View Full Version : WCW: The Turner/Anderson Era
06-17-2011, 02:11 PM
Hello. This is a dynasty that is going to be awesome. Now you might be asking, what can I expect out of this dynasty?
A lot, actually! Look below if you don't believe me:
The Backstory: Turner walks out on Time Warner because of the AOL merger deal, and decides to take his prestige projects (WCW, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers) with him, starting up a new company called Turner Sports. As a result, Bischoff is blocked from WCW while Russo, Ferrera and Sullivan are fired to placate the talent and get a handle on things. Arn Anderson is made the new head of the creative team, and the principal booker.
The Plan: To write an entertaining dynasty.
Length: This dynasty will probably go up to around 2003 before it ends, with a possibility of a sequel w/ timeskip if I feel up to the task. There will be mentions of what WWF and ECW are doing here and there in monthly updates, with a recap at the end of each year. Other companies may receive their own mentions at times.
Format: The format is going to be pretty much how Bigpapa42 does it, if only because it’s much simpler than writing out each show (and with 4 shows plus a PPV every month, that’s a lot). I will write a monthly update followed with a PPV update like Bigpapa42 is doing. Part of that will going into detail about how Turner is learning how a wrestling company is run, as well as the matters of booking, talent relations and the like.
Acknowledgments: I was inspired by Bigpapa42 and tristram. If you guys are reading, then thanks for the inspirations and great reading material. :p
06-17-2011, 02:14 PM
January - February (http://www.greydogsoftware.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1657873&postcount=10)
February - March (http://www.greydogsoftware.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1660075#post1660075)
March to April (http://www.greydogsoftware.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1664823&postcount=18)
April to June (http://www.greydogsoftware.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1679237&postcount=22)
Super Brawl X (http://www.greydogsoftware.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1659064&postcount=11)
WrestleWar V (http://www.greydogsoftware.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1662842&postcount=17)
Spring Stampede V (http://www.greydogsoftware.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1668422&postcount=21)
06-17-2011, 02:18 PM
Promotion & Miscellaneous Info
Ownership: Turner Sports
President: Ted Turner
Head Booker: Arn Anderson
Creative Team: Dusty Rhodes, Mike Tenay, Terry Taylor, Tony Schiavone, Jimmy Hart
Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
Developmental Territory: NWA Wildside
Training Camp: Power Plant
Promotional Working Agreements: New Japan Pro Wrestling
Turner Sports Holdings:
World Championship Wrestling
06-17-2011, 02:20 PM
~ Hall of Champions ~
In descending order
WCW World Heavyweight Champion:
Ric Flair (x15)
Chris Benoit (x1)
WCW United States Heavyweight Champion:
Dean Malenko (x2)
Eddie Guerrero (x2)
WCW World Television Champion:
Billy Kidman (x1)
WCW World Tag Team Champions:
The New Jersey Triads (x2)
The Specialists (x1)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion:
Chavo Guerrero (x1)
Rey Mysterio (x5)
WCW Women’s Champion:
06-17-2011, 02:23 PM
~ PPV Schedule ~
The Great American Bash
Bash At The Beach
~ Weekly Programs ~
WCW Monday Nitro
120 min. at 9 ET/7 CT on Mon. on TNT
120 min. at 7 ET/5 CT on Wed. on TBS
WCW Saturday Night
120 min. at 7ET/5CT on Sat. on TBS
60 minutes at 8 ET on Sunday/syndication
06-17-2011, 02:25 PM
Tag Team Division
The Specialists – Vito DeLagrasso & Johnny Stamboli
The New Jersey Triads – DDP & Chris Kanyon
The Wrecking Crew – Bill DeMott & Perry Saturn
The Pain Alliance – Chuck Palumbo & Mark Jindrak
Los Luchadores – Juventud Guerrera & Psychosis
The Young Lions – AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels
The Guardians –Super Dragon & Blitzkrieg
Southern Justice –Chris Harris & James Storm
3 Count– Shannon Moore & Evan Karagias
The Featured Attraction – Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo
Los Villanos – Villanos IV & V
Jung Dragons – Kaz Hayashi & James Yun
Stacy Kiebler – Mike Awesome
Torrie Wilson – Valet of Billy Kidman
Southern Class - Curt Hennig, Chris Harris, James Storm & Alexis Laree
WCW Commissioner– Arn Anderson
Play by Play – Tony Schiavone, Jeremy Borash & Scott Hudson
Color – Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay & Stevie Ray
Backstage Interviewers – Pamela Paulshock & Sharmell Sullivan
Ring Announcer – David Penzer
06-17-2011, 03:34 PM
Hoping its okay to post. Like the backstory and look forward to where you are going to go with all of it. I know you have some great ideas, so it will be sweet to see them play out. Really like some of the tag teams you've gone with.
06-17-2011, 03:43 PM
Hoping its okay to post. Like the backstory and look forward to where you are going to go with all of it. I know you have some great ideas, so it will be sweet to see them play out. Really like some of the tag teams you've gone with.
Nah, it's cool. Still working on the first month. Thanks for posting, you being interested should double potential readers by 1000%. :p
06-17-2011, 03:58 PM
Definitely an interesting backstory. I am looking forward to seeing how things go with this one.
06-17-2011, 04:24 PM
~January to February~
The early days of the new WCW were chaotic. With Ted Turner now out of Warner and into Turner Sports, the new parent company controlling the Atlanta Hawks, Thrashers, World Championship Wrestling and the operating rights to the Philips Arena, he had a lot of work on his plate, especially when it came to WCW, a weekly televised product with millions of viewers.
Almost immediately, Turner assigned Arn Anderson to serve as the booker for WCW and his representative to the roster. A loyal servant of WCW and highly respected by most of the roster, Anderson was the perfect choice to head WCW. Wasting no time, Anderson assembled Mike Tenay, Dusty Rhodes, Jimmy Hart, Terry Taylor & Tony Schiavone to serve on his creative team. Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara were given immediate releases, as was Kevin Sullivan (for the sake of keeping on several wrestlers who had bad blood with the Florida-based veteran).
The creative team assembled, Anderson set about cutting the fat from the roster in what was a hectic week of phone-calls, meetings and contract releases, which also resulted in the cancellation of the Souled Out PPV. Forty six wrestlers were released after the sale, along with over a dozen managers and other personalities. Of those released, few were truly notable, the most well known including Shane Douglas & Jeff Jarrett.
The story behind both their releases is unknown to all but the men in question and Arn Anderson, but speculation was wide-spread. Shane Douglas held a well-known hatred of Ric Flair, a close friend of Arn Anderson. Video footage from an XPW event showed him somewhat intoxicated as he supposedly called Arn Anderson to demand his release, though whether the incident in question was true or whether Douglas was bull****ting the XPW fans was never revealed (Douglas did however work with XPW afterwards until their collapse in 2002).
In the case of Jeff Jarrett, it was rumored to be over Jarrett’s push and profile in WCW. A close friend of Vince Russo whom he had followed into WCW, Jarrett was not pleased over his friends release and the booking plans by Anderson and his team, and demanded both be rectified. The argument got more and more vicious between the two, until Jarrett stormed out of the meeting , leaving Anderson little to do but release him.
However, there were eight more wrestlers who were not signed on by Turner Sports: Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, Scott Steiner, Sid Vicious, and Scott Hall. Some of WCW biggest names and stars, some were unwilling to take a pay-cut to return to work, instead choosing to enjoy their free paydays. Others, like Kevin Nash & Scott Hall were not even approached by Arn Anderson, instead left to their own devices. All eight were retained on their Time Warner contracts instead of accepting buyouts, something that pleased neither the board nor the incoming AOL executives, who were left holding the bag with the shell company called Universal Wrestling Corporation.
At the same time as the releases occurs, Anderson began a spree of contract signings. While the release of fifty-plus wrestlers and personalities and the lack of many big-money contracts had decreased the operating costs, they had also sharply cut into WCW’s notable roster size. While the remaining roster consisted of many great talented wrestlers just waiting to get on Nitro and Thunder on a weekly basis, World Championship Wrestling had seven hours of programming to fill on a weekly basis. As it was, the remaining wrestlers wouldn’t be able to maintain those hours as well as the house-show circuit without burning out.
