Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
Welcome to In Your Head! Wrestling podcast, news and community!
By Wacko Bob
In a business of entertainment like wrestling there is a point where every time you come across adversity there is a need to make things happen to get things going. You want people to be interested in your program and your company. And with WCW its was know different.
But how much is to much where you're behind the 8-ball and in reality never really saw the real light of day?
Lets looks at everything since the change over back in 1989 from Jim Crockett's NWA to Ted Turner's WCW.
In 1989 Ted Turner bought the NWA promotion from Jim Crockett who was losing money and having to let talent like the Powers of Pain and Ron Garvin go in which they would sign with the WWF. Things would not start easy for Ted Turner and his guys he would have run WCW Jack Petrick and Jim Herd. Petrick would be the WCW president and be the administrator and Herd would be The VP and hander all operations. They would go down the line of guys that were under contract with the NWA. However there were guys that would not wait around for contracts. Dusty Rhodes would leave as the booker, and JJ Dillon would leave to work more behind the scenes for the WEE. Ands guys like Nikita Koloff, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Ivan Koloff, Barry Windham and the Sheepherders would leave to go to the WWE or to do other things.
Talent like Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Rick Steiner, Ricky Steamboat, Sting and The Road Warriors would be left there holding the bag but would have big money contracts too. New stars like The Great Muta, Brian Pillman, Scott Steiner and Sid Viscous would come in. They would not come in rite away and would get a tough welcome by a lot of NWA wrestling fans. Terry Funk was there and veteran stars like Bob Orton and Dick Murdock would be there as well. Funk would have great matches with Ric Flair and sting and Lex Luger would feud with Steamboat. But to a lot of fans it was far from what they wanted with what was going on last year with The 4 Horseman as big as they were.
They would have a few good things going in to get a groove but with wrestlers not happy with things it would be noted how they would all leave. Jim Cornette would talk about this change in an RF shoot interview saying how Jim Herd and him would argue over contracts and what The Midnight Express would and would not do. This would lead to conflicts that others would show too. Steve Austin, Tom Zenk and Rick Rude would join WCW later on. While Jim Herd would shock the world by not getting WCW world champion and talent leader Ric Flair to sign a contract and Flair would leave with the WCW title belt and go to the WWE. With the Horsemen breaking up again and a star like Ric Flair leaving for the WWE like he did would cause the first of a major black eye for the WCW.
Its been said that Flair was giving a contract for less money and was gonna not be on top.
It also could be looked at in a positive way too! Because Dusty Rhodes would be the head booker there again and even though it would be said that Rhodes was the one to get rid of Flair WCW would have been crippled if he did stay too. This forced WCW to get creative with things by making superstars out of guys like Luger, Sting, Windham and Rude. Jim Herd would be fired and Kip Frey would replace him letting Dusty Rhodes call a lot of the shots. Before Kip Frey would come in lets talk about Dusty Rhodes conflict with Flair and Herd. Though Rhodes as the new booker he would create the never ending conflict between him and Jim Herd. And Herd would let too many things go with bookers before him Ole Anderson would try to keep Flair in a Mid Card role but when he could not come up with an answer for the Black Scorpion role that was worked on for months Ric Flair would step up and Ole would be bailed out under the condition that he would step down as booker and he would take over putting himself over as the world champion against Sting beating him for the title. And Herd would demote Flair Jack Petrick back Dusty Rhodes to Create. This would lead to Flair leaving with the belt and Herd leaving when they refused to fire Rhodes.
So this is what would be the first of many things to happen behind the scenes.
Frey would not stay long as wrestling was not his thing but he would make assertive moves like bringing Jesse Ventura in as an announcer and letting Rhodes put Vader on top as the WCW champ. Bill Watts would come in and he would shake things up by making the first black WCW world champion in Ron Simmons but at the same time talent would leave too. The Steiners would leave and a hole was set in the tag team division. Guys like Van Hammer and other new stars would come in but would not draw like the stars before them. Watts would also slash there budget to paying stars by the match and only few wrestlers would have big contracts. But it would also lead to Ric Flair coming back too. Watts and Rhodes would get lots of flack for pushing there kids and WCW would still look like a mess. Watts would talk about his time in WCW and he would talk about Ole's ego and the ego of others that would go over his head if they refuse to do something. Barry Windham in an RF shoot interview would say that he would join the booking committee and Watts would be so tough that even his ego was to much to bare and he would leave as a member of the booking committee.
