Hustle Is Posting Right Now - #LOLWCW (A Re-Post)
Nov 7, 2013 - 6:36:55 PM
You rock, Maricel.
Writer's Note: In preparation for my upcoming #LOLTNA column(s) that will be gracing this site in the not-too-distant future, I figured I'd re-post my popular #LOLWCW columns that I wrote in the fall of 2011. Today, you'll see the first part, and at some point on Sunday night or Monday, you'll get the second part. Enjoy the complete and total ridiculousness that was WCW, ladies and gentlemen.
At multiple points throughout my three-and-a-half years of writing columns here at LoP, I've done "What If" columns, where I look at various events in the history of pro wrestling and give my opinions of how things would have went if those particular situations had gone down in a different way. What if Owen Hart didn't pass away when he did.. would he have gone on to win the WWF Title before he retired? What if Hulk Hogan wasn't named as the third "Outsider".. how would the nWo have affected the wrestling business? Those types of situations. Usually, the columns would consist of a handful of situations, but today, I'll be doing an entire column on a single "What If" topic.
What is that topic, you ask?
What if WCW had purchased WWF, instead of the other way around.. how would the last decade have played out?
The easy, easy, easy thing to say would be to simply look at everything that the WWF (and then WWE) has done since then.. all of the positives and all of the negatives.. and just flip them to say WCW would have gone through the exact same things. However, not only would that make for a lame column, it simply wouldn't be the truth, and everyone knows that.
It simply wouldn't have happened, because even with all the success that WCW had, and even with all of the money that they had to spend at one point, they were one of the most poorly-run operations in any line of business in the history of ever. They couldn't get out of their own way, and even when they were on top of the wrestling world, dominating the ratings during the Monday Night War and selling arenas out all over the country, they were still making several huge mistakes, some of which were hurting them at the time, but some of which wouldn't end up hurting them until a few years had passed. In this column, not only will I share what I think WCW would have done after purchasing the WWF, but I'll also include numerous quotes from Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter through the years, showing just how messed up things were in WCW. Some of the quotes will make you laugh. Some of the quotes will make you sit there, shaking your head. Some of the quotes might even make you mad as you look at how badly they fumbled what could/should have been "sure things". I'm just going to be randomly inserting the quotes. They may or may not have anything to do with what I'm talking about at the moment. Just had to make that clear before people start wondering what a quote about, say, Hulk Hogan has to do with me talking about, say, the Cruiserweights.
You can't just start this off in 2001, when WCW was purchased. You have to go back to the second-half of 1998, when Raw began beating Nitro regularly in the ratings and never looked back. When you go back, you have to use a mini-"What If" scenario.. What if Steve Austin had never feuded with Vince McMahon? What if Tony Schiavone had never been ordered to make an on-air remark about Mick Foley winning the WWF Title for the first time? Those were the main things that kick started the WWF's climb back to the top, so if they never happened, it's fair to assume that WCW would have continued winning the ratings war every week. That's where this entire thing starts to unfold. The longer that Nitro continued to beat Raw in the ratings, the worse things would have gotten for the WWF. Vince McMahon and the Creative Team would have started to panic more and more, and with every new failed idea, things would have spiraled further and further out of control.
"The announcers were paying so much attention to the match that they didn't even realize La Parka had turned on his teammates."
"Most of the Mexican wrestlers missed the TV taping because their individual contract discussions with JJ Dillon (yes, that's really his role) took longer than expected. Nobody from WCW thought to call Arn Anderson at the building to tell him the guys would be late, so he was blowing a fuse waiting for them to arrive."
"One of Ultimo Dragon's students from Naucalpan was brought in for a tryout. He was given the name 'Tam Pong' in someone's idea of a practical joke."
The hardest thing to picture of this entire "What If" scenario is Vince McMahon and the WWF "Board" willingly selling the company to anyone, let alone to WCW. With what we "know" of Vince McMahon, it almost seems more likely that, if he ever saw his company close to going under, he'd round up all of his employees, both on-air and off-air, put them all in a big warehouse, walk in with a bomb strapped to his body and blow them all up. It would assure that, even in defeat, Vince McMahon and the WWF is what everyone talks about. Of course, let's just say that Vince continued losing money at a rapid rate, and eventually came to the realization that it was a lost cause. Let's say that he was able to round up the shares in the company to be authorized to sell to WCW. Let's say he took the money he got in the sale to take his family on a vacation somewhere and get out of the public eye for a little while.
"In the angle on 9/21 where Hogan found The Disciple asleep on a bathroom floor and the steam came, you can see a guy firing off a fire extinguisher through the bathroom window."
