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Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WCW Slamboree 99

(No mean-spirited trick post this time around, fear not.  I only like to screw with my audience’s heads once or twice a year at most.) 

What if they gave a PPV and nobody cared?

The Netcop Rant for WCW Slamboree 1999

- Live from St. Louis, Missouri.

- Your hosts are Tony, Bobby and Mike.

- Okay, those not aware of my patented rating system, I'll be using the Hot Poker Up the Ass system to rate the matches tonight.  In a nutshell, for bad things that happen, I shove imaginary flaming pokers up Tony Schiavone's ass , and for good things, I cool him off by shoving cool, refreshing bottles of Surge(tm) up his ass.  In order to prevent permanent scarring to poor Tony's tender areas, we'll limit ourselves to 10 pokers and bottles of Surge(tm) either way.

- Opening match, WCW World tag team titles:  Kidman & Rey Mysterio v. The Vanilla Midgets v. The Flock 2.0. 

STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!  You don't start out the show with the only match that is guaranteed not to suck.  (Well, another theory would say you do open the show with it because it’s a hot start to the show.)  Big mistake, I'm predicting it right now, because you can only go downhill from here.  (You can say that about a lot of WCW things in general.)  Anyway, Horsemen get a big heel pop, Flock gets a big face pop, and the champs are somewhere in between.  Saturn, Kidman, and Malenko start out, with Saturn and Kidman double-teaming Malenko. Kidman does the over-the-top bump from the belly-to-belly early.  Great double-team german suplex from the Horsemen.  Why is Rey dressed like a Godwinn?  Horsemen are drawing mad heel heat.  Beautiful sequence as Malenko alley-oops Rey to the top rope, and he comes back with a moonsault.  Just gorgeous.  Everyone fights to the floor, leaving Benoit against Raven.  Horsemen seem to be controlling the flow here, stomping everyone into oblivion at one point and tossing the fallen team members to the floor with regularity.  Big highspot crashup leaves everyone fighting on the floor.  Benoit and Saturn are left in the ring by default and Benoit takes advantage with the ROLLING GERMAN SUPLEX~! Malenko must be in a bad mood today or something, he's spitting on the faces a lot.  OH MY GOD...Malenko actually powerbombs Kidman without it getting reversed!  This is a historic day!  Dragon suplex from Benoit gets two on Kidman.  I'm impressed at Tony actually calling the match. (I’m less impressed with 1999 Scott for NOT calling the match.)  Raven gets a hot tag and does his rolling vertical suplex~ on Benoit. It's cooler when Benoit does it.  (Less cool once we realized what damage it was doing to him.)  A true pier-six brawl with everyone doing big moves on everyone else.  Kidman and Rey do the alley-oop rana on Benoit, but when they try it on Saturn he reverses to a superbomb. Kidman goes for the shooting star press, but Kanyon comes out of the audience and pushes him off the top, into an Evenflow DDT for the pin. Malenko had Saturn in the Texas Cloverleaf at the time, but I guess Saturn didn't give up.  The Flock 2.0 is the new champions, which is the right booking decision.  (Yeah, until Kanyon turned on them for that Jersey Triad bullshit.)  We'll give Tony 8 bottles of Surge(tm), which should give him some leeway for the crap ahead.  Too much brawling for my tastes, but I'd give it **** easy.  (I don’t see how this couldn’t have ruled.) 

- DDP video package.

- Gonnad v. Stevie Ray. 

An automatic 2 hot pokers for anything involving Gonnad (see Starrcade 98 for the precedent).  (Yeah, I wasn’t a big Konnan fan…well…ever, really.)  We play the CRZ version of the Catchphrases of Doom (basically it involves yelling "you suck" at the TV).  We run through the 3 moves of insufficient doom very early, but Vincent interference gives Stevie Ray the advantage.  Stevie Ray is the only guy in wrestling who has a lazy CHINLOCK for christ's sake.  I mean, the whole idea of a resthold is that it requires zero effort, but Stevie can't EVEN DO THAT RIGHT!  (Oddly enough, his color commentary was entertaining in a twisted way, whereas his brother got all the wrestling talent and can’t do coherent commentary to save his life.  That’s some odd DNA.)  Stevie comes off the second rope and Gonnad puts his foot in the air, in the general vicinity of where Ray's head would be, but no contact is ever made.  Stevie sells anyway.  nWo interferes freely, and Rey Jr. tries to even the odds, so Stevie Ray is nice enough to slowly put Gonnad into the Slapjack and wait for Rey to come off the top rope and allow Gonnad to get the cradle for the pin.  We'll add another 3 hot pokers for the match, and a bottle of Surge(tm) for at least keeping it short.

