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Old 07-05-2017, 02:11 PM
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Default Starrcade 1998: Another Major Blow to WCW

So in my last thread I discussed Starrcade 1997 and how it was the first in a long line of major blows to WCW's demise. So I figured, what the hell! Why not make a thread series discussing, IMO, the major events that would ultimately lead to WCW's closure? So, and again these are my opinions, the next major blow to WCW after the disaster that was Starrcade 97 was, coincidentally, Starrcade 98.

So, what happened after Starrcade 97? Surprisingly enough, after that horrible event, WCW was still well in the lead of the WWF. Did they truly have the better programming during the months that followed Starrcade 97? IMO, no they did not. They ruined the huge payoff that should've been Hogan vs Sting and somehow, the nWo was still dominating the main event scene. Oh sure, Sting was in the main event scene in the months that followed Starrcade, but his mystique and popularity that had been built up over the prior 18 months so masterfully was quickly beginning to fade. So WCW went back to the nWo well and kept Hogan, Hall, and Nash on top. So if WCW's programming wasn't better than WWF's at the time, why were they still winning the war? I believe it was out of habit of the fans watching WCW. Sure their programming was beginning to grow stale, tired, and boring and WWF was doing some great new and exciting things, but it was going to take a little while for the fans and the numbers to reflect that. Sure enough, in April of 98, that's what would happen. WWF would finally get a win in the ratings war between Nitro and Raw to end Nitro's well documented 84 week winning streak over Raw.

Why did that happen? Again, it was because WWF was doing new and exciting things at the time. They were pushing the bar and pushing new and young stars. Of all the major stars for the WWF during the Attitude Era, none were former stars of the 80's. Turn to WCW and what did you see around this time? Hogan, Macho Man, Flair, Piper, and some other 'veteran stars'. Hall and Nash were by no means in that category. They were newer stars, only having recently made it big in the mid 90s, however, at this point they had already been on top of WCW for 2 years and again, they were continuing to do the same old same old with them. So what WCW needed was a fresh new face to go up against the old tired monster that was the nWo and they got it in the form of Goldberg.

Goldberg had only just debuted for the WCW in September of 97. He didn't speak, do long interviews, or even do long matches. He would come out, hit somebody a few times, spear them, and then Jackhammer them and that was that. You'd think that it would take more than that to get someone over, but by the summer of 98, Goldberg was arguably the hottest commodity in all of wrestling. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everybody can do what Goldberg did. I mean he had a look like no other and the intensity that he brought to the ring was matched by nobody. He looked and acted like he could legit beat anyone's ass in the arena on any given night and that was something that was uncoachable. Also, what helped, is that he didn't start off beating the top guys that WCW had to offer. He started beating people like Hugh Morris and others. People that the fans would believe that he could straight up beat. So Goldberg, doing his routine, started to get a lot of traction and the next thing that you know, he has a streak going of consecutive wins.

In a moment of either genius or stupidity (that's a discussion for another day) Hogan has this huge idea to drop the title to Goldberg on an episode of Nitro. On the episode of Thunder the preceded this historic Nirto, the announcement was made that Goldberg would face Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship on the next Nitro. Cut to that Nitro and they had a live audience of what some say was over 40 thousand people and needless to say, they won the ratings war that night. So now you have this hot young star as your new mega face and behind him WCW was definitely keeping pace with the WWF in the ratings war. They were no longer dominating like they had before, but they weren't really losing either. They were trading wins from the summer of 98 all the way through the end of the year, but this is WCW we're talking about so they had to ruin it.

So here we are, at the biggest WCW event of the year and yet again, they have another huge main event for Starrcade. It wasn't as big as the previous Starrcade, but it was big in its own right. The undefeated WCW Champion Goldberg vs Kevin Nash. Goldberg is on fire at this point. He's every bit as hot as Austin or the Rock or anyone. Behind his success, the WCW is still managing to not only compete with the WWF but a lot of the time beat the WWF. Nash was yesterday's news in the WCW. He had already been on top for so long. Surely Goldberg was going to beat him, keep his streak and title, and go on to feud with some more younger stars before WCW realized that his mystique and aura were fading and it was time for him to lose and then they'd use Goldberg to make another young guy a made man; right? I mean, it's obvious right? Once again, obviously not because I'm writing this thread. No, what does WCW do? They have Scott Hall come out, taze Goldberg with a cattle prod, and then have him lose to Nash at Starrcade 98.

