Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Death and Death of WCW (review/summary)

Here's what I get from Bryan Alvarez' book Death of WCW that was just re-released deluxe edition style. I didn't live through this era so it's been interesting reading the history of the business as it developed.

So you've got WWF and five or so other major promotions, one, the AWA, was independent of the NWA, another Memphis Wrestling, run by Jerry Jarrett, had nothing to do with WCW until the absolute very very end of the story, you got WCCW over in Texas, and then you had these three NWA affiliates:

Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling, owned by Jim Crocket, booked by Ole Anderson
Georgia Championship Wrestling, also booked by Ole Anderson, airing on TBS doing huge business
Mid South Championship Wrestling, owned and booked by Bill Watts, and airing briefly on TBS and reputedly the best of the bunch.

Mid Atlantic had the biggest stars, Ric Flair & Dusty Rhodes. Georgia had Ole's good booking and great wrestling action and Gordon Solie on commentary, and Mid South had the best creative episodic television as well as great action.

Georgia Championship Wrestling is a show on TBS, changes it's name to World Championship Wrestling, gets bought by WWF and canned, Ted Turner brings it back under another name, then brings in Mid South, then when Mid Atlantic buys World Championship Wrestling back, cancels Mid South and the Championship Wrestling from Georgia shows and goes with what was essentially Mid Atlantic.

So the show that was originally World Championship Wrestling was actually Georgia Championship Wrestling, booked by Ole Anderson. Let's remember that. But Mid Atlantic was booked by Ole as well, so you'd think that that would be about the same when Mid Atlantic essentially took over Georgia's re-named show and took it's timeslot. But no, because Ole Anderson was fired and replaced by Dusty Rhodes as booker. Two years later they were out of business.

Bill Watts went national after being replaced by Mid Atlantic and went out of business pretty quick and sold to Jim Crocket, then Jim Crocket went bust, but this time Ted Turner himself said fuck it and bought the company. So now you've got Georgia and Mid South dead and gone, and the owner of the television network that's airing the main NWA show is now the owner of the company.

First order of business? Ric Flair as booker, business booms, 1989, early 1990, everything right with the world. Suddenly Ole Anderson is back as booker, but it's not 1984 anymore, and Ric Flair was doing a great job and business was great, PPV buys through the roof. He sucks, is replaced by Dusty Rhodes, again. Dusty sucks but sticks around somehow for three years, briefly working under Bill Watts who is brought back but again, it's not 1984 anymore and he doesn't work out. Dusty meanwhile has pretty much never worked out as booker.

1994 and Ric Flair's the booker again, once again, business goes great, shows are great, Hogan comes in, business booms for six years or so. Kevin Sullivan, under Eric Bischoff, books WCW to incredible heights and huge gross revenue. Eventually Hogan gets old, but they keep booking him on top and letting younger guys go to WWF, panic sets in, the product implodes, Kevin Nash gets more creative influence for a while, then they hire WWF's writers and oust Eric Bischoff as the man in charge.

Then Russo refuses to be part of a committee and Kevin Sullivan's back in charge for a few months. Then Bischoff is brought back to run the company again and Russo agrees to come back as booker, this last a few months and then Bischoff quits and Russo gets a concussion.

Bischoff and Jerry Jarrett try to buy the company but dodginess prevails and some criminal underhandedness (allegedly) might have happened and Vince McMahon ends up with the company.

Then TNA starts up, Jerry Jarrett and his kid, who loves Vince Russo. Russo gets the ass when they try to bring in Hulk Hogan, who hates him, Jeff Jarrett takes over the booking, and then Dusty Rhodes is brought in to book, with no success again, then Scott D'Amore does a great job for a year and is fired, Jeff takes over again, then Russo is brought back for a nearly six year run. Eventually they bring in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to run the show and force them to work with Russo as booker. This doesn't work. Somewhere along the line Jeff Jarrett gets the boot from his own company, then ends up starting an imaginary wrestling company that sells merchandise of him and his wife but doesn't run any shows or have anyone employed.

Clearly what should have happened was that Bill Watts should have been given the book back in 85, and even if Ted Turner never ended up owning the company, that's pretty much immaterial to the show's success. By 1989 maybe Bill would have been old hat and replaced by Ric Flair as booker, who books until 1995 and is then replaced by Kevin Sullivan, they do exactly what they did until 1998 with the exception of letting Steve Austin and Mick Foley go.

Then in 1998, they move the fuck on and book Sting, Bret Hart and Goldberg as the top guys and everyone lives happily ever after. And that, is where I'd like to leave off, for my next blog: Rebooking WCW 1998!

Thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment