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Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Halloween Havoc 1996

October 25, 2021 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WCW Halloween Havoc 1996
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Halloween Havoc 1996  

-I wanted to go back to WCW and do a Havoc show since it is that time of year and NXT has a Havoc show this week. I have been having a blast doing shows from 96 and with WCW this is during the rise of the nWo which is my favorite time as a fan. Let’s get to it!

-Date: Oct 27, 1996
-MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
-Commentary Team: Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
-Attendance: 10,000
-PPV Buys: 250,000

-Video package to open covers all the chaos the nWo has caused the last 5 months while Bischoff tells us hiring Hogan was his biggest mistake.

-It must be said, Halloween Havoc sets were always awesome! Tony welcomes us to the show and we head to the announce desk for some final hype. Tony calls Hogan/Savage the most important World Title Match Ever! Heenan feels Hogan is going to need all the luck in the world as he is going to take the beating of his life. Heenan still opposing Hogan even with his heel turn is such a wonderful character touch.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs. Dean Malenko

-These two met at Great American Bash four months ago in Rey’s WCW debut. Dean won that one, but lost the CW Title to Rey in July on Nitro. This time it is personal as Dean ripped off Rey’s mask on WCW Saturday Night, which forced Tony to throw his coat over Rey to protect his identity. That was always great. Amazing how vividly I remember all this stuff twenty five years later. Mike Tenay joins the announce team as is customary anytime the cruiserweights are involved. Dean jumps Rey before the bell and hits a SWANK belly to back suplex for a two count. Dean is all business tonight as he gets a spinebuster and looks for The Texas Cloverleaf, but Rey uses his leg power to kick Dean off. Dean throws some strikes, but Rey starts flying all over the ring and all over Dean to pop the crowd. Dean bails to the floor to stop that flurry and Rey does his fake which became the 6-1-9. Rey does knock Dean off the apron with a springboard dropkick and then follows with a Somersault Senton Splash. Rey gets back the mask Dean stole and puts it on while taking off the one he has been wearing. Dean back in and Rey pounds away in the corner. Rey gets a Victory Roll for two and then throws some chops in the corner. Rey gets caught in the corner and Dean drops him with a side suplex. Tenay tells us this is the 5th meeting between the two and it’s 2-2. Dean drops Rey knee first over the top rope which is nice little touch as Rey’s strength is his legs. Half Crab on the damaged knee and Dean rolls it into a modified Bow and Arrow while maintaining the knee bar. Dean props Rey up top and hits a Super Belly to Back Suplex for two. Dean back to the mat with a head scissors and the crowd is right with them as they try to rally Rey. Rey is able to roll and get his foot to the bottom rope to break. Delayed vertical suplex gets another two count and Dean is getting a little frustrated. Rey is able to get a small package for a two count, but Dean is up first and hits a dropkick on Rey while he was still on the mat. Tenay mentions Rey has headlined shows over the last 10 days in Japan, Mexico, and The US, so the travel could be getting to him. Dean goes to a camel clutch which gets a nice pop from some of the fans in the crowd. Dean has his fans too! Tilt-a-while backbreaker gets another two count. Dean is just throwing everything at him and is getting annoyed it’s not working. To the floor we go and Dean sends Rey back first into the ring apron. Back in the ring Dean drops a knee and locks in a sleeper that he takes to the mat. Rey fights off his back so Dean just pulls him down by the mask. Dean back to the sleeper as now the crowd is getting a little antsy. Rey fights back again and builds up speed, but Dean cuts him off with a knee to the gut. Suplex from Dean gets another two count and again, he is frustrated. More mat game as Dean hooks the arms and shoulders, but gives up the hold quickly. Dean ends up on the apron and then they fight on the top rope where they both crash and burn to the floor. Rey slips off the railing as he was looking to try some kind of springboard. They head back in the ring and Rey hits a springboard into a somersault plancha. Rey walks up the ropes and tries what would came to be called a Poison-rana, but Dean blocks, so Rey gets a roll-up for two. Dean is done with this and just rips his head off with a clothesline. Another vertical suplex from Dean gets another two count. Dean ends up on the floor and Rey hits a twisting corkscrew Asai Moonsault. Back in Rey gets the West Coast Pop for two and now Rey is frustrated. He comes off top, but Dean catches him on the way down with a powerbomb for two. Big pop for that one! They fight on top again and Dean shoves Rey off, but he heads right back up and Dean ends this with a powerbomb off the top for the win and Championship at 18:31.

Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko via pin at 18:31
-You have to love WCW as they loved giving The CW 20 minutes to tear the house down. These two have great chemistry and the story was great as Dean did all he could to keep Rey on the ground and would use his size to deliver heavy moves. Rey was just mind blowing back then and instantly got over with the crowd. Wonderful stuff here! ****

-Lee Marshall (the voice of Tony The Tiger which always blew my mind) is backstage with Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett had just made the jump from The WWF and was looking to get into the Horsemen so he gets The Giant tonight, who stole an injured Ric Flair’s US Title. Flair is here to support Jarrett and help with the line of women waiting for them in Vegas. He also tells Savage, that as much as he hates him, he is rooting for him to take the WCW Title off Hogan and the nWo. Flair was always great for getting over multiple angles and matches on a card.

Battle For The Ring: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero

-This is for Eddie’s Battle Bowl Ring as he won it from DDP at Clash of The Champions back in August. DDP didn’t give up the ring though and has been feuding with The Guerreros since. At Fall Brawl he knocked off Chavo and now it’s the showdown with Eddie. Eddie tries to jump DDP before the bell, but Nick Patrick (with neck brace) stops that as there are rules to follow here. Patrick was in the phase where he was leaning nWo, but wasn’t fully outed as a crooked ref at this point. They trade slaps to start and the fight is on as they head to the floor. Eddie gets sent into the railing and then back into the ring we go. DDP goes to work on the shoulder, but Eddie gets a hiptoss and an armdrag take down. Headlock take down for a two count as Page gets his shoulder off the mat. They fight off that for a few seconds as Page escapes, but gets brought back down into the hold. DDP finally breaks the hold for good and in a weird spot the crowd pops as it looks like he is going for an impact move, but instead he just rolls him into a headlock. They head back to the floor and this time Page gets sent into the railing. Back inside as Eddie gets the slingshot senton for two. The announcers harp on Patrick and how slow he is as they debate if he is really injured. Page crotches Eddie on the top rope and back to the floor they head. Page with a double axe off the apron and Eddie gets sent into the steps as the posts are padded thanks to Slim Jim. Eddie gets sent back into the railing and Page tries to Cheat 2 Win by putting his feet on the ropes, but Patrick catches him. Page sends Eddie flying up and down on his face to pop the crowd as that was a unique move for the time. Gutbuster gets a two count. Page to the abdominal stretch close to the ropes so he can try to Cheat 2 Win again, but Eddie hiptosses his way out. Jawbreaker from DDP and then a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Page argues with Patrick and pushes him, so Patrick shoves back leading to a two count for Eddie. Page shakes Patrick’s head to make peace. Eddie fires up, but gets sent to the floor where he injures his knee. Eddie escapes a powerbomb, and gets a small package for two. Sunset flip gets a two count and they do a pin fall reversal sequence for multiple two counts. Page ends that with a lariat, but wastes too much time and only gets a two count. Eddie gets a dropkick and fires away with right hands and a European uppercut. Eddie pounds away in the corner as the crowd counts along in a spot that always works. Page rolls to the floor, but Eddie comes off the top with a crossbody. Back in as Eddie gets a two count as Page gets his foot on the bottom rope and then a one count. Page to the floor and he drops Eddie throat first on the top rope. Flapjack gets a two count as they are just hitting moves with no real flow to this right now. Spinning sit-out powerbomb gets another two count. Page talks trash to the fans in the crowd and hits the Diamond Cutter for the win at 13:56.

Winner and New Lord of The Ring: Diamond Dallas Page via pin at 13:56
-A weird, disjointed match that probably went too long for what Page was able to do at that point. Throw in the stuff with Patrick and it was just a lot for a match that should have been about 5 minutes shorter. Page was still working out the kinks with The Cutter at this point too, so it wasn’t as smooth as it would become. **1/4

-Mike Tenay is backstage with Randy Savage for the Slim Jim’s contest. The winner gets Savage’s Slim Jim’s Monster Truck. This is a good time to note Savage/Hogan was basically promised as the Main Event for this show months earlier and even before Hogan’s heel turn. Joan from Michigan wins the truck and Savage promises to break Hogan in half.

