Wow, the response for these "Time Machine" columns have been excellent, as opposed to my opinionated rants about Nitro, RAW, WWF in general, or WCW in general. Anyway, today's Quantum Leap will to the year 1990, and we'll be looking at WCW. Why? It's my opinion that the events that occurred here created a chain of events that led to what WCW is today. My opinion is that WCW was poorly run from 1990 and on, so I'll attempt to review all of the problems in a row, leading up to a big NWO column. It shall be fun for weeks to come! So let's make the leap to 1990!
To get the whole effect of a "Quantum Leap", CLICK HERE for some quality background music. :)
Well, firstly, the plan of 1990 was to make Sting the World Champion. If anything was accomplished, that's what the WCW higher-ups wanted to happen, and Flair agreed. This gradual push of Sting has made him into a superstar, and the fans were eating up any matches he had. So it was easy right? Flair was the champ, so we'll have him finally put over Sting with a classic top heel vs. top face match. It was that easy, as long as you didn't mess up things after that......
Well, it occurred at the Great American Bash 1990, but a fluke happened that enabled a delay from an earlier match. That very fluke stripped Ric Flair of his booking power, and put a stupid moron in the place as the booker. The fluke came at an early 1990 Clash of the Champions, where Ric Flair was a face at the time, still that way from the Funk feud of 1989. Before the Clash, Sting and Flair became "friends", but remember how I said that Flair would be the "top heel" in the feud? Well, Flair booked a return of the 4 Horsemen for that very Clash of the Champions, thus setting up the super match.
So at a rather classic interview, Sting, feeling great as the top face wrestler, wants a title shot against his new "buddy" Ric Flair. However, Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson, two former Horsemen, returned, and a good backstabbing plan was set in place. So during the interview, Sting asks for the shot, and he gets DESTROYED by both Andersons and Flair. However, something unintended happened during this interview. Sting was injured, as he tore a ligament in his knee.
This injury wasn't taken lightly by the WCW higher-ups, as they put ALL blame on Ric Flair for Sting getting injured. Yes, Flair was fired for a fluke and an accident, even though he created one of the best years in the Turner-Owned wrestling franchise EVER! Remember what I said.... the goal of 1990 was to make Sting the World Champion. However, he's on the sidelines due to this injury, delaying their hopes for having Sting as their HUGE face champion.
Flair is now fired as booker, but he's still your WCW World Champion and he remains wrestling. His replacement was Ole Anderson, who was fired back in the mid 80s for some problem backstage, involving missed shows. But even then, his booking wasn't considered the strongest, so why put him back as booker? That my friends, is WCW's first bad management mistake, putting Ole Anderson as the booker.
Ole Anderson is sort of an old school booker, but not Bill Watts-old school. Anderson was dumb, and that's the best word I can use to describe him. No lie! So anyway, his first plans were to find someone to face Ric Flair in a Pay Per View bout, since Sting is injured. Anderson, like Dusty Rhodes, oddly sees the odd potential of having Lex Luger as the company's top man, and immediately books him against Flair. Oh by the way, Luger was a heel before this, but he was INSTANTLY turned face out of no where, and challenged Flair.
Now in 1988, Flair had problems with Luger, since Dusty Rhodes wanted to put Luger in as champ. Flair, at the time, felt that Luger was too "green" at the time, and he wouldn't be suited to be a great World Champ. Ric Flair used his VETO POWER to crack that down, as he still had it in 1990, despite being stripped as the top booker. So with that veto power, he struck down two attempts of Ole to make Luger the World Champion. Was Flair selfish??? No way! Flair stuck to the program, and he wanted Sting to beat him for the title, and Sting only!! That was the plan of WCW in 1990, and damn it, Flair stuck to it! Plus, as a newly turned face, Luger was getting the pops that he currently gets today, in the year 2000.
So this took up 2 Pay Per Views, until the wonderful Great American Bash, where Sting would win the title. The first Pay Per View, Wrestle War 1990, just featured Flair vs. Luger I, with a few decent midcard feuds, carrying on from when Flair was booker. Ole Anderson wasn't able to do that much damage, yet.
(Credit: Matt at X-Entertainment.com for the Robo Cop/Sting photo)
Then we have Capital Combat 1990...... Now Sting began showing up on WCW television, to hype up his return really. He was still hurt, but he was there to slowly build his feud with the Horsemen, who by the way, consisted of Flair, Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson, and now Sid Vicious, who was loved by all fans at the time. So when hearing about Sting being at Capital Combat, they threatened Sting, and said they would hurt him more. At Capital Combat, they went after Sting, and threw him in a cage. Looking at the picture, you can take a guess who saved him. Fucking Robocop! I guess the morons at WCW struck a deal with whoever made those "classic" movies, and the great Ole Anderson booked Robocop in the middle of what should have been the hottest feud in wrestling at the time: Sting against the Horsemen!
