Before I start the article, all I have to say is this: What better way to celebrate my final high school days than the quitting of Dusty Rhodes as TNA booker, the departure of Brian Gerwitz from the RAW booking committee and A.J. Styles winning the TNA Championship? Although this has been spreading joy throughout the Internet, I say you're not trying hard enough.
That's right; I want to see Undertaker and HHH gone from their promotions in a matter of two months. I want to see Jeff Jarrett to never get another title shot for a long, long time. I want to see Stephanie McMahon off the booking committee and Michael Hayes be sent to temporary unemployment. And while you're at it, get rid of the two has-beens Jeff Hardy and Sean Waltman and make sure that Kevin Nash never steps back in a wrestling ring again. Until then, my life will not be complete.
Now, on with the most ambitious article I've ever written:
It is said that in order to turn a company into a national success, three items are required: strong bookers, great athletes and a common interaction with the fans. Believe or not, WCW once had all that. They had arguably some of the most consistent and impressive workers on their rosters, they had big-named athletes that drew a lot of money and sold a lot of tickets and most importantly, they had competent bookers that knew exactly how to handle things.
But just when it all seems right in the world, the greatness of the company fell apart, reducing WCW to shambles. For over the past decade, the monstrous mistakes that WCW made completely overshadowed the achievements that made the company refreshing and they ended up transforming the once clean product into a cesspool with shit leaking out of its filters. What was worse was that they did it to themselves...instead of trying to capitalize on something that could be interesting, they vanquished it. Great athletes were depushed immediately and the main events featuring the same old stale wrestlers fighting each other reduced its fan base prominently. Politics disrupted the creative team and created illogical storylines that left a bad taste in our mouths. Catastrophically horrendous booking decisions tore apart the morale backstage and value of fan interest. Egos and greed provided nothing but misery and depression in the locker room and to the fans. Politicians became bookers; matches became duds and the most talented wrestlers shift sides to other companies like WWF and ECW.
The downfall or death of WCW was the mistakes they refused to fix and the horrible ideas they created without thinking first. WCW could've been a contender and might still exist today if they didn't have the misfortune on not looking at the state of the product. But WCW did not care and has faded into obscurity without giving itself another chance. Now WCW is no more and only exist in our memories. And it's these 25 mistakes, blunders and disasters that turned WCW from being a multi-million dollar wrestling organization to ending up being a toy to Vince McMahon's empire.
1. Eric Bischoff Embarrasses Ric Flair
When you think of WCW, you think of Ric Flair. And how could you not? He was the guy that wrestled everyday and every night without taking a break (unless it was for personal reasons), he had dozens and dozens of classic matches with good and bad wrestlers, turning them into breakout stars, he drew heavy money, sold thousands of tickets and was the most dedicated wrestler in the industry. But to Eric Bischoff, he was nothing more than an employee or a pawn to his own company. In one faithful night, Bischoff declared only Hogan, Savage and Piper put asses on seats and called Flair a con artist and a liar. What followed turned out to be a serious backlash to WCW when the company sued Ric Flair and nearly drove him to bankruptcy. There were rumors that Flair was moving back to WWF, although it didn't happen. He should've because when Flair came back, he was never given a chance to shine like a bright star as he was put in embarrassing storylines and jobbed to nearly everyone in the roster including Eric Bischoff at Starrcade 1998. This was a disgusting display of ignorance and jealousy as Eric Bischoff, along with guys like Hulk Hogan, succeeded in destroying Ric Flair's fame and completely tarnishing his career for an eternity. Flair's fame status could've been a great way to get WCW back on track but after being promptly buried by the bookers, the fan base in WCW completely deteriorated as Nash and Hogan hogged the main events, killing their ratings slide once and for all.
And speaking of Nash and Hogan...
2. The Finger that Killed the Company...and The Voice that Helped One.
By the end of 1998, Kevin Nash manipulated the creative team into becoming the head booker, a first of the million mistakes to come. One of Nash's first moves was to end Goldberg's winning streak at Starrcade 1998, a match that totally buried WCW into oblivion. But then it got even worse...at that time, Nash's nWo Wolfpac was feuding with Hogan's nWo Hollywood and Hogan, after lying through his teeth about possible retirement, came back and challenged Nash to a Heavyweight title bout at the first week of January 1999. At the same time, it was a direct opposite of a WWF RAW main event between Rock and Mankind. Then in the dumbest moment in commentary history, Tony Schiavone gave away results to the Rock-Mankind match and said "that'll put butts in the seats...push", an error that helped RAW beat NITRO that night. Anyone who was watching NITRO were in for a rude awakening, as Nash and Hogan got in the ring and Hogan flinged Nash's chest with his finger and Nash dropped ala HBK-HHH from Dec.1997, allowing Hogan to recapture the belt, ruining its prestige and going back to rewriting one of the most stale storylines in wrestling history. WCW would never beat WWF in a ratings battle again as RAW did major business with the television ratings while WCW sunk underwater without ever recovering.
3. David Arquette: WCW World Champion
Given the numerous blunders that WCW made, how could I NOT have listed this one as a disastrous mistake to the product, a mistake even Dewey considers a black moment in his career? If the Fingerpoke of Doom gushed blood out of the organs of WCW, then the Arquette title win shot the organization in the face with the elephant gun. The title was worthless anyway but when Dewey won the belt, it was over: the value and integrity of the championship was removed and the historical impact it had in the past was terminated. The genius that is Vince Russo wanted to establish the World title on Arquette by hyping the movie "Ready to Rumble" but Dave wanted no part of it so he was forced in a tag match with DDP against Jeff Jarrett and Eric Bischoff on THUNDER and won the belt by pinning Bischoff. It proved to be so effective that WCW went out of business over a year later. One of the worst promotional moves in the history of this great sport and a lesson of why wrestling should be kept to wrestlers and not Hollywood celebrities or talk show hosts, which brings me too...