-Plug for WCWwrestling.com as for the first time you can get the audio for Halloween Havoc on the internet. Look at that home screen! Kids today have no idea how mind blowing this was and the nostalgia as I think back to when my house got internet for the first time in late 1996. Jericho is chatting with fans on CompuServe!

-Tenay is backstage with the New Cruiserweight Champion, Dean Malenko. He is ready to take on anyone who wants a chance at his title. Dean is cool with another match with Rey and will face anyone that wants to try to take his title.

-We go into the crowd as the nWo has a banner hanging near an entrance to the concourse. Ted Dibiase is there with The Giant and Ted calls out Jarrett for turning down the nWo. Giant stands there with The US Title (which he stole from Flair) and then promises to chokeslam Jarrett. Giant then makes his entrance through the crowd and I am glad they did away with this, though it did provide something different.

The Giant vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/ Ric Flair)

-Schiavone wants to make sure we know this is not a US Title Match as Flair is still The US Champion. He wouldn’t be for long as an injury forced him to relinquish it. Jarrett is just so out of place in this new era of WCW and it’s no wonder he didn’t last long. The change in the WWF during the Attitude Era did him wonders. Flair gets his own entrance because well, he’s Ric Flair! Giant just towers over Jarrett as he shoves him across the ring. Jarrett opts to strut and the uses his quickness to frustrate Giant. Flair dances in the aisle which gets the crowd going. Jarrett gets dumb and goes to a side headlock and Giant easily tosses him off across the ring. Giant throws shoulders in the corner, but gets caught again and tossed from one corner to the other. Next up Jarrett tries a sleeper, Giant breaks in the corner. Jarrett goes back to it and Giant starts to buckle. But again breaks in the corner. A massive “Nature Boy” chant starts as Jarrett punches in the corner. Jarrett charges and eats a boot to the face which draws an audible “ohh” from the crowd. Elbow drop from Giant followed by a low headbutt which Jarrett sells with a high pitched groan that makes me laugh every time I hear it. Flair grabs a mic and tells Jarrett to get up and “kick his nWo ass.” Giants continues to slug away and then catches Jarrett as he tried a crossbody. A very weak backbreaker and then another. Heavy forearm as this match is already too long. Bearhug next as that’s what this match needs. Jarrett punches his way out and bites to break the hold. He ducks under a boot and connects with two dropkicks. Back to being dumb as he tries to slam The Giant and that goes as you would expect. Jarrett is able to kick out at two though it looked kind of awkward. Jarrett gets his feet up to block a charge and lands some blows before getting two off a crossbody from the top. Giant nearly tosses him out of the ring on the kickout at two. JJ tries for The Figure Four, but Giant just kicks him out of the ring. Giant headbutts the post and JJ hooks on the Figure Four, but Giant casually goozles him to break. Flair breaks up the chokeslam on the floor with a well placed ball shot to draw the DQ at 9:53.

Winner: The Giant via DQ at 9:53
-This wasn’t good but had a hot crowd though nobody really cared about Jarrett. Crap ending too as not sure why they protected Jarrett against The Giant. *

-The Horsemen are out and Giant decides to walk instead of facing 5 games by himself as Dusty and Tony want him to do.

-Back to nWo entrance as Dibiase mentions that is a win for the nWo and they will take it anyway they can get it. Dibiase calls Syxx the best Cruiserweight in the world and Syxx promises the CW Title will be his in the future.

