WCW Halloween Havoc 1995 (10/29/2014)- Detroit, MI
OPENING VIDEO PACKAGE- it helpfully caught us up on the story. Among the crimes The Giant has committed against the babyfaces, it lists “neck-choking,” which, as we all know, is much worse than having any other part of your body choked. You’d think that with all of the footage they have of the Giant goozling people, they’d be able to show us an image of this, but instead what we saw was him snapping Hogan’s neck.
Hogan, it seems, has “crossed over to the dark side to take on the evil powers (shown to be Giant, Taskmaster, and the Taskmaster’s father) in their own eerie world.” Huh? Is this match taking pace in the Shadow Realm?
It continued: “Shudder to think about their monster trucks locked up in a sumo-style showdown.” I am definitely shuddering. I’m downright afraid of how bad this will be.
“If survival is possible, they will-“
WHOA! Hold on a minute here! “If survival is possible?” Are you telling me that one or both participants in the main event of this show might DIE as a result of this thing? And this is all before the main event, so I won’t even get the main event that I paid for? This is BARBARIC!
Anyway, “they will then be hauntingly close (because it’s Halloween, get it?) when they finally see each other eye-to-eye in the fortress called ‘the ring.’”
You did not misread that. “The fortress called ‘the ring.’” They really said that.
Well. This should be… interesting.
TONY SCHIAVONE & BOBBY HEENAN WELCOME US TO THE SHOW- they show us some clips of Hogan and Giant driving around on the roof in their monster trucks. I guess they’re warming up. They also told us that Arn and Pillman apparently jumped Flair in the lockerroom, putting the Arn & Pillman vs. Sting & Flair match in jeopardy.
WCW TV TITLE MATCH: Diamond Dallas Page(c) (w/the Diamond Doll & Maxx Muscle) vs. Johnny B. Badd- 6.75/10
During the entrances for this match, we learned that Sting was not at the arena yet. What the f*ck, Stinger? Flair is counting on you!
Maxx Muscle tried to punch Johnny right in front of the referee, but the referee didn’t even so much as yell at him. This would happen two more times throughout the course of the match, and still the ref did nothing.
Continuing our the unexpected theme of theme of surprising performances by Johnny B. Badd on WCW PPVs, this time Johnny pulled off the very difficult Tiger Feint maneuver (that’s the 619, except without actually kicking the other guy, for you casuals), which even Eddie Guerrero botched just six days before this on Nitro. The match was good (not as good as his last PPV outing, but still very good). The Diamond Doll, who had been unhappy with Page’s cheating, was happy that Johnny won the title.
We were informed that Hogan and Giant have been told to leave their monster trucks and come back across the street to their dressing rooms here at Joe Lewis Arena, so that later on they can go back up to the roof of Cobo Hall and have their monster truck sumo fight, so that they can then come back across the street to Joe Lewis Arena and have their world title match. Why not just interview them at Cobo Hall?
“MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE vs. ZODIAC- DUD!
Savage, the babyface, attacked Zodiac from behind, like a coward. He then immediately started to rake Zodiacs eyes, which is a completely illegal maneuver. Over the past two months, he has also acted like a completely paranoid lunatic. Why are we supposed to cheer for this man?
A fan jumped the guardrail and tried to get into the ring. Under normal circumstances I would certainly not condone this, but watching the ref try to restrain this fan was MUCH more entertaining than this sh*tfest of a match. At least it only went ninety seconds.
MEAN GENE INTERVIEWS JOHNNY B. BADD- good promo by Johnny, although his voice is extremely annoying. It sounds like what I imagine Terry Funk sounded like before his testicles dropped.
ROAD WARRIOR HAWK vs. KURASAWA (w/Col. Robert Parker)- 3/10
The backstory to this match was that at the last Clash of the Champions (which was almost three months ago), Kurasawa broke Hawk’s arm, and has been making his reputation off of that ever since. Now Hawk is seeking revenge. A simple story, but a great one nonetheless (of course, it would have been better if Kurasawa hadn’t just jobbed to Savage in a few minutes on Nitro and it would have been even better than that had Hawk not been wrestling for three weeks and only now decided to get back at Kurasawa, but WCW always was WCW).
