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November 23, 1998 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWF Survivor Series review, Rock becomes Corporate Champion

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Despite putting on its best Nitro in several weeks, World Championship Wrestling has seemingly lost sight of what the pro wrestling business is all about in a panic over the Monday night ratings. Even with that as the primary goal, WCW has fallen further behind than at any time in the history of the Monday Night Wars as the company is paying for its lack of developing new talent when it was on top and creating new story lines this year when it was losing its grip, and relying on a pat hand of tired old faces and suffering from the residue of a year of largely bad television.

As this is being written just five days before the World War III PPV in Auburn Hills, MI, there are only two matches announced for the show with no episodes of Nitro left to promote them--a 60 man three-ring Battle Royal which has become known in the industry as an annual atrocity, and a rematch of Scott Hall vs. Kevin Nash stemming from a weak match with an even weaker finish on the Havoc show and a most recent Monday angle that made little sense in building the match up. This is coming on the heels of three consecutive disappointing buy rates, at the same time that WCW stopped promoting anything but the main matches on the PPV show. WCW's policy of announcing three or four matches and hoping fans "trust them" enough to buy the undercard, after the quality of shows generally this year, has been a flop, and not changing that policy in the wake on this, is either a sign of complete stupidity or a total lack of organization to the point the company can't map out a card a few weeks in advance. Even worse, on the flagship shows, Nitro and Thunder, there have been no interviews with talent building up winning the Battle Royal and getting the shot at Goldberg at Starrcade, leaving all the promotion of the PPV to the announcers who simply can't do it alone since their credibility has already been destroyed by a company philosophy where the announcers role is to look both uncool and gullible to the point fans don't take anything they say seriously. The wrestlers on interviews seem more intent on getting in their shtick than building up a show, and PPV when correctly done should be the biggest revenue stream in the industry, except it probably won't be much longer at this rate for WCW. Only one other match is even known to be definite for the show, Diamond Dallas Page vs. Bret Hart for the U.S. title, and it probably won't be officially announced until three days before the card on Thunder. One would presume from watching TV that new cruiserweight champion Juventud Guerrera, who captured the title on Nitro on 11/16 in probably the best WCW match of the year from Billy Kidman, defending against Rey Misterio Jr., who earned a title shot in a match that aired on Thunder on 11/9. However, at press time, indications are that angle is being forgotten and they'll go with another Guerrera vs. Kidman match on the PPV, which even if it makes all the previous booking irrelevant, should guarantee at least one great match on the card. The only match previously announced, a disaster in the making with four people who have no business in the ring right now, Scott Steiner & Buff Bagwell getting a shot at WCW tag champs Rick Steiner & Judy Bagwell fell victim to reality, as Judy Bagwell was hospitalized this week due to appendicitis and nothing was announced in its place. As a cover story, they announced that Buff had given Scott the okay to basically jump his mother and beat her up so badly she was sent to the hospital, which is one of the poorer taste angles in a year loaded with them, by a company complaining long and loud about the poor taste of its opposition. The fact is they were advertising the match despite Buff being months from ready to wrestle and Rick Steiner having just underwent another shoulder operation after the previous one was unsuccessful, and he's a long way from being able to return to the ring. Even without those problems, that angle due to Judy Bagwell, was dying a brutal death to begin with, and don't even get me started about how little everyone cares these days about the WCW tag team titles with people passing around the belts with logic that makes the most insane bookers of the past look positively brilliant. The bookers had scripted an angle for the Saturday Night tapings on 11/17 in Salina, KS between Booker T and Scott Norton to set up a PPV match, but since neither wanted to do the angle, it wound up being nixed and it doesn't look like they'll be wrestling either.

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