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Rebooking WCW from July 1998

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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?

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Your only hope at this point is to feed Goldberg a new challenger on PPV each month or two, try to stretch his run out as long as possible and hope Hogan gets injured or goes home before getting his win back.

They still had Sting, Luger, Steiner, DDP, Giant, Bret, Nash, Savage, Flair, Benoit and Booker that he had never faced on TV at this point and you can always bring in someone from outside like they did with Bigelow later on the year.

The nWo feud is pretty hard to book considering Hogan refused to work Nash in a singles, Sting was on his shitlist for turning down the spot as Hogan's partner and Luger had just cut a shoot promo on Thunder burying Hogan. Best thing to do is run Nash vs. Hall as quickly as possible and find the fastest plausible angle to put them back together.

The way Flair was brought back was fine, I'd keep the Bischoff match at Starrcade but change the finish obviously. 

Hogan can feud with DDP, Bret or even Piper and Warrior (he's signed by this point so its happening) if it keeps him away from Goldberg that little bit longer, if he goes back to his 96/97 deal of making movies and only showing up on Nitro every 4 weeks or so it would be a huge help.

Starrcade would include Goldberg/Sting, Hogan/Bret, Flair/Bischoff, Booker/Benoit, Giant/Rey (would have Rey win and play the clip for months since Giant's leaving) and Rey/Juvi vs. Eddie/Jericho, Not sure what to do with Nash, Hall, Konnan, Luger, DDP or Steiner but then again neither did WCW.

This is so much easier if its before that crazy 6 weeks in the spring where they turn Hall, Bret, Giant and put Sting and Luger in the Wolfpac.

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Not jobbing Wrath and Goldberg to Nash in December. I also wouldn't have turned Flair heel in 1999. You could easily have done a rematch with Goldberg/DDP down the line and I think Goldberg/Wrath could have been big if they had tried it.

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Yup. Create an assembly line of heels and just feed 'em all to Goldberg. Eric had a such a hard-on for the stars of 80s WWF, so convince him to get behind the idea that Goldberg is the new Hulk. Just run that formula 'till the wheels fall off.

Underneath, you can build credible second-tier babyfaces in the shapes of Booker, Benoit, etc.

Give Jericho his own mini-program with Bill, for fuck's sake. Let him get his shit in & get speared out of his shoes on some lesser pay-per-view.

Find a way to trim the fat within the Wolfpac. Get Nash to reunite with Hall as soon as humanly possible. Let them embrace the love that fans had been showering them with for two years by that point.

End the war between the two World Orders quickly and effectively. Make it a War Games, but keep it brief & violent. Spare Hogan by having him literally retreat from the cage like a coward, while one of his underlings surrenders in defeat.

In the aftermath, have Scott Steiner rise from the ashes of the splintered nWo Hollywood faction. Big Poppa Pump was finally putting all the pieces together with his heel act by late '98. Have him continue to wreck & ruin jobbers and mid-carders on television. Keep Bagwell in his corner as the loudmouth lackey. Buff can mug it up for the cameras and basically serve as Scotty's hype man.

As Goldberg continues to dominate as World Champeen, let Big Poppa Pump bulldoze members of the Wolfpac one by one - on his own, now detached from the nWo black & white.

The design should be to build to Steiner/Goldberg. They had a hell of a fun powerhouse sprint in real life (as late as Fall Brawl 2000), so maybe I'm banking a bit on them pulling that off here. But it's probably their best shot from what they've got.

I would keep an eye on Steiner's development and tentatively have him penciled in as "the guy" to end the streak. Pile the heat on him, carefully craft his character, and sharpen the edges along the way. If he flakes out, then have Goldberg mow him down & move on.

But if all goes right - if the stars align - then you've got a ready made monster in Big Poppa Pump. You've got a memorable moment when Goldberg finally goes down in defeat. And you've got a big money rematch that *should* have the fans lining up.

Hmm. This pitch is far from perfect, because plenty of big players are left out of this scenario. I'm not sure what you do with Bret, Sting, Luger, Flair, etc. Maybe crown one of them (Bret?) as king of the mid-card for awhile. Make them US Champ to function as sort of a gatekeeper. Bret would actually be perfect to help usher along some developing performers.

In fact, yeah. Go with Bret. When did Eddie have the accident? Because, if you can, run a program between those two for the US Title at some stage.

Keep Jericho winning with the TV Title at the same time. Plan to have them collide, possibly in '99, with Jericho targeting the Canadian hero ("You were never MY hero, Bret! I'm from Winnipeg, you stupid idiot!") and basically doing an updated hybrid of both the Malenko and Stone Cold stuff. Jericho can unleash gold on the mic, until Bret responds, and they kick off a series that ultimately serves to elevate Jericho up the card.


Konnan is a guy that probably doesn't warrant a long-term plan or whatever, but the guy *was* incrrrrredibly over at this point. I wouldn't be totally opposed to him sticking with the Wolfpac - although I'd prefer to keep that group more streamlined with three to four members only.

Flair's return with the Horsemen reunion would go unchanged. I'd continue to build the animosity with Bischoff and play that up heading into Starrcade. Have Eric try to strut & peacock around on television at first - basically lifting the stuff he was doing when he challenged Vince at Slamboree. Then, as Starrcade approaches, Eric's true colors bleed through & he begins to crawfish away from the challenge entirely.

Instead, Bischoff seeks legal advice or whateverthefuck - which gets us to the revelation that Eric has actually decided that The Giant will accept the match and wrestle in his place. Giant is obviously on his way out, so this sets him up for his final program.

Flair rejects the offer at first & reiterates that he only wants to get his hands on Bischoff - Ric won't even consider "wrestling" anyone until he FIGHTS Bischoff.

But then the Giant targets his fellow Horsemen, attacking Arn off screen or Benoit backstage or whatever. Giant puts resident PWO guilty pleasure Mongo out for good. Finally, the Nature Boy has had enough & accepts on one condition - he'll get his fight with Bischoff if he can beat the Giant.

Now there's no guarantee the match will be anything stellar, but I'm optimistic they could put together something. I'd sit Giant down and show him Vader/Flair '93 as the blueprint to build from, then just hope it comes relatively close enough. Basically the Giant batters & ragdolls Ric for the majority of the match, until Naitch fires up and ultimately takes out the knee to earn a decisive win.

