April 2003: Pre-Unified News and Notes
April 6th, 2003
Hours before the doors open:
"You handled that well, babeh."
"Thanks, Dream," I said with a sigh. This was not what I needed on the cusp of a pay-per-view!
Dusty had called me out of my preparations for the show to tell me there was a situation that needed handling. I arrived to see Shinobu Kandori and Momoe Nakanishi being held apart by their fellow Renaissance wrestlers, with Kandori holding a hand to her face in obvious pain. I was quickly given the rundown: Kandori had been acting rudely towards Momoe, and as the situation got worse, she threw a punch. It didn't end well for the former judoka, because Momoe got the better of the fight. I obviously didn't deal any sort of punishment to Momoe, since all she'd done was defend herself. Kandori had already gotten into some trouble in February when she blew off a media appearance, so I chose to hit her with a fine this time. She didn't really react one way or another to that, but Momoe was pleased with my decision. Hopefully Kandori doesn't act up again. If she does I'll suspend her at the least, and perhaps even fire her.
Unbeknownst to me, my day was about to get much worse.
My cell phone buzzed. I looked at the caller and smiled. While I'd already gotten several of my guys' extensions finished, this was the big one, the one most important to our company, both short and long term.
"Ready to make it official?" I asked. The pause that followed wiped the smile from my face. Not good.
"Uh, actually, I got an offer from Vince. Great money, long-term, full creative control, the works. I wanted to call you before I agreed to anything, because I respect you and I appreciate the opportunity you've given me, man."
"Don't sign anything until I get back from Japan, alright?" I said firmly, not allowing myself to panic. "We can go over the terms and see if we can get it worked out."
He agreed to do so, which was a relief. This was not a piece of the puzzle I could afford to lose. If Vince wanted to steal him from me, he was going to have to pay through the nose.
I was all prepared to put that unpleasantness behind me and return my attention to tonight's show, but then a text message came through, from a number I recognized:
My brother's talking to Vince. He promised he'd call you soon, but I thought you oughta know.
Damn. Vince really wasn't playing around, huh? Well, two could play at that game. Vince had several expiring contracts of his own to deal with. Time to turn up the pressure a bit and make some phone calls.
Current bidding wars aside, we also got several roster members signed to extensions:
-Kidman, Chavo, DDP, O'Haire, Rick Steiner, AJ Styles and Mortis all signed written, exclusive contract extensions of varying lengths.
-Hugh Morrus is also sticking around for now, but I've moved him to a pay-per-appearance deal.
-Ric Flair, Stacy Keibler and Nick Patrick all signed new contracts for their non-wrestling roles. Hopefully this means Ric has given up on the idea of working any more matches for us.
-Johnny the Bull signed an extension and will remain in our developmental system until I'm ready to bring him back to the main roster.
There was some development on the broadcasting front:
-We signed a fresh one year extension to keep Nitro in prime time on the USA Network. I expected to be able to get this deal done with our recent gains in national attention, but it's still reassuring to make it official.
-In the British Isles, Nitro will be moving from Channel 5 to a prime time spot on ITV. This is a good move that puts our coverage in the country on even footing with WWE's spot on Channel 4.
-In Europe, Nitro will be staying put on Sky Euro for another six months.
On the PPV side:
-We're moving Nitro off of Cablevision and onto Dish Network in the US, which is a big step up.
Scott Steiner bruised his ass during a tag match on the March 24th Nitro. Fortunately it didn't keep him out, and we were able to proceed as planned with his match for Clash of the Champions.
After getting word that Aja Kong was irritating some of the other women on Renaissance with her selfish behavior, I called her up and gave her a stern warning. I was later told that she seemed more annoyed that usual for the rest of the night, so I don't think the message really took.
-I've initiated contact with a handful of WWE performers who have expiring contracts, but there are several others they've already locked up to extensions. That list looks like this:
-Test, Michael Cole, Perry Saturn, Tazz, Steve Keirn, Teddy Long, Tim White, Terri, Jack Doan, Bruce Prichard and Dave Hebner
No one there I have any real interest in bringing in, and I made no attempt to negotiate with any of them. Vince will be in for more of a fight on a few others though.
NOAH's most recent big show, 'Spring Navigation', was held on April 3rd. It wasn't a bad show technically, but it was well below what they've been churning out month after month. Akira Taue retained the GHC Heavyweight title over Masao Inoue in a fairly standard semi main event. The main event saw Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Daisuke Ikeda defeat Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa. That was the match of the night, but even that was a pretty disappointing match by their standards. This show also featured appearances by a couple of WCW guys via our talent trade agreement, as Hugh Morrus lost to Rusher Kimura and Harry Smith was defeated by Akitoshi Saito.
The group held their latest show, 'Victory', on March 24th. Mantaur continued to take center stage, retaining the TNA title against Eddie Colon (the young son of Carlos Colon) in a main event that wasn't great. There were a few better matches on the show, but they weren't way better or anything. The best performer was probably Ruckus, who had co-match of the night as he unsuccessfully challenged Kent Kohl for the X Division title. This show also saw a title change, as Chris Parks won the NWA North American Heavyweight belt from Sean Royal. The show was among their worst so far.
Bad news for Naruki Doi, a really promising 22 year old who has been impressing people with his work in Michinoku Pro. He broke his neck during a match against Genki Horiguchi on March 24th, so he'll probably be out for a year or more, if he ever comes back.
Originally Posted by Happy0wns
General diary comments/questions/critiques: Find the new format rather interesting, I'm assuming for the next normal WCW PPV it'll rehash the same month?
What I'm still unsure about right now is how this will work for Renaissance in the future. There were only two weeks to cover this time, but there will be significantly more to deal with in the future, especially if I stick to my schedule of one Renaissance PPV every three months. I might need to do an update post for Renaissance every month, maybe with just the result screenshots in the months in between PPVs.
Originally Posted by kinnikuniverse
Manami-sama. No man is worthy of her greatness!
She's pretty great!
YASS, WELCOME BACK! Gonna see wrestle kingdom too! Can't wait to see if jericho still got it!
Wonder who's being caught in the bidding war.
The answer, at least for me, was a resounding 'yes.' That match was fantastic.
I'll say this much: there are main eventers from both companies being bid over right now. It's a pretty tense time!