Halloween Havoc 1998: Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior II
Halloween Havoc took place on October 25th, 1998 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Arena. The event featured a double Main Event: Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior and Diamond Dallas Page vs. Bill Goldberg for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The former made this Pay-per-view infamous. It was the long awaited WrestleMania VI rematch. Warrior picked up a surprising win the first time and people wanted to know what would happen if they went at it again. I guarantee nobody thought it would be the mess that it was. It was so bad, it vastly overshadowed everything else on the card.
It was a typical WCW show. The under through mid-card was stacked with talent, featuring names like Meng, Chris Jericho, Raven, Fit Finlay, Juventud Guerrera, Perry Saturn, Billy Kidman, and the Steiner bros. I guarantee there are very few people who can tell me, off the top of their heads, which one of these guys were in matches with each other. It doesn’t matter, anyway. Time has made the rest of the card irrelevant.
It’s all about Warrior versus Hogan.
It should’ve been great. This was a legendary rematch. The original is one of the all-time classics in the history of WrestleMania. What went wrong here? Is it because Hulk was wrestling as Hollywood Hogan? That really did change the dynamic of the match. When he was wearing the red and yellow, it made the match into a showdown between two superheroes. In the black and white, however, the affair became a confrontation between hero and his weasel of a villain.
They gave Hogan all kinds of cheap heel tactics to play. This gave birth to my favorite oops moment in all of wrestling. Hollywood was supposed to throw a fireball at Warrior. It was a supposedly standard effect, but the Hulkster had some trouble. As he was preparing it, the fireball exploded in his face. It’s hilarious every single time. My favorite part is listening to the announcers try and play it off as something that was cool and unexpected; not a colossal f–k up.
As I mentioned before, this PPV did have a double Main Event – for most people. The Ultimate Rematch went far too long. So for the majority of people watching at home, the Pay-per-view feed cut out, right in the middle of the final match. Well, not even the middle. Right in the beginning. Goldberg and DDP were standing across from each other in the ring, getting set to lock up, and then… nothing. The screen went black. The men inside the ring had no idea they lost most of their audience. They wrestled as if the whole world was watching. Thank God.
At least, I’m sure that’s what Eric Bischoff and the rest of the men in charge were thinking. This is a big deal. Millions of people didn’t get what they paid for. Each and every one had a legitimate complaint and grounds to get their money back. Something like that would sink a normal company. Ted Turner’s checkbook would’ve kept them afloat, but for how long? How long would it have taken the man to jump ship? Competition’s all well and good, but losing money is never okay.
Their solution was to show the entire DDP and Goldberg match on Monday Night Nitro the next night. Fair enough. Logically, they covered all of their bases, but they were on a slippery slope. This whole scenario seemed oddly transparent too, as if Eric Bischoff only hired Warrior so that Hulk could get a win over him. Bischoff himself disputed this, saying that anyone who thought that was, “drinking their own kool-aid.”
He continued on, ridiculing the idea of wasting that much money to make Hulk Hogan happy. So, we’re going to ignore the ticker tape parade, hiring a bunch of Hogan’s friends, putting the first Nitro in the Mall of America to promote Hogan’s new restaurant, and who knows whatever else he did during his time as the man with the checkbook. It’s gone. Never happened. I’m not judging.
Look, let’s be honest with ourselves, there’s a lot of us who would’ve went Eric Bischoff’s way. Money and power are intoxicating. It’s the human condition. We fall head over heels for both. Eric loved to spend Ted Turner’s money to do whatever he wanted. I wouldn’t put it past him to spend a bunch of money to make the Warrior the highest paid jobber in the business. Which is a shame, because this could’ve been great. All it needed was a little bit of effort. That’s it. If they really wanted Hogan to win, they should’ve written a good story. As long as it made sense, fans would’ve gotten behind it. This seemed thrown together and disrespectful to the legacy of Warrior.
The Ultimate One put it best, “They used Ted Turner to buy me, to come back and lose a match to Hogan.”