Frauds, tired angles, and sleazy marketing ploys
May 4, 2000
By Fritz Capp
A noted WCW employee once said. "I just wish columnists would show some consistency in their opinions." The same wish could be bestowed upon the bookers of World Championship Wrestling. The only thing consistent right now with WCW booking is that there is no consistency.
WCW in itís infinite wisdom decided that celebrities would bring in the crowd. In their shortsightedness they forgot that the wrestling fans around the world grew tired of WCWís grandstanding as opposed to putting on a credible product about a year ago and that mindset hasnít changed yet. If they would have done this angle with Arquette say 6 months from now, it may have gone over like gangbusters, but that is not the case is it?
I am kind of quizzical as to what Bischoff and Russo are thinking they are doing. All of the hype and time they put into re-inventing WCW, only to then go down the same old tired road really doesnít make any sense, or does it?
If you want to delve below the surface letís look at the situation down there a bit.
Eric Bischoffís rise to glory was on the backs of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, who defected from the WWF and landed in WCW, which caused a great amount of interest among wrestling fans everywhere. Their "Outsiders" angle sparked a creative flow down there. It also helped that Bischoff had taken this angle from Japan so he could see where it went and thus copy it to fit WCW. When they entered Hogan into the picture (a man who was already there but not drawing the way he should have) and turned him heel, something only the oldest of wrestling fans had seen before, it was the catalyst of talk for two years. Now after a while, with no competent story writers to keep the storyline fresh, it fell by the wayside, a shadow of its former self. This here shows that Bischoff actually has no real insight into the business.
Meanwhile the WWF re-invented itself by getting rid of what they considered "anchors" around their feet and started bringing up new talent into the spotlight. The "screwing" of Bret Hart was a masterful piece of work that catapulted Vince McMahon into a major heel, something that no one in WCW has yet to be able to capture.
Now WCW has one of the WWFís bookers from the rebuilding years in the WWF in the form of Vince Russo. Russo claims that he was the brain trust behind the WWFís resurgence, but has that been proven to date yet? Both times he debuted in WCW, the ratings were higher in that week than in previous weeks or months, (purely out of curiosity) but quickly fell back to what they were before he came in. This is the same scenario as we are seeing today.
This week's WCW ratings numbers clearly shows that WCW is not what they are claiming they are trying to be and that is a better product. Instead of using musicians to hotshot the crowd, this time they are using Hollywood actors in the form of David Arquette. (with the cameo appearances of Courtney Cox and Kurt Russell) This did absolutely nothing to enhance the product. Instead they are once again allowing WCW to become the armpit of pro wrestling by effectively killing the heat of Tank Abbott among other things. To have Tank be a legitimate "tough guy," he is not supposed to be jobbing to anyone to keep the credibility of the storyline. Instead he gets hit with a Diamond Cutter by DDP and that allows Arquette to get a win over him this past Monday night. I guess Goldberg is supposed to be real fearful of a guy who goes down to one Diamond Cutter. So much for that set-up huh? If you remember when Austin reclaimed the title from The Rock, he kicked out of two Rock Bottoms to win the title. For Abbott to be a tough guy, he should have taken the Diamond Cutter, sat right up and destroyed DDP and Arquette. It would have lent an air of invincibility to his character and further built the angle with Goldberg, quite possibly, by the end of it, having it seem that Goldberg could lose the match between them, thus causing fans to tune in and watch the match. Booking isnít that hard, people, if you take the time to do it right.
For those of you who are using the excuse that WCWís numbers are down because of this show being on and that show being on, wake up. If WCW was that good, people would be tuning in to see them, not watching something else. You sure donít see McMahon sweating Monday Night Football, do you?
I guess the bloodbaths are supposed to be real inventive. Sorry, it was done quite awhile ago in the WWF when the Brood was running around. No creativity there either.
How many times did either WCW itself or people affiliated with it attack the WWF because of its "brutality towards women" angles? Too many to even count, but now WCW has no problem with cracking one of the women over the head with a guitar, do they? Again, it's a tired WWF story line, but it's now okay because it is WCW doing the story line. Once again, Russo is showing that he is not creative. He is nothing more than just another person who can view the WWF programming and copy its product on another station.