4. Celebrities: Main Eventers
1998 saw the rise of egos from Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan as Bischoff did everything he could to get an advantage of the ratings war against the WWF. One of his guerrilla tactics was paying a million dollars to non-wrestling celebrities like Karl Malone, Denis Rodman and Jay Leno. This move made a mockery of the sport and humiliated WCW beyond belief, exposing the business and destroying its credibility. Denis Rodman first came to WCW in a tag match with Hogan at Bash of the Beach 1997 but the results were disastrous and would be the laughing stock of the year. Forgetting the phrase "If it doesn't work, don't continue", Bischoff insisted in bringing Leno and Malone and push them in main events...over Diamond Dallas Page, Sting, Bret Hart and Goldberg!! The results were two of the worst matches in WCW history and an insult to all the wrestling fans who paid their hard earned money to see ACTUAL wrestlers.
5. Two Future Stars Kick the Bucket
In early 1994, Ric Flair was given the book as he had great matches with Ricky Steamboat, Vader and Sting and allowed major stars like Steve Austin, Arn Anderson and Johnny B. Badd to elevate midcarders and have interesting feuds. Also, Mick Foley was allowed to book his own hardcore matches along with Terry Funk during the hot Foley-Nasty Boyz feud. When WCW signed Hulk Hogan, however, it changed and Flair lost control, thus leaving the booking to become as self-destructing as a crack addict on high. Hogan brought in his friends and had them take over the spotlights from Steve Austin and all the other major stars that earned their spots. In one of the worst moments of the year, Jim Duggan squashed Steve Austin in 20 seconds to win the U.S. title, after having two ***+ bouts with Ricky Steamboat. When Austin was injured, he was fired by WCW executives, thus losing a promising star while Mick Foley was kicked out the backdoor when he lost the Tag titles to Team Wonderful. From there, Foley and Austin went to ECW and made it to the WWF, where in a matter of a couple of years, went on to become the two biggest stars in the wrestling industry. So with unintentional assistance from Hogan, Austin and Foley were buried in WCW and ended up becoming the leaders of the wrestling industry during the Monday Night Wars. Not since HHH saying he owns RAW has irony been on such a huge pile.
6. Jim Herd Fires Ric Flair
This will go down as the grave-digging moment for WCW in pre-Hogan years as their biggest draw was simply fired for not wanting to job his title to Lex Luger, all which led to WCW going through a financial rut for the next couple of years. Ric Flair was WCW Champion and people clamoured that the Great American Bash 1991 will be a huge turning point if Flair jobbed the title to Luger after Luger chased the belt for nearly three years. But Flair didn't want to job and instead of being negotiated by top executives and having promises to get paid higher if he does so, Flair was fired by then WCW honcho Jim Herd and took the World title belt to WWF where he would call it the "Real World Championship" in a hot storyline. The original Bash 91 main event was scrapped, a new title was prestige and Flair was replaced by Barry Windham, a move that didn't go well for fans that night as numerous chants of "We Want Flair" flooded a substandard main event for the entire time. The show, which was supposed to dawn a new era, ended up being one of the biggest flops in wrestling history and the effects of Ric Flair's departure left WCW in a financially disastrous state, coming close to filing for bankruptcy before finally bringing back Ric Flair, which saved WCW with a scoop.
7. Ratings: 4.8 Buyrates: 0.0
Goldberg was on the rise of popularity in WCW as he became more over than any wrestler on the roster. Immediately a US Champion, the bookers decided to give him a World title shot. This was, of course, during the Monday Night Wars when WWF was starting to roast WCW in the ratings and Bischoff was getting desperate at every attempt to get even with Vince McMahon. So in one of his most "brilliant" strategies in his WCW run, he decided to have Goldberg win the World title on National TV instead of the PPV. Although it did phenomenally on the ratings, it proved to be a fatal mistake as it didn't do any profitable good for WCW in its entity. Had the Goldberg title win been saved on a PPV, buyrates would've went up and WCW might've made a lot of money. Instead, it was just bantha fodder for Eric Bischoff's scheme to be better than the competition.
8. The End of the Tag Team Division
WCW didn't have any great tag teams, other than Harlem Heat, so in order to make it refreshing and more watchable to the audience; they gave the tag titles to the Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall). Unfortunately, instead of sustaining importance to the titles, the Outsiders blemished its integrity and completely devalued the championships beyond their prestige by not defending them and competing in singles matches instead, where every other tag team competed in meaningless number one contender matches that served no purpose but to be victims of the greasy-haired gravediggers. By the time the Outsiders lost the titles, they rendered the championships useless, single handedly destroying a prominent division that now didn't have any important tag teams.
9. A Radical Departure
WCW might've been a catastrophic mess in and out of the ring but it still featured wrestlers whose loyalty and desire to work day and night for the fans are today unsurpassable. That wasn't the case anymore for Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn as after having their promises broken, their pushes flattened and for being treated like losers, they got sick of the WCW environment and wanted out of the contracts. And they got their wishes as they were released from the WCW roster and moved to the WWF. In other words, like Ric Flair, instead of negotiating with them, which would've been a smart move, WCW just released four of the best workers in the business for the hell out of it, one who was a World Champion, and ended up shooting themselves in the foot once again before getting suffocated with a plastic bag when they brought back Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff. In other words, the release of the Radicalz pretty much signalled the end for WCW.
10 The Starrcade Fiasco
One of the biggest disappointments in PPV history, Starrcade 1997 was supposed to be the show to turn WCW around for the good of the company and its talent. Instead, it ended up being a 3-hour snorefest which saw 85% of the line-up won by heels in blow off bouts that are normally won by faces. But if there was any indication of the company falling down the cliff and breaking itself apart in the future, look no further than the notorious main event between Hogan and Sting, as after months of dogging away from Sting, Hogan was finally forced to defend the belt against the man he constantly ran away from. But the match was a dull train wreck, ruined by the infamous "fast count" angle and a screwjob ending instead of a clean finish. This not only took the credibility away from Sting but it also buried him and ended his run as a main eventer. After that, Hogan won back the title, thus ruining one of the biggest blow off angles to a hot feud in ages and foreshadowing a series of turdburgers that engulfed WCW in the sewers for the next couple of years before its sale to the WWF.
