Saturday 3 December 2016

WCW Halloween Havoc 1996 Review

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Good Morning to you pagans and non-believers to another holier than thou edition to the only wrestling review series that is more blessed than the peacemakers: Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews! December is here which means that Christmas will soon be upon us and TLC for that matter. To give you a break from complaining at the current product, why not go back to a simpler time in wrestling? A time where the NWO were running rampant over WCW and the only man that could stop the evil faction was The Macho Man Randy Savage. Yes, you read the title correct, this is a review for WCW’s Halloween Havoc 1996! The Outsiders are challenging Harlem Heat for the tag team championships, Rey Mysterio is facing off against Dean Malenko for the cruiserweight championship and we shall also see the likes of Luge, Anderson, Syxx and Chris Jericho. So, bow down to your new God as I take you back to Halloween Havoc 1996!

Opening Promo

We are greeted by a montage of the NWO crippling Macho Man but all hope is not lost as Savage has a chance to take the championship away from Hogan. The music playing over the promo package is Marc Mero’s theme which brings me back to the days where I would play my n64 and WWF Attitude. Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan run down the card and question whether Savage can take out Hogan.

(WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match) Dean Malenko vs Rey Mysterio ©

Rey had beaten Malenko for the championship a few months back with Rey calling out Malenko saying Mysterio is ready for Malenko whenever he wants his rematch. The rematch is tonight, Malenko comes to the ring holding a mask from Mysterio. Malenko immediately jumps Mysterio and drills Mysterio with a back suplex. Spinebuster and Texas Cloverleaf attempt by Malenko, Mysterio kicks out of the hold but Mysterio is shaken.

 Malenko goes right to the arm, Mysterio sweeps the legs and both men trade counters. Mysterio looked for a hurricanrana but Malenko shoved off Mysterio but Mysterio drop toe holds Malenko and scores with a headscissors takedown. Malenko powders, Mysterio springboard dropkicks Malenko and scores with a tope con hilo. Mysterio takes back the mask that Malenko stole and Mysterio wears the returned mask. Ten punches by Mysterio in the counter, Malenko is caught in a victory roll for a two. 

Malenko counters a headscissors for a sidewalk slam, front suplex onto the ropes by Malenko. Mysterio clutches his knee, scoop slam by Malenko. Single leg Boston crab by Malenko, Malenko places Mysterio on the top rope. Back superplex for a two count, snapmare and a headscissors submission hold.

Mysterio rolls to the ropes, delayed vertical suplex by Malenko. Two count  for Malenko, Mysterio has a small package for a two count, Malenko pops up and dropkicks Mysterio in the back of the head. Backbreaker into a camel clutch by Malenko, tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Malenko. Malenko rams Mysterio into the ring apron, snapmare and elbow drop by the challenger.

 Sleeper hold by Malenko, Malenko uses a bodyscissors for extra pressure, Mysterio tries to escape but Malenko jerks Mysterio to the canvas. Another sleeper by the challenger, huge knee to the ribs by Mysterio. Belly to belly suplex by Malenko gets a two count. Variation of an abdominal stretch by Malenko, Malenko forearms Mysterio in the corner.

 Mysterio and Malenko are on the top rope where both men pummel one another and fall to the floor. Mysterio and Malenko trade bombs but Malenko overpowers Mysterio.

Mysterio nails a springboard senton, la magistral for a two count. Mysterio takes the arm and looks for a hurricanrana, standing switch with Mysterio looking for a pin and Malenko powers out. Stiff clothesline by Malenko, another suplex by Malenko. Mysterio manages to kick out at two! 

Mysterio sidesteps Malenko to the floor, springboard tornillo by Mysterio. Mysterio nails a hurricanrana for a two count, Mysterio looks for The West Coast Pop. Malenko counters for a powerbomb, two count for the challenger. Malenko has Mysterio on the top rope, Mysterio is looking for a frankensteiner but Malenko scores with a gutwrench powerbomb for the win.

Tremendous opening match, the stereotype seems to be true when it comes to WCW. The cruiserweights were the opening matches and boy, they stole the show almost every time. Malenko and Mysterio were great together, so many counters and high-flying manoeuvres. 

Mysterio is such a ball of energy, the crowd is blown away by everything that the man does and Malenko is so believable as the ruthless, menacing heel who wants back his championship. I would gladly watch those two go at it again, great match from the two best in the division at that time!

Winner: Malenko over Mysterio via Gutwrench Powerbomb from the second rope!

