World Championship Wrestling’s multi-year deal to bring Halloween Havoc to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas had one more year on it. And despite almost disappearing from the face of the Earth, the company presents Havoc 2001 from Paradise, Nevada.
In the main event, WCW World champion Booker T faces #1 contender Sting, another former friend and ally of his who wants to adjust the recent attitude change the champion has undergone with the encouragement of his significant other, Sharmell. Though they have battled occasionally in the past on throwaway shows, this is their first major singles showdown with the title on the line at a big show.
Elsewhere, Goldberg and Scott Steiner have renewed hostilities after Big Poppa Pump decided Bill was the root of his problems in what has been a frustrating calendar year for the man who began it on top of the world as WCW champ. They go 1vs1 for the first time since WCW’s 2000 Match of the Year at Fall Brawl tonight, in a grudge match that also goes towards their Starrcade Series campaigns as we search for the top challenger for the year-end showpiece.
Dustin Rhodes and Mike Awesome have been at each other’s throats since Slamboree, but tonight looks set to finally be the violent blow-off to their blood feud as they do battle in an I Quit match. Which one of these two burly brawlers will concede their war in the most humiliating of manners?
Also on the show, Rob Van Dam and Lance Storm’s rivalry brings them to PPV for a third time this year, this time in a 30-minute Iron Man Challenge in an attempt to determine which of the two is the better athlete. Plus unlikeable buffoon Shawn Stasiak, the man who stumbled upon the United States title as a result of the RVD-Storm war, makes his first defence against former Perfect Event tag team partner Chuck Palumbo; two thirds of the Jersey Triad reunite as DDP and Bam Bam Bigelow challenge The Chosen Few for the tag team titles and Shannon Moore hopes to complete his story of singles redemption by unseating cruiserweight kingpin Elix Skipper.
Halloween Havoc 2001: pre-show
The pre-show team welcome us and inform of an incident this afternoon where The Chosen Few assaulted Bam Bam Bigelow as he arrived at the MGM Grand. They have no word whether he’ll be fit to fight for the tag titles later.
The Cat joins the pre-show team to confirm security will be ready for Goldberg vs Steiner to keep them apart before their match and to make sure they can be split and send their own ways once we have a winner.
He adds that he does not want to see a repeat of what Triple X did to Rey Misterio two months ago and has told DDP that if Bigelow cannot go tonight, he can find a partner of his choosing to replace him with the tag titles still on the line.
The Mamalukes beat AMW, Simon and Swinger and Wright and Badd in a one-fall four-way bout to earn another shot at the tag titles, with Vito finishing Wright off with his implant DDT in 10:17.
DDP confirms that Bigelow’s hurt bad, but says he has found someone to replace him and promises to make the Chosen Few pay for this by taking their tag titles away from them.
Opening match: AJ Styles vs Air Paris
The PPV opener saw Styles finally get his hands on Paris, one month after Paris betrayed his tag partner. Unfortunately for Styles, spending the majority of the match on the front foot did not prevent Paris from sneaking in a low blow and a pin with a handful of tights at 9:42 to get the better of the man he abandoned. Paris fled to the back straight after getting the duke.
WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team titles: Triple X (c) vs York and Matthews
Low Ki and Christopher Daniels beat Christian York and Joey Matthews to retain the WCW cruiser tag titles after the challengers appeared to have them beat, only for the ref to realise very late on (as in, during his count) that Daniels was not the legal man when hit with the Full Effect and covered. Ki quickly pounced and pinned York with a fisherman’s falcon arrow he calls the Ki Krusher to retain in 12:33.
WCW United States title: Shawn Stasiak (c) vs Chuck Palumbo
Stasiak made a successful first defence of the United States title over Palumbo, again with Stacy Keibler intervening when and how she could before the champ retained with a hangman’s neckbreaker in 7:07.
Stasiak put the boots to his former tag champion partner afterwards, but as he lined up a belt shot to finish Chuck off, the returning Sean O’Haire ran out to scare the heels away and tend to his buddy.
WCW Cruiserweight title: Elix Skipper (c) vs Shannon Moore
Primetime pinned Moore to keep the WCW cruiserweight title he’d only just won back from Jason Jett. Triple X interfered late on, only to be ran off by Shane Helms… who then shocked the arena by dropping Moore with the Sugar Smack while the ref was getting Daniels, who’d also been decked by Helms, out of the ring. Skipper added a Play of the Day for the pin in 13:13.