- Kevin Nash video package.

- Sting video package.

- DDP meets Bam Bam Bigelow backstage and they have a male bonding moment.  (That ended up being the start of a bad storyline.  They had such a hot series of feuds going over the tag titles, and then the DDP/Bigelow/Kanyon team sucked the life out of the division for good.) 

- Brian Knobs v. Bam Bam Bigelow. 

The usual international objects line the ring.  Knobs is usual no-selling shitty self.  They fight outside the ring.  I think someone is severely overestimating the Nasty Boys' worth on the cosmic scale for Knobs to get a job.  (Or severely underestimating Hogan’s influence.)  See, he's a heel because he yells "Nasty!" every couple of minutes, I guess.  Knobs sells like the Rock -- Starts at 100%, takes a bump, shakes his head for a minute, then is back to 100%.  (You shut your filthy whore mouth, 1999 Scott!)  Pretty boring hardcore match, too.  They fight to the back, where a conveniently placed souvenir stand awaits. Knobs pulls back the Wizard of Oz' magic curtain, revealing a huge section of empty seats.  That's a no-no, Brian. (Obviously 7000 fans were running to the payphones to call their friends and tell them to tune into the PPV mid-show.)  Knobs hits a version of the Nastie's patented Shitty Elbow off the balcony to a table below, but Bigelow just no-sells, suplexes Knobs through said table, and gets the pin.  2 hot pokers for Knobs' involvement.  (So let’s give Brian Knobs a BIGGER push!) 

- World TV title match:  Booker T v. Rick Steiner. 

Booker gets a rather anemic pop.  Steiner controls with shoulderblocks to start, but Booker comes back with his spinning kicks.  Steiner won't sell Booker's stuff for some reason.  (Because he was a grumpy shithead after the team split up?)  Steiner controls with some slow suplexes.  Really dull stuff here.  Steiner is just punching, choking and resting.  Crowd has absolutely no interest in this match.  Booker comes back with the axe-kick and spinebuster.  Missile dropkick, but Scott Steiner runs in and allows Rick a Steinerline for two.  Booker whips Rick into Scott for two.  Scott trips Booker and Rick Steiner gets the neckbreaking bulldog for the pin and TV title.  Oh, fuck you, WCW.  5 hot pokers for putting the TV on Rick Steiner and making a royal fuckup of Booker's TV title reign.  (Luckily Booker would keep rising up the card, although Steiner would also continue failing up the card.  I kind forgot what my point was supposed to be.) 

- Charles Robinson v. Gorgeous George. 

Robinson's robe and haircut is too funny, as he looks like a dead ringer for Flair.  The real Flair and the nurse (Asia?  Oh, I get it, ha ha) (Asya, actually.)  are at ringside.  George has kind of a cheerleader outfit thing going.  Please let this be short.  Please. They fight over a wristlock to start, with Charles even mimicking Flair's selling.  Then Stall-O-Mania 99 breaks out, with Robinson bodyslamming the beauty queen on the floor and other shenanigans. Robinson chokes out George.  They trade chops and Robinson even pulls out a Flair flip, and gets slammed for it.  Flair Flop follows.  This is like watching a midget match in Mexico.  The evil nurse hurts George's leg, and Robinson goes to work on the knee.  Well, can't fault the psychology, that's for sure.  Charles gets the figure-four (on the wrong leg, of course, but it's reversed.  Then Flair interferes, and Savage interferes, and George drops an elbow off the second rope for the pin. This fell under WCW's specialty division:  Entertaining crap.  5 hot pokers for the stupidity of the idea and putting this on a PPV, but 2 bottles of Surge(tm) for the principles at least making an effort not to suck.  (I seem to remember Little Naitch being ridiculously entertaining in this role and probably living out the dream of a lifetime in the process.) 

- US title match:  Scott Steiner v. Buff Bagwell. 

Buff jumps Scott before the bell, but a couple of blatant shots to the Konnans turns the tide.  Brawl outside the ring allows Scott the chance to chat with the fans.  Steiner continues beating on Buff while yelling at ringside fans. Half-assed Tiger Driver gets two.  Belly to belly lays out Buff, and Scott grabs a chair, which ends up getting used against him.  Buff comeback.  Two bad looking dropkicks and an atomic drop, but the ref is bumped.  Predictably, Rick Steiner runs in, waffles Buff with the chair, and Scott gets the SHITTY REAR CHINLOCK OF DOOM for the submission.  The reunited Steiner brothers beat on Buff.  Bagwell did NOTHING here.  I officially give up on Buff -- the neck injury has ended his career.  (Yup.  Not much more to be said there.) 2 hot pokers for the bad match.  Both Steiner brothers are singles champions -- the Apocalypse is officially upon us.

