1995 is arguably the worst year in wrestling history. Like your awkward teenage years transitioning from pimple-faced weirdo into the smooth-faced weirdo you are today, 1995 was the dying gasp of the cartoon era, before the nWo and Attitude Era came to play.
WCW had been giving itself a huge push since 1994, buying up aging ex-WWE talent and recently beginning its live Nitro show to compete with RAW. But they were still almost a year away from the Outsiders storyline, and still fully embracing the worn-out trope of Hogan vs. Monster heels. WCW was so insane, they would actually have literal monsters, like The Loch Ness, a Shark man, and a friggin’ Leprechaun.
This show also showcased Eric Bischoff’s brand of screwy booking. He had zero grasp of how to please an audience. Any shred of enjoyment the crowd might have scrounged from this show was constantly derailed by over-complicated, meaningless swerves.
To give some historical context, The Giant (son of Andre) was wreaking ‘havoc’ in the WCW, choke slamming everybody and setting his sights on destroying Hulkamania (destroying what the steroid police left behind). To deal with this threat, Hogan began a slow transformation to the dark side, evidenced by his black clothing, and……a SHAVED FACE!
The big blowoff to this nonsense would be Paul Wight’s first real match (terrible idea) in the ring AND a monster truck sumo match (somehow worse) on top of a roof.
Happy Halloween 1995 wrestling fans. There’s nothing scarier than this crap.
Johnny B. Badd def. Diamond Dallas Page
WCW may have beaten WWE in the ratings for a time, but they could never match the production, and especially the music. Both of them come out to bland, generic rock filled with wanky hair-metal solos. The theme music was always too quiet in the mix, often sounding like just the ring microphones were picking it up. It set the tone perfectly for a boring night to come.
Marc Mero had transitioned from his earlier look
to something slightly more masculine.
With this new look came new tricks. Badd sent a doppleganger of himself through the curtain to distract Page while the real Badd came through the crowd for an underhanded sneak attack. This is a clever idea…for a heel. Unfortunately, Badd is booked as the face trying to realize his dreams of winning the Television Title…again, so it does little do gain sympathy from the crowd.
Badd, in an attempt to show how serious he’d become since dressing like Little Richard, puts a bucket on Page’s head. The Detroit crowd is desperate for something to cheer for so they pop for the bucket like my fat Uncle Larry pops for a bucket of KFC.
Heenan and Schiavone are on commentary and although they start off fine, a noticeable air of tension develops between them. Schiavone keeps ripping off Gorilla Monsoon’s famous “will you stop!” but delivers it with the energy of my fat Uncle Larry having his post-chicken nap. Which is hard to believe considering the Schiv is normally screaming about everything he sees being the greatest moment in wrestling history!
Watching these poor guys try to “fly” across the ring is so painful due to WCW’s restrictive ring size and tight ropes. It’s just another example of how Vince McMahon always nailed the important details while WCW looked and felt second-rate.
Page’s male valet Max Muscle starts his own “D-D-P” chant and it’s absolutely hilarious.
This match is dragging badly and sees Page kill the face momentum five different times. At 17 minutes, it’s one of the longest TV Title PPV matches ever. Yet they couldn’t give Macho Man more than five minutes… That’s talent management right there.
Page goes for the heel finish by taking out string and wrapping it around Badd’s throat, trying to actually kill him (a theme we’ll revisit later). But it seems like death can’t kill Badd as he raises his hand on 2 1/2 for a wannabe Hulk/Warrior comeback.
Badd actually uses a few semi-acrobatic luchadore moves that look almost as clumsy s Cena’s Frankensteiner. This is when Page’s Wife swerves her mean hubby by lifting her “10” judging card for Badd and his 2/10 moves. Schiavone actually utters the phrase ”that’s a moment to remember in WCW history, and you saw it only on Halloween Havoc.”
Badd gets the win and Kimberly Page acts happy for him by looking vaguely horny and biting her lip. It’s weird.
