Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Halloween Havoc 1997
Date: October 26, 1997
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, Bobby Heenan
This was another request and since I want to get some WCW PPVs done I have no problem knocking this one out. We’re two months out from Starrcade so this show doesn’t mean much. We have something resembling a double main event with Hogan vs. Piper in a cage and DDP vs. Savage in what would be called a last man standing match. Let’s get to it.
After a brief intro that is literally all about Hogan vs. Piper, we’re into the arena for some talking.
Tony talks about how a year ago Piper debuted in this arena. Oh and it’s the biggest cage match EVER!!! The announcers talk about the cage match a lot which is of course non-title as Sting vs. Hogan is carved into granite here. If Hogan wins, the NWO may never die. Yes, Piper was pushed that hard.
Yuji Nagata vs. Ultimo Dragon
The Dragon wanted to get his hands (or is it claws?) into Sonny Onoo, the manager of Nagata. Onoo is the old manager of Dragon and he screwed him over for Nagata. I guess cuddling with the scales didn’t work. This feud went on way too long and no one really wanted to see it but it kept getting pushed anyway. They trade some kicks to start and Nagata takes over.
They speed things up and Dragon tries some more kicks which results in him getting suplexed hard. There’s the head stand in the corner but Dragon gets caught in a neck crank. He can’t get anything really going here. Dragon finally breaks the hold and gets kicked for his efforts. Tenay thinks the winner here might be #1 contender for the Cruiserweight Title.
Camel clutch by Nagata and Dragon is in trouble again. We hear about Nagata being in MMA which is true. He was 0-2 and his fights lasted less than a combined 90 seconds. To be fair though, his opponents were Cro Cop and Fedor. Wait those fights hadn’t happened yet. Unless they were amateur or at REALLY small promotions, I have no idea what fights Tenay is talking about.
Suplex gets two for Nagata as I’m in pain simply thinking about having to fight those two. Dragon gets a Dragon Screw leg Whip out of nowhere and we hit the floor. Dragon tries a dive and jumps into a kick. This has been about 85-90% Nagata. Here comes Raven with the Flock for some reason as Dragon hits the Asai Moonsault. Back in the ring and the handspring elbow by Dragon eats a knee.
Sunset bomb off the top gets two for Dragon as he’s slowly getting more moves to hit. Apparently he has a bad elbow. Standing moonsault gets two and Dragon wants the spinning frankensteiner. Nagata reverses and is able to drop the arm across the thing that connects the buckle to the post. He hammers the arm and gets a belly to belly for two.
Nagata Lock (a leg lock. What the heck?) goes on for a bit but Dragon grabs a Dragon Sleeper for a few seconds as Nagata escapes. Both guys down now but Dragon pops up to hit his kicking sequence to take over. Spinning frankensteiner hits but the arm is hurt. He goes for the Dragon Sleeper and Nagata reverses into an armbar for the tap out. Quick finish there.
Rating: B-. Basic match here and Nagata was dull as always, but this was still good. This feud would go on forever with Nagata never really losing. Dragon never really meant anything after this, although you could say the same thing for the whole company in about six months. Not a bad opener, but Dragon got beaten down too much.
Disco Inferno is on WCW.com with Mark Madden. Hey it’s like a WZ Party! He runs his mouth about facing Jacqueline, a woman, tonight. I can’t stand her and this angle was bad.
Gedo vs. Chris Jericho
This is a bonus match. Gedo has blonde hair and is in a dark yellow cut off shirt and pants. Gedo’s partners may be coming to WCW soon apparently. Apparently Gedo lost in the finals of the Super J Cup. Jericho sends him to the floor and then a long suplex in the ring puts Gedo down. Jericho is a face here.
He chops away but gets knocked over the rope once and skins the cat. I still wonder how in the world that name came from. Gedo is apparently a fan of 1970s southern brawling and is like Dusty Rhodes. Oh dear indeed. And this guy almost won the Super J Cup? That could be horrifying. Gedo takes over with a powerslam and a sleeper but Jericho gets a clothesline to make Gedo flip inside out.