Post-match consists of Flair ripping Eric to shreds. Bischoff's a bloody mess, his clothes are tattered & torn, and Slick Ric is slicker than owl shit & in top form on this night.

I can't decide what to do with Raven following the Flock disbanding. Originally, I thought to go to the often speculated Sting program. But nah. That one can wait. First up I'd remove him from TV until Starrcade has come & gone. Then he shows up in some dramatic fashion and sets his sights on the Nature Boy himself.

This is around the time Flair is bringing David in, etc. I'd have Raven taunt Flair's legacy, his lavish lifestyle, and basically just do Raven shit - rattling off the numerous ways Ric has embodied the seven deadly sins or some shit. Get them in a cage. Illustrate some iconic images & stamp those visuals into people's minds. Let Raven tie or cuff Flair to the cage and beat him unmercifully in front of David or whatever. Maybe use this as a vehicle to briefly bring Hot Rod back into the mix as Flair's grizzled buddy cop.

Eventually, Piper or Flair can make the discovery that Raven actually comes from a wealthy family & is just a spoiled kid doing the grunge deal. This embarrasses and unhinges Raven further, which (down the road) sets him up to possibly cross paths with Sting - obviously dependent on whether any of this wacky shit gets over or not.

Kidman looked like money for a short time there after the Flock split. Run with him as the new Cruiserweight king for awhile. Keep Rey actively involved as a friendly rival, allowing them to dip in & out of the tag division as they eventually did in real life.

I would try to create the Jersey Triad earlier, if possible. Have Page turn immediately after a loss to Goldberg. Use that as the catalyst to bring in Bigelow, and just develop it from there. Give them the tag belts fast, and let them fend off a laundry list of hungry baby face teams. This scenario could offer a direct contrast to Goldberg dominating up top.

I'd run an angle with Lex, who was super over just a year prior. Try to recapture a bit of that glory by having him go on another "Rack the world!" spree. He continually racks the Triad members in singles matches and assorted ten man or six man tags - but never in title match situations, because he has no reliable, consistent partner. It's a revolving door in Lex's corner.

Rick Steiner. Wrath. Curt Hennig. Whoever. They all fall short. Sting has returned to his brooding ways in the rafters. Luger, having exhausted his options and feeling increasingly frustrated, turns to his longtime best friend in the business. But, for weeks on end, he receives no response.

Eventually, maybe in World War 3, there's an extended beat down segment where the Triad overwhelm & brutalize Lex. Then the music hits. The lights dim. Sting storms the scene & cleans house. Reunite the original Big Boys of WCW and book their shot at the tag belts.

... Still nothing for Warrior. Or Hogan really. Or various others. But hey. It's a general outline & somewhere to start.

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I'm prepared to let Hogan walk before the end of the year. That's #1 right off the bat. With his creative control and political bullshit, he's too much of a liability, and if he goes to the WWF maybe he submarines The Rock, Foley, or does us all a favor by submarining HHH. Hulk's ego is at it's peak, and the woodster has effectively worn out a lot of the audience with his act.

I'd build to Hogan vs. Goldberg at Halloween Havoc, telling old Terry that we would do a third match at Starrcade where he could soundly defeat Goldberg and turn babyface not long after.. Then I wouldn't do it, wouldn't use him and let him jump ship to Vince. If Terry sniffs out the plan and doesn't play ball, then book him in a program vs. Scott Steiner or just let Steiner trash him constantly on TV until he quits, crying. Pushing out Hogan at this point would probably clean up a number of the locker room obedience issues too.

Right now Goldberg is the most red hot guy in the company. You've got to keep feeding him challengers until he actually cools off, and only when he's actively not drawing do you even think about beating him or turning him. If he can beat Hogan again at Havoc, great, if not I'd go DDP because this year and period is about as over as DDP would ever be. Scott Steiner seems like a good opponent to build to for a Starrcade match. He's too beaten up and old to be the guy to end the streak, imo, if you're going to end it, it needs to be somebody who has really been climbing up the card...which brings us to...

In terms of talent to start moving up the card, the three obvious ones are Jericho, Eddie, and Benoit. I think I've got to plan for 1999 though for them set up as main event headliners. Benoit and Bret should be put into a program, seeing as they worked shortly before this on Nitro, but I'd book it like the Austin-Bret program, where Benoit  has good showings for himself, but it takes him awhile before he beats Bret. Maybe as far out as Superbrawl before Benoit wins. Benoit can beat all the worthless overpaid "big" guys along the way--the Scott Norton's, Buff Bagwell's, Stevie Ray's, and Rick Steiner's of the world--as he steadily gains credibility. Curt Hennig could be a good mini-TV program to have with Benoit as well until the Bret mountain becomes his main focus. If you want Benoit to be a heel, there's also the option of him beating the shit out of Flair starting a feud vs. the horsemen.

My plan for Eddie would be to build him up as a heel, and then eventually see if I could turn him babyface as his personality continues to develop as a way to capitalize on the latino market. I'd tentatively slot him vs. Konnan, since Konnan was over around this time. And give him a program with DDP for whatever the november ppv would be (not WW3) and Starrcade where Eddie goes over.

For some reason, I think a Jericho and Sting program would be fun to do in the fall, as Jericho transitions out of the cruisers, if old Sting has to take a sabbatical--doing some kind of injury angle with Jericho could be extremely fun. (I don't think Jericho would even have to beat Sting necessarily but maybe he's ahead 80/20 in the match, Sting pulls it out at the end because Jericho makes a mistake, then Jericho throws a temper tantrum and puts Sting on the shelf, which sets up a big program for Jericho on Sting's return.) I'd follow that up with Jericho vs. Piper with Jericho winning, and then Jericho should be established enough to do a solid Goldberg program in early 1999 after Goldberg has fended off Steiner. 

I'd also start wrapping up the NWO angle, ending it at Havoc after the NWO is teetering having also lost at Wargames right before. Hall and Nash can re-unite as a team and return as babyfaces maybe after being out of the company for 4-6 weeks following the end of the NWO angle. As for Flair, I actually like him returning and being one of the guys to end the NWO. So maybe get him to come back early, the horsemen beat the nwo at the wargames. Then Flair also beats Bischoff at Havoc, which effectively is the ppv where the nwo gets dominated and the angle ends.

