Date: December 28, 1997
Location: MCI Center, Washington, D.C.
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Mike Tenay
Date: December 28, 1997
Location: MCI Center, Washington, D.C.
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Tonight is WCW's night. After a year and a half of being dominated by the NWO, tonight is the night that WCW stands up and says this is our company and you're not taking us over. WCW has its warrior in Sting and there is no way that Hogan can stop him. Hogan has been running scared of Sting for months and tonight he's out of places to hide. This is WCW's night. Let's get to it.
The opening video is rather awesome with Sting standing in the shadows as rain falls. He jumps off a wall and lands on a picture of Hogan. Sting picks up the bat and walks off, all while pictures of Hogan are superimposed over the screen. That's a great visual.
There will be a drawing on who gets to be the referee for the main event.
Several WCW wrestlers are in the crowd, including Harlem Heat and the TV Champion Disco Inferno.
Apparently Kevin Nash isn't here tonight. This was another big problem with the NWO: they didn't like to lose. The original plan for Nash was to face the Giant and lose. Nash, not wanting to be pinned on PPV, decided to screw the fans out of one of the biggest matches on the show and not appear. He eventually appeared in the match at the next PPV where he was allowed to win.
In other words, he acted unprofessionally and screwed over the people and got his way anyway. These are the kind of things that would catch up to them in the long run. Officially Nash claimed that he had chest pains, but he's had a tendency to have those many times over the years when he was about to lose a major match. Also considering his story has changed multiple times over the years, something tells me he wasn't being honest. Imagine that coming from a wrestler.
Cruiserweight Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
This is the culmination of a rather awesome three way feud between Malenko, Guerrero and Rey Mysterio which led to some excellent matches between the three of them. Eddie is defending here. They head to the mat to start where Eddie is good but Dean is great. Malenko takes over on the champion and fires off some right hands to the head to send Eddie back. A leg lariat gets two for Malenko and they trade control of a German suplex until Dean counters a rana into a HARD powerbomb for two.
Another powerbomb gets two for Dean and a snap powerslam gets the same. Eddie begs for mercy and runs to the floor for a breather. Back in and Guerrero hits a chop block on Dean's knee to give the champion control. Dean knees his way out of a suplex and drops Guerrero stomach first over the top rope to slow him down again. A clothesline gets another two count on Eddie and it's off to a chinlock. Make that a headscissors as the match slows down a lot.
Back up and Eddie backs off again before kissing Dean's feet and begging for mercy. Dean wins a test of strength by taking Eddie's hands to the mat so he can stomp on them. A dropkick to the face puts Guerrero down again before Dean counters a tornado DDT and drops Guerrero face first on the top turnbuckle for two. Eddie gets suplexed out to the apron but lands on his feet, allowing him to snap Dean's neck on the ropes. The champion takes over with a slingshot ax handle onto Dean's leg to put Malenko in trouble.
Guerrero wraps Dean's knee around the post and dropkicks the steps into said knee in a nice show of aggression. Back in again and Guerrero cranks on the leg for a bit before hitting a bit powerbomb for two. Dean counters a hurricanrana attempt into a nice wheelbarrow suplex for two. A backbreaker puts Eddie down again but it hurts Dean's knee in the process. Eddie takes him up top but gets shoved off the top as he tries a rana. Dean tries the Texas Cloverleaf (submission hold) but Eddie kicks the knee out to escape. Guerrero hits a missile dropkick into the knee to set up a Frog Splash to retain the title.
Rating: C+. Decent opener here but way below what you would expect from these two. The matches leading up to this one had been excellent but this came off as somewhat flat. It's certainly not a bad match or anything, but given the expectations from the buildup, this was pretty disappointing.
Here's Scott Hall with something to say. As is his custom, Hall asks the fans if they're here to see the NWO or WCW. In this case it's WCW but Hall would rather talk about the main event. He actually has a reason to as he gets a title shot at the winner at Uncensored. As for Nash, he isn't here tonight so Giant is the winner. Giant comes out and says that he's a patient man and one day Nash will be back. Hall goes after Giant but gets laid out with Kevin Nash's powerbomb. Why they didn't just have Hall replace Nash in a match here is beyond me.
Scott Norton/Vincent/Konnan vs. Ray Traylor/Steiner Brothers
The Steiners and Traylor had been going to war with the NWO for months so these three are just a random grouping of members for them to fight. There's no Konnan in sight during the entrances so we're going to start with a handicap match. Norton is a big strong guy who used to be world armwrestling champion. Vincent used to work for the WWF as Ted DiBiase's bodyguard. The Steiners' manager tonight? Ted DiBiase.
Since there's no Konnan, here's former world champion Randy Savage to take his place. Savage nearly gets in a fight with the WCW wrestlers in the audience on the way to the ring. For the sake of clarity in this match, Scott will only be used in reference to Scott Steiner. Savage starts with Scott with Randy being shoved back into the corner. A shoulder block puts Savage down but Norton hits Scott in the back to let Savage take over. Off to Vincent who is there to distract the referee while Savage chokes Scott.
Norton comes in for a power vs. power match with Scott, followed by a backbreaker to work on Scott's back. Savage adds a double ax to the spine, only to have Scott come back with a double underhook powerbomb and a gorilla press slam. Everything breaks down and the NWO is cleared out. Back in and it's Rick vs. Norton now which is a battle of the tough guys. Rick hits a quick suplex and a Steiner Line followed by a powerslam for two. Traylor, a former member of the NWO, comes in to pound away on Norton as well.
Vincent comes back in and walks into a spinebuster and a belly to back drop. Back to Scott for that wicked spinning belly to belly for no cover. Traylor comes in again as we have the rare heel in peril sequence. Rick puts on a chinlock while rubbing Vincent's head for no apparent reason. Traylor comes back in but misses a splash, allowing for the tag off to Norton. After a big clothesline, it's back to Vincent instead of Savage for no apparent reason.
To the shock of no one, Vincent is no match for Traylor and it's hot tag to Rick. He cleans house and the Steiners hit their top rope DDT on Vincent, only to have Norton make the save. Scott hits the Frankensteiner off the top but this time Savage makes the save. Now it's Savage in danger of being caught in the top rope Frankensteiner but Norton shoves Scott off the top, allowing Randy to drop the big elbow for the pin.