Double powerbomb by Jericho (I didn’t know he did that in WCW) gets two. They both go to the top but Jericho botches the tar out of it (how often do you hear that line?) and almost lands in a Styles Clash kind of move. That looked painful as all goodness but not quite a FREAKING OW MAN level. Pescado by Jericho eats boots and they head back in. Gedo gets a shot at the knee and goes up, only to jump into the Liontamer to end this.
Rating: C+. Pretty good match here but not quite as good as the first one. The styles kind of clashed here (haha that was funny) but the result was still solid. Jericho botching is always interesting to see due to the rarity of it. Decent match as yet again we see the WCW formula of good matches from young guys and the bad matches from the old guys to end it.
Mongo and Debra argue about divorce things.
Cruiserweight Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio
This is mask vs. title with Eddie as champion of course. Great heat on Eddie to start as he’s totally evil here. Rey gets an arm drag and a cross body to send him to the floor almost immediately. Rey flips to the apron but gets caught by Eddie and tripped, sending him to the floor. Eddie rams Rey into the steps and adds a hilo to the back in the ring. Rey fires off a dropkick but tries a cartwheel which gets caught in a belly to back as Eddie continues his dominance.
Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Eddie gets two. Eddie goes after the mask but this is part of a bodysuit kind of a thing. Abdominal stretch by Eddie and Rey is in trouble. Tenay says that Rey used to wrestle as Hummingbird which Heenan of course rips into. Rey is on his back in a test of strength position so he uses Eddie as a board to pop up with and jumps to the top rope, backflips over and grabs a DDT out of nowhere to break Eddie’s momentum. AWESOME move.
Rey sends Eddie to the apron and tries a dropkick but Eddie moves and sends Rey to the floor. After sending him into the railing it’s a camel clutch with Eddie ripping at the mask again. Off to the Gory Special and Rey is in trouble. Modified surfboard as Eddie is in total control here. We hear about El Santo which is someone you hardly ever hear about at all.
Rey tries to fire some shots off in the corner but gets sent into the opposite corner and caught in the Tree of Woe. Baseball slide by Eddie misses and he does the Hennig crotch spot against the post. Rey dives off the top onto Eddie on the floor and here comes Rey. Standing rana gets two back in the ring. A headscissors puts Eddie on the floor and in perhaps the most awesome spot I’ve ever seen, Rey gets a running start and dives over the ropes, catches Eddie in a rana and swings him around without touching the floor until he releases the hold.
Back in and a corkscrew moonsault gets two. Split legged moonsault misses and it’s a big powerbomb by Eddie and Rey is in trouble. Crowd is getting into this quickly. Big heat on Eddie now. Rey takes him down with a spinwheel kick but the West Coast Pop is reversed into a backbreaker. Frog Splash misses so Rey goes up top. Eddie tries a crucifix bomb off the top but Rey reverses into a rana out of air and holds Eddie down to get the pin and the title! AWESOME ending!
Rating: A+. This was in the running for match of the year and it’s easy to see why. The problem is when you have Austin vs. Hart in the I Quit match and the original Hell in a Cell in the same year. That kind of slows things down a bit which is a shame as this was a great match indeed. Rey was awesome at this point and moved around here so well that it was almost uncanny. Great match and Eddie played an awesome cocky heel here. Great match and the best I’ve ever seen out of Eddie I think.
Bischoff and Hogan babble about wanting Sting guaranteed to be out of the arena before he’ll fight tonight. Ok then. This took four minutes somehow with them talking about wanting a contract or something so he can get the physical belt back.
Debra has a surprise opponent for Mongo.
