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The Story of the Wrestling Business

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[Note that this is a story-diary, meaning there will be no fully written out cards, no word for word promos, however, never fear, as the story of the business is what twists and turns just as much as an actual show. All results and rumors are true or from TEW2005, with only slight modifications for clarity. For example, when TEW tells me a worker does not want to negotiate, I often will come up with an explanation for it.]

Wrestling was in turmoil in 1993. Very few wrestling companies could operate fulltime and do so profitably in this kayabed, gimmicky era. At the bottom was several floundering organizations, the most financially critical of which was SMW and GWF. Smokey Mountain Wrestling (SMW) was based in Tennessee and was run by Jim Cornette, operating a traditional presentation that was in stark contrast to giants like WCW and WWF who had more edgy angles and anti-heroes. The Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) was based in Texas and unlike SMW, presented more entertainment, such as an angle by Manny Fernandez thinking he was Elvis following a concussion. With a strong following, but no TV, Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) tried to slowly grow even with a slightly alternative presentation. But none of these companies were making any headway. Meanwhile, USWA, ECWA, the new Memphis Wrestling and even the Japanese promotions were dwarfed in size by giants like WCW and the WWF.

1993 began with Ted Turner’s WCW and Vince McMahon’s WWF at war. By August, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Dusty Rhodes and returning Ric Flair had all positioned themselves into the booking team and each had contrasting plans to try to improve the company’s dwindling popularity. Ted Turner sent his executive Scott Sassa down to prevent these people from making a mess of his first wrestling program on the network. In the process, quite a bit happened of historical note. First, the on-air commissioner became Nick Bockwinkel when he visited WCW in August and was inducted in their Hall of Fame the next month. However, Harley Race quickly filled that position when a wrestler named Big Van Vader slammed Bockwinkel though the announce table, thereby writing him out of the storylines and allowing him to work backstage instead of in front of the camera. Meanwhile, each of the booking team argued for their own agendas in meetings and by the time August rolled around, Jim Ross realized that he would never go higher in the company, so he left. He had no pity for the next man who might spend all their time in conflict with Bischoff and Flair, as he had, so sought new opportunities in the WWF. For less money.

The competition with the popular WWF was tight, so the booking team had their work cut out for them. Sassa put Bischoff in charge of storylines, Flair in charge of the locker room, and Dusty Rhodes in charge of choreographing matches. Bischoff and Sassa got along backstage and soon talked over some of the changes in the WCW that would come to be known as the Bischoff Changes. These began with more PPVs and a new talent search. The way Dusty was booking WCW Saturday Night changed as well, as Bischoff commented that the show was horribly long-winded and top heavy with a Vader match each and every week. The rest of the show was filled with meaningless lower card matches. This was not the type of show Bischoff wanted to present, so convinced Sassa not to renew it. Needless to say, Dusty was a little upset so cut back on his booking schedule. Bischoff strengthened WCW WorldWide however, with cleaner TV tapings.

Meanwhile, Bischoff alone acquired new talent, all while part of a ‘team‘. He usurped Owen Hart from the WWF and signed a few others from local territories. Several went out of business because of this interference. But some were glad to just get a job. For example, Jim Cornette signed with WCW when Smokey Mountain Wrestling went out of business. He began managing again. Smaller talent like Barry Darsow, Thunder, Lightning and Bill Dundee were released from WCW when newer talent took their spots. As if in retaliation, the WWF stole Fred Ottman aka Typhoon and young Erik Watts. Then Marc Mero and Tom Zenk simply would not renew and left for USWA and better opportunities than jobbing to Vader.

The “team” then confronted Eric Bischoff for his firing and signings, but he used Scott Sassa to fall back on and got out of the confrontation a bit easier than most thought possible. Together, the team ‘decided’ that they needed to sign new talent and Bischoff smugly realized that this what he had been doing all along. A week later, they signed or rather resigned the Rock n' Roll express plus Dan Spivey to build their tag division. Spivey was friends with Sid Vicious and seemed pleased to rejoin WCW in that role. The company then signed unique talent like Steve Williams, Shane Douglas and others, but the real celebration occurred when they signed Hulk Hogan.

In June of 1993, Hulk Hogan had departed the WWF when he said he was “done” with wrestling and he was in Florida without a contract when WCW approached him to be the company hero. He and Jimmy Hart came on board immediately for WCW tapings that were beginning to take place at Disney MGM studios. Hogan captured the WCW World Title in his first month in the company, defeating Vader for the belt.

Kevin Sullivan then joined the booking team, as he had been a friend of Scott Sassa’s as well. He helped Dusty and Flair book the shows, until his short lived job was cut short when the WWF hired him and made him head booker, right under WCW’s nose. Bischoff was eventually put into Sullivan’s role, heaping the work onto himself.

Scott Sassa came down from his offices again and asked the team what they could do to compete with the WWF. Dusty said that they needed more “wrestling,” Flair added that they need more interesting storylines and Bischoff stood up to boldly add that they needed two hours of riveting TV time like Monday Night RAW. Interestingly enough, each of these three ideas was put into motion. WCW Nitro was the show Sassa debuted to compete directly against RAW, in the same timeslot and on the same day. Bischoff was later able to conduct business without much need for the “team,“ but did keep most of them busy booking this new show, WCW Nitro. This began the Monday Night Wars, intensifying the already strong conflict between WCW and WWF.

After Dusty was asked how to promote “wrestling,” he hired people to do just that and dismissed talent that couldn’t. For example, Chris Benoit, the Great Muta and Dean Malenko joined WCW in 1993 from Japan and Taka Michinoku and Psicosis joined WCW from Mexico. New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) declared war on WCW and sued them in an attempt to get their talented workers back. Unfortunately for NJPW, WCW tied them up in court. Benoit did not make an impact until a few months after his debut when he won the vacant US Title in an exciting 8-man tournament, but lost it shortly after. Malenko made an impact when he began teaming with Arn Anderson and heading into 1994, they seemed like the dominate team, until opposed by recent champs, Ric Flair and Sting. This partnership began when the two longtime enemies seemed to make peace earlier that month when Flair came out to shake Sting’s hand, cut a friendly promo on him and offer a tag-partnership. This was a ready-made storyline that even Flair could book.

Flair booked the subtle feud excellently, as it seemed the two “friends” were destined to become enemies. However, the team won the tag titles and people actually then began to speculate that they were really going to be friends for the long-term. However, at the Clash of the Champions, Sting and Ric lost the tag titles to Arn and Dean, after Ric double-crossed Sting and refused to tag in. Sting was pinned and the Four Horsemen reformed afterward as Ric, Arn, Dean and Ole, with JJ Dillon. They celebrated over the fallen Sting. Ole had recently began working only part-time schedule as Dean's manager and mentor. The blow off the feud was supposed to come a month after the betrayal, but the Horsemen again interfered and cost Sting the match. These new Horsemen rode a wave of popularity, especially with the traditional southern WCW audience.

Bischoff focused on storylines that featured the more popular characters in WCW, because he believed in established veterans. Perhaps the most important person in the development of WCW was Hulk Hogan and it was only natural that he be involved in a storyline. His only losses in the company since his signing in August of 1993 were against Vader, a big man who seemed to have it out for Hogan, especially after he took the title. The big man recruited Doom and new signing Davey Boy Smith to face off against Hogan, but in a few months, all of them were defeated. Sid Vicious had already turned on the Horsemen, causing their downfall in 1992, then joined Vader’s new attack squad. Sid was then featured as the major title contender by himself, but was soon defeated by Hogan too. All of the 1993 PPVs for WCW ran with Hulk Hogan in the main event.

Of the rest of the card, there were some interesting people yearning to get a shot. One was Steve Austin. Originally called Stunning Steve Austin, he teamed with Brian Pillman for most of the year, until he won the US Title at Slamboree. This was a surprise, but a good opportunity that Austin did not waste. He wrestled talent like Harlem Heat, Chris Benoit and others, which benefited him as much as his opponents. However, despite good matches, he couldn’t seem to break the glass ceiling. Unfortunately, Austin had just renewed his contract long-term, much like Barry Windham and Diamond Dallas Page.

Windham was 34 when he entered into a short feud with Ric Flair and then Rick Rude, having good matches with each man that were better than he had in years. Diamond Dallas Page was a heel unlike Windham and also, had a valet. DDP’s valet, Diamond Doll and later just “Kimberly” was actually becoming more popular than the wrestler. Bischoff then saw these two rising stars and put them in a storyline together. After telling DDP that he was not treating Kimberly right, Barry Windham was immediately challenged to a match at Slamboree, with the loser having the unenviable task to face Sid the next night on Nitro. Undaunted by such a threat, Windham still crashed the wedding with new partner, Dustin Rhodes, then trashed DDP.

Not to argue WCW did everything right in 1993, because they certainly didn’t. In fact, the acquisition of Hulk Hogan only stabilized them and prevented a larger drop than what occurred as the wrestling business declined. As if an over-the-top storyline like a wedding wasn’t enough, Bischoff created some rather gimmicky characters at the expense of Dusty’s “wrestlers” because this was the style in 1993. He dressed Mick Foley up as Cactus Jack, but didn’t allow him to bleed in any of his hardcore matches. Another wrestler named Terry Gordy was signed by Bischoff from Japan by telling him he wanted to spotlight him in a PPV match. Bischoff gave him a hood and a sickle, calling him The Hangman. The Hangman teamed with Dr. Death Steve Williams as he had once before in WCW, but Bischoff took Steve’s nickname quite literally, instead of realizing it meant he was a brutal hardcore wrestler. The Executioners however, did not wrestle hardcore. When a person’s gimmick failed, Bischoff did not hesitate showing them the door, such as in the case of Ray Traylor, aka The Boss.

Bischoff hired several members of ECW, but ultimately they didn’t work out. The Tazmaniac truly fit in with Bischoff’s gimmicky roster, especially when he would act like a savage, huffing and puffing. However, the Tazmaniac never did get over, so his screen time was given to Shane Douglas instead . This seemed to satisfy Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair who liked Douglas as a in-ring worker. Jerry Lynn was also tried on WCW WorldWide, eventually forming a partnership with Perry Saturn, who was playing a mean mailman.

Bischoff watched the average performances on the Nitro show and most of 1993’s PPVs then tried to brainstorm what they needed to really put the nail in the WWF’s coffin. They recruited the Undertaker and overpaid to get him, renaming him Mean Mark when the WWF threatened to sue when they saw this pale-faced character on TV. He also had a no-compete clause, so Mean Mark waited it out while others were spotlighted a bit more. Bischoff also had WCW members play dirty, ripping into the WWF on air.

The next month was the beginning of 1994 but it also held plenty of other surprises, such as Shawn Michaels overdosing. He was the reigning WWF Intercontinental champion at the time and was gone from the company for some time when he was ordered by a judge to attend rehab for this overdose. Jimmy Snuka also surprisingly passed away, shocking the wrestling community. He had worked for the WWF and then ECW in 1993, but hadn’t wrestled recently. Rumors are he died of a heart attack at home. Mil Mascaras, the Japanese star, also retired from wrestling that month, citing mounting injuries. The WWF seemed to be competing with WCW in how many mistakes each company could make. First, the WWF had Tanaka win their vacant intercontinental title and then they put the World Title on 43 year old Bob Backlund, jobbing out Bret Hart and others. Needless to say, PPV buyrates dropped off even more. Only by headlining a Hogan match in every single PPV did WCW barely avoid dropping below the WWF. A further drop by both companies was inevitable.

The magazine Pro Wrestling Illustrated came out in January, spotlighting the top wrestlers, shows and promotions in the business. Surprisingly, Hulk Hogan was not chosen as number one wrestler, instead it was Ric Flair. Perhaps because of his intense feud with Sting and solid contributions in the ring, Flair was featured on the cover of the magazine. Number two was Hulk Hogan of course, followed by Toshiaki Kawada from Japan, Keiji Mutoh, Sid Vicious and an assortment of other wrestlers. A WWF wrestler did not make it on the list until Bret Hart was featured at 28 followed by Yokozuna at 30.

WCW officially broke from the NWA in March when WCW planned to tape a change of the NWA title to Rick Rude at the Disney MGM studios and the NWA complained about it. The change was leaked by someone within WCW, but no one came forward. The NWA objected to this breach of kayfabe and WCW's refusal to allow the NWA World champion to defend the title in other NWA member promotions. Since WCW owned the physical NWA championship belt, Flair continued to hold and wear it, however it was renamed the WCW international title. Ric Flair proclaimed himself the "real" wrestling champion and decided to put "The Real" title up for grabs in the main event of Slamboree to unify both championships versus Hulk Hogan.

After concluding a short storyline with Cactus Jack and the tag titles in April 1994, Terry Funk began a 'sick of losing' storyline in which he would experience depression after each loss and try even harder the next time. His friend became WCW veteran Ricky Steamboat who tried to protect Funk against Vader, although Funk was squashed twice in a row on successive PPVs, despite his friend's advice. Steamboat then confronted Funk and played the parent, unwilling to let him endure more, saying that Terry had to stop taking excessive risks. This tough love went on until Terry saw Ricky getting beat up on Nitro and this time, he was the one to made the save. Cactus and Ricky were shocked and tried to stop Terry as he challenged the attacker, but unfortunately, it was Vader. A match was made for Slamboree. Vader agreed immediately but then found out it was a No DQ Street Fight! It was a good storyline for WCW.

Ric Flair had never been in a singles match with Hogan since he returned to WCW. Everyone was anxious for their match at 1994 Slamboree, especially since Ric had turned on Sting, reformed the Horsemen and seemed the fan favorite going in. Race had announced that the winner would merge the two titles held by either man, the WCW international title and the WCW World Title. No one was allowed to interfere and to make sure, Race appointed the Road Warriors, newly face Doom and several others to be lumberjacks. Doom turned on Vader since the last time he tried to manipulate them. Ole had to be handcuffed to Davey Boy to prevent him from leading interference and this harked back to the Bash of 1990 when a similar thing occurred. Later that night, Sting and Ric built their endless feud for another time. WCW wanted to really shine at May’s Slamboree. When Bret Hart walked through the curtain, they did just that.

Bret Hart was upset at WWF after their Canadian trip, a trip which seriously hurt the company. At the time, the WWF was trying to build their Canadian audience, pushing all their Canadian stars during the trip. Ironically, the WWF only visited Canada upon Hart’s urging. However, Hart jobbed to Bob Backlund on RAW in Windsor and on PPV too, losing some credibility with the fans and giving it to Backlund. He then sat down with Vince and questioned him about his future, although his complaints were not about jobbing, as he had jobbed in Canada plenty of times. Hart‘s complaints were against bookers Kevin Sullivan and Ted Dibiase, who Hart thought work working against him. Backlund seemed to play the heel champion role perfectly and had the favor of Kevin Sullivan and Ted Dibiase on the booking team, but Hart never did. With Hart outnumbered and unhappy with the storylines, he decided not to renew his contract and joined his brother in WCW. Owen Hart had gone under the radar for months, that is until WCW turned him heel as the crowd wouldn’t stop boo’ing him. They paired him with two other wrestlers, Davey Boy Smith, who was getting a similar reaction from the crowd, and Brian Pillman, who was drifting without Steve Austin.

These Canadians were easily the highest rising team of 1994, getting a reaction wherever they went. Bret Hart was added last minute at Slamboree, not as a member of the Canadians, but to make sure these men would not get out of line. Bischoff was smart in building the Bret versus Owen for another time. Mean Mark played a similar role in a tag match later on. The swelling roster would be more of a problem later in the year. A month later, when the WWF returned home to the USA after the long and expensive Canadian trip, they fell some more in popularity so WCW did not have to try very hard at 1994 Slamboree.

May 1994 Slamboree

Brian Pillman defeated Taka Michinoku and Psicosis

Shane Douglas and Davey Boy defeated Jerry Lynn and Saturn

Road Warriors defeated Doom and the Canadians (Owen + Pillman) w/Bret Hart

Chris Benoit defeated Booker T

Barry Windham defeated DDP w/ Kimberly

(Street Fight) Terry Funk defeated Vader w/ Ricky and Cactus

Steve Austin defeated Sid Vicious

Cactus vs The Hangman

Sting and Ricky Steamboat drew with the Horsemen (Arn + Dean) w/Mean Mark

Hulk Hogan defeated. Ric Flair to unify the titles

Slamboree was a successful PPV, but not as successful as it could have been. The Mexican talents Taka Michinoku and Psicosis debuted at a PPV in a three way against Brian Pillman, all gimmicked out in their cultural garb. Their hiring was done to improve the speed of matches and to strengthen the opener for the show or shows in the future. Shane Douglas FINALLY did something in WCW after signing a few months earlier and bribed the Canadian member Davey Boy, helping him beat up several no-name tag teams in a row on Nitro, plus one at Slamboree. This established Douglas as a coniving weasel type character. Although good looking on paper, both were matches with no reaction, even with Davey Boy involved. As mentioned earlier, the three way tag team match seemed to inspire a better reaction, but not as good as Chris Benoit versus Booker T. Benoit won a series of seven with this concluding match. The Horsemen successfully defended their titles against Sting and Ricky Steamboat, however not in a very convincing fashion, a draw since Mean Mark beat up all the Horsemen when Flair was interfering. Austin overcame Sid as the crowd seemed to be behind him the most and another surprise came when Terry Funk overcame Vader to make a heartfelt victory. The next night on Nitro he would give a great speech. Hogan unified the WCW International title and WCW World by beating Ric in a classic.

After Ricky Steamboat captured the Television title from Rick Rude, he began showing up late for TV tapings. He reduced his schedule and seemed unhappy, but Bischoff had no sympathy for this behavior, so fined him. A Horsemen match against Sting and Bret Hart ended in a draw this time and continued the storyline. The WWF released some people as a cost cutting measure, thanks to their costly Canada excursion. Many people were a casualty. It was another blow for the wrestling business.

When Mean Mark started wrestling, he destroyed the competition, then surprisingly turned heel. He was able to act more menacing and vicious this way. Booker T finally defeated him at Uncensored in June. Meanwhile, the Canadians were so popular at that show that Davey later earned a shot at Hulk, while Owen was at ringside. Hogan pinned him, but not before interference from the two other Canadians. Bret Hart came down and further prevented Owen from interfering and brawled with him to the back. The next night on Nitro, Bret was surprisingly absent. Owen called him out, made fun of him and heckled him until he responded. Unfortunately for them, he was with his friend Sting. Bret wanted to go his separate ways but Owen immediately challenged him at July's War Games, which WCW decided to bring back to compete with the WWF's advancing use of cage matches. Sting tried to suggest it for another time, but Bret left Sting's War Games team and decided to face Owen instead.

Sting was apparently the captain for the war games team and needed a new member now that Bret had left unexpectedly. The war games was a 5 v 5 cage match, changed by the modernizing WCW to a steel cell with only one door. Sting had Hogan and traditional participants, the Road Warriors, but it took him a couple of Nitros to find a fifth member. It came down to Ricky Steamboat or Cactus Jack, who was in a contact dispute. Steamboat was ultimately picked when no contract could be reached with Cactus. Cactus was not even put on the show, even though he was offered a dark match, but this was an insult to the loyal company man. Terry Funk threatened to walk out with him, until WCW put Funk in a match. They included him in this match to boost his confidence and try to convince Cactus Jack to stay with his friend. Cactus Jack left anyway. Meanwhile, Vader recruited Mean Mark plus Arn, Dean and Ric Flair of the Horsemen. Ole excluded himself from the match because Race had appointed him the special official for the match, trying to manipulate all the cards.

