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October 31, 2011

8

Speak to me, Warriors….A look back at Halloween Havoc 1998

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 Hulk Hogan Ultimate Warrior

A look back at Halloween Havoc 1998

It’s Halloween, woop-dee-doo. I don’t usually buy into holiday nonsense, but a post over at Feminine Smark inspired me. I didn’t realize it until now, but Halloween Havoc 1998 showcased a few of my absolute FAVORITE wrestling moments as a kid. Sting vs Bret Hart was a dream match for me (Sharpshooter vs Scorpion Deathlock?!) and the thought of it still gives me wrestling-mark-goosebumps. I recall Diamond Dallas Page vs Bill Goldberg being a huge deal as well. Face vs face, the people’s champ vs the unbeaten Goldberg. Diamond Dallas Page was the type to never quit or give up at any cost, and Goldberg was an unstoppable force. This match pretty much sold itself.

The real reason to buy Halloween Havoc 1998, but not the reason they wanted you toWCW Halloween Havoc 1998 Hulk Hogan Ultimate Warrior

As if these two  marquee match-ups didn’t sell the event on their own, we also had “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan versus old rival The Ultimate Warrior. This match has since become a punchline and it’s the first thing people think of when Halloween Havoc 1998 is mentioned, sadly. This is what they built the event around. It’s on the cover of the VHS and was trusted to sell copies.

This completely overlooks the real reason to have ordered Halloween Havoc 1998 or buy it on VHS: Bret Hart vs Sting and Diamond Dallas Page vs Goldberg. I didn’t even realize they were on the same event, either! It’s hard to say who is to blame for that but it’s not really necessary to blame anyone. With Ultimate Warrior vs Hulk Hogan, it was an attempt to cash in on something well-known, even if many years had passed. We all know Bischoff is known to do that from time to time. It’s hard to blame him for trying, and I don’t think it would be treated with such disregard had the flash-paper incident not happened. It was all a questionable storyline at best but I’m sure plenty of people bought the pay-per-view to see Warrior in action. I for one have never been a fan of Ultimate Warrior, and probably never will be. However, as much as I’d like to pin this train wreck on him, I just can’t. But it’s important to remember that hindsight is 20/20.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998

Oh, BROTHER…

Halloween Havoc 1998 and more of the greatest ideas ever concocted.

Speaking of questionable storylines, the card also showcased Scott Hall versus Kevin Nash. WCW exploited Scott Hall’s alcoholism and turned it into a storyline. Brilliant! I remember having a really uncomfortable feeling about this as a kid, thinking it was real, all while knowing that 99% of things in wrestling are part of the show. Kudos for them for the realism, I guess, but shame on them for that kind of realism. This might have been the beginning of a long line of bad ideas from WCW. Alcoholism aside, Nash vs Hall had a great deal of history, and it was a big deal.

Earlier in the card, we saw Disco Inferno vs Juventud Guerrera and Disco Inferno vs Billy Kidman. Disco defeated Juventud to get a title shot. Why not Juvi…? Disco Inferno, wrestling twice on pay-per-view? Really? Perry Saturn vs LODI? Really? The pay-per-view ran late, probably because there was a ton of filler. WCW was always stellar at booking & promoting their main event feuds, but their midcard storylines were a jumbled, second-rate mess. It’s a shame, too, because this is where all of ‘tomorrow’s’ talent was. Had they paid more attention to these guys, WCW might have lasted and still been around today.

Halloween Havoc 1998′s inadvertent let-down

I think the main reason I remember Halloween Havoc 1998 was Goldberg vs DDP, though. Because of the show running so late, several thousand people lost the live feed at 11 pm, and missed the title match. WCW aired it for free on Nitro the next night. Honestly, I believe this was intentional. Bischoff is still doing these terrible bait-and-switch tactics today in TNA, and I strongly feel that this was intentional. Otherwise, you can’t honestly expect to show 11 matches on one show, with entrances and corny post-match shenanigans, when most of the headliners would be at least 12-15 minutes long.

I don’t have much else to say without getting even more frustrated about the way this show was pieced together, but it’s worth checking out for the nostalgia-fest and one or two of the midcard features like Raven vs Chris Jericho.

This event isn’t on DVD, but if you want to buy an overpriced VHS as a collector’s item, clickhere.

What did you think of Halloween Havoc 1998 as a kid versus now?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Guerrero talked about his addictions and problems, which was probably as off-putting then as the Kevin Nash/Scott Hall match at Halloween Havoc was in 1998. Now, it’s even more uncomfortable to see. Shortly after this, the hype for the [...]

  2. [...] these people and in many ways I envy them. I envy them for enjoying wrestling through pure eyes just like I did 15 years ago. I cheered for the good guys and booed the bad guys. There comes a time where you may learn more [...]

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