Rating: D+. Not a bad match or anything here, but why in the world would have have the NWO D team and Savage win this match? The Steiners are the world tag team champions and they're losing in the second match on the biggest show of the year? This night is supposed to be all about WCW, not about the NWO winning a meaningless match that they don't need.
Nick Patrick is officially announced as the referee for the main event. The problem with this is that Patrick is a former member of the NWO with a very sketchy record. Keep in mind that we're wasting time on the biggest show of the year for this. Also, I wonder what the announcers are going to spend the next hour and a half talking about.
Bill Goldberg vs. Steve McMichael
Steve “Mongo” McMichael is a former Horseman and NFL player, but he's absolutely terrible in the ring. Goldberg is still undefeated at this point and would become a much bigger deal after this show is over. This is happening because Goldberg stole McMichael's Super Bowl ring and they've attacked each other a few times since. The brawl is on in the aisle to start but Mongo's offense isn't having much effect. Goldberg literally picks him up and carries Mongo into the ring like a rag doll.
Goldberg picks up a table at ringside as the bell rings and the actual match begins. Mongo suplexes him down for two but a big shoulder tackle takes Steve down for two. We head to the floor where the table is leaning against the post. They fight around the ring with Mongo taking over before heading back inside, only to have Goldberg punch Mongo as Steve dives off the top. Goldberg hooks a quick leg lock and is toying with Mongo at this point.
The spear (the setup for Goldberg's finisher) hits for two and Goldberg loads up the table on the floor. He tries to slam Mongo over the top and through the table but the referee breaks it up. A dropkick of all things puts Mongo down and out to the floor and we have to be getting close to done. Mongo gets back up onto the apron, only to be punched through the table. Back in and the Jackhammer (suplex but instead Goldberg turns it over into a powerslam) ends Mongo.
Rating: D. This was terrible but Goldberg's day was coming. It was clear that Mongo just wasn't any good as a wrestler and thankfully in 1998 he would be pushed WAY down the card and rarely ever have a big match again. The match itself was slow and plodding, but Goldberg would be pushed to the moon very quickly after this.
Raven vs. Chris Benoit
Raven, a loner who has a collection of misfits called his Flock, comes out for his match against Chris Benoit but says he won't wrestle tonight. Instead his top man Saturn does, which has been a recurring theme for Raven. To be fair to him and WCW though, Raven had a legit appendicitis and wasn't medically cleared to wrestle. On the other hand, WCW knew this in advance and didn't bother to announce that Raven couldn't wrestle, thereby ripping off the fans with something they easily could have fixed. Anyway Benoit is a very tough wrestler with an excellent amateur skill set. Saturn can do a bit of everything.
Before the match, Benoit talks about seeing things for what they are in an attempt to speak like Raven. This doesn't go well at all, but once they had their match it would be a classic. Apparently this is under Raven's Rules, meaning anything goes. Saturn tries to jump Benoit but gets chopped down for his efforts. More chops hit Saturn's chest in the corner and a jawbreaker gets Benoit out of a sleeper attempt. Benoit stomps away in the corner and invites Raven to get in the ring. Saturn catches Benoit's arm during a chop attempt and hits a quick suplex to take over.
Chris comes right back with a dropkick to the knee but has to knock Raven to the floor instead of go after Saturn. Benoit whips Saturn into the barricade but Raven's men Kidman and Sick Boy interfere to give Saturn control. Back in and Saturn puts on a chinlock before hitting a moonsault, only to injure himself in the process. A few knees to Benoit's ribs put him down again but Benoit's foot is in the ropes. Off to reverse chinlock by Saturn to stay on the ribs but he lets it go for no apparent reason.
A kind of brainbuster gets two on Benoit and it's off to another chinlock. Benoit fights up and hooks a sunset flip for two before clotheslining Saturn down. Both guys are dazed now but it's Benoit taking over as they get back up. Saturn grabs a quick falcon arrow (sitout slam) to put Benoit down, only to have Chris knock him off the top rope and to the floor.
Benoit takes it to the floor and puts on his Crippler Crossface (arm trap hold with a facelock) but the Flock makes the save. Benoit fights them and throws Saturn back in for the flying headbutt, only to have the Flock come in again. They're quickly dispatched, but Raven himself comes in with the DDT to lay Benoit out. Saturn puts on his Rings of Saturn double armbar but Benoit is out cold, ending the match.
Rating: C+. This was getting good at the end but the decision here makes little sense. Benoit had been running through the Flock, so why have him lose to Saturn right before he's supposed to face Raven? Benoit can't beat the second in command so we're supposed to want to see him fight the boss? That doesn't make sense.
By the way: this is an eight match card and the heels are now 4/4.
Buff Bagwell vs. Lex Luger
Buff is of course Marcus Bagwell and now part of the NWO. This is I think the fourth match between these two in about a month with Bagwell cheating to win before. Bagwell of course stalls before the match begins because that's what people with little talent do to draw heat. They lock up and go into the corner with no one being able to get an advantage. Buff starts pounding away in the corner but Lex comes back with right hands of his own. A press slam puts Bagwell down and a clothesline puts him on the floor.
Bagwell is ticked off and wants Vincent out here to help him. Apparently the power of a worthless man obsessed with his own career like Vincent is enough to inspire Bagwell as he pounds away on Lex. It doesn't last long though as Luger pounds him down onto the floor and sends him into the barricade before nailing Vincent. The distraction lets Bagwell get in more of his array of right hands and forearms before stomping away in the corner. Bagwell pounds on Luger's back and says hi to his mom Judy (future World Tag Team Champion. Please, don't ask).
Luger gets in a back elbow but can't follow up at all. Then again he took some forearms to the back so how good could be be right now? Bagwell puts on a chinlock for a bit before clotheslining Luger down for two. Back to the chinlock as this match is already going long. Luger tries to come back but a knee to the ribs puts him right back down. Now it's a sleeper because this match hasn't had enough rest holds. Lex finally fights up and suplexes him down so let's lay around even more.
Luger pounds away and hits some clotheslines and atomic drops. Now Luger has to beat up Vincent before suplexing Bagwell down. Vincent is thrown off the top and clotheslined to the floor and Luger stomps away in the corner. The referee calls him off, allowing Bagwell to hit him in the back and into the referee. Luger puts Buff in the Torture Rack but there's no referee to see Randy Savage make the save. Savage gets racked but here's Scott Norton to hit Luger in the head with a chain and put Bagwell on top for the pin.
Rating: D. In case you're keeping track, we're about an hour and forty minutes into this show and the heels are still undefeated. I'm assuming the idea here was to make Bagwell look like he can beat a big name, but having him need three other guys and a weapon to do so isn't going to accomplish that goal. This was really boring too and could have had five minutes cut out from it.
US Title: Curt Hennig vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Hennig is defending and had been feuding with Flair for months, but Flair is hurt so Page is subbing for him. Curt is also NWO of course. Apparently Page stole the physical belt last night on Saturday Night....and then gave it back before the match tonight. That sounds like an idea they had and then dropped. Page has bad ribs which he had for months on end. Hennig gets elbowed in the face a lot and knocked out to the floor for a breather.
Back in and Hennig wisely goes after the bad ribs before putting on a chinlock. Thankfully it doesn't last long as Page counters into the much more interesting headlock. Curt fights up and is put right back into the hold as the match continues to go slowly. Back up and they head to the floor where Hennig snaps Page's throat across the top rope to take over. Page also goes ribs first into the steps as Hennig is thinking with his attack here. They go back into the ring where Curt pounds on the ribs even more.
Page tries to fight back but charges into a boot in the corner and a clothesline takes him down. Off to a chinlock which must be left over from the Bagwell match. The fans start chanting boring as this hold drags on for over a minute. Page finally fights up and hits a jawbreaker to escape before punching Hennig out to the floor. A dive over the top puts Hennig down again and Page throws him into the crowd to continue the beating.
They head back inside where Hennig gets to do his reverse crotch against the post spot. The Diamond Cutter is blocked by a grab of the ropes though and Hennig gets two. A rollup gets two for Page but Hennig clotheslines him down for two. Hennig loads up his Hennigplex but Page counters into a Diamond Cutter. He totally botched the move though and it looks like an armbar. They both get back up and Page hits the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere for the US Title and the first win by a good guy of the night.
Rating: C-. This wasn't great and the botched ending hurt it a bit. Still though, it's nice to see the fans have something to cheer for, even though it took them nearly two hours to get there. To say the Diamond Cutter was a popular move is the understatement of the year, as the fans went nuts when he hit it. This was a pretty dull match until the Cutter hit.
Bret Hart comes out to be guest referee. There's no pyro, there's no big entrance, there's nothing but generic music and Bret casually walking to the ring. The theory is that he's in the NWO but that's never been confirmed yet.
Eric Bischoff vs. Larry Zbyszko
This should have been Hall vs. Larry, as those two had been talking trash to each other for months. However, Larry only gets Hall if he beats Eric here tonight. If Eric wins, the NWO controls Nitro. Larry is in good shape here considering he's 46 and hasn't wrestled regularly in about five years. Bret checks them for weapons and we're ready to go. Bischoff has the body of a 15 year old girl. He is however a black belt in karate so you can expect a lot of striking.
Bischoff hits a quick shot to Larry's head and immediately celebrates. More strikes follow and Eric heads out to the floor for consultation with Hall. Back in and Larry hits some shots of his own and Eric is scared. Larry goes after him again and Eric hits a spin kick to the side of the head that knocks Larry down. That's enough for Zbyszko and he charges at Eric and takes him down to the mat. Bret admonishes him for pulling Eric's hair, so Larry puts on a sleeper and a headscissors, both of which are broken up for being chokes.
Off to a standing figure four but Eric quickly makes a rope. The damage is done though and Larry goes after the leg. Makes sense against a karate guy. Bret keeps Larry away from Eric and the announcers PANIC. Imagine that: a referee following the rules. Eric is sent into the steps and takes a brief walk around the ring. Back in and Bret blocks a right hand from Larry, allowing Eric to get in a kick to the head. Biscoff fires more kicks with Larry on the ropes, although Bret is fine with them.
Eric is starting to kick himself out though as the kicks are getting weaker and weaker each time. Now he fires rights and lefts in the corner as Larry is just covering up. Eric can barely move now and Larry shakes everything off. A suplex puts Bischoff down and Larry ties him in the Tree of Woe. Hall pulls something out of his pocket and loads it into Eric's shoe, WITH BRET LOOKING RIGHT AT THEM. I mean, he knows what's going on so why not LOOK THE OTHER WAY???
Anyway, Eric kicks him in the head with the loaded foot and the piece of metal goes flying. Bret isn't supposed to see it, despite watching it fly through the air. Eric celebrates, so Bret hits both Bischoff and Hall before putting Hall in the Sharpshooter, which is Bret's version of the Scorpion Deathlock. Larry chokes Eric for a bit and is declared the winner, presumably by DQ.
Rating: F. This was in the second to last spot on the biggest show of the year and featured the boss of the company who has no skill whatsoever in the ring. Larry did fine all things considered, but to waste this spot on this match and to waste BRET HART's in ring debut on this match is absolutely ridiculous in every sense of the word.
And yet, it's only going to get worse.
Before we get to the main event, I need to set the stage a bit more. This match is 18 months in the making at minimum. Hogan has been the biggest villain in the company the entire time and has been behind a ton of attacks, crooked endings, and every other possible evil thing you can do as a wrestler. He has basically held the world title hostage for the entire time and has gone completely against WCW. Tonight should be his punishment for those crimes. This match should be Hogan being taken to the gallows and executed for everything he's done for the last year and a half.
WCW World Title: Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan
So how does Hogan come out after running scared of Sting for a year and a half? He struts to the ring, playing the belt like a guitar. He looks like he's about to face Sick Boy instead of Sting for the world title. Hogan should have had people literally dragging him to the ring as he was trying everything he could to get out of the match. Have him offering money to the security, have him trying to run, have him doing ANYTHING but walking out with that big grin on his face.
