Starrcade 1998: Another Major Blow to WCW

Discussion in 'Old School Wrestling' started by SSJPhenom, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. SSJPhenom

    SSJPhenom The Phenom of WZ

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    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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  2. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    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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  3. AnthonyM4

    AnthonyM4 Getting Noticed By Management

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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. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

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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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  5. Kodo Sawaki

    Kodo Sawaki Championship Contender

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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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  6. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    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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  7. The Scarred One

    The Scarred One The Greatest of All Time

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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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  8. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    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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  9. Jonyboyuk2

    Jonyboyuk2 Getting Noticed By Management

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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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  10. The Scarred One

    The Scarred One The Greatest of All Time

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    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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  11. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

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    theres only one man who should've ended the streak and that was Scott Steiner.. once he took over the nWo they should've shot him straight up the card; demolishing people left and right, even to the horror of the rest of the black and white at times as they pull him off his victims.

    Ill even go one better and say that his leadership of the black and white should have come at Hogans expense; beating him down and assuming leadership.

    Have him take out Hall, Nash and Sting as well since they'd all be without a proper program come Starrcade anyways and have him win World War 3.

    At Starrcade he and Goldberg have a knock down drag out fight where Scott wins via repeated head shots form the lead pipe that he'd start carrying around and from there he becomes the biggest heel in the company.

    Have a returning Nash, Luger and Goldberg challenge Steiner, Giant and Hennig to a 6 man on Jan 4th Nitro and reform the nWo with all the top players minus Hogan.

    Goldberg runs through the new nWo until he gets to Steiner and this is where Hogan returns in the red and yellow to fight off the nWo and help Goldberg regain the belt. Hogan goes into a program with Steiner and Goldberg gets defeated by Bret Hart at Starrcade 99 for his first clean loss.
     
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  12. TDFG

    TDFG Championship Contender

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    100% with this comment.

    WCW needed to think of the future, Steiner defeating Goldberg while Hogan, Nash and all the rest of the NWO couldn't would have sent out shockwaves.

    It may have given the NWO that bit of freshness it needed as well or at least would have made the last few months of it interesting with Steiner at the helm creating his own faction.
     
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  13. GhettoV1

    GhettoV1 Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Even in WCW's early days (and before when it was JCP) were better booked than 1998-99 WCW. Even the Crocketts made new stars in Luger, Sting among others not WCW.
     
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  14. thebarber

    thebarber Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    hindsight is a beautiful thing......its very clear to see the reason why having Goldberg finally lose was booked, just the aftermath, injuries and poor booking made the loss irrelevant and Goldberg just became another character. The nWo were reforming with Hogan, Hall, Nash, Luger, Steiner and Bagwell, a super group of only 6 but both Hall and Luger went down injured, and plans went to dissarray. Hogan vs Nash was forever a blight...Goldberg didn't get a rematch for his title as it didnt get defended at Souled Out 99, Hogan vs Flair headlined Superbrawl and Uncensored then DDP won the belt in tyhe fatal 4 way at spring stampede whilst Goldberg was to feud with Bret Hart which would have been great, and was getting mainstream exposure on Leno..until Owen died and that angle died with it. WCW failing was for many reasons...Goldberg dropping the title should have opened up many great booking options, having Goldberg go through nWo one by one until he got to whomever held the belt at Starcade 1999, hisotry suggests otherwise
     
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  15. GhettoV1

    GhettoV1 Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Easiest way to book the WCW World title that way. Goldberg regains the title and leads WCW into the 21st century.
     
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  16. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    This is pretty much how wrestling works....Remember Vince didn't create Hogan, Piper, Savage, Greg Valentine, Harley Race, Junkyard Dog, Adrian Adonis, Kamala, The Road Warriors, The Brain Busters, Ric Flair, Lex Luger.....he took them all from other companies and presented them with little or no change to their look & presentation and character. Vince was the king at stealing other people's work and plugging it into his programming.
     
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  17. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Starrcade wasn't bad because of Nash.....Goldberg was 176-0 at this point, he had been undefeated for a year and half, having him lose as way of opening up new storyline possibilities wasn't a bad call at all.

    Starrcade 98 was bad because of the undercard....actually what was the undercard, I ATTENDED THIS SHOW and I cant remember anything from it except the top 2 matches. Oh wait, I vaguely remember DDP being thrown into a throw away match with little build up against Big Show and getting a win, OK I have some memory of maybe three moments on the whole show.

    The crowd in DC was DEAD....the undercard SUCKED, cruiserweights NO ONE cared about bouncing around like soccer balls in matches with no storyline (IE no reason I should care), NONE OF THEM good enough to actually be remembered. Where were the Four Horsemen ? Why didn't Scott Steiner have an important role ? I literally remember being there with friends and almost FALLING ASLEEP until they sent Flair out for a promo, THE ONLY time outside the top 2 matches anyone on the audience cheered and popped for anything, I honestly thought they (WCW) sent him out on the fly just to wake the crowd up!!

