A single finger was all it took for Hulk Hogan to defeat Kevin Nash on a night when WCW pointed one straight at their audience.
Throughout the show, Eric Bischoff’s hyperactive commentary had all the restraint of a town crier high on glue, but it was his suicidal booking where things really came unstuck.
The ever-orange Hogan was far from evergreen, and few wanted to see him dominate the top of the WCW landscape at the end of the millennium. Elsewhere, rivals WWF were set to put their belt on Mick Foley in a pre-taped episode of Raw.
With a degree of foresight comparable to an myopic mole, Nitro’s lead shill Tony Schiavone announced WWF’s plans in an attempt to dissuade fans from turning over. It didn’t work: they switched channels in their droves.
Those who stuck around soon wished they hadn’t. After a preliminary stare-down, Hogan stepped up to Nash before flooring him with a poke to the chest, claiming the title and tediously reuniting the warring nWo factions in the process. A series of run-ins followed, with Schiavone’s words, “Thank goodness for Lex Luger,” perfectly capturing what a farce this was. Never since or before has such a phrase been spoken.
Did the ‘Fingerpoke of Doom’ presage WCW’s downfall? It took more than a single bait-and-switch finish to turn cheated fans off the product for good, but it was the start. After all, it only takes one digit to push that first domino over.