- Goldberg video package.

- Nash/DDP/Sting/Goldberg video package.  None of this does anything to explain why either Nash/DDP or Sting/Goldberg is even happening, but I suppose it fills time nicely.

- Flair video package.  Same one we've seen for the past month or so.

- Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Ric Flair. 

Flair boots Johnny Boone out of the match and replaces him with Charles Robinson.  (Man, the days when I used to give a shit about referee names.)  Stalling from Flair to start.  Piper throws his 1982 potato punches and Flair stalls again. Piper does his devasting eye poke and hand-clap, but Flair hits a low blow to take control.  Then Arn beats him up.  Then Asia beats him up. What a classic.  Flair should be ashamed for resorting to this crap. They "brawl" outside the ring.  Double KO spot -- I feel like someone should be yelling "I've fallen, and I can't get up".  Figure-four, reversed by Piper.  Flair shows his ass on a sunset flip attempt. Robinson converses with AA while Piper gets a couple of pin attempts. Piper gets the figure-four, and AA breaks it up.  Piper puts the sleeper on him, then on Flair.  Asia breaks it up.  Piper kisses her, and puts the sleeper on her.  Flair gets an international object, hits Piper with it, and gets the pin.  Oh, great, now Eric Bischoff is out.  He declares Piper the winner.  Um, HELLO?  Didn't he lose the Presidency? And how exactly did Piper win that match, anyway?  This makes no fucking sense. 10 hot pokers for this whole clusterfuck.  Even Tony Schiavone is having trouble explaining what's going on.  (I remember exactly none of this, but at least it’s less embarrassing for Flair than his TNA run was.) 

- Sting v. Goldberg. 

The announcers are still trying to rationalize the last match.  Okay, anyway, on with this, which also makes no sense but at least it should be a decent match.  Goldberg messes up a backdrop and hits the powerslam early.  Sting stalls.  Back in and Sting clotheslines Goldberg out.  Goldberg stalls. Goldberg with a cross-armbreaker, and Sting escapes and dropkicks the knee.  Boston crab, which Goldberg powers out of.  Sting goes to the headlock.  Hmmm, maybe DDP *did* carry that match on Nitro.  Sting with a couple of Stinger splashes, but Goldberg catches him and slams him to a big pop, but Bret Hart comes in with a chair and it's a big schmozz as Bret hammers Goldberg.  I suppose someone jobbing would have been too much to ask.  The Steiners attack everyone for fun.  Very disappointing match.  3 hot pokers for the match, 1 bottle of Surge(tm) for Bret Hart making an appearance, even if it is a token one.  Why did they even bother doing the match?  (So they could advertise it for PPV buys and then not have to deliver, of course.) 

- DDP-Nash video.  Why are they even fighting again?

- WCW World title match:  DDP v. Kevin Nash. 

(I had actually forgotten that DDP’s title run was actually only a month.   Seemed much longer in retrospect.)  Okay, let's see if DDP can carry the Laziest Man in the History of our Sport.  Tenay reminds us that DDP and Nash started out as a midcard jobber team.  Okay, maybe not in those words.  Hey, this was also the very first Thunder main event. How come they don't mention that?  Nash gains control and runs through his usual stuff.  DDP comes back with the equalizer of choice tonight -- the groin shot -- and chokes him down.  He cuts off a turnbuckle pad to distract the ref and hits Nash with a microphone.  I feel like I'm in Memphis here.  Nash comes back and we have a slugfest.  DDP knocks Nash out with a baseball slide, and brings him in, then gets a two count with his feet on the ropes.  Another lowblow.  Must have been training with Scott Steiner.  DDP decides to start working on the knee.  Nash blocks the ringpost figure-four.  Another slugfest, won by Nash.  Snake Eyes to the exposed turnbuckle, and Jackknife powerbomb draws Randy Savage into the ring for the ultra-cheap DQ ending.  No, wait, here's Our Hero, Eric Bischoff again, to restart the match.  On whose authority?  (The anonymous Nitro GM?  Joe Laurinaitis?)  DDP gets controls and gets a two count on an ugly clothesline.  They my favorite of moves, the sleeper.  Gosh, nothing I love more than a good sleeper and reversal spot.  DDP gets a chair but it backfires and Nash gets a two-count.  A DDP lowblow gets two.  Nash hulks up, and powerdrops DDP to win the World title.  Oh, how inspirational.  Nice to see the booker being so selfless and allowing DDP to escape without a stretcher job. (Yes, Nash not only sunk the company, he also booked himself to win the World title…TWICE.)  Call it 4 hot pokers, with no real redeeming value.