Consequently, Anderson reached into the WCW Power Plant, a training camp of many WCW stars such as Diamond Dallas Page, Kevin Nash, Goldberg and The Giant. 21 wrestlers who worked Saturday Night on an irregular basis were properly signed to WCW, most placed into tag-teams to cover each other’s weaknesses and rehabilitate a drastically weakened tag team division, while others were shunted into the lower card to get schooled by veteran workers. While it was not the near-perfect roster that WCW had boasted in late 1998 and early 1999, it would have to do for now, for on the seventh day, Nitro was due.
After Nitro opened to Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Stevie Ray (moved from an active wrestling position to add color to the Nitro commentary) speculating as to what this new era of WCW would involve, Arn Anderson and Ted Turner made their way to the ring to a welcoming arena of fans.
Turner explained to the fans that he had regained control over WCW, and that among other things, the nWo (recently reformed in early January) were gone for good. After pausing to hear the cheer from the crowd, Turner continued. While WCW was only one part of the new Turner Empire, it was clearly the jewel of the collection, and while Turner and the Board of Directors easily held the financial situation together, WCW required a leader down in the trenches. A man respected by both the wrestlers and the fans. As realization mounted on the fans, Turner announced that Arn Anderson would be the new Commissioner of World Championship Wrestling, and Turner’s direct link to the roster. Turner shook hands with Arn, and gave him the field as he left the ring.
Arn, never one to break kayfabe or hurt the industry, did bend the veneer on this one occasion. At this point, Arn launched into what fans and commentators declared to be one of the best promos of his career. Extolling the virtues and greatness of World Championship Wrestling, Arn admitted to the decline WCW had faced over the last year or so, a fact he blamed on the cancer that was the nWo and the positioning of men who had no idea of what the sport entailed. He bemoaned the lack of respect awarded to the championships in WCW, as well as the existence of some of the more dubious ones.
Consequently, he announced the vacating of all active championships, the retirement of the Hardcore Championship, and immediate tournaments to end with final matches at Super Brawl X.
The brackets were as follows:
WCW Cruiserweight Championship:
Chavo Guerrero versus La Parka
James Gibson versus Sharkboy
Rey Mysterio versus Sonny Siaki
Lash LeRoux versus Shane Helms
WCW World Television Championship:
Billy Kidman versus Mike Sanders
Norman Smiley versus Dustin Rhodes
WCW World Tag Team Championships:
Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi & James Yun)versus The New Jersey Triads (DDP & Chris Kanyon)
The Wrecking Crew (Bill DeMott & Perry Saturn) versus The Pain Alliance (Chuck Palumbo & Mark Jindrak)
Los Luchadores (Juventud Guerrera & Psychosis) versus The Young Lions (AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels)
The Guardians (Super Dragon & Blitzkrieg) versus Los Villanos (Villanos IV & V)
Southern Justice (Chris Harris & James Storm) versus 3 Count (Shannon Moore & Evan Karagias)
The Featured Attraction (Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo) versus The Specialists (Vito DeLagrasso & Johnny Stamboli)
WCW United States Heavyweight Championship:
Booker T versus Dean Malenko
Eddie Guerrero versus Curt Hennig
WCW World Heavyweight Championship:
Chris Benoit versus Randy Savage
Ric Flair versus Vampiro
While some bemoaned the sheer depth of the tournaments, most fans enjoyed them. Every match presented to the fans had a meaning and a reason to get involved in, starting from the opening match to the main event.
The Tag Team tournament received by far received the most wrestling time in comparison to the others. With most of the division highly fit from the arduous Power Plant training and facing veterans who could carry them through said matches, the tournament was a highly praised one, be it a brawl between the Wrecking Crew and the Pain Alliance, or a high-flying extravaganza between Los Luchadores and the Young Lions, whose matches in particular drew the eyes of the fans and the creative team.
The first round of the tournament saw the Triads, Wrecking Crew, Luchadores, Villanos, Justice and Specialists move forward. Of those six Luchadores, Justice and Specialists were clearly the fan favorites, Luchadores simply for their high-flying skills, Specialists for their no-give attitudes and Justice for beating the crap out of the already hated 3-Count.
The second round saw the Triads beat the rookie team of Southern Justice, taking them to the limit and simply outwrestling the greener tandem, but it was thanks to the crucial interference of 3 Count that killed Justice’s momentum break as a delayed cross0body from Harris turned into a power0slam from Kanyon, while DDP prevented Storm from breaking the pin.
Los Luchadores and Los Villanos ended up in a double count out, as tensions flying between both teams had been steadily increasing after Los Villanos did promos (dubbed) that insulted Guerrera and Psicosis, and cast into doubt their claim of being luchadores when they had been so easily dishonored by losing their masks (Guerrera to a non-luchadore in Chris Jericho and Psicosis in what was not even a stipulation match). Backstage brawls did nothing to ease the anger of either team, as the referee was unable to direct both teams back into the ring, who brawled their way around it instead, forcing Anderson to send in security to break up the fight after the decision was made.
Finally, the Specialists wore down the Wrecking Crew, who despite their boisterous claims and non-tournament wins on Saturday Night and Worldwide, ultimately couldn’t keep up with the athletic younger duo, who ended up with a double pin upon both men after hitting the Specialist Elimination (Powerbomb into a Cutter) on DeMott and a Specialist Shootout (Dropkick sending him into a spinning heel kick) on Saturn, making it Triads versus Specialists for Super Brawl.
In the cruiserweight division, it was Rey Mysterio (reinvigorated from the re-masking allowed by his uncle) and the seemingly unstoppable Chavo Guerrero who would face off at Super Brawl, the two men handily defeating all their opponents in what were surprisingly competitive matches. Of the other wrestlers involved in the tournament, Shane Helms stood out the most, holding his own rather impressively with Mysterio and shaking hands with him after the match. Like the Young Lions, Helms was being marked down by the creative team.
The World Television tournament was a rather anti-climactic one, with the expected victories for Billy Kidman and Dustin Rhodes, who beat Mike Sanders and Norman Smiley respectively.
The fans woke up properly for the US Heavyweight matches though, with three fan favorites (Booker T, Curt Hennig & Eddie Guerrero) and a hated member of the now-dead Revolution (Dean Malenko). Booker T unfortunately lost to Eddie Guerrero, while Hennig lost to the clinical Dean Malenko. Once again, those years-long rivals would collide in battle, this time for the second richest prize in WCW.
Finally came the World Championship tournament, main-eventing two episodes of Nitro before Super Brawl. Chris Benoit and Randy Savage went to war for a good twenty minutes to the fans enjoyment, before Chris Benoit locked on the Crossface and made Savage tap-out. It was an excellent performance from both men, especially since Randy Savage had only come back for a one-night appearance at the behest of Arn Anderson.
Ric Flair and Vampiro also put on a great match. The two men wrestled each other for the first time in the tournament, but time on house-shows before their match helped them script it out rather well, and even if it did not reach the level of the Benoit-Savage match, it was still a great match that saw the wheeling, dealing son of a gun put Vampiro in a figure-four to face Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship.
With the tournaments over, so began the buildup to Super Brawl. Chavo Guerrero began psyching out Rey Mysterio, going down the ramp to ringside and watching the match intently, or entering the ringside portion only after a match to mime a kick to the back of Mysterio’s head, which Mysterio countered by firing black mist in his face at one time.
They weren’t the only ones playing mind games, for after a brawl saw Dustin Rhodes and Billy Kidman get separated, Rhodes began terrorizing Kidman and Kidman’s girlfriend Torrie Wilson, which brought down reprimands from Arn Anderson. Rhodes & Guerrero teamed up on an occasion to face off with Kidman and Mysterio, with Kidman gaining a small measure of revenge by pinning Rhodes after a devastating super kick to the jaw.
The Specialists and the Triads were also no strangers to brawls, assaulting one another backstage and in the ring, which forced security to maintain a presence at ringside at all times. In addition to that was the discord between Southern Justice and Three Count as well as the two luchadore tag teams, who got themselves matches on Super Brawl after discussions with the Commissioner.