11 Blind-Siding the Blonds
Undoubtedly the single greatest tag team in the wrestling industry to not be named the Hart Foundation would have to be the Hollywood Blonds (Brian Pillman and Steve Austin), the tag team that defined "heel heat". It was said that the WCW didn't want them to win the titles but in a miraculous moment, they did mostly due to the phenomenal work rate they sustained. Although their title reign ended in two months, they brought the T back in Tag Team division. Unfortunately, being that this was WCW; the Blonds were jobbed out of their titles, with promises of being pushed to a world title main event unfulfilled. Instead of capitalizing on their potential, WCW ruined it by not giving much gratitude or admiration to a tag team that might've been boosted to legendary status and help ratify the tag division if they were treated with respect.
12 Kayfabe At Its Worst
In wrestling terminology, a taping is when a non-televised live show is recorded, edited and then brought on TV in their proper time. You'll notice that pattern with SMACKDOWN (which actually airs on Tuesday but is broadcast on Thursdays) and Sunday Night Heat. Also in tapings, wrestling fans are told who to BOO and CHEER and re-edit the mouths and physical actions of fans in case they perform some inappropriate reaction. In 1993, during the beginning years of Monday Night RAW, Vince McMahon would do one live show and three tapings in one month to make it cost-efficient, even though it was a tad bit stale. But WCW went further and taped an astronomical THREE MONTHS of television for their programs. That decision came back to bite WCW in the butt as wrestling fans who DID attend the shows reported title changes to the Internet and gave away all the results. For example, they reported that the Blonds would lose the tag belts to Arn Anderson and Paul Roma, who would then lose them to the Nasty Boyz in October. Vader, who was WCW World Champion, would hold on to the belt through all the October-tapings according to the fans. Or that three titles would change hands at the Fall Brawl. This ended up exposing the business and the lack of suspenseful swerves or shock value that WCW would try to use to entertain fans caused buyrates and house show revenues to tank and cost themselves an overabundant 23 million dollars, a disastrous deficit that would be surpassed by the 80 million dollars loss mark in 2000!
13 From Hero to Zero
When WCW signed Hulk Hogan in 1994, it made the company more financially successful and much more mainstream to the public. At the same time, however, it also planted seeds of the political diseases that infested the product and WCW atmosphere and send it crashing down underwater. Hogan was automatically given the title "the leader of the company" and "the most exciting wrestler alive" when he went to the company. Unfortunately, the reception Hogan received ranged from mediocre to downright negative and the crowd started to boo him during interviews in front of Gene Okerlund, who had the utmost gall to call it a "phenomenal ovation". Hogan was shoved down the throat of the audience so many times that his ratings power started to decline. Although the heel turn was needed to save his career, people grew sick and tired of Hulk in general, whether he was a heel or face or just a tweener. It then became crystal clear that Hogan was using WCW to put himself over everyone and stuffing money in his pockets. In the end, Hogan ended up being a waste of money and in an ironic twist, a ratings failure. Hogan also feared for the popularities of many wrestlers, specifically Ric Flair, that could take away his spotlight. This was evident when Ric Flair returned to an enormous ovation in 1998 where Hulk's WCW 1994 debut and 1999 return were met with a mixed reaction. To put it in nice terms, Hogan is nothing more than a paranoid, egotistical, self-serving and jealous piece of crap that degrades the qualities of a human being and only cares about being better than everyone and having dollar bills in his safe. Say what you want about his impact in the industry but there is no denying the ignorance, the arrogance and the blowhard selfishness that Hogan contains in his character and for WCW to not realize or admit how much damage Hogan was doing for the company is enough to warrant this on the list.
14 Sting and Goldberg's Failed Heel Turns
The mind-boggling bizarre prediction on who to cheer and boo really broke into kayfabe big time during the late 1990's. Hulk Hogan, despite being a top babyface, was heckled by the Internet and got negative responses by the live crowd while Sting always goes out and gets one of the biggest pops of the night. Then in a shocking moment, Sting turned on Hogan by waffling him with a baseball bat to a standing ovation, even though this cemented him as a heel. Unsurprisingly, it proved to be a huge failure because it also made Sting even more popular than ever. Had they capitalized on the heel potential, Sting might've been one of the most hated men on the roster but Sting had too many years as a babyface and the fact that he did nothing that verified him as a villain made the heel turn utterly ridiculous. But that would not be all. Vince Russo, being a lover of swerves, cartoon characters and talent less slugs, felt the need of turning the most profitable and well-over babyface WCW ever had in Goldberg into a full-fledged heel. Unfortunately, the experiment flopped big time as Goldberg was still getting cheers and was automatically turned back into a face, ruining his career and exemplify the state of the company: no matter how much faeces you throw, it never sticks on the wall.
15 The Failure of Vince Russo
Speaking of Russo, WCW needed to find a way to get itself back on track and earned back many of the fans they lost when they were getting squashed by WWF. In October 1999 when Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera, main writers that contributed in the Attitude Era, left the company, WCW seized the opportunity of hiring them to clean up the mess. Russo even convinced the management that they will do whatever it takes to help the company and not place themselves on television. You can't buy bad comedy like this. Russo broke all the promises and created some horrendous angles and substandard storylines that made no sense like Madusa winning the Cruiserweight title, putting four talented foreign wrestlers in a piñata on a pole match that enraged many fans and the worldwide audience WCW had left, ridiculing Jim Ross with Ed Ferrera as Oklahoma, booking Bret Hart like a loser and hype Tank Abbott as a World title contender. Oh, and make himself the owner heel that has been used before by Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff. That was enough to cost him his job but when Kevin Sullivan lost booking in 2000, WCW made a stupid mistake and rehired Vince Russo back to the booking team and the management went down the toilet again with outrageously bad moments like the David Arquette title win, Goldberg's failed heel turn, the moronic Millionaire's Club v. New Blood feud and culminating with Vince Russo winning the WCW title, the last straw that broke the camel's back and shattered its bones, turning the organization into a lifeless zombie with no reason to exist anymore.