The WWF continued to lose audience and thanks to the absence of Shawn Michaels, was short a man. Shawn was unable to move forward with a push in his feud and everything came to a dead halt. The tournament for the vacant intercontinental title flopped big time and was won by Tatanka of all people, who seemed to have a budding feud with Fatu and the other headshrikers led by Afa. Kevin Sullivan moved from his booking position to competing, taking what seemed to be a random partner each week until he actually won the tag titles with Jacques. Raymond and Jacques had a dispute with the WWF and Raymond was released because of it, but Sullivan smoothed over the rest of the dispute and chose Jacques, who the WWF began to call The Frenchman, as his partner to further reward him for staying.

The WWF debuted a new 2 hour TV show called WWF Action that seemed to increase their costs more than their audience and it topped out at only 2000 people per show. When Action visited Quebec in July, the WWF lost its legs. Almost every match on the card was horrible, including a match that The Red Rooster (Terry Taylor) won against a debuting Jeff Jarrett. The main event of this worst card ever was the excellent looking Steiners taking on the Smoking Gunns. Needless to say, this squash match did nothing for the WWF and they fell again.

The WWF needed another series of cost-cutting measures, releasing about 20 people outright this time, including Jim Ross who was working under a verbal contract after only recently departing WCW in1993. Since he hated Eric Bischoff, when Ross was offered a contract, he flatly rejected WCW and went to work for WWC, the World Wrestling Council. The WWF released some of their weaker character gimmick wrestlers, such as Giant Gonzales, Johnny Polo, Doink, and Adam Bomb. Others like Diesel and the 1-2-3 Kid asked for their release, having wanted to go to WCW. Gerald Brisco and Gorilla Monsoon walked out after hearing of these bad contract disputes and left the WWF without some leadership backstage. Some more releases were announced a few days after the company's horrible Quebec trip, which included Mr. Fuji and Bob Orton Jr. By the end of July, the WWF actually had more popularity in Canada than the USA, even though through a twist of irony it was the trip there that caused their downfall in the first place. The first thing the WWF did after the media began to criticize the company’s second canada trip, was re-sign the Big Bossman and Brutus Beefcake. They had all been part of WCW in the past, but had been released months earlier. The WWF just couldn’t stabilize like WCW had.

When WCW signed them, the WWF had rendered Nash and Waltman almost unusable. It had gotten to the point where even Doink had defeated Nash at the King of the Ring. Nash had lost 21 straight times and Waltman appeared only 5 times on WWF TV before being bought out of his expensive contract. They appeared the next night on Nitro and were given ten whole minutes to say whatever they wanted, ripping into some former friends until the Road Warriors interrupted them. They all built up the main event to the War Games a bit more by having Nash and Waltman demolish the Road Warriors in a brawl following the interview. Due to a no-compete clause, Nash and Waltman could not wrestle at the show, but once again, WCW involved them somehow.

War Games - July 1994

The Rock n' Roll express defeated The Executioners (The Hangman Terry Gordy and Dr. Death)

Booker T defeated Davey Boy Smith

The Twin Towers (Dangerous Dan + Sid Vicious) defeated Doom

Owen Hart defeated Bret Hart by DQ

Barry Windham defeated DDP

Steve Austin went to a no contest with Chris Benoit

Terry Funk defeated Rick Rude

The War Games:

Vader, Mean Mark and the Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko and Ric Flair)


Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat, Sting and the Road Warriors

The WCW war games seemed to be nicely done, but perhaps did not have quite the blockbuster main event of the last two PPVs. Although solid, Vader steamrolled the bookers and booked himself to win the match, as the last survivor of his team, as all others were eliminated by Hogan. This seemed to indicate a Hogan v Vader rematch AGAIN, although it had not been intended. Two more workers were stolen from the sinking WWF the following week, tag champ Jacques and the Headshrinker Samu. Jacques was made a annoying Mountie and Samu became Samu the Savage, both cultural stereotypes. Owen Hart was also put over that month, because there was a rumor that Bret was still WWF loyal. Meanwhile, the WWF had the lowest buyrates ever when Jim Duggan tried in vain to defeat Bob Backlund. WCW also wasn’t doing well in buys but well-exceeded the WWF.

Both Dusty Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat were the most upset about Vader booking himself, although did nothing and seemed placated by a talk Bischoff gave to them. Terry Funk even seemed a little happier to win his match on the card and got over the situation with Cactus Jack. However, on the down side, the old main eventers were beginning to clog up the cards in WCW and this somewhat upset Steve Austin and Chris Benoit, WCW's future. WCW decided to have a tournmament for the youngsters that would conclude at the Bash, which was once WCW's biggest event.

To make matters worse for the WWF, WWF RAW was cancelled in August 1994, a year from when Nitro started, when their huge numbers turned into huge losses competing directly against the new WCW Nitro show. A week later, WWF Action lost its slot and was cancelled too. The WWF was left without a mainstream TV show. Really, this would be one of the deciding years for the war, making August of 1994 into a terrible month for the WWF. Without a show, the talent did house shows every day and then sat back to watch for the buyrates. Fortunately, it was Summerslam month but things were not as safe as first anticipated. WCW swooped in and stole Yokozuna and IRS, plus a few other staff members from the unhappy company. WCW was growing its roster at a rate that Bischoff thought he could control, but at any one time 15 people claimed that they were in the main event, or wanted to be. In comparison, the WWF had five, not counting Shawn Michaels who was still in recovering from his overdose.

At the Great American Bash, Sting had recovered enough to stop avoiding singles competition and went one on one with Ric Flair. Meanwhile, Hulk squashed Yokozuna in another sacrifice to the glass ceiling. The WWF buyrates came in and they beat their lowest point of the year by only ten thousand buys, not a pleasant sign. Consequently, Kevin Sullivan was removed from the booking team for questionable moves, such as bringing several retired wrestlers back and giving the title to Bob Backlund and booking himself to win matches. He was replaced by Al Tomko, former owner and booker of All-Star Wrestling until 1989. Summerslam was boosted by the fact that it was Summerslam and it also had a good main event, as Macho Man took on a heel Bob Backlund, promptly losing to the elder man. Afterward, Tomko believed he could build up Backlund better than Sullivan did, but had no TV show to do it. The WWF put on only house shows, which they would sell tapes of to local stations, a situation that was not profitable and sometimes would see air, sometimes not. Tomko then did something surprising. He planned ahead to make the next WWF PPV successful.

WCW also tried to inspire success, but fell short. WCW made it quite clear to their talent that they did not want backstage problems and Eric Bischoff tried to manage the large roster to accommodate this. He suspended Ricky Steamboat after he was late again for the twelfth time in several months. He then fined Jesse Ventura for missing a TV taping and a few house shows. Some rumors circulated that these bad attitudes were developing because of conflicts wrestlers had with Hogan. This was never proven. Then something positive happened. Hulk Hogan told Bischoff that he had found the next Andre the Giant, Paul Wight.

Edited by Nottavictim
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At the debut of Paul Wight, Bischoff took Hogan’s insistance that he was the next Andre and named him the Giant. He was hot off the indy scene and his college days, playing college basketball at Wichita State University. When he debuted, he elicited little reaction from the crowd, until he started demolishing team after team with partner money-bags Shane Douglas, who bribed the Giant in the same way he had Davey Boy months earlier. So he was undefeated leading into Fall Brawl of 1994. However, whereas Davey Boy had his own personality, his own singles style and the arrogant Owen Hart to follow around, the Giant had just an evil sneer, at best. Things were made worse by the fact that the Giant did not so much wrestle as punch and bodyslam his opponents over and over.

During September, a judge finally ruled on a lawsuit NJPW filed against WCW for breaking their working agreement earlier last year. NJPW argued that Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit and the Great Muta were their property and should rightfully return to Japan since WCW chose to illegally break their agreement. The judge was not convinced and ruled that the wrestlers had rights with both companies but since the original agreement was a verbal one, any contracts with NJPW were not enforced. All of them got a new choice, so Great Muta decided to go back to Japan and the rest decided to stay with WCW to honor their new contracts.

Brian Knobbs also tried to quit WCW in September, having lost direction since Jerry Sags had walked out a while back during a contract dispute. This time however, Hulk Hogan was there to talk his friend out of quitting. Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan was experiencing a drop in popularity, which could be evidenced by the PPVs starting in June. The rumor was that WCW's traditionally southern audience did not take to Hogan because they did not like him holding any part of a NWA championship, no matter how small it may be This was one of many reasons, but one that was quoted by Ric Flair in an interview he did in September of 1994 for the BBC. Hogan's celebrity plus Ted Turner's money brought in a new draw to consistently face him so they were able to avoid the crash that WWF had been experiencing in 1994. Unfortunately, the talent that WCW stole was already established, so except for Chris Benoit and Booker T, the WCW had not made any talent. The WWF had made all the canadian wrestlers which WCW now featured.

After Fall Brawl, Scott Sassa came down from on high and recruited Stu Hart and Bruce Hart from Calgary to advise WCW about creative approaches to try to stop the dropping WCW buy-rates. They were added to the booking team, to also focus the creative energies of Eric Bischoff and the others. WCW did this because Fall Brawl was a shadow of the success of PPVs earlier in the year. Bischoff was trying to shake things up with the Mexican wrestlers and an influx of WWF superstars, but did not seem to want to push them over his native talent. Ric Flair was one Bischoff did not get along with, because he thought of him as aged and traditional, opposed to his new moves. Bischoff booked him into small tag matches after Flair refused to cut his hair.

The first thing Stu and Bruce Hart did was to change this and push Sting and Ric Flair again, immediately building them for another match at a new PPV WCW called Halloween Havoc. They advocated a bit more tradition and actual "wrestling" rather than the brawls and backstage vignettes that Bischoff was known for. This pleased Dusty Rhodes but really infuriated Eric Bischoff.

In September, the WWF FINALLY put the title on the Macho Man Randy Savage, as he beat Bob Backlund in their rematch. That was one good match at In Your House that month, the other being the completion of a face turn for Razor Ramon, who beat Jerry Lawler, after Lawler had been taunting him with the mic all month. SHAWN MICHEALS returned for the October event, then immediately captured the intercontinental title back from Tatanka. The WWF crowd went hype crazy about the appearance and outsold WCW by about a thousand people as a result. Things were finally looking up for the WWF.

Edited by Nottavictim
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As the WWF’s main event scene was heating up in October, WCW’s was cooling off. Hulk Hogan had beaten just about every single heel on the roster, including WWF recruits Mean Mark, Bret Hart and Yokozuna. When the booking team sat around to discuss a PPV for the month, they literally had no opponent in mind for Hogan. That is, until Dusty suggested the Giant. This larger than life man was going into October undefeated in singles competition and seemed the last choice, but not the most comfortable one. Wight was young and green. Of course, there also was no convincing Hogan to job to Vader, much less a youngster like Wight. However, if he didn’t beat Hogan, the media began to speculate that no one could be built up enough to beat him clean.

Meanwhile, around the world, former WCW wrestlers made news. Jerry Lynn left WCW, then appeared on ECW’s Anarchy Rules in the main event against Marc Mero, imagine that. Memphis Wrestling had their first event in September with Tom Zenk making an appearance there. And at the competition, the Macho Man defended his title at a sold out house show. Jerry Sags was in a USWA main event against visiting Jerry Lawler. Savage and Hogan ended their friendship that month in an argument about some criticisms Savage made on TV. Savage said Hogan was not making new stars or rather, or putting anyone over whatsoever. He said he would never join WCW with such a thing going on.

Stu and Bruce Hart still had confidence in Ric Flair, both to save the PPV with his match against Sting and to help The Booking Team. The Booking Team actually had a meeting the day before Halloween Havoc to discuss what has been happening backstage. The subject of being late to tapings came up, of course when Bischoff brought it up. Booker Dusty Rhodes, announcer Jesse Ventura were late to shows and Ricky Steamboat was late to another TV taping just three days after his suspension was over. Obviously, this was not acceptable, but this time they all revealed why they were continuing to be late and have a bad attitude. Dusty and Jesse were unhappy with the human glass ceiling, Hulk Hogan monopolizing the top spot and Ricky Steamboat did not like the backstage atmosphere. Dusty then revealed that Dan Spivey and Shane Douglas were both leaving the company for the WWF, citing unhappiness and a general dislike of a rather short booker they had nicknamed Bitchoff. The roster was overcrowded anyway, so Bischoff let them go. He restrained his displeasure with the nickname.

Halloween Havoc was rather ho hum for WCW, with the crowd only going nuts when Sting beat Ric Flair. The main event was a bit surprising as the no-selling was running wild, but The Giant fought Hulk Hogan to a draw. So the glass ceiling remained intact, at the displeasure of the media and critics covering the event. Unfortunately, the other matches were not very noteable.

In November, things were looking up again at the WWF. With their emotionally charged house shows and media attention thanks to several mistakes in the WCW, many people turned to the WWF to see what was the deal with them. They signed Mick Foley, his friend Max Payne, Jerry Sags, Dick Slater, The Barbarian and the Warlord. At one glimmer of hope, the WWF went overboard and went on a signing spree. Then in December, some off-beat stars made news. Z-Man Tom Zenk joined the WWF and got in a verbal argument with Vince McMahon. Also, Billy Jack Haynes was jailed for one year for assaulting a police officer.

Meanwhile, the November PPV featured the rematch between the Giant and Hulk Hogan in a No DQ match to determine a winner and this time Hogan came out on top. However, Vader positioned himself behind the Giant and you could see they were building Vader again, after Bischoff’s short obsession with the WWF stars was over.

WCW Clash of the Champions - November 1994

Dark Match: Dustin Rhodes defeated Psicosis

Steve Austin went to a no contest with Terry Funk

Chris Benoit and Saturn defeated The Kliq

Booker T defeated Lord Steven Regal by DQ

Sting defeated Owen Hart

Money Talks (Beautiful Bobby + Michael Wallstreet) defeated the Road Warriors for the WCW tag-titles

Ric Flair defeated Ricky Steamboat

Hulk Hogan defeated The Giant

Unfortunately, this was another one of WCW's lackluster shows, further solidifying the Glass Ceiling. Other companies, even the floundering WWF had more exciting main events. At the competition, the Macho Man Randy Savage succesfully defended the title against Kevin Sullivan, who was able to book his own match excellently. Hogan would later go on to credit Randy Savage for the good match, recalling Savage's excellent attention to detail in his own matches with him. Such comments began to become a regular occurrance and wrestlers like Ricky Steamboat began to question why some of the stronger "athletes" weren't on the card. For example, there was no explanation given for the absence of Bret Hart.

WCW just didn't take 1994's November show seriously, in comparison to Starrcade 1994. Starrcade usually had more build-up, while November's show did not. Starrcade usually had better matches and build-up, while November's show did not. Bret Hart began to become frustrated with his role, but he did not talk to anyone about, in comparison to someone like Kevin Nash, who would rather go out for drinks than talk over a match or concern himself about mistakes. Nash however, was liked by many of the younger wrestlers in this way. There seemed to be a widening gap in the age cliques that began to develop. For example, the media began to speculate that the reason why Bret Hart and Kevin Nash acted the way they did was because of their age.

Bischoff merely filed this little fact away and ignored it. He had other things to worry about, like the build-up to Starrcade and who to job to Hulk Hogan. He also wanted to job out most of the young wrestlers, but did in fact, go back on most of this in a meeting with The Booking Team. He then began to realize that some of the wrestlers were very important to WCW, especially Chris Benoit. He had been a solid fan favorite since coming from Japan and Benoit remained so even after he acquired Saturn as a partner. However, he lacked a regular gimmick that might give him that push.

Chris Benoit's intensity was what kept him in the ring while others like Kevin Nash were slowly slipping down it without one. Some critics began to argue that Nash and Waltman were not even close to being ready for being pushed, to begin with. Benoit however, acquired a gimmick that gave him that push. Benoit's intensity and cold aggression in the ring got him the nickname The Ice Man. Fans then wanted to see the Ice Man kick Lord Steven Regal's arrogant ass.

Edited by Nottavictim
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I like the "backstory" so far, but I'm really unsure as to where you plan on going with it. There hasn't been a real show of "This is the promotion I'm taking, this is who I am and this is what I have to work with" in comparison to the massive (well-booked AND well-written, might I add) backstory of "This is how things got the way they are".

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I like the "backstory" so far, but I'm really unsure as to where you plan on going with it. There hasn't been a real show of "This is the promotion I'm taking, this is who I am and this is what I have to work with" in comparison to the massive (well-booked AND well-written, might I add) backstory of "This is how things got the way they are".

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Starrcade 1994 was more successful than any recent show, exceeding them by a wide margin, 40,000 buys in fact. This was due to the marquee value of the main event, but certainly not the workrate. Vader and Hogan stunk up the arena, with Vader dominating, then Hogan making a comeback late to get the victory. This was the Hogan style. Not surprisingly, the workrate of the show came from the youngsters, led by Chris Benoit and Steve Austin.

However, the marquee value of the main event was not so easily dismissed. A majority of fans wanted Hogan to win, but Vader had to be built appropriately to be a legitimate threat. To do this, Vader press-slammed and threw Jimmy Hart out of the ring live on Nitro and inflicted pain on Hogan’s friends throughout the month. Vader also manipulated several other events. For example, the Giant tricked Hogan into the ring with him so Vader could run in, but Sting ran out too, at the last moment and saved the day. This Giant and Vader partnership was quite a big reveal for that month, as the two enemies of Hogan joined forces to becom a threat together. However, as Hogan added Sting to even the odds, it became a more fair war. In the end, the conflict was resolved at Starrcade with a Hogan win and a Sting victory over the Giant. Of course, many fans expected that, because faces were put over traditionally, at Starrcade. WCW did not seem to follow tradition this time, which critics said hurt the show.

The exception to this was the Canadian wrestlers and the stable itself, which seemed to inspire the fans as much as anti-hero Steve Austin. They were solid heels during December, with Davey Boy arrogantly flipping his dreadlocks and Owen gaining an evil laugh at just about every TV spot. He became more amused with his opponents than Brian Pillman, who was known for his arrogant cackling.

Starrcade 1994

Dark Match: Doom defeated The Kliq (Nash + Waltman)

Dark Match: Rick Rude defeated Saturn

Terry Funk defeated Owen Hart

Money Talks defeated Harlem Heat by DQ

Ricky Steamboat defeated Steve Austin

The Ice Man Chris Benoit defeated Lord Steven Regal for the US Title

6-Man Elimination: Davey Boy, Brian Pillman + Bret Hart defeated The Road Warriors + Paul Orndorff

The Rock n’ Roll Express defeated the Horsemen (Arn Anderson and Ric Flair)

Barry Windham defeated Dustin Rhodes w/Dusty Rhodes

Sting defeated Ric Flair

Hulk Hogan defeated Vader

Wrestlers still being pushed were anyone Canadian or Canadian-affiliated. Owen Hart started in WCW as a fun face, then turned heel thanks to his heat and confidence that he could be annoying. He was pitted against Bret Hart and as this feud built up, then he joined up with Davey Boy and Brian Pillman. In the storyline, Bret and Owen seemed to bury the hatchet in December and did favors for each other to prove this. On Nitro, Owen called in his favor by asking Bret to be in a 6-man tag with the Canadians at Starrcade. Bret reluctantly agreed, to keep the peace with his brother. The Road Warriors seemed distracted in the match, uncertain about Bret's new agreement. Animal could not bring himself to pin Bret Hart or take advantage as the heavy hitting Road Warriors usually did. To make the fans happy, they had a more interesting storyline with Owen Hart.