When it came to the top two titles however, things were relatively more civilized. Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero discussed their history together fighting for the Cruiserweight and United States titles over the last few years, as well as their respect for one another, before delving (into what was an amusing segment to those backstage) into how much they despised one another and the limits they would go through to cripple the other at Super Brawl. While they agreed to not attack the other till Super Brawl to take the best of each other as they always did, the intense stare-down in the ring left no one under the impression it would be a clean match at the ‘Brawl.
As for The Nature Boy and the Canadian Crippler, the two actually made a mini-celebration of it with Arn Anderson in a segment on Nitro. Ric Flair and Benoit enjoyed the fact that the Horsemen, the cream of the crop, the standard of excellence in WCW would once again prove it at the main event of Super Brawl. Things got a little heated when Benoit made the comment that it was time for the young blood to step up, which riled Flair up as he shouted and hollered that he “wasn’t Old Yeller to get taken out back and put down!” and other such things. Anderson was able to calm him down as Benoit profusely apologized, but tensions were still clearly there going into Super Brawl.
Overall, the ratings for the shows leading up to Super Brawl were good considering most of WCW’s main-eventers were currently sitting at home, and the WWF was building to Wrestlemania. They weren’t a return to the highs of ’98, but word of mouth about the sale had brought in a lot of curious former fans, and the display of talent and wrestling (not to mention the wit of Arn Anderson) kept a lot of them there, if only for now. They weren’t even close to beating the WWF, but Vince still had an enemy at his back.
The question was whether the enemy at his back would be able to do anything about it.
Super Brawl X
Southern Justice versus 3 Count
Billy Kidman versus Dustin Rhodes for the WCW World Television Championship
Los Luchadores versus Los Villanos
Chavo Guerrero versus Rey Mysterio for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
The Specialists versus New Jersey Triads for the WCW World Tag Team Championships
Dean Malenko versus Eddie Guerrero for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
Chris Benoit versus Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
06-20-2011, 10:17 PM
~ Super Brawl X ~
February 20, 2000
One of WCW’s most important and prestigious monthly events since its establishment in 1991, Super Brawl had had its hits and misses like most WCW events. Super Brawl III marked the return of Ric Flair to WCW, while Super Brawls V through VIIII had Hulk Hogan main-eventing. With Hogan gone for good and Ric Flair back once again, it could be safe to say that the WCW fans were quite anxious as the company went into the first PPV under the new ownership and creative team, who themselves were quite anxious about the success of their first PPV.
Before the PPV officially began, a unique montage video was shown, featuring cuts of promos and matches hat had occurred over the preceding weeks, from the cruiserweight tournament all the way to the world heavyweight tournament. Ten minutes in length, the video easily hyped the entire card for one last time as final preparations were made.
The opening match was interestingly enough, Southern Justice versus 3 Count. While some feared that Anderson had taken a risk in allowing the green rookies to open the show and potentially risk botching a move that could ruin the tempo of the show, Arn refused to relegate them to dark-show status and create an ad-hoc match to fill the time. As it was, the risk paid off, as Justice and 3 Count wrestled a good cruiserweight tag match that while somewhat spotty in nature and inconsistent in tempo was quite well received by fans present, despite seeing 3 Count pin Southern Justice.
After that was the first of five championship matches on Super Brawl, as Billy Kidman went up against Dustin Rhodes. Contested under WCW’s traditional 15-minute time-limit rule, both men took each other to the limit in a match that mixed high-flying action and traditional southern Rasslin. In the end Kidman managed to counter a powerbomb with the Kid-Factor (Sitout facebuster) and then hit the Shooting Star Press, thus winning the WCW World Television Championship and reminding both the fans and the entire roster that you cannot powerbomb Billy Kidman.
The Lucha Libre tag team that was the Los Luchadores versus Los Villanos, was a brutal match up, as both teams took insane risks in and outside the ring in an attempt to hurt one another, attempting submissions and refusing to submit or let go. Ultimately however, Los Luchadores won when Juventud hit the Juvi Driver on Villano V while Psicosis and Villano IV were brawling on the outside.
The WCW Cruiserweight Championship match between Chavo Guerrero and Rey Mysterio was an excellent match by all accounts. Going on for a stunning quarter of an hour, Guerrero and Mysterio tore it up to an appreciative crowd, as the two men threw everything but the kitchen sink at each other, with Guerrero growing more and more desperate as Mysterio continued to perform at his level. Ultimately Chavo gained the victory, hitting a Gory Bomb on Mysterio to gain the win.
The Specialists versus the New Jersey Triads was not as great, by all accounts. Though the Specialists and Triads had planned out the match perfectly ahead of time (a known staple of DDP matches that helped the rookies) and had pulled off a great match, it just was not up to the level of either the previous match or the luchadore tag team match earlier in the show. Still, it provided a cooling off of sorts for the fans, as some went to the concession stands or the bathrooms. Ultimately, the Triads won the battle with Cutters to both men to become the new WCW World Tag Team Champions, but the enthusiastic response the Specialists go on the way back to the locker-room showed that the two still had ways to go.
Following the average World Tag Team Championships match, Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero proceeded to tear the house down as they had in their many, many previous encounters. Lasting well over twenty minutes as both men left it all out in the ring (and around it); it burned out many of the fans in attendance and stood out as match of the night. Dean Malenko would win the title after utilizing a Texas Cloverleaf on the legs of Guerrero (weakened after suplexes on the iron stairs), and celebrate as EMTs attended to Eddie.
Finally came the main event of Chris Benoit versus Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. It was not as good as the semi-main event, primarily due to the fact that while Ric Flair still could go in the ring and his style complemented Benoit’s rather nicely, he was still not capable of the long matches he was in earlier years. Still, viewed alone it was a great match between the two, with Flair wrestling cleanly for most of the match against his protégé, before it devolved into an all-out brawl in the last quarter. Ric Flair would ultimately win his 15th World Heavyweight Championship after low-blowing Benoit and placing him in the Figure Four and then a small package. As Ric Flair paraded around the ring with his new title, Chris Benoit would lean against the ropes as the cameras went from him to Flair, and the look of loathing in his eyes…
Overall, it was a strong PPV for WCW and compared well to the WWF’s PPV the following week, which had a few stinkers. Though with even the best WCW PPVs, there were criticisms. The first was the opening match. A decent match for television, many thought it not fit for the opening match of the first PPV of the new ownership, and would have been better suited to have the Cruiserweight Champion open. Others felt that the Tag Team Championship match was not as good as it could have been with another, more veteran team. Amusingly, those that criticized the injection of new blood onto the PPV in the cases of the opening match and the tag-team match were also upset over Ric Flair gaining a fifteenth title reign at the expense of Chris Benoit, claiming that he had won the title simply because his best friend Arn Anderson was booking the show.
All those complaints had some merit to them. Even Anderson was concerned over the opening match when putting the line-up together, and DDP and Kanyon done their best to script the match well with the rookie team. Sometimes greenness just shows. As for the main event, well … Arn, Ric and Chris had had their discussions over how to proceed with their storyline, and after going over the response to Ric’s return (gone since his live burial in a Vince Russo storyline) as well as Benoit’s not-yet-main-event-star status, they decided to make the match as it turned out.
What was done was done, and all that remained was to built to the next pay-per-view…
~Super Brawl X~
3 Count defeats Southern Justice
Billy Kidman defeats Dustin Rhodes for the WCW World Television Championship
Los Luchadores defeats Los Villanos
Chavo Guerrero defeats Rey Mysterio for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
New Jersey Triads defeats The Specialists for the WCW World Tag Team Championships
Dean Malenko defeats Eddie Guerrero for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
Ric Flair defeats Chris Benoit for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
06-23-2011, 03:33 PM
~February to March~
Exiting Super Brawl X, many of WCW’s long-standing loyalists were crowing about how things were right again. The Cruiserweight Division was stocked with plenty of new talents who were being given time to exhibit their skills, the tag-team division was stronger than ever, long un-pushed talents were getting pushes and Ric Flair was the champion. With undeniable facts like this, who wouldn’t be jumping back to WCW and abandoning the WWF, with its weak mid-card, weak tag-team division and stale main event?
