If Fusient Bought WCW #97: Halloween Havoc 2002

Jeff Jarrett’s bid to finally become a WCW World Champion people can be proud of could come down to the spin of a wheel…

If Fusient Bought WCW: Halloween Havoc 2002

One of the biggest upsides of World Championship Wrestling surviving near-doom in the spring of 2001 was that its most popular traditions would continue. At the top of that list was perhaps the ever-popular concept PPV, Halloween Havoc.

Not only was Havoc back once again in 2002 after a well-received 2001 edition, but so was one of its most infamous inventions: Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal.

Following the end of 2001 faction The Chosen Few, Jeff Jarrett trimmed the fat but kept an alliance with his ‘New Enforcer’, CW Anderson. The duo made a formidable team and Jarrett even worked his way back into WCW World title contention as a result. However, his successes were marred by the interference of members of what would soon become known as Sports Entertainment Xtreme and his old friend, Vince Russo.

Russo was responsible for Jarrett having four World title reigns in 2000. He was also responsible for each and every one of them being brief, forgettable and the company nearly dying as a result. Unfortunately, he had snuck his way into co-ownership of the revived promotion and was openly courting his old cohort back into the fold. This time, Jarrett wasn’t interested.

It led to a savage beat-down on JJ, but it also led to a pissed-off Jarrett saving the day for WCW at War Games. Now, months after earning his shot at the title, he will challenge Russo’s feared enforcer Ken Shamrock for the title… after a spin of the ominous wheel decides what type of match it will be.

OCTOBER 27, 2002: WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC – Detroit, Michigan

Our pre-show encounter saw Tajiri defeat Paul London and Brian Kendrick in a triangle match, nailing Kendrick with the Buzzsaw Kick in 7:55 and capitalising on a match which mostly served as a backdrop for London and Kendrick’s ongoing issues.

Seconds before the PPV was due to go on the air, we caught a glimpse of the Goldberg monster truck in the parking lot…

Opening match: Jerry Lynn and Low Ki vs Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels

A high-tempo formula tag match saw two men who’ve been opponents for the last few months hold their own against Ki’s former Triple X stablemates, but Skipper removed a turnbuckle which haunted Ki when he went for Tidal Crush and Daniels moved. Last Rites followed as Elix kept Jerry occupied for the pin in 11:25.

Out came the new United States champion, Ron ‘The Truth’ Killings. He says he’s a fighting champion, more fighting than Kanyon. Tonight, he’ll defend the belt against anyone. New, unfamiliar music hits and out comes none other than Brian James!

WCW United States Championship, open challenge: Ron ‘The Truth’ Killings (c) vs BG James

The US title bout between BG and Killings ended in a double count-out in 4:58 when the duo brawled into the crowd and out of sight.

Los Guerreros and America’s Most Wanted vs S.E.X (Chuck Palumbo, Mark Jindrak, Johnny Stamboli and Glenn Gilbertti)

Eddie, Chavo and AMW were reluctant partners against SEX but came out on top after showing admirable continuity in the face of a common enemy. Gilbertti avoided action as long as he could but would tag in and out for shots at Chavo during a heat period. Chavo then tagged out to Eddie who cleaned house. AMW had his back before the numbers game could consume him, and after a game of ‘bounce the sports agent around like a pinball’, a novel combination of the Death Sentence with an Eddie frog splash finished Gilbertti in 10:09.

Tag Team Gauntlet match to determine #1 contenders for the Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship

The gauntlet began with the latest instalment of The Jung Dragons vs The Rejected, with Unleash The Dragon giving the faces some revenge in 8:12.

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Next up were Sonny Siaki and Matt Bentley, with Jorge Estrada again targeting Siaki during their entrance. As the two brawled on the walkway, Kaz and Yang hit another Unleash The Dragon at the 9:44 mark to finish off Bentley.

At this point, Jamie Knoble and David Kash entered the fray and they did not give the tiring Dragons any breathing space. A glorified siege led to a double underhook piledriver from Kash to Yang at 12:54 for the third fall.

Next in were The Maximos, and though Joel and Jose impressed and nailed Kash with Spanish Fly, Knoble capitalised by sending Jose to the floor and nailing a Tiger Bomb on Joel at 16:50.