The Bottom Line:  Well, our final tally stands at 36 hot pokers, and 12 bottles of Surge(tm) to counteract the burning.  That's a grand total of 24 hot pokers against, which puts Tony in serious pain.

Everything pretty much went actually as everyone thought it would, except for the brain-dead Bischoff thing, which means my recommendation falls right where I thought it would before the show:  Thumbs down.  (99 under the Nash regime was horribly non-memorable and yet shitty at the same time.  But just wait until we get to NEXT year’s show…)

Comments

  1. 1999 for both WCW and WWE are kinda a blur for me. Don't really remember anything. And considering how bad this show was, maybe you should have done the bait and switch on this one too.

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  2. I'm only up to the start of Piper/Flair on the tape I'm watching of this show right now, but so far it's been pretty good.

    The opener is definitely a **** to **** 1/4 match, that Evenflow DDT at the end is just sick, especially on the replay.  Konnan vs Stevie Ray is a mess, Knobbs and Bigelowe is decent for a hardcore match, and Gorgeous George and Little Naitch is a lot of fun with a little slow part in the middle.

    I believe they had about 20k people in the building, but it was scaled for about 30,000, so most of the upper-deck is empty.  The full dome seats about 70,000 though, so when they pull that curtain back it's more like 40,000 empty seats.

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  3.  Me neither!  Watching the 1997 shows brings back a lot of memories but a lot of these 1999 shows feel new to me, it just wasn't as memorable a period.  I can't really remember any of the angles to anything -- I'm glad they showed a clip of Piper getting Flair committed to the insane asylum, otherwise I would have had no idea why they were fighting... or maybe it was better when I didn't know!

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  4. And it's not like I wasn't watching either, I was still a rabid fan at this point. I can pretty recall every angle and big match from 96-98 and then from 2000 on but for some reason 1999 is like this black hole for me.

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  5. Yup same here.  I watched pretty religiously until the mid summer of 1999 then took about a year off before getting back into it around Summer Slam 2000.

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  6. I always liked the idea of the Jersey Triad, it was the first time I'd seen the Freebird Rule in effect (having just started watching in 1998). I can't honestly remember if anything they did was ever any good, but I dug all three guys.

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  7. Ah, yes the show that officially ended WCW's good PPV numbers once and for all.

    Some random thoughts about this show: I remember laughing hysterically when Brian Knobbs pulled back that curtain and revealed all those empty seats.

    That was so embarrassing and bush-league, especially when you consider that only one month earlier they had a sold-out crowd at Spring Stampede and even though 1999 started on a horrible note with the Fingerpoke Of Doom mess, WCW was still doing very good arena attendance until late-April when attendance went south very, very fast and never recovered.

    Something tells me that bone-headed logo change they underwent at the beginning of April combined with the weeks of horrible television and the nonsensical ad campaign they did to plug the new logo (Seriously of all the phrases to come up with, you're genius marketing slogan is "It's Out There"?) was a major factor in that drop.

    I also remember how pitiful it was that the Ric Flair/Roddy Piper/Charles Robinson segments on Nitro were still way better and far more entertaining than the usual Kevin Nash booked on a barstool napkin garbage, since they were basically just making shit up as they went along.

    And while I'm thinking about it, since DDP and Goldberg both won at Spring Stampede, it's obviously a total no-brainer that those two should have faced off for the title here instead.

    They also should have booked Sting vs. Kevin Nash with Lex Luger being the middleman and making everyone wonder whose side he was on.

    Also think that Scott Steiner should have defended the US title against Konnan instead, have Booker face Buff for the TV title and do a double-turn there where Rick could turn heel by attacking Booker and Buff would subsequently turn face by coming to Booker's rescue, that way they could have set up Buff getting revenge on Rick at the following month's PPV, but of course WCW decided that having Buff work a comedy match and having Rick work a match with Sting where Sting would get attacked by dogs made way more sense.

    And as a sidenote, Coca-Cola has got to be run by the biggest idiots on the planet.
    First they get rid of the greatest drink they ever developed in Surge, then after creating a drink that's almost as great as Surge (Vault), they get rid of that too.
    To paraphrase Randy Orton: STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.

