(by PHIL RIPPA)
In today’s installment of payola reviews – Dolfan picked this one because he was pissed at me that Kevin Owens lost in the now thankfully dead March Madness tournament. God – that might be the only way I bring it back. People pay me. It is worth reviewing Wrestlemania XII if it means I can pay off my wife’s student loans.
HALLOWEEN HAVOC 1999
(Ridiculous logo courtesy of our pals over at WCW Worldwide)
If I am remembering my timeline correctly – this abortion of a show is the first one with Vince Russo in charge of WCW. More specifically, Vince Russo without the constraints of Vince McMahon. Oh joy… Oh Rapture.
The opening video package has Hulk Hogan calling Sting “The Sting”. Then we hear Tony Schiavone audibly cough on camera. I am kinda getting excited about this show now.
First Vegas crowd update. Guy picks his nose on camera. The guy with the goofy goatee is clearly a plant and looks like he isn’t getting paid enough for this shit.
DISCO INFERNO (c) vs. LASH LEROUX – WCW Cruiserweight Title
I feel like if I point out every comical WCW production choice throughout this show I will never finish the review. However, I can’t not point out that the aerial shot shows the rows upon rows of empty seats. I am sure it is totally because Vegas is a late arriving crowd.
I also need to point out Bill Apter taking photos at ringside in a NWO t-shirt.
I could have used all that time figuring out why Lash Leroux of all people was getting a title shot but I didn’t. Since Russo is in charge I am going assume they had run off all the dirty Mexicans.
Since this is a Disco Inferno match and I have never wrestled clearly I can not judge the quality or tell you what is going on. So I certainly can’t tell you that my favorite part of the first five minutes is when Leroux tries to do a hurricanrana from the top rope and ends up power bombing himself. Sadly, we have to ignore that. I also can’t tell you that the rest of the match is Disco squashing Leroux.
If I did wrestle I would be able to tell you that in Russo’s infinite wisdom the best way to book this was to have Leroux to blow his opportunity in less than 10 minutes and then when Disco goes to shake his hand after the match – Leroux attacks him. I also never was a cameraman otherwise I could have told you how have the attack was missed. THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE~!
Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko show up to the arena. Perry Saturn appears to question where they have been and why he is wearing the stupid Teddy Long hat. Benoit and Malenko tell Saturn to pound sand so I guess he is the one turning on someone for no reason tonight.
Harlem Heat promo. The N bomb is not dropped. You decide if that is a good or bad thing.
BRIAN NOBBS/HUGH MORRUS vs. HARLEM HEAT (BOOKER T/STEVIE RAY) vs. KONNAN/KIDMAN – WCW TAG TEAM TITLES, STREET FIGHT, FALLS COUNT ANYHWERE
Here we go. I can feel it. Russo is starting to get into his groove. It takes David Penzer what seems like three minutes to explain the rules. Announced as a street fight (which means No DQ) where falls count anywhere. Upon watching, we all quickly learn that it is a tornado match because fuck tags. Also, for no inexplicable reason, the ropes can break pinfalls. And… AND… there are two refs.
The titles are vacant because Kidman and Rey Misterio Jr won them on that past Monday’s Nitro but Rey Jr is “hurt”. (I am using the quotes because who the fuck knows if it was real or worked. I mean this is Rey, he could easily have blown out his knee sneezing. Plus he spends a lot of this show doing wrestling things.) The vacant titles are worn to the ring by Kidman and Konnan because no one tells The Filthy Animals what to do???
Shit. Almost forgot to mention that Kidman is doing his voyeur gimmick so he comes to the ring with a camcorder. Since attention to detail was no one’s strong suit in 1999 or wrestling… well ever… it is painfully obvious that the camcorder isn’t on but bless his heart, Kidman will sell the fuck out him recording shit.
Brian Knobbs and Hugh Morrus along with Jimmy Hart come to the ring wearing Halloween masks because, duh, it’s Halloween Havoc! Woof – are Knobbs and Morrus the worst version of the First Family? Sure seems fucking like it.
