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Old 07-02-2018, 11:45 AM   #1
hb2k
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Rebooking WCW from July 1998

So for this week's podcast, we're attempting the massive task of Rebooking WCW from July 1998 (after the Georgia Dome Nitro and Bash at the Beach), and would love to get your thoughts on what you'd have done to try and steer the company at a point when the Monday Night War was still neck and neck.

If you had to take control in July 1998, what moves would you make at this pivotal time to prevent the fall that was? You have Goldberg as the new champion, a enormous roster filled with established star power, future superstars and underneath fodder to work with - what would be your priorities? Who would you push? Who would you de-emphasise and how? What feuds and angles would you put together to counter the rising momentum of the WWF? How do you deal with Hogan and the Hollywood/Wolfpac angle which is in full swing? How would you bring back Flair? And most key of all, what would you have on the docket for Starrcade in December?

As always, we will be reading the best contributions on the show and you'll be credited accordingly. So what would you have done as of July 1998?





Crazy Like A Fox - The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later
**Featuring interviews with members of the Pillman family, Dave Meltzer, Kim Wood, Raven, Jim Cornette, Mark Madden, Shane Douglas, Mark Coleman, Alex Marvez, Les Thatcher and many more close friends and colleagues**
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:53 AM   #2
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Lightning Foot Jerry Flynn. All day, everyday.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:49 PM   #3
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July 98? It was already too late. December 97 is when its cancer became terminal.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:54 PM   #4
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Hogan/ Rodman vs DDP/ Malone was a really big get for WCW as far as crossover potential. Maybe they didnt execute it as well as they could, but the idea was huge.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:04 PM   #5
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Bring over Tommy Dreamer from ECW, have him end Goldbergs streak and then enter into a long feud with Lightning Foot Jerry Flynn.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:11 PM   #6
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You gimmick steamer!
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:18 PM   #7
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I tuned out around the time the finger poke of doom happened.

If I could rebook one thing I would still have both nWo factions come together, have Nash brag that he beat goldberg and if any nWo member can't beat goldberg they are out.

Goldberg tears through the nWo until its down to Nash and Hogan, end it with a triple threat or something, Goldberg wins and gets the title back.

I would also cancel Thunder.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Vic View Post
I tuned out around the time the finger poke of doom happened.

If I could rebook one thing I would still have both nWo factions come together, have Nash brag that he beat goldberg and if any nWo member can't beat goldberg they are out.

Goldberg tears through the nWo until its down to Nash and Hogan, end it with a triple threat or something, Goldberg wins and gets the title back.

I would also cancel Thunder.
They killed so much with that. The finger point itself wasn't bad, DX did the same thing about 13 months earlier and it worked great.

The problem was it killed the natural evolution of nWo to simply reset it to a lesser version. The nWo jobber team of like Virgil and Stevie Ray just hurt the mystique that they were trying to recapture with the big swerve.

Babyface nWo Wolfpack vs Heel nWo Hollywood should have kept them going strong for at least another year. It would have also allowed WCW guys to be real faces and heels again while not having to be in one of the nWo factions.

Goldberg was hurt not just by losing, but how badly he was booked with the whole Miss Elizabeth rape angle.

And the follow-up was horrible. I can't even remember what happened after that other than Hogan wore nWo gear that had red and white in it. There was like nothing that happened between then and when Bischoff got sent home and Russo came in and destroyed everything.
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:58 PM   #9
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Well I can't help but want to go back just a little further...

Nitro in the Dome ...


Goldberg vs Hogan for the title. As happened Goldberg beats Hall to get a shot at Hogan that night. During the main event, just before Goldberg is about to hit the spear, Hogan pulls the referee in front of him to take the blow. The ref is down, Hall comes down the aisle with a chair. Goldberg exits the ring to meet him but just as he rolls out WHAM! chair to the skull. Goldberg goes down, and gigs himself. Then he raises like The Terminator with a crimson mask, and then WHAM another shot, he gigs again, this time it's gross. Hall is about to take another shot when BAM! Spear! Hall is down. Hogan is rising to his feet in the ring Goldberg rolls in and sets up for the spear, the referee wakes up and see's the mess on Goldberg and goes to check him out. Goldberg is waving him off still focusing on hitting Hogan with the spear but the referee calls the match, too much blood. Hogan wins. Goldberg is fucked.

