It’s been 14 year since World Championship Wrestling closed their doors for the final time. In this piece, Brian looks at a number of talents that made up the roster during the promotion’s dying days.
Everybody has an opinion as to how and why WCW failed in its last days before being sold to the WWE. Too many chiefs…not enough Indians. Creative controlled contracts by high paid aging stars like Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash. Misuse of great talents like Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. Wasting money on trying to attract a mainstream audience with the likes of Kiss, Master P, Jay Leno and David Arquette. The hiring and firing and hiring of Vince Russo..etc
Despite all the troubles of WCW in the days, weeks and months leading up to their eventual sale….taking a closer look at their roster…was quite revealing. It seemed from the outside looking in that their was a renewed interest in revamping their once great Cruiserweight division….tag team division and overall product. I know, it was too little…too late…but the pieces were there for a rebirth of sorts.
Out were some of the old hands like Hogan, Randy Savage, Sid Vicious and Bret Hart….in was a group of young, relatively unknown but extremely talented wrestlers. This piece will delve into some of the talent WCW acquired before they met their demise. It begs to ask the question….what if?
WCW Power Plant Graduates
Granted, many of these guys never lived up to their potential in either WCW’s last days or with the WWE after the buyout. It is more of a question of did Vince McMahon fully utilize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses or did Vince bury them because they were not his creations? Injuries, attitudes and personal demons led most to their downfall…but no doubt…if used properly…some would have become big stars.
Mike Modest and Christopher Daniels
Two severely underused and underrated talents…especially Mike Modest…whose career never fully took off. Modest’s biggest claim to fame was being featured in the controversial documentary ‘Beyond the Mat.’ None the less, an exceptional grappler who could have had many quality matches.
Christopher Daniels made a great career for himself on the independent scene, Japan and TNA wrestling. Both were signed by WCW and neither made any kind of substantial impact because the company went under.
Air Paris and AJ Styles
We all know the great success that AJ Styles has achieved since WCW closed its doors. A star for TNA as well as multiple indie promotions as well as Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro wrestling. Air Paris is a forgotten talent, but a talent none the less. Together, they had an amazing array of aerial maneuvers as a tag team and could have had a great run.
Yes, The Cowboy James Storm was a member of the WCW roster in 2000/2001. The future TNA tag team and World Champion was used mainly as a jobber in WCW…but Storm turned out pretty well…years later.
Speaking of James Storm….his TNA tag partner ‘Wildcat’ Chris Harris aka Braden Walker in the WWE was also a young up and comer in WCW. Imagine if Harris and Storm developed their team chemistry in WCW instead of TNA…another great tag team that could have dominated.
Granted, Emory Hail wasn’t going to electrify fans with high flying moves…but his size and intensity could have made him a monster heel for WCW for years to come. Sadly, Hail passed away in 2006.
Jason Jett was no doubt an extremely dynamic wrestler in his brief stay with WCW. He wound up having a pretty solid career with ECW under the name EZ Money. Super fast and explosive in the ring…definitely could have been a star.
Now I know some of you will say….this looks like nothing more than a future TNA roster of wrestlers. Indeed many did go join TNA after WCW’s collapse. Keep in mind some went on to help build TNA to a viable national promotion as its foundation. Could they have done the same for WCW which was in turmoil? We will never know for sure.