PHANTASM review
Published 29 October 2021

October 25, 1998
Las Vegas, Nevada
MGM Grand Arena
(Attendance: 10,663)

The first 8 minutes of this PPV broadcast is nothing but procrastination and time waste. This is crucial, considering how this live broadcast to the event would transpire. Halloween Havoc is infamous for two things:

1) The entire main event broadcast was cut by PPV providers and not seen by live subscribers,

2) Includes what is considered the worst high profile match in PPV history.

This could have easily been avoided. This event would include the type of incidents and booking decision that would be all too familiar in WCW going forward. Ultimately leading to the companies ugly fall from grace.

Above: Halloween Havoc from Las Vegas

The hideous introduction video package is amateurish at best, there is no logic or coherence whatsoever. We are introduced to the arena and live Las Vegas crowd by announcer team Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan. Good to see those guys, a heck of a strong announce team, but do we need a run down of every match right before we actually see them? Surely this could be relocated to a pre show. Nitro girls dance. And we finally kick off with….a long winded interview featuring Rick Steiner and Buff Bagwell, hosted by Mene Gene. Way to get the adrenaline pumping right? Waste of precious PPV time, clearly a segment for Nitro.

 Finally, a wrestling match! It’s Raven. If you are watching via the WWE network- Raven’s original ‘Come as you are’ remix theme has been overdubbed with WWE’s own ‘What about me?.’ Same goes for a not yet, Y2J, with ‘Break the walls down’ replacing ‘One crazed anarchist’, AKA, Pearl Jam Evenflow


WCW Television Title

Chris Jericho (c) vs. Raven

The TV champion looks like a new born baby, golden curls flowing, charisma, oozing. After Raven whines and moans on the mike for a while, things get under way. The first wrestling hold takes place 12:52 into this presentation. Yikes. It is actually hard to tell the face from the heel, if memory serves correct, both men are popular heels. Popular in the eyes of the fans, not the powers that be.  Schiavone affirms this by mentioning the boos… strange thing to bury the talent so early on, but oh well. The lionheart takes a nasty bump early on as he torpedos from the apron and crunches his head against the steel guard rail. The announce team do not even bother to comment on this. Are there rules here? It is not clearly defined, as Raven chokes his opponent while the official watches on. After an awkward in ring exchange, where Raven forgets what to do, Jericho takes initiative and just jumps into the power-bomb position, allowing Raven to execute the move. Belly-to-belly from Raven leads to the lion-tamer from Chris, stopped by a rope break. The match is muddy in the fact that no man has undertaken the ‘baby face in danger role,’ it’s more just a case of back and forth. Raven plants Y2Jericho with the Evenflow DDT. Ouch. Jericho fights back with a nice German suplex, before being whipped into an interfering Chris Kanyon on the apron. Who better than Kanyon?! The question is not answered, but Jericho is better than Raven on this night, as the man of 1001 holds locks in the one that counts the most and gains the submission victory. 

Above left : Raven complains. Above right: Jericho cocky

Not going to lie- going into this PPV retro review, expectations were low. This contest turned out to be a nice little surprise. Nothing ground breaking and muddled at times, but the fact that WCW actually booked this as an opener shows that the company was not a complete joke. The match, what every PPV opener should basically be; short and sweet, straight to the point, including exciting action taking place between up and coming younger athletes. Plenty of counters and fan enjoyment, the right man went over. Of course this is WCW, post Bash at the Beach 1996, so by law there must be a run-in. God forbid two wrestlers fight it out, one on one, with one beating another clean. Plus, this match was unadvertised. Stupid. If you were jobbing to WCW-era Chris Jericho, your wrestling career probably wasn’t thriving. Poor Raven – he loses this, as he would many more in his WCW run, buried at the bottom of a card, not to be seen for months. Jericho was destined for bigger and better things.

Winner and still Television Champion: Chris Jericho

5.9/10 ~ Thumbs up


Above: Unnecessary Hogan promo

‘New new new world order bwa chi bwa waa’ blasts through the arena, out comes ‘Hollywood’ Hogan with his little buddy Bischoff. Does he welcome the fans to the Superdome? Nope. Just Blah blah blah, ego stroke segment. Five minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Bizarre booking for sure.


Wrath vs Meng 

Speaking of never getting time back…. Here comes a stinker. Two men with one name. I can some up this match with one name too: shit. The former Adam Bomb gets the win after dropping the 300 pound Tongan with the meltdown. I would have a personal meltdown if this match went longer than 10 minutes. Both beefy big boys awkwardly plonked around, openly calling spots. Strange because there were hardly any spots utilised. Nothing but punches.

