Retro Reviews: WCW World War 3 1998

Welcome back to the TJRwrestling retro reviews where we are breaking down every WCW Pay-Per-View during the “Monday Night War” era. We are coming off of Halloween Havoc, which had a very good main event between Diamond Dallas Page and Goldberg, but the match was preceded by one of the worst wrestling matches I have ever seen between “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan and The Warrior. The rest of the show was solid, but that match did enough to bring it down. You can read my complete thoughts on that show and every show we have covered thus far here. Now, we are on to WCW’s answer to The Royal Rumble with their three-ring, sixty-man battle royal with the winner receiving a shot at the WCW World Heavyweight Title in the future. This would mark the last incarnation of the event, so let’s see who comes out on top!

WCW World War 3
November 22nd, 1998
The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan

The show opens with a package showcasing the matches coming up for tonight. It showcases all the wrestlers that will be involved in the Battle Royal later in the night. It also showcases other matches on the night, most notably Diamond Dallas Page vs. Bret Hart.

As the camera comes to the arena it shows the arrival of Goldberg earlier in the night. We are joined by the announce team of Tony Schiavone, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Mike Tenay. They put over the main event before shifting their attention to Hogan being the biggest name not in the big event. They shoot over to Mean Gene Okerlund, who says that he thinks there may be a surprise winner at the end of the night. He adds that Heenan will be joining him on the hotline tonight and of course, they have all the latest scoops.

Wrath vs. Glacier

Listening to Mike Tenay put over Glacier during the entrances was something else.

Both men start the feeling out process and circle each other in the middle. They lock up and Wrath just shoves Glacier to the outside through the ropes. Glacier slides back in the ring and hits a kick to the midsection and hits a dropkick, but Wrath no-sells it and sends Glacier to the outside again. Glacier gets on the apron, but Wrath kicks him off and starts stalking him on the outside. Glacier gets a sidekick in and chops Wrath against the apron, but it’s short-lived, and Wrath sends Glacier flying into the fans. He hits some chops to the chest before tossing him back in the ring. Wrath hits a big clothesline as both men get back in the ring and slams Glacier into the corner and stomp him down. He chokes Glacier with his boot before choking him on the bottom rope. Wrath hits a series of elbows to the chest before sending Glacier hard into the opposite corner. Wrath throws Glacier to the outside a third time before hitting a chop to the chest and starts choking him with a cord at ringside. Glacier tries to call a timeout in the ring, but Wrath continues to stay on the offensive. Wrath tries a splash in the corner, but Glacier moves out of the way. He hits two ugly-looking kicks on Wrath and tries to go for his submission, but Wrath catches him and quickly gets him up for the Meltdown to win after 8:22.

Winner: Wrath
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: This was essentially an eight-minute squash match. Glacier got some offense in, but not much, and what he did looked weak. Both of these guys weren’t workhorses, and it seemed like a real clash of styles. They were pushing Wrath at this point, so him picking up the win makes sense.

There is a package of Bret Hart where he says that he has a lot to prove in WCW. He mentions all the people that he has run through already, but there is more to come.

Stevie Ray (w/ Vincent) vs. Konnan

Konnan grabs the mic and does his usual stuff to start the match. The crowd loved it, which I suppose is the point.

Ray works him in the corner to start the match and pounds Konnan down to the mat. He throws Konnan to the other side, but gets a boot to the face as he charges in. Konnan hits a dropkick and stomps on Ray who is on the mat before he starts to stretch him out. Konnan hits some body shots as they get back up, but Ray eventually hits a clubbing blow to the back. He takes Konnan down with a clothesline before sending him to the outside of the ring. He distracts the referee as Vincent starts working on Konnan on the outside before rolling him back in. Ray hits an elbow drop in the ring and covers Konnan for a two-count. Both men get back to their feet and Konnan tries a backslide and gets a two-count but is taken down with another clothesline. Ray hits a scoop slam and tries a big running elbow, but Konnan gets out of the way. He sends Ray into the ropes and hits a facebuster. Vincent with the distraction on the apron allows Ray to get a thumb to the eye. Ray charges in and Vincent inadvertently hits Ray with the slapjack. Konnan starts pounding on Ray and shoves the referee away which causes the DQ after 6:55.

