Wednesday, April 14, 1999
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Bischoff, nWo changed wrestling
"This is what is going to be known as the 'New World Order' of Professional Wrestling, brother!"
With all the catch phrases throughout the history of Professional Wrestling, no statement has ever meant as much to the wrestling business as the one made by Hulk Hogan almost three years ago.
That statement changed Professional Wrestling more than most wrestling fans will ever know. First of all, it took the sport's biggest hero, and most loved personality, and turned him into something no one would be able to contemplate. It made "The Hulkster" a BAD GUY. Fans in the crowd, that fateful day, had tears running down their faces. The one man who was a role model, who preached the vitamins, prayers, and exercise, had turned his back on millions of people.
Along with two huge superstars, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, Hogan had a plan. The plan was to take over Wrestling. To destroy the company they worked for, and start a new one. It was unheard of. And most of all, it was a brilliant move by WCW Vice President, Eric Bischoff.
Before the nWo, wrestling had a lot of fans. There were the loyal fans who came to shows to see their favourites beat up the bad guy. There were fans who would yell "You Suck!" and "Get off the ropes!", or, "He's pulling his hair!". But those comments were about the only statements ever heard from the fans.
Not too long after the nWo was formed, the fans began to change. With the large number of wrestlers the nWo assembled, it was only a matter of time until someone the fans loved was a part of the group. But how could they cheer their favourite, if their favourite was a bad guy?
Little by little, you could here the boos turn to cheers. At most shows, the fans would be overwhelming in favor of the heels to win the match, to team up on a lone wrestler and beat the stuffing out of him.
In this same time, there were other groups formed in wrestling. DX being a prominent one, who also were cheered by the fans, even though they made rude gestures and vulgar statements. The fans were finally able to choose an exciting bad guy over a boring good guy without being criticized by their friends.
Now it's second nature. We cheer for a guy who flips us off, and boo a wrestler who killed Hulkamania at Wrestlemania VI. The more vulgar, the meaner, the more dislikable a wrestler is, the more we love him.
And that is what has made wrestling as huge as it is. With well over 10 million people watching wrestling every week, and more than ten hours of wrestling on cable television every week, we have the most hated faction in wrestling history to thank.
I only have one thing left to say. Whether you are a WWF fan or a WCW fan, think back five years and remember where wrestling was. Then watch the level of profession wrestling today, and thank your lucky stars for the creative mind of one person. The man who has been said to have no idea how to use his wrestlers. The man who has been said to have no idea how to write a story. That man...is Eric Bischoff.
Steve James is from Vacaville, CA, and can be emailed at email@example.com.