Sting eventually comes back from his injury, at full strength. But before we go into that match, let's discuss one of the "Missed Opportunities" of WCW. WCW had this wrestler named Mean Mark Callous, who they saw NO talent in...or so they thought. That man would get released from WCW, and he would be immediately picked up by the WWF, and turned into the Undertaker! No talent my ass! Yeah, Ole Anderson sees talent in Lex Luger, but misses something as good as what the Undertaker became in the WWF.
Now, we go to Great American Bash 1990, where Sting finally gets the World Title in the top heel vs. top face match. Since Sting was the man back in the day, and so was Flair, fans didn't mind the delay in the original match that should have happened in early Spring, instead of the Summer. Sting was finally the top face with the World Title, so how could you go wrong now? All you had to do was to find great heels for Sting to fight against. It's not THAT HARD.
They did good at first, building up an excellent Sting and Sid feud, which gave us an incredible match at Halloween Havoc 1990. The ending is a personal favorite of mine, as Sting and Sid fight to the back, and Sid drags "Sting" back in, and easily wins the title. Fireworks and the works for the celebration of Sid as the new World Champion, but during the celebration, the REAL Sting came in and defeated Sid. This was just simply spectacular, and the fake Sting was none other than Barry Windham, who would try to return to fame after a horrible WWF stint as the "Widowmaker". How the WWF messed up his career...well, that's another column.
Things were going good, right? Well, they were stable, but a few bonehead moves came around. Ole Anderson didn't think much of the Nasty Boys back in the day to give them a HUGE push to the top and suggest for WCW to offer these guys contracts. Therefore, the WWF snatched them up and made them into stars. But you still had Doom, a personal favorite of mine, and the Steiners to carry the tag division, which was always the Ole Anderson era's strong point.
Since WCW jobbed away their top heel, Sid Vicious, it was time to find a new competitor for Sting. It must be an incredible heel for Sting to fight, going into the top WCW event: Starrcade 1990. So let's see here.... How about Ric Flair? No, WCW management considered Flair "washed up" at the time. Lex Luger? Nope, he was in the middle of a good US title feud with Stan Hansen. Ricky Steamboat? I FUCKING WISH!!! The Dragon was spitting fireballs in the WWF during this time. Vader? Not just yet... Barry Windham? Some say he was too out of shape back then. So who?????
Credit: WrestleCrap.com for the Black Scorpion picture
Scrambling for answers, Ole Anderson used his 3 braincells to come up with a new opponent, and new he was! Out of no where, he created an evil villian named the Black Scorpion, who "claimed" to know everything about Sting, since he was a friend of Sting a few years back. He debuted at a Clash, and challenged Sting to a match. They fought, and as Sting tried to unmask the first one, ANOTHER Black Scorpion appeared on the rampway. Who could it be?!?
Well folks, Ole Anderson developed this guy without actually having someone to be behind it. Yes, it's exactly the Hummer driver, the one who hit Austin, or the "higher power", since it was booked without a person behind it, but this gets MUCH WORSE. Ole Anderson and WCW searched high and low in Sting's past wrestling career, which was in a Bill Watts promotion briefly before the NWA/WCW, and they couldn't find anybody for the role. How ridiculous can you get when you have this masked character to "claim" that he's from Sting's past, when you can't find anybody for that role.
Unlike the mystery drivers or "higher power", this mysterious guy did magic tricks! Yes, that's how he intimidated Sting... not by force, but by acting like a magician! He did tricks by disappearing instantly, turning an audience member into a fucking tiger, and flipping this guy's head around with a box!(Don't believe me? Click Here!) Also, with several Scorpions, he came down in some strange flying vehicle. It was sickening, and it was Ole Anderson's ideas!!! How on earth could you ruin Sting's great title reign? Well, this is apparently it, and it instantly busted up all credibility that WCW was as a competitor against the WWF.
Again, Ole Anderson(no relation to Arn, thank God), had nobody to play this role. So what would Ole and WCW do? They begged Ric Flair to play the role, after completely depushing Flair because they thought he was washed up. That's what Dusty Rhodes thought 1988, and he was proved wrong. At Starrcade 1990, Flair ended up being the Black Scorpion, and Ole Anderson is FIRED for his booking ignorance.
So was Flair given the book again, for 1991 to be a great year? Oh no... the stupid management of WCW decided to give Dusty Rhodes the booking duties again. Yes, that's the same guy who was pushing for Lex Luger to be World Champion in 1988, and he would continue to push for that in 1991... but that's a different column, and in 2 weeks, we'll discuss the next stage of bad booking decisions of WCW, which in my opinion, reflects on today's WCW.
Funny how Sting's injury caused all of these attempts to run WCW, and make it profitable. Funny thing is that WCW only gets worse after 1990.
To read more Wrestling History columns, Click Here.
The Wrestle Palooza Audio Show will be having Dawn Marie from ECW on their show Wednesday!!!
@That's it for today's History column. I'm thinking about discussing the legacy, or what could have been the legacy, of the Ultimate Warrior next week, and then returning to discuss the next management disaster of WCW. Just chill till the next PDC.
Phat Pharm: NEW Column entitled "Ban The Legdrop" is up and Ready to Read!!!!!
Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.