Throughout the history of pro wrestling bookers and promoters have always tried to come up with new, creative and innovative ideas to generate interest in their product. Some ideas have not only succeeded…but flourished. Others were DOA from the get go. Then there are those ideas which initially were innovative…but for various reasons….faded away. Those are the focus of this latest series of posts titled ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’.
We are all aware of the tremendous success WCW had in the beginning of the Monday Night Wars. Ratings, merchandise, pay per view buy rates were sky high…the talent roster was second to none and it was filled with unsuspecting surprises. Over time however, storylines were overused….the main event talent began to age and the lower tier talent got fed up and left the company. This led to ratings beginning to plummet with fans either changing the channel to WWF’s Raw or tuning out altogether.
Eric Bischoff would be let go…yet still be paid…and the WWF’s head writer Vince Russo would be brought in. When his vision of WCW didn’t necessarily mesh well with WCW’s target audience….Russo was let go. So on and on with the carousel of head creative people….until one of Ted Turner’s top executives…Brad Siegel decided to pair both Bischoff and Russo together. A match made in heaven or a match made in hell?
April 10th, 2000 was heavily advertised as the ‘Night the World Would Change’ and it did indeed. Doing what should have been done a couple of years prior…WCW was going to reboot itself. All the current champions were stripped of their titles and tournaments would be set up to crown new champions. Old storylines were immediately scrapped and new ones with an emphasis on WCW’s youth would be implemented.
The idea of finally moving away from aging stars like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Lex Luger and Sid Vicious seemed like a winning formula. The initial idea was to have the newer, younger wrestlers called ‘The New Blood’ go against the old guard of aging wrestlers which were dubbed, ‘The Millionaires Club.’ The New Blood would be led by Vince Russo and The Millionaire’s Club led by Eric Bischoff. Since this was WCW….plans almost immediately changed with Russo and Bischoff joining forces instead.
The angle still had real potential with guys like Billy Kidman getting a push against Hulk Hogan etc….The problem was they made the New Blood into a heel faction and the Millionaire’s into sympathetic babyfaces. To add to that, it didn’t take long for the New Blood to start acting like a modern day nWo with cheating,gang attacks and even spray paint. It also hurt that top younger stars like Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero had quit WCW before the relaunch.
Instead of getting the younger stars over…most were still in a way, being held down. Jeff Jarrett emerged as the New Blood’s top wrestler instead of more capable talent and angles were stopping and starting. Too many swerves…too many heel and babyface turns to really keep up with. Whether that was the iron clad creative control contracts that some of the veterans had remains to be seen…but the end result was another failed reboot. A reboot that desperately needed to succeed.
Ratings, attendance and buy rates continued to sink to new lows and the plug was pulled once again on this direction. Could it have worked? With the right talent and everybody on the same page…absolutely. Controversy may create cash…but inconsistency can and will cause chaos and that sadly…is what WCW became.
You can read all previous ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’ posts here.