Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Random Network Reviews: Halloween Havoc '98

Halloween Havoc 1998
10/25/98 – MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada

As requested by a friend of mine, here goes a review of Halloween Havoc 1998. Despite WCW sometimes being a tedious drag to get through, especially with Tony Schiavone's voice, I'm enjoying reviewing these just to see how things were for WCW. I used to watch WCW but I never cared for it like WWF so I don't remember many of their Pay-Per-Views, including this one. I do, however, remember that this features a rematch of the WrestleMania VI main event, which is a show I recently reviewed. Something of note is that this show's run time is 3 hours and 15 minutes, and it got cut off during the original run on PPV. The World Title match wasn't seen which is a shame. 

At this point, WCW wasn't in terrible shape yet, but the WWF had taken control in the ratings war. The entrance has a goblin type creature and a giant pumpkin. It looks cool, but would've been better if it wasn't all balloons.

We kick things off with Tony Schiavone saying we're about to see Dave Penzer, but we get the Nitro Girls instead. Not bad. I'm not sure if Shawn Michaels' future wife is there yet but there were always like two or three that I really liked. I hate when Pay-Per-Views start with a promo and this one does. MEAN...BY GAWD GENE interviews Rick Steiner. This should be riveting. Oh, it gets better when Buff (DADDAY) Bagwell shows up to say he's in Rick's corner. Rick agrees because he must have never seen a WCW show before.

WCW World Television Championship
Chris Jericho (c) d. Raven in 7:49 
to retain the title

Everyone should know my love for Chris Jericho, but I always thought Raven was cool and the Flock was an awesome stable idea. Raven has his WWF theme which blows because his WCW Nirvana cover was ten times better. Of course Jericho has “Break the Walls Down” which is weird in WCW. He is sporting the tremendous Monday Night Jericho shirt. Raven claims that because he wasn't told in advance of this match, he's not going to compete. Jericho goads him into performing though by badmouthing the Flock. Schiavone points out that Jericho's one legged pin has never won him a match. It's awesome though. A front suplex from Raven onto steel steps doesn't cause a DQ because WCW referees are inconsistent. Eddie Gilbert hot shot onto Raven before Jericho misses a splash to the outside. HEEL TACTICS from Raven as he chokes Jericho with his shirt. Jericho uses some too as he takes off the turnbuckle pad but gets a powerbomb and slingshot into it. The exposed buckle spot usually ends it but Jericho does his best John Cena and kicks out. This referee is terrible, he's still ignoring the exposed buckle. Raven breaks the Liontamer by getting to the ropes causing Jericho to whine. Raven hits the Evenflow and I thought that was it, but Jericho again goes all Cena and kicks out. Jericho low blows Raven RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE OFFICIAL but it gets ignored again. What's the deal? Kanyon gets on the apron and gets knocked off by Jericho. Raven goes for the Evenflow, Jericho reverses it and puts on the Liontamer. Raven submits instantly. Very good match with very dumb officiating. If it went ten to fifteen, it would've been great. ***1/2

This version of “Break the Walls Down” seems like the original one that he used on his first two appearances in WWE and never again. Cool. Weird that Raven survived to reach the ropes, but then submit instantly minutes later. The nWo theme hits as it looks like it's time for yet another promo. I hate promos on Pay-Per-Views. Easy E and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan come to the entrance and talk about how the nWoites love Hogan so much. He mentions how he beat down on Horace Hogan, which, let's be honest, is not an accomplishment. My goodness this was pointless.

Wrath d. Meng in 4:23

I said in a previous review how I always had a soft spot for Wrath/Adam Bomb/Bryan Clarke. The graphic for Wrath's name comes up very blurry at first and the audio skips. Match starts with a big brawl outside as it is noted that Wrath is undefeated. Pretty hard hitting stuff with neither guy gaining much control. Meng bites Wrath and the officials stay consistent by not disqualifying or even telling him anything. Small boring chant breaks out and Wrath busts out a Rock Bottom/Bookend for two! Wrath then hits the 300 pound Meng with the Meltdown and continues his winning streak. Short and stiff, but the crowd didn't care. *1/2

Hotline time! That's the 90's for you. They talk with Billy Kidman about his upcoming possibilities for his Cruiserweight Title defense. Either he faces Juventud Guerrera or Disco Inferno, who is no cruiserweight but somehow has a shot. 