(Battle for the ring) DDP vs Eddie Guerrero

DDP is your cigar-smoking, finger-gesturing heel while Eddie Guerrero is fighting for pride due to DDP’s attacks on Eddie and DDP’s decimation of Chavo on pay per view. DDP and Eddie begin brawling on the floor, DDP hurls Eddie into the barricade. It seems DDP has a plan to work the arm, Eddie tees off with an arm drag and a hammerlock. Side headlock by Eddie, DDP eats a knee from Eddie. DDP changes the momentum with a front chancery on Eddie, Eddie battles out and dropkicks Page into the ropes.

 DDP is kicked to the floor, huge chop and Irish whip by Eddie. DDP Irish whips Eddie into the corner before dropping Eddie balls first onto the top rope. DDP lands a double axe handle on the floor, DDP talks trash and kicks Eddie on the floor. DDP puts his feet on the ropes to try and steal a win but Nick Patrick catches DDP. Flapjack by DDP, elbow to the groin. Gutwrench backbreaker by DDP, cover for DDP.

Abdominal stretch by DDP, DDP is flipped by Eddie but DDP regains control with a jawbreaker. Tilt-a-whirl sidewalk slam by DDP, DDP shoves Patrick and Patrick shoves back DDP. Eddie rakes the eyes but DDP lowbridges Eddie. Eddie slips out of a gutwrench for a victory roll, Eddie gets a two count before both men trade pins. Huge clothesline by DDP, Eddie dropkicks DDP and trips up DDP. Right hands by Eddie, uppercut floors DDP.

 Eddie dives to the floor with a crossbody with Eddie hitting his knees hard. DDP is on the apron, hotshot by DDP. Styles Clash by DDP for a two count, Spiral Bomb by DDP. Diamond Cutter by DDP and the match is over. That was an ok match, Eddie was as bland as bland could be in this match, no charisma or fire from Eddie in this match. DDP was not much better, it is better we just move on from this match.

Winner: DDP over Eddie via Diamond Cutter!

Jarrett/Savage/Malenko Promo

Ric Flair was meant to face The Giant but Flair was injured by The New World Order so Jeff Jarrett will step up to face The Giant. We also have Randy Savage announcing the winner of a Slim Jim contest where the prize was a monster truck. I am not kidding, they give away a monster truck in a competition with the winner being announced live on pay per view. Malenko says bring it on, it does not matter because the cruiserweight championship will be staying around Malenko’s waist.

Jeff Jarrett vs The Giant

Jarrett looks fabulously pretentious in his outfit like that kid who is always wearing shorts during college when it is pissing rain (Fuck you Steve…. Sorry you had to see that). Flair is in the corner of Jarrett so that is the endorsement of a lifetime. Giant shoves Jarrett who struts in response, big punches by Jarrett which piss off Giant.

 Giant hurls Jarrett to the mat after Jarrett attempts a side headlock. Jarrett shoulder thrusts Giant who stops and flings Jarrett across the ring. Jarrett tries whipping Giant, Giant whips Jarrett but Jarrett uses his quickness for a sleeper. Giant shakes off Jarrett, Jarrett ten punches Giant.

Big boot by The Giant, cover and it is a two. Flair has a chair as Giant headbutts Jarrett down south. Backbreaker by Giant, Flair has a microphone and Giant is distracted but Giant continues clubbing Jarrett. 

Giant catches Jarrett, multiple rib breakers with Jarrett collapsing to the canvas. Bearhug by The Giant, Jarrett bites Giant to break free. Dropkick by Jarrett, Giant falls on Jarrett after Jarrett attempted a slam. Jarrett crossbodys Giant for a one count, Jarrett looks for a Figure Four, Giant shoves Jarrett to the floor with ease.

Jarrett avoids a splash from Giant and Giant recovers to attempt a Chokeslam. Flair low blows Giant and the match ends in a DQ. Awful match, Giant’s matches are hard to watch, Giant is so green and it so apparent that you feel bad for the guy. Giant is big but is being pushed way too hard. Jarrett did his best but when all you can do is punch, you are going for an entertaining match.

Giant over Jarrett via DQ!

Syxx vs Chris Jericho

The first appearance of the former 1-2-3 Kid of WWF fame. We have Virgil and Ted Dibiase introducing X-Pac. I like how the NWO guys make their entrance from the crowd, it keeps up the idea that these men are outsiders and a separate entity to WCW. Jericho takes down Syxx to begin the match, lock up and side headlock by Syxx. Switch to hammerlock position, shoulder block by Syxx.

