WCW: World War 3 1998

WCW: World War 3
November 22, 1998
Auburn Hills, MI
The Palace at Auburn Hills

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Bill Goldberg (7/6/1998)
WCW U.S. Champion: Diamond Dallas Page (10/26/1998)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Rick Steiner & ??? (10/26/1998)
WCW World Television Champion: Chris Jericho (8/10/1998)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Juventud Guerrera (11/16/1998)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Bobby Heenan.

We catch a limo riding up to the building and the WCW world champ BILL GOLDBERG steps out. He pulls a Haliburton out of the trunk. IS HE COMING FOR MONGO?

Over at our announce table, Tony makes sure to tell us that HOLLYWOOD HOGAN is not in the building tonight. Schiavone finds that WEIRD considering Hogan is obsessed with regaining the WCW world title and winning WW3 would be a good chance for him to restart that quest. In reality, Eric Bischoff has chosen KEVIN NASH it seems as head of booking, and Hogan has taken his ball and went home – for now. Since Hogan’s usual strategy is to figure out when business will go down and then return to “pop a rating” to show everybody in the WCW brass how valuable he is to the product, this time it hasn’t worked. Between the horrible Warrior angle and blow-off to the ridiculous idea of Hollywood Hogan running for POTUS, WCW apparently felt his worth isn’t what it once was. Naturally, the original plan was for Hollywood Hogan to wrestle Goldberg at Starrcade to get his win back and end the streak himself, which is why he agreed to do the J-O-B on Nitro in July like he did, but of course that doesn’t quite happen that way.

Gene Okerlund hypes the WCW hotline with Bobby Heenan’s speculations on what goes down tonight in the big battle royal.

  • Wrath vs. Glacier

I would have liked to have seen the WCW Saturday Night before WW3 to see what the full advertised card was. Meltzer mentions there were ten matches announced, but there’s technically only seven. Two of them advertised that won’t happen are Rick Steiner versus Scott Steiner part IV and Scott Hall versus Kevin Nash II. The third match was Scott Norton versus Booker T over the IWGP heavyweight title, which neither seemed interested in doing and the angle planned to happen on Saturday Night to set it up didn’t agree with them either, so here we are.

I SAY ALL OF THAT TO SAY THIS. Why Glacier? Wrath needs better opponents to get over. Are the seeds already planted to kill his push? I think so. Wrath overpowers Glacier to start. I think Glacier had a lower midcard heel run in him that never happened. To the floor we go, Glacier takes a ride over the guardrail into the third row. Back in, Wrath continues to destroy Glacier. He stomps a mudhole and walks it dry. Wrath drags Glacier to the apron and lays in a bunch of elbows. He whips Glacier across into a corner and drills him with a clothesline. For some reason, Wrath uses the ropes for leverage to try and pin Glacier. Isn’t he a babyface? Back to the floor, Wrath chokes Glacier with the TV cable. WHAT IS HAPPENING? In the ring, our esteemed commentators mention how “mean” Wrath is with the all heel tactics. Glacier “connects” with a Cryonic Kick. He looks for the Ice Pick, but Wrath blocks and hits the MELTDOWN to a big pop. (8:22) Why all the heel stuff? I just don’t get it. The body count continues – and ends in about 24 hours. ¾*

We get a video package with Bret Hart cutting promos on the guys he’s injured: Booker T, Lex Luger, Chris Benoit, and Diamond Dallas Page.

  • Konnan vs. Stevie Ray (w/Vincent)