Winner: Adam Bomb/The Nightstalker/ KroniK/ Wrath

2.5/10 ~ Thumbs down

Above: Wrath wasting PPV time


Disco Inferno vs Juventud Guerrera

This might be the most WCW match of all time. Jeventud, a lucha great, unceremoniously poached from ECW and promptly misused all over the nWo-addicted late-‘90s. He eventually exited the company around the time he was found naked, screaming and deep in a PCP binge in a Brisbane hotel in 2000. And Disco Inferno, the most inexplicably over wrestler in history. Disco was journeyman Glenn Gilbertti, they told him to do Saturday Night Fever for his gimmick and… presto: Disco Inferno. Decent action, plenty of botches, at least they are trying something and giving it the old college try. Disco breaks out the Macarena and a Cesaro-style swing. Disco earns bonus points for winning a cruiserweight match with a freaking jumping piledriver. Thumbs down because the real life Disco is sexist and he isn’t even a cruiserweight.

Winner: Disco Inferno

Thumbs down ~ 5.3/10


NWO hits again. Crazy-ass Scott Steiner decides to talk for a while, with a public service announcement warning kids against drugs. Just kidding, rather, he shouts for a few minutes about something, as the smoking Giant saunters out, doing nothing in particular. What is up with wrestlers standing in front of the giant pumpkin tonight? 


Fit Finlay vs Alex Wright

Alex Wright straight up rips off Saturday Night Fever dance moves also. Fit Finley has been an old fogey seemingly forever, here he looks like Bart in that episode of The Simpsons where Bart is grown up and Lisa is President. He’s basically out here jobbing to Alex Wright, whose whole thing was that he was German (true!) and loved house music. (still unconfirmed!) The bloke could actually wrestle though (both can, in fact), and he stomps and dances all over Finlay in his triumphant rise up the ranks to… manage Debra? I really can’t remember what became of the Nuremburg prodigy. German John Travolta gets the win here, why, is forever unclear. Davey Boy Smith was supposed to wrestle Wright here, unfortunately he would suffer a terrible back injury due to landing on a War Games trap door weeks earlier.

Winner: Alex Wright

4.3/10 ~ Thumbs down


Saturn vs Lodi

Above: “Army ranger” Saturn

Perry Saturn shows up dressed like he is searching for a gimmick. The best part is Tony Schiavone trying to describe it. “A new look for Saturn, look at this would you, kind of a combination tough guy, Army ranger look!” Eddie Guerrero was scheduled to wrestle Saturn here. I wish he didn’t miss his flight.

Winner: Saturn

2.5/10 ~ Thumbs down


WCW Cruiserweight Championship 

Kidman (c) vs Disco Inferno

Above: Kidman vs Disco

The second, yes, second Disco Inferno match on PPV. A PPV that cut short it’s main event. Disco won earlier, therefore gets a shot at Kidman’s title. Inferno gets the pleasure of eating several of Kidman’s headscissors and submission chains, the highlight is him countering a rope-assisted bulldog with the deep-six. He almost wins it all, too, but makes two crucial, inevitable mistakes: doing too much Saturday night fever moves when he should be doing wrestling moves and trying topower-bomb Kidman. At the same time! Everyone knows, you don’t attempt to power-bomb Kidman. Confusing, given the fact Disco is heel, yet is placed in the baby face position of wrestling two matches for the ultimate heroic win.

Winner and still Cruiserweight Champion: Kidman

5.1/10 ~ Thumbs up 


Above: More wasted time

WCW World Tag Team Championship 

Scott Steiner/ The Giant vs Rick Steiner/Buff Bagwell

Scott Steiner is proof that sometimes, we need to put the late-‘90s behind us. A man of his caliber should have NEVER been this over, or given the spotlight of sports-entertainment. He could not talk, he could barely wrestle, he was mentally unstable, not to mention physically dangerous. He practically made your body hurt just by looking at him. He happened to have enough shine on him from the WWF Steiner days to get a WCW singles run. For the life of me, I cannot understand why.

But yeah, that dude was ripped, and sometimes that’s all you need. He could flex, and he could convince 10-year olds he was cool. Here, he is wrestling his brother, the more talented Rick, who he puts over after accidentally eating a freakin’ top-rope drop-kick from THE BIG SHOW! 

Winner and new World Tag Team Champion: Rick Steiner and Buff Bagwell

3.2/10 ~ Thumbs down

Above: Scott Steiner hanging about

So, to sum up, they had a team that isn’t the WCW Tag Team Champions, due to one member (Scott Hall) being absent, lose the Tag Team Championship to one guy (Rick), as his tag team partner re-turned heel (swerve bro!) to team nWo mid-match. This happened. Then, Rick Steiner wrestled his second match of the night against his brother Scott, also wrestling his second match of the night. Disco Inferno, two matches, Scott Steiner, two matches, Rick Steiner, two matches. Let’s not broadcast the epic main event, world title match though. 