After a year of repelling from the rafters, coming through the crowd, and at one point ziplining to the ring Sting.....calmly walks out. Oh wait there's some lightning and a voiceover that we've heard before so it's cool right? They stare each other down and as the bell rings, Hogan shoves him away. Sting slaps him so Hogan walks around the ring and is loudly booed as you would expect. Sting is pushed to the corner but comes out with a right hand and it's pretty much all downhill from there.
We're about two minutes into the match now and that's literally all that's happened. Hogan kicks him in the ribs and a single right hand sends Sting flying across the ring. Sting is pounded in the corner as Hogan gives a shout out to his son, Nasty Nick. A shot to the throat has Sting in trouble as the crowd is stunned. There's a slam but Hogan misses three straight elbows. A dropkick puts Hogan on the floor and Sting just stands there looking down at Hollywood.
Back in and the fans are chanting boring. Hogan grabs a headlock before running Sting over like he's not even there. Two more dropkicks send Hogan to the floor and again just stands there. Back inside again and Sting puts on a headlock to take Hogan down. We're six minutes into this and the entire sequence of action has been punches, headlocks, a shoulder block and dropkicks. Goldberg and McMichael went less than six minutes and had a full match while Hogan and Sting have fit about a minute's worth of action in the same amount of time.
Hogan shoves him off and lays Sting out with a clothesline. As in Sting is down on the mat for about 10 seconds off a clothesline. A suplex puts Sting down but he's on his feet before Hogan is. That's more like it. He does the crotch chop sign to Hogan and pounds Hogan into the corner....so Hogan calmly rakes the eyes to take over again. Hogan is toying with Sting so far and he does even more toying by throwing Sting to the floor. Sting is thrown into the timekeeper's area and Hogan hits him in the neck with Sting's trademark baseball bat.
Sting is choked with a t-shirt up against the railing, but he comes back by whipping Hogan into the barricade. As usual though, Sting misses the Stinger Splash into the steel and Hogan takes over seconds later. Sting is crotched on the barricade and dropped with a single right hand. I've seen Hogan have more trouble dropping jobbers. Back in and Hogan hits an atomic drop before choking away. We're over ten minutes into this now and Hogan hasn't been in significant trouble at all.
And now, it's going to get even worse.
Hogan hits the big boot and the legdrop for the pin in a little over eleven minutes. Now, the announcers start talking about a fast count, but the count was about as fast as you would expect it to be, albeit maybe a hair faster. It's far from what you would call a fast count when you're talking about a crooked referee though. I've heard stories over the years about Hogan actually paying the referee to count at a normal speed to count properly instead of doing it fast, and if that's the case then he did a decent job at it. The count was close enough that you could buy it either way, but it looked good enough.
On top of that, the far bigger problem with the fast count theory is that it doesn't hold up when you look at the aftermath. The idea behind a fast count is that the guy would have been able to kick out had it been at normal speed. Sting NEVER MOVED. He doesn't push off, he doesn't sit up after the count, he doesn't kick his legs. Sting is still laying on the mat a good ten seconds after the three count. Even with the fast count, Sting looks like he's out cold so the count doesn't even make a difference.
On top of THAT, Bret Hart is seen walking in front of the camera as Hogan is going down for the cover. Not a few seconds after the cover, not as Hogan is celebrating, but as Hogan is getting on top of Sting. That would mean that he came into the arena probably before Hogan even hit the big boot. Why was he out there? He's there early enough to grab the timekeeper's hand before he can strike the bell, which makes even less sense.
Back to the “action” as Bret grabs the mic and mumbles that “he's not going to let it happen again.” He complains about the count being fast and decks Nick Patrick (who has the most amazing overblown fall ever, throwing his arms in the air and falling over like a tree). Hogan tries to leave (as Sting is just now getting up) but Bret throws him back in the ring.
Bret calls for the bell, Sting goes NUTS and hits a quick Stinger Splash. He tries for another but Hogan holds the ropes, pretty much stopping Sting's momentum cold. The NWO runs in but Sting fights them off and hits another splash on Hogan. The Scorpion Deathlock goes on and Hogan gives up, allowing Bret to call for the bell and give Sting the title.
WCW comes out to celebrate, Sting shouts something in what sounds like Spanish (the last word was mamacita. A quick Google search says Sting said something like “revenge is sweet baby”) into the camera, end of show.
Rating: W. As in where in the world do I even start. First and foremost, the match absolutely sucked in case you couldn't tell. Hogan was destroying Sting for over ten minutes and then pinned him clean(ish) in the middle of the ring. It's completely against everything that the match was supposed to be and was horribly boring on top of that. This made Sting look like a complete joke and did little for anyone else besides Hogan.
Now for the second ending, which has even more holes in it. First and foremost, there's one huge problem with what Bret did: what if you didn't watch WWF? Simple question: what if you had no idea that this was a reference to what happened at Survivor Series a few weeks ago because you don't watch that company's programming? What was Bret not allowing to happen again? Granted you can only be confused by that if you understood what Bret said, which was mumbled pretty badly.
Second, Bret was hired as guest referee for one match, but he now has the authority to referee any match he wants all night long. The fans live weren't told that, so they either had to put it together in about a minute and a half, or they were completely oblivious to what was going on. The whole idea was a stretch to put it mildly and it was made even worse by how badly it was executed.
Finally.....just why? I mean, aside from Hogan, who could have possibly thought this was a good idea? The answer I've heard from either Hogan or Bischoff in one of their books is that Sting had some substance abuse issues and was in no condition to be champion at this point. The problem with that theory is that Sting just wrestled a coherent enough match. He was pretty much a shell of his former self, but he was able to throw dropkicks, punches, the Stinger Splash and the Scorpion Deathlock. That's really all he needed in this match, but apparently he wasn't capable of doing those things, at least according to Hogan or Bischoff.