Early in December, Owen could not pin or defeat the resilient Terry Funk on Nitro. After Funk offered him respect with a handshake, Owen slapped him. Then in the following weeks, Owen used the mic to insult Funk’s age and compared him to his own father, saying he was too old to be in wrestling or even walking around with wrestlers like The Canadians. The crowd really got into him when Owen insulted Stu Hart. Stu Hart then showed up at Starrcade! Stu was on hand, thanks to the booking team position.

During Owen’s match versus Funk at Starrcade, Stu Hart walked down to the ringside. During the match, Owen was distracted and played up his cowardly heel character even more, whining and complaining about Stu‘s presence. Brian Pillman shoved Stu Hart after an argument and Bret Hart ran down to make the save. Owen walked to the ropes to yell his two cents, then Funk took advantage and rolled him up for the win. Afterward, Bret and Owen confronted each other in the ring again, but Stu slid in and got between them. In the end, it was Stu’s staredown that Owen couldn’t handle, the frowning eyes seemingly making him feel as guilty as he had ever felt. He hugged Stu and shook Bret Hart’s hand.

Another father-son confrontation occurred at Starrcade, between Dusty and Cowboy Dustin Rhodes. Except, in this case, Dusty had supported his son and stood by him even when Dustin continually argued with former friend Barry Windham. When Dusty tried to be peacemaker early in December, the attempt backfired and Dustin nearly ended up fighting with Barry in front of his father. At Starrcade, they met each other in the ring, but when Dustin tried to cheat to win a few times, Dusty at ringside prevented this from happening. Barry Windham came out with the win, but Dustin wouldn’t stop brooding. He stared angrily at his father, then he stalked backstage without him. WCW would certainly follow up on this in January.

WCW took advantage of some other hot wrestlers and pushed them at Starrcade. For example, Bobby Eaton had been teaming with Michael Wallstreet as money loving shysters. As Money Talks, Beautiful Bobby Eaton was a greedy and arrogant singles wrestler. They got an amazing reaction as Money Talks, even carrying and tossing around real money. They defended the tag-titles together at Starrcade, but by an unconvincing disqualification as the Rock n' Roll Express pushed the ref after trying to convince him about Beautiful Bobby's cheating. The Rock n' Roll Express cleared the ring however, and made the fans happy. Another hot wrestler was Steve Austin, who had been floundering for several months without Brian Pillman. Austin was later involved in a good match with Chris Benoit the following month, however the cheers continued. Bischoff was not happy with that reaction, so planned out some anti-wrestling promos for Austin, which of course struck a cord against Ricky Steamboat. Months of promos insulting Ricky Steamboat and others, in which Austin would call himself the best entertainer around, compared to Steamboat‘s old, aged style. To end it, they gave the win to Ricky Steamboat, even though it was obvious Austin was getting more over.

Another wrestler who was given attention at Starrcade was Chris Benoit, following up on the momentum The Ice Man started in November. Recalling the year, it was successful for him. Benoit had a short feud with Arn Anderson and Dean Malenko, having a series of good matches with Malenko in particular. He then had a brief feud with The Mountie, which pitted wrestling savvy against arrogant power. The Mountie cheated to win one time, but Benoit proved the better “wrestler” at Fall Brawl 1994 in September. A few months later he befriended Saturn, who tried to help him against the arrogant Steven Regal. Saturn was working well with a new, more driven gimmick of a scarred man beast. Saturn shaved his head and rarely spoke to emphasize his character‘s unwavering emotion and ability, which announcers put over as “genetic.” Regal paid Brian Knobbs and a few others to then beat up Benoit too, but they failed thanks to Saturn At Starrcade, Benoit not only took the US Title but beat Regal cleanly to do it.

Bischoff and The Booking Team sat down to analyze the roster in a meeting the week after Starrcade. Bischoff was gloating and in a good mood, now that the WWF was off mainstream TV and WCW had proved they could put on a good show. Dusty and Ric Flair weren’t so confident. Stu Hart reminded them that they still had no clear contender for the World Title anymore, as Hogan defeated just about everyone, including Bischoff’s WWF acquisitions. Flair mentioned Starrcade as an example of a PPV with good build, but then Bischoff added that Flair’s popularity was waning like the buyrates buyrates had prior to Starrcade. Another cheap plug for himself.

When the team came to no conclusion about any signings, Bischoff did not surprise everyone when he said Yokozuna asked for his release. Yokozuna was not even used at Starrcade and had no direction. He was merely a 1994 sacrifice to the human glass ceiling, as The Giant had. Bischoff could not believe what happened next.

Bischoff didn’t have long to bask in WCW's minor success during the war, as Jim Herd returned in January. Herd had replaced Scott Sassa as Turner’s Vice President because Sassa was put in charge of his own entertainment division of the company and pulled from what Herd called, “the basement,“ referring to WCW. Jim Herd immediately commented on the roster, called it “aged” and “elderly.” Flair walked out of WCW for this. Herd then sent him a “very heated” memo for doing so and told him to report to work on Monday. Flair did not come back to work. He also ’ordered’ the Booking Team to reduce the average age of the roster by not releasing younger wrestlers like Taka Michinoku, but the elderly veterans. Herd had no comment on whether Hogan was elderly or not. Then he ‘ordered’ them to come up with interesting gimmicks, and everyone in the locker room remembered how much Herd loved gimmicks, awful as they were. Jim Herd's most infamous gimmicks were The Hunchbacks, wrestlers with humps who couldnt be pinned and the Ding Dongs.

In WCW, it was pure dread.

Edited by Nottavictim
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When he was originally with WCW, Jim Herd personally came up with some of the most horrible gimmicks in history. However, he thankfully promised to leave the new gimmicks he wanted to The Booking Team. That’s what he said, anyway. As the team tried to follow Herd‘s order for new gimmicks, Dusty competed with Herd for the worst ideas ever. Bischoff changed Harlem Heat to wrestlers from New Jersey, saying that anyone from there was “tough as nails.” Dusty took it as step further, making them more than attitude. Dusty had them wear prison bodysuits and in a nice racist touch, said that they were criminals and proud of it. Needless to say, Bischoff anticipated Booker T’s growing popularity dropping off the map.

Booker T was one of the young wrestlers WCW had working hard. He was solid in the ring and had energy, whether he was good on the mic or not, as the effort was clearly there. Booker T and his partner Stevie Ray began in WCW with a silly gimmick with a white manager, but the Colonel departed WCW later and Harlem Heat transitioned out of their gimmicks to more modern wrestlers. Fans loved the name "Harlem Heat," as it seemed catchy and a good match for Booker T's energy. Booker T then invented a "spinning" move to his feet that would spark the crowd. It was a good move by Booker T and an example of the kind of improvisation that Harlem Heat was capable of, while other wrestlers like Kevin Nash, were not. Because of this energetic style, they seemed poised for real popularity, even getting a good reaction in their match against the annoying Money Talks at Starrcade. Then however, their growing popularity hit a pothole with the arrival of Jim Herd.

Reportedly, Harlem Heat hated their new gimmicks, but as young wrestlers, didn’t have the authority of someone like Ric Flair to refuse. Herd then moved onto other young wrestlers, suggesting gimmicks for The Kliq of Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman. The Kliq appeared in a high profile PPV a few months ago, then the following month in a dark match on PPV and then the next month, disappeared entirely.

Bischoff thought that it was a good idea for the floundering workers to get a gimmick, until he heard what Herd came up with. Kevin and Sean were going to dress up as flamboyant Vegas gamblers, who “strong-armed” opponents in the ring and “played the odds,” whatever that meant. In any case, Nash actually complained when he saw his bright green and red checkered outfit and his new name, Vinnie Vegas. Herd complicated matters when he brought in Tammy Synch and dressed her up as the team’s cocktail waitress. At the very least, the Vegas Gamblers had a nice looking valet. That was the only positive.

Meanwhile, Bischoff signed the solid WWF wrestler Jinesi Shinzaki to do a few matches with WCW, but the gimmick squad interfered. Herd ‘ordered’ the team come up with a new name for Shinzaki, something that would be catchy. Dusty liked the name Fuji, but reconsidered when he remembered there was already a Mister Fuji in wrestling. He then suggested Fungi, or Frungi, amongst other horrid names that meant nothing. Since he had to, Bischoff suggested The Shogun, who would dress as a Japanese traditional warrior. They went with that.

Lastly, Herd wanted one of the big men to be a “larger than life” monster, like Jason from the Friday the 13th movies. Bruce Hart reminded him that they already had a big man in The Giant, but Herd retorted that they didn’t have a “larger than life” big man. Herd’s notorious lack of wrestling history and knowledge was showing, as the Giant‘s spot and momentum was simply given away to Mean Mark, who had been doing very little. Herd changed Mean Mark’s gimmick, since that one was kind of shaky already. Flair thankfully had walked out so as not to witness the birth of the Mammoth Marauder.

Herd’s promise that he would “stay out of it” and allow the booking team to choose the gimmicks seemed to be a colossal joke. Bischoff was the next to walk out of the company. Herd then invented a feud with Hulk Hogan for the Marauder, which was confused and horrid. The Marauder began it by saying the “spirit of Earth” told him to cleanse the world of Hulk Hogan, which seemed to be his motivation for everything. This spirit of Earth became a backstage joke, as Kevin Nash told the wrestlers that the “spirit of Earth” was Jim Herd and that Earth was doomed, as the spirit of Earth was coming to destroy their careers.

New signee Rey Mysterio Jr. was used to promote WCW’s goal of more energetic wrestling and fast pasted openers, which Bischoff was known for. Unfortunately, he failed a drug test upon his initial screening and was suspended by Herd, without pay, until the PPV at the end of January. Herd had the other Mexicans sit around doing nothing too, until most of the cruiserweights went home. Herd didn’t understand the Mexcian wrestling style, as he told Psicosis to “slow down” and stop “jumping around,” referring to top rope moves.

Clash of the Champions in January was hyped to be a classic, but everyone in WCW knew it would never be. Then something happened that was surprising. Bret Hart stepped forward and asked for a lengthy match against either Ricky Steamboat or Sting, never having asked for anything before. With Flair absent, Herd agreed but reminded him that both of those men were faces and a face versus face match was unheard of. When Hart asked him to take a chance, Herd angrily declined. Hart was booked against new gimmick attraction, “The Mammoth” Marauder. Hart was then asked to job or rather lay down to give this gimmicky attraction the win. Feeling a flashback to the WWF, Hart then also walked out.

Even though Herd was getting frustrated with these wrestlers not “doing their jobs,” he met one last time to discuss the PPV with the remnants of the booking team. Not surprisingly, Stu and Bruce Hart reported that the new gimmick wrestlers were not getting much reaction, except for the Shogun (Jinsei Shinzaki), but they attributed that to his good wrestling ability. Regardless, Herd ‘challenged’ them to come up with a gimmick match for the main event. Even Dusty was tiring of Herd’s obsession with gimmicks by this point, so added nothing. A cage match was declined, as Herd wanted something more dramatic. He booked a Capital Punishment Cage match.. Weapons of all sorts were placed inside a steel cage and you could only win by ‘giving up’. Needless to say, Hogan wasn’t too happy about that.

When Herd caught wind that many people were being late to TV tapings because of some bad feelings and apprehension, he put his well-known Jim Herd fist down. He suspended Ricky Steamboat and Jesse Ventura, then did the same to Sid Vicious and Terry Funk, not even listening to their reasons. Most of what WCW had been disrupted by Herd’s suspensions and workplace practices. For example, the Hart brothers storyline was not followed up on because Bret Hart had not come back for work, so Owen was shoved into a match against Davey Boy at the PPV. That happened to be the only good match on the card, as the grumpy Owen was given the win. This however, did not earn Herd a friend.

Clash of the Champions, January 1995

Dark Match: Saturn defeated Dr. Death

Paul Orndoff defeated Rick Rude

Owen Hart defeated Davey Boy Smith for the WCW Television Title

Road Warriors defeated the Vegas Gamblers (Vinnie Vegas and Strongarm Sean)

Chris Benoit defeated the Mountie by submission

The Dirty Criminals (The Bookman + Stevie Ray Flash) defeated the Rock n’ Roll Express

The Giant, Steve Austin and the Honky Tonk Man drew with Doom and Sting when a count out occurred.

Dustin Rhodes defeated Dusty Rhodes

Big Van Vader defeated Barry Windham

Capital Punishment Cage: Hulk Hogan defeated the Marauder

Dusty Rhodes returned to the ring, first to try to boost buy-rates and second, to feud with his son. Dustin had turned heel earlier that month and got little reaction until Dusty involved himself in the feud. At Starrcade, Dustin had walked out and started the feud, but again Herd was not happy with this hot feud. And for some of the same reasons as he had been harping on all along: age. He hated Dusty wrestling again. So the match was less than five minutes and the win was given to Dustin, but fans were shocked. There was no way Dustin, the heel, could defeat southern traditional hero Dusty Rhodes in five minutes. Of course, Herd had no clue Dusty was a hero, southern or otherwise.

It really was a horrible month and buyrates dropped, because usual WCW stars like Ric Flair were missing. The Booking Team had to meet with the Jim Herd about the future, but dealing with him was not pleasant. Jim Herd tried to control most of the meeting and argued with most of the suggestions that contradicted his own, especially those from Stu Hart. Stu had a suggestion to use Paul Orndorff and the Honky Tonk Man in a high profile match or two and even had a feud suggestion. Jim Herd then called those wrestlers "tired and old." When the meeting ended, the next month was as unclear as the first.

The Booking Team

Jim Herd - hates people who dont "do their jobs"

(absent) Eric Bischoff - hates Jim Herd

(absent) Ric Flair - hates Jim Herd

Stu Hart - doesnt mind Jim Herd, hates Jim Herd

Bruce Hart - dislikes Jim Herd's ideas

Dusty Rhodes - hates Jim Herd's ideas

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Ted Turner called Eric Bischoff at the end of January to ask how the PPV went, but when Eric Bischoff answered that he didn’t know because he wasn’t there, Turner got confused. Bischoff then explained what had happened with Jim Herd and everything that was said. Turner was understanding. Bischoff then told him about Bret Hart, Ric Flair and the suspensions of the other wrestlers, Turner started to actually take an interest now. If anything, Turner just didn’t want any conflicts. He wanted his little wrestling show to go on without pause and was a little disturbed by all the conflict, so he simply fired Jim Herd completely and offered Eric Bischoff the lead job as executive producer of WCW.

Finally, this was what Eric Bischoff wanted all along. He felt a bit guilty that Jim Herd’s comeback only lasted a month, but not too much. WCW celebrated backstage, giving Bischoff a cake and Kevin Nash buying drinks. Bischoff went to WCW’s offices and the first thing he did was call Ric Flair. Flair was more than happy to hear that Herd had gone, then after Bischoff’s insurances, promised to return. Bret Hart also did the same. Bischoff lifted the suspensions of the others, recruited the Mexicans again and tried to return WCW to what it had been before Herd.

This was what The Booking Team did on a Monday in February as they all met to discuss the future. Bischoff didn’t act like dictator Herd, listening to each side of any discussion, but seemed to resolve each problem successfully in time. First, Bischoff tossed the criminal gimmick and returned Booker T and Stevie Ray to Harlem Heat, hoping that Herd hadn’t ruined them for the titles. However, there was a bigger problem with the Vegas Gamblers aka the Kliq and the Marauder aka Mean Mark. They had been devalued so much in the eyes of the fans that it seemed impossible to get either of them over again. Mean Mark was the most over, so he held onto him for a little longer and released the Kliq. Herd was really the enemy now, as Bischoff hated giving up valuable talent that the other wrestlers were comfortable with. A few other wrestling companies were interested, especially in Kevin Nash. Also, Bischoff had very little for those that were absent, but tried to give everyone a little something.

In February 1995, the WWF got a new TV show as they started from scratch. The show was called WWF Wrestling Challenge. This had been a name of an 80s show, which returned in a new form that the company hoped would be appealing in more general markets. Meanwhile, they released Dan Spivey and signed the Macho Man to a long term deal. Also, the WWF signed James Townsend, a professional weight lifter who had an uncanny build like the British Bulldog, deputing him in a high profile match on Nitro. He was green, but his look and charisma were incredible. Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman both signed with Memphis Wrestling in only a few weeks after their release from WCW. And lastly, Gorilla Monsoon returned to the WWF! Everyone in the wrestling community was happy about that, as Monsoon and Vince finally ironed out their differences.

Over at WCW, they were busy as well. After releasing some of Bischoff’s WWF recruits or rather flops, they signed “Gentlemen” Chris Adams and teamed him up with Steven Regal, putting them both back into an English snob gimmick. They called the duo The Queen’s Team, referring to the “Queen” of England. Bischoff also had them wear puffy shirts, which was a humorous touch. WCW also turned the Road Warriors heel in an interesting storyline that Bischoff was excited about. It was quite simple, they were jealous of the young team Harlem Heat getting a title shot at SuperBrawl. Nothing complicated. WCW ran a series of vinettes in which Jim Cornette was working up the Road Warriors by telling them about all the success these “hard hitters” were having or had. He was quite good at playing the weasel, calling for “road warriors respect” in his new manager duties with the team. So Harlem Heat had a ready-made challenger to feud with while they worked with Money Talks in the ring.

One time, the Road Warriors were beating down the Rock n’ Roll express in the ring, then The Giant surprisingly ran down to make the save. WCW turned the huge Giant face! WCW was in the TriState area for Nitro when it happened and it was definitely the loudest reaction of the night, especially when he chucked the two large Warriors out of the ring. Fortunately, WCW mingled all three of their high profile teams in a feud in February, even building their tag-matches, which wasn’t a priority in the past,

Unfortunately, there had to be some bad news to ruin Bischoff’s month. Ron Simmons and Butch Reed had both decided to leave the company. Reed refused to negotiate and Simmons thought of retiring, being burned out on the business. Brian Knobbs also left WCW at the end of February, when USWA promised a Nasty Boys reunion if Knobbs signed. The WWF then promised the same thing and Knobbs decided to sign there instead. .Dr. Death Steve Williams stepped up and FINALLY was granted a hardcore match, which gained him a rare victory. Dr. Death was completely comfortable wrestling hardcore, even smacking The Giant with a chair when he ran out to save Terry Funk from an attack. Dr. Death intelligently vacated the ring as the Giant turned to grab him, but Dr. Death earned his paycheck that month with a staredown that was really intense. His effort earned him a match with the Giant at SuperBrawl, which was hardcore, but he brought a kendo stick with him anyway. On the outside, The Hangman clubbed the big man with it while Dr. Death distracted the referee a few times but right prevailed and The Giant choke slammed the heel for the victory. He then worked a leg injury and could barely walk to the back thanks to The Executioners, putting forth the effort even after it was over.

A series of NJPW workers got into trouble in February. Eddy Guerrero, who was playing the Black Tiger, failed a drug test, so was released. Rumors are that he was at a party with several others from the company, including Americans Scott Norton and Art Barr. No one else was released however and these “drug” reasons were given as explanation. No one knows if this was true, as Guerrero did not speak about it and he was never charged with anything. He returned to the USA, but after wrestling one show with ECW, he signed immediately with WCW. Bischoff was impressed by this young cruiserweight from tales he heard from Chris Benoit and his other Japanese contacts. Needless to say, some staffers who were fans of the big men were disappointed.