Per the pre-match agreement, Rick gets his one-on-one match with Scott. Instead of just walking back to the ring and helping Scott again, Buff Bagwell dresses in full Bill Clinton disguise for reasons unknown, hops the railing to make himself look like a “fan.” A fan who, before getting into the ring, walks to the ramp and receives a weapon from nWo Hollywood member Stevie Ray, so he can fuck Rick Steiner as if he’s an impressionable intern. All in front of the referee. And then attack the referee. Why? No one will ever know. Slick Willie then uses the unconscious referee’s arm to count the 3 … only he can’t, because Rick keeps kicking out. Rick then fights them both off and wins this wet fart of an over-stuffed mess thanks to Nick Patrick sliding in and counting to 3. This all happened. Someone actually wrote this in ‘creative’ and it played out in real life. Speaking of life: this has been the longest PPV sitting of my life. And we are only half way through this egg of a show. *sigh*. Senseless, hot garbage.

Winner: Rick Steiner

2.8/10 ~ Thumbs down


If I am sounding cynical; it’s because I am. No one is making me sit down and watch this, I am inflicting this slow train-wreck upon myself. Hogan and Warrior is yet to come. I could use a good laugh.


Scott Hall vs Kevin Nash

Above: Scott Hall with beverage in hand

Junk video package, as par the course. Hall is playing a drunk angle here. Turning an individuals real life battles with substance abuse into wrestling storyline is morally reprehensible. Eric Bischoff simply was a whore for Neilson and would stoop to great lows for the almighty Monday night ratings. Like it ever mattered. Anyway, Scott Hall, who was very much an addict at this stage in life, stumbles out with drink in hand, supposedly wasted, as the announce team plead for him to get counselling. Gosh that nWo theme has had its umpteenth spin tonight. ‘Don’t turn your back on the Wolfpack’ signals the arrival of big sexy. Hall sucker-punches one third of the original nWo brethren to start the grudge match. Just what are the in-ring rules of WCW? Hall chokes Nash on the outside with cables while the referee casually looks on. Big Kev is in a spot of bother as the Scottest of Hall’s talks smack. Another smack comes in the form of Hall’s open hand to Nash’s open face. The crowd chant “ Wolfpack” as Hall attempts to mount Nash in the corner. Big Kev asks for the drunkest of the Outsiders to “bring it on.” It appears the big fella is not mounting any offence. Nope, cancel that, Vinnie Vegas is back in town, dropping his friend/foe with a sidewalk slam.

Above: Nash taking care of business

Both lads take a few shots, Scott becomes groggy and goes outside for some fresh air. Compared to the past 2 hours of trash, we finally have some simple in ring storytelling. The former Deisel gains control for good. He only has 3 moves in his repertoire and he makes sure to use them. Slowly. It looks like Hall has had enough- TAXI! Razor is on dream street, his offensive night, over. The story shifted way too quick from a man not wanting to fight his brother, (circa, Undertaker not wanting to initially fight Kane) to the older sibling teaching tough love.. It’s fine, just pick one. Nash does have the fans in the palm of his hand after dropping the first jack-knife power bomb. Then drops his friend with a second, before just simply leaving. May as well have another screwy ending eh WCW.

Above: Nash drops a second jack-knife

Things were going well until the finish. The first match on the card that allows you to become invested. Until the rug is pulled from under you. In hindsight, beating some sense into your alcoholic friend is a bit barbaric, but storytelling none the less. Unless you summarise. Then it reads- Kevin Nash kicks Scott Hall’s ass, makes fun of his drinking problem, taunts him sarcastically, jackknife powerbombs him multiple times, and even more or less tea-bags him within awkward crotch chop, just to… calmly exit the ring and walk to the back, losing by count-out. Not so great in that regard. 

Seriously though booking committee, a no finish! Bastards. This is PPV, not only that- one of the most stacked and anticipated cards in the HISTORY of the company. And here, we have the ever successful wrestling tale of good friends turned bad, with this being the very first one on one encounter between Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. So what should we do? Pull the rug from underneath any fan who has invested long term in the product. Infuriating. It is almost as if ‘dusty’ finishes are the status quo: a clean victory in the middle is viewed as blasphemy.

Winner: No contest

4.9/10 ~ Thumbs down


Girls dancing, take 3.


WCW United States Championship

Bret Hart (c) vs Sting

Ok, pumped. No video package… but ok, it’s only Sting vs The Hitman, no big deal. Looks like two of the all time greats are going in cold, unless you happened to follow the non existent lead up. If I remember correctly, this feud began because Bret Hart didn’t like how the scorpion deathlock was similar to the sharpshooter. They announced Sting vs. Bret Hart in a dream match for Halloween Havoc, then randomly also booked Sting vs. Hart for the main event of a Nitro six days before Havoc and have Sting thoroughly kick Hart’s ass. Not good news if your name is Steve Borden. 

Above: The man they call Sting

Bret’s entrance theme is not at all hitman-esque, Sting is in the red and black Wolfpac phase. If you can’t beat em- join em. I do wish that Sting’s nWo union was a long term infiltration angle to once and for all take down ‘Hollywood’ Hogan and the entire faction, never to be seen again. (Atleast until WWE No Way Out ’02) This would have required foresight, patience and structured long-term storytelling, for which WCW were incapable. Back to the present. (or past?) The red actually looks great, goatee and all. I’m happy for Steve Borden to be able to loosen up and play a more chilled out version of the character, opposed to the stoic dark avenger. Bret buys time before locking up, Sting is ready. The ‘hitman’ lays on some sloppy offence, with a bit of cheating. Fans chant “Bret Hart sucks” and the truth is, he really does in October of 1998. The man has checked out. Not even 12 months beyond Montreal and Hart has resigned to just doing his basic job, nothing more. Bret works the back of Sting, like he has done to unlimited opponents before him.