Syxx vs. Chris Jericho

-I wouldn’t be shocked to see this match in AEW one day actually. I don’t think it will happen, but it wouldn’t shock me. Funny hearing everyone refer to Jericho as a youngest and young man. Sigh, I’m old! This is Syxx’s WCW PPV debut and this is nice high profile match for Jericho early in his WCW run. Feeling out process to start and Syxx gets a side headlock. They work off that for a bit and Syxx gets a shoulder tackle. They fly all around the ring ducking and leaping over moves and it’s a stalemate. We break to see The Dungeon of Doom is sitting in the crowd. In the ring Jericho gets a few armdrags and wants Patrick to ask Syxx if he gives. Kick to the chest from Jericho and then a nasty chop in the corner. Running corner clothesline as Schiavone mentions Jericho’s dad played in the NHL. Heenan asks why he was traded so much if he was so good and Tony brings up Wayne Gretzky. They fight heads to the floor and Jericho gets dropped jaw first on the rail. Syxx follows out with a plancha and then fires Jericho back into the security rail. Back in the ring Syxx stomps a mud hole as Patrick asks Jericho if he wants to stop. Now Syxx gets to lay in the chops in the corner. He throws his combination of kicks and finishes with a spinning kick that drops Jericho. Reverse chinlock from Syxx next as the crowd is a little subdued compared to earlier matches on this card. Back to another shot of The Dungeon of Doom in the crowd. Jericho breaks the hold, but gets dropped with a spinning heel kick. Syxx chokes on the apron with his boot and comes off the middle rope with a forearm to the floor. Charge in the corner misses as Syxx falls on the back of his head. Jericho is back with some strikes and then a high backdrop. Syxx eats an elbow that sends him to a floor, so Jericho follows out with a springboard dive. Now Syxx gets tossed into the railing and then back in the ring Jericho gets a two count off a back elbow from the top. Jericho charges and gets dropped face first on the turnbuckle. Syxx heads up, but Jericho catches him on the way down with a dropkick for two as Patrick’s count is getting a little slower. Lionsault into a pin attempts gets a one count. Dusty and Tony are pissed! Springboard crossbody gets another slow two count. Jericho argues with Patrick and Syxx gets a spinning heel kick for the win at 9:49.

Winner: Syxx via pin at 9:49
-Good match here that started to get overshadowed by the Patrick angle towards the end. This led to Patrick vs Jericho at World War 3 the following month. ***

-Mike Tenay is backstage with Lex Luger as he hypes his match with Arn Anderson. This all stems from Luger giving up to the nWo at War Games last month. Luger goes on a weird rant about this not being a garden with flowers, but with cactus. Okay then! Luger wants to hurt Arn and take him out!

Arn Anderson vs. Lex Luger

-Arn’s theme music is just awesome and takes me back. Anderson talks smack to start as they take their time. Arn lands a boot and throws forearms to the back and then another one to the gut. He puts the boots to Lex and drops a knee before letting the crowd know, “he ain’t so bad.” I had flashbacks to Rocky III hearing that. Arn gets cocky and Luger rallies back with a gorilla press slam and a clothesline that sends Arn to the floor. Luger comes off the apron with a double axe and then he rams Arn back first into the padded ring post. Back in the ring Luger gets a powerslam as Sullivan screams from the crowd for Luger to rack Arn. Backbreaker from Luger gets two and then to the corner but Arn catches a charging Luger with an elbow. Arn tries to go up, but gets crotched and Luger resumes his attack on the back. Arn reverses a whip and sticks Luger with a picture perfect spinebuster. He shoves Luger to the floor to create space before following out. Now Arn goes to work on the back as he rams Luger into the apron and then into the security railing. Arn buries a knee to the back which knocks Luger off the apron and back to the floor. Arn drops some knees on the back and goes to an abdominal stretch and makes sure he is close enough to use the ropes for added leverage. Always works! Curtis catches Arn so he releases the hold and the start trading blows. Luger sets too early on a backdrop, but Luger holds the rope to avoid the DDT. Now Arn gets caught with an elbow in the corner and then we get a ref bump as Luger gets shoved into Mark Curtis. Back to the floor and Arn gets a chair but swings wildly and only hits ring post. He tries a piledriver, but Luger escapes and catapults Arn into the padded ring post. Luger gets a vertical suplex on the floor and then he gets the chair. He brutalizes Arn with the chair and it’s academic at this point, so Luger rolls him in the ring and The Torture Rack finishes at 12:21. Luger doesn’t release the hold as The Dungeon cheers him on and Heenan freaks out as he wants Luger to release the hold. Dusty points out The Horsemen left Luger stranded at Fall Brawl.

Winner: Lex Luger via submission at 12:21
-The crowd wasn’t into this one until the end, but this was a solid match between two pros. Luger promised to Rack and injure Arn and that’s what he did here. This was fine. **1/2

-Jeff Jarrett and Ric Flair are out to check on Arn Anderson as he is in bad shape. A stretcher is brought down and Arn gets carried out and we find out he is off to a hospital with Flair going with him.

-Lee Marshall is in the back with Harlem Heat and they hype their Title Match with The Outsiders.

