Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.
The threat of the New World Order has grown larger and larger as the members of the group have grown larger and larger. In the last two months, The Giant, Ted DiBiase, Syxx, Vincent and a fake Sting have joined Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall’s conquest to take over the world. This included NASCAR racing and movie sets as shown in the last few months on Nitro.
A surprising new addition to the group was Miss Elizabeth, who it was revealed signed with the nWo which also messed with the psyche of “Macho Man” Randy Savage. In the week before Halloween Havoc and his title match against Hogan, Savage talked about life being fragile with an ominous threat heading into the big title match.
Yes, we have made it to Halloween Havoc 1996. We’ve entered the unstoppable reign of New World Order at the top and that was not made any more clearer than this pay-per-view. We’ve had Nitros where the nWo took over the show and we’ve had the nWo win impossibly handicapped situations but this was the big one where the nWo DOMINATED.
It wasn’t even just the New World Order that dominated to show either. If you look at WWE booking in 2020, all WWE cares about is getting heat for the heels. There are so many few babyfaces that get organically over as main-eventers in that company because the mindset is constantly to beat the good guys I guess because they did that to Daniel Bryan and he got unintentionally over.
However, I think I have found a source of inspiration for modern day writers of WWE television. This was a WCW PPV where there were no happy endings whatsoever. None. Every heel on the show was victorious in this PPV except Lex Luger. Even when Lex Luger beat Arn Anderson later on in the show, he refused to let go of the hold (which is a heel move) and the heel got a sympathetic stretcher angle. So there was no happy endings during this show at all.
However, if you’re not really obsessed about the booking of the show, this was a good pay-per-view. The opening match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship was awesome. The match was worth the price of admission and it wasn’t even the only good match on the show. We had some good matches across the board as well as the historic debut of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper at the end of the show. A notable and enjoyable pay-per-view.
Date: October 27th 1996
City: Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes
One of the first things I heard was a massive beep which scared the death out of me as the show started. I had to pause the WWE Network because I thought it was something else but no, it was some horrible in-show sound as the show started. It was some kind of horrible beeping.
Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
For those who need a recap, Rey won this title from Malenko on the Nitro after Bash at the Beach. Malenko then beat up Rey and took his mask from him, carrying it down to the ring with him as a trophy. Here, we had the big rematch with the championship on the line. Rey had been the champion for 111 days heading into this match. Mike Tenay was on commentary for this one as is the case for seemingly every cruiserweight title match on WCW PPVs.
Dean attacked Rey before the bell and slammed him right on his shoulders with a back suplex. Dean hit a hard spinebuster and tried a Texas Cloverleaf but Rey spun out of it. There was about 90 seconds of awesome spots with some moves I wasn’t able to take down in my notes as it all happened at such a high pace. Dean did a snapmare but Rey landed on his feet. Rey did a springboard moonsault and Dean CAUGHT HIM in mid-air in a powerslam position. The fans were in bewilderment over these spots and words do not give it justice. If you go back and watch the first two minutes of this match, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking.
Malenko grabbed the mask he stole from Rey but Rey dropkicked him off the apron. Rey did a dive and then took off his own mask and replaced it with the mask Malenko stole from them and worked the match with a new mask on. I actually think that’s a cool concept that plays into the stolen mask storyline. Rey at least got some level of revenge.
Rey tried a headscissors but Malenko did a side-walk slam in a clever spot. Dean stopped him in mid-momentum and just dropped him with a slam. It looked sublime. There was one dangerous spot where Malenko got Mysterio in a suplex position but he threw him at the ropes. However Rey landed legs first on the ropes and he looked close to crashing head-first into the mat. It’s the curse of being so small that guys are able to throw you all over the place as Dean launched this man through the air and it nearly backfired in an ugly way.
Dean locked on a half-crab like submission. Malenko pulled on the leg and arm of Rey while putting his foot into the back of Rey for a further submission as Rey yelled about his back. Dean hit a back suplex from the top rope for a two count.
Dean locked on a neck scissors submission and it was clever because it didn’t look like he was squeezing Rey’s throat. Dean had his knees on either side of Rey’s head and looked he was squeezing his head with his knees like a vice grip. There was a different way to apply the hold other than just choking him with his legs. I liked that.
Dean missed a punch and Rey almost got the pin with a small package but Dean kicked ou.. Dean went back to work and did a backbreaker submission. Dean transitioned this into a camel clutch. Vintage fabulous submission wrestling from Dean Malenko being displayed. Dean did a slick looking tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Dean drove Rey’s back into the ring apron and threw him back into the ring after the match spilled out of the ring. Dean locked on a rear naked choke. Dean followed this up with a standing sleeper hold.
Rey fought back to his feet but Dean knocked him right back down with a kitchen sink. Dean did the quickest looking Northern Light suplex I’ve ever seen. It was a quick flip for Rey as he slammed down to the mat hard. Rey fired back to his feet. They battled on the top rope and knocked each other down to the floor.
I love how Rey got on Dean’s back and then he clobbered Dean’s face with big forearms to the face of the challenger. It looked great. Rey fired back with a springboard summersault senton.
Rey did a springboard corkscrew to Dean which Dean appeared to almost not be ready for as he briefly walked away from the ring. However, he was able to recover the spot. Rey did a West Coast Pop but Dean kicked out as the announcers noted no-one had ever kicked out of that move. Rey tried it a second time but Dean but him off with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall which the fans bought as the finish. I bought this as the finish to be honest. A great near fall. Dean eventually got the victory with a gutwrench powerbomb from the top rope. That was an awesome match.
