Former WWE and WCW referee Nick Patrick reveals his role in the controversial Sting vs. Hulk Hogan finish at Starrcade, the political games he was in the middle of
World Wrestling Insanity interview with Nick Patrick
Host: James Guttman
Interview available at WorldWrestlingInsanity.com via ClubWWI.
He's the referee with attitude and whether he was defending the NWO or invading with WCW, the one and only Nick Patrick made waves in wrestling. Now the sometimes-crooked official joins ClubWWI.com for an exclusive shoot interview.
The son of legendary Jody "The Assassin" Hamilton, Nick Patrick made a name for himself. As the General Manager for Rampage Pro Wrestling, Nick is still keeping the peace in a world of grapplers. It's second nature to him at this point as he has been a part of some of wrestling's biggest matches and storylines from a referee's point of view. From the controversial Sting-Hogan count to the WCW vs. WWE war being held on WWE soil, Patrick shoots straight on it all.
One of the most controversial decisions Nick was ever involved in happened at Starrcade 1997. The match, with months of buildup, was Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting. As the story goes, Bret Hart, fresh off of leaving the WWF after being "screwed" by a referee, was at ringside for the bout. After a Hulk legdrop, Patrick was supposed to make a fast three count on Sting, allowing Bret to save the day. But when the end came, Nick didn't count fast. He counted at regular speed so that Hulk's pin appeared legitimate and Bret's complaining seemed out of place. The event had been clouded with speculation for years. Had Patrick been told to screw over Sting? Was it an honest mistake or were there politics at play? James Guttman asks it straight and Nick tells it all to ClubWWI.com listeners.
"I believe what had happened was that I got conflicting stories about what they wanted me to do. I had one faction telling me they wanted one thing from me. I had another faction telling me they wanted another thing from me. So I kind of split it down the middle. Now I remember exactly the scenario. So that’s what happened out of that deal."
Patrick reveals that he had to make a choice in that match and in WCW, it was hard to know where you stood. With so many people in power rotating through the door, you never knew who would be your boss from week to week. Nick went into detail on this match in particular, whether his decision appeased the right people in the end, the advantage Vince McMahon has by not featuring ever changing "bosses," Bischoff and Hogan in TNA, the frustration with WCW's direction towards the end, what they did that he didn't agree with, and more. As the ClubWWI.com shoot continues, Nick explains the difficult position he truly was put in.
"You never knew who was going to be the boss. You just had to ride the fence and not piss anybody off. You never knew if that person who was doing something dumb that was irritating you, you rat him out but you never know - they might be your boss next week. So you had to bite your tongue a lot at the period of time and it was kind of tough because there were a lot of different people that WCW put in place that makes you reach up, scratch your head, and go, 'What in the world are they thinking?' Some of the different people they put in charge as presidents of the company I don't think they even watched wrestling on TV, some of them. Now they're trying to run our dang show, tell us about characters and stories. They may have known how to sell the product, but they didn't know how to create the product or present the product. It was a frustrating time. There was a lot of good, but a lot of frustration too."
Nick explains more about that frustration in his ClubWWI.com interview. His history in wrestling had always been tied to WCW and its Georgia history. Patrick discusses coming up as the son of Jody Hamilton, his early days of Georgia Championship Wrestling, all the way up to Vince McMahon's WCW buyout and the war between the companies…written by Vince's creative team. Nick speaks openly and honestly about the entire scenario including those who he feels were truly responsible for the demise of WCW at the end. JG asks about the final days of World Championship Wrestling and the former senior official responds.
"It was frustrating to see that they had things caught on fire, but let it peter out due to ego. All the private jets and private buses and private locker rooms and private this-and-that. There were stars instead of the traditional heel locker room and babyface locker room, everybody dressing together and being like a team. That's when it quit being a team and became all about 'me.' Everybody wanting to rape it for as much money as they could get out of it and milk all the injury time they could out of it. It became no longer fun. It became a business. Everybody was trying to get the most they could out of it instead of that gung-ho attitude like everybody has when they're first starting to break into the industry…It just became about 'take the money.' The pride was pretty much gone."
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