But things were not as they liked to claim. While the Cruiserweight and Tag Team Divisions were restocked with a lot of good young talents, many of them were green, only a year or two in the business working the independent circuit or training in the Power Plant. While some talents were indeed getting strong pushes (Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Billy Kidman), others still had to work as gate-keepers (Bill DeMott, Booker T, Perry Saturn, Chris Kanyon, DDP). Not to mention that Ric Flair as champion did not please many former fans that looked at WCW and then at the WWF, for they would see which company had the young star holding the world championship and which company had a 3-decade long veteran holding theirs. So while the loyalists continued to eagerly watch and some casual fans jumped over the course of the coming weeks, there was no large-shift change between the two companies’ ratings. While Nitro was starting to beat out Heat and still dominated smaller programs, Raw and Smackdown were still untouchable and looked to stay that way for the foreseeable future as Anderson and Turner attempted to breathe life into a slowly dying promotion.
Exiting Super Brawl, WCW had its championships active and defended. All but one, that is. To the shrewd fan that followed the WCW website, they noticed that the Hall of Champions page held one vacant championship: The WCW Women’s Championship. Vacant and retired since Akira Hokuto took the title back to Japan, Anderson looked to make the division a reality. A series of special exhibition matches between Malia Hosaka, Madusa and Leilani Kai had been taking place throughout January and February on house-shows and television shows as Anderson gauged the response of the WCW fans to such an investment. Mostly positive opinions and reviews of the three veteran workers, Anderson broached the matter with Turner, discussing the possibility of going head to head with the WWF’s own women’s division. After careful consideration and discussion with the creative team, Turner chose to create the division, his first major decision as WCW President. He reasoned that creating such a division would appeal to potential female fans rebuffed by the highly male-dominated spectacle, and would also help fill up some of the time on the lower-end programs as the division got under-way. Not to mention a successful division would be able to go head to head with the WWF’s, which at times was little more than soft-core porn.
But he didn’t want the division to be done immediately. Disagreeing with the option of bringing back GAEA Japan’s wrestlers as well as the two titles created in the working agreement, he ordered the existing workers (Hosaka, Madusa and Kai) to recruit a minimum of five workers from the independent circuit and from WCW’s existing female talents and train them until August or October, when the division would be reactivated and a tournament would occur. The trainees and the veterans would work special exhibition matches on Worldwide and Saturday Night until then, with the occasional special match on Nitro or Thunder to bring further awareness to the division’s rebuilding.
But little of that behind-the-scenes-planning got onto WCW programming as the fans got ready for WrestleWar V, as things already got shook up. Dean Malenko came out on Nitro gloating over his defeat of Eddie Guerrero the night prior, as well as his regaining of the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, a title not in his grasp since 1996. Making mockery of Guerrero’s defeat as his hands saw Arn Anderson come out, who announced that due to the high quality of the title match at Super Brawl and after discussion with the Board of Directors and Ted Turner, Eddie Guerrero would be given a rematch at WrestleWar.
Other wrestlers also gained rematches for WrestleWar. Rey Mysterio gained a match with Chavo Guerrero; though it was a triangle match with Shane Helms instead of the singles match he wanted. Dustin Rhodes beat Adam Pearce, though his rematch was not gained until a second hard-fought match, this time with Bill DeMott. As for the Tag Team Champions, they refused an immediate rematch with the Specialists, instead throwing out an open challenge for WrestleWar. The Young Lions (AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels) answered, but due to valid arguments with The Specialists, Anderson made it a three-way match for WrestleWar.
But there were other things going on as well in the buildup to WrestleWar, things that did not gain PPV matches. Thins such as Curt Hennig taking Southern Justice (Chris Harris & James Storm) under his wing, honing their skills and coming out to matches with them. The combination was a well-received one by the fans, and it gave Hennig something to do while limiting the number of matches he would wrestle.
There was also the burgeoning feud between James Gibson and La Parka over the latter’s supposed disrespect to the former. Taking the moniker of “The Redneck Luchadore”, Gibson would assault La Parka after his matches on Thunder and Saturday Night, while La Parka continually held his own within matches (singles, tag-team and trios) against Gibson and whomever he could scrounge up to fight alongside him. Finally there was the Los Luchadores/Los Villanos feud, which tended to intersect on occasion with the Gibson/Parka feud on Parka's end, while Villanos stayed away from Gibson.
There were however several new stories building to WrestleWar as well. The first was the return of Sting. Off since Starrcade due to injury, the Icon had made his return to WCW the night after Super Brawl in a match against Adam Pearce, another wrestler put down for additional study by Arn and the creative team. Pearce attempted his best, but the Stinger was firing all cylinders and put away the rookie before ten minutes passed. But the victory and the return weren’t what made the moment so memorable.
Rather, it was the vicious assault by Vampiro on Sting, attacking him in the middle of the ring with a black bat and hitting Nail in the Coffin (Sitout scoop slam piledriver). As the crowd booed, Vampiro took out a razor blade, causing a small cut on his thumb as he passed it over Sting’s face, drawing a bloody cross on the face of the Icon. He then left as EMTs rushed to the ring to check on Sting.
On Thunder, Vampiro would come out, explaining his actions. He would cut a promo of how everyone upon Sting’s return, everyone cheered and welcomed back their Icon, their beloved defender, the man who stood up to the nWo. He then pointed that since the death of the nWo, the vaunted Sting, the man of a year of silence hasn’t been the same. He did not have the same air of invincibility, of strength or charisma.
And Vampiro claimed to know why.
He claimed that Sting thrived on adversity and challenge, living for it. The problem was that over the years, he has let it define him, to the point where he was aimless without an enemy to conquer. He even gave proper examples, pointing at the wars Sting waged against the likes of the nWo, Vader, the Horsemen and the Great Muta. And since the nWo has died, he’s been lost, unsure of what to do, merely going through the motions. And he’d been hearing the whispers, of how Vampiro is a lot like Sting, about how he was a younger, fresher version, and how maybe it’s time Sting made way for the new blood. But Sting didn’t have to worry, because Vampiro was nothing like Sting. He’s more vicious, more degenerate; he’s the monster that Sting should have been, the villain he could have become had he aligned with the nWo. He was going to give Sting a precious gift, the gift of a new enemy to overcome, offering himself against Sting at WrestleWar. Anderson would come out, red-faced and furious over Vampiro’s calculating, decisive breakdown of his old friend and enemy. He would announce that said match would in fact happen, much to the pleasure of both Vampiro and the fans. In the coming weeks, Vampiro would carry the feud with the aid of WCW’s video production team, creating voice-overs on classic Sting moments as he brutally took apart each moment, each victory.
But truly perhaps the more important one was the one between Flair and Benoit. Celebrating his fifteenth world championship win with Arn, several women and other old friends in the backstage, Ric Flair was assaulted by Chris Benoit, who viciously beat down Ric Flair, yelling and shouting things “it’s not your time anymore, you decrepit piece of s**t!" as he beat down on the man thought of as his mentor, friend and colleague. The two faced off the following Nitro, as Benoit unloaded years of frustrations, anger and repressed emotions against Ric Flair, at his home and shown on the Tron. He claimed men like Ric Flair had held back the true talent of the promotion, the men who put on 4 and 5 star 30-minute matches while the likes of Flair and others wrestled five minutes matches and cut twenty minute promos, who made big-money contracts while not working as hard as others did. He’d had enough of men like Ric Flair hogging the spot-light, hoarding title shots and title reigns. He’d had enough of it all. He declared that he was going to end Flair’s fifteenth title reign at WrestleWar, and that would be the night that Ric Flair got crippled for life, to be sent away from WCW in shame and ignominy, while Chris Benoit ruled over WCW as its World Heavyweight Champion.
Rey Mysterio versus Shane Helms versus Chavo Guerrero (c) for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
Dustin Rhodes versus Billy Kidman (c) for the WCW World Television Championship
The Young Lions versus The Specialists versus The New Jersey Triads (c) for the WCW World Tag Team Championships
Dean Malenko (c) versus Eddie Guerrero for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
Vampiro versus Sting
Ric Flair (c) versus Chris Benoit for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
06-23-2011, 06:39 PM
Hope to see Benoit take the belt. I know it actually happene, but by that point, it really didn't matter at all.