After Nitro in the Dome

Now the build to Hogan and Goldberg as a PPV main event at Starrcade happens. Goldberg takes lead on the battle of cutting the NWO cancer out of WCW. Each PPV he takes out another member of the NWO. First Hall, then Savage, then The Giant, amidst his search for destruction one man continues to make out unscathed when The Man comes around, Kevin Nash. Lead to....

Starrcade... the rematch from The Dome

Goldberg vs Hogan, this time in a cage. With no interference Goldberg finally squashes Hogan and takes his deserved claim as the champion of the world.

On Nitro, Hogan is pissed that nobody had his back, "IT WAS IN A CAGE" Nash proclaims, "WHAT LIKE I'M SUPPOSED TO CLIMB MY 7 FOOT ASS OVER THE TOP TO SAVE YOU?"... major problems brewing in the NWO. Goldberg takes his foot of the pedal on the NWO feud for a month or two to deal with several other rising challengers from the WCW side of things. Competition is clean and hot, they focus on having good matches with baby faces built on respect. The loser never goes down in status only up.

Spring 99

Meanwhile Nash is slowly taking control of the NWO. Hogan feeling the grip over his legion of supporters loosing, begins to lash out on the members of NWO... Until while surrounded by those he once commanded, he falls to a brutal attack lead by Kevin Nash. As the members of NWO assault Hogan with finishing moves and chair shots we see him reach out to the back as if to pray for a savoir. Cut to back stage, the WCW staples, Luger, Sting and Goldberg watch on until Goldberg can take no more, he steps to, as if he is about to rush the ring when Sting stops him by placing a hand on his shoulder, giving only a look. A look that says "you know better". Hogan takes his beating as the show is out of time.

Now we see a story where Hogan will attempt to face the NWO on his own. Knowing that he has betrayed the wrestling world he drops his gimmick and wrestles as simply Terry Bollea. He attempts to get through the ranks of NWO until he can get the leader Big Sexy Kevin Nash one on one in the ring, but it never happens. Every time he gets close he is outnumbered.

While the story of Hogan and Nash is playing out. Goldberg has been leading the main event scene "competing" with the best WCW has to offer. Bret Hart, Ric Flair, DDP, Randy Savage ... any big baby face that is not in the NWO. WCW has suffered through bullshit main events for years, now is the time to offer them something different. Goldberg's style reminds me of an AJPW Gaijin so we will embrace that and style his matches after the best of Japan. The emotional thread of Goldberg's story from January to June is he like Hogan, can never get his hands on Kevin Nash, the new leader of the NWO.

Great American Bash 99

Finally at Great American Bash we see the new mega powers form when Terry Bollea, broken and defeated by the group he has created privately announces his retirement from wrestling. The announcement is done in a segment with Mean Gene. He is in the ring and lets the world know that Terry Bollea has retired. Cue NWO who come and brag on their accomplishment. Cut to Goldberg backstage, shocked, without words he leaves the arena, gets in his car, and drives off.

Next week we are greeted by Tony and Bobby, they tell us that they do have footage of what happened when Bill Goldberg left the arena last Monday Night. When they show the footage you see that he actually went to an airport and flew to Tampa to visit Terry face to face. At that point he tells Terry that he is The Hulkster and that no matter what he's done nobody can ever take that away from him. That if he feels remorse for what he has done then there is only one way that he can redeem himself in the eyes of all the fans whose heart he broke. He can dawn the red and yellow and help him remove the NWO cancer from WCW once and for all.

Cut to the ring where we wait silently, 'HE"S AMERICAN MAAAAAAAAAAADDEEEE" blares over the speakers and the marks loose their nuts. Hulk HOGAN IS BACK! Mean Gene is losing his shit, the crowd is loosing their shit. He's back baby! He starts cutting his normal promo but before he goes long he introduces the man who brought Hulkamania back to life, the one the only Bill Goldberg! The boys hug and pump up the crowd before Mean Gene asks the question, "Bill Goldberg what do you and The Immortal Hulk Hogan have in store for NWO?"...