Alex Wright vs. Steve McMichael
This is more of Debra vs. Mongo with her managing Wright here. And it’s time to talk about Hogan not being in the main event now. Mongo works on the wrist but Wright bounces out of it. A minute into the match the announcers say the names of the wrestlers for one time each. I think Wright is a heel here but it’s really kind of hard to tell. Not like the announcers are helping us any as we need to talk about Hogan being a coward.
Yep Wright is a heel here as we discuss the NWO having power now and how they have the fans over a barrel. Wright works on the arm but I’m not sure why. It’s not like they’re being recognized for it. Tony is calling them con men or whatever. Mongo takes over again as now we’re going to talk about Sting to avoid talking about the match. They collide in the ring and neither guy goes anywhere.
They talk about the match for 34 seconds and just flat drop it to talk about Hogan more. After a bit more talking it’s a tombstone, Mongo’s finisher, to Wright. Goldberg comes in while Debra has the referee, and spears Mongo. This would be a bit more effective if the referee hadn’t looked over his shoulder to make sure the spear hadn’t happened yet. The Jackhammer hits (how does the referee not notice a third person in there) and he throws Wright on top for the pin.
Rating: C. I’m giving them some credit here because they got such little love from the announcers. In a six and a half minute match the match was talked about for all of a minute. That’s pathetic and they did it on TV also. I can kind of understand it there but here? Why? Are they trying to sell it or something? We already have the PPV man. What’s the point?
Debra gives Goldberg the Super Bowl ring which is now apparently Goldberg’s. He lays out Wright and he’s the real man for Debra.
Savage and Liz (looking sexy in an NWO t-shirt) say various things about beating up DDP.
Disco Inferno vs. Jacqueline
This was supposed to be for Disco’s TV Title but the wrestling commission wouldn’t let us have a title match where the area between their legs wasn’t matched. Tony tries to tell us that WCW should ban Hogan from coming back to PPV if he bails tonight and talks about court cases or something. It’s so hilarious to hear someone on Halloween Havoc talking about not giving the fans an advertised main event.
Disco runs of course as he’s both afraid of her and is afraid of trying to touch her. We’re at stall #3 by Disco so far so we talk about WCW having momentum or something. WCW never got that no one cared about WCW or momentum or a war or whatever as it went on FOREVER. Disco has hit the floor five times in three minutes now and there has been zero contact whatsoever.
To the ropes again as this is just idiotic. The fans boo loudly and I can’t say I blame them. We talk about how Hogan ran too. OH COME ON as he’s hit the floor eight times now and she finally chases him. A sunset flip gets two as we’re firmly in the “let’s praise Jackie for doing basic moves on a man because she’s female” territory. Drop toehold takes her down and Disco hits the floor again.
We play keepaway on the floor for awhile and Disco hits the floor for an 11th time. WHO BOOKED THIS CRAP??? Jackie finally catches him and hammers away….kind of. Disco tries to leave and that gets him nowhere. Hip toss doesn’t work and he sends her to the floor. The problem here is simple: Jackie is just a brawler that talks tough.
That doesn’t make this impressive. It makes it long and like they’re trying to say “look at us! We’re awesome because this chick is awesome!” See, when Chyna did it, it was realistic because she could hang with them and you kind of forgot she was a woman. Jackie is a chick that is doing moves to men. Cross body is rolled through by Disco for two and Jackie rolls up the TV Champion and pins him clean. No one cares about Jackie still.
Rating: F. Oh do I even have to explain this one? Jackie isn’t impressive, no one cares about her and she was supposed to be Chyna or something like that. Boring match that might have had 1 minute of “action” out of nine. This was just terrible and they had to know it was.
US Title: Ric Flair vs. Curt Hennig
Hennig stole Flair’s robe and turned on Flair and the Horsemen at Fall Brawl. Hennig, the champion, comes out with the Cruiserweight belt instead of the US belt. Flair sprints to the ring and beats the tar out of Hennig to start. Time to talk about Hogan some more as we finally get the robe off Hennig and onto Flair (minus the sleeves). Hennig gets his first offense in, a clothesline, at about two and a half minutes.