WCW from 1990-1994 would lose money left and rite and compared too the WWE there budget they would have was never enough to compete with the power house that WWE became for years.
Ole Anderson would become the new WCW VP after the departure of Watts and he would not do much of anything. WCW whoever would take a chance on Eric Bischoff. Rick Rude would hold the old NWA world title which would be called the gold belt only but Bischoff would name it the International title instead. Bischoff would go over Ole's head to make a match happen between Ric Flair and Sting and it would be billed as the classic revelry. And that match alone would draw money and Eric Bischoff would move up to Senior VP of WCW and over Ole too. Eric Bischoff would also get Time Warner to open up there check book as well. Securing guys like Sting, Flair, Arn Anderson he would get Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Lex Luger into WCW. He would also create the first war with the WWE when Monday Night Nitro aired against The WWE and Raw. WCW would also go live with there show. Guys like Cactus Jack, Vader, Rick Rude and Steve Austin were gone at this point. But The Nasty Boys, Harlem Heat and a new star The Giant where there. And WCW was making a Profit and making it big by the Time Scott Hall and Kevin Nash would show up and Hogan would turn Heel to form the NWO.
A point to be made here is that where WCW from 89-94 would slowly fall in a down state they were forced to create and put guys over that may not have been the rite ones to put over hurt. But with Bischoff he was making money off if stars made by Vince McMahon and the WWE and off old story lines and feuds too.
The WCW would beat out the WWE for over 80 weeks with The NWO but the NWO would get bigger then it was too. Everything would become NWO and the same stories over and over again. WCW would start to loose ground with Hogan always on top and the NWO looking like the only center point. Even with Bill Goldberg ready to be moved up to the top he was created because if his bold head and goatee look which was Stone Cold Steve Austin's appearance. New stars were created by the WWE and they were fresh faces too. Old faces were over in WCW dominating there and fans were wanting more Raven, Konnan, Chris Benoit and Booker T. Brand Names were favored by Bischoff and it would help a guy like DDP get over too. But Brand Names were losing there ground too because of the demand for more new things. The Ratings would go down from march of 98 to July of 99 and WCW would lose 30 million dollars. Eric Bischoff would be fired and Bill Busch would come in. Bischoff would have big money contracts guys on top and they would not always show up too. WCW was slated to lose even more money going into 2000 as well.
Shane Douglas on The Law would talk about how tough it was when he signed WCW and how all the WCW stars would be flown in that were never used on the Nitro shows and later on with Thunder and he would talk about how thee was never a set story line there as it would change even as the show was going on live. And there would be nothing but talk out of the commentators for the first 45 mins. Eric Bischoff would also make a mockery of the tag team division by having Rick Steiner choose Judy Bagwell as his tag team partner to hold the WCW tag team titles with. Even with the popularity of Goldberg as there top guy it was not enough to beat WWE in the rating war. And when Kevin took over as Booker Bischoff let him beat Goldberg in a match. Making him the top guy and that was one thing that really made the rating go down further.
Bill Busch would hire WWE writers Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara to take over in creative and Bill Banks and Terry Taylor would join them and they would have battles with WCW agents and management too. But at the same time Vince Russo would show the young talent that has waited for so long to be pushed. Guys like Lex Luger and Sting would still be active along with Scott Hall, Bret Hart and Kevin Nash and even with the agents changing things around a lot WCW and Nitro would go from getting 2.4-2.6 rating with Nitro to getting a 3.4 and would only go under a 3.0 3 times in the span of 3 months. But ego's would always take over there with Hogan, Flair and talent agents in WCW that would make it tough to write for WCW and get some steady ground there. Kevin Sullivan, JJ Dillon and Gary Juster would set the table to have Russo put on the sideline.
Shane Douglas would say how things seem to click will with the younger stars and veterans as well that were there too. And money was not spent on guys that were not gonna be used to be flown in and put up in hotels too. He would also vent his frustration about how he was treated after Russo was gone too. Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Chris Kanyon, Billy Kidman and Konnan would say this too. and Benoit, Saturn, Eddie and Dean would leave for the WWE.
JJ Dillon in an interview with RF would say how there was only 26mins work of wrestling in there 2 hour show and say how the average would be 48 mins for a 2 hour wrestling show. He would also say how cars being blown up every week by Russo cost more money then it was worth. Never once did Dillon bring up the ratings or money saved. Not to mention the wrestling fans that started to watch WCW more and the fact the attendance in arena's went up.