"Gene.... Hall, Nash... at Great American Bash... YOU'RE NEXT!"

Then at Great American Bash 99 we have Hogan and Goldberg defeat Hall and Nash. After that Goldberg beats Nash to keep the title. Hogan beats Nash in a match at will absolve the NWO from WCW forever.
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Old 07-02-2018, 08:06 PM   #10
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The heat is in the chase that is why I changed the Dome Nitro finish. Goldberg's streak was so hot but that isn't what was going to endure him for years and years to the fans. Gaining due justice and revenge for getting royally screwed at a time when he was clearly going to become champion sounds like a more compelling story than fighting off egotistical jerk offs who make dick jokes.
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Old 07-02-2018, 08:08 PM   #11
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Then you switch the heat to Hogan going for blood from the NWO and Nash while enduring Goldberg as a legit PPV main event by having him have the best matches possible with the best wrestlers in WCW, the wrap that shit up in a bow with the baby face tag team of Hogan and Goldberg. However let me enforce that at this point WCW would be booked the same way Tanahashi and Okada were booked this past year. Okada/Goldberg is the obvious lead player, Tanahashi/Hogan are unquestionable legends but will not be placed in positions to potentially overpower the true lead.
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:55 PM   #12
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Crowd: Goldberg! Goldberg! Goldberg!

Bischoff: What's that? You want to see Hogan?

Crowd: Goldberg! Goldberg!

Bischoff: The Ultimate Warrior?

Crowd: Goldberg!

Bischoff: Savage?

Your Timeline has revealed where the interest from audiences was. Goldberg was where the obvious money was. They still loved Flair. Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio had that emerging potential, if WCW wasn't where "the big boys play." Raven was interesting and doing some well-received work in the mid-card. If you could have found a way to change the mentality of the "stars" in WCW, to consider that working with these guys might have made them look good as opposed to simply guarding that spot. Mick Foley is still kind of mocked for making stars as opposed to making sure he himself was considered one at the time period. The attitude amongst talent seemed to be to make sure you got the glory. Maybe having some private chats with some clever talent, like Raven and Konnan (who was quite outspoken about company direction and got far more out of that company than talent would allow), could have allowed some strategies to be put into place in order to get the talent you need to into much better positions? Or maybe they would have just ratted you out to Nash and you'd be done? I don't know. Navigating this backstage shit is hard.

If you can convince guys like Nash that working with a guy like Eddie Guerrero can allow him to take responsibility for Eddie's success and that he can do less work and look better, maybe you have a chance?

As far as on-air direction goes: I usually hate non-title matches. But seeing as you get to book the Dome, maybe having Goldberg beat Hogan in a non-title match makes better sense for the overall direction of the company, even though I do hate non-title matches. Hogan is a chickenshit anyway, so he can say he was only in "exhibition mode," while every punter knows that Goldberg can beat Hogan. Put the heat on that chase. Starrcade seems like a long way off to do the title switch, but slowing things down is probably for the best. EDIT: I just saw you are taking the title switch. Okay. Fuck. Um. Well, people believed in Goldberg, so him as a babyface champion isn't a bad thing. In stories, your protagonist should always be active. Make sure he's the one picking the fights with the nWo and is killing them out of the company. You need a heel act swelling underneath, and Scott Steiner and Raven seem like two very different but capable acts. So no Scott losing to Rick. Raven could have provided a "thinking man's" Lex Luthor to Goldberg's Superman.

WCW seemed to have a really bad run of PPV main events during this period. Piper and Warrior in main events with Stevie Ray; celebrity involvement; also a Travis Tritt concert. If you can't magically make WCW care about Bret Hart and Ric Flair, maybe you can put them into positions with the rising talent you do want to focus on. Bret Hart with either Chris Benoit or Eddie Guerrero; Ric Flair could call bullshit on Jericho's Goldberg taunting; Raven and Perry Saturn can put a helmet on Billy Kidman at the Gold Club to get into it with DDP for stealing his idea, if only he had real friends. If that's going on while Goldberg is chewing through nWo members, maybe things have a chance of building instead of falling off a cliff?