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First off, Hogan's NWO starts crumbling after the Goldberg loss.  There is dissension, losses by the undercard members all over the place with Hogan getting pissed and starting to clean house until it is down to him, Scott Steiner and maybe a few others.  Hall has his showdown with Nash and they rejoin forces in short order.  Goldberg beats  Scott Steiner after a good build. Hogan and Bischoff just walk away from the whole damn thing in disgust.  Bischoff remains the evil dictator, now relying on his position instead of the NWO.

Wolfpack keeps going a bit after the Hall defection, but it becomes clear that Sting, Lex and the rest are second class citizens after Hall is back in the fold.  The Outsiders gt the tag belts and start lording them over the rest of the group before finally turning heel by attacking Sting/Lex in a big tag match (of course it looks like they mean to attack the opponents first).  Which sets up Sting and Lex for a tag title feud.

Goldberg would get high level opponents, probably Sting and Luger before the above scenario, which would be the start of the wedge driven between Nash/Hall and Sting/Lex.  Hogan would probably feud with Bret after the dissension started in the B&W NWO and I could see him ordering gang beatings of guys after they didn't get the job done against Bret as well.  Have him turn into a ruthless bastard who can't handle failure after all of his success.

While all of this is going on DDP would get his Goldberg feud and use that loss (he got a lot of momentum from that) as a springboard to get the U.S. title.  Feed him heels that can dish out a convincing beating to keep the mystique of the Diamond Cutter going on and build him to a main event spot.  Bret would be hanging around the upper midcard/main event scene after the Hogan feud.  I could see him feuding with Nash/Hall eventually due to their admitted history.  Giant and Savage would have to be used as well, but keep them far away from Hogan.  Piper and Warrior are tough, but you can probably get something out of both.  Warrior can keep Hogan busy for a while if Bret isn't willing or work with Savage.  Piper could be a nice surprise partner for Bret against Hall & Nash.

One thing I would absolutely do.  Faces of Fear are your new gatekeeers to the main event.  Put the tag titles on them after Sting/Lex and let them run with it.  Keep Jimmy Hart as only their manager.

On the midcard front, Harlem Heat need to keep a lot of momentum and work towards a feud with whoever the tag champs are.  They can hold the belts for a while, always one of the more over teams in WCW and the next best home grown team behind the Steiners.  Get Dean Malenko a gimmick that allows him to show the charisma and sense of humor everyone attributes to him backstage.  Maybe the fans can get behind him a little bit.  You've got a good core of experienced midcard guys in Malenko, Eddie, Benoit, Jericho, Saturn (a little bit of a drop in ability, but still good) and Disco if you ever let him be more than a buffoon.  Booker and Stevie Ray taking time to do singles runs in between tag feuds (when they aren't champs) would work well.  Rick Steiner has always been over and he could work in this mix too.  Scott Norton as a credible upper midcard monster would be great, but he'd have to spend some time on the midcard first.

Cruiserweights would stay in largely the same role.  Maybe trim the fat with these guys some.  They are a great addition to the show, but having more than 10 or 12 at a time is excessive.

Bringing back Flair is done exactly as it was on night 1.  Easily my favorite Nitro moment ever and if they had capitalized on it we wouldn't be having this conversation.  

More to that point, we are cutting Nitro down to 2 hours (or keeping it there) and Thunder only gets 1 hour.  Guys like Virgil, Hugh Morrus and Bagwell are gone.  Basically trim down all the guys we have zero need for/won't play ball/don't have us bent over.  Maybe some sensible contract extensions.  Alex Wright makes the job squad and he can work his way to a midcard spot.  We're shutting down the Powerplant or making it worthwhile.  If we sign a big name, we have a gimmick in mind and several feuds to start them off with before hand.  One person is in charge and everyone knows it (once creative control is dealt with).

One thing I think we don't consider is that Hogan didn't have WCW over the barrel as much as they thought.  Do you really think Vince was going to hand Hogan creative control?  I have serious doubts about that, even in the middle of a war.  Vince had to know how much of a poison that was in WCW and would be in his locker room.  So my feeling is Hogan would have found some difficulty sticking it to WCW the way he would have wanted to and had to reconsider his options.

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This is actually the hardest rebooking project to think about just because the roster is so stacked and top heavy. That being said I would actually build to Goldberg/Hogan 2 at Starrcade. Whilst I think that having their first match on PPV instead of free tv would have made for a monster buy rate, there is a still a hell of a lot of money in the rematch. It’s still at this point possibly the biggest match you have. 

Goldberg should be built as the main man in the meantime, beating Giant, Hall, Nash etc in PPVs leading to the DDP match at Halloween Havoc and then the Hogan match at Starrcade. Giant, Hall and Nash make for perfectly good gatekeeper defences until Bret, Sting and Flair can be built up for bigger matches in 1999. 

For me, the NWO civil war angle didn’t really have a conclusive blow-off. To say that the nWo became bloated over the course of their run is an understatement. I would actually bring the formation of the NWO supergroup that happened the following January forward by having the Wolfpac (Nash, Sting, Savage and Luger) vs Hollywood (Hogan, Hall, Steiner and Giant) at War Games to finish the feud once and for all. Team Hollywood would go over when Nash and Luger turn on Sting and Savage, booting them from the NWO. The heel turn of Nash and Luger and super group of Hogan, Hall, Nash, Steiner, Luger and Giant is justified by the NWO claiming that their civil war caused them to take their eyes off of Goldberg, and by accepting Sting into the group they became soft and pandered to the fans. Cue the next few weeks of them beating down and kicking out all the rank and file left from the Black and White and the Wolfpac groups, where they will either be released (Adams, Horace etc) or phased back into the midcard.

As for the Hogan/Goldberg match, Goldberg wins again conclusively and the NWO are finally disbanded. Hogan can take a sabbatical until it makes sense for him to come back in

If the Warrior is signed by this point, the natural way to bring him in would be as Stings backup fighting the NWO on a short term deal. Sting was always a weird fit for the NWO and I prefer Randy Savage as a wronged baby face out for revenge. I envision a wild feud between Savage and Scott Steiner, both cutting cocaine and steroid fuelled promos and beating the shit out of one another, kicking off Steiners elevation that will eventually see him up against Goldberg at Starrcade 1999 (and winning).

I like the idea of Flair having to go through the Giant to get to Bischoff, and Giant being fired when Flair beats him, freeing up his move to the WWF. Flair is then given a reduced schedule as a special attraction.

