November 2, 1998 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WCW Halloween Havoc recap, details on the show going long

What appears to be a seven-figure catastrophe will ironically be viewed by people who see pro wrestling as nothing more than a Monday night ratings battle as a brilliant maneuver.

It wasn’t either brilliant, nor a maneuver, but the end result of approximately 25 percent of the systems (a figure based on what we’re hearing may be a low estimate) shutting off the Halloween Havoc PPV on 10/25 early and WCW putting the Bill Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page title match on free Nitro the next night was that Goldberg vs. Page broke the all-time cable television viewing record by doing a 7.18 rating (best rating for a cable match in more than ten years dating back to the final quarter of a 45:00 live draw with Ric Flair vs. Sting on March 27, 1988 which did a 7.8) and 10.2 share in 5,367,000 homes or approximately 7,782,000 viewers. This broke the all-time viewership record set on 7/9 for the Hulk Hogan vs. Goldberg title change which was a 6.91 rating in 5,045,000 homes. What was doubly amazing is that this record was set during football season, when traditionally a percentage of the wrestling audience is siphoned off.

Largely because of that one match and a strong first hour, no doubt built by curiosity stemming from the fiasco the previous night, WCW did one of its best ever ratings on 10/26 for a head-to-head situation with a 5.06 rating (5.69 first hour; 5.19 second hour; 4.37 third hour) and 7.60 share. Raw did a 4.48 rating (4.36 first hour; 4.59 second hour) and 6.82 share. In the opposed two hours and six minutes, Nitro did a 4.76 rating. If you take out the first quarter with the Goldberg-Page match which destroyed Raw’s 3.31 opening quarter, Nitro did a 4.44 and Raw did a 4.64. While some would claim this as Nitro ending Raw’s five-week winning streak, the reality is over that five weeks when it came to viewers it was really three wins for Raw and two for Nitro, although both Nitro wins and one Raw win should realistically be called ties. In actual viewers numbers over the head-to-head two hours and six minutes, Nitro had 5,017,000 viewers, consisting of 2,588,000 adult males, 1,196,000 adult females, 628,000 kids 11 and under and 605,000 teenagers. Raw’s 4,648,000 viewers consisted of 2,234,000 adult males, 939,000 adult females, 501,000 kids 11 and under (so Nitro beat them handily) and 974,000 teenagers (the age group Raw remained dominant in). The Steelers-Chiefs football game head-to-head did a solid 14.5 rating and 24 share.

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