Welcome back to the Phat Daily Column. Today, we are going to try something new that will actually be the Saturday format of the PDC. Well, it's actually old, as we will go back into time and discuss certain happenings or problems that affect wrestling today, or at least is interesting to go back and discuss. I know a lot of you newer WWF fans haven't seen some of things that got wrestling to this point today, so it's always good to pay attention. So, let's hop into everyone's favorite Time Machine!
Mick Foley: The famous Cactus Jack of WCW. In my opinion, he was more of a punching bag for guys like Vader and Sting. If you've read Jack's book about WCW, you'll know that times were very rough. Lots of promised pushes, booker changes, and backstage politics helped to ruin Jack's career in WCW. They never let him get a win over a big name, nor did they try to put him at the top of the company. They made Mick so miserable at the end of his WCW career that he just decided that he couldn't take no more! He then asked to be released from WCW, taking a chance on the independent circuit. Yes folks, WCW was that bad that he was willing to go to the independent circuit instead of making decent money at WCW.
As you know, the WWF eventually picked Mick up, turned him into Mankind, and he immediately paid off at In Your House Mind Games where he fought Shawn Michaels in an awesome match! Mankind slowly developed into a HUGE WWF star, and is loved by just about everyone in the wrestling world. Gee, the WWF saw success in him, why couldn't WCW?
Of course, someone will question why the WWF didn't see anything in Mick WAY back in the 80s when he was brought in as a "fall guy" for teams like the British Bulldogs. I'd argue that he wasn't quite that much of a wrestling talent then, and that the WCW mistake is much worse.
Triple H: Remember Jean Paul Levesque in WCW? That was Triple H's first big break in wrestling. He sort of acted like the original Triple H did in the WWF, if you remember. During his days in WCW, he was very green, as in that he was really starting out and wasn't that developed yet. Levesque was jobbed to death by WCW since they eventually didn't think much of this young wrestler. Of course, when you have young talent like that, you MUST develop them somehow. WCW didn't do that, as they though Levesque had no talent and couldn't be an asset. So they let him go, and since the WWF is the best place for young talent, they saw something good in Triple H, and they immediately picked him up.
The WWF grew him slowly, as he was a heel midcarder to start. He was a great one in my opinion, as a very snobbish guy. He slowly grew into a big superstar, but it took him really 5 years to get that damn good. But the fact is that the WWF was patient with the Game, and they KNEW how to use him. It's really paying off now, isn't WCW?
Rob Van Dam: Holy hell?!? The Whole F'N show was indeed a part of WCW, but like Jean Paul Levesque, WCW didn't see much in this guy at the time. They didn't feel the need to develop this guy, as he obviously had talent. Anybody with who can do various flips and kicks should have SOME talent to work with. Obviously, WCW didn't see anything, and Rob Van Dam decided the independent scene was better, which led him to ECW.
From the moment he entered ECW, he was RED HOT. Paul Heyman *knew* how to use him, or develop his strengths against ECW wrestlers. He went from a very disrespectful heel, to a television champ, to a HUGE fan favorite, and finally to one of ECW's most respected wrestlers backstage. Too bad he could be leaving, but that's a different story. Point being that WCW missed this talent!
Chris Jericho: Now this is the biggest BULLSHIT let go of the century. Chris Jericho was one of the most over guys in the company. So usually, when someone is hugely popular with the fans, what do you do? Usually, the thinking is to push him to the top, right? WRONG! Thanks to the backstage politics, Jericho was de-pushed, as in jobbing for others or held off from major matches. The fans loved him, the "Jerichoholic" T-shirts were selling, but Eric Bischoff and his veterans knew that Jericho was looking much better than them. So when Jericho's contract was coming up, they totally de-pushed Jericho from his television title reign, and just sat on him since they knew his contract came up. WCW *knew* he'd be huge in the WWF, so they did offer a higher salary just to keep him away from the WWF.
Well, you know the story. Jericho declined, and now he's a big star in the WWF. He seems very happy and positive about his career, which he was trying to be in WCW. The fact is that he's still young, and the best has yet to come from Jericho. He just has a few "kinks" to work on with his wrestling ability, and that's not being so intensive and stiff sometimes when he wrestles. When Jericho is at his best, he can wrestle awesome with Benoit or Triple H.
