WHAT HAPPENED WHEN MONDAY WITH TONY SCHIAVONE & CONRAD THOMPSON
Episode 17: WCW Halloween Havoc 1998
Release Date: May 22nd, 2017
Recap by: Dominic DeAngelo
Top Newsworthy Items:
-Ultimate Warrior in WCW
-The main event not airing on PPV
-DDP is a legitimate champion
-Raven is underrated
-Tony no-sells Wade Keller
Subjects covered (with timestamps)
(9:30) Halloween Havoc 1998 = Ultimate Warrior show
(12:10) Warrior vs. WWF / Warrior abruptly fires new assistant / Not one of “the boys”
(17:35) Warrior’s WCW signing
(22:50) Warrior’s WCW debut / DDP & Bischoff friends
(30:50) Warrior looks a great deal different / Ed Leslie / Ridiculous segments
(42:30) “Bride Of Chucky” / DDP vs. Goldberg not airing on PPV fallout
(52:10) Jericho vs. Raven / Raven’s WCW run
(55:45) Disco Inferno vs. Juventud Guerrara / Scott Steiner segment
(59:40) Alex Wright vs. Fit Finlay
(1:01:00) Lodi vs. Perry Saturn / Kidman vs. Disco Inferno
(1:03:00) Konnan “Low Rider” video / Rick Steiner & Buff Bagwell vs. Scott Steiner & Giant / Giant story / Scott Steiner vs. Rick Steiner
(1:10:30) Scott Hall vs. Kevin Nash
(1:14:50) Bret Hart vs. Sting
(1:18:00) Goldberg vs. DDP / Goldberg’s best match / DDP = legit world champion / Poll options for next week
(1:30:35) Start of live commentary of Hogan vs. Warrior.
(9:30) Tony agrees that Halloween Havoc 1998 is the Ultimate Warrior show. He really thinks that it’s one of the low points of the high point of WCW. Conrad kind of thinks that this was the beginning of the end for WCW.
(12:10) In the summer of 1997, there were rumors that Warrior was coming to WCW. This caused Linda McMahon to call Warrior to convince him to do otherwise. This leads to an attempt of a restraining order on him going to WCW, but it’s later revealed that the surprise debuts in WCW were Curt Hennig and Raven. In 1998, a ruling is given that Warrior is allowed to use the Warrior name and persona anywhere. Does Tony have any memories of working with him initially in 1989? Tony says he was a quiet guy who always had a smile on his face. Tony tells the story of Lisha Murphy, who has since passed away. She worked as Tony’s assistant in Coliseum Videos until she took a job as Warrior’s personal assistant. Tony tried to talk her out of it as Warrior was known to be irrational and unpredictable. She still took the job and uprooted herself to Arizona to work for him and was almost immediately fired. Tony never really held Warrior in any good regard after that, and also never really knew what came of Lisha after that. Unlike Hogan, Warrior was very much not considered “one of the boys” pretty much universally among the wrestling industry.
(17:35) When does Tony remember Warrior’s name first coming up in WCW? When did he think him signing with them was really going to happen? Tony knew the WCW Hotline was their answer to the dirt sheets. There was nothing that really told him that he was really coming in until he actually showed up. On the other side of things, the WWF was really catching fire and are about to start winning the ratings war. Tony felt by signing Warrior, WCW was trying to recapture the moment of WrestleMania VI. Tony stayed out of the wrestler rumor mill and all he would listen to is when Bischoff told him what was going to happen. In April 1998, Bischoff did talk to Warrior about two appearances that would end up paying in the low six-figures.
(22:50) One way to bring in Warrior was floated for July 6th Nitro at the Georgia Dome, one of the original plans was to have him tag with Sting against the Giant and Hogan. Tony never considered that to be happening. Does Tony believe the delay from March to August was so Warrior could get into “Warrior shape?” It comes down to 36-38 dates for around $1 million. Goal is to have him debut on August 17, 1998 in Hartford, CT. Business is on fire for WCW at the time. Bischoff didn’t concern himself with gates and was mostly worried about television and PPV buys. Is DDP going to be working a PPV main event with the Warrior? Tony calls BS and says people make too much of Bischoff’s and DDP’s friendship that gave DDP main event status. Warrior’s debut wasn’t hyped too much – Bischoff’s strategy was probably to give the fans an “a-ha” moment. What was the strategy behind it? That’s just not the way Eric worked. This Nitro won 4.9 to 4.2 rating. It drew a quarter-hour rating of 6.4, but after that segment was over, everything leveled out. Still had to be viewed as a huge success right?
