RetroView fans, it’s the scariest time of year in our look back at the glory days of WCW. Today’s RetroView covers WCW Halloween Havoc 1997. A month removed from the nWo’s heinous attack on Ric Flair at Fall Brawl, WCW is looking to rebound.
In an effort to steal back some much-needed momentum, Commissioner Roddy Piper has scheduled a cage match between him and Hollywood Hogan. Not only will we get the steel cage match, but Diamond Dallas Page and Macho Man Randy Savage look to settle their rivalry in a Las Vegas Death Match.
The show begins with a video package highlighting the build to the first-ever steel cage match between Hogan and Piper. We then cut to a beautiful shot of the incredible Halloween Havoc entrance set. Our favorite WCW announcing trio is back. Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan talk about how a year ago at Halloween Havoc Roddy Piper made his WCW debut.
Yuji Nagata w/ Sonny Onoo vs. The Ultimate Dragon
The rivalry between Dragon and his former manager Onoo continues here. Onoo went through a lot of wrestlers trying to get revenge on Dragon. Mike Tenay joins the broadcast booth with extensive knowledge of Yuji Nagata. The crowd is fully behind Dragon in hopes that he finally gets his revenge on Onoo. Dragon delivers the goods with his headstand on the top turnbuckle, followed by his feet of fury.
Both men deliver vicious suplexes early on as they try to one-up each other. Nagata shows just how good he was with a picture-perfect pile driver before focusing his attack on Dragon’s neck. Midway through the match, Raven and his flock make their way through the crowd.
Back at ringside, Dragon hits his beautiful Asai Moonsault to the outside. The intensity picks up as these two begin trading kicks and submission holds to prove who the better man is. Dragon’s second attempt at the Dragon Sleeper is reversed into an armbar, and Dragon is forced to submit. Once again, Onoo escapes his comeuppance.
Winner – Yuji Nagata
We cut to a WCW website plug, with Disco Inferno being interviewed about wrestling a woman. He’s interrupted by Jacqueline, who wants to start their fight early. Something that Dusty Rhodes absolutely loves on commentary.
WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 Unadvertised Match Gedo vs. Chris Jericho
Once again, the Peacock version of this show has Jericho coming out to “Break the Walls Down.” And once again, I watch while rolling my eyes. Mike Tenay hints at the intense rivalry in Japan between these two. Their dislike for one another is very apparent as the match starts with some slaps and shoves.
This is really a forgotten gem; their chemistry together shines throughout the match. Neither holds anything back with their strikes, and each move has a little something extra to it. Jericho shows off his impressive strength, double power bombing Gedo late in the match.
The scary moment comes when Jericho attempts a top rope turnbuckle, and Gedo’s counter attempt leads to Jericho almost landing completely on his head. The finish comes when Gedo misses a top rope dropkick, and Jericho locks him deep in the Lion Tamer.
Winner – Chris Jericho
We get our first Mean Gene Okerlund interview, and he welcomes Queen Debra. They talk about who her surprise is to take on her husband, Mongo McMichael. The former Super Bowl Champion soon interrupts her and tells her to give him back her ring and credit cards.
Hands down one of the greatest WCW matches of all time here. Mysterio Jr. comes out first in his classic purple and black ensemble. Eddie swaggers out next, oozing confidence heading down to the ring. An “Eddie sucks” chant comes from the crowd as the two begin the match with trash talking.
Then we are off, fast and furious action begins the match, highlighted by Mysterio sending Eddie over the top rope with a cross-body block. Eddie shows his cruel, bitter streak when the match spills to the outside, slamming Rey into the steel steps. Heenan on commentary is putting over Eddie big time, calling him.
“Pound for pound the best athlete in wrestling currently.”
The first two count of the match comes after a brainbuster from Guerrero. Eddie begins focusing on damaging Rey’s mask as he has him locked into an abdominal stretch. The “Eddie sucks” chants begin again as Eddie takes control of the match. Rey receives a loud cheer when he hits a springboard black flip DDT. But, it’s short-lived when Eddie eventually dropkicks him off the ring to the outside.
Eddie once again rips at Rey’s mask back in the ring when he has him locked in a camel clutch. A portion of Rey’s face can be seen from the hole Eddie creates. Rey attempts a comeback, breaking free from a Gory Special submission, but once again, Eddie is a step ahead. After a shoulder breaker, Eddie locks in yet another submission hold. Midway through the match, Rey is caught in a tree of woes but is able to move just in time as Eddie comes sliding crotch first into the ring post.
