Tony Schiavone has identified what he considers THE moment WCW’s fate was sealed.
WCW and WWF/E were deadlocked in a years-long battle for ratings supremacy now known as the Monday Night Wars. This wasn’t just a friendly competition, though; each company’s survival hinged on defeating the other and maintaining ratings superiority.
WCW outdrew WWE starting in 1996 when Hulk Hogan created the New World Order alongside Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. They had control for 83 consecutive weeks until WWE surpassed WCW with the likes of Steve Austin, The Rock, and Mr. McMahon in top storylines.
But it wasn’t an example of WCW doing well and WWE reaching that same level. instead, WWE grew and WCW dropped in quality and then in ratings.
Over the decades, WCW’s downfall has been blamed on different factors. Sometimes it was one individual person, other times it was a concept, and according to others it was a combination.
Those blamed for WCW’s downfall over the years have included: Eric Bischoff, Ted Turner, Vince Russo, Tony Schiavone himself, Hulk Hogan, and much, much more.
One of the people familiar with the situation was Tony Schiavone. As a commentator for Monday Nitro, Schiavone witnessed WCW’s downfall firsthand and thus provides an interesting perspective on what was the catalyst that began the company’s downfall.
And on an episode of What Happened When, Tony Schiavone identified a very specific Hulk Hogan match as the beginning of the end for World Championship Wrestling.
“[Starrcade 1997 was] the beginning of the end of WCW. It wasn’t a fast-count, Anybody who saw it knew it wasn’t. They made me say it was a fast-count and I knew it wasn’t. We just, we just f***** all of ourselves and try to lie our way through it and people saw through it. Sting should’ve won clean or there should’ve been a fast-count … and it was just brutal.”
Starrcade 1997 was main-evented by the highly-anticipated singles match between Hulk Hogan and Sting for the WCW World Championship. The original plan was for Hogan to beat Sting due to the referee making a fast-count. But referee Nick Patrick made a normal count instead, damaging Sting’s reputation significantly in the process.
h/t WrestlingInc for the transcription