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  8. SasukespecialmanMay 24, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    I just had to check out the Li'l Natch vs GG match. Man, Li'l Natch was awesome! He had the whole shtick down. The strut, the look, he even had Flair's lisp! Just hilarious stuff. Charles Robinson rules. Great referee and, when he needs to be, a great character. I love his sprint to the ring at WM XXIV and his sell of the super kick at RR 2010/

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  9. Yeah Spring Stampede 1999 has always been in my mind the show that marked the end of the big period for WCW, but I forgot that it came right on the heels of the Kevin Nash booking era, which is basically what turned me off of WCW completely (I liked the idea of DDP with the world title).  So I suppose this show should be really be the jumping off point, since Nash's win marks the start of that era in earnest.

    Regarding the curtain thing -- to be fair, even if they'd sold the 30k tickets the stadium was configured for, there still would have been empty 40,000 seats left on the other side of the curtain.  Their biggest shows drew about 40,000 fans in an 80,000 seat building with the rest curtained off.  Luckily Brian Knobbs wasn't there to tear it down.

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  10. I remember this being a pretty bad time for WCW, although the summer was much worse. There's not a lot of guys who I hated watching more than Rick Steiner. There was literally not one time I was happy to see him on tv. Time seemed to slow down when he was on tv. It's too bad he's been out of the public eye for so long because he really should be high on my least favorite wrestlers ever but I keep forgetting about him.

    The thing I was most excited about was the Raven face turn. I was always a big fan of his, I was hoping to see more of Benoit/Malenko/Raven/Saturn/Kidman...I found Rey to be incredibly obnoxious at this point.

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  11. "What if they gave a PPV and nobody cared?"

    C'mon, don't make fun of WWE Capitol Punishment like that.

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  12.  Wasn't there an awesome, like nearly ***** match involving Benoit/Malenko vs Raven and someone else in a steel cage around this time?  I vaguely remember it and hopefully I have it on tape somewhere.  I wanna say it was actually on Thunder of all places.

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  13. The whole Flair Presidency angle is a guilty pleasure. It helped sink the company and all, especially since the fans didn't really even want to boo Flair and the Horsemen, but damn was some of it funny. Robinson as Lil Naitch, David as the undeserving US Champ, and Flair just generally acting power crazy and claiming to be President of the United States all made for some good moments. Too bad none of it lead to anything or paid off coherently.

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  14. Whatever happened to Asya?

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  15.  I just can't believe he pulled off the Flair flip in the corner even better than Flair!

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  16. SasukespecialmanMay 24, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    He had everything down. He did the "Oh god!" when in the arm ringer.  He did the bug-eyed "C'mon!" when he had her in the figure four. So much fun. The whole match was actually a great comedy blow-off. George was pretty good, too. She sold the leg like a champ, had good execution on simple moves, and seemed generally to be having fun with the whole thing. Too bad WCW couldn't get the same inspiration out of their actual roster - or, rather, killed the inspiration of their actual roster.

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  17. http://www.tmz.com/2012/05/24/chris-jericho-wwe-suspended-desecrating-brazilian-flag/  What say the blog...legit or a way to write him off tv so he can do Fozzy stuff.

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  18. I think they were pretty upset with him until they realized he's Hogan's buddy then the reaction became "Shit, we can't punish him now."
    Although if it was somebody like say Raven or Malenko that did that, that person most definitely would have punished....well, even more than they already were.

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  19. Seconded here. Fun match on an otherwise awful show (except the opener, of course).

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  20.  You do have quite a bit of open-mindedness and tolerance for 1999 WCW. That era draws an immediate thumbs down from me when I recall it, but who knows, maybe watching it today wouldn't be so excruciating.

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  21. Little Naitch was awesome!

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  22. You know, I think it helps to not be under the gun of having to watch it week to week.  It's just so much to sit through, especially when there is a lot of bad.  Now I watch half a PPV and put it away and finish it later, it's a much less aggravating experience.  I also think having some distance from it is good in terms of time -- I find that in general even with stuff that used to drive me crazy it at least has some nostalgia value now.

    Having said that, I don't have much hope for it once I get around to the summer.  I remember the 1999 edition of the GAB being especially terrible in retrospect and I'd be surprised if it comes off any better.

    On a side note, while looking for a clip of something, I ran across this Kevin Nash interview on Jay Leno.  It's actually pretty awesome -- you'd think that such a smart, cool and funny guy would have made a better booker, but I guess those aren't necessarily skills that transfer over to good booking.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-ZmRRJn8mI

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  23. I'm not trying to say Nash was a great booker or anything but I have a hard time believing anyone could have had success booking WCW by this time. It was like walking though landmines trying to get anyone to do anything.