They aren’t even trying to hide that none of this shit hurts. At least the trash cans and lids make a loud sound. The Styrofoam that passes as graves and headstones look like it came off the worst episode of Legends of the Hidden Temple ever. Hey look! A magical wall of empty cardboard boxes just happens to be built in the middle of the backstage area. No fucking wonder WCW was hemorrhaging money. If they were buying that many god damn office chairs for every arena they went to. I really hope they apologized to whatever third grader they stole their paper mache project from for the finish. I am sure they spent a whole five minutes plastering that together.
So Harlem Heat wins in the back and that is totally not going to lead to horse shit. As everyone walks back out to ringside – because of course they do – a Filthy Animals gets a pin in the ring – which the cameras don’t catch at all so you pick whatever fucking move happened to either Morrus or Knobbs. Heck, it is totally reasonable to assume Jimmy Hart was pinned. Oh and the ref who counted Harlem Heat’s win was Slick Johnson since that makes totally sense.
With Russo and Ferrera in charge, I have to assume this is leading to the titles being held up again. Oh wait, nope, they just say “Fuck it” and give the belts to Harlem Heat. So much for the big pop for their 10th title reign.
Konnan may or may not be hurt and I am not sad (based on how the show continues it is probably a work but much like Rey, would you really be surprised if Konnan was actually injured?) Rey Jr and Torrie Wilson come out to make faces. Heenan goes “Rey is the one on the right” and I fucking lose it.
Ric and David Flair enter the arena with Ric carrying a crowbar. Good to know that enraged Ric Flair will still put his suit on before grabbing the crowbar to beat the shit out of someone.
Then Diamond Dallas Page and Kimberly show up “UNANNOUNCED~!” Schiavone is very adamant that this isn’t on his format. SHOOTY~! SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT!
It is apparently cold in the arena as Kimberly talks about Flair slapping her ass 14 times and then talks about her and DDP fucking and jerking off and I am wondering if this is in one of the DDP Yoga discs that I have never watched. Anyway – they like it rough.
Goldberg is here and wants Sid so bad that he leaves his bag in the middle of the floor and didn’t have time to button his shirt. That is how you know he was really mad.
Eddie Guerrero promo. Filthy Animals and Revolution are barred from ringside so Kidman and Torrie Wilson head off to fuck. Eddie is also accused as being a thief. See – Dirty Mexicans.
I need to point out that everything I have written so far has occurred in the first 40 fucking minutes of this show. I barely can keep up. For example, during the tag match, all I had time to do was just in my notes the list of ridiculous weapons they were using. I had to pause and go back and fill in the gaps of what I didn’t get to write because of the fucking smash, dash, crash, lash, mash, bash, stash, gash, hash, sash, rash, kash (it’s wrestling of course cash is spelled with a K), cash, Kevin Nash or whatever the fuck it is called TV.
Russo shows were not designed to be reviewed traditionally. This is an exercise in futility trying to coherently write something that isn’t a straight move for move recap. But also having the half of moment to process even one possible funny moment is next to impossible. Russo really was ahead of his time. They way he breaks everything it would work perfectly as an Instagram story. Oh god… I just put that thought out into the universe.
EDDIE GUERRERO vs. PERRY SATURN
The main angle appears to be that Eddie stole Ric Flair’s watch… so that lead to a match with Saturn??? That might be the closest thing to reason we get in this match.
I highly doubt anything on this show is going to be better than this match. I mean if this was on WCW Saturday Night Dean would have kept it on a perm tape and someone would declare it a lost Saturn classic. Problem is that y’all are crazy and this is a PPV. Perfectly acceptable 10 minute match where Saturn weirdly sells his leg and it has a horse shit finish.
Ric Flair storms out and starts clubbing Eddie with the tire iron. The attempt is to “break” Eddie’s wrist but considering the rest of the show is Eddie selling his ribs maybe this was a trendy way to wear watches in the late 90s. Flair is so eager to get his watch back that he forgets to grab it from the announce table so he awkwardly has to go back to ringside to get it.