Above: Bret Hart locks in Sting

While Bret puts in some basic ground and pound, it strikes how good Shiavone is in regard to presenting pro-wrestling as a legitimate sport, his logic and assessment of move-by-move gives a sense of realism. He just can’t paint a picture like Jim Ross. Back to action, ‘ole tomato face has been on the receiving end for several minutes. The same announcer endorsement cannot always be made for Heenan, who, after literally watching 7 straight minutes of Hart dominate, proclaims “no man can maintain a lengthy period of domination in the ring.” His humour makes up for these small over sites anyhow. The Stinger finally does take control, (perhaps the brain could see the future) not buying into Bret’s phoney leg injury, a mere distraction to utilise a pair of knucks, hidden deep within the nether regions. You cannot fool the only talented member of the Blade Runner’s that easily, who takes the item. Bret low-blows. He second rope elbow drops. Then the former excellence of execution executes… nothing. Hart just clusters around for a while. It should be mentioned that there has been 100 clotheslines in this match. Stinger Steve-O accidentally elbows referee Billy Silverman before throwing a flurry of offence Bret’s way, the fans cheer as red and black Sting corner mounts the WWF legend, in anticipation of the stinger splash. Boy, is the zebra in the way or what, laying prone, dead centre. Sting has Hart locked in for a corner suplex… the ref is right on the landing spot. As the franchise raises Hart over his head and drops a massive super-plex, the ‘hitman’s’ lower half land directly on the officials lower half. So dangerous. Why the hell he didn’t roll to the side of the apron. Sting goes for stinger splash– overshoots and lays prone over the ropes, seemingly unconscious. Hart capitalises with a baseball bat, 1,2,3,4, 5 shots to the spine and skull of a prone Sting. Game over.

Above: The hitman takes out the franchise

Bret Hart locks in the scorpion death-lock as the official magically comes to, just in time to call for the bell and you guessed it- another screwy finish. Awful music and all; Hart celebrates half-heartedly. It is not the same Bret Hart that most of us would like to remember. Sure, he is still in his prime, still looks the same, still has a shiny belt around his waste, but something is missing. No, not his smile, for lack of a better term- his heart is just not in it. He truly does seem to be wrestling with shadows, unable to move on from injustices from the past, a bitter, shadow of his former, great self. 

Far from a bad match- far from a great match. Considering the combined legend power in the ring, a match that goes through the motions. Lacklustre could be a way to describe. The US title diminishes the star power- have the belt on a young up-and-comer for God’s sake. A slow start and it didn’t really pick up the pace. So many clotheslines here. Some chain wrestling instead would have added drama. An interesting, even creative finish, albeit, yet another dusty one, to a match that deserved better. Using a bat is overkill to say the least. As Sting is stretchered off to the silence of the crowd, I can’t help but wonder what could have been if these two faced off in a WWE main event environment, with a strong build up. As Bret Hart would state in his autobiography, he “could not believe that this dream match was thrown together without build and that he (Bret) vs Hogan was also just thrown together on a random Nitro.” Why bother promoting dream matches right ? 

Winner and still United States champion: Bret Hart

6.0/10 ~ Thumbs up



We have finally arrived

Hollywood Hogan vs Warrior: A Halloween nightmare

Where to begin, where to begin. Ok, The match was actually doomed before it even began. The fundamental flaw exists in it’s comparison to the original, a match that took place on a much more innocent and grander stage. In 1991, both men were real life superheroes, catering to an audience, largely made up of families and children, who did not know the inner workings of the business. This audience was legitimately torn between their heroes and universally came together to appreciate both men’s courage and sportsmanship. The stare down, the test of strength, the handshake afterwards. It is wrestling lore. In October of 1998, wrestling had lost its innocence, the secret was out and the business instead catered to the smart mark. Cheesy gimmicks were replaced with realism and cutting edge content, the demographic, 18-34. They people demanded zeitgeist over nostalgia, fresh storylines and characters over re-runs and worn-out tropes. Ironically, Hogan contributed to this by turning on all the little Hulkamaniacs, spitting on red and yellow in favour of black and white. Warrior is still stuck in the past: Hogan has one foot still deeply intrenched. No longer was this a clash of two invincible titans, now, merely an outdated, nostalgia act between two ageing men with astronomical egos, looking to recapture their glory days of a long, forgotten past. 

