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Default October 2002: Road to Halloween Havoc, Part I


September 23rd, 2002

From the Cricket Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina

Attendance: 8,592

Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart

The show opens with Arn Anderson in the ring. He was trying to provide an introduction for the Stu Hart Classic, but the fans in Charlotte drown him out with boos until he's forced to leave the ring as we awkwardly cut to commercial. (Obviously we anticipated this reaction from the fans, and this angle played out exactly as we'd planned.) (B-)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group A: Konnan and Mortis got the tournament underway. Konnan got some offense in, but was unable to lock in his Tequila Sunrise submission and was eventually defeated by Mortis's Electric Chair Facebuster. (B-)

Forever Flair: In the first of a series of short clips airing throughout the night, Ric Flair beats Dusty Rhodes on September 17th, 1981 to win the world title for the first time. (C+)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group A: Next up was Norman Smiley against The Unnatural. Smiley was the fresher of the two, but Unnatural shrugged off his defeat at the hands of Scott Steiner 24 hours earlier and moved on in the tournament with Unnatural Selection. (B)

New Cruiserweight Champion Christopher Daniels and Brian Adams are hosting a live fan chat on when American Dragon interrupts. Dragon tells Daniels that just because he's taking part in the Stu Hart Classic doesn't mean he's forgotten about Daniels and his "new buddy" screwing him over last night, and he will be coming to get his title back sooner or later. (C+)

In brief unseen footage after War Games went off the air, The Empire are celebrating their win in the back when "Allison" approaches King Corino and asks if he's proud of himself for what he just did. He takes offense to that, but Bischoff and the rest of the group lead him away. (B-)

Shane Douglas sat in on color commentary for the next match, and with good reason: Davey Boy Smith met Chuck Palumbo to determine who will challenge for Shane's US title at Halloween Havoc. This straightforward brawl was interrupted by Sean O'Haire, who tried to hit the ring and had to be restrained by a group of officials. Davey Boy took advantage of the distraction and finished Palumbo to punch his ticket for Halloween Havoc. (C+)

Booker T cuts a promo on next week's contract signing with Scott Steiner. "The champ will be in the house, and we'll make it official that I'll be taking back my spot in the main event at Halloween Havoc! ...Oh, and Scott Steiner will be there too, if any suckas care about that." (B+)

Forever Flair: Ric beats Harley Race in a cage match at the first-ever Starrcade to win his second world title. (C+)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group A: Though Sting was quite a bit older, his experience edge over young vet Chavo Guerrero Jr. was comparatively small. Chavo didn't make any critical mistakes, but Sting was still able to get into position for the Scorpion Deathdrop and move on into a second round match with Mortis. (B)

DDP promo; he's not exactly sure what Kimberly meant by her parting comment last night, but he's happy that she's happy and looks forward to moving on with his career. (B)

Forever Flair: A look at the formation, legacy and various lineups of the Four Horsemen. (C+)

Teddy Hart, grandson of Stu and son of Georgia, made his WCW main roster debut a successful one by defeating Blitzkrieg with some dazzling high flying. (C)

Post-match interview: Teddy says he's excited to carry the Hart legacy on into the third generation, and he'll honor his grandfather by winning the Stu Hart Classic. (C-)

Scott Steiner promo: "Next week we'll sign the contract--and Booker, you just better hope I'm in a good mood, or else I'll throw you right through that damn table and there won't be no main event for Halloween Havoc!" (A*)

Forever Flair: Highlights of Flair's fabled trilogy of world title matches against Ricky Steamboat in 1989. (C+)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group A: The final first round match in the group featured Rey Mysterio Jr. against Chris Candido. Rey showed no ill effects in his first match since Bash at the Beach, looking as quick as ever as he consistently stayed one step ahead of Candido and pinned him with a Springboard Hurricanrana (albeit after a tough and lengthy match in which Candido got in plenty of offense.) (B+)

Forever Flair: Looking back at the match between Flair and a young Sting at the first Clash of the Champions that launched Sting into superstardom, and the legendary rivalry that followed for the next decade-plus. (B-)

Spotlight Segment:

After all the buildup, the man of the hour came to the ring. He was crying pretty much from the moment he stepped through the curtain, and the enthusiastic and sustained ovation he got from the fans in Charlotte probably didn't help any. He composed himself enough to thank the fans for the reaction not just tonight, but for years. He called himself "blessed" to have had the career he had, and mentioned some of the highlights and some of the legendary opponents he'd had in his career, as well as the men who'd stood beside him in the various incarnations of the Four Horsemen (he excluded Ole and Roma though.) He was sad that it was over and apologized to the fans for letting them down last night, though he pointed out that he didn't quit. He said that The Empire would've had to kill him to make him give up. That was all he really said about the finish and the controversy surrounding Arn, because we wanted to keep that more nuanced than a simple "You betrayed me, and now I hate you!" story.