Due to the bloated main event scene, I see Bret in a high midcard role for the remainder of 1998, maybe as a long reigning US champion having longer work rate type matches with your better workers to appease him for his lack of prominence. Bret is eventually dethroned by Benoit or Booker T at Starrcade 98 and then Bret moves into the title picture in early 1999 now Hogan and the NWO are gone.

As for the those I’d want to push? I’d love for Vicious and Delicious to have a run with the tag titles, I always liked them together. I’d also put Jericho and Eddie together as a loose association, and program them with Rey and Kidman and/or Benoit and Malenko. Id want Raven to be featured prominently too. I like DDP around this period too, but I can’t find a logical place for him. Maybe him and Raven have a longer feud.

Im very interested to see what you come up with!






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^^ I fucking love that Steiner/Savage scenario. That's a perfect way to propel Big Poppa Pump to the next level.

I also wanted to do something with Meng, but I couldn't quite find the right place for him. Ideally, I'd like to see him flirt with the upper mid-card more often. I'm thinking less Faces of Fear and more Tongan Death Match vs. Benoit type stuff. But the roster is so stacked.

After just recently listening to Meng on an old episode of Jericho's podcast, I'm almost convinced he could serve as Jericho's heater for a short time. Eliminate Ralphus from the equation to dissipate any chance of cheers there, and replace him with a more no-nonsense Meng. Maybe have Jericho convince him that there's a conspiracy against the island boys to keep them off TV (and he's TV Champ, so he would be in the know!) Barb doesn't buy it, but Meng does. Split the team there, and have Meng link up with Jericho.

Have Meng be the instrument that helps Jericho stack up some serious wins as TV Champ, en route to the impending clash with Bret. Meng is the muscle and the excuse to appease the fragile egos of some of the boys who would otherwise scoff at the idea of taking a loss to Jericho.

From there, you've got options. Either split them prior to the Bret feud - which frees up both of them, with Meng likely taking the TV Title off Chris and going his own way. This also allows all the focus to fall squarely on Jericho and Bret by themselves.

OR you can keep the act intact, with Meng and Jericho eventually becoming more of a buddy duo once the Bret feud has finished up and the inevitable baby face reactions begin (because you know they're coming).

I actually think there's more money in splitting them sooner, but it's whatever. Meng being the guy to beat Jericho doesn't hurt Chris at all, and it could set Meng on a path toward some fun hoss fights as TV Champ for awhile.

Either way, there could be some tremendous entertainment value there. Imagine Jericho trying to make Meng hold up a Jerichoholic sign or something at ringside - with the islander simply standing there stone-faced, totally no-selling it.

Or Jericho could try to dress him like various other bodyguards from wrestling's past, with Meng half-assing it and absolutely failing to get the "proper" look right, with the gear fitting poorly or mixing up certain getups. I'm just tossing shit out here, but surely Jericho would find some creative ways to spin gold out of this deal.

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I'd have used Savage more, but his knee is basically fucked after July 1998, so he's out and only going to come back as a roided up shell of himself. When he returns, he's going to be on elevating people duty, but that won't be until well into 1999. You could do an angle where Steiner beats Savage up to write him off, but that's about it.

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I wish PWO had a like button, there's some great ideas in this thread.

To answer the question, I don't think the fall happened until March of '99 where they had Flair turn heel and win the WCW Championship from Hogan. For a lot of fans, that was the last straw and to make matters worse, WCW suffered one of the worst injury tolls of the Monday Night War in the Spring of '99. The loss of Hogan, Goldberg, Bret, Luger, Scotty Steiner, Hall etc. hit WCW at the worst time as WWF were setting record ratings week in week out at one stage.

In July of '98, the biggest problem was the guy who brought them to the dance - Hogan. The Bash at the Beach '98 was a smash-hit, but attempts to follow up with Jay Leno at Road Wild bombed and the subsequent series against the Warrior failed to draw the interest it should have. While it would have been easy to give Hogan the rest of the summer off, it wouldn't have made a lot of business sense coming off of the Bash. So I would have gone with the biggest match I possibly could have at Road Wild '98, Goldberg-Hogan for the championship. With both guys coming off wins at the Bash at the Beach, this would have been the best time to get that big PPV buy-rate between the two and cement Goldberg as 'da man'.

In September of '98 you have the Warrior coming in and while I loathe the proposition of booking the Warrior in '98, he was a huge superstar. In reality, the narrative was 'Hogan vs. Warrior II', when I believe 'Warrior in WCW' would have been a better way to introduce the character. You could eventually go to Warrior-Hogan at Superbrawl '99, but I think the idea of having Warrior defeat Sting at Halloween Havoc, win World War 3 and challenge Goldberg at Starrcade '98 would have been intriguing. I'm sure you would have to work over-time to make that Starrcade '98 match work, but I'm rolling with the theory that anything would have been better than the tazer.

So that leaves Hogan to work the nWo Wolfpac at WarGames and Kevin Nash at Halloween Havoc. Even though Hogan was set to take time off in November & December, I'd still have him go over in that match thanks to some outside interference by Hall. Hall would have to pick between his best friend and the faction that made him into a superstar, naturally he sides with the bad guys.

Those are just some of the changes, taking the ideas WCW had but tweaking them to present a more intriguing product. The biggest question I have the hardest time answering is deciding who ends the streak. My original answer was Sting, but I'm not sure how well that would have gone down after the Wolfpac phase.


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GIVE GOLDBERG A FUCKING PROGRAM BEFORE HALLOWEEN HAVOC!!! The closest we got was the Jericho mini-feud that was killed by politics when it was actually getting over.

Since Hogan only agreed to drop the belt if he was the one to break the Streak, build it up like the Batman storyline Knightfall. Hogan focuses the remaining nWo on Goldberg and, after it's clear Vincent and Brian Adams aren't enough, Hulkster puts out a bounty that grows with each of Goldberg's wins. It starts at $10,000 to anybody who can last more than 10 minutes, then goes up to $250,000 by September. 

The key is to keep Hogan and Goldberg separated, without a true altercation between them and certainly no matches, until at least Starrcade, similar to the Hogan/Sting build only we've already seen Goldberg run roughshod over Hogan. This serves as an early preview of the Goldberg/Steiner feud (have Steiner give Goldberg a knee injury), can potentially elevate newer talent. Kanyon comvinces Raven to get the bounty after the Flock's dissolution, the Wolfpac even goes after it (setting up the nWo Elite reunion), Bret Hart would use the $250,000 to build a new addition on his house, Disco Inferno tries because he needs more 8 tracks, etc. 