Above: The original clash at Wrestlemania 6

Before the bell rings at Halloween Havoc, this feud gets an early award for ‘worst big match build’ in WCW history. It involved DC Comics intellectual property theft, cheesy teleportation goofs, life-threatening and shortening trap door injuries, the cluster of War Games, Brutus Beefcake being kidnapped and turned into the Warrior’s pony, Warrior appearing to Hogan (and the viewer or but not Bischoff) in a magical mirror, and 4 clotheslines worth of wrestling. The entire feud was then billed as the “biggest return match in wrestling history” despite the original match not happening in this company. Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior were never all-star workers, even in their hay-day, but now you’re adding eight years of age and, in Warrior’s case, a shit-ton of ring rust and plenty of time to feed two bottomless egos. A recipe for disaster has been concocted.

Above: The horrendous build up

The match the whole world has been waiting for”- Tony Schiavone.

They may as well just play the nWo theme all night on a loop. No video package for Hulk v Warrior 2, why bother right? I guess Schiavone proclaiming the match as “the most anticipated match of the decade” is enough. Anticipated by who I wonder? Here he comes: in many ways the most overrated man in the annals of professional wrestling. Overrated purely because of the mans limited in-ring skills. ‘HollywoodHULK HOOOOGAN! A camera man seemingly falls asleep during entrance #1 of the greatest match of the decade, the shot literally zooms in on an irrelevant fan sign for quite some time. Warrior enters and the fans go mild! No, not the Ultimate Warrior due to legal issues. Not even Jim Hellwig, as the man in question legally changed his name to Warrior. Crazy. It instantly becomes glaringly obvious that so much of Warrior’s appeal was with the inclusion of the adrenaline thumping ‘Unstable’ in the presentation, as without it, the Warrior act is just not the same. That, and an era has passed him by. After his entrance, Hellwig actually thinks the fans are chanting for him and nods his head along with the chants. The people are in fact chanting “Warrior sucks.” Get ready for what is possibly the worst high profile wrestling match of all time. 

Above left and right: The two men make their entrances

The match starts in the most anti- climactic way possible, with an ageing Hogan cowering on the outside, arguing with fans and warbling “I’m gonna kill him” to no one in particular. Draped in his feathered boa scarf, bandana and sunglasses, he is not unlike an escaped dementia patient for whom has a fetishised flare for thrift shop bargains. This is what a mid-life crisis looks like. The man could not try cover his insecurities more if he tried. Both he and Warrior are about to be exposed in the most public of in-ring embarrassments. Tony lies to us again, this time making the fundamental error in describing the men as “the two best wrestlers of all time.” This is grossly wrong. Two of the biggest names, sure. At a time, two of the most popular sports- entertainers, absolutely. Best at wrestling? OH HeLL NO! The two biggest stars of yesteryear finally face off. Ring the bell, please let this shit fight begin. A weak-lock up and back and forth arm ringers are how we start off. Hogan once again steps out to give some fans the lip. Either that, or he is gassed. Should have spent more time at the power-plant and less in the tanning bed, brother! So much finger pointing. Why is the official not counting out the man with yellow hair and moustache? And in shocking news- they go for a test of strength. Hogan tries to recreate one of his most iconic images in the most cynical way, it’s just a passive-aggressive, wank-fest. Why not just play the WM6 match on the big screens and just be done with it? If you listen close… you can faintly hear no one caring. “Boring” chants affirm this.

Above: Test of strength

Both men legit look like they are fighting for air. Hogan sluggishly kicks the hell (wig) out of Jim after the homoerotic flex. Wonder when the first run-in will be? The plodding dinosaurs try something new for the first time in years, by running criss-cross past one another off the ropes, into a Hogan slam- actually eliciting a crowd pop. Warrior sells similar to a Triple H, WM12 pedigree. It looks like Jim has taken his superman pills, as he pops up like a pimple on prom night and body slams the then, 46 year old Hogan. Is this the real Warrior, or the rumoured doppelgänger stand-in from Wrestlemania 8? The leader of the nWo rolls outside- AGAIN. My gosh this is awful. Halloween Havoc ’98 is awful. The horror! After forgetting to count out a wrestler on the outside, the referee goes down for the 80th time this event. A wee bit early for a ref bump/ go home spot just yet… all hope of this match potentially being half decent with a clean finish go down with the referee. A screw job is just slowly unfolding. Looks like it’s nWo run- in time, in the form of big Paul Wight. Show unintentionally kicks his bald mentor, allowing Jim Hellwig to take out an incoming Virgil AKA Vincent. Terry musters up all his might to conjure up a basic belly-to- back suplex, that takes 19 days to execute, then fumbles about looking for another offensive manoeuvre in his Hulka-repertoire. He comes up short, instead, whips Warrior with his black belt. Say your prayers brother, Hulky’s back in town! Hopefully he whips him good, as anyone that actually thinks that reversing the letters NWO into OWN is clever, deserves a good whippin. Jimbo sells this the way Michael Myers sells a bullet. 