As Triple X departed with their belts, an emotionless Helms set up for a Vertebreaker to his former partner (and, until tonight, seemingly rediscovered friend) but Jett ran down to force Helms to leave through the crowd before that could happen.
Starrcade Series Block A: Goldberg (4pts) vs Scott Steiner (1pt)
Everyone from Jeff Jarrett to Billy Kidman was shown watching from various backstage TVs as the two made their entrances and immediately tore into each other with ferocity which perhaps exceeded their Fall Brawl 2000 battle.
Unfortunately, neither man seemed focused on the tournament itself and between them, five referees were destroyed. A double DQ was ruled at the 8:05 mark and both men lost a point in the Series for attacking officials as Las Vegas’ finest security eventually pulled them apart.
Iron Man Challenge: Rob Van Dam vs Lance Storm
With referees at a premium, Cat was forced to get creative for the rest of the card. He officiated the 30-minute Iron Man Challenge between RVD and Lance Storm himself.
Storm led after about 12 minutes with a Maple Leaf tapout. RVD tied it up with 10 minutes to go via his unique leg scissor roll-up. With 30 seconds left and a pulsating climax unfolding, both men landed superkicks at the same time and crumpled to the mat… only for Storm to have a leg on RVD’s torso, compelling Cat to count to three and award the IMC to Storm, two falls to one.
WCW World Tag Team titles: The Chosen Few (c) vs Diamond Dallas Page and ?
Arn Anderson volunteered to step in for the next bout, which happened to feature his relative CW Anderson and his tag partner Mark Jindrak defend the straps against DDP and whoever his late replacement for Bam Bam Bigelow was.
The champions, uncharacteristically in the new era, made their entrance first – and the look on Arn’s face as the champs came out to his famous old entrance music was a picture.
Page then arrived on the walkway after the champs – and during CW’s threatening words for a striped up Arn – where he explained on the mic how much he was looking forward to reuniting his Jersey boys team with Triple B until these punks took him out.
Page says he doesn’t just wanted to beat them and win the belts, he wants to teach Jeff Jarrett and the entire faction how blood is thicker than water and true friendship means a lot more than the mercenaries he hires. But since he can’t team with Triple B, they forced him to go mend some bridges. With that, out comes Chris Kanyon of all people!
DDP and Kanyon went on to beat Anderson and Jindrak to become the NEW tag champions, with a beaten up Bigelow even coming out to nail an interfering Mike Sanders with his crutch. A Diamond Cutter on Jindrak was enough for the pin at 7:45 and the titles. All three Jersey men embraced after the bout. It looks like bridges have well and truly been mended!
I Quit match: Dustin Rhodes vs Mike Awesome
Cat appointed Fit Finlay as the emergency referee for the I Quit match, and it turned out to be a great last-minute decision as the rugged Northern Irishman took no BS from either fired-up combatant.
A brutal encounter which included plenty of table wreckage, piled-up chairs, brawling around (and creative use of) the Havoc set and finally, a length of barbed wire!
Rhodes pulled the wire around Awesome’s head in a crossface-type move to get him to quit at 18:26 after dodging an Awesome splash from the top rope to an outside table. Finally, The Natural had earned satisfying redemption in another classic bloody feud on his WCW resume.
WCW World title: Booker T (c) vs Sting
Booker T closed the PPV by beating Sting to retain the WCW title with a second Book End at 16:58 in a bout reffed once again by Arn. As he had promised, Ric Flair did indeed come to ringside in Sting’s corner and planted a kiss on Sharmell when she tried to interfere, in typical Nature Boy fashion.
After the bout, Booker taunted Flair while stood over the Stinger until Ric entered the ring and chased the champ away. Flair then took the mic and said he was rested and ready after a few weeks off, and if Book wants to be ‘the man’ around here, there’s one thing he hasn’t done yet.
Booker offered Flair the chance to try and do what Sting failed to do – if he agrees to never fight for the belt again if he loses at the next PPV. To the surprise of commentary, The Nature Boy accepted those terms, and he helped Sting up and posed with his friend to close the show.
Starrcade Series Block A:
Jarrett 4pts, Goldberg 3pts, Rhodes 2pts, Kanyon 2pts, Storm 1pt, Steiner 0pts
Starrcade Series Block B:
Awesome 4pts, DDP 2pts, Kidman 2pts, Douglas 2pts, RVD 2pts, Bigelow 0pts
(Block A have fought three, two to go. Block B have fought two, three to go.)
Up next: Will Ric Flair really give up the right to ever challenge for the title he helped make the richest prize in professional wrestling? And who will win the inaugural Starrcade Series?