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WCW: 1998

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Well, I'm back to try my hand at a different era. I tried to do a present day WWE Be The Booker, but it wasn't sparking any interest. I am going to try and fix the issues that were created at Starrcade 1997. I am going to post current champions and the roster. 1997 was still the boom period for WCW and hopefully I can make it even more entertaining. I have a ton of ideas, and if it seems like its a little crazy, I have been watching 2000's Nitros and have a case of the Vince Russo's.

I will post a WCW Nitro Preview. Below the Roster is a recap of Starrcade, I am starting the night after this. Hope everyone enjoys and please give me some feedback on this. I literally received no feedback on my last one and felt kind of like I was just writing for myself at the end, I may go back to that BTB before too long, as I have like the next 6 shows written and saved on my computer, but for now I'm going retro:

I present to you WCW as it was the morning of December 29th 1997.

WCW Champions:
WCW World Champion: “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan
WCW United States Champion: Diamond Dallas Page
WCW Television Champion: Disco Inferno
WCW Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders(Scott Hall and Kevin Nash)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddy Guerrero

Roster:
Bobby Eaton
Sting
Jack Boot
"Diamond" Dallas Page
"Buff" Bagwell
Steven Regal
"The Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Stevie Ray
Booker T.
Mark Starr
Ray Traylor
Steve Armstrong
Meng
"Das Wunderkind" Alex Wright
"Hollywood" Hulk Hogan
Scott Armstrong
Randy "Macho Man" Savage
Renegade
Eddie Guerrero
"The Crippler" Chris Benoit
"The Man of 1000 Holds" Dean Malenko
Scotty Riggs
"The Total Package" Lex Luger
Scott "Flash" Norton
The Giant
The Barbarian
Hugh Morrus
"Flyboy" Rocco Rock
Johnny Grunge
Konnan
Dave Taylor
"Hardwork" Bobby Walker
Rick Steiner
Scott Steiner
Billy Kidman
Rob Ruckus
Ken Kaos
Scott Hall
Kevin Nash
Steve McMichael
Rey Misterio Jr.
Jim Powers
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chris Jericho
Juventud Guerrera
Syxx
Vincent
Psicosis
Roadblock
Rowdy Roddy Piper
La Parka
Ultimo Dragon
Super Calo
Ray Mandoza Jr.
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Jerry Flynn
Mortis
Wrath
Hector Garza
Masahiro Chono
Yuji Nagata
Joey Maggs
Ernest Miller
Silver King
Damien
Rick Fuller
Curt Hennig
Raven
Villano V
Brad Armstrong
Lizmark Jr.
Perry Saturn
Barry Darsow
Bill Goldberg
David “Fit” Finlay
Kendall Windham
Barry Horowitz
El Dandy
Chris Adams
Sick Boy
Bobby Blaze
Louie Spicolli
Lanny Poffo
Lenny Lane
Johnny Swinger
Norman Smiley
“Hacksaw” Jim
Duggan
Michael Wallstreet
John Nord
Barry Darsow
Van Hammer
Lodi
Bret “Hitman” Hart
Jim “The Andvil” Neidhart
“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
Rick Martell​

Starrcade Recap: The first match was between Dean Malenko and Eddy Guerrero for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Malenko had the advantage from the start of the match. Guerrero fought back briefly by attacking Malenko's left leg, but Malenko regained the advantage. This continued until Guerrero countered a suplex, and targeted the knee with the use of the ringpost and ringsteps. Guerrero performed a missile dropkick and a frog splash to the knee, and pinned Malenko to win the match, and retain the title.
Winner, and still Cruiserweight champion, Eddy Guerrero​

The second match was between the team of Scott Norton, Vincent and Randy Savage (replacing Konnan) of the nWo (accompanied by Miss Elizabeth) and the team of The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) and Ray Traylor (accompanied by Ted DiBiase) (WCW). The match started with the nWo having the advantage over Scott. Scott fought back with a double underhook powerbomb, and WCW gained the advantage. Vincent was dominated until Traylor missed a big splash. nWo attacked Traylor until Rick tagged in. The Steiners double-teamed Vincent, and Scott performed an elevated DDT. As Scott was attempting a Frankensteiner on Savage, Norton stopped him, and performed an electric chair drop. Savage then pinned Scott after a diving elbow drop to win the match.
Winners: Scott Norton, Vincent, and Randy Savage!​

The third match was between Bill Goldberg and Steve McMichael. The match started from the entrance ramp, and went back and forth. Goldberg gained the advantage with a punch to the midsection as McMichael jumped from the top turnbuckle. Goldberg applied the kneebar, and performed a spear. After sending McMichael through a table, Goldberg performed a Jackhammer, and pinned him to win the match.
Winner: Goldberg​

The fourth match was scheduled to be between Raven and Chris Benoit. Raven chose not to compete, however, and for Saturn to replace him. Saturn was a member of The Flock, a group led by Raven. The match started with Benoit having the advantage. As they fought out the ring, The Flock came out of the audience, and attacked Benoit. Saturn then dominated Benoit, and targeted his neck. As Saturn climbed the turnbuckles, Benoit pushed him to the outside. Benoit applied the Crippler Crossface on Saturn, but The Flock attacked him. Raven performed an Evenflow DDT on Benoit, and Saturn applied the Rings of Saturn. Benoit had passed out from the DDT, and Saturn won the match.
Winner: Saturn​

The fifth match was between Buff Bagwell (nWo) and Lex Luger (WCW). Luger had the early advantage until a distraction from Vincent allowed Bagwell to fight back. Bagwell then dominated Luger. Bagwell had Luger in the sleeper hold, and Luger fought out with a belly to back suplex. Luger then blocked a big splash with his knees, and fought back. Luger had Bagwell in the Torture Rack, but the referee was knocked down. Randy Savage and Scott Norton then attempted to interfere. Luger fought off Savage, but Norton punched Luger with a foreign object. Bagwell then pinned Luger to win the match.
Winner: Buff Bagwell​

The sixth match was between Curt Hennig (nWo) and Diamond Dallas Page (WCW) for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. It was originally going to be Ric Flair facing Hennig for the title and it was to be contested in a cage. However, two weeks earlier on Nitro, Flair was injured at the hands of Hennig and the nWo. Because of the injury, DDP took Flair's place in the match. The match started back and forth until Hennig performed a hangman, and gained the advantage. Hennig targeted Page's injured ribs. Page fought back after fighting out of a chinlock with a jawbreaker. Page attacked Hennig outside the ring, and pulled Hennig's groin into the ringpost. They then exchanged attacks, and Page pinned Hennig after a Diamond Cutter to win the match and the title.
Winner, and New WCW United States Champion, Diamond Dallas Page​

The seventh match was between Eric Bischoff (accompanied by Scott Hall) (nWo) and Larry Zbyszko (WCW), with Bret Hart as the special guest referee. The organization of the winner would have control over WCW Monday Nitro, WCW's weekly television show. The match began with Zbyszko having the advantage. Hart appeared to be favoring Bischoff, stopping Zbyszko from using certain attacks and holds. Hart pulled Zbyszko away, and this allowed Bischoff to kick Zbyszko in the head. Bischoff continued with kicks and punches, but soon grew weary. Zbyszko fought back, and Hart pulled him back. Hall placed a steel plate in Bischoff's footwear, and Bischoff kicked Zbyszko in the head. Hart appeared to raise Bischoff's hand in victory, but Hart knocked him down instead. Hall came in, and Hart beat him down. Hart applied the Sharpshooter as Zbyszko choked Bischoff. Hart awarded Zbyszko the victory by disqualification for Bischoff using the steel plate.
Winner, and still controlling Nitro, The WCW and Larry Zbyszko​


Sting won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade
The main event was between Hollywood Hogan (nWo) and Sting (WCW) for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Nick Patrick, who had favored the nWo before, was chosen as the referee through a random drawing. The match started with Hogan delivering attacks. Sting fought back with dropkicks, and applied the side headlock. Hogan sent Sting out of the ring, and attacked him with the ringpost and guard rail. Hogan performed a big boot, and pinned Sting after a leg drop. However, Bret Hart claimed Patrick counted the pinfall fast, and restarted the match with himself as the referee. Sting performed a Stinger splash, and applied the Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan submitted, and Sting won the match and the title.
Winner, and New WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Sting​
41 - 47 of 47 Posts

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·

September 1998​

Eric Bischoff is seen around the wrestling world as a “genius.” I don’t put that in quotes because I don’t agree with the sentiment, I do it because during the course of this interview Eric actually states that he thinks genius is such a strong word to describe a man of his humble nature. Eric has been suspended for 30 days now, for failure to appear at WCW’s August Pay-Per-View Slamboree. Terry Taylor and Kevin Sullivan have taken over the reins of WCW in Bischoff’s absence and PWI was the first publication to catch up with the 42 year old Michigan Native:

Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI): Eric, I don’t want to beat around the bush. What happened at Slamboree? Why didn’t you show up?

Eric Bischoff (EB): Ha! I knew you’d get there, just not this quickly. I’ll tell ya what. Think about this; have you ever called in sick when you really weren’t and went out and had a “vacation day”?

PWI: I can’t say that I have, but I’m sure readers know what you’re talking about.

EB: Well that’s what happened. I did what I wanted to do. I still don’t see what the big deal is. I brought in the best writing staff money can buy and the best road agents in the world right now, what did I need to be there for? So I can pat everyone on the back and say good job? Look, I get it. I look really bad from all this, but I never ONCE got anything written about me when I was busy turning around the company this year. What about when I fired ½ of the staff and 1/3rd of the roster to cut costs?

PWI: There were articles.

EB: Articles?! Was my name in them?

PWI: You were mentioned.

