Hello everyone, you've landed on Planet Kayfabe once again right here on NoDQ. I hope you had a good week. I'm glad you could join me again for another PK by KC here on NoDQ easy as 1-2-3. In the virtual monopoly era we've been in since the death of WCW in 2001, WWE has dominated the wrestling landscape and after their recent TV deals with USA/NBC Universal and FOX, unless Vince McMahon tweets late at night after taking Ambien they will likely continue this streak of dominance for another generation.
So, with WWE firmly in the driver's seat controlling all the market share in the world of professional wrestling it's funny to me as a life-long WWF/E fan when the constantly kick the dead horse that is WCW. In the post Monday Night War era we've seen enough victory laps to even turn off loyal fans like myself. I guess I should make that clear right off the bat. If this piece comes off as yet another old WCW mark rolling ranting on WWE, that's not the case. I was always a WWF guy. I rarely watched WCW. Most of my WCW viewing has come either in the form of YouTube clips or WWE Network binging. Back in the day I would watch WCW if the WWF was preempted for a dog show or tennis match or some shit. To me, growing up in the northeast, wrestling was the World Wrestling Federation. The recognized leader in global sports-entertainment as they used to say.
As I have said in recent PK's I've been enjoying Eric Bischoff's new podcast. I don't take everything the guy says for gospel and Conrad Thompson does a good job keeping him on his toes and calling out what he thinks could be a load of shit and double talk. One of my favorite things about the podcast is hearing the perspective of a guy who really isn't looking to stay on the political good side of World Wrestling Entertainment. The phrase "history is told by the winners of the wars" is no less true with WWE. The funny thing is that if the WWE told the story of the Monday Night Wars accurately the WWE would still look good in the end but that's not enough for them. They pretty much have to discredit everything WCW did successfully which is a weird approach. I mean, why not put them over when they were on top? Instead of saying "they only beat us for 83 weeks in the ratings because they ripped off our characters" because what does that say about the state of the WWF in the mid-90's that a regurgitated version of WWF was beating the real WWF at the time?
Fans back then know that's not the case. While WCW used some characters that were very similar to their WWF gimmicks, it's not like WCW became the biggest wrestling promotion in the United States by having red-and-yellow Hulkamania run wild for another decade. No. It was the nWo and the key ingredient of turning Hogan heel that set the territory on fire. While WWF wanted to cry foul at Scott Hall walking around with greased back hair and a toothpick in his mouth saying WCW was ripping off Razor Ramon (apparently forgetting 'The Diamond Studd' gimmick from the early 90's featuring Hall with greased back hair, stubble and tossing a toothpick at fans and opponents). It's not like WCW made a living off guys like The Renegade. They were like any other promotion, WWF included who would bring in guys often to be reminiscent of a character that the fans recognized them as. I mean shit, were they supposed to hire Hulk Hogan and totally repackage him as "Mr. America" and make no reference to him ever being Hulk? Come on.
Speaking of the nWo, I suggest you watch this week's 'Talk Wrestling' live on demand on Jeff Meacham's YouTube channel (just search his name). He covered a lot of history and the live chat brought up a line that has stuck in the post-WCW days that Eric Bischoff "stole the idea of the nWo from New Japan". That right there is just more WWE narrative continuing to discredit anything WCW had success with. Ya know... As if the WWF was the first company to do an angle with a patriotic babyface overcoming a foreign heel who cuts promos running down American fans. Fan or not, Eric Bischoff along with Hogan, Hall and Nash all deserve credit for the success of the nWo. Whether it was inspired by anything else before it is irrelevant. Eric Bischoff said it best on his podcast. When you see Hall and Nash at autograph signings they're not wearing Razor and Diesel shirts. They're wearing nWo shirts. Even though WWE tried to once again skew the narrative by inducting Scott Hall into the WWE Hall of Fame simply under the Razor Ramon gimmick, and while you and I both have some fond memories of Razor, Scott's legacy is the New World Order. His appearing on Nirtro cutting through the crowd to cut a promo on WCW is possibly the thing he will be most famous for and its one of the biggest promos in wrestling history and he flicked the first domino that would become the huge success that was the nWo.