Out came a group of well-wishers. Sting let Ric know that he hadn't let anybody down. He went out fighting, he went out like the "Nature Boy", and he had nothing to be ashamed of. He called Ric "one of a kind" and said he wouldn't have become the wrestler or the man that he is if it weren't for Ric. His rivalry with Ric made his career, and even if they'd spent most of their careers as enemies, Ric's greatness had always motivated Sting to work that much harder to try and keep up. Friends, foes, he'd always respected what Ric could do inside the ring, and his contributions to professional wrestling were second to none. Sting was fantastic here.

No one else spoke on the mic. No, not even Dusty. How in the world did I book Ric Flair's retirement segment, send Dusty freaking Rhodes to the ring and NOT give him the microphone? Talk about a missed opportunity. Anyway, the group hugged Ric and encouraged the fans to cheer as he stood in the center of the ring, crying. I felt it appropriate to temporarily bring his son David up from developmental to be part of this, but he looked dreadfully out of place sharing the ring with these legends and his presence there damaged the segment somewhat.

A tearful Ric took the mic to address the fans once more. "Charlotte, I love you! Thank you! To my family, I love you, and thank you for putting up with me all these years! WCW, I love you! Even if I never put on a pair of wrestling boots again, I promise you haven't seen the last of the Nature Boy! Now give it to me one more time...


The fans and the Flair supporters in the ring "wooed" right along with him. That was the last shot of the live arena.

We cut away to a live look at Arn Anderson, who was watching the entire thing on a monitor inside his office. He shook his head, sighed to himself, turned the monitor off and steepled his hands on his chin as we faded to black.

Grade: B-

Show Grade: B+

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

Jamie Knoble submitted Blitzkrieg. (B)

Ernest Miller took down Alan Funk. (D+)

Bobby Heenan conducts another interview with Teddy Hart, who says he respects the rest of his family but will do things with his own style. (C-)

True Heroes defeated Mark Jindrak and Animal. (B)

A lengthy tribute video for Ric Flair is aired. (B-)

Show Grade: B-


September 30th, 2002

From the Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Attendance: 7,815

Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group B: Hayabusa and The Destroyer renewed an old and bloody rivalry from their Japanese days. No blood and guts this time, but The Destroyer was able to physically overwhelm his smaller opponent to advance in the tournament. (B)

In a brief segment, Booker T and Scott Steiner are shown arriving in the building earlier in the day for their contract signing later tonight. (B)

The Empire promo; they complain about King Corino and TAKA being matched against each other in the first round of the Stu Hart Classic next week, calling it a farce and an obvious ploy to try and divide the group. But Corino promises that he and TAKA will work well together in tonight's tag match against Shane Helms and DDP, and they'll have the last laugh next week too. (B+)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group B: Christopher Daniels and Brian Adams showed up to watch as American Dragon took on Stampede Wrestling's Kenny Omega. Dragon shrugged off the distraction and used his technical wrestling skills to outmaneuver young Omega and win the match via submission. (B-)

RVD promo; he says he's looking forward to winning the Stu Hart Classic for the second year in a row and reminding everyone that "R-V-D" is the best big match wrestler in the world. (B+)

Ernest Miller challenged Fit Finlay this week. Miller gave it his best and landed some good kicks, but the brawling of Finlay led him to his fourth successful defense. (C+)

Backstage; we get a glimpse of Sting in conversation with Arn Anderson. Arn seems to be explaining himself to Sting, who nods along. (B-)

Sean O'Haire promo; he'll destroy Disco Inferno next week, and he hopes that Chuck Palumbo will beat Mark Jindrak--because if he does, O'Haire will get to punch his former friend's face in at Halloween Havoc in the second round of the tournament! (B)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group B: In an intriguing matchup, it was the phenomenal athleticism of AJ Styles against the mat wrestling skills of Jamie Knoble. Knoble gave AJ a tough match with an effective ground game focused on the legs, but a flurry of offense capped off with a Styles Clash sent AJ into the second round. (B)

In an interview with Bobby Heenan, Shane Douglas calls Davey Boy Smith an "overrated musclehead" who doesn't have the smarts to compete with him at Halloween Havoc. (B-)