EB: Was I? Because all the guys backstage there seem to think that I am just some “yes man” for Time-Warner now. I am the reason WCW has such a good outlook. Hell, in January we did some projections and figured that WCW would be out of money by March or April of 2001. That’s less than 3 years away! Do you really think the number 1 wrestling promotion on the planet could nosedive to the point of complete failure…. In 3 years? No way.

PWI: These projections were based on what?

EB: Market trends. Our target audience’s likes, wants, needs, whatever will all change and WCW wouldn’t be able to keep up with the ever changing market. Those contracts; Luger, Hogan, Nash, Hall would crush our ability to grow our production values and such. WCW was already crippled, even though she still looked like a beauty, so I took initiative and did the overhaul. Got rid of A LOT of good people.

PWI: This was your idea or….

EB: Well, it certainly wasn’t Ted Turner’s idea or Kevin Sullivan’s idea.

PWI: We’ve gotten quite a few letters, from WCW fan’s, wondering about that. What was the initial plan?

EB: I was watching what WWF was doing, really. Not for storyline ideas or anything, but seeing they took Steve Austin off the scrap heap and made him the hottest star they have, I see no reason we couldn’t do that and replace the older guys.

PWI: And you followed through by restructuring the contracts?

EB: Restructuring? Those were 100% all new deals. Those guys that resigned, they all did so under their own will. Most of them jumped at the opportunity, Hogan even. Granted his downside was more than anyone on the roster and he would only sign through the end of July.

PWI: How is your relationship with Hulk?

EB: Well, obviously he didn’t like the direction we were going, with him feuding with Chris Jericho. He still had some creative control stuff in his contract, and he decided that it was in his best interests to walk away. I’ve talked to him a little bit, here and there, but I don’t think he’s coming back any time soon. Hulk Hogan is better off away from WCW.

PWI: Some fans would argue that the opposite is even more true. Is WCW better off without Hulk Hogan?

EB: No.

PWI: Care to elaborate?

EB: 93,000. That’s all I’m going to say.

PWI: What do you think about the past month for WCW? Sullivan and Taylor have continued the company in the direction you were leadi-

EB: Let me stop you right there. I don’t want to get too much into that, because I’m not there. I’ll say this. I had plans and the writing staff knows those plans and if Taylor and Sullivan know what’s good or them, they will follow those guidelines. WCW is heading in Eric Bischoff’s direction. (pauses and sighs heavily) For the past 2…2 and a half years all I have heard is “Eric Bischoff this” and “Eric Bischoff that” “Genius”. Pfffft. I have done crazy things, INSANE business, but I’m not naïve enough to think I’m a genius. That being said, my reputation for building things, like Hogan-Sting or Flair-Hogan or whatever, Taylor and Sullivan better just keep the ship straight for my return.

PWI: And when will you be back?

EB: I was told 90 days. I’m home for 60 more days. It’s good though, I get to fish.

PWI: You said that you’re not naïve enough to call yourself a “genius,” care to elaborate?

EB: I have been doing this for the past 5 years, and in that time I have done some really cool stuff and made some crazy changes. Vince McMahon, as much as it pains me to say this, is a genius. He’s the gold standard. n.W.o. or no n.W.o.

PWI: I’ve got to ask about Shawn Michaels. He showed up at Great American Bash, any chance he gets in a WCW ring?

EB: Ha! Another dirt sheet rumor gone wild, huh? Shawn is a really cool guy, and he’s good pals with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. He came and talked to a few of us about the whole Texas Wrestling Academy and him working with Jose Lothario to train some Power Plant guys. Shawn agreed, even though his back is killing him. He’s still got a WWF deal, and honestly, I don’t need that drama. Him and Bret… pfffft. Not touching that, no matter what ratings it could get me.

PWI: Any nuggets of information you can give us moving forward?

EB: Things are going to change, quite a bit, and rather quickly.

PWI: That it?

EB: See you at Starrcade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·

WCW presents: FallBrawl​

The Eric Bischoff interview with PWI was almost laughable. The Vice-President of a multi-million dollar a year company was suspended and didn’t really seem to care. This interview was widely received as “proving Bischoff’s ignorance” as he felt that what he did was no big deal. The higher ups at WCW quickly responded to Bischoff’s tirade by announcing that Bischoff had been “demoted” into the role of Executive Vice President, and was now to be part a three headed leadership circle when he returned. The other positions would be filled by years end, but it was assumed that Terry Taylor and Kevin Sullivan would fill those remaining spots.

Also of note, WCW had not yet release the pay-per-view schedule for 1999 yet, and with the year coming to a close time was running out. The suspension of Bischoff was reportedly the biggest hurdle in the situation, as Easy E had been in charge of naming and organizing the events. Time Warner had apparently decided to schedule the dates and venues, but the naming process had not yet been started. Bischoff had previous expressed a desire to rename several PPVs and give them more contemporary names.

The final thing that Bischoff talked about during the interview, Shawn Michaels potential role in WCW, was made moot by the Heartbreak Kid’s new role as WWF commissioner. Michaels reportedly was going to be included on Raw and a possible second show, Smackdown, rarely and that he was scheduling a back surgery in the coming months. Michaels training of wrestlers had apparently been put on hold, but the surgery made it possible that the career of HBK was not actually ending, but merely being put on hold.

The Pay Per View itself was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina which as most wrestling fans know, is Four Horsemen country. Prior to the event, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair were brought to the ring and presented with a plaque for their contributions to WCW. The fans were extremely hot coming into the event, and were not disappointed by the opening bout.

WCW Cruiserweight Title Match: Kidman © vs Juventud Guerrera
Kidman came to the ring with Saturn and The Giant by his side. The two combatants circled the ring, neither willing to give the other a quick upper hand. The two finally locked up and what ensued was a breathtaking display of athleticism and chemistry. Kidman played the cheap heel to perfect, while Juventud Guerrera fed off of what was an increasingly hot crowd. Every time Guerrera hit a move that put Kidman on his back, Guerrera would jump up the ropes and play the crowd, whipping his hair around and putting his arms into the air in celebration. As the match wore on, Kidman began to play opossum and attack Guerrera as he went up the ropes. Guerrera was on the second rope, when Kidman drop kicked him in the back and sent him down to the floor. Guerrera actually landed face first at the feet of The Giant. Guerrera’s impact had knocked the mask clean off of his face and he frantically tried to put it on. The Giant was supposed to force him back into the ring, but Guerrera’s fumbling with the mask made for an awkward moment. With Guerrera face down at the feet of WCW’s largest athlete, the Giant just stood over the luchadore star and stared at him for well over a minute. Guerrera hastily slapped his mask on and The Giant finally rolled him into the ring. Kidman and Guerrera tied up and this led to a Kidman scoop slam followed by a Seven Year Itch for the pin.

After the match, Kidman called for his fellow Flock members to enter the ring and celebrate with him, but Saturn and the Giant simply walked up the ramp. Kidman shrugged at his stable mates and celebrated as the cameras went backstage to an interview with Chris Jericho. Jericho be “littled” Mysterio throughout the interview, commenting on Mysterio’s height throughout. Jericho promised that the world would see how hideous Mysterio is, because only freaks wear masks. “Jason, Leatherface, Freddy Kruger, Michael Meyers, Mankind, Phantom of the Opera, Vader all wear masks! You know why? Because they are ugly.” Mean Gene suggested that maybe he should keep the mask on Mysterio to save WCW from seeing his ugly. Jericho promised that Mysterio would be so embarrassed that he would leave WCW and never come back if he lost.

Four-on-Four Elimination Tag match: The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Rick Rude) vs The Wolfpack (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Scott Steiner, Rick Steiner)
The Elimination Tag Team match proved that the Four Horsemen, finally whole, were untrusting of each other. Benoit and Malenko refused to tag in Flair or Rude, but were actually working quite well. Benoit forced Rick Steiner to submit to a Crossface, and Malenko had a Texas Cloverleaf locked on Scott Hall before Nash saved his teammate. Benoit and Malenko worked as quickly as they could as they knew they couldn’t keep up with the power of the Wolfpack. Scott Steiner finally got tagged in and got some retribution, locking on a Steiner Recliner on Malenko. Flair and Rude didn’t enter to save their teammate and Benoit was on the floor, exhausted from his actions in the fracas. Malenko was forced to submit, evening the score. From that point, it was easy pickin’s for the Wolfpack. Rude was clearly not in good ring shape, and was quickly eliminated. Flair and Benoit put their differences aside to eliminate Scott Steiner with a Figure Four/ diving head butt combo. Flair was then subjected to a Jackknife Powerbomb and was eliminated, leaving an exhausted Benoit as the last man in the match for the Horsemen. Benoit tried as hard as he could, fought valiantly and even eliminating Hall with a bridging German suplex, but Kevin Nash proved too much for Benoit. Nash used several power moves and a Powerbomb to gain the victory for his team.

Backstage, Mean Gene caught up with Randy Savage, and the Macho Man was on fire. He promised to destruction of Goldberg if it was the last thing he ever did. Savage said that he was told to make an impact, and he would do just that tonight. He wasn’t going to just end the streak, he wanted to end the career of The Beast.

WCW Tag Team Titles Match: The BlackHearts © (Davey Smith and Jim Neidhart) vs The Flock (Mortis and Ron Reis)
This match was a display of brute power throughout. Both teams possessed quite impressive strong men and it showed in a physical match, with many powerslams, suplexes and sidewalk slams. The Flock were clearly the toughest challenge The Blackhearts had faced, but most of that had to do with the fact that it was the most level playing field the team had competed on to date. The Blackhearts made use of acting manager, and de-facto leader Owen Hart during the match, using him to distract the referee while the double teamed Mortis or Reis. Eventually The Giant, Saturn, and Kidman went to grab Owen who said something to the three and they suddenly stopped and left him be. From that point on, The Blackhearts dominated. The Flock members had suddenly lost their fire and were now being beaten rather badly. Davey Smith hit an impressive running powerslam for the pin on Reis, but Mortis didn’t even attempt to break up the pin. The Blackhearts had retained.