Instead of getting as much traction as they could out of Goldberg, which IMO, he had a lot of traction left. Instead of letting this huge mega star fade naturally, they seemingly killed his career right then and there. Oh, but wait, there's more. A mere 8 days after killing all the momentum that they had garnered as a result of Goldberg, they have a title match on Nitro between the new Champ Nash and the old guy Hogan. We all know what happened there. Finger Poke of Doom and boom, Hogan's the champ, the nWo is reformed and back at it, and they had just dealt a mortal wound to WCW. Even if they somehow managed to do everything right after this atrocity, I don't think they could've stopped the bleeding. We know from history, though, they didn't do everything right after this. More on those situations later.

So WCW allowed their old guys that had been on top since day one to halt the momentum of this young, exciting, fresh, intense guy who was the reason why they were still able to compete with the WWF at that point in time. Trust me people, if there had of been no Goldberg, WCW would've folded about 2 years before it did. Vice versa, if they hadn't of seemingly killed off Goldberg, then who knows what would've happened after that. Of course, Nash will tell you that it was in an effort to create a long list of heels for Goldberg to run through in his chase of the Championship. That's all well and good when you're chasing the title, however, Goldberg had already beaten the top heel in the company and was on fire. Why not let him ride that wave of momentum for as long as possible, then create some new bad ass heel to come in and take out Goldberg, essentially creating some new stars in the process. Instead, they had the same old same old on top and the same old same old screwy, dumb ass decisions that made Starrcade 97 what it was. Nash and Hogan weren't in it for the success of WCW. They were in it for the success of Nash and Hogan and WCW officials just allowed them to do whatever the hell they wanted. Then they wondered why people were tuning in to watch Raw over Nitro. SMH........
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Thus why I'd let a girl put on a strap-on and get in there. You only live once.

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  #2  
Old 07-05-2017, 03:50 PM
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then create some new bad ass heel to come in and take out Goldberg
The only problem with this is.....when did WCW create anything? All of their major stars were Vince creations. They just happened to stumble on Goldberg, not because of his work, but because of his "look." He looked exactly like a certain character on the other channel and he got over. But anything WCW tried to "create" ended up more often than not in failure. Bischoff was good at opening up Uncle Ted's checkbook and signing away ready-made stars from Vince. The only way WCW would've been able to get a new "bad-ass heel" is to have signed him from the WWF.

You left off the part where Bischoff leaves shortly after the FPOD. That to me signaled "the end" more than anything. Nash takes over the book and it's week to week booking. Nash is trying to balance the "old guys" on top with the "younger guys" coming up and it's not working. Obviously Nash has his "vision" and it's more or less '80's WWF mixed with the '90's "New Generation". He claims he was hamstrung in his creativity by Standards and Practices but who knows. I don't think anything could've "saved" WCW at this point. They were clearly losing to the WWF and Russo coming in was the nail in the coffin.
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Old 07-05-2017, 03:54 PM
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Bottom line, Goldberg should have won at Starcade 98. If he did, there would be no finger poke of doom. I don't know if the nwo would have reformed had he retained, but that was unnecessary. Here's a funny note- in one of his shoot interviews Vince Russo criticizes wcw for rehashing the nwo angle, but two months after he started booking wcw he brings back the nwo with Bret Hart, Jeff Jarrett, and the outsiders! Calling them nwo 2000 didn't make a difference. Hypocritical much?
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  #4  
Old 07-05-2017, 07:43 PM
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I guess that one would be Nash's fault, Theres no justifying it he had no place booking himself to end Goldberg's streak, Maybe not the actual reason WCW closed but certainly didn't help combined with the Hogan vs Sting match from the year before and David Arquette winning the world title etc, It just seemed to be one stupid decision after the other, All these guys should never have had says over the outcome of their own matches.
Ultimately what finished off WCW I think it was the AOL and Time Warner merger and they clearly had no intention of carrying wrestling on their network, If Ted Turner still had control WCW may have lasted for years longer than it did,
In 2001 popularity in all wrestling had decreased not just WCW, ECW had also collapsed at this point and WWE ratings a lot less than from the boom period of the attitude era.
The merger had happened at the worst time where WCW didn't look as attractive to any other network due to the decline in ratings.
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Old 07-06-2017, 01:00 AM
Kodo Sawaki Kodo Sawaki is offline
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According to all sources(except Nash himself of course) it was all Nash. He was responsible for booking of that disaster. They were red hot and even struck a gold mine in that Gold berg(get it Coral? OK no more puns ) but allowed themselves to piss on all that. You could argue that it was series of very bad decisions, but you cant deny that bad booking amplified with ego of Hogan and others was one of them. Though you can always argue that Hogan brought them that no1 spot, but just because he did, didnt mean he could do whatever he wants. And Goldbergs streak was something that kept WCW at top in that moment.
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Old 07-06-2017, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by FromGlasgow View Post
I guess that one would be Nash's fault, Theres no justifying it he had no place booking himself to end Goldberg's streak, Maybe not the actual reason WCW closed but certainly didn't help combined with the Hogan vs Sting match from the year before and David Arquette winning the world title etc, It just seemed to be one stupid decision after the other, All these guys should never have had says over the outcome of their own matches..
The funny thing is Nash would always defend himself by saying he was only part of the booking committee after Starrcade 1998. That might be true but there is no denying that he had a lot of people's ear backstage including the top creative heads.