Number One Contender for the Cruiserweight Championship
Disco Inferno d. Juventud Guerrera
 in 9:32

Disco's character is ridiculous but he made it work by going all in on it. Plus, his theme is awesome. BOOGIE OOGIE OOGIE! Did WCW make every single luchador lose their mask? Disco starts off in charge by dancing and hitting a backbreaker. Juvi Juice takes over and they botch a pretty basic cruiserweight spot before a monkey flip takes Disco outside. Juvi jumps outside to take him out. Back inside, Disco clotheslines the Juice and he sells it like Rikishi. Rest hold time as Disco applies a chin lock. Juvi fights out and goes for a springboard attack but Disco runs, only to be caught with one anyway on the outside. Schiavone calls a hurricanrana which shocks me before Juvi attempts the Juvi Driver. Disco breaks free and hits a swinging neck breaker. Juvi kicks out because it's just a damn neck breaker. Disco does the macarena followed by the Cesaro Swing. Disco tries to prove he's a cruiserweight by going up top, but takes forever and gets a top rope frankensteiner for his troubles. Disco gets a shoulder up after a spinning heel kick and bulldog and gets the win with a jumping pile driver. Probably the best match I've ever seen Disco have. Good stuff. ***

Oh my god, the damn Nitro Girls are out again. This baffles me because this isn't Nitro. They do impress me a bit. Of course, here comes yet another promo. But wait! ITS SCOTT STEINER THE PROMO GOD! He calls Las Vegas the town that never sleeps even though that's New York. He also says that he usually has a freak in a box on the side and claims that he's ready to pound tonight. He says to change the match from him vs. Rick to him and Giant against Rick and Buff for the Tag Titles. 

Alex Wright d. Fit Finlay in 5:09

HIS NAME IS FINLAY AND HE LOVES TO FIGHT! However, he should be no competition for the mother f'n Das Wunderkid. I said good things about Disco's theme, but it has nothing on Wright's. Finlay is sporting a ridiculous haircut. Wright wins their first head to head and dances to celebrate. Boring chants break out for the second time this show, so Wright responds with dance. Finlay does a slingshot into the ropes and Wright bounces back onto his knees into a submission. Creative. They brawl outside for a few, take it inside where Finlay beats him up more and then go back outside. Wright misses a missile dropkick and Finlay misses a spear. Wright connects with the reverse neck breaker and wins with it. Crowd was dead but it wasn't awful. **

We go back to the Hotline and Ernest Miller is there bragging about himself. He calls himself the Real Deal and the Greatest but he's told that other people have those nicknames. Miller claims he's 65-0 against the locker room and 5-0 against the fat fans.

Perry Saturn d. Lodi in 3:50

Lodi's theme sounds like something the Nitro Girls would dance to. I thought it was them again actually. Lodi is hailed from “anywhere in the world but Las Vegas.” Schiavone says that Saturn looks like a tough guy/army ranger with his new look. Nope. He looks like Mr. Garrison's slave. Crew members take Lodi's signs away and he leaves to get them because they're important. Saturn dominates and Lodi calls timeout. This continues as Saturn gets offense and Lodi runs. This is poor. Lodi hits two axe handles but eats back to back suplexes. Saturn hits the Death Valley Driver and mercifully ends it. Squash that ran too long. *1/4

It's been just over an hour and it is now the third time that we've seen the Nitro Girls. I thought they came out like, once an hour on Nitro. 

WCW Cruiserweight Championship
Billy Kidman (c) d. Disco Inferno
 in 10:49 to retain the title

When Billy Kidman turned face and broke away from the Flock I became a huge fan of his. One of the only WCW guys that I thought was cool at this point. Kidman bests Disco in a battle on the mat which everybody should expect. Despite being in control, Kidman gets frustrated and stomps on Disco aggressively. Mike Tenay makes an excellent statement about WCW, “sometimes we forget about the young guys in WCW.” No duh. Disco taunts Kidman by sounding like his mom telling him to turn down the stereo. I don't get it. Outside, Kidman hits some Stratusfaction before it was hip, by running up the steel steps. Disco hits a nice flapjack but decides to dance instead of capitalize. With him in control, the match has slowed greatly. He hits the jumping piledriver but can't cover in time. Kidman attempts Stratusfaction again, but Disco reverses it. Kidman reverses a Disco suplex and scores the win with the Shooting Star Press. Disco wrestled twice and had two good matches. Surprising. **3/4