06-23-2011, 07:44 PM
Hope to see Benoit take the belt. I know it actually happened, but by that point, it really didn't matter at all.
Benoit's an interesting case, in that he's pretty much one of the few guys in WCW at this point who fans would easily buy in a main-event push without too much trouble.
As a side-note: 2000 was pretty much the perfect year for WCW to recover, to be honest. Cut the dead-weights and the expensive contracts (68 people!) and it's a good roster to work with.
06-24-2011, 02:28 PM
Benoit's an interesting case, in that he's pretty much one of the few guys in WCW at this point who fans would easily buy in a main-event push without too much trouble.
As a side-note: 2000 was pretty much the perfect year for WCW to recover, to be honest. Cut the dead-weights and the expensive contracts (68 people!) and it's a good roster to work with.
Benoit was pretty much the antithesis of what many fans felt was wrong WCW. He was serious, straight-ahead, and clearly a hard worker. That alone makes him a good choice to carry the promotion going forward.
WCW had taken a lot of hits by the start of 2000, but they were certainly in a better spot than by the start of 2001. I think the possibilities that were there in 2000 is why its so frustrating that those in charge instead just made a godawful mess of things.
06-25-2011, 09:11 AM
Benoit was pretty much the antithesis of what many fans felt was wrong WCW. He was serious, straight-ahead, and clearly a hard worker. That alone makes him a good choice to carry the promotion going forward. Exactly. I think that there were two guys the WCW's internet fans were look to carry the company forward then: Booker T and Chris Benoit. Take that as a hint of however you want.
WCW had taken a lot of hits by the start of 2000, but they were certainly in a better spot than by the start of 2001. I think the possibilities that were there in 2000 is why its so frustrating that those in charge instead just made a godawful mess of things. And probably why I keep trying to fix it, instead of 2001, which was nothing but up. Here, I'm struggling to display some problems after excising most of the damn cysts. :p
06-30-2011, 03:03 PM
The fifth of its name, WrestleWar V was quite the showing from World Championship Wrestling. With only six matches announced beforehand (a curious fact with a couple of feuds not given any time on the PPV) at all, fans who bought the PPV felt a bit of trepidation, hoping that WCW planned on adding a few surprise matches on the show itself.
Those who did were disappointed. While the live Worldwide beforehand featured a high-flying trios match between Los Luchadores & La Parka against Los Villanos & James Gibson as well as a brawl of a match between Curt Hennig & Booker T against The Pain Alliance (with the formers in both matches gaining the victory due to communication issues), there were no surprise additions to the show itself. Anderson it seemed was choosing to test the vaunted Power Plant endurance of his greener talents this night.
WrestleWar opened with the high-flying action of the Cruiserweight Division. A twenty-minute war that didn’t miss a step, Rey Mysterio, Shane Helms and Chavo Guerrero nearly burnt out the crowd in their match, which primarily focused on Mysterio and Guerrero as the rookie Helms played spoiler. That was not to say that Helms was a non-factor during the match, as at several points he was in control and holding his own rather well with both men, but merely the story of the match focused more on the story between Guerrero and Mysterio. Guerrero would ultimately retain his title after hitting a Gory Bomb on Helms.
After a short post-match promo from Chavo and a backstage one from Billy Kidman came the next match, a 15-minute time limit match, typical of the WCW World Television Championship. With his girlfriend Torrie Wilson at ringside, Billy Kidman was defending against “The American Nightmare” Dustin Rhodes. A hard-hitting match, it showed the lessons both men learned from their previous bout as Rhodes was careful not to give Kidman any time in the air, beating him down and keeping him grounded while Kidman kept using his superior speed to keep Rhodes wanting for a proper brawl. Ultimately, both men threw out their game plans and simply started smacking the crap out of each other, devolving into a fight in front of the announce table as the clock counted down to zero, ending the match at a draw.
And with the draw came a video package detailing the momentum-building of the three tag-teams in the title match as well as the story between the Triads and the Specialists. Taking around five minutes or so, it was a good breather for the fans who hopped off to the concession stand or simply stayed in their seats as they calmed down from two very good matches. That and a few commercials for those watching at home helped put a brake on the rapid pace of the proceedings.
With that done, the show moved on to the third match of the night: Young Lions versus Specialist versus Triads. Scripted out by Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon with some thoughts from the younger wrestlers, the match was an average one at best. While DDP and Kanyon did their roles perfectly, the younger duos had trouble memorizing the script and adhering to it, and consequently had chosen beforehand to simply remember their parts with the Triads and call the rest of it in the ring. The result was entertaining, though easily not as good as it could have been. The Triads once again retained, much to the satisfaction of those who enjoyed the duos work as well as those who felt the need to criticize their place in the tag-team division.
Still, with Dean Malenko versus Eddie Guerrero for the umpteenth time coming up next, it wasn’t like the PPV was doomed. Once again, the two workhorses put on an excellent showing that had the fans on their feet, aching for a resolution. This time, it would be Eddie Guerrero who would win the match, defeating Dean Malenko to win his second WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
Next up was the brutal war between Vampiro and Sting. Announced as a No-Disqualification match, the two brawled all over the arena floor, with Vampiro getting cut open early on (much to the fans pleasure). A good twelve minute match, it saw Vampiro win by pile-driving Sting through a table, an act that would be added to the openings of Nitro and Thunder.
Finally came the highly-anticipated main event: Ric Flair versus Chris Benoit for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. A match some would say was years in the making, even though this was the second time in as many months it had been the main event. The two went to town on each other from the start, with Benoit and Flair putting on an excellent 4-star match that outshone all but the United States Heavyweight match. Submissions, holds, power-moves, simple chops and dirty tricks were all utilized in the match, with Benoit strategically weakening Flair’s legs throughout the match while Flair seemed intent on chopping his way to Benoit’s back.
Back and forth did the match go, with Benoit slowly gaining control of the match and of Flair’. Even as the fans begged the Nature Boy to fight on, he was clearly on his last legs. Benoit knew it as well as they did, and sought to finish the match. Hitting a running bull dog on the Nature Boy, Benoit was up before Flair’s head had even finished bouncing off the mat. Locking in the Sharpshooter, both the referee and the fans watched helplessly as Flair thrashed around in agony, attempting to crawl to the ropes, any ropes. Reaching… trying … Succeeding at the third leap, grapping the ropes with his left hand and holding on to dear life.
Benoit let go almost immediately, knowing the damage had already been done and that a few more seconds wouldn’t be worth the repositioning needed afterwards. But even as he repositioned, Flair prepared himself by targeting one of Benoit’s knees, dropping him and gaining the time needed to put Benoit in a hastily made Figure Four Leg-Lock. Though Benoit thrashed and attempted to reverse it, the clearly fading Flair kept it locked in as best as he could forcing Benoit to tap even as he himself passed out. Ruling the match a draw, Flair would retain his fifteenth World Heavyweight Championship, if only by default.
Looking back at the show, WrestleWar was a good showing from WCW, even against the giant that was Wrestlemania 2000. All the wrestlers had clearly put on a great effort, and not a single match came even close to the worst of the Russo or Bischoff eras.
But at the same time, there were flaws clearly evident. Some questioned the length of all the matches, when one or two matches could have easily been slotted in with storylines still at the ready. Others questioned why they had gone to a draw in the Television championship match instead of a decisive victory or even a potential heel turn by Torrie Wilson.
The triangle tag team match had received most of the flack from the fans, who either blamed the mediocrity of the match on the Triads for over scripting it or on the Lions and Specialists for not being able to keep to said script. There were repercussions backstage over this match, as backstage heat from DDP and Kanyon saw the Young Lions continued involvement nixed afterwards, as they were blamed for the inability to follow the script. Still, Anderson went to bat for them and prevented a complete burial following the PPV, though some of the older workers sandbagged them for weeks following the show.
The Guerrero-Dean Malenko match had been the one with the least criticism, if any at all. Eddie had won the title off of Dean to keep the feud hot, and since both men could cut decent to great promos and had put on a great match, neither was hurt or hindered by the decision to move the title. All that mattered was how the feud looked and was received going forward.