Winner by DQ: Stevie Ray
Match Rating: DUD

Collective Thoughts: This was another match with conflicting styles and never really got off the ground. Konnan was good with the right opponent, but Stevie Ray was a much better tag team wrestler than a singles star. Vincent was so lucky to have a job being on TV.

After the bell, Booker T. comes down to the ring to scare Konnan away. He shares some words with Stevie Ray who tells him to mind his business and he didn’t need his help.

Ernest “The Cat” Miller & Sonny Onoo vs. Kaz Hayashi & Saturn

Talk about a match that was absolutely thrown together at the last minute. Saturn had an altercation with Miller on Nitro and that was enough to warrant this match.

Hayashi and Miller are the first two in the ring for their teams. Miller tells him he has 5 seconds to leave, but Hayashi just tags Saturn, who nails Miller as he turns around. He sends Miller into the ropes, but he slides out before coming back off. Hayashi tags back in the match and he hits Miller with a flurry of offense, but Miller takes control with a chop and a slam to the mat. Miller hits a sidekick and stomps down on Hayashi in the ring. Onoo tags into the match and hits Kayashi with some kicks to the back and head, which he n0-sells. Onoo offers him money to stop, but Hayashi just kicks him down. Saturn and Miller tag into the match with Saturn hitting some chops and a suplex. He comes off the ropes with a big elbow, but Miller takes back control with a thumb to the eye and stomps on Saturn in the corner. Saturn reverses course and starts hitting some shots of his own. He sends Miller into the other corner, but Miller sweeps his leg and takes Saturn down. Miler tags Onoo in and he kicks Saturn, but is quickly tied up with The STF. Saturn and Hayashi hit a double dropkick before Hayashi tags back in the match. He charges in, but Miller cuts him off and they double-team Hayashi in their corner. He tries to suplex Onoo, but Miller comes in and hits him in the back of the head. Miller tags back in and covers Hayashi for a near fall. Hayashi comes back with a jaw-breaker and quickly tags Saturn back in the match. He suplexes Miller before exchanging more tags with Hayashi. He comes in and hits some offense, but Miller is quickly back on the offense. He tags Onoo back in, who goes for some fist drops, but misses all three and that allows Saturn to come back in the match. He cleans out the ring and hits Miller with a few suplexes as Hayashi works on Onoo. The referee tries to get Hhayashi out of the ring which allows Miller to kick Saturn in the head and Onoo to grab the pin to win after 8:04.

Winner(s): Sonny Onoo & Ernest Miller
Match Rating: 1.5/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: This was alright, but didn’t have any heat to it at all. You could tell that Hayashi & Saturn didn’t gel well as a team and they gave no room for a hot tag before the ending of the match. Onoo surprisingly got a lot of offense in, although it was mostly kicking. It was alright, but the first three matches on this show have been underwhelming.

Chris Jericho is back with the WCW internet guys. Lee Marshall talks to him about the confrontation between him and Bobby Duncum Jr. on Thunder. They will have a match later on in the night.

WCW Cruiserweight Title Match
Juventud Guerrera (c) vs. Kidman

These two have been exchanging the belt over the last couple of months. Kidman had the title up until recently when he was defeated by Guerrera on an episode of Nitro. As Guerrera comes out, he is stopped by Gene Okerlund because he is wearing the colors of the LWO. Eddie Guerrero comes out and says that he is the next member of the roster who is sticking it to Eric Bischoff. Rey Mysterio Jr. comes out, who is also a member, and is upset because he is not in the title match. Guerrero says that Mysterio needs to learn to sacrifice for the team as they all have to.