WCW World Tag Team Championship
Rick Steiner and Buff Bagwell d. The Giant and Scott Steiner (c)
 in 8:24 to win the titles

For the first time, we go match to match with no dumb promo in between. Buff does his stupid dance on the way to the ring. The heels work over Rick Steiner at the start of the match with the usual heel tactics behind the referee's back. Buff doesn't have ring gear and is instead wrestling in jeans. He reminds me of a Smoking Gun. Rick starts to take control and Buff asks for the tag before turning on Rick. The announcers are upset but not surprised because Buff has done this before. He then runs out of the arena. A Goldberg chants breaks out for some reason but he doesn't show up because he's busy being the WCW Champion. Selfish fans. He can't pull double duty like Disco. Giant struggles to climb the ropes and nearly slips about four times before dropkicking Scott by mistake. Rick then bulldogs Giant and wins the tag titles...with Buff. Classic dumb booking and a pretty boring match. *1/2

Rick Steiner d. Scott Steiner via disqualification in 5:10

As a result of Rick's team winning, he gets a match with his brother. The Giant gets involved and his weight has gone up in the commentator's minds each time they mention it. According to Heenan, he's up to 552 here. Scott takes advantage but isn't getting much heat as the crowd doesn't seem to care. Maybe it's because after Scott turned near the beginning of the year, it took about 8-10 months before they got this match. A man in a Bill Clinton mask attacks officials and gets the Slap Jack from Stevie Ray. Clinton reveals himself to be Buff as the official calls for the bell. More boring stuff *

The nWo continue to beat on Rick with Buff counting the three for Little Naitch. However, Rick kicks out of a Frankensteiner and then beats on both Scott and Buff. He hits Scott with the bulldog as Nick Patrick rushes out and counts three. The bell rings and somehow Rick wins. But there was a DQ. I don't even know. He beat three guys, plus Stevie Ray, a slap jack and a disqualification. Rick Steiner to end Goldberg's streak!

Scott Hall d. Kevin Nash via countout in 14:19

Schiavone calls the Outsiders the greatest tag team in history even though he said the same thing about the Steiner Brothers in the last match. This whole Wolfpack vs. nWo Black and White thing was stupid. Heenan says that Hall has a sober look on his face. Nash overpowers Hall for the majority of the match with Hall wondering what he has to do to win. Tenay says it's one for the ages but it's actually pretty dull. As Nash dominates, he shouts to ask Hall if he wants another drink and really plays up the “drunk Hall” stuff. I wonder how Nash felt about having to do this to his friend. I'm shock that the WCW writers didn't do something stupid like change Scott's name to Al-Co-Hall. I'm here all week. Nash hits two Jackknife powerbombs and walks out, resulting in the countout. Slow and dull, but at least Nash tried to tell a good story. *3/4

Ohmygoodness, more Nitro Girls. Normally I don't have a problem with chicks dancing but seriously? Again.

WCW United States Championship
Bret Hart (c) d. Sting
 in 15:03 to retain the title

I haven't done my research yet so I'm not sure if this is their first meeting, but it always was a dream match of mine. My goodness was Sting terrible mishandled in 1998. Imagine how big Sting vs. Goldberg could've been on PPV for the WCW World Title after Sting beat the nWo? Instead, he's Wolfpack here in a United States Title match. Bret stalls at the start so Sting brings him in and dictates the pace. Bret turns the tide to “Bret Hart sucks” chants. Bret seems to be enjoying working as a heel and every move that he hits is considered textbook by the announcers. He makes a mistake that Sting turns into the Scorpion Deathlock but Bret reaches the ropes. Bret resorts to busting out brass knuckles and a low blow behind the referee's back. Things spill outside for a bit as Bret stays in control. Sting accidentally hits the referee and Bret leg drops him, which made me laugh way too hard. Sting hits a superplex and Bret lands on the referee's legs. Sting misses the Stinger Splash, hits the post and Bret beats him senseless with the bat. Where is the rest of the Wolfpack? Bret puts on the Sharpshooter and Sting is too knocked out to respond. Disappointing but still pretty good. Also, Bret's winning theme is different than his entrance theme. **3/4