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  24. Was there a turning point for WCW's decreased attendance and ratings, or was it more of a gradual thing?  I'm not talking about "the FoD is where it went to shit" or "Goldberg losing is when it ended," I mean more along the lines of did they wake up one day and realize they'd lost a ton of weight over time, or was it like one day they were healthy and the next they were emaciated?

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  25. They went into a pretty serious nosedive ratings wise when they put the belt on DDP.

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  26. That was my first exposure to it, too. And one of the few times I can remember it being done since, outside the Spirit Squad.

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  27. It's not that big of a surprise that 1999's a blur for a lot of us, given that WWE was into Crash TV and WCW was a total mess. It was the first year I was really following both show religiously, but only a few things stand out these days (mostly Rock promos).

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  28. I wonder how Knobbs became such good friends with Hogan and what happened to Sags.  Didn't the Nasties grow up together?  And they teams together for like 20 years.  Seems like Knobbs would've brought Sags along into Hogan's fold.

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  29.  While WCW's tag division was heating up, I kinda liked the Jersey Triad and DDP's yo mamma jokes. I think the division really went to shit after the Triad broke up.

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  30. 1999 WCW. Wow.

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  31. That's a very good point. Bill Watts was really the only good booker they ever had and even he had to walk through those proverbial landmines until he realized that it just wasn't worth it and he let them detonate themselves.

    Even if they had Paul Heyman, Jim Cornette, Gabe Sapolsky, and the corpses of Eddie Graham and Chris Kreski running the company, WCW still would have went under.

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  32. Here is my take and as usual it's of the long winded variety:

    As far as ratings, it sort of came in two waves. 

    They were on a steady upward trajectory, basically peaking in the very high 4s until the WWF first beat them to end their streak in April 1998 and then their ratings fell for awhile.  It should be mentioned that they were also pre-empted a few times for the NBA Playoffs or shuffled to different days, which didn't help matters as it gave people a chance to check out the WWF product.   

    They would recover in the aftermath of the Goldberg title change and ended up pretty close to their average for the rest of the year, with a several weeks doing the best ratings they ever did.  RAW was gaining a whole new audience though at this point and one that was new to both shows, so even though they were creaming Nitro routinely, Nitro was actually still pulling great numbers and growing it's average, just not at the rate the WWF which quickly became a runaway train.  However once you hit May of 1999, Nitro's average really started to dip and they basically continually eroded the rating the rest of the way. 

    Looking at averages in terms of percentages, Nitro grew their ratings about 14% from 1996 to 1997 and about 19% from 1997 to 1998.  From 1998 to 1999 they lost about 24% on the year, but if you look at just January through April, their average was only down about 1% from 1998.  Just looking at January and February, they were actually up about 5% over the past year.  So things fell fast and hard on the other side of April.  They lost about 35% of their audience from 1999 to 2000 and another 18% from 2000 to 2001.  In 1997, Nitro accounted for about 58% of the Monday Night audience and by 2001 they were down to just 32%.

    As far as attendance and gates -- those were strong basically through all of 1998 and into 1999.  They sold-out 20 consecutive shows (house shows, Nitro, Thunder, and PPVs) in 1998, which Meltzer made a big deal about at the time because it hadn't ever been done before, and that included several 15,000+ venues for Nitro and Thunder.

    The first period of trouble was actually the Slamboree PPV -- tickets went on sale about 20 days before the show and they had a solid first week of sales, selling over 8,000 tickets for a $313k advance, but tickets sales stalled after that.  Some of the Nitro's continued to do good numbers in 1999, albeit a bit down from previous shows.  The June 1999 Superdome show did 15,593 paid fans which was a bit down from the almost 20,000 they did in the same building in January 1998.  The July 1999 Nitro at the Georgia Dome did about 20k paid, compared to over 36k paid the previous July.  That's about it for good news though.

    Buyrates of course were the same story -- they did their last really phenomenal buyrate at Superbrawl in February, did a solid number in March for Uncensored, and an average number for Spring Stampede and then they fell off drastically.  Nothing compared to 2000 though, where a 0.26% buy-rate was the best one all year.  In 2000 that would equate to roughly 103,000 buys, although given how far buys have fallen for PPVs in this decade, that number doesn't look nearly as bad as it used to haha.

