July 2003: News, July National Battle Report and Summer Roster Update
July 6th, 2003
Hours before the doors open
"So what's her explanation?" I asked, trying to control my anger as I waited for our female translator to explain. It wasn't her fault, so it wouldn't do to snap at her. The translator spoke with Shinobu Kandori, then turned to relay it to me.
"She says she forgot," the translator said. I blinked and shook my head.
"That's it? She forgot?"
"Yes," the translator confirmed after another short conversation with Kandori.
"Tell her to hurry up and put her gear on," I said. "Her match with Momoe Nakanishi is still on. After that, she's suspended for a month."
Kandori's eyes widened as my decision was translated for her. She probably didn't expect me to go that far, but I've had enough from her. If this had been her first incident I would've been more lenient, but whenever there's a problem on the Renaissance side, it's usually a safe bet that Shinobu is behind it. Hell, this was the second straight Renaissance PPV where I had to deal with her hours before we hit the air. Maybe she really did forget about the morning TV show appearance we'd set up for the women to promote tonight's PPV, but she doesn't get the benefit of the doubt anymore. Maybe she'll start taking me more seriously now, but obviously there's going to be some tension between us now.
There's a good chance Kyoko Inoue won't be happy about it either, since the two of them are close. That's unfortunate, but I feel I did the right thing.
Not the best start to the day. Hopefully this isn't a bad omen.
King of the Ring was held on June 29th. It was a surprise to see Kurt Angle entered in the tournament as the ECW Champion, but when you looked at the rest of the field, it seemed set up for him to steamroll through everyone else. Indeed, he beat Grand Master Sexay and Billy Gunn with little trouble. And then...he lost to Al Snow in the finals. What a surprise that was! Also on the show, Hunter beat reigning WWE Champion Chris Jericho clean in a non-title match (big nose is using his connections again, I see) and The Rock beat Shawn Michaels in the main event. Both of those matches were red hot, legitimate match of the year contenders, and on the strength of them this was the best show WWE has put on in years. It was considered pretty much dead even with Great American Bash, which itself was a fantastic show.
There was some bad news from the show, as Raven broke the metatarsal bones in his foot during a European title defense against Leviathan, and the match had to be stopped and ruled a no contest. He'll probably have to take a couple of months off to heal up, so we'll see what they do with the title, especially with their brand split about to begin.
Hogan signed a multi-year extension. No surprise there; they need him and his star presence badly now that we're taking the fight to them. I did attempt to open negotiations with him, not out of any actual intention of signing him, but solely to give him more leverage and force Vince to pay him more money. That didn't happen though, because word got to Austin and he told me he was going to use his hiring veto to prevent me from even opening negotiations. I guess he still has some resentment for the way his first WCW run went when Hogan came in.
Scott Hall also re-upped. I wasn't about to risk bringing that guy and his baggage into my locker room, so they're welcome to him.
They've signed Matt Cappotelli off their Tough Enough show and sent him to OVW so he can learn how to work. No word yet on the other winner, John Hennigan.
We still can't get Main Event to give us a PPV deal in Australia because they're overloaded with other companies (all of whom we're more popular than and do far fewer buys than we would.) There is a plus though: we're moving our PPV events from Ten Network onto Seven Network, which offers an increase on what was already a very high-visibility slot. We aren't getting PPV money in the country, but at least viewership is high. I do think we'll need to keep Ten around as an alternate though, because I get the feeling Seven would object to certain riskier gimmick match types. I'd love if we can get Nitro and Renaissance onto Seven as well when it's time to renegotiate.
Jim Mitchell, aka Father Isaac, signed a one year extension. Dustin is the star of the group and doesn't really need a mouthpiece, but it just wouldn't be Salvation without him.
I decided not to renew Norman Smiley's contract. He's not a bad worker, but we weren't doing anything with him and I feel we need to let some guys go so our roster doesn't get any more bloated as the developmental wrestlers get called up.
Psychosis officially departed. He's a talented worker, but it just didn't work out this time for whatever reason.
Toshie Uematsu returned from rehab. She only worked one match on Renaissance beforehand, so we're pretty much starting from scratch. After her problems, she'll have to pay some dues before there's any chance of a push.
I signed Allison Corino to an extension. She hasn't really been featured much on Renaissance, but working with these talented women has seen her skills continue to improve. If she can keep at it and keep getting better, she could be in line for a more prominent role eventually.
Also signing a one year extension was Daffney.