16 The Dangerous Alliance Terminated
The super-hot conflict between the anti-WCW faction Dangerous Alliance led by Paul E. against WCW veterans like Sting and Ricky Steamboat was the highest selling point throughout 1991-1992. The storyline was that Paul E. was fired from WCW and vowed bloody vengeance by teaming Steve Austin with Rick Rude, Larry Zybszko and Barry Windham and try to take out any WCW worker that got in their way. This was essentially the direct opposite of the ill-fated WCW Invasion angle from 2001 or even the nWo Regime during the 90's in which the heat here is incredible, egos didn't cave in and the back-story of the competitors were nothing short of intense and violent with both factions looking stronger and going over each other like they respected each other in real life. Then came Erik and Bill Watts and the whole Dangerous Alliance angle was completely scrapped, thus killing off the one chance that could bring WCW into commercial success without any problem and have everyone move on to different directions. Had the feud continue on throughout the end of 1992, WCW might've recovered its finances and might not have lost a lot of money the following year and almost file for bankruptcy but since this IS WCW, for every good moment, a pile of turd stinks up the joint.
17 Paul Roma Inducted in the Horsemen
Another wasted opportunity combined with a retarded concept as the heatless WWF jobber is revealed to be the fourth member of the most elite stable in all of professional wrestling, a move that nearly killed the Horsemen and their heat for good in 1993. It is widely considered as the weakest Horsemen selection in the stable's history.
18 The Ultimate Bust
Arguably one of the most pathetic and embarrassing comebacks throughout the lucrative run in WCW would have to be the return of the Ultimate Warrior, the man that I can honestly say wish was run over by a steamroller and never exist in this world again. Before Warrior used his extreme right-wing agenda to diss homosexuals and tell Iranians to go "get a towel", Eric Bischoff tried every desperate act to get WCW to beat the WWF again. Concepts like celebrity main events and promoting "Bride of Chucky" failed completely so Bischoff decided to give Jim Hellwig an overpaid sum of nearly one-two million dollars for a WCW contract. To say it backfired would be an understatement. When Warrior debut at Fall Brawl 1998, he was automatically put in a main event feud with Hollywood Hogan, leading to a series of horrendous interviews and Vince Russo-style stunts like fireballs, taunts to enthral the crowd (which obviously didn't go over) and a mist entrance that injured Davey Boy Smith. The return match between Hogan-Warrior was a catastrophe...a slow, lumbering mess which saw two senior citizens blow every basic move they could muster (or have in their move set) and consisting of overbooking idiocy that ranks high in the stupidity level. Warrior, having suffered a broken arm, was paid to stay home, just showing that his ironclad contract was a nothing but a huge waste of money to begin with...another million dollars down the FRICKIN' DRAIN!!!
19 An Ultimately Dumb Idea
Before the WCW brain trust brought in the Warrior, they once tried to create a spin-off of the nutcase himself during 1995 for Hulk Hogan to feud and go over...Seriously, I'm not kidding. Known as the Renegade, Hogan chose some unknown employee named Richard Williams and donned him with ridiculous makeup and costume after hints of Ultimate Warrior making a possible WCW debut. And boy, did that ever go well with the crowd? The fans didn't buy Renegade for a minute so was he depushed or removed off the roster? No, they booked the Renegade to win the TV title from Arn Anderson at the Great American Bash 1995 and push him to a main event feud with Ric Flair. If you don't understand WCW logic like this, no one does. Thankfully, the Renegade experiment ended and Williams would not be seen again before committing suicide via shooting himself in 1999. But the damage was done to the fan base as Hogan's ego and friends started to take control while the talented stars got depushed into obscurity. This was the perfect evidence of how this was happening.
20 Hey, Remember that Master P Guy?
Remember when wrestling featured just wrestlers performing in the ring? Remember the days before the McMahon’s urinated the product with their overbearing presence or the ugly sight of seeing Jay Leno do a hammerlock on Hollywood Hogan or Jim Ross giving Jonathan Coachman a terrible stunner? Well, 1999 was not a, in generosity, a decent year for wrestling as retarded angles, bonehead promotional moves and endless series of skits tarnished the one element that makes the sport important: authentic wrestling. And some of the wrestlers involved weren't associated with the roster and were outdoor celebrities. Case in point with WCW, as they went on to create a huge boner with the signing of many musicians like Master P, Kiss and Megadeth in attempt to provide fan interest. Why is this bad? Because it dropped credibility on its neck and did nothing but create an even bigger amount of backlash to WCW in the whole. Plus, the mind-insulting country v. rap feud with unpopular rapper Master P as a babyface left a bad taste in the fans' mouths as wrestlers associated with country music were the bad guys...in a south-adapted company! Another ridiculous moment, according to Wrestlecrap, was that Gene Simmons of Kiss was given a fat contract to create a wrestler based on the band and the wrestler never got a push. Funny for a company that pushed Tank Abbott as a World title threat and Dennis Rodman as a main eventer.
21 Hart Suffers a Headache
People will always debate on the annoyingly talked-about controversy at Montreal in 1997 but if people thought it were to be a poop-stain in Bret Hart's career, there was more yet to come in WCW for the Hitman. When Bret debut in WCW, it was at Starrcade 1997 where he became involved in the infamous Hogan-Sting main event that could've made Bret into a valuable player. Unfortunately, politics and ego crippled Bret's WCW run as the Hitman was put in the repetitive "Is he nWo?" storylines and did about a hundred turns in one year. Oh, and he wrestled DDP, Harlem Heat and Chris Benoit in the midcard while hanging on high water against Randy Savage and Sting. This coming from a guy that was getting paid two million dollars a year in his contract, more than most of the roster (except for Hogan and Goldberg). You had to know how Bret was feeling about this having just been rejected from the WWF and then get mopped all over the floor in WCW. The fact is that WCW once again wasted another opportunity and turned Bret Hart into a forgotten afterthought. With Hogan, DDP and Nash polluting the backstage morale, it came to no surprise that the treatment Bret was gonna get wouldn't be a wealthy hospitality. A five-time WWF Champion winning the US title several months after his first WCW appearance is ridiculous and even more so is the value that was wasted and not fully capitalized when he made his debut. Bret spent a total of two years in WCW where the only accomplishments were winning the first and only WCW Championship in a tournament and facing Chris Benoit in the classic Owen Hart Tribute match and would then retire after a severe concussion at the hands of Goldberg. Bret Hart was like a golden treasure but like a bunch of ignorant, simple-minded pirates, WCW buried its treasure and didn't bother to dig it up again when they had the chance.
