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OCT. 25 IN HISTORY: Hogan vs. Warrior on WCW PPV 15 years ago today, plus Goldberg vs. DDP main event

Oct 25, 2013 - 10:23:13 AM
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This Day In Wrestling History - October 25

Date: October 25, 1998 (15 years ago)

Feature: WCW's Halloween Havoc 1998 PPV featured a double main event of Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior, plus Diamond Dallas Page vs. Goldberg for the WCW Title in the PPV main event. It was the main event that generated news, as WCW ran over their allotted PPV time and ended up airing the match on WCW Nitro following the mishap...

Torch Back-Issue: PWTorch Newsletter #518.

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WCW Halloween Havoc 1998
Cover Story: Goldberg vs. Page sets viewership record
Subheadline: Portion of PPV audience doesn't see match live as WCW runs 20 minutes past their allotted PPV timeslot
By Wade Keller, Torch editor


Goldberg pinned Dallas Page to retain the WCW Hvt. Title in the main event at Halloween Havoc on Oct. 25 in Las Vegas, Nev. The match, though, didn’t begin until after the three-hour allotted timeslot expired. More than three-quarters of the PPV customers were able to see the Page-Goldberg match, but up to 25 percent didn’t as their cable systems switched off at the three?our mark.

As a result, the next day WCW sent a letter to cable companies apologizing for their mistake. In their letter, they suggested that cable companies offer the Tuesday evening replay for free and offer customers a $5 rebate. By late afternoon, they decided to also air the Goldberg vs. Page match for free on Nitro.

Airing the match for free carried the risk of offending their viewers, some of whom spent $30 the night before primarily to see the WCW Title match. They also had to stress on Nitro that airing the match was a one-time deal and not to count on that happening again. On the upside, the quality of the match was very good and they inserted it during a competitive quarter hour against Raw.

It turned out to be a smart move from a television ratings standpoint as it was the most viewed wrestling match in the history of cable television. Viewership reached 5,367,000 homes, topping the July 6 Goldberg WCW Title victory over Hollywood Hogan, which was the first cable match to top 5 million homes, at 5,054,000.

The match aired during the first concurrent quarter hour on the Oct. 26 Nitro, reaching a 7.2 rating (the highest rated quarter hour in the Monday Night Wars) and a 10.2 share. During the same quarter hour, Raw managed to draw just a 3.3 rating for Vince McMahon’s long speech.

Thanks to that 7.2 rating, Nitro ended Raw’s winning streak over Nitro (comparing the concurrent two-our time periods) at five weeks. Overall, Nitro’s 4.8 rating beat Raw’s 4.5 rating. Factoring out the first quarter hour, Raw outdrew Nitro by a 4.6 to 4.4 margin, so airing the Goldberg-Page match made all the difference.

The Goldberg vs. Page match was the best televised match in Goldberg’s one year career. Although it lasted less than eleven minutes, it was a strong conclusion to an otherwise up-and-down average PPV. It also had to mark the high-point of Dallas Page’s career. Page, because he has a long-running friendship with Eric Bischoff, has been considered in many circles terribly overpushed. He stepped up at Halloween Havoc and carried Goldberg to a taut, psychologically sound match where neither wrestler tried to do anything they couldn’t do well. While not a match of the year candidate, it was a rare satisfying end to a WCW PPV, supplying strong wrestling, crowd heat, and a clean, conclusive finish. Goldberg pinned Page clean with the Jackhammer by escaping Page’s attempt at a second Diamond Cutter.

Even though Page didn’t lose any clout by getting pinned by Goldberg, he received retribution the next night on Nitro as he pinned Bret Hart in the live TV main event to capture the U.S. Hvt. Title.

Hogan vs. Warrior was the co-main event at Havoc. Interestingly, it was not the final match on the show. In the semi-final slot, they worked hard to put on a decent match but they just don’t have the athletic ability to have a passable match nor do they have the fan interest at this point in their careers to make up for the poor in-ring action. The crowd chanted “Warrior sucks” as soon as Warrior entered the ring and his music stopped. Fans didn’t pop for any of the kick-outs or key spots in the match designed to get a reaction. The match hit a major snag when Hogan tried to use flashpaper to throw a fireball at Warrior, but the flashpaper fizzled. Warrior had to call an audible as the match briefly fell apart to even greater depths. In the end, Horace interfered with a chair on Hogan’s behalf leading to Hogan scoring the pin...