There's no defense for Nash ending Goldberg's streak ( as well as others backstage who was vouching to end Goldberg's streak which, I assume, also include Hogan).

From what I've heard Kevin Nash backstage was lobbying to end Goldberg's streak because he was getting booed. I wouldn't be surprised if he cited the Halloween Havoc match with Goldberg vs. DDP as his main example. If this is the case it shows how cut throat WCW is when the take away from the match wasn't that it was Goldberg's best match or how over DDP was rather that Goldberg is getting booed and his streak should end.

But like I said I feel bad for WCW, the folks working there, and wrestlers who lost their ability to earn after guys like Nash helped run the company into the ground.

I have no sympathy for Goldberg though he had an ego as big as anyone, and refused to work with Jericho because he listened to Hogan and Nash telling Goldberg that working with Jericho would hurt Goldberg. In reality Goldberg would have benefited squashing Jericho instead he listened to Nash and Hogan who were the ones that wanted to cool off Goldberg's popularity.

So no sympathy for Goldberg being a dummy.
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:07 AM
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Yeah, Starrcade 1998 was another black eye for WCW. It's almost hard to choose which was worse: this or Starrcade 1997. In both cases, WCW had the chance to really keep up with the WWE in the Monday Night War as well as cement itself as the top wrestling company in the world. Unfortunately, WCW shot itself in the foot both times due to backstage politics and egos.

I do believe that Goldberg's streak should've ended at Starrcade 1998. But it shouldn't have been to Kevin Nash, nor should Goldberg have lost in such a manner.

Who should've ended the streak? Diamond Dallas Page.

At Halloween Havoc months earlier, DDP and Goldberg had a stellar match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. It was said to be the best match of Goldberg's career. After that match, you would have DDP win the 60-man battle royal to get another shot at Goldberg's title at Starrcade. Leading up to the pay-per-view, you could have promo packages building up both men, thus making this match a very big deal. At the same time, you could have DDP and Goldberg interact with each other backstage and participate in tag team matches on TV. It would be a similar build to the Hulk Hogan-Ultimate Warrior match at WrestleMania 6. Maybe you could have Goldberg unintentionally slight DDP to which DDP takes offense to. On the Nitro or Thunder prior to Starrcade, there could be a miscommunication between the two following a tag team main event match. The two would then brawl, leading to the other wrestlers coming out to break it up.

At Starrcade, DDP and Goldberg would have another hard-fought battle. DDP would hit multiple Diamond Cutters throughout the match, but fails to put the match away. Goldberg would demolish DDP throughout the match, but also fails to put the match away. The crowd would be evenly split as they pull for both guys to win the match. Something has to give at this point. On one hand, you have this monster in Goldberg that seems indestructible. On the other hand, you have DDP, who just refuses to lose despite the damage inflicted on him. The finish would come when Goldberg goes for another Jackhammer, but DDP fights his way out of it and hits another Diamond Cutter. Only this time, Goldberg stays down for the three count. Afterwards, the crowd explodes for DDP having become the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion. DDP cries tears of joy as he is handed the title and Kimberly comes out to celebrate with her husband. When Goldberg comes around, he snatches the title from DDP, signaling a possible heel turn. He looks at the title he had held for the previous six months and then looks at DDP. Instead of turning heel, he nods to DDP, hands him the title and shakes his hand. Goldberg leaves the ring and lets DDP have the spotlight.