22 The Horsemen Derails Again
WWE can have the Evolutions, the McMahon-Helmsley Regimes and the Cabinets and TNA can have the Kings of Mountains, 3-Live Crews and Team Canadas but none will touch the historical impact and marvellous accomplishments of the Four Horsemen, in my view the single greatest and most influential stable in this industry today, in the past and in the future. The original stable saw Ric Flair, Ole & Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and manager JJ Dillon and their heel tactics made them legendary, so legendary that newer versions were used, featuring wrestlers like Sting, Lex Luger, Barry Windham, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Brian Pillman, among others like Sid, El Gigante (!!!) and Steve McMichael. The Horsemen stood on top of the mountain for several years, even going through bad times like inducting Paul Roma and Steve McMichael and their tedious feud with the Dungeon of Doom. In other words, Horsemen=Ratings. Then came the nWo storyline and you can consider the Horsemen in the eyes of WCW employees obsolete. When the nWo helped increase ratings and buyrates, it also increased Eric Bischoff's ego. Bischoff, apparently believing that now he didn't need the Horsemen anymore to exceed revenues, disbanded them and put them in ridiculous one-sided feuds with Jeff Jarrett and Kevin Sullivan. The Horsemen were never given the chance to shine when they were facing the nWo, looking weak and losing in every major match each time they fought them. The final nail in the coffin was in 1998 when the Horsemen returned to a deafening roar and were completely buried by the nWo and Eric Bischoff, even though they achieved one last great ratings victory for WCW. It was at that point that people realized that the Horsemen would never come out on top, much in the same way as everyone knew that Ric Flair will never reign supreme against all odds again and that's what cost WCW a lot of fans. Bischoff's ego, along with the infesting politics, left the greatest stable in the world in a barren hole that they never got out of.
23 Tarnishing Goldberg
When Goldberg was pushed as the unstoppable monster, he squashed every single wrestler he was put in the ring with and became the #1 babyface in the company. Wresting skills and big-ass ego be damned, he made a lot of money and drew numerous crowds. In fact, Goldberg was probably the only interesting thing in WCW in 1998, other than Booker-Benoit series, Jericho and the return of Ric Flair. Unfortunately, Politics reared their ugly heads and instead of utilizing Goldberg's winning streak, they ended it instantly at Starrcade 1998, although the fault should go to the bookers rather than Goldberg himself. The result deflated Goldberg's main event run and killed off the heat of one of WCW's last major draws. Since then, Goldberg's success has been less than stellar with a hoax of a title win at Halloween Havoc 1999, the piss-poor booking during his feuds with Kevin Nash and Bret Hart and a heel turn that totally wrecked his WCW career. Since then, Goldberg's career has yet to recover and his WWE run clarified that statement.
24 Coming Soon to a Titantron Near You
In 1993, WCW was in financial turmoil with buyrates going down the shitter and a series of ridiculous promotional moves (#11, 12 and 17) that nearly sent the company into bankrupt hell. At that time, Big Van Vader was the WCW World Heavyweight champion that, though marketable, was not a draw. So when he was fed with challengers like Sting and Davey Boy Smith, WCW tried a creative way to hype their title shots as something important...they aired mini-movies starring WCW wrestlers. You think I'm joking? At a cost between $100,000-to-$1 million, the mini-movies featured Vader, Sting, Davey Boy Smith and Sid Vicious in a concession of embarrassing filming segments that ended up going nowhere and exposing the business just as bad as the tapings debacle from earlier on. One famous segment called "The White Castle of Fear" saw Sting fly via helicopter to the Rocky Mountains to confront Vader over the strap. So they played the tug-of-war with the belt and when lightning flashed, the title belt snaps and segment ends. Another one took place at a beach where Sting and Davey played volleyball with a bunch of orphans until Sid and Vader came out and one of their minions plant a bomb under the boat, which goes off, trapping Sting and Davey on the island forever. Seriously, this was supposed to MAKE people buy the pay-per-view. No one, of course, bought the shows and the creative concept ended up poking WCW in the eyes, leaving them monetarily blind before regaining their vision with Ric Flair's title win at Starrcade that year.
25 Big Lazy Is Given the Book
Brad Dykens said it in his best "The WCW Pattern of Failure" article when wrestlers should not under any circumstance be allowed to book themselves in feuds, matches and title wins, no less than control their own storylines. Such was the case with Kevin Nash, arguably the most egotistical dickhead that exceeds (if not totally surpasses) the egos of HHH, Hogan and Goldberg. Nash manipulated the creative team into becoming the head booker for WCW and that's what sent the company in a downward spiral. Kevin Nash's first primary move was to end Goldberg's winning streak at Starrcade 1998 and give him his own World title belt and that was a planted seed that set the tone of a company gone down the shitter. What followed were the moves and angles that turned WCW into a polluted sewage system like the Savage/Nash feud, the hiring of Vince Russo, the signing of musicians, pushing of no-talent rejects like Rick Steiner and Sid Vicious and burial of wrestlers that go over, repetitive nWo angles and of course, the Fingerpoke of Doom that helped WWF completely flatten WCW for the next two years before WCW was sold to Vince McMahon. While Hogan ruined the product with his politics, Nash ruined the product, ripped its internal organs out and allowed diseases to infect it hook, line and sinker. Nash can make up 1988880 excuses all he wants but everyone involved knows what Nash has done to his company and all of Nash's realistic acting of what is right for the business will never disguise the failures that he bestowed upon in WCW.
A sequel is in works. If this column is a success, then the sequel will be posted.
by Joe L. --- [View Joe L's Column Index]..
C M Latsha wrote:
Bravo! I never watched WCW, but not even the most loyal WWF fan could avoid much of what was going on, and though the WWF was falling in '96 and '97, I remained loyal.
Since it has fallen, I have more interest in the WCW, and have sought more information about the promotion. I find it much more fascinating now than before. So I revel in good information concerning about WCW.
I look forward to seeing more articles on many topics by the author.
