Former WCW Official Nick Patrick has opened up on what was supposed to happen during the Starrcade 1997 main event between Sting and Hulk Hogan.
Nick Patrick worked as a referee for WCW since it began in 1988 up until the company was purchased by WWE in 2001.
Patrick became the official of choice for the NWO after the faction was formed in 1996, helping ensure Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash had a backup in the ring should they need it.
The former WWE SmackDown official was involved in one of WCW’s most controversial storylines as Sting battled “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
At the end of the match, Patrick was accused of delivering a quick count, which saw Bret Hart, making his WCW pay-per-view debut, enter the fray and demand the match restarted.
Patrick appeared on the latest episode of Insight with Chris Van Vliet and shared his amazement of a match from 1997 that is so highly talked about nearly 26 years later.
“That’s the most talked about [topic]. Man, that was 20, some 25 years ago, and they’re still talking about it. You know, there’s people, anytime that people want to know about that. Man, that was, as crazy as that was and is as odd and as horrible as it felt while I was doing it because, if you’ve heard the story, then you know what I’m talking about.
I’ll tell you the story if you want to hear it. Okay, well, here’s the story. I showed up before the biggest pay-per-view and gross in wrestling history, money wise. And I knew I had to main event. And soon as I get to the building, which was really odd, because I get along good with Eric now.
But back then it wasn’t like we didn’t get along. It’s just he was a boss; I was a little referee. And, man, I had a lot of things going on in my life. And you know, egos and all that stuff. And he had to cater to a bunch of egos. And I don’t have time for all that crap. People are people, man.
But anyway, I show up to the building and you know, him and I hardly ever had a conversation. I’d say hello, we shake hands, and that was it. Well, he come up and met me soon as I got there. I still have my bag on my shoulder, hadn’t made it to the locker room yet. And he says, here’s what we’re doing today, and he gave me a straight finish. And I said, that’s, okay, that’s, you know, kind of plain, I figured that they’ll dress it up during the day.
And so, so okay, you know, and he told me to just do a straight 123 count, you know, not a fast count. And that was when Hogan covers Sting. So anyway, I’m there and an hour or so goes by, you know, you’re there all day long. And, and back then Hogan went over his stuff, he had his own locker room.
And nobody went in there except, you know, except from who he was working with and who he invited in there. A security guy would go and somebody would take him in there. You know, I was one of those guys, you know. And that was cool because I was good enough. I knew what, you know, just tell me what you want me to do before we walk out the screen through the curtain and I’m good to go. You know, and they knew that.
But anyway, Eric told me how he wanted it to go. So, I’m like, okay, so Hulk comes up to me first. A couple hours in, you know, while we’re there, he knows Hey, Nick I’m not about that count, man. Nice and slow man. 123. Okay, that’s normal. I can’t do it slow. That’d be ridiculous as what we’re doing, there’s heat in that. But also, so about an hour or so later than that, Sting comes up to me and says, Hey, did you know about that count? Rapid Fire baby.
Okay, so now I got one guy that’s the franchise, Hulk Hogan, the other guy that’s the other franchise Sting. Yeah, both telling me the same finish. But the complete opposite. Whether you count faster, whether you count slow completely changes the complexion of the finish, you know.”
After a hard fought battle Hogan delivered his infamous leg drop finisher, Patrick made a fast count and kept Hulk Hogan as the Champion. However, when you watch the match, it didn’t appear like it was a fast count at all.
Starrcade was taking place just over a month after WWE Survivor Series, which saw Hart on the receiving end of the ‘Montreal Screwjob’ which saw Vince McMahon call for the bell to award Shawn Michaels the win and take the WWE Championship off of the Hitman before his WWE contract ran out.
Bret Hart had earlier guest refereed the match between Larry Zbyszko and Eric Bischoff as the pair competed for control over Monday Nitro. Following what he felt was an unfair fast count by Nick Patrick, Hart restarted the match and took over the role of referee.
Sting delivered a frog splash and followed this up by applying the Scorpion Death Lock on Hogan. Hart called for the bell and Sting became the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
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