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Old 07-03-2018, 12:06 AM   #13
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I appreciate the idea of starting this re-booking AFTER the Dome, because it's easy revisionist history to just say "save the title switch for PPV".

Also, I had only been watching wrestling for a few months when it happened - I always knew wrestling was fixed, my family told me as soon as I started watching it because they didn't want me to imitate when I saw TV - but I'll be damned if seeing Goldberg win that belt didn't have 9 year old me running around the room celebrating.

To that end, it's a tough thing for me to personally evaluate. Seeing guys like Eddie and Benoit getting pushed would've been of no interest to me at that age, and I legitimately hated Jericho (little did I know he was simply really good at his job). I loved Goldberg because he seemed larger than life. Any potential rebuild would have to keep Goldberg front and center and not turn it into a wank fest for the old guard.
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Old 07-03-2018, 12:16 AM   #14
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What I'd rack my brain about is trying to figure out who Goldberg would eventually lose his streak (and title) to. You COULD feasibly leave it as it was, but this time you actually have Goldberg go on to systematically kill the entire reunited nWo one by one before ultimately getting the belt back from Hogan amidst big build-up. But doing that means keeping in the Finger Poke of Doom which is so often cited as a point of no return for the company. Whatever story that followed it may have been irrelevant in terms of being able to swing the ratings pendulum back to WCW.

DDP was the other guy I loved at that age and he was ridiculously over, Halloween Havoc 1998 was a dream match for me and watching it back now it definitely holds up and it's pretty clearly the best match Goldberg's ever had. I'm dreaming up an alternate timeline where that match doesn't happen at Halloween Havoc. Rather, Goldberg defends successfully against someone else at that show while DDP wins World War 3 the next month. DDP and Goldberg have their Havoc match except this time the Diamond Cutter OUTTA NOWHERE that blew the roof off the building actually ends the match and solidifies DDP as another top guy.

I know that DDP was no spring chicken. He would've been 42 by this point. But he was only a few years into his career and I think positioning him and Goldberg as the top acts could've worked for a while and given you two homegrown dudes to build around. This of course ignores the many, many egos involved in WCW booking.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:51 AM   #15
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Thinking of guys that could have ended the streak: I don't expect this to feel right to anyone, but I'll actually pitch Jericho as a candidate. Not in 1998, perhaps, but if the plan is to move Jericho up to that next rung then at some point you need to get away from the idea that "Greenberg" would absolutely kill him. Jericho was a shit-load of fun (I still mark out for that weird flamingo walk he used to do in the middle of his matches), but he never felt "heavyweight." Move him into a program with Flair and hope that he gets more "bass" behind the antics. At some point, hopefully Jericho's a guy you can position to take the belt from Goldberg -- whether by savvy or outright being a cheating shit is your pick.

The streak provides an interesting conundrum: On one hand, you want the person that beats Goldberg to look like they deserve it. If it's someone getting elevated, you want them to actually look like a star for it. If someone looks "lucky" or like that it was an anomaly, then what's the point of them getting it? They look like a guy that wasn't on the level to beat Goldberg and still isn't. But if someone outright beats Goldberg, bye bye mystique.

Another idea that keeps popping into my head is either Bret Hart or Sting. Either would hopefully use that "metal plate under the jersey" gimmick, and the old vet proves that they can edge one out of Goldberg. They beat him because they're crafty; not because they're lucky. Heel Sting gets a bad rap because of the time he is associated with, but there would surely be a time and a place for a heel Sting in wrestling.