Macho Man Randy Savage def. The Zodiac
The story goes that Kamala was supposed to lose this squash but decided to quit the promotion instead. Since Hogan’s crony Ed Leslie obviously never turned anything in his life, he’s next in line.
For some reason, The Zodiac gets the first decent piece of music we’ve heard all night, as he comes down to Rey Mysterio’s eventual theme.
Savage’s WWE theme was the classical piece “Pomp and Circumstance” so WCW could have used it without fear of legal action. Unfortunately they decide to amp it up with the usual lame hair-metal guitar over top, courtesy of Jimmy Hart.
Another overbooked piece of nonsense is that if Macho Man and Lex Luger win their respective matches, they’ll face each other later in the night. There is so explanation given why this pitiful mini-tournament is happening nor is there mention of what would happen if their opponents happened to win.
The most exciting part of the match is when a fan manages to get into the ring to join the fun. Security is nowhere to be seen and little Randy Anderson takes this jabroni out like a strip club bouncer.
It’s shocking how much charisma Savage brings compared to everything we’ve seen so far, and equally shocking how little WCW uses him.
Kurosawa def. Road Warrior Hawk – REVENGE Match
Kurosawa was actually Manabu Nakanishi, a well-respected wrestler out of Japan; the Detroit crowd obviously didn’t get that channel.
Schiavone says WCW is the “No.1 wrestling organization in the entire Universe”.
Hawk comes out alone and all of a sudden his big red shoulder pads look really silly.
These two work are working so stiff that referee Nick Patrick sounds genuine when he tells Hawk to watch his punches. Even the commentary team is laughing at how hard these guys are wacking each other. Of course this flies in the face of Hawk’s apparent broken arm, but who cares about that as Hawk effortlessly powerbombs the large Kurosawa.
They punch each other for awhile until Colonel Parker holds Hawk’s leg to give Kurosawa the dirty 3-count.
Decent match but the revenge and arm injury angle were completely ignored.
Luckily, Savage and Mean Gene deliver a classic wacky interview in the next segment
Macho Man vs. Mene Gene promo
WCW gets their money’s worth as Savage delivers a killer promo with classic lines about curiosity killing the cat and the “videoscope”. He even makes mention of the audience run-in and the crowd pops so hard you can hear it in the dressing room interview area.
Savage even does the impossible and makes the lame monster truck match sound exciting.
So good and so annoying that WCW let this guy sit on the back burner.
Sabu def. Mr. Jl
More generic music introduces Mr. JL. This time it sounds like a crappy Metallica cover band tried to write their own shitty original song.
Sabu comes out for his few-month WCW run, accompanied by the original Sheik.
This was a ludicrous spot-fest, as these guys obviosuly decided they would get in as many crazy moves in the few minutes they were given.
The Detroit crowd must have dropped their beers as Sabu does a moonsault to the outside within the first minute. Both wrestlers are flying like monkeys on meth, no-selling everything. This match has more dangerous aerial moves than the previous 15 years of WCW combined. It’s exciting for a bit, but loses impact as whomever is hit by a devastating maneuver immediately gets up to do one of their own. Bret Hart would not approve.
Sabu eventually gets the win and The Sheik still throws a fireball in the losers face.
And how does WCW follow up Sabu and the cutting edge (for 1995) hardcore wrestling???
Two awkward segments for the price of one
Even when these Dungeon of Doom pieces were pre-recorded with all of the production muscle Ted Turner had, they were still cringeworthy. But to do it live took it to the next (lowest) level.
The bald guy in the chair used to be known as King Curtis Iaukea and was respected as a revolutionary, stream-of-concious promo man. Unfortunately, here he’s given a script about supernatural nonsense…and an insurance policy, which is jarring to say the least.
It’s impossible to follow and the monotonous tone wears thin after a few seconds. Another example of WCW taking a legend and making them awful.
Sullivan tries to look more menacing than embarrassed, and fails.
