9. 4 January 1999
WCW wasn't a promotion that did things in a half-arsed manner, although you could probably argue that they existed in a half-arsed manner. No, when they got things wrong, WCW got them very wrong. It wasn't enough to diminish the value of your own world championship with one of the most ridiculous segments in the history of professional wrestling. On that same night, the company deemed it a good idea to insult and lambast the achievement of a fellow professional, one of the industry's most likeable men, a man who gave his ear to WCW.
4 January 1999, was a night that changed the pro wrestling industry forever. I'm not talking about Scott Norton defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Keiji Mutoh in the Tokyo Dome. The change came from another dome, the Georgia Dome, in front of thousands of fans in Atlanta. One immensely selfish commentator call and one insulting match were all it took to put the first major nail in the coffin of the Monday Night Wars.
First, the call. WWE was running a taped show on that January evening, the results of which were available to those in the know. This wasn't new, and Eric Bischoff frequently had his announcers read the RAW results live on Nitro, hoping that viewers wouldn't change the channel to see something they already knew the result of. On this night, Tony Schiavone made the following call:
"Fans, if you're even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, do not. We understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here at one time as Cactus Jack, is gonna win their World title. Ha! That's gonna put some butts in the seats, heh."
600,000 or so fans immediately switched the channel. Mrs Foley's Baby Boy was going to win the big one, the most inspiring wrestler of the generation was finally making it to the top of the mountain. Those viewers returned to Nitro after Foley's win, just in time to see a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match between champion Kevin Nash (who had just ended Goldberg's 173-match winning streak) and Hulk Hogan.
We all know how that went. Hogan poked Nash in the chest, Big Sexy went down in more convincing fashion than most bumps in his career, and the nWo cackled at the outcome. WCW had f*cked its fans, and its attempts to f*ck Mick Foley's big moment set in motion a series of events that brought WCW down, for good.