Because this was a grudge match, Hawk just CHARGED at Kurasawa as soon as the bell sounded, and he took it to him the whole match. The Colonel interfered, which allowed Kurasawa to get some offense in, but Hawk was able to turn things around by avoiding a diving elbow drop. When things went to the outside, Hawk made sure to take the Colonel out so that he couldn’t interfere while they were out there. Unfortunately, taking the time to take out the Colonel allowed Kurasawa to go back on offense, and when Kurasawa went for a pin in the ring, Col. Parker gave him some extra leverage for the pin. And all of this happened in less than four minutes. A very short match, but they put everything into the story, and told it extremely well.
MEAN GENE INTERVIEW RANDY SAVAGE- he reaffirmed to Hogan that he was his friend, and he didn’t want Hulk to forget that… but he also didn’t want Hulk to forget that he could beat him in the ring. “Friendship is friendship, business is business,” he said.
He also assured us that he and Luger would face off later tonight, because he was going to make sure that Luger beat Meng later on.
MR. J.L. vs. SABU (w/The Sheik)- 2.75/10
Lots of flippy-stuff, but very entertaining for the short time it lasted. The Sheik being The Sheik, he was carrying a huge sword with him. Also being The Sheik, he hit Mr. J.L. with a fireball. After Sabu had already won the match cleanly. Just because he could. Because he’s The Sheik, and that’s what he does.
Tony Schiavone, who is supposed to be the babyface, didn’t sell this at all. Heenan did his best to sell it while still remaining his heelish self. Part of this involved flat-out calling Schiavone out for not caring at all.
PROMO BY “THE MASTER” FROM THE DUNGEON OF DOOM’S “LAIR”- hokey
Apparently their whole “lair” is now just a chair next to the stage. What happened to that cave that there weren’t any Hulkamaniacs in?”
The Master (which is apparently what they are calling the Taskmaster’s father- I guess “task” must be Dungeon of Doom-ese for “son of”) said something about the Milky Way and a worldwide solar eclipse and said that the Taskmaster would be “walking on the galaxy.” He also said that the Taskmaster, the Giant, and the Yeh-Ti (don’t blame me! That’s how they all pronounce it) would “destroy Hulkamania around the globe.”
The Taskmaster then cut a much more coherent but still similarly wacky promo. He started off by quoting “The Bowls of Anaris.” Don’t ask me what that is, because I don’t know. He then talked about Hogan wearing black clothes meaning that the evil inside of him is coming out. I’m not sure why we are automatically assuming that the whole world works according to metaphor. Maybe Hogan started dressing in all black because he got picked to be the new Black Power Ranger? Taskmaster then tried to hype up the monster truck match, and also said that Luger, Sting, and Savage are all no longer Hogan’s friends.
HULK HOGAN PRESENTS A HARLEY TO THE WINNER OF A CONTEST-
The owner of the store and the manager both talked. It was boring. Hogan said that this guy winning this contest has given him the confidence that the Hulkamaniacs were on his side. Um… sure. He then talked about the motorcycle that the fans gave to him which the Giant ran over last month at Fall Brawl… and then announced his intention to commit vehicular homicide tonight. And I don’t mean he played up the angle that they have been pushing that this sumo monster truck match is so dangerous that one of them might die. I mean declared that he would run the Giant down with his monster truck after the show.
Oh. Also, Hogan apparently has some guys watching his back named “Cadillac Jack and the Highwaymen.” Is this some stable I haven’t heard of?
WORLD WAR THREE HYPE- Sixty wrestlers, three rings, one title shot on the line? That seems like it could be fun.
LEX LUGER vs. MENG (w/the Taskmaster)- 4.5/10
The announcers talked up the idea that Luger might secretly be working for the Dungeon of Doom. Their latest bit of evidence is that they helped him get a win last night of WCW Saturday Night. They also put this over during the match by claiming that the fact that the Taskmaster wasn’t attacking Luger on the outside meant he was trying to recruit him.
