month about how this angle would have “swerve after swerve” and shock the world, but really it’s like pulling up old quotes of Eric Bischoff from 1997 going on internet chats and talking about how boring the ratings wars were at the time. The horse is dead, why lay in anymore shots? Buff pounds on Flair and yawns a lot, treating the match like a joke. HE’S SHOOTING, BROTHER! What’s really sad here is that David doesn’t even realize that he’s being made into the joke, as he goes through his usual crazy selling and generally tries really hard with what he’s being given. It’s always a tragedy when someone with as little talent as David is out there giving it his all and someone who used have as much as Buff did is out there acting like the match is beneath him. It might be, but it’s his job to convince the fans otherwise. They do something resembling brawling on the floor, and David gets hit with a chair and bleeds, giving Bagwell the win at 5:42. Apparently it was a first blood match. That’s one of those details you want to tell people, guys. Especially the wrestlers, because Bagwell hits the Blockbuster and tries for the pin before the ref informs him that he’s already the winner. (That’s WCW for you.)  Whew, that’s a relief, if David had been booked to win then Buff might have quit and we’d be robbed of ever seeing him again, and god knows the world isn’t ready for life without Buff. -***, thus showing the god-given talent and drawing power that Buff Bagwell brings to the table every time out. Positive thing: Neither Judy Bagwell nor Miss Hancock was involved in any way. – Somebody’s grandfather (in a Yankees jersey) walks in and turns on Buff after the match, looking remarkably like Lex Luger if he was a 40-year old has been with no career direction. Oh, wait… – Kickboxing match: Mike Sanders v. The Cat. Cat squashes Sanders for the three scheduled two-minute rounds, but at the end of the third one Shane Douglas KO’s Cat with a chain. Cat is saved by the bell (I think?), but brawls with Douglas and gets counted out (??) after the time limit expires (???) to lose the commisionership to Mike Sanders (????). I think we need one of those Bruce Mitchell “Explain the Booking” contests to take care of this one. –**** Positive thing: I liked Mike Sanders’ shirt. – Mike Awesome v. Vampiro. You know, I was pretty much hoping that this one would end the negative-star run, but then I was also hoping that Buff would no-show and get fired tonight, so I guess I’m just overly optimistic. Vamp wants the #1 contendership in return for all the people he’s beaten in his WCW career. Vamp bails and Awesome hits a tope con hilo, although only in a loose sense of the word “hits”. Brawl into the crowd for lack of anything good to do. That goes on for a bit, until Awesome gets jumped by an energetic fan and stops to pound him into oblivion before going back to hitting Vampiro with worked punches two seconds later.  (Could I have timed this repost ANY BETTER?!) Don’t forget to stomp, guys. Back to the ring for a duelling chairs spot that comes out of nowhere and goes the same place. Vamp hits a Super-Frankensteiner and nearly breaks Awesome’s neck in the process. He follows with a top rope something that looked like a cross between a cannonball and a Thesz Press, but somehow was worse than both. Awesome bails, but Vampiro comes back with a Michinoku Driver. Hey, they hit a spot! Congratulations, remind me to buy a card to commemorate the occasion. Vampiro stops to go table shopping, but none is evident. So instead of WRESTLING, he wastes another minute checking under every side of the ring. They head outside and Awesome powerbombs him on the floor for two, as this has suddenly become a falls-count-anywhere match. Funny, I didn’t think it was Vancouver. Back in, a top rope Awesomebomb finishes at 9:50, returning the favor by nearly breaking Vampiro’s neck. I don’t know why people were getting excited about seeing this one. -*1/2 Reason #459 why WCW is losing 60 million dollars: Awesome does this incredible-looking deadly finisher, the announcers sell it like Vampiro is a corpse, and what music is playing the background? Awesome’s cheesy 70s elevator music. Positive thing: Mike’s hair remained in pristine condition even after the match. – Canadian title: Lance Storm & Jim Duggan v. General Rection. Please, Duggan, bring us above DUD! Slugfest between Rection and Duggan to start. Storm goes next and runs into a foot. He comes back with an atomic drop. Rection dumps him but gets dumped in turn. Man, this is thrilling action. Duggan chokes him. Long beatdown follows. Storm provides the second sleeper spot on the night, then heel miscommunication cues the comeback for Rection. Powerslam gets two. The ref (Scott Armstrong, the second-best worker in the match) gets bumped and is out cold. No wonder the Armstrongs jobbed all the time. Duggan piledriver, no ref. Elix Skipper runs in but gets held off by Major Gunns. Is that storyline STILL going on? Didn’t everyone stop