Rey Mysterio Jr. had no trouble defeating local talent Kaos. (B)

The Hardys and True Heroes get into an argument backstage as Storm was preparing for his SHC match against Kidman; the two teams have to be pulled apart. (B+)

In a twist, a tag match featured two teams who will have to turn around and face each other next week in the SHC. Unsurprisingly, fellow Empire members Corino and TAKA were more united than DDP and Shane Helms, and that unity allowed them to isolate Helms, who Corino finished with the piledriver. (B)

Salvation promo; after last week and Destroyer's win tonight, all three members have advanced to the second round of the Stu Hart Classic. "We will rule this tournament and bring Salvation to the masses!" Father Isaac promises. (A)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group B: The final opening round match in Block B pitted Kidman against Lance Storm. It was stylistically similar to the Styles/Knoble match from earlier, with a technician trying to ground and outwrestle a high flier. The difference was that this time the technician prevailed, as Storm weakened Kidman's leg to the point that his rolling half crab earned the submission. (B)

Arn Anderson and Rick Steiner are both on hand for the in-ring contract signing, but leave the talking to Booker and Scott. Booker complains about WCW trying to deny him his spot in the main event, but this month he's back where he belongs and he'll show everyone that he's the man, he's the main event player and Scott Steiner never should've won this title from him in the first place last year. Scott mocks Booker for his constant whining and says he complains more than all of his freaks combined. But if Booker wants a main event, he'll get a main event at Halloween Havoc. Scott's going to enjoy winning the world title for the third time, but even more than that, he's going to enjoy getting back to his third favorite pastime (behind maintaining his peaks and working his freaks), "whippin' Booker T's sorry ass!" Both men sign the contract without incident, but Booker cheap shots Rick in the face with the belt before running away. He smirks as he retreats up the aisle, while Scott crouches near his brother and curses Booker out (off-microphone, thankfully.) (A)

Show Grade: B+

October 5th, 2002

From Tokyo, Japan

Attendance: 8,500

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

The very first show begins with a lengthy vignette promoting this as the dawn of a new age in women's wrestling, and tonight's main event between Etsuko Mita and Manami Toyota is presented as the match to determine who will lead the charge. Both women give their own thoughts: Mita says everyone in Japan has been raving about Toyota for years, and she's sick of it. Tonight it will only take one Death Valley Driver for everyone to realize they should've been talking about her all along. Toyota's message is simpler and less personal--she wants to put on a match that will have people talking, and she wants to represent WCW and the Renaissance with honor as the Women's World Champion. (B)

The gorgeous and talented Cutie Suzuki tried to prove she deserved a full-time spot in the Renaissance, but Daffney's Banshee Knee had her staring at the lights instead. (C+)

Footage from a recent press outing promoting the debut of Renaissance: Takako Inoue welcomes her old friend and frequent tag partner Kyoko Inoue to WCW, telling her that between her beauty and Kyoko's ferocity, they'll rule the Renaissance. Kyoko ignores her and walks away without response. (C-)

Free agent Tomoko Watanabe showcased some effective brawling, but brawling is nothing new to the Anderson family. Melissa pinned the veteran with a nice German Suplex. (C-)

Toshie Uematsu had a chance to make a major statement on the debut of Renaissance against one of the most recognizable women on the roster, Chigusa Nagayo. Uematsu resorted to numerous shortcuts to gain the upper hand, but the former Crush Gal withstood them all and got the win with the Super Freak (a tiltawhirl powerbomb.) (B)

Nagayo cuts a post-match promo, thanking the fans for turning out and urging them to continue supporting this new age of women's wrestling. As she begins walking to the back and shaking hands with fans, she notices Aja Kong sitting in the front row, her AAAW Singles title over her shoulder. Nagayo approaches Kong to speak with her, but Aja pointedly ignores her as we cut to commercial. (B+)

It was time for the long-awaited rematch, the main event of the inaugural Women's Wrestling Renaissance. Mita focused all her effort on attacking Toyota's neck, obviously to set her up for her signature innovation and finishing move, the Death Valley Driver. Manami was more about fast-strike offense, pinning combinations and a quick tempo. Just when Mita finally had Toyota on her shoulders for the DVD, Toyota squirmed free and hit the Ocean Cyclone Suplex! Manami Toyota becomes the new Women's World Champion to cap off this historic night! (B)