That month, one other thing happened of note. Bischoff created yet another successful storyline when he pitted the floundering Steve Austin against Bret Hart. The crowd was divided in who to cheer for, as they built a series of no decision matches toward SuperBrawl. This no-decision matches were the best Nitro had for months, even eclipsing the main event several times. Then Bischoff wanted to put Austin over again for the win at the PPV, but he refused, saying that no one would believe “…a redneck like me winning over a class-act like Hart.” Bischoff got the idea for a redneck character after this conversation, a bad ass redneck, not a stereotypical slob. Everyone seemed to agree the blonde-haired prima-donna character was not working. Together, Hart and Austin began to show he was a bad ass out of the ring, which helped the character most. For example, Austin came up with a draw decision for the match and an aftermath that favored Austin in an attack.

Some others in WCW were not featured on SuperBrawl because of Herd’s interference, so Bischoff was unable to build them. This included Ric Flair. Flair hadn’t worked a match since the confrontation with Herd, although had returned to work in the Booking Team, helping others plan theirs. However, the crowd knew their favorite wrestler was missing, perhaps having heard rumors from the media about WCW’s troubles. At one point, they began chanting ’We Want Flair’ during Nitro when Harley Race was trying to do his latest Authority promo in hype of SuperBrawl. Herd had also ruined Mark Callous’s character(s), so WCW had nothing for him as well. Brian Pillman was put into an uncomfortable position as he moved up the card to replace these missing men, but took advantage and put on a good match with Steamboat. It was a rather lackluster PPV without some of the main eventers, but a completely better show than in Jim Herd January.

SuperBrawl - February 1995

Dark Match: Samu the Savage defeated Shogun

Dark Match: Owen Hart defeated Dustin Rhodes by DQ

Paul Roma defeated Psicosis and Rey Mysterio Jr.

Bret Hart drew with Steve Austin

Rock n’ Roll Expess defeated the Road Warriors

The Giant defeated Dr. Death

The Horsemen defeated Chris Benoit & Saturn

Harlem Heat defeated Money Talks for the WCW Tag-titles

Ricky Steamboat defeated Brian Pillman

Sting defeated Davey Boy Smith

Big Van Vader went to a no contest with Hulk Hogan

WWF Wrestling Challenge debuted as a new two hour show syndicated on ABC. It was quite a good move by the WWF, unfortunately the show was placed on Monday. Eric Bischoff couldn’t believe it. Fortunately, he calmed down some when he learned it would be on at a different time than Nitro, so they weren’t going to go head to head again, but since the show was taped, ABC affiliates could take the syndicated show and put it on anytime Monday that they wanted. For example, on the west coast, Nitro was in the late night but in the Detroit market it was early evening. Nitro was live and was less flexible in comparison, although had a more consistent timeslot.

Sid Vicious did a few Nitro matches, but was upset with nothing more, but again was a victim of Herd's intereference. Since the departure of Dangerous Dan Spivey, Vicious was left without much to do. Well, a few weeks later, Vicious was even more upset. He began to talk to Bischoff about this wrestler Paul Silva, who was a Brazilian man and a giant, saying the two could put on a good match together. Silva was even into wrestling. He had been working in Brazil and touring around the World after being such a high profile amateur wrestler in the 1992 Olympics for Brazil. WCW signed him on Sid’s recommendation and Bischoff had one look at him, then feared he had made a “Jim Herd” move. Silva couldn’t wrestle, not professionally anyways. He also needed muscle mass, but did have an imposing stare if nothing else. They turned Jimmy Hart heel as soon as possible to give Silva a voice, because he couldn’t speak much English either. Vicious was put as Silva’s partner so the uncomfortable looking big man wouldn’t have to wrestle much, but many people thought it was punishment. Anyway, Bischoff felt a bit misled by Sid, although Stu Hart nicknamed him “The Beast,” and booked Silva as a simple, imposing figure with a group of misfits. In fact, that’s what they called them, The Misfits. At least they got a stable going, if nothing else.

Bischoff tried to find a few guys to match Stu Hart’s creative idea. He signed Balls Mahoney, keeping him a brawler, but changed him into a street mobster or thug called New Jersey Jim. Bischoff’s obsession with New Jersey continued, but this time, he didn’t let Dusty to ruin it. He also added Samu the Savage since he was already part of the roster and had no direction. Then the Great Muta returned to WCW! Unbelievably, WCW was able to sign Muta to a short term contract, as NJPW had a conflict with him regarding the earlier contract ruling that came down in WCW’s favor. NJPW asked him to sign a new contract and take a pay cut too, but he refused and worked without a contract until WCW contacted him.

The series of matches with Bret Hart really got Steve Austin over, and he was smart not to pin Hart clean, instead emphasizing his “bad ass” redneck character outside the ring. This character was different from the prima-donna who everyone thought was a whiner. The new “bad ass” threw drinks in Hart’s face, scooping them from fans and announcers alike, kicked around Owen Hart with a weapon, then brawled with Bret when the Canadian hero ran out to stop him. It was a classic feud like another one WCW was having, but on a smaller scale. One of the Mexican wrestlers, Psicosis, injured Paul Orndorff legitimately that month and WCW incorporated it into the storyline. They had Paul Roma, one half of Pretty Wonderful, confront the “evil” Psicosis, but they grouped some of the other Mexicans behind Psicosis in support. Clearly, Psicosis was the most over of any of them. The Mexcians attacked Paul Roma and Orndorff ran out, even with his injured back. He made the save, but at great risk. He would later be seen holding his back and laboring around, working his acting skill for the camera. Roma was given more and more obstacles until put into a triangle match at SuperBrawl, which he won. No thanks to the Mexicans, which Orndorff had to scare off.

The colorful hero Sting was given a singles match after being involved in more tag-matches the previous month. He was a little more over than most of the main eveners, except Flair and Hogan. But the SuperBrawl match with Davey Boy Smith really had a chance to put over Smith and get The Canadians some TV time. Sting built it by coming out to the ring with Ricky Steamboat, especially when there was a Canadians confrontation chance. Bischoff wanted to avoid more tag-matches with Sting though, so did that by turning it around and having the Canadians act a little more cowardly than they had been. Pillman fit this bill easily, but it was a little harder with Davey Boy Smith, a big man who seemed unafraid of most everything in the past. They had Sting fight on the outside, which seemed to do the trick, as Sting with a chair would inspire fear in anyone.

Lastly, they had Ric Flair return at SuperBrawl, but with no match, instead in a more classic fashion. Flair came out for a promo, introduced by the other Horsemen. Surprisingly, the place lit up. Bischoff later thought about it and should have expected such a reaction, as their most consistent wrestler was absent during a trying period. Flair shook hands with his heel buddies and laughed a bit, said a few cocky things, but nothing would damper the crowd from cheering him. Flair even helped the Horsemen cheat to win over Chris Benoit and Saturn, which again caused a favorable reaction. Ric Flair was back and everyone loved it.


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WCW Spotlight On....


Hulk Hogan - Hogan plays the all-american gimmick that he was known for in the WWF. WCW cashed in on Hulkamania in 1993, highlighting him in each and every large show they did at the end of the month. He even beat Vader for the World Title his first month in the company, stabilizing WCW from dropping as the wrestling business declined. In comparison, the WWF experienced that drop while building new stars, something WCW did not do. Hogan is definately the franchise of WCW, but crowds are not responding the same as they were in 1993, leading some to believe Hulkamania is getting tired and old.

Sid Vicious - Sid was spotlighted on many 1993 PPVs, especially against Hulk Hogan, but has recently become undependable. He has had a few conflicts backstage, especially with Jim Herd, who suspended Vicious after he was late to TV tapings. Vicious did not have a history of being late, however Herd suspended him anyway. Vicious plays a mean heel with a vicious streak, hence his name. Vicious has partenered with The Beast Paul Silva recently, who himself has acquired the help of The Misfits, a new stable. These new Misfits were never main events, but were boosted some thanks to Sid Vicious appearing with them.

The Misfits

Jimmy Hart - The inspirational leader

New Jersey Jim - Balls Mahoney, a rough street thug who always wore ripped clothes

The Great Muta - A green mist spitting savage from Japan.

Samu the Savage - A snarling samoan savage, who had been a headshrinker in the WWF

The Beast w/ Sid Vicious - Paul Silva, 7’3 tall. Recruited by Vicious, but very green

Mean Mark - His new character, The Mammoth Marauder, according to Jim Herd, failed. He then returned to street thug, Mean Mark. It was evident that the Marauder gimmick was another Jim Herd classic, meaning it was horrible. The Marauder was a stone age Barbarian who wore a ripped loincloth type of jumpsuit. Mark's crazy hair was even more crazy, looking unkept as his new character. It was quite the opposite of The Undertaker, who he played in the WWF. The company was fiercely protective of The Undertaker character, threatening to sue WCW if Mark appeared with even a glimmer of a similarity to the Undertaker. Without this gimmick, 1995 seems to be one of Mark's declining years and it remains to be seen if he will compete in the main event again.

Ric Flair - Flair is the man. A traditional wrestler, he has clashed with both Bischoff and Jim Herd, although had never walked out on WCW until recently. When he returned a little over a month later, it seemed to be a cause for celebration. Flair is the spokesman of the Four Horsemen, a heel stable which beats down wrestlers who get in their way and is aggressive in other ways. In 1992, the Four Horsemen disbanded, Flair was absent and things seemed bleak for the stable. However, a great storyline returned them in 1993, when Flair turned on Sting, when they were a tag-team together. Ole however, has recently been talking of retiring completely, but the Horsemen remain a strong draw regardless. When they reformed, they were Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, Ric Flair and Ole Anderson, with manager JJ Dillon. After his return, the fans began to cheer all the Horsemen, not just Flair. Flair however, was the fan favorite.

The Four Horsemen

Ric Flair w/ JJ Dillon

Arn Anderson

Dean Malenko

Ole Anderson

Sting - The colorful Sting was a character in the same vein as the high energy Road Warriors, who were also face painters. However, in Sting's case, he was less about throwing around power moves and more about working the crowd. He always wore colorful clothes and matching face-paint, although was excluded from a few 1994 PPVs on account of the booking team, who found it was more important to put him as an anchor for WCW. For example, he was named the babyface War Games team captain and was involved in many tag-matches with different face partners who needed a boost from Sting's popularity. As it has waned a little in 1995, they cannot go to Flair this time, as Flair was being cheered.

Bret Hart - When Bret Hart joined WCW, it seemed everyone wanted to see join brother Owen Hart in The Canadians stable. However, WCW delayed their intentions and in a old-school style, built a confrontation between the brothers a bit more slowly. Hart also argued with Herd when Hart stepped up and asked for a match, something he had never done before, in any company. Herd was so uncompromising that Hart walked out of WCW, but later returned. In February 1995, Bret Hart was responsible for building Steve Austin in their series of inconclusive matches. This small feud expanded into a larger one that helped Austin. They would certainly meet for some more action in March.

Big Van Vader - vader was the most feared wrestler in WCW, almost literally. Some people retired or walked out seeing that they had to face Vader when he was headlining WCW Saturday Night in 1993. After that show was cancelled, Vader remained WCW Champion until Hogan signed with the company in August. He doesnt seem able to back down from anyone or anything, causing some good reactions for underdog faces who seem small in comparsion to Vader.

Road Warriors - The heavyweight wrestlers Animal and Hawk were easily the top tag-team for many years. In 1993, they were champions and selected as the Kliq's initial feud, being dominant faces that Nash and Waltman would look good beating up. Since losing the titles, they have been floudering a little. Harlem Head and The Queen's Team gained a bit more popularity, one because of Booker T's energy and another because of Steven Regal's gimmick. They perhaps will always be solid contributors to WCW, making the most of any tag-match. When a tag-team has a match against the Road Warriors, they know they've made it.

Honorable mentions as sometime main eventers: Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham and Davey Boy Smith

On the next WCW Spotlight...the Booking Team and staff. Get behind the scenes with WCW Spotlight!

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In March, the problem of cheering for Ric Flair continued. They cheered a bit less for The Four Horsemen though, especially Arn Anderson, who had gained a good amount of skill on the mic from his years with the company. The logical thing to do would be to turn Flair face due to these crowd reactions and perhaps have him face one of the more popular heels, perhaps even one of the Horsemen. This was not something that any of them wanted to do. But after a brief meeting with Bischoff, Flair agreed to a rivalry with Arn Anderson, a friend who he could trust to work hard to build the feud. The Nitro after SuperBrawl, the Horsemen were beating down the tag-champs, Harlem Heat. Ricky Steamboat ran down to make the save, but instead of the Horsemen getting the better of the three men, the Horsemen were all tossed from the ring instead. Flair played up this embarrassment and later told Arn, Ole and Dean that they were not “doing their part,” especially Arn. Arn seemed to take it personally and walked out on Flair and the team.

At the monthly meeting of The Booking Team, Flair spent all his time talking about the feud with Arn. He added little details that very few fans might pick out. For example, Flair pushed the fact that Arn Anderson could reverse more of Flair’s moves, being that he was his best friend. These little things added to the feud, but Bischoff began to become bored by the absorption of time. After Flair was done, Bischoff announced that he was going to end the Canadians stable with a match at the PPV that month where both Hart brothers were going to go against Pillman and Davey Boy. He decided the Canadians had run their course and that Owen Hart could turn face, partner with his brother Bret and compete with the other two Canadians, Brian and Davey Boy. Stu Hart didn’t seem to agree with this, as fans had been seeing Owen as a heel for a long time, even when he was a face at the start of his WCW appearances. He was boo’d even in the beginning when he was not with the annoying Canadians and Stu doubted he could now get cheers. While Stu’s argument seemed logical, Bischoff banked on the partnership with Bret Hart could give Owen the rub to be a good babyface.

After this brief discussion, the conversation changed to one about Hogan’s next challenger. He had beaten just about everyone in WCW, including everyone Bischoff brought in from the WWF. However, it was Sid Vicious who had not been seen in the main event for a while and seemed a logical choice. Bischoff really didn’t like putting him in the main event as he began to become known for his instability again. Bischoff became a little more convinced when Stu Hart suggested a tag-match with Hogan and Sting against the Misfits. Reportedly, the Misfits were supposed to be a high profile team and Paul Silva aka The Beast, was supposed to be the most high profile of them all. His size fed right into the “big man“ look that was currently popular in wrestling.

Paul Silva aka The Beast did not debut well. He was put with New Jersey Jim against Pretty Wonderful on Nitro and the match was atrocious. The Booking Team thought they could hide his weaknesses in tag-matches, but Balls Mahoney certainly wasn’t the best wrestler either. The Beast’s matches continued to be horrendous and Balls did just about everything he could to carry the matches, but ended up taking most matches to the outside, where the match would be less about wrestling and more about banging opponents with chairs. He was an ECW veteran, after all. Needless to say, WCW kept trying, despite these bumps.

The new heel Road Warriors began to build their popularity again, now that they were able to conflict with teams like Harlem Heat or the Rock n’ Roll Express. They began building this momentum with their short feud with the Rock n’ Roll Express, who they could always beat down on the sidelines, but not pin in the ring. Finally, after they pinned them and beat them down on a Nitro, Harlem Heat ran out to save the Rock n’ Roll Express. This easily transitioned the Road Warriors into their next feud, which seemed to have more energy. As heels, the Road Warriors could add a bit more to their hard hitting moves, such as kicks to the groin when the referee was distracted. They also could stomp or pound on Booker T in ways faces could not. This added element helped the feud

When Arn Anderson returned to Nitro after walking out on the Horsemen, he built a feud with Flair. He did this by speaking on the mic, in contrast to the Road Warriors, who built their feud in the ring. However, they did get involved in a physical confrontation one time when Flair was in the main event with Bret Hart. Arn and Ole Anderson walked to ringside and seemed content to watch the match with the TV announcers, but in classic heel style, interrupted when Flair fell from the ring. Ole acted as if he might help Flair up or back into the ring, but ended up sending him colliding over the steel steps instead. After they beat up Flair, they left and Arn seemed stronger or more threatening because of the confrontation. Arn seemed to have Dean Malenko or Ole on his side at all times.

Several other interesting stories besides Ric Flair climaxed at the Clash of the Champions, beginning with an Austin feud with Owen Hart. It began in classic Austin ways, as he again walked the thin line between heel or face. The fans didn’t seem to care either way, as they would cheer Austin both if he kicked Owen in the groin or told him to kiss his ass. He began a series of promos against Owen Hart, insulting him and calling him vulgar names. Austin said he was going to “kick Owen’s ass for the TV title, then sit in my damn lawn chair and have a beer.” With redneck tendancies, Austin did just that, carrying out a lawn chair and a beer as he called out the Harts on the next Nitro. When Bret answered his call and started telling him to leave his brother alone, Austin said from his lawnchair, "Hey listen, you know what, I was thinking. Even shit can be the best there is, the best there was and the best the ever will be. Now go get Owen so I can kick his ass."

Chris Benoit surprisingly began a feud with Money Talks, Beautiful Bobby and Michael Wallstreet. As the US champion, Benoit had a match in defense versus Bobby, which he won despite some obvious cheating attempts. But undaunted, Michael Wallstreet next challenged Benoit for the title but instead of just facing him with his partner, softened him up with backstage attacks. He also hired the Japanese warrior, Shogun, to attack Benoit. Wallstreet then appeared in a series of vinettes which were good examples of building the feud that helped hype the duo as real cheapskates, cheating to win in almost every instance. Beautiful Bobby helped Wallstreet the US Title. It was quite obvious that Bobby slipped Wallstreet some brass knucks to knock out Benoit during the match, but the referee never saw it. After Benoit complained to Harley Race, a rematch was made for the end of the month in order to settle it. Benoit would regain his title, thanks to Beautiful Bobby being banned from ringside.

Clash of the Champions - March 1995

Dark Match: Eddie Guerrero defeated Rey Mysterio Jr.

Dark Match: Terry Funk defeated Shogun

Ricky Steamboat defeated Dustin Rhodes

The Hart Brothers defeated The Canadians (Brian Pillman + Davey Boy)

Chris Benoit defeated Michael Wallstreet for the US Title

Barry Windham defeated the Mountie

Steve Austin defeated Owen Hart for the TV Title

The Road Warriors defeated Harlem Heat for the tag-titles

The Giant beat Big Van Vader by DQ

Arn Anderson went to a no contest with Ric Flair

Hulk Hogan + Sting defeated The Beast + Sid Vicious

A record two stables dissolved in March, the Canadians and the Four Horsemen. The Misfits, led by a now heel Jimmy Hart, were the only remaining stable. Possibly the match of 1995 so far was Arn Anderson versus Ric Flair, which was an emotionally charged combination that could only end one way: a draw. The Four Horsemen all were at ringside taunting Flair when the match overflowed into a big brawl. Certainly, one match was not enough to settle the rivalry between the Andersons and Flair, but the rivalry shifted to include Ole. Ole Anderson stood up for his friends and clocked Ric Flair himself on Nitro, beginning a physical confrontation that had never been seen between the two Horsemen.

Amazingly enough, Ricky Steamboat ran down to make the save as he had in early March. He and Flair cleared the ring and then shook hands to a huge reaction. It seemed like a flashback to when Sting helped out Flair a while back. Fans kept wondering if the same thing would happen to Ricky Steamboat as had happened to Sting, or if Flair would refrain from being the dirtiest player in the game.

