Welcome back to yet another Time Machine edition of the Phat Daily Column. Today, we discuss the WORST era in WCW history, which was the first year of Eric Bischoff's reign as the top man. How ironic, since he MIGHT be buying WCW really soon. But anyway, this is the year that WCW totally bottomed out, and made anything that Vince Russo has done with WCW look great! Let's take a Quantum Leap to the year 1993.
Now I know that many other columnists have discussed this year, so bear with me if you've heard it before.
The first move... Dusty Rhodes was brought back to be the Head Booker. Already, this first year of Bischoff is fucked beyond belief, and it would certainly show it. At this point in time, Ted Turner was desperate to defeat the World Wrestling Federation. He didn't care what it took, and he'd do anything to help this bad federation get to the top. So really, this is the beginning of WCW's climb to the top. Who says it's not a bumpy road, though?
But the booking decisions and spending was ridiculous this year. It started off good, with Vader winning back the World Title from Ron Simmons. The great heel that Watts built up was finally champ again, so how could you go wrong? Well, you must find someone to wrestle him, silly. So with that being said, Bischoff reaches down in Turner's deep pockets and buys the British Bulldog from the WWF, who was hot off a decent Intercontinental Title Run within the WWF. Well, that's a midcard title, remember? Now, you are pushing Davey Boy as a main eventer. And that's low.
It proved to be a major joke, as the bookers put Smith with Sting to form the "Two Dudes With Attitudes". Well, I guess it's not all bad. Then, out of no where, the returning Sid Vicious teamed up with Vader to go after them. It set up a wonderful skit to where a little midget placed a bomb on Sting's boat. I can't describe it. I remember watching it on television, back in the day, shaking my head and questioning why I was a wrestling fan. Well, actually, I got a good laugh on it. (See for yourself by Clicking Here)
Another bad booking decision was what do to with the returning Ric Flair, who worked out a compromise with WCW after his WWF career ended due to the equilibrium affect from the eardrum injury. Well, Dusty thought that reforming the Horsemen would be a great idea, so he got Flair, Arn Anderson, and brought back Ole Anderson, but they needed a 4th member. That man is Paul Roma. Since he was in the WWF, he could get monster heat, right? Well, Power and Glory wasn't exactly over in the WWF. This incarnation of the Horsemen proved to be the biggest failure of Horsemen, ever! Paul Roma proved to be a horrible worker in WCW, as he was on an ego trip the whole way through.
Then we have this whole NWA title situation, and the delightful WCW International title situation. I, to this day, have never fully understood how they were trying to get this idea over, and I never will. The story goes that Barry Windham was the NWA World Champ, and that WCW was oddly enough, somehow connected to them. So WCW decided to break away from the NWA, since Bischoff thought they were too big for them, and controversy occurs. Flair would win that belt from Barry, and then WCW would declare that Flair was now the WCW International Champion, which screwed up the title situation badly, even worse than Russo ever could. That's the best that I can explain it, but I remember that myself and my older brother used to rip on how stupid the title situation was back then.
Now if you read Mick Foley's book, you'll know about this situation. Vader was champ, and Cactus Jack was his next violent opponent. Vader violently powerbombed Jack on the concrete, outside the ring, and put Jack out of action for a while. So the wonderful booking committee at WCW decided to do an amnesia angle. It was so ridiculous too, as I remember a stupid reporter finding him on the streets and talking to him. WCW could have just brought back Jack with vengeance, but instead, they did the amnesia angle, and gave their rematches no credibility with storylines.
(Credit: Matt at X-Entertainment.com for the pick)
Then, the Shockmaster.... If there was ever a bad idea in wrestling, well, this is it. However, it fudged up from the start, as we didn't have to suffer longer than the bookers thought. At a Clash, to build up a classic 6 man match between Harlem Heat and Sid, the "Two Dudes with Attitudes" decided to announce their 3rd member of their team. WCW was looking for a new and powerful opponent for Sid, and they created the Shockmaster. Who is the Shockmaster? If you remember the Tugboat from the WWF, then imagine him with his shirt off, a shitty garmet around his neck, and a sparkly storm helmet, and that's him. When Sting announced him at the Clash, he must have got too excited, and he tripped out of his own entrance way. I remember seeing it at the time, and I didn't think much of it. Now, I laugh at how stupid and embarrassing it was. You can actually see this scary clip by Clicking Here.
The Shockmaster sounded exactly like the Black Scorpion, another bad booking idea. Let me quote what the Shockmaster said that night: "They call me the Shockmaster. You've ruled the World long enough Sid Vicious. Get Ready... come on, you wanna piece of me??" Sadly enough, Dusty Rhodes put a lot of stock into Tugboat coming through, and he expected him to be the next HUGE opponent for Vader's title. However, it was a complete joke.
WCW also botched up many open opportunities. They had the man, the myth, the legend.... Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat under contract, but all they used him for was tag wrestling. I would have loved to see Steamboat and Vader go at it. Also, WCW created the Hollywood Blondes(Stunning Steve Austin and Brian Pillman), and in that same year, they split them up, even though they were the most hated tag team in the planet by fans. That's a shame, because they could have been the measuring stick of tag teams everywhere. They also didn't do much with Sting this year, but I guess that's acceptable since he already fought Vader about a 100 times before 1993.
The worst of the morale killers, especially for the backstage, was the decisions of the Disney World television tapings. Yes, you all remember those shitty studios, with the non-wrestling fans watching them, and working with the sound machines and so forth. Well, Bischoff decided to tape several months of television for those shows, so it was the ultimate spoiler. All of the title changes were known in advance, so the wrestlers didn't give two shits about what would happen to them in the future. Very bad decision here by WCW.
This horrible, horrible year is ended with an odd incident. Well, Vader needed an opponent. So WCW quickly turned Sid face, as he was teaming up with the evil Harlem Heat before that. Sid vs. Vader... sounds good on paper, right? Sort of like Scott Steiner vs. Sid for this year's event. However, the Sid vs. Vader match didn't occur at all. While WCW was touring London, Sid and Arn Anderson got into a heated argument at the hotel's bar. Then, while around their rooms, they got into a fight where Sid brought a pair of safety scissors as a weapon. Arn Anderson was stabbed several times, and Sid was ultimately fired from WCW, thanks to the incident. So who would fight Vader?
Well, at this time, Bischoff was under pressure because he might get fired from WCW, so like every booker has done, he went to Ric Flair for help. He gave the booking power to Ric Flair, and Flair booked himself in the Starrcade main event with Vader, which he won! That's not ego, it's smart! Flair would then immediately start taking the company in a good direction, and actually started to develop Steve Austin to be the next Superstar. Flair ruled WCW until the halfway point of 1994, when WCW signed Hulk Hogan, and that's another column!
Oh, by the way, you know how WCW, this year, is set to lose around $50 Million to $70 Million? Well, 1993's WCW lost around a reported $23 Million, thanks to the overbudgeted mini-movies made to hype up the Dudes With Attitudes vs. Vader/Sid, the overspending on guys like Bulldog, Roma, or Tugboat(Shockmaster), and just bad decisions by the company, with weak ratings and bad attendance. Maybe if you consider inflation today compared to then, maybe the $23 Million is somewhat near what WCW is losing this year, making the years very identical.
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Ok, ok.... I promised that I'd do "Chistmas Suggestions", but I'm not coming through here. Well, actually, you can find out my suggestions by reading my Multimedia Reviews.
@That's all for today. I haven't quite decided what kind of WWF history I'll do for next Saturday, so if you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it. Tomorrow: Armageddon Predictions!
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Take Care, and Thanks For Reading.