Please save both of us the time and effort and close your e-mail programs. Russo was NOT the brain trust behind the WWF. If he was, donít you think that the WWFís product would have fallen way off from where it was since Russo's departure? The WWF is enjoying higher numbers than ever since he left, what does that tell you?
For those of you who have the same tired lines that Russo WAS in fact the savior of the WWF, look at what he is doing. Also for those of you who want to write this off as an attack on WCW, then all I can say is that you do not want to face the truth about what you are seeing right in front of your own eyes.
Vince Russo is without a doubt one of the lamest people to ever be praised as the savior of a wrestling promotion. I, like many others, had hopes that Russo could actually do something to help bring back WCW to its former glory. Sadly, we were all worked again. Russo is nothing more than an egomaniac that views WCW as some place where he can get himself on television. He's a video store clerk who happened to be in the right place at the right time back in the day that McMahon gave him his break. His utterly stupid New York "attitude" combined with the fact that he couldnít be original to save his pathetic life shows that Russo is proving to the world that he is not what he has been claiming himself to be.
Russo is a "mark" for himself in the truest sense of the word. He is not a "mark" for the business in the least. He couldnít care less about helping WCW get back on top, he is more concerned about getting himself "over." The funny thing is, while people are talking about WCW again, itís is all turning very negative, which is not what WCW needs at this time.
When you consider that it took Russo and Bischoff a few weeks to come up with one Nitro show that was decent, how can they be expected to do that twice a week every week? They canít and it is starting to show.
At first I saw that the "new" WCW show had a WWF flavor to it, which is fine. But with each passing week, they are falling back into the old trap of copying Vince McMahon, which was their original downfall. Bischoff has already tried this and it failed. Does Russo actually think that he can make it work?
Russo doesnít have a clue as to what he is doing right now. While he says that the ratings do not matter, you can tell that he is running scared because of the lack of numbers - numbers he proclaimed that he would get back over time. Well people, itís been a bit of time and what we are seeing is that WCW once again does not know where to go to get credible booking talent. It is becoming painfully obvious that Bischoff and Russo are once again not the answer, especially the talentless fraud that is called Vince Russo.
Donít get me wrong, right now the WWF is sitting very close to the boring precipice. The continued story lines that have to involve every member of the family on every show is getting so old I canít stand it. Why did the Rock have to face Shane McMahon on this past RAW for the title? Isnít there anyone in the company that could have done that match. You know like the guys that are not going to be handed the company in years to come and actually are wrestlers? Why didnít they put Benoit in the match? Or Jericho? Even another match with Rikishi would have been better than to have Rock go against a McMahon family member. I give Shane his props. He can take one hell of a bump, but that shouldnít take away from the fact that there is a locker room of talent just waiting to be used and isnít because Vince thinks that his family now has to be on TV for the company to draw. If I remember correctly, the WWF did great ratings a few weeks ago when Vince wasnít on TV. Letís see what happens without Steph and Shane for once. How about a four way steel cage match with Rock, Jericho, Benoit and Kurt Angle. This could have been a great match with all the participants tied in one way or another to at least one of the McMahons is some form or another. Sure the McMahons would still be outside the ring, but at least they wouldnít be "in" the match.
Vince learned that his participation in the building of Steve Austinís character worked. But since then he has done it with Triple H., the Rock and is hinting to using it with Jericho as well. How many times can we watch Vince be so involved with a characters development? Pretty soon it will be the only way to get elevated is if you go against the McMahons, have them screw you in every way possible and have you overcome all odds before you get credibility in the promotion or with the fans. What happened to talent, guys? What about wrestler vs. wrestler as a matter of pride and determination to show who is the best? What about wrestling.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Austin/McMahon angle. It was fresh and it worked. When he did it with Triple H, I knew was to help elevate him. Then when Vince did it with the Rock, someone who did not need it, I groaned. While it is cool to see Chris get the rub, I am afraid that for him to truly make the grade he is going to have to go through every McMahon ploy in the world, which is nothing more than a re-run of past characters before him. It is time to come up with something new in the WWF. While it is true that wrestling is a rehash of previously used storylines, those storylines should be spread far enough apart that the fans donít say to themselves, "Didnít they just do this with (fill in name here)?" One thing is true, redundancy kills in pro wrestling no matter how many colored lights you have in an arena.