It was a great because…. THE BETTER MAN WON. It was not like they went back and forth or Rey was dominating him but Dean got a cheap win. Dean beat him outright clean and it was tremendous work. Go out of your way everybody to watch that match.
Match Rating: ****1/4 (Same rating as Wrestling Observer Newsletter and I totally agree)
Lee Marshall interviewed Jeff Jarrett. Jeff said the nWo didn’t impress him with monster trucks and jumping Flair. He said they haven’t done anything in the ring and he vowed Giant wouldn’t chokeslam him. Ric Flair walked in. Flair was on vibrate as he cut this promo about Savage and Jarrett taking out the nWo “all night long”.
Eddie Guerrero vs DDP in a battle for the ring
Nick Patrick was the referee for this match. This match revolved around the lord of the ring title, which Eddie defeated DDP for at Clash of the Champions. Eddie never actually had the ring as DDP stole it and walked away despite not actually being the lord of the ring anymore. Now, DDP was claiming he didn’t know where the ring was. However, the ring was still on the line for this match. I hope that catches everybody up if you’ve not been reading the WCW Nitro series for this blog and you happened to find this review on its own.
Things were heated as DDP spat at Eddie and Eddie punched away at DDP on the floor. They wrestled for a bit. Eddie took over DDP with a headlock takeover. DDP did a front face lock. DDP got stuck in the middle of the ropes and despite Patrick’s warning, Eddie pushed Patrick away and kicked DDP down to a big pop.
Eddie did a springboard senton. Eddie chopped DDP with sweat hitting the camera which is a trope with television and wrestling I’ve always enjoyed! The action was so intense that sweat was thrusted into the camera lens!
DDP tried a pin with his feet on the ropes but Patrick stopped him. DDP threw Eddie into the air and Eddie came right back down on his stomach with a “nose dive”. DDP did a waist-lock gutbuster. DDP did an abdominal stretch but Eddie got out it. DDP did a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
DDP actually pushed Patrick and Patrick pushed back to a ridiculously huge pop and Eddie tried a pin but got a two count. That was crazy to me that Patrick was monstrously hated during these WCW shows as of late but following one tease of a babyface turn, the fans lost their minds! These fans had hope for Nick Patrick!
Patrick chewed out DDP as DDP begged him off. Page shuck Patrick’s hand as he and Guerrero traded punches. DDP and Eddie traded roll ups. DDP missed a lariat as Eddie dodged but then DDP came back across with another lariat which the fans popped for. DDP did the slip-on-a-banana peel spot and almost landed right on his neck with even DDP feeling his head afterwards.
Eddie did the 10 punches in the corner and an uppercut to floor Page. Eddie did a top rope crossbody to the outside. DDP did the “flapjack” Styles Clash facebuster for a 2 count. DDP hit a spinning sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count.
Some fan I think yelled that DDP was nothing and DDP responded: “your mother’s nothing”. DDP hit the Diamond Cutter and Tony said that Eddie may have blocked it with his hands coming down, because I guess Tony believed Eddie was going to kick out and so he was covering DDP’s tracks. But then, DDP got the pin anyway! That was an awkward call from Tony! Eddie somehow blocked a DDP and got pinned in Tony’s eyes!
Patrick then went into his pocket to get the ring, gave the ring to DDP as he regained the ring. It turned out Nick Patrick had the ring all along.
This was a fine match. I’ve kinda changed my mind on the rating of this match a few times. A part of me thought it was great and another part of me thought it was a nothing match. It felt that the match didn’t really have a structure a lot of the time but there was some good drama near the end of the match. I liked the Nick Patrick hope spot and a lot of the moves were done really well. Therefore, I will give this three stars out of five. Not an exceptional match, but a decent enough match to watch in my eyes. Feel free to disagree but I didn’t see a lot of problems with this match.
Match Rating: ***
THIS WAS SOMETHING ELSE. Mike Tenay interviewed “Macho Man” Randy Savage to reveal the winner of the Slim Jim Sweepstakes for Halloween Havoc. The last time we saw “Macho Man” Randy Savage on WCW Nitro, he alluded to wanting to end the life of Hollywood Hogan at Halloween Havoc. He said life was precious, he was all disturbed, very not Macho Man like and he was dressed in black. He was a changed man heading into this match.
Now we’re here at the PPV, with the main-event of the show centred around a blood feud and, because they have a Slim Jim advertisement deal, Savage started acting like typical Randy Savage. He’s all amped up and goofing around, 6 days after being morose and threatening to kill Hulk Hogan! This was quite a change of tone for the Macho Man. It’s funny what money will do to a man!
He was goofing around as he pulled out a name from this paper mache. Joan McChellick was apparently the winner. Savage wanted to go on a date with the winner of the monster truck! It’s crazy that he’s making his moves on random women he’s never met before after like 2 months of this angle where Savage was obsessed with Elizabeth! I get you’ve got to do promotions with the sponsors like Slim Jim but give me a break. They sacrificed two months worth of storylines just so Savage can promote Slim Jim and give away a monster truck! This… was bullshit.
We got a whole bunch of time-wasting angles between the DDP vs Eddie match and the next match. They plugged the WCW website and Chris Jericho doing CompuServe. I will be honest, I totally forgot that Jericho was wrestling on this show at this point. I say this because Jericho was in his ring gear doing the CompuServe thing and my notes read: “I’m assuming Jericho worked a pre-show because he was in his ring gear!” This was already promoted to me last week but he was wrestling Syxx on this show! I apologise to Chris Jericho from 23 years ago but surely Jericho would have a shirt on at least before his big match or when coming down to do CompuServe. He didn’t need to do this CompuServe thing topless!
