Halloween Havoc was a staple of the WCW pay-per-view calendar, running every October from 1989 until 2000 with the collapse of the company, but it has been lost to time. For nearly 20 years, wrestling fans have wondered as October approached if WWE would somehow bring back the event in some fashion, only to be disappointed each and every time.
In fact, the United States Patent and Trademark Office listed it a “dead” trademark since 2005. Another company attempted to snatch the trademark and logo away in 2018, only for WWE to file again on September 21, 2018, to seemingly get everything back under the same house.
Yet here we are, one week away from Halloween, with no Halloween Havoc yet again.
So what can WWE do to fix that and how can this event’s namesake have some sort of a resurgence? Let’s break this down with another 3-Count.
The Value of the Brand Name
First things first, we have to examine what we’re working with. Admittedly, it’s not very much.
Every version of the logo is out of date, to a certain extent. They could take the one I have up above and repurpose it without it seeming too strange. But in my opinion, it doesn’t quite convey the spirit as well as it could. Too much focus is on the V, so they’d have to tone that down a bit, even if they keep the teeth-like lettering, which I’m fine with.
The name is solid. There’s no need to change that. But it does, obviously, limit us to only having the event near Halloween. The earliest WCW had it was October 23rd in 1994. Funny enough, they never once had it on October 31st. Go figure. WWE would have to aim for something around the final week of October every year, no matter what events surrounded it.
The biggest attraction is the atmosphere that comes with this name, so long as WWE is willing to change the set around and go with the theme. If there aren’t any decorations to make it Halloween-based, and this event is put on with the same generic baseline template of a screen all throughout the arena, there’s no point in calling it Halloween Havoc. That is the fun of it all. More on that, later.
Other than that, there’s nothing. This event has no gimmick match attached to it like Royal Rumble or Elimination Chamber to build around, nor should it be a major focal point of the year like SummerSlam. It’s very much just a name with a decoration theme around it.
With all that in mind, let’s explore what WWE could do with this branding.
Concept #1: House Show Network Special
As much as I hate Hell in a Cell being a pay-per-view that comes around the same time every year, rather than being a gimmick left to happen whenever something calls for it, WWE seems hell-bent (see what I did there?) on keeping it in the September/October range.
With that and Survivor Series in November, Halloween Havoc will never be a big event. However, that doesn’t stop it from being something on the smaller end, like what they’ve done this year with Smackville.
This is a fairly easy way for fans to feel like they’re getting something special out of a house show by taking what would normally be a regular untelevised live event and turning it into something more. All it would take is some pumpkins and set dressing (spider webs, bats, crap like that), a few matches worth advertising in advance to watch on the WWE Network, and the film crew that worked on Smackville and The Shield’s Final Chapter and so on.
They have Starrcade, which operates under this type of banner around Thanksgiving. Why not do something for Halloween, too?
Of course, this year, Crown Jewel will be on Halloween, so it wouldn’t work for October 31st…at least, not for the main roster. NXT has a live event scheduled for the same day, and there’s nothing stopping Halloween Havoc from being an NXT show!
In future years, though, if WWE were to have a house show scheduled for October 31st or right around it, they could very easily slap together a few matches, film it and broadcast it live as an extra WWE Network event.
Concept #2: A Theme for A Regular TV Episode
What if WWE had Raw, SmackDown or NXT coinciding with that day? Well, the first time that will happen is October 31, 2022 falling on a Monday, but that opens up another opportunity to build that episode of Raw around that theme.
The same basic rules would apply, with the only difference being that instead of an extra event treated as a mini-pay-per-view, it would just be a regular episode of television that had some extra flavor to spice things up.
Many of the ideas could transfer over with no problem. They could decorate the set as they normally do, for instance, and have the graphics on the screen be Halloween-themed like they do around Christmas.
The matches could even carry over, which is something I haven’t addressed yet. In the past, WWE has had something called a “Trick or Street Fight” with people smashing pumpkins (maybe that’s more of an NWA Powerrr thing now) and using kendo sticks painted to look like candy corn. That could be a main event of a WWE Network special and it could be a featured match or the headlining act for a television episode, too.
I’d also love to see them bring back the costumed battle royal. With this, WWE could have a little fun with the T&A side of the women’s division that we no longer see, or it could be kept without a sexier element and be entirely about the comedy. For that matter, it doesn’t even have to be the women’s division who has this match, as people like The B-Team and other goofier characters in the men’s division could pull it off just as well, if not better.
WWE could use these episodes to have cameos of the more colorful characters of the past like The Boogeyman and Doink the Clown, have backstage segments revolving around people in masks (which could be especially fun with the luchadores) and make the episodes feel like a break from the routine.
All it would take to boost the hype and the ratings leading up to it would be reutilizing the name by officially dubbing the episodes things like “WWE Raw: Halloween Havoc Night” or something like “Raw Reunion”, “Raw 25” and so on.
Concept #3: A Live Event Tour
But maybe WWE doesn’t want to do that, for whatever reason. Perhaps Vince McMahon has an aversion to having a televised show in any capacity named Halloween Havoc. If that’s the case, there’s no chance it will work as a pay-per-view or anything of that sort, so we have to look for alternative ways to use the name.