Tony manages to say by golly as he rants and raves about WCW and pride and all kinds of nonsense like that. Hennig goes after the knee and the announcers rant about Hogan even more. Just say he’ll be here and get it over with. Hennig works over the leg a lot as the momentum this match had has just died completely. Elbow gets two as Hennig goes after the head, which is what was injured in the War Games match where Hennig turned.
All Hennig and his orange crotch of tightness here as he hammers away at Flair’s head. He hammers away and we talk about what WCW might offer Hogan and Bischoff. Sleeper goes on which is very appropriate here. A chair is grabbed and Hennig tries the weakest chair shot ever as Flair’s head is up against the post. Flair chops away and hammers Curt down. Slingshot sends Hennig into the post which happens a lot to him. Still on the floor mind you as we have been this entire paragraph.
Back into the ring now as Hennig wants to leave. Flair chases him down and they head back to the ring where Hennig beats him down again. The belt is in the ring from where Hennig tried to leave. Hennig sets for the Perfectplex onto the belt but of course the idiots that are the WCW announcers don’t get what he’s going for because it’s not like THAT IS HIS SIGNATURE MOVE AND HE HAD THE LEG HOOKED ALREADY!!! Flair suplexes him onto the belt and then puts Hennig in the Tree of Woe, puts the belt on Curt’s face and stomps it for the CHEAP DQ!!!
Rating: C+. Decent match but the talking and the ending completely crippled it. Flair and Hennig can have a good match in their sleep and this was ok, but the lack of offense from Flair in the middle hurt it as he more or less lost his momentum after a single punch. Still though, not bad at all and awesome due to sheer talent.
Flair keeps up the beatdown but the NWO ran out for the save.
Savage says he’s awesome on the internet.
JJ Dillon, back from an injury angle, says the match is going to happen. Ok, NOW FREAKING DROP IT ALREADY!!! Bischoff of course comes out to complain and say Dillon has no authority or something like that. Dillon has a contract that has been notarized or something. That’s what he uses in a wrestling show. Dude, wrestling fans don’t care about contracts. Let it die. Bischoff says if Sting is here, they want Nitro. Whatever!
Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall
Larry Zbyszko is referee for no apparent reason. The announcers get the contract from the previous segment because you pass it around like something brought in for show and tell. Zbyszko wants to fight Hall over some AWA thing and he wouldn’t get to until January. We talk about Hogan and Bischoff EVEN MORE because we haven’t hammered that out yet I guess.
Larry takes a toothpick to the face and here comes Lex. Larry pulls Hall off of him as we hear about the one feud of Larry’s that anyone cares about, that one being against Sammartino. Larry calls it down the middle here as Hall throws on a headlock. Luger works on the arm as we’re having a very basic match to start us off here. Syxx is at ringside here.
Hall puts on a hold where he grabs Luger’s wrists and bends his arms back. Luger reverses it so that he’s behind it. Hall is still holding the wrists even though he’s in pain here. I give up. He uses the ropes to escape. Really? I mean dude, REALLY? And this guy was in THE LADDER MATCH people! Clothesline puts Luger down and Hall takes over again. Zbyszko counts slow.
Off to a sleeper by Hall as this match is putting me to sleep. That goes on for awhile until a suplex gets Luger out of it. Larry, ever the impartial referee, backdrops Hall to the floor. Here’s Bischoff who gets drilled also. Luger starts his comeback and hits three atomic drops and the forearm. Bischoff distracts Larry and Syxx kicks Luger down. Outsider Edge hits and there’s the pin. Wow I’m kind of surprised.
Rating: D. The referee thing got old quick as Larry didn’t need to be there in the slightest and they never told us why Larry and Hall didn’t like each other. I knew because of prior knowledge, but this is a bad thing that only WWF ever seemed to get right: let us know in case there are first time viewers. That might make them want to see more instead of “oh they’re feuding and don’t worry why.” Never got that.
