Welcome to the Saturday edition of the Phat Daily Column. Today, we time travel to the year 1994 through the middle of 1995, where WCW had some odd ups and downs. It's interesting, since the past 4 WCW columns, discussing the years of 1990 - 1993, have shown us that WCW has been a disaster. Well, let's look at what could have happened in 1994, and what did. Let's take the Quantum Leap... On to the PDC.
Note: I now have, within my possession, Kurt Angle's "It's True, It's True" and Chris Jericho's "Break the Walls Down" thanks to some very special friends of mine. Expect reviews of those tapes in future editions.
Another Note: I'm totally behind on e-mail, since my part-time X-mas job is kicking my ass!
Last time, we discussed the horrible year of 1993. Eric Bischoff, fearing for his own job, handed booking responsibilities over to Ric Flair to save his ass. Well, it worked! At Starrcade 1993, Flair booked himself to defeat Vader, and off we are with Flair as champ to start 1994. He had FULL booking power, so like he did in 1989, he was going to make this company work great again. His idea was to be a strong champion, while grooming someone to take over for him. That man, folks, is named Steve Austin.
Yes indeed. Despite what Foley says, Flair wasn't giving the shaft to Austin. He was grooming him for the top spot. It was Bischoff and Hogan who screwed Austin truly, as I don't know why Foley blames Flair for that. Bischoff promised Austin title reigns, which he never got, and released him during an injury.
But anyway, the plan with Austin was basically it for Flair. He'd try to build up the company on NO half-assed angles or gimmicks, like 1993 brought us, if you remember from the last column(the Shockmaster). Flair would feud with Vader even more, a rematch feud with Ricky Steamboat, and Barry Windham, even though Windham was WAY past his prime. Just solid booking overall. Wrestling critics, including those who suffered through 1993, cheered WCW for being a much more organized and NOT AS INSULTING federation.
However, the boys at WCW and Ted Turner were getting impatient. They saw how the WWF's numbers were slipping, and they didn't see Flair's booking as a way to get to the top. So when Hulk Hogan was taping "Thunder in Paradise", good old Billionaire Ted and Eric Bischoff went after Hogan. They offered him a HUGE contract, which contained FULL CREATIVE CONTROL over his character in WCW. Both Ted and Bischoff were hungry for any kind of edge, so they agreed to Hogan's demands. Flair, the head booker of WCW, actually wanted Hogan in WCW, since they were unable to do a program in the WWF. However, Flair should have not agreed to it!
Hogan made his WCW debut, by saving Sting from a Ric Flair attack after a spectacular match. It sent shockwaves in the industry at the time, but those died down after Hogan brought his little friends with him. Yes, your good pals, the Big Bossman, Brutus "the barber" Beefcake, Honky Tonk Man, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan all got pushes or jobs, thanks to Hogan. All the while, guys like Steve Austin, who was more talented than Hogan and his pals combined, got the shaft. Austin, who was the US Champ at the time, was then jobbed to death by Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Just after that, he suffered some kind of injury, which gave Eric Bischoff the excuse to FIRE Austin from WCW. Austin went on to do a brief stint in ECW, and then he showed up in the WWF. I think you know the rest of that story!
Hogan and Flair go on to have the HUGE retirement match at Halloween Havoc 1994, where Flair gracefully does the job. Flair was supposed to have a comeback sometime after this, and then set up another HUGE match between Ric and Hogan, with Flair getting the cheap heel win. Did I mention that Hulk Hogan had FULL CREATIVE POWER in his contract? Like Flair sort of did with Luger back in the day, Hogan did it to Flair. Hogan refused to lose at Starrcade, so WCW had to book a new main event for Starrcade. Oh, by the way, Dusty Rhodes re-emerged as a booker here, so it only gets worse. Plus, Hogan was pulling all of the stops for his buddies.
Like Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake. Good old Hogan had a mystery man, in a mask, attack certain wrestlers. He would eventually attack Hogan, too, and reveal himself to be Beefcake, a well known Hogan friend. That would set up a big SUCKFEST at Starrcade for a main event, which makes Sting vs. Hogan at Starrcade 97 look good. No lie.
1995 starts off on a low note, as it's obvious that Hogan runs things. He refused to job for Flair, and all of his friends were very successful. Because of that, guys like Austin and Foley slipped away, and eventually ended up in the WWF. Hogan then booked himself in a feud with Vader, which went on for two Pay Per Views. Many suggest that Vader should have won the first match, and then have Hogan win the rematch in a top money match. However, Hogan won both matches. During this regime, great ideas like the "King of the Road" match occurred. That was Dustin Rhodes vs. Blacktop Bully, where they fought on a bed of a moving truck, with hay to hit each other with. Really stupid!
One good thing was that Macho Man Randy Savage came to WCW, following Hogan where ever he went. It helped to show a sign that ANYBODY could be paid to come to WCW. Then, Eric Bischoff came up with a GREAT IDEA! Yes, after 2 long years of hell, an idea popped into that stupid mind of his. His idea was to create a RIVAL show to Monday Night RAW on Monday, obviously. The Turner people laughed at him, but eventually let him do his idea. They thought it would be the nail in is coffin, but little did they know that would come 4 long years later....
In 2 Weeks: We'll discuss the RISE of WCW to the top!
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@That's all for today. Please send in any WWF era idea for me to discuss next week. Until then, just chill.........
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