"Saturn pinned Psicosis in 7:51 with the frog splash. This wasn't supposed to be the finish, but for whatever reason Billy Silverman counted three, anyway, even though Psicosis kicked out."
"Jim Hellwig was in Wichita, but they had nothing for him to do. Must be nice to pay a guy ($35,000 per night) and have nothing for him to do."
Remember after the sale, when Vince McMahon was broadcast on both Raw and Nitro and made mention of the sale? Yeah, well, you're kidding yourself if you don't think something similar would have happened if WCW bought the WWF. With as much time and effort as Eric Bischoff spent trying to ruin McMahon and his legacy, you know he would have been thrilled to rub this in McMahon's face. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention.. Bischoff is still running things in WCW, because without all of that stuff happening to help the WWF's ratings, WCW would have continued to win, which means Bischoff wouldn't have had his management position taken away from him. Get it? Got it? Good. Let's move on. Bischoff probably would have started off Nitro in the ring, bragging and celebrating the fact that Vince McMahon's precious World Wrestling Federation was no longer in his possession. Bischoff probably would have been insanely overbearing on the show, and for the next several shows. Countless shows. Alright, probably every show.
"Hogan pinned Warrior. Warrior came out to 'Warrior Sucks' chants. He was acting like they were cheering him. Warrior came back with a series of mistimed punches. After more messed up looking spots, Hogan pulled this bag out of his trunks. It looked like drug paraphernalia but it was flash paper. Hogan was supposed to throw a fireball at Warrior, but after attempting to light the paper in slow-motion, he threw the fireball and nothing happened. The whole place groaned. Poor Warrior, who didn't have a clue to begin with, really didn't know what to do. Somehow the paper then ignited, nearly setting Hogan's hand on fire. He was supposed to throw a fireball and somehow Dave Penzer was supposed to put his jacket on Warrior, and somehow Warrior was supposed to make a comeback. Warrior improvised. Hogan sliced his forehead open and threw a messed up clothesline. Warrior came back with three mistimed clotheslines. Horace hit Warrior with a chair and Hogan got the pin. Horace poured lighter fluid on Warrior and they teased they were going to set him on fire. Hogan told Horace he'd passed the nWo initiation. -*****"
"Tupelo show was a mess as they were stalling for Giant to be released from prison. They had Silver King & Lizmark Jr VS Ciclope & Damian go 20:00, then Prince Iaukea VS Lodi go 20:00 and then did a 30:00 intermission. They wound up having Ciclope come out again without his mask as Elvis Gonzalez and do a job for Chris Adams."
"Misterio beat Villano V. With Mike Tenay not out there, Tony Schiavone and Lee Marshall didn't know if it was Villano IV or Villano V, as if the roman numeral on the trunks isn't a dead giveaway."
When you look at the WWF roster in 2001 for names that WCW would have signed, there are some really obvious names they would have reached out to. The Rock, for damn sure. Would Rock have signed, though? Right around the time of the WCW sale, Rock went off to film The Mummy Returns, and was getting his career in Hollywood underway. Would he have rushed off to Hollywood if the WWF was sold? This was the company that gave him his big break, after all, and the company that had been good to his family for years.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin is another name that would have been interesting. He is, arguably, the biggest star in the history of the pro wrestling business, but his history with WCW and, more specifically, with Eric Bischoff is very well documented. Working with Bischoff when Bischoff was an employee of the WWE is one thing, but to go back to WCW with Bischoff as your boss again? Could Austin really have dealt with that? Would he, too, have shifted his focus to a career in Hollywood after the sale? Maybe he would have even went somewhere like Japan to wrestle.
The Undertaker's loyalty to Vince McMahon is also well-documented. If the WWF were sold, would Taker have gone back to WCW? He didn't have the same problems with Eric Bischoff that Austin had, but would he have gone? Sure, he was getting up there in age (he was really close to turning 36 when the sale went down), the fact that he's still wrestling in 2011 means age shouldn't have been a factor. Without a career in Hollywood to look at, I think his options were slightly limited as far as where else he could go.
Triple H is a very interesting name to look at. By the time the sale went down, Trips was already dating Stephanie McMahon, so there's the connection to the McMahon family that he'd have to think about. I don't think Vince, or any of the other McMahons, would have held a grudge against him for heading to WCW if they came calling. You'd have to assume that his clear love for the wrestling business would bring him to WCW, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Kurt Angle is another top name, and with his quick rise to stardom and short amount of time as a pro wrestler (he had only debuted a little over a year prior to the sale), I think WCW would have went after him and went after him quickly. He would have been a tremendous addition to the WCW roster, in my opinion.