 Jericho dodges a spinning heel kick and we reset. Shoulder blo k by Jericho, monkey flip and arm drags by Jericho. Jericho kicks Syxx hard in the chest, huge chops by Jericho and a corner clothesline. Syxx turns the tide by dropkicking Jericho to the floor, tope con hilo by Syxx. Syxx stomps all over Jericho, huge chops by Syxx.

Spinning heel kick by Syxx, snapmare and a reverse chinlock. Huge kick to the face by Syxx, Syxx chokes Jericho with his boot before dropping an elbow onto Jericho’s throat. Jericho fires up on Syxx, spinning heel kick by Jericho. Springboard plancha by Jericho, hard Irish whip for Syxx. Back elbow by Jericho for two, Syxx hotshots Jericho into the top turnbuckle and climbs to the top rope. Jericho swats Syxx in mid-air with a dropkick. 

Flapjack and Lionsault by Jericho, cover and a two count for Jericho. Springboard crossbody by Jericho but Patrick counts slow. Jericho is distracted and Syxx nails a spinning heel kick for the pin-fall. Another ok match, Jericho looked ok while Syxx looked a bit better in his debut pay per view match. Nothing memorable and you might as well have skipped this match.

Syxx over Jericho via spinning heel kick!

Arn Anderson vs Lex Luger

Lex Luger was blamed for The Horsemen’s loss in The War Games Match by Anderson, Luger was pushed to the edge by Anderson and now the two men are going to have a match to settle the score. Anderson kicks Luger in the ribs and begins heeling it up by shaking Luger’s face across the rope and working the ribs of Luger. Shoulder thrusts by Anderson, hard Irish whip by Anderson. Luger fires up and nails a gorilla press slam, Luger is clotheslined to the floor.

 Luger rams Anderson back first into the ringpost, powerslam by Luger. Luger drops elbows across Anderson’s back, forearms to the back of Anderson. Anderson breaks up the onslaught of Luger with a back elbow but Luger crotches Anderson on the top rope. Spinebuster by Anderson.

Anderson shoves Luger to the floor, Luger is rammed back first into the guard rail and ring apron. In the ring, Anderson drills his knees into Luger’s back, abdominal stretch by Anderson, Anderson uses the ropes for leverage. Anderson pummels Luger but Luger is coming back for more, Luger blocks the DDT.

 Luger back elbows Anderson, Anderson shoves Luger into the referee, Anderson takes advantage by grabbing a chair, Luger dodges the chair shot. Luger catapults Anderson into the ringpost. Suplex on the floor by Luger, Luger has a chair. Anderson eats two chair shots across the back from Luger, make it three. Torture Rack and the match is over!

That was a good match, the story here was both men were working the back. Anderson was working the back of Luger so Luger could not perform The Torture Rack while Luger was softening up Anderson’s back for The Torture Rack. 

Nice bit of revenge for Luger who uses the chair on Anderson after Anderson used the chair to rough up Luger on Nitro. Luger was able to gain revenge while also look like a threatening and dominating force while also putting on a good match. Anderson is taking out on a stretcher afterwards due to his injury at the hands of Luger.

Luger over Anderson via Torture Rack!

Mongo & Chris Benoit W/ Woman/Debra McMichael vs The Faces of Fear W/ Jimmy Hart

The positives of this match are Debra and Woman at ringside and Mongo does not have to wrestle the entire match. Side headlock by Mongo, Meng survives all of Mongo’s offence before Mongo uses a football tackle to floor Meng. Barbarian and Benoit tag in. Barbarian chops Benoit hard in the corner, Benoit wastes Barbarian with a Northern Lights suplex. Barbarian pops up and headbutts Benoit, Benoit comes back with a kick of his own.

 Tag to Meng and Mongo, Mongo and Meng have a pose-off which is ridiculous. Meng shoves back Mongo and throws Mongo across the ring before Mongo begins chop blocking both Faces of Fear. Meng no-sells that shit and wipes out Mongo with a right hand, scoop slam by Barbarian and quick tag to Meng. Meng swats away a Mongo dropkick, scoop slam by Meng.

 Mongo dodges a senton and tags Benoit. Blind tag by Barbarian, double powerbomb to Benoit. Mongo saves Benoit but Meng keeps on Benoit. Choke holds by Meng who tags in Barbarian. Barbarian props Benoit on the top turnbuckle, Benoit shoves off Barbarian but Meng crotches Benoit.