The Flock quickly left the ringside area and Owen grabbed a mic. Owen told his brother, Bret, that the Blackhearts had his back and made some remarks about blood being thicker than water and the Hart family traditions being what molded the group. Backstage, Bret was interviewed and commented that Stu and the rest of his family weren’t brought up like that. Bret stormed off in disgust, answering only one question from Mean Gene Okerlund.

WCW Television Title vs Mask Match: Chris Jericho © vs Rey Mysterio
This match may have been for the WCW Television Title, but it was another cruiserweight breath taker. Jericho and Mysterio Jr. gave each other everything they have. Jericho and Mysterio had a quicker paced match than the Cruiserweight Title match earlier in the evening. On top of the high flying spectacle, it was also a fairly brutal affair. Jericho reversed a Hurricanrana into a powerbomb, and Mysterio reversed a Lionsault attempt into a dropkick into the stomach of a mid-air Jericho. The match wore on, with each man controlling the match in different segments. Jericho used his size to his advantage, while Mysterio used his speed to get his upper hand. The ending sequence of the match was breath taking. Jericho was going to attempt a diving elbow to a downed Mysterio jr. Mysterio quickly go to his feet and set up Jericho for a hurricanrana from the top rope. As Mysterio went to complete the move, Jericho blocked it mid-aid and landed in perfect position to apply a Lion Tamer. Mysterio somehow got his hand to the ropes, breaking the hold. Jericho got to his feet, but as soon as he was in an upright position he was nailed from behind by a springboard bulldog by Mysterio. Jericho kicked out at 2 from the accompanying pin attempt. Mysterio tried to get Jericho in position for a leg drop from the top rope, but Jericho tried a roll up. After several reversals of pins, Jericho somehow ended up with his arms around the neck of Mysterio, locking on a sleeper. Jericho used his free hand to grab the mask of Mysterio and start to pull at it. Mysterio was able to push backwards and ended up on top of Jericho, while Jericho’s shoulders were on the mat. The referee counted the pin, just as Jericho pulled off the mask of Mysterio to reveal…. a second mask. Jericho had lost his WCW TV title, and had not accomplished his goal of unmasking Mysterio.

Jericho harassed the referee all the way up the ramp and we cut backstage to an interview with Diamond Dallas Page. DDP told the world that he was ready, ready to be a champion, ready to be the man, ready to be a leader. He promised that he wouldn’t let others win his matches for him. He wouldn’t act innocent in the face of injustice. He would be the man WCW needed and the Champion it deserved.

WCW United States Title Match: Goldberg © vs Randy Savage
Randy Savage’s madness came to fruition in his first encounter with Bill Goldberg. Savage was the most vicious and relentless he had been in his career against Goldberg. The streak of the Beast was not nearing 150 and Savage was determined not to be added to the list. Savage used every trick he could, and played heel perfectly, cutting off every Goldberg comeback with a lowblow, eye rake, anything he could. Savage, try as he might, eventually found out just how strong Goldberg is. Goldberg caught Savage trying a lariat and never looked back. Goldberg delivered several impressive power moves; a gorilla press slam and an Oklahoma Slam that left Savage reeling. Savage’s heelish tactics began to fail him and eventually Goldberg went for a spear. Savage was able to sidestep the tackle, and Goldberg slammed shoulder first into the ring post. Savage then began to choke Goldberg against the ropes and screaming for Goldberg to “remember the madness” over and over again as the referee counted to 5. Eventually the bell rang, but Savage continued to choke the life out of the champion. Referees attempted to pull Savage off Goldberg, but Savage actually decked several of them and went back to choking the lifeless body of Goldberg.

A video package played, showing everything that had occurred between Hart and Page. This went all the way back to the Mayhem Match several months earlier and concluded with the two nose to nose in the ring on Nitro just 6 days earlier. DDP and Hart sound bites were played from their interviews chiding each other. The moment had finally arrived for DDP, a chance to be WCW World Champion.

WCW World Heavyweight Title Match (with Raven as special guest referee): Bret Hart © vs Diamond Dallas Page
The main event of the night was destined to be a brawl from the start. Hart and Page had both cut some vicious promos on each other, and were ready for a hellacious match. Special Referee, Raven, did as little as possible for most of the near 20 minute bout. Page put on as technical of a match as anyone in WCW would ever see from him, matching Hart every step of the way. Hart hit a spike piledriver and went for a pin but Raven, sitting in the corner of the ring, refused to count the pin. After several more minutes of action, DDP nailed a clothesline and went for a cover of his own. Again, Raven didn’t budge. Hart and Page continued the vicious match, but each taking every chance they got to yell at Raven. Hart again hit his spike piledriver, and went for the Sharpshooter. Hart cinched in the maneuver and leaned back. Raven finally rose from his corner, walked over to Hart and delivered an Even Flow DDT, leaving both competitors out on the mat. Raven then calmly walked out of the arena.

Without a referee, The Blackhearts made their way to the ring. Owen and Neidhart propped up Page and were calling for Bret to attack. Slowly, the Hitman got to his feet and looked at his family in confusion. The cameras picked up Bret saying “is this how we’ve been taught?” The remaining Hart members looked back at Bret almost sadly. Owen shook his head in disgust and the announcers said that it appeared that Owen an company were going to have a change of heart. Owen dropped the lifeless Page and walked towards his brother, Bret, with his arms out as if to hug him. Bret leaned in embrace his family, but Owen kicked Bret in the stomach, and hurled him towards Neidhart, who held Bret in the air. Davey Smith bounced off the farthest ropes and nailed the Hart Attack to Bret and the three left the ring.

Again, both competitors were down on the mat. A replacement referee sheepishly walked to the ring and called for the disqualification. Page had been able to get to one knee, and was looking at Bret’s lifeless body. Bret Hart had retained, but it appeared that he had lost the war.

Quick Results.
WCW Cruiserweight Title Match: Kidman © def. Juventud Guerrera
Four-on-Four Elimination Tag match: The Wolfpack (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Scott Steiner, Rick Steiner) def. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Rick Rude)
WCW Tag Team Titles Match: The BlackHearts © (Davey Smith and Jim Neidhart) def. The Flock (Mortis and Ron Reis)
WCW Television Title vs Mask Match: Rey Mysterio def. Chris Jericho ©
WCW United States Title Match: Goldberg © def. Randy Savage via DQ
WCW World Heavyweight Title Match (with Raven as special guest referee): Bret Hart © def. Diamond Dallas Page via DQ
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·

The Road to WCW Halloween Havoc 1998
“Controversy creates Cash”​

Controversy creates cash became the mantra of Eric Bischoff and WCW in 1994 when Turner agreed to spend big money to bring in Hulk Hogan. In the waning months of 1998, controversy became the middle name of WCW. The road to Starrcade was in full force, and WCW was full steam ahead, but things weren’t as smooth as they should be or seemed.

As summer had melted to fall, Bischoff’s once high standing in WCW had faded into a shaky relationship that crumbled with each and every word that Easy E spoke in public. Bischoff, once Vice President, was “demoted” into what was to become a three headed monster leading WCW into 1999. Time/Warner had decided that it would no longer pour the millions and millions of dollars that they had in the previous 5 years, and that WCW would need to become more “self-sustaining”. Self-sustaining had become the phrase to describe the sweeping changes made backstage.

However, the latest changes were not planned and didn’t follow what would later be called “The Bischoff Plan.” With the suspension of Uncle Eric continuing until December, Terry Taylor and Kevin Sullivan were basically auditioning to be a part of the three way leadership group. Taylor and Sullivan were supposedly given instructions to follow “Bischoff’s book” but there was no way to know if this was true or not. After a second, much less in-depth or controversial, interview with PWI Eric Bischoff went back into hiding.

On screen, one man came out of hiding to try and avenge an injury. Sting returned the night after FallBrawl and immediately went after the man who injured his knee, Owen Hart. Hart and his brother, Bret, were still engaged in a hellacious war but Sting made sure that Owen had no choice to take him on, one-on-one, at Halloween Havoc. Sting attacked the Blackhearts several weeks in a row, each time preventing Neidhart or Smith from saving Owen from a beatdown. Owen finally had enough and accepted the match.

The Horsemen saga continued, as Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko felt that Rick Rude wasn’t the right choice as the 4th member. Ric Flair cut consistently great promos, with great backing snippets from Rude, defending the choice and saying that the Horsemen were his legacy and he chose the best men for the job. Flair reminded Benoit and Malenko that THEY were unlike Horsemen of the past. They lacked the partying lifestyle and the extravagant tastes. Benoit rebutted that he and Malenko more than made up for that in the ring, because they were winners. Benoit blamed Rude’s lack of conditioning for handicapping them in the match at FallBrawl and said that if Rude needed to get in ring shape, he would be more than willing to “get him up to speed.” Flair had a better idea. Benoit and Malenko would take on Flair and Rude in a tag team match at Halloween Havoc. The winner would get to choose who would be the 4 members of one of the most iconic groups in wrestling history.

