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Happy Fingerpoke Of Doom Day!

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Twenty years, lads. Twenty years.

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"Anyone remember WCW?"

I mentioned recently the Goldberg loss. That was the beginning of the end for me. The fingerpoke added to it. Because I'll always think that beating Goldberg and then restarting the nWo in 1999 was the last thing anyone wanted or needed from WCW.

The SCG lads through their timeline have done a good job of pointing out that it wasn't an immediate thing. The Flair/Hogan double turn and then the Kevin Nash booking spree would see ratings plummet throughout the first half of 1999 but this was still a massive WTF moment for a company that had been "getting away with it" for a long time.

Thoughts on the fingerpoke? Anyone think it wasn't that bad?

Anyone think that beating Goldberg could have been OK if you didn't do this? What would you then do with Hogan though?

Fond memories of WCW in 1999? A pretty terrible year all in but Spring Stampede that year was a good last hurrah and I always liked any tag matches that had Benoit/Raven/DDP/Kanyon/etc in them.

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At the time, didn’t disagree with either. Nash was cool as fuck and you can only have guys win for so long. If they had used fingerpoke angle to then get nwo back to being elite guys then it could have been a path to a story to the next starrcade as Goldberg wins his way back to facing hogan. But instead they kept the original B team around and then the world just fell to shit around everything. 

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The fingerpoke angle, on paper, isn't all that terrible. It's one of those things that, in the bubble of the writers' room, probably sounded great, but in context completely falls down - it pisses away months of booking, and it's a big "same old shit" klaxon to an audience hungry for change.

Similarly with beating Goldberg - it had to happen, and doing so in a way to get heat on a major heel makes the most sense. No one can stay unbeaten forever, and they can pivot from the undefeated Goldberg to Goldberg hellbent on revenge, which should have been a great story. But, again, coupled with the "same old shit" of an nWo rehash when the original nWo had long since outstayed its welcome, it wasn't going to work.

Like @Louch said, it could have worked if it was a reset button on the nWo - Hogan and Nash saying "fuck all this in-fighting, we're Kevin Nash and Hulk fucking Hogan, let's cut the excess weight and remind people why the nWo mattered". If they'd cut the fat and kept the nWo as Hogan, Nash, Hall and Steiner, they might have been on to something, but you still had Stevie Ray, Virgil and Horace knocking about in nWo colours.

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Also the 20th anniversary of Tony Schiavone’s infamous “That’s gonna put some butts in the seats” line, which I didn’t realise was on the same edition of Nitro until Wikipedia-ing it.

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It always feels like a gigantic retcon to me when people claiming to be giant fans of WCW at the time say that they knew this was the beginning of the wheels falling off and things were going to turn to shit. The night I saw this I thought it was lining up a clear and purposeful direction - Goldberg smashing through the six "elite" nWo reformed members one by one en route back to Hogan - instead of the civil war which had just kind of meandered to a standstill with Goldberg just hovering around just kind of "there" despite being World Heavyweight Champion. When they announced Goldy v Scott Hall for Souled Out this kind of confirmed (temporarily) that they knew what they were doing and I thought it was a great idea to give reign number 2 for Billiam a proper and coherent build now that they were hanging their hat on him as opposed to first time around where they spunked away his big night at the Georgia Dome with four days build.

What SHOULDNT be lost however, regardless of what you thought of the actual television angle itself, is the awful bait and switch of reneging on the Nash/Goldberg rematch on the same night they criticized the competition's booking on air, and the fact it capped off a truly dreadful episode of Nitro.

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9 minutes ago, air_raid said:

It always feels like a gigantic retcon to me when people claiming to be giant fans of WCW at the time say that they knew this was the beginning of the wheels falling off and things were going to turn to shit.

Just to be clear, my view on this is always with hindsight. At the time, I thought it was eye-rolly but I didn't sit and think that a company doing the ratings, buyrates and attendances of WCW was going down the plug hole because an angle was shit. Looking back though, these are the moments where I think the interest started to wain, the ills of the previous two years started to bite and more potently, the wear and tear on Bischoff and the booking really started to show. He didn't have a second idea after the nWo. Nothing. And neither did anyone who followed him.