The Undertaker: Oh my Undertaker!!!! Remember Mean Mark Callous in WCW during the early 90s? Probably not, as if you blinked, you would have missed him. If you remember the GIGANTIC team of the Skyscrapers, he filled in for a while as one of them was injured(I believe it was Danny Spivey?). WCW really didn't seem much potential in Callous, although if you watch his match, you can see the Undertaker in him. I saw a match were he walked the ropes for a jumping clotheline! He still wrestled the same as he did in his hay-days as the Undertaker here, but yet WCW missed the opportunity. Callous was "just another victim" of WCW's poor developing system, and he then signed a deal with the WWF, and that's history.
From the FIRST MOMENT HE ARRIVED, the Undertaker was HUGE. The fans immediately caught on to fearing this guy, especially since many didn't know where he came from. I remember laughing with my brother when the Undertaker debuted because we remembered him from WCW just a few months or so before this. One thing that I do miss from Mean Mark Callous that I don't see in the Undertaker is the Heart Punch. He had a rough one in WCW, when they let him use it.
Jerry Lynn: Remember Mr. JL anybody??? You know, the guy who they would sometimes pass as a Luchadore, and the guy who wrestled Super Calo NON STOP on World Wide? I still wonder why the hell they put a mask on Jerry Lynn in the first place, and called him "Mr. JL"? Obviously, somebody was sniffing glue in the talent department. At least Lynn had a few years in WCW to show his talents, which he really couldn't since he was the "jobber" in most of his matches. WCW let him go during some cost cutting measures since they spent so much in other areas, like worthless older talent!
Minus the mask, Lynn eventually saw himself in ECW. He slowly developed into a good wrestler to watch, and then he got his shot at Rob Van Dam. After that, the rest is history. Oh, did I mention he's the current ECW World Heavyweight champ?
Stone Cold Steve Austin: This is probably the worst treatment case in WCW.......EVER!! Ok, you had this rising star, "Stunning" Steve Austin, who was a good heel Television Champion. So since he did a great job with the TV title, they pushed him to the US title. He's getting treated good, right? Then, he goes on to a great feud with Ricky "the dragon" Steamboat, who is God by the way, and dropped the strap to him. Oh, and Austin was promised World Title shots by Eric "Hogan is my Great Friend" Bischoff. There wasn't much of a rematch with Steamboat, and then it was decided that Austin should tag up with his real life buddy, Brian Pillman to form the great Hollywood Blondes.
After stealing the show, and you just can't do that during Bischoff's days, with Brian Pillman, it was then decided to break up the Hollywood Blondes because they were the best thing going at the time. You see, back in WCW days, if you got pops unexpectedly, you weren't pushed to the moon for it. Oh no. You where held back, as the conspiring booker or older wrestlers would do anything to destroy your thunder. So the Hollywood Blondes were broken up, and Austin agreed to it since he was promised World Title shots. Well, as you know in 1994, Hulk Hogan arrived, and the rest was history. Austin was now expendable by WCW, as the second he had an injury, Eric Bischoff fired his ass!
Austin, after a short funny experience in ECW, came to the WWF, and slowly grew into the man who is equally large as Hulk Hogan was in the WWF...as some would argue more than, but that's a different column.
Now I'll also argue that WCW messed up with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. They felt that the Diamond Studd and Vinnie Vegas/Oz weren't anything in terms of talent, but when they went to the WWF, they were F'N HUGE! But we won't make the case since WCW bought those guys right back after the WWF made them into stars.
WCW should really watch out who they release or don't care about anymore. One of the problems I see with WCW is that they have no "farm league" federations, like the WWF has, to develop talent in need. The WWF has Ohio Valley Wrestling and Memphis to send their needy wrestlers to, but WCW has nothing but the Power Plant. The WWF has always had another indy federation to send developing wrestlers to, as many have made their stops to the USWA before coming to the WWF, isn't that right The Rock/Flex Kavana?
It makes me wonder if letting guys go like Christopher Daniels will burn them in the long run. Now I've never seen Daniels wrestle, but I've heard nothing but great things about him. He could be the next Triple H for all I care, an opportunity missed by WCW because they didn't want to develop him. If WCW wasn't getting so greedy with buying talent like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and many more, they could have had a younger and better roster of Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Triple H, Rob Van Dam Jerry Lynn, the Undertaker, Chris Jericho, and many more errors, like letting Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, and Eddie Guerrero go in early 2000. All 4 of those men could have been great for the 2nd coming of Russo, but without them, Russo doesn't have much wrestling talent to cover his ass!
Of course, the WWF could have signed Chris Benoit back in the day, when he had a tryout match. Good thing WCW didn't give two shits about him.
@I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson, as you'll see more of this, but only on Saturday to fill the void left to me thanks to the ECW shutdown I'm currently in. I'll be back tomorrow to hype RAW is WAR and NITRO, so just chill....till the next episode!
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Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.