Secret Truth Behind the EPIC Fail at Halloween Havoc 1998

History of Halloween Havoc

WCW Halloween Havoc set design.
Photo Credit: WWE.

Halloween Havoc is a holiday-themed pay-per-view that originally ran in WCW from 1989 to 2000.

The first Halloween Havoc took place on October 28th, 1989, at the Philadelphia Civic Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This event was held in association with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).

It touted the main event of Ric Flair and Sting against The Great Muta and Terry Funk in a Thunderdome Cage match with Bruno Sammartino serving as special guest referee.

Halloween Havoc has produced many memorable moments, but one in particular belongs in the “Well, that didn’t work!” category.

Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior 2: The Rematch

Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan on WCW Monday Nitro, October 12th, 1998.
Photo Credit: WWE.

What could and should have been one of the greatest pay-per-views of all time turned out to be quite a disaster.

The rematch of Hulk Hogan and Warrior (his legal name by this point) was a battle between two stubborn veterans, and many fans refer to this as the worst match of all time. Let’s dig into what happened.

Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior II

Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan face off in their rematch at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998.
Photo Credit: WWE.

The 1998 Halloween Havoc card is infamous for featuring a widely pilloried rematch of the main event of WrestleMania VI, a 1990 pay-per-view event produced by WCW’s rival, the World Wrestling Federation, in which The Ultimate Warrior had defeated Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship. It is a bout widely regarded by critics as one of the worst matches of all time.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded it a minimum score of minus five stars out of five (the lowest ever for a WCW contest), and readers of the publication voted it Worst Match of the Year.

Readers of professional wrestling magazine Power Slam cast the same vote; editor Fin Martin called it “one of the worst matches ever held.

Gene Okerlund even described the contest as a “disaster.”

Comparing the WrestleMania VI and Halloween Havoc 1998 Matches

Photo Credit: WWE.

Comparing the WrestleMania VI and Halloween Havoc 1998 bouts, Warrior once said, “It’s weird that my best match ever was with Hogan, and at the same time, my worst match ever was with Hogan.

Hogan felt the contest was ‘ruined’ by his botching a spot he himself devised, in which he was supposed to ‘burn’ the Warrior with flash paper.

Hulk Hogan Burns Himself with Fire at Halloween Havoc

Hulk Hogan legitimately burns himself during his rematch against the Ultimate Warrior at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998.
Photo Credit: WWE.

Hogan instead lit the paper in his own face and legit burnt his mustache and eyebrows. This led to an improvised ending in which Hogan’s nephew, Horace, hit Warrior with what Sports Illustrated writer Luke Winkie called “the most unsatisfying chair shot in history.”

There was also a lack of cooperation between the two combatants, who did not get along personally.

Hogan unequivocally said of the failed bout, “It was my fault.”

Eric Bischoff Gives His Opinion on the Hogan and Warrior Rematch

Eric Bischoff with Hulk Hogan at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998.
Photo Credit: WWE.

Former WCW president Eric Bischoff conceded critical opinion that Hogan vs. Warrior II was one of the worst matches in history and admitted that it “pretty much stunk up the joint.”

However, he dismissed the notion that he had hired Warrior solely to lose to Hogan in return for Hogan’s WrestleMania VI loss, claiming that this is “not true” and that those who hold this belief are “drinking their own Kool-Aid.

Ultimate Warrior on Why He Regretted His Rematch with Hulk Hogan

gan and Ultimate Warrior II: A Halloween Havoc Nightmare!
Photo Credit: WWE.

Warrior, on the other hand, said, “They used [Ted] Turner’s checkbook to buy me to come back to lose a match to Hulk [Hogan]. It was repulsive, to me, when I finally realized it. And if I would have known, I would never have gone back for all the money that they gave me.”

WrestleCrap journalist Art O’Donnell and Fin Martin of Power Slam have also disputed Bischoff’s claims, the latter writing that WCW “hired Warrior at great expense in May 1998 specifically to massage the Hogan ego.”

Halloween Havoc 1998 Goes Overtime

DDP and Goldberg face-off at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 moments before the pay-per-view feed cut.
Photo Credit: WWE.

WCW ran Halloween Havoc 1998 to three-and-a-half hours rather than the standard three. Due to this, many pay-per-view feeds ended while the main event, Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page, was still underway.

WCW would air the match the following night for free on Nitro.

WWE journalist Kevin Powers hailed the bout as the best-ever held at the Halloween Havoc event while criticizing Hogan vs. Warrior.

He wrote, “It’s hard to believe that thousands of pay-per-view customers missed the main event of Halloween Havoc 1998 because WCW ran out of broadcast time.

By some cruel twist of fate, fans did get to watch the disastrous WrestleMania VI rematch between The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan, only to see their screens go black just as Diamond Dallas Page prepared to lock up with undefeated WCW Champion Goldberg in what was the best match in the October event’s 11-year span.

Luke Winkie of Sports Illustrated said of Goldberg vs. Page, “It’s a great match. If more TVs carried this match, maybe the Warrior/Hogan disaster would be less remembered.”