A surprise duo entered the gauntlet next: The Amazing Red and American Dragon. It was almost all Red and Dragon as the rednecks felt the nature of the gauntlet catching up with them, but as Dragon locked in Cattle Mutilation on Kash and the referee got Red out of the ring, Knoble snuck back in and punted Dragon right between the legs for the Kash cover at 22:14.

A weary Kash and Knoble embraced, only to hear the music of Psicosis as he and Super Crazy came out. The luchadores made short work of the fatigued duo and a Crazy moonsault finished off Kash at 23:10.

Next came Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio, and a dazzling short match unfolded before Crazy’s powerbomb was countered to a Kidman facebuster and Rey followed with a springboard splash for the fall at 30:09.

Finally, it was time for Christian York and Joey Matthews. Y&M exploited their relative freshness and controlled the flow of the portion, working over Rey. Kidman made the hot tag and took on both, but Mysterio was too hurt to help and the last team in soon had Billy set up for Full Effect. Suddenly, Johnny Stamboli rushed out and distracted the ref, which allowed the FBI to crotch both Y&M on the ropes. As an unwitting Kidman regained his senses, Matthews staggered backwards into the Kid Krusher which won the gauntlet at 36:48 – or did it?

Commissioner Keibler came onto the stage and said there was one more team entered: the cruiser tag champs themselves, The Full Blooded Italians! The FBI hit the ring and put the boots to Kidman and Rey, only for York to take down Stamboli on the outside with a running dropkick.

This got the FBI’s attention long enough to realise Matthews had switched off with a hurt Kidman and the champs only realised at the last second that they were about to hit a double team Kiss of Death on the eliminated Matthews.

By the time they did, Rey and Kidman were able to rally and after a multi-reversal sequence between Guido and Kidman fighting over their identical finishers, Billy shoved Maritato off and into a Rey snap rana with the pinning combination for three! After 39:25, the second ever cruiserweight tag champs had earned another shot despite everything SEX threw in their way!

Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal

It was time for Jeff Jarrett to spin the wheel, and make the deal. He came to the stage and joined Mike Tenay beside the wheel. Tenay asked Jarrett if he had a preference. Jeff says it doesn’t matter which bout it lands on because tonight’s the night he finally gets the WCW title back and establishes himself as a true champion.

Before Tenay could get him to spin, however, they were interrupted by Eric Bischoff who had some kind of technician with him. He had the techie look at the back of the wheel and after a moment, he removed something from the back. Out came a fuming Vince Russo, accusing Bischoff of ‘tempering’ with the wheel. Eric takes the mic and says on the contrary, because Colin here has performed a check of the wheel’s integrity and found a weighting device that will ensure it lands on ‘submission’.

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At Bischoff’s behest, Colin replaces the device exactly where it was and three spins all come up ‘submission’. Bischoff says he’s used every trick in the book in the past and he could see something stunk when they used the wheel a week ago on a Nitro. He finishes by saying Russo may be 51% owner but does he really want to rob the paying fans with a random spin that really isn’t random?

Russo storms off and Jarrett is left to spin a wheel that has been verified as being ungimmicked. And tonight’s main event will be… Falls Count Anywhere! That appears to please Jarrett, who went from almost having to make a submission master submit to being able to get as creative and as hardcore as he needs to.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Sean Waltman

Next, AJ Styles defended the WCW cruiserweight title against Sean Waltman in a battle of one of the pioneers of the 1990s and perhaps the pioneer of the 2000s so far, when it comes to cruiserweight wrestling.

Waltman appeared one step ahead of AJ for most of the contest, thanks in part to some dirty tactics, but Styles was able to kick out of the X-Factor and when Waltman went for a second off the top rope, AJ caught his legs and nailed the super Styles Clash for the pin in 13:27.

Starrcade Series eight-man tag: Dustin Rhodes, Lance Storm, CW Anderson and Scott Hall vs Booker T, Curt Hennig, Sean O’Haire and Shane Douglas

All eight attempted to make this peculiar mandate by Russo work for a PPV winners’ payday, though the teams were clearly awkward and lacking chemistry. CW and Hall worked surprisingly smoothly given their bout 24 hours prior, while Douglas was still seething at Hennig.