People seem to like Konnan, people seem to hate Stevie Ray, but nobody wants to see them wrestle. I popped for Konnan’s rolling clothesline though. He stretches Stevie Ray with an ab stretch on the mat. Stevie Ray fights out and tries a thrust kick that misses Konnan’s face by a mile. WOWZERS. He throws Konnan out to Vincent for a beating. Back in, Stevie Ray grabs a chinlock. Konnan fights out and backslides Stevie Ray, but then gets nailed with a clothesline. Konnan avoids a running elbow drop and hits the K-Factor. Now Vincent is on the apron for the distraction. Stevie Ray goes to whip Konnan in for the slap jack shot, but Konnan reverses and Vincent nails Stevie Ray by mistake. Oops. Konnan knocks Vincent off the apron and mounts Stevie Ray to punch him. Ref Billy Silverman gets in Konnan’s way and knocks him away for the super weak DQ. (6:55) Wait, so Wrath can choke Glacier with a TV cable, but don’t you dare put your hands on a blue shirt ref. BOOKER T shows up to get Konnan off his brother, but Stevie Ray doesn’t need family help – because he’s got that totally reliable and tough as nails fella named Vincent watching his back these days. Yeah, he’s not a joke – at all. Horrible match as you might expect. ½*

  • Kaz Hayashi & Saturn vs. Ernest Miller & Sonny Oono

Sonny Oono has his own ringside crew with him. Cute. Miller gives Hayashi five seconds to leave and turns his back on Hayashi to count. When Miller turns back around, of course it’s Saturn with a right hand. Tag to Hayashi, he’s quickly slammed by Miller. Hayashi wants a waistlock, but Miller powers out and kicks him down for a good choking. Oono tags in and kicks at Hayashi. He NO-SELLS the kicks and gets offered cash money. Hayashi nails Oono and cash goes flying. Heenan volunteers for clean-up duty real quick. Oono runs to Miller for a tag. Miller kicks down Hayashi and Saturn tags into the match. Saturn runs wild on Miller. The problem with Miller is he doesn’t understand how to feed himself to babyfaces. Oono gets tagged in again because Miller doesn’t want any part of Saturn. Oono gets pulled into an STF by Saturn. Miller tries to save the day, but Saturn moves and Oono gets nailed. There’s a DOUBLE DROPKICK by Hayashi and Saturn on Miller. Now Miller goes to the eyes on Hayashi. Back to Oono, he lays in some kicks on Hayashi while the ref is with Saturn. He goes for a big roundhouse kick, but Hayashi catches him in mid-air only for Miller to kick him back down. Miller tags in and grabs a chinlock, but Hayashi quickly escapes using a jawbreaker and tags Saturn. He delivers a suplex and tags in Hayashi. Miller goes back on the offense with a foot choke. Back over to Oono, Hayashi baits Oono across the ring and tags in Saturn. He offers Saturn money. Miller tries to jump Saturn, but gets thrown away with a series of suplexes. While the ref is with Hayashi, Miller hits the FELINER on Saturn. Oono covers Saturn for the pinfall. (8:04) Kind of a mess that nobody seemed to know how to navigate their way through. Everybody was either green or not a worker in this match except for Saturn and his work was kept to a minimum. I tell ya, the morale in WCW these days must be at an all-time low. The booking for Saturn since leaving the Flock has just been awful. There’s no other way to put it. ¾*

Chris Jericho is seen over at the WCW.com table talking with Lee Marshall.

Gene Okerlund wants to get a word with Juventud Guerrera on his way to the ring because Juventud has an LWO t-shirt! EDDIE GUERRERO appears and lets everybody know that Juventud has seen the light and only by joining the LWO will they keep Eric Bischoff from oppressing the Latin man and giving them the raise that they deserve. REY MYSTERIO JR. appears and seems to have it all figured out why he didn’t get a CW title shot – because the LWO already had the CW title in their possession. Eddie and Juventud try to calm Rey down because the LWO is the greater cause than individual success. Eddie says he wants to show Mysterio a lesson in sacrificing for the greater good. Rey lets Eddie know he’ll do something about this screw job. While Rey leaves mad, Eddie and Juventud embrace before Juvi heads to the ring.

