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Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff made

9750 Views 62 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Jupiter Jack Daniels
The story writes itself

Goldberg beats EVERYONE from top to bottom from late 97 to late 98

he wins WW3

he challenges Hogan at Starrcade 98 (booked in the Georgia Dome) and wins the title clean from Hogan with a jackhammer

Goldberg won the title on free TV on July 6, 1998. Nitro drew a 4.8 rating to Raw's rating of a 4.0. All's good right? Well Raw drew higher ratings for the next 4 weeks afterward.

While Goldberg won the title on Nitro, the WWF was starting their Summerslam build by having The Undertaker win the #1 contendership to Stone Cold's title over Mankind in the main event.
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Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

Really WCW started falling apart w/ the 2 NWO factions, when Sting can turn NWO while still being a face you knew WCW had booking problems. In '97 you knew who was on which side and because Nitro was only 2 hours it was easier to keep up w/ the storylines.
Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

It's THE BIGGEST MISTAKE Bischoff made. All we needed to see at the Georgia Dome was a Hogan/Goldberg staredown and then have the match at Bash at the Beach BUT they already had Rodman and Malone signed for BATB. Hell they couldve had the massive NWO beatdown on Goldberg that night at the Georgia Dome to some of the biggest heat ever and saved it for Fall Brawl and done some monster business. I think Starrcade wouldve been too late given the back and forth ratings war, which is why Bischoff foolishly hotshotted the match so quickly.

The fact that Goldberg found out he was facing Hogan just like any of us did that happen to be watching Thunder is just downright astounding. Even when they were winning this was a horribly run company. But they got by on having great talent, big stars and one great idea.
Except WCW wasn't really "winning" by this time. '98 was WCW's most successful year but after Raw broke Nitro's streak Nitro only won head to head 7 more times after that. WCW definitely had better long term planning in '97, if you look at their top 2 storylines that year (Hogan/Sting and DDP/Savage) they didn't give them away on TV, they both had long buildup and were on PPV like they should've been, even the big matches they did have on Nitro like Hogan/DDP had a purpose because it was the part of the WCW vs. NWO feud and there was a story to it (Hogan attacking DDP at Halloween Havoc the previous night). Like I said the NWO split was when they jumped the shark.
Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

WCW would have gotten hammered if they kept the belt on Hogan til December while WWF had a SCSA v Undertaker program going on. NWO was over with and Hogan was losing viewers every time he was on. He could no longer hang with Austin. He had to drop the belt and it had to be big.

They had ppv buys with the celebrity matchups and then used Goldberg to drive up the ratings. May not have been the best long term strategy but WWF was so hot you had to sprint with them. Really WCW's problem was they circled the wagon and went back to the old guard while WWF had Rock, Mankind and HHH lining up to feud with Austin.
Yeah, this was pretty much the only reason WCW Tile was given to Golberg in the first place. Remember it was Hogan himself who suggested to lose the belt, Bischoff just happened to agree with it.
Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

When you say it was Hogan's idea understand that you're really only talking about where the belt was dropped at. Surely WCW management discussed with him that they wanted Goldberg to be champ. It would be pointless to have Hogan be champ during that celebrity run. You really think Hogan just tossed that idea in there himself?

Hogan's going to find the right venue for him and there's really nothing wrong that. He has every right to want it to be the biggest venue possible.
No one in WCW could control Hogan, including Bischoff. I'm sure Bischoff felt that Goldberg could've been given a title reign if it could stop Raw's domination but if Hogan said no, Bischoff couldn't make him do it. Hogan told Bischoff about the idea on the phone and Bischoff thought about it for a while before calling JJ Dillion and told him to announce it on Thunder. For Hogan it was about $ and for Bischoff it was about ratings. Hogan called Bischoff about dropping the belt for the payday/he would still be main eventing and Bischoff agreed to it because he knew it probably could've stopped the mini ratings win streak Raw was on at that point.

The problem was Goldberg getting the belt didn't mean much in the long run because in Nitro's head to head victories after Goldberg's title victory Goldberg was only responsible for 1 of them. The 3 consecutive victories Nitro got in August one was from the aftermath of Jay Leno appearing in a wrestling ring while the other 2 were built off Warrior's anticipated WCW debut. The Nitro victory from September was the Horsemen reunion, Goldberg/Sting only drew a 4.3 while Austin/Shamrock went up against it and drew a 4.9. Their last Nitro victory was the infamous Halloween Havoc screwup where some viewers didn't see DDP/Goldberg live so they got to see it on Nitro. The Goldberg/DDP matchup was the only reason Nitro won that night, taking that quarter hour out Raw would've won.