***

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 PPV Results
October 25, 1998
Las Vegas, Nev. - MGM Grand
Report by Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Mike Tenay introduced the show as the Nitro Girls danced. Gene Okerlund interviewed Rick Steiner. Buff Bagwell walked out and said he had a change of heart. The crowd wasn't buying it and didn't respond at all. He asked Rick to allow him to be in his corner for his match against Scott Steiner. The crowd booed. Buff asked Rick to look into his eyes. Rick agreed and they barked together. The crowd thought Rick was an idiot for accepting.

(1) Chris Jericho beat Raven via submission at 7:50. (***)

Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan walked out. Bischoff said Hogan represents the new millennium when it comes to family values, then laughed. Hogan said he could give a long-winded speech (like every week on Nitro), but he would get right to the point. He bragged about what he did to Horace, saying he did it because Horace didn't sacrifice enough. He then rambled about "4 Life," he called Warrior a "bozo," and talked about Warrior crossing the line into the cutting edge world that is Hollywood.

(2) Wrath pinned Meng at 4:16 with the Meltdown. (*)

(3) Disco Inferno pinned Juventud Guerrera at 9:35 to earn a Cruiserweight Title shot later in the event. (**1/4)

Scott Steiner said he and Giant want to defend the WCW Tag Titles (which are officially held by Giant & Scott Hall) against Rick Steiner & Buff. Giant walked out and said he was up for the challenge. J.J. Dillon came out and clarified Scott's challenge. He told Scott since he's so confident, he wouldn't have any problem agreeing to face Rick in a one-on-one match for 15 minutes if he and Giant were to lose. Scott agreed, so Dillon made the match official.

(4) Alex Wright pinned Fit Finlay at 5:11. (*3/4)

(5) Saturn pinned Lodi at 3:48. (1/4*)

(6) Kidman pinned Disco Inferno at 10:46 to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Title. (**3/4)

Konnan's music video premier aired. Cool video. I want a bouncing car in my driveway.

(7) Rick Steiner & Buff Bagwell beat Giant & Scott Steiner at 8:18 to capture the WCW Tag Team Titles. (*1/4)

(8) Rick Steiner pinned Scott Steiner at 4:20.

(9) Scott Hall beat Kevin Nash via countout at 14:15 when Nash walked out on the match. At 12:30 Nash dropped his straps and hit the Jackknife. Nash then played to the crowd and got some cheers. With Hall flat on his back, Nash stood over him, crotch-chopped, and walked out, refusing to go for the pin on his pathetic friend. (*)

(10) Bret Hart beat Sting via submission at 15:03. Bret rolled the bat out of the ring and woke up the referee. He then applied the Sharpshooter and the ref dropped Sting's limp arm three times for the win. Paramedics put Sting on a stretcher and wheeled him to an ambulance, all which took five minutes. A typical Bret Hart match these days, totally lacking enough fire to raise it much above average. (**3/4)

(11) Hulk Hogan pinned Warrior at 14:18. Michael Buffer did not do ring intros for the match. When Warrior entered the ring and his music stopped, fans chanted "Warrior sucks." Warrior nodded his head, climbed to the second rope, and encouraged "his fans" to drown out the chant with cheers. He got a louder mix of cheers and boos. For the finish, Hogan hit Warrior with a low blow and a legdrop. He went for a second legdrop, but missed. Horace came to ringside. Eric Bischoff followed behind him. Warrior began making a comeback and hit three clotheslines. Bischoff distracted the ref while Horace entered the ring and hit Warrior in the back with a chair. Hogan then scored the pin. They both worked hard, but they don't have it anymore. (DUD)

(12) Goldberg pinned Dallas Page at 10:29 to retain the WCW Hvt. Title. Michael Buffer introduced the match as "the final match," but not the "main event" (because, of course, that was Hogan vs. Warrior)... The ref began counting both men down. When he reached eight, Page crawled over to cover Goldberg, who kicked out at two. Page went for another Diamond Cutter, but Goldberg escaped and suddenly applied the Jackhammer and scored a clean pin. Schiavone called it a "remarkable match," adding, "I love this sport." Goldberg and Page hugged afterward. Page left the ring, still doing a great job selling the Jackhammer, and allowed Goldberg the spotlight. It's tough to fit a match of the year into 11 minutes, but this was the best match of Goldberg's career and probably the best performance by Page to date. The match told a story and the wrestlers stuck to doing moves that looked good, yet they weren't overly conservative. They showed great fire and did long-term selling of moves. Just a sound match that wasn't out of place as the PPV finale. (***1/2)

[Torch photo credit Wade Keller (c) PWTorch.com]


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