Fuck! Forgot in all the chaos that Kidman – who is the only member of the Filthy Animals still in the building because Rey went to the hospital with Konnan – comes out and gets punked like a bitch. Torrie Wilson then bobs on down. Remember this a Russo show in 1999. Give yourself 15 seconds before reading the next paragraph because if you can’t predict what is about to happen… well… you sweet sweet Summer Child.
Flair forces himself upon Torrie who, of course, “likes” it because we all realize that we are now seeing the type of porn that Russo likes to watch. No time for the replay of the sexual assault that was totally cool in 1999 (and still totally cool with a large portion of the 2018 wrestling audience too) because we need to jump cut to the back where Goldberg is beating up Sid. Sid is busted open because that in no way will become a factor later in the show.
We are less than an hour into the show and for the SECOND time we get someone who “isn’t scheduled” coming out to get a SHOOTY~! SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT! Promo. This time it is Buff Bagwell. Bagwell immediately mentions the “two writers from New York”. God I want to posted that image from South Park that clearly would represent Russo and Ferrera at that moment but even that is too gross for me.
Actually, I am that gross.
Bagwell calls out Jeff Jarrett. Double J comes out and him and Bagwell are brawling around ringside because fuck this time being devoted to actual matches. Lex Luger comes out to save Bagwell – TOTALLY BUFF BITCHES~! (wait… were they even Totally Buff then?) Luger grabs Jarrett’s guitar but misses Jarrett and instead conks Bagwell with the base of the guitar. Gimmick that fucker all you want but that had to suck for Buff because that fucker didn’t break.
Sid refusing medical attention and just screaming “LET IT BLEED!!!” is gonna be – and it won’t even be close – the best thing about this show.
The awesomeness of it is immediately diminished as Eddie Guerrero is laying in pain on the stairs calling Rey Jr telling him to come back to the arena because they have “Animal Business”. Pretty good medical staff to just let Eddie wander around instead of tending to his wounds.
BRAD ARMSTRONG vs. BERLYN
Here was the problem with giving Alex Wright a bodyguard. He and the Wall are basically the same fucking size. Bell to bell – this might be four minutes long. At least they are getting a reaction since Vegas sure loves chanting USA. It’s fitting that my Network feed acts up during this match. All I know is that Armstrong wins via… gravity??? Basically – Berlyn goes to give him a neckbreaker, Armstrong grabs the ropes so Berlyn falls down and that was enough for the dead Armstrong to win. Wall (who is still an unnamed bodyguard at this time) attacks Armstrong because we need to drive home that no one is gonna get over.
A good chunk of the match has Schiavone announcing the winners of some sort of WCW Mastercard contest. Ignoring the fact that there was a WCW Mastercard, Schiavone gets pissy at whoever it was in his ear that told him to wrap up his babbling.
Ric Flair promo about how he took back his rolex and somehow that meant he took back his rolex. (Upon editing this – I legit can’t decide if this is actually what happened or me fucking up. Because A) I can’t remember a show I watched two days ago and B) LOLWCW.) Flair is still in his suit. Mind you he has the strap match with DDP later on the show. You would think he would want to get ready. Of course you would also think he wouldn’t spend his entire time cutting a promo on the Filthy Animals. Oh wait – nope, the last part of the promo is Flair talking about fucking Kimberley and Torrie Wilson and how they like being spanked. He hip thrusts at Mike Tenay a lot while Tenay smiles that creepy fucking smile he has.
CHRIS BENOIT (c) vs. RICK STEINER – WORLD TV TITLE
I forgot about the comical Welcome to the Jungle knockoff used for Steiner. It really is kinda amazing.
If you had asked me “Which person in this ring would be the one who would snap and kill themselves and their family?” Benoit would have been my third choice. What? Too Soon? Well a demon possessed me when I wrote that.