Above: Warrior choking

As Warrior once famously asserted, “you must show no mercy” My God are these legends showing no mercy- if you are an audience member having to sit through this torturous turd. After 2 hours 50 minutes of PPV time, every person sitting every 18 inches must be begging for mercy. Any quote from Hellwig should be immediately forgotten anyways, considering the hurtful propaganda the man spewed throughout his lifetime. The looked great in an 8 x10 though. In the least athletic spot possibly ever delivered to a live crowd within a squared circle, the not-so-Ultimate Warrior rolls around in circles. You heard right. With Jim-bob flat on the ground, the Hulkster attempts some sort of elbow-drop, for which Warrior super-humanly evades. So quick, the naked eye barely picks it up. Which way did he go? If you have not already, go watch this match immediately and laugh your self silly watching Hulkster go for the 3rd phantom elbow, as Warrior rolls from the corner with cat-like agility and actually rolls right into the Hulk, who kind of crumbles to his knees and gives up trying to do anything more. What makes things worse is that Schiavone actually sells this like he’s getting a glimpse of Batman evading the Joker. “A rolling block” they say. I actually want to roll myself right off my two story unit block right now. I now know why they call it Halloween Havoc, because the wrestling here is frightening. 

And this is it- The Ultimate Warrior’s big heroic comeback. With all the enthusiasm and energy of a deflated wrestling buddy, Warrior does his once, for some reason, famous, running splash, as Ho Kogan, seemingly in slow-motion, moves out of the way from the devastation. We went from “rolling block” to going home with a finisher. There is just zero logic. This match is sucking the happy out of my very being. You either laugh or get sucked into the evil black hole. for me, the latter. Warrior takes off Hulky’s belt (why did Terry put it back on?) and nails the bleach haired bigot with some of the worst offence seen in a while. Now let the magic begin. While Warrior is not at all distracted, but actually should be (as should referee Nick Patrick) the Immortal one sloths down to corner ring and starts fumbling around with a glad bag, for which looks suspiciously like drug paraphernalia. Yes ladies and gentleman- even Hulk himself is bored with this absolute cunt of a match and is looking for something better to do.

Above: Shambles

Is Hulk Hogan searching for his vitamins? Perhaps he is searching for his second offensive wrestling hold. After an eternity and after Warrior stops distracting himself with Patrick, Hulky tries to light some sort of fire and raise it in the direction of Warrior’s eyes… but nothing happens. This doesn’t stop the man who made up a word from selling for the first time tonight, for the first time in years in fact, like he was being blinded. Hulkster bumbles some more and tries his hand at magic once again, this time to set mostly his hands on fire! Laugh out loud, this actually happened. On first attempt, Mr. Bollea could not light the flash paper and allow a fireball to explode in his nemesis face, as intended. Instead, Mr. Hellwig half sells being blind then just stands next to Hulk waiting for something to happen. That something would be the fire prop just flashing in Hulks hands- at least 3 feet from Warriors face and target. 😂

Above: Hulk tries his hand at magic

Not even a fast talker like Schiavone can cover for this one. Just think, this is the man who once revolutionised the wrestling business, helping make the transition from sport, to sports-entertainment. A man who has headlines a record EIGHT Wrestlemania main events. And here he is, botching basic magic in the worst match of the ‘90’s. Go home now, please! I think captain Terry’s spray on tan is dripping off. He might be missing half a moustache, I’m not quite sure as Meltzer didn’t report that. The arena groans are deafening, as is the genuine disappointment echoing throughout the building. Can one bad match forever tarnish a legends name? No, but this one is doing its best to test that theory. I hate to say it but this match now desperately needs a run-in, or some form of help or interference from a talented worker. Instead they send out Horace f’n Hogan, with Bish in tow. *face palm* More funny business ahead. Warrior uses his foes leather pants holder while the referee watches on, unfazed. Earth to Nick. Hogan is bleeding inexplicably. Having sliced his over-sized brow in improvised panic. Hellwig hulks up– it’s 1989 inside his crazy-ass head, (or perhaps he is imagining watching himself in third person starring in of his comic books) and he is Warrior-ing up for one last triumphant fightback, pitting good against evil. Every mans soul has the beating heart of a warrior- every man should fight with every last breathe until he vanquishes his evil. It’s as if ultimo has had an injection from the gods above; his spirit meter has been fully restored!! His veins pop. His back arches. There is a primal scream from deep within; the ultimate one is about to unload an ungodly batch of destrucity all over his recently burned nemesis.

The loser nephew of the Hulkster puts an end to this before Hellwig can botch anything more, by hitting Warrior in the back with a whimpy chair shot so weak, it wouldn’t knock down old grandmother Hogan. The impromptu chair enough to put Warrior on his back and hand Hulk Hogan the petty victory. A weak and fitting finish for such a pathetic shamozzle. Mercifully, it is over. 