A plancha cross-body block from the top rope to the outside by Rey elicits another loud reaction from the crowd. Almost every move Rey does in this match gets an astonishing response from the crowd. Eddie, on the other hand, delivers every move with an extra sense of aggression. Highlighted by a vicious powerbomb that gives us a true false finish.
WCW Halloween Havoc 1997
The finish comes after Eddie misses a powerbomb, and the two end up on the top turnbuckle. From here, Eddie attempts a crucifix powerbomb, but it’s countered into a Frankensteiner for the win by Mysterio. The announcers and crowd erupt in appreciation of this match. Eddie shows his true colors by attacking Mysterio after the match. Even on yet another re-watch, this is one of the best WCW matches ever.
Winner – Rey Mysterio Jr.
Mean Gene gives us a WCW hotline update about a clique in WCW adding a new member. The only way to find out is by calling into the hotline. Next up, we get a black and white promo from Eric Bischoff and Hollywood Hogan. They claim that Hogan will not wrestle unless WCW provides a contract that Sting is banned from the building.
WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 Alex Wright w/ Debra McMichael vs. Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael
Mongo comes out first to “Generic Wrestle Rock Theme 3” from any wrestling video game ever made. Debra brings out her wrestler, Alex Wright; the surprise is met with yawns from the crowd. Once again, the fans dancing like Alex Wright is 90’s gold. Following the Mysterio-Guerrero match, this is the definition of a cool-down match. It’s everything you’d expect from Mongo and Alex Wright.
Even the announcers treat it as such; their commentary throughout is just about Hogan trying to back out of the main event. Mongo looks to have won with a tombstone piledriver, but Debra distracts the ref. This brings out Bill Goldberg, who hits a spear, and Jackhammer.
This is pretty hilarious as the referee pretends not to get bumped by Goldberg and Mongo to avoid the disqualification. Alex Wright gets the win, and Debra gives Goldberg her husband’s Super Bowl ring. Goldberg then spears and jackhammers Wright to a raucous ovation.
Winner – Alex Wright
Macho Man Randy Savage is next up for a black and white interview. He talks about how DDP is a marked man and how he’s going to get him, and that DDP is nothing compared to the Macho Man.
WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 Disco Inferno vs. Jacqueline
Disco enters as the Television Champion, but this is a non-title match. The cowardly champion begins the match by avoiding any contact with Jacqueline, eliciting a “Disco sucks” chant from the crowd.
Finally, after Jacqueline chases Disco around the ring, the action begins. Jacqueline hits a sunset flip for a two count, but Disco responds with a drop toe hold. This is almost ten minutes of a cat and mouse chase that finally ends when Jacqueline surprises Disco Inferno with a roll-up.
Winner – Jacqueline
Curt Hennig vs. Ric Flair
Hennig comes out dressed in Flair’s red robe; something disgusts Tony Schiavone on commentary. Flair sprints to the ring to get a piece of Hennig. The fight starts outside with Flair landing a few chops. Back in the ring, the Nature Boy continues the assault on Hennig before he can even take the robe off. Flair attempts to hit Hennig’s knee wrapped around the ring post with a chair, but Hennig moves in the nick of time.
Continuing his attack, Flairs is able to steal the robe off Hennig’s back, something that causes the crowd to erupt. Hennig eventually takes control, focusing on Flair’s legs. Flair’s rage is too much to contain as the match goes on as he sets up Hennig in a tree of woe and gets ready to stomp the United States Championship into Hennig’s face. Before Flair can do this, WCW referees stop him as the Nature Boy is disqualified.
Winner – Curt Hennig
Mean Gene is joined by James J Dillon to address Hogan and Bischoff’s demands.Dillon announces the match between Hogan and Piper will take place as advertised. This brings out Eric Bischoff, who tells Dillon he has no stroke and that Hogan will not wrestle. Dillon responds with a notarized document stating the match will, in fact, take place.
Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall Larry Zbyszko as Special Guest Referee
Zbyszko comes out first to a loud ovation. Next out is Scott Hall with Syxx by his side; they stop to watch a teleprompter showing the end of the tag match at Fall Brawl. A month earlier, Zbyszko cost Hall that tag match by shoving Hall into a roll-up by Luger. Luger comes out next to yet another loud ovation. Man, that guy was over in WCW during this time period. Hall begins the match by throwing his toothpick into Zybyszko’s face; Luger gives a right hand in return.
This was a very slow-paced match here, with Hall controlling a good portion with rest holds. This is mainly about Zbyszko and Hall’s growing rivalry. Their continued bickering leads to Zbyszko back body dropping Hall over the top rope, which leads Eric Bischoff to ringside. Zbyszko dealing with Bischoff leads to Syxx landing a kick to Luger.
