Over a eleven weeks and a nine podcast series, talking for almost 14 hours on the rise and fall of World Championship Wrestling, I defiantly learned a few things. Who should take the glory of the rise and who should take the blame for the fall? A few things I’ll discuss in this blog, mixed in some thoughts from one of the co-authors, here lies my memories of WCW.
Tuesday, March 27th, 2001 – a milestone in my childhood, the day I learned in seventh grade from my classmates that Vincent Kennedy McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation bought their competition. I wasn’t sadden one bit, I was thrilled, always a die-hard WWF fan. Storylines and invasion angles ran throughout my mind for the rest of the day, overjoyed for WrestleMania X7 the following Sunday to see how things could of began. Little did I know by the end of 2001, both WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling would be gone and buried. Besides WCW and ECW being gone and buried, my childhood as a professional wrestling fan would be finished.
A downfall WCW encountered right out of the gate after Ted Turner bought out Jim Crockett Promotions was having current or former wrestlers as their booker. From Ole Anderson to Dusty Rhodes, Kevin Sullivan to Kevin Nash, viewers generally saw friends of the booker, or the booker himself, pushed towards the main event scene or as the World Heavyweight Champion. The famous Road Warriors spike to Dusty Rhodes’ eye or Kevin Nash defeated Goldberg to end his streak and win the WCW Championship are two huge decisions that hurt wrestling bookers, if not in buy rates, in ratings down the road.
Granted the “Spike to the eye” angle between Dusty Rhodes and the Road Warriors was under JCP banner, angles like that put a sour taste in the mouth of WCW brass in CNN Towers, once Turner had full ownership of the promotion. Because of this angle, we saw Dusty Rhodes spends a year plus in New York in Polka Dots in the World Wrestling Federation.
Ending Goldberg’s streak was completely Ludacris, because it wasn’t time to have Goldberg to eat his first “L” and the fans still believed in Goldberg and wanted him as their reigning and defending WCW World Heavyweight Champion. As discussed in part four of the series, Beverly Hills (my co-host) and I discussed different ways for Nash to go over Goldberg, if that was the only option at WCW Starrcade 1998, a cattle prod and Scott Hall wasn’t an option. Making Goldberg lok strong and loosing because of bad footing or a simply mistake would have been the best option, not with outside interference.
Heck, even the “Finger Poke of Doom” eight days later only hurt the promotion in the eyes of the WCW fan base. Hulk Hogan “retired” to run for President of the United States and came and poked WCW Champion Kevin Nash in the chest and Nash gave his best bump to Hogan, before giving him the World Heavyweight Championship. It’d be like if Triple H would of challenged WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins on WWE Monday Night Raw the night after WrestleMania XXXI, poke him in the chest, cover him and win the title after Rollins defeated Roman Reigns and former champion Brock Lesnar. Decisions like this stop didn’t stop at nothing, it steamrolled past outrageous.
Don’t get me wrong; WCW had a lot of success too. Bringing in Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in May and June of 1996 to form the Outsiders and form the New World Order with Hulk Hogan at the Bash at the Beach 1996 was genius. Fans wanted to see a character change for the Hulkster and him turning heel was a breath of fresh air into that act. The first few months of the nWo faction was hot and brought WCW out of WWF’s shadows and into the hottest wrestling promotion in the entire world! WCW was number one for a year and a half because of three former WWF talent!
I’ll even give credit where credit is due; Vince Russo had one great idea when he was in World Championship Wrestling, and that was shorten WCW Monday Nitro from three hours to two. Granted there was a lot of things that hurt the company from loosing an hour of ad revenue, but the WCW loyals were burnt from three hour Monday night shows and horrible decisions. Shortening their Monday night flagship was meaningless when it came down to it, in the end.
Something that surprised me when we interviewed RD Reynolds was Eric Bischoff threatened a lawsuit against Reynolds and Alvarez because of “slander,” but once RD mentioned it, he said it “was water under the bridge” and left it at that. I understand that Bischoff wasn’t thrilled about that in the book, he’d been tagged for the poor decisions he made as WCW President, which lead to the downfall and death of the company. But he wasn’t the only one blamed. Throughout the book, Alvarez and Reynolds talk about and discuss the poor booking decisions and truck loads of money thrown at wrestlers that helped the downfall of WCW before they peaked in 1997 and in 1998.
All in all, I had a fun time reading and podcasting on the “Death of WCW.” If you’re interested, I added links within the blog to find the podcast. We are up on iTunes, search out “Main Event Status Radio” in the podcast library, subscribe to us, and please rate and leave a review, we’d love to hear feedback on this series and anything else we’ve done! We are on Sound Cloud as well. You can follow me on Twitter and follow Beverly Hills too. If you’re on Facebook, like the “like” button there and interact with us! Thank you for reading and stay dashing, main eventers!