Pre-War Games News and Notes
DDP and Ernest Miller weren't happy with the firing of Bischoff, but Austin smirked when he heard about it. Eric was tight with Dallas and The Cat, so it's no surprise they'd stick up for him. I think most people know the story about DDP and Eric being neighbors, and it was Eric who recruited Ernest into wrestling back when Miller was a karate instructor teaching his son, Garett. As for Austin, the story of the firing via Fed Ex is legendary by now, and there's been bad blood ever since. The two men were professional enough to put their differences aside and work together for their storyline, but I'm sure this entire situation amused Steve to no end.
Literally one day after the Bischoff scandal, I got word that Brian Adams failed a test for hard drugs. Feeling like I couldn't afford to be lenient at the moment and I needed to make a statement, I fired him despite this being his first offense. Brian wasn't angry with me at all; he actually shook my hand and thanked me for it, saying it was the wake-up call he needed. I guess we could bring him back down the road, but he doesn't really fit the mold for modern day WCW and our exciting in-ring product, so maybe this is for the best.
Sting will be sticking around, but I've only put him on a pay per appearance agreement for now. He honestly can't keep up with our current in-ring style anymore, but I feel like we need to keep him around in WCW at least in some capacity. I think he and Flair symbolize WCW to most people, so I'd like them to still be involved with the company even if they can no longer go in the ring like they used to.
Bobby Roode put pen to paper on a three year contract extension. Sorry, Sasuke, but you won't be seeing him in Michinoku Pro any time soon.
Mark Jindrak sent me an e-mail saying he felt like he'd learned as much as he could in Wildside and it was time for him to come back to the main roster. His trainer Terry Taylor disagreed when I asked him about it, telling me he thought Mark could still use some more seasoning down there before we brought him back. I took the Red Rooster's opinion into consideration, but in the end I decided to give Mark what he wanted and bring him back to Nitro. I'm disappointed that he was so eager to come back after only two months of trying to improve his skills down there, and I don't think he's done much to raise his ceiling.
King Corino and Kaoru Ito are dating. I guess Steve's sister Allison played matchmaker and introduced them when the guys were over in Japan for the Supershow?
Bob Orton signed an extension to remain a road agent with us for another year.
The Observer has reported that Japanese investors have purchased a stake in the company, wiping out their debt and pumping some cash into the coffers. That has to be a relief to Antonio Inoki, though I've heard rumors that the new investors are already pushing for the company to only hire younger, athletic wrestlers in the future, which I guess is them making a statement against the recent emphasis on older established stars like 49 year old Tatsumi Fujinami and 51 year old Riki Choshu, the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion (and also the head booker, which sounds like a conflict of interest if I've ever heard one.) Being told what to do can't be a good feeling for Inoki, but I don't see that he had much choice if he wanted to get out from underneath his debt, which was apparently in the millions.
Reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Riki Choshu has been putting on some serious weight recently, and it's not muscle mass. That's perfectly understandable for a 51 year old, but that's not exactly the kind of observation you want floating around about the guy who holds your top belt. All the more reason for Inoki to have him drop it if you ask me.
NJPW held their Temples of Fight PPV on September 13th. No Heavyweight title match this time; Choshu beat Yuki Ishikawa in a non-title singles match early on the show. The main event was Manabu Nakanishi and Masahiro Chono retaining the IWGP Tag titles against Yuji Nagata and Tatsumi Fujinami. That was a very good match, but it was slightly outperformed by the semi main of Koji Kanemoto retaining the Junior Heavyweight title over Osamu Nishimura. This was a very good show, though they've had some stronger ones recently.
NOAH's been signing up new talent to written deals in response to their recent growth. Aside from Candido, they've also brought in Tajiri, Dr. Wagner Jr, Pentagon, Gran Naniwa, Ricky Marvin, Shin'ya Kojika, Ryo Saito, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, Ricky Fuji, Yoshiaki Yatsu, Jeff Farmer, W*ING Kanemura, Wally Yamaguchi and referee Tiger Hattori.
