November 2001: Calgary Stampede Wrap-up
Even with the Hart name attached to it, we still have some work to do at building the WCW brand name in Canada. We booked a smaller venue because we knew we wouldn't be able to draw the kinds of crowds we can in the US, Japan, Australia--really anywhere we run or plan to run in the near future. Even if we don't go to Canada regularly until we can build our popularity there, I still intend to make the Calgary Stampede and Stu Hart Classic an annual thing. It was a great, emotional night.
"How 'bout a round of applause for the king, boys?"
The assembled roster, many of whom had grown up watching Jerry Lawler (either as the king of Memphis or the color guy on Raw, depending on their age) followed my lead in clapping for the legend. Jerry looked emotional for a second, but as usual he turned to humor.
"If I had a nickel for every time I got a standing ovation in Canada, I'd be broke," he said, making several of the boys laugh. He got a back slap from Sting and a handshake from Corino before I could make my way through the crowd.
"Thanks, Jerry," I said, shaking his hand. "You had one hell of a career." It was true. I wasn't the biggest fan of his style personally, but you can't argue with his longevity.
"Thanks for giving me one last hurrah," he said with a smile. "As retirement matches go, I can't complain." I just nodded. I could vouch for that from personal experience.
My own program with Jerry wasn't a personal highlight for me, but I have no personal issues with the guy. When I got word that he was planning on hanging up the boots soon, I called him up and offered to let him wrap up his in-ring career with us. It gave him a bigger spotlight than he'd have been able to get otherwise since WWF wasn't interested in bringing him back for a farewell run, and retiring him should give Corino a nice rub. We'll be running Nitro in Memphis soon and will do an official retirement announcement there, but tonight was the last match of his 33 year career.
One guy who wasn't as happy with the night was Booker T. He was furious about being asked to lose to RVD, claiming that Rob "wasn't in his league" and was a "minor leaguer" that didn't belong anywhere near the main event of Starrcade. He didn't want to lose to "Mr. WCW" Sting last month, now he complains about putting over a guy we're trying to build up as a top face. I made no attempt to protect him in the layout of the match like we did last month. The match was about getting RVD ready for the main event of our biggest show of the year, and I was in no mood to accommodate Booker for the second month in a row. He can just go sulk in the corner like a five year old for all I care.
Rick Steiner wasn't too happy about putting Rey Misterio over either, though he wasn't as vocal about it as Booker. He's not going to be a top heel, so he's probably going to spend a lot of his time putting over faces we're trying to elevate. If he's going to have problems with that, he's going to become pretty unhappy.
In addition to leading the applause for Lawler, I also spent some time in the post-show meeting talking about how amazing the cruiserweight title match had been. Liger and Chavo truly stole the show, and I wanted to make sure they got their due praise for one hell of a match.
Mike Awesome failed a drug test. I didn't think it would make much sense to suspend him the same night we debuted his new masked gimmick, so I gave him a fine and made it clear that if it happened again, the punishment would be more severe regardless of storyline. He wasn't angry at me or anything, but I'm not sure if the message sunk in. We'll see what happens.
We debuted two new wrestler/manager pairings tonight, with Kaz Hayashi turning heel and attacking AJ Styles on behalf of Stacy Keibler, and Awesome debuting his aforementioned new gimmick as the "blunt instrument" of Father Isaac. I put both of these pairings together after I was impressed with their chemistry on previous house show loops. We do a lot of mixing and matching of potential new tag teams and wrestler/client pairings on our house shows, looking for positive results that we can then work into our TV programs.
Pretty much everybody is high on Jamie Knoble, who got a big win over Fit Finlay tonight. Scott Steiner is a rare exception, because he told me that Knoble "ain't a star" and I'm wasting everyone's time by trying to push him.
Booker T doesn't think Alan Funk has what it takes to become a big time player. I don't disagree, but I'm tempted to try and push him just to spite Booker for being a crybaby.
Mike Sanders complained to me again tonight. I guess wrestling in and not winning a pre-show battle royal isn't where he hoped his career would head in my WCW, but at least he's got a job. I kind of doubt Vince would've kept him if he'd bought WCW.
Lash Leroux is the latest young worker to be sent down to Wildside so he can focus on improving his overall game.
To replace some of the guys we'd been using as jobbers who are now down in Wildside, I've signed Chance Beckett and Flash Flanagan exclusively to work as full-time enhancement talent.
Maybe being both the owner and champion of Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE is too much of a drain on Shinya Hashimoto, because he passed one of those responsibilities on to Masato Tanaka on a big show in Japan tonight. (It was the title, not the company. Just for the record.)
Prediction scores (maximum possible points: 13)
(+3 = correctly predicted RVD to win the Stu Hart Classic)
Cro Cop Rules: 10 (+3)
BHK6: 10 (+3)
The Lariat: 10 (+3)
AMarc9-8: 9 (+3)
smw88: 9 (+3)
K-Nection: 9 (+3)
Beejus: 9 (+3)
Dead_Jester: 8 (+3)
HRTVAndrew: 8 (+3)
michgcs: 7 (+3)
LordofGustav: 7 (+3)
DGenerationMC: 6 (+3)
Standings in prediction contest after five shows (one show remaining):
Cro Cop Rules: 51
The Lariat: 34
Armando Payne: 7
Originally Posted by tg01
Well I finally finished reading TGAAB, brilliantly done loved the ending...loved the whole dynasty in fact, and have completely got caught up on this one. Love what you're doing with this WCW, my very first dynasty was set in this time as well if you remember, and I like the twist with Bret Hart and getting to see some insight into what is happening behind the scenes:
I honestly don't remember that. I instantly thought of that awesome WCW '91 dynasty when I saw your name, so that is obviously what I associate you with. I saw you've got something new up, and I'll be sure to check that out very soon. Welcome back!
Originally Posted by Matt Shannon
Man, oh man, oh man, do I ever have some catching up to do!
I just now discovered this diary, and recently read your WrestleMania VI & VII write-ups and epilogues in TGAAB. I'll definitely have to take the time to pour into this diary, but I have a feeling it will be well worth it.
Don't get your hopes up. It might suck for all you know!
Originally Posted by K-Nection
That Shane Douglas promo was epic! (That is a line I never thought would come out of my mouth) I never dreamed he would be pulling A* promos but your writing went hand in hand with that rant. It was like his own pipebomb!
Glad you enjoyed it, because I had fun writing that up. Shane was a pretty dang good promo in his ECW days. I was trying to capture some of that spirit here.