The Horsemen’s in fighting left the Wolfpack with no match for Halloween Havoc. Kevin Nash tried to get his name in the running for a World Title match, but Dusty Rhodes felt that Nash’s track record wasn’t worthy of the match. Nash wondered aloud what he and the rest of the Wolfpack would be doing for the pay-per-view. Rhodes decided that the four of them should have a match. The four would compete in a 3 way tag team match. Nash wondered how a 12 man tag team match would work. Rhodes laughed in Nash’s face. The Wolfpack team of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash would be taking on the WCW Tag Team Champions AND the Wolfpack team of the Steiners in a triangle tag team match. The Blackhearts felt that this was an unfair advantage for the Wolfpack, and Rhodes agreed. Dusty inserted a 4th mystery team into the match. The three known teams were given a series of warm up matches against a team of Steven Regal and WCW Power Plant graduate Robby Vick. Vick was a massive man, but was dominated by his opponents and the team lost to all three teams.

There was much speculation as to who the mystery team was. There were hints during promos that it would be the Legion of Doom and another hint that it would be a team involving Hulk Hogan. Another interesting thing was brought forward around this time. The Ultimate Warrior was contacted by Eric Bischoff at some time in mid-1998 about a potential return to the ring, and was targeting Halloween Havoc for such a return. Nothing was finalized and Warrior denied this in an interview with PWI in late October.

The Cruiserweight Champion, Kidman, came out of FallBrawl as the only member of The Flock to have possession of a WCW Championship. Raven sarcastically congratulated his minion, and then ordered a beatdown of Kidman. Kidman was forced to defend his Title in an elimination math, with Juventud Guerrera, Psychosis and La Parka also involved. Kidman eliminated Psychosis, and La Parka helped Kidman eliminate Guerrera. The two circled each other waiting to attack. The Flock entered the ring and initiated their attack on Kidman. Kidman took the beating graciously, and was still seen with the group moving forward. Raven had his grasps on The Flock. Dusty Rhodes decided the La Parka deserved a real chance to win the title, and scheduled the match for Halloween Havoc.

Former Television Champion, Chris Jericho declined to have his rematch. Jericho called the Television title “below him” and asked for a match against Goldberg for the United States title. He was given a match against Randy Savage to determine the Number One Contender, and the two dazzled the crowd in the main event of Nitro. Jericho won the match, and Savage took a microphone and told Jericho to remember that he “softened up Goldberg for ya.” Goldberg was actually not on Nitro the night after FallBrawl, and seemed hobbled in his match against Ray Traylor the following week. Goldberg almost lost the match several times, before gaining late momentum and destroying Traylor in the final seconds. Jericho began his mind games, trying to get Goldberg riled up, but the hampered Champion was unwilling to give chase against Jericho. This increasingly frustrated the challenger, and Jericho cut a promo on Nitro talking about how much he has changed in 1998, and he is ready to take gold into 1999. Jericho promised the end of the world is coming, the dawn of Jericho is upon us.

Newly crowned Television champion, Rey Mysterio jr., seemed to have nothing to do going forward. The announce team began to play up the underdog nature of Mysterio. Mysterio was much smaller than all of his opponents, even as a cruiserweight. He wrestled a different opponent, usually Cruiserweights, every week on Nitro and seemed to have no opponent for the pay-per-view until Chavo Guerrero asked for a match. Dusty forced Guerrero to earn the title shot, in a match against Alex Wright, who Chavo easily defeated. Rey Mysterio and Chavo had dazzled the world earlier in the year, in a match for the Cruiserweight title, and would have a chance to do it for the TV strap at Halloween Havoc.

The World Title picture was as muddled as ever in October of 1998. Champion Bret Hart and his brother were now clearly at odds, and challenger Diamond Dallas Page had never been given a fair shot at the title. The two actually tagged together against the team of Raven and Saturn, but the match ended in double DQ when the Flock and the Blackhearts got involved and attacked the faces. Sting made the save, and took out Owen Hart to further their feud. The Number One Contender was to be decided in a cage match on Nitro between Raven and Diamond Dallas Page, but The Giant attacked DDP and Raven declared himself the victor, “without even having to lift a finger.” Raven had a psychological advantage over Hart, with the Flock willing to do anything for their leader. Raven was given the match for the title at Halloween Havoc, and another match was added to the card as well, Diamond Dallas Page vs The Giant.

Rhodes actually let Bret Hart face the Giant to get retribution for attacking DDP, but again the Flock and Blackhearts attacked the Champion and were thwarted by Sting and his baseball bat. It still wasn’t clear if the Flock and Blackhearts had some kind of agreement to take the belt of Bret Hart, but it was constantly talked about during the Nitro broadcasts. The final Nitro before the Havoc ended with Bret Hart and Raven nose to nose in the ring. Raven was being built as a glutton for pain and a man willing to do whatever it takes to win. Hart seemed to be in serious danger of losing the WCW World Title.

With still no 1999 PPV schedule, WCW was in standby mode. Usually these PPVs are advertised months in advance, but all WCW could do was put television and radio ads out that stated a “major WCW event was coming to….” And there still seemed to be a stand still on the idea of a secondary show. WCW was still producing three shows; Nitro, Saturday Night and WorldWide. Other than Nitro, the other two were mostly recap and jobber shows, which nothing of storyline importance happened. Time/Warner wanted something from WCW to put on Thursday nights on TBS, but Bischoff had long been reluctant. Now, with the constant restraints Time/Warner had put on WCW a secondary program started to feel like it was not an option, it was a mandate.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 card:
WCW Cruiserweight Title: Kidman © vs La Parka
Sting vs Owen Hart
WCW Tag Team Titles: The Blackhearts © vs The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) vs The Steiners vs Mystery Team
Diamond Dallas Page vs The Giant
WCW Television Title: Rey Mysterio Jr. © vs Chavo Guerrero
WCW United States Title: Goldberg © vs Chris Jericho
WCW World Heavyweight Title: Bret “Hitman” Hart © vs Raven
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Halloween Havoc 1998​

Halloween Havoc is the unofficial start of the build to World Championship Wrestling’s showcase of the year, Starrcade. The suspension of Eric Bischoff was beginning to wear on the roster as everyone began to see the effect of lack of leadership. It wasn’t that Terry Taylor and Kevin Sullivan couldn’t properly handle the booking and day-to-day handlings of Nitro and the Pay-Per-Views, it was that the seemed to struggle to put their own stamp on the product and just followed Easy E’s guidelines.

In defense of Taylor and Sullivan, Bischoff’s plan was in motion long before they were put in charge and the plan seemed to be quite successful. Bischoff had issued a warning to Taylor and Sullivan that they were best served following his storylines and continue “staying the course” until he returned in December. It seemed that Sullivan and Taylor were building the way that Uncle Eric had set everything up for. For all the backstage issues, WCW was going to have massive changes over the next few weeks that would re-shape the organization from top to bottom.

Halloween Havoc started off like many of WCW’s 1998 PPVs had, with a fast paced cruiserweight matchup. Kidman and La Parka had not had much of a feud, but anytime Kidman got into a WCW ring great things happened. Kidman dominated La Parka for the early portions of the match, leaving La Parka on his heels while he flew around the ring with ease. La Parka finally caught Kidman in midair and sent him crashing to the mat, taking over the match and trying to feed off a crowd that was really struggling to get behind the masked Luchadore. La Parka delivered a powerbomb off the top rope, and appeared to have the title won, but Kidman kicked out at the last possible second. The two trade momentum back and forth for a few minutes, before La Parka attempted a second SuperBomb. Kidman was able to reverse the move into a hurricanrana and immediately hooked the legs of the challenger. La Parka kicked out, but the damage was done. Kidman went to the top rope and delivered the Seven Year Itch to retain.

After the match, The Flock surrounded the ring and tossed a chair to Kidman. The Cruiserweight Champion was about to deck La Parka, for good measure, but decided against it at the last second. Mortis, Saturn, and Ron Reis entered the ring and began yelling at Kidman, who just hung his head and shoulders as he exited the ring, chair still in his hand.

Backstage, Chris Jericho gave another great interview about the “bald wonder” Goldberg. Jericho promised to stop “Greenberg” and leave him wishing that he hadn’t accepted the Lionheart’s challenge. For the first time, Jericho made a subtle reference to his training with the Hart Family, promising that Goldberg couldn’t inflict near the amount of pain that the Hart’s had during his grueling training.

The next match was the Tag Team match pitting Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko against Stable-mates Ric Flair and Rick Rude. This match was evenly contested from start to finish, with the team of Rude and Flair using experience to gain the upper hand, often countering the vicious moves of Malenko and Benoit. Malenko and Benoit pushed Rude to the limit during one portion of the match, isolating him for vicious chops and kicks. Rude seemed to be completely gassed, when he suddenly got a second wind and fought his way out of his corner and made a tag to the immortal Flair. Flair and Benoit put on a clinic of reversals that made Benoit look like a star and proved Flair was still the best seller on WCW’s roster. The two men collapsed in exhaustion in the center of the ring. Flair made the tag to Rude first, but Malenko was able to lock on the Texas Cloverleaf. Benoit caught Flair as he attempted to break up the submission, grabbing him by the arm and locking on the Crossface. Both Rude and Flair held out for as long as possible, before both eventually succumbed and tapped simultaneously.

Post-match, the winners helped Flair and Rude to their feet. Flair hung his head and apologized. Benoit shook his head at the 15 time World Champ. Flair started to leave the ring, almost in tears. Benoit grabbed him and stood nose to nose with him. Benoit started to bring his hand up, causing Flair to shake his head and beg (in classic Flair fashion). Benoit held four fingers up, making the iconic sign of the Horsemen. Benoit then pointed at Rude and made the sign to him. Malenko followed suit, and soon the four men were standing tall in the ring, unified.

