Ah, WCW. World Championship Wrestling. At one point the hottest wrestling company the world had ever known. Keep that in mind, however. At ONE point. From the start of the nWo angle, to 1997 Starrcade, WCW had it all. They were untouchable. So why is it they were regarded so highly when it was only a year and a half of good times? The early 90’s? Laughable. The late 90’s and early 00’s? The worst example of pro-wrestling the world has ever known……ok, except for XPW.
I became a fan of wrestling in mid-95, I’d stumbled across Monday Night Raw, and liked what I saw. From that point, until a month after Starrcade 97, I would swear on the heavens that pro-wrestling was real, keep that in mind as I explain later why I enjoyed WCW. So, as my fandom grew, the likes of Razor Ramon, Big Daddy Cool, and Sid were my favourites. It’s funny, as a kid you really aren’t into match quality, all you care about it two guys fighting that you want to see fight. I dug powerbombs, and cool dudes. My brother loved Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart.
I thought they were both boring.
They didn’t have cool finishers.
So, the WWE was my heart and soul, and the WCW was what was wrong with the world! I mean, c’mon. The Bluebloods? Dungeon of Doom? Disco Inferno? They couldn’t hold a candle to my favourite bad-asses. I never watched WCW Saturday Night, unless I was flipping through the channels and wanted to have a laugh at Jim Duggan crap his way through a jobber.
One week in September, Lex Luger and The British Bulldog, known then as the United Powers….I think? Yeah, that sounds good, were tagging against Camp Cornette; Owen Hart, and Yokozuna. All of a sudden, Bulldog turned on Luger! I couldn’t believe it, they just left The Lex Express laying in a heap. So, the next week Raw isn’t on, and I’m devastated, as I flip through the channels, trying to find something to ease the pain…I see a wrestling-ring. My heart jumps, wrestling!…..no….wait…it isn’t wrestling….yuck, it’s WCW. Well….ok, I’ll stick around.
I watched a guy named Brian Pillman take on Psicosis. It wasn’t much, but it some-what kept my interest. As I watched, I grew so bored…..oh, so bored, an….wait, wait a minute! OH MY GOD! It’s LEX LUGER! He’s there! He’s at WCW! Why?…..why would be betray the WWF? It’s that damn Bulldog’s fault! If he hadn’t turned on Lex, he wouldn’t have left! What an a*shole….later I watched Hulk Hogan lumber his way through a match with I believe Big Bubba Rogers, to which the Dungeon of Doom came down….it was one of the most ridiculous things I’d ever seen. But then a WWF’er came in and started making sense of things…saying he wanted his shot at the WCW title. I must say, I was hurt, even though the Bulldog turned on him, why would he jump ship? Must be because he knows how weak the competition is at WCW.
That was when I got the taste for it….the taste for one of the most exciting aspects of wrestling; surprise appearances and people jumping ship. There were no wrestling-contracts to me, and people could just go and come as they please. Plus, I had no internet, and the Internet wrestling community was more or less delegated to just newsletters. So I never knew what was going to happen, it was awesome.
So, time went on. The WWE had interesting feuds like Razor Ramon v Goldust. I say interesting because although Goldust was straight, he was really messing with Razor’s mind by sending letters that celebrated his admiration of Razor. They turned Diesel into a bad guy, which made him a hundred times more bad ass. And although they sure had some awful talent, like Issac Yankem, and King Mable, they made up for it with matches like Shawn vs. Razor at Summerslam 95, Hart vs. Diesel at Survivor Series 95, and the bad was NOTHING compared to how bad it was over on WCW. Hogan, Savage, and Flair were all feuding. The feuding comprised of constantly hand-cuffing Hogan, or Savage to the ring-ropes and using Liz’s or Woman’s shoes to clobber them in the head. Or….or even cooler, the head of the Dungeon of Doom debuting the son of Andre The Giant……..The Giant.
Here’s the scene; A crusty old-fogey who looks like a crazy homeless man, screaming at Kevin Sullivan, a man in a red-silk bathrobe, calling him son and saying the ‘red and yellow bengal is near’. Sullivan, obviously just as bat-shit crazy as the guy in make-up, says he smells his presence too. Can you believe this?! So, Hogan just comes rocking in, screaming about how he’s never been here before, and there’s no Hulk-a-Maniacs here. He then notices two crazy a*sholes in the corner, and for some reason tells the world he knows them. So, Kevin Sullivan backs Hogan down, and tells him his fate is etched in stone. So…….wow. So then a stone-carving of a wrestler explodes and out comes The Giant, and chokes Hogan for 2 seconds who sells it like he was ran over by a zamboni with all-terrain tires.
So WCW was doing that, and WWE was having iron-man matches, and elevating people like Shawn Michaels. WCW was elevating people like…….The Yetti. Who’s the Yetti? A super-tall guy dressed like a mummy. Which Tony Schiavone felt the need to pronounce it the "Yeh-Tay". Wow….his first appearance was bursting out of a huge block of ice on Nitro. Then, what can only be described as the WORST ending to a PPV EVER….I mean EVER….the Yetti dry-humps Hogan. Words could never….never describe it. So just check it out…
While the WWE was doing their fair share of nonsense like The Raw Bowl, and ‘Taker getting his face crushed, they also had their great moments. Such as my man, Razor Ramon winning the Intercontinental Title for the 4th time. Diesel turning heel, as mentioned before. He wasn’t that high on my list of wrestlers I liked, but once he went bad, he even challenged the Bad Guy, Razor Ramon for my top spot. So while WCW was churning in crap like World War 3, and had yet to really steal all of ECW’s secret talent, WWE had stars like Bret Hart tearing the house down with his brother-in-law The British Bulldog in a gusher of a match at the December In Your House. Hell, WWE even aired the match on Raw a little while later. I suspect to get people interested in what was going on in PPV-land, but never the less. Once the torch was passed in the classic Iron-Man match, we got gems like Big Daddy Cool and Shawn Michaels tearing the house apart in their No-DQ at In Your House, April 96’.
I was on top of the world, although Razor and Nash had both lost at In Your House 96, they’d have other matches and both be champs again in the near future, I was positive of that. They were my guys, my brothers, they couldn’t be held down for long. WCW was a suck-fest and everyone saw that every Monday, things were going great for me….and for a minute, they were at an all-time low, before soaring to an all-time high;
May 27th, 1996
…and we’ll continue next week, kids.