The main event of the Clash in March was horribly sub-pair and certainly not up to what WCW could produce. Sid obviously carried the match on his side and a confrontation with Hogan drew little heat, which was mysterious. After Vicious softened Hogan up, The Beast finally entered the ring after a tag and gave Hogan a few swift kicks as he stayed away from ‘wrestling’ moves. He then locked on a headlock to delay time even further. Hogan then ‘hulked’ up out of the headlock, elbowed the Beast and confronted him with a wagging finger. When The Beast stood toe to toe with Hogan it really came off well, but the Beast was clotheslined from the ring before any actual wrestling ruined the match. The conclusion was done with Sid Vicious and The Misfits ran down and attacked Hogan, causing an immediate DQ. Sting cleared the ring afterwards, and everyone seemed happy with that.

The Misfits:

Jimmy Hart - The inspirational leader

New Jersey Jim - The rough street thug who always wore ripped clothes

The Great Muta - A green mist spitting savage.

Samu the Savage - A snarling savage

The Beast - Paulo Silva, 7’3 giant

Lastly, WCW hyped the confrontation of the two giants in wrestling, Vader and the Giant. Their hype machine was working overtime for this one, but it lacked the emotion of a Horsemen split. Mainly, the hype was just enough to get fans to tune in to see what this confrontation was about between these two large men. However, WCW played a few videos and Vader promos and did not have the two meet until the final Nitro in March. On it, Vader actually walked out of the ring when the Giant came down, instead of confronting him, selling the Giant's size that could actually threaten Vader. At the Clash, the two men finally met in the ring and the result was an average match, again feuled by hype. Vader squished the Giant in the corner several times as he tried to drop the Giant off his feet, but when he did, Vader missed a big splash. The Giant stood up and then lifted Vader off his feet, in a high bodyslam that was a good show of power. However, Vader then began biting the Giant, and clamped down on his finger, as Vader was showing frustration. After one warning, the referee disqualified him and the match ended in a traditional brawl with Vader being dumped from the ring. The fans celebrated this face victory.

At the competition, the WWF was pushing the Steiners, but now in singles. Scott Steiner couldn’t capture the title from the Macho Man however. The match of the night was Mankind versus Shawn Michaels, a brutal street fight that had Michaels beat Mankind senseless with an assortment of weapons. The WWF seemed to succeed a bit more than WCW in showcasing their younger talent. For example, the WWF let Mankind wrestle hardcore, allowed Michaels to show his cocky side in promos, and pushed the Steiners in more confrontations. WCW had a big seven foot giant wrestling tag-team. And wrestling badly.

However, WCW did have exciting young wrestlers that the WWF could not say had been made in their competition, namely Steve Austin. Steve Austin was WCW‘s first anti-hero. Bischoff identified this type of character after seeing Shawn Michaels cut a few cocky promos on television, confused on whether he was a a heel or face. He would do some of the same things as Austin, calling people names and assaulting authority figures. Michaels differed as he motioned to his crotch for emphasis, and could do a bit more wrestling in the ring. This anti-hero movement was new and different in wrestling. The WWF grew a few more anti-heroes thanks to the positive reaction, such as the Smoking Gunns, Billy and Bart Gunn, who needed some sort of direction anyway. Bart Gunn would play it up similar to Brian Pillman, laughing and acting cocky. But instead of contrasting him with a tough guy like Davey Boy, Billy Gunn relied on jokes or silly comments. Bischoff did not find it surprising when these two were partnered with Shawn Michaels himself. Wrestling was growing with anti-heroes.

Edited by Nottavictim
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WCW Spotlight On...

The Booking Team and staff

Welcome again to WCW spotlight. Today's spotlight is on the booking team and staff. The booking team is led by Eric Bischoff, executive productor of WCW. His booking team is Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Stu Hart and Bruce Hart.

Eric Bischoff - Bischoff is a blackbelt in karate and graduate of the University of Minnesota. He began his wrestling career in AWA and was an announcer in WCW for many years before being promoted to the booking team by Scott Sassa. Bischoff's style of booking is fast-paced, which he showed in booking lucha or Mexican wrestlers as openers. He is also a fan of the big veteran wrestlers, which is why he stole The Undertaker and Yokozuna from the WWF, although both seem to have failed. Bischoff also likes extra hype, videos or vinettes.

Dusty Rhodes - Traditional hero Dusty Rhodes likes a lot of entertainment in his wrestling, putting out some good and bad ideas over the years. He tries to balance this with an emphasis in wrestling, such as with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko or the Great Muta. He booked WCW Saturday Night by himself until 1993 when Bischoff made changes to WCW's presentation of its TV shows. They now include a more variety of matches, such as classic big man brawls, technical matches or the rare hardcore.

Ric Flair - Flair acts as the liason with the locker room and is clearly the senior veteran of the company. He supported WCW when they broke from the NWA and merged the then NWA World Title with the WCW World title. Flair's booking style is more storyline based, which he believes is done through promos and the microphone. He tends to be confrontational when he sees something he greatly opposes, such as when Jim Herd tried to bully around wrestlers in the company. However, he is traditional, unlike Bischoff, opposing use of Mexican wrestlers or hardcore matches.

Stu Hart and Bruce Hart - Stu Hart began his own wrestling promotion in 1948 in Calgary, Canada. Stampede Wrestling became known as a good place to get some experience in wrestling and Stu Hart trained many wrestlers for the company and on his own time after he retired. "The Dungeon" graduated Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Edge, Bret Hart, Owen Hart and others. Stu's wrestling style is straightfoward, but thinks it is important that each wrestler present something unique. For example, Chris Benoit could be the best wrestler, but it is in the way he presents himself and his matches that will make people remember him. Bruce Hart worked backstage for Stampede Wrestling after his father retired from the company, discovering such talents as the Dynamite Kid, Brian Pillman and Davey Boy Smith.

Other Staff

Announcers for WCW Nitro

Tony Schiavone - lead announcer

Mike Tenay - assistant announcer, the professor of wrestling knowledge

Jesse Ventura - color commentator

Announcers for WCW WorldWide

Mike Tenay - lead announcer

Michael Hayes - color commentator

Dusty Rhodes - 2nd color commentator


Jim Cornette - Booker of Smokey Mountain Wrestling until its bankruptcy. Now manages the heel Road Warriors.

Kimberly - WCW diva, manager and on-screen wife of Diamond Dallas Page

Tammy Synch - Known as Tammy Lynn on-screen, diva and part-time manager

Teddy Long - Manager of Doom before they left WCW

Harley Race - commissioner of WCW

Jimmy Hart - Manager of the Misfits

JJ Dillon - Manager of the Four Horsemen

Road Agents

Larry Zybysko

Nick Brockwinkel

Harley Race

Eric Bischoff

Ric Flair

On the next WCW Spotlight...tag-teams! Get behind the scenes with WCW Spotlight!

Edited by Nottavictim
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The problems in WCW's locker room escalated in April. At least a half-dozen people were all late to TV tapings, house shows or a combination. This included typical late-comers like Jesse Ventura and Ricky Steamboat, but also Terry Funk, new acquisition Terry Synch, Dusty Rhodes and others. Bischoff could not control these people with his usual casual demenor. When memos and warnings didn’t work, he created a flat fine for each time, but even that seemed ineffective. Jim Herd would have approached the situation with more force, but Bischoff wanted to get to the heart of why these people were late. In some cases, people explained it was the human glass ceiling Hulk Hogan that they hated, the backstage atmosphere, or even minor things like the parking. But reasons changed daily. His fines continued.

Speaking of locker room troubles, in early April a situation happened in the WWF which troubled Vince McMahon. Jim Neidhart got into a confrontation with former booking team member Kevin Sullivan, but no punches were thrown. This doesn’t seem to even compare to WCW troubles however.

To deal with the glass ceiling, Dusty suggested they give the title to Vader and transition it onto other faces. So Bischoff contemplated that for a few weeks, then delayed a decision when he said Hogan needed to lead the War Games team this year. Vader somehow was leaked this and was understandably upset. Bischoff thought the leak in the Booking Team was Dusty, then changed his mind and thought it was Bruce Hart. Or maybe loose-lips Stu Hart. Bischoff went ahead with another push of Vader, but felt he was repeating himself, having pushed Vader a year ago. He also never found out who the leak was in WCW.

Different wrestlers got a push in April, such as DDP and Paul Orndorff. Diamond Dallas Page began actually getting some sort of push after that brief feud with Barry Windham a year ago over Kimberly. In April, he began teaming up with Eddie Guerrero and plaguing face teams, that is until Booker T argued that DDP’s money and job were all due to Kimberly. They feuded over that in what seemed to be a storyline centered around Kimberly again. Guerrero played his flamboyant cocky partner, while DDP played up a money angle. His series of matches with cruiserweights like Rey Mysterio helped Guerrero however, as he was a proficient wrestler, indirectly backing up his cocky claims.

Paul Orndorff split with his partner when Paul Roma caused the loss of Pretty Wonderful to the Road Warriors accidentally. Orndorff hated Paul Roma with a passion, cutting several scathing pomos on Roma, saying that he was the real wonderful one in the group. Paul Roma re-acquired Jim Powers as a tag-team partner during the feud. The Stallions immediately made an impact on WCW, winning two consecutive bouts, then drawing with The Road Warriors when the Rock n’ Roll Express interfered. Then powers helped even the odds with cheating and backstabbing Orndorff. Orndorff convinced Harley Race to stack the odds against the Stallions. His plans were not succeeding, which frustrated Orndorff.

Ole Anderson announced his retirement from the business publicly on the first Nitro in April. He said he was taking an office job. His friends came out to shake his hand, including Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, Sid, Harley Race and several others. Everyone seemed to be present except Ric Flair. After the ceremony was nearly over, Flair came out to a large response and even offered to shake Ole’s hand, but the proud man refused. The face Flair then took a mic and cut an amazing promo on him, cutting into him for that betrayal. Ole retorted that it was Flair that betrayed everyone, then he attacked him. In the coming weeks, Ole said there wasn’t much more he could do, except beat Ric Flair. So Ole’s retirement match at Spring Stampede was made against Flair, which Flair at first refused to accept.

Then after Arn Anderson came out and cut another good promo calling him names, saying that if he didn’t wrestle, he would be branded a coward. Flair and Steamboat then ran out and of course, attacked Arn for that. Dean made the save and pulled an irate Arn backstage. Afterwards, Flair and Steamboat successfully won as a tag team. After some more dogging and taunting, Flair relented and accepted in a promo on Nitro. Like a good babyface, he didn’t want to face his friend in the ring.

Flair agreed to face Ole in Ole’s last match competing in the ring, but on the final Nitro of the month, Ole wanted to make it Flair’s last match too. When confronted, Ole shoved him and tried to intimidate Flair as his usual tough guy character. Flair snapped and said that he was going to take Ole out permanently. Steamboat had to make the save again as the remaining Horsemen attacked Flair.

Bischoff signed Greg Valentine, but seemed uninterested in teaming him up with the Honky Tonk Man as an Elvis duo. Honky had been doing his usual Elvis gimmick for a long time, but Bischoff wanted a little deviation from the older men. When they debuted, Bischoff told Valentine to go out there and always be pissed off, “…even at your own partner.” Bischoff thought fans would relate to that, as Honky was in fact quite annoying. With Valentine playing the tough guy and Honky playing a more reckless, cocky figure, but they at first had a mild reaction. Unfortunately, Valentine was older and his popularity had diminished on the indy circuit, so Honky needed to really go over the top to get a reaction.

Thanks to the locker room issues, both Dusty and Dustin Rhodes wanted nothing to with WCW anymore. Dustin refused to negotiate an extension and Bischoff was upset with that revelation, as he would be losing a wrestler he had been pushing. Dustin argued that they had botched Dustin‘s premiere feud with his father a while back and Dusty had never been respected. Bischoff was not sure who to use in Dusty’s old color position, as Dusty and Dustin stopped reporting to work. Dusty was in fact a bit more divided on the issue, but wanted to support his son too. The locker room issues were leaked to the press. Bischoff was really not liking that leak now.

Meanwhile, at the competition, the WWF’s TV show was going along nicely but Wrestlemania 1995 met expectations with two solid matches. However, there were two excellent matches in Mr. Perfect against the Macho Man for the title, but also Shawn Michaels versus Razor Ramon. Also, the bodybuilder Ludvig Borga took on an equally slow Bam Bam Bigalow in a painful match. Later, Lex Luger refused to sell much in his match with Jerry Lawler and plodded around, making even the Ultimate Warrior look decent in the ring. Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) also surprised the wrestling world with a series of good matches on the same day as Wrestlemania. Two Cold Scorpio defeated Jerry Lynn for the World Title in a ‘wrestling’ classic, quite unusual for the alternative promotion.

Spring Stampede 1995

Dark Match: Psicosis defeated Rey Mysterio Jr.

Dark Match: Lord Steven Regal defeated Saturn

Harlem Heat defeated DDP and Eddie Guerrero

Chris Benoit defeated Greg Valentine

The Road Warriors defeated the Rock n’ Roll Express by count out

Paul Orndorff defeated Paul Roma by DQ

Steve Austin defeated Bret Hart

Ric Flair defeated Ole Anderson

Sting and Barry Windham defeated the Misfits by DQ

Hulk Hogan and the Giant defeated Vader and Sid

Steve Austin and Bret Hart warmed up the crowd well, making it easy for Flair and Ole to put on an outstanding match, perhaps better than the one at the Clash. Afterward, Arn Anderson ran down and stared down Flair to continue the feud, but Ole ushered him out of the ring like a humble loser. Another more subtle rivalry began with Sting and Barry Windham in the match with the Misfits. Samu kept kicking out and both wrestlers were unable to pin him, becoming more and more frustrated. The good thing about this was that Samu had to do very little to build the drama. Eventually New Jersey Jim interfered and caused a DQ, right when Owen finally had Samu pinned for good.

Vader really need something a bit more to look strong and began tormenting Sting singles, showing up a match early during the PPV. Vader squished Sting against the turnbuckle and caused a disqualification. Later, the booking team nearly spoiled all their plans by having Sid get pinned by Hogan. Vader was a loser at Spring Stampede, but at least avoided the pin.

Spring Stampede was pretty straight-forward, but Bischoff was disappointed in its presentation. Except for the retirement match, there was nothing memorable about the PPV and that concerned him. He thought with several feuds ending or near an end, such as with Bret and Steve Austin, new stories could spark a renewed interest next month. The lack of clean finishes concerned him. Meanwhile, at the WWF, they ran a series of vinettes starring "Mr. B" bumbling and stumbling around, trying to get everyone to work. It was clear the WWF was poking fun at Bischoff, but with backstage information, such as his struggles backstage.

The leak continued.

Edited by Nottavictim
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WCW Spotlight On...


Welcome again to WCW Spotlight. Today we're in focus on WCW tag-teams. The current champions are the vicious Road Warriors, a hard-hitting team that can take punishment as well as dish it out.

The Hart Brothers - After the Canadians disbanded, Owen eventually joined his brother as a tag-team while at the same time pursuing a singles career. They have been certainly successful as babyfaces, however their popularity seemed to peak earlier in the year feuding against Davey Boy and Brian Pillman.

Rock n' Roll Express - The Rock n' Roll Express are Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton, traditional babyface wrestlers. Their style is a bit slow, but their storytelling ability is excellent. For this reason, they were able to help build the Road Warriors to get over as heels. They were also part of the popular three-team feud earlier in the year. Unfortunately, they are both near forty and cannot go like they used to. Seems this is true of many WCW wrestlers. They used to be managed by Jim Cornette.

The Road Warriors - Hawk and Animal have beat up just about everyone in WCW at one time and took it to another level when they turned heel recently. They recently have been in a feud with Harlem Heat over the tag-titles. Harlem Heat captured the titles at Starrcade 1994 and then lost them after a solid reign to these Road Warriors at Clash of the Champions in March. After finally pinning the Rock n' Roll Express at Spring Stampede, they immediately went back after Harlem Heat. They are managed by Jim Cornette.

Harlem Heat - Booker T and Stevie Ray exploded in popularity after dropping their manager, the Colonel and most of their silly gimmick. However, Jim Herd then interfered and gave them another silly gimmick, one of New Jersey criminals with annoying orange bodysuits. After Herd was fired, Harlem Heat returned to their high energy selves and then finally captured the titles for the first time. They hope to regain them from the Road Warriors. Teddy Long has only recently began managing them, adding an expertise that he had given Doom before their depature.

DDP and Eddie - Diamond Dallas Page and Eddie Guerrero are both cocky heels. Both take risks in the ring, which usually works best for Guerrero, who seems more comfortable on the top rope. They are accompanied by Kimberly, DDP's on-screen wife. Many of the storylines involving the team have centered around Kimberly and more may be, considering how Kimberly has gotten over so quickly.

Honky and Greg - Greg Valentine has recently signed with WCW in order to partner with the Honky Tonk Man. Honky was the longest reigning intercontinental champion in the WWF but decided to seek his fortunes elsewhere. They both played Elvis characters in the WWF but in WCW, Honky Tonk Man played his usual gimmick but Greg Valentine was the straight man, always annoyed at Honky's over-the-top antics. However, the backstage rumor is that Greg Valentine legitimately hates the Honky Tonk Man.

Saturn and Benoit - Saturn's gimmick was altered when he began to team with The Ice Man Chris Benoit. He originally was an evil mailman, but then became a more driven, genetic freak with a short termer. Oh and he has a shaved head, which seems to be the style nowadays.

The Queen's Team - Lord Steven Regal teams with Squire Chris Adams as annoying lords of England. With their puffy shirts, they can certainly get a crowd against them. This is especially true of Steven Regal, whose stiff moves can get the crowd against him.

Money Talks - Perhaps one of the more unique teams in WCW, Beautiful Bobby and Michael Wallstreet are Money Talks. They live that motto, as primadonna Bobby Eaton seems to love himself and his money more than Lex Luger. Michael Wallstreet just adds that classic touch with a gimmick he perfected in the WWF as IRS. Here he is under another name, but still has the same annoying glasses, stuffed shirt and tie.

The Stallions - Recent newcomers, Paul Roma and Jim Powers are legitimate youngsters. The two men tagged with each other before in WCW as the Young Stallions, but recently have proved their age and experience enough to disimiss the young portion of their name. Roma has more recent experience partnering with Paul Orndorff in another successful babyface tag-team, Pretty Wonderful. Time will tell if the Stallions can make a move to win the tag-title.

The Misfits - The Misfits are a stable, but when seen as a tag-team, the usual combination is New Jersey Jim and The Beast. The Beast is legitimately the largest man in the wrestling, but needs a lot of direction. New Jersey Jim is Balls Mahoney, the ECW wrestler, but here is a tough street thug who likes to fight on the outside. Their matches are usually short and sweet, which is best for them.

The Executioners - Although lowly openers or lower card wrestlers at best, these two wrestlers definately have a unique look. Dr. Death Steve Williams is just that, a doctor of death. He wears a pair of morbid skull shoulder pads and a stethoscope. The Executioner Terry Gordy wears a black cloak with a hooked sickle.

On the next WCW Spotlight...the Over 40 Crowd! Get behind the scenes with WCW Spotlight!