All in all, this match is the biggest disaster that I can ever remember for a major match. It was booked completely backwards, it did nothing that it was supposed to do, the ending was screwed up, and the fans were likely confused by at least one thing at the time. Sting may indeed have had a drug problem at the time, but if he's even remotely capable of wrestling a passable match (which he clearly was), you give the fans this moment and worry about the rest later. It's been over 15 years since this happened and I'm still amazed by how badly they screwed this up.
Overall Rating: F. That's the only way to describe this show: a failure. WCW completely failed at what they were trying to do here and the show is a disaster. The best match is just slightly above average and that's likely being generous. No good guy wins until nearly two hours into the show and the main reason to watch the show (which A LOT of people did) was completely fouled up.
This is everything that you can possibly do wrong on a major show rolled into one and multiplied several times over. There's nothing truly good here and the aftershocks of this show crippled WCW for good. This was supposed to be the night that WCW was supposed to come back from everything that had gone wrong for them and take back their company. At the end of the day, they got back the US Title and that's it. They already had Nitro and yeah they got back the world title. For now. That's the other reason this show is so awful: at the end of the day, none of this mattered for reasons we'll get to soon.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com
Yeah, WCW totally shit the bed. It just wasn't their night. When Eddy/Dean and Benoit/Saturn both have disappointing matches you know you are in trouble. Top that off with Nash/Giant not happening and the main event, the gods were against WCW. Or WCW was against WCW.ReplyDelete
For all we know Nash could have legitimately had chest pains but it seems too convenient. That'd be like Jericho not showing up to WrestleMania 28 citing headaches or something similar.
Best part about Bagwell's win was he lost clean to Luger the next night on Nitro. I was so excited for the match, I even had my entire family come and watch Sting finally get revenge on Hulk Hogan. I didn't enjoy school the next day.ReplyDelete
I never felt that bad after watching a PPV until Fall Brawl '98 and the worst War Games Match and quite possibly the worst PPV off all time.
I believe Nash had the same chest pains before he was supposed to job to Jarrett in TNA.ReplyDelete
I think it was in Bishoffs book, but he said that Nash's father died young and once Nash hit that age he was paranoid of having a heart-attack. He mentions in one of his shoots that he has regular check ups with a cardiologist so there might be something to do.ReplyDelete
And then Nash had something something or other wrong with him when he was supposed to face Punk at Night of Champions.ReplyDelete
I was there and had great seats. Got there early and ended up getting pretty bombed. (Fake ID) So I guess the show seemed pretty good that way. When I eventually watched it sober it was amazing how horrendous it was. But I did get great seats for a big event for a relatively low price, because WCW had no idea how to run a wrestling business.ReplyDelete
While I agree this show is horribly executed, the Hall being choke slammed by the Giant was fine by me, didn't need to be a match. Hall had been taunting him for months and the Giant gets his hands on him and gets a big pop. Sure, it could've been a match, but it worked. Everything else though...ReplyDelete
Rick Rude went on Nitro and told everyone about it.ReplyDelete
We had the thread earlier today about "Lines in the Sand", and, well, this was it for me and WCW. I never watched WCW on a regular basis after this show. I wasn't angry. I was just over it.ReplyDelete
I knew something happened but not the specifics of it. I didn't get what Bret meant until years later.ReplyDelete
Then he grew a beard and went back to RAW to introduce DX.ReplyDelete
Why win in front of x viewers, when you can lose there and win the rematch in front of 5x viewers???ReplyDelete
Well, at least there he had the dignity to pull out a few weeks ahead of time so they could get him a replacement.ReplyDelete
This show should be given to perspective bookers everywhere as the prime example of how not to book a blowoff show.ReplyDelete
Funny how Nash basically did what Bret Hart did (balked at losing), yet was still super-good friends with Shawn Michaels and Triple-H, both of whom decried Bret's unprofessionalism for doing it. Fuck Nash. You don't need x-ray vision to see through his wall of lies there.ReplyDelete
It's SO sad that this show, basically the highest-point of WCW's dominance, is 100% held as the shining example of why the company failed- it wasn't just the bad things that happened, it was the absence of good things- high-end feuds ending in disappointing ways.
Let me set the scene for you...ReplyDelete
I got into wrestling in 1995 when I was 11. It was the day after the first In Your House. I was flipping through the channels when I saw this guy with long, stringy hair beating the shit out of this announcer. He was cussing up a storm and just putting the hurt on this guy. Move over, Mortal Kombat, there was a new love in Caliber's life. Literally from that moment on I became a die-hard wrestling fan, and I was a die-hard WWE fan at that. WCW? That shit was for the BIRDS, man! A bunch of washed-up old phonies who couldn't compete with my two favorites, Big Daddy Cool Diesel & Razor Ramon. They were gonna rock the WWE until the end of ti---....wait...where are you guys going?! What I heard on the Ross Report can't be true, can it?! Who the fuck are Kevin Nash & Scott Hall?! NOOO!!
However, I would soon be eleated beyond my wildest dreams as Razor & Diesel weren't going to work for WCW, they were going to DESTROY IT. See, I still thought wrestling was 100% real, and was in extreme denial about it's predetermined state, so the fact the nWo could just come run roughshod was completely logical to me.
The nWo had won me over. Big time. I became obsessed with Sting and that whole angle, and to this day it's still my favorite of all time.
I bought the PWI Starrcade 1997 preview issue that had a color pull out of Hogan vs Sting - Match of the Century, with a tale of the tape and everything. I hung it on my wall. For the first time in my life, and the only time, I was going to order a WCW PPV. They did it. They finally got me to order a WCW PPV. After all this time. After how much I loathed WCW. They'd done it. Those brilliant bastards.
I guess you didn't watch Nitro?ReplyDelete
Sorry for the thread-jack.ReplyDelete
Just read about the Aries/Hemme story...
I cant believe people are defending Aries.