Backstage, Diamond Dallas Page talked about his match with the Giant. He promised that the match would solidify him as the main event superstar he always knew he was. Page told the Giant that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

The Television title match was next, and the competitors dazzled. The two knew each other so well that they were able to counter almost every move. The two kept an extremely quick pace for the duration of the 15 minute bout. Nearing the final moments, there was a surprise. The theme of Eddy Guerrero filled the arena. Rey Mysterio looked up the isle, trying to see his long time friend. Chavo used the distraction to roll up Rey, but the Champion kicked out at two. Chavo then looked for his Uncle, but Rey used the advantage to hit a sunset flip and try a pin. Chavo kicked out and rolled forward for a pin attempt of his own. Eddy Guerrero finally appeared, from the crowd and stood on the apron. Chavo looked at his uncle in disbelief. Eddy laughed at his nephew as Mysterio bounced off the far ropes and dropkicked Chavo into the ropes and hit a 619. Rey pinned Chavo and retained his title.

Eddy told his nephew that he wasn’t following the “Guerrero Way” and vowed to make it his mission to teach him a lesson in respect. Eddy reminded Chavo that he would always be his “little nephew, almost as good as the other Guerreros” and left his nephew in a heap in the ring.

Backstage, Raven and The Giant discussed their matches. Neither man seemed to feel like they were in for much of a challenge. Asked about the relationship between The Flock and The Blackhearts, Raven told Mean Gene that the Flock only does business with the Flock. The Giant told Gene that taking the title off of Bret Hart was a pretty common goal backstage, and the Flock would do whatever it took to do that.

The Tag Team title, four way match followed and started off with a big surprise. Harlem Heat were the mystery opponents and seemed destined to with the match, until the Wolfpack began working as a 4 man team to make sure that Neidhart, Smith, Booker and Stevie Ray didn’t have a change. The match was an all-out brawl. Booker wanted revenge for The Blackhearts taking him out months prior. The Steiners and Harlem Heat’s hate was still sizzling from their previous feuds. The Outsider’s team seemed to fly under the radar throughout the match and seemed poised to steal a victory several times, but Harlem heat was resilient. Eventually most of the teams were outside the ring, and Kevin Nash tried to steal a pin on Smith. Smith kicked out, and quickly hit a massive running powerslam on Nash to retain the titles. The competitors on the outside of the ring were shocked the match had ended so quickly. Booker T got the last laugh as he hit a celebrating Smith with an Axe Kick and left the title draped across the face of the Champ.

Backstage, Mean Gene interviewed Owen Hart and Sting at the same time. Sting just stared at Hart, burning a hole through Owen and leaving Hart stumbling over his words and seemingly uncomfortable. Sting pointed his bat at Owen and walked out of the interview, leaving Gene and Owen speechless.

Diamond Dallas Page vs the Giant was next on the docket and the whole match centered around making the Giant a dominant force. The Giant tossed DDP around like a rag doll, leaving Page in a heap several times. The Giant lifted DDP over his head and tossed him out into the crowd. Page seemed to feed off the people and fought his way into the match. DDP hit a surprise Diamond Cutter across the steel barricade, but he couldn’t get the massive Giant into the ring. DDP broke up the referee’s count several times to allow the Giant back into the ring. Page set the Giant up for a second Diamond Cutter. He went for the move, but the Giant was able to catch DDP and send him flying through the air. The Giant hit a Chokeslam to DDP and then pushed The People’s Champ out to the floor and let him be counted out. The referee reached 9 and the Giant turned to the crowd. Suddenly, Page flew into the ring and hit a quick Diamond Cutter on The Giant. Both men were exhausted on the mat. The referee started a count and actually reached 7 before the two got to their feet and went blow for blow. The Giant was clearly dragging, but ducked a wild haymaker and hit another Chokeslam. Somehow, Page kicked out at the last possible second. The Giant picked up Page and perched him atop the turnbuckle. Giant went for a third Chokeslam, but Page countered it into a rolling Diamond Cutter. The two men were again laid out. The referee counted again, but this time no one was able to answer.

Medical personnel came to the ring and attended to both men. The Giant actually fought off his medics and tried to attack Page again, but a large portion of the roster came out of the back and stopped the 500 pound monster from killing the already lifeless Page.

Goldberg made his entrance next, and it was quite a sight. Goldberg was already bleeding from his forehead prior to the match, and Jericho was apparently paying attention. Goldberg did his usual fire breathing, but got no further as the challenger attacked him from behind. The two took several minutes to actual get to the ring, and once they did it was a war. Goldberg used every bit of strength he had to battle back into the match, but Jericho cut him off at every turn. Goldberg went for a spear, but Jericho sidestepped it. Goldberg attempted a gorilla press slam, but Jericho landed on his feet and dropkicked the Champion. Jericho gained several near falls, some of the closest anyone has come to defeating Goldberg, but the Champion managed to kick out every time.

Jericho eventually locked on a Liontamer and really sat down on Goldberg. The Champion struggled mightily to break free, but Jericho had locked his signature hold on so tight that Goldberg appeared to be finished. Jericho mocked Goldberg throughout the ending sequence, fueling Goldberg’s anger. Jericho’s smirk turned to a fearful look as Goldberg began to break the hold, eventually tossing Jericho across the ring. Goldberg followed with a massive spear, that literally sent Jericho to the floor. Jericho rolled to his feet, as Goldberg regained his senses in the ring. Jericho walked over to the announce table, grabbed a chair and came into the ring. Jericho smashed Goldberg across the back with the chair as The Beast played the crowd. The referee called for the bell, but the damage was done. Jericho smashed the Champion with the chair repeatedly, and even was able to hit him with a super kick, leveling the champion. Jericho smirked and laughed maniacally at Goldberg as he left the ring.

Backstage, Bret Hart was interviewed about his coming match with Raven. Bret promised to put Raven away quickly, and The Hitman knew that he had people watching his back, so that he didn’t have to worry about the Flock or the Blackhearts.

Sting and Owen Hart was next, and the two had quite an impressive showing. Owen used his speed throughout to gain an advantage. Sting was able to use power moves and feed off the crowd to get several near falls on Owen. Sting eventually locked on a Scorpion Death lock, but Owen was able to reverse the move into a Sharpshooter of his own. Sting made it to the ropes and broke the hold, but the damage was done to both competitors. Sting managed to use his final ounces of strength to toss Owen to the floor and leaned on the ropes. Suddenly, a man in a trench coat with a painted face dropped into the ring. Sting turned around and looked on in disbelief. Owen hurried back into the ring and dropkicked the distracted Sting, delivered a piledriver and pinned the former World champion. Owen and the mystery man then walked to the ramp, with the mystery man helping the gassed Hart up the ramp.

The main event was next, and it was a doozy. The Champion, Bret Hart and Raven had a match that kept the crowd on the edge of their seat, and several times it appeared WCW would crown a new World Heavyweight Champion. Raven’s ability to absorb pain was apparent as he took every move Hart threw at him, and seemed to be no worse for the wear. Raven’s offense was mostly limited to brawling but he made sure to get every extra shot he could on the obviously worn out champion. Hart’s precision was lacking throughout the match, but he obviously he was among the greatest wrestlers in the world and kept the match moving forward at a vigorous pace. Hart and Raven traded vicious punches at one point, each staggering the other and eventually Raven was able to lock on a dragon sleeper, which he teased turning into a reverse DDT. Hart fought the hold, and eventually power slammed the challenger on his back and went to the middle rope to deliver a forearm smash. Raven was able to move out of the way, and Hart landed hard on his knees. Raven quickly grabbed Hart and delivered an Even flow DDT, but couldn’t immediately cover the champion. When the cover was attempted, Hart was able to lock onto Raven’s arm and leg and roll up the challenger, gaining the victory.

The Flock leader lost his temper and attacked Hart after the match, and the exhausted Hart was helpless. The Flock ran down to help their leader, and the Blackhearts made their way onto the entrance ramp to stare at their family member. Halloween Havoc went off the air rather quickly, exactly at 11 pm eastern time. The home audience saw the ending of the match itself, but as Hart made his way to his feet Halloween Havoc went off the air. The crowd at home probably didn’t notice anything was odd about this, but missed the Flock beatdown and Sting hobble through the crowd to save Hart from a beatdown and point his bat at the Blackhearts and their apparent new member.

WCW brass had tried to get their PPV time slot extended, but with several matches going a few minutes over WCW ran out of time to finish the PPV. Unsure of what would be the repercussions would be, WCW.com issued a statement regarding the cut off and said that all future broadcasts of the PPV would include the extra segment and they would replay the dramatic ending on Nitro the following night for free. The lack of leadership appeared to finally be weighing heavily on WCW.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 results:
WCW Cruiserweight Title: Kidman © def. La Parka
Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko def. Ric Flair and Rick Rude
WCW Television Title: Rey Mysterio Jr. © def. Chavo Guerrero
WCW Tag Team Titles: The Blackhearts © def. The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash), The Steiners , and Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray
Diamond Dallas Page vs The Giant ended in a draw
WCW United States Title: Goldberg © def. Chris Jericho via DQ
Owen Hart def. Sting
WCW World Heavyweight Title: Bret “Hitman” Hart © def. Raven
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·

November 1998​

World Championship Wrestling had reached its turning point. No one really knew what was going on backstage, but it was shaping the company’s future in many ways. The relationship of Shawn Michaels, Jose Lothario and The WCW Power Plant was blossoming and was hopeful to create abundant talent for WCW to use in the future. Eric Bischoff’s booking plan was coming along nicely, but was going to be a point of contempt among the roster in the coming weeks.
The ratings war suddenly had taken a turn. Nitro was being outclassed on TV by its World Wrestling Federation counterpart, Raw is War, and seemed to be stuck in a rut. This was not due to compelling storylines, but more so to the fact that Vince McMahon’s WWF was putting together fantastic programming every single night. Vince McMahon’s lead writer, Vince Russo, was getting much of the credit and WCW officials had put him on the short list to be a member of the three headed monster WCW was preparing to enter 1999 with at the helm.