  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Juventud Guerrera (c) vs. Kidman

Now Kidman looks disappointed at what Juventud has done by joining the LWO. Unfortunately, the action just leads to wristlocks and headlocks to start. They trade shots on each other with Guerrera delivering a Rocker Dropper to slow Kidman down. He looks to the crowd for a reaction and it’s all bad. Juventud snaps off a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, but then charges into a BK Bomb. The slingshot legdrop from Kidman gets two. Kidman lands his rebound clothesline and puts Juventud up top for a superplex, but Guerrera fights him off. There’s an attempt to stop a tornado DDT from Kidman as he puts on the apron, but then Juventud turns it around by snapping Kidman’s neck on the top rope. Back inside, Kidman sees a dive coming from Juventud and dropkicks him in mid-air. He puts the boots to Guerrera and tries to heat up the crowd. To the floor we go, Kidman takes out Juvi with a pescado. Back on the top rope, Juventud knocks Kidman to the apron and then delivers a flying headscissors to send Kidman to the floor! The crowd seems to think Juventud sucks now. Back in the ring, Guerrera lands a nice brainbuster for two. A springboard dropkick sends Kidman back out to the floor as Juventud lands a springboard dive. Back in the ring, Guerrera hits a slingshot legdrop (possibly bruising his tailbone) for a nearfall. Juventud then throws Kidman into another ring and lands a double springboard (well, sort of) to dropkick Kidman in the thigh for two. Kidman explodes on Juventud with a standing dropkick. He misses a corner charge to allow Guerrera to take control. They seem a little lost here. Kidman stops Juventud up top and gives him the shoelace headscissors back into the ring where they started the match. For some reason, Kidman heads up top in the other ring to only step off the top rope in the ring where they started the match to land a flying body press for two. The crowd really want Kidman to win. Now they head into the ring closest to the aisleway as Juventud walks across the ropes to give Kidman a flying headscissors for two. They go back and forth with reversals ending with the JUVI DRIVER. BOTH MEN ARE DOWN! Juvi heads up top for the 450 SPLASH, but Kidman moves and Juventud lands on his feet. A hurracanrana from Guerrera gets 1-2-NO! Next up, YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN! That gets two. Kidman delivers the wheelbarrow suplex and heads up top, but Juventud stops him for a top-rope hurracanrana. Hey wait, REY MYSTERIO JR. is at ringside. He’s grab hold of Kidman’s jorts causing Juventud to crash and burn. SHOOTING STAR PRESS! Cover, 1-2-3! (15:27) Kidman regains the CW title. Rey is the first man to congratulate Kidman on his victory, but here comes the LWO to run off Kidman. Mysterio is in hot water with the LWO. Eddie forces the crew back and yells at Mysterio that he’s in or he’s out. Huh? Rey didn’t want to be in the group in the first place. Rey throws the LWO t-shirt at Eddie’s face and runs off as the LWO gives chase after him. We’ve come to the end of a fun rivalry from 1998 between Juventud and Kidman. ***½

They show a clip from Monday Nitro with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash facing each other in the ring, but then we go into the Steiner brothers feud, which is thankfully coming to a close here tonight.

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

I do love the nWo referee guy. He’s full of charisma and clearly understands his role here. No match, as we catch the nWo B&W boys beating the shit out of Rick backstage. While “WCW security” break it up, the GIANT brings Rick to the ring and feeds him to Big Poppa Pump and Buff for a beating. In case you were unaware, Rick had an operation on his right shoulder a few weeks prior to this event, so of course there’s not much he should be doing. He turns into a southpaw here because he has no choice. Rick hits the nWo referee, but then Scott low blows him. As Scott starts to apply the STEINER RECLINER, GOLDBERG runs down and pulls Scott (gently) off of Rick. They go face-to-face and Scott gives him the middle finger and some clear F bombs get dropped. HELL YEAH. The crowd is going nuts. Scott turns back around to work over his brother, but then Goldberg pulls him back again. Scott elbows Goldberg in the face and starts to beat him down. WHY WASN’T THIS A MATCH IN 1999? Scott whips Goldberg in the ropes for a clothesline, but Goldberg ducks and comes back around for the SPEAR. He goes for the Jackhammer when Buff runs in with a chair to the back. Buff drops to his knees and begs off in the corner. Oh man, what a waste of a good feud. The nWo ref jumps on Goldberg’s back while Rick slugs Buff and kicks him to the floor. Scott is gone. Goldberg gets the nWo ref off his back and literally picks him up with no help from the man and throws him in another ring. Now this was a hot angle and looks like you could move Goldberg right into a match with Scott Steiner, but of course that doesn’t happen.

