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On this date in WCW history: The Fingerpoke of Doom and Tony Schiavone

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What may have been the biggest mistake WCW ever made occurred on this date in history: The infamous Finger Poke of Doom.

How many times can you bury your own company in one night?

If you're World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the answer is "two." On the January 4, 1999, edition of Monday Nitro, ringside announcer Tony Schiavone tried to keep viewers from flipping over to World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) Monday Night Raw by revealing that Mick Foley would win the world title in the main event.

He knew that, because Raw at that time, was taped before hand.

"Fans, if you're even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, fans, do not. We understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here one time as Cactus Jack, is going to win their world title. Ha! That's gonna put some butts in the seats, heh."

Eric Bischoff, who was the mastermind behind the spoilers, probably underestimated just how over the WWF had become at the time, and instead of viewers passing up the competition, they instead made a mass exodus to watch it all go down.

Those WCW viewers who did stick around, probably wish they hadn't.

That's because WWF was giving fans a main event that featured Mick Foley vs. The Rock with run-ins by Steve Austin and DX while WCW was giving fans the Finger Poke of Doom.

Yes, the reunification of the nWo factions that saw Kevin Nash lay down for Hollywood Hogan (after having billed it as a "grudge match") and turn over the belt after getting tapped in the chest by the Hulkster.

Everyone in the ring cheers and hugs. Everyone watching vomits on the guy in front of him.

While their exists a laundry list of reasons why WCW lost control of the Monday Night Wars, it's hard not see this as the straw that broke the camel's back. Especially for viewers who tuned back into Nitro after RAW ended and got to compare the two.

Final score in the Nielsen ratings: WWF 5.7, WCW 5.0.

The Finger Poke of Doom:

Tony Schiavone reveals WWF Raw results live on Nitro:

Any active Cagesiders at that time remember when it all went down? How did you react?