Victor Lee wrote:
I'd also like to mention the Juventud Guerrera tequila
bottle shot to Jushin Thunder Liger. Vince Russo was
known to not care for lucha libre and had similar
sentiment to Japanese wrestling. He books the end of
the match without New Japan's knowledge (I don't even
think Liger knew either), severely damaging ,if not
outright destroying WCW's image as a stage for
international talent for domestic audiences. NJPW is
forced to accept Juvi as a former IWGP Junior
Heavyweight champion because it was on television and
thus pulls out of its relationship with WCW for fear
that something like this could happen again.
Andrew Betss wrote:
I read the column and I can say that every one of the reasons is dead on but i feel that the biggest mistake made was the day WCW which was then owned by Time-Warner was bought by AOL you then had a group that thought wrestling was below them and wanted nothing to do with it well that came later but the AOL-Time Warner group gave Nash,Hall,Hogan,Goldberg,Sting,Steiner and others Huge garenteed contracts and that ate up pretty much all the proffits they went from raking in money hand over fist to bankruptcy then AOL-Time Warner decided to cut their losses buy selling off WCW and Eric Bischoff tried to be the savior of WCW but AOL-Time Warner pull the rug out from under him by terminating all wrestling progaming all on TNT and WTBS and that was the final nail in the coffin for WCW and we know what happend from there so I think the blame is a much on Ted Turner for selling out to Time Warner in the first place
JASON RITCHEY wrote:
I find it interesting when I see a piece like this written. Its a never ending cycle. People always complain about the person before them not wanting to put someone over. I can remember in 1999 when the entire internet was fired up because Steve Austin wouldn't job to an up and comer named Triple H. Or in 1988 when Ric Flair wouldn't put over the hottest new sensation named Lex Lugar. Wrestling has always been about the proven commodity. Harley Race in the 70's, Flair in the 80's, Hogan in the 90's and HHH now. Who can blame bookers for wanting to go with the seemingly sure thing. Hell if Vince had more than 1 consistent star (Undertaker) in the 90s, Foley, Austin and the Rock would still be curtain pulling. Also interesting is everyone blaming Eric Bischoff for the destruction with his release of Austin and Foley. Come on....wrestlers are released ALL THE TIME. So does this mean that in 10 years when TNA is ruling the wrestling industry (not gonna happen) like all the WWE haters out there think, we are gonna point at Vince and say "you let it happen, you released DLo Brown and Dustin Rhodes". Alot of you are probably thinking that's a ridiculous comparison. But lets face it. Foley got over as a great stuntman. (He admits that in his book) and Austin got over with a hell of a gimmick. Did WCW make alot of mistakes? Hell yeah, but trying to pinpoint it on Nash, Hogan and Bischoff is just too easy. And if you are saying no one wanted to see them, why did the NWO take off so much?? Because you had 5 or 6 guys at the top and it funneled down. WCW's problem was that they tried to have too many people on the top. Becomes top-heavy and topples over. Maybe Hogan didn't want to give up his spot. But the same could be said about Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, HHH, Kevin Nash, Goldberg, Sting, and Steve Austin at one point or another in their career as well. Final point is.......Hogan, Nash, Bischoff and Russo didn't kill WCW, all the fair-weather fans did. Remember, you're the ones that quit watching.
Ok, first of all, it seems pretty sick that when you mentioned Renagade, it sounded like you're glad he committed suicide. If that's true, then how dare you criticize the Ultimate Warrior for dissing homosexuals? If that wasn't how you intended, then I'm sorry, but the way you worded that, is how it came across. Also, you're mentioning a lot of OLD mistakes from the early 90's and such. Let's not forget wCw did almost put WWF out of business. Also lets not forget that ECW went under, and it was considered to be one of the best feds with a very loyal fanbase. Also, you stated how Sting was pretty much killed after his match with Hogan, yet when he was on TNA, the crowd exploded for him. Also, Goldberg was over rated and a whiney prima donna backstage from what I hear. Ruining his streak was the best thing wCw ever did. I mean talk about killing Kayfaybe. It's impossible someone win all their matches. Especially when Goldberg would destroy someone, say Raven. Then face Sting and the match is back and forth and lasts for 10 minutes. Hard to believe whenever Sting had troubles with Raven the week before...See what I'm saying?
Dustin Pierce wrote:
This is just the typical smark viewpoint, and is nothing that you couldn’t get from reading any other writer. It’s not much of a contribution because it’s nothing that hasn’t been heard before. Plus, the writer loses relevance by pointing out his graduating from high school, putting himself at an age of 18, at the most. That means that for a good many of these events, he was anywhere from 3 to 7 years old. Not exactly old enough for critical thought.
Charles Redmond wrote:
Wow, what an insightful column. I, too, sat through the Monday Night Wars, flipping back and forth between RAW and Nitro. And, as I started to notice a lot of the things that you write about in this column, Nitro started to get less and less of my time. Eric Bischoff still makes me nervous, even in WWE, and I almost stopped watching entirely when Vince Russo was getting camera time. By the time Benoit and Saturn left, I was pretty much through with WCW. Your article was an interesting read, and I hope that you do decide to write the sequel. Thanks for all of your insight.
Jacob Kuhn wrote:
Well, I have to say that was a good article. Atlhough most of it was old news to me (having read "The Death of WCW," it was good to see all of that information in a smaller format. I have to honestly say that I agree with everything you said.
Because of the stupidity of Eric Bischoff, I actually stopped watching wrestling from 1998 until 2003. I have been a huge pro wrestling fan since before I could remember. But mainly it was the treatment of Ric Flair and the ego of terrible wrestlers like Hogan and Nash that ruined the sport for me. It was bad enough when Flair had to humiliate himself for Hogan's sake, but then that lousy piece of crap had to completely destroy Vader's credibility by not selling his power bomb. Let's just say I was VERY surprised when Vader didn't break every bone in Hogan's body when they finally fought. As we all know, Vader was very infamous for really fighting hard on his opponents and injuring them.
When I came back to wrestling about two years ago, I was surprised to see that WCW was gone. In retrospect, however, I am glad that I missed the last few years of its existence. The entire Russo fiasco was something I did not have to witness. The crap like burying Flair and making him have a heart attack...