  • Scott Hall (w/the nWo B&W) vs. Kevin Nash

Eric Bischoff comes out to confront Scott Hall. It’s survey time and the survey says – “GET HIM!” The nWo boys beat on Hall until KEVIN NASH comes out to save the day. It’s a sign of things to come later tonight. Hall and Nash are the last two men standing. The crowd are wanting to see a handshake as they chant for the “OUTSIDERS”. Hall sticks out the “too sweet”, but Nash walks away. He’s not ready to make nice it seems. Not nearly as hot of an angle as the last non-match, but whatever.

  • WCW World Television Championship: Chris Jericho (c) (w/Ralphus) vs. Bobby Duncum Jr.

We get a rematch from last week’s Monday Nitro. Jericho walked out on the match losing by countout and then got hog-tied on Thunder to keep this going. After our esteemed commentators spend some time putting over Duncum and his father, talk turns to Hollywood Hogan and why he’s not in the building. Jericho gets Duncum on the mat and applies a bow and arrow hold. Jericho does a kip-up from going down with a wristlock only to eat a lariat. Duncum gives him a suplex from the apron for only a one-count. It’s chinlock time to wear down Jericho. Once that’s over, they trade big boots on one another. To the floor we go, Duncum grabs the bull rope. After ref Billy Silverman convinces him to rethink his strategy, Duncum throws Jericho in the front row. Jericho throws a drink in Duncum’s face and leaps onto him for a beatdown. Back inside, Jericho delivers a missile dropkick for two. Jericho tries to wear down Duncum, but Duncum powers out of the chinlock and hits a shoulderbreaker for two. Duncum gets Jericho on the mat with a cross armbreaker, but Jericho makes it to the ropes and hotshots Duncum to take control. As Duncum winds up on the apron, Jericho delivers his fancy springboard dropkick to send Duncum to the guardrail. Jericho high fives Ralphus and dumps Duncum into the steps. Back in, Duncum won’t sell the “COME ON BABY” pin attempt. Jericho pulls back on the arms and when Duncum gets to his feet, Jericho corners him with a spinning back kick and chokes him down on the mat. Duncum explodes out of the corner with a clothesline for two. Jericho lays in the chops, but Duncum fights back and launches Jericho. As Jericho staggers up, Duncum runs him down with a clothesline. Jericho tries a sunset flip, but Duncum blocks and lifts Jericho by the throat for a slam. That gets two. Jericho surprises Duncum with a jawbreaker and hits a Lionsault for 1-2-NO! He hits a senton splash on Duncum and heads up top. Duncum stops Jericho and delivers a superplex for two. Jericho finds a way to go for the Liontamer, but Duncum flips him over. The crowd doesn’t like it. Duncum hits a running slam and delivers a pump splash elbow drop for two. As Duncum goes for a back suplex or an atomic drop, Ralphus grabs Duncum by the ankle. Jericho gets dropped on the apron. Duncum grabs Ralphus while Jericho retrieves the TV title. While the ref is saving Ralphus, Jericho whacks Duncum with the belt and that’s enough to get the three-count. (13:19) Way too long with an opponent for Jericho that the WCW audience didn’t know. If they wanted Jericho to keep working with Duncum, their rivalry needed more Nitro time. Jericho did his best to get through it and we’re looking at Duncum’s best match in WCW. **