(30:50) Warrior looks a great deal different – he’s still jacked, but his look is much different. Lots of special effects for his ring entrance. Was there ever a discussion on the money spent on the entrance effort? There were always talks about vignettes and promotion. Tony thinks Warrior wore the duster because he pales in comparison to Scott Steiner. He wasn’t the biggest dude in the company at that time. Conrad mentions that Brutus Beefcake is The Disciple. Tony thinks WCW put too much heat on Brutus. If you’re friends with Hulk, why would you turn down a push? Tony’s never had a problem with Ed Leslie doing his sh*t. Warrior comes out to a huge production. Very over-the-top with Hogan being scared, Warrior goes on this long crazy rant, but people are still on the edge of their seats. Tony still thought it was way too long and way overdone, but when the ratings came out, you can’t argue with it. Warrior vanishes. What did Tony think of that? He wasn’t a fan of it, but he did what he was told. Ohhhh here, Tony says Wade Keller isn’t worth his time.
(38:10) OWN – One Warrior Nation was Warrior’s new gimmick along with trap doors and such (where Davey Boy Smith potentially got injured). DDP gets a title shot against Goldberg. Renegade plays a Warrior body double in one of his magical segments. There was also the segment where Warrior was only seen by Hogan and the fans (not the rest of the roster). Hogan and Bischoff were in charge of that. If none of Warrior’s segments in WWF made any sense, why would they make any sense here? It was silly, but with the exception of Hellwig’s look, it was all pretty f*cking silly. Far out silly.
(42:30) Conrad talks about Bride of Chucky. “One dummy talking to another” as Heenan put it. Halloween Havoc was a PPV that ran 3 hours and 20 minutes, when the cable companies slotted the show to only go 2 hours and 50 minutes. Who decides to go long and who doesn’t notify the PPV companies. WCW always were “going on the fly” and “out of control.” Show went too long and they had to get Hogan and Warrior in. There’s a segment in this show where Jackie Crockett screaming to get the “motherf*cking medics out now” because they were running low on time. Also, Disco Inferno wrestling twice and the fact that the card had 12 matches. When they aired the main event next night on Nitro it did a 7.2 rating, but the goal of the PPV was to get and keep the money. Did Tony ever get a number on what this mistake would cost WCW? Monetarily, no, but down the road, it cost us big time. When you start to screw the fans over, that’s when the business is going under. WWF was quick to dump on Bischoff by trying to undermine his business with the PPV companies which gets Tony to deliver the message of goodwill. Tony remembers that it being big time important stuff around that time. They didn’t air the Hogan – Warrior finish along with the DDP/Goldberg main event. Tony thinks Eric’s handling of the entire situation helped smooth things over with everyone at Turner.
(52:10) Before the opening match, Rick Steiner comes out to do the opening interview. Jericho vs. Raven. Goes 8 minutes in the curtain jerking position. 3-stars. Tony loves Jericho in this era, but he also loved The Flock and the Raven gimmick. Conrad thinks Raven’s WCW 1998 run goes overlooked and underrated. What kept Raven from moving up a little faster? Tony doesn’t know if Raven would have been a guy against a Hogan or Goldberg, but there probably was some validity in backstage occurrences. Wrath pins Meng in 4.5 minutes, gets “boring” chants. 3/4 star. Tony thinks that this was a match you could scratch despite Meng being a great performer.
(55:45) Disco Inferno vs. Juventud Guerrara. Disco wins in 9.5 minutes. 3-stars. Juvi gets his just due, but thinks Disco gets too much of a bad rap. Tony loved the Disco character and thought he was a great heel. Tony gives a pat on the back to Disco having two good matches. Scott Steiner segment feels like this could have happened on Nitro. Scott was officially Big Poppa Pump here and was dripping charisma at this time. Tony’s take on this Steiner angle was misbooked because Rick was going to face Scott in a tag match anyway.
(59:40) Alex Wright pins Fit Finlay in 4.5 minutes. Conrad thinks both are underrated performers. 1 1/4 star in this match. Can’t you cut this match? Tony felt that about so many things here. Fit Finlay is one of the legit tough guys in wrestling.