Mike Tenay interviewed Dean Malenko after his big victory. Malenko mentioned that he said he was gonna be more focused than ever and he was not gonna leave this building without the title. He was a man of his word and Malenko said this is what he wanted, this is what he got and this is what he’s gonna keep. He said he was gonna take on all comers. This was a solid promo. I know Malenko has this reputation of not having a personality but he did a fine interview here. He got straight to the point as he told everyone to bring it on! A great way to hype up the new Cruiserweight title reign for the Man of 1000 Holds!
Ted DiBiase cut a promo with The Giant from the crowd. He cut a promo about Jeff Jarrett as The Giant was posing with the WCW United States Championship despite not officially being the champion. The Giant said he was gonna stick Jarrett to the wall, the ceiling, the floor and he was gonna chokeslam him right in the middle. He said when it’s all over, they’ll be no Jeff Jarrett or Horsemen. I wrote down “Everyone was gonna go to the glue factory” but I have no idea who said that line!
Remember a few months ago when The Giant was the WCW World Heayvweight Champion and he was cutting all of these great promos? He had such personality, he roared and he came off as a big deal. He’s now with the nWo and he’s cutting bland promo after bland promo and it’s not really The Giant’s fault. He’s the big man backing up Hogan but he has no direction or not character other than being Hogan’s bodyguard. He couldn’t do his Dungeon of Doom material and he couldn’t do “shoot” promos or clever promos like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Now he’s in a position where he can’t showcase his charisma which we knew for a fact he had based on those promos from before. This was a let down of a promo.
The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett w/Ric Flair
Going into this match, I didn’t expect much and the match very much met my expectations. You have Jarrett who is new to the company versus a green Giant. It’s the same Giant match we always see whenever he has to work a long match with a decent-enough worker. This did not need to go 10 minutes and Jarrett was not going to get a good 10 minute match out of the guy. It was also not gonna even lead up to a clean victory either way so what’s the point?
Tony explained his disgust in Nick Patrick for holding up the United States title that Giant was carrying to which Bobby responded that if The Giant told Tony to raise the belt, Tony would raise it. This was a solid point.
Ric Flair came out and they cut to the entrance ramp, and the first gravestone shown on camera as Flair comes out is a gravestone is called “Rick”. You cannot tell me that wasn’t just an elaborate rib on Ric! The FIRST GRAVESTONE they show and it’s Rick! I couldn’t tell you what the significance of these graves were as part of the Halloween Havoc set and I didn’t spot a pattern.
One of the commentary highlights of this show was Bobby explaining something and Dusty Rhodes yelled “I just said that” and Bobby responded, “yes but I’m doing it in English”. I love the chemistry between Dusty and Bobby during their exchanges. The fact these two only did PPVs together for WCW is a crime! Tony actually chime in saying: “That’s a good thing about your guys working together – it’s in stereo.” Bobby responded: “One in English and one in Cowpasture.” Tremendous banter.
Ric Flair was going crazy on the entrance ramp as Jarrett was out-manoeuvring Giant. Jarrett tried a head lock and then Giant lifted him high in the air threw him across the ring! Giant got some distance with this throw too and it looked very effective. Tony questioned why Jarrett would try a headlock on The Giant.
Giant threw Jarrett across the ring. Jarrett tried a sleeper hold on Giant’s back and Giant was struggling to get Jarrett off his back but he eventually crashed into the turnbuckle to get Jarrett off of him. There were big nWo chants. Giant was wobbly because of Jarrett but he eventually cut Jarrett off with a big boot to a big pop. It was a pretty decent looking big boot from The Giant too.
Ric Flair got in the ring and attempted to get a chair in the ring but was thwarted. Giant did a headbutt to the groin of Jarrett but referee Nick Patrick did not call it. Giant did a backbreaker submission.
Ric Flair grabbed a mic and commanded Jarrett to kick his nWo ass. Giant caught Jarrett in mid-air and did two backbreakers while staring right at Flair. This was a pretty boring match to be honest. Giant tried a bearhug, which was the moment where this was confirmed to be a boring match!
Jarrett tried a scoop slam but Giant was too big. Jarrett was able to floor Giant with a top rope crossbody but Giant threw Jarrett off of him when he went for the cover. Jarrett tried a Figure Four Leg Lock but Giant kicked Jeff out of the ring.
Giant tried to charge at Jarrett but Jarrett moved and as Jarrett moved out of the way, Giant crashed into the ring post. Jarrett did a Figure Four Leg Lock on the outside but Giant reached across to Jeff with a hand for the chokeslam but before he could deliver, Flair took off his jacket and did a low blow for the disqualification.
I hate this type of booking. WCW threw in two guys they were trying to protect but because of this, they didn’t want anyone to lose. Therefore, they did a disqualification despite it being clear that The Giant was the better man. If you have such a problem with picking a winner and a loser, why bother doing the match? This did nobody any favours. What the heck did Jarrett get from this match? Giant kicked his ass for ten minutes and he was saved by Ric Flair, who is INJURED! Why couldn’t you have just let The Giant get the win?
And if that wasn’t bad enough, The Four Horsemen ran down afterwards to help Flair and Jarrett from The Giant. Jarrett and Ric had a two-on-one advantage against The Giant and then more men came out to help those two guys. Keep in mind, Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett were supposed to be the babyfaces. Jarrett came off like such a dork and The Giant came off as a monster babyface beating everybody up! Then Tony had the temerity to berate Giant for running away… from an unfair fight! The nWo, despite being heels, were booked as so superior to these WCW geeks.
HUGE THUMBS DOWN for everything about this match. On the bright side, at least both men tried and worked hard to try and get something out of nothing. Therefore, I will give them that credit.
Match Rating: *1/2
Ted DiBiase was with Syxx and Vincent. DiBiase said the Horsemen knew the post-match save was the only way Jarrett was gonna get out of that ring. He admitted Jericho was a great athlete but he was a great athlete at the wrong time. He was in there with the best cruiserweight in Syxx tonight. Syxx said Jericho would be crucified for the sins of WCW which is straight out of Stephanie McMahon’s vocabulary. He yelled the nWo is 4 life. I was not a fan of Syxx’s verbiage but Ted DiBiase cut a hell of a promo here.
Syxx vs Chris Jericho
Bobby Heenan talked about Syxx making his wrestling debut and I swear Syxx wrestled on that nWo take over show a month ago.
Syxx and Jericho wrestled for a bit fighting speed with speed. If you have two quick guys in there and if they can keep up with each other, you’re very likely going to have a good match and this was a good match when the smoke cleared. Konnan, Taskmaster and Big Bubba were at ringside. Jericho ran wild with a monkey flip and arm drags for a while. Syxx dropkicked Jericho off the top rope and onto the floor.
Jericho tried again to get in the ring but Syxx dropkicked him off the apron and then did a dive to the outside. Syxx stomped at Jericho in the ring and did some kicks in the corner. Syxx did a rest-hold. Syxx tried a spin kick but Jericho caught it, so Syxx kicked him with the other leg which I actually think was really well executed.
Syxx did an elbow drop from the top rope onto Jericho, who was draped on the apron. Syxx missed a dropkick in the corner. Jericho ran wild for a bit to some boos from the crowd as they loved the nWo.
Jericho did a top rope crossbody to the outside. Jericho did a top rope back elbow for a two count. Jericho caught Syxx off the top rope with a dropkick. Jericho went for a cover and Patrick ran around for like 5 seconds before eventually went down to count the pinfall.
Jericho did a lionsault and a bridge pinfall and got a one count which the fans and the announcers disputed as a slow count. When they showed the replays of the slow counts, the slow counts didn’t even look that slow which is a problem with this storyline. If you are told to do a slow count, make sure the count is slow. Don’t do a regular count as it flies in the face of the storyline you’re trying to tell. Just wait for Starrcade 1997 as Nick Patrick’s will get a big moment when it comes to the speed of his counts!
Jericho did a springboard moonsault and again Patrick did what was supposedly a slow count. Syxx did a side kick and Patrick counted down the pinfall as normal for the win. Jericho chased Patrick out of the ring as Patrick carried Syxx to the back. A good cruiserweight match with not a lot to complain about. Jericho and Syxx worked pretty well together in this match.
Match Rating: ***
Lex Luger was interviewed by Mike Tenay. Luger said it didn’t need to come down to this but Arn pointed the finger at Luger for WCW’s loss at Fall Brawl. Luger said he accepted the blame but Arn wouldn’t accept that. He said Arn questioned his fortitude but now he’s gonna see a torture rack you’ve never seen before. He’s sick and tired of everyone running each other down in WCW. Luger said he’s gonna beat Arn, rack him and take him out and hurt him.
Lex Luger vs Arn Anderson
This was a match that was saved mostly by the finish because this was a boring match. Arn tried all he could and it didn’t work but they did deliver a poetic finish in the confides of the story and it turned the heel shenanigans against the Four Horsemen.
Tony talked about Luger losing but not quitting at Fall Brawl when I seem to recall Luger tapping out after Hogan and Sting locked on a double submission in the War Games match. How that is not considered quitting, I don’t know.
They fight for a bit. Luger powered up Anderson and dropped him with a Gorilla Press. They followed up with a double axe handle from the apron. The Dungeon of Doom was cheering Luger to rack him which was an interesting dynamic. Luger used to be a Dungeon of Doom member but the Dungeon hated Arn and they were feuding with the Four Horsemen in Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael.
That’s actually a great aspect of WCW’s use of stables at this time. The Dungeon and Horsemen had been feuding since Brian Pillman feuded with Taskmaster back in February and after all of this time, they still hate each other and there’s still feuds going on between the groups. That’s great for the members of those groups and there’s a lot of layers to the program.
Arn got hung upside down and the fans are going crazy as Luger had him in peril. Just imagine what Luger was gonna do now that Arn was defenseless. Instead, Luger just throws a few slow punches and then after, the buzz just went away from this match. A better worker would have gotten so much more from this spot and that is frustrating.
Arn hit a spinebuster. Arn beats on Luger for a while. This was a boring match and some fans start to boo because nothing was happening for a long time. Arn tried a DDT but Luger grabbed the ropes to keep himself standing.
Luger started fighting back. Arn shoved Luger into the referee to knock him down. Arn grabbed a chair and tried to use it but Luger dodged. Arn tried a piledriver but Luger catapulted Arn into the ringpost. Luger suplexed Arn on the floor.
The referee Mark Curtis was still dazed. Luger then hit Arn in the back with a chair multiple times as the referee was still unable to see it. Arn was limp as Luger called for his finisher and Luger secured the submission victory with the Torture Rack. Luger refused to let go of the hold as the referee tried to break the hold.
So yes, after Arn yelled at Luger for giving up at Fall Brawl, Arn was the one that gave up from the Torture Rack himself. This was retribution for the babyface and when you’re able to make a heel eat his words, that’s a thumbs up in my eyes. One of the stronger finishes of the show to an otherwise boring match. However, this match did not need to be 12 minutes long.
Match Rating: **
Arn was being attended to as Jarrett and Flair both came out. They actually brought out the stretcher. Arn grabbed the arm and “rib cage” as he was being taken out.
Lee Marshall played Mean Gene and hyped up the WCW Hotline to apparently have the scoop about Sting. He interviewed Harlem Heat, Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker. Parker talked about how the Outsiders needed reprimanded. He said they were riding on the coattails of the greatest tag team in WCW. Sherri said this is what the Harlem Heat lives and breathes for. Booker said the nWo were a couple of wannabe thugs and they were gonna jump them Harlem Style.
“The Faces of Fear” The Barbarian and Meng w/Jimmy Hart vs Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael w/Debra McMichael and Woman
I will start of this review by talking about our main man Steve “Mongo” McMichael, I’ve really liked his character as part of the Four Horsemen. I don’t rate him as a wrestler but there were times where he at least knew how to carry himself as a star. The example I will provide was from the Four Horsemen’s ring entrance. Benoit came out with Woman by his side and Mongo came out with his wife Debra by his side. They both get on the apron, Debra and Mongo both took off their jackets off and a random woman was outside catching these massive jackets and coats almost effortless. I loved that!
Meng tried a kick but Mongo evaded it by cowering the corner. They locked up but smashed into a each with shoulder tackles. There was a great spot where they Meng and Mongo both roared crashed into each and Mongo did a tremendous shoulder tackle to floor him and send him flying. He jumped high in the air and Meng went flying in the air backwards to sell the pure force of Mongo. It was so cartoonish but I loved it. It was as ridiculously and over-the-top as it needed to be!
Benoit and Barbarian got tagged in and fought. Benoit hit a northern lights suplex for a 2 count. Benoit tried a headbutt but this was a mistake as Barbarian no-sold it and took him down!
In another great spot involving Mongo was when Meng challenged Mongo to a sumo match. Mongo obliged and then they had a full-on sumo wrestling battle slapping each other! They slapped at each other and they wrestled with Meng winning! Think of it as E. Honda from Street Fighter, who did these slaps to palm away his opponent! This was a better sumo match than the WrestleMania 21 match between Akebono and Big Show which included a LEGITIMATE champion sumo wrestler!
Mongo then took out the Faces of Fear with chop blocks for a while but then Meng cut him off. This was Mongo playing to his strengths, acting like an American football player to take down the monsters. I like that.
They did a double headbutt and Mongo just fell to the ground. It was a pretty funny bad sell where he just fell to the ground like this was a trust exercise! Barbarian did a scoop slam to Mongo. Mongo did a dropkick and did it a second time but Meng just moved out of the way and continued with the beat down on Meng.
Meng tried a senton but Mongo moved out of the way. Benoit got the tag. Meng and Barbarian did the back drop/powerbomb combination to a big pop. This was even better than when they did it against the Fantastics. How does no one in wrestling nowadays try that spot? Surely the War Raiders or Authors of Pain should be able to do it?
There was one awkward spot where Meng chopped Benoit and Benoit stood his ground as if to no-sell it and then crashed to the floor after like a delayed reaction. Communication seemed to be off for that spot.
Barbarian did a top rope belly to belly suplex and Benoit got throw HIGH and LONG to the other side of the ring. How a suplex can be so high and so far away is mind-boggling to me. They did really well with that spot.
Faces of Fear did the double headbutt but Mongo broke up the pin. Barbarian did a suplex into a Meng top rope splash but Mongo got involved to break it up. He pulled out Benoit and hit Meng in the face with the briefcase. Benoit hit the top rope headbutt and got the pinfall.
I actually did not see much in this match from watching it but upon writing this review, I realised this match was actually quite great! I think I would have shaved off a few minutes to make it a bit crisper but man, there were some fabulous spots ranging from comedy to full on serious. This match, in a weird way, had a bit of everything. For god’s sake, Mongo had a sumo wrestling match with Meng and it fit right in!
But of course, there were no happy endings on this show. The defacto babyfaces of this feud, the Four Horsemen, were beat up after the match. The Faces of Fear beat up Mongo and Benoit as Benoit made a comeback. Dungeon grabbed Women but Benoit made the save. Benoit however was being fed to the wolves as Mongo was laid out with a piledriver earlier on in the brawl. Benoit fought off everyone by himself briefly but Meng cut hims off with a superkick. Taskmaster beats up Mongo with a briefcase. Barbarian hit Benoit with a big boot. Bubba hit a spinebuster.
Arn was injured and Flair was with Arn and he was injured too so there was nobody to help these guys. Taskmaster went up to Woman. He took off his shirt. Taskmaster said Benoit wasn’t the man, he’s the man. The beatdown itself was actually a solid beatdown. However, in the middle of a show where all the heels were winning and there so much misery, all I wanted was to see was a babyface win a battle. Was that too much to ask, even in the nWo era?
Match Rating: ***
Ted DiBiase came out. He says its 2-0 to the nWo. The next match was for the WCW tag team titles but they were soon to be the nWo tag team titles. He said ever since they’ve come in, they had not failed to deliver anything they had set out to do. Ted said they don’t need a second time as they can get it done the first time. Ted DiBiase was a very solid hype man for the New World Order in this role. There was a part of me that felt Ted DiBiase would soon feel out of place for but now, he’s very solid in his role as a hype man. How long that lasts remains to be seen.
“Harlem Heat” Booker T © and Stevie Ray © w/Col Robert Parker and Sister Sherri vs “The Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the WCW Tag Team Championship
MASSIVE NWO CHANTS broke out during this match. To fan the flames a little bit, Tony said: “there’s a lot of punks in the world and there’s also a lot of WCW fans” when the announcers were talking about the fans in nWo fans. What a way to convince the nWo fans that the nWo is evil by calling those fans punks. Quite encouraging Tony.
Before a title match, it is common tradition where the referee will show the titles to the competitors and hold the titles in the air for the fans to see. When showing the titles to the Outsiders, the Outsiders grabbed the belts to pose with to massive cheers. It’s funny because (SPOILERS) the Outsiders won the titles anyway, so this really accomplished nothing other than get a cheap pop. Once upon a time it was a big deal to hold the titles for the first time. Here, the Outsiders already grabbed the titles literally minutes before winning them!
The fans looked to one side where I guess there was a fight in the crowd. You have to wonder how many fights broke out in the crowd during this period because this isn’t the first time where I see the fans in WCW look to the crowd for seemingly no reason. Some times I see this happen on Nitro because I expect nWo but no, it turned out it was a fan fight. I wonder if the WCW vs nWo storyline legitimately caused fights among fans.
Hall worked on Booker in the ring but Booker reversed the pressure and did a side kick as the fans paid little attention to the first few minutes of the match. Booker tried a leapfrog but Hall evaded it and did a straight up punch to a big pop.
Booker did a hip toss over the top rope which was not a disqualification as “the momentum took him” over the top rope according to Dusty. That it such bad logic. So if I did a powerbomb to someone over the top rope in WCW, that wouldn’t be a disqualification because his momentum took him over the top rope? I just dropped him but gravity brought him to the floor. If you’re going to do the rule at all, at least abide to it or tell your wrestlers to not do over the top rope spots.
A hoss fight began as Kevin Nash and Stevie Ray were tagged in to BIG DIESEL CHANTS. Nash overpowered Ray initially with punches and knees to the gut and in the corner. Ray shoulder-tackled Nash down and then spat at Hall. Ray kicked away at Nash with garbage being thrown in. Sherri raked the eyes of Nash. Booker did a scissors kick. Nash took over and did a side-walk slam to massive cheers, even from some women in the crowd. Hall did a sloppy looking bulldog where Hall didn’t even grab his head coming down.
Booker did a rest hold. Nash took a cheap shot at Booker from the apron to massive cheers as Outsiders gain the advantage. The fans were quite approving of this blatant cheating! Nash did a snake eyes and Hall followed up with a clothesline while the referee was distracted. Razor did a chokeslam with Ray breaking up the pin. Booker tried a crossbody and Hall caught him with ease and did a fallaway slam. It was a very well done spot from both men. Scott Hall had arguably his best performance in a WCW ring so far during this match.
As I review this show a few weeks after the #SpeakingOut Twitter campaign centred around abuse towards women in the wrestling business, they do a spot in 1996 where Sherri slapped Scott and Scott grabbed her to thunderous cheers and then kissed her for the biggest pop off the night. This would not play well in the year 2020. This big, jacked-up man physically grabbed this woman, imposed his welll and forced himself upon this woman to get a kiss. These fans were very much approving of this at Halloween Havoc. In storyline, Scott Hall sexually assaulted Sister Sherri. If you do not wish to see anymore of this in wrestling, I would recommend probably not watching WCW, ECW or WWF programming from 1996 to about 2009 on the WWE Network! This is just one spot among decades of on-screen abuse towards women.
This does not get any better on-screen in wrestling and when Vince Russo comes along in WCW, you’re really not gonna like this. It’s disgusting enough on the screen and it’s even worse that these wrestlers bring it home with them. No, I am not suggesting Scott Hall also did this but heck this was established as the norm in wresting for years from this point. I’m sure a lot of young wrestlers watched all of this and the Attitude Era and just assumed it was OK, which IT’S NOT.
Right after this, there’s an understated spot where Sherri came off the apron with a double axe handle to Parker as she kicked off about what happened and him not doing anything about it! That was awesome!
Hall dropped Booker crotch-first on the top rope and Dusty goes: “you’re nuts if you think that doesn’t hurt.” Good form Dusty. Stevie got the tag and ran wild with punches and clotheslines. Ray grabbed Hall of a Gorilla Press and threw him into Nash which I’m actually surprised they were able and willing to do. They put over Ray pretty well here. Nash got clotheslined to the outside. Booker hit the Harlem Hangover.
This was poetically the best possible finish for this match. I’ve ranted and raved for about a year now about these over-booked finishes for Harlem Heat involving managers and all kinds of shenanigans. It happened all the time. This time, the nWo turned the tables on them as they secured the win by cheating for a change. As the referee is distracted I believe, Parker tried to hit Nash with a cane. Nash intercepted him so basically Parker let him have the cane without a fight and then Ray got laid out with the cane and Hall got the pin to win the tag titles to a thunderous reaction.
With Harlem Heat as the babyfaces and the Outsiders as the heels and the Outsiders being cheered throughout, there was some screwed up psychology. However, this finish was perfect in the sense that Harlem Heat got a dose of karma. They got a dose of karma, they were “out-cheated” and now WCW have lost the tag titles too! This was unintentionally great!
Booker’s facial expressions were awesome as he was in shock, mouth agape in awe as he checked for his brother’s breathing as the Outsiders celebrate as they say: “the takeover is just about complete”.
I very much enjoyed this match with the exception of one uncomfortable spot.
Match Rating: **3/4
Hollywood Hogan did his pre-match promo with Giant behind him. Hogan had the worst haircut of his life and think of the ground that covered although the truth would be revealed later on in the match. However this Bart Simpson look did not look any good. He mentioned he’s just done with 3 Ninjas and a new film is coming up with Santa with Muscles. Hogan called Savage a long lost love-sick puppy. He said this was nWo rules and it’s time for Hollywood.
Hollywood Hogan © wTed DiBiase vs “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Now I will first address before this reviewing this match that there was a lot usual WCW backstage politics that led to this finish. If you’ve watched everything Hogan did to Savage in the last 6 weeks or so, he almost had to win this match. Hogan had tortured Elizabeth, put her through hell and now this was his time to kill him. There were contracts and a lot of stuff that happened which led to this finish but let’s review this match in a vaccum.
I say that because every other WCW at this time was watching this match in a vaccum. They had to watch it based what had been presented to them in the last three months or so and they had to watch this conclusion to such a deep storyline with Hogan, Savage and Elizabeth.
Michael Buffer did the ring introductions Savage’s theme song cut off Buffer’s ring introductions but then the production team wised up and shut it off as Buffer finished Hogan’s ring introduction.
Savage brought out a “Macho Man” monster truck which actually did look pretty sweet. One of the better looking monster trucks WCW has trudged out in front of the fans. Savage grabbed the mic to tell Hogan to get his “goons” out of here so he can kick his ass. The referee obliged and I guess threw Giant out. Hogan whispered into Giant’s ears as Giant walked out as I guess he told Giant not to fight it.
Hogan still had his sunglasses on in early parts of the match. Savage is just standing there in the ring as Hogan just walked around… RIGHT AFTER an episode of Nitro where he implied killing Hogan. Hogan is doing his thing and Savage is just… STANDING THERE.
Just like The Giant match where Hogan tried to hide and run from Giant, this match startED the same way. They mentioned that the monster truck was the one given away then correct themselves saying they were given a road legal one… in other words a less cool one was given to the winner.
A whole bunch of nothing happened for like 5 minutes. So I’ve seen a whole bunch of matches with Ric Flair and Savage where he and Flair fought and tried to kill each other. They scratched, clawed and chopped the hell out of each other because they hated each other’s guts. Here Hogan hid and run away and Savage did nothing. He just stopped and stalled in a match against a supposedly. crazy Randy Savage.
Hogan beat up Savage for a while talking trash and saying Savage was nothing. Savage fought back and did punches and a double axe handle. He then grabbed Hogan’s sunglasses. Hogan begged Savage off. Savage grabbed Hogan’s hair and pulled the wig off of Hogan and puts it on. Hogan looks around all panicked at the loss of his wig with some incredibly facial expressions! This was quite great.
Hogan headed to the back. Savage cut him off and fed his wig back to Hogan! Savage beat him u[. Savage grabbed and hit Hogan with a chair on the outside. It was established that you can use weapons on the outside because it’s there’s no disqualification on the outside but yet when Savage used it a second time, the referee cuts him off and Hogan blindsided him. Anything can happen on the outside but yet the referee wouldn’t allow Savage to use the chair a second time? Seems like flawed logic to me.
Hogan then used a chair. As Ted DiBiase distracted the ref, Hogan used the chair again. Maybe there’s some one chair shot rule I’m not aware of. Hogan beat him up on the outside. Then Elizabeth, not in black, came out in a fancy colourful dress. Hogan choked away at Savage. Hogan yelled at Elizabeth but Savage gets a roll up for a near fall. Hogan’s turnks are pulled down by Savage therefore showing his bare ass! He has finished his transformation to a slightly more diabolic Ric Flair now!
I love Hogan’s mood changing. He was all about making jokes and cocky at the start of the match but when he got embarrassed, he gets pissed off and frustrated. Great heel characterisation! It’s all jokes and games until the heel doesn’t get what he wants and therefore, the heels pouts like a child! Savage clotheslined Hogan to the outside.
Hogan grabbed Elizabeth on the outside as a human shield. Savage did a scoop slam and knocked Hogan to the floor Hogan again grabbed Liz as boos from the fans rain down. Hogan threw her and takes advantage with a clothesline. Hogan did a big boot but then Elizabeth entered the ring to boos. Hogan went for the Leg Drop but Elizbaeht threw herself on top of Savage.
Hogan grabbed her. Hogan goes for a Leg Drop again but he missesd. Hogan got a weapon from DiBiase, Elizabeth intercepted it from Hogan, the refereee gets taken down with a clothesline. Nick Patrick and Mark Curtis come down. Savage did a clothesline and Savage did the elbow drop. Nick Patrick did the 2 count but then his neck gave out. Savage pushed Patrick and took off the neck brace. Hogan tried to use “the object” but Savage blocked it. He used it. DiBiase stops Savage from doing the elbow drop. The Giant saved DiBiase from Savage. Giant did the chokeslam on the floor. With The Giant clearly in the ring, Nick Patrick strolled over and did the 3 count as Hogan retained the title.
Tony flat out said: “we’ve been ripped off”.
Match Rating: *
There was a lot of shenanigans in this match and it was an incredibly over-booked, storyline finish. However, this was one of the better ones where it came off like Savage was fighting to the bitter end. It wasn’t just like a bunch of things happening leading to the finish. The nWo were doing everything in their power to win and Savage and Liz were doing everything could to stop Hogan. In the end, the heel advantage was just too great and Savage was defeated.
I will now talk about the backstage stuff. I read the Wrestling Observer Newsletter from November 1996 I believe. There were a lot of contract negotiations being thrown around at this time. Long story short, Bret Hart had just re-signed with the WWF for a 20 year deal or whatever the situation was in one of the biggest contracts of all time. The WWF wanted to capitalise on this. They supposedly made big offers to Hogan and Savage, so they could continue their feud in the WWF. Savage’s contract was coming up and I think Hogan’s contract may have been expiring as well. WWF probably would not have had the money to attempt to buy Hogan out of a big deal he had with WCW so that’s more likely. The WWF were close to going out of business at this time.
Hogan re-signed with WCW but Savage had yet to re-sign at this time. Therefore, his contract was in limbo and so therefore they took the precautions of having Hogan beat him. Savage was not under contract, although he did work a few commitments after this show including house shows. Acting fast, with no new babyfaces to feud with Hogan, WCW went ahead and signed up a new superstar to feud with Hogan heading into Starrcade. Speaking of which…
Giant brought down a big jug of ice that he was careful carrying when walking towards the ring. He got to the ring and KNOCKED IT OVER! Poor Giant! He was doing so well not to spill it! He came in the ring and threw ice on Hogan to wake him up as the nWo celebrate. I guess Hogan was knocked out which was why he did that.
Hogan said he’s the king of Hollywood. Hogan is tired of Ted Turner, he’s taking over WCW and anyone who got in the ring with the nWo or Hulk Hogan was going down. Then bagpipes play as Giant prepared to fight. Hogan doesn’t know what’s going on and out comes ROWDY RODDY PIPER!
Hogan rubbed his face with a shocked looked as he’s freaking out as Tony called him a chicken! Piper grabbed a mic. I’m a huge fan of Piper promos, especially watching them back now years after his death. However, what on earth was going here?
My only explanation was that Piper, because he’s Piper, just said whatever he wanted and HOGAN OF ALL PEOPLE had to get him back on track because they were running short on PPV time. Piper rambled on and on about how he’s a millionaire, he made Hulk Hogan and told Hogan to admit he was here because of all these people. Hogan shook his hand and said he and Piper were “neck and neck” and then he made a crack about Piper wearing a kilt. They yell and yell about god know’s what and the PPV cuts them half way through!
This was to build up a world title match between Hollywood Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper! It wasn’t even that Piper was a bad talker during this promo. He wasn’t. He had a lot of fire and passion and that was about it. He just went on about all sorts of things that had nothing to do with the New World Order. Then he and Hogan just argued like they were on The Real Housewives or god know’s what. Just a mess of an exchange to end this pay-per-view.
To sum up this pay-per-view as whole, they had a lot of good matches and an incredible opening match. No happy endings to be found, with good guys going over, and a bad ending to the show with Piper and Hogan rambling about…. I don’t even know what they were talking about! I would say that the only two matches you should really go out of your way to watch is Malenko vs Rey and Faces of Fear vs Benoit and Mongo because of how wacky it was. Everything else was really passable and even the nWo shenanigans were not that exciting to me. I will give this PPV a thumbs up on the grounds that although there was nothing exceptional, there were some good matches up and down the show which is really I could ask for… and possibly a Slim Jim.
WCW Nitro Reading Order
- #1 – September 4th 1995
- #2 – September 11th 1995
- WCW War Games 1995 – September 17th 1995
- #3 – September 18th 1995
- #4 – September 25th 1995
- #5 – October 2nd 1995
- #6 – October 9th 1995
- #7 – October 16th 1995
- #8 – October 23rd 1995
- WCW Halloween Havoc 1995 – October 29th 1995
- #9 – October 30th 1995
- #10 – November 6th 1995
- #11 – November 13th 1995
- #12 – November 20th 1995
- WCW World War III 1995 – November 26th 1995
- #13 – November 27th 1995
- #14 – December 4th 1995
- #15 – December 11th 1995
- #16 – December 18th 1995
- #17 – December 25th 1995
- WCW Starrcade 1995 – December 27th 1995
- #18 – January 1st 1996
- #19 – January 8th 1996
- #20 – January 15th 1996
- #21 – January 22nd 1996
- #22 – January 29th 1996
- #23 – February 5th 1996
- WCW Superbrawl VI – February 11th 1996
- #24 – February 12th 1996
- #25 – February 19th 1996
- #26 – February 26th 1996
- #27 – March 11th 1996
- #28 – March 18th 1996
- WCW Uncensored 1996 – March 24th 1996
- #29 – March 25th 1996
- #30 – April 1st 1996
- #31 – April 15th 1996
- #32 – April 22nd 1996
- #33 – April 29th 1996
- #34 – May 6th 1996 (Nitro)/May 6th 1996 (RAW)
- #35 – May 13th 1996
- WCW Slamboree 1996 – May 19th 1996
- #36 – May 20th 1996
- #37 – May 27th 1996
- #38 – June 3rd 1996
- #39 – June 10th 1996
- WCW The Great American Bash 1996 – June 16th 1996
- #40 – June 17th 1996
- #41 – June 24th 1996
- #42 – July 1st 1996
- WCW Bash At The Beach 1996 – July 7th 1996
- #43 – July 8th 1996
- #44 – July 15th 1996
- #45 – July 22nd 1996
- #46 – July 29th 1996
- #47 – August 5th 1996
- WCW Hog Wild 1996 – August 10th 1996
- #48 – August 12th 1996
- WCW Clash of the Champions #33 – Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair
- #49 – August 19th 1996
- #50 – August 26th 1996
- #51 – September 2nd 1996
- #52 – September 9th 1996
- WCW Fall Brawl 1996 – September 15th 1996
- #53 – September 16th 1996
- #54 – September 23rd 1996
- #55 – September 30th 1996
- #56 – October 7th 1996
- #57 – October 14th 1996
- #58 – October 21st 1996