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I always felt like the biggest problem with WCW in 1999 was that the format of their TV production started to become increasingly stale. When you're hot, you're hot and certainly when you watch that first Nitro of the year you see a promotion that's losing its mind a bit but that still had 34,788 paid butts filling out the Georgia Dome. The cast was huge, the licensing was good and the business was hot enough to support two massive promotions. If you modernised the TV like they done around the time of the New Blood angle a year later and had at least a few logical big match PPV builds ticking away at any one time, that company's downward trajectory would have been a lot less drastic. Never mind stupid shit like finger poking, and Schiavone spoiling the Foley thing. It was stupid, but only Mick Foley made out like it was one of the things that took the company to the gallows on that Monday Night Wars tape. 

In addition to the creative maladies that plagued the organisation, 1999 really sticks out for me as being the year with the three hour Nitro shows that really dragged. A suffocating, airless, supermarket-lit world of grey crash mats, grey rings, bad theme tunes, stock overused camera pans, weirdly placed segments, no forward momentum, and no real sense of their being a backstage ecosystem. Just a tepid, exhausted procession of talented acts in the same place each week and the type of shitty acts that made it look like a tribute show to the real deal over on USA. Hacksaw, Disco Inferno, Brian Knobs. The kind of gaudy parade of nonsense my dad still thinks wrestling is. The kind of thing that reminds you of how other media depict wrestling when they show all these flabby, liver spotted, jingoistic carnival acts. You know adverts on TV during the 90s boom that tried to cash in on the wrestling buzz, only thought that it permanently looked like Apollo Creed's entrance in Rocky IV? That was WCW in 1999. No wonder we thought Gangrel and Val Venis were so cool at the time. 

Edited by Gay as FOOK

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3 minutes ago, Gay as FOOK said:

Disco Inferno

Step lightly m8

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Wasn't the plan to actually do that? 

Goldberg has to go through all the nWo members to get back to Hogan the following year but Goldberg then got injured as did a number of others which shelved it? 

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If you're Kevin Nash speaking 20 years later, then it all went to pot cos Goldberg got injured.

The double turn fucked it, and Big Bill ended up dicking around with Bam Bam. He then ended up tagging with the two blokes who fucked him about 3 months later.

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On 1/5/2019 at 9:59 AM, JakeRobertsParoleOfficer said:

Wasn't the plan to actually do that? 

Goldberg has to go through all the nWo members to get back to Hogan the following year but Goldberg then got injured as did a number of others which shelved it? 

It’s a Kevin Nash lie. Goldberg got injured a year later during another nWo reformation.

The whole thing with Starrcade 98 and the finger poke did seem like a setup for a proper Goldberg vs nWo feud, and that could’ve been good, but it just never happened. I don’t remember what Nash’s justification was, either. Did he explain the next week why he didn’t want the belt?

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At the time I remember watching it, I wasn't against it. Nash was over and was getting huge ovations and I was generally looking forward to see how Goldberg would get his revenge.  A few magazines were criticial of the angle and felt it made the world title seem worthless. Again, at the time I thought it was exactly the same as the HBK, Triple H spot on Raw in late 1997 and WCW was just going for a shock angle.

Twenty years later, knowing what we know and the fact that Goldberg didn't plough his way through the NWO, it seems like a waste of time with no actual payoff. 

Was the Fingerpoke of Doom to blame for WCW's demise? No, it wasn't even the start of the demise. In my opinion the end started when WCW fucked up the Hogan and Sting main event the year earlier. From there it snowballed, from the piss poor booking of Bret Hart, to hiring Warrior, to the god awful storylines of 1999, in which there is far too many to list.

Edited by Abe_Knuckleball_Schwartz

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Also 20 years since Foley got all upset at Tony Schiavone for doing what he was told. Foley, a man who got his head battered in by chairs a few weeks later because the promoter wanted him to, got all pissed off that a commentator said something he boss wanted him to say. What a fanny.

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