Billy Kim's pay per appearance agreement ran out. He did fine in his role as a jobber, but you need to rotate those guys in and out.
With referee Marty Rubalcaba's contract expiring, I decided to let him leave and re-hire Mark Johnson to take his place as the 'B' referee on Nitro. Mark was a bit of a gimmick before, but he's a better ref than Marty.
According to the web, Hiroshi Tanahashi is looking ripped after upping his workout routines. He already came across like a star before, so now it's even more pronounced. He's a great wrestler on top of that, so if they really get behind him and move him up out of the midcard he could be the answer to their recent problems.
NOAH's 'For The Warriors Fell' took place on June 20th. Akira Taue retained the GHC title over Jun Akiyama in a strong main event, which was just slightly upstaged by Kenta Kobashi's win against Akitoshi Saito two matches earlier. Even with those two matches, this was on the same level as their last couple of PPVs, meaning it was nowhere near as good as the heights they were routinely hitting not that long ago.
After a string of several great PPVs, AJPW took a step back last month. They looked to rebound with 'Down to the Last Man' on June 23rd, but it was actually well below even the last show. A lot of that is due to a mediocre main event in which Hiroshi Hase retained the Triple Crown over Genichiro Tenryu. The semi main where Taiyo Kea beat Shigeo Okumura was the best thing on the show, but even that was well below the usual standard the company's best matches have been hitting.
Zero-One has risen to Cult size as defined by the Observer, becoming the fifth promotion based in Japan currently at that distinction (NJPW, AJPW, NOAH and Michinoku Pro being the other four.)
To give them a boost after their rise, Zero-One announced they were bringing Kensuke Sasaki in. Sasaki has been the hottest free agent in Japan since leaving All Japan in April. This is just a pay per appearance deal from what I've heard, so he could very well get snapped up by a competitor at any time.
CIMA, a talented young student of Ultimo Dragon who's been working for Toryumon, X-LAW and (most prominently) Michinoku Pro, tore his ACL during a tag match against Samoa Joe and Chad Collyer on the current M-Pro tour.
Independent wrestler Excalibur has announced he's opening a new indie, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) in the South West. They'll be running a hybrid modern style, focusing mostly on the modern in-ring style with a bit of daredevil antics mixed in. He took some shots at Ring of Honor in his announcement, mocking their 'respect for wrestling' style that has no identity. He kind of has a point since ROH really has no key feature to emphasize, but his comments did not go over well with ROH owner Rob Feinstein and booker Ian Rotten. ROH fired back on their website, and it seems the two groups are already hostile towards each other before PWG has even run a show.
Chris Parks, a big man who works for TNA and our own Wildside, shattered his knee working a match in Mexico for Toyrumon defending his NWA North American Heavyweight title against Genki Horiguchi. He'll be out for about a year, so obviously the NWA will need to crown a new North American champion.
National Battle Report: July 2003
Summer 2003 Roster Breakdown: (Faces in blue, heels in red)
Main Event:CM Punk
Diamond Dallas Page
Rey Mysterio Jr.
Sean O'Haire (World Television Champion)
Rob Van Dam
The Unnatural (World Heavyweight Champion)
Upper Midcard:AJ Styles (United States Heavyweight Champion)
Bryan Danielson (Cruiserweight Champion)
Brian Adams (World Tag Team Champion)
Christopher Daniels (World Tag Team Champion)
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Lower Midcard:Lash Leroux
Color Commentator:Bret Hart
Road Agent:Ricky Steamboat
Bob Orton Jr.