Me either. I really think he should be fired. There's no way anyone can convince me what he did was anything other than sexual harassment. I know pro wrestling is much different than an office/corporate environment, but this behavior should not be tolerated. I know it'll never happen, but Aries should be terminated and blackballed. I'm pretty sure after an incident like that, WWE would NEVER sign him, even if it was just to bury him in developmental.ReplyDelete
I remember ordering this show at the very last minute -- literally at 7:59pm after watching the pre-show -- and, like everyone else, being angry, disappointed, and frustrated afterwards. All the bait and switch match matching, poor booking, and lazy work really was the turning of a corner in the Monday Night Wars, especially on the heels of the horrible go home Nitro before this. Like lots of people, I never ordered another WCW PPV again after this...ReplyDelete
I think the problem is that some people can't separate 'heel character' from 'real life harassment.' I keep reading stuff from defenders saying 'but he's a heel!' and 'the Attitude Era had worst stuff than that!' This isn't a random storyline, Aries was clearly trying to embarrass a woman on live TV who just made an mistake. If some guy did that to their mom, sister or wife at work I'm sure they wouldn't be as forgiving.ReplyDelete
I don't think Aries should be fired (although that snide tweet he sent almost pushes him over the edge). Just make him apologize publicly and bury him in fines.
Really off-topic, but how come WWE never used the Halloween havoc PPV?ReplyDelete
If Aries was a face, it's safe to say he wouldn't have done what he did on TV. He over accentuated his heel character.ReplyDelete
Looking back, this show was clearly atrocious but I honestly don't remember being that offended at the time. I figured all the heel victories were just to instill a sense of fear leading up to Sting's triumphant win. I remember being kinda confused by the ending of the Hogan/Sting match but not all that bothered.ReplyDelete
I didn't get salty until early 98, which quickly turned everything back to the status quo. That booking infuriated me more than this show.
Can someone elaborate on what Bischoff and Hogan have said about Sting not being able to work? Hadn't heard that before (but then, I don't exactly seek out Hogan shoot interviews). I mean, they still put the belt on Sting, despite his "issues," which makes it seem like a justification for bad booking.ReplyDelete
I thought their issue with Sting was when he showed up to Starrcade he had lost significant muscle mass and tone. I haven't heard any complaints about his work, per se.ReplyDelete
I think a bigger issue is that some fans don't know what "harassment" means (thereby the defense), that if he did 15 pelvic thrusts in her face, then maybe that would be it. The argument leading to the 2nd rope treatment could be considered harassment in most circles, and though wrestling isn't an office environment, harassment is harassment.ReplyDelete
It was sexual harassment, but it wasn't assault and it was a first time offense. Those are not firable offenses in the context of the pro wrestling workplace. He got fined, he apologized and will probably take a hit on TV via jobbing and the such. That punishment fits the offense. I wouldn't be surprised that he was told that any future offenses and he's out the door.ReplyDelete
My views on Starrcade 97ReplyDelete
-I would have had Giant face Hall in a match if Nash no showed.
-I would have had Savage face Luger and swap with Bagwell in the 6 man
-Sting should have beaten Hogan to a pulp in 10 minutes or the match should have been done warrior-hogan style at wm 6 with it being an actual match.
-Larry Zbyszko should have kicked the crap out of Bischoff and not sold for Bischoff at all.
because it's DUBYA CEE DUBYA related.ReplyDelete
Not a lot of positive about this show to focus on, although I will say one thing I really do like was how they did Sting's entrance.ReplyDelete
I wasn't too keen on the whole poem and laser light show thing, but I liked that he just walked out, did the Christ pose, and looked out to the crowd -- I thought that was kind of bad ass. There is just something very dark and a little creepy about it. After all the dropping from the ceiling and then going back up, I thought it was a nice touch to have him just walk out. I took it as "now it's time to get down to business", no net so to speak, no need to run away.
One other thing I loved that was totally uncharacteristic of WCW was the cool crossfades between Sting, the arena lit with strobes, and Hogan in the ring as he was walking up. I haven't seen that effect done since, but there are some cool images there and it's a nice dramatic effect.
Then the bell rings and somewhere in the world, Pat Patterson is crying and shaking his head while thinking "how much I could have helped these poor fools".
Actually, Pat would have said "How much I could have help these poors fool"ReplyDelete
I was in such favor of WCW when this show occurred. Despite the terrible go-home show I was ready for Starrcade and the nWo's comeuppance. What I got was more WCW bullshit than any normal human being can handle.ReplyDelete
This show did not dissuade me from watching WCW in '98 however. Entertainment is supposed to be proactive. WrestleMania XIV was the precursor to the WWF Attitude Era. It set the template fittingly. On the other hand Starrcade contained reactionary booking based upon the Montreal screwjob and genuine nWo bullshit.
I like Tommy's ideas of how Hogan should have been dragged to the ring. Sting's zipline entrance on the previous Nitro (but not the PPV?) showed everyone that WCW was all about Nitro and not the PPV.
Fortunately with WCW's reactionary booking prowess WCW/nWo Souled Out '98 was a great show. I look forward to reading the Nitros leading up to it. Partly because I attended the Georgia Dome show that month.
I guess its just me, but I thought the little kid reading the poem was really creepy and cool.ReplyDelete
I've never bought into the bribe conspiracy. Hogan had full creative control of the company, I don't see why he would have to bribe a referee to get his way. I think the failure of the angle was just WCW being WCW.
Love hearing these perspectives. These are really crucial times where we develop our basic tastes in wrestling I think and why we like what we like.ReplyDelete
I always thought I had a really skewed perspective on Hogan as a kid, because the first match I saw him in was WM 6. While everyone else groaned at the predictability of his Hulk Up routine, I lived in fear because I thought it meant he was gonna miss the leg drop and lose lol
It's just crazy to think, while you were deep in denial and your markdom at this point, I'd already been online for two years, being smartened up and having every single surprise in wrestling ruined far in advance of it actually appearing on my TV lol
A lot of people liked it at the time. I can actually remember people making their own versions of it and setting it to a MIDI version of Sting's theme lol.ReplyDelete
THEY USED GREAT AMERICAN BASH MR. FACTS GUYReplyDelete
I'm not sure how the apology is part of a "punishment". Based on the tone of that tweet, any apology coming from Aries is clearly completely insincere. Hemme may forgive him, but it won't be because of a forced, hollow apology that the company made him give.ReplyDelete
Maybe I'm being naive, but I really think a WWE wrestler would be fired if they did this to Lillian Garcia. I mean, they're a public company and have an aspiring politician in the family...I can't imagine they wouldn't get significant shareholder/public pressure to fire a wrestler who did this. There must be HR policies that this violates, right???