I suppose my favorite WWE narrative on WCW is one that existed long before the war was over and that's "Eric Bischoff had access to Ted Turner's check book for the purpose of trying to take down the WWF". That's a fun story to make Vince out to be the poor innocent victim but I doubt Ted Turner gave a f*** about putting the WWF out of business. Also, while WCW pissed away a lot of cash, if Bischoff had unlimited access to Turner's money he could have signed anyone whenever he wanted. Bischoff didn't "steal" Hogan and Macho Man. It was Vince McMahon who decided those guys were too old and decided to move on to the 'New Generation' and let them go despite still having plenty of marquee value. Guys that were let go still wanted to and had to work and WCW was a legit alternative to make a good living outside of McMahon. The McMahon spin on things was always to make themselves seem like the innocent little ma-and-pop wrestling promotion who isn't harming anyone while the big evil billionaire, Ted Turner, is trying to squash them under his thumb.
Remember the 'Billionaire Ted' segments in 1996? That was WWF selling like a screaming bastard to their competition for the first time. It was terrible television and all it did was promote the competition. How? With the 'Nacho Man' and the "Huckster'. If you were a teenager in 1996 and you missed Hogan and Macho Man WWF pretty much said "there's another wrestling show on RIGHT NOW that you can watch with these 'old guys'" and at that time WCW was undeniably the "cooler" product and it would only get better for them as the year went on.
In reality, Ted Turner wasn't the guy traveling on the road with WCW. WCW was just another division of Turner Broadcasting and he wanted to stay in wrestling because wrestling always drew him good ratings. Eric Bischoff was in charge, but it doesn't look good on Vince if he's picking on the younger, good looking, sharp and very much not-a-billionaire Eric Bischoff who was kicking his ass. No, it's the ~*EVIL BILLIONAIRE*~ everyone will boo the evil rich guy if we say him and his money are picking on the poor little WWF every day on the playground. Yeah, I'm sure guys like Verne Gagne and Jim Crockett felt so bad for Vince. In wrestling terms, playing up the "evil billionaire" is cheap heat. I mean, f***, Vince McMahon himself based his on-screen persona on it even if he personally wasn't always technically a billionaire at certain times.
Lastly, another false narrative that even any casual fan of those days can call bullshit on is "WCW never created an original new star". Well, back in the 90's I couldn't go in a f***ing K-Mart, Ames, Bradlees or Caldor without seeing a poster of Sting, Goldberg and DDP for sale. I don't think I remember one Halloween once Sting debuted the "Crow" character where I didn't see a few kids out there dressed as sting. As I mentioned before, sure Hall and Nash came from the WWF where they enjoyed a measure of success but they didn't become truly over and made stars until the nWo. WCW had a distinct identity. Sure at times, much like TNA later it came off as the WWE's retirement home, but their success can't be denied and it was a success all because they spent 83 weeks ripping off Vince McMahon.
You know the rest of the story. Goldberg got hot. Goldberg got beat. The nWo ship that carried the promotion sank like the Titanic once it became over-crowded with passengers far beyond the faction's former elite status. The wheels came off the wagon and the WWF under 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and Vince McMahon left WCW in the dust... Which reminds me, referencing Bischoff's podcast again they recently talked about the "DX Invasion" which is yet another post-war narrative that has been blown out over the years. In my opinion that moment, while fun television has become very much overrated over the years. That 'invasion' didn't change shit. The WWF would have carried on strongly even if that never happened. That wasn't "the first shot in the war". I guess technically the "first show" would be the first Nitro airing head-to-head with Raw. I suppose younger fans are lead to believe that Triple H was the leader who turned around the WWF's fortunes. Wrong. Steve Austin was very much red hot at the time. Already a bona-fide superstar. The war had already turned in WWF's favor. It was just a fun little few moments of television that was a memorable part of the Attitude Era. It didn't "win the war" any more than JR's sit down interview with Mankind won the war or Paul Bearer revealing himself as Kane's father won the war. All great, memorable Attitude moments, but without the Austin/McMahon rivalry getting red hot it wouldn't have made a different and since Austin was already hot the DX Army pretty much invaded a territory that Austin had already had cowering against the ropes.