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  33. Yeah, I think that's a fair point, although I recall a story of him calling a meeting once he started booking to basically turn Nitro into more of a WWF-style show, with less wrestling and more backstage segments, which doesn't exactly show that he had good judgement either.  I guess perhaps that is the easiest thing to sell everyone on though, sort of a 'hey if they can do it and make it work, so can we' kind of deal.

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  34. Yeah I must respectfully disagree with Scott. I thought the Jersey Triad stuff was great. I loved the combination of DDP/Kanyon/Bigelow. I really enjoyed the work of all 3 of these guys as individuals so as a team I thought they were great.

    Don't get me wrong I'm not calling them the second coming of the Midnight Express or anything but I thought they were a solid addition to WCW's tag ranks in 1999.

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  35. I was no longer watching WCW regularly once 1999 hit. I had fully switched back to WWE by that time, but I was following with results on the internet or catching pieces here and there during commercial breaks.

    I finally got my hands on some of their 1999 PPV's probably in mid to late 2000 although it could've been later and I really enjoyed Spring Stampede 1999. I thought the card was pretty solid from top to bottom and there were some real standout matches. I know at the time the DDP win was not popular and for most still isn't, but it didn't bother me that much. I know there were younger and probably more deserving guys but I was just happy to see the title on someone completely different. Plus I always enjoyed DDP's work.

    So yeah I was sad to see the decline in WCW's quality and popularity after this time. Once 2000 hit I was really pulling for WCW to make a turnaround because I knew things were bad, but I really wanted them to succeed and even fell into the trap of defending them. I always felt they had some real gems hidden or buried in all the crap and that's what I always clung too. I know Jarrett takes a little of crap from nearly everyone, but he always appealed to me. I thought he was a solid worker and a good hand to have on board. Maybe he wasn't World title worthy, but again you knew he was reliable and he could work with anyone so I was happy enough with his title reigns. I still don't care with people say I liked Jarrett and I still do. I've spoken with him on several occasions and he is such a down to earth guy.

    Anyway I got way off topic here. Yes April-May 1999 was the beginning of the end looking back with hindsight.

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  36. I was mostly watching WWE in 1999 and while I don't remember too many specifics I do seem to recall Austin-Taker feuding and that image of Vince as a bloody mess. I think it was the first time we ever saw Vince bleed. They used that image on one of the posters in the arena at the PPV. I guess this was around the time of the "higher power" Ministry of Darkness stuff.

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  37. Just wanted to comment on Spring Stampede 1999, from top to bottom IMO that was easily the best PPV from either company in a long, long time. 

    I remember debating on whether or not I was going to order it, since I planned on getting WrestleMania XV.  I went ahead and got WMXV, which was the first WWF PPV I'd seen on live since Summer Slam 1998 I think (I would usually just rent the tape after that).  It was surprisingly terrible, enough that I said screw it and ordered Spring Stampede too haha.

    The guy I miss more than anyone is Blitzkrieg.

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  38. Yeah this was the time when WCW hit the point of no return.  DDP as champ, Hogan face turn, Nash booking nonsensical shit, Bischoff back or the summer only to then be fired, it all blew up over the late spring and summer of 99.  I think some of it was left over from Warrior, Goldberg losing, and then Hogan reforming the NWO with the fingerpoke of doom.  Wrestling ratings, buyrates, and attendance tend to lag a few months after when a product goes off the rails.  I think during the spring of 98, WCW was struggling a bit.  WWF had grabbed the momentum off of Tyson and Austin/McMahon.  WCW was lost on how to use Bret and squandered that one.  They had some weird ass stuff going on in the spring and summer of 98 until Goldberg's title victory got fans back on board.  The excitement from that carried them until Warrior.  And while I personally was retching at the thought of that jackass hitting the screen, the ratings and excitement say I was in the minority.  Of course it didn't take long for the WCW fanbase to join me in retching at the Warrior.  it was such a huge disappointment that it hurt WCW again.  But Nash was hugely over, no matter what revisionist history buffs might try to tell you in arguing Goldberg should have never lost.   The problem wasn't Goldberg losing, it was in not following up properly.  It becomes obvious Hogan masterminded the whole thing, but we never get that blowoff.  Instead he continues to feud with Bigelow, beats Hall in a sloppy match, then as almost an afterthought, he beats nash.  Then it's off to film some movie for Goldberg while Hogan turns face.  And I think at that point the fans just felt shit on for the last time.  It was obvious that Goldberg wasn't going to get the kind of push Austin did in WWF, working all the main events and carrying the belt.  The Hogan face turn was a miserable failure.  Flair back on top of the card turned off the younger attitude era fans as it really emphasized how hip WWF was compared to the "old guys" of WCW.   And of course the booking just got more nonsensical all the time.  No one could keep track of anything, stuff like Bischoff and Piper and Flair fighting for control of the show made no sense.  God knows Bret made no sense.  For all the criticism of 99 WWF, and it deserves it all for the needless vulgarity, stupid characters, bad undercard matches, etc., the storylines had a beginning, middle, and ending and made sense except for the payoff to the higher power (although was that all that different from Bischoff as the NWO supporter?). 