Professional wrestling’s biggest dud comes to an end, not before the Bollea’s hug and pose, pretending that the Horace turn is shocking. Swerve bro! Before exiting, the unsuccessful member of the Hogan family douses a defeated Warrior with lighter fluid that he never attempts to light, while Bischoff (out there for no reason) yells at no one in particular. After a tortuous 14:20, every minute of which felt like a lifetime, it is in the books, never to be forgotten as the night two legendary egos fapped their way through a grim, uncooperative shambles. Schiavone screams like the win actually means something and wasn’t just a self-fulfilling wank, orchestrated by narcissist Terry Bollea, so he could get his big win back. Or perhaps Hellwig is to blame, unwilling to cooperate with creative and so far gone in his deluded mind, he was buying into his own mystique. Bischoff needs to take some accountability also, for booking this abortion. Is this either mans worst match? Maybe, maybe not, as both put on plenty of stinkers in their time. None stick out more than the events for which transpired on October 25, 1998.

Above: The weak finish

As Bobby the brain Heenan ponders “do you realise the tragedy that was averted here” in reference to the botched fireball to the eyes, the irony really kicks in. As anyone who has watched this shit-fight, be it live in attendance, or on direct PPV broadcast, (poor sods) to anyone that has relived this event over the past 23 years as of writing, all of these people- have truly witnessed a wrestling tragedy, for which most certainly should have been averted. A Halloween nightmare that is Hollywood Hogan vs Warrior II.

Winner: Hollywood Hogan

0/10 ~ Ultimate thumbs down


It becomes apparent just why the plug is pulled in just a few short moments from now. The cable companies working with WCW must have sat through that last lemon. As if more could go wrong, DDP’s theme prematurely plays, with the opening licks to ‘Smells like teen spirit’ sounding throughout the building, before abruptly being shut off. What else could go wrong, right? Michael Buffer does his thing, introducing every single person he met that day, before finally getting to the- “Lllllllllets get ready to suck iittttt!” Oops, not that one.


WCW World Heavyweight Championship

Goldberg (c) vs Diamond Dallas Page

Diamond Dallas Page bursts out through the Halloween set, not to Teen spirit, but he certainly has plenty. The man who loves yoga looks great, on top of his in- ring game and as over as anyone. Goldberg marches from the dressing room, also in the best physical shape. Boasting a winning streak of (allegedly) 154 straight wins with no loss. WCWs greatest creation of the ‘90s is placed in the right position here. DDP belongs here too. H Havoc cannot be saved from being labelled awful from here on out. Who in their right mind would predict that we would be about to watch MOTY? Wrestling is an enigma.

Above: Goldberg arrives

The bell sounds, the men lock up and….the screen cuts to black! Just kidding. We get the match. Goldberg violently pushes DDP into the corner buckle, breathing fire. Crisp arm-drag takeover from Page, the next aggressive lock-up results in both crashing to the outside floor due to the momentum. 

Above: Page and Goldberg lock up

Intense start, match resets, crowd chant “Goldberg.” Great counter spot where big Bill does a backflip and Page trips him down. Face off. Goldberg fireman carry/ submission arm-bar/ Page counters/stale mate. What a start. Sounds like Page is calling this one, which makes sense considering Goldberg is one year into his professional career. Dallas nails a pretty nice looking neck- breaker, then Russian leg-sweep, before slowing into a headlock. Da man hits a neck-breaker of his own to the distinct, all be it, weak, rebellious chants of “Goldberg sucks.” He most certainly does not suck on this night, as the man in sucking question drops his opponent with a few more power moves.

Above : DDP and Goldberg tear down the house

It is fair to say that this match cemented Goldberg as a true, main event attraction. The only critique so far is that no one has relegated themselves as the heel for the night role; a tough role to fulfil when two fan-favs cross paths. The rookie goes back to submission wrestling, namely, leg-lace and ankle-locks. The crowd go wild after Goldberg attempts a corner spear and lands shoulder first into the corner ring-post. DDP capitalises in the ring with a sweet, float-over DDT, signalling for the diamond cutter. Instead, the man with the golden curls get absolutely mowed down with the most vicious of spears! He planted him. Goldberg planted himself too. The man of the spear is hurt, favouring the right arm that made contact with the pole and quite groggy after effectively DDT-ing himself with the spear.

Above left: Devastating spear. Above right: diamond cutter

Slowly, he attempts his finisher, once, twice, to no avail. Goldberg gets a surge and finally lifts Dallas up for the jackhammer, who floats over Goldberg’s head, spins around and boom- diamond cutter! The sweetest of cutters ever seen puts down the world champion, the peoples champ of WCW has his people standing and screaming as he covers Bill for 1,2,¾, kick out! The fans can’t believe it, the hottest of steaks continues.

Page in frustration, (probably due to the fact he was hot that Goldberg kicked out earlier than intended) attempts a suplex, the move is throttled as the champ monsters DDP into a thunderous jackhammer out of nowhere and drops him down for 1, 2, 3. What a match.

Above: Goldberg jackhammer

Goldberg’s best in WCW. Diamond Dallas Pages most important. Perhaps the last great PPV main event the company would ever present, on a night where we literally witnessed the best and worst the company had go offer. As the two men who put on the match of the year embrace and congratulate, Tony sums up with the words “by God I love this sport.” And so do I, with matches like this.

