Friday, August 7, 1998
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
A plan for WCW to rebound
For nearly two months, minus the Hogan-Goldberg World Title match fluke, the World Wrestling Federation has dominated not only the Nielsen ratings, but the hearts and minds of the majority of professional wrestling fans. With hot storylines and gimmicks such as the Austin-McMahon-Kane-Mankind debacle, the Nation and DX feud, Brawl For All, and Sable the WWF has grabbed viewers by the throat and like The Giant on a good night, won't let go.
WCW has valiantly tried to dethrone the reigning late night champ, but have thus far been virtually unable to do it. With sad gimmicks like Jay Leno wrestling, Goldberg demolishing anything that dares to breathe near him and the whole Bischoff and "the Nightcap" thing, WCW is continually losing viewers. But I think I know what the powers at be in the CNN Center and more specifically the WCW offices need to do to bring WCW back from the brink of death.
Here we go:
1. They need to stop using the so called "ICON" Hulk Hogan so often. But to do this they have to get the cooperation of the Hulkster himself. Granted, his ego is bigger than Ted Turner's house, and he WAS entertaining - 10 years ago! But, someday WCW and "Hollywood" himself must come to terms with the fact that, face or heel, Hogan will, as Chris Jericho would say, NEVER EVVVVEEEER, be over with the fans again. They need to let Hogan take a more quiet, behind the scenes role, and let the real WCW talent shine. Which brings me to my second point.
2. Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Eddy Guerrero, Curt Hennig, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Chris Beniot, Bret Hart, Booker T, Kevin Nash, and the Giant. What do all these names signify? They're all immensely gifted athletes who, thanks to Hogan, Bischoff, Ed Leslie, Kevin Sullivan and the rest of WCW don't give anywhere near enough TV time to. They need to branch out, explore angles, and show off the deep talent roster they have. Make better matches and start giving IMPORTANT tiles to these men. Bret Hart was a five-time World champ in the WWF and since his stint in WCW started he has won only the U.S. title, which has been held by the likes of Jim Duggan and One Man Gang. They didn't even let him win it legitimately, god forbid DDP would actually do a 100% job to someone. I remember when DDP was losing to the likes of Alex Wright and Marc Mero on a nightly basis. Bottom Line: WE WANT TALENT!!
3. Bring back an exciting Tag Team Division. The WWF is on top again in part because the tag scene is exciting as ever, with the title changing fairly often and the champions being more and more diverse the fans, me included, are extremely interested in what the New Age Outlaws and the tandem of Austin and The Undertaker are up to. Who really cares who Sting has for a partner this week, or what the Public Enemy (a team which WCW totally wasted), and High Voltage are doing. I could personally care less. I say bring back quality teams like Harlem Heat and The Nasty Boys, and invest time in the promising duo of Alex Wright and Disco Inferno. McMahon took two jobbers and made them HUGE stars. With the right touch, WCW could do the same with these two.
4. Get rid of Goldberg as the World champion. What has he really done in this industry besides steal a Super Bowl ring, beat the likes of Glacier, Horowitz, and the epitome of the Armstrong curse himself, Brad Armstrong. Yes, he defeated Hogan. So what? And yes, he beat Sting and The Giant, but all of those wins were GIGANTIC jobs, and weren't even televised. Sadly, Fit Finley nearly beat him in a NITRO dark match. The guy is HUGELY over for no reason, and soon the marks of the WCW will come to understand this. When Goldberg loses for the first time his entire gimmick will be dead and so will his career. He is no Hogan of the '80s, and he is sure as hell no Steve Austin. I look forward to the day he faces Kevin Nash, or Bret Hart. And exactly when did a friggin' tackle/suplex combo make everybody and there brother get knocked out? It makes no sense.
5. Cut out the crap. I personally don't want to see guys like Jay Leno and Karl Malone "wrestle", nor do I want to see women like "Rodzilla" take to the ring. I remember Bischoff scoffing at McMahon saying the WWF was in the business of sports entertainment, and "Easy E" countered with saying WCW was, on the contrary, in the business of wrestling. All I can say after watching every PPV, Nitro and RAW is: My, how the table have turned. I call Leno throwing a clothesline funny, and I call Makind-Undertaker in a Hell in the Cell match at KOTR '98 damn near the best wrestling you'll see nowadays.
6. Now finally, WCW REALLY needs to have there announcers do two things.
A.) Stop acting like the dumbest SOB's since Eve in the Garden of Evil, we all know they're smarter than they're acting, so stop acting.
B.) PUH-LEASE stop saying every single match and ever single show is "the greatest wrestling spectacle EVER!!!". Let's get real boys, and maybe you'll be on top again.
Case in Point: Guys like Hogan, Warrior, Bischoff, and Leno won't ultimately help you. What will get that coveted ratings point are interesting, original storylines, and colorful, talented workers who the crowd enjoy.
Listen to me WCW, it may be your last hope.
Matt Gardner is from Bozeman, MT and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org