GOD DAMMIT! How did I not predict that Dean Malenko would be the one to do the inexplicable turn? I am slipping in my old age. Steiner throws Slick Johnson into Benoit – which only in wrestling would not be a DQ. Steiner throws a chair into Benoit face to stop the diving headbutt and then Malenko runs out and, of course, gives Benoit an unprotected chair shot to allow Steiner to become new the TV champ. So those are sure fun to watch in hindsight.
Saturn is out to hug Malenko so I was half right. Again, what was the plan if Slick Johnson didn’t get bumped? Just hope Steiner won? I am starting to apply reason to this show. I am in trouble now. I am doing it to myself.
LEX LUGER vs. BRET HART
With Elizabeth coming out with Luger – the dead people on this show concludes at five (Guerrero, Armstrong, Wall, Benoit and Elizabeth). I had to redo that count about a half a dozen times because my default is that Saturn and Luger and Knobbs are all dead.
The story is that Luger hurt Hart’s leg on Nitro so Bret is at a disadvantage. You know this because from time to time he shakes his leg. MASTER OF SELLING~!
95% of the match is Hart on offense so you know who is winning. An idiotic hip toss to the floor spot “reinjures” Bret’s leg. Luger puts on a single leg crab and wins via submission. A-yup. Stay for Schiavone theorizing that Bret hurt his leg applying the sharpshooter.
Goldberg cuts a promo while standing over the blood spot Sid left on the floor. (Basically he wants to kill Sid.) Good to know that there is no housekeeping in Vegas. God – I would wet myself if a show got shut down due to a health code violation.
Madusa is out in a bikini with the Nitro Cologne – okay that clearly wasn’t a real thing. Was it? HOLY FUCK IT WAS!
Anyway – Madusa goes over to the announce table while Schiavone and Heenan try to hide their erections. She took talks about the “Higher Powers from New York!” and then dumps the cologne all over Heenan. SHOOTY~! SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT!
HOLLYWOOD HULK HOGAN vs. STING (c) – WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
Just so y’all remember, this match is basically FINGER POKE OF DOOM~! ELECTRIC BOOGALOO~!
Hogan is introduced but never comes out. Schiavone is all CHALLENGER ALWAYS COMES OUT FIRST!!! Which is all well and good… except for that Benoit/Steiner match… oh and that Disco/Leroux match. I mean they both were on this same fucking card. Maybe he was thinking of the one night a year when RAW vs. Smackdown compete against each other.
Hogan’s music plays for two minutes because clearly they want to kill Vegas as a town. Sting then comes out. Hogan gets announced again and takes another minute before he comes out. He is in street clothes, whispers to Sting then lays down and Sting pins him. We immediately cut to the Goldberg/Sid promo video.
All of this took about seven minutes. During that time – the knockoff Real American played for six of those minutes. I would have demanded my money back for that. Not having to see Hogan/Sting in 1999 was a blessing.
There is roughly an hour left in this show. If all the other matches end in less than a minute this will be my favorite show of all time.
YES! Midway through the Goldberg/Sid video we cut to a shot of the ring for no reason other than someone leaned on the control panel or something. God Bless that shitty company.
Man, I am way too happy at how unhappy this crowd is right now.
Oh sign update. Someone is holding up cut out letters spelling out Sid’s names but it comes across like the I is giving the S and D a deep dicking.
SID (c) vs. GOLDBERG – US TITLE MATCH
BUT SCHIAVONE SAID THE CHALLEGER ALWAYS COMES OUT FIRST! I AM SO CONFUSED!
Oh yeah – to double down on the crowd unhappiness – they have the Outsiders jump Goldberg on his way to the ring. Then Sid attacks Goldberg in the aisle and the ref starts the match?!?!?!?! Earl Hebner approves of this shitty ass decision making.
They brawl around ringside for a little bit and Sid blades the already open wound on his forehead. The visual of Sid covered in blood while putting Goldberg in a camel clutch is awesome. The rest of this horseshit is not. I tell you what though – you totally buy why the ref had to stop the match via blood.