The Faces of Fear (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Chris Benoit (w/ Debra and Woman)

-It’s still unsettling seeing Woman accompany Benoit to the ring knowing what is going to happen. I find myself wanting to yell at the screen for her to run away. The Faces of Fear would be Barbarian and Meng and they were a wonderful mean guy tag team that had some fun power matches around this time and started getting over with the crowd because of it. Mongo and Meng start and this could be a train wreck as Mongo was known to do some weird things in the ring. Mongo hits a diving shoulder to knock Meng down, but he bounces back up. He makes the tag to Barbarian, so Mongo tags in Benoit. They hit each other hard as you would expect and Barbarian wins that exchange. Benoit gets caught, but escapes and gets a suplex into a bridge for two. Barbarian sticks Benoit with a lariat and looks for a Boston Crab, but Benoit kicks off and beats Barbarian down in the corner. Meng and Mongo back in and Meng wants a sumo match and Mongo obliges which goes badly for him. Meng celebrates, but gets caught with a chopblock. Mongo runs into a kick to the face and Barbarian gets the tag. He slams Mongo and makes the tag back to Meng. He kicks away and fires off some chops. Mongo reverses a whip and pulls out a dropkick. Meng swats him away on a second attempt. Meng misses a senton and the tag is made to Benoit. A blind tag is made to Barbarian and we get an awesome move where Meng backdrops Benoit to Barbarian and he gets a powerbomb. Sweet! Meng chokes on the ropes for a bit and makes the tag back to Barbarian. Now the famous spot from this match as Barbarian sets Benoit up top and hits a belly to belly suplex from the top and Benoit almost hit his feet off the ropes in the opposite corner. That was just unreal! FOF hit a double headbutt, but Mongo makes the save. Faces of Fear are just awesome. There, I said it! Barbarian gets a suplex and Meng comes off the top with a splash, but Mongo saves again as he pulls Benoit to the floor. Meng tries to break that up and gets blasted with the briefcase and Benoit hits the flying headbutt to finish at 9:25.

Winners: Chris Benoit and Steve McMichaels via pin at 9:25
-Solid match with The FOF kind of getting screwed so Benoit and Mongo deserved what happened to them after the match. FOF would have a fun match with The Outsiders at Starrcade a few months later. **1/2

-The Dungeon of Doom hit the ring and Mongo gets knocked out with a piledriver and that leaves Benoit alone against five men as Flair, and Jarrett are at the hospital with Anderson. Benoit fights them off for as long as possible but the numbers catch up to him and he gets left laying. Jimmy Hart lays the bad mouth on Woman as apparently she was supposed to call Sullivan Friday night. Sullivan tells her he is going to show her why he is still the man as he gets in a few more shots on Benoit. Again, this storyline is just tough to watch anymore.

-Back to Dibiase at the nWo entrance and he cuts a promo on Harlem Heat before Hall and Nash make their entrance.

WCW World Tag Team Titles: Harlem Heat (c) (w/ Sister Sherri and Colonel Parker) vs. The Outsiders

