Straight Shooting: Foley stuck to his word
Plus an examination of Eric Bischoff's return to power in WCW
March 24, 2000
By Fritz Capp
The first thing I would like to do is to say thank you to everyone who has been flooding my mailbox the past couple of weeks with your letters. It is has gotten to the point to where it is almost impossible to answer each one personally, which is why I want to do it here. Please do not be offended if I have not responded to you as it is not a case of me being rude. I do want everyone to know that I do read each letter I receive and that I do appreciate each letter, whether or not it is in praise or totally against what I write. The one thing that has amazed me is that no matter whether you have agreed with me or not, every letter has been first class, each expressing your opinion(s) in an adult manner. I have to say that I am really impressed. I also want to say thank you to everyone who has stopped by pwbts.com over the past two months and have become regular visitors to the website. We appreciate your support. Now onto a few subjects.....
The first one I want to touch on is Mick Foley’s involvement in Wrestlemania’s main event. It seems like everywhere I go, everyone is taking some sort of shot at Mick for coming out of retirement to do this match. For the most part everyone is quoting his TSN interview where he said that if he retired he wouldn’t be like everyone else who retired before him and come back. The one thing that I believe that everyone is missing is that in that very same interview he said that when he retired it would be for good... "EXCEPT"...for a few specialty matches here and there. Doesn’t this qualify as one of those "specialty" matches? Unless I miss my guess this is the one match that anyone would come out of retirement for. What is the big deal anyway? One month ago everyone wanted Mick to be in the main event and now everyone is whining because he is. Does that make any sense? Even co-workers and other wrestlers are venting and putting Mick down for coming out of retirement so soon to be in this match. You would think they would be happy that he is going to get one more push before he leaves the sport. I guarantee that if they were in the same position they would do it. So please everyone, get off of Mick’s case. He’s busted his ass for the past 15 years to entertain you and he deserves better than to have his morals dissected just because he said he was going to retire and then wanted to do one more match.
Now onto WCW’s current bedlam.
Eric Bischoff is back with WCW. As much as I trashed Bischoff in his latter days in WCW I am glad to see him back. Why? Because Bischoff is good under pressure and he currently is walking into the same situation that he entered in before. Only this time he has an advantage, he not only has been here before but hopefully he knows what mistakes he made in the past and will not do them again. Let’s look at a quick fact....
1 - Eric Bischoff is "THE ONLY" person in the history of running WCW to ever knock the WWF to its knees.
Looking at that I don’t really think we need to go any further now do we?
Now it is true that Bischoff had a lot of help in the fact that Ted Turner opened his enormous bank account and gave Bischoff carte blanche to do what he had to do to make the company competitive. It is also no secret that Bischoff did just that, amassing the largest and most talented locker room in pro wrestling history. But things are different this time, aren’t they?
This time Eric Bischoff is not going to be able to purchase the services of some of the WWF’s top talent. It is highly unlikely that we will see "Stone Cold" Steve Austin walking down the ramp at a Monday Nitro show in the near future. It is also just as unlikely that we will see The Rock and Triple H taking over a Thunder show power bombing Bischoff through a table from the stage. No, the days of raiding the WWF for talent are over. Bischoff also raided ECW for the majority of their talent but had no clue what to do with them. That is a shame too, because look at everyone that WCW got from ECW that went onto the WWF and are now huge names in the business. So Eric will not be able to pull off that trick again either.
But he has something that he did not have before and that is Vince Russo. Now Russo is a strange bird to say the least with an ego that rivals Hogan’s, which could present itself to be a problem if left to run unhampered. In fact Russo did go on record saying that he would not have gone to WCW if Bischoff had been in power at the time he was contacted. But wrestling makes for very strange bedfellows and this could be one of the strangest but most successful teams yet.
With Eric Bischoff’s past experience in WCW combined with Russo’s experience in the WWF this "could" and I emphasize "could" be a match made in heaven if they allow it to be. But they have to be smart about it. Just because WCW is near death doesn’t mean they can walk in with ego’s the size of Morganna’s breasts thinking they can just pick up where they left off.
Hopefully Bischoff and Russo understand (I am sure Russo does now) that they have to clean house as far as all distractions in the back are concerned. Personally I would can the whole bunch. Whoever has not left of their own accord or been fired by now should be receiving their pink slips within the next 48 hours. That includes Kevin Sullivan, Gary Juster, JJ Dillon and anyone else who has been hanging on in the back with their own personal agendas. Next I would look at the talent and see who the detractors are. Out the door each one would fly faster than gas at a old west baked bean cook off. Those names would include but not be limited to Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan. None of these so-called "big names" draw so why have them around? All they do is work their own agendas anyway, so who needs them? Trust me, I highly doubt that Vince is interested in any of those three. I am sorry but I believe it is time for Ric Flair to start making his "farewell" tour also. I am as big a Flair mark as the rest of you, but look at him. While not in as bad of shape as Hogan is, Flair is old and his body shows it. To bring WCW back, it cannot rest on the shoulders of the old guard. That would be like Vince trying to make stars out of Patterson, Brisco and Garea. It just does not work anymore. The ratings and buy rates are proof of that.
Now I can see that WCW has a few things going for them - Vampiro, Billy Kidman, the Wall’s chokeslams and Mark Madden, along with a few of their cruiserweights and La Parka, who has always been one of my favorites. So they do have something to start with. It is simple to see that their Power Plant trainee’s are not going to bring them all the talent they thought it would. Luger will always be Luger, and Sting should have had a makeover two and a half years ago. If Bret Hart does decide to retire, that will hurt in the fact that they never really used him to his potential when he was healthy so that was money down the drain. Goldberg will probably carry the promotion on his back like Sting did in the beginning of their existence, but without viable competition for Goldberg, that won’t help matters much. Tank Abbott has practically had his credibility destroyed by stupid booking, and Jarrett while probably getting more notoriety now than ever in his career still needs a gimmick and woman to work off of, although when allowed to actually wrestle is probably one of the best that WCW has right now.
But I believe that if Eric Bischoff wants to he can rise to the challenge like he did before. If Bischoff can get Russo to check his ego at the door and doesn’t fall into the same trap of "hanging out with the boys because it’s cool" like he did before and do the job like he is supposed to, WCW could be getting ready to finally "make a comeback" in the eyes of wrestling fans around the world. Hopefully the days of "booking to get ratings for one night" to impress the execs is gone as is the stupid "we have to copy the WWF" idealogy that has been so prevalent in WCW the past 60 some odd weeks. WCW has to once again attain its own "identity" if it wants to recapture the many wrestling fans it lost. If that means starting from scratch then so be it. WCW is not going to turn around overnight. It is going to be a slow agonizing process that if done correctly will reap many rewards about a year from now. One advantage to having Russo is that he went through that in the WWF and knows firsthand what was done to overcome the obstacle that WCW once was. I am not saying copy the WWF exactly but at least try to remember the formula and work it to your advantage. Is that really such a hard concept?
All in all time will tell if Bischoff can once again regain the title of "dragon slayer". I hope he can do it because if all three promotions were running on all cylinders it is the wrestling fans that make out the best in the long run. After all, wouldn’t you watch all three if they were all at the top of their game?
And with that I am outta here. Remember wrestling is nothing more than it appears to be.
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