The point is that the odds become so great that DDP almost beating Goldberg at Halloween Havoc is now an even more monumental occasion. We now have a reason to watch Goldberg squashes again because we don't know who else may show up to get the cash. To sell this, Goldberg gets sloppier and sloppier in his wins, his body being broken down bit by bit and the odds growing too great. 

He drops belt at Starrcade and we still get the nWo Elite reunion, but now Goldberg is rightfully pissed and sets off IMMEDIATELY on a tear. He doesn't get beaten down the first time he strikes, it takes the nWo a few tries before they're even able to keep him down, but when they finally are able to? Here come DDP and Sting to save his ass. Throw Booker in, too, and maybe the Horsemen for old times sake. 

End it at Spring Stampede where the 4-way we got is now just Hogan vs. Goldberg. Interference, a bunch of schmozz bullshit, do it all, but GOLDBERG WINS and, after, Hogan pays his respects. We have the fallen hero realizing the error of his ways and the new king stepping forward to claim their throne.

Or, you know, just turn DDP heel anyway. That'll put butts in seats. 

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This will be long, it’s July 4th and I had a lot of free time to think things over.

It’s an interesting yet frustrating point to pick up from if it is after the Georgia Dome Nitro and Bash at the Beach. There’s a few things that are set in stone now that I wouldn’t have done if I was doing this earlier in the year (neither Hogan or Goldberg would have been World champ at this time and some of the heel/face alignments and alliances would be different), but we’re working with what we’re given as of this date.  Let’s see, the title situation is World champ Goldberg, U.S. title is soon to be vacated by Goldberg, World tag champs are Sting & Kevin Nash, TV champ is Booker T (albeit injured and is going on the shelf), and the Cruiserweight champ is Rey Mysterio Jr. (having just returned at Bash at the Beach). Randy Savage is out until spring of 99 (so he can’t figure in any of these plans) and Ric Flair is back in the fall.

All right, let’s divide this by topic.

Priorities would be identifying who I want to highlight for the rest of the year and have a plan to build towards Starrcade and set up potential directions for the beginning of 99 (both go hand in hand to a degree).  To have any success in implementing what I feel should be done, I’m going to have to figure out how to manage the inmates that are convinced that it is their right to run the entire asylum (easier said than done). But if Goldberg has just won the World title, then we’re running with him on top, all in with that direction. He’s defending the World title at Starrcade and there are a few options for his potential opponent. The other things in the pipeline for the rest of the year are to try to bring some closure to the nWo factions feud and try to keep the potential future stars visible and relevant while the main even scene gets sorted.

What to do with Goldberg? The World title stays on Goldberg all the way to Starrcade. He needs to be given higher profile matches on the PPVs and on TV must be fed better quality opponents in terms of card placement than what he was getting. Outline for Goldberg at PPVs is as follows:

·         Road Wild – Goldberg teams with DDP and Leno vs. Hogan, Giant and Bischoff (I presume there’s no getting out of the Leno deal at this point since negotiations had been ongoing for weeks, might as well have Goldberg get the publicity rub)

·         Fall Brawl – successful title defense vs. Giant

·         Halloween Havoc – successful title defense vs. DDP (who earned the title shot by winning War Games); in a reality where there existed a possibility where the Hogan rematch could occur with Hogan jobbing I would have done that match here, but that reality doesn’t exist, even in fantasy)

·         World War 3 – successful title defense vs. Jericho to provide a payoff to that angle, pre-match is jumped and has a brawl with Bigelow, to sneak in some doubt if Jericho may have a shot at the upset but he gets flattened anyway

·         Starrcade – defeats the winner of World War 3

There are a few ways to go with Goldberg at Starrcade, but I’d think my choice would be Bret Hart (who would need to be built up for this). Sting won’t be around after October to really build this match for this year, so I’ll pencil that in for Starrcade 99.

What to do with Hogan? I would prefer he be kept away from Goldberg and the World title to minimize (or try to minimize) sabotaging. Goldberg already beat Hogan. I don’t see the need for a rematch without buildup or reason, at least not in 1998 (Hogan will argue otherwise since he wants his win back). I’d tentatively pencil that match for SuperBrawl 99 (see if the promise of having that match at that point is enough for Hogan to go along with the suggested possibilities for Starrcade). The closest I’m willing to do for Hogan vs. Goldberg 2 in 1998 is the previously mentioned six-man tag main event at Road Wild. After Road Wild, Hogan is kept busy with Warrior feud through Halloween Havoc (as it happened). After this he’ll have two options for Starrcade, do the match vs. Nash or the rubber match vs. Warrior. Or maybe even a tag match with a partner (likely The Giant) vs. either opponent and a partner (Nash reunited with Hall or Warrior with a returning Sting). If Hogan doesn’t want to do any of these options, he can go sit at home (I am not doing him vs. Goldberg again in 1998 no matter how much Hogan insists). My preference is for it to be Hogan vs. Nash at Starrcade, but we’ll see if the promise of Hogan vs. Goldberg at Superbrawl in 1999 is enough for him to acquiesce to the plan.

What to do with Nash and Hall?  Another similar case as Hogan, must keep him occupied to minimize any sabotaging attempts. The nWo faction feud has been a jumbled mess up to this point, but it’s my best bet to keep Nash and Hall contained while I continue to push Goldberg. Since I’m stuck with Sting in the Wolfpac at this point, I’m going to keep Hall on team Hollywood to keep a better balance on both sides for the time being. Hall and Giant beat Sting and Nash for the tag titles and Road Wild sees a four on four Uncensored 97 main event style match between Hollywood and Wolfpack members, won by the Wolfpack. Fall Brawl is the three team War Games where DDP gets the title shot. This match isn’t great, but it helps contain a lot of people that I either want to contain or provide an impetus for changing their direction (DDP, Sting and Bret Hart specifically). Throw in a fourth member for each team (Hall, Konnan and a TBD for WCW since Booker T is injured). Nash vs. Hall occurs as it happened at Halloween havoc, then events occur at WW3 that see Hall start to realign with Nash. Nash gets eliminated in WW3 by his Starrcade opponent (Hogan or Giant). After Starrcade, Hall officially rejoins Nash and with a couple of recruits from team Hollywood and they form the nWo Elite, which needs to be used to put over Goldberg and some of the up and coming talent before the kibosh Is finally put on the nWo.

