February 2003: News and Notes
Let's kick some ass.
The e-mail was only four words long, but it still had me grinning from ear to ear. I quickly sent off a reply letting my newest hire how happy I am to have them aboard, and that I know they're going to be a difference-maker. They still have some outstanding contractual obligations to finish up, but we're going to tease a big signing on the February 10th Nitro and debut them on February 17th, the go-home Nitro for SuperBrawl.
The erratic decision making of Antonio Inoki in recent months has caused me to question the long-term health of New Japan, not to mention the roster of talent available for us to borrow has gotten worse with all of the names he's fired. I made the call to terminate our working agreement with NJPW, and Inoki was none too happy about it. He responded by threatening to put us out of business. I'm not worried because he's in no state to do much of anything to damage us, but I think I can consider that bridge well and truly burned.
With New Japan out of the picture, I approached Mitsuharu Misawa about having NOAH become the new Japanese partner of WCW. Misawa was open to the idea, so we've got our replacement. Though NOAH is currently ranked as the 4th most important company in the world, one spot behind New Japan, I still think we traded up. New Japan is still ahead of NOAH in terms of popularity, but they've basically been stagnant while NOAH has experienced continued growth thanks to their great matches and high show quality (they've won Company of the Year two years in a row for a reason.) If they can continue at their current rate of growth they might overtake New Japan for the #1 spot in the country before the end of the year. For us this opens up the possibility of bringing in the likes of Misawa, Kenta Kobashi and Jun Akiyama, which is more than NJPW can really offer at this stage after all the firings.
Scott Steiner has tested positive for pain killers. It was only his first offense so I merely gave him a fine instead of suspending him. He didn't react strongly either way, so I'm afraid this isn't going to go away.
Shinsuke Nakamura has agreed to a 3-year contract offer, so he'll be packing his things and leaving Japan behind to come and work down in Wildside. The time in developmental will let him polish his already promising in ring skills, and hopefully we can also work with him on his English.
Another ex-NJPW worker will be joining us. Days after Inoki fired him, I signed Minoru Tanaka to a written contract. He'll be starting on the main roster straightaway.
Wanting to test things out, I had Nakamura and Tanaka work as a team in a dark match on the February 3rd Nitro. They both work an MMA-influenced style, with plenty of kicks and submissions, so I thought they could be an interesting combination. My hunch was proven correct, because they showed instant chemistry together. I still think I'm going to send Nakamura down to Wildside for awhile so he can get some more polish and experience before he starts working on Nitro, but it looks like I know what he'll be doing once he gets called up.
You snooze, you lose, as the saying goes. Main Event declined my overtures because they didn't want to add a sixth wrestling company to their schedule, so I went ahead and renewed our existing deal with Ten Network Australia to air our PPV events down under. We'll get much larger viewership than the other groups being on a commercial network, but the PPV money would've been nice. Nitro will remain on the network in its current timeslot for another nine months, and that I'm happy about.
TV Asahi agreed to a deal to keep Nitro on the air in its current timeslot for another year. I was hoping to move into an even stronger timeslot on the network, but so be it.
Jerry Sags was pretty clearly drugged up during the Nastys' guest appearance on January 27th. It was only going to be a one-off anyway, but this kills any chance he'll be brought back in the future. Aguila and Volador were both pretty annoyed about having to share the ring with him in that state, and I can't blame them.
Shinobu Kandori skipped a magazine interview we'd set up so she could promote Renaissance. She said she just forgot about it, and maybe that's true, but it's not good enough. I hit her with a fine. It sounds like she was pretty annoyed and thought that was excessive, but I still think it was a fitting punishment.
Scott Steiner on Aguila: "This Acura kid ain't got a charismatic bone in his body, so I don't know why you're wasting your time with him. And why's he called Acura anyway? He's 'sposed to be Mexican, not Japanese!"
Everyone already knows Bryan Danielson has blossomed into a really good worker, but CM Punk told me he's a good promo as well and I should give him more microphone time. I think that'll naturally come as he rises up the card and is placed into higher profile feuds.
CM Punk thinks Harry Smith has all the makings of becoming a really good worker.
