Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Go down

Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Post by talkingpoint on Thu 24 Mar 2016, 9:26 am

So I am currently watching the Monday Night War documentary series Part 1. I just watched the episode on Mick Foley. Now granted this could all be because of the WWE propaganda machine as the documentary is fairly one sided, but watching the interviews has given me insight into the Monday Night Wars I never had before. For instance, it was the first time for me to learn that neither Scott Hall or Kevin Nash wanted to leave WWF/E originally, but put their families first and joined WCW for the money and reduced schedule. This got me thinking (and again fair enough they could just be saying that since WCW lost), but I think Bischoff's strategy of acquiring marquee names from the WWF/E could have ultimately led to the downfall of WCW in the long run. My reasoning - based on Hall and Nash's comments - is that at first WCW needed WWF/E marquee names to give WCW legitimacy (hence acquiring Hogan back in '94). This accomplished, WCW was given a huge boost in the ratings leading to their 80 week winning streak. But, as WWF/E had to innovate and change in order to survive and they slowly began climbing back up the TV ratings, it was paramount for Bischoff to ensure that now WCW don't lose their main eventers to WWF/E in a similar coup. Therefore, WCW just opened the cheque book to Hall and Nash in order to keep them from going back to the WWF/E, which if it's true that they really didn't want to be in WCW in the first place then it was doubly important for Bischoff to keep them happy. Being given whatever money they wanted, I can understand why this would lead to complacency and in the end outright apathy. If they're being paid whatever they wanted then why work for their place on the card? Why worry about putting on 5* matches in order to earn ratings? What did Nash and Hall care as long as they were happy?

Now, I know WCW's demise was due to more than just Hall and Nash's politicking. But, what started out as an important strategic manoeuvre on WCW's part, ended up being a double edged sword when the ratings were threatened. If their marquee names jumped ship back to WWF/E then it left WCW once again looking second rate. To me, Bischoff comes across as a guy who had some shrewd ideas, but then banked on them way too much to produce long term returns without realizing the need to keep innovating. Take the NWO for example. A masterstroke and genius concept, but it became a one trick pony and once its initial originality and innovation had worn off, it never evolved to stay relevant. This is something I think Bischoff lacked. He was, to a degree, a legitimate visionary, but I think he was too proud of his own achievements sometimes to see the need to consider WCW holistically. He needed to build up the entire roster, not just place his faith in the tried and tested marquee names.

This might all be old news to many of you, but it was something that occurred to me while I was watching the documentary episodes.

One more thing, during the Mick Foley episode, JR admitted that his commentary during the Mankind/Undertaker HIAC match wasn't scripted and he legitimately didn't know Foley was going to be thrown off of the cell roof and take the bump through the announcers' table. Listening to his commentary during the match highlights it just goes to show how much better it is for the commentators to be spontaneous. JR's concern for Foley sounds genuine because it was genuine. I wish the WWE would go back to allowing the announce team the freedom to call the match as they see it rather than just repeating what Vince tells them too. Sad

talkingpoint

Posts : 1605
Join date : 2011-02-20
Location : Essex Made Punk

Back to top Go down

Re: Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Post by talkingpoint on Thu 24 Mar 2016, 11:53 pm

I've thought about this some more and I think I've put my finger on it. Bischoff had one objective, one goal: beat WWF/E and put Vince out of business. And initially Bischoff did well in striving to accomplish that objective. He was shrewd enough to break the then accepted wrestling conventions to give WCW an edge. He signed the biggest names he could to give WCW legitimacy. However, and I mean however Bischoff did not have a wrestling brain, or in other words wrestling sense. I don't think deep down Bischoff was a wrestling "guy". Say what you want about Vince, but his micromanagement proves one thing: he truly cares about every aspect of wrestling and his product. I don't think the same is true for Bischoff.