The Vampiro-Sting match had its noticeable flaws. Though Sting had been given a few more weeks off to recuperate, his cardio and in-ring work were clearly not at the level they could be, and that had hurt the match quality as well as the impressiveness of Vampiro’s victory. Backstage, Anderson and Sting discussed how the feud would develop, as well as some of the concerns Sting had over Vampiro. Though his feelings were not fully assuaged, Sting promised to put more effort in the feud and putting over Vampiro in the future.
Finally came the main event of Benoit versus Flair. A great match that showed the strengths and merits of both men, it was criticized in only two things: one, not putting Benoit over to win the title, and two, the length of the match itself. Both criticisms had their defenders though, who argued that the in the matter of Benoit not winning the title, there needed to be more build, while the length was necessary to slowly elevate Benoit to the status of a legendary wrestler like Ric Flair.
Ultimately, the fans would bicker amongst themselves as they always have, while the bookers would strive forward with their visions. Of course, vision and reality are two different things…
Chavo Guerrero (c) defeated Rey Mysterio & Shane Helms to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
Billy Kidman (c) draws with Dustin Rhodes to retain the WCW World Television Championship
The New Jersey Triads (c) defeated The Young Lions and The Specialists to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championships
Eddie Guerrero defeats Dean Malenko (c) for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
Vampiro defeats Sting
Chris Benoit defeat Ric Flair (c) for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
07-05-2011, 09:05 AM
~March to April~
With Wrestlemania and WrestleWar now over, it was time for both companies to push forward. While the WWF focused on the rising McMahon-Helmsley Regime/Faction and firmly establishing Triple H as a main-eventer, WCW focused on improving the whole of their product. As the former DX members and their new associates fought off a series of challenges from wrestlers like Edge, Christian, Chris Jericho and the Rock, WCW maintained a series of storylines.
Those storylines were mostly those that had been running since the end of the tournaments in January. 3 Count and Southern Justice’s feud reached another level when Justice claimed they could put out better songs than 3 Count could. Accepting the challenge, Southern Justice found themselves seeking out other wrestlers to help them put out the song. Their mentor Curt Hennig was the first to join and the only male wrestler to even consider accepting. As vignettes continued through the rest of March, more and more wrestlers continued to refuse to proposal. Desperate, Justice and Hennig then campaigned among the women’s division, finally gaining a fourth member in Alexis Laree. A twenty year old wrestler billed from Richmond, Virginia, Laree had held some thoughts on a singing career and agreed to join the group.
The group would name their band Southern Class, and after getting promoted on Saturday Night and Worldwide and receiving mention on Nitro and Thunder, would perform the song on an early April edition of Thunder. Called “Hip-Hop Slop”, it mocked the boy-bands that were becoming popular in the United States and paid tribute to the country music promoted by singers like Billy Ray Cyrus, Garth Brooks and others .Somewhat well received among country music fans and those who simply hated boy-bands; it was another chapter in the feud between the two teams. It also served as an introduction for Alexis Laree, who would begin wrestling exhibition matches with the rest of the women’s division. She and Southern Justice would use the song as their entrance music, while Hennig stuck to “Rap is Crap”.
The Los Luchadores and Los Villanos feud also continued. Being nearly planned out and directed by the luchadores in WCW under the watch of Mike Tenay, both teams were happy to work the feud long-term, as it was drawing significant interest back home in Mexico as well as educating the fans of lucha libre, something Tenay was pushing for as a member of the creative team and at the announce table. It was also Tenay who was also booking the Chavo Guerrero - Rey Mysterio and James Gibson – La Parka feuds ongoing in the cruiserweight division, using his knowledge of lucha libre as well as the heel statuses of the American wrestlers in those feuds to make lucha libre a more prominent brand in the eyes of the American wrestling fans. All three feuds also got time slotted for them at Stampede, though Gibson-Parka would feature on the Worldwide dark matches rather than on the PPV itself.
But there were other focuses and brand awareness movements in WCW. With the massive, albeit primarily green tag team division set together, tag-team wrestling was becoming a staple of WCW programming as the tandems began slowly learning how to work together and gel as a team. While still nowhere as good as late JCP’s and early WCW’s tag-team divisions were, they were holding their own against the WWF, whose four regular teams (Hardy Boys, Edge & Christian, Dudley’s & APA) were starting to look stale in comparison.
While all four of WWF’s regular tag teams were focused on the McMahon Helmsley Regime, WCW was spinning out a multitude of storylines. In the cruiserweight/lucha section there were the 3 Count-Southern Justice and Los Luchadores-Los Villanos feuds, but there was also the slow-burning storyline of the Guardians, the teaming of California wrestlers Super Dragon and Blitzkrieg, who portrayed super-heroes seeking out crime and injustice to combat. Feuding with the much more serious Wrecking Crew (Bill DeMott & Perry Saturn), the two teams told a rather amusing tale with vignettes and skits that while the best that Saturn and DeMott could have done in their time, were still entertaining and helped keep them sharp as the Guardians honed their skills. Also was the buddy team of AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, who were rapidly becoming excellent friends backstage as well as on-screen. Despite a setback in terms of push due to the WrestleWar match, the two bounced back with a low-level feud against The Featured Attraction, an arrogant clubber duo who easily drew heat anytime they went to wrestle a match.
Then of course was the title feud between the Specialists and the Triads. Despite the decent matches they were putting on, the Specialists were starting to lose the crowd’s support. It was nothing major, but the signs were starting to become evident. While Anderson and co. would continue the storyline, concerns would continue entering Spring Stampede.
Moving on to the non-niche championships, Kidman and Rhodes agreed to sign on for one last match at Stampede with a no-time limit stipulation attached to the match. Their feud, ongoing since January had been a somewhat above average affair that had done its part in maintaining and even elevating their places in the WCW hierarchy. It was time to shake things up a little, which was also the cause in the Malenko-Guerrero feud, as the two once again signed on for another match at Stampede, this one a cage match.
However, the Ric Flair – Chris Benoit situation took a little bit more time. After a title defense against Sonny Siaki on Thunder, Benoit came out to demand another title shot, even as security rushed out as a barrier between the two men. With that protection in mind, Flair cut a horrific promo on Benoit, slamming him and his heel turn, claiming that he was like a son to him among other things. After that outburst, Flair relented, saying he would give Benoit one last opportunity to win the title off of him before he took up the matter with Commissioner Arn Anderson, President Ted Turner and the Board of Directors.
Even then the build to Stampede wasn’t over, as WCW continued to make an effort to outshine the WWF post-Wrestlemania. Sting and Vampiro brawled all over Nitro, Thunder and Saturday Night leading up to Stampede as they attempted to beat the holy hell out of each other. To that end, Anderson signed them on for a match at Stampede, hoping to at least have the company profit off of their insanity.
But even that wasn’t that biggest hype-up for the PPV: Booker T finally had a storyline. A series of mysterious attacks against many members of the roster had been ongoing since the beginning of March, even before WrestleWar. But only now did someone step forward to admit involvement. Stacy Kiebler (the former Ms. Han****) claimed that the attacker was her client, demanding a WCW contract. Booker T intervened with Anderson’s refusal, offering a match with himself at Stampede for the mysterious attacker. If he could hang with the 10-time tag-team champion, 5-time television champion and future world champion, then there would be a WCW contract waiting. Anderson initially refused, but discussions with Ted Turner led to him rescinding that refusal on Thunder and signing the match.
All in all, Spring Stampede looked to be a packed show.
Spring Stampede V
Southern Justice versus 3 Count
James Gibson & Wrecking Crew versus La Parka & Guardians
Los Luchadores versus Los Villanos
Billy Kidman (c) versus Dustin Rhodes for the WCW World Television Championship
Specialists versus New Jersey Triads (c) for the WCW World Tag Team Championships
Rey Mysterio versus Chavo Guerrero (c) for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
Booker T versus Mystery Opponent
Sting versus Vampiro
Dean Malenko versus Eddie Guerrero (c) for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
Ric Flair (c) versus Chris Benoit for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
07-05-2011, 01:56 PM
I would love to watch that pay per view. Flair vs Benoit would definitely be an intriguing main event.
