Amalgam Rhapsody: 5 Ways WWE is the new WCW Submitted by LoneLee on 05/20/2019 at 08:02 PM
There exists an old quote from Spanish American philosopher George Santayana that states “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Understandable, in the wrestling business it proves difficult to avoid not only rinsing and recycling formulas used over the course of time but to have hope in recapturing the same magic they once had. In WWE’s case, they are consistent with this quote in their own history and in the spirit of their former competition WCW, particularly in its final 2 years. Today, I wanted to take a look back on ways that WWE today is not as much a carbon copy of but very similar to the old Turner wrestling show.
A hard fought rise to prominence for Kofi Kingston and Booker T. Aside from the obvious, there are an astounding number of parallels between Kofi and Booker’s careers. Both had a 10+ year run, staying loyal to their respective companies, in which they attained a multitude of tag team championships and every mid-card belt under the sun. Both men were never quite viewed as THE top guy whether it was due to politicking or position in the company but were recognized for their determination and positive attitude behind the scenes. And each man was given their first true shot at the gold in their late 30’s with a successful result. Many wondered if it was too late in the game for Booker to carry the sinking ship that was WCW at that point. His reign was a booking nightmare but seen him topple some of the bigger names WCW had to offer in decisive fashion. Kofi is already in midst of this same feat having had 3 successful title defenses in just 2 weeks time. The decision to pull the trigger on Kofi seemed like a surprise to many as the company rode the wave of Kofimania through its biggest season of the year. But as SDLive ratings continue to decrease, one has to wonder if it will affect the company’s faith in Kofi as a legitimate world champion while the show prepares its imminent move to FOX.
Relying on names from the past. Yea, fans complain for days on end about part-timers taking up spots on an already convoluted card. The real issue here is the way they’re presented doesn’t have them giving any kind of rub back to the company’s future. Brock Lesnar has mowed through everyone in dominating fashion only to be toppled by fluke and once again thrusted back into the title picture. Hollywood Hogan, anyone? They’ve managed to turn his heat from legitimate beast to go away heat since his ending of Taker’s streak a few years back. While Brock is busy being a human SNK boss, let’s not forget these nostalgia showcase matches at the Saudi Arabian shows. I’m sure six figures will make anyone dust off their boots one more time but how am I supposed to get excited for Taker vs Goldberg 15+ years after it should’ve happened? It’s all very similar to seeing the names from the 80’s battle each other in the WCW world title picture towards and into the end of millenium. Not limiting this setback to only the talent but the McMahons and Triple H interjecting themselves into storylines when it isn’t necessary. Is Shane on his way to making himself a champion yet again like Vince Russo?
Continuity confusion. It made me laugh harder than it probably should have upon reading that WWE was looking into hiring a person to “keep track of continuity.” Are they looking for a wrestling historian, because that could truly be any one of us long-time fans, or someone to cover for Vince’s senior moments of booking? Apparently, they haven’t hired anyone yet as they’ve established this wild card rule resulting in a complete and utter mess of both shows. The Usos are on Raw but competed for the SD tag titles so if they won they could defend the SD tag titles on Raw...oh no, I’ve gone cross eyed...WCW was notorious for bad booking decisions, mostly during the ‘99/2000 era. We were witness to guys as faces in one segment and playing heels later on that very same night, hot swapping all titles, constantly overbooked finishes, and winning matches they weren’t even in to begin. Wait, didn’t Lesnar just do that last one too?
Talent signings with no general direction. Is it safe to say that the hardcore wrestling fan appreciates NXT? So much so that we’ve switched gears from clamoring for our favorite talents to be called up to the main roster that we now dread it? And it’s all due to a lack of direction. Sure, WCW made its mark by stealing some of the competitors top guys and making even bigger stars out them, but what about the ones they already had? Names like The Radicals, Chris Jericho, and Paul Wight were all misutilized until there were begging for their releases, much like a lot of the mid and undercard talent are publicly doing now. I get that not everyone can be a top guy but WWE is in a situation, much like WCW was, when they were forced to produce more and more content on a weekly basis. The difference is it wore the WCW roster so thin that they could barely cover each show. WWE has an expanded roster and the resources to cover it but instead they implement a wild card rule that will eventually wear out its top guys and continue to hold the hungry ones back.
Ignoring the competition. I imagine it has been almost every young wrestler’s dream since the booming period to one day work for the WWE. It has widely been recognized as the pinnacle of the business and synonymous with the sport itself. That statement may no longer hold truth to it. Working there may have the most financial security but it is proving to clamp down the creative shackles of the independent contractor. The looming AEW is almost all too good to be true by promising a variety of proposals that are questionable it can deliver. They’ve lured away Chris Jericho, Jon Moxley/Dean Ambrose, and likely more to come based on these proclamations. WCW was forced to adhere to standards and practices as well as a one-sided management at AOL/Time Warner that wanted a certain kind of product. It’s always said that Vince makes the final call on everything, and whether that may be true or not he still has to take into consideration the sponsors input on any negative backlash (The Moolah battle royal) and the family friendly product they intend to upkeep. Will TNT or Tony Khan get in the way of the talent creativity at some point in AEW? Only time will tell. But Vince has to realize he’s not the only guy in town to work for anymore.
Another reverent quote came from the great Winston Churchill, in that “history is written by the victors.” If you watch the Monday Night War documentary series on WWE Network or anything pertaining to WWE’s telling of WCW’s history they often reinforce only the mistakes made in the company’s illustrious history. Hopefully, WWE isn’t too proud to recognize their own faults as the wrestling wars rage on once again.