It is being reported that the TWWA is going to be having "The Patriot" doing an appearance in Lehighton, PA. For those of you who would be going to this and expecting Del Wilkes you may be in for a bit of a disappointment. Tom Brandi, known to some as Salvatore Sincere, has been doing the Patriot gimmick on the indy circuit as of late. Just thought I would pass that along in case "The Patriot" is being billed in your neck of the woods.
The following has been posted around the Internet, "Paul Heyman has postponed Extreme Championship Wrestling's May 25th booking in Columbus and rescheduled it for Saturday, May 27th. He realized that their fans may in fact want to attend both events. This marks the first time that a major wrestling promotion has changed its live events schedule for an independent card."
I really hate to be the one to burst everyoneís bubble, but while it is true that Heyman moved the show, it was not for the above stated reasons. Heymanís show was booked on a Thursday night, the exact same Thursday night as the Brian Pillman Memorial Card was taking place. What kind of draw do you think he had there? As good as one say on a Saturday night after the Pillman Memorial card? Of course not. What kind of advance do you think he had on ticket sales for his Thursday show? Can we say non-existent? Of course we can. Letís get real...on one hand you have an ECW card and on the other hand you have a memorial card for one of wrestlingís greats that has "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, "Big Sexy" Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, Vampiro, "The Crippler" Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddy Guerrero, Kidman, Saturn, "The Franchise" Shane Douglas, Raven, Justin Credible, Al Snow, D-Lo Brown, The Road Dogg, "Hard Knox" Chris Candido, David Flair, The Harris Twins, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Torrie Wilson, Tammy Lynn Sytch, Lord Steven Regal, Missy Hyatt, Terry Taylor, Jim Cornette, Dr. Tom Pritchard, and Woman on the card, as well as WCW referees Charles Robinson and Scott Dickinson and Calgary Stampede Wrestling Referee J.E. Hooker. ECW's ring announcer Steven DeAngelis, and WCW's ring announcer David Penzer will both serve as guest ring announcers. Cincinnati Reds will be in full swing (no pun intended) as outfielder, Dimitri Young will be a guest referee for a selected matchup; as well as, relief pitcher Danny Graves, and 1st baseman Sean Casey, will be serving as special guest managers for some of the participants. (Above list as reported by pillmanshow.com) Which show are you going to attend? Talk about a rhetorical question huh?
Considering the extent of ECWís involvement in the Pillman Memorial show is having ECW's ring announcer Steven DeAngelis and Justin Credible there (as reported above by the Pillmanshow.com site) for people to be praising Heymanís supposed "altruistic" move here is ludicrous. This is a business people and if your not drawing because your running against another card it only makes good business sense to change the date of your show if you can. For people to allude to the fact that Heyman moved it due to his "involvement" in the Pillman card is laughable. How many times have we seen ECW go without one of their workers and one of their refs on TV. I donít care if they hold a title or not, many times over the years, ECW has still run their cards without one of their "names" on it.
When people try to make their name or give themselves great press at the expense of someone who has passed away by playing off they are doing something positive for the event when in fact they are covering their own ass, it really makes me sick. Sooner or later, Paul Heyman is going to have to learn that the best avenue to travel is the truth and the truth in this matter is that he was running a show against a card that he could not draw against, so he moved his show to another day. Plain and simple. To those who went on record as saying "That is a class thing for ECW to do." all I can say is this shows their stupidity, their bias for the company, and that they condone underhanded ploys and marketing techniques at the expense of someoneís grieving family. How do these people look at themselves in the mirror each day?
Late breaking news - just before press time it is being reported that Raven will be facing ECW heavyweight champion Justin Credible for the title at the Memorial show. While it is nice to see a bit more ECW involvement in this event, it still does not change why Heyman originally moved his card from Thursday to Saturday night. Why can't people just admit that because ECW had a bigger and more important card running against them, that was the reason they moved the show. I could understand him not saying that if there was another everyday indy show running against him, but this is the Brian Pillman Memorial and there is no shame in saying that he moved it due to a small advance and greater interest in the Memorial. Brian - you will always be missed.
And with that I am outta here. Remember wrestling is nothing more than it appears to be.
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