Friday, August 21, 1998
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Warrior is WCW's last chance
Eric Bischoff's got one more chance. One final gasp of breath to stop the steamroller WWF. One more high card to play before Vince McMahon takes away all the toys. Eric's last chance is the Ultimate Warrior.
When Bischoff first started his NWO angle he had all the power he needed --recognizable faces, great talent, and an angle everybody leapt on. Splitting his federation into two factions was brilliant. With names like Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan, WCW pulled the spotlight off the WWF for the first time in wrestling history. Nitro consistently won the Monday night ratings war, and the WWF was still agonizing over the loss of Bret Hart.
Then things went sour. Eric didn't realize than it was the ANGLE that made the NWO so popular. Everyone loved picking a side and rooting for their team no matter what happened. Because Eric thought it was the matches themselves and not the angles, he wasted talents such as Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Dean Malenko on great matches without storylines. Fans grew tired of watching Buff Bagwell fight Lex Luger six weeks in a row for no particular reason, or an absurd best-of-seven series between Booker T. and the Canadian Crippler. Fans turned back to WWF, which was attempting more and more new things. Hell in a Cell, triple threat matches, and lots and lots of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Eric became desperate, but without storylines to bend, or grudges to build, he went back to old tired techniques. He split the federation again. NWO Wolfpac was born and most fans asked why? No amount of build up could make a fan believe Hall and Nash really didn't like each other, or that three or four guys could reasonably switch sides a week.
Then came Goldberg. A mountain of muscle with a slight likeness to Steve Austin. Easy E threw everything into this one last push: a ridiculous winning streak, the US and World titles. Eric even lets him talk sometimes. And what is the end result? WWF wins every week while WCW has to use sound enhancement to convince fans at home that the arena is chanting.
Now Eric has one last chance -- The Ultimate Warrior.
Just like WCW of old, Eric once more has Name recognition, winning ratings, and most importantly, potential. I beg Mr. Bishoff to realize what this is: His last chance to cement a fan base that can compete with the WWF's. His last chance to have a huge angle that draws fans away from RAW, and one last chance to work some angles and some grudges to give viewers a reason to tune in next week.
Eric, it's your last shot, don't blow it.
Matthew Murray is from Wabamun, Alberta. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org