  • 60-Man Battle Royal – Winner Gets a WCW World Title Shot at Starrcade

The participants include: Chris Adams, Chris Benoit, Bobby Blaze, Ciclope, Damien, El Dandy, Barry Darsow, The Disciple, Disco Inferno, Bobby Duncum Jr., Bobby Eaton, Mike Enos, Scott Hall, Hector Garza, The Giant, Glacier, Juventud Guerrera, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Eddie Guerrero, Hammer, Kenny Kaos, Kaz Hayashi, Horace Hogan, Barry Horowitz, Prince Iaukea, Chris Jericho, Kanyon, Billy Kidman, Konnan, Lenny Lane, Lex Luger, Lizmark Jr., Lodi, Dean Malenko, Steve McMichael, Ernest Miller, Chip Minton, Rey Mysterio Jr., Kevin Nash, Scott Norton, La Parka, Buddy Lee Parker, Psychosis, Scott Putski, Stevie Ray, Renegade, Scotty Riggs, Perry Saturn, Silver King, Norman Smiley, Scott Steiner, Super Calo, Johnny Swinger, Booker T, Tokyo Magnum, Villano V, Vincent, Kendall Windham, Wrath, and Alex Wright.

There’s three ways to be eliminated: being thrown out of the ring, pinned, or submitted. Kevin Nash is in ring #3 and throws out like eight guys in about a minute. They show a counter in the left hand corner to show how many people remain because they don’t get all the eliminations on camera. It comes down to Nash and Hammer in ring #3. Hammer gets booted out. Now Nash gets a break while the action happens in the other two rings. In ring #2, Hall catches Psychosis coming off the top rope and gives him a Fallaway Slam to the floor. WILD! In ring #1, Giant is standing around letting everybody else work. He really is at the end of his contract, eh? The most action is happening in ring #2. At one point, Booker T and Stevie Ray look at each other, but decide it ain’t worth it and they go fight somebody else. Horace and Disciple go out at the same time. Giant gets surrounded by mid-carders, but fights them off. Disco tries to get everybody to work together against him. Benoit doesn’t care what Disco has to say and stomps him down. Giant gets his hands on Disco and CHOKESLAMS him. Once Rey Mysterio gets eliminated, twenty men remain.

Now the remaining twenty men congregate to the center ring. Saturn and Miller are apparently eliminated before the match gets started. Giant just starts throwing cruiserweights out as Kidman gets thrown on the pile. We’re down to 13 guys. Nash and Giant go at it which gets the rest of the crew brawling. It’s mainly three members of the Four Horsemen, both nWo factions, Booker T, and Wrath. Imagine if Flair walks in right now and starts chopping everybody down. The crowd would go INSANE. Well, at least I would. Hall helps out Nash against the Giant as they try to eliminate him together. Scott Norton saves the day for the Giant as Giant tosses Nash and Hall away. Luger backdrops Stevie Ray to the floor. Whoa, Mongo backdrops Norton, but then Nash eliminates McMichael. Hold up, BAM BAM BIGELOW appears from the crowd. Everybody teams up to keep Bigelow out of the ring because he’s not supposed to be here. IT’S A SHOOT! WCW security head down to grab Bigelow. GOLDBERG shows up and goes after Bigelow for a pull-apart brawl. Man, they really booked this show wrong in front of this crowd without giving Goldberg a full fledged match. But hey, WCW should get the belt off him. Wrath and Booker T are gone. We’re down to seven. Konnan, Luger, Nash, Malenko, Benoit, Giant, and Hall. Konnan misses a charge going after Hall and falls to the floor to be eliminated. Nash gets everybody to go after Giant and they do manage to get him out. Remember when Benoit eliminated Big Show to win the Rumble? Awesome times. Benoit and Malenko go after Hall while Nash and Luger watch from the other side of the ring. Randomly, they decide to help out Hall as it takes both Nash and Luger to eliminate Benoit. Hall throws out Malenko.

FINAL THREE: Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, and Scott Hall. It turns into a triple-threat situation as everybody goes after everybody. This reminds me of the ’96 WW3 battle royal. As Luger goes to lift up Hall on his shoulders, Nash boots them both out to win the match. Another year, another 60-man battle royal.

