Speak to me, Warriors….A look back at Halloween Havoc 1998
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.
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.
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?
This Pay Per View pretty much sums up 98/99 WCW in one fell swoop, in my opinion. You have a great match for a main event, featuring WCW's only real homegrown talent during this era, with Goldberg/DDP, but which were insanely over. You've got a match that people bad been waiting years to see, with Hart/Sting. But who's on the VHS cover? Hogan and Warrior, easily the worst match on the card, and possibly the worst match that year in WCW. The undercard full of talent, but doing absolutely nothing other than just being thrown together into random matches. Basically, some good ideas and stuff people want to see, but you have to wade through nonsense and garbage to get to it, and even as a WCW fan and die-hard during this era, that's pretty much the gist of WCW during this run. I never thought about the PPV ending before the Title match being a ploy to get viewers on Nitro, though...but honestly, with how imporant ratings are to Easy E, you may just be onto something. Good read!
Thanks for the comment. Not sure how I forgot to answer this, but I did! But yeah, WCW. Always a good punchline. Goldberg and DDP WERE insanely over yet the Hulkster thought he'd sell more videos, apparently. I may need to do some more flashback posts, they seem to hold up well compared to 'here's what happened on Raw number 38271.' And I refuse to call them old-school. *shiver*
Thanks for linking me! I hate so much when wrestling promotions use real life as storylines. Cole talking bad about King's mother when she passed IRL (I think, right?), TNA using Kurt Angle's real wife...the Lita/Edge/Matt love-triangle that happened in real life then they put it on TV... Vickie Guerrero's entire gimmick as a man-hungry cougar...Eddie never mentioned (not specficially related, but that bothers me so much.). The widow of Eddie-fucking-Guerrero is really gonna dive head first into Edge? Really? That wasn't even believable. /tangent /rant I want characters, I don't need their real lives to be showcased. Given what's happened to Scott Hall...the fact that WCW did this is just gross and bad ethics. Hate it. I watched Raven vs. Chris Jericho a while back while doing some research. Amazing match! Lorraine Feminine Smark www.femininesmark.wordpress.com
For some reason your comment wouldn't show up.. it says edited but I didn't change anything. Seems to be working fine now, though. Thanks for the comment. I mean, the realism sometimes works because it gets legitimate heat. A lot of the times they have to try stuff like that to get people on edge in a time where nothing's realistic. But I really do think they should use a lot more discretion. You have to figure that the wrestlers involved probably are OK with the idea (or may have even thought of it) but Scott Hall's kind of a different story. He may or may not have been in his right mind when the idea was pitched (or if he pitched the idea) and it's just in poor taste. I think we have to come to expect things to be done in bad taste in wrestling though. Kayfabe's gone and dead so the only way to get heat is to go ultra-realistic unfortunately.
Right. I'm sure they're ok with it. I just don't think it's right ethically regardless. They shouldn't be asking these folks to make choices like that. For Matt and Edge...it might have been they either be ok with it or lose TV time. Kayfabe is definitely dead...but we can still be real without bring wrestlers real personal problems into it. Maybe that's the line. Like, it doesn't bother me when CM Punk mentions people's real names and mentions HHH being married to Steph, for example. But, like if they were going through a divorce...don't mention that shit on TV. No matter whether they say they're ok w/ it or not...I can't imagine that not being hurtful on some level. Few people are that well-adjusted. Show some respect for the people behind the personas. I think most wrestling fans are decent people and would understand that. And yeah, Scott Hall...it's definitely possible he was taken advantage of. Hate Bischoff.