The match was okay. The finish saw Meng use the spike to the throat, but Sullivan ran in and attacked Luger, both breaking up the pin and causing a DQ (ensuring that Savage and Luger would fight later on tonight, which is good big-picture strategy on Sullivan’s part). Meng was not happy about this at all.
MEAN GENE INTERVIEWS THE GIANT- He threatens to push Hogan off the roof of Cobo Hall in their monster truck sumo match… and if there is anything left, he will chokeslam Hogan through the floor and take his title. This interview really pushed home to me one big component of why I hate this whole thing. They keep saying things like “if he lives” and throughout all of the hype for this, they keep pushing the fact that both men are putting themselves in severe mortal danger by taking this match (which we all know is bologna), and they keep downplaying the world title, which is the thing that is, in a strange sense of the world, “real” (at least as far as a sign of a company’s confidence in someone’s abilities to inspire the fans). It just makes the whole presentation feel phonier.
THE HORSEMEN (Arn Anderson & Brian Pillman) vs. RIC FLAIR, & STING- as a match, 7/10, but as a segment, it was PERFECT!
Ric Flair had been assaulted by the Horsemen (there’s something I never thought I’d type) before we went on the air, so Sting was wrestling this match alone. Should have been some good drama, there, right?
Sting got shined up a bit (probably more than necessary), then the heels took over, and just as they took over, Flair came out. They did a great job of building up to the tag, with Sting really taking a lot of punishment. Nine times out of ten that Flair would come into the ring to try to help Sting, the ref would catch him and make him go back to the apron, and the tenth time he wouldn’t be able to help much because he never got a solid shot in on Arn or Pillman.
Then, finally, the tag came (which they set up brilliantly by having Sting counter the very heel tactic that Arn and Pillman used to cut him off in the first place). The fans go nuts! Flair gets into the ring… and he punches Sting right in the face, and a Horsemen beatdown ensues. The match gets thrown out (presumably for Sting’s safety, so I guess that means that Arn and Pillman win by referee stoppage.
After the match, Flair and Arn cut a great promo. Pillman stood there and said “WOOO!” once.
The thing I loved the most about this is that it didn’t come across as just another swerve. It came across as a devious plan with lots of thought put into it by three devious villains, who executed the plan perfectly and played our valiant babyface like a fiddle.
Someone brought a sign that said the following:
“Sting you sting, like a scorpion.”
That was it. I hope this person never procreates.
LEX LUGER PROMO- very good.
Wow. Heenan just cut a SCATHING promo on Hogan, which I’m sure echoed the sentiments of many fans at the time.
SUMO MONSTER TRUCK SHOWDOWN ON TOP OF COBO HALL: Hulk Hogan vs. The Giant- DUD!
Okay… how did they get those trucks up there? We’ve seen Giant’s before, so we know they didn’t build them up there, so I assume they used some sort of crane or something. How much money do you thing WCW spent on all of this. Between buying the monster trucks, painting them up, renting a crane to get them on top of the roof, pay Hogan and Giant for the extra night of work (this was taped the night before) and renting the roof for the night? All for something that likely added a grand total of zero buys to the PPV, and s just so ridiculously hokey that it probably turned a bunch of people off. You’d have thought WCW would have learned something from that movie where Cheatum the evil one-eyed midget tried to assassinate Sting and Davey Boy by planting a bomb on their boat, but apparently not.
The more we learn about the way they have set this up, the worse it is. There is this big giant roof to Cobo Hall, but they have chosen to set their “ring” up on the very edge, where it would be much easier for someone to fall off to their death.
To make this match even dumber, if such a thing were possible the two vehicles will be chained together bumper-to-bumper. As Bobby Heenan pointed out, if one guy succeeds in pushing the other off of the roof, this ensures that the winner will also fall off the roof, and BOTH men might well fall to their deaths. WHY THE F*CK WOULD GIANT AND HOGAN AGREE TO THESE RULES?