Hogan and the Harley
Now to get ready for his monumental match that could destroy him….Hogan is giving away a Harley Davidson to a lucky fan and his serious fiancée.
Bischoff and Hogan had huge fetishes for cars and motorbikes so fans ended up with a PPV filled with both.
During the giveaway, Hogan says he’s going to kill the Giant and “bury” him right next to his dad. Pretty tacky considering the real Giant had recently passed away a year or so earlier.
Lex Luger def. Meng via DQ
Meng is wearing half a luchadore mask so he look like friggin’ Birdman. Lex Luger comes out to more bland, generic rock, but for him it fits perfect. Meanwhile, Luger’s mullet was in its prime.
This lady wanted a better view…
This is match no.2 in the mini-tournament-of-nothing. It’s also being used to tease a possible Luger defection to Sullivan’s horrible stable.
The incredible WCW production crew cut to Sullivan who looks so bored he actually yawns.
Meng and Luger can both have decent matches with a more agile worker, but this is a bad pairing that goes way too long.
The entire point is to show that Sullivan wants to help Luger win to ensure that he faces Savage in the worst-tournament-ever-finale. Sullivan is supposed to be menacing but they dress him like Sparkplug Holly
Meng hits Luger in the throat with the golden spike, and Sullivan breaks up the count with a baby-soft boot, causing a DQ. The crowd is not sure what the hell is going on.
Arn Anderson & Flyin’ Brian vs Sting & Ric Flair
Flair doesn’t come down to the ring because he was apparently attacked, although this isn’t shown or explained.
It doesn’t seem to matter though, as Sting starts kicking ass like the generic ’90s superhero character he always wanted to be.
This is where WCW blows the most exciting part of the night
Once the heels gain control, the crowd is chanting “We want Flair!”. The Nature Boy eventually comes down in his profilin’ street clothes to roaring cheers.
WCW has their top face Sting racking up the sympathy as he struggles and fails to make the tag. WCW’s other top talent Flair is driving the crowd into a frenzy from the apron. The excitement is palpable and it feels like the roof will come off when Sting finally makes that hot tag.
Sting finally tags out and the crowd is ready to see Flair start kicking ass (with chops?) But WCW decides to have Flair turn heel on Sting.
The crowd’s climax of the night is quickly doused with disappointment. A swerve like this can add excitement to a storyline but this booking ruined the live experience.
Executive Produced by Eric Bischoff.
Monster Truck Sadness
This match could have been redneck porn if the trucks were bashing into each but they were welded together instead. I assume WCW didn’t want to pay for repairs but I also didn’t think money was an object for a match that featured MONSTER TRUCKS ON TOP OF A BUILDING FILMED BY A HELICOPTER.
Hogan starts off by asking for the rules and listens sincerely and politely. Riveting stuff.
Bischoff is on commentary and is going ballistic. You can hear the passion in his voice and it all makes sense why we have to watch this garbage. It’s a precursor to the disastrous free PPV they would eventually hold at the Sturgis Motorcycle rally.
The commentary team casually mentions that there are also explosive charges that could kill the racers…
Hogan gets the win (undefeated!) but cowers to the edge of the roof when the Giant gets out to confront him. They battle until Hogan pulls a sweet dodge and the Giant loses his balance…to FALL TO HIS DEATH.
We cut to the commentary team where Bischoff is acting devastated by biting his nails and stuttering (that’s nervous, not sad). Heenan actually looks devastated because he’s realizing he sold his soul to the devil for this shit.
The mechanic inadvertently breaks the tension when he hilariously says “….that wasn’t supposed to happen”.
Macho Man def. Lex Luger
Immediately following the death we go right to a filler match between two of the most recognizable stars of the era.
Heenan the pro is still selling the accident like a regular human but Schiavone has no problem with weak human emotions. He simply says “we are stunned…so much built up for this match”.