(1:01:00) Lodi vs. Perry Saturn. 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Saturn is dressed up pretty wild here. It was supposed to be Eddie Guerrero, but he missed a flight. Tony thinks this was another match should be cut. Billy Kidman retains the Cruiserweight belt against Disco in 11 minutes. 2 1/4 stars. What does Tony think of Kidman? Match had no heat, but Shooting Star Press got a good reaction
(1:03:00) Konnan “Low Rider” video got a great reception. This made you think that Konnan was somebody. Rick Steiner & Buff Bagwell win the tag titles against Giant & Scott Steiner. Gets a huge pop – 2 stars. Tony says a lot of good things happened in this match. He thought the Giant was going to slip and fall and bust his ass on this spot. Tony has a Giant story. He loves Paul Wight. Great guy. Paul used to periodically would go into the announcers’ room and use the bathroom and not flush. Giant’s calling card to the announcers. Rick pins Scott in a No DQ match in 4:30 minutes. Lots of chicanery in this. 2-stars. Conrad thinks this feels so Vince Russo with lots of surprises for the sake of nothing. Tony thinks a lot of the stuff that Rick Steiner did in this match gave people a reaction. Conrad says this would have been a headline match anywhere around the world.
(1:10:30) Scott Hall vs. Kevin Nash. 14.5 minutes. Hall is “drunk.” Nash hits a couple of powerbombs to lose by count-out. 1-star. Conrad likes the idea, but feels like this would be something do on Nitro. There was a lot Tony liked about this: he feels Hall had one of the best working punches in the business and he thinks the whole angle setting this up. With that video package before the match and the way Nash delivered those powerbombs and being upset about Hall, then Hall laying there with his arm being raised, he thought this match was okay. Meltzer just thinks that there should be a 1-2-3 all of the time. Conrad thinks that if you’re going to do this, why not cut it in half and put it on Nitro? Tony says you can’t always blame booking for this – guys would sometimes “go home” when they wanted to “go home.” He’s not saying this was one of those moments, but it did happen a lot.
(1:14:50) Bret Hart vs. Sting. 14.5 minutes 1 1/2 stars. This should have been an automatic win, both former faces of their respective companies, but they’re third from the top and so many gimmicky spots happen. Tony thinks that they should have had a kick-ass match with no gimmicks and Tony agrees with Meltzer on this one. You’ve got Bret Hart swinging baseball bats and it seems wrong.
Warrior/Hogan match got negative 5-stars.
(1:18:00) Goldberg vs. DDP. 10.5 minutes Goldberg wins in one of his longer matches. Conrad thinks they stole the show here. Tony thought it was a great match and even said after the bout that this was one of the reasons he loved professional wrestling. Tony thought the finish was well done. One of his favorite WCW PPV title matches. Conrad encourages everyone to go back and watch the match. When DDP hits the Diamond Cutter, the crowd reacts heavily and thoughts the finish was done really well. Gets 3 1/4 stars, Conrad thinks this was Goldberg’s best match and Tony thinks that this match proved that DDP deserved to be a World Champion. Tony thinks that Goldberg shouldn’t have lost here and that he shouldn’t have lost for quite a while.
Conrad tells you to switch Halloween Havoc 1998 on the WWE Network and switch to 2:33:22 as he delivers next week’s poll topics: 1999 themed – (1) Superbrawl IX (2) Uncensored 1999 (3) Spring Stampede 1999 (4) Mayhem 1999
(1:30:35) Start of live commentary of Hogan vs. Warrior.
Score and review (8.4)
This episode was chock full of interesting tidbits and opinions both from Tony and Conrad, not as many laugh out loud moments as some of your usual episodes carry when they run down the card, but still a great episode nonetheless. Tony gives some strong opinions ranging from DDP getting his just due as champion to his love of the Raven character. The Wade hate was a bummer but overall another episode that delivers. Great to see live commentary back too!
About the Author
Dominic DeAngelo has a weekly column on PWTorch.com, “Rising Star, Fading Star” and runs a sports, entertainment, and lifestyle blog in the Pittsburgh area called The Keystone Statement. In addition, he writes book reviews for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His wrestling top three are Scott Hall, Bret Hart & Bruno Sammartino. Follow him on Twitter @DominicDeAngelo and visit his site www.keystonestatement.com for good articles and the two podcasts he hosts, “The Keystone Cast” & “Here Comes Everybody”