-Hall and Nash just look like stars here and the crowd loves them. I remember Public Enemy won the Tag Titles just before this show and can you imagine them facing The Outsiders? Thankfully, the switch was made back to Harlem Heat. The crowd chants for Razor and Diesel and they eat it up as they play to the crowd. Booker and Hall start this one off and Hall does totally non Razor Ramon moves as he tosses his toothpick in Booker’s face. The fans all get up as apparently there was some kind of fight in the crowd between some fans. Booker gets an armdrag and tells Hall to bring it. Hall gets an arm and works on that and the shoulder. Booker reverses and gets a hook kick as Hall looks perplexed. Another go and Hall gets a shoulder block and lands a right hand to the jaw and another. Booker regroups and we have another go with Booker getting a hammerlock. Hall reverses to one of own and snaps off some more right hands. Booker reverses an armdrag and gets one of his own that sends Hall over the top to the floor. Stevie Ray lands a shot on the floor as the announcers debate if that was an intentional toss over the top as I completely forgot that uses to be a rule in WCW. Back in the ring, Stevie Ray is in and Hall spits on him before tagging out to Nash. The crowd is just going crazy as Nash gets tagged in. Again, they came in and were instantly two of the biggest stars in the company. Nash lands some elbows and pounds Stevie down in the corner. Nash gets caught with an elbow and Stevie Ray spits on Hall as payback. Stevie shows some good fire as he pounds away in the corner and Sherri makes sure to get in a cheap shot as well. Booker back in and he gets an axe kick for a two count as Nash kicks out with ease. Stevie back and he gets caught in the corner and dropped with a sidewalk slam to a big pop. Tag made to Hall and he catches Ray with a boot to the face and then comes off the middle rope with a bulldog for two. Stevie back with a power move and he tags Booker back into the ring. He gets a two count off a flying forearm, but Nash lands a heavy blow from the apron. Booker staggers back to the middle of the ring where Hall gets a lariat for two. Nash in and he drills Booker with a big boot followed by Snake Eyes. Hall runs him down with a clothesline from the apron and then gets the tag back in. Booker tries a hiptoss, but Hall blocks and gets a chokeslam for two as Stevie makes the save. Booker fights back, but a thumb to the eye stops that. Booker gets caught and Hall connects with the fall-away slam. Sherri on the apron and she slaps Hall, so he kisses her and that’s gives us a great Dusty line with “he kissed her. He is swapping spit with Sherri, right here in the damn desert.” The crowd starts a massive “Razor” chant as he is the coolest dude in the building right now as far as the crowd is concerned. Sleeper but Booker reverses to one of his own and the crowd boos him out of the building. Hall drops Booker balls first on the rope to break which gets two and then they collide after running the ropes to leave both of them down. The race is on and Stevie gets the tag which draws Nash into the ring. Stevie runs wild and again, more boos! He press slams Hall onto Nash in a nice display of power. Nash gets clotheslined to the floor. Stevie gets the sidewalk slam and Booker follows with The Harlem Hangover, but Curtis is busy getting Booker out of the ring. Nash back in and he gets the cane off Parker (or I should say Parker gave up the cane due to fear of his safety) and he blasts Stevie Ray. Parker runs up the aisle and Hall rolls over for the pin and Tag Titles at 13:08 to a big pop.

Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders via pin at 13:08
-Fun match that I have seen countless times and it still brings a smile to my face. Hall and Nash were having a ball out there and the crowd treated them as the biggest stars in the company. The match was a strong tag match that hit all the notes and the right result as you had to put the Tag Titles on Hall and Nash at this point. ***1/4

-World War 3 commercial. I guess, I will get to that next month. Perhaps when I am down in Disney when everyone else in the family is sleeping.

-Back to nWo entrance as Hogan gets to cut his own promo instead of Ted speaking for him. Hogan is wearing his wig from the latest movie (3 Ninjas) he shot and he looks like a douche which I guess is the point.

WCW World Heavyweight Title: “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan (c) (w/ The Giant, Ted Dibiase and Vincent) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