Eric Bischoff’s spot in this leadership trio was about as safe as one could be. Despite his suspension, it was rumored that Bischoff was still consulted several times throughout October, and was even on the phone with Terry Taylor during the Halloween Havoc event. Bischoff was growing increasingly unhappy with Time/Warner undermining his leadership; first demoting him, and then forcing changes on him that would undoubtedly create more costs and more pressure on Bischoff creatively. It was announced on the first Nitro after Halloween Havoc that WCW would be adding a second program, on TBS. Thunder was to premier the first Thursday in January of 1999 but scheduling and taping had yet to be decided. Bischoff reportedly called PWI and told a reporter that he would not be returning to WCW when his suspension ended and that he couldn’t deal with this shit anymore. This was later refuted by Bischoff and proved to be incorrect when Bischoff did a phone interview with Mean Gene Okerlund for his “WCW Hotline”.

WCW commissioner Dusty Rhodes was already standing in the ring when Nitro started the night after Halloween Havoc, and announced that he was going to be having a short tournament to decide the number one contender for Bret Hart’s WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Raven, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, DDP, Chris Benoit, and Sting would all be involved and the match types would be announced later in the evening. Chris Jericho interrupted this and reminded Dusty that Goldberg was still in the hospital after Jericho had put him down unlike anyone before ever had. Jericho mocked Goldberg, calling him “Greenberg” and “The Least” before demanding Goldberg’s spot in the tournament. Rhodes told Jericho the spot was his, if he could defeat a mystery opponent later in the evening.

The bracket was announced that there would be 3 singles matches, followed by a three way elimination match featuring the winners of the singles matches. Jericho was forced to face a returning Hugh Morris, which was easy enough for the Lionheart. Jericho forced Morris to submit, after a short match, with a Liontamer. Jericho’s opponent would be Sting, and his match was NOW! Dusty’s attempt to force Jericho out of the tournament again backfired, when Sting was distracted again by the man who had distracted him at the Havoc. This time, the man announced who he was, Vampiro. Vampiro said that Sting was trying to be him, a Dark Warrior. Vampiro proclaimed himself to be the Canadian Vampire, and explained that he was the link that lead to the Blackhearts and the Flock working together.

Jericho had advanced, along with Benoit, while Raven lost his match to Kevin Nash. Raven appeared to have thrown in the towel and wasn’t trying. Nash beat him in about 35 seconds to advance. The following week in the elimination three way, Nash eliminated himself and declared that “midgets” weren’t even worthy of being in the same ring with him. Benoit and Jericho put on another classic match that ended with several reversals between the two, and finished with Jericho cinching in the Liontamer for the victory. After the match, Jericho cut a short promo reminding Hart that they were trained the same. They are both products of the Dungeon.

The two were kept apart for much of the remaining weeks, each getting a little microphone time and each competing in one more tune-up match. Jericho seemed to be a much different character since bashing Goldberg with the chair, and Bret Hart was in for a hell of a challenger.

Vampiro earned easy victories over Alex Wright and Hugh Morris in his first two matches, each very impressive. Vampiro made sure to mock Sting every chance he got, and even won the Morris match with a reverse DDT, similar to Sting’s. He then took to the mic and belittled the former WCW Champion, even calling him “Steve” throughout the promos. Vampiro talked about how he is the future of WCW and he will prove it by knocking Sting down a peg. The Sting-Vampiro feud never really took off, with Sting turning down Vampiro’s challenges until the last Nitro before Uncensored. Sting came to the ring while Vampiro bashed the WCW star and delivered a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting then grabbed a mic and told everyone that “It’s on!” for Uncensored.

Owen Hart began telling anyone who would listen that he was the cream of the crop in WCW. No one was able to perform like he is, and there were no real challenges for him. He said that all he had to do was bide his time until Dusty Rhodes came to his senses and gave him a World Title shot. Dusty Rhodes came out and told Hart that he had come to his senses and came up with a match that would allow Owen Hart to showcase his skills. Owen would be taking on Ric Flair. Flair was tired of Hart disrespecting WCW and was going to teach him a lesson. Hart feigned fear, and mocked Flair calling him grandpa and a has been.

Harlem Heat earned a Tag Title shot by defeating the team of Scott Steiner and Scott Hall. Booker T defeated Davey Boy Smith in a singles match, but received a beatdown from the Blackhearts before his brother Stevie Ray could intervene. Harlem Heat would appear to regain momentum when they, along with Flair, defeated Owen Hart, Smith and Jim Neidhart on the Nitro prior to Uncensored.

Television Champion Rey Mysterio defended his title against good friend, Eddy Guerrero on Nitro, and Chavo Guerrero interfered and attacked both with a chair. The next week, Eddy mocked Chavo. Eddy said that was the only way Chavo could beat either of them. Chavo vowed that he could be both of them at the same time. Rey said that he was willing to put his belt on the line in such a contest and a three way dance was on the docket for Uncensored.

DDP was missing from Nitro, and the Giant claimed that he was dead. The Giant said that no normal man could live through the beating that Giant had forced him to endure. DDP didn’t lose because of a technicality and that the Giant had won the war. DDP would not appear at all throughout November.

The Giant and the rest of the Flock began to question Raven’s leadership after Raven basically laid down three weeks in a row. Raven was obviously sulking after losing his World Title match and appeared to be losing his grip. He demanded a beat down of Kidman for insubordination, which Kidman took like a man. The following week, Raven again told the Flock to beatdown Kidman after Kidman retained his Cruiserweight title. The Flock hesitated and Kidman was able to dropkick Raven and escape the beatdown. Kidman went into hiding, appearing only for his matches and backstage in promos from “hidden locations.” He was clearly afraid of retaliation. Raven reminded Kidman that he had given him structure in a world lacking it. Raven promised to take away everything that Raven had ever gained by joining the Flock. Kidman offered to put his Cruiserweight title on the line in a one-on-one match. If Raven beat Kidman, Raven could decide who would be champion going forward, and if Kidman won, he was safe from retaliation. Raven agreed and said that he had an individual pegged to hold that title for the Flock, who would be revealed at Uncensored.

The Horsemen and remaining Wolfpack members were placed into a 3 on 3 tag team match, with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Rick Rude teaming up to take on Scott Hall, Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner. There was a small amount of friction shown within the Wolfpack, who without Kevin Nash were without a clear cut leader. Scott Steiner felt like it was his time, while Hall was the most accomplished of the three. Steiner hinted at Nash returning, saying that the Wolfpack would come back to full strength. Benoit and Malenko had complete trust in Rude, and had his back in his first singles match since his return. Rude defeated Rick Steiner, with a Rude Awakening, after the Horsemen ran off Hall and Scott Steiner. The Wolfpack got their revenge the following week defeating Malenko and beating down Rude, leaving Benoit to fend for himself. The Canadian Crippler actually handled himself quite well, and ended up clearing the ring and helping his stable mates.

It was reported by PWI that Kevin Nash was so unhappy with having to put over Jericho and Benoit that he refused to follow the script and cut a promo against the wishes of the writers. Nash was upset at the direction of WCW and his lack of TV time and was prepared to walk out on his contract. Nash took “sick leave” and it was rumored that he would not be returning to WCW any time soon. Scott Hall wanted to follow but his struggles with addiction forced him to stay. Hall and Nash had reportedly been in secret talks with WWF and were willing to walk out on WCW to jump ship back “home”.

Another name that popped up was Hulk Hogan possibly returning to WWF. Vince McMahon’s WWF was going to be adding a secondary Television show in mid 1999 and would need more talent to fill time. Hogan, Nash and Hall were options to be brought in and re-create the n.W.o. Many thought that Shawn Michaels was a possibility to jump ship from WWF to WCW because of his connections with the company through Jose Lothario’s Wrestling Academy. Michaels had apparently convince McMahon that there were offers (despite Michaels being injured) and McMahon dished out big bucks to keep his former champion in house.

WCW UnCensorEd 1998 card:
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Kidman (c) vs Raven (if Raven Wins, he gets to chose the next champion)
WCW Television Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs Eddy Guerrero vs Chavo Guerrero
WCW Tag Team Championship: The Blackhearts (c) vs Harlem Heat
3 on 3 tag team match: The Horsemen vs The Wolfpack
Ric Flair vs Owen Hart
Sting vs Vampiro
WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs Chris Jericho
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·

WCW UnCensorEd 1998​

World Championship Wrestling’s UnCensorEd 1998 will forever be remembered as the night “WCW went for it.” It was the night that Bischoff finally pulled the trigger on an attempt to change the face of the promotion for years to come, and he did so by make several rather large changes. Bischoff, still away from WCW on suspension, was finally able to release his PPV schedule for 1999. The venues and dates were still “to be determined” but the names of the events were revealed. Souled Out, SuperBrawl IX, Spring Stampede, Mayhem, The Great American Bash, Bash at the Beach, FallBrawl, Halloween Havoc, UnCensorEd and Starrcade 99 were the names of the events. It was notable that there were only 10 events on the card, leading to speculation about more events possibly being added.

The rumors began to fly in the week's heading into the event, with Wade Keller reporting the potential departure of Chris Jericho to the World Wrestling Federation when his contract expired in June 1999. Pro Wrestling Tourch reported that Jericho had no chance of walking out of the PPV with the title, as he had apparently rubbed Eric Bischoff the wrong way throughout hid WCW tenure. Jericho has slowly been built into a legit star and was concidered "WCW's next best heel". The development of Jericho's character and his superior in ring work had put him ahead of the monster Goldberg in the eyes of the fans and the internet fans.