Watching Sid go to the back with the ref and Rick Steiner makes me again question if WCW employed a single fucking doctor. Even one who could fake it because I sure as fuck didn’t see any on this show and you would have thought this would have been the one angle to send someone down with some gauze or something.
I still haven’t figured out why the entire night they have been booking Goldberg as the heel and Sid as the face. Granted I know it is folly to figure out Russo logic. I mean they had Goldberg earlier in the night say he wanted to kill Sid dead. Then at the end of this match they are trying to put over that clearly Goldberg respects Sid now (while visibly irritated that he is now US Champ).
Recap of all the fucking Ric Flair and Kimberly did. Schiavone calls it “a famous scene in Nitro lore!” Sure, if you say so Tony.
Sting is back out. He has the STICK~! He announces that he is going have an open challenge for later that night. Great – that means a third fucking time we have to hear whatever the fuck his music is supposed to be. I am actively hating this show now.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. RIC FLAIR – STRAP MATCH
One positive – this isn’t a “touch 4 corners” strap match.
Nothing of note early on except the one girl in the crowd taking photos who is not wearing any shoes. I am way more bothered by that then I should be but someone should have had a discussion with her about personal hygiene.
They brawl out into the crowd and I guess this is Falls Count Anywhere now too. Did WCW not do production meetings? At no point did someone wonder “Okay – are we capable of following the wrestlers if they go four feet into the crowd?”
DDP goes on offense because Flair stops to sexually assault Kimberly… again. I mean at this point it is fairly obvious why DDP has every right to beat the tar outta Flair.
Flair is busted open since it is officially a Flair WCW PPV match. However, I am focused on the fat guy who is complaining about how the guard rail smashed into his knee. Anyway – Flair bleeding would be a lot more effective if the whole last match wasn’t built around a guy losing a title because he was bleeding from his forehead.
Oh about that too. Flair is bleeding about as much as Sid was but yet there is no mention of the idea that the match might be stopped. Yes, I know I am applying far too much logic and reason to a Vince Russo booked show.
The finish is fucked up by either Flair or Charles Robinson as DDP hits a Diamond Cutter out of nowhere. Robinson counts to two, then stops, then sorta counts to three and calls for the bell. Either Flair was supposed to kick out or Robinson thought Flair was supposed to kick out. Either way – it looked stupid.
So DDP destroys everyone. Good to know David Flair has no fucking clue how to take the Diamond Cutter.
Oh so NOW the EMTs show up. Schiavone and Heenan act like Flair is dead. So do David and Robinson complete with Robinson openly weeping. The Vegas crowd acts like they are wondering if they can catch the late show of David Copperfield. Oh the reason the EMTs show up is because when Flair gets to the back, the Filthy Animals are there to attack him and stuff him into the ambulance. Torrie takes lessons from Kidman in not being able to fake videotape something. God I hate this company.
All things considered – this isn’t as dreadful as I thought it was going to be. I usually am not one to talk about match placement on a card as a factor in match quality but this match was definitely hurt by its placement. Being the penultimate match on this exhausting show was the first strike. Then Flair bleeding AND doing a stretcher angle immediately after the Sid angle were the other strikes.
STING (c) vs. GOLDBERG – WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
Goldberg doesn’t even bother to bring out his newly won US Title.
Just to make sure you are confused Schiavone says “this isn’t for a title”. Oh and there is a delay as they wait for a ref to show up. So just as Schiavone and Heenan say “well we know it won’t be Charles Robinson” Robinson shows up. Way to sell the ass kicking DDP gave you Lil Naitch. And you clearly got over Flair’s death real quick.
Basically, Goldberg no sells a top rope splash, a Sting spear, three Stinger splashes and then hits the spear/jackhammer combo for the win and the World Title. Schiavone and Heenan are now baffled as to why Goldberg is champ. I think for at least the 15th time tonight, Tony guys gives an exasperated “I don’t know”.
Oh and Sting beats up Charles Robinson because that hadn’t happened for 10 minutes.
It all doesn’t matter because everything gets blown up the next night on Nitro but fuck that noise.