And now for the coup de grace of pointless, ridiculous, horrible, idiotic, deadly, dangerous crap: Placed at two random points in the ring are two EXPLOSIVE CHARGES! Heenan, Bischoff, and the monster truck expert they brought in all talked up the fact that if one of these explosion catches the gas tank, THEY’RE GOING TO F*CKING DIE!
Well… at least the monster trucks look really cool.
We were assured that it was really Hogan and Giant doing the driving and not definitely not trained stunt-drivers by a cockpit cam, which they would occasionally cut to. Heenan noted that they were not wearing helmets, which is standard monster truck driving safety. He asked if they were wearing seatbelts. The expert assured him that they were, and told Heenan not to worry because “they’ll be okay in that thing, as long as they don’t go off the edge of the building.” Expert analysis indeed.
Anyway, they did all of this sh*t and all of this hype for a few minutes of COMPLETE AND TOTAL BOREDOM. Think of a sumo match, but instead of being able to use leverage, all they were allowed to do was push into each other with their stomachs. Now add to that all of the fun of watching tires spin. Now take that shotgun out of your mouth. At least you didn’t have to watch it.
POST-“MATCH” STUFF- WHAT THE F*CK WERE THEY THINKING?!
Hogan wins. Did you expect anything else?
Then the angry Giant gets out of his monster truck. Hogan gets out of his, too. The Giant bears down on Hogan. Hulk Hogan, the man so brave he was willing to fight the Giant while still suffering from the horrible neck injury that said Giant inflicted upon him… backs away like a wuss. The trucks are to the left of him. The edge of the roof is behind him. The Giant is in front of him… but Hogan just keeps moving backwards. I, meanwhile, am screaming “RUN TO THE RIGHT, YOU DUMB F*CK!”
Giant grabs Hogan by the throat and tries to throw him off the roof, but Hogan knocks Giant off the roof instead. THE GIANT JUST F*CKING DIED RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES! He’s dead. Died. He has passed on! The Giant is no more! He has ceased to be! He has expired and gone to meet his Maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed him to the perch he'd be pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-GIANT!!
Hogan, noting the horror of the act he has just committed, ran to get help. This would be the same Hulk Hogan who has more than once (including less than an hour ago) announced his intention to murder the man he has just killed. Sorry Hulk. You're not fooling anyone.
Well… ON WITH THE SHOW!
While Luger was making his entrance, Tony Schiavone informed us that he was trying to get security to check on the condition of the Giant, who has just fallen off the roof of Cobo Hall.
Check on his condition? HE JUST FELL OF THE ROOF OF A BUILDING! Send someone down to the parking lot to check for a f*cking PUDDLE!
Schiavone and Heenan then tried to play up how they “never expected” that something like this could happen. BULLSH*T! You’ve been hyping up for WEEKS that one of these guys could fall off the roof! And don’t give me the “it was after the match!” excuse! Hogan’s been talking about “putting the Giant in the ground next to his father,” and at the previous PPV, we saw Giant try to run over not just Hogan, but a large group of fans as well! The blame for this horrible incident (and also this horrible match) lays squarely on the promoters of World Championship Wrestling.
LEX LUGER vs. “MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE- 0.25/10
Luger offers a handshake, but Savage kicks him instead, because Savage is a huge douche. To ensure that neither man was likeable, Luger tried to cheat by using the ropes for illegal leverage on a pin, but the ref couldn’t count because he was distracted by Jimmy Hart, who had randomly wandered out to ringside because he thought that now would be a good time to talk to referee Nick Patrick about something. Hart and Luger wound up bumping heads, allowing Savage to hit the diving elbow drop for the win in about five minutes.
So… it’s main event time. Schiavone tells us that they are “not sure” if the Giant will be able to wrestle. “NOT SURE?!” HE’S F*CKING DEAD! And even if he somehow miraculously isn’t dead, he won’t be in any condition to wrestle because HE JUST FELL OFF OF A BUILDING!
And don’t give me any of that “maybe he fell into the Detroit River” crap that the announcers keep saying is possible because what WCW seems to have forgotten is that there is a big street between Cobo Hall and the river!
Anyway, because the announcers were unsure of the Giant’s condition, we had no idea if we would have a main event, so we had to sit and watch a few minutes of insufferable bitching and bickering between Heenan and Schiavone.