I really can't understand how the people in power in wrestling get their jobs. I don't pretend to really know what it takes to be in the positions of power in a wrestling company, but it can't be that difficult to be out of touch with the fans. The issue has to be that men like Russo, Hogan, Nash and Bischoff can't accept the fact that fans don't like their decisions. So, instead of listening to the fans, they continue to force their crap down our throats, expecting us to put up with it because we enjoy the sport.
Even though Vince McMahon can be just as sleazy in his own ways, I do enjoy the way that he continually punishes Bischoff on RAW. Sure, it's all an act, but he says the things that need to be said.
John Zurick wrote:
Hmmm…I’d rather read an article by someone who wasn’t in single digits when most of this occurred. Riddled with inconsistencies and meaningless trivia. Stop getting all your wrestling knowledge from the internet and write about things you actually experienced first hand.
Brad Dykens wrote:
Why are you condeming Joe L's hard work just because of his age? It not his fault he was born a decade late. I was born in 1978, does that make me less qualified to talk about 70s-era wrestling? I have spent a great deal of time researching information from that era as well as watching video tapes. The time period that Joe L chose to write about has information and video tape that is more readily available. Any teenager can aquire hundreds of hours of video tape and numerous recounts of that era such as "Death of WCW" and "Wrestlecrap" and "Sex, Lies & Headlocks" and get a pretty good idea on what was going on in WCW. Quit being so critical and support the people who share your passion, regardless of their geography or experience.
Joe L. (original author) wrote:
Thank you, Brad. This was supposed to be an analysis of what led to WCW's death and instead, it's getting nothing but negative responses just because of 17. Just because I'm 17 doesn't mean that I don't anything at all about the previous wrestling years. In case, you haven't notice, I watch tapes, I read books and I study wrestling just as carefully as anyone of you wrestling fans. Besides, I said a sequel was in work. So show your criticism for my content of my work, not by the conduct of my age.
As for the Renegade, I feel bad about his death but had it not been for Hogan and Bischoff engulfing a bigger ego in his head, he might never have committed suicide to begin with.
Leroy Larson wrote:
If there's any weakness in writing about a period of
wrestling you weren't around to see, it's a lack of
time-line perspective. WCW didn't actually lose money
every year between '93 and '01. As dumb as all these
things are, not all of them led to the downfall of
1. Bischoff embarrasses Flair: There's nothing wrong
with Flair losing. If there's one thing pre-'93 WCW
did right, it was knowing when to job Flair and who to
job him to. Bischoff's mistake wasn't embarrassing
Flair, it was misusing him when he did.
6. Jim Herd fires Ric Flair: It was a very dumb move,
but didn't have much of an effect in the long run.
You have to remember that while Flair jumped to the
WWF, he voluntarily left the WWF to go back to WCW a
little over a year later--yes '93 WWF was that bad.
If anything, WCW was validated as a promotion more by
the fact that Flair jumped from the WWF to WCW.
7. Giving Away the Goldberg Title Match: Playing
armchair booker, I would have saved it for the
pay-per-view, but giving away title changes is not
always a bad thing. The very first wrestling match I
ever saw was when they gave away Andre the Giant
winning the title and I was hooked after that. I
think the biggest problem was giving away too many
title changes--if I remember right there was a two
week period in particular where WCW had a title change
on every show. I think ECW is the only promotion that
ever found a good balance between title changes on TV,
on pay-per-view, and house shows.
8. The End of the Tag Team Division: Tag team
wrestling as we know it died in '92, at least in the
WWF and WCW. The Outsiders are actually the only team
I can think of during that time period that could draw
a crowd by themselves. The really big mistake was
giving the titles back to the Outsiders after Souled
Out, but that points out a bigger storyline problem.
The WWF succeeded in its evil owner angle where WCW
failed because the matches themselves meant something.
Vince couldn't just strip Austin of the title, he had
to find ways to make Austin lose it. That's much more
compelling than Eric Bischoff just giving the titles
back to his guys every time they lost them.
9. A Radical Departure: WCW probably only lost out on
Chris Benoit. Perry Saturn really wouldn't have been
that big of a loss even in his prime, Malenko wasn't a
big draw, and Guerrero's personal demons made him
unreliable. As for negotiations, it doesn't get much
bigger than giving Benoit the World title. If you dig
down to the reason Benoit left, then you find a key
point to its downfall: WCW was an unpleasant place to
work. Nearly every wrestler who was there has said
the same thing.
11. Kayfabe at It's Worst: Again, this is pre-Nitro
WCW. It was also for the most part pre-internet WCW.
It was also pre-competition WCW. It might have made
them look a little silly, but it didn't have a
long-term adverse effect on the promotion.
12. From Hero to Zero: "Hogan was shoved down the
throat of the audience so many times that his ratings
power started to decline." Actually, the ratings were
pretty competitive during the pre-nWo Hogan era. The
only major ratings decline was just prior to the nWo
invasion when Hogan wasn't even around. From my
experience actually attending Nitro live, Hogan is
good for a cheap pop in the right place even if
everything else is going to hell around him.
14. Sting and Goldberg's Failed Heel Turns:
Historically speaking, the internet has never been a
good indicator of Hulk Hogan's actual value. As for
crowd reaction, I attended a show with Hogan,
Goldberg, and Sting with the crowd reaction in that
order. I also don't see how Goldberg being so popular
that fans forced him to turn face again could have
ruined his career. If anything ruined Goldberg's
career, it was his failure to understand his role as a
pro wrestler. Considering that both Sting and
Goldberg quickly returned to their role as being
faces, I'd say that was one area where WCW succeeded
where the WWF failed with Austin in the invasion
15. The Dangerous Alliance Terminated: "Had the feud
continue on throughout the end of 1992, WCW might have
recovered its finances and might not have lost a lot
of money the following year and almost file for
bankruptcy but since this IS WCW, for every good
moment, a pile of turd stinks up the joint." We're
not talking about the Stone Cold Steve Austin we know
now. He was good, but wasn't a draw at the time.