“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan d. The Warrior in 14:18

Their WrestleMania VI match was something that I recently reviewed so it will interesting to see how the rematch eight years later holds up. As the bell rings, Warrior knocks Hogan down, followed by a lot of stalling. Warrior wants a test of strength, but Hogan declines and sends him into the corner where he wears him down before going into the test of strength anyway. Some boring chants kick in during this incredibly long knuckle lock. They do the exact same spot from WrestleMania VI where they run the ropes and Warrior no sells a bodyslam only to slam Hogan. Hogan gets clotheslined outside and Mike Tenay calls this a fine wrestling match. I have no clue what he's watching. Back inside, Hogan terribly “leaps” over Warrior and knocks out the referee before pulling a “Bret Hart” and dropping a knee on him. Even though he's in control, Hogan calls out the nWo. Giant comes out and hits Hogan by mistake until Warrior knocks him out. Warrior stops Stevie Ray and Vincent too, so that was pointless. He covers for some stupid reason. Hogan uses a chop and his workout belt to beat on Warrior. Hogan misses two straight elbows, but Warrior messes up rolling away from the third before missing his own splash. Warrior botches blocking a punch, yes I said that, and then beats on Hogan with the workout belt. Hogan tries to throw a fireball at Warrior but botches that. The cameras catch Warrior calling spots as he hits an axe handle. Hogan has the gall to blade for the axe handle. He hits a low blow and a sloppy clothesline because selling is apparently useless. Warrior starts to Hulk UP until Bischoff distracts the official and Horace freaking Hogan gets involved and hits Warrior with a chair. Wow, that was atrocious. A god awful match that had zero redeeming qualities. DUD

Horace Hogan got beat up by Hollywood last week and, of course, helps Hollywood because the crowd needed a swerve. I guess because Hogan botched the fireball, they start to try and set Warrior on fire before officials stop it with nearly zero force. The Hogans and Bischoff exit as the crowd is quiet due to sheer boredom. 

WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Goldberg (c) d. Diamond Dallas Page
 in 10:29 to retain the title

DDP was super over and I actually would've been okay with him winning the belt here. Goldberg is 154-0 if I heard correct. They start with a tie up and DDP must have been watching some Jericho as he busts out an arm drag. Goldberg applies a poor looking armbar but DDP breaks it. He goes for the Diamond Cutter and Goldberg tosses him outside. DDP impresses the hell out of me with some wrist lock action before Goldberg shoulder blocks him outside. Page pulls out a swinging neckbreaker and Russian leg sweep for two. Goldberg shows some more power before putting on a better looking armbar that DDP reaches the ropes to stop. Page must also be watching cruiserweights as he does a headscissor takdeown that Goldberg no sells. Goldberg misses the Spear and hits the post, followed by DDP reversing a hip toss into a DDT. He calls for the Cutter but Goldberg Spears him out of his boots nearly. He sells the shoulder hitting the post though, so points for him there. His shoulder prevents him from hitting the Jackhammer and Page reverses it into the Diamond Cutter to a massive pop. He's too hurt to cover instantly though allowing the Champion to kick out. Goldberg reverses a suplex into the Jackhammer and the streak reaches 155-0. Best Goldberg match that I can remember as DDP worked his ass off. ***3/4

Overall: 6/10; Most things that WCW did in 1998 were things I didn't like but this show was above average. Even with the filler and terrible Hogan/Warrior match, the show has strong points. The two cruiserweight matches were good, the opener was great, Bret and Sting did alright and the WCW Title match is great. The nWo pretty much crapped the bed but the rest of the guys seemed ready to put on a good show. Next up on my random reviews looks like it's going to be ECW Guilty as Charged 2000.

Raw Rundown & Stuff

So last night was the first episode of Monday Night Raw to air since I've started this blog. This is going to become a weekly Tuesday tradition where I recap Raw and the news, rumors and tidbits from around the world or professional wrestling.