So, what's the purpose of this piece? I guess it's just something on my mind. With WWE firmly in the driver's seat more than ever and will only continue to get bigger in 2019 I find it weird that the company continues to take victory laps around a defunct promotion. During the Invasion, it is historically viewed as one of the worst angles ever because the whole thing was booked to further bury WCW as an inferior product. Everyone who came up from WCW had to eat a Pedigree and move down the batting order. Goldberg's initial run was as big a flop as the Invasion. The nWo came in and flopped (though a lot of that probably had more to do with bad luck) Even when Sting finally came in what did they do? Have him do this lame pre-recorded promo with a voice shifter and gave him a generic rip off to his theme and he had to eat a Pedigree at Wrestlemania. They tried once again pushing it as WWE vs WCW even though one of Sting's promos almost came off like he went into business for himself flat out saying this isn't about the 'Monday Night War' only for the WWE to continue to promote it as such. Shit, even in the match they had DX help HHH and the nWo help Sting which again was weird because in WCW the nWo was Sting's enemy. WWE had their minds made up. Vince had yet another war flashback and Sting had to take a shot with a sledge hammer and eat a pin and then SHAKE HUNTER'S HAND as if he just beat him clean like a man. What kind of f*** is this? Whatever. They can spin it however they want but Sting's WWE run was like the Invasion all over again. Just 15 years later WWE got to say "haha we won" once again. Shit, no wonder he stayed in TNA all those years. He always feared this is how WWE would use him and it's exactly what happened.
There's my thoughts on some of WWE's post-Monday Night War narratives. Like I said even if WWE told the story accurately, they still come out looking good in the end. Honestly, Vince deserves a ton of credit for the success of the late 90's since he was the biggest heel of the Attitude Era. I get when WWE tells their stories you're going to get their slant and when Bischoff tells his you're going to get a very pro-WCW slant, but the good thing about Bischoff's take is at leat its different from what we will hear on any WWE DVD or Monday Night War special or what-have-you. Hogan knows where his bread is buttered and he will tow WWE's line on anything anti-WCW they push. I remember they did a Legends of Wrestling round table ten years ago with Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Jim Ross and Tazz hosted by Gene Okerlund about great factions in wrestling history and towards the end of the episode they said who their top 3 favorite factions were. The answers were fine, although fairly company friendly (Ric putting over Evolution, which he was in, but is NO ONE else's favorite faction), rightfully so your usual suspects like the Horsemen and Freebirds were mentioned but not one picked the New World Order in any of their top 3's. That's pretty silly to me. When's the last time you went to a show or an autograph signing or any wrestling event and saw a fan wearing an Evolution shirt or a Hart Foundation shirt or even a Freebirds shirt? Probably been a while, but on every Raw to this day you still see fan wearing nWo shirts. I can go to Spencer's right now and buy an nWo Wolfpac shirt of the rack. Yeah, those above factions were great (other than Evolution, that faction was just alright) but the sustained marketability of the nWo 22 years later isn't anything to sneeze at.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Leave a comment below. Follow me @PlanetKayfabe. I'm sure the few remaining WCW marks got a kick out of this piece so I doubt I'll get much feedback but it was nice to get my thoughts on record as a life-long WWE fan who even after seeing thing through McMahon tinted glasses forever, I still have to roll my eyes behind those lenses at some of the bullshit that's been spread on us over the years. You won, WWE. You were by far the better product in the late 90's. You were also a more responsible business that was making money hand over fist and not pissing it away on nonsense at a ridiculous level. There was however a lot of talent in WCW. They weren't all second-rate stars and not every idea was derivative of a WWF concept. The war wasn't so much between the boys as much as it was Vince and Eric. The workers were just feeding their families and pay bills. However to this day you'll never find a bigger mark for that war than Vince McMahon himself.
Thanks again, everyone. Enjoy your weekend. For Planet Kayfabe, I'm K.C. catch you here next time on NoDQ.