07-05-2011, 03:10 PM
I would love to watch that pay per view. You're not the only one. Especially when reality had this:
Flair vs Benoit would definitely be an intriguing main event.
True. I don't think they ever met up in WWE, though they might have over the Evolution-Benoit feud.
07-12-2011, 05:45 PM
~Spring Stampede V ~
The fifth of its name, Spring Stampede V was an excellent showing from World Championship Wrestling. With ten matches announced for both dark matches and PPV matches, it looked to be different than WrestleWar V, in both in terms of match-length, participants and even content. The night got off to a good start with Worldwide, which did rather well beforehand as the crowds began coming in, with Southern Justice beating 3 Count while Gibson and the Wrecking Crew pinned La Parka and the Guardians. The Justice/Count match was another in a long line of excellent cruiserweight tag team matches that were starting discussion of a new division among the creative team. Unsurprisingly, Tenay was behind most of the talk on that.
WrestleWar opened with the high-flying action of the Cruiserweight Division, albeit in tag-team action as Los Luchadores and Los Villanos wrestled a lucha tag team match. It was a great opener that woke up the crowd and got them buzzed and ready for the rest of the show, reaching its end as Los Villanos hit double moonsaults on Juventud, who was then subsequently pinned by one of the two Villanos.
After that came the television championship no-time limit match. Dustin Rhodes and Billy Kidman wrestled yet another decent match that saw Kidman retain after a decisive Kid Krusher when Rhodes foolishly attempted a powerbomb. It would be the final match in the series between Kidman and Rhodes.
Next up was Booker T’s match against his mysterious opponent. Booker T would come out first, impatient and not even glad-handing the fans as he made his way into the ring, pacing from ring rope to ring rope. After a few moments, Stacy Kiebler exited the entrance area, microphone in hand as she requested the crowd to rise to their feet and welcome the greatest and latest signing, a former three-time World Heavyweight Champion … Mike Awesome.
While most of the WCW fans were unaware as to whom Mike Awesome was, the story of his signing with WCW was quite an interesting one in its own way. A 2-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion entering 2000, Awesome was growing frustrated with Paul Heyman’s checks bouncing and him not getting paid for the matches he was performing in. In mid-January, after the latest check had bounced, Awesome had no-showed a house-show in Philadelphia, stopping in to drop off the title to the ECW talent and saying his good-byes.
The move shocked everyone on the roster. Heyman scrambled to assuage the fans who had bought their tickets by announcing a no.1 contendership match between Raven and Tommy Dreamer for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, while threatening Awesome with litigation if he did not continue to perform. Awesome threatened a counter-suit for missed wages and an assortment of other legal charges. Word got out of the roster and onto the dirt-sheets, which embarrassed Paul Heyman enough to agree to forgo the suit if Awesome agreed to drop the title to another ECW wrestler. Awesome once again refused, telling Heyman to clean up his mess without him. After a third pleading, Awesome agreed to drop the title in exchange for a full payout of all outstanding wages. Swallowing his pride and scrabbling for money, Heyman somehow managed to make this happen and Awesome appeared to drop the belt to Rob Van Dam on an episode of ECW on TNN, making Van Dam a Triple Crown Champion. After that Awesome had sat at home, rehabbing his injuries.
Or at least he was, thought those who were aware of the controversy as they watched the Gladiator enter the ring with Kiebler at ringside, while Booker T attempted to take the measure of his now revealed foe. The match between the two was close to being Match of the Night. The two’s styles mixed rather well, as the brawling and hardcore aspects lent itself well to their storyline, with Kiebler at ringside not even having to step in to help her client. A long, hate-filled seventeen minute war, it ended with Booker T eating an Awesome Bomb on the announce table, leaving him out for the count-out as Awesome re-entered the ring. While an actual pin would have been more decisive, the sight of the 5-time television champion flat on his back and out like a light silenced any critics who doubted Awesome’s in-ring skills. A promo followed from Mike Awesome and Stacy Kiebler, with the two promising this would be only the beginning of the Career Killer’s path of domination.
After that came the Specialists versus Triads tag-team title match. Yet another decent match thanks to DDP’s scripting, it saw the Triads finally drop the titles to the Specialists after a good fifteen minute match that ironically ended with Specialist Elimination (Powerbomb into a Diamond Cutter) on Diamond Dallas Page, pinning the two-time world champion to win the tag-titles. This match was overshadowed by its predecessor, and though both teams put on a good performance, it had not been the best of their series yet.
Things picked up again after that as the show reached the cruiserweight championship match. A nice long fifteen minute war between Mysterio and Guerrero that was evenly matched, Mysterio would gain the victory with a West Coast Pop, winning his fifth WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Celebrating with the fans, Mysterio would be seated on the shoulders of two fans (plants) as Guerrero got to his feet. Groggily standing up to see Mysterio holding the championship, he glowered and gestured to his belt, declaring to both Mysterio and the fans that it would not be over any time soon.
After that, the latest battle in the war between Vampiro and Sting, who even earlier on in the show had to be separated from one another by security. The two put on a great effort, battling each other all around the ring in what as absolute war. Referee Billy Silverman had been told by Anderson to be lenient with his decisions tonight for both men’s sake, but even he had been hard-pressed not to intervene when the two men brought weapons into the situation, as both Vampiro and Sting utilized the black bat on one another during different segments of the match. Ultimately, Vampiro succeeded again, though not without damage to himself as both men were carried away by emergency medical personnel.
After that slightly disturbing match came the masterpiece that was known as a Guerrero/Malenko match, with Guerrero and Malenko performing for over twenty minutes as the two seemingly attempted to create a five star match, it fell short of that goal, but not by much. Eddie would retain once again, much to the frustrations of Malenko, who had to be held back by the referee and ringside crew as Eddie Guerrero wearily celebrated with the fans. A bit of filler story-wise, both men still managed to put on a heck of a match.
Finally came the anticipated main-event, the World Heavyweight championship match between Chris Benoit & Ric Flair. As they had in matches prior (and tag team matches with the likes of Vampiro/Malenko & Sting/Guerrero respectively), the two immediately went straight for the other, ignoring the entreaties of Senior Referee Charles Robinson as they went through the bucket list of wrestling movies, as submissions, holds, power-moves, simple chops and dirty tricks were all utilized in the match, with Benoit strategically weakening Flair’s legs throughout the match while Flair seemed intent on chopping his way to Benoit’s back.
Halfway through the match, Flair miscalculated when he slapped Benoit, who proceeded to flip out and suplex Flair over the ropes and onto the maps below. Outside the ring, Benoit’s fury began to overwhelm Flair, who proceeded to take punch after punch from the crazed Benoit before the Canadian threw him back in to break the ten-count. There, Benoit worked Flair’s legs again, stomping at every bit of flesh he could lay his eyes on as he attempted to cripple the current champion.
From there, the match was largely dominated by Benoit with brief spurts of momentum breaking and false hopes by Flair, who fighting blind after a cut to the forehead. The systematic destruction of his legs reduced Flair to holding his own in the corners and relying on the ropes, even as the fans grew more and more sorrowful as they saw their champion get slowly whittled down, his comebacks fewer, shorter and weaker.
Finally, Benoit chose to finish the match, placing Flair in the Figure-Four Leg-lock in the center of the ring, even as the commentators cast their doubts as to the wisdom of using Flair’s own move. Indeed, drawing from the fans, Flair managed one final Figure Four Leg-Lock, as he had at WrestleWar.
But this time, Benoit was prepared, and after only a few moments of thrashing, broke out and transitioned into a Cripple Crossface. Helpless this time and nearly broken from the near-mechanical targeting of his body, Flair tapped out, crushing the fans and making his former protégé a World Heavyweight Champion. As Benoit stood tall, holding his new championship, he looked down at the broken, bloody, beaten wreck that was his former mentor and friend and smiled.
