Friday, March 7, 2014

WCW Halloween Havoc 1996 Review

The undercard delivers (mostly) while Hogan and Savage crap the bed in the Main Event.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1996
Las Vegas, Nevada 10/27/96

The PPV is sponsored by Slim Jim, and they refer to the show all night as "Slim Jim's Halloween Havoc".

1.) WCW Cruiserweight Title - Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko: ****¼

This is Malenko's chance to reclaim the Cruiserweight Title. Really great match here. I think the matchup of Misterio Jr. vs. Malenko (speed vs. technical/power) worked really well, and it showed with an awesome opening match. Malenko gets the victory and wins back the Cruiserweight Title.

2.) DDP vs. Eddie Guerrero: ***½

This is a continuation from the last PPV, but this time DDP is facing Eddie Guerrero. They're fighting over the Battle Bowl Ring, but the feud has become a lot more personal. Really good match here. Both guys worked hard and you really felt like they hated each other. DDP gets the win in another solid match.

I should note that the crowd was really into these first two matches.

The New World Order have their own little interview area up in the stands, which is also where all the n.W.o. members will be entering from throughout the night. Ted DiBiase, the New World Order's "financier", interviews The Giant, who's in possession of Ric Flair's United States Title, which he stole from the injured Nature Boy. Giant basically says he's gonna beat up Jeff Jarrett. 

3.) The Giant vs. Jeff Jarrett (with Ric Flair): **

Jeff Jarrett is subbing for Ric Flair, who is injured. For the second PPV in a row, The Giant put forth an ok effort, which for The Giant in 1996, is him at his best, I guess. The match actually told a decent story here as Jarrett tried to fight off the size of The Giant. They both end up on the floor at one point and Flair low blows The Giant, causing a DQ Finish.

After the match, the rest of the Four Horsemen come out to make sure The Giant backs down, which he does.

They go back to Ted DiBiase who does basically the same thing with Syxx that he did with The Giant as we head into our next match.

4.) Syxx vs. Chris Jericho: ***

Syxx (Sean Waltman) recently joined the New World Order with DiBiase, so this is his first PPV Match for WCW. A solid match. Not as good as some of the earlier matches, but fine for what it was. Nice high impact moves from both guys. Syxx gets the win after referee Nick Patrick basically screws over Jericho.

I should mention that members of the Dungeon of Doom (The Taskmaster, Konnan & Big Bubba Rogers) are sitting in the front row, for some reason...

5.) Arn Anderson vs. Lex Luger: **¼

Luger's hair looks freaky!! The basic story is that these two are fighting over the loss at WarGames and who's to blame. An ok match here. There was some decent bits of brawling on the outside and Luger attacks Anderson with a chair. He eventually locks on the Torture Rack and holds it on for a long time after Anderson submits.

Arn Anderson is tended to by medical staff and his fellow Horsemen members after the beating he took from Luger. He's stretchered out.

6.) The Four Horsemen (Chris Benoit & Steve “Mongo” McMichael with Woman & Debra McMichael) vs. The Faces of Fear (Meng & The Barbarian with Jimmy Hart): ***¼

I really wasn't sure about this one coming in (because it's Mongo, Meng AND The Barbarian) but it actually turned out to be good. Their were some really good power bits with Mongo & Meng and Barbarian looked fine as well. Benoit of course displayed his technical ability and eventually won the match with a diving headbutt after Mongo hits Meng with his steel briefcase. Although they lost, I never thought the Faces of Fear could look this good.

Afterwords, The Faces of Fear attack The Four Horsemen, and The Dungeon of Doom jump the guardrail to join the beating. The other Four Horsemen don't come out because they already had left the building to tend to the injured Arn Anderson.

Ted DiBiase is back to hype up The Outsiders for their upcoming title match as they make their way through the crowd.

7.) WCW World Tag Team Titles - Harlem Heat (with Sherri & Col. Robert Parker) vs. The Outsiders: **¼

This was an ok match, though it was strange seeing the commentators putting over The Outsiders as heel but yet they were not only cheered, but basically wrestled as babyfaces most of the match until it came time to cheat behind the ref's back. Scott Hall kisses Sherri at one point and Kevin Nash takes Parker's Cane and attacks Harlem Heat with it, allowing The Outsiders to claim the World Tag Team Titles.

Ted DiBiase introduces "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, who's wearing an AWFUL spiked toupee for God knows what reason. Randy Savage tops Hogan entrance with a Macho Man/Slim Jim Monster Truck, which was raffled off to a fan earlier as part of a sweepstakes (seriously, WCW raffled off a FREAKING MONSTER TRUCK!!!).

8.) WCW World Title - “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage: *½

Savage eventually takes off both Hogan's sunglasses & toupee and wears them himself. This was pretty boring to be honest. Another awful title defense from heel Hogan. Foreign Objects were used, Miss Elizabeth came out, Nick Patrick screws Savage out of the World Title, and The Giant puts the nail in the coffin with a chokeslam on the floor. It was really hard to keep track of what was going on because I was bored. More of a spectacle than anything else. Why would anybody by into this shit main event?!

After the match, Hogan's cutting a promo in the ring (after being revived by The Giant via a bucket of ice water) when freaking ROWDY RODDY PIPER comes out!! They have a verbal exchange about the two of them being Icons, and basically the challenge is laid out to finish the war they started over 10 Years ok, and Piper continues to spew words as the PPV goes off the air.

Overall: 7.5/10

Once again, a WCW PPV has some shitty matches in the Main Event but the undercard and (in this show's case) the hot crowd kept the show from turning into a train wreck. I enjoy watching characters like Randy Savage & n.W.o. Hogan, but they're actually wrestling it completely sucks. Then they through Piper into the mix? Oh boy. Bottom line, if you're going to see this, see it for the undercard. Guys like Misterio Jr., Malenko, Benoit, Guerrero, DDP, and so on, are delivering consistently good matches, and that's all you really need to see.

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