Bischoff was a TV guy. Rather than using his biggest marquee names to give the rub to up and coming WCW talent, he just relied on their drawing power alone. As I said before, signing former WWF/E marquee talent was a double edge sword, especially for those who weren't loyal to WCW like Hall and Nash. Guys like Hogan, Savage and Luger knew they'd never be given the same main event spot again in the WWF/E so they were content to stay in WCW. I'm sure Hogan knew he'd never be world champion again if he returned to WWF/E so he was happy to be a big fish in a small pond. Either way, it resulted in a bottle neck for new stars to be created, as Hogan was safe as their No.1 marquee name, and Hall and Nash had all the money they could dream of so the NWO continued to dominate WCW way after its initial revolutionary edge had worn off and the product had gone stale. And I think Bischoff is ultimately to blame for this.  

Bischoff should have had a strategy for bringing in marquee names and then once ratings dominance was achieved, work out a plan to have his former WWF/E stars pass the torch to the next generation of WCW talent who would replace them, creating a sustainable model of talent development. Instead, enamored with his own innovations such as the NWO, he let many midcarders go who then later went on to prove themselves in the WWF/E and earn success helping the WWF/E beat WCW in the Monday Night Wars i.e. Mick Foley and Chris Jericho. How many stars did WCW actually produce during the Monday Night Wars? The only one that stands out is Goldberg, though I suppose an argument could be made for Booker T and DDP. But, by far the biggest draw was Goldberg. Compare that to the amount of stars WWF/E produced and you see where Bischoff's inadequacies lay - HHH, SCSA, the Rock, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, the Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian etc.

The more I learn about the Monday Night Wars and WCW's backstage mismanagements, the more I think it really was just like TNA only with Ted Turner's money and influence behind it. When you consider how unsuccessful WCW had been commercially before Nitro and the MNW and then how long WCW actually existed before being bought out compared to the history of the WWE, it's actually quite an extraordinary and unique period in wrestling history. When I was a kid watching the Monday Night Wars I just assumed this was normal for pro wrestling. I didn't really know any better. Yes, I watched old videos of the '80s, but as the Monday Night Wars were current and contemporary I just expected that wrestling would always be this way from now on. Looking back now 20 years after the MNW began in earnest, I can't help but feel somehow grateful and thankful that I grew up in that period to watch all of it unfold every week, because it wasn't the norm. In some ways WCW were an anomaly. Yet here we are 15 years later and still speaking about it.

talkingpoint

Posts : 1605
Join date : 2011-02-20
Location : Essex Made Punk

Back to top Go down

Re: Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Post by liverbnz on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 11:07 pm

At the end of the day it was a multitude of factors. To me, from running a professional wrestling show, they should not have given the wrestlers power that they did, they should have booked Bret Hart much better, not jobbed out Goldberg to Kevin Nash, binned Nash and Hall much earlier and reinvested in Benoit, Guerrero, Mysterio, Jericho supplemented by Sting, Booker T and Steiner.

But Bischoff had no clue how to run a wrestling show, he struck it lucky with the nWo and then blew it. It also helped that WWF was then still struggling to replace Hogan, mostly due to weak booking of HBK and Bret (because of size) and Warrior (because Hogan is a man sausage).

Then Austin came and it was night night. There was no more room for error with WCW, and we all know there was plenty of error.

liverbnz

Posts : 2958
Join date : 2011-03-07
Age : 34
Location : Newcastle, County Down

Back to top Go down

Re: Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Post by Samo on Mon 28 Mar 2016, 7:11 pm

One of the biggest mistakes WCW did was offer up the guaranteed money contracts. Basically gave the ego's like Hogan, Hall and Nash free reign to do whatever they liked.

The nWo changed the game, and WCW gave guys like Benoit, Jericho and Guerrero a legitimate shot in America, but jesus christ was it a total bombshell of a promotion from start to finish.