Yeah, it's really funny how what you loved as a kid can effect your perception as an adult. I was honestly looking forward to Hunter vs Nash at the TLC PPV a few years ago, simply because I dug the hell out of Nash as a kid.ReplyDelete
It's also funny that I became a fan during what is widely considered the worst era of wrestling ever, smack dab in the middle of WWE in 1995. I was literally almost in tears because one night on an episode of Raw, Kevin Nash waited in the ring with his lumberjakcks, and then Sid came out with his [because they were meeting at an IYH in a lumberjack main event] and right as he was about to enter the ring, it went off the air. I wanted to see that match more than anything in the world.
I watched SummerSlam 1995 in ScrambleVision. I literally ran home, because I was outside playing, so I didn't miss it. I couldn't wait to see Bret vs Issac, and Diesel vs King Mable, in SCRAMBLEVISION.
So, even though the product may suck now, I know there are tons of kids who are as in love with it was I was.
Although, I will say I do feel sorry for them not being able to have the joy of going to their local video store and renting a wrestling tape. Nothing was better than looking at those HUGE video tape boxes, and looking at the back to make sure it had your favorite wrestler on it.
Part of the "WCW's Wrestlemania" folly is that they didn't do ANYTHING to make the card feel special. If it wasn't for DDP's win waking up the crowd, I bet that they would have filed out during the main event.ReplyDelete
... wait, did Hall actually say that he was getting a shot at Uncensored?ReplyDelete
Because the party line was that he was going to get the shot at Souled Out (like Giant the prior year), but the world title being held up meant that Hall's shot was delayed.
Didn't they rename it later though too? "The Bash"ReplyDelete
It was supposed to be at Superbrawl. Pretty sure you are right, I don't think it was referenced at all. Piper had Hall come out at Souled Out to tell him he wasn't getting his shot just yet.ReplyDelete
I did, but at that point with Sting having just lost to Hogan in about ten minutes, I wasn't exactly thinking back to a promo on Nitro from a month and a half earlier. My mind was blown and then Sting won and I was happy again.ReplyDelete
I KNOW CAPS LOCK MAN! VINCE GAVE IN ON THAT ONE AND NOT THE OTHERS! DON'T ASK ME!ReplyDelete
As Stan Lee says about comics: every issue (or show in this case) is someone's first.ReplyDelete
The earliest memory of wrestling that I have is the Black Scorpion who scared me to death. I remember wanting to see Sting beat him up. That and Hogan got me hooked to this day.
I got the same feeling about the build to Sting's win too, but that's what has always screwed up companies that Bischoff runs: when you put everything you have on one match/story, that story better deliver. If not, you've got nothing going for you and nothing in the wings to swap in for it.ReplyDelete
He didn't say Uncensored by name, no. I added that in for clarification.ReplyDelete
1. I don't presume to know whether Aries was sincere or not. I love how fans think they know what goes on in someone else's mind. Maybe he realized what a jack ass he was and Hemme was ok with that. Who are you to decide what he did or didn't do wasn't sincere?ReplyDelete
2. No, WWE would not fire a top guy for what Aries did. Cena, Orton, Punk, Sheamus...a fine and an apology would do for first time offenders.
3. They may be a public company, but McMahon is by far the majority owner. He decides, end of story.
4. You are naive.
Mankind scared the absolute hell out of me. He looked really scary, he made weird & bizarre sounds, then there was the Mandible Claw where people would foam up and such.ReplyDelete
Triple H called Lillian a horseface and nothing happened. While obviously HHH isn't going to get fired by WWE for anything, I think that's a sign of how much esteem Lillian is held in by the company. (Not that I don't agree with your point, this type of sexual harassment is completely unacceptable and should lead to a suspension at best, preferably a firing.)ReplyDelete
I don't know if Bret was not allowed to wrestle until '98, but if he was, he should've wrestled (and submitted) Savage on this show in the co-main. Giant should've chokeslammed and powerbombed Nash for the win. Luger should have obviously defeated Buff and Hall should have teamed with K-dog or someone against the Steiners (Steiner win but tease dissension).ReplyDelete
The Larry Z/Bischoff thing should have went a lot quicker and Larry win with his sub. Sting should have came out (or repelled from the ceiling in front of the Starrcade sign) to "Ride the Lightning" by Metallica and beat Hogan clean in 5 minutes. We've had this discussion on here recently, but Sting should have hit dropkicks, atomic drops, clotheslines, elbows. No sold low blows and eye pokes. Stinger splashes, death drop, death lock. New champ!
Next night, Hogan gets on Nash, Hall, and Savage for dropping the ball and not aiding him in the main event. Nash comes to help Hogan in the rematch that night but Sting avoids him and Hogan gets a boot to the face. Sting kicks Nash out and death drops Hogan for the win.
This all leads to Hogan vs. Nash at Souled Out, while Bret Hart challenges Sting for the belt. Hogan wins at Souled Out, Nash wins at Superbrawl. At Uncensored, it's Team Hollywood (Hogan, Hennig, Bagwell, Norton) vs. Team Wolfpac.(Nash, Hall, Savage, and either Konnan or Syxx). Wolfpac wins and Hogan goes away for awhile.
Meanwhile, Sting and Hart draw at Souled Out. Inconclusive finish at Superbrawl (Think Clash VI) and Sting wins at Uncensored. Hart goes on to wrestle and win consistently in the upper mid card while Sting holds on to the title until late summer, dropping it to Goldberg.
Hogan returns in the fall, wins World War III and we gets Goldberg vs. Hogan in the main event. Goldberg wins and goes on to feud with Bret in early '99.
Elsewhere, the Steiners have their feud and Scotty becomes a top heel much sooner. The Wolfpac ends up losing a War Games match (and leaving WCW) at Fall Brawl against Lex and company. And guys like Benoit, Booker T, Wrath, Guerrero, Jericho, etc. start getting big pushes.