So Hogan came out looking like a winner despite losing since he got his $, but Bischoff didn't get what he wanted out the deal.
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Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

You're in the wrong era. MNWs was about throwing out the kitchen sink on a weekly basis. You pretty much had a year and a half and people were moving on. Those weekly squash matches was Goldberg's appeal. You can't change the formula. People wanted to see that number grow on a weekly basis. I don't have a huge problem with the Finger Poke of Doom storyline if it actually led somewhere but that's where Hogan's ego screwed things up. Goldberg should of ran thru NWO, forced Hogan to retire and from there he can come back as a face. You mentioned that earlier and I agree with you on that one. That right there was sandbagging Goldberg.

I brought up Hogan's heel turn to show you that was a last second decision on Hogan's behalf as well. You got to keep in mind here Hogan has creative control and he pretty much has to sign off on everything.

You really expect me to believe he just pulled Goldberg's title win out of his ***? I'm not buying that. It's a long term direction that was pitched to him. He saw the Atlanta date as well as his upcoming booking and said let's do this now. Point being the company wanted Goldberg champ for rating purposes and the 6 day notice was really about Hogan's creative control clause. It's happening on Hogan's timeline.

Of course he cares about his status in the company. The ones who don't are the guys who get screwed over. The second Austin doesn't ME he quits. Punk doesn't like his spot. He quits. As much as I would love to criticize them for that let's take a step back and realize wrestlers get paid extra for Main Eventing so of course there's entitlement issues that are going to pop up.
WCW did feel that it was time for Goldberg to get the World Title but it was Hogan's decision whether he wanted to drop it or not. Remember that Goldberg/Hogan was already advertised as a dark match on the show so it was gonna happen anyway, Hogan decided to have the match on TV and as an added bonus would drop the belt. The catch was that if Hogan dropped the belt he would be the one to end Goldberg's streak, so despite Goldberg getting the World Title Hogan still came out looking like a winner because:

1. He got a bigger payday than usual because of the 40,000+ gate.
2. He still got to headline in the following months with DDP, Malone, Rodman, Leno, and Warrior. Also the NWO storyline was directionless at the time with the Hollywood vs. Wolfpac mess so he didn't see the point in having the belt unlike in '97 when he needed it for the buildup w/ Sting.
3. He would get the World Title back eventually while ending Goldberg's streak.

Bischoff agreed because he thought that Goldberg being the World Champion could get the momentum back on Nitro's side, which ended up backfiring.
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Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

Well he didn't end Goldberg's streak Nash did and on paper it really isn't that bad of storytelling.

Hogan drops the belt to Goldberg, schemes his way back to the title, Goldberg kills off NWO once and for all. Things just don't always go to plan.

BTW Why do people care that Hogan Main Evented over Goldberg? Who Main Evented in 99 when Austin lost the belt? Rock ended up just fine. Sometimes the transition is overnight other times it's meant to be over time. Malone, Rodman, Leno aren't signing up to be overshadowed either.
The first time Austin lost the belt in '99 the McMahon/Austin storyline was still going on, obviously Austin is still gonna main event at that time w/ Vince's goal of Austin not being World Champion, no politics were involved here.

The second time he lost it he had a knee injury, the only notable main event match Austin was in during that time was the No Holds Barred Match at No Mercy. In the early months of Smackdown from September-November 1999 the only time just Austin was apart of the last quarter hour segment was when he helped Vince beat Triple H for the WWE Title.

Hogan ended up not being the one to end the streak, but that was because he bolted for a while after the disastrous storyline he had w/ Warrior.

Goldberg was a different story because compared to the way Austin was booked on shows as World Champion that year, Goldberg wasn't booked properly at all. When Austin wrestled on Raw it was connected to the storyline he was in, when Goldberg wrestled on Nitro it was against random people w/o any kind of storyline. Sting/Goldberg didn't have a storyline to it, it was added on Nitro to draw a big rating, which by the way backfired because Austin/Shamrock drew a higher rating head to head. You can probably blame this on WCW's roster though, the WWE roster didn't have star power of WCW's that year. WCW was able to successfully work w/ their roster in '97 because the top WCW stars were allies against the NWO. Once the NWO split into 2 factions that's when things started getting messed up.
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Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

A match against Taker as well. KITR too in 99.

There's no politics happening with matches involving Jay Leno and NBA finalists either. You may not like celebrity matches but they draw. Both of those ppvs were successful.

You brought up that Hogan was already scheduled to face Goldberg in a dark match. Is that WCW was sending out a hint? Hey man drop it here collect this huge 40K gate paycheck. Ultimately it's Hogan's decision where he drops the belt.
That's what I meant, Austin/McMahon was going on for more than a year at that point. Why wouldn't it headline?

There were no politics involved in those because those matches were planned in advance, especially the NBA matchup, they drew well but the problem was WWF was also drawing great buyrates that year while actually planning their shit out. Goldberg wasn't even written on the July 20 episode on Nitro, he wrestled a dark match after the show went off the air. Understand what I mean now, the problem wasn't just Hogan with how Goldberg was booked, it was WCW's booking problems all together. I mean Sting isn't WCW at the time but he's not a heel?!? It's shit like that confused viewers that year.