Overhead belly to belly suplex by Barbarian to Benoit, Mongo saves Benot again. Tag to Meng, double headbutt from the top rope by The Faces of Fear. Interestingly, Mongo pulls-out Benoit and cracks Meng with his briefcase, Diving Headbutt by Benoit and the match is over.

 After the match, Barbarian cracks Mongo with his briefcase and in comes The Dungeon of Doom. That was match could have been so much worse so I am glad it ended when it did. Mongo looks like a fish out of water and everything that the man does looks comical.

Winners: Benoit & Mongo over The Faces of Fear via Briefcase Shot & Diving Headbutt!

Ted Dibiase Promo

Dibiase had introduced Syxx earlier in the night and it looks like Dibiase will be introducing Hall and Nash while claiming that Harlem Heat are not coming out of this match without the tag team championships.

(WCW Tag Team Championship Match) The Outsiders vs Harlem Heat © W/ Col. Parker/ Sister Sherri

The part of the babyfaces will be played by Harlem Heat who were are heels for the last number of pay per views I have covered. Based on their body language and the fan reaction, I am not sure they have even turned rather that they are the babyfaces by default. Toothpick to the face by Hall, Booker arm drags Hall. Hall grabs the arm and wrenches down on Booker, Booker counters and drops Hall with a thrust kick.

 Hall goes low and grabs a side headlock, straight right hand by Hall drops Booker to the mat. Shoulder block by Hall but Booker drops Hall to the floor with a hiptoss. Stevie Ray drills Hall with a clothesline on the floor, tag to Stevie Ray. Hall spits on Ray and tags in Nash. 

Knees and elbows by Nash, forearm shots and knees in the corner by Nash. Stevie Ray clotheslines Nash and spits on Hall, clubbing blows in the corner by Stevie Ray.

Sherri rakes the eyes of Nash, Booker nails a Scissors Kick after a tag. Cover and Nash kicks out at two. Tag to Stevie Ray, Nash shoves Ray into the corner and scores with a sidewalk slam. Tag to Hall, Hall boots Ray in the head. Bulldog from the second rope by Hall gets a two count, Ray counters Hall with a short-arm clothesline. Flying forearm by Booker, Booker slaps on a reverse chinlock. Hall reverses an Irish whip which leads to Nash taking a cheap shot on Booker, this allows Hall to clothesline Booker.

 Tag to Nash, big boot by Nash. Snake eyes and illegal clothesline from Hall, tag to Hall. Uranage type manoeuvre by Hall, fallaway slam by Hall. Sherri is up on the apron, Sherri slaps Hall. Hall kisses Sherri, Harlem sidekick by Booker. Booker has a sleeper on Hall, Hall escapes the hold by planting Booker nuts first on the top rope. Both man bang heads in the middle of the ring, Stevie Ray receives the tag from Booker. Gorilla press slam by Stevie, Booker T knocks Nash to the floor.

Harlem Hangover to Hall, Nash steals Parker’s cane and Nash cracks Stevie Ray with the cane. Hall awakens and covers Stevie Ray while Booker T watched from the apron like a big, gullible muppet. 

This was a poor match, I guess the idea was Booker and Stevie were still heels so Nash and Hall worked the match like babyfaces which is dumb because you do not want Harlem Heat to be the heels when Nash and Hall are the bad guys at the end of the day. I guess WCW got the desired reaction with Nash and Hall being cheered like conquering heroes….. Idiots!

Winner: The Outsiders over Harlem Heat via Cane Shot!

Hulk Hogan Promo

Hogan shells his new movie which is Santa With Muscles while sporting a new head of hair. Hogan looks like Zack Ryder and it is hilarious!

(WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match) Hulk Hogan © vs Randy Savage

Hogan and Savage had a good build with the constant attacks on Savage and Savage going apeshit in his pursuit of Hogan and the championship. Hogan comes to the ring accompanied by The Giant and Ted Dibiase. Machon Man brings out the monster truck that was won earlier in the night. 

That was unnecessary but let’s hope that the match delivers. Savage says this should be a one on one match and referee Randy Anderson says Giant has to leave or Savage wins the championship. Giant leaves the arena and the playing field is a little more level as we get underway.

 Hogan powders to the floor before the lock up, Savage invites Hogan into the ring but Hogan is hesitant to step in that ring with Macho Man. Side headlock by Hogan, shoulder block and powder by Hogan. Lock up and Hogan clubs Savage, back rake by the champion. Hogan rams Savage into the turnbuckle and chops Savage before drilling the challenger with an axe bomber clothesline.