By the way, for anyone looking to drop Hall vs. Nash, you get your chance to do so on the first Nitro after Bash at the Beach. That’s when Hogan dresses down Hall for dropping the ball at the Georgia Dome and when they have the match Nash shows up to save Hall. In reality Hall attacked Nash after he made the save, but if you’re inclined you can have them reunite here.

What to do with Bret Hart? He’s been mishandled horribly so far, but he’s one of the better bets at helping the potential future star talent work through to that top tier. I need to rebuild him before he’s in a position to help with that goal. Let him win the US title and defend against a variety of opponents on TV throughout the late summer and early fall. Try to move away from being an nWo associate, he severs ties following a similar pattern as the blow-up after War Games (but remaining heel when he resents Sting for interfering in his long-awaited Hogan match on Nitro). From there, feud with Sting which sees Sting put on the shelf at Halloween Havoc. An association is formed with Jericho and Hart decides to set his sights on the World title (held by Goldberg). DDP beats Bret for the US title, but is attacked post-match. Bret follows a similar pattern as in real life of attacking and injuring different opponents. He wins WW3 to get the tile shot. Although Bret gets a pulled groin during this time, he can be given the month off from wrestling (but still appearing to cut promos) in order to work the match at Starrcade. The gap is filled by Bret revealing that he is the one that brought in Bigelow to help soften up Goldberg before Starrcade.

Warrior would be used to keep Hogan busy (there’s value in that) and then see if it’s possible to get some of the unique matchup opportunities him being in WCW provides (Sting, Goldberg chief among them). Piper would be used sparingly in a similar role, for 1999 maybe he can be convinced to do the program Raven wanted and then replace Mongo in the Horsemen to set up the breakup and a feud that will hopefully help push Benoit and Malenko.

Ric Flair would be brought back by making a surprise run in save at Fall Brawl where he attacks Hennig and Rude and they both go on the shelf. The next night we get the official Four Horsemen reunion with Bischoff not wanting to reinstate Flair. Eventually Bischoff is goaded into a making match at Halloween Havoc where the three active Horsemen will face three nWo Hollywood members. Horsemen win, Flair is reinstated. However, since Bischoff’s goons outnumber the Horsemen, Flair will bring in Barry Windham as back-up. At WW3, Benoit and Malenko defeat Hall and Giant for the World tag titles. Hall is blamed for the loss and is attacked, leading to him eventually rejoining Nash. Windham turns on Flair during WW3 or the next night. This leads to Flair vs. Windham at Starrcade, where if Flair wins he gets an immediate match with Bischoff. Flair defeats Windham but loses to Bischoff when a retuning Hennig interferes (this at least makes Flair’s loss more palatable). The next night we get Flair going nuts and challenging Bischoff to a rematch with the presidency on the line which Flair wins.

As for new potential star talent, the reality is that with Goldberg now the champ and the insularity of certain main even names with regards to who they will work with, it will be hard to try to push these guys in 1998, but they need to be kept visible and relevant in order to mover them up in 1999.

·         DDP ends the year with the US title positioned to drop it to either Jericho or Bret Hart.

·         Chris Jericho would win the TV title from an injured Booker T the night after Bash at the Beach and form an association with Bret Hart. He does the Goldberg feud with a payoff at WW3.  He then loses the TV tile to Konnan and is set up to potentially dethrone DDP in 99 or team with Hart in occasional tag matches. Hopefully this is enough to convince him to stay.

·         Booker T, once he returns from injuries, should be pushed and set up to feud with whoever dethrones DDP as US champ.

·         Chris Benoît and Dean Malenko will be given a more active role as Four Horsemen, winning the World tag titles at WW3. By early 99 they should be in a position to have matches with the US title contenders while setting up Horsemen breakup angle where they are put over by flair and Piper during the summer of 99.

·         I’d try to start the lWo angle earlier to try to give Eddie Guerrero a more visible place on TV. I’d follow a similar pattern as it happened and hopefully be able to integrate and push Eddie when he returns after his car accident.

·         Rey Mysterio can follow a similar pattern as happened in 98, but by 99 he keeps his mask and is moved out of the cruiserweight division (either teaming with Konnan or at the TV title level).

·         Scott Steiner, is really more of a 2000 project. People tend to forget that he’s due to return at the end of July form injury and doesn’t really wrestle much until the fall of 98. He’s stuck in that never-ending feud with Rick, but starts to get a clearer identity the final months of 98. He can be given the TV title, but then he’s out from late April of 99 to year’s end. Can’t really figure him too much other than to feature him while he’s active and hope his body holds up for a 2000 push.

The most important thing is not to lose the forest for the trees in terms of the WWF catching in the ratings. That obsession really got WCW in trouble and they forgot to focus on what they were doing as a company.

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Good ideas in here. Ultimately, everything I've read ITT  cements that Hogan has to hit the bricks by at least the end of the year. If you're lucky, you get some "big" matches out of him, boosting some buyrates, and get him to job again to Goldberg, and then sayonara--let that shark go mess in WWF waters. You just know that with the Russo creative direction in WWF, we'd get all kinds of Hogan bollocks and FUNB Hogan crap. 

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The most important thing I do is try building good rapport with all the corporate executives during such a tumultuous time. We don’t know how chaotic it’ll be yet, but it’s ALWAYS a no-brainer to make a quality first impression rather than be combative.


Scott Hall is fired. Period.


I want Flair back ASAP. He’s our version of what Undertaker became in the 2000s so stop pussyfooting around. I prefer he return the same night as Goldberg winning at the Georgia Dome (with all those executives present,) and wrapping up the Bischoff program at Fall Brawl in the Carolinas.


I’m getting Bret completely away from the nWo saga. While the long-term plan is for him to be in the tippy-top picture, he’ll get strong wins in fresh programs against Jericho and Benoit, elevating those two in the process. It might be time for Mysterio to also graduate from the Cruiserweight division, so he’s a quality program to keep Bret busy too.


The most important long-term plan will be to implement a drug policy including steroids. While it won’t be immediate, this needs to happen sooner rather than later after the deaths of Pillman and Spicolli. Hall’s termination serves as that preview. 