Looking back at the show, WrestleWar was a great showing from WCW, far superior to the equivalent card . All the wrestlers had clearly put on a great effort, and with the exception of the Rock versus Triple H match, had easily out-shown most WWF matches at Backlash. The hard-work of the talent was clearly showing off in the matches and the fan reaction to it was incredibly positive. All in all, a great step forward for World Championship Wrestling.
But there were criticisms, starting with the luchadore tag team opener. While both teams had some form of crowd response and investment, neither team nor their storyline seemed to be gaining monumental heat among the American fans this far into the storyline, despite their obvious talents.
The next criticism was the result of the Kidman-Rhodes feud. While some talents (namely Dusty) in the back had been pushing to have Rhodes win the belt and continue his feud with someone else, Anderson had felt maintaining the title on a relatively young star who could work matches with greener rookies was a more valuable person to keep as champion. Not to mention Kidman’s overwhelming popularity among WCW fans and loyalists, especially those of the female variety. With Dusty leaving in June to pursue other wrestling endeavors and Dustin needing to rehab minor injuries before returning to the ring, the decision to place the belt on Kidman was an obvious one, if a bit unsettling to the veterans.
The last and largest criticism was the signing of Mike Awesome. A somewhat stiff wrestler due to his training and time spent in Japan, Booker T would complain after the match of unnecessary roughness, particularly with the finish. For his part, Awesome was under some pressure as he attempted to soften his style as well as tone down some of his more dangerous and awe-inspiring moves such as the top-rope dives. Besides his style was the matter of his controversial leaving from ECW, who led by Paul Heyman, threatened to sue Awesome and WCW for supposedly planning the entire affair back in January. When Turner’s lawyers met with Heyman to shut him up, it turned out Heyman wanted compensation for the money he paid Awesome to drop the belt, as well as additional funds for causing the whole situation. While it is unclear to this day whether or not Awesome had planned to jump to WCW in January when he walked out on ECW, it is known what Turner’s lawyers had done at the negotiations: laugh in Heyman’s face before walking out.
After that, Heyman had done nothing. He didn’t have the funds to go to war with Ted Turner in the courts, even with Vince McMahon had backed him to the hilt. Besides ****ting on the WCW product and Turner as he later would against TNN, Heyman chose to stay silent to yet another WCW raid on his roster.
Spring Stampede V
Southern Justice defeat 3 Count
James Gibson & Wrecking Crew defeat La Parka & Guardians
Los Villanos defeat Los Luchadores
Billy Kidman defeats Dustin Rhodes (c) to retain the WCW World Television Championship
Mike Awesome defeats Booker T
Specialists defeat New Jersey Triads (c) for the WCW World Tag Team Championships
Rey Mysterio defeat Chavo Guerrero (c) for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
Vampiro defeats Sting
Eddie Guerrero (c) defeats Dean Malenko to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
Chris Benoit defeats Ric Flair (c) for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
07-30-2011, 12:52 PM
~April to June ~
The fallout from Spring Stampede was immediately felt the next night on Nitro. Three different championships had changed hands, with their new owners all making defenses. Rey Mysterio took on Shannon Moore in a great cruiserweight match, while the Specialists pinned Los Villanos and Chris Benoit forced Curt Henning to submit after a tenacious fifteen minute match. Out of the four, it was Benoit with the most spring in his step as he mocked Ric Flair’s defeat throughout the month as he defeated Hennig, Page, Saturn and several other wrestlers on episodes of Nitro and Thunder.
With several titles changed, WCW was starting to pick up momentum as it began to slowly move from post-tournament storylines. While Mysterio, Specialists, and Benoit were booked to defend against their predecessors for their titles at Slamboree, there were some new faces and storylines getting brought up.
Billy Kidman was fresh off his defeat of Dustin Rhodes when he found himself assaulted by the returning Crowbar (now calling himself Devon Storm), who was aided his new enforcer Ricky Cornell and his female side-kick Daffney. The Thunder following that saw Storm cut a promo on both Kidman and all of WCW, stating that the former World Tag Team champion had made a drastic realization and had gained a new self-awareness. He was destined to bring forth a revolution to WCW, to usher in a new era of wrestling, a hardcore one.
Revealing his acquisition of the former WCW Hardcore Championship, he declared a symbolic show of his duty to eradicate the traditional style of wrestling within WCW and bring about an era of Hardcore. He made the challenge to Billy Kidman to face him at Slamboree in a champion versus champion match (ignoring of course that the Hardcore Championship was both retired and discredited by current Commissioner Arn Anderson). Billy Kidman accepted the challenge through Torrie Wilson, who passed on his acceptance to the challenge, with the Commissioner’s own inclusion of a stipulation that banned Wilson, Daffney & Cornell from ringside.
There were also clearly other stories developing. The Cruiserweight division saw its own James Gibson begin turning his focus from La Parka to Rey Mysterio, building towards it in promos backstage as he challenged La Parka to a loser leaves WCW match at Slamboree, stating that La Parka’s leaving would only be the beginning of the end for lucha libre in WCW. At the same time, Shane Helms was starting to step to Chavo Guerrero, taking exceptions to his claims that the Guerrero wrestler was the pinnacle and the standard of the cruiserweight division. After a match on Thunder was thrown out as the two brawled back around ringside as security attempted to intervene. As Guerrero was already booked and entitled to his title rematch, Helms was suspended for a week by Anderson for his part in the feud, while Guerrero was preemptively barred from title contention for three months should he lose his rematch.
The Tag team division was also burning hot, as the Guardians , Southern Justice and Young Lions continued their slow-burning feuds against the Wrecking Crew, 3-Count and Featured Attraction respectively. Finally there was the tale of DDP and Chris Kanyon, who were displaying tension after the recent end of their reign as tag team champions. While DDP had taken a more conciliatory tone and attitude to their defeat at the hand of The Specialists as he praised their resiliency and stubbornness, Kanyon preferred to point out their deficiencies and how Page and Kanyon would regain the titles, stating that he would not allow another loss on his record.
Entering the higher up feuds saw some more unique mixes and storylines, as Vampiro’s psychological warfare campaign against Sting continued to take place, even as Sting was slowly growing more and more vibrant and passionate as he had been in years. At first Vampiro was pleased with the renewed fire within the Stinger, only to realize what he’d gotten himself into as Sting began his own campaign of psychological warfare against the gothic one, counteracting Vampiro’s attempts to mess with him with his own assaults backstage and after matches, cutting promos and spooking him as both men took on a tinge of supernatural tendencies After a Thunder main-event tag-team match between Vampiro and Mike Awesome against Booker T & Sting which saw Sting directly pin Vampiro, Vampiro laid down a challenge for a match at Slamboree, promising to bring back a certain someone from the Stinger’s past.
Speaking of Mike Awesome and Booker T, the two had truly begun a heated rivalry, much to the pleasure of Booker T fans. Awesome and his manager Stacy Kiebler continually cut promos backstage on Booker T, declaring 2000 the last year of the ex-Harlem Heat tag-team wrestler, a point he punctuated by beating up Booker T’s brother, ex-tag-team partner and current commentator Stevie Ray, only to get pulled off by security. Booker T for his part made a return the week after the assault on Stevie Ray, remarking that while his brother was a grown man, he was also a retired wrestler and not a part of Awesome’s issues with Booker T. He continued, pointing out that despite Awesome taking to naming himself a Career Killer (punctuated by the brutal matches he wrestled with many former WCW wrestlers brought back for one match jobs), he had not been able to take out his main target, Booker T. Kiebler and Awesome came out to the ramp at that, and made an agreement to face him at Slamboree.
And that wasn’t even considering Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko, who both (on-screen) seemed resigned to the fact that they were too evenly matched, and noting their three contests so far, chose to make their title match at Slamboree a two-out-of three falls match.
Overall a stacked card for Slamboree, it would prove to be a most interesting show…
James Gibson versus La Parka in a loser leaves WCW match
Billy Kidman (c) versus Devon Storm for the WCW World Television Championship
The Specialists (c) versus The Triads for the WCW World Tag Team Championships
Chavo Guerrero versus Rey Mysterio (c) for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
Booker T versus Mike Awesome
Sting versus Vampiro w/???
Eddie Guerrero (c) versus Dean Malenko for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
Chris Benoit (c) versus Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
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