I extended the developmental contract of Lacey. Her in-ring skills have come along well in her time in our developmental system, though I doubt she'll ever be a top-shelf worker in comparison to some of the women we have on our roster. Alternately, she could have the making of a good manager or color commentator if she doesn't pass the cut in the ring.
Aja Kong apparently isn't impressed with LuFisto's ability to connect with the Japanese fans.
The WWE returned to MSG for the Royal Rumble at the end of the month. It seems like they're finally going to give Jericho the big push he's always deserved, because he eliminated Kurt Angle to win the Rumble match. I guess the only question remaining is whether he'll challenge WWE champion Eddie Guerrero or ECW champion Chris Benoit at WrestleMania, but either way it should be a tremendous match. Shawn found his smile long enough to have a good showing in the match, and Rock and Undertaker were there near the end as well, but I'd say the most interesting note outside of the winner was the usage of Brock Lesnar. Brock is a great prospect who hasn't been pushed much, but he was in the match the longest and also had the most eliminations, so maybe they're finally getting smart and will get behind him.
Eddie retained his WWE title over Scott Hall in the match of the night and Benoit successfully defended the ECW belt against Kane, but some other champions weren't as lucky. Jerry Lynn beat Juvi to begin his second reign as Light Heavyweight champion, Raven beat his longtime rival Tommy Dreamer for the European title, and William Regal won the Intercontinental belt from Bradshaw. This show wasn't bad, but their PPVs have usually been better.
Bam Bam Bigelow tore his quad during a 3 way match against Val Venis and Rhyno being taped for Heat, so he'll be out for around six months.
They've extended their contracts with several TV providers recently, with the most notable being Raw remaining on TNN.
Terri Runnels and her boyfriend (who is not involved with the business) welcomed a new baby girl.
There was a recent article in the Observer saying that Shawn Michaels has been bragging that he's the biggest star in WWE and they should put the title on him to make sure WCW doesn't catch up and make this into a true war once again. Shawn acting like an annoying, selfish, spoiled brat? Color me surprised.
Despite all the current backstage chaos in New Japan, they were still able to reach an agreement with TV Asahi to continue airing their big events.
All Japan extended their deal with NTV to air their big events in Japan.
They held their Formation of Titles show on February 5th. Hiroshi Hase retained the Triple Crown over Shigeo Okumura in a great main event to cap off their best big show in a few months.
The Dallas Sportatorium, longtime home of World Class Championship Wrestling and one of the all-time famed wrestling arenas, was finally demolished. It had fallen into disrepair and this was a long time coming, but it was still a sad moment.
Originally Posted by kinnikuniverse
Also, I wonder... if your shows keep on getting a-a+ grades like recently, would you get bored of it eventually, or you're still gonna continue until the diary finishes on a high note?
I have no plans on ending any time soon. I think one of the reasons I grew bored with TGAAB was there was no sense of accomplishment. I started with WWF already way ahead of everyone else, so there was no real challenge or anything for me to do other than tell my stories. Here I started at cult and am trying to chase down WWE, so that makes things interesting and will hopefully leave me feeling like I've actually accomplished something even if I eventually pull ahead of all the other companies. And there's no guarantee I'll ever surpass WWE anyway.
I like that the women are involved in the UFS! speaking of which, how do I sign up?
To take part in the UFS you have to finish in the top 8 in a 6 month prediction contest, from July through December.
And finally,YAAAASSSS!!! WATCH A GONNA DU, CORINO, WHEN THE PEASANT REVOLTS AGAINST THE KING?!?
Srry, I just love knoble in this diary. He's basically WCW's Honma, which is why Im his fan boy!
That's actually a really interesting comparison. He's sort of a redneck Honma, just without the Kokeshi!
Originally Posted by GingeyOne
If it's not too late I'll throw my support on : #3: Sin-free Society
Candido surely won't be happier anywhere else. Maybe the Australian indie that has Austin will grab him?
I'll allow it.
He should be able to find work a lot easier than Austin, because he's not so popular that he thinks anything below National is beneath him. Austin will only sign with touring companies unless someone big comes along, but WWE could always bring him back and New Japan has been eligible to sign him ever since they hit National.
Candido could actually be a great pickup for TNA or ROH, but WWE was quick to grab Bigelow and Vampiro after I dumped them so maybe they'll do the same here.