Oh, Halloween Havoc ’98. What a ridiculous show this turned out to be. The match that really no one wanted, Hulk Hogan vs Warrior, formerly of the Ultimate variety, was by far the worst match on the card and possibly the worst match in the history of PPV. Hogan vs Warrior at Wrestlemania was great. “Great” being relative here. It was a horrible match, as all Warrior matches were, but for the time it was cool and it symbolized Hogan passing the torch to the next generation. A torch, by the way, he would then grab back and hold on to for the rest of his career. This match though, this was two older dudes past their prime, who genuinely hated each other, standing around not doing much until some bullshit improvised finish because the fireball spot didn’t work. It’s just so, so bad. Which makes sense because Jim Hellwig, Warrior, was a gigantic piece of shit.
And then, the main event between DDP and Goldberg wasn’t even shown to the people who paid for the show. I’ll let Eric Bischoff, then WCW President, describe what happened.
“Talk about your shit storms.
Our 1998 Halloween Havoc Pay-Per-View ran about fifteen minutes over the time allotted. A large portion of the paying audience went dark and missed the end of the match. As bad as that was, the fallout from trying to fix it was even worse.
Matches go longer than they should for any number of reasons. Wrestling isn’t a science. When you send a wrestler out and say, “Okay, you have ten minutes to get your match in,” sometimes they get it to within thirty seconds. Sometimes they go five minutes over. At a Pay-Per-View where there’s eight or nine matches, if four or five go significantly over, you end up going into your main event short of time.
The main event is the reason that most people buy the Pay- Per-View, and it’s usually supposed to go twenty or twenty-five minutes. So you’re faced with a tough situation. If the match ends when it’s supposed to end—say after only seven minutes—it leaves a very bad taste in the mouths of the consumers. On the other hand, if you go over, you run the very real risk of losing your satellite time. Unless you’ve made prior arrangements, you go off the bird when your time is up.
I don’t remember exactly what happened at Halloween Havoc, but I assume that the earlier matches ran over significantly. At some point, we realized we had a problem, and we scrambled. We got hold of the Pay-Per-View companies and explained what was going on, asking for more satellite time. For the most part, we were given reason to believe that we had the additional time.
The Pay-Per-View industry wasn’t as sophisticated back then as it is now. For whatever reason, while some of our customers ended up getting the signal, the majority did not. Most of the people who had bought the Pay-Per-View never saw the finish.” (credit Bischoff in his autobiography)
So yeah, this nonsense happened. A terrible rematch no one wanted to watch ended up the highlight of the show because the main event wasn’t shown to the paying customers. Seeing the match for free, the next night on Nitro, really stuck it in and broke it off. In all the possible worst case scenarios for WCW, this was the worstest. Join me next week as we take another look at a terrifying moment from wrestlings past. Follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, and let me know what you thought of HH ’98 and the bullshit ending. Until then…