Samo

Posts : 4209
Join date : 2011-01-29

Back to top Go down

Re: Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Post by talkingpoint on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 1:31 pm

I've just finished watching volume 1 of the Monday Night Wars and yeah there were a multitude of errors. In fact WCW comes across as just a comedy of errors. What I find so hard to understand is how the top brass of WCW couldn't see their own mistakes. I mean take Goldberg - you hide his weaknesses and accentuate his strengths, create an amazing gimmick in him and then crap all over him!? I mean him beating Hogan for the world title on Nitro I think was fine, but then keep the title on Goldberg and build up for Goldberg v Hogan II at PPV where you can capitalize on the rematch. Why they started screwing with Goldberg while his gimmick still worked is beyond me. Then there was the glass ceiling placed over the cruiserweights. Why Bischoff couldn't see that he needed to develop new talent and have guys work their way up to the top of the card, workers like Jericho and Eddie who could wrestle, put on spots and cut a promo. It's common sense that you can't rely on your marquee names forever without developing new ones.

But something that strikes me as really odd is if Hall, Hogan and Nash had so much backstage influence and politicked so notoriously then why did they consent to poor creative decisions like reforming the NWO? I mean Nash admitted that the original was organic and therefore the second time was never going to be as successful. If they had so much power then why not veto it? If WCW creative had no long term strategy then why not just refuse and come up with their own ideas?

Bischoff seems to have been a totally self-destructive influence on WCW - he came in with great ideas to differentiate the WCW product and hire marquee names that will draw money and then job done, he then regressed and went backwards in failing to take the company forward in order to win the Monday Night War and establish the foundations for a long and successful future. He fossilized and failed to provide the creative leadership that WCW needed.

talkingpoint

Posts : 1605
Join date : 2011-02-20
Location : Essex Made Punk

Back to top Go down

Re: Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Post by Samo on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 8:48 am

Bischoff also didnt have either the balls or the brains to try and reign Russo in a bit. Russo was a crazy genius at times, but needed someone like Vince to stop him before he got too mental.

He's a shrewd business man and theres still a place for him in modern wrestling, but he's not a viable long term answer to anything. He's like the Jose Mourinho of wrestling. He can make an instant impact but lacks a real long term vision.

Samo

Posts : 4209
Join date : 2011-01-29

Back to top Go down

Re: Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Post by talkingpoint on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 10:40 am

The episode on Taker and Sting was interesting. The comparison between the two is an obvious one as both men stayed in their respective companies throughout the period when other wrestlers were jumping ship. However, I actually think the truer parallel is with Sting and Bret Hart.

The way I see it Sting didn't so much stay with WCW as he didn't go to WWF/E out of fear his character and everything he had worked to achieve would be disrespected, as well as having moral objections to the direction of the Attitude era after becoming a Christian. Bret in the same way was dissatisfied with the direction WWF/E were heading in and fearing that WWF/E were going to destroy his legacy he left for WCW. So Bret didn't so much go to WCW as left WWF/E. Do you see what I mean?

Both wrestlers made the decisions they did for the same reason or out of the same principle. Bret's future in the WWF/E was not where he saw his career going and so begrudgingly left. Sting fearful his career would hit the proverbial glass ceiling and have his character buried in the WWF/E stayed with WCW for the security. And the parallels also extend to the way their two careers ended.

Bret's career didn't deserve to end in WCW being poorly booked and under utilized. He didn't deserve to end his wrestling days in WCW. The same for Sting. Sting deserved a much longer run in the WWE before his injury. Yet, he put off coming to the WWE for so long spending so many years in TNA. From the interviews I've watched with him since joining the WWE, I definitely think he regrets his decision to put off signing with WWE. I guess if you've never worked in such a professional environment having wrestled in his prime for WCW and then in TNA to actually experience the professionalism and scale of the product at WWE, I think he realized he had made a mistake.

Still, Bret was reconciled with the WWE and Sting finally made his way to the WWE too, so both had a happy ending of sorts.

talkingpoint

Posts : 1605
Join date : 2011-02-20
Location : Essex Made Punk

Back to top Go down

Re: Some thoughts on the Monday Night Wars

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum