Back to the dying days for some spooooky wrestling. It’s the 29th October 2000 and we’re in the MGM Grand of Las Vegas, Nevada for Halloween Havoc! Your main event tonight: Um, Goldberg vs KroniK in a handicap elimination match! What?
We’ve touched on this general period of WCW before in terms of their TV output, and while that Thunder was from a time when the company was essentially terminal, this point isn’t a whole lot better in most respects. I think Vince Russo Russo is still with the company in his second stint at this stage, though it will be coming to an end very shortly, partly due to legit injuries he suffered during a match with Goldberg. Oh, and on the foot of declining ratings, an unhappy talent roster, and an undeniable sense that every facet of WCW was falling apart.
To get a sense of that, you just have to look at this card: what looks like a Smackdown vs Raw Career Mode main event, placed in a position of importance ahead of a World Title defence; two separate handicap matches; a kickboxing match for the commissionership of the company; something that is described as a”DNA Match”; and all in an “arena” – really a convention centre – that might be just over half-full? The roster had been cut, Bret Hart had just been sacked, Saturday Night had been cancelled, this set for this show looks cheap as chips: what could possiblie go wrong? 11 matches to get through (11! What is this, Wrestlemania?), in a near three hour show, so let’s get right down to it.
Late-era WCW splash screen, and we get welcomed to the show by Tony Schiavone. There follows a brief package of fans ahead of tonight’s event being asked who they are shouting for. Goldberg mostly it seems. “It’s All Hallows Eve” (it isn’t) says a voiceover over some recent in-ring highlights, and we are to witness “a battle for supremacy”. Of what, we don’t know.
Your commentators are Schiavone, Stevie Ray and the irrepressible Mark Madden, who welcome us to the real basic looking set-up, which lacks any iota of Halloween in it. Halloween Havoc is brought to you by WCW Backstage Assault, a PS1 video game with the amazing gimmick of only having non-ring environments available. It was not a success.
Mark Jindrak & Sean O’Haire (c) vs the Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio Jr) w/Konnan vs the Boogie Knights (Alex Wright & Disqo) (WCW Tag Team Championships) (Three Way Dance)
Remember when Mark Jindrak nearly ended up in Evolution? What a Closing Doors moment that was. Mysterio out unmasked, wearing devil horns, because Russo is a horses ass. Disqo is Disco Inferno going by a much stupider name. This is the last few months of WCW when the crusierweights were the only thing worth watching, so you better believe I am expecting a match like this to be the best on the card. Champions out second of the three competitors, which is weird. Madden compares Jindrak to Arn Anderson, to Stevie Ray’s befuddlement, and that is shoot befuddlement I would say. Konnan joins the three commentators, because it wasn’t enough to have three men talking over each other.
Three Way Dance rules, so one man from each team in the ring at any time. This is going to get confusing. Jindrak, Kidman and Wright to start. Wright hits a spinning elbow on Jindrak, then some chops with Kidman’s assistance. “Jindrak and O’Haire remind me of a white Harlem Heat” says Madden, Jesus Christ. Spinning heel kick from Wright to Jindrak, but Big Mark back with a corner leapfrog, then a clothesline to Kidman. Wright and Kidman double-team Jindrak and hang him up on the ropes and out, and then Wright turns on Kidman.
Kidman with a Tilt-A-Whirl rana, and in comes Mysterio, to a pop. Goes for a Broncho Buster, but Wright with a foot up nails Mysterio in the balls. Disqo (ugh) in to take Wright down, and then take a crossbody from Jindrak. Mysterio going for a springboard, but caught and side-slammed by Jindrak. O’Haire in, press-up into a powerslam on Mysterio, then clotheslines for all. Mysterio trying a Sunset Flip, but O’Haire’s resistance gets him a DDT from Disqo for two. Toe-hold/Leg drop comb from Mysterio and Disqo and they follow-up with an Inverted Atomic Drop/Spinning heel kick. Assisted corner charge, then Mysterio takes Disqo out with a drop-kick as we get “619” chants. Rey with a springboard splash for two on Disqo. Disqo up way too quick, Russian Leg Sweep to O’Haire, then Kidman into Disqo with a flying shoulder block. O’Haire back with a driver, then eats a missile drop-kick from Wright. A mile a minute so far.
Belly-to-belly from Wright to Kidman, then a double-team press slam with Jindrak. Whiffed knee to the head sends Jindrak down, then Wright sets Kidman up on the top. Jindrak getting involved, and and we get an avalanche electric chair drop/superplex, but only two. A chance to catch some breath as all three down. O’Haire, Disqo and Mysterio tagged in, shots from all, O’Haire down, and Mysterio hits a springboard leg-drop, then counters a powerbomb from Disqo into a pin, but then dumped out. Brawling on the outside, and O’Hire/Jindrak combine to hit a double arm-drag on Kidman that sends him over the ropes back into the ring. Impressive strength, but wouldn’t it have been more devastating if they had done it outside? Mysterio dumped in too to take a belly-to-back from Wright, but Kidman breaks it up before taking a DDT from Disqo. Tope-mania next, and the camera’s miss the last two from the Filthy Animals.
Awkard moment where Wright takes Jindrak down with a clothesline, goes for a pin but then changes his mind at Disqo’s insistence. Disqo to the top, Kidman in to hit Wright with the Kid Krusher that he awkwardly kicks out of because the break-up spot clearly isn’t in position. Mysterio hits a Frankensteiner on Disqo after Disqo waited patiently, and follows it up with a Broncho Buster. Jindrak press slams Rey out, Disqo hits the Last Dance – the world’s worst stunner rip-off in other words – on Jindrak, Mysterio breaks it up with a springboard leg-drop, then O’Haire hits a senton, and gets the pin on Disqo in just over ten. That was all just ten minutes!?
Winners (and still WCW Tag Team Champions): O’Haire and Jindrak, onwards and upwards. Not.
Verdict: Insane, all-over-the-place action, that rarely let-up. Entertaining as hell, I have to admit, even if it was car crash wrestling in many ways. The kind of match where I’d say the participants discussed a few spots beforehand, but not when to do them. While fun to watch, easy to imagine someone getting hurt wrestling like this.
As Jindrak and O’Haire celebrate, Wright attacks Mysterio with a chair for some reason. When Konnan intervenes, the champs beat him up for some reason. Sgt A-WOL suddenly out to clear the ring, and no context for any of this. Konnan is helped to the back, seemingly injured. He is due to wrestle tonight, and I don’t know if they are writing him out or trying to inject some drama. As he goes A-WOL fills the ring with weapons.
Reno (c) vs Sgt A-WOL (WCW Hardcore Championship)
A-WOL better remembered as The Wall (brother). Reno I know nothing about. The Hardcore title a rare example of WCW copying from WWF, and a common example of them mis-booking something. Guess how this was set-up? Yup, a Dusty finish in a previous title match.
Reno with a kendo shot early, then a Spinebuster through a table. This is Hardcore rules, so Falls Count Anywhere, and we go outside quick. Shots to the head of A-WOL with a pan and then the kendo stick again, then a trash can. That’s all this match is for a few minutes, A-WOL taking unprotected shots to the head, but eventually he gets one back with a broken kendo stick. Reno hung up on the barricade as Madden repeatedly screams “Old school hardcore!”. A-WOL trying to put a trashcan on Reno, but it won’t fit over his broad shoulders, so A-WOL settles for the head and gives the thing A big kick, to an actual pop. Then again, with a run-up.
More shots with weapons, then up onto the ramp, where Reno able to get in a low blow. Roll The Dice (a spinning cutter), and Reno sets two tables on top of each other at the side of the ramp, but naturally gets caught by A-WOL and slammed through the two of them. The ramp helped, but still good elevation. No pin attempt of what should obviously be the finish, as the brawling continues backstage. Reno sent into a concrete post (“Old school hardcore!” screams Madden again) but able to dodge a computer monitor being thrown. Reno back with a fire extinguisher blast, then throws A-WOL through an oddly set-up table. That gets a two, A-WOL dodges a shot with a laptop, then Reno dropped onto the computer table, but only his right leg hits it, awkward spot.
To “Go Position” – WCW’s “Gorilla Position” – where A-WOL takes the time to give the production crew a few shots (and not for the last time tonight), then we’re back out onto the ramp. Reno whipped into the barricade, A-WOL with more pan shots, then grabs another table. What is this, WCW’s response to TLC? Table set-up, but while A-WOL is doing that Reno gives him a back shot with a chair. The table collapses straight away, so it isn’t as impressive when Reno hits the Roll The Dice on it for the 1, 2, 3 in just under 11.
Winner (and still WCW Hardcore Champion): Some guy
Verdict: Garbage wrestling, literally, that went on way too long. Both guys painfully limited. When you can’t set up a table properly for the finish, it’s time to think about it.
The Natural Born Thrillers are out in the aftermath to beatdown A-WOL as part of a larger storyline, then the Misfits come out to clear house, and man this is over-booked. Commentary does a terrible job of explaining how all of these guys are interconnected. There isn’t an ounce of thought for new fans in all of this. All it needs is “The Thrillers clearly still unhappy after A-WOL left the faction a few weeks ago” and a “Looks like the Misfits are picking up where they left off when they clashed with the Thrillers on Thunder”. Nothing doing though.
Backstage, all of the Natural Born Thrillers are chatting to “the Franchise”, aka Shane Douglas. This, despite the fact that half of them were just in the ring, Jesus what an edit job. They slap an “Earlier Today” on it with seconds to spare. Franchise is happy that they took Konnan out earlier. Heels united! Anyway.
The commentators take us back to Thunder to show Goldberg missing a spear on KroniK and hitting the ring-post. Unlike that Saudi show where he legit concussed himself doing that, this is a kayfabe injury that he’s carrying, I assume. Madden confirms the ring post is fine and in use tonight, and I did chuckle a little. I get reminded here that Goldberg’s current story is that he must retire if he loses a match, as they desperately try to recreate the buzz he had with his original streak. Yeesh, talk about pathetic.
KroniK are backstage signing contracts for their match, but they tell the Nevada commissioners that they are confident Goldberg won’t be turning up tonight. That’s it.
The Perfect Event (Chuck Palumbo & Shawn Stasiak) vs Misfits In Action (Corporal Cajun & Lt Loco)
Yes, Palumbo and Stasiak are part of the Natural Born Thrillers, but this is their own little tag team. Yes, I know that’s stupid. Cajun better known as Lash LeRoux, and Loco is Chavo Guerrero. This match was thrown together and not pre-advertised, as Schiavone outlines. There’s another eight matches after this, so it isn’t like they should need filler. More likely they needed to buy time for some reason.
A brawl to start, the faces with pop-up stereo drop-kicks, then a toe-hold/drop-kick double team to Stasiak. Loco and Stasiak to start properly, and Chavo knocking Stasiak around, in fairness to him. Stasiak able to tag in Palumbo, and he eats a drop-kick from Loco that has super elevation, then a reverse suplex. Cajun in with a springboard elbow drop, then a suplex. Simple stuff, but simple can be good. Faces getting in a surprising amount of offence here, with Cajun hitting a clothesline from the second rope now. Loco in, and the Event take control with an ugly dump over the top rope where Chavo hit the rope and was spinning on the down. Stasiak in, and a beatdown commences. But now the heels are arguing with each other about what moves to do, Cajun in with a drop-kick that knocks Chuck to Shawn, but the heels maintain control.
Big double flapjack sends Loco flying and then crashing. Obviously whiffed stomp from Stasiak, who then struggles to get Loco up for a gutwrench powerbomb. He does hit it though, but nothing doing yet. Palumbo in, Fallaway Slam, shots in the corner, then a big belly-to-belly. Palumbo can go, better than Stasiak anyway. Stasiak in, looking for a press-slam, but the counter into some kind of falldown DDT looks really ugly. Hot tag to Cajun who clears house briefly, before Stasiak floors him from behind. Cajun now in-peril, getting a beatdown from Stasiak and a sleeper from Palumbo. One arm drop, two, but fighting back on three. Palumbo just locks it again, and this has gone from OK-to-good, to now being a bit dull.
Cajun out of it and hits a springboard facebuster which looked a little awkward. “That was poetry in motion” says Madden. You wish pal. Loco in, big drop-kick to Stasiak, DDT to Palumbo, and things break down. Heels on top, until Palumbo accidentally hits Stasiak with a superkick, which was so telegraphed in the moments leading up to it I’m surprised you didn’t hear them call the spot. Loco hits a Tornado DDT on Stasiak from the top as Cajun dumps Palumbo out, and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in just under nine-and-a-half.
Winners: Loco and Cajun, get these two out of there and into a better company.
Verdict: Some clumsy moments that all involved Stasiak, but the other three were great. Good back-and-forth, Chavo and Palumbo especially looked great. Better than I thought it would be.
We cut backstage quick to Konnan, Kidman and Mysterio. Konnan is hurt, but he is heading out for his match regardless. 10 seconds this backstage segment was I think. What’s the point?
The Franchise & Torrie Wilson vs Konnan & the Tygress (Mixed Tag Team)
Wilson out in a Wonder Woman outfit that is definitely not designed to emphasise female empowerment. Tygress is a Nitro Girl who wrestled 13 matches total in her career. Thinking on it, Douglas must be considered one of the biggest names from this era who never turned back up in the Fed in some capacity. Franchise on the mike beforehand, says that Konnan is too stupid to know to stay down when he is beat. No chance that he can take his and Wilson’s title of the first couple of wrestling. Is that right? If he still wants after his beating earlier, Konnan is welcome to “get your ass Franchised”. Yeesh. Tygress, out alone, on the mike in response, says she will kick both of their asses. Wilson takes her down, and she gives Franchise a prone kick to the balls. Starting as we mean to go on I assume.
Tygress stomping on Wilson, then gets yanked back by the hair from Franchise. The heels proceed to beat her down. Setting up a double uranage, but here comes Konnan for the save. Douglas takes him down, but Konnan back with a double clothesline. Roll through clothesline to Franchise, then very awkward stereo wrecking-ball drop-kicks to the heels on the outside. Back in and an actual tag match breaks out, with Konnan working over Douglas, then Tygress in with wrist-lock chains of all things. Franchise worked over in the corner for a bit, Wilson too scared to get involved, and Tygress keeps slapping on those wrist-locks, until Douglas just chops her down. At least it is actual inter-gender wrestling.
Konnan trying to make the save but Little Naitch preventing him. Wilson in to work over Tygress, but takes a very low kick on a corner charge. Facebuster for two – “You won’t beat Wonder Woman that easy” – and in comes Franchise to knock Tygress down so Wilson can give her the world’s worst choke. Franchise in to lock on a Camel Clutch, as commentary argues over what it should be called. Reverse hammerlock from Douglas, but Tygress able to roll through it and knock Franchise out. They have to do the “through the legs for the tag” spot twice as they are in the wrong position, and Konnan in to take Douglas down a bit, including a DDT. Wilson breaks up the pin with a rake to the eyes, and Tygress comes in to take her out as Konnan lays in elevated punches. Crowd popping for this.
Tygress hits a Broncho Buster on Wilson and Charles Robinson, who ended up on top of Wilson somehow, to surprisingly few cheers, except from Madden. Wilson hits Konnan with the Franchise move – a jaw breaker essentially – but Tygress breaks it up. Wilson sent out, double facebuster, and Konnan pins Franchise in just under eight-and-a-half.
Winners: Konnan and Tygress, that iconic combinaitoon.
Verdict: Surprised to see some actual inter-gender wrestling here, even if it wass basic. No real catfighting either, despite my fears when I saw Wilson’s outfit. Neither Douglas or Konnan were capable of much right now, but this was better than I thought it would be.
They barely have time to raise Konnan and Tygress’ hands when we cut backstage, where Mean Gene is with David Flair and some guys in labcoats. He’s going to beat up Buff Bagwell tonight, get his blood, and use the labcoated guys behind him to determine if Bagwell is the father of girlfriend Stacey Kiebler’s unborn child. Final results to be revealed on Nitro of course. Wow, this storyline. Flair might look like his Dad, but he’s missing some of his promo skill, that’s for sure. This soap storyline needs some over-acting, not this humdrum delivery. No sign of Kiebler.
Buff Bagwell vs David Flair (DNA Match)
Bagwell on the mike ahead of Flair’s entrance, say’s we’re going to find out if the “Buff Daddy is the real Daddy”. Wait, he wants to find out? Why are we having this match then? He says “Little Flair” is in trouble, and he’s going to whip his ass right here tonight. The point of this? Out comes Flair, holding some kind of bag that Madden calls a “DNA Collecting Kit”. “While we’re here, why don’t we check your DNA?” he asks of Schiavone. What? Does Madden know what a DNA test is? Anyway, while billed as a “DNA Match”, this is really a First Blood match, though I don’t think the people in the arena actually know that.
Buff starts out by giving Flair the finger, perhaps out of scorn for his choice to wrestle in jeans. Scoop Slam, Bagwell whipping out some Flair taunts. Swinging neckbreaker as the commentators debate the purity of Stacey Kiebler, but of course. Flair tries a Sunset Flip, but Bagwell resists and lands a punch to the head. You’d think given the stipulation there would be more of that. Flair able to land a turnbuckle flip and then a rubbish clothesline, before getting press slammed. Buff with clotheslines of his own, then elevated punches in the corner as the crowd chants along and Flair over-sells to the extreme. Who is the heel here again?
Bagwell plays puppet with Flair’s arms only to get a butt to the head. Dumped outside, and they keep talking about what a horrible day “September 11th” was for David Flair, because Kiebler left him at the altar that day, and man that rings wrong in 2020. Flair exposes some concrete, maybe looking for a piledriver that gets zero heat from the audience, but Bagwell counters with a back body-drop. Bagwell sent into the barricade, Flair grabs a chair but Bagwell dodges. Back in, Bagwell with a rope crotch, and nails Flair with an unprotected head shot with the chair, that knocks Flair out again. Weird ending sequence where Flair is bleeding, the ref takes a while to see it, and it’s only after Bagwell hits a Blockbuster that the match is called, in just over five-and-a-half. Why do it that way?
Winner: I’ve seen plenty of a younger “Marcus Alexander Bagwell” recently, and it is sad to see what he turned into. Just another muscled up nothing.
Verdict: The sad fact is that David Flair wasn’t ready for this position, and it shows in the ring. He never would be ready either, God rest his soul. Bagwell can at least go a bit, but the mismatch is reflected in the short length. The finish was a mess. Starrcade 1986 had a better example of this gimmick.
Suddenly Lex Luger is heading to the ring. He gives Bagwell a hug, and then attacks him. Beatdown on the outside as Schiavone asks “How many times is Luger going to turn on people in WCW?” Not many more Tony. Bagwell is bleeding from the mouth, Flair grabs a sample and books it. Backstage, he tells cameras that we’ll find out the answer tomorrow, as he gives the sample to the labcoats. As I recall this whole storyline would be dropped suddenly without resolution, and Flair didn’t have much time left with the company.
Goldberg is spotted backstage, and we cut from that main event development to listen to Scott Steiner scream incoherently about Booker T. If it ain’t Steiner Math, it ain’t nothing.
Mike Sanders w/Chuck Palumbo & Shawn Stasiak vs The Cat w/Ms Jones (non-title) (Three Round Kickboxing Match) (WCW Commissionership)
This is overbooked before it starts. Sanders is the Cruiserweight Champ for some reason, and on the mike ahead of Cat’s entrance to run down the crowd and Cat. This won’t be a Rumble in the Jungle, or Thrilla in Manilla, he’s just going to kick Cat’s ass. OK. Cat out, on the mike to say he is here to “whoop your ass”. Scintillating stuff altogether. So yes, these two are in a dispute about the Commissionership of the company, with Sanders responsible for some of those Dusty finishes mentioned earlier. A reminder that WWF was also doing some Commissioner drama around this time, so guess where WCW is getting the ideas from? Why are they settling in this way, with two minute rounds and a Last Man Standing victory condition? Who knows, commentators ain’t telling. We have stools in the corner and everything, and an amazing moment where Cat has to remove his own one with gloved hands when Jones doesn’t do it for him.
Round one: a few missed swings, then Cat in hard and floors Sanders with a kick to the head. Sanders up at 8. We’re reminded that Cat is a “Three time karate world champion”, and I’ve looked that up and found no evidence for it, so must assume it’s kayfabe. As I recall Cat did get his start after teaching Eric Bischoff’s son martial arts. Sweep of the leg sends Sanders down again, and he gets up at 9 this time. A few more swings and that’s the round. Madden doing an amazing job at acting like Sanders is the plucky underdog “winning on points”.
Round two: Madden describes Sanders as “greased lightning” as Cat backs Sanders up in the corner. Another leg sweep, Sanders up at 8, as commentary bickers about who is winning (it’s Cat). Takedown, Rhodes punch, and awkward moment where the camera catches Sanders up-close not selling. Sanders up at 9, as Palumbo and Stasiak argue about throwing in the towel. The crowd more into the ring girl walking around with the round marker. Shane Douglas turns up at ringside at the end of the second round to confer with the Perfect Event.
Round three: Referee on the outside arguing with the Thrillers and Franchise, Cat beating down Sanders, and hits an admittedly badass looking capoeira kick. Franchise says something to Sanders before Cat in to continue the beatdown. The Thrillers up to the apron to distract the ref, Franchise nails Cat with a chain, and that’s worth nine. The round clock expires, but apparently there is no judges decision possible so they keep going. Cat floors Sanders again, then brawling with Franchise on the outside. Ref is counting, but it turns out it’s for Cat being on the outside, and that’s a ten count in just over six I suppose?
Winner (and new WCW Commisioner): Mike Sanders, God help us
Verdict: Good Lord, what a mess. Ridiculous over-booked finish ended what was a stupid-ass match.
Straight backstage with Goldberg and a guy who looks like the spitting image of Joey Styles, but it can’t be, right? Goldberg says he is ready to go. Elsewhere, Mean Gene is with KroniK, and they say they are getting paid no matter if Goldberg fights tonight. They seem very insistent on that point. Who cares?
Mike Awesome vs Vampiro
Awesome in his 70’s dude get-up here, and hard to believe that is not the worst gimmick of his all-too-brief WCW career: as I recall it is literally just “That 70’s Show is popular right now, lets slap some groovy threads on this guy”. They show footage of him beating Sting in a hardcore match a month previously as if it means anything. More recently Vampiro beat Crowbar in a hardcore match, with the same table spot we saw earlier with A-WOL and Reno. No explanation of why these two are fighting tonight. Vampiro milks a lengthy entrance, and the crowd is into it. On the mike beforehand, says that Awesome has a title shot on Nitro tomorrow, and challenges Awesome to put it on the line if he’s such a big man. Awesome agrees, because he is stupid.
Exchanging shots, dueling shoulder blocks, some awkward counter chains that includes a clothesline to the back from Vampiro, and isn’t that just a bad idea? Vampiro out, and Awesome hits an over-the-top tope to his credit, though the landing is awkward. Vampiro up a bit too quick, dumped into the crowd on a charge. Crowd brawling, because this show wants to showcase all of the worst aspects of wrestling equally. Vampiro grabs a cane from someone and nails Awesome, then does the same with a soda and that’s the signal for a fan to throw a headbutt at Awesome. Security moves in a few seconds, but too late to save this guy from taking a few hits from both Awesome and Vampiro, who then awkwardly resume their match. That’s what happens with the crowd brawl sometimes.
Back to ringside, Vampiro with a clothesline off the announce desk, both men have chairs in the ring, and smashing back and forth against each other. Eventually Awesome’s chair knocked away, and Vampiro able to hit something that looks like a rubbish Van Daminator. Madden claiming these two are putting it all on the line, and I really don’t think they are, unless you mean their physicial well-being. Vampiro with chops in the corner, Awesome back with shots, eats a boot on a charge, then takes one of the worst-looking clotheslines I have ever seen. “He seems a little out of gas”. I’ll say.
Awesome to the top, Vampiro follows, and hits what I can only describe as a throw, awkward landing from both men, Awesome on his shoulder and Vampiro on his leg. Sloppy stuff from both guys so far, has to be said. Vampiro to the top, and hits what I assume is meant to be a sit-down slam, but whoever is at fault, or both, Vampiro just jumps groin-first into Awesome who collapses. They try to cover by saying Awesome countered into a powerbomb, but if that was the idea it didn’t come off. Awesome grabs a table, throws it at Vampiro against whom it just bounces off because that’s what happens with these tables so you shouldn’t do that. It breaks in the process. Crowd deader than dead as Schiavone says the ref is being very lenient. Vampiro hits a Driver, goes outside to look for something, but them seems to change his mind and goes back in. More stiff clotheslines, to the outside again for brawling, Awesome hits a sit out powerbomb and the ref counts a two, so this is Falls Count Anywhere now?
Back in, Awesome to the top, Vampiro intercepts, low blow from Awesome, and he hits an Avalanche Awesome Bomb that looks rough AF. Apparently the finish was meant to be the same move through the table, but of course they had broken it earlier. Schiavone sells it hard, steals JR’s “They killed him” line, and that’s it in just under ten.
Winner: Mike Awesome, soon to go to another gimmick change.
Verdict: Messy, dangerous stuff from both guys. Very indicative of the reckless style that kept happening in WCW at the time, and all for a match and feud that had no heat. Rightly regarded as one of the worst matches from WCW’s death spiral phase. Vampiro was legit injured here, and after wrestling the next night – where he took another powerbomb for some godforsaken reason – never appeared in WCW again.
We cut immediately, and I mean immediately, to Mean Gene with General Rection and the Misfits. He’s come back from injury to get the US Title, and lists off all the names he has wrestled under, because this is late-era WCW. Back in the ring, Vampiro is still being helped out as we see footage of the Awesome Bomb, and Vampiro’s head just slammed off the mat. “Bounced” doesn’t do it justice.
Some poor unfortunate is at ringside with his wife after winning a lottery. Deary me, that’s a prize I wouldn’t have minded giving to the second place person.
Lance Storm (c) & Jim Duggan (Team Canada) vs General Rection (WCW United States Championship)
This is back when Storm slapped a Canadian flag on the US Title, because they are America’s greatest enemy, and Hacksaw became Canadian Duggan. Team Canada out with Major Gunns in a Maple Leaf bikini, which seems out of place with Storm’s “If I could be serious for a minute” schtick. Storm on the mike, says it is sad when a man can’t admit he’s beaten. Never say die is American propaganda, and Storm can’t be beat because he’s from Calgary. Time for “Oh, Canada”, but of course it is interrupted, and I have to give Storm credit for the comically furious look on his face when Rection comes out waving the Stars and Stripes. The ref makes sure to remove Duggan’s customary two-by-four – “That’s Canadian maplewood!” – and we start with a thunderous “USA” chant.
Duggan and Rection (what an awful ring name) to start, trading shots, and Duggan awkwardly clotheslined out. Storm in to take an enormous back body-drop, lots of clotheslines, and Rection now left alone in the ring while Team Canada regroup. Eventually Storm in, poke to the eye, chops in the corner that Rection no-sells, then some of the American variety. Elevated punches, but eventually Storm out of it with an Inverted Atomic Drop. Duggan in, strikes, Storm in, and he takes another big back body-drop, this time to the outside. Rection out soon after on a drawbridge spot, brief beatdown, as Storm rages against the “USA” chants. Duggan with mounted punches, squares up to the ref for some reason, then back to the beatdown. It has heat this one, with the crowd the most engaged that they have been all night.
Storm in, Rection trying to mount a comeback but cut off with a superkick for two. Duggan in, Schiavone says that Team Canada wants to humiliate the United States, and the best way to do that is beat General Rection, which seems like a reach. Delay Scoop Slam from Duggan, awkward charge and both men down off of a double clothesline. Camera makes sure we get to see a good bit of the Major Gunns’ chest throughout, don’t you worry. Storm in, sleeper, but Rection out of it eventually. Duggan in, but hit accidentally by Storm. Scoop Slam to Storm, corner charge to Duggan, and Rection looks gassed.
Storm running rings around Rection, but Rection out of the Maple Leaf, then hits another Scoop Slam. Duggan hits Storm by accident this time, some leapfrog chains, and the ref takes a bump. Duggan hits a piledriver, but no ref to count for a bit, and when there is Rection gives us a rubbish kick-out where Duggan rolls onto the ref for another bump, good grief. It’s treason season at ringside as Major Gunns stops Elix Skipper from interfering on Team Canada’s behalf, then distracts Storm long enough for Rection to hit a totally whiffed moonsault in the ring and pin Duggan in just under ten I think.
Winner (and the new WCW United States Champion): General Rection, soon to see the end of his notable in-ring career.
Verdict: Another overbooked mess. Rection has, like, five minutes in him tops, and Storm isn’t capable of carrying both him and Duggan to a good match. Hence more swerves.
The crowd is happy at least. A promo for an upcoming show, and JJ is backstage. Calls the interviewer a “slapnut”. Says Sting is evolving from a nobody to a has-been to a never-was. That makes no sense. A video package shows Jarrett getting made-up in Sting’s old style, and Sting ain’t gonna take that, no sir. This whole bit is edited so bizarrely, from the short interview, to the very short video package, that ended so suddenly and went straight to entrances that it initially seemed like they were still part of the video package. No one seems to know what they are doing backstage, and things move so fast it’s like they are worried they are going to run out of time tonight. They still have 50 minutes, so a repeat of Halloween Havoc 1998 is unlikely.
Jeff Jarrett vs Sting
JJ very much at his apogee stage in WCW, but he wasn’t in anyway the guy to save the sinking ship. And as for Sting, well, it was pretty much a paycheck for him at the time, right? Sting attacks Jarrett at ringside to start, and even though there is no one in the ring the bell rings. Amateur hour: it’s such a small thing but says volumes about how clownshoes the set-up is tonight. Brawling up the ramp, then into the ring. Hard shot floors Jarrett, Stinger Splash in the corner, Inverted Atomic Drop, and Jarrett sent out. Crowd very happy, then suddenly Sting is on the entrance ramp. But wait, that’s not Sting! It’s some guy dressed up in Sting’s old bright colours. Black and White Sting is displeased, fighting Fake Sting on the ramp, and hits the Scorpion Death Drop. This allows Jarrett to get in a sneak attack, and he and Sting are now brawling through the crowd. Yawn.
Another Sting, now in purple get-up, suddenly appears to confront Real Sting, after Jarrett gets suplexed on the concrete, which is barely noted. Madden wonders who the real Sting is. Into the ringside area, Purple Sting into the ring, trading shots with Real Sting, and Purple Sting not able to get himself over the rope on a throw-out spot, so they have to repeat it on the other side. Fighting up the ramp again, Purple Sting getting chucked around while Jarrett watches from the ring. Scorpion Death Drop, WOOO, and Real Sting heading to the ring. Overbooked tripe.
Back to the ring, but before anything can happen we have another fake Sting, this one in the old Wolfpac red colour, because WCW could never let go of the NWO. Real Sting attacks, grabs Red Sting’s baseball bat for a shot to the leg, back up the ramp and, you guessed it, another Scorpion Death Drop. Jarrett attacks from behind again, this time with the baseball bat. Refs watching this and seemingly happy, so I guess this is a hardcore match now. Suplex, brawling down to ringside, Jarrett with a chair shot. Into the ring for a two count, JJ locks on a sleeper, gets a count of two, but Sting battling back before three, and hits a back body-drop.
Trading shots, Sting no-selling corner smashes, flooring JJ repeatedly, and Jarrett gets nothing on a drop-kick. Sting locks on a Scorpion Death Lock, and then suddenly a fourth fake Sting comes up from beneath the ring, and drags Real Sting down. Real Sting comes back up soon enough, and throws Fake Sting #4 out. What a mess. Stinger Splash, again, looking for the Death Drop and the lights go out. Let me guess. It’s another Sting, this one descending from the rafters. Fake Sting #5 gets beaten up, and gets the Death Drop through the announce table. Stevie Ray keeps saying “This man is dead Tony”.
Into the ring, Death Lock on Jarrett, then I think Fake Sting #4 gives Sting a guitar shot. Sting no-sells, another Death Drop, then Jarrett from behind with another guitar, because you might as well I suppose. This time, with the ring saturated in guitar bits, it is enough, in 14-and-a-half on the dot.
Winner: Nobody. JJ’s hand was raised, but there are no winners in this incomprehensible rubbish.
Verdict: An insultingly stupid match. A complete disaster. Russomania running wild. Nothing Sting could do to save this, and of course Jarrett walks off with the win.
I wonder who all of the Fake Sting’s were. “Where we going next?” asks Schiavone, with a tone of sheer dread. It’s backstage where Booker T is interviewed. Interviewer says he’s facing Steiner next, but she understands he has something he wants to say to Goldberg. Booker responds by saying “No, let’s talk about Big Poppa Pump”. Amazing coordination here. Steiner can come get some, and Booker is going to go buy Goldberg some time because he respects him so much.
Short video package for the title match. Steiner, roided up to the utmost right now, has been wrecking dressing rooms and people, and wants to win a world title for the first time. After a replay of Fake Sting #4 and Fake Sting #5, we get to it. Michael Buffet out to introduce the two of them, making sure to get every last drop he can get out of WCW.
Booker T (c) vs Scott Steiner w/Midajah (WCW World Heavyweight Championship)
Booker’s favour to Goldberg is the explanation as to why this match is not the main event, and man that is dumb as a pile of rocks isn’t it? Booker is, at this time, a three time, three time, three time, WCW Champion. Backstage, Steiner attacks someone at “Go Position”, because he was expecting to go on last. Might as well get it over with now. Steiner jawing with some fans ringside, and I note that the show total has only 26 minutes left, so this or the main event is going short.
Booker trying to get the crowd going with a clap, and it works to an extent. The difference in body language between him and Steiner speaks volumes about who is more invested in the company at this point. Lock up, Steiner sends Booker down. Chops in the corner, Booker back with an elbow to the head, then a flying forearm for two. Steiner to the outside, jawing with the crowd again, and into the crowd he goes, struggling to get over the barricade. Security looks genuinely freaked when he does this, so I presume it’s an improv.
Back in, Steiner sends Booker down again, mounted punches, shoulder block, leapfrog chain (and rest assured it is Booker doing the leaping) and the champ hits a heel kick for two. Elevated punches, and I note that they have had to tape up the ring where Fake Sting came up. Booker clotheslined out, ringside brawling, Steiner grabs a chair and nails Booker in the back with it, and with no DQ I assume this is also a hardcore match now. Into the crowd but only for a few seconds, as Steiner again struggles to get over the barricade. I think it’s because his upper body is so rigid. Hilariously Steiner rolls in briefly to stop a count, because that’s the one rule they are enforcing. Case in point, Booker is put through the announce table with a weak looking slam seconds later, no DQ.
Steiner jawing with Stevie Ray as his brother lies at his feet, and back in, mercifully. Stiff clothesline from Steiner, an elbow for two, and Steiner briefly chokes out Little Naitch as part of his “I’m angry as hell” gimmick. Terrible looking Bow and Arrow, Booker reverses it and hits a neckbreaker. Looking for the Scissors Kick, but Steiner back with a clothesline. Booker set-up on the top, and Steiner hits an Avalanche Samoan Drop, following that with some push-ups while Madden gushes at ringside. Steiner has to take it easy for a while after so much exertion, so settles for some corner chops. When Booker goes for some himself, Steiner hits a sneaky low-blow, and I don’t know if the ref doesn’t notice or doesn’t care.
Belly-to-belly gets two, Booker leapfrogs a charge and Steiner crashes out. Whipped into the barricade, but straight back with an awkward clothesline to the back, don’t think that spot was called. Back in, Booker gets two off a roll-up, then hits a reverse kick. Booker to the top, intercepted by a no-selling Steiner, Booker punches him off, but Midajah crotches Booker before he can do anything. Steiner back to the top, pushed off again because we’re just repeating spots here, and Booker hits a missile drop-kick for two. Axe Kick connects, Booker hurts himself in the process and can’t go for the pin. Midajah throws Steiner a pipe, Steiner gets a shot in and then beats up the ref for some reason. Double Underhook Powerbomb, Steiner Recliner, and that looks weak as hell. Another ref in, and Steiner gives him a suplex. “Why is he doing this?” Good question Tony. Another ref in and now of all times he’s seen enough, hilariously calling for the bell in 13.
Winner (by DQ) (and still WCW World Heavyweight Champion): Booker T, in a rare moment of justice for WCW.
Verdict: Slow, plodding, dull, and that was just Steiner. Booker is leaps and bounds above him. Match made no sense in terms of rules, and anything it had was ruined by the non-finish.
Steiner beating up every ref and security guy who comes to the ring with the pipe, with one guy flinging himself out of the ring like Michaels against Hogan. A few chair shots to Booker, Stevie Ray getting in Steiner’s face, Jarrett is out now to try and calm Steiner down (of all people). Steiner celebrates in the ring for some reason, out with a pipe for another shot at Booker as security awkwardly try and stop him, and then he and Midajah just walk off. Imagine paying money for this show?
A video package for our main event follows. KroniK have been beating up lots of people while sporting Matrix-writing backgrounds, but Goldberg isn’t going to take it, for some reason. As stated Goldberg must retire the next time he loses. Rubbish package.
KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) vs Goldberg (Handicap Elimination Match)
Here KroniK are, main-eventing a show less than a year from becoming a wrestling embarrassment in WWE. Adams on the mike beforehand, like every heel tonight, insisting Goldberg isn’t going to show. They demand the ref declare them the winners. Backstage, the commission declares Goldberg cleared, so here he comes.
KroniK attacking from the bell, and I note that there is barely four minutes left in the broadcast. No tag rules here it seems, as Adams and Clark commence a beatdown. Goldberg dumped out, ringside brawling, back in and Goldberg floored on a double shoulder block. Adams grabs a table as Clark hits a DDT. Set-up in the corner, KroniK looking for the double clothesline through it, but Goldberg battles out. Kick to Adams sends him out, Goldberg reverses out of a Clark suplex, and spears him through the table for the first pin in two-and-a-half. Adams in, and hits a Full Nelson Slam for two. Goldberg up in no time, leapfrogs a charge, and hits a spear. Jackhammer and that will be all in just over three-and-a-half.
Winner: Who else? 14-0 now, if you care, though I think he was jumping from 7 to 12 recently with no shows in-between.
Verdict: The standard Goldberg match times two. KroniK were meant to be one of the company’s hottest acts at the time, and they buried them here to try and prop up Goldberg’s ailing star power.
We have 15 seconds or so at the end for Goldberg to get his hand raised and that is it.
Best Match: I suppose the opening tag, even if there were a good few hairy spots.
Best Wrestler: There were a handful of guys trying harder than the show deserved, but I will give it to Booker T, who has earned his spot in the upper card well and truly.
Worst Match: So many options, but I’ll plump for Sting/Jarrett, which was just a train wreck in every sense of the term.
Worst Wrestler: Could say Stasiak, Vampiro, Awesome, Steiner, Flair, Duggan. There’s too many to choose from. The worst wrestler tonight is WCW.
Overall Verdict: You have to call your shots a bit as WCW was in its death throws, it just didn’t realise it yet. A couple of matches were OK, the rest were varying degrees of awful for different reasons. Not the worst show the company ever did, but it was close. Avoid.
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