Larry sees the replay and we restart the match. Rack goes on and the bell rings just as Syxx kicks him for the potential DQ. This extra time might have been 12 seconds long and I’m not sure if Luger won by submission or DQ. Does it matter? Rating is the same as above. Bischoff beats up Zbyszko as his ego continues to dominate the show. I mean dude, why in the world was Bischoff in a competitive match at Starrcade? The point of a match like that is for him to be destroyed, but they let Bischoff fight and win a screwy match. That’s WCW for you though. And you wonder why they went out of business.
Oh and Larry choked Syxx with a submission hold. That was a reason to get him out of the ring as he had a bad neck. He would be gone just after the beginning of the year and I don’t’ think he wrestled again for WCW.
Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page
This is billed as a Las Vegas Death Match which means Last Man Standing. These two feuded all year and it was AWESOME. By the way, Liz in a short leather skirt, tied off NWO t-shirt and three inch heel thigh high boots: WIN. Page has taped ribs which were injured for about 3 years I think. Savage attacks the ribs which Dusty says you can’t hide. Well gee Dusty how did you figure out he had bad ribs when they’re taped?
We head into the ring after starting on the floor and Savage hammers away. Page does that pull up out of the corner to break the count and beats the tar out of Savage. Both guys are down quickly off a double clothesline which Dusty explains the name of. Diamond Cutter attempt goes nowhere as Tony and Dusty argue over whether or not that move would be effective here. How are these people so freaking stupid?
Page goes lucha and dives over the top to take down Savage. Back into the ring but Page gets caught coming in and tumbles back out. Savage gets his patented (and he has the paperwork) axe off the top to the back of Page, sending him into the barrier. We head into the crowd where Raven’s Flock is sitting. They slug it out in the crowd and brawl out of the crowd up by the entrance way.
Savage sends him into the safety rail which makes sense as it hurts the ribs. Page throws him into the set which is made of fake tombstones and slams him onto a “stone” which explodes. Dusty of course freaks out over everything. Back towards the ring and Page goes rib first into the railing again but he might have blocked part of it. The shot into the steps doesn’t get blocked though and Page is in trouble.
Another shot with the steps gets about five and we’re back in the ring now. Savage steals a camera but Page gets his feet up to kick it back into Savage’s face. Nice counter there. Both guys are down and Liz pops up on the apron with a tray of some kind which is shattered over the referee’s head. She chokes Page but Kimberly comes out for the save. Yep Liz is far hotter.
Nick Patrick comes out to referee it and Page hammers away. Atomic drop and the Pancake (Styles Clash without the arms being hooked) sets up an attempt at a Diamond Cutter which misses. That gets a count of about five so Savage slams him and drops the elbow right into the ribs. Somehow that only gets 9 and there goes the referee right before a Diamond Cutter. Well of course he goes down at that exact moment.
Patrick gets up but both guys are down since Page never got up after dropping Savage with the Cutter. Both guys are rolling around at five and are both up at eight. Another Diamond Cutter attempt is countered by a low blow and Page hits the floor. And here’s Sting who hits Page in the ribs with the bat. Even Tony knows it’s not Sting so you can tell the joke was dead here. Somehow he couldn’t tell it was Nash as Sting the next month though. Page can’t get up as Savage makes it and this war is over.
Rating: A-. The ending is what holds this back but this was a war. Both of these guys liked to map out their entire matches so this was more like a recital than a match but that’s fine. Savage vs. Steamboat was like that. Very good match here as they beat the tar out of each other and it’s only the stupid ending that keeps it from being a classic. Still worth a watch though.
Bogus Sting was Hogan if you’re curious.
Savage jumps DDP while he’s attached to a stretcher.
The announcers talk about the match some more. Why are you surprised here?
Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper
Piper has the belt here but isn’t champion. This is non-title and in a cage because this match is supposed to draw money in 1997. This is more like the Cell with no top and with big spaces in the walls shaped like squares. Think the blue cage but with squares big enough to pass a crack baby through. No word on what you do to win this but it’s implied Piper can win with the sleeper. Granted they don’t say get the sleeper and walk out or win with a submission out of it but whatever.
Hogan tries to climb out but Piper whips him with a belt. Now Piper bites Hogan’s tights. Dude, are there some surpressed feelings there? I’ve seen a lot now. We head into the ring for a change and it’s and atomic drop and a head slap. No referee here either. The cage here is more for keeping people out than a weapon which is fine I guess. Back to the floor again and Hogan tries to climb but is caught with a low blow.
They slam each other into the cage and Hogan wants the door open. Ok, Piper shoves Hogan out, meaning Hogan was out FIRST, but they went out at the same time so this continues. I guess that means you can win by escape but they just want it to keep going. Hogan tries to leave but Sting, and I’m assuming the real one, is pointing a bat at him. Piper catches up to him and slams the door on his back/shoulder.
Hogan gets Piper in and then falls out of the ring. He wants to get out now so I’m assuming it’s escape. Seriously, it’s that confusing. How freaking hard is a cage match anyway? Hogan rams him into the cage a few times as I keep tellimg myself this is almost over. Hogan climbs but Piper follows him. There’s a pair of Stings in the aisle as now Piper is near the top of the cage.
Hogan kicks Piper down off the cage (Piper kind of climbed down) and then Hogan climbs down as well. Weightlifting belt to the back and Hogan goes up instead of going through the door like an intelligent heel would. That cage is shaking too which is a bit scary. There’s a Sting waiting on Hogan at the bottom so Piper pulls him back in. Here’s a third Sting, this one kind of chunky.
Actually we have four of them now and now it’s five. Hogan climbs down so Piper tries to get out like an intelligent person but Hogan stops that also. Back into the ring now for some reason and Hogan pops him with the world title. There’s the leg drop onto Piper onto the belt which gets two as the referee has to come in.
Savage comes out and climbs to the top of the cage and jumps into the middle of the ring. Now to be fair he missed Hogan by about two feet but he caught him on the top of the head at least. Not criticizing him there mind you but pointing it out. I’d be scared to death from jumping that. Sleeper ends Hogan just after that.
Rating: D-. This match made no sense at all. You go from the lack of knowing how to win the match to kind of knowing how to win the match to no one wanting to escape the cage it seemed to the Sting army who did a total of one thing (keep Hogan from leaving) to Savage coming in at the end to the biggest problem: they really didn’t do anything.
This was about 14 minutes long and the vast majority was laying around, climbing the cage and punching. There was no drama, no extended advantages, very little violence and it really seemed liked there was no real reason for this to be in a cage. Bad match indeed for a lot of reasons.
Post match Bischoff comes out and he, Hogan and Savage beat up Piper. One of the Stings gets in and gets taken down with ease. They handcuff Piper to the cage and the beating is on. Hogan puts the Sting mask on for no apparent reason. A kid climbs over the cage and the fake Sting takes him down with ease and then Hogan and Savage beat the heck out of him in the ring for no apparent reason. This is either REALLY stupid or a totally pointless work. Security comes in and takes FOREVER to get him out. And that’s the show. Seriously, this ends with the fan being taken out.
Oddly enough the music for the credits is what would become Marc Mero’s theme music in WWF. No idea why but it is.
Overall Rating: C-. This is a hard one to grade. However other than the main event and the man vs. woman, nothing is really that bad. Hall vs. Luger is dull but not particularly horrible. Then you have two awesome matches including an all time classic which is more than enough to keep this from a terrible grade.
The constant talking of Hogan possibly not wrestling is REALLY annoying and I’d recommend fast forwarding about 45 minutes after that Hogan/Bischoff promo. It’s certainly not the worst WCW show ever but the bad stuff is rather bad. See those two matches and if you’re incredibly bored the whole show minus the main event and man vs. woman. Not too bad but still not great.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!