#3 The Fingerpoke of Doom (January 4, 1999)
Many observers point to the Fingerpoke of Doom moment in the main event of the January 4, 1999 episode of Nitro as the moment WCW died. In actuality, that is not accurate. WCW was still massively profitable (and popular) for several months afterward. However, what the Fingerpoke of Doom did do, was devalue the WCW World title and demonstrate a lack of new ideas from a promotion that at its peak was filled with impressive creativity.
The Fingerpoke of Doom was monikered after Hulk Hogan's Legdrop of Doom finishing move when in a heaviworldped World title match, Hogan merely poked WCW World Champion Kevin Nash with his finger and Nash sold it like he had been hit by a truck. Three seconds later and Hogan was champion again. Nash, who had only weeks earlier ended Goldberg's 173 match unbeaten streak to win the belt, had given it up voluntarily.
Although that seems nonsensical, what WWE never mentioned is that they booked the exact same scenario just over one year earlier between European Champion, Shawn Michaels and his buddy, Triple H in December 1997.
Forced to compete against each other with the title at stake, Michaels instead laid down for Triple H and allowed his pal to pin him for the European strap. However, there was a difference, in that the European Championship was WWE's least important title and the World belt was WCW's most prestigious.
Another reason this was such a catastrophe was the exact same night on Raw, Mankind defeated The Rock to win his first world title at the same time WCW reverted to the status quo of Hulk Hogan as World Champion. WWE were making new, young headliners and WCW's number one young star, Goldberg had become an afterthought and would never regain the same momentum he had prior to his title loss at Starrcade 1998.
The entire segment was a test of the intelligence levels of the WCW fans who had grown weary of the impossible content that the brand threw at them week on week. This was the beginning of WCW's landmark decline and it was purely put of their own doing.