Funny, bizarre and often pathetic – The WCW Epic Fail Files!

Posted: December 7, 2010 in web, wrestling

Nothin' beats workin' for Dubya C Dubya!

If you were a wrestling fan in the 90’s, odds are that you pretty much stuck to one of the Big Two companies – the WWF or WCW. Myself, I was a loyalist to the McMahon Empire through and through, but I also liked the WCW product and caught Monday Nitro whenever I could. Of course, that wasn’t on Monday nights because for one, I was watching Raw and two, our family didn’t have the TNT network (as most Canadians don’t). I caught Nitro on Saturday afternoons in what was sort of a throwback to the old days of WWF Superstars and Maple Leaf Wrestling kicking off my weekend when I was a kid.

WCW enjoyed a ton of success in the mid 90’s, but by the time the WWF started getting into the whole “Attitude” thing and guys like Stone Cold and The Rock were leading the pack, Eric Bischoff and Co. down south started getting their asses whipped as far as TV ratings, PPV buyrates and overall popularity were concerned. They never were able to recover and in it’s last two or so years of existence, WCW made a lot of glaring mistakes and today, those have been highlighted in what is now called the WCW Epic Fail Files.

Listed below is only a portion of the “files”, as they come from the book, “The Death of WCW”. Reading these is quite the experience and I was literally shaking my head at some of the ridiculous, bizarre and downright stupid decisions made by wrestlers, commentators, office staff and everyone else involved.

Enjoy!

The WCW Epic Fail Files #1: Chris Benoit

– Chris Benoit left the company as WCW champion. He offered to lose the title to whoever they wanted but was told instead to just leave. Those backstage who questioned the move were told that Benoit was a vanilla midget who would never draw. Guerrero, Malenko and Saturn were all granted unconditional releases as well. Despite being mid-carders most of their WCW careers, their RAW debut drew a 6.59 rating to Nitro’s 2.79. The peak of RAW’s ratings was during the main event, featuring – you guessed it – Benoit, Malenko, Guerrero and Saturn, AKA The “Vanilla Midgets.” Their match drew a rating of 8.1.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #2: Goldberg

– In a segment said to be hilarious live, Elix Skipper was talking trash and challenging Goldberg. Goldberg came out behind Skipper. Skipper keeps turning and Goldberg keeps adjusting his position so Skipper can’t see him. All of this is on the big screen, which Skipper is looking right at, and can see Goldberg behind him, but because they didn’t consider this when making the angle, he had to pretend.

– Goldberg ate Scott Hall’s contract on an episode of Nitro. The idea being that Scott Hall was a free agent because he no longer had a contract. He appeared the next week and suddenly he had a contract again.

– Goldberg came within half an inch of losing his arm when he punched the window of a limo to break the glass. He was supposed to hit it with a concealed lead pipe but dropped it.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #3: Poor taste

– WCW booked an Inferno Match between Sting and Vampiro. The match ended with a stunt double dressed as Sting plummeting off the big movie screen and through a hole in the ramp which was filled with foam. WCW’s commentary team then proceeded to basically re-hash the commentary from J.R and Jerry Lawler after Owen Hart’s accident. The comapny subsequently received tousands and thousands of letters complaining about the distatseful nature of the incident.

– WCW claimed that Three Count’s album (which didn’t exist btw) had gone Platinum. Evan Karagious also claimed their second album would be even bigger and would go Gold. (For those who are not aware, Platinum CDs > Gold CDs).

– Sid had a winning streak which contained within it 3 televised pinfall losses, 1 countout loss and 1 loss via disqualification. He even claimed an extra victory later in the same night as one of his defeats. His streak also went up by 5 on a show in which he didn’t wrestle.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #4: Burning money

– WCW paid James Brown $25,000 to show up and dance for 2 minutes at SuperBrawl 2000 without advertising his appearance at all. He was paid $25,000 because they felt he could draw viewers but nobody knew he was going to be there!

– KISS performed a concert on Nitro which gained one of the lowest ratings for any segment during the Monday Night Wars. Part of the deal included the band being paid $500,000 and a guarantee that the “KISS DEMON” would be featured in main event matches.

– In June 2000 WCW paid $50,000 to place an ad in a newspaper for their Monday Nitro show that week. the ad didn’t appear until the Thursday after the show.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #5: Hulk Hogan

– Hulk Hogan allegedly faked an injury in order to miss a Nitro that was being preempted by US Open Tennis. He then used this to claim that Nitro’s rating fell because he was not on the show. He was subsequently given the WCW title soon after.

– WCW rigged the polls on their website. For example, if people voted for Billy Kidman/Rey Mysterio, the MOTN the vote would actually go to Hulk Hogan/Sid. Hogan used this as evidence that Kidman “couldn’t headline a wrestling show at a flea market.”

