Starrcade 1997 was supposed to be one of the biggest events ever. For almost an entire year, WCW was hyping the eventual of the New World Order (NWO)‘s “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan and WCW loyalist Sting. In fact, this Pay Per View had the MOST buys since WWE’s Wrestlemania 5. Everyone was hyped to finally see Hulk Hogan “get his” after a year and a half of ruling WCW as the heel boss of the NWO.
Weeks leading into Starrcade 1997, the finish was Sting going over clean against Hulk Hogan and becoming WCW World Champion.
The day of the Starrcade 97 event, however, the finish of Hogan vs. Sting was changed. What you witnessed was Hogan mostly dominating the match and then scoring what appeared to be a clean pin with referee Nick Patrick. However, Bret Hart ran down and claimed Patrick did a “fast count” and Hart, who was a referee previously in the night, restarted the match and Sting then won the match and became WCW World Champion. While fans in attendance celebrated the win, fans who bought the Pay Per View knew that “fast count” was botched. The end result is that WCW blew its biggest blowoff match in the company’s history and by Spring, Hulk Hogan was back to being WCW Champion again.
What happened that night? What caused the original finish to be changed from Sting going over 100% clean to a controversial finish?
Well, some NEW answers arrived that have NEVER been admitted to, per the A&E New World Order Biography.
Eric Bischoff: “Hogan looked at me and said ‘not today'”.
Hulk Hogan: “I had a problem with it, because if you’re going to beat me when I get this type of momentum, this is about making money. Whenever you beat somebody, you beat them in a way that they are better off after they were beat than they were before.”
Eric Bischoff: “Despite the fact that Hulk Hogan did have creative control and he never exercised it, never threatened to use it, never implied that he might. It was like ‘yeah it’s there, but it’s not’, except for that night. And because Hulk wasn’t feeling it, he called an audible and it was a mad scramble.”
Hulk Hogan: “It got to the point where there was too much tension. I was like OK brother, we’ll put him over, we’ll figure it out”.
Sting later admitted that he wasn’t sure what they were doing until they got to the curtain.
For YEARS upon YEARS, it was alleged that Hulk Hogan used his Creative Control to mess with the finish. Yet, it was Eric Bischoff through various outlets and repeatedly on his podcast “83 Weeks” alleging that HE changed the finish, not Hogan, based on how he perceived Sting that night.
Bischoff claimed a “combination of a whole bunch of things” that caused the finish:
(a) Sting lacked the energy that night.
(b) Sting appeared to not have worked out (or Bischoff claimed)
(c) Sting didn’t tan (even though it is hard to tan wearing a trench coat)
For years and many debates with Conrad Thompson (host of 83 Weeks podcast with Eric), Eric Bischoff chalked the changed Starrcade 1997 finish on his decision that “Sting wasn’t ready”.
YET, in the A&E Biography show, Eric Bischoff made ZERO MENTION of Sting’s apparent lack of conditioning and lack of preparedness. Not one…
What was mentioned on the A&E Biography? For the first time out of Eric Bischoff’s lips and also confirmed by Hulk Hogan for the first time, the Creative Control by Hulk Hogan’s contract was used to CHANGE the Starrcade 1997 finish.
Eric Bischoff – You OWE AN APOLOGY not only to wrestling fans for screwing up your biggest show ever, but also owe an apology to Sting. You insulted Sting personally to cover up your association with Hulk Hogan. Funny how you’re now telling the truth, as you’re not as involved with Hulk Hogan’s business as you used to be.
You had every opportunity on that A&E Biography to continue peddling your excuses about that botched Starrcade 97 finish and Sting’s lack of energy or tanning, but instead, you told a DIFFERENT story. You admitted to Hulk Hogan using his Creative Control for the first time and it was completely contrary to what you screamed at Conrad Thompson on 83 Weeks.
Because if Sting “had problems”, then why was he awarded the WCW Title again at Superbrawl 1998? Kudos to Conrad for holding Eric’s feet to the fire on that point.
And if Hogan wasn’t creatively pulling strings, then how did he quickly become World Champion again later that Spring?
But again – Eric Bischoff made ZERO MENTION of “no energy, not in great shape, or no tan” on the A&E Biography show. He also reversed his denial of Hulk Hogan using Creative Control, too.
As I said years ago in my “Day that WCW Died” column when I explained that WCW’s seeds of decline were planted during November 1996 when Eric Bischoff joined the NWO. He went from a bright eyed, innovative executive to focusing more on his TV character and hogging up more television time for himself. Eric even wrestled on that Starrcade 97 show… Then you fast forward to 1998, and we get more Bischoff attached to Hogan’s hip and spending lots of money on Tonight Show like sets for his Hog Wild 1998 feud. Bischoff put more and more eggs into his on-screen character than his backstage role. Eric did so by getting increasingly attached and protective of Hulk Hogan. Look what happened during early January 1999 with the “fingerpoke of doom” embarrassment.
YOU LIED, Eric Bischoff.
Now it is time to apologize.
You said something entirely DIFFERENT on your 83 Weeks podcast and other past interviews versus what you just said on the A&E Biography New World Order show.
Will the real Eric Bischoff please stand up?
You REALLY owe Sting an apology. Good lord…
So just chill… till the next episode!