Main Event:Chigusa Nagayo
Manami Toyota (World Women's Champion)
Upper Midcard:Kyoko Inoue
Enhancement Talent:Sumie Sakai
Color Commentator:Tracy Brooks
On Vacation:Bobby Roode
Out Of Action:Buff Bagwell (spinal column injury)
Teddy Hart (broken pelvis)
Active Tag Teams:3 Count (Evan Karagis and Shannon Moore)
Aja Kong and Devil Masami
Chigusa Nagayo and Meiko Satomura
Daffney and LuFisto
Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi and Yang)
Made in Italy (Johnny Parisi and Tony Mamaluke)
Our Generation (Melissa Anderson and Nattie Neidhart)
The American Outlaws (Chris Harris and James Storm)
The Hardys (Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy)
The Shooting Stars (Billy Kidman and Teddy Hart)
The Unbound (Mortis and Alexander)
True Heroes (CM Punk and Lance Storm)
Volador Jr. and Aguila
Factions:Salvation (Father Isaac, Alexander, Mortis, The Destroyer and The Unnatural)
The Empire (Bill Goldberg, Eric Bischoff, Etsuko Mita, Jamie Knoble, King Corino, TAKA, Chuck Palumbo and Tammy Sytch)
Managerial Assignments:Dawn Marie (Johnny Parisi and Tony Mamaluke)
Eric Bischoff (King Corino, TAKA and Etsuko Mita)
Father Isaac (Alexander, Mortis, The Destroyer and The Unnatural)
Paul Heyman (Rob Van Dam)
Ric Flair (Bobby Roode)
Stacy Keibler (Kaz Hayashi and Yang)
Tammy Sytch (Chuck Palumbo)
Torrie Wilson (Billy Kidman and Teddy Hart)
In Developmental:Austin Aries
Johnny the Bull
Lisa Marie Varon
1. Steve Austin
2. Bill Goldberg
3. Rey Mysterio Jr.
4. Rob Van Dam
5. CM Punk
Next Big Things:
1. Jeff Hardy
2. Meiko Satomura
3. AJ Styles
4. Volador Jr.
5. Alexis Laree
1. Melissa Anderson
2. Allison Corino
3. Alexis Laree
4. Volador Jr.
5. Mark Jindrak
Talk the Talk:
1. Steve Austin
2. Ric Flair
3. CM Punk
4. Dusty Rhodes
5. Roddy Piper
1. Rey Mysterio Jr.
2. Jeff Hardy
3. Rob Van Dam
4. Eddie Guerrero
5. Manami Toyota
1. Bryan Danielson
2. Rey Misterio Jr.
3. Eddie Guerrero
4. Lance Storm
5. AJ Styles
1. Bryan Danielson
2. The Unnatural
3. Chigusa Nagayo
4. Etsuko Mita
5. Meiko Satomura
1. Elix Skipper
2. Lash Leroux
3. Evan Karagis
4. Ernest Miller
4. Diamond Dallas Page
3. Fit Finlay
4. Rick Steiner
5. Aja Kong
1. Jay Briscoe
2. Kenny Omega
3. Simon Diamond
4. Scoot Andrews
5. Jorge Estrada
I've been struggling to figure out what belt cuts I'm going to use to represent the new women's tag titles. For the moment I'm using the design of All Japan Women's tag belts for lack of a better option even though these are going to be treated as brand new belts with no previous lineage, but I'm open to other ideas.
Originally Posted by Nobby_McDonald
What is Eric Bischoff's 'surprise' for Etsuko Mita? A chocolate labrador puppy.
Thanks, now I had to change it at the last minute because you spoiled the big surprise!
Originally Posted by Chaossy
By the way, I was reading your replies to the fans and I saw that you mentioned that TNA could be a major player in the future. Maybe we can have a guest booker for TNA's premier event?
Only if WWE is gone, or at the very least TNA surpasses them and becomes one of the top two.
Originally Posted by James The Animator
General diary comments/questions/critiques: Once Renaissance becomes a bigger deal in North America, you should consider getting Portia Perez and Rain, if you haven't signed them already.
It's not like Renaissance is technically a separate thing with its own popularity in-game. I could run there right now if I wanted to, but:
A) Most of the women on the roster are more popular in Japan;
B) I already run most of my shows in the US, so having Renaissance stick to Japan keeps me from being too concentrated in the States.
Portia doesn't debut until 2004. Rain's skills aren't good enough for me to really consider her, and she's at least getting work elsewhere. She works in TNA and I think one or two other smaller promotions.
Originally Posted by Beejus
I can't really picture Bret saying "Wrestlemarinepiad". Hell I probably can't even say it.
He can just leave that to Joey Styles.
Originally Posted by kinnikuniverse
AWW YEAH, WCW/NWO Revenge finally got the sequel it so deserves! Best wrestling game evar!! LOVE doing 40-man hardcore battle royales with CAWs with my friends! Those guitar riffs! (Chu-gga Chu-gga chu-gga chu-gga...)
I loved doing those battle royals, having quick match turned on and making people tap out to the Lion Tamer.
Speaking of music and games, how about we do some fake WCW merchandise for fun? And also, can you do a list of entrance songs for the wrestlers?
Don't look at me; I have no artistic skill.
I toyed with the idea of making a theme music list, but it seemed like more trouble than it was worth.
Last edited by The Final Countdown : 02-13-2018 at 08:20 PM.