January 2003: Pre-Sin News and Notes
Davey Boy tested positive for hard drugs. I paid for him to go to rehab and made it clear that any further incidents would force me to fire him. That's all I want to say about this.
After that incredible Show of the Year effort, industry insiders are now labeling Starrcade as a legendary event on par with WrestleMania. It had lost a lot of its luster in the dark days of the Turner era, but I'm glad we've been able to raise the esteem of the original wrestling PPV back to its former heights.
Dancing with the Devil was an absolute success, exceeding my expectations. I made sure to congratulate Manami Toyota and Devil Masami after the show for putting on such a great match, and also told Chigusa Nagayo she's awesome for coming up big in her semi main event performance.
We have an early candidate for WCW match of the year. The January 20th TV main event between RVD and Unnatural was designed to get Dustin warmed up for his big title match with Rey, but he and Rob wound up putting on an absolute classic. When you combine this with the fantastic work Dustin has been doing in the promos to build the match up, I don't think his stock has ever been higher at any point in his career.
Alex Wright must be snakebit. He's only just returned to TV, and already he's suffered another injury. He landed awkwardly while bumping for Rey's diving hurricanrana on the January 13th Nitro and cracked his tail bone. He's insisting he can gut it out and work through it, but I decided I'm only going to use him in angles until he's 100% again. We were supposed to have a Smiths vs. Unbound tag match at Sin, but it's not like that was even an option after what happened with Davey.
I've allowed the contracts of Disco Inferno and Midajah to expire. Disco's reasonably talented and a fine midcard act, but I felt like his act had overstayed its welcome for the time being. It's possible I could bring him back in the future, but for now I think it's for the best if he's off TV. As for Midajah, she didn't contribute much to Scott Steiner's character and really doesn't bring a whole lot to the table aside from being an attractive woman, and we have plenty of those on the show already who have more to offer in addition.
I've signed young Lizzy Valentine away from ROH and assigned her to 5SSW. She's only 19 and is still green, but she's got a good look and shows some star potential. If we can develop her in-ring skills she could be an asset for us down the road.
Air Paris requested his release, and I granted it. He'll forever be known as "that guy who teamed up with AJ Styles for a few months."
Our staff over in 5SSW believed that Momoe Nakanishi wasn't gaining anything from remaining down in developmental, so I've brought her up to the main roster. She had been the 5SSW World champion, so they'll have to crown a new champ.
Both Hardys came to me on the same day and requested pay raises. I gave Jeff 75% of what he asked for, which now makes him the 7th highest paid guy on the roster. I considered giving him the full raise just because he's such a crucial piece of our company and will only become moreso, but he was pleased with the amount I gave him. I gave Matt 50% of what he wanted, which I thought was more than fair since it makes him our highest paid upper midcarder and even puts him above several current main eventers, but he was a bit annoyed.
Scott Steiner on Johnny Parisi: "Parisi, Parchessi, whatever; the kid ain't got one onebillionth percents of the charisma I got!" So I guess now he's making a play for Dawn Marie too?
Oh, and Scotty's moved on from trashing Kaz Hayashi, at least for now. Now he's insisting that the fans don't care about Yang and I should stop the push the Jung Dragons have been getting.
Hugh Morrus thinks Bobby Roode is going to be a star and I should push him hard. He also praised the in-ring work of Aguila.
Chris Candido doesn't seem to share his opinions often, but he's been telling some of the boys that he thinks Bryan Danielson will main event Starrcade within the next five years.
Dustin has taken up Scotty's old crusade of criticizing Kaz Hayashi. After Starrcade he told me that he doesn't think Hayashi has what it takes to make the fans care about him.
Roddy Piper's put on a bit of a gut recently. I get that he's not an active wrestler so it doesn't matter as much, but he IS still an on-screen character.
Our new World champion was just declared the best aerial wrestler in the world via online poll. No arguments here.
Mike Sanders came to me to complain about his booking. Has he still not realized that he's going nowhere in my WCW?