caring about it two months ago, including the bookers? Rection does something that looks kinda like a russian legsweep to Duggan, and finishes with a moonsault that misses by six inches to capture the Canadian title and thus bury Lance Storm further. I guess retarded WCW logic says that because Duggan jobbed, Lance Storm keeps his heat for a rematch with General Rection. Not that anyone wants to see Storm v. Rection again to begin with. Reason #1949 why WCW is losing upwards of 60 million dollars: The second-highest champion in the promotion is named “Hugh G. Rection”. DUD Positive thing: Zero stars is still better than less-than-zero stars. – Jeff Jarrett v. Sting. Tony talks about how the first Halloween Havoc was in 1989 and how 11 years later Sting is still here. Open mouth, insert foot. (I don’t get it.)  Brawl to start, then Sting misses a Stinger splash and then dumps Jarrett. That’s about the extent of the good part of the match, as a bogus Sting, dressed in 80s garb, comes out to taunt Sting. Sting takes him out. Sting & Jarrett brawl into the crowd, where finds “Early 90s Sgt. Pepper Sting”, complete with hot pink tights and bad makeup job. No ducktail, though? That’s pretty sloppy. He beats up that one, too. I’d call the match incredibly retarded right now, but I’m afraid it might get worse. Back in, Jarrett & Sting stall until Wolfpac Sting joins us and gets beat up. For those people who wonder what exactly we recappers mean when we talk about “masturbatory insider booking” that goes over the heads of 99.9% of the audience and only serves to amuse the bookers, this is the match you wanna look at. Jarrett controls with some basic stuff as we’re all just waiting for Sting #4. And indeed he soon pops out of the ring and drags Sting under, only to get beat up. I think that one was played by Steve Keirn. Or maybe Ray Licachelli. The lights go out and a fifth Sting rappels from the rafters to attack. PLEASE don’t tell me that they were just waiting for Bret Hart to retire so they could start doing that again on a regular basis. This Sting is bald, by the way, thus shattering the finely crafted illusion of authenticity that they had been shooting for all match long. Sting puts him through a table as Sting #4 (for those keeping track) returns to hit Sting with the guitar and give Jarrett the pin at 14:38. WCW’s never-ending quest to make Jeff Jarrett a top heel continues. And with booking like this, would YOU bet against them? -*** Positive thing: Copyright issues prevent them from doing the same gimmick with Jarrett’s old personas. For the moment. – I mean, CHRIST, how hard is it to book a Jarrett v. Sting match? You put them out there, say “Have a good match” and decide that one goes over the other. My working theory for this show so far is that Vince Russo snapped, killed all the other bookers, and wrote the show while high on amphetamines and coffee with the help of his imaginary friend “Mortimer the Space Cowboy” in one last attempt to destroy the promotion before he’s officially fired. However, as noble a goal as that may be, there’s just no excuse for ever mentioning Kung-Fu Action Lobster Sting again. – WCW World title: Booker T v. Scott Steiner. Dear god, Crush & Adam Bomb are main-eventing tonight? Hammerlock sequence to start. Steiner bails, but changes his mind and comes back to pound away on Booker. Brawl outside and into the crowd, which Steiner dominates with ease. Back in, Steiner elbowdrop gets two. Booker escapes a surfboard, but runs into a lariat. Steiner gets a top rope fallaway slam (right onto the section of ring torn apart by the previous match when Sting #4 popped through it) and poses, not even bothering to cover him. Sure, bury your World champion, why not? Who needs offense, anyway? Booker comes back but Steiner lariats him again, out of the ring. Back in, Steiner lays in the boots. Booker comes back with a missile dropkick (yah! Scott finally sells a move!) but that offensive flurry doesn’t last long for Booker as Steiner grabs his trusty foam lead pipe and takes out Booker and several refs for a DQ at 13:27. Nothing earns the trust and support of a dwindling fanbase more than a DQ in a title match that they spent $30 to see. * Positive thing: There was an impressive shot of Medasya’s ass while Steiner was making his entrance. – Kroni>| v. Goldberg. We’re got MAYBE 5 minutes of total airtime left here. And indeed it’s 1998 all over again as Goldberg dispatches both with the usual at 3:42. DUD Positive thing: The show is over. The Bottom Line: Hands down, worst PPV of the year to date. No competition, no likely challengers on the horizon unless XPW suddenly gets a better TV deal. What was expected to be decent was overbooked into insanely bad, and what wasn’t supposed to be good, wasn’t. Disqo’s lame duck gimmick sums up the current booking very well: Lame duck. Or, if the WWF deal doesn’t go through, dead duck. (Well, the WWF deal did go through, and they still ended up a dead duck anyway.)  Thumbs WAY down.