– Hulk Hogan claimed on TV in 2000 nobody in the industry under the age of 40 could draw. This was in the middle of the Austin era in which Austin became the biggest draw in wrestling history. He was in his mid 30s. Goldberg, WCW’s biggest draw at the time, was also under 40 by a distance.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #6: Vampiro falling blood

– Sting was covered in blood which dripped from the ceiling on an episode of Nitro in 2000 during his feud with Vampiro. He showed up on Thunder still covered in blood. It would appear Sting does not shower.

– One edition of Thunder saw Vampiro’s “blood from the ceiling” trick go wrong. It was supposed to hit Kevin Nash but missed by some distance and covered the front row of fans. Strangely the fans didn’t sell the blood like it was death quite like the wrestlers did. The camera cut to Nash looking puzzled and then to Juventud Guerrera who broke character by laughing hysterically. Not long after that, Kevin Nash took on Jarrett to decide the vacant WCW title. Vince Russo ran in and Nash went to powerbomb him in the aisle. The Vampiro blood came down from the ceiling and MISSED AGAIN! Nash covered for this by moving into the blood, getting it on himself and Russo. For a reason never explained, the blood incapacitated Nash. Even more bizarre, it had no affect on Russo at all. Jarrett subsequently pinned Nash and won the title.

– Vince Russo booked himself in a cage match with Ric Flair. The end saw Flair put Russo in the Figure-4. Vampiro’s blood dripping from the ceiling (yes they were still going with this!) was supposed to break the hold immediately but took an age to start falling, so Russo survived in the Figure-4 for probably longer than just about anyone else ever, completely de-valuing the hold as a finishing move. The blood eventually came down and once again Flair was incapacitated by it for some reason. Russo was fine. David Flair then ran into the match, put Ric in the Figure-4 and Russo covered him for the three count.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #7: Scott Hall

– WCW kept Scott Hall employed despite missing a Nitro before a PPV main event he was to feature in, causing havoc on a flight to Berlin and missing the flight back… and despite threatening to hit Terry Taylor with a guitar. They felt he was too valuable as a witness in their copyright infringement battle with WWE to allow him to leave.

– WCW gave up on keeping Scott Hall sober so told him to “pretend” to be drunk during promos. His pretending of course involved a lot of alcohol consumption and some ridiculous remarks including shouting out “Giant…that’s your cue!”

– Scott Hall came out of a stint in rehab and returned along with Kevin Nash (who just a few months earlier had “retired forever”). Hall made comments saying Kevin Nash “was working a fake retirement” and would be back “when wrestling was fun again.” Okerlund tried to tell Hall it was fun now…..Hall’s retort – “You must’ve not been in the dressing room lately.”

The WCW Epic Fail Files #8: Scott Steiner

– Scott Steiner went on a bit of a rampage and made several unscripted comments, such as calling Ric Flair an “ass kicking, butt-sucking *******” on national television and badmouthing the company. The trouble was nobody dared to tell him to stop because at the time he had a notoriously short temper and everyone backstage was scared of him. The only person to stand up for himself was DDP, who got into a fight backstage with Steiner. Steiner took him down, punched him several times in the eye and DDP and Kevin Nash left in fear. They claimed they would be back when “there was new management.” Steiner’s punishment? None.

– WCW decided to issue a random drugs test. Scott Steiner claimed to have injured his back and didn’t attend. It’s speculated he was tipped off by WCW management, fully aware Steiner would fail, about the testing. In his next match against Scott Norton, the WCW fans started chanting “Steroids!” “Steroids!” and Bobby Heenan said he had “never heard a crowd so pumped up in my life.”

– In early July 2000 Scott Steiner was told by Terry Taylor that he would have to do a job. Steiner went crazy and threatened to kill Taylor. His punishment? Sent home…with pay.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #9: Commentary confusion

– Ric Flair was involved in an angle where he was beaten and left in a field. He was picked up by a redneck in a pickup truck who brought him back to Nitro where he sold the beating and rather than making a babyface comeback, was treated to another ass-kicking. At the time WCW commentators were not allowed to see taped segments of the show (nobody knows why) and so they had not seen the field incident. Heenan speculated that Flair was drunk, which of course to the television audience at home, made no sense because they had all seen him get beaten and left in a field.

– At the end of Kevin Nash’s stint as booker, Goldberg beat Sting in a non-title match. The commentators pointed out it was non-title and the ring announcer said it was non-title. Goldberg was inexplicably given the title after the match.

– On the April 17th 2000 edition of Nitro, the commentators talked about how “in the new WCW there were going to be real winners and losers” because the referees “were not going to call for DQs.” The problem with that? The next three matches ALL ended in DQ!