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WCW May 1995

Bischoff came up with some feuds to try to spark interest in May. First, he continued to feud partners Paul Orndorff and a face Paul Roma, squaring them off in a battle of words, then in the ring. Barry Windham turned heel on Terry Funk after they were tag-teaming and lost, then the next week on Nitro, Windham gave a decent promo on the mic saying that he would be ashamed if he had Funk as a father. Just the way Windham said this was what made the feud and after saying this, Funk played it off casually. Funk turned to leave the ring after the scathing remarks, but then turned back and decked Windham. They started to brawl, which they would do several more times through the month.

ECW, Eastern Championship Wrestling, held a rather hardcore event in May named Enter the Sandman. ECW re-signed Shane Douglas, who debuted in the main event as a surprise opponent against that very Sandman, in the most hardcore match to date. Afterward, Shane took the mic and explained his thoughts, putting down WCW and his days there with the company. He said ECW was going to take things to the “extreme” and so they did, changing their name to Extreme Championship Wrestling. Kevin Nash also debuted on the show and in a surprise, took Two Cold Scorpio to the limit. He did not win the title however, but later would do so. He would later cut a promo establishing him as a heel, being so effective in insulting the fans, that they began throwing things into the ring.

At the WWF, Shawn Michaels lost the intercontinental title to Pierre, the annoying Frenchman. The Smoking Gunns ripped off ECW, coming out impersonating a French duo, complete with slick hair and drawn-on moles. These two men were at last getting a push, but just a year prior they were horribly over with the fans and nobody cared.

Nobody seemed to care much about another team either, Greg Valentine and the Honky Tonk Man. Greg Valentine was always acting “pissed off” at his partner all the time, people began to wonder if it was legitimate. It wasn’t, however The Honky Tonk Man was the one angry and wanted a release from WCW. Bischoff thought new tag-team competition might have made him happy, but he complained about Valentine, saving that he never liked him to begin with, hated him upstaging everyone and other complaints. Bischoff was surprised that he hadn’t brought these lengthy complaints to him before. After Slamboree, Valentine and Honky didn’t talk to each other.

WCW teased a problem between Owen and Bret Hart and Austin was finally turned fully face. It seemed a bit late however, as fans were already cheering him, whether he called Owen Hart an asshole or Bret Hart a jackass. Compared to Austin, these two were perhaps a bit “too” baby face, if that’s possible. Fans liked Austin’s anti-hero character, especially when the feud was subtly turned to Steven Regal. No one seemed in doubt that Austin was the hero here, however Steven Regal went over the top to try to get a reaction. Regal once insulted Austin’s behavior and “vile demenor,” even slapping him in a confrontation. Austin turned his head to the crowd and merely looked at them as if to say to them, “I’m gonna kick his ass.” And so the fans were made a part of the act when Austin delivered “The Stunner.”

While in a bad mood, Bischoff changed his mind and decided to get the title situation over with at Slamboree in May, dumping the ‘buildup‘ past War Games. He actually had to have a ‘discussion’ with Hogan about the title change, though in the end he agreed. Vader had escaped the previous month’s tag-loss without much harm to his character, so it was easy to move Vader from squishing Sting to squishing Hogan. Fans were beginning to tire of Hulkamania and attendence was dropping, so moving it up was not an entirely bad thing.

WCW Slamboree 1995

Dark Match: Psicosis defeated Rey Mysterio Jr. and Eddie Guerrero

Dark Match: Saturn defeated Dr. Death

Paul Orndorff + Rick Rude defeated The Stallions

The Rock n’ Roll Express defeated the Misfits (New Jersey Jim + The Beast) by DQ

Street Fight: Terry Funk defeated Barry Windham

Harlem Heat defeated the Road Warriors for the WCW tag-team titles

Steve Austin defeated Lord Steven Regal

The Hart Brothers defeated Honky Tonk Man + Greg Valentine

Ricky Steamboat defeated Davey Boy Smith

Ric Flair defeated Arn Anderson

Big Van Vader defeated Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Title

WCW Slamboree was an extra long PPV, with several short tag-team matches and an extra-long main event. Honky Tonk Man concluded his time with WCW in one such tag-match. The Misfits were slowly descending the card just as the Kliq had a few months ago. Fans just couldn't get past how awful The Beast was wrestling in the ring. He was especially bad at Slamboree when New Jersey Jim was supposed to sell a leg injury and give The Beast an opportunity to showcase himself as he dominated his opponents. He didnt exactly accomplish this, even botching a move similar to one Hogan did where he would deliver a boot to the face after throwing a man off the ropes. However, he tripped upon throwing the man to the ropes, so Owen had to slow down to almost a stop and allow The Beast to deliver the move. Needless to say, it was a chore, even for Bret Hart.

The best match of Slamboree was not the main event, but Austin defending the TV title against Regal. The match was not even the highlight, but the aftermath of the match when Beautiful Bobby attacked Austin with a chair. He cracked it so hard on Austin’s head he later legitimately told reporters that he went black there for a minute. While on the ground, Austin regained consciousness and made a comeback, giving a stunner to Regal and Bobby both. After walking from the ring up the ramp, he gave the crowd “a look” like he had earlier in the month and the fans knew what was coming. Austin walked back to the ring, picked each man up and delivered another stunner. He then walked to the back casually.

Ric Flair took on Arn Anderson in their rematch and blowoff of the Horsemen Split feud, but it was not nearly as good as their original match. But no one expected it to be. Unfortunately, it was lackluster compared to some of the other emotionally charged matches on the card, such as Barry Windham wrestling Terry Funk and the main event. Funk finally was allowed to wrestle hardcore in the match, using whatever weapons he could find during the “Street Fight.” WCW seemingly went overboard in the match, to the point where each of the wrestlers had done almost every hardcore spot possible. Funk was put through several tables, cracked over the head with a broom handle, then a metal trashcan was bent on him. Funk made a late comeback with a series of chair shots and a spot where he was choking a microphone cord around Windham while he hung dangling from the ropes. His feet couldn’t reach the floor however and Windham had to give up due to the pain.

A few days after Slamboree, Dusty Rhodes returned to work after a few calls from WCW, but without Dustin. Needless to say, he arrived with a new, moody attitude and did not contribute much to the booking team. He did not even return to the announce team. Rumors ran rampant that he was brooding over a dispute with his son. A story later ran that Dusty tried to mediate Dustin’s conflicts within WCW, but failed. The two had a falling out, which was unfortunate, as they were a close father and son.

At ECW, they boosted their new TV show with a surprise. Paul Heyman and Todd Gordon had finally gotten through to a TV station and began broadcasting ECW Wrestling Night, a syndicated program produced on the cheap. Many of the shows featured short matches or highlights of others from larger ECW shows, but ran with Kevin Nash taking on Two Cold Scorpio their first airing. Nash won the title in that bout and the crowd was just irate, seeing the WCW and WWF veteran holding their title. Then out stepped Taz and the place went absolutely bananas. Taz was not fulltime with ECW until that showing, having returned to ECW thanks to Heyman. He now was "Taz," a nearly legitimate bad ass, not the Tazmaniac, not Sabu's partner, just Taz. The confrontation between Nash and Taz was incredible and then the show ended. It actually made fans want to buy a ticket.

Bischoff’s final surprise for the month would hopefully trump ECW's surprises. He had built up Ricky Steamboat in a feud with Davey Boy Smith in an effort to rekindle some of that lost emotion from the Canadians stable. Smith wrestled with intensity and power, Ricky Steamboat overselling some portions to try to sell Smith on Nitro. He could not pin Ricky Steamboat however. At Slamboree in May, Davey Boy Smith looked to finish him off for good, but a sudden surprise would spark a new interest in the average feud, changing it from a traditional WCW presentation to a more cutting age angle. Right before their match, Ricky Steamboat walked out with Dynamite Kid, the slightly older former partner of Davey Boy Smith. Fans stood up to see Dynamite make his surprise appearance during the PPV. He helped Steamboat win the match against Davey Boy Smith, then when Smith stood toe to toe with Dynamite, fans stood up again. The tension was obvious, as the two men legitimately hated each other. They literally hated each other for years. The show then quickly went off the air.

The message was obvious: Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid were going to feud in a WCW ring.

Edited by Nottavictim
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WCW Spotlight On...

The Over 40 Crowd

Welcome again to WCW Spotlight. Today we're in focus on the Over 40 Crowd. The current WCW roster was called "elderly" by Jim Herd, who believed anyone 37 years or older should not be wrestling. There is little credence to this statement, however the WWF does mix their older and younger wrestlers a bit better. For example, the older Macho Man can easily headline a big show along with Shawn Michaels and the Smoking Gunns. WCW has had Steve Austin headline only WCW WorldWide once or twice, a secondary TV program. On the other hand, WCW seems on the road to be changing its ways, pushing young talent such as The Giant, Paul Roma and Chris Benoit for titles and in hot feuds.

Vader is 38

Greg Valentine is 44

Harley Race is 52

Hulk Hogan is 42

JJ Dillon is 53

Michael Wallstreet is 38

Paul Orndorff is 44

Ric Flair is 46

Diamond Dallas Page is 39

Ricky Steamboat is 42

Ricky Morton is 39

Robert Gibson is 37

Terry Funk is 51

Ole Anderson is 53

Bret Hart is 38

Big Van Vader - Big Van Vader is a main eventer and the current WCW champion. He is nearing forty, has bad knees and a legitimate history of injuries. He had trouble with his knees in 1992 and eliminated his participation in the Japanese promotion NJPW as a result. Vader doesn't seem to show his age though, except for his massive gut and slow style. However, Vader has always had a massive gut and slow style.

Greg Valentine - Valentine is 44 and a wrestler that's not gotten around much. He was with the WWF for years until injuries forced him to take time off and then quit the WWF in 1993. Later, he returned to wrestling in 1995 and renewed a partnership with the Honky Tonk Man, who legitimately had personal issues with Valentine. Valentine later told friends that he could care less about the Honky Tonk Man or what he thinks.

Harley Race - Race is over fifty and the oldest person on the roster who still goes at a regular schedule. He does not appear on Nitro as much as he used to in 1993, but still has his commissioner role locked up. He has a slow style on the mic though that seems to not lend itself to the kind of fast-paced action Bischoff is currently presenting. However, he does complement other wrestlers very well as a heel, especially those who can entertain or improvise.

JJ Dillon - Another over fifty contributor, Dillon was the manager of the Four Horsemen, the now defunct stable who disbanded recently. He was at ringside for the final showdown between Arn Anderson and Ric Flair, but has not done anything since.

Ole Anderson - Ole is over fifty as well, but no longer works a regular schedule. He recently had his last match against Ric Flair, which in the storyline he tried to make Flair's retirement match too. When he failed, the storyline was ended and Ole worked part-time as a road agent. He has a gruff demenor that sometimes rubs people the wrong way backstage, but the current style of wrestling seems to be passing him by.

Hulk Hogan - Hogan is part of the over forty crowd and has been around the business longer than many youngsters that come up. He tried to transition from his successful WWF career to a TV and film star, but that didnt seem to be working out very well. He signed with WCW when they began taping TV shows in Florida. However, just as in the WWF, fans are tiring of Hulkamania.

Michael Wallstreet - Wallstreet is Mike Rotundo, the former wrestler IRS of the WWF. He has gone through a series of forgettable gimmicks in previous years, but struck gold with the greedy, money-loving IRS. Rotunda is doing the exact same character under a different name in WCW, but mostly in tag-action with partner Beautiful Bobby as Money Talks. Bobby Eaton and he are good friends and he is also nearing forty.

Paul Orndorff - Orndorff is in his mid-forties and changed gimmicks several times, like Mike Rotundo. However, his look has always remained the same. He has been a heel and face, gaining Mr. Wonderful as a nickname. Musclemen like Rick Rude and Paul Orndorff are slowly growing out of fashion, as the anti-hero style of wrestling is growing into popularity.

Ric Flair - Flair is also mid-forties and shows his age a bit more than other wrestlers, being neither a bodybuilder or big man. His expertise in the ring has not slowed however, as his feuds and matches are still some of the best in wrestling.

Ricky Steamboat - Steamboat is forty-two and unlike Flair, slowing down a bit as he ages. Regardless of age, Steamboat still is one of the most well-regarded technical wrestlers in the business.

The Rock n' Roll Express - Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton are the oldest members of the tag-division. They are both not over forty, but certainly showing it. Teens and women used to go crazy at the Express, but that kind of focus certainly wouldnt work today in WCW. Currently, they are simply traditional heroes.

Terry Funk - Funk is the oldest competing wrestler on WCW's roster. He is perhaps regarded as one of the toughest men, wrestling violent hardcore matches for years. He helped put over Cactus Jack when he was in WCW and has always worked to do the same for other young wrestlers. Funk was sad to see Cactus leave WCW and almost walked out with him, but was convinced otherwise.

Bret Hart - Hart is not quite forty yet, but was regarded as plainly traditional in the past. His brother Owen Hart was a motivating factor to him leaving the WWF for WCW, however backstage politics had a big part as well. Like Terry Funk, he has also helped put over the younger wrestlers, namely Steve Austin. Their matches together were technically near-perfect, with Bret Hart's crisp moves contrasted by Austin's stiff brawling. Hart was especially proud of one in March 1995 at Spring Stampede, as it held its own against any match that month.

On the next WCW Spotlight...the Youth of WCW! Get behind the scenes with WCW Spotlight!

Edited by Nottavictim
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Wrestling With Shadows - Ole Anderson

"Welcome back to Wrestling with Shadows, the investigative show that looks deep into the latest issues of wrestling," says Peter Michaels, "And on today's show, we're pleased to bring you a little story about Ole Anderson. Ole welcomed us into the WCW locker room and we followed him for a few days as he prepared for his retirement match."

The screen cuts to Ole Anderson as he sits on a bench in a shadowy locker room in what must be an early morning. Ole strokes his bread as he gives the cameraman a perturbed look, but then the man behind the camera lets out a question.

"Ole, today's your retirement match with Ric Flair, how do you feel about it?" he asks.

Ole looks at his old, metal locker that he has open, "Good," he says calmly and then pauses, "We tried to make it interesting, at least. You know, give the fans something to follow. Ric played the good guy and I tried to run him down, tryin to make this a match he won't get past either."

"How do you think the fans will react once you get out there?"

Ole began to chuckle a little, "Fans are sure gonna boo the hell outta me. Listen, I got things to do. Go bother Vader, will ya?"

"After our brief conversation, Ole spent the day as he always has for the past twenty years in wrestling. On his own," said a Peter Michaels voice-over. The picture switched to later that day as Ole was pacing up and down a hallway now, "Just an hour from the start of the show, Ole has already worked out his match with Ric Flair and now seems to be trying to rid himself of any nervous energy. He paces by himself before every show."

The picture switches to Ric Flair laughing and joking backstage, while he and some of the other wrestlers talk about the show. "Ric Flair, on the other hand, neither seems nervous or alone, as he spends most of his time with the other wrestlers. His friends all seem to be younger than him now, but that doesn't seem to bother him at all. However, age is one issue that weighs heavily on the mind of Ole Anderson..."

The picture switches again, to Ole Anderson sitting on his bench. He has his head in his hands and wears his wrestling trunks, looking tired and absent, after his match. A towel is around his damp shoulders. The cameraman pans up to his open locker that is filled with all sorts of memories and personal items. Pictures of his wife and his two sons are clearly visible as the camera zooms in, but then pans to the left, catching athletic tape and other supplies in its frame. It stops finally on a picture taken of a young Ole Anderson with the NWA Tag-Team championship. Standing next to him is his smiling "brother" Gene Anderson with another championship around his waist too, and he hugs Ole around the shoulders in an amusing manner for the camera. On the bottom of the picture is written in red "THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES! WE'LL MISS YOU!"

The camera stays on this retirement sendoff picture for a few more moments before panning back to the lonely Ole Anderson, still sitting in the same position. He turns from the camera as it fades out.

We see Peter London again, interviewing Eric Bischoff, "Eric, why did you make Ole Anderson a bad guy in his last match with WCW?"

"Well, really it was the decision of the guys. Personally, I don't think fans would boo Ric Flair, whether it was Ole's last match or not. Ric's a face right now, you see," Bischoff replies in an uncomfortable way, "We talked about it and Ole was comfortable with the arrangement."

Back in the studio, Peter London addresses the camera again, "The WCW event only lasted three short hours and Ole Anderson's match was only a small part of that extravagant show. I found out that Ole has always been a proud man and he certainly shows it. But now he wrestles with a personal struggle that still haunts him today. Will he ever return to wrestling? Time will tell."

The picture flashes back to Ole again, sitting on that same locker-room bench. However, this time his actual locker is cleaned out, he wears casual clothes and the picture that was once propped up in his locker is carefully in his hands. He stares at it.

"This guy here in the picture died a few years back. We used to give try-outs back in the territory days, you know, if we had a spot. Those youngsters would know if they wanted ta wrestle for sure once Gene got done with em," Ole chuckled, "I think he bloodied quite a few."

"Do you think you'll come back to WCW?"

"Really, I dont know," Ole said sadly, "Yeah, I don't think so. I'm gettin too old, ya know?"

The camera fades out on the lined face of Ole Anderson. The voice-over of Peter London concludes, "Eric Bischoff had no comment about the future of Ole Anderson, wrestling or otherwise. But time seems to have passed Ole by. He has now left the company he loved, but he did tell us one thing. He will certainly miss it."


Edited by Nottavictim
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June 1995 - Who is the leak in WCW?

In early June, Bischoff tried to find that leak in WCW, the one who had leaked the NWA title change, several business deals and their locker room problems. The press ate up all these leaked issues each time they were blabbed to the press agents, of course. Bischoff had originally thought the leak was Dusty, but during June something else was leaked that Dusty could not have known about while absent from work with his son. The dispute with the Honky Tonk Man was leaked to the press, causing Bischoff to suspect Ric Flair. Flair was on the booking team, had knowledge of information like contract disputes and had inside knowledge about the NWA. Narrowing Bischoff’s list of suspects was not hard and he felt somewhat cocky that he had solved it.

Bischoff decided to out the leak in a rather contrived trap. First, while Davey Boy Smith was away for a weekend, Bischoff spread rumors that Smith was in a contract dispute with WCW. He was, in fact, up for renewal, but had already re-signed with the office. This was not altogether unbelievable. Smith's feud with the Dynamite Kid had gained a lot of popularity and therefore, Bischoff reasoned that Smith might have a reason to negotiate for other companies. Bischoff concocted a situation to tell the booking team “secretly” about Smith negotiating with the WWF, making up details on the fly. It unsurprisingly appeared in the trades the next day and Bischoff let Flair have it. Flair said that he had no clue what Bischoff was talking about, only knowing as much as the other booking team members. However, Bischoff was sure he was lying.

Davey Boy Smith returned from Britain early and confronted Bischoff, telling him that he heard some rumors about himself even over in London. Apparently, Bischoff must have gone overboard with his rumors and they leaked out even to Davey Boy Smith. Dusty explained that rumors in the wrestling business went together like peanut butter and jelly. Dusty told Bischoff not to take it so hard, as it was only natural that people would hear of this kind of news, especially with Davey Boy Smith's high profile. Somehow, this advice didn’t help and Bischoff had to work extra hard to undo what he had done. After his plan backfired, it only strengthened Bischoff's resolve against Flair. Bischoff stood up to the booking team and told them that he didn’t want any more leaks and doing so would be cause for immediate dismissal. Flair went off on Bischoff and even threatened to leave WCW at one point, but knew the company already made that mistake once, so smoothed things over. He apologized.