Hall hits the Outsiders Edge, and Zbyszko hesitantly makes the three count giving Scott Hall the win. Zbyszko, feeling that something isn’t right about the ending of this match, calls to see the replay. He sees Syxx’s interference and restarts the match.
This brings Hall back to the ring, and a shoving match ensues; Zbyszko shoves Hall into Luger, who applies the Torture Rack. Hall submits, giving Luger the win. After the match, Zbyszko gets beat down by the nWo trio.
Winner – Lex Luger
WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 Las Vegas Sudden Death Match Diamond Dallas Page vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
Savage enters first, looking phenomenal with the neon green lightning on his gear. Heenan really sells Savage’s experience in big matches and how that could play a factor. DDP makes his entrance to a hero’s welcome; he truly was the People’s Champion in 1997. Page enters with taped-up ribs still selling the nWo’s attack on a recent Nitro.
The fight begins outside the ring, with Page holding the early advantage. It doesn’t last long as Savage quickly attacks the bandaged ribs. Back in the ring, Savage continues his assault on Page’s ribs, dropping him across the top rope. A double clothesline gives us our first dramatic ten count. Both men are rise to their feet before the count finishes.
WCW Halloween Havoc 1997
Page’s first Diamond Cutter attempt is countered with Savage escaping to the outside. The battle continues to rage on the outside, with both men using the steel guard rail to try and injure their foe. A double axe handle by Savage from the top turnbuckle to the outside leads to our second dramatic ten count. Then the fight spills into the crowd, right in front of Raven and his flock.
Eventually, they find their way to the Halloween Havoc entrance set, where Savage is tossed into the foam tombstones. This was followed by a body slam into a prop casket. The fight moves back to ringside, where Savage’s intense focus on the injured ribs continues. Savage steals a camera from ringside but ends up having it kicked into his face by a desperate Page.
Elizabeth gets involved smashing a cookie tray across the referee’s head before choking Page with a TV cord. This attack brings out Kimberly Page, who gives Elizabeth some much-needed comeuppance before dragging her to the back by her hair. With both men down, referee Nick Patrick enters and begins the ten count. Both men battle to their feet, and Page gets the momentum.
WCW Halloween Havoc 1997
It comes crashing to a halt when Savage holds the ropes in order to avoid the Diamond Cutter. Seizing the opportunity, Savage climbs to the top turnbuckle and connects on his patented flying elbow drop. DDP is barely able to answer the eight count. Savage climbs back to the top and hits a second flying elbow drop.
This time Page barely makes it up at nine. Once to his feet, Page, in a last-ditch effort, is finally able to hit the Diamond Cutter. Both men dramatically get to their feet at eight. A low blow counter to the Diamond Cutter by Savage sends Page to the floor.
With Page on the outside, “Sting” makes his way out and cracks him in the injured ribs with a baseball bat. The announcers are finally not fooled by this charade, immediately calling out the imposter as Hollywood Hogan himself. Page is unable to answer the ten count this time, and Savage is declared the winner.
Here we go with this one. Michael Buffer brings that big fight feel as he announces both competitors into the match. The announcers put their best efforts in at selling this as a huge confrontation. But, overall, this main event really ends a great pay-per-view with a whimper. It starts out great with Hogan attempting to escape the cage, but Piper stops him. Included in that effort, biting Hogan’s posterior.
Eventually, the two make their way out of the cage, and they fight around ringside. Hogan attempts to leave the match, but it is caught off by the first imposter, Sting. Seeing who he believes to be, Sting sends him back into the cage. From here, we get your usual Hogan versus Piper match.
IT’S STING…OR IS IT?
As the match progresses, more imposter Stings make their way to ringside. Hogan eventually gets the upper hand after striking Piper with the World Title belt. He follows it up with two leg drops and calls for the referee to enter the cage. Shockingly, Piper kicks out at two. Hogan calls out for help, which brings out the Macho Man.
Savage climbs to the top of the cage and delivers a double axe handle but accidentally hits Hogan. This allows Piper to lock in the sleeper hold, and once again, Hogan is put to sleep. Piper gets the win but receives a beat down from Hogan, Savage, and Eric Bischoff after the match.
Winner – ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper
In the chaos of the post-match beatdown, a “fan” climbs the cage and receives his own beatdown from Hogan and Piper. The show ends with Piper handcuffed to the cage as the crowd desperately chants for Sting.
The latest WCW RetroView is now in the books. Next time we look at World War 3 1997, featuring the three-ring, 60 man battle royal.