I for one, happen to enjoy the WWE Network and sometimes the Raw Pre-Show is cool to watch. Lately though, they've moved the show to WWE Studios instead of being live at Raw and I disagree with this. It was awesome to see Superstars going on in the background and having things like Damien Sandow interrupt to cut "pipebomb" promos. My favorite thing of the Pre-Show though would have to be the BOGO offers they do. I may just pick up a "Bo-Lieve" shirt with that deal. Let's get into my humble thoughts on Raw and wrestling news.

  • Roman Reigns is very over. I worry about how he will perform when it comes time for a big one on one match, and if he doesn't show that he can deliver in that setting soon, he could end up facing a John Cena like backlash when he eventually wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
  • There are a LOT of rematches on WWE programming. The Usos and Wyatts met for what seemed like the 50th time in the past month. The match was great, but it's happened a lot. Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose are rematches that have only happened once recently so I'm not too upset about those. I just don't want another endless Santino & Emma vs. Fandango & Summer Rae/Layla saga.
  • Ever since the head writer was fired and Vince McMahon took over some of the writing duties, we've had some strange segments involving Stephanie. The vomit stuff was odd and the Vickie "whatever that substance is" in a bowl match was pretty bad. Raw didn't gross us out but the arm behind their backs Nikki Bella segment was just not good.
  • Rusev got the biggest win of his career over Rob Van Dam, who has been doing a splendid job of putting over talent so far. This was fine, but the severe lack of Jack Swagger was disappointing as he's been getting really good reactions lately. But, his Real American shtick may not be over in Canada so I guess I get that.
  •  Alberto Del Rio beat Dolph Ziggler in a preview for the Intercontinental Battle Royal. I wish we got a Tournament or Scramble match or something different instead of the Battle Royal. It's been done to death. Remember when these two had a World Title feud just last year?
  • I've always had high hopes for Cody Rhodes and I wish he was in Money in the Bank rather than doing this Stardust stuff. However, Cody continues to amaze with anything given to him as he is fantastic as Stardust. He plays off of his brother so well and they are great together. Damien Sandow also fits the mold of a guy who is making something work that shouldn't. I absolutely think he's better than this impersonator gimmick, but he's at least entertaining. 
  • Bret Hart is always good to see but he didn't do much on Raw. I see that he's going to be on the Highlight Reel on Main Event, which should be cool. Two Canadians in Canada, I can only assume the Wyatts ruin it.
  • I am a big fan and supporter of women's wrestling so seeing an actual storyline building is great to me. Paige playing nice with AJ should lead to her going all "Anti-Diva" crazy and giving us a great match at SummerSlam. The Funkadactyls splitting is cool too, but only because it could lead to a singles run for Naomi, who is impressive.
  • Bo Dallas is one of the most consistently entertaining things going in the WWE. Whether it's his classic final two appearances on NXT, battling El Torito or interrupting Daniel Bryan, he is nearly always golden.
  • The Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins feud is my favorite thing going right now. Two of the best guys on the roster in a classic old school "I hate you" feuds. Nothing fancy, just Ambrose wanting to beat the crap out of Rollins and it's working great. Plus, the Money in the Bank holder having to look over his shoulder just as much as the Champion is an interesting take that we've never seen before.
  • As most of you will find out, I am a huge Renee Young fan. She is the most likable personality in the WWE and she's gorgeous to boot. The news that she was added to the Superstars commentary table led me to watch a full episode of Superstars for the first time in a while and I enjoyed it. I'll be checking it out again this week for sure.
  • Santino Marella announced his retirement on a recent live event due to another neck injury. This sucks as you never want to see a guy forced to retire due to injury. He had a successful career and even though some people may not have liked his comedy character, he was more over than a LOT of guys. Hopefully he sticks around as a host on the WWE Network or something.
  • The last bit of news for now is the sneak peek of the Monday Night Wars show on the WWE Network. This aired last night at 11pm but I was unable to catch it so I can't comment too much on it. I did hear nothing but fantastic reviews for it and it's a show that I simply cannot wait for.
That's all for now guys. There will be another classic review up later and this Thursday will be the first "Top Ten Thursday" So, anyone who actually reads this, comment here or message me wherever you know me from with a top ten list that you'd be interested in reading. Thanks once again!