Their next big PPV, Departure, took place on September 6th. This was going to be an eventful night, both because of their rise and the injury to Kobashi. They didn't bother with a tournament for Kobashi's vacant GHC Heavyweight title, instead just naming the two top contenders and putting them in a singles main event to crown a new champion. Jun Akiyama beat Mitsuharu Misawa in a match of the year candidate to win the title for the first time. As great as Misawa is, Akiyama's excellent himself and about eight years younger, so I like the move. On the strength of that main event, this was far ahead of any of their recent PPVs, and their best since January.
WWE has signed former Tough Enough winners Jackie Gayda and Linda Miles to extensions. K-Kwik's got a new deal too.
Trish Stratus has started to focus more on being a pure entertainer during her matches recently.
Little tidbit from the September 8th Raw: they booked Rock to go to a TIME LIMIT DRAW. With BRIAN CHRISTOPHER. It was a match of the year contender too. That guy can do no wrong.
All Japan's Front of War Lines III PPV happened on September 16th. They had a pretty good main event of Hiroshi Hase retaining the Triple Crown against Shigeo Okumura, but nothing else on the show was all that good. This show was okay, but nowhere close to the recent efforts from NJPW and NOAH. After putting on some great events earlier in the year, All Japan has fallen back to Earth recently.
Japanese indie group DDT closed recently.
The glorious era of Kid Romeo as NWA World Heavyweight Champion has come to an end. He made on successful title defense in the UK, then dropped the belt to 54-year old Yoshiaki Fujiwara during Zero-One's current tour. Fujiwara was a pioneer of incorporating what we now know as the MMA style into his pro wrestling matches, but he's way past his prime in 2003. Maybe putting the belt on him was Zero-One's revenge for Wildside having Romeo win it from Kazushi Sakuraba?
The Observer has bumped PWG up to Small status. All credit to them; they've been putting on shows better than most of the other small independents, and they're being rewarded for it.
I heard that Joel Gertner and Excalibur got into a shouting match backstage during a show for PWU, I guess about money. I'm just imagining Gertner cutting one of his innuendo-laden ECW promos.
Looks like I may need to just pull the plug on the entire WWE brand split. They just ran their first AI-controlled PPV, and completely ignored the split. I'd set it to be the WWE (Raw brand) only, and not only were ECW guys all over the show, but they booked at least one (title) match that had WWE vs. ECW. I could deal with them always running both brands on each PPV, but if they're going to completely ignore the split and book WWE vs. ECW at will, I don't see much point in continuing with it. I guess I'll give it another month and see what they do with the next PPV, but I'm not optimistic. It seems like the only way I could guarantee the split would be enforced on PPVs would be to have guest bookers for every single one, and I'm not fond of that idea.
Originally Posted by James The Animator
Who was responsible for the attack on Jeff Hardy? Shane Helms. By God, it's about time you started using him!
He's definitely been underutilized! Seems like any idea I come up with for him falls through (like the manager pairing with Kimberly and feud with DDP.)
Originally Posted by JMike
General diary comments/questions/critiques: I almost want to see someone in the main event join Salvation because I'm a Salvation mark. Congratulations, you made me a mark for a fake stable in a company that dies two years ago in real life. Does this make you feel good?
Originally Posted by RKOwnage
General diary comments/questions/critiques: I just finally caught up! As everyone else has said, this is just an incredible diary. I found myself reading about the Photobucket thing and getting mad that you weren't going to keep going, but then I realized there were like 75 more pages of the diary so everything was OK
I especially love everything you've done with Dustin, and how you didn't let guys like Awesome and Mortis fall by the wayside. All the signings have been fun too! I like the way you've used Bret to build suspense at big moments. Just a phenomenal job overall.
Welcome to 2003!
Yeah, spoiler alert. Kind of like when you're playing an RPG and they tease that the story is about to end, but there's stuff from the in-game interface that's only half completed.
Awesome is lucky he got put in Salvation, otherwise his antics would've been big trouble for him.