July 10, 2000
It appears Russo has won
Lex Luger: Off the air.
Diamond Dallas Page: Off the air.
Ric Flair: Off the air.
Scott Hall: Off the air.
Randy Savage: Off the air.
Roddy Piper: Off the air.
Sting: Off the air.
And mostly importantly, Hulk Hogan: Off the air.
Vince Russo has won. Now the most important part is to figure out what's going to happen next.
Unlikely as it may have seemed months, weeks or even days ago, with the recent events of Bash At The Beach 2000, Vince Russo has finally fashioned World Championship Wrestling into an outfit that's less about stroking the egos of has-been millionaires and more about actually trying to entertain fans in this new era of "sports entertainment."
As had been speculated in online gossip circles for a week or two, the main event of Bash At The Beach 2000 ended up being Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T. What fans will be trying to get their heads around is the inglorious way that Hulk Hogan was shown to the WCW exit doors.
Originally, Jarrett and Hogan were scheduled to face each other for the heavyweight title. When Jarrett came out and purposely laid himself on the mat for Hogan to take the pin, it was obvious there was more to this victory than a simple title change. That Russo came out shortly afterwards and directed at Hogan what will go down as one of the most scathing shoot interviews ever only served to confirm everyone's suspicions: Hogan's out, Russo's in and just to prove how in he is he gave Booker T the heavyweight title a short time later.
Essentially, this means that Russo has emerged from all the petty backroom fighting and politics with exactly what he wants -- young wrestlers that will do what he wants and can actually do more than five moves a match. Now he's going to have to start creating some larger-than-life characters like the Kurt Angles, Chris Jerichos and Rocks darn quick because from this point on, he has no excuses.
See, even though Russo may have won against the WCW old guard, he's still got lots of hills to climb. WCW still has only one wrestler -- Goldberg -- who can match the profile of The Rock, Undertaker, Steve Austin, HHH or even Commissioner Foley. Rather than let Goldberg shoulder the new WCW, they need to develop at least three more headliners that people actually *want* to see. And therefore, pay money to see.
They're also going to have to axe some of the stupid characters and storylines. Anything to do with MIA ranks up there with the Big Show-Bossman feud for stupid, and the sooner the contractual obligations behind this Demon character are up, the sooner they can send that one to the has-been closet with KISS and Hogan.
It's taken months, but if Bash At The Beach is any indication, Russo has finally got WCW in some form he wants to work with. If he screws up, the only big ego in the back room left to blame is himself.
Aaron Brophy is from Toronto, ON. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.