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November 30, 1998 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: 3 top stars potentially done with wrestling, WCW World War III recap

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The in-ring future of three of the top wrestling stars of this era looks to be in major question, with existing injuries seriously threatening the careers of Shawn Michaels and Masahiro Chono, and the business split, whether part of an angle or otherwise, between Hulk Hogan, WCW and Eric Bischoff.

As the "inside story" goes, which may or may not have a degree of validity, Hogan and Bischoff had a business falling out when Bischoff decided to go with Hogan's enemy, Kevin Nash, as new booker, thus greatly diluting Hogan's political power. It was also made clear to Hogan that due to WWF's huge ratings victories over the past few weeks with the margin growing to record proportions on 11/16, that they were no longer going to build the entire company and nearly every major angle around him and that, as many have clamored for more than one year, Bischoff realizes the company needs to build new and younger stars for the future. The straw that may have broken the camel's back is the current plan for Nash to beat Bill Goldberg for the WCW title at Starrcade, since Hogan agreed to put Goldberg over cleanly the right way for the title on 7/6 at the Georgia Dome as part of a deal where Goldberg's first loss would be to him, most likely at Starrcade. While there were tentative plans on the table for Nash to win the Battle Royal and then the title at Starrcade before any of this happened, there was also serious talk that the end result of this would be for Nash to re-join the black & white at that point and possibly even hand the belt to Hogan, and this was the first time it was made clear that wasn't happening. Rather than stay with his power diluted, Hogan chose to leave the company and is expected to announce his retirement from pro wrestling on Thanksgiving night on the Jay Leno show. The fact that his name was mentioned so prominently on both the PPV show and on both the 11/23 and 11/24 editions Nitro, which all heavily plugged the Leno appearance, makes clear this is largely an angle. Hogan wasn't in either Auburn Hills or Grand Rapids, MI for the two shows. Generally, but not universally speaking, the morale of the wrestlers was much better without him as he was largely seen by most of the younger wrestlers as the political enemy holding them back.

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