Sullivan took over as the booker with JJ Dillon there as well and they brought Hogan and Flair back into there old roles. Vampiro would be shown more too and guys like Kidman would team with Booker T(now there a nothing idea) Sid Viscous would be on top there too. But ratings would go as low as 2.1 and one PPV show in Florida would have 2300 paid people show up there with 700 more that had gotten free tickets or got paper in for free for the show. This would lead to Eric Bischoff being called back in along with Vince Russo. As WCW now was gonna be 80 million dollars in the hole.
They would come in and take a week off with there shows to make there moves. But at this point WCW was already being looked at as old news and beyond hope as some fans would say. Between fans on the Internet and people around talking about wrestling at shows were not holding there breath for Bischoff and Russo to do there stuff as they went to watching RAW and WWE full time. Even though the first with Russo and Bischoff together doing a 3.0 that would also become the last 3.0 they would see too. They would try many of things get things going with the higher up always on there case. And in reality Bischoff was not willing to work with Russo but only looking to get his foot back in the door. Russo would try to carry the load alone and in a desperate attempt to get the rating up and get people talking about WCW again he would make the must toughest move to get things rolling.
David Arquette would make the movie Ready to Rumble and would promote the movie on Nitro and Thunder with DDP. According to Russo Tony Schiavone would be the guy to suggest putting the WCW title on Arquette. Russo would also say how he went to other bookers and agents about this idea and they would say go for it. Arquette was not one for the idea but went with it in the end. People would talk about him winning the title and talk about WCW and yes USA Today did make that a cover story in the entertainment section and there front page article. Stars like Kevin Costner would plug WCW's next PPV for free too and he's one you could not have paid to plug a wrestling PPV.
Did this trick work in the end? No! It did get people talking about WCW but wrestling fans were more upset by this(myself included) And again this brings me back to the point to where fans just did not care for WCW even before Russo came back. 2.4 was WCW's best number after a few more months Bischoff would leave work on buying WCW because time warner had enough of the loss of money WCW had become. Russo stayed a little longer with wrestlers rejecting him and leaving in the middle of a story line Kimberly Page, Elizabeth, Lex Luger and DDP would leave refusing to work. And Goldberg would work only to hurt Russo. Last thing that would get people talking about WCW was when Hogan would get double crossed by Jarrett and Russo at a PPV and Jarrett would lay down for Hogan. Russo would give the world title back too Jarrett to defend later that night against Booker T. Russo would give a speech about how The Hogans of the world would keep guys like Jarrett and Booker T and The Filthy Animals down and say how this is a new generation now. No matter what happened with Booker T finally breaking through as a superstar WCW was still a sitting duck and Russo would leave after getting injured and even having himself winning the title.
Bischoff would come back with some money backers to buy WCW and WCW would look anything but good with a 2.2 rating and nothing going over Time warner now with AOL would cancel WCW TV and the money backers would back away from the sale with no TV in hope for them. There last Nitro show was done with new Owner Vince McMahon doing a simulcast between both RAW and Nitro after the final match which was only fitting to see Flair and Sting one more time Nitro got a 3.3 rating for that event.
In an interview with the Law Vince Russo talk about his first 3 months in WCW and how he knew he mite not be able to get thing going there with all the ego's and talked about how happy he was to have Bischoff on his side working with him. But Bischoff was not like that on Meltzers show on eyada. He would talk about what he could do for WCW and talk about the old guys like he use to. and when he went back to eyada when he was gonna take over interest in WCW he was different again only putting Russo down. Saying that Vince Russo was not as big he he would want to to believe he was in the turn around on WWE. If he was then Vince McMahon would have had him under contract. Bischoff in his last interview on eyada he totally sounded like he was only gonna get WCW a float only to be sold to another buyer interested in WCW with the way he would talk.
What ever the case is WCW was always a step away from going under for 1989-2001 and ego's seem to be an issue across the board there for all those years. Russo as well! Because when he would try to work alone with his plans only being used.
WCW went as far as they could but in the end fell threw the cracks and mite have always been on life support. No matter what they had some good and some bad and in the end ego's never looked at what was best for WCW as agenda's took over no matter who was in charged. This is what caused WCW to fall not one single person but WCW as a whole.
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