The bell sounds with Kidman grabbing a wristlock that Guerrera fights out of. Kidman sends him into the ropes but is taken down with a shoulder block. Guerrera hits a facebuster before wasting a lot of time pandering to the crowd. He comes back in and hits Kidman with a chop to the chest and a Headscissors Takeover. He charges in for more, but Kidman hits a big Spinebuster. He slams Guerrera down and comes in with a leg drop from the apron. Guerrera rolls Kidman up as he comes back in and hits a Spinebuster of his own. He slams Kidman into the corner, but is quickly taken down by a clothesline from Kidman. He perches Guerrera on the top, but Guerrera fights out and drops Kidman on the ropes. He comes off the top, but Kidman meets him with a dropkick of his own. Great timing on that spot. Kidman sends Guerrera flying through the ropes and comes out after him with a splash over the top. Kidman climbs back up, but Guerrera meets him there and knocks him down to the apron. Guerrera comes off the top with a Hurricanrana that sends both men crashing to the floor. He chops the chest of Kidman before rolling him back in the ring. Guerrera hits a Brainbuster and picks up a near fall. He hits Kidman with a dropkick and hits another one after springboarding off the ropes. That sends Kidman to the outside and Guerrera hits a splash to the outside on top of him.

He rolls Kidman back in the ring and hits the same leg drop that Kidman did earlier. He throws Kidman into the other ring and does a double springboard dropkick for a two-count. It was a little ugly, but it’s the thought that counts. Guerrera picks him up, but is taken down with a nice dropkick from Kidman. He hits a backbreaker to pick up a two-count. He throws Guerrera into the corner and comes in with a splash, but Guerrera moves out of the way. He hits an atomic drop and moves him in position for The 450 Splash. Kidman gets up and knocks him down before he sends him into their original ring with a toss. Kidman climbs up and hits a big splash from another ring. Guerrera sends Kidman into the other ring and drops him on the ropes. Guerrera walks across both rings and hits a Hurricanrana, but Kidman gets the shoulder up. Kidman tries a move, but Guerrera counters it and hits a Juvi Driver, but he can’t capitalize. He pulls Kidman over to the corner and climbs up top. Guerrera with a 450 Splash, but Kidman gets up and Guerrera has a nice landing on his feet. Kidman counters a Powerbomb into a facebuster and gets a two-count. Kidman slams him down to the mat and pulls him to the corner to hit The Shooting Star Press. Guerrera gets up and knocks him down before climbing up with him. He goes for a Hurricanrana, but Mysterio sneaks down to ringside and holds Kidman so he doesn’t go over. Kidman capitalizes with The Shooting Star Press to win the match and the title after 15:27.

Winner and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Kidman
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: Not surprising, but this was a very solid match. There were a lot of athletic moves and it didn’t slow down too much. It was a tad sloppy at times, but for the most part, I enjoyed this. Yet another title switch between these two, which has been a hot potato. Compared to the other matches on the show, this was a standout. I was a big fan of Kidman around this time and it seemed like WCW was as well.

After the match, the rest of the LWO hit the ring to confront Mysterio. Guerrero tells him he is either in or out, and Mysterio responds by taking his shirt off before running away from everyone to the back.

Scott Steiner (w/ Buff Bagwell) vs. Rick Steiner

This feud has been brewing over the last couple of months. They have had some face-offs, but most of them have ended up being overbooked. Last week on Nitro, Eric Bischoff announced that he would allow Scott to pick a referee of his choosing and he makes an entrance with Scott.

Rick Steiner’s music hits, but he doesn’t come out. They go to the back where members of NWO Hollywood were beating Rick up. The Giant brings him down to the ring and rolls him in. Buff and Scott pound on Rick in the ring as the referee cheers them on. Scott works on the head of Rick and kicks him in the gut. Rick hits a clothesline and starts to make a comeback, but Scott hits a low-blow and takes him out. Scott continues to pound on Rick in the ropes and gets Rick in the Stiner Recliner. Goldberg runs down to the ring and faces off with Scott and they start going at it. Goldberg hits a hug spear and goes to Jackhammer him, but Bagwell hits him with a chair from behind which, of course, he no-sells. He takes Bagwell out before absolutely destroying the scab referee. Goldberg and Rick stand tall in the ring. Goldberg’s music hits, and I guess that’s the end.