If it wasn't Flair, Bischoff was sure it was someone in the Booking Team. They had the most intimate information, after all. However, most of the bookers played against Bischoff by deflecting suspicion with an assortment of reasons. Bischoff began to subtly punish Ric Flair by conveniently "forgetting" to book him on a Nitro in June, then making him wrestle a majority of the time on WCW's second-show WorldWide. He gave the time that was meant for Flair to Davey Boy Smith and his feud.

Davey Boy Smith was pleased by the attention, as it seemed everyone was talking about the feud with the Dynamite Kid. One particular confrontation sold it to most fans. Playing the heel, Smith came out to the ring all by himself and cut a promo with interviewer Jesse Ventura. Ventura always had this understated presence which fans liked and his questions to Smith only built the feud further. As if in the middle, the Dynamite Kid came out to the ring to his old music when he used to team with Davey Boy Smith. The announcers then began to assume that a reconciliation might occur, but the opposite happened. Smith confronted him like at the last PPV and Dynamite decked him.

Smith sold it like a champ and Dynamite played it the same, selling his rugged, tough face character the whole time. Dynamite had been away from wrestling for some time so relied on non-wrestling angles, as his body was falling apart. Bischoff never recruited him to wrestle however, but to stand toe to toe with his former partner and back him down. Dynamite played off the real life emotion and since Bischoff had been reminded that fans loved rumors, also played off Dynamite legitimately hating Davey Boy Smith. And this was for real, not a made up part of the story. Their confrontations however, were planned and that was what Bischoff hoped would make them money. Brian Pillman was added to scoop some of that heat, but Dynmite decked him too.

Bischoff definitely did not spare any expense for June. He had overspent for the Dynamite Kid, bringing him from his training school in Japan via private jet, then paying for his room, expenses and food. AAA rose in popularity in June and could have used Dynamite’s advice on how to push his trainees, especially after they made a few detrimental mistakes using them. But Bischoff kept him exclusive to WCW, as if hoarding his special surprise, all to himself. Other expenses piled up, including limos, better hotels, and major licensed music to play. WCW needed their PPV Uncensored in June to payoff or they would be in trouble.

The World Title again became an issue, just when Bischoff thought he had fixed that situation. Mean Mark went on a wrestling TV review show and said that it was “about time” that Hogan lost the World Title. Needless to say, Hogan wasn’t happy with those comments. This led to a messy June, as Hogan walked around disgruntled and Mark did the same, knowing that he would never get to lead the company, much less get a push. Some rather extreme attitudes abounded while Bischoff put Mark in a feud with Vader. Unfortunately, the match was a “stretcher” match that made Mean Mark look a little silly, although he never did get pinned. Mark simply passed out and the ref called the match. This would never have happened in the WWF, as Mark's character there was a little better than such a weak finish.

Uncensored - June 1995

Dark Match: Saturn defeated Eddie Guerrero

Dark Match: Brian Pillman defeated Terry Funk and Dr. Death

Steve Austin defeated Barry Windham

Harlem Heat defeated The Misfts (New Jersey Jim + The Beast)

Davey Boy Smith went to a no contest with the Dynamite Kid

The Hart Brothers defeated the Road Warriors

Lord Steven Regal defeated The Giant by count out

Chris Benoit defeated Dean Malenko by submission

Hulk Hogan + Sting defeated Sid Vicious + DDP

Stretcher Match: Big Van Vader defeated Mean Mark

While WCW had one emotional storyline, the WWF had three. Sgt. Slaughter betrayed his country and several of his partners, then recruited Bam Bam Bigalow to be his literal bodyguard against them. Jerry Lawler then wanted to take on Michaels and asked the Sarge for help. All three men were then able to intimidate Jack Tunney into giving them a four way match against Shawn Michaels. They each had a grudge against Michaels and this anti-hero was not one to be intimidated. The WWF used every trick they had to make Michaels look like the underdog, but when it came time, he won the match thanks to the help or rather interference, of the Smoking Gunns. WCW countered by quickly adding a series of matches concluding at Uncensored featuring Benoit and Dean Malenko, matches about who seemed to be the better technical wrestler. They also added the sniveling Steven Regal plotting against the Giant, as he at first revealed on a late June Nitro that he had the "goods" on The Giant.

This "secret," Lord Steven Regal was not revealed at first, but The Giant seemed upset about Regal knowing it. Regal first tried to blackmail The Giant with this secret, but then the big man turned on him when he refused to pin Sting live on Nitro. At Uncensored, Regal revealed the secret, that The Giant had cancer. This was the first ever "cancer" angle in wrestling, topping even the contraversial Paul Heyman. Harley Race was hestitant to book The Giant with this condition, but once The Giant overcame Race's obstacles, the match was set. While in the match, The Giant began to wear himself out and sold his condition, clutching his stomach and acting winded. Regal was able to attack The Giant on the outside and get the count out. Of course, the match wasn't as big a part of the feud as the angles. Bischoff wanted more angles.

Lastly, Uncensored was successful despite Bischoff dumping several meaningless tag matches on the card. The real draws were the Bulldogs feud and the main event. The Bulldogs match was a bit of an overbooked mess, as Brian Pillman and most of the former Canadians stable interfering. Dynamite was booked strong however, as he clobbered Pillman again and tossed him out of the ring. He sold a back injury after the ref called for the disqualification and the feud continued. WCW breathed a sigh of relief that their spending did not end them up in debt.

Edited by Nottavictim
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Welcome to WCW Spotlight. Today we're in focus on the Youth of WCW. This under-30 crowd is led primarily by Steve Austin, who began his career teaming with Brian Pillman and has broke out with a TV Title win. He also recently turned 30 in December of 1994, although is not slowing down. Neither are the other youngsters, who have begun putting effort into giving WCW the best matches possible, as it is obvious they will not be pushed in other ways. Perhaps Bischoff will change his tune someday.

Chris Benoit 28

Eddie Guerrero is 28

New Jersey Jim is 28

Saturn is 29

Steve Austin is 30

Tammy Synch is 23

Rey Mysterio is 21

Psicosis is 24

Chris Benoit - Benoit is the new Dynamite Kid, a technical, yet tough, wrestler. Dynamite and Benoit actually got to meet when Dynamite was with the company in June. They got along well, but Benoit was seemingly starstruck. Benoit currently has Saturn as a partner. The feud with Dean Malenko shifted recently over who could be the better submission wrestler.

Eddie Guerrero - Guerrero began as DDP's partner, but got over in a series of matches highlighting his lightweight style. This style was not given the opportunity under Jim Herd and even Bischoff has relegated that style mostly to openers. This type of style has been defined as the Mexican Style, although Guerrero used it in Japan, not Mexico.

New Jersey Jim - Jim is Balls Mahoney, one-time ECW wrestler that was scooped up when Bischoff tried to hurt Paul Heyman. However, he was not given much chance as he was immediately put at a disadvantage when he had to tag-team with The Beast, a man with little wrestling skill. He is still in the tag-team months after the debut, losing to high profile teams like Harlem Heat. With The Beast making little impact at War Games, the position of the tag-team may fall.

Saturn - Saturn was another man signed by WCW because of his specific look, a tatooed strong-man. However, WCW clothed him and made him into a gimmicky, evil mailman. Complete with cap. Thankfully, he found Chris Benoit and they began to partner more often, as Bischoff saw their similiar styles. Saturn's gimmick was changed, although retained its gimmicky undertones. He was a silent, genetic freak, although unlike Scott Steiner, claimed to be a literal one. He shaved his head and rarely wore a shirt, as his tatoos were important to his driven, violent character.

Steve Austin - Austin is probably the top man of all the youngsters, however lacks a push like the rest of them. Bischoff always wondered what fans saw in him, a former tag-team wrestler. He has become a little more charasmatic in angles recently. Bischoff loves his angles and has realized that the anti-hero has become popular, so has made Austin WCW's only anti-hero. He is the TV champion and has gotten a hint of a push lately.

Tammy Synch - Tammy Synch is married to Chris Candido, who wrestles on the independent circut and sometimes for ECW. She got noticed by appearing in ECW and Bischoff hired her to fill out the roster with more women. She became a gimmicky cocktail waitress for the equally gimmicky Vegas Gamblers, but after they were released, Tammy began to follow around other singles wrestlers.

Rey Mysterio Jr. - Mysterio is one of the youngster members of the WCW roster and often takes risks in the ring wrestling that Mexican Style. Mysterio is the one who excelled wrestling Eddie Guerrero, although it was Guerrero who had a character and a direction. Mysterio's small popularity is due to his wrestling ability, like Chris Benoit when he began. Mysterio lacks a character, but is a masked Mexican, so some assume that as his gimmick.

Psicosis - Psicosis began around the same time as his friend Rey Mysterio, becoming one of the more over Mexicans, only surpassed later by Guerrero. He does some amazing spots, although sometimes lacks that ability to storytell throughout a match. He began leading a small band of Mexicans when they feuded with Paul Orndorff in February 1995. Psicosis lacked the English to carry the stable, so Paul Roma had to be added. Later, the stable was dropped.

On the next WCW Spotlight...the Gimmicks of WCW! Get behind the scenes with WCW Spotlight!

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July 1995 - Life imitates wrestling

Several friendships broke up in July while Bischoff was trying to mend fences. First, Hulk Hogan considered his friendship with Brian Knobbs over. Hogan spoke to a radio show and made comments about Knobbs “deserting” WCW after Hogan stuck up for him. Bret Hart and Sid Vicious began to have problems backstage, as Vicious began starting rumors that Hart was getting special treatment. For example, Sid Vicious started a rumor that Bret Hart was supposed to job to him a few months back but refused. Vicious also began telling people he was going to leave WCW if he wasn't "treated better," but never did. None of these rumors could be proven either, although curiously, Sid and Hart were never put into a storyline together. Fans then began thinking these “backstage” troubles were a work.

Chris Benoit had trained to be a wrestler at the Dungeon under Stu Hart and was close friends of the Hart family, or so everyone thought. Dean Malenko surprisingly became Benoit’s close backstage ally when he helped resolve some backstage conflicts with Owen Hart and Benoit. Chris Benoit and Malenko then became good friends. They went on a radio show together and Malenko said some rather harsh comments about some other wrestlers in the company without telling Benoit. This radio show appearance was a small problem, as Malenko and Benoit were supposed to be in a feud. Dusty had to go out of his way to talk to both men about this, although Benoit had become distant thanks to Malenko's surprising comments. It began to become apparent even to the wrestling media that the problems in the locker room had increased, not decreased, since the World title change.

While Bischoff contemplated a solution to this, he began booking longer storylines in July. Barry Windham began a program with Sting when Barry Windham began taunting him repeatedly. Basically, Windham called him a flash in the pan and somebody who could never beat a ring-expert like himself. Windham was getting over a bit slower now since his heel turn and needed these strong angles. He began calling Sting a ‘company man’, what Windham had been months ago prior to his turn. He also lost to Sting in tag-action, but Windham pointed returned a favor with a series of backstage attacks.

Dusty decided that the Malenko/Benoit feud needed some more attention on air, so slowed it down and concentrated on giving Malenko a legitimate reason to dislike Benoit. Malenko said in a promo that he was colder than The Ice Man Chris Benoit and he proved this by getting more vicious in the ring. His first victim was Benoit’s partner, Saturn. Malenko made Saturn submit, holding the submission after the bell in typical heel fashion. He then even made Owen Hart submit the next week. The following Nitro, Malenko said that he was the new submission expert and to prove it, he was going to make Chris Benoit submit next. Malenko challenged him to a submission match.

Lastly, the War Games were hyped from the first of July. This time, it would be Hogan and Vader, head to head, as captains of their teams. Bischoff feared that Hogan may have lost some of his heat thanks to his title loss to Vader. He had lost some, as fans were now simply not interested at all, instead of either loving him or hating him, as in the past. Hogan was at least able to carry tag-matches. Traditional War Games members, the Road Warriors, were recruited by Vader this time, as they had always been faces in the past. Rounding out Vader’s team was Sid and the seven foot Beast. Incredibly, The Beast was still getting attention, after losing consecutive PPV matches. It was just impossible for the Booking Team to deny his unique appearance, but the look alone did not make the wrestler.

Hogan earned the respect of Bret and Owen Hart with a rescue from the Road Warriors on one Nitro, earning also their participation on his War Games team. Hogan then cut a promo on one Nitro inviting Ric Flair into the ring and the resulting response from the fans seemed to tell him who would be in the team next. And so it was, as Flair was added. Flair then took the mic and called out Ricky Steamboat to join him in the ring, jumping ahead to pre-maturely recruit him too. Steve Austin then interrupted and Bischoff began his anti-hero storyline, as the traditionalism was going overboard by this point. Austin then snatched the mic and told Flair and Steamboat that if they wanted to win, they were going to need the dirtiest “son of a bitch” in WCW. That was a no no, as Flair snatched the mic back and reminded him that he was the dirtiest player in the game. Austin then gave Flair and Steamboat both a “stunner,” a finishing move that Steve personally came up with that reminded him of his days as “Stunning Steve Austin,” only this time he literally was stunning. It was ironic and funny, at least to Austin.

After that surprisingly good promo, Dusty had to prompt Bischoff to give Austin more promos, as Bischoff didn’t see him as marketable, stunning or not. Bischoff thought about Austin’s push as TV champ and wondered what Dusty saw in this guy, a former tag-wrestler who could strut around and look bad ass. Again, Bischoff clung to the belief that fans wanted veterans such as those already on the roster, like Greg Valentine or Bret Hart. Austin was then given some rope to hang himself with, but never did he once falter. On the final two Nitros before War Games, Austin hosted a talk show he called ‘A Flare for the Old’, of course a play on Flair’s classic promos ‘A Flair for the Gold.’ Luckily, Dusty was there to promote the whole thing within the booking team, scripting most of Austin’s promos personally. Austin was never given his War Games place, that going to Ricky Steamboat as predicted.

The fans of a literal “stunning” Steve Austin were confused, yet interested. The TV champ would kick the butt of Michael Wallstreet and insult Ric Flair all on the same Nitro, so it was confusing to decide if he was face or heel. At least Bischoff was finally giving Flair something to do. No other wrestler on the roster was an anti-hero or walked the line between goodguy and badguy so closely as Steve Austin. Bischoff then feuded Austin with Harley Race, the authority of WCW and abandoned efforts to clearly define Austin as a heel. He figured that an anti-hero is most effective rebelling against someone, so who better to rebel against than a heel authority. Race had been the authority the fans loved to hate anyway.

After stunning Race on the final ‘A Flare for the Old,’ Race booked Austin against Lord Steven Regal out of revenge. Race also abused his power later that night and restarted the Austin match after a clear DQ, giving Regal more opportunity to win. And win he did, capturing the TV title too. Now Austin was really pissed off and turned his bad ass character into overdrive. Austin showed up at War Games, despite not being booked or expected there. Race showed up with Larry Zybysko, who had volunteered to be enforcer for the main event, as Ole had the previous year. But when the main event rolled around, Austin walked out, not Zybysko. Race claimed that Austin had ‘stunned’ him backstage, but produced no evidence. The two argued and played off each other while the main event went its course, Austin being subtly inserted as enforcer as Race didn’t have the backbone to remove him.

Finally, WCW pulled up a wagon full of Ted Turner’s money to get Dynamite back in the ring for one match and one match only. And one match it was, as Dynamite had already said that he hated the backstage atmosphere in WCW and people were missing him back in Japan. WCW seemed to be risking Dynamite’s health in booking him, although it was Dynamite that had agreed to the risk. Bischoff washed his hands of it and waited for the buys.

War Games - 1995 July

Dark Match: Saturn defeated Brian Pillman

Eddie Guerrero defeated Rey Mysterio Jr.

Harlem Heat defeated the Misfits (New Jersey Jim + Samu the Savage)

The Rock n’ Roll Express defeated Money Talks (Michael Wallstreet + Beautiful Bobby)

Submission Match: Chris Benoit defeated Dean Malenko by submission

Sting defeated Barry Windham

No DQ: Dynamite Kid defeated Davey Boy Smith

5 x 5 War Games Match:

Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat defeated

Big Van Vader, The Road Warriors, Sid Vicious, and The Beast

Bischoff felt a sense of relief with Vader as champion, because he was able to freshen up the main event scene. However, although War Games was perhaps better than previous PPVs because of a solid undercard, it did not exceed profits from those led by a Hulk Hogan singles match. Although buys were one worry, Bischoff decided that his new main event scene had to turn a healthy profit sooner rather than later.

The Giant was not included in the War Games match because he was selling his “cancer.” As silly as a wrestling cancer patient sounds, Bischoff did just that. However, it made The Giant seem more like an underdog against regular wrestlers, if anything. On Nitro, he got revenge for Steven Regal’s subtle victory at Uncensored, getting the win in a short match. However, Squire Chris Adams ran out and both Englishmen attacked The Giant. But The Giant made a surprising comeback and chokeslammed both wrestlers, finally giving the crowd something to go crazy for on Nitro. On War Games, The Giant was shown arriving backstage with the intent on joining the main event, but the Road Warriors intercepted him and attacked him. Hulk Hogan tried to make the save, but the Warriors produced weapons and attacked Hogan too. The heels stacked the deck in their favor.

The heels were favored to win the War Games main event, thanks to this attack on Hogan. The fans were a little relieved to see Hogan actually selling the match a bit more, as well as his injured condition. He was the one who was targeted to try to get him to “give up” or submit, the Road Warriors double-teaming him most of the match. Some fans might have believed Steamboat or even Flair giving up, but not the human glass ceiling. Hogan was pounded pretty good however, as both the Road Warriors raked his face against the cage and stomped him into the mat. WCW returned to the traditional format of the War Games, instead of last year’s elimination cage rules.

Once all ten men had entered the cage in timed fashion, WCW had what was referred to as "the match beyond.”. Both teams brawled in the cage for as long as it took until a member of either team submitted, surrendered, or was knocked unconscious. There was no pinfall and no disqualification, leaving almost every member of the main event bloodied. This was especially true of Hogan, whose blonde locks were completely stained red by the end.

Sid Vicious was booked to lose the match and give up just as the Road Warriors caused Hogan to pass out and thus win. Austin and Race both did not notice this fact and called the match in favor of Hogan’s team. After the faces celebrated, Sid Vicious later threw a tantrum backstage and was upset about his booking to lose without gaining any heat back. Sid said that he had simply been told to “walk to the back” and not to act angry at either the Road Warriors or Hogan. Bischoff attempted to calm the big man down, but he went off on how Bret Hart was controlling the booking team through his father, Stu. Sid vowed to leave WCW. Again.


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Wrestling with Shadows - Sid Vicious

"Welcome back to Wrestling with Shadows, the investivative program looking deep into the heart of issues in wrestling," Peter Michaels says, "On today's show, we were supposed to bring you an interview with the Nature Boy Ric Flair, but while we were at WCW, our crew got caught up in another interesting story."

The screen blacks and fades in on Sid Vicious, but there is no sound. Vicious seems to be arguing with Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko. Zybysko talks calmly, as if the mediator, but Arn Anderson simply waves dismissively and walks off. Sid Vicious looks annoyed.

"We followed around Sid Vicious around after War Games in July, and he told us about some of his personal problems in the company," Michaels narrates, "Sid Vicious told us his problems began when WCW brought Bret Hart on board."

Sid Vicious stands in a backstage hallway and tells Michaels, "I don't know what the deal is with Bret. He came on to give us a little more star power, you know. And he got attention right away, you know. Guess what I did during "Bret Hart" month? I jobbed to some youngster," Sid says.

