Sunday, February 8, 2015

WCW / NWA Questions

Hi Scott

I'm still working my way through old WCW on the Network. Just up to the Sting / Vader strap match at Superbrawl 3.

The prior few months up to that... What's going on with the title? It's not long since they separated out from the NWA. I assume to the general casual fan that was seen more as a mere renaming: That big gold belt that Flair has now just has a different name.

But then Flair jumps, takes it with him. They debut a redesigned belt. All makes sense so far. But then they start bringing the NWA title back into it with the Japanese crossover stuff, as well as the WCW title. Isn't that just needlessly confusing for the fans at that point? And diluting the status of the new WCW belt?

Seems to hit a crescendo at this event - you have Sting and Vader (who I love, incidentally) doing the silly vignettes and fighting for a the new belt, while earlier in the show you have Muta and Windham fighting for the old belt with all the lineage, and then Flair himself fastens it on for him. How am I supposed to not think that title is the big deal, and the new one is the pretend title they made up because of Flair's exit?

Was this the perception at the time or am I being influenced by my condensed viewing schedule and years of seeing the Big Gold Belt as still being a thing that mattered.

Was this a long term plan leading to a unification or just random WCW?

Separate note, am I the only one annoyed by the original programming being so sporadic on the Network? How hard is an episode of Rivalries to put together, really? And yet you get a couple of weeks in a row and then nothing for ages.

Thanks as ever

I’d be just as happy with a bunch of uploads of old NWA TV, but you’re correct, it should be much easier to create and upload original content.  They do it for YouTube all the time and they could just upload a bunch of THAT to the Network and be done with it.  Shit, who wouldn’t die to have a Game Grumps-style show with Dolph Ziggler and Ryback playing video games and being funny?  How you can you tell me that wouldn’t be awesome? 

Anyway, yeah, perception at the time was that the NWA stuff was very, very Mickey Mouse (and not just the Disney tapings, waka waka) and was clearly leading to a unification where WCW’s title would win in the end.  The NWA of course did not see it that way and thought people still cared about them.  The Chono/Muta/Windham run in particular came off as completely low rent and second-rate, even though Windham’s win got a surprisingly big reaction.  Really, the NWA title was a much bigger deal in Japan at the time.  Of course then once Flair got it things got REALLY silly, with the NWA actually thinking anyone gave a crap about their opinion on who should be champion, leading to the WCW pullout and all the idiocy that followed.  I’ll have to dig up the Observer stuff on it soon, because it’s pretty mind-boggling.

45 comments:

  1. Tim Hornbaker's book about the history of the NWA is a must-read as it highlights how the "good old days" were run by guys whose methods could make Vince McMahon look a candidate for sainthood. Double-crosses abounded, they didn't like or trust one another and so many times guys got runs as champ less due to drawing power or skill than tossing a bone to a promoter. It does highlight how they were so deluded as time went on, totally unprepared for Vince's expansion and even in the later days, assuming they were THE force in wrestling fans respected. Hell, when TNA got the NWA title going, they honestly assumed it was going to be instantly back to the super-big level it once was rather than dismissed so much. Fascinating to show Vince isn't the only guy who can get deluded in how they run things.

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  2. I will add another stupid WCW move to this, the Vader-Sting match at SuperBrawl III was a non-title match. SuperBrawl was the biggest event the year before. It would be like the Bundy-Hogan at WrestleMania II being a non-title match.

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  3. Extant1979 - Mr. Cable AccessFebruary 8, 2015 at 7:03 PM

    I popped huge when Barry Windham won the Big Gold Belt. I was always a big Windham fan.

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  4. It's so weird that there are diehards out there who have kept the NWA alive all of this time.

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  5. I'm still counting Rude as a world champion. And I'm sure I can coax some kayfaybe defense for it. Flair was back in WCW as early as Feb 93 - but I think he had a no compete clause or something - so he didn't win the title until July. Kind of surreal to see him back in WCW after his WWF run and yet being a staple of the NWA - it felt right. Kind of seeing Hogan as a WWF ambassador nowadays.

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  6. The exact details escape me, but I do recall the Apter mags getting all snooty over the title change for some reason and refusing to recognize Rude.

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  7. Yeah, Vince crushed them entirely, in part because they were all deluded old men. If Vince then was like Vince now, he'd never have succeeded.

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  8. According to the Observer, the plan was for WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sid Vicious to defeat International World Heavyweight Champion "Ravishing" Rick Rude in a championship unification match at SuperBrawl IV

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  9. WCW would do this weird thing where SuperBrawl would be their biggest event, then Halloween Havoc was, then it was Starrcade again.

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  10. The nice thing about only getting the WWE Network when it's free is that there is a decent amount of content to catch up on when you return.

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  11. I loved that heel run he had after his team with Dustin Rhodes broke up.

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  12. Things were that way even in the post-Wrestlemania era. When Verne organized a multi fed supercard called SuperClash, David Crockett was backstage at the event trying to poach AWA talent for JCP.

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  13. It was basically just dependent on who was running the company. I'm pretty sure Bischoff, for example, never thought highly of Starcade, and certainly didn't want to position it as the biggest show of the year.

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  14. Funny, on the AWA DVD, Vince himself is calm talking about it as "the old fashioned guys never had competition, they didn't know how to deal with it." Which, ironically, was much the reason Bischoff got some nice traction early when Nitro went against RAW.