  • WCW U.S. Heavyweight Championship: Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Bret Hart

DDP goes right after Bret for a ringside battle to start – AS HE SHOULD. Bret sets up DDP with by snapping his neck on the top rope to gain control. DDT gets two. DDP fights out of a chinlock with a swinging neckbreaker. He goes for the Diamond Cutter, but Bret pushes him off and slides out to the floor. DDP meets Bret on the outside only to get dumped into the steps. Back in, Bret delivers an inverted atomic drop and a running clothesline. The Russian Legsweep gets two. DDP reverses a tombstone piledriver and delivers one for a two-count. Bret rakes the face and delivers a backbreaker and a legdrop for two. They go from corner to corner as DDP finds a belly to belly suplex for two. Discus lariat connects. DDP hits Bret with the Pancake Slam, but only gets two. Both guys fall to the floor. Back in, Bret pulls something out of his tights while DDP levels him with a flying clothesline for two. Ref Charles Robinson picks up the taped knucks Bret dropped. DDP applies the Sharpshooter. Well, it *is* November. Man, why is it so hard for people to do that hold right? Bret quickly finds the ropes. Tony – “That was a darn good Sharpshooter, wasn’t it?” Bret blatantly kicks DDP in the balls. The crowd is done, folks. Lots of noticeable empty seats. Bret goes to work on the knee and applies the Ringpost Figure-Four. That’s Bad News Bears for DDP. Once ref Charles Robinson is able to get Bret to release the hold, Bret continues to wear down the leg. There’s a Figure-Four applied to DDP. Bret even uses the ropes for leverage, but gets caught and forced to break the hold. More leg work from Bret. DDP manages to kick Bret out to the floor at one point and throws Bret into the steps. DDP drops Bret on the guardrail and then applies a Ringpost Figure-Four of his own. Back in the ring, DDP brings with him a chair. Bret begs off and when DDP goes to swing, ref Charles Robinson grabs the chair. Bret shoves DDP into Robinson who eats the chair. He goes and grabs his taped knucks from Robinson’s pocket. Meanwhile, the nWo ref is back out. DDP fights him off, but then turns around into a shot from Bret. DDP IS OUT COLD. Bret applies the SHARPSHOOTER on DDP and the nWo ref calls for the bell. The bell rings. WHAT. Yep, another Montreal Screwjob. IT’S A WORK, FOLKS. Ref Mickey Jay comes out to call the finish nonsense. While Bret argues with him, DDP turns him around into a DIAMOND CUTTER as ref Charles Robinson counts the pinfall. (18:31) Who was the idiot who rang the bell though? The match was fine, but it surprises me how little heat this had. **½

FINAL THOUGHTS: While the first hour wasn’t good at all, things do pick up with the Kidman and Guerrera CW title match. I know people who love it more than I do, so it’s worth checking out. Two of the biggest betrayals of the year never received a real conclusion: the Steiner brothers breaking up and the Outsiders doing the same. It might not have been a problem had WCW not promoted these matches for a few weeks leading to the PPV. Everything outside of the yearly battle royal felt thrown together at the last minute which leaves everything feeling flat. The good part at least is that they did get Goldberg on the show in two different moments: one with Scott Steiner and the other with Bam Bam Bigelow. Maybe I’m in the minority but this thing with Goldberg and Bigelow is awesome. It makes sense a guy from outside WCW would want to take him down. If nobody within WCW can handle him, maybe Bigelow can. The battle royal was what it was. Except for 1995 when the WCW world title was vacated, the match is basically the same thing every year with just a different nWo major player winning. No real shenanigans this year so it feels even less inspired than usual. The last ninety minutes isn’t as bad as I remember, but it’s still not great or even recommended. Slight thumbs down for World War 3 1998. Thankfully, it’s the last one.

WW3 PPV Final Rankings

  1. 1996 – (Dragon/Mysterio, Malenko/Psychosis, hot crowd) (THUMBS UP!)
  2. 1995 – (Sting/Flair, Badd/DDP, womens match, hot crowd) (THUMBS UP!)
  3. 1997(Guerrero/Mysterio, Flair/Hennig, Dragon/Nagata) (thumbs down)
  4. 1998 – (Kidman/Guerrera, Goldberg angles) (thumbs down)

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