The picture fades back to Peter Michaels in the studio again, "Sid told me that he was also a bit envious of Bret Hart, as his push continued for most of 1994 and for some of 1995. Bret seemed to be getting constant attention"

Pictured again in that shadowy hallway, Sid crosses his arms and continues, "Yeah there's a whole bunch of em' here, Harts I mean. His father Stu is on the booking team. Don't you think that's a conflict of interesting or something? Maybe. I don't know, man. Listen, Bret gets stuff all the time and I'm still doing the same thing."

"What would you suggest they do instead?" Michaels asks.

"Listen, I can do a storyline. I can, really. But hey, when the youngsters don't work or some angle flops, they call me. I'm WCW's safety value. You know what I mean? A safety value type guy that they always call up and ask me to put over the next one that they're pushing."

"You mean, Eric Bischoff?" Michaels asks.

Sid chuckles a little and says, "Yeah, I said 'they', I mean the little guy, sorry. Bischoff just about controls everything. Sure, he's got people running around for him, but hey, he makes the calls and junk. If Bischoff wanted me to look a little better, I have no doubt, no single doubt he could do it. He could do it easy. He could."

Back at the studio, Michaels looks a little more serious as he says, "Saying Sid was unhappy would be an understatement. That day, we went right to the source, and asked Eric Bischoff about this situation.

"Eric, how do you respond to Sid's comments?" Michaels asks after cutting to the interview. They both are in WCW's plush offices.

"I'm not sure what to say really, just that the wrestlers don't get to decide the outcomes of matches. They don't get to make a final decision on anything. They are employees of WCW. Listen, I understand Sid is unhappy. I understand that. But he needs to suck it up a little and start being a professional," Bischoff says.

Back at the studio, Peter Michaels concludes, "After hearing these comments from each side, it was clear that the two parties were not communicating. They agreed to sit down with us and discuss the issue."

Eric Bischoff and Sid Vicious now sit together in WCW's offices. Sid has his arms crossed, looking annoyed and seems to stare at the wall as Eric Bischoff merely sits quietly. The camera pans over to Peter Michaels, who says, "Thank you gentlemen for joining me today. We're here to discuss the issue Sid brought up---"

"I just wish Sid would be more professional," Bischoff interjects suddenly, "Before you get started, I want to point out that I have tried resolving it. I can't even get through one discussion with him though."

"Oh shaddup Eric. God, man. Listen, I want to be treated better, that's it. You can't even discuss that?"

"I can discuss just about anything, but you want to yell and curse," Bischoff says bitterly.

"Whatever Eric. Try discussing the topic isntead of accusing me of junk. Like you usually do."

"Try discussing your release," Bischoff replies pointedly. He gets up from his seat, removes his microphone, and walks off without another word. Sid Vicious certainly has nothing more to say to that so sits quietly as the picture fades out.

The picture fades back to Peter Michaels in the studio again as he concludes, "It is obvious Sid vicious is wrestling with more than just Eric Bischoff. But he would not reveal to us what that is. Perhaps someday he will confide in someone, but it was obvious to me that his present environment brings out the worst in him. Sid Vicious has been released from WCW."


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August 1995 - Main Event Gold

With Big Van Vader as champion, Eric Bischoff felt a lot more creative in August. The World Title was the center of WCW programming again, as opposed to another feud. For example, when the two Bulldogs were feuding, Mean Mark did very little to build his feud against Vader in June and the World Title became second fiddle. However, Mark Callous was the master of the vinette, which helped. In August, Bret Hart and Vader became the center of the World Title picture. Hart began a feud with Vader that began more subtly at War Games, when the two brawled repeatedly.

Bret Hart was hyped as the last great challenger WCW had and Vader pulled out all the tricks to play mind-games with him, recruiting Davey Boy Smith to be with him at ringside for August. Unfortunately, no tricks could stop Hart and he put his determined character into overdrive. As the feud began, Vader destroyed Owen Hart and everyone knows Bret Hart defends the little guy, no offense to Owen. Bret came out and faced down Vader, amazingly enough, however Davey Boy attacked him from behind.

The feud continued immediately on the next Nitro with Bret Hart opening the show with an emotional promo. He seemed less casual and more determined, as he believed Vader crossed the line, making their rivalry personal. Vader did this even moreso by backing out of a tag-match and putting Davey Boy Smith in his spot. Again, WCW’s storylines imitated life, as Smith was the brother in-law of Bret Hart. The two, who have opposed each other before, did so one more time. During the tag-match, WCW cut to shots of Smith’s wife Diana in the crowd. She was the sister of Bret Hart, so the match was packed with as much past emotion as possible. Hart emerged victorious, but not without taking a vicious beating for which he didn’t wrestle until the pay per view. Backstage vinettes kept fans updated on Hart‘s condition, as he began “training” and rehabbing for a World Title match with Vader. The build-up was McMahon-esque.

Steve Austin was quickly put into another feud before he ruined Flair’s heat with promos of “The Flare for the Old.“ He began working against 44 year old Paul Orndorff, who had turned heel on Paul Roma a while back. Orndorff recruited hyperactive Brian Pillman to be annoyingly present at ringside for his matches. Pillman also jumped, beatdown or ambushed most of Orndorff’s enemies, except for Austin. Although Pillman caused a DQ in a tag-match, Austin delivered a stunner before Orndorff rescued him. So it was that the storyline heated up.

There was one thing Sid Vicious got right, if that’s believable. The Hart family was a big part of WCW, especially in August. Stu Hart was instrumental in not letting several wrestlers drift off the map, namely The Giant and Hulk Hogan. As big as these men had become, it was easy for Stu to get them to focus on what they needed to do. Stu Hart was the grandfather to everyone on the roster and so, gained respect because of his age. But after his age got him in the door, Stu was able to relate some advice that was actually practical. He let The Giant know that his “cancer” angle was not the best in the world, but had an idea to deflect the focus away from that and onto an interaction with the Road Warriors. The Warriors had, after all, attacked both The Giant and Hogan at the War Games.

Bischoff gave Stu free-reign after listening to this new direction for the team of Hogan and The Giant. The bigger man actually was portrayed as the weaker member, which Hogan liked, as he was used to carrying teams. The two of them struggled with the Road Warriors, as the hard-hitting heels were able to storytell perhaps the best of any team on the roster. Bischoff then interjected with a way to wiggle out The Giant out of his angle. Jim Cornette, manager of the Road Warriors, announced he had found a doctor to give The Giant surgery enough to cure him of the cancer.

Stu Hart was a bit boggled at this revelation, wondering where these storylines had come from. In any case, Cornette refused to give up the name of the doctor or help The Giant in any way, unless of course, they could beat the Road Warriors at the Great American Bash. Not a complicated gimmick by any means, but not the best either. What was much better was Steve Austin’s interactions with Paul Orndorff.

Orndorff picked up the feud with a promo near the end of the month. He came out and simply said Steve Austin was a loser. And not just a loser, but reinforced his gimmick and said he was a redneck loser. Orndorff didn’t just walk up and say this though, but got into the ring with Tony Schiavone and WCW built it all up as an official interview. Orndorff was similar to Jesse Ventura in that he would take his time during promos and could make a mere sentence emotional. But, he was given five to ten minutes to speak, so that helped. And with Brian Pillman just standing in the background cackling, it was even better.


“Austin, you’re a loser. I want you to hear me. I think you’re a loser and just like the other kids in this company, I’m gonna show you how to clean the toilet. But…maybe I won’t once you admit that when you’re in the ring with Mr. Wonderful, you‘re a made man. You can tell all your friends and your buddies that Mr. Wonderful took you to school and wrestled the hell outta you. There’s one guarantee. At the Great American Bash, you’re gonna get schooled, because it‘s gonna be a Street Fight. And you‘re not gonna graduate, boy,” Paul Orndorff said.


Jesse Ventura then renewed his backstage rivalry with Hogan. They both disagreed with the color commentary that Jesse provided during a Hogan match. Hogan claimed that Jesse was going out of his way to “run down” Hogan and over emphasize mistakes he made. Jesse Ventura later claimed to a radio show that he had no idea what “overselling” meant and so walked out on WCW instead of deal with these types of comments. Everyone knew a conflict was coming sooner or later, as the two men disliked each other. Inexplicably, Bischoff was left without a skilled color commentator, but at first tried JJ Dillon then switched to Larry Zybysko.

WCW signed Buddy Landel, the Nature Boy, who had been touring the independents since the closing of Smokey Mountain Wrestling. He immediately began a program with Ric Flair who was still thankfully a babyface, pitting Landel as an arrogant Nature Boy and Flair as the crowd favorite. Landel began by taunting Flair, as he had good microphone skills and was able to hold the crowd through a promo. Others on the roster could not do this, such as Greg Valentine or Barry Windham. The feud continued through the Great American Bash at the end of August.

Buddy Landel walked out with a sparkly robe, bleached blonde hair and had some of the same mannerisms of the real Nature Boy. He didn’t do the ‘Woo’ though, that’s where he said he drew the line. Of course, anyone who “ripped off” Ric Flair was the devil to a WCW fan, but when they were both in the ring, you had to blink your eyes a few times as you were seeing double. Landel challenged Flair to a “Nature Boy” match, which of course, put the monikur on the line. Flair began to think this was Bischoff’s way of getting him to change his wardrobe or cut his hair, as Jim Herd had threatened. But surprisingly, Bischoff wanted Flair to beat Landel soundly and smack him around like a rookie. Landel was to cheat even more than Flair ever had, illegally use the ropes for leverage, slip the fight to the outside and other tactics. The match was actually fairly decent, but fans really didn’t care much about Landel. They cared more about the main event.

Bret Hart was able to look the best out of anyone that month in promos, especially with Owen Hart standing next to him looking sympathetic. Owen began walking with a crutch, thanks to Vader’s attack earlier that month. And every wrestling fan knows what that means. The crutch becomes a weapon. During a tag-match, Ricky Steamboat and Bret Hart were taking on The Queen’s Team, Regal and Chris Adams. And again, Owen was standing at ringside, with his crutch, looking sympathetic. Vader walked down to ringside and started bullying Owen, then grabbed his crutch and broke it completely in half over his back. Well, needless to say, Bret forgot about the match and began brawling with Vader at ringside. The match broke down into a Mick Foley brawl. Vader finished off the night with a slam of Bret Hart through a table, shattering it.

Lastly, the other gimmick match on the pay per view, was the American Elimination Match. It was basically a regular, 6-man elimination match, but everyone wore American colors, even the heels. However, The Misfits disliked this stipulation, like classic heels. The Misfits stole and ripped up Chris Benoit’s American flag and choked him with the tattered pieces. No word on whether that is against US law. Of course, it came down to The Ice Man Chris Benoit against the largest man in wrestling. You’ve got to hand it to Benoit, he was actually able to wrestle The Beast. For the first time ever, The Beast looked decent. For five minutes, at least.

Great American Bash - August 1995

Dark Match: Saturn defeated DDP w/ Kimberly

Paul Roma defeated Eddie Guerrero

Ricky Steamboat defeated Lord Steven Regal w/ Squire Chris Adams by DQ

American Elimination Match: The Rock n’ Roll Express + Chris Benoit defeated

The Misfits (Samu, The Beast, New Jersey Jim) w/ Jimmy Hart

Street Fight: Steve Austin defeated Paul Orndorff

Harlem Heat defeated Barry Windham + Greg Valentine

Nature Boy Match: Ric Flair defeated Buddy Landel

Sting defeated Rick Rude

Hulk Hogan and the Giant defeated The Road Warriors

Bret Hart defeated Big Van Vader for the WCW World Title

Then something happened that was unthinkable and overshadowed everything WCW did that month, including the great main event feud. The WWF re-signed The Ultimate Warrior. Everyone in the locker room thought the Warrior was gone for good, but Vince apparently changed his mind. He later gave an interview and said that the fans still had been demanding the Warrior, but insiders knew it was a ploy to win the ratings war.

The Warrior dismantled Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs on successive WWF TV shows, all the while putting on the most god-awful matches possible. The Warrior refused or simply did have the talent to put over the Nasty Boys, even though they were a hot attraction. Vince then put the Warrior in a feud with Lex Luger, a heel which did not seem to complement the Warrior’s style. Those matches were even more horrendous, however were short, sweet and to the point and extremely popular with the fans. The Warrior came out on top, horrifying insiders. The WWF however, sold out the arena. Meanwhile, they tried to boost the Summerslam workrate with the Macho Man taking on the youngster, James Townsend, an excellent match. Unfortunately, the WWF did not put this youngster over.

WWF Summerslam in August 1995

The Warlord defeated Otto Wanz

The Smoking Gunns defeated Team Edge

Men on a Mission defeated the King and Typhoon

Macho Man Randy Savage defeated James Townsend

Shawn Michaels defeated Mister Perfect

Pierre Oulette defeated Fatu for the WWF Intercontinental Title

Razor Ramon defeated Hacksaw Jim Duggan

The Ultimate Warrior defeated Lex Luger

Bret Hart was put over by WCW and won the World Title. After the Great American Bash main event was over, several wrestlers came out to shake Hart’s hand. Owen came out on his crutches, along with Ricky Steamboat, The Giant and several others. They were all flanked by Ric Flair, who walked to the ring slowly. The crowd seemed to enjoy this pay per view better than they had previous WCW pay per views. After offering his hand, Bret Hart was knocked on his ass by none other than Nature Boy Ric Flair. The other wrestlers restrained Flair as he stomped the Hitman and tossed Flair from the ring.

Flair was incensed, tossing chairs and upending tables. He grabbed a microphone, “Bret Hart! I…am…the Naaaa---ture Boy…Ric Flair! And I proved it tonight, baby. I proved it tonight in front of all these screaming fans! Listen to em’! Woo!” he said with a grin and then grew serious as he pointed at Bret Hart, “You know what Bret Hart, I prove it every night and people don't lose faith in winners. The Nature Boy just keeps winning and winning, and you know why, because I've got the greatest ability and talent and woo! I'm the greatest athlete alive today. I'm the man and you don‘t deserve to hold that belt. That's right. You’ll come and go, but there's only one Ric Flair and he deserves to be World Champion over all you! All of you in the ring! These fans want to see /me/. And I don't care if its Atlantic City, Atlanta, Georgia or Charlotte, North Carolina! Woo! I'm the man making this show possible. Only one. I am a winner Bret Hart, I walk down that aisle, get in that ring and win. Woo! And I'm gonna win against you too and bring that title home where it belongs, baby. That's why I am...the…greatest…haha!”


Edited by Nottavictim
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Wrestling with Shadows - Dustin Rhodes

"Weclome back to Wrestling with Shadows, the investigative show that delves deep into the latest issues in wrestling. Today we're looking at Dustin Rhodes, the son of the multi-time wrestling champion Dusty Rhodes," Peter Michaels says.

"Make no doubt about it, some people like Sid Vicious would claim that family members get special treatment because of influence of other family members on the booking team. For example, last time Eric Bischoff was adamant in his denial that none of the Hart family had any influence over the recent push of Bret Hart," Michaels continues, "But others have a different story."

The screen cuts to Dusty Rhodes sitting at a long, fold-table in what looks like a backstage area. He fingers a cup of coffee as he says, "Yeah, I'm not afraid to admit all the wrongs in my life. Not afraid to admit em. No sir. I gave my son a few matches to win when I was booking the show. But nowadays you have to work with a team, so really there's no way it could happen."

The camera fades to a video montage of Dustin Rhodes as he was wrestling and Peter Michaels narrates, "When Dusty Rhodes returned to WCW in May of 1995, he returned without young Dustin, who had himself begun to wrestle with more shadows in the wrestling business. Without his father, Dustin wrestled the independents, but bookings were very few until they dwindled to nothing. He eventually turned up on High-Octane Wrestling, a local promotion based in Mexico. We received permission to travel there to interview Dustin."

The screen fades in on the city of Chihuahua, Mexico. Peter Michaels stands in the sun in some plaid shorts and a ballcap. He says, "Welcome to hot Chihuahua. Don't ask me to repeat that. If I'm acting a bit on edge, it's because it's hot and the days are certainly long. Did I mention it's hot? Anyway, we visited High-Octane Wrestling here in the downtown district of the busy city. However, when we went inside, it was anything but busy."

The screen cuts to two men wrestling, obviously lucha-wrestlers from Mexico. Their appearance is nondescript, but the camera quickly pans to the crowd and only about a half-dozen people are there. One man eats a hot dog, another is yelling something in spanish and finally another sits looking bored. His t-shirt reads "I'm the Superfly, bitch."

Peter Michaels looks deadpan at the camera and says, "It was an exciting night. But that was just the beginning."

The screen cuts back to the ring of High-Octane Wrestling. A spanish announcer can be heard yelling through some microphone feedback, "ZZZZZZ...ahora...bienvenida por favor...Dustin...ZZZZhodes!" he barely says. Dustin Rhodes runs out to no reaction whatsoever. The man in the front takes a bite of his hot dog and licks some ketchup on his hand, then reaches out to attempt to high-five Dustin. Dustin looks at the crowd strangely.

"ZZZZz...BEEEEP...y antagonista...El Mosca!" the announcer tries to say. A man, perhaps a teenager, runs out looking like a human fly. His lucha character is obviously a fly, but his giant bug eyes obscure his vision as he trips over a cord while making for the ring stairs. He bangs his head on these pointed stairs, but thankfully gets up after only a few minutes of unconsciousness. A few shouts from the man in the Superfly t-shirt do not help. Mercifully, the screen cuts back to Peter Michaels outside.

Peter Michaels sighs some and says, "It was at least an air-conditioned building. Anyway, the masked Fly lost via submission, but we will spare you the match highlights ladies and gentlemen. My point in showing you all this is that Dustin Rhodes can fall no further. In all my years of reporting, I don't think I've ever seen such a horrible production. Imagine being trapped in a world where you speak very little of the language, make very little to live off of and have grown to hate, dare I say dispise, the very thing you used to love to do. That's how Dustin Rhodes feels."

"After seeing what we just saw, Dustin Rhodes refused to talk with us. But Dusty Rhodes released a tape of a phone message to us from Dustin after we also showed Dusty the previous footage. He was understandably concerned. As any father would be. Here is the phone message," Peter Michaels introduces.

"[bEEP] Hi Dad, it's Dustin. Listen, I just got done eating and I was thinking, maybe I should come home. You wouldn't be too proud of me, Dad. I wrestled in front of six [beep]ing today, Dad. God Dammit! Six [beep]ing people! I could not believe it, trust me. At first I was like 'Hey it's Mexico, they love WCW there, I'm gonna make out big-time.' But you were right, I got [beep]ed all over the place. They stuck me in a two-person room with five people and they had bunk beds. [beep]ing bunk beds, god dammit. What is this, the boy scouts or a wrestling promotion? They didn't even have me sign anything or promise anything, apparently they just slip the guys some money. If they make any. I dunno how it works really. The guy in charge gave me a bill once and I think he actually asked for change. Can you believe that? [beep]ing change. I'm coming home right [beep]ing now, Dad. And yes, I'm still mad at you but not mad enough to endure eating [beep] on toast and sleeping in a [beep]ing bunk bed."

Peter Michaels smirks and says, "Dustin Rhodes did not enjoy Mexico. He is currently cutting lawns back in the United States. No word on when he'll return to wrestling."


Edited by Nottavictim
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