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  15. On that strap match, Sting blading Vader's ear was digusting

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  16. Kip Frey was the reason for the NWA belts being brought back, as it was his goal to drop the WCW name and re-brand under the old one. By the time this stuff made it to TV, Watts was already in charge and didn't really want any part of it. Hence the not-so-subtle burying of the whole NWA concept at that tag tournament Clash, with Watts flexing his muscle and "overruling" the NWA board and forcing the second-round match between the Steiners and MVCs.

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  17. I think in '92 the NWA still consisted of WCW, Don Owen in Portland (can't remember when he retired), Steve Rickard in New Zealand, and both major Japanese companies, plus Dennis Coralluzzo on the East Coast. And ECW of course, though I think they joined later.

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  18. Yep. Scidssors just messed everything up

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  19. Ok so was miracle violence connection their actual name?

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  20. I wonder if that's one reason why Jerry Jarrett was one of the final survivors--he DID have competition for years, first from Nick Gulas and then from Angelo Poffo.

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  21. Scissoring can get pretty messy. Leave it to the professionals.

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  22. In Japan, I can't remember if it was ever used in the U.S.

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  23. I was gonna say, that had to be a Japan thing

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  24. On a side note, Watts was often accused of being out of touch, and rightfully so. But look at who he brought in and pushed early on in his WCW run, and then look at who was getting brought in and pushed right as he was leaving: Benoit, Scorpio, RVD, Austin & Pillman, Shane Douglas, and Steven Regal. It took him some time, but Watts actually seemed to have made an adjustment and saw who was going to be the future of wrestling in 1993.

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  25. I see what you did there.

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  26. I was a huge Windham fan, named my dog after him in '92.

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  27. Cactus Jack vs Sting at Beach Blast '92 was non-title as well. Mick goofs on that during the commentary for that match on Greatest Hits and Misses.

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  28. Definitely another Watts thing--gimmick matches were generally "non-sanctioned" and thus not eligible to be title bouts. I get the logic behind it, and while the top-rope ban was stupid I do understand Watts' desire to re-enforce rules in wrestling. Unfortunately he (and JR, on his podcasts) took things a bit too far.

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  29. I know I get messy when I see scissoring.

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  30. Especially when Vader was winning anyhow.

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  31. kbwrestlingreviewsFebruary 8, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    They also never seemed to try to expand too far. They were perfectly happy playing to the same crowds for years and never tried to be anything more than a territory. All these other companies tried to expand to fight off Vince but Memphis just stuck around as a territory and lasted into the late 90s.

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  32. kbwrestlingreviewsFebruary 8, 2015 at 9:16 PM

    A few weeks back on Raw they said Edge vs. Matt Hardy would be the final episode of Rivalries. They could easily set up about dozen or so of those shows but they wrapped it up already? They can't cost that much to produce. Maybe we can get another 15 hours on why Nitro was out of touch and Vince was never worried once?

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  33. If Jarrett had had the itch, how successful could the Memphis formula been n a national level?

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  34. No Orndorff/Hogan?!

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  35. Watched the Flair/Rhodes one and it was great, well aside from those useless interludes where they just HAVE to mention that despite how great this feud was they still couldn't match up to the greatness of the WWF.

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  36. I can't seem to figure it either. We've heard forever that Bischoff wanted to make SuperBrawl their Wrestlemania and de-emphasize Starrcade. yet he put Hogan-Sting

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  37. Good point. Flair has always said that if Crockett just stuck to the South instead of trying to do major shows in Chicago and New York in the late '80's, he'd have stayed in business a lot longer.

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  38. I actually thought the Monday Night War series was a lot more fair than I expected. They put over how WCW had the crusierweights action WWF couldn't touch and with Goldberg, they go out of their way to say he wasn't meant to be an Austin clone but his own guy. Sure, swerves to WWF on top a lot but still pretty good showing the strengths WCW actually had and how they fell apart due to their own idiocy.
    Plus, adored how McMahon openly talks about how "people seem to accept as fact I planted Russo into that locker room."

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  39. What's funny is that the NWA title, currently held by Rob Conway, will be defended in front of thousands live, and thousands more on pay-per-view in less than a week. Still going (somewhat) strong, and doing considerably much better since real-life attorney Bruce Tharpe got control of it.

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  40. "But then they start bringing the NWA title back into it with
    the Japanese crossover stuff, as well as the WCW title. Isn't that just
    needlessly confusing for the fans at that point? And diluting the
    status of the new WCW belt?"


    Because, WCW.

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  41. Part of it too was that everyone back then was a mark for belts. Once Big Gold came back into the hands of WCW they just had to use that belt. The problem was in the eyes of the fans, that was the NWA title belt. WCW never really went out of their way to explain that WCW and the NWA were separate entities. So you had those in the company trying to make sense of all the different belts, making their lineages clear, while others in the company didn't give two shits. To the unobservant fan (which was most of them) the NWA "changed" it's name to WCW. By '94 they were back to just Big Gold and they and the fans just both sorta pretended all the belt nonsense never happened.

    It's why the whole World Championship era of WWE was such a waste of time, because most fans saw that belt as the WCW/NWA title (even though it wasn't the same belt--which few fans realized), and it represented a dead company.

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  42. Please post the observer stuff or at least summarize. That would be a good read.

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  43. True but there were so many episodes that could have been combined or eliminated. Like Jericho, who really had nothing to do with the Wars whatsoever but got an episode because he's there to talk on camera.

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  44. Not all that far. Lawler partially worked because he was the Memphis hero. That only works so far on a national stage.

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