With that, you would have created a new main event star in Diamond Dallas Page while keeping Goldberg looking strong. Maybe they would have a rubber match somewhere down the road. But Goldberg and DDP could've been to WCW what Steve Austin and the Rock were to WWE.

But like it was previously stated, this is WCW we're talking about. A promotion which had both the problem of rampant backstage politics and huge egos as well as the inability to push and create new stars.

So it was yet another black eye for WCW and it wouldn't be the last.
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:59 AM
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I do believe that Goldberg's streak should've ended at Starrcade 1998. But it shouldn't have been to Kevin Nash, nor should Goldberg have lost in such a manner.

Who should've ended the streak? Diamond Dallas Page.
Starrcade 1998 would have been too soon to end the streak especially since Goldberg hasn't defended the title in high profile matches outside DDP.

I think Starrcade 1998 Goldberg should have defended the title against either Hogan or Hogan and Nash and defended it successfully.

For the one to end Goldberg's streak I would agree that DDP is one option but I would probably hold it off until Superbrawl or one of the early 1999 PPV's. DDP was red hot so a win would have catapulted DDP and wouldn't have hurt Goldberg (especially since he would have beaten Hogan or Nash at Starrcade).

One other option would be Bret Hart. If Bret Hart didn't get hurt or if Owen didn't die from the Over the Edge accident I can see Bret Hart to be a viable person to end Goldberg's streak. Four reasons for this
1. Bret Hart needed to regain some of his momentum after misusing him for most of 1998

2. Bret Hart is a credible enough person to beat Goldberg since we can have a finish like Bret Hart vs. Nash at Survivor Series 1995 where Bret Hart out smarts Goldberg for the win.

3. Win or lose you will always look good when your opponent in the ring is Bret Hart and this could be another good match for Goldberg.

4. A Bret Hart / Goldberg feud would have been a good program that can make money.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:23 AM
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I remember at the time, that the way Nash went over Goldberg - it did not bother me much. The Finger Poke of Doom though - that is what really started WCW on its way to the funeral parlour, which took place a week or so after Starcade 98. There were 4 major mistakes on that Nitro episode. 1, they had taken the fans for granted one too many times, 2, they made Goldberg look like a bum, 3 They disrespected their own world title and made it meaningless, and 4, they gave away the Mankind/Rock result live on tv - and then 600k fans turned over to watch Mankind win his first WWF world title - and the problem was for WCW - that match was one of the most iconic moments in Raw history.
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by shooter_mcgavin View Post
Starrcade 1998 would have been too soon to end the streak especially since Goldberg hasn't defended the title in high profile matches outside DDP.

I think Starrcade 1998 Goldberg should have defended the title against either Hogan or Hogan and Nash and defended it successfully.

For the one to end Goldberg's streak I would agree that DDP is one option but I would probably hold it off until Superbrawl or one of the early 1999 PPV's. DDP was red hot so a win would have catapulted DDP and wouldn't have hurt Goldberg (especially since he would have beaten Hogan or Nash at Starrcade).

One other option would be Bret Hart. If Bret Hart didn't get hurt or if Owen didn't die from the Over the Edge accident I can see Bret Hart to be a viable person to end Goldberg's streak. Four reasons for this
1. Bret Hart needed to regain some of his momentum after misusing him for most of 1998

2. Bret Hart is a credible enough person to beat Goldberg since we can have a finish like Bret Hart vs. Nash at Survivor Series 1995 where Bret Hart out smarts Goldberg for the win.

3. Win or lose you will always look good when your opponent in the ring is Bret Hart and this could be another good match for Goldberg.

4. A Bret Hart / Goldberg feud would have been a good program that can make money.
Yeah, I suppose you're right. Goldberg would've definitely benefited from a win against an established star, whether it be Hogan or Nash. I also agree that Bret Hart could've been another good option to end the streak. I didn't think of that. Well done.
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