There are four names that I'm pretty sure would not have gone to WCW, no matter what. Those names.. Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn. This is where it would get complicated for some folks. For those folks, they'd look at the "What If" scenario and say that the WWF wouldn't have looked so attractive to The Radicalz, so they wouldn't have left WCW in the first place. I say that's incorrect. They were still terribly unhappy with WCW, even when things were going well. If the WWF were falling apart at the time, I have no doubt that they still would have wanted to leave WCW. Maybe they still would have went to the WWF. Maybe they would have gone to Japan. The bottom line is, though, that they were desperate to leave WCW.
"Fans were taunting Bret Hart about his (groin) injury. (Hart) said that none of them even had groins."
"Goldberg speared a frail, bald attorney, who got right back up and didn't sell it."
"CG Afi, the Lodi fan who runs in every week, got popped in the eye legit by security at Nitro. Doug Dillinger was clued into the angle, local security wasn't. One of them chased him and punched him in the eye."
The next thing to immediately think about is some sort of "WWF Invasion" on WCW programming. Honestly, though, I don't think we would have seen it. At least not to the extent that the WWF tried it with a WCW "invasion". WCW's roster was always bigger than WWF's roster, often to the point where it was too big. On top of that, ego comes into play. The same ego that led Vince McMahon to basically destroy the WCW name within a couple of months would have, in my opinion, led Eric Bischoff to feel that he won the battle with "his guys" so he was going to move forward with "his guys", for the most part. Of course, there would have been people he would have went after. It wouldn't hurt to bring in new names for new feuds, and to strengthen whatever parts of the card they were added to. Maybe some more "eye candy". More some more tag teams. Maybe some additions to the Cruiserweights. Maybe some new people to come in and work storylines with the nWo, either with them or against them. Whatever works, really.
"The Demon VS Vampiro feud was scheduled to go like this. Demon was to be revealed as the Son of the Devil, I swear I'm not making this up, who had turned good because he turned his back on his father. Vampiro would be revealed to have been sent down, or up, however the geography goes, to garner revenge. On the New Years Eve PPV, Demon would toss Vampiro into a vat of holy water, and when he got out, he'd change to a new character."
"Schiavone kept calling Blitzkrieg 'Psicosis'."
"They showed a promo of Berlyn. Schiavone talked about it being this mysterious guy, when it's already been revealed on Nitro that it is Alex Wright."
My main thing with WCW is that they clearly didn't think they were doing anything wrong, and why would being the "only game in town" have changed that? If anything, that would have made things worse. As I mentioned earlier, I think Bischoff would have been really tough to deal with if WCW bought out their only competition, but you also have to think that Bischoff's friends would have been, as well. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, etc. Those guys would have been what amounts to bulletproof. With Bischoff more concerned about being friends with those guys than being their boss, and with contracts that feature guaranteed money and creative control, that place was a mess.
"Miller beat Enos in 2:12. Miller asked how much time this took and Dave Penzer said 3:39. Even when there is no point in lying and where the truth is more impressive, WCW lies. Kind of like that night in San Antonio at the Alamodome when they had 20,000 or so fans and Schiavone talked about this great crowd of 12,000 fans."
"Lash LeRoux and Juventud Guerrera were having a good match until Sid beat bots guys up and said that he's going to do so all night long until Hogan gave him a title match. They already announced the title match at the start of the show."
"Hennig pinned Grunge. I've got no idea how because the cameras were somewhere else, and nobody cared enough to explain what we didn't see."
WCW would have benefit from the purchase of the WWF. There's no denying that. If they would have brought in any of those names I mentioned earlier.. Rock, Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, Angle, etc.. that would have added an instant boost to the main event scene. Just the fact that they were the only show on television would mean more viewers, too. Raw gained an entire ratings point the week after WCW was purchased, so you'd have to think Nitro would have gained about the same if the tables were turned. It would then be up to the company to keep those viewers tuning in, because even after the large jump in ratings after the WCW purchase, Raw's ratings were down to below what they were, pre-purchase, a mere month-and-a-half later.
"On a radio show this week, the host brought up that the Nitro main event lost to the Raw main event by a full four ratings points. Hogan's response was that it was Benoit, Malenko, Saturn and Douglas that brought the rating down and he had to make up for lost ground."
"A ridiculously brutal Hardcore Battle Royal cost more than $100,000 to produce, was hyped so poorly it didn't result in one added buy, was so poorly lit it was nearly impossible to watch on television, and resulted in several needless injuries for wrestlers taking crazy bumps that didn't even get over because of how it was shot."
