The Best And Worst Of WCW Halloween Havoc ’97

Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: WCW actually managed to build a little momentum against the New World Order, which is a sign that the next show will be nothing but the nWo murdering and humiliating them. Welcome to the next show!

Click here to watch Halloween Havoc on WWE Network. You can catch up with all the previous episodes of WCW Monday Nitro on the Best and Worst of Nitro tag page. Follow along with the competition here.

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And now, the best and worst of WCW Halloween Havoc, originally aired on October 26, 1997. Hall Hav what she’s having.

Best, Then Oh My God Worst: The Wrestle Kingdom Pre-Show

The pre-show to the third match on the card is roughly 30 minutes of the most New Japan Pro Wrestling WCW ever gets, featuring both Yuji Nagata vs. Ultimo Dragon in a battle of submission and limb work and Chris Jericho vs. Gedo in a battle of trying to figure out why Gedo’s here.

Nagata vs. Dragon is one of those matches that you might not have loved when it first happened in 1997 — mostly because Yuji Nagata’s only character development in WCW ever was “evil scheming Japanese man helping commit evil schemes with a smaller, more evil, more scheming Japanese man” — but can really be appreciated in retrospect. It’s such beautiful, simple storytelling. Nagata wants to lock in the Fujiwara armbar. Dragon tries to avoid it and keep the match high-risk, but Nagata’s able to counter by smashing Dragon’s left arm over the exposed metal between the turnbuckle pad and the post. Dragon fights valiantly, but his finisher is the Dragon Sleeper, a move using that same left arm. He hesitates and locks it in anyway, swinging away, but Nagata can easily break it, transitions into the Fujiwara and taps him out.

After the match, the heels actually attempt to build some sympy for the face by ganging up on him and trying to break his arm. Easily the best match Nagata ever has in World Championship Wrestling, and also one of Dragon’s best. A nice change for throwing him in there with Alex Wright or whomever and having a Japanese dude try to explain to a German guy how to backdrop him without both of them falling over.

In direct contrast, here’s Gedo, looking like a packet of hot mustard, almost killing Chris Jericho.

Holy shit. Look at that. Jericho lands entirely on his face, and Gedo’s like, “would it help if I hammered you into the ground with my armpit?”