The finish was nonetheless a surprise for everyone: when things broke down towards the end and all eight began to brawl around the ring, the two legal men were Storm and O’Haire. As the ref attempted to restore order, three men in red and white hooded sweaters prevented O’Haire from going for the Seanton and gave Storm enough time to hop up and bring Sean crashing down with a double arm superplex for the pin at 8:54.

Storm left with the trio, and when we got slight glimpses of the faces from time to time it was Mike Tenay who was able to recognise them, noting: “those are rookies from Canada… that’s… Eric Young… and Johnny Devine… and hang on a second, is that Teddy Hart!?” The mention of that famous surname shocks the rest of the team.

Grudge match: Sting vs Malice

Malice was unsurprisingly joined by the rest of The New Church for his confrontation with the icon, Sting. Tempest, Sinn and Slash even tried to meet the Stinger in the aisle but the ‘welcoming committee’ was felled with bat shots from a prepared man in paint, and the fight was on.

Sting kept Malice at bay with strikes and even a dive from the bleachers as they brawled through the crowd, and the bell sounded as they finally made it into the ring a few minutes later where the monster took over with a sidewalk slam. Sting fought back, but Father James Mitchell hopped on the apron as he attempted to wrap those massive legs into a Deathlock.

Sting got his hands on the evil minister, but back came the other three to take the licks on their manager’s behalf. This enabled Malice to recover and hit the chokeslam for the win in 7:22.

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WCW World Tag Team Championship: Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger vs Diamond Dallas Page & Chris Kanyon

Simon and Swinger took on DDP and Kanyon in what evolved into a thrilling back and forth heavyweight tag bout. The challengers thought they had won the belts on a second straight Havoc PPV when Page nailed Diamond with the Cutter and the ref counted three, but Gilbertti had put his foot on the rope at two and despite the bell ringing and the music hitting, the ref saw what he missed almost as soon as his hand slapped the third time and ordered the match to continue. It was in this confusion that the champs were able to land a Problem Solver and a still-groggy Simon draped his arm over to retain in 15:01.

WCW World Championship, Falls Count Anywhere: Ken Shamrock (c) vs Jeff Jarrett

It was then time for the Falls Count Anywhere main event. No countouts, no disqualifications and one pin or submission anywhere in the Motor City would determine the WCW championship. The rules (or lack thereof) gave challenger Jeff Jarrett a strong chance of neutralising WCW champ Ken Shamrock’s deadly submission techniques, and the two traded falls and creatively violent attacks all around the building.

They ended up back in the ring where Shamrock was able to begin work on the ankle of the challenger. When he strapped the anklelock on, JJ crawled out of the ring but Shamrock held on and the move remained legal – until Jarrett rolled forward and sent the champ face-first into the steel stairs.

This brought Vince Russo to the stage, and the 51% owner slowly crept towards the ring as the combatants duked it out at ringside. As Jeff regained the upper hand and attempted a Stroke off the walkway and through a table beside it, Russo made his move and smashed Jeff’s own guitar over his head – but Shamrock’s delayed cover on the walkway only got two!

Out came CW Anderson, who slowly and menacingly approached Russo and convinced the bossman to flee into the crowd as he did in the Fall Brawl main event… but CW stopped as he got to both champion and challenger as they were reaching their feet, then landed a trademark right hand on Jarrett.

The strike sent CW’s so-called friend falling back through the table beneath them, and Anderson walked to the back as Ken dropped down to the floor and made the cover to retain the belt at 16:10.

The shocking conclusion to the match was enough to bring Russo back to celebrate with his champion/hired gun, and he urged Shamrock to re-enter the ring with him where Vince took the mic and said he’s sick and tired of seeing all these threats from Goldberg.

If his truck is here, and if Goldberg really is here, and if he thinks he really can stop Vince Russo, then the owner dares him to show his face. After a pause, the music of the one and only Goldberg does indeed play – and he comes out through his shower of pyro!

He eventually steps through the ropes and faces off with a tired Shamrock, while Russo flees a second time – and seemingly for real this time.

The tense face-off ends when Shamrock throws a strike and the duo exchange to a thunderous reception before Goldberg ducks a high kick and bounces off the ropes to nail the match-worn titleholder with a huge Spear! He Jackhammers Shamrock for an exclamation point as his music comes back on and the PPV wraps up.

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