I got word that Etsuko Mita was getting some heat in the Renaissance locker room with her selfish behavior, so I sent her a stern warning making it clear that this kind of thing could harm her future with us. The Renaissance staff said she seemed to take the warning to heart and toned down her backstage antics, which is good to hear.
Kidman and Teddy Hart showed fantastic chemistry as a team during their match on the January 20th Nitro. That's really interesting, and may cause me to rethink my current plans.
Konnan pulled off a nice spot in his Jan 20th six man tag where he caught TAKA on a flying crossbody and turned it into a modified suplex. If he uses that in the right situations, it could help his match psychology out.
It was assumed that Dean Malenko would return to action in early 2003 after recovering from his hernia suffered in November, but he surprised them by deciding to retire. I'm still somewhat sour with the little guy for recklessly injuring me in a match a few years back, but I won't deny he was a talented technical wrestler. He built a name for himself in Japan as a junior heavyweight, and was an original member of Shane Douglas' Triple Threat faction in ECW before Bischoff snapped him up. He spent most of his time in WCW as a cruiserweight, and was also a Horseman for a time. He got tired of banging his head against the glass ceiling and jumped to WWF in 2000 along with Benoit, Eddie and Saturn, but unlike the first two, he never really rose to prominence with Vince. He could probably be a great trainer or road agent now.
Vince has signed a trio of young workers to developmental contracts. John Cena and Ken Anderson are names some of my scouts have recommended to me on the basis of their charisma and superstar look, but they're both very limited in the ring based on the tapes I've seen, so I passed. As for Giant Singh, he's a giant, lumbering Indian guy with zero discernible athletic talent. Sounds like the kind of guy Vince would've had me feud with in the mid-'90s so I wouldn't take the spotlight away from Shawn or Diesel.
The WWE has parted ways with Thrasher. Big loss there.
Benoit recently won an online poll as the best brawler in the business today. And he's even better technically too.
Speaking of Benoit, he's accepted a position as the head trainer at Ring of Honor's wrestling school. That raises some eyebrows, and I can't think Vince will be too happy about it.
NOAH held their 'Wills are Tested II' event on January 8th. Wrestler of the Year Misawa was back in the main event, as he unsuccessfully challenged Akira Taue for the GHC Heavyweight title in an early match of the year contender. The show also featured a great match in which Kenta Kobashi defeated young namesake Kenta Kobayashi. This was a great way to start 2003 for NOAH, as this was their best PPV in almost a year (not coincidentally, that show happened when Misawa was still the champion.)
Wild II (Takeshi Morishima and Takeshi Rikio) won the GHC Tag Team titles from Naomichi Marufuji and Mitsuo Momota on NOAH's January 11th TV show.
A couple of weeks after All Japan made the same move (see below), NOAH signed an agreement with Main Event to air their PPV shows in Australia.
New Japan held their annual big show at the Tokyo Dome in front of 26 thousand fans. Yuji Nagata retained the IWGP Heavyweight title over Manabu Nakanishi in a decent main event, but TenKoji fighting to a double count out against Minoru Tanaka and Kazuyuki Fujita in the midcard and Taiyo Kea retaining the Junior Heavyweight title over Hiroshi Tanahashi in the semi main event were both better. It was a fairly good show, but not nearly as good as NOAH's big January event.
After that massive roster purge in late November, Inoki is beginning to bring some new guys in again. Super Delfin is the owner and head booker of Osaka Pro and won't be available to NJPW full-time, but has agreed to a PPA deal and I guess will work for New Japan when he has free dates.
Dragon Kid, considered by many to be the successor to Ultimo Dragon, will be leaving Michinoku Pro, Zero-One and Toryumon behind to work full-time with New Japan.
They've also signed Zero-One's Tetsuhiro Kuroda, the reigning NWA Junior Heavyweight champion, to a written deal, as well as Zero-One's current World champion, Katsumi Usuda. They're really sticking it to owner (and former NJPW top star) Shinya Hashimoto.
