Have you ever seen a really good TV show? No, I mean a really good TV show that kept you on the edge of your seat week in and week out, season after season? Then, after all the hours invested in the TV show, the series comes to close and ends in a disappointing fashion? So much so, you wish you hadn’t even bothered getting immersed in it to begin with? Whether it was ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘Lost,’ or that one season of ‘Dallas’ where Bobby Ewing really didn’t die, it was only one big dream. We have all experienced a show or movie just like that.
The same can be said about wrestling. Sometimes a really great idea for a story line comes along and after weeks and months of investing in it, the pay off flatlines. Ideas that at first seemed too good to fail, then failed anyway. No, I’m not referring to the WCW story line of Stan Hansen aligning himself with The Desperados. Even Stan thought that idea was so stupid, he ran off to Japan. I’m talking about really good story lines, that if they could’ve been pulled off the right way, would have been MONEY! Now granted, in this wacky, ever changing world of pro wrestling, things happen that can’t be controlled. Someone gets hurt, fired, quits or even dies. All completely understandable, doesn’t mean the idea was bad. Sometimes a 2nd draft of an idea turns out better than the initial plan. Take for instance, the emergence of the N.W.O. At the height of WCW’s popularity, Eric Bischoff was a guest on Canadian talk show “Off the Record.” Eric revealed on that show, his first idea was to turn Sting heel and join forces with Hall & Nash. After thinking about it, Hulk Hogan made more sense and he was right. The story line paid off big for WCW. Some stories look good initially only to fizzle out mid-way. Take the Kane/Triple H/ Katie Vick story for example. The initial idea, somehow, some way was to introduce Scott Vick. You remember that dude, a Power Plant guy formerly of WCW who was a member of Raven’s Flock. For reasons unknown to me, Scott Vick got hurt or released during this angle and all we were left with was Triple H screwing a deceased body in a coffin. *sigh* What might have been???
How about the NWA/WCW “Black Scorpion” angle? To me, this had a wealth of potential. A former friend/ally from Sting’s past was coming in to make his life a living hell. A hooded man with a gravely voice did promos for weeks saying how Sting’s days were numbered. Sting fought off men who we thought were the Black Scorpion only to see another masked man on the entrance ramp. Who was it? Why did they want Sting? In the end, when the Black Scorpion was finally unmasked, the pay off was Ric Flair. The holy sh!t moment was replaced by, “Yeah, okay, I guess that makes sense.” What could’ve made that angle pay off? How about if it was revealed to be ‘The Ultimate Warrior???’ Or perhaps the other members of Sting’s first group “Power team U.S.A.” Garland Donoho and Mark Miller? If the Warrior, Donaho and Miller were not viable options…why not his former “manager”Eddie Gilbert, his former tag partner Rick Steiner or even Red Bastien his former trainer? It could’ve been epic, instead it was eh…so-so.
During the Attitude Era, the WWF had a captivating angle involving a heel Undertaker forming a stable called The Ministry of Darkness. It showcased The Undertaker as a sort of devil worshiping character. For weeks, the Ministry ran amok over people like Steve Austin & the McMahon family. Then, word came out that even the Undertaker himself, was under someone’s control. A “Higher Power” even greater and more evil than the dead man. Legend has it, that the Higher power was to be revealed as Don Callis aka The Jackyl aka Cyrus the Virus in ECW. But rumors were that Don Callis, was a big proponent of introducing a union into the WWE and Don Callis was released. So instead, we were subject to the reveal being…You guessed it, Mr. Vince McMahon! Yawn!
The Blue Blazer gimmick, which was initially Owen Hart in his early days, was being re-introduced. A super hero type character that preached “old school” baby face lingo, but was really a heel. Through the grapevine, Owen was not the first choice to re-don the Blazer mask, but Owen’s nephew Teddy Hart, who was under a WWE contract at the time. Apparently Teddy had attitude issues and was cut loose, so the mask and gimmick went back to Owen and sadly, the rest is history.
Diamond Dallas Page in the mid 90’s had a story line in which he was broke and started having all his belongings repossessed such as his ring robe, jewelry and even his bodyguard Max Muscle. A limousine started being shown outside the arena and eventually revealed that a mysterious benefactor was supplying DDP with money. Who was it? Over the years I heard, maybe Ted Dibiase or even his real life wife Kimberly. The real answer? Nobody knows because it was dropped.
Finally, how about that story line involving former WWF project Darren Drozdov and the Road Warriors? It was supposed to be an angle where Droz was secretly supplying Hawk with drugs, so he could take his spot in the Road Warriors team. When it was revealed that Droz was doing this, a drug kingpin by the name of “Key” aka Vic Grimes would emerge and a feud would ensue. I guess Vinnie Mac had his limitations on what the Attitude era was suppose to be.