The WCW Epic Fail Files #10: Sent home with pay

– Elizabeth was making six figures a year (more than a lot of the wrestlers) for a managers contract. Her contract gave her the right to refuse to wrestle in the ring. Russo was unhappy and so decided to try and humiliate her by trying to get her to strip to her bra and panties every week. Eventually he decided she wasn’t worth the money so he sent her home – where she made the exact same amount of money for doing NOTHING.

– The “sent home with pay” punishment became an in-joke. When Ernest Miller was on-screen commissioner, he told Nash that he could send him home if he messed up his show, but he wouldn’t because “someone in the office would still pay you.”

The WCW Epic Fail Files #11: Ric Flair

– Ric Flair was buried (literally) in a storyline. WCW’s answer to Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn leaving was to bring Ric Flair back from the “grave.”

– WCW made it a policy to humiliate Ric Flair any time they were near his hometown. It is not known why other than they did not feel Flair could headline shows at his age and wanted to try and prove their point by saying that he didn’t get good reactions in his hometown, or anywhere else for that matter.

– At Uncensored 2000, the main event was Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan in a strap match. The commentators explained that to win you had to touch all four corners. Hogan won by hitting the leg drop and pinning Flair. A baffled crowd continued to watch as Hogan won for a second time by touching all four corners.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #12: Vince Russo

– Vince Russo’s first show in charge featured Bret Hart randomly entering the ring during a Juventud Guerrera vs. Evan Karagias match. The match just stopped and Hart cut a promo. Neither were told Hart was running in and nobody backstage understood what the point was.

– Vince Russo’s stint as head booker saw the PPV revenue cut in half within three months.

– Vince Russo once claimed his booking of WCW wasn’t going to plan because Ted Turner prevented him from using angles calling women wrestlers fat.

– Vince Russo lost his job as head writer when he put forward the idea that Tank Abbott should be WCW champion.

– Vince Russo became WCW champion.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #13: So much for that

– WCW spent weeks hyping the debut of “The Machine.” He wrestled DDP, lost, and was never seen again.

– Despite the amazing amount of mask sales, Eric Bischoff decided Rey Mysterio Jr. would be a bigger draw without his mask. He then proceeded to do nothing with him.

– Vince Russo hyped up a massive event that would change wrestling for Starrcade 1999. It ended up being a rehash of the Montreal Screwjob, this time with Bret taking the win. Nobody cared.

– In 1997, Eric Bischoff told everyone backstage he had it on very good authority that WWE’s money troubles were beyond repair and that they were going to be out of business within six months.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #14: Injuries

– WCW’s injury policy was that, if a wrestler was injured for a long period of time, the company was able to cut their earnings in half. The idea was to stop wrestlers from faking injury and collecting money. The irony is that Hulk Hogan was injured several times but had a guaranteed money contract. Meanwhile, many wrestlers came back too early leading to painkiller addictions amongst other problems because they could not afford to have their money slashed in half.

– Goldberg came within half an inch of losing his arm when he punched the window of a limo to break the glass. He was supposed to hit it with a concealed lead pipe but dropped it.

– WCW management ended up firing Davey Boy Smith while he was injured (due to taking a bump on the infamous trapdoor that Warrior used to “teleport” in and out of the ring). They felt Smith was faking his injury. The reality was that there were legitimate concerns he may never walk again.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #15: Tony Schiavone

– Before Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo teamed up on the creative team, WCW aired a taped edition of Nitro that was basically a “best of” show. Announcer Tony Schiavone came out with the quote that the show was “a reminder of how good Nitro USED to be.” You read that right, Schiavone outright admitted to the few loyal WCW fans left that Nitro used to be much better than what they were being forced to watch now.

– In one of the funniest commentary cover-ups of all time, Stevie Ray and Lex Luger were having a discussion. Luger asked Stevie Ray if what he was about to say was between the two of them. Stevie Ray replied by saying “yes, and 5,000 viewers.” Of course, even in these dying days the company had a lot more than 5,000 viewers. Tony Schiavone tried to cover by saying that Stevie meant “5,000 viewers in each house.” Seriously.

– Tony Schiavone announced on Nitro that Mick Foley was going to win the WWF Title on RAW. He sarcastically added “That’ll put butts in the seats.” The ratings the next day showed that, immediately after he said this, 300,000 homes switched to RAW.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #16: Inside references

– At the beginning of the Millionaires Club vs. New Blood storyline, Eric Bischoff asked Sid to vacate the WCW title in the storyline. He then made a joke about not having a pair of scissors. This was in reference to a real-life fight close to ten years earlier in which Sid attacked Arn Anderson with a pair of scissors. The joke got no response because hardly any of the crowd knew about the incident. Bischoff repeated the joke assuming the fans didn’t hear it. They did. They heard it twice and didn’t respond either time because nobody understood it.