None of that feels perfectly right though. It's probably insane to be talking about Goldberg losing before the end of 1998. Maybe in parallel universes, some of these unimaginable things happened and WCW still flourishes today, because they turned out really well, but it's hard to imagine past a WCW that was so disinterested in making money with anyone past Hogan and the nWo, and was perfectly content with the mid-card being the mid-card forever and the likes of Bret Hart and Sting being cursory main eventers quickly losing their cache.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:57 PM   #16
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July 98? It was already too late. December 97 is when its cancer became terminal.
Nah, people just say that with hindsmart to try and look smart. Bash at the Beach was a massive financial success and the Georgia Dome broke records too. No one at the time was saying it was over. Only now do they say they thought it at the time.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:13 AM   #17
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Destor can speak for himself, but he's not saying he's saying that without hindsight. Hindsight or not, the case can be made that was the initial wound that would lead to people losing faith in the company. The wheels don't always fall off right away. I don't think that killed WCW, but I think it's hindsight to point that out. A lot of people were emotionally burned by the Sting thing.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:40 AM   #18
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Join Liam O'Rourke, Karl Jones, Luke Edwards and Kieran O'Rourke, as they attempt to Rebook WCW in July 1998! Tackling all the major issues of the time, the panel looks to hash out a plan to tackle the rising momentum of the WWF, one week following Goldberg's title win at the Georgia Dome. What happens to the nWo, and how do we deal with Hulk Hogan? Who on the enormous roster do we cut? Who do we push? What happens to the titles? What major matches do we build for Starrcade 1998? In addition, we have suggestions from you, the loyal listeners, on what you'd have done to keep the ship on track. An entertaining and thought-provoking show as always, check it out!

https://squaredcirclegazette.podbean..._July_1998.mp3
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:33 AM   #19
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Nah, people just say that with hindsmart to try and look smart. Bash at the Beach was a massive financial success and the Georgia Dome broke records too. No one at the time was saying it was over. Only now do they say they thought it at the time.
Are you contending that there was a singular moment that took them from being the no.1 company to bankruptcy instantaneously? Or have you just never taken a history class?

The hemorrhaging began that night and saying "they didnt say that at the time" is a statement so riddled with ignorance (and not of wrestling but the nature of history itself) that the thought of debating this just sounds painful.
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:20 AM   #20
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Hmmm what if WCW purchased ECW and put it in thunders timeslot.... hmmm
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:47 PM   #21
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Hmmm what if WCW purchased ECW and put it in thunders timeslot.... hmmm
Fans might've enjoyed Thursday nights a lot more.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:59 PM   #22
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Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)Loose Cannon got the bus to Rep Town and repped it up real bad at the rep shop (100,000+)
i loved WCW 1998. i was a mark for that entire year. the whole wolfpac vs hollywood angle was amazing as a kid watching it. Although I wish Savage had never got hurt. Him and Nash revolting was the best thing about that angle. Sting and Luger joining were pretty surreal moments as well.

I know most hated Bret's WCW run, but i thought he played the shithead heel chracter perfectly. they gave him the gimmick where he was basically injring everyone and it worked really well.

Goldberg was hot, Raven was hot, and the mid card was awesome.

I really loved the whole year, even the Warrior coming back. The match was awful though and honestly that's where things began to really fall apart for me. they should of never went Nash/Goldberg in a babyface match at Starrcade and then pretty much hit reset on the nWo the next night. Then you had Hogan coming out in a beanie and the entire nWo making Goldberg look like a dumb ass and well that was that.

But 98 WCW was one of my fav years in wrestling
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:59 PM   #23
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Good show.

* I like Goldberg losing the belt before Starrcade due to injury. I can just imagine how wonderful Bret would be in the role as champion.

* Getting rid of Hogan is great. It's true that it really freshens up everything.

* I like Bret/Nash being the blow-off to the nWo stuff, but Bret/Sting could have also worked. Bret would beat the guy who walked out of Starrcade as champion the year before. But I suppose you need to give Nash something. He had good matches with Bret in the WWF.

* Jericho and the US Title seem like a great fit. Flair going after it makes it something worth having, and while Konnan was awful in the ring at this point, giving him something feels timely considering how over he was.

* Piper feels like he is going to be used in a way that benefits the overall product with his name value, as opposed to obstructing its future.

* Ultimately, I like how it really set the table for 1999. You've got strong babyfaces, heels and stories coming out of Starrcade heading into the new year, and everything makes sense and should generally keep the power players happy. Nash and DDP can be promoted as a huge match and semi-main instead of the "get them locked out of the way" thing it is.
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