-Savage makes his entrance with a ton of pyro and then he brings out a Macho Man Monster Truck. WCW loved their Monster Trucks! Savage takes the mic and wants Hogan’s goons and bag carriers out of the ring so he can kick his ass. Randy Anderson tosses The Giant from ringside, but Dibiase gets to stay. The crowd is jacked for this one as you would expect considering who is in the ring. As I have mentioned before these are my two favorite wrestlers of all time. Hogan stalls to start and we will so how long it takes before they make any kind of contact in this one. The mind games continue as Hogan wants nothing to do with Savage and it is just making the crowd roar. Hogan is back in the ring, but again he cowers between the ropes to continue the stall. Finally after two and a half minutes, Hogan gets a side headlock and then he runs Savage down before bailing to the floor again. Savage gives chase and to their credit the crowd is staying with them. Back in the ring and Hogan continues to stall as they are working the crowd into a frenzy. The commentary team is doing a great job of pointing out that Hogan was expecting an out of his mind Savage, but he is doing the opposite here. Hogan gets in a cheap shot and rubs Savage’s face in the mat. He talks a bunch of crap and fires Savage into the top buckle. He hits a running clothesline and struts to egg on the crowd as most boo him out of the building while some roar with approval. Savage ducks a right and fires back with rights of his own. He comes off the top with a double axe that knocks the sunglasses off Hogan’s face. Hogan begs off and offers a handshake, but Savage kicks him and punches the wig off his head. That gets a massive pop and Heenan is loving it. Savage puts on the wig and this is all great as the wrestling isn’t good, but it’s just entertaining. Hogan heads up the aisle as he is quite embarrassed, but Savage gives chase and blasts him from behind. He shoves the wig in Hogan’s mouth and then runs him into the ring post. Savage uses a chair as he blasts Hogan in the head. Anderson stops him from using it again, which lets Hogan get in a shot and then he uses the chair to even things. Dibiase distracts the ref as Hogan uses the chair again. Hogan crotches Savage on the railing and talks some more trash. Miss Elizabeth is out and she is just gorgeous! It’s sad that she isn’t around anymore to get credit for what she meant to this business. Hogan orders her to get into the corner which lets Savage get a roll-up for two. Savage pulls down Hogan’s tights as Dusty mentions there is a full moon in the desert tonight. The crowd is eating all of this up. Savage pounds away and clotheslines Hogan over the top to the floor. It’s a reverse of Mania V as Hogan uses Liz as a shield. Sadly, nobody on commentary points that out. Back in the ring Savage gets a slam followed by a knee to the back which sends Hogan back to the floor. Hogan pulls him out, but Savage pounds away. Hogan has had enough and again uses Liz as a shield and this time throws her into Savage which lets him land a clothesline. Back in the ring Hogan gets the big boot and Liz is in the ring to check on Savage which prevents Hogan from dropping the leg. Hogan moves Liz out of the way and the leg drop misses. Liz steals a foreign object from Hogan and the ref gets bumped. Nick Patrick is out to many boos and Mark Curtis is out as well. Savage gets a slam and heads up top and hits The Flying Elbow. Patrick’s neck issues act up as he can only count two, so Savage attacks him. Savage blasts Hogan in the head with the foreign object and Schiavone rightly points out that Patrick isn’t going to count any pin. Now The Giant is out and he fires Savage into the security railing and hits a chokeslam on the floor. Savage is a pile off goo as he is rolled into the ring. Giant drags Hogan’s body on top and Patrick makes the count at 18:38 which draws a big reaction from the Hogan fans in the crowd.

Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan via pin at 18:38
-The opening half of this was a bunch of fun for me, as again, I am a sucker for both of these guys. Things went crazy with all the overbooking at the end, which hurt things. There was no chance Hogan was losing and there was no chance this was going to be clean. **

-Savage dumps ice water on Hogan to wake him up and he is rather surprised to learn he has won the match. Hogan cuts a promo and we hear bagpipes as Rowdy Roddy Piper makes his WCW debut to a massive reaction from the crowd. Hogan’s reaction is priceless here as he sells it like he is seeing a ghost. Piper and Hogan exchange greetings and Piper tells us he is here to break Hogan’s monotony. Hogan tries sucking up to Piper by telling him they ran neck and neck back in the day. Piper isn’t here to represent the WCW, nWo, NWA, SPCA, or SOB, but he can be one SOB when he wants. He calls Hogan “Charlie Brown” and he is here to give Hogan a reality check. He is just as big an Icon in this sport as Hogan (no) and he is shooting here because he is a multimillionaire too. He wants to know where Hogan was when Piper was 15 wrestling in garages (playing guitar in Tootsie’s Bar). Hogan gives Piper his credit, but Piper has more to say. He brings up WrestleMania which popped me as a 15 year old because hearing anything about the other company was wild at the time. He asks Hogan if he would be as loved had it not been for the fans hating him so much. He points out Hogan’s problem with him is he is the only guy he has never been able to beat (well, Warrior too, but Hogan had plans for that a few years later). Piper wants Hogan to shake his hand and admit to all the people he made him. Hogan admits Piper is just as big a star as him and shakes his hand. Piper tells him to straighten up and Hogan gets in a crack about Piper’s skirt and it’s on again. Hogan tells Piper he is messing with the nWo and he has stepped back into his world. Hogan tells Piper his day is coming. Piper: “I’m the reason you have no hair, so what are you going to do about it.” They continue to talk as Tony wraps things up and we go off the air with them still talking.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Good
The 411
The opener was great and there were some good matches sprinkled throughout the rest of the card. Most will dislike the Main Event more than me which is fine, but I enjoyed it for what it was and the live crowd did as well. This was a fun show with a hot crowd and a legit shocking return to set up the rest of the year for WCW. Definitely worth a watch!