They never really beat anybody who mattered unless you
know something about Firebreaker Chip that I don't.
I'm also pretty sure that WCW as an entity couldn't
have filed for bankruptcy since it was part of Turner
Broadcasting. An interesting aside is that the reason
Ted Turner let WCW stay around despite losing money
during that time was because it was still a ratings
draw. Maybe you're getting the Jebediah Springfield
version of the Dangerous Alliance, though.
17. Paul Roma Inducted in the Horsemen: I never saw
Roma as a Horseman, so from a personal standpoint, his
membership in the Horsemen had no effect on me. From
an emotional standpoint, the Horsemen died when Arn
retired and Curt Hennig took his spot--it was one of
the most emotional, real moments I've ever seen. It
wasn't even the nWo mockery the next week. It was
when Hennig jumped to the nWo way too soon and the
Horsemen were never allowed to get any of their heat
back. WCW itself recovered quite nicely from Roma and
the loss of the Dangerous Alliance.
19. An Ultimately Dumb Idea: Yeah the Renegade was
dumb, but it didn't last long. There's a huge
difference between trying something that doesn't work
and trying something that doesn't work but continuing
with it anyway. That's where perspective from having
watched everything unfold comes into play. Renegade
was TV champ for three months then lost the title to
Diamond Dallas Page, one of WCW's successful ideas.
20. Hey, Remember that Master P Guy?: The Master P
wasn't completely unsuccessful. Also according to
Wrestlecrap (well, actually The Death of WCW, but it's
the Wrestlecrap guy) one of the positive side effects
of the whole angle was that the West Texas Rednecks
did get over to the point where mainstream country
stations were playing Rap is Crap. It backfired, but
not all wrestling backfires are bad.
In regards to the Kiss Demon, if you're getting your
complete info from Wrestlecrap, you're missing out (or
not). Bischoff wanted to do a huge angle with Kiss
and they actually were contracted to do a certain
number of main events with the Demon. The first time
around, it was Bryan Adams, but the rest of the time
it was Dale Torborg. He was in his main events, but
they weren't the featured main event, they were
"special main events" nowhere near the end of the show
that almost always resulted in the Demon losing to
someone like Norman Smiley.
23. Tarnishing Goldberg: WCW didn't screw Goldberg,
Goldberg screwed Goldberg.
24. Coming Soon to a Titantron Near You: The worst you
can say about those mini-movies were that they were
stupid. They made for good Wrestlecrap, but didn't do
any real damage in the long run.
25. Nash as Booker: Nash gets way too much blame here.
For one thing, it was Bischoff who signed all the
musicians, not Nash. Second, pretty much everybody
has tried and failed with Sid--Nash wasn't the first
and he wasn't the last.
All that being said, here's my short list of 5 reasons
1. Failure to establish new talent.
2. Overkill of the nWo idea.
3. Lack of long-term booking direction.
4. Over-saturating the wrestling market with 3 hours
of Nitro and Thunder.
5. Lack of locker room morale.
All that being said, if Nitro were still on today
getting the same ratings it was getting in its dying
days, it would still be among the top 10 shows on
cable. So the real reason WCW died (and it's the same
conclusion R.D. Reynolds came to in The Death of WCW):
Someone decided they didn't want wrestling on TNT
anymore and nobody else wanted to air it.
Jacob Kuhn wrote:
For everyone that criticized Joe on this article, I have noticed not a single on of you could come up with an actual decent arguement. The fact that several of you attacked him for his age just shows desperation on your parts. I thank Brad for defending him on the age issue. Michael Chabon wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning book about the comic book industry in WWII, and he's only in his 30's. Regardless of your age at the time, good research can write a good article. Anyone who has said something bad about his age, you are the real ones who need to grow up.
Jason Ritchey, you can not compare D-Lo Brown and Dustin Rhodes being released to Austin and Foley. Steve Austin was one of the most promising young wrestlers when he was fired from WCW. Many people were heralding him as the next Ric Flair. Without a doubt, he was one of the best classic technicians in the sport. The blame CAN be put on Bischoff for not recognizing this talent for the long term potential. As far as Foley, Mick worked his ass off, doing things to himself that were unheard of in the sport at the time. Name one thing that either Brown or Rhodes have done that can compare to either of these men. And as for your comment of blaming the death of WCW on the fans, that's the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Fans can't be blamed for not watching a crap product, and that is what WCW became.
Joe, I hope you're ignoring these moronic comments. You wrote a great article.
John Zurick wrote:
I agree with Dustin Pierce. This article has been done before. If the writer is so knowledgeable of wrestling, then why not write something innovative……hey Joe, how about the 25 greatest moments in WCW? Oh wait…that’s never been done to death, so I guess we’ll never see it. Prove me wrong, Joe….Prove me wrong.
Charles P from NY wrote:
Joe, don't listen to the negativities that some people have to give you. Ovulously you had spent alot of time and effort typing up the article and voicing your opinion. It really dosen't matter if you are you are 17 yrs old because if you have the passion to write about something you want to write about, go ahead. If you must know, I am 15 yrs old myself and I know mostly everything that was wrong with WCW. Don't get me wrong, I love WCW and wish it was still on the air even if it had some quirks in and out of the ring. I think that the MAIN reason WCW died is because of the greedy bastard Hulk Hogan. If it was seen that hulk wasn't getting alot of good or bad audience responses that his contract should have been terminated. You see the greedyness again by him getting his own show on VH1; i guess everybody feels a little insecure at times because you spent a little bit of money ( money grubbing bastard) Myself i think that hulk is boring as hell and very repedative. Anyway, i think there was also 2 main reasons besides hulk hogan. 1) The superstars being too young or too old. What i am referring to is the natural born thrillers, New Blood, and the Millionares club. either you were old or you wern't. very few people were between the area of old and young. 2) the effectiveness of the WCW power plant. sure they had a few good people come out of there but the rest were midcarders or jobbers. Along with this, the ineffectiveness of Buddy Lee Parker and the power plant. Buddy Lee, a person who sucked in WCW i guess is teaching other people to suck for the exception of a handfull. In conclusion i thought your article was good and i hope to read your next.