Is it any surprise that Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara’s first WCW PPV was a confusing mess? Even after all these years have passed, I still don’t think I fully understand what happened at Halloween Havoc 1999 between Hulk Hogan and Sting.
During the scheduled main event where Hogan no-shows his entrance cue twice, Sting walks down to the ring as the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and stands there like an idiot until a distraught Hulkster finally makes his way down the ramp… in his street clothes:
From what I gather now, it seems that this angle was supposed to be a worked shoot thought up by Vince Russo. With Hulk Hogan laying down to Sting in the match, this was supposed to come across as Hogan’s way of throwing a temper tantrum to signify his outright refusal to job for the company. In turn, the Internet wrestling nerds were supposed to be enraged at Hogan for his stunt and that rage would make Halloween Havoc AND WCW an instantaneous hot topic of discussion among the online wrestling message boards and sites all over. Instead, the angle was just confusing overall and became a precursor to similarly worked-shoot angles that would occur regularly during Russo’s reign in the company.
Now that the World Heavyweight Championship match ended up being a bust, Sting decides to issue an open challenge to anyone on the roster to finish the night and do things the way they’re supposed to be done. Enter Goldberg, the newly crowned WCW United States Heavyweight Champion:
In their impromptu main event match, Goldberg ended up decimating Sting in a three minute bout that probably was originally intended to be something to help send the Vegas crowd home happy. At the end of the match, Goldberg was victorious and had WCW referee Charles Robinson reward him with the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
However, the match was a non-title bout and naming Goldberg as the new champion threw things into a bit of disarray. It’s hard to say now if this was another worked Russo angle or a legitimate mistake, but the fuck-up was fixed the following night at Nitro by declaring the championship completely vacant. Storyline-wise, it was stated that Sting never lost his title to Goldberg but was getting stripped of the belt anyways due to his vicious attack on the ref after the match.
The Halloween Havoc 1999 card in its entirety:
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Disco Inferno vs Lash LeRoux
Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) vs The Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman and Konnan) vs The First Family (Brian Knobs and Hugh Morrus) (with Jimmy Hart) in a Triple Threat Street Fight
Eddy Guerrero vs Perry Saturn
Brad Armstrong vs Berlyn (with The Wall)
WCW World Television Champion Chris Benoit vs Rick Steiner
The Total Package (with Elizabeth) vs Bret Hart
Sting vs Hulk Hogan
WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Sid Vicious vs Goldberg
Diamond Dallas Page (with Kimberly Page) vs Ric Flair in a Strap match
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs Goldberg in an impromptu unsanctioned match
The point of the Hogan thing was to take him off TV for a while. All the legends were going to be taken off TV and were going to come back united. Hogan, Piper, Flair, Savage, Hennig, a couple others. You may have found the story to be confusing because it never got to see it’s completion because Russo was removed as head writer before it could happen.
HH 1999 wasn’t a mess as far as I was concerned. It was one of my favorite WCW PPV’s from 1999. The sense of urgency was in the air – you need to see that.
I can get the sense of urgency, there was definitely a lot going on during the show. I remember being ecstatic originally over Goldberg winning the title and even forgave the Hogan bit due to it… but looking back now, it just seems so half-baked.
Your mention of the original plan does make sense, but when would that have happened?
Like many, I was an avid fan during this era and watched both Monday Night shows religiously. We had DirectTV at the time, and our dish was really bad about getting struck by lightning, leaving us without TV for months at a time. September and October of ’99 were two such months, and I remember coming back to WCW and being completely lost — heel Sting? An on-screen Hogan temper tantrum? Vacant title? Powers That Be? Little did I know that I’d wandered into a new era of WCW altogether.
The Hogan angle on this PPV is a nice prototype/foreshadowing of Bash at the Beach 2000 (as well as a weird flip-flopping of the Starrcade ’97 main event). I wonder what the conversations between Hogan and Russo were like around this time as opposed to then?
I think that the main event guys were super unsure about Russo coming in and Hogan in particular just seems to disappear for a long time after this. I’m guessing a lot of them were just burned out by it all.
I got into pro wrestling around 1999 and initially was a Macho Man fan, but then saw Sting wrestle was instantly hooked. I’d say i probably became a fan around the time Sting became a “heel” , but nonetheless i liked his heel antics on hogan. I will say i was PISSED when sting was stripped of his world title that never lost and was equally pissed when they allowed Bret Hart to advanced over him at Mayhem in the semi finals for the vacant title. Some people might say Bret was over and deserved it, but i’d argue and saw Sting was being cheered like crazy as a heel and deserved to regain his title. I also hate the fact Fall Brawl 99 was the final time he’d ever be world champion again. I guess that’s just life.
Bro you picked the wrong time to become a wrestling fan, because 1999 was complete and utter shit!