 Savage ducks a clothesline and begins nailing Hogan, big double axe handle by Savage. Hogan begs for mercy on his knees, Savage kicks Hogan right in the ribs and nails a big wind up punch and rips off the wig of Hogan. Hogan kicks around in anger after losing his hair, Savage pummels Hogan out of the ring and Hogan tries to leave the arena. Savage grabs a chair and whacks Hogan over the head with the chair. The referee stops Savage using the chair and Hogan grabs the chair and nails Savage.

Savage is rammed arm first into the ringpost, Hogan smacks Savage with the chair behind the referee’s back while Miss Elizabeth has made her way to ringside. Hogan chokes Savage in the middle of the ring, Hogan spots Elizabeth and talks trash which allows Savage to try for a roll-up.

 Two count and Hogan’s pants have been dragged down by Savage (What crap is this?). Savage throws bombs and dumps Hogan to the floor, Hogan hides behind Elizabeth before letting go and not taking the advantage. Savage decides to kill Hogan, knee to the back by Savage that knocks Hogan to the floor. Hogan drags out Savage but Savage nails Hogan and Hogan is running and repeats the spot with Elizabeth.

 This time, Hogan shoves Elizabeth into Savage and nails Savage. Big boot by Hogan, Elizabeth is in the ring checking on Savage. Hogan laughs and moves Elizabeth to the corner, saying Elizabeth is Hogan’s property and she will watch Savage fall. Savage dodges Hogan’s leg drop.

Elizabeth grabs an illegal object from Hogan, Hogan clotheslines the referee by mistake. Ted Dibiase steals back the object and in comes NWO referee Nick Patrick. Savage scoop slams Hogan, Savage is climbing to the top. Elbow drop and Patrick feigns a neck injury saving Hogan. Savage shoves down Patrick but Hogan has the object, Savage blocks the object and nails Hogan.

 Dibiase drags Savage off the apron, Giant is here though and Giant Chokeslams Savage into the barricade. Giant places Hogan on top and Savage is beaten due to ten tonnes of interference. Oh, that was garbage, make no mistake about that. This match was awful, there was at least five minutes of stalling to begin the match, the wrestling was terrible.

 Hogan as a heel in this match were garbage, WCW wrestlers were nowhere to be seen as Savage was screwed by The NWO. For a match that was built around so much hate and that was portrayed as personal to have the match take place like this which was overly comical in its visuals and action, I just do not understand the psychology of this match or angle.

Winner: Hulk Hogan over Randy Savage via Shenanigans!

Afterwards, Roddy piper debuts in WCW. Piper says without Piper, there was no Hogan. Piper claims that he is every bit the star that Hogan is and that Piper can take down Hogan any day. Piper wants Hogan to admit that the people made Hogan and not the other way around. As awesome as Piper is, I don’t know if I will be looking forward to having to watch a match between those two.

What did I think of WCW’s Halloween Havoc 1996? Well, I think the show fell off the cliff in the final hour. That show had been good up to that point, Malenko and Mysterio had torn the house down, Syxx looked good in his debut match and Luger had a very psychology-driven match with Arn Anderson.

 The Giant vs Jarrett was lame and DDP fighting an uncharismatic Eddie Guerrero was not great either but it did not suck the life out of me. The final three matches accomplished that goal, I want to see a Mongo match as much as I want to see The Giant having a twenty-minute match, it was painful and the fact that Meng and Barbarian had to try and sell for the guy made it worse. The Tag Team Championship match was confusing as hell from a booking stand-point.

 If you do not want The Outsiders to be cheered, you have to had some heat on Harlem Heat or at least make an attempt to turn them babyface. This was not done, this made the match awkward from a fans’ perspective because who the hell am I supposed to cheer? The Outsiders are invading and want to close down WCW while Harlem Heat are still two arrogant jerks.

 The Outsiders cheat to win and the crowd erupts huge for the heels which is not what you want if you want WCW to look sympathetic. The main event was trash, Hogan and Savage had a lot of history going into this match and the story of Savage losing everything as Hogan took it all was intriguing or at the very least, entertaining. 

What is not entertaining is watch Hogan stall for the first five minutes doing nothing and comically pulling facials and doing spots throughout the night. They could not even get the use the woman as a shield because I am coward spot right, they did it twice because they wasted it the first time! It was just dumb and a lousy main event. My verdict is thank god for cruiserweights stealing the show and The NWO angle because the action in the ring from the main eventers was piss poor.

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