"Thursday was supposed to be a grudge Flair vs. Benoit lumberjack match. However, WCW forgot to tell Flair he was booked. Jason Hervey was in Charlotte at request of management and they gave Flair off Thunder because they were producing an upcoming Flair home video, but never informed the people writing the show about Flair having the day off. When they panicked since Flair wasn't there at 6pm, they called him and told him to get to Syracuse. At the cost of thousands of dollars, they chartered a flight from Charlotte to Syracuse to get Flair to Thunder, but due to the weather problems it couldn't get off the ground until 7pm. The show was put together with the idea that Flair would do several interviews building to the Benoit match. So virtually the entire Thunder show was filling time. Flair finally arrived at 9:55pm, but they had already changed plans for the show because they had to be off the air at 10:03pm because TBS decreed that the Chimp movie had to start on time. When Flair got there, they told him he wasn't needed and to go right back home. So, as a panic move, the decision was made to turn the Kanyon-Saturn singles match into a tag title match. However, Bam Bam Bigelow wasn't there either, so Kanyon defended the titles with Page with zero explanation given to have this make sense. It wasn't even announced as a title match until about a minute left."
You know what's really scary to think about? Steve Austin actually agreeing to return to WCW, only for it to lead up to a big money pay-per-view match between him and Goldberg, with Goldberg basically squashing him and sending Austin towards the United States Title picture. That might be somewhat of an exaggeration, but I guarantee there are a whole bunch of you reading this right now who could picture that exact scenario going down. There are a lot of you that can probably picture Austin being brought in specifically to lose to Goldberg, and would then be released afterwards.
"Steiner undid the protective mats around ringside. He then piledrove Sting on a protective mat."
"They traded hard garbage can shots. Tony Schiavone in his infinite retardedness killed those by saying that they sounded great but really don't hurt. After Schiavone explained how the garbage can shots don't hurt, Bigelow went out and killed Hak dead with a wicked shot. Schiavone then (again) said it made a great noise, but didn't hurt as bad as it sounded."
"Goldberg was on QVC and when asked abut what he's doing in the future, he said he really doesn't know because they don't tell him anything."
An interesting "wild card", of sorts, is none other than Shawn Michaels. Like The Undertaker, Michaels is someone that has always been loyal to Vince McMahon and to the WWF/WWE, turning down multiple offers from WCW to "jump ship". If WCW had purchased the WWF in 2001, would we still have seen Michaels make a miraculous return to the ring in 2002? Would that have depended on whether or not Triple H had signed with WCW? Maybe more so than any other name I've mentioned in this column, it would have looked incredibly strange to see Shawn Michaels on WCW television and wrestling in a WCW ring. It just wouldn't have felt right, you know?
"WCW ordered a ton of new business card, stationary etc. with the new logo and the address on all the cards spelled 'Altanta'."
"Ricky Rachmann has signed a contract. The first week he was on live, the first words out of his mouth were how he didn't know much about wrestling."
"The main event on the show, believe it or not, was Flair kissing a donkey."
While I don't have a whole lot of faith that WCW would have set the wrestling world on fire all over again after buying out their competition, I also don't think they would have been driven into the ground themselves. There are way too many wrestling fans out there, and what else would they have to watch? ECW was finished and was about to go bankrupt. TNA had yet to be created. Ring Of Honor had yet to be created. Even after TNA and RoH came around, look at their overall impact (no pun intended) on the wrestling business. Does anyone really think either one of them would have put a huge dent in WCW's ratings and overall piece of the pie when they haven't been able to do so to WWE? Hell, would TNA even exist? Remember, Jeff Jarrett was still a very large part of WCW at the end of their existence, so if he didn't get fired, would TNA be around? Would his father have started it without him? If so, there would have been a little different "free agent pool" to help start the company, that's for sure, but would it be enough to make much of a difference? Also, look at names like Sting, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, etc. Those names never would have been able to come in and help TNA, in either the short-term or the long-term, because they probably would have continued being active members of the WCW roster, to this day.
"Kaz Hayashi & Yun Yang beat Jamie Knoble & Evan Karagias in 9:21 in the show stealer. You know it had to be WCW with the graphic reading Jamie Karagias and Evan Knoble as they came to the ring."
"The 12/18 Nitro was supposed to practically be built around Rick Steiner as the surprise guy, but he wasn't there because they forgot to tell him."
"CNN ran a special on Goldberg on 10/22. They showed Vince Russo and the booking team talking about a Nitro where Bill Goldberg would get revenge on Scott Steiner. Russo had an idea that Steiner would be in the dressing room bleaching his mustache and Goldberg would pour Clorox down Steiner's throat. Ed Ferrara noted that you don't bleach a mustache with Clorox. He then said they could use bleach instead."