Winner: No Contest
Match Rating: N/A

Collective Thoughts: This wasn’t much a match and was just a way for Goldberg to get involved in the angle. Did he need to be? I don’t think so, but I can understand if they thought Scott was the next guy up. Rick and Scott have had 4 matches up to this point and all of them have been a mess. We might get a resolution one day.

There is a scheduled match between Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Hall makes his way down to the ring and has an entire entourage out to the ring with him. Eric Bischoff makes his way down before Nash makes his entrance. Bischoff tells Hall that the last time he saw him it was eye-opening. Bischoff says it’s survey time and tells the other members of NWO Hollywood to attack Hall which they do. Nash comes down to the ring and helps Hall clear the ring. The fans are chanting “Outsiders” which causes Hall to throw up the Wolfpac sign, but Nash walks away from him.

The announcers speculate on what all of this may mean. They say that Hogan might be behind the whole thing, but he is absent for all of it. They go back to the ring for the next match.

WCW Television Title Match
Chris Jericho (w/ Ralphus) (c) vs. Bobby Duncum Jr.

Duncum made his debut on WCW television several weeks ago and set his sights on Jericho early on. They have had some back and forth on Nitro and Thunder which has led to this match here.

The bell sounds and both men lock up in the middle of the ring. Dubcum shrugs Jericho off before both men lock up again. He shoves Jericho to the outside and he finds comfort in the arms of Ralphus. Jericho takes Duncum down to the match as he comes back in and starts stretching him out. Duncum takes control with a wristlock and knocks Jericho out of the ring with a big clothesline. He brings Jericho back in with a suplex and covers him, but only gets a one-count. He stays on the offensive with a boot to the face and sends Jericho to the floor again. He follows him out and slams Jericho into the guardrails at ringside. Jericho comes back with a clothesline over the railing and hits a Missile Dropkick as both men get back in the ring. Then Duncum comes back with a Shoulder Breaker for a two-count. He hits Jericho with a Jawbreaker and starts working on the arm. Duncum sends Jericho into the ropes, but Jericho reverses a move and drops Duncum on the top rope throat-first. He dropkicks Duncum and he hits the railing. Jericho sends him into the stairs before rolling him back in the ring.

Jericho keeps him grounded and continues to wear him down. Jericho chops him and works him into the corner with a kick to the chest. He sends Duncum into the corners and comes in after him, but Duncum with a clothesline. That drew a noticeable non-reaction from the crowd. Both men exchange chops in the corner before Duncum picks Jericho up and slams him down to the mat. He hits a clothesline and covers him for a near fall. Jericho comes back with a Sunset Flip, but Duncum overpowers him and hits a chokeslam to the mat. Jericho comes back with a clothesline and a Lionsault, but he can’t pick up the win. Jericho climbs up to the top, but Duncum is right there with him. He climbs up on top and hits a Superplex on Jericho, but Jericho gets a shoulder up. Jericho counters a move into a roll-up and he tries The Liontamer, but Duncum fights out. He hits Jericho with an elbow off the second rope. Duncum picks Jericho up, but Ralphus grabs his foot. He starts to go after Ralphus and with the distraction, Jericho hits him with the title belt from behind and picks up the win after 13:22.

Winner and STILL WCW Television Champion: Chris Jericho
Match Rating: 2/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: Both men worked their asses off, but it never got off the ground. Duncum was just starting out in WCW and because of that, he had literally zero babyface heat. The fans just didn’t care when he hit a big move, which traditionally, they should. The Jericho & Ralphus pairing was always great and they used it to their advantage here.

World War 3 Battle Royal

Surprisingly enough, this isn’t the last match on the night. With a show built around the concept, I am not sure why. Either way, it’s sixty men in three rings. When 20 men remain, they will all move to one ring. You can be thrown out, pinned, and submitted. I would go over who is in the match, but just look at the roster in WCW in November 1998 and everyone is in it, including Jericho who just had a match.