Michael Buffer started to introduce the Giant, but then changed his mind and introduced Hogan first. Hogan is no longer dressed purely in black, but is instead dressed mostly in black, as his t-shirt has a nice, colorful picture of himself on it. Following the metaphor that WCW has pushing, this would mean that throwing the Giant to his death has made Hulk Hogan less evil. Figure that one out.
HULK HOGAN PROMO- he tells us that he didn’t want to throw the Giant off of Cobo Hall. This would be a lot less convincing if you hadn’t been talking about murdering him for weeks now! Hulk was about to tell us that, as far as he knew, the Giant was dead… but then the Giant and the Taskmaster just showed up walking down the aisle. Yes. Walking. Apparently none the worse for wear despite the fact that he had fallen off of a building on to the concrete parking lot below (and Hogan even said he hit the parking lot, not the river). Heenan theorized that maybe he survived by falling onto a parked motor vehicle of some kind.
You’re all probably tired of hearing me rant about how illogical this whole thing was, but all of this anger leads to the following important point: What was the purpose of any of this? They spent so much TV time and so much money on this unbelievably hokey monster truck battle that was totally irrelevant to everything. They kept talking up how both men’s lives were at risk, and how one or even both of them could well die during this, to the point where it made you wonder why either wrestler or the company would allow it to take place. Then they do this spot where the Giant falls of the roof, apparently to his death… only to show up completely okay twenty minutes later… and for what? Did any of this help the show? If you REALLY want to argue that the monster truck match drew more people than just a straight wrestling match between Hogan and Giant would have, then fine, I will grant you that that is a theoretical possibility (although not a very likely one in my opinion), but what did the whole “Giant falls do his death” spot do for anyone or anything, aside from damage the credibility of the business and completely take people out of the show?
WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Hulk Hogan(c) (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Giant (w/the Taskmaster)- 2/10
Okay… this has been a ridiculous show so far on many levels, and the Hogan-Giant stuff has been at the top of it, but I think the absolute hokiest bit of all of this occurred early on this match. Hogan’s bandana fell off, revealing that he had his forehead painted up like the Taskmaster. The announcers told us that this was evidence that Hulk Hogan’s evil side was coming out.
They had your typical Hogan match, except that a lot of stuff looked bad. Hogan kicks out of the chokeslam, Hulks up, comes back, hits the leg drop… but then Jimmy Hart knocked out the referee.
Jimmy hit Hogan from behind with the title. Hogan got up and went after Jimmy, but Giant made the heel save for Jimmy and locked in a bearhug. Sullivan started to work over Hogan’s back as well. Savage and Luger came out to make the save, but Savage ate a shot with the title belt from Jimmy, and then Luger started beating Savage down instead of saving Hogan.
Then the Yeh-Ti showed up. You remember him, right? The “insurance policy” to make sure that they would take the title and destroy Hulkamania? Well why is he only coming out now, when things are going WELL for the Dungeon of Doom?
Also, if the Yeh-Ti is supposed to be a Yeti, why is he all wrapped up in rags like a mummy? (muh-mi?)
Anyway, while Giant has Hogan still locked in this bearhug, the Yeh-Ti gave Hogan and Giant both a nice hug, standing behind Hogan and reaching all the way around him to hug the Giant’s head… and then he just started grinding himself on Hogan. It was all very weird. Luger then put Hogan in the Torture Rack. They then repeated the Group Hug of Doom followed by Torture Rack combo on Savage.
Then the referee woke up, and despite having been hit in THE BACK and knocked out, he somehow knew that he should award the match to The Giant for this. The heels started to take the title, but Michael Buffer reminded us all that the belt cannot change hands on a DQ.
Schiavone and Heenan plugged tomorrow night’s Nitro, where hopefully we would have some answers.
A terrible show from WCW. Just absolutely mind-bogglingly terrible... although the Hogan vs. Dungeon of Doom stuff definitely has an element of “so bad it’s good” to it, and the stuff with Sting and Horseman was tremendous.