Above: Goldberg takes home the gold

Intense and powerfully furious, like a chainsaw cutting through wood. The perfect example of a Goldberg match, a blue-print WWE would strive to emulate when they acquired the man in 2003/2017. Short, clocking in at 10:28, Page should have slipped into a heel-ish role and worked Goldberg’s injured shoulder for 2-3 minutes before the finish. Not only did DDP give the champ a competitive fight, he created real doubt that the winning streak would stay in tact. Within context and following the disaster that was Hogan/ Warrior, this match is made all the better. Considering the undercard trash, 10 minutes of main event seems far, far foo short. Of course, the live broadcast cutting out at the start of this match is almost like a cruel WCW joke and much published, so I won’t rant about that. As the story goes, these two would work through the details at the power plant and in Goldberg’s words, Page “handed me (Goldberg) a 32 page script of the match, which included me (Goldberg) doing 14 spears.” This would not happen of course. One thing that was not scripted was Goldberg concussing himself after spearing himself into the corner ring post. Goldberg ultimately proved his naysayers wrong on this night, unfortunately the company would cut short his great run in just over two months from now, the subsequent finger-poke of doom (and Russo) would result in an unstoppable downhill slide for the company. For my money, this match makes the WCW top 10 greatest of matches. A highly acclaimed gem. 

Winner and still World Hea weight Champion: Goodberg

8.5/10 ~ Double thumbs up


Final thoughts

Fans and historians of course did not know the fate of WCW in October of ‘98. In hindsight, there were red flags. This event is a great example of the glaring mistakes juxtaposed with the great potential. Let’s look at the last two matches. One, features two prima-donna relics who’s names were built elsewhere, well, well past their prime, basically booking themselves to appease their own monster egos. Reliving a match done year’s ago from an era wrestling was trying to shake. The second, featuring two young, home grown stars, facing off fresh for the very first time. Both guys were new to the main event scene, with the potential for storylines and matches no one had seen before. One option is abysmal, the other is regarded a classic. How did a light bulb not start blinking for the powers that be, with the idea that maybe, just maybe, we should go with the second option going forward?

Also, look at the bloated and drawn out undercard, at times, painful to sit through. The booking here, amateurish at best: dreadful at worst. The inexcusable miss-use of talent is criminal. When you have a roster including Chris Jericho, Rey Jr, Kidman, Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Raven, Saturn, etc, how do you not find interesting, fresh, unique matches, then start to mix and match the young talent with the established stars, such as Sting, Bret, Nash, Hall, Hogan and Flair. Dream matches gone begging, generational clashes were just aching to be utilised. Instead, we get Hall vs Nash in a mid-card count out and Bret Hart vs Sting, third to last for the fucking US title. How is that strap not used on a hungry, up and coming Raven, or Eddie for example, where he wrestles a series of legends and cheats his way to victory, yet claims himself the legend killer. 

With the broadcast running over, just how did the powers that be make such a monumental and financially screw up? Havoc clocks in at 3:16 (glass shatters) run-time with 3, yes fucking 3, separate Nitro girl segments. Think about it, NiTRO girls on PPV. Asinine. Did the world need Wrath vs Meng, Wright vs Finley and Saturn vs Lodi? Just who are they booking for with the inclusion of TWO Disco Inferno matches and TWO matches each for the Steiner brothers?! Disco Inferno total match time = 20:28. The Steiner’s total match time, (including two separate interview segments) a whopping 20:40. Not to mention the PPV started off with near 10 minutes of blather and other pointless interviews that enhanced nothing were littered throughout. Bone heads! All this considered, 10 minutes of quality in the main event in a 3+ hour show is laughable. On a 12 match card, 7 were, if not bad, the drizzling shits, 4 were passable/ solid and 1, great. It is flabbergasting as to how this product was considered equal or superior to WWF’s product in 1998. 

So there you have it. The train-wreck that is Halloween Havoc 1998. A one match show and even that couldn’t be viewed at the time of broadcast. This will go down in history for all the wrong reasons, the silver lining: Goldberg and Diamond Dallas Page. The card would gross $3.48 million, with a 1.78 buy rate. 10,663 people attended live, with $328,000 made at the gate. If you are a Meltzer guy, he would give the Hogan/ Warrior a -5 star rating, calling the match “among the worst high profile wrestling matches of modern times.” The fire spot in particular, will “be replayed for the next 100 years.” Re-living this match in October of 2021 elicits some form of perverse joy, watching two racist, homophobic bigots, regarded at one point in time as legends, fall from grace. The endless enigma and often ironic entity that is pro-wrestling, where you can go from the ugliest moment to the pretties, is not lost on me. A blinding example of how the company should have put the spot-light on young, hungry home grown talent, rather than continuously pushing re-runs between ageing ego maniacs, down the fans throat. WCW didn’t have to burn in 2001, but due to a plethora of circumstances, it did just that. Who knows what could have happened if the decision makers made drastic changes on the heels of this very event.

 

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