The booking and storyline at Survivor Series 1998 is up there with any angle in history. You just had to listen to the dead silence in the crowd when Rock turned on them. Brilliant. Russo always jumps to say that this is the best work he has ever done. 20k were standing there in complete shock after crazily cheering and chanting for The Rock for months and all that night like never before. They only realized what happened there the next night when Rock came out to mega heat and the clever story of this point was that now the tide has turned and Rock is the one who didn't want them on his side while they were begging to be there, wanting to chant along with him. Which led to the "This is not sing along with The Great One!" catchphrase.
Bossman "losing" in 3 seconds, then "accidentally" throwing the stick to Shamrock, Kane causing a DQ on Taker, Shane screwing Austin in his match with Mankind, and the top of the list, Rock, Shane and Vince revealing the new Corporate WWF champion to close the show when nobody saw it coming. Pure money, the highest drawing title run on the road in history and on his FIRST RAW main event as WWF Champion in the match against Austin, Rock broke the all-time RAW record at that time with a 7.3 against a pretty big Goldberg/Bigelow match on Nitro. The Shakespeare of rasslin'. Booking peaked that night.
"Look at that, you would think The Rock had been attacked by damn King Kong. And the award goes to...Where's The Rock's Oscar Vince?" y
Remind me to post this when Rock gets his rightful Oscar one day.
Nothing like The Corporate Champion, his work in HalfTime Heat alone deserves an Oscar. Rock was working title match after title match on RAW, Road Dogg, X-Pac, HHH, Al Snow, Austin, Mankind etc. Week after week main eventing RAW with WWF title matches. Great Rock/Al Snow match with Rock giving a Corporate Elbow to the legendary, revolutionary, iconic...HEAD:
Amazing video. Great match and an iconic moment that will live forever. The reactions on YouTube were worth this year. The Cena kids in that vid deserve a medal for their gold performance, best by far were: "HOW CAN HE LOSE?! He's supposed to be THE BEST CHAMP!!", "I HATTTTE JJOOOOHNNN CCCEEENNAA!!!" . The live stadium footage was awesome. Unforgettable, all-time memorable moment like only The GOAT can create.
It's equally impressive how they booked Mankind during that period. He has those classic hospital scenes with Vince and becomes the loveable jester. Vince screws him over and you have the perfect double turn and set up an amazing feud between 2 polar opposites in Rock and Mankind.
Could'nt it be that Hogan gave it as suggestion to Vince that he win should win the title from Yoko?
And if Vince fell for the idea, so be it. Hogan got himself a fatter paycheck so waht, he was marketable and still drew.
Based on what I have come across on that story, Hogan was wooed back in by Mcmahon as once he left, the company saw a real decline and when he returned he bargained for booking control. In Wrestlemania 9, he was relegated to win tag team titles with Beefcake which did not go along well with him for after all he was a star and a big draw who has been brought back to bring up the revenue and not making him the champion in his comeback was unimaginable to Hogan. Hence the angle was added where he ran in and won the title while the tag match had him disqualified.
Post that, there are two stories. One, Hogan did not want to lose and hand over the belt(again, after Warrior) to Bret Hart considering his size and drawing power and hence chose to lose it to the biggest heel at that time whoever it was from whom Bret can win it. Two, Vince told Bret the above story which Hogan denied to Hart and when these three got together Vince was forced to take back his words about Hogan not willing; according to Bret Hart.
As to why they wanted the belt off Hogan, Hogan was not nodding for any of the storylines proposed, not willing to lose clean, not willing to put people over (namely Hart) and did not appear till KOTR once he realized that Vince wanted Hogan to pass the torch again and not as the perennial maineventer he once was; which Hogan was not ready for as he had already done that with Warrior.
All of the above, are merely stories that I have read from various sources, the absolute truth, Vince/Hogan/Bret alone will know.