Show Grade: B


October 7th, 2002

From Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Attendance: 7,884

Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart

The show is supposed to open with a Stu Hart Classic opening round match between King Corino and TAKA, but we find out what Corino meant last week when he said they'd have the last laugh--TAKA simply lays down and allows Corino to pin him! Corino and Eric Bischoff cut a post-"match" promo mocking Arn Anderson as well as all the fans for thinking they could drive a wedge between The Empire. (A)

We cut to Arn Anderson backstage, looking disgruntled at the mockery The Empire had just made of the Stu Hart Classic. He's approached by Chavo Guerrero Jr, who says he knows Arn was planning on putting American Dragon into a #1 contender's match for next week, but Chavo claims that after his win last week Dragon is putting all his focus into the Stu Hart Classic. He volunteers to take Dragon's place in the #1 contender's match, and a preoccupied Arn agrees to book Chavo vs. Billy Kidman next week, with the winner challenging Christopher Daniels at Halloween Havoc. (C-)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group C: Sean O'Haire decimated Disco Inferno in a one-sided beating. (B-)

Backstage: Scott Steiner gives his brother Rick a pep talk for his main event match against Booker T tonight. "Just leave a little bit left for me to finish off at Halloween Havoc!" Scott shouts. (A)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group C: In a battle of former stable mates, Chuck Palumbo defeated Mark Jindrak with the Thrill Ride. (C+)

Palumbo cuts a post-match promo; he says that he carried everyone in the original Natural Born Thrillers faction, and he carried O'Haire for their entire yearlong title reign. He's much better off in The Empire now that he doesn't have to carry any dead weight, and he'll prove that he was the star of the Thrillers in his second round match against O'Haire at Halloween Havoc. O'Haire is shown watching backstage, smiling and cracking his knuckles in anticipation. (B)

Road Warrior Animal challenged Fit Finlay this week. Animal isn't used to being on the losing end of a brawl, but that's just what happened tonight as Finlay recorded his 5th title defense. (C-)

A video package reveals that the WCW front office has listened to both fan demand and a request from the Hardys, signing a championship rematch between the Hardys and True Heroes for Halloween Havoc. Both teams record comments on the announcement, with the Hardys saying they're looking forward to finally shutting the Heroes' big mouths, and the Heroes declaring that they'll not only win their titles back, they'll meet in the finals of the Stu Hart Classic in what will surely be the greatest match of all time. (B)

Hugh Morrus and Konnan picked up an easy victory over local tag team The Heartbreakers. (C-)

Pre-taped promos: Rey Mysterio Jr. looks forward to continuing his comeback with a win over The Unnatural at Halloween Havoc; whether he's Dustin Rhodes, wearing gold paint or red paint or whatever color of paint he wants, he still won't have an answer for Rey's flying fury. The Unnatural says it's a good thing Rey put the mask back on. It'll help conceal his bloody and ruined face, which will be far more gruesome than even the most elaborate Halloween costumes. (A)

With Brian Adams watching, Christopher Daniels took care of local rookie Eddie Edwards in a non-title match. (B)

Mortis approaches Sting backstage to tell him that he may dress in black, but he doesn't know the first thing about darkness. He promises to introduce Sting to the true darkness in their Stu Hart Classic match at Halloween Havoc. Sting, not cowed, says he looks forward to it. (A*)

Bobby Heenan interviews new World Women's Champion Manami Toyota. Via satellite from Japan, Toyota displays the belt proudly and says it'll be her honor to represent WCW as its champion every week on Women's Wrestling Renaissance. (B-)

Stu Hart Classic, Opening Round in Group C: Every pundit considered Diamond Dallas Page the heavy favorite against Shane Helms. This was understandable considering Page's credentials, and his victory seemed all but certain as he measured Helms for the Diamond Cutter. But then--

Kimberly came out from the back. DDP broke off to ask her why she'd come out yet again, and Helms rolled him up for a 3-count! (C+)

Pre-taped promos: The Destroyer mocks AJ Styles for even thinking he has a chance at Halloween Havoc. AJ admits it'll be an immense physical mismatch, "but the bigger they are, the harder they fall!" (B+)

In an in-ring promo, Davey Boy Smith says it's been quite a road back from battling his personal demons to get to this point, and winning the US title at Halloween Havoc would be a major moment for him both professionally and personally. Shane Douglas steps out into the aisle and tells him to keep dreaming. "You had your moment in the sun, Bulldog. Your big moment came when you pinned your brother-in-law in the main event at Wembley. But that was over a decade ago, and the present belongs to Shane Douglas!" (B+)

After Booker's cheap-shot with the belt during last week's contract signing, Rick Steiner was eager to exact some revenge. He hit Booker with some hard blows and big suplexes, but his leg gave out on him after Booker's focused attack on it throughout the match, and the Book End swiftly ended the match after that. (B+)

Booker's post-match gloating is cut short by Scott Steiner, who sprints to the ring to get his hands on the champion a few weeks early. Booker flees before any damage can be done. (A)

Show Grade: B+

October 12th, 2002

From Shizuoka, Japan

Attendance: 5,000

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

Manami Toyota in-ring promo; she thanks the fans for supporting and believing in her, and promises to be a fighting champion. (A generic babyface promo, basically.) (B+)

Charismatic freelancer Sakura Hirota routinely entertains the Japanese fans with her comedic approach to wrestling, but wrestling Devil Masami was no laughing matter. The veteran absolutely battered Hirota, refusing to go for the pin so she could keep the beating going. Eventually referee Charles Robinson awarded the match to Masami by forfeit simply to protect Hirota's health. (C)

As Hirota is helped to the back, Masami grabs the microphone. She promises that what happened to Sakura was only the beginning, because we are now on The Devil's Road. (C)

Kaori Nakayama is the more familiar name, especially to Japanese audiences, but she found herself on the losing end tonight when young LuFisto connected with a diving headbutt. (C-)

With Ryu Nakata providing voiceovers, a video montage promotes the Anderson family legacy and Melissa Anderson as the continuation of that legacy. (D+)

Sonoko Kato is known as a tag team specialist, and perhaps that was why Nattie Neidhart was able to wrestle her to the mat and get a submission with the Sharpshooter. (C)

Etsuko Mita promo; anyone counting her out after last week's loss will be disappointed, because she's not going to shrivel up and go home just because she no longer has the title. (C+)

Aja Kong is again in the front row, and Ryu Nakata tries to interview her. This time she speaks; she declares herself the real women's champion (displaying her AAAW Singles title to prove her point) and blames Chigusa Nagayo for her not being recognized as such. Nagayo takes exception to that, coming to ringside and telling Kong that it pained her to sell GAEA, but it was the right move for the future of women's wrestling. Kong can be part of that future, if she agrees to sign the contract and join the Renaissance. Kong scowls and storms off. (C-)

The main event featured the WCW debut of Kyoko Inoue against a more familiar face to WCW fans, Shinobu Kandori. Takako Inoue showed up halfway through to watch the action, but it wasn't clear who she was rooting for (if anyone.) Kandori used her judo skills to pull off some nice throws and submission holds, but there was no doubt about the outcome once Kyoko hit her devastating Victoria Driver. (B)

Show Grade: B-

Thanks to both smw88 and KYE for whipping up some logos for Renaissance! I'm using one of KYE's designs here in the dynasty, so that's the one you guys will be seeing--but I'm using smw's in-game, so I'll be seeing that one a ton. Best of both worlds!

You might have noticed, but I've decided to scale back on the Spotlight Segments. Rather than doing one every week, I'm going to save them for segments that I feel are really important/momentous and need more detail (like that Flair retirement angle.)

Originally Posted by K-Nection View Post

I have a you just have a "women's division" in game or do you put them as integrated so they actually have card ranking such as "main event" "upper mid"? One problem you may run into is that you can't run the girls too long of matches because the game will treat all your female workers like they are midcarders.

You could probably switch your settings to see how your girls get autopushed.
It was a Women's Division until the launch of the new show, at which point I was always planning to switch to integrated. I had to manually fiddle with their pushes though. None of them autopushed any higher than Midcard (and I think that was just Toyota and Mita), and most of them were set as Enhancement Talent or Openers. Obviously that's because the game is basing that on their popularity in the US, which is irrelevant in this case.

Originally Posted by DiamondKnucklez View Post
Really like how you introduced this new show and how you went in depth with it. I'll be honest, I at first, wasn't really looking forward to this new show. The way you went in depth with the whole roster, changed that. Im excited to see what the future holds for these women in WCW. Really looking forward to it!
I'm happy to hear that! I thought that introduction was necessary since the roster is mostly made up of new characters. It was as important for me as for you guys I think, because I'm by no means an expert on joshi wrestling! (I think I am going to try out Stardom World for at least a month though, after the G1 Climax is over.)

Originally Posted by infinitekillz View Post
Still following. Still loving it. Elated that you decided to continue. One question: did you reveal what happened to Luger and I just missed it, or has that not been addressed?
He's in rehab. I mentioned it in a news post when it happened. I don't remember exactly when it was, but it was within the last few in-game months.
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