The other huge long-term plan is investing heavily in the Power Plant. While we are firing on all business metric cylinders currently, this is a wise path to find new stars without having to bid huge against WWF for already established stars. Especially with the corporate suits seemingly looking for excuses, having a long-term farm system could be a great means to lower the roster payroll, and be seen as a smart investment and maybe even as programming to eventually take over Saturday Night since the main roster already has 5 combined hours of Nitro and Thunder.

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23 hours ago, BrianB said:

Good ideas in here. Ultimately, everything I've read ITT  cements that Hogan has to hit the bricks by at least the end of the year. If you're lucky, you get some "big" matches out of him, boosting some buyrates, and get him to job again to Goldberg, and then sayonara--let that shark go mess in WWF waters. You just know that with the Russo creative direction in WWF, we'd get all kinds of Hogan bollocks and FUNB Hogan crap. 

What's amazing is that, as dawho mentioned earlier, WCW (well, Bischoff and whoever else signed off on this) really didn't have to give Hogan that ridiculous contract he ended up signing in 98,  but they still did. Even more amazing, Hogan worked the first five months of 98 without signing that contract, so they could still have realized that it wasn't necessary to give him all of the ridiculous perks and money conditions. And there is value in having Hogan around in WCW (his eventual redemption face run for example and a couple of one off 'dream' matches), but it had to be a Hogan that would be willing to be a special attraction going forward and away from the World title (which wasn't going to happen).

Thinking about things (and with the benefit of hindsight), the reality is that a lot of the name top guys in WCW were on their last fumes of relevance as main event guys in 1998 to early 1999. So 1999 should have been a year of these name guys elevating the potential future stars. I mean, what is there really for some of these guys to do after 1998?

Hulk Hogan - You can do his redemption face run complete with a return to the red and yellow, maybe including a short final world title reign (which would be a headache to get off him if you give him that). But after that, is there anything really on the table that warrants him being no more than a special attraction that makes sporadic appearances? I mean, if he's not willing to work in feuds that put over rising talent.

Ric Flair- He will always have value in WCW, and the figure head President role along with a gradual transition to a more part-time wrestler role is a perfect place for Flair. I mean, you do this once you've taken advantage of how red hot he is after his return, so this transition should be around mid 99. The only thing you have to watch out for is Flair's obsession with having to be the heel Nature Boy striving for the world title or being the champ (he did demand a world title run as a condition for his return and wanted to turn heel a few months after his in ring return, so Flair does have a one-track mind towards being this persona). Plus, one of the few guys where there won't be an issue putting over talent.

Kevin Nash & Scott Hall - Let's be honest, you take either of these guys out of the picture after 1998 and WCW is better off for it (would you even miss them?). Hall was already an unreliable waste of roster space and money in 1998, his only value was being involved with Nash. By 99, even that would be gone. And name one productive thing Nash was involved in after 1998 in WCW.

Sting - He will always have value in WCW and one of the few professionals in the company who would be easier to work with in terms of helping to put over the next potential stars.

Bret Hart - Horribly misused, and although he may have been checked out, still a professional when given something to work with. He's someone that can still give you a couple of years as a main eventer and also help put over the next generation of top guys.

Randy Savage - A husk of his former self when he returned in 99. Still had some value if he was paired up to give the rub to someone up and coming. There was a brief period in 99 where it appeared Savage was involved with Mysterio, Konnan and Kidman. Imagine that instead of antagonizing them, Savage actually joined with them. Eventually add Eddie Guerrero to the mix when he returns form injury and Savage could help elevate them by association and then maybe with a short feud with them (as long as he doesn't collapse anyone's lungs). Savage was one of the guys that booked his own stuff though.

Roddy Piper- Outside of maybe being paired with Flair as his associate, there really isn't much value in Piper outside a few one-off matches to put guys over (and Piper ahd creative control over his programs so...). It's a similar deal with Warrior if one uses him, maybe just soem short programs to geta  few 'dream' matches.

DDP still has value but needs to be kept a bit in check. Luger is another one that would have some value putting guys over. Rick Steiner is an absolute cipher to have around, he's another that if he disappears after 98 WCW is better off.

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52 minutes ago, El Boricua said:


Kevin Nash & Scott Hall - Let's be honest, you take either of these guys out of the picture after 1998 and WCW is better off for it (would you even miss them?). Hall was already an unreliable waste of roster space and money in 1998, his only value was being involved with Nash. By 99, even that would be gone. And name one productive thing Nash was involved in after 1998 in WCW.

I think you're underrating Nash as a draw and moneymaker somewhat. People were behind him and the Wolfpac is really hot at this point. Should it have ended in him beating Goldberg? Probably not. But I don't think he's easily discarded. Optimally, you'd want him paired off with Hogan and doing their thing (and staying away from most of the rest of the roster), but unfortunately that wasn't happening.

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I never got what the Goldberg vs Jericho feud was supposed to do for Goldberg. If Jericho can't beat Malenko, Rey, or Juvi then no one's going to be wondering if he'll be the one to give Goldberg a loss.

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I just listened to this show as soon as it got posted as I was very curious to see what you would do. As I’ve said on numerous occasions I’m a huge fan of the podcast but Ive also said that I think your rebooking shows are consistently your weaker efforts. Sadly this was no different, and the booking was all a bit haphazard. The fact that you all admitted on air that the reason for the long break mid show was that you got tied up in your booking speaks to that fact. I think also Liam reading out contributions from the listeners for long periods of time also just showed that you really didn’t know what to do and you actually snookered yourself at the start. 

I actually enjoyed the Hogan talk at the start of the pod, there was an interesting debate in there but in the end I felt that it came across a little bit hollow as it seems more a case of you all trying to take a short cut by cutting Hogan and Warrior and not factoring them into your plans rather than considering any sense of realism. In reality cutting Hogan would have gotten you a fat lawsuit and lost you a lot of money. The rebooking shows more often than not drift into overbooking, and this was no different, as you’ve got your massively over top face, the newly crowned champion, being taken out of the ring with a phantom injury after just one PPV defence, and then a tournament to crown a placeholder champion in his absence, before he comes back for a mini feud with Jericho, before winning a battle royal to build to Starrcade and him rewinning a belt he’d never lost. It’s all very busy, and as you even said at the end, by getting rid of Hogan, it’s like it’s a completely different company. Hogan is still a massive ratings draw at this point, so why do away with him?