I said it was Hogan's decision in the first place, I didn't say WCW wanted him to do it. Hogan could do whatever he wanted there.
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Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

Goldberg wasn't as big as Austin. It takes time. If you're WCW you needed him up and running as quick as possible because Austin was in a different world.
Austin wasn't a big draw before 1998 either. Austin had a year to develop and proper builup before he got the World Title, Goldberg didn't even have 10 months and had no idea he was even getting a WCW Title match until he watched it on TV live. Yeah, he found out he was getting a title match by watching Thunder, good old unorganized 1998 WCW for ya right there.
Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

WCW was reacting to Austin's success though. WWF was about to start a Austin v Taker and if you're WCW you needed an answer to keep up. WCW had mainstream coverage with the celebrity matchups but that does you no good with the championship scene. Outside of Goldberg what are the options? DDP? Transitional champs til Starcade.

People can criticize the storyline but it's got to be noted that injuries ultimately derailed it. Imagine if Austin got hurt in January and had to miss WrestleMania 15.
Goldberg was the best option at that point but the only option? WCW had plenty of stars that deserved a WCW Title reign, Goldberg was the best option though because of his winning streak. Many questioned Goldberg's longevity when he would finally lose.

Whoever had the WCW Title wouldn't have a made much of difference to Nitro's ratings. If Goldberg being WCW Champion couldn't stop Raw's ratings domination over Nitro than no one could. I mean other than the Nitro he won the WCW Title and the Nitro after Havoc was he really the reason for the other Nitro victories from August-October? Not IMO.
Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

You really believe that? On one channel you have Austin Undertaker and the other has Warrior v Hogan you really think people aren't jumping ship?

All people talked about was Goldberg v Austin back then. That's before Rock Foley mattered, after Sting Hogan dried up. Yes, they needed the belt on Goldberg to keep their own momentum going. Ratings aren't a weekly chase it's a moving boulder.

WCW wasn't winning the war but they were within an arm's length til around WM 15. By that time WWF had Austin, Rock, Foley running strong and WCW had Hogan and Flair.
WCW lost viewers in '99 because the NWO was phased out w/o an explanation and some were turned off by the new logo because let's face it, that logo sucked. Goldberg was huge in '98 but Nitro was already setting record ratings before Goldberg won the WCW Title.
Re: Goldberg winning the WCW title on Nitro is one of the biggest mistakes Bischoff m

I don't think the match itself was a bad idea, to be honest. In a better situation yeah, you wait for the PPV, and in an ideal situation, you wait for Starrcade. However, as everybody has loved to point out since their death, WCW was not an ideal situation. The storylines were slowly but surely falling apart, Goldberg couldn't keep squashing guys forever, and WWF was right up on Nitro's ass. And after what happened to Sting, do you really think that fans would've trusted WCW with handling a Goldberg/Hogan main event? Hell, just the fact that Hogan would be defending the belt against Goldberg at Starrcade shows how badly they screwed with Sting.

When you really look at things, WCW's reasons for hotshotting that match were legit, and perfectly justifiable (well, except for the backstage crap, but whatever). Where WCW really went wrong, and why everybody laughs at their decision now, is that they didn't build it up, and there was no follow-up, the follow-up being the bigger of the two sins. Rushing Goldberg/Hogan is excusable, not promoting it until the last second is disgraceful. This should've been a date circled on their calendar a month earlier. Hogan should've had the date marked in his head and started his machinations much earlier. And after the deed was done, they shouldn't have acted like nothing had changed. Perhaps that was why Hogan did it, so he could pawn the belt on an acceptable new talent while still remaining at the top of the card due to the storylines being locked in. Still, their name was WCW, not Hogan's Wrestling Federation, and the fact that they couldn't even figure out a way to modify their own storylines to keep Hogan happy while Goldberg gets his just due as champion really showed off their incompetence, moreso than any amount of hotshotting could've done.

So yeah, the hotshotting in and of itself wasn't a bad idea. Hell, WWE does it all the time, but instead of calling them out on it, people take the "wait and see" stance. What really made this a comedy of errors was just how little time they gave themselves to promote it, and just how little effort they put into capitalizing on the incredible buzz that they'd created.
Yeah, I mean look at Raw that year. Wasn't all of Austin' matches connected to the Vince McMahon storyline? That's the difference between Raw and Nitro in '98, Raw's main events were planned out while Nitro's were just thrown on TV just to draw a huge quarter hour rating. Notice in '97 when WCW wasn't being threatened by WWE they didn't hotshot like that on Nitro. Maybe Nitro being 3 hours every week was the problem, then they had Thunder where most of the top stars didn't wanna appear on so WCW was unraveling already that year.
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