    Hated Rick steiner.  By this point he was such an unprofessional asshole.  he sold when he felt like it and if you watch him he has a nasty habit of forcing his opponent to sell.  he had a ppv match against Saturn where he did it.  They would do a typical trade of punches spot, but Rick always sped his punches up to the point where the other guy would have to sell it or the match would look bad, and being much more professional than Rick, the guys would do it.  I saw him do it against Saturn and Sting off the top of my head, but I remember match after match with that black hole of charisma pulling his no sell shit while taking 90% of the match with his shitty, sloppy, and stiff offense.  Now how you offense can be shitty and stiff at the same time is beyond me but jackass figured it out somehow.  I think in 99 face Hogan, Rick Steiner, and Val Venis were my three most hated wrestlers.

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  39. Oh wow yes that match with Juvi and Blitzkrieg was amazing stuff. Talk about someone who never got a chance to reach their true potential.

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  40. Yeah the Hogan face turn was the first time in regards to Hogan that I can remember thinking "Really?  They think THIS is a good idea?".  I actually liked Hogan's 1994-mid 1995 face run more than most, as it produced several good matches and a renewed energy for him and the promotion.

    The thing that made the 1999 run so bizarre though is that there was almost no lead up to it as I recall (aside from a few random face pops he was getting at the start of the year), it was like they did it solely to pop a rating.  That's something that should have and probably could have been a pretty big moment in terms of turning key storylines in a different direction, but it was totally wasted.  Plus they didn't do it with any hint of irony at all -- all of the sudden Hogan is just a smiling, goofy babyface, just looking about 10 years older.

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  41. Yeah, I hate to place the ratings decline on one superstar because it's hard to believe putting the title on a certain wrestler could lose so many viewers, but they were still doing mid 4s in March '99 and literally the week after DDP got the title they dropped to mid 3s and continued fading from there. It's quite astonishing. I mean DDP was still an established WCW headliner, it's not like he was a jobber or David Arquette, but I guess millions of fans just didn't buy him as World Champion.

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  42. Man I love fantasy booking 13 years after the fact. So much to be gained from it.

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  43. WCW changing its logo and set coincides quite closely to the decline in ratings. The set I thought looked quite terrible.

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  44. Well Sags is Dusty Rhodes' brother-in-law so he already one particular clique he was attached to.  

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  45.  well ddp's title reign coincided with the NBA playoffs bumping Nitro around and it coincided with a hogan face turn and it coincided with the idiociy of Piper/Flair/Bischoff, so I don't know that you can make DDP winning the belt a turn the faucet off moment for the ratings.  It was a combination of things leading all the way back to Warrior and I think all that was just the final straw.

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  46. Under the right conditions (you know, normal, non-crazy booking), Sting vs. Goldberg would have made INSANE amounts of money.

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  47. The face turn was coupled with the lame-ass "ending" of the NWO storyline, where basically DDP beat Hogan and that was it, with the actual defeat getting litttle to no build-up. Even Hogan/Flair turning had zero build-up; it just happened on a whim because they wanted Hogan good and Flair evil with no build-up.

    In retrospect, not having the Fingerpoke of Doom be followed with Goldberg massacring the NWO once and for all and Nash/Hall turning on Hogan when Hogan finally lost the belt to Golberg, was the turning point. Going with Flair as the face of the company was a bad move and having Flair LOSE BADLY in those months after the Fingerpoke alienated folk.

    I give DDP winning the belt the benefit of a doubt even with the lack of decent pay-off to it visa vie DDP being the one who "slays" the NWO dragon because the damage was already done to WCW and DDP getting the belt was one of the few smart band-aid things they did.
     

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  48. I never liked the Hot Pokers system. Star ratings! I wants them!

    I absolutely love the tag match by the way. This show was garbage but that match is one of my favorites.

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  49. I remember liking the Triad, but this was around when I started following WWE a lot more and WCW a lot less.

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  50. I remember liking the Triad, but this was around when I started following WWE a lot more and WCW a lot less.

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