    So once again, in a huge show with a huge audience (Did WWE have a PPV outside of Mania that outdrew this, the number for SC 98 was almost as good as SC 97 which was a blockbuster) and the basically phone 3/4 of the show with no promotion, no build up, wasting our times on jobbers and unknowns.

    I don't have an issue with Nash winning the belt, there were hardly any stars in WCW who could believably end The Streak, and Nash was the best, his promo about his year long undefeated streak as WWE Champ was brilliant! Now, I'm never happy with confusing endings at PPV that are designed to make you watch the TV show on Monday to see what they mean (like Scott Hall, avowed enemy of Nash, long absent from WCW programming, showing up unexpectedly and helping Nash win, apparently without his approval). However, I'm not opposed to maybe ONE of the key matches ending like that on a major show as way to maintain interest and change the storyline, except SC 98 gave us....

    BOTH MAIN EVENTS ended like that.....Essentially WCW wanted to prolong the World Title/Streak storyline into the new year so they decided to build the final Nitro of 1998 (the night after SC 98) around the other Main Event, Ric Flair's return, with his loss to Eric Bischoff in their grudge match. If I'm booking, knowing I'm already sending fans home confused over the ending of Nash-Goldberg, then I'm definitely giving them Flair in clear fashion over Bischoff. Bischoff isn't a wrestler, his character as a non wrestler cowardly heel is easy fodder for Flair to beat. Look at Vince McMahon, he was smart enough to know fans wouldn't accept him beating actual wrestlers in big PPV matches so pretty much every time he ends up in the ring he loses, cleanly, clearly, putting over HBK, Flair, Hogan, DX, Brett Hart, etc. Basically *&*&*& the fans by allowing Bischoff to screw job Flair just to so they build Nitro around the rematch (meaning they can save furthering the Nash storyline for at least another Nitro) was one of the worst booking decisions WCW made during this time. The booking of the match was nonsensical too, Bischoff only has one NwO guy (Henning, another long absent from WCW Programming guy) and Flair has NO ONE, the non wrestler coward who leads the baddest faction in the company goes into a wrestling match with almost no back up and the Dirtiest Player In the Game, who leads his own faction of heel like bad *&*&, brings nobody..... Lets just say that match finish went over about as well with that audience in DC as a Dallas Cowboys shut out win over the Redskins would.

    Now I get that WCW had a lot of top talent on IR (Sting, Brett Hart, & Luger were all out injured) but there is no reason why Scott Steiner, who was way over in his new heel persona, didn't have a major match, DDP vs The Giant should have gotten way more build up, and the match Flair & Bishcoff put on the following night in Baltimore should have been the one they did in DC for the PPV.

    Interest in the top of the card was still fueling WCW at this time, while they squandered more of the mid and lower card their main event scene, even without Sting/Luger/Hart kept ratings high in early 99 (twice topping the 5.0 mark in Feb) and the SuperBrawl PPV drew huge numbers, so its hard to say SC 98 really hurt the company much, if anything the storyline that followed early on generated a lot of interest. It wasn't a good show though, as usual lots of wasted potential and poorly constructed matches.
     
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  18. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

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    Like I said before, using a taser on Goldberg was a great idea; he loses but he remains strong because nobody else on the WCW roster or even WWFs roster at that time was presented as being so tough that you needed to electrocute then in order to beat them in a match! Not Foley, not Taker, not Kane, not Sting... nobody was kayfabe that tough so it was a great way to handle Goldbergs first loss...

    Hall didn't appear out of nowhere, ever since Nash saved him from a black and white ass kicking at WW3 he'd been trying to get back into the Wolfpac on Nitro but Nash refused saying he couldn't trust him, afterwards Nash claimed he knew nothing about the interference from hall and stated that he was just misguided in trying to renew the friendship with Nash so it made perfect sense storyline wise.

    Everything that happened from March 1999 onwards was the swift and brutal decline of WCWs on air product, frankly those who think that Starrcade 98/FPOD were these huge blunders have been watching too much WWE Network.
     
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  19. LBGetBack

    LBGetBack Championship Contender

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    They've gotta get credit for creating Sting and then reinventing him as crow Sting, and also for reinventing Hogan though.
     
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  20. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    Pretty sure sting created his original gimmick for the Nwa.
    And Scott hall has been given credit for coming up with the crow sting idea.

    Which was originally exactly like the movie it was inspired from.
     
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  21. V/CV/

    V/CV/ Dark Match Jobber

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    Forget about WCW being or not being in the lead they had a better product always than the WWF sure starrcade 98 maybe was not as good as starcade 97 starrcade 97 did not go perfect but let's get serious here wcw's writing had nothing to do with them going down nothing,it was the greatest wrestling in the history of wrestling.Bar none.
    Everybody wants it back including those who hated they want too it more back than anybody.
    We're talking about the dean malenkos the Chris Jericho's The Lex Lugers the Giants the Diamond Dallas Page's.
    ****ADVERTISEMENT REMOVED****
    WWF was nothing but a constant Stone Cold stuttering beer-guzzling circus.
    Why not dream for the return of WCW?
     
    #21

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