– Buff Bagwell came out and cut a promo on a Nitro in late 1999 saying that everybody knew he was the writers’ “chosen one.” This stemmed from comments that Vince Russo had made about Bagwell in public. The problem was that only 5% of the crowd (if that) knew of the comments and so nobody really knew what Bagwell was talking about. Russo believed everyone read wrestling dirtsheets daily. He was clearly wrong.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #17: Who booked this crap?

– Booker T and Big T (Ahmed Johnson) feuded over who owned the rights to the letter “T.”

– The Warrior appeared in a backstage segment in which he was supposed to be visible in a mirror ONLY to Hollywood Hogan to indicate that Hogan was going crazy. The problem was he was also visible to the announcers and everyone at home. Eric Bischoff, who was by Hogan’s side, was the only one that didn’t see Warrior in the mirror.

– WCW booked Billy Kidman and Dean Malenko in a “catch-as-catch-can” match in which if anyone left the ring they lost the match. Dean Malenko instinctively rolled out of the ring after a sequence and the bell rang. Malenko was dumbfounded. Kidman went on to wrestle two other matches that night.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #18: David Arquette

– Actor David Arquette pushed hard to try and get Vince Russo to change his mind on making him (Arquette) WCW champion. Arquette was a lifelong wrestling fan and knew fans would hate the idea but Russo wouldn’t budge. Arquette ended up giving all of his WCW earnings to the families of Owen Hart, Brian Pillman and Darren Drozdov.

– Some people to this day still argue that Arquette winning the title brought the company much-needed publicity. However, the following week’s Nitro rating was a 2.4, down from the previous week because many fans chose to boycott the show. RAW on the same night, without any celebrities on its show, did a 7.4 rating.

– Slamboree’s PPV buyrate was so bad it was never publicized by the company. It was believed to be around 0.14. Ticket sales were fairly good for the show up until May 1st when it was announced that Arquette would defend the title in the main event. Ticket sales came to a screeching halt the same day.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #19: Work or shoot?

Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg vs. Scott Steiner was the semi-main event at the 2000 New Blood Rising PPV. At the start of the match, Goldberg did not come out. Later on, he emerged and the match continued. Nash went to hit the Jacknife on Goldberg, who dead weighted him and rolled out of the ring.

Goldberg walked up the ramp where he was met by Vince Russo, who started shouting at him. Goldberg shouted back “**** you!”

The announcers then began to insinuate that Goldberg was being unprofessional and would not allow Nash to powerbomb him for the scripted win.

Tony Schiavone then came out with the following quote:

“If, in fact, the jacknife powerbomb was part of the design, what are they going to do now? Improvise?”

That’s right, he was telling everyone that the script called for Goldberg to allow Nash to powerbomb him and beat him. Eventually Nash hit Steiner with the jacknife and pinned him. The announce team then congratulated Steiner for being professional enough to allow Nash to powerbomb him.

The irony of all this was that it was a worked shoot in a storyline where they were openly telling absolutely everyone that the match was fake.

The week before the PPV, Nitro did a 2.5 rating. Fans were so interested in what happened at the PPV that the following Nitro did a… 2.4.

The WCW Epic Fail Files #20: WWE’s version

– After WWE bought WCW, the brand was booked to look weak from the start of the invasion storyline. Rather than go after top talent with top talent, WCW’s invasion began with the likes of Lance Storm and Hugh Morrus attacking the likes of Bradshaw and Goldust. In the initial weeks, Kurt Angle was the only top star that was attacked by someone from WCW. Was it Goldberg? Scott Steiner? No, it was Shane McMahon.

– The first WCW sanctioned match on RAW was described by Arn Anderson as being “bigger than the moon landing.” It was Booker T defending the WCW Title against Buff Bagwell. Scott Hudson advertised the match as “history in the making” as Booker and Bagwell would compete for the “WWF Title.” The crowd hated the match and a lot of people actually left. When heels Steve Austin and Kurt Angle ran out, the crowd cheered loudly. The night ended with the focus being on Vince McMahon backstage in his boxers. McMahon immediately canceled the plans for a section of RAW to be dedicated to WCW every week.

– DDP wanted to be part of the angle so badly that he approached Vince McMahon and agreed to allow McMahon to buy his contract out for 50% of its total worth. He was thanked by being put into a ridiculous storyline where he stalked the Undertaker’s wife. He was made to look incredibly weak in their matches.

– The first WWF Champion vs WCW Champion match took place in September 2001… Steve Austin and The Rock. The most historically significant wrestling match unimaginable in North America was fought by two WWE guys.

– Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Scott Steiner, and Goldberg were all signed by WWE AFTER the Invasion storyline was over.

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