Eric Bischoff Shares His Version of What Happened at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998

A vignette of Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior prior to their rematch at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998.
Photo Credit: WWE.

In his book Controversy Creates Cash, Eric Bischoff gave his thoughts on Halloween Havoc 1998.

“Talk about your **** storms.

“Our 1998 Halloween Havoc Pay-Per-View ran about fifteen minutes over the time allotted. A large portion of the paying audience went dark and missed the end of the match. As bad as that was, the fallout from trying to fix it was even worse.

“Matches go longer than they should for any number of reasons. Wrestling isn’t a science. When you send a wrestler out and say, ‘Okay, you have ten minutes to get your match in,’ sometimes they get it to within thirty seconds. Sometimes, they go five minutes over.

“At a pay-per-view where there are eight or nine matches, if four or five go significantly over, you end up going into your main event short of time.”

A Tough Decision

Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan face off in their rematch at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998.
Photo Credit: WWE.

In his book, Eric Bischoff continued.

“The main event is the reason that most people buy the pay-per-view, and it’s usually supposed to go twenty or twenty-five minutes. So you’re faced with a tough situation. If the match ends when it’s supposed to end—say after only seven minutes—it leaves a bad taste in the consumers’ mouths.

“On the other hand, if you go over, you run the real risk of losing your satellite time. Unless you’ve made prior arrangements, you go off the bird when your time is up.”

A Significant Problem

Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior face off in their rematch at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998.
Photo Credit: WWE.

Bischoff resumed, “I don’t remember exactly what happened at Halloween Havoc, but I assume that the earlier matches ran over significantly.

“At some point, we realized we had a problem, and we scrambled. We got hold of the pay-per-view companies and explained what was going on, asking for more satellite time. For the most part, we were given reason to believe that we had the additional time.

“The pay-per-view industry wasn’t as sophisticated back then as it is now. For whatever reason, while some of our customers ended up getting the signal, the majority did not. Most of the people who had bought the pay-per-view never saw the finish.”

The 1998 WCW Halloween Havoc rematch between Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior continues to be discussed today (for all the wrong reasons)!

The Great Muta Saves the Day at Halloween Havoc 1989

Ric Flair looks on as The Great Muta saves the day at Halloween Havoc 1989.
Photo Credit: WWE.

If you’re looking for our favorite Halloween Havoc moment, look no further than here! As you’ll learn, had it not been for the quick thinking of The Great Muta, Halloween Havoc likely never would have made it beyond its first year!

The Fingerpoke of Doom!

Hulk Hogan pokes Kevin Nash in the chest on the January 4th, 1999 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. It is a moment that has since been remembered as the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom.
Photo Credit: WWE.

HULK HOGAN: “It happened so fast. We really didn’t know enough about the business back then to take care of it.”

Ten days removed from WCW Starrcade 1998 (where Kevin Nash ended the infamous undefeated streak of Bill Goldberg), two significant blunders occurred: one involving Tony Schiavone and another involving Hulk Hogan, which led to the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom.

It is a moment forever burned in the minds of wrestling fans and considered by many the beginning of the end for WCW.

Learn more: Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and the Fingerpoke of Doom!

Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin Match Was Planned: Why It Fell Through

Photo Credit: WWE.

HULK HOGAN: “Was there some legitimate heat between Steve Austin and I? There was.”

Vince McMahon planned for the dream match between Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin to take place, yet it never came to fruition. Learn the surprising reasons behind why!

Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant – Their 8-Year Rivalry On and Off-Camera

While the iconic showdown between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant at the Pontiac Silverdome in front of 93,173* screaming fans (brother) was a unique attraction, it was certainly not their first rodeo. And outside of the ring, Andre hardly made it easy for Hogan. This is the story of their storied 8-year feud.
Photo Credit: WWE.

HULK HOGAN: “Andre beat me up every day for the first eight years. I was so nervous I used to puke on the way to the building!”

Although Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant forever changed the professional wrestling landscape at WrestleMania 3, it was certainly not their first rodeo. And outside of the ring, Andre hardly made it easy for Hogan. Learn the surprising story behind their legendary 8-year feud!

Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake: Troubled Beginnings

Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake go back to the 1970s. This image comes from a Classic Memphis Wrestling TV appearance on July 21st, 1979.

"It wasn’t worth it.”

Hulk Hogan and Brutus The Barber Beefcake have a long and varied history in professional wrestling. And as these shocking tales show, their start was anything but smooth!

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JP Zarka founded Pro Wrestling Stories in 2015 and is the creative force behind the website as editor-in-chief. From 2018-19, he was the podcast host and producer for The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo, brother of WWE legend Macho Man Randy Savage. His diverse career includes work as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, and musician, notably as a singer-songwriter with the London-based band Sterling Avenue. Zarka has appeared on TV programs like “Autopsy: The Last Hours of” on Reelz (U.S.) and Channel 5 (U.K.) and has contributed research for programming on ITV and BBC.