UnCensorEd opened with Billy Kidman and Raven's battle for the Cruiserweight Title. Prior to the bell, Raven told Kidman that this match would be a Raven's Rules match. Kidman sarcastically argued before smiling and agreeing. The match was fairly brutal, with Raven using a every weapon available to try and slow the high flying Kidman. Kidman seemed to gain the upperhand several times but each time was cut off by either a member of the Flock or Raven's weapons. Kidman became increasingly frustrated following a 2 count and grabbed a chair and went to smash Raven. Raven pleaded for Kidman to "prove what kind of man he is". Kidman hesitated just long enough for The Giant to enter the ring and chokeslam Kidman and leave the ring.

Raven went for a cover, but Diamond Dallas Page flew into the ring from the crowd to break the count. Page hit a Diamond Cutter and disappeared. Kidman covered Raven and got the 3 count to retain. The Giant turned around at the sound of the bell and was shocked to see Kidman holding hid hand up in victory. Giant started the rush the ring when he was suddenly attacked by DDP and nailed with a Diamond Cutter. Page escaped through the crowd as Saturn gave chase.

Winner: Kidman

Backstage: Bret Hart talked about where his head is with his family feud, his Jericho feud and everything else going on in his life. Hart promised to make it all better with a win tonight.

The second macth on the card was the Sting vs Vampiro contest. The match was a slow, methodical punch fest. Vampiro went for his Nail in the Coffin finisher several times but Sting was able to reverse it every time. Vampiro hit his own version of a Stinger Splash and then hit a reverse DDT. The Dark Warrior then went for a cover, but Sting kicked out at 2. Vampiro appeared shocked that Sting was able to kickout and argued with the referee. Sting popped up and attacked Vampiro viciously. Sting hit several Stinger Splashes, a Scorpion Death Drop. He wasted no time locking on a Scorpion Death Lock and turned over Vampiro. The Dark Warrior tapped immediately, before the move was even really locked in. Sting let go and celebrated. Sting went to each corner and "woooooooo!"ed to the crowd. Suddenly, Vampiro reappeared behind Sting, holding his signature baseball bat. A few hearty swings later and Sting was a heap on the mat. Vampiro waved down the ramp and several hooded men, some holding tourches, walked slowly toward the ring. The lights had dimmed, but it appeared the men were wheeling a coffin towards the ring. The men opened the coffin and rolled Sting inside, locked the latch, and walked back down the ramp. The last image seen was Vampiro waving goodbye as the coffin went backstage.

Winner: Vampiro

Chris Jericho was interviewed and ran down his (exaggerated) accomplishments. Jericho claimed to be a 207 time champion in Canada, 194 better than Bret Hart could claim. "Tonight I'll tie him in WCW World Heavyweight Championship reigns!"

Back in the ring, Owen Hart made his entrance. The Blackhearts surrounded the ring as Ric Flair came to the ring, alone. The match was fantastic. Hart and Flair couldn't have had better synergy. Flair locked on a Figure Four, but Owen reversed it into a sharpshooter. Flair made it to the ropes but struggled the rest of the match. Hart started to run circles around The Nature Boy. Flair finally succumbed to a dropkick off the top rope and a piledriver. Flair appeared shocked at Hart's clean win and called out to Hart as he walked up the ramp. Flair took a mic and told Hart he was proud of him and respected him. Flair extended his hand, but Owen clotheslined him and exited the ring.

Winner: Owen Hart

Backstage, the Wolfpac were seen talking amongst themselves. Buff Bagwell walked past them and there was a tense staredown. Scott Steiner told him the area was "Wolfpac only" and laughed as Bagwell retreated.

The Horsemen came out next. Flair was being attended to by the medical staff, who drug the resisting Flair backstage. The Wolfpac come out next, and looked pissed off. The mach itself told the story well, but wasn't anything more than solid. Hall and the Steiners dominated but the Horsemen were resilient and worked together well. Eventually the referee got nailed by a Scott Steiner corner smash. The Wolfpac took control and used a chair to take our Malenko and Rude. Benoit fought back but the assault was too much. Buff Bagwell ran down the ramp to apparently make the save. The Wolfpac members retreated and sarcastically shook as Bagwell yelled toward them. He helped Benoit to his feet, and suddenly decked the Crippler. Bagwell put the boots to Benoit and then rolled out as Hall gained the pinfall from a groggy ref.

Winners: The Wolfpac

Backstage, Chavo Guerrero promised to win the TV title and prove to his uncle and the world that he was the best.

Television Champion Rey Mysterio Jr and Eddy Guerrero made their entrances first, followed by Chavo. Dusty Rhodes came out on the ramp and said this match needed to be spiced up. He changed it to a ladder match. The match was fast paced and exciting and featured all three men working together at one point or another. The match ended with Chavo going through a table and Rey and Eddy racing up the ladder. Rey flung himself around the ladder, essentially hitting a 619 to knock Eddy off and he climbed the last few rungs to retain the belt. After the bout, Eddy appeared concerned about an unconscious Chavo and tried to wake him up as we cut backstage.

Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.

Backstage, Mean Gene interviewed Harlem Heat, who promised to win the tag belts. Booker said he was tired of the Blackhearts running roughshod over WCW and it ends tonight.

The challengers came out first, followed by the champion Blackhearts. Booker again did most of the heavy lifting while Stevie Ray made a hot tag and cleared house. The match quickly got out of control and Stevie ended up outside the ring. Booker tried to go make the save, but was stopped by the ref. The Blackhearts tried to use a title belt to knockout Stevie, but Stevie caught the belt and used to on both Neidhart and Smith. Stevie rolled Smith, who was not the legal man into the ring and quickly made a tag to Booker. Booker hit a book end and made the cover to win the belts.

Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat

Post match, Smith and Neidhart argued with the referee. The ref refused to change his decision and was met with a Hart Attack by the Blackhearts before Harlem Heat were able to make the save.

Next, Chris Jericho made a grand entrance, acting like a rock star and really getting crowd heat. Harts entrance drew a mixed response. The two Canadian stars put together a very great technical match. There were a number of suplexes, reversals, and mat wrestling techniques employed. Hart gained several near falls and even countered an attempted superkick into a Sharpshooter, but the Lionheart made it to the ropes. Hart began a vicious assault, and Owen Hart came down to "spectate". Jericho never could get back into the match up as Hart tossed him around with ease. Jericho finally hit a drop kick and suddenly Owen came up on the apron. Owen yelled something to his brother and appeared to be cheering him on. Jericho looked at Owen confusedly as the two locked up again. Jericho took control and it appeared that Owen was trying to distract Jericho as he did everything he could to win the belt. Jericho tossed Bret off the apron near Owen and Owen didn't budge. Jericho went for the superkick again and missed, nearly hitting the referee.

The referee scolded Jericho, and Owen finally made his move. He grabbed his brother by the back of the hair and pulled. Bret tried to break free but couldn't. The ref turned around as Owen released and dropped to the floor, but the damage was done. A Jericho superkick landed square to the chin of the Champion. Jericho went for the pin and it appeared we would have a new champion. Hart managed to kickout at 2 and the combatants went back into battle. Hart set up Jericho for a second Sharpshooter and the challenger was able to hit a low blow, dropping Hart. Jericho followed that up with a Lionsault and then stomped away at the mid section and legs. Jericho then went for a Liontamer. Hart fought the maneuver but Jericho finally got it cinched in. Hart was trapped and had no choice but to tap.

Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Chris Jericho

After the match, Owen Hart, Davey Smith and Jim Neidhart joined Jericho in the ring. The four stood over the lifeless body of Bret and mocked him as UnCensorEd 1998 went off the air.

WCW presents: UnCenSOrEd results
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Kidman (c) d. Raven (if Raven Wins, he gets to choose the next champion)
WCW Television Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) d. Eddy Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero
WCW Tag Team Championship: Harlem Heat d. The Blackhearts (c)
3 on 3 tag team match: The Wolfpack d. The Four Horsement
Owen Hart d. Ric Flair
Sting d. Vampiro
WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Chris Jericho d. Bret Hart (c)
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·

WCW December 1998​

Chris Jericho’s surprise win created the shot in the arm that WCW needed in their dog fight with the World Wrestling Federation to control the wrestling world. Eric Bischoff’s return to work was met with little resistance, because much had changed. Bischoff was now part of a “three headed monster” controlling WCW’s business and creative teams, which limited the former czar’s power. Bischoff would have to work with Terry Taylor and Kevin Sullivan and that balance made many in the dressing room happy.

The other reason that the backstage area had calmed greatly was because Bischoff had actually followed through with his plan of pushing the younger stars in WCW. Jericho’s rise from Cruiserweight face to main even heel was complete and he was the most hated and despised man in the company going into the first Nitro after UnCensorEd. Jericho came to the ring with his new stablemates, The Blackhearts and Owen Hart and defiled the good name of Bret “The Shartman” Hart. Jericho continued to berate the former Champion and called his forthcoming reign “a sight to be seen.” Bret Hart came out onto the apron and cut a promo on everyone in the ring about how much they had meant to him throughout his career…except Jericho. He called Jericho a “slimeball” and a “coward.” Hart promised that Jericho would regret winning that title because he “doesn’t have what it takes to hold onto it or the guts to go toe to toe with the best.” Jericho disagreed and said that he would take on Bret Hart anywhere anytime, but not tonight. Hart said that was fine, because Hart had more pressing needs. He wanted to challenge his brother to a match. He said that he was tired of dealing with Owen constantly interfering in his matches, trying to prove a point.

Dusty Rhodes came out, alongside Hart and said that if he grants that match Hart would be forfeiting his rematch clause for the WCW World Heavyweight Title at Starrcade. Hart agreed, because getting his hands on Owen was his main focus right now, and he doesn’t want to go into a title match with his focus not squarely on that belt. Dusty made the match for Starrcade and decided it would be contested in a submission match. Owen agreed to the terms, but only if the match was a no DQ matchup. Dusty and Bret agreed and Dusty said he would have to decide what to do about the World Title going forward.