Masato Tanaka apparently wasn't willing to commit to NJPW exclusively, but much like Delfin, he'll be working for them under a PPA.
Also signed: Yuki Ishikawa, Hideki Hosaka, Jado (who they released last March). Wouldn't they have been better served by simply holding onto the roster they had, rather than releasing a bunch of guys, paying them whatever was owed on their contracts, only to turn right around and do this a month or so later?
In one of the first real signs of one of the notable Japanese groups thinking beyond their island nation, All Japan has inked an agreement with Main Event to air their major events on PPV in Australia.
Their recent tour featuring Steve Austin gave Australia's World Wrestling All-Stars greater visibility and better shows than ever before, and they've capitalized on that momentum by signing a deal with PPV provider Main Event (the same provider that WWE works with) to air their events in Australia. That's a very positive sign for them, so maybe they'll become a legitimate player in the wrestling world in the future.
Speaking of WWA, they've signed another big-name former WWF champion to take part in their next tour. I can see the logic given how much Austin helped them, but unfortunately for them the guy they're bringing in is Warrior. He's still a name, though not nearly as much as Steve, but he sucked in-ring even in his prime, and his prime has long passed.
Nicole Bass and her boyfriend, indie worker Gino Caruso, have welcomed their first child. Congratulations to them both.
I've had Ken Shamrock on my radar for awhile now, pretty much intending to bring him in when the time was right, even if only for a short-term deal when I had a good storyline in mind. I'll have to rethink that now, because someone posted pictures of him at a recent autograph signing and he looks a lot flabbier than I remember. I'm sure he could still work fine, but he doesn't look quite as imposing anymore.
Originally Posted by michgcs
General diary comments/questions/critiques: In my game, Daffney and MsChif are a tag team called *wait for it* Scream Team; cringe-worthy but it does the trick
Wait...I don't ever remember seeing Daffney and MsChif team up.
Or is this a different game than your dynasty?
Originally Posted by Beejus
If I can be serious for a moment though (
) it's too bad that this is Rey's first defense, because the "first title defense" just seems like such a gimme. You almost have to give the current champion the first title defense, because otherwise his big moment is ruined and he was just a lame duck champ, and something like that is hard to get over. But man, Dustin's character here is just way more interesting. So much so, in fact, that I think it shows just how uninteresting Rey is. Sure, he's a great talent and a huge fan favorite, and if TEW did merchandise breakdowns you would probably see his mask replicas selling out all around the world, and he'll gift you some awesome matches. But you've done such an amazing job with Unnatural and Salvation that I would almost love to see what they would do if they get their hands on the big gold belt. Besides, you know that if he gets over out of nowhere, I'm definitely not opposed to a nice Dustin Rhodes title reign
Dustin has been a revelation in this short build, in that grade with RVD (which then caused me to go back and remember that he was involved in the other 99 rated match as well), how well his promos have gone in-game and how much fun I've had writing him. It's been sort of like writing Jake Roberts in TGAAB, though I don't view the characters exactly the same and hopefully he doesn't come across as too similar in my writing. I don't know about you, but in general I find heels much easier and more fun to write. There's only so much you can do with a babyface promo from a guy like Rey (or Hogan, or Bret, etc.), while heel characters allow me a lot more freedom. Or maybe I'm just not great at being creative with babyface characters, I dunno...
Originally Posted by Beejus
Christopher Daniels - Speaking of Kidman, maybe I just don't remember something happening, but where has Konnan been? Did he just quietly leave WCW?
He's still around, but hasn't been doing much of anything. At one point I was planning to have him face Dustin on the go home Nitro, what with he and Rey being good friends, but the RVD idea worked much better.
Originally Posted by The OGI
General diary comments/questions/critiques: Been lurking for a while and decided to register to throw my opinions in the hat. A great read that has actually helped me improve how I play TEW in my own time.
Welcome! I feel like I'm still learning about the game myself in many ways, but I'm glad I could indirectly help you out!