By mid-99, Goldberg is the champion. Bret Hart, Sting, Scotty Steiner and the aforementioned young talent are main eventers. Hogan moves on to a role similar to that of his TNA role today. The Wolfpac come and go in comedic situations, wrestling occasionally. By the end of the year, Steiners wins World War III before beating Goldberg at Starrcade. Your new top heel in the business is Scott Steiner who ends the streak and wins the belt. You then have ready made feuds with Sting, Bret, etc. etc.
Goldberg wins the belt back in the spring of 2000 and holds onto it indefinitely (or until someone else is ready to hold it.)
Should've called me, Eric....
I don't care if Sting showed up to Starrcade with a beer belly, the ENTIRE YEAR OF STORYLINES had been building up to this match. Sting goes over, end of story. And it's typical of Hogan/Bischoff to be focused on a guy's physique as a flaw...Sting was never the most ripped guy in the world even in his prime, he always just looked really fit. I couldn't tell any difference at Starrcade.ReplyDelete
Starrcade 1997's failure was compounded by the fact that a few months later, Wrestlemania 14 went off like gangbusters by simply delivering good payoffs to every story. Austin wins the belt? Check. Undertaker gets revenge on Kane? Check. Foley/Funk win the titles and toss the Outlaws into a dumpster? Check. Shamrock looks like a beast but the rapidly-getting-majorly-over Rock keeps his title in chickenshit heel fashion? Check. Hell, the show even had Sable busting out hurricanranas to stop Goldust and Luna, for pete's sake.ReplyDelete
On paper, Starrcade 97 had a better overall card than WM14 (once you factor in Michaels' bad back) but they undercut themselves with poor storytelling all-around. DDP's win was the only clearcut feel-good moment of Starrcade for the faces, whereas probably the only odd note at WM14 was (surprise surprise) HHH beating Owen.
That's like saying "What if someone didn't hear about Kennedy's assassination?". Bret Hart being screwed out of the WWF Championship is to the 90's what JFK's assassination was to the 60's.ReplyDelete
I don't think there was any limitation on Bret wrestling in 1997, though I'd have to check to be sure. I'm pretty sure they debated on even having him be apart of Starrcade, figuring the show would do a great number on the strength of Hogan/Sting. They wanted to save his first match for the Souled Out PPV to pop a good buyrate for it, after the 1997 show did a low number.ReplyDelete
I agree. The idea that the Sting character should be a tanned muscle head totally misses the point of what made him appealing to begin with. I agree more with the criticism of his work though, although I think it was more or less him not having yet figured out how to translate his in the rafters act to a ring style.ReplyDelete
Yup, I started watching too in what most people who were fans in the 80s considered a trash period. I started watching WCW just after Flair left too.ReplyDelete
I agree about the videos too. Just the act of going some place to get them was a lot of fun.
Yeah, it's just not Bischoff's strength I don't think. This show needed special treatment -- lots of cool little touches in addition to great booking and at least decent matches. Production wise he just didn't have another gear to shift to or wasn't aware that people would expect it.ReplyDelete
I was at Starrcade 98 and let me tell you, the crowd was electric during Scott Norton/Brian Adams vs. Jerry Flynn/Fit Finlay and Prince Iaukea vs. Norman Smiley.ReplyDelete
On a serious note, you're right. They didn't do anything to make it feel like a special event. I felt like I was watching an episode of Thunder all the way up until Flair came out for his match against Bischoff (which he then promptly lost).
Thumbs down, brother.ReplyDelete
Which doesn't make sense because Hart didn't even main event that show. Luger/Savage did so Hogan could appear in the last segment. God, what a slimeball. Cut Sting's legs out from under him completely and then give Hart/Flair the middle finger, too.ReplyDelete
A lot of people make that point regarding Hogan and while that may be true, I don't really agree that Hart/Flair didn't "main event" the show.ReplyDelete
That was the match pushed the hardest on TV, it's the first match featured on the countdown show and eats up the longest portion of it, plus it's the longest match on the show. Hogan and company may have tried to sabotage it after the fact or something, but the show was sold on that match.
I'd think that's a bit of a stretch.ReplyDelete
I had heard about Hart losing the title of course. However, given that it didn't look to be anything screwy going on here the first time I watched the show, it didn't click. That and the fact that I wasn't clear on how Bret was screwed (I was 9 at that point), this was a confusing point to Starrcade.
WCW had many PPVs that didn't have the fans leaving with smiles on their face.ReplyDelete
I really hope I'm as bad at detecting sarcasm as I think I am.ReplyDelete
Bret Hart gags are kind of my thing.ReplyDelete
I was defending that doing something in character while on live television that was inappropriate doesn't necessarily mean that Austin Aries the man is a sexual deviant.ReplyDelete
Revisionist history, huh? You said it didn't constitute as sexual harassment. You were proven wrong. Let's all move on, shall we?ReplyDelete
Oh no, I still don't think it would hold up as sexual harassment if it went to court and personally I don't think it's the major deal it's being made out to be. But I feel as strongly in my point as you do yours, so let's just agree to disagree.ReplyDelete
Except Nash wasn't leaving companies as a champion.ReplyDelete
Nah, he was just bailing on an advertised match on the biggest show of the year. And as stupid as Bret's thing was, he was told he was ALLOWED TO DO THAT.ReplyDelete
I pretty much gave up on WCW after this.I loved the nwo but it should have ended here.Hogan won back the title a few months later and everything was back to the same crap.ReplyDelete
Wow amazing Sting has substance abuse problems and this conveniently helps Hogan look like a million bucks. Now I know Sting (the most honest of the bunch) Has said that Hogan's knees were in rough shape by this time and he had a ton of personal things going on and didn't feel like being there (If your looking for a source I am thinking it is on "Sting Moment of Truth") Obviously there is truth to substance abuse problems, but I don't buy that as the reason for WCW/Hogan/Bischoff screwing this up. If nothing else this event showed just how incapable WCW was and/or how much Hulk having total control over everything and anything he was involved with absolutely crippled the company.ReplyDelete
Techinally Luger vs. Windham didn't main event either. Jerry Lalwer vs. skerry Avon Eric didn't either,ReplyDelete