At a glance, it was just two great wrestlers doing their thing on an episode of Monday Nitro on this date in WCW history. Ultimately, it showed the issues with the nWo and the company overbooking everything.
At the start, this video shows everything right about World Championship Wrestling (WCW) by this date in history (Dec. 2, 1998), as Raven and Dean Malenko squared off in what would ultimately be a fairly good but not great match on a routine episode of Monday Nitro.
It was always a pleasure watching those two work.
However, by the time all was said and done, it was all about the New World Order (nWo), a theme that played itself out for far too long. That storyline should have been dead, or at least on its last legs in late 1997 when Hulk Hogan lost the world heavyweight championship to Sting at Starrcade. Instead, they split into two factions and spawned about a million cheap spin offs that could never live up to the original idea.
Isn't that always how it seems to end up?
The problem is the group(s) was overly involved in everything. This match stated with Raven vs. Malenko, saw a run in from Chris Kanyon that led to Chris Benoit coming out to brawl with him that led to Bret Hart coming out to brawl with him that led to Lex Luger -- of the nWo -- coming out to get after him. Ultimately, The Giant showed up to rescue Hart.
And the original match was forgotten, the lasting memory always of the nWo and whatever was going on with it.
Exactly 25 days later, Goldberg would lose the title to Kevin Nash at Starrcade and the "Fingerpoke of Doom" would occur on Nitro just eight days later. The bottom dropped out not long after and the company was out of business by 2001, all the while trying to recreate the magic of the nWo.
Little did they know, Raven and Malenko were what we wanted to see. At least I know that's what I wanted.