After being defeated by WWF Raw is War for five straight weeks, WCW Monday Nitro took the victory this week in the Monday Night Ratings War. Here are the full detailed Monday Night Ratings for October 26, 1998:
WWF RAW IS WAR - October 26, 1998 - 9:00-11:00pm
Hour 1 - 4.4 - Vince McMahon interview, Vince McMahon holds conference with lawyers, X-Pac vs. Steve Blackman, The Rock vs. Darren Drozdov, Backstage Stone Cold Steve Austin interview, Motley Crue Performance, Kane vs. Gangrel, Backstage Shane McMahon appearance, and Stone Cold Steve Austin interview.
Hour 2 - 4.6 - McMahon family segment, The Godfather vs. Tiger Ali Singh, Vince McMahon leaves arena, The Oddities and Insane Clown Posse vs. Kaientai, Backstage Ken Shamrock interview, Goldust vs. Marc Mero, Backstage Al Snow and Mankind interview, The New Age Outlaws vs. Mankind and Al Snow, and Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Ken Shamrock.
COMPOSITE - 4.5
WCW MONDAY NITRO - October 26, 1998 - 8:00-11:00pm
Hour 1 (Unopposed) - 5.7 - Stevie Ray vs. Kenny Kaos, Kanyon vs. Prince Iaukea, Four Horsemen interview, Alex Wright vs. Barry Horowitz, Wrath vs. Sick Boy, and Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page (Halloween Havoc).
Hour 2 - 5.2 - Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page (Halloween Havoc), Backstage Kevin Nash interview, NWO-Hollywood interview, Saturn vs. Eddie Guerrero, Judy Bagwell interview, and Rick Steiner and Kenny Kaos vs. The Giant and Stevie Ray.
Hour 3 - 4.4 - Eric Bischoff introduces Ric Flair clippings from Bash at the Beach '94, Kidman vs. Juventud Guerrera, Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell interview, Warrior interview, and Diamond Dallas Page vs. Bret Hart.
COMPOSITE - 5.1
[Nitro's last two hours, going head-to-head with WWF Raw is War, scored a 4.8 composite rating ... Ratings come courtesy of Georgiann Makropoulos] (J.DeLeon)
As you can see WCW pulled out a victory basically by ripping off their faithful PPV viewers. Now I know no one else will have the balls to say this but if you cannot see that for yourself let me come down to a level you may understand and explain it to you:
To book time on a PPV you MUST have everything worked out well in advance. That includes the length of it. For all of you people who haven't graduated the fourth grade that means you must tell them how long your show is going to run.
With this is mind, how the hell can Eric Bischoff or anyone in WCW for that matter say that this wasn't pre-planned to run over knowing that the system would probably go to the next program on their time slot. You see folks, just as WCW paid for their time so does everyone else hoping to make money by using this medium. Eric Bischoff, Ted Turner or whomever cannot control what has been set up for months as far as time slots go in pay per view. To be quite honest I find it hard to believe that only 20% (WCW's estimation) switched to the next show on the docket.
Now I do not know what the buyrate was for Halloween Havoc but you have to figure there were a lot of people who PAID their hard earned money to see this PPV. Considering that only 20% of the viewership didn't get to see the final match then why not give the replay for free to those people whose PPV company switched at 11 pm? That would make sense. But that is not what happened.
WCW in it's infinite wisdom decided to show the Goldberg/Page title match in it's entirety on Nitro. Now remember they said that this was not for the ratings but that the match would start to be shown right before the 9 o'clock hour. Puhhhlease, spare me the insult to my intelligence. Am I supposed to believe that this was merely coincidence that the title match was going to start being shown right before RAW was to come on?
Now look at the ratings for their first hour. When have you ever seen Nitro pull a 5.7 rating in the first hour? This was due to the fact that everyone wanted to see what really happened the previous night, mostly because it was known that there was a system blackout of the title match. Another thing that strikes me funny is that they would not show the ending to the Hogan/ Warrior match. Could this be because they tried horribly to once again copy the WWF product by showing blood (if that's what you want to call it) and Hogan's lame attempt at using fire? Doesn't this go against everything that Bischoff touts about WCW and how they are nothing like the WWF? Doesn't this show Bischoff as a hypocrite with him always saying that the WWF uses gimmicks to draw fans and not wrestling? Doesn't this show Bischoff out to be a moron because even when he tries to give the fans what he thinks they want they really cannot pull it off? And what about all the family values and family programming that WCW speaks so highly of? Is that only for TV now? Is WCW now trying to play both sides of the fence by trying to give fans something at house shows and something else on TV? To me it sounds like a couple of reporters I know who have fence prints up their ass from straddling it so much.
Even with all this Nitro dropped down to a 5.2 rating when RAW came on, only because people who didn't pay a dime to see the match now had the chance to. So much for thinking about your loyal fans who supported you by shelling out their hard earned money the night before to support your product. All in all what did it really get WCW? A few ratings points? In the end for WCW's third hour Nitro lost (probably more like during the second hour) as the rest of the WWF fans ( and probably some of WCW's as well) who stayed to watch the Goldberg/Page title match switched to RAW and Nitro went back down to a normal 4.4 rating. A far cry from the 5.7 they started with isn't it? Just what does this say about their current product and their ability to hold an audience?
All in all wrestling will always be wrestling and business will always be business but I could have sworn that the promoters knew that the majority of fans anymore were hip to the games and could see bullshit laying on the road long before they stepped in it. In my opinion Bischoff is insulting the intelligence of the wrestling fans pretty much the same way that Vince did in the mid-eighties. I couldn't stand it then, I won't stand for it now.
Bischoff for months now has been using gimmick after gimmick to draw ratings to his program. This is evident with two ratings winners, the Warrior debut and the return of Ric Flair. Both of these nights saw Nitro beat RAW but what happened in the ensuing weeks? The week after the Warrior debuted Nitro won again but only on the promise of the Warrior starting a revolution in WCW which never happened. The next week, Nitro lost. With the return of Ric Flair the same thing. Nitro won but the very next week can they say the same? No, they cannot. Why? Because Eric Bischoff is resorting to gimmicks to draw fans, not solid product.
Sooner or later Bischoff's bag of tricks will be completely exhausted and then what will he do? Turn Hogan face? Maybe he'll get smart and actually allow the talent he has in his locker room to go out and work for once. Or at least MAKE some of them work as opposed to sitting on their collective asses while drawing huge paychecks. That is the only thing Bischoff has left, and I say it would be about damn time!
Fritz Capp is the editor for Pro Wrestling's Between The Sheets - for comments or opposing viewpoints please e-mail to Pro Wrestling's Between The Sheets