Later that night, Dusty came up with the idea to have a 8-man Ladder match to determine the next Number One Contender for the WCW World Title. The participants he chose were Raven, DDP, Scott Hall, Chris Benoit, The Giant, Scott Steiner, Ric Flair…. And GOLDBERG! The Beast stormed to the ring and posed while the crowd roared in anticipation. The following week, the ladder match was quite the spectacle, going nearly 1 hour and including many high spots, chair smashes and broken tables. Diamond Dallas Page and the Giant went at each other like rabid dogs, and this appeared to set up yet another match between the two. Scott Steiner and Scott Hall victimized Flair and Benoit, but all four had separate chances to grab the envelope hanging above the ring. Goldberg had the defining moment in the match, clearing the ring of 5 men at the same time and climbing the ladder the grab the folder and the title shot at Starrcade.

The following three weeks were a game of cat and mouse, much like the previous Goldberg/Jericho encounters. Jericho talked about how he had now beaten Goldberg twice, once at Souled Out and then again at Halloween Havoc. Jericho said he had the psychological advantage, especially over a man who didn’t speak. Goldberg finally agreed to do an in-ring interview, but only if Jericho were there with him. Goldberg stumbled over his words as he got Jericho to lean in real close to berate him, and the Goldberg grabbed the Champion by the neck and threw him around like a rag doll. Jericho’s revenge was to use his Blackheart cohorts to grab Goldberg, but Harlem Heat stopped the group and set up a 4 on 4 tag team match with only 1 week remaining until Starrcade. Bret Hart, Goldberg, Booker T and Stevie Ray took on Jericho, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart. The match was another show stealer and ended with Jericho hitting Goldberg with the World Title and the Beast taking the shot and it not even slowing him down.

Bret and Owen Hart had several “warm up matches” in the weeks leading into their match, with Owen and Bret making liberal use of the Sharpshooter against several jobbers. Owen talked about how his father had never seen Bret as “good enough” and vowed to again prove that he was the best of the Hart Foundation. Bret’s rebuttal was short sweet and to the point each time “I am the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be” and said that he was the best technical wrestler in the world. The had limited interaction in the tag team match, with Owen tagging out each time the two were about to lock up. After the match broke down, Owen tried to take out Bret from behind, but Booker T saved The Hitman and the whole match turned into an all-out brawl.

The Tag Team Championship rematch was scheduled for Starrcade, with Booker T and Stevie Ray set to defend against The Blackhearts. The four again had several singles matches that did little to build other than make Harlem Heat look like major underdogs and their title win look like a fluke. Bulldog took every opportunity to remind the fans that Harlem Heat hadn’t pinned the right guy and had taken advantage of “poor refereeing” and after a singles match, Smith delivered a running powerslam to an official and said that “it was ok that it wasn’t the right one” that he attacked. Dusty Rhodes said if they touched another official they would forfeit their rematch, and Smith obliged but said that the next issue they have with a decision in the ring, the Blackhearts wouldn’t be targeting referees, but instead the commissioner of WCW, Rhodes himself.

Vampiro had a shocking moment on Nitro, wheeling the coffin he had drug Sting from the arena from, to the ring. He then cut a promo about how Sting is not good enough anymore and it was time for a change. There is a new Dark Warrior. He promised to give Sting a proper burial, and he had invited people to pay their final respects. The lights went out and lightning struck inside the arena. When the lights came back on, the coffin was open and it was revealed to be empty. Vamprio looked shocked as he looked around the arena in fear. The following week, Vamprio had a match against Rey Mysterio Jr that if he won, he would be challenger for the TV title at Starrcade, but when it appeared that Vamprio would defeat Mysterio, the lights went out in the arena and again lightning struck. When the lights came back on, Vampiro was laid out and a single crow sat on the apron of the ring. Mysterio covered and ruined Vampiro’s title shot.

The next Nitro, Vamprio called out Sting to no avail. He challenged him to a match at Starrcade and said that if he was still Sting, he would be there and if he wasn’t he is just a coward. Vampiro even said that he was going to leave the lights off for him every night and wait for the Sting to re-appear. Lightning struck again inside the arena and Vampiro began to laugh maniacally.

The Horsemen and Wolfpack feud continued, with Buff Bagwell now a member of the Wolfpack. The Wolfpack mocked the Horsemen on Nitro with Hall playing Ric Flair, complete with a white wig. Bagwell played Rick Rude, referring to himself and Ravishing in every sentence. Scott and Rick Steiner portrayed Benoit and Malenko by walking around on their knees and not saying anything. The real Horsemen came to defend their honor and Flair became so angry that he challenged the Wolfpack to a match he called his own creation, WarGames. The Wolfpack accepted and the two had a few matches to determine who would have the advantage, which the Wolfpack won when Hall defeated Chris Benoit in a really good Nitro match.

Diamond Dallas Page and the Giant agreed to a Last Man Standing match at Starrcade, which was Raven’s suggestion to Page. Raven named several different stipulations from his “perch” in the corner, all of which DDP rejected. Raven said that Page had walked right into his trap and that now the Giant would end DDP’s reign as the “People’s Champion” because the people obviously don’t know what’s good for them. Raven made it his mission to soften up DDP and the two had a match on Nitro which The Giant interfered and attempted to knockout DDP with a stiff right hand, but Page ducked and hit a nasty Diamond Cutter and then nailed Raven as well, before hightailing it from the ring to avoid further Flock interference. Raven promised The Giant that the Flock would end the year on top and that he would be making sure that Page was unconscious at the end of their match “one way or another.” Page questioned why Raven couldn’t “do it” and had to have “others do his dirty work,” but the Flock trusted their leader more than anticipated and didn’t even bat an eye at Page’s questioning of Raven’s leadership, or lack thereof.

The already convoluted Guerrero family saga took another drastic change. Chavo and Eddy appeared to be headed for a singles match to prove which Guerrero was the best, but that quickly changed. Eddy was overly concerned as he wheeled his cousin around in a wheelchair. Eddy earned the Television title match at Starrcade by defeating Hugh Morris, Disco Inferno and Mortis, with help from his “injured” cousin, who suddenly stood up and smashed Inferno in the face with a chair allowing Eddy to hit a frog splash. Eddy and Chavo then vowed to take over the WCW “title by title” and Chavo announced his intentions to win the Cruiserweight title. Dusty said that Chavo would have to prove himself and placed him in a match against Juventud Guerrero, which the now focused and vicious Guerrero easily won. Rhodes then forced Chavo to face a randomly selected cruiserweight to earn the “number one Contendership” to Kidman’s belt. Kidman watched as Raven’s “handpicked” cruiserweight for the Flock made his debut, Christopher Daniels. He was a highly unpolished high flyer, but took some crazy bumps to put over Chavo and Kidman not only got attacked by the Flock, who left him for dead on the ramp, but Eddy soon attacked him to “ensure the Guerrero advantage.”

A smaller storyline going on was the sudden re-emergence of Quadriple Q, the Triple H parody, who was used frequently throughout the month. Stevie Richards was still used as a jobber, but post match, he was increasingly aggressive toward his bodyguard, France. Q cut a terrible promo on Nitro about how he was the future-ah of professional-ah wrestling-ah, but was grabbed by the much smaller France and given a double underhook facebuster and left laid out in the ring. This would be Richards’ last appearance as he was to be repackaged.

December shaped out to be really riveting TV and fared well against the WWF, narrowly winning 3 head to head match-ups and losing another close one as WWF did the go-home show for their December PPV “Armageddon” which featured Mankind vs The Rock for their version of the World Heavyweight Title. Backstage, the mood continued to be very good at WCW. The missing Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash had smoothed over an unsettled group and allowed the creative team to follow their plans without the issues of “creative control” and crippling salaries. Eric Bischoff had one more hurdle to overcome with WCW and that was the PPV situation. Turner Broadcasting owned the company that aired the Pay-Per-Views and would pay WCW a small fee to run the show, and keep the remaining profits. These made the WCW profits at the end of the year appear much smaller than they actually were. In 1998, it appeared as if WCW was on pace to break even, despite nearly 260 million dollars in revenue. This was due to the fact that the PPV buys weren’t direct income, and the contracts of Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger and Kevin Nash crippled WCW’s new “payscale” throughout the year.

Bischoff’s plan was the lower the amount of PPV’s WCW ran in 1999 in hopes they could raise the fee in 2000 and that coupled with the lowered payroll would make WCW’s profit margins much more resemble the actual figures. Time Warner (Turner’s “parent” company) had tried to force the second “A” show onto WCW, and had actually aired several promotional commercials for “Thursday Night Thunder” but Bischoff felt that Thunder should be a “B” show, a one hour showcase for the Cruiserweights and Television Titles. Turner was unsure of this, and seemed poised to replace Bischoff with someone who would follow orders and double the workload. Turner’s thought process revolved around the fact that WCW was running house shows during the week from Wednesday to Saturday in smaller towns to increase merchandise sales and create buzz in the smaller markets.


Starrcade 1998 card:
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Billy Kidman © vs Chavo Guerrero
WCW Tag Team Championship: Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray and Booker T) © vs The Blackhearts (Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart)
Vampiro vs Sting
Last Man Standing Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs The Giant
WCW Television Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Eddy Guerrero
No Disqualification, Submission Match: Bret Hart vs Owen Hart
WarGames: The Four Horsmen (Chris Benoit, Ric Flair, Rick Rude, Dean Malenko) vs The Wolfpack (Scott Hall, Scott Steiner, Rick Steiner, Biff Bagwell)
WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Chris Jericho © vs Goldberg
 
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