All the rings are filled up and they show Scott Hall hiding behind a referee in the corner, which is classic. Norman Smiley and Super Calo are eliminated by Nash and he follows that up by eliminating 8 other guys. Nash and Silver King and going back and forth before he tosses him out. Van Hammer comes over to work on Nash and is joined by Mike Enos. Hammer eliminates Enos and Nash starts working on him in the corner. The final two in Ring 3 are Nash and Hammer, but Hammer is thrown out quickly. Nash can stay in that ring until only twenty guys remain. There are only 36 guys left at this point and The Giant is shown dominating in his ring. Hall eliminates Psychosis with a Fallaway Slam over the top rope. Ring 2 has the most men left in it as Nash is shown looking on from his ring. Hall and Kanyon are fighting in Ring 2 before Kaz Hayashi comes over to work on Hall himself. Kanyon puts Kidman on the top, but gets dumped out and is eliminated.

The Giant is shown just waiting as the other men go at it in Ring 1. Horace Hogan and The Disciple eliminate each other as The Giant starts throwing people out including Chavo Guerrero. Everyone starts ganging up on The Giant and they all try to throw him out. The Giant powers out, but they continue to surround him. Benoit just attacks Saturn instead of The Giant and we are down to 25 people remaining. in Ring 2, Luger is working on Scott Steiner as Wrath and Dean Malenko are working on each other in the corner. The Giant destroys Disco Inferno in Ring 1 as Juventud Guerrera is sent to the outside. Stevie Ray is working on Ernest Miller in the corner as Steve McMichael tries to eliminate Scott Hall. Mysterio is sent flying out of the ring and the bell sounds because there are 20 men remaining.

Saturn and Ernest Miller eliminate each other so we have 18 remaining as everyone gets in ring 2. The Giant eliminates Alex Wright, Chavo & Eddie Guerrero, Disco Inferno, and Kidman in quick succession. Nash and The Giant start going at it and it all breaks loose in Ring 2. Benoit and Konnan are going at it in one corner as Stevie Ray is working on Nash in the opposite one. Norton and McMichael are going at it while The Giant is working on Scott Hall in the corner. Nash and The Giant start going at it again and Hall comes in with some shots and the crowd wakes up. Stevie Ray is eliminated by Luger, and Norton and McMichael are out right after him. We are down to the final ten. Bam Bam Bigelow makes his presence felt and he gets pounded on by the guys in the ring. He recently came to WCW from ECW and that brings Goldberg out and they start going at it at ringside. Security is trying to pull them apart as Scott Steiner and Wrath are eliminated. Booker T. is eliminated and they are seven men remaining, all of which belong to a group. Konnan and Scott Hall are going at it, but Konnan is quickly eliminated by himself. There are six men remaining and they all gang up and go after The Giant. They get him up and throw him over the top. There are 5 guys remaining which are Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko.

Hall fights out of the corner as Luger eliminates Benoit and Malenko is sent out right after him. Luger and Nash show some love before all three men go at it in the ring. Nash starts working on Luger in the corner, but Hall cuts him off. Hall pounds on Nash before Luger comes in to make the save and works on Hall in the corner. Nash comes up from behind and tries to eliminate Luger, but Hall hits him from behind. Luger hits both men with flying forearms. He tries to rack Hall, but Nash kicks Luger in the face and eliminates both men to earn a title shot against Goldberg at Starrcade next month. The match went 23:28.

Winner: Kevin Nash
Match Rating: 1.5/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: This is the 4th one of these events that I have covered since started these reviews, and it doesn’t get any easier to follow along with. Nash was very dominant in his ring and it cleared out in about five minutes. The rest of the match slowed down a bit but came back up after everyone got in one ring. Nash picking up the win is a sticking point for a lot of wrestling fans. He started on the booking committee around this time (depending on who you listen to), and a lot of people think he booked himself to win this match and get a match against Goldberg. We are going to cover Starrcade next so I won’t go into it, but it’s a very interesting move. Nash has said on multiple occasions that he thought he was just a big of a star as Goldberg, and while I thought he was over, I don’t know if he was that over.

