This is the best time of year and don’t let anyone tell you different. Halloween Havoc celebrates the best holiday with tights and fights. Geno is on blog duty and ready to scare you into the next lifetime.
Let’s talk Halloween Havoc!
JD McDonagh really wanted Bron Breakker and Ilja Dragunov to fight each other. That was his whole plan for the match and at times, that’s exactly what he got. But not at first. Bron and Ilja fought each other for first dibs on JD. Despite their small issues with each other, their beef with JD was fully-cooked. They nearly killed each other to kill JD. A very cool moment for the opening minutes that established the tone. Eventually, Bron and Ilja fought but they saw McDonagh reveling in his works. Legit reveling too, with clapping and everything.
That was the moment the match turned. Breakker & Dragunov double teamed JD, with the best moment being a Frankensteiner leading into a powerbomb. After a lot of back and forth, that bullseye McDonagh put on his back got bigger and bigger. JD’s ultimate plan backfired in a major way as Dragunov eventually took him out. That’s what JD asked for and he got it. A predictable outcome for the villain of the piece and a satisfying one. The irony here is Bron executed JD’s plan better. The animosity between Dragunov and McDonagh superseded everything else for both men. Dragunov spent so much time focused on JD in those last moments that he had nothing left for Bron. One spear later and Bron is still the champ.
Surprisingly, no cash in or even a hint at one. That’s not a knock since the match was brilliant, but it’s weird using that as a hook going into Halloween Havoc and not even give us a taste of it is just...off.
My Time is Now
Through real life events, Wes Lee found himself in one hell of a story. Lee lost his tag partner about a year ago and was rudderless. He picked fights with any and everyone he believed disrespected him in hopes of finding his mojo. He eventually earned Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams’ collective ire. Either because they saw him as a threat or just because they like picking on people. You decide which option makes sense. But with that in mind, a Lee victory meant going through Hayes. No matter what, that was the only option for Lee, and probably anyone else in the ladder match. I’m a huge Melo fan but seeing Lee get the W over his body felt good. Even for me.
This was a hell of a ladder match. Every wrestler got their moment in the sun. Even Von Wagner! But the story and most compelling stuff for me involved Lee. He took a beating during this match. From getting tossed through the commentary table to getting beat with the ladder. They left Wes for dead at several different moments in the match and it really looked like Melo might win. With everyone dispatched, he climbed the ladder. Slower than usual based on the beating he took but also showing his hubris. Melo’s fatal flaw is his arrogance. Lee’s strength, and flaw, is the fact he doesn’t give up. With his back turned towards Lee as he climbed, Melo found himself meeting a ladder rung head first thanks to Lee’s reemergence.
But that wasn’t enough for Lee. After enduring all that torture from the A Champ, Wes had other plans in mind. He placed a stumbling Melo on another ladder (lots of ladders in this match) and launched himself on top of Melo’s limp body. The perfect exclamation point to the match and a statement on how much both men despise each other.
Melo climbed the ladder, grabbed the belt, and savored the moment.
Job. Well. Done.
Apollo’s Spooky Charriot
Apollo Crews finally vanquished Grayson Waller. But that’s not the real story here. Apparently Crews is also spooky? This match is essentially two parts and the first ended after Waller poked Crews in the eye with a pen. This story contains more stabs and shots of bloody eyes than an Italian horror flick. Anyway, Waller took advantage of Crews’ impairment and pushed him into a casket. Of course, this was a very cheap casket unlike the ones which we’re accustomed in WWE. And because the match rules clearly state the casket door must close on top of an opponent, That’s the point we discover Crews’ spooky powers. The lights go out and Apollo is back on his feet with the druids in tow—with another casket—when the lights come back on.
Clearly at that point, with him resurrecting, Apollo wasn’t losing this match. And he didn’t.
All of this stuff with Apollo is inconsistent and weird.
If there’s one story Shawn Michaels knows exceedingly well, it’s the “good friends, better enemies” story. That’s Roxanne Perez & Cora Jade in a nutshell. These two chose violence tonight while infusing some emotion into the proceedings. Mostly anger, but still emotion. The three big moments: Roxanne & Cora going at it with skateboards, Roxanne & Perez going down together off the NXT platform, and the final spot involving chairs. Their friendship ended with chairs so it’s only fitting that the match end with chairs also. Also fitting that Cora falls prey to them after introducing them to the chat.
This was a logical match with a logical conclusion to this feud. Or maybe a pause?
There’s a moment in this ambulance match where Julius Creed found himself in an unenviable position. Damon Kemp put him in the ambulance and closed the door. But it didn’t shut because Creed’s fingers blocked it. In fact, his fingers blocked the door multiple times. Julius Creed knew the stakes were so high in this match for him that putting his body on the line was necessary. The man sacrificed his working digits for his brother and the Diamond Mine. But mostly for his brother. That moment sold me on the match so much that nothing else after truly mattered or hit as hard. Even Julius winning! The match itself, outside of that moment and a few others, was a bit messy. But most ambulance matches are, so that’s not a knock so much as the reality.
But that moment with the fingers...
The Champ Stay the Champ
Mandy Rose is still the champ! After enduring Alba Fyre’s haunted house (?) through a good portion of Halloween Havoc, the champ overcame the odds through outsmarting her opponent. Again. Toxic Attraction interfered when the ref turned his back, and Mandy took advantage as she normally does.
Meh. Meh for the match and for Alba’s haunted attractions.
Halloween Havoc packed in a lot of good wrestling. The show felt a little long in the tooth tough, with too many backstage interviews and a haunted house segment that felt like a swing and a miss.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.