If anything, Schiavone seems most upset that we won’t have a world title match…because the challenger is dead.
Luger adds to the confusing booking by playing the nice guy and offering Savage a handshake. Savage attacks him anyway and the crowd cheers him on.
Luger yells “OOOOHHHHHHHH” about nine times in a row wether giving or receiving. That acting class really paid off.
Evil Jimmy Hart comes out and distracts the ref in a sequence that makes zero sense in regards to the shenanigans of the last match.
It’s over quick and the crowd cheers this measly morsel of entertainment.
The Giant def. Hogan (DQ)
Michael Buffer was a perfect example of WCW not knowing what to do with their money. He had his main event shtick, but didn’t have the wrestling knowledge to properly deliver the message.
The confusion continues as Hogan comes out first, looking very sad. He tells the crowd to calm down. This entire night has been about killing the crowd’s fun.
Hogan further depresses the crowd by apologizing to the crowd for the accident (yeh, that’s what they came to see).
To the surprise of no one, The Giant comes out COMPLETELY UNHARMED, proving he is superhuman, or back from the dead.
The main event is on and Hogan rips off one of his shirts…yes he was wearing two.
Hogan then takes off his bandana to reveal he ALSO has a lame taskmaster tattoo.
The match is a recreation of Hogan vs Andre (complete with failed bodyslam), but this time Hogan is smaller, this Giant is incredibly mobile, and the crowd is a lot less interested.
Paul Wight was a great athlete and could really move around. He even used to do missile dropkicks off the top rope until he was told to only do Giant things.
Kevin Sullivan’s bald head and horseshoe hair are in frame as I’ve forgotten he was a part of this match. He seems pretty bored and just stands in one spot leaning on the ring. Usually managers move about creating energy, or if they stand still they at least look menacing and tough. Sullivan just looks like he’s too old to be dressed up in red spandex with yellow lightning.
Considering this was Wight’s first televised match, he does surprisingly well, with only one noticeably clumsy sequence that seemed to have more to do with Hogan in his ear than anything else. He goes for a powerbomb, then puts Hogan on the ropes for a hug, and then settles on tossing him into the ropes.
It’s odd booking as the crowd cheers Hogan the whole way even though he’s dressed in black, tattooed like a moron, and using heel tactics like back rakes and eye pokes. Even more impressive is that the crowd still cheers Wight’s awesome choke slam.
Hogan hulks up but he’s hobbling around like an old man whose lost his walker.
He asks the crowd if they want a press slam. They do. But he lies and does a normal body slam instead.
This is where the night’s horrible booking comes to a horribly booked climax. Since Hogan had creative control, for him to lose would require a ludicrous chain of events.
Jimmy Hart turns on Hogan to save the Giant from the pin, then distracts the Hulkster long enough to allow Wight to hit the DEADLY BEAR HUG. Then Savage and Luger (who just finished facing each other) come down together to save the day. This doesn’t last of course as Luger turns on Savage.
Then, it’s time for the YETT-TAYY
Not this Yeti
No, WCW thinks a Yeti should dress like a mummy.
And this Yeti thinks that his most devastating move should be the Reverse Vibrating Bear Hug. He looks like the awkward guy at the orgy, dry humping wherever he can. He manages to hold character for almost a minute before scratching his nose, and then remembering he should put his arms up…like a mummy…but a Yeti.
Luger gives Hogan a torture rack and receives the biggest cheer he’s heard in a long time. You can tell because he immediately tells the gang bangers to stop their fun so he can do another one to Savage, this time to much less applause.
With all of this chaos, WCW decides to book the match as a DQ win…for the Giant. This obviously makes no sense as Hart assisted the Giant, and a bunch of his friends came down to the gang up on Hogan.
Now they have Michael Buffer explain that although the Giant won, the belt cannot change hands on a disqualification. This sets up another terrible storyline that Hart changed the contract to include that Hogan could lose the belt on a DQ.
Executive Produced by Eric Bischoff
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