WCW United States Title Match
Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart

Page starts the match with a dive over the top and throws Hart into the railings at ringside. He sends him into the stairs before sending Hart back into the ring. They exchange blows before Hart flees to the outside, but Page is hot on his tail. He sends Hart into the apron and railing before Hart drops him throat-first on the top rope. Hart comes in and hits an elbow across the back of the head. He pounds on Page in the corner and starts choking him. Hart hits a DDT and covers Page for a near fall. Hart goes for a suplex, but Page rolls him up instead. Hart gets back up and hits Page in the head before he starts choking him in the ropes. Page tries to make a comeback, but Hart starts on the offensive and keeps Page grounded. Page gets back to his feet and hits a Swinging Neckbreaker for a two-count. He tries to go for a Diamond Cutter, but Hart pushes him away and slides out of the ring. Page comes out after him, but Hart takes advantage with a shot to the head and slams Page into the stairs. Back in the ring, Hart hits an atomic drop and follows that up with a clothesline. Page reverses a Tombstone Piledriver into one of his own, but he can’t pick up the win. Both men exchange blows in the ring before Hart takes him down with a backbreaker and he follows that up with a leg drop. Hart headbutts the groin of Page and pounds on him in the corner. He sends Page into the other corner, but Page reverses and hits a Belly to Belly Suplex as Hart comes back towards him.

He hits a Discus Clothesline and pancakes him with a Flapjack. He clotheslines Hart over the top rope and both men crash to the floor. Hart rolls back in the ring and grabs something from his tights, but he gets taken out by Page off the top. Page signals for The Sharpshooter and he locks it in on Hart, but he gets to the ropes. Page continues to work on him in the corner, but Hart hits a low blow. Hart starts working on the leg of Page to try and soften him up for The Sharpshooter. He pulls Page over to the corner and wraps his knee around the post before putting on The Figure Four around the post. That move was always a favorite of mine. He puts Page in another Figure Four in the ring but is forced to break it after the referee catches him grabbing the ropes. Hart continues to pound on the leg before Page shoves him out of the ring with the good leg and drops him down on the safety railing. He wraps Hart’s legs around the post this time and he gets that Figure Four on Hart. Page grabs a chair from ringside and brings it into the ring. He goes to hit Hart, but the referee grabs it and Hart shoves Page into the referee and they both wipe out. The NWO referee from earlier comes down to the ring and Hart hits Page with the object he pulled out earlier. He puts Page in The Sharpshooter and the scab referee calls for the bell. Mickie Jay told them the fall didn’t count and that allows Page to hit Hart with a Diamond Cutter and he picks up the win after 18:31.

Winner and STILL WCW United States Champion: Diamond Dallas Page
Match Rating: 3/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: The match was good, but was in a terrible spot and went a little longer than it should have. I love both of these guys, don’t get me wrong, but to have them go after a big battle royal didn’t seem like the right move. It did give the US Title a little shine to be on the line for the last match, but the crowd was dead for most of this. That isn’t saying much though because the fans were dead pretty much all night. Hart and Page have been going at it a lot since Hart made his debut and they have always had solid outings. This one kind of went off the rails towards the end and it felt very overbooked. I didn’t hate the match, it just wasn’t their best outing.

After the match, Page celebrates with the fans as the show goes off the air.

Overall Show Rating: 5.75 out of 10

So, this show didn’t embarrass itself with any offense matches as Halloween Havoc did, but I also wouldn’t say it was a step up. This show was full of underwhelming matches to start the show and a bunch of rematches. I thought the show was average, but I had to get it a higher rating than Halloween Havoc on principal. It did have some standouts like Guerrera vs. Kidman and Hart vs. Page, which was a good thing. The one question I have every time I watch a WCW show in 1998 is why The World Title never seems to be defended on the show. Goldberg had a really good match with Diamond Dallas Page at Halloween Havoc, and on this show, he was involved in a forgettable segment between The Steiner Brothers. You could tell the wheels were starting to fall off a bit with the booking, and we are in for a wild ride as we get into the dreaded years of 1999 and 2000 era WCW.

What did you think of this edition of World War 3? Loved it? Hated it? Do you think someone other than Nash should have won? Either way, let me know your thoughts over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Take care of yourselves and each other. I will be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.