Bottom line.. WCW would have been successful for years, and would probably still be around, with Nitro airing on Mondays and Thunder airing on Thursdays (or whatever day they would switch it to, since Smackdown has changed a few times). With the mistakes they inevitably would have continued to make, and the people they inevitably would have pissed off along the way, I honestly don't think their popularity would be where WWE's is today. Obviously, WWE isn't exactly pulling in Attitude Era ratings numbers for their television shows, selling out every arena around the world and breaking pay-per-view buyrate records these days, but I do think their "name value" means their situation would be better than WCW's if the roles were reversed. If Raw is pulling in 3.0-3.5 ratings on a regular basis now, I'd say Nitro would be pulling in 2.5-3.0 ratings on a regular basis. Basically, look at where TNA is on the wrestling totem pole, and look at where WWE is on the same totem pole.. I think WCW would be right in between those two spots.
On the bright side for a lot of you, we probably never would have heard of John Cena had WCW "won" in 2001. To take it a step further, we probably never would have heard of Randy Orton, either. However, on the flip side of that coin, can you imagine the damage that Hulk Hogan would have caused? If WCW had remained successful, and if Bischoff would have stayed in power, that means all of the on-screen and off-screen bullshit between Hogan and Vince Russo never would have happened, and that Hogan probably would have remained in WCW for God knows how long, main eventing, using his Creative Control and winning World Titles. He's a 12-time World Champion right now, but it's not exactly outside the realm of possibility to say that he'd be at 15 reigns, minimum, by now. Keep that in mind. Now you have to think about what is the lesser of two evils. Good luck.
"In a segment said to be hilarious live, (Elix) Skipper was talking trash and challenging Goldberg. Goldberg came out behind Skipper. Skipper keeps turning and Goldberg keeps adjusting his position so Skipper can't see him. All of this is on the big screen, which Skipper is looking right at, and can see Goldberg behind him, but because they didn't consider this when making the angle, he had to pretend."
"The Thrillers went back to the Power Plant. They all attacked Mike Graham. That was funny because Graham leg dives Sanders and put him in a figure four, and when there are six guys ready to jump you, the best thing to do is run, and the worst thing to do is to take one guy to the ground and let the other five stomp the hell out of you. They attacked Orndorff, who in every camera shot posed titled so his good arm, which he clearly had pumped up before taping, was right in front of the camera."
"Tank Abbot has been asked by management to take singing lessons."
"During the commercial, they soaked the ropes with gasoline. Sting came out, then Vampiro came out and called him Steve, and said they would have an inferno match on the PPV. Sting said that's nuts and he isn't going to do it. At this point the ropes were supposed to set on fire but they didn't. The fans started laughing and booing."
"They (DDP and Mike Awesome) were having a good match when Mark Madden said in the new WCW they were going to have winners and losers and the refs aren't going to be calling DQ's. Literally seconds later, Billy Silverman called the DQ."
"On Nitro during the opening meeting (with Russo), everyone was supposed to act scared and somber, but you could see everyone biting their tongue because Brian Knobs' hair was set on fire by the pyro coming out."
"Douglas pinned him (Funk) and grabbed the belt. Mike Awesome beat Wall in a tables match. Awesome and Douglas started beating on Wall but DDP came out of the back of the ambulance and threw Awesome in the back and the ambulance took off. Then they went to a cutaway with Russo holding a casket with a bunch of New Blood members as pall bearers, including Douglas without a hair out of place and Awesome, in his regular clothes."
"The crowd didn't care about this program and the stretcher aspect of the match was preposterous. Daffney did a hurricanrana and her blue wig flew off in the process. At one point they put David (Flair) on a stretcher and he was halfway to the back. He got off the stretcher, totally revived, and didn't sell it like he'd even been beaten. Finally they taped David to the stretcher and had to sell that David couldn't get off with this athletic tape that wasn't even holding. The bell rang for no reason. Crowbar got carried off in a stretcher with that ridiculous tape. The funny thing is that the stretchers had restrainers that could have locked the guys in that would have at least looked better than that silly athletic tape. Then they put Daffney in a wheelchair and taped her up. Her being taped was the silliest of the three in that the tape didn't hold but she still had to sell it."
"Dustin Runnels was at Starrcade, being called by management to return. Runnels is reportedly being paid $750,000 per year but the company isn't using him. When he got there, the company told him they had no plans for him, and he went back home."
"Nobody has any idea why they brought a live tiger from the zoo to accompany Steiner to the ring on Nitro. Backstage, when he was trying to get a photo with the tiger, the tiger nearly took a chunk out of Rey Mysterio's eye."
Holy shit, WCW was a mess.
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