Starrcade 1996 & Bulldog……
So what the shit was going on at Starrcade ’96 in the main event? Piper v Hollywood had the crowd on their…..ass. Sitting down. It was silent in there. Piper got a pretty nice pop with the sleeper finish, quite the surprise actually. But prior to the PPV was this pimped at all as non-title? And what was the storyline explanation for the belt not on the line? Was the feud drawing/popping ratings?
How close was the Bulldog to joining WCW as the 4th or 5th nWo member? I actually kinda dig Davey Boy being in the group. Would you have liked the move of putting him in the group? Or did he choose correctly staying with Vince with the Hart Foundation, which btw was complete awesomeness as a faction.
Thanks much & as always much like Iran & Russia, the BOD is #1
And P.S. are seeds getting planted @ Battleground for Taker v Sting finally? I don’t give a shit how old they are I’d still love to see it on spectacle alone.
Re: Starrcade. The non-title stipulation was never mentioned on TV beforehand, and was only mentioned in passing even afterwards. The deal was that they wanted Hogan to do a job to Piper to set up the rematch, but didn’t want to change the title, so that was their elegant solution. I think afterwards Hogan hand-waved it away by saying Piper hadn’t earned a shot yet, but there was never any good reason behind it. And yes, the PPV did a huge number and they were drawing big ratings with it.
Re: Bulldog. Let’s go to the Sept 9 1996 Observer! Apologies to Dave for reprinting such a big chunk.
“However, four days before Nitro, on the day his WWF contract was set to expire, Smith signed a five-year contract, believed to be with a $250,000 per year downside guarantee, with the WWF. WCW’s offer to Smith was said to be substantially higher, and for fewer dates per year. The original offer made to Smith months ago was a three year deal at $400,000 per year, and the latest offer had to be at least that figure if not higher. When Smith gave notice to the WWF three months back after his messed up PPV title match with Shawn Michaels, which wasn’t that he was necessarily leaving but to avoid his contract rolling over, WCW officials secretly believed he was coming in. However, several weeks later, Smith’s attorney sent WCW a letter saying that the two sides were unable to come to terms, and Smith also moved from Tampa back to Calgary, which most assumed meant he was no longer considering going to WCW since Tampa would be the perfect city to live given where most of the WCW events are scheduled. At this point Smith agreed to stay with WWF, with the lower money figure guaranteed reportedly not being the crux of the negotiating problems and it was more that he was unhappy about not being told of his future programs ahead of time and not getting what he thought was the push he was promised into the title picture. In particular, Smith was reportedly unhappy about after having what most would consider two of the three best WWF matches over the past nine months (title matches against Bret Hart in Hershey and Shawn Michaels in Milwaukee), that in neither case was he programmed for rematches at the house shows and was instead used at the house shows lower in more of a stepping stone role. The other side of the coin was that even though he had two excellent title matches, neither drew huge buy rates and Smith was thought of as a guy who can be a great worker when he’s motivated, but not a great draw on top as a title challenger.
Titan and Smith had been going back-and-forth over the past few weeks regarding actually signing the contract when negotiations with WCW picked up as WCW informed Smith they had no problem flying him in from Calgary as they do routinely with other regulars who live in foreign countries. What if any verbal deal Smith may have made with WCW is unknown, but when WCW shot the angle on 8/26 where Ted DiBiase talked of introducing No. 4 and No. 5, at that point WCW was apparently believing Smith to be No. 4.
When Vince McMahon got wind, which was believed to have been on 8/28, that Smith was on the verge of making a deal with WCW, he made a phone call to Smith along with WWF attorney Jerry McDevitt and finally reached him the next day and was said to have been furious. The bone of contention was that Smith had apparently made a verbal agreement to continue with the WWF and sign the five-year contract even though he had not actually signed and that Smith’s attorney had already signed a preliminary entering into contract several weeks ago. The latter basically was that the two sides agreed that Smith was staying but that all terms hadn’t been agreed to so he wouldn’t have been phased out on television while details of the negotiations were still ongoing. Whether legal threats in regard to what would be perceived as going back on both the verbal and written agreement were made, as Titan was under the belief that it had a written agreement with Smith and obviously is going to enforce it, are not clear but by the end of the day both sides had agreed to terms and Smith signed the deal.”
So the upshot is that Smith came VERY close to going. I think he was ultimately happier staying in the WWF and did better for himself until 1997, at which point his entire career went down the tubes anyway. I don’t think he would have set the world on fire in WCW anyway.