I also don’t think you really dealt with the end of the nwo sufficiently as Hogan is gone before you even start, and all of a sudden a lukewarm Bret is your de facto top heel being pushed into a world title run and the Wolfpac are still floating around even after nwo Hollywood are gone. Right, wrong or otherwise, the nwo were the biggest part of the show from 1996-99 so it needed to be addressed and ended properly. In fact, I’m not even sure it was blown off at all during the show.

I appreciate that you are all booking on the fly, but I think the format doesn’t help. For future rebooking shows I would much prefer each of the panellists presenting a scenario and then discussing the merits of each. Say in a two hour show Liam, Karl and Kieron have 30 minutes each, then maybe devoting some time to the contributors?

I apologise if I sound hyper-critical, because I am a huge fan of your podcast and have downloaded your entire Monday Night War timeline to relisten to again for the umpteenth time when I go on holiday this week, but this show was a bit of a swing and a miss for me this week.





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Haven't gotten all the way through yet but I can see where these criticisms come from--the PTBN boys sometimes fall into the same trap where they "re-book" a show and start making changes just to say they made changes (like with WM4, though they did sort of admit their faults in the end). 

I also wasn't really on board with trashing those 51+ guys right at the start--not only would the optics be terrible to let that many people go at once (or even in smaller waves)...I for one *liked* the fact that there were 900 guys you could see on any one of WCW's hours of TV per week--somehow it was all much easier to sit through than the WWE's hours of TV a week today because of the sheer variety and no one being pigeonholed into working the "WCW Style." No, maybe Rick Fuller never drew my eyeballs or anyone else's to a show, but you need depth and mooks, too--and even WCW's mooks often had way more to offer than the bottom-of-the-card guys for the WWF--no sense in giving up on that point of difference. WCW had myriad issues in 1998 but profitability was not one of them--they were not in need of mass layoffs, at least among on-air talent.

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Going most of the way along and I'm actually much higher on this than Downend. I rolled my eyes when I read him discuss the idea of vacating the World title and almost didn't want to even listen to the whole podcast, but while I still wouldn't go that route myself, the reasoning behind it is very well-argued. And I found myself agreeing with a lot of the other mid-card stuff or at least understanding it--Karl's idea of putting Raven with Piper is more sound than I think he would know, because that was an angle Raven specifically wanted to do. In general I agree with the rest of the rough layout: build up Jericho, build up Benoit, build up Steiner, save Eddie and Booker as projects for '99.

Other random thoughts:

- I don't even concern myself with when or how Goldberg's streak ends. You end it whenever the time is right. I'm not saying he goes 15 years undefeated like Andre did because it was a different world, but promoters weren't up all night in the early '80s wondering how and when to beat Andre--it was done when it was necessary and you could make somebody with it. I'm also adamant that if you're going to beat Goldberg, *beat* him. Andre didn't need cattle prods and 50 run-ins to finally go down--he went down clean. And was still a viable draw afterward. Whoever beats Goldberg (I agree that Steiner would be on the short list of candidates, though as I said, in '98 I don't even worry about that) needs to do it clean as a sheet. 

- From a selfish standpoint--I don't feel it would make any difference either way for WCW--I'd want to try to rebuild the tag division and try to create another point of difference from the WWF. This is also the answer to the question you had on what to do with Malenko--I admit I don't really have anyone in mind to be a viable partner for him, but he doesn't even need to be a tag anchor. It'd just be something for him to do. It would only hold back Benoit and Regal's not available, but you could find somebody.

- I haven't finished the whole thing yet, but I'm curious about what we do with Bam Bam when he arrives. He bombed out as a ratings draw but I feel like he'd be an asset in some capacity and that he needs a plan. 

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Good episode. 

I liked a lot of the fill in the blanks, particularly the Raven and Jericho stuff. Giant and Raven is a really good pairing. Your Hall and Nash solutions also hit me as better than anything else raised. Luger is absolutely the right guy to pair with Steiner to elevate Scotty, and I while I'm partial to my Bret/Benoit idea, I do think maybe Roddy is the right set up type of thing.

I will pile on in the sense that as somebody growing up a young but strong fan during this time frame, I think taking the title off Goldberg (albeit even not with an actual loss) before he gotten a good run of it would've pissed off people. I also wonder if making Goldberg seem like on even more blatant Stone Cold ripoff would've played that well in an era of constantly debating fans, but hey maybe it doesn't hurt.Maybe that's the right type of heat. But typically, that first face top run is the big run for guys in the expansion era. And unlike Austin, Goldberg didn't have a top level promo. I get all the mitigation plans, but part of me feels like Keiran just hated the artistic arc of trying to book to Starrcade with Goldberg as the unstoppable monster  beforehand, and worked himself and everyone else into buying the same arguments that Nash makes against Goldberg as the destroyer and WWE probably told themselves about Asuka as well,...i.e. you need the compelling of the chase, except you bought into Bret as the champ, when I think that works maybe just as well if Bret's the challenger. You use the steel plate angle to set up Bret as more clever and may cheat, and then you can use through some TV matches the idea that Bret is the superior technical wreslter and it's a wrestling match to add intrigue to the match. Plus, if Bret comes off as bitterand heelish enough, many fans will just want to see him get smashed and destroyed, which is essentially the hook to the initial Goldberg-Jericho program as well. Additionally, I think you've got to blow off the nWo angle. I get hating it because it should've died earlier in 1998 at the latest, but it's too much a slap in the face to long-term fans if it just vanishes and you keep matching up guys from the factions, largely ignoring the history--that didn't work so well for the Dangerous Alliance blowoff in 1992.

I stand by Steiner being too old and too injury plagued to be the guy handpicked to beat the streak in 1998. Even in 98, he would've been 36 by Starrcade, and I believe still needing yet another back surgery and he'd eventually get the foot issue, which I don't think is unforeseeable given how gassed to gills he is and his injury history (plus are we going to ignore how mad he'd be about cutting Rick?). If you ever do another against the grain opinion put me down for shitting on Scott Steiner as a world champ/top player. His matches vs. Goldberg weren't better than the DDP match, and nobody except Paige marks try to argue that performance into contending that Goldberg should've lost to him. I don't see why Steiner gets a pass other than people liking his looks and promos which have very questionable top drawing ability, especially compared to somebody like Kurt Angle who is frequently brought up as artistically great but commercially either iffy or sabotaged on SCG radio. The idea that he's even potentially your answer to Austin or Rock on the other side strikes me as downright laughable. 

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