World Championship Wrestling comes from a time you may not know or understand. You see, WCW was around before your opinion didn’t matter on Twitter. WCW was around before no one cared about your selfie on Instagram. WCW was around before you could run and hide in your “safe space.”
WCW was the kid at the playground who simply took away your toy. And if you really wanted it back, you had to fight. It may have been an old, broken down, Hulk Hogan action figure, but you still had to fight. It was the Law of the Land. It was warfare; at the park, on the field, during Monday night television.
Yes, it was a time when kids were kids, and not accessories. When fewer cried for Mommy and more figured it out on their own. However, just like WCW, those days are gone. They are nothing more than memories from a crude period of less caution and more chaos. When people were not desensitized to a smartphone screen.
If you were watching WCW during this time, you may have noticed certain wrestlers performing under their real names… or were they?
Here Are 10 WCW Stars Who Used Their Real Names, And 10 Who Didn’t.
20. Real Names: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash
This first real name entry must be provided a duo; as one without the other is akin to Batman without Robin. Bert without Ernie. Beavis without Butt-Head. Yes, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (collectively known as The Outsiders) indeed walk hand-in-hand.
In 1996, the wrestling world was shocked to see Scott Hall – and just a few short weeks later, Kevin Nash – appear on Monday Nitro. They were WWE guys. So, what were they doing over at WCW? Was there an actual invasion taking place?
Keep in mind that twenty years ago, the internet did not provide fans with instant access to these answers. Therefore, something felt real about Hall and Nash showing up on WCW television.
19. Fake Name: Chris Jericho
The evolutionary, Chris Jericho has done something quite rare in professional wrestling. Jericho has managed to remain relevant throughout each era in which he has performed. And, this is no easy task.
Jericho’s career has spanned through the Generation X and Millennial crop of wrestling fans, and yet, his relevance has remained in tact. Why? Because Jericho understands that in professional wrestling, one must change with the times.
Who would have thought that “The List of Jericho” and “getting … IT!” would go over as well as they have? Jericho has never been afraid to try new things, which is how his character remains fresh.
And to think, WCW once had this main event talent under contract and decided to push the washed-up WWE crowd, instead.
18. Real Name: Terry Funk
Terrance “Terry” Funk is as old-school as they come. The crazy, old man of professional wrestling has laced up his boots in the NWA, ECW, WWE, AJPW, and WCW. When you think of tough, you should think of Funk.
Funk’s first run in WCW came just prior to the beginning of The Monday Night War. However, Funk did provided some memorable moments with the likes of Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat.
Funk was brought back to the company during its dying days, where he won the WCW Hardcore and United States Championship. Funk was also named “WCW Commissioner” for a short while, but, at that point, nothing really matter.
17. Fake Name: Steve Austin
Who looked at “Stunning” Steve Austin and thought: “there’s the guy who is going to change the way we look at heels and faces in professional wrestling? There’s the guy who is going to revolutionize an era?” Probably no one.
In WCW, Austin was best known as a member of The Dangerous Alliance and one-half of The Hollywood Blonds tag team. Nothing revolutionary at this point. Austin was good at what he was doing, but there so much more to the man.
Once fired by WCW, Austin brought his talents over to ECW, where the first signs of “Stone Cold” emerged. Angry and determined, Austin began building on a character that would later change the course of WWE.
In the eyes of many wrestling fans, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is the greatest of all time. Bigger than Hogan and all else who came before and after.
16. Real Name: Stacy Keibler
Stacy Keibler found herself a job in WCW by winning a competition to crown a new Nitro Girl. And for a while, that’s all Keibler was; a dancing attraction put on stage to appease the male demographic.
However, Keibler would eventually move up to an on-screen role, where she worked under the name, Miss Hancock. When the Hancock gimmick ran its course, Keibler would perform under her real name throughout the remainder of her WCW days.
Once WCW went under, Keibler was quickly brought into WWE, where for a number of years, she worked within the Diva ranks. Keibler was never much of a wrestler, and is now considered part of a forgotten breed.
15. Fake Name: Ricky Steamboat
Ricky Steamboat – like many wrestlers of the period – would have two runs with WCW. One of which occurred during the early years of the promotion, when WCW had freshly seceded from the NWA.
Steamboat’s second run took place in the early ’90s, where he put together WCW World Tag Team, World Television, and United States Heavyweight Championship reigns. All-in-all, a solid career.
However, one thing will always come to mind first, when discussing Steamboat’s legacy: the legendary feud with Ric Flair. WrestleMania III with “Macho Man” Randy Savage was great, but that was only one night.
Steamboat vs. Flair spanned the globe. Their rivalry – which was seemingly never-ending – now proves to be a timeless piece of wrestling storytelling.
14. Real Name: Ernest Miller
Ernest “The Cat” Miller was an underrated WCW performer. On the mic, Miller would often discuss his “greatness” in a Muhammad Ali-like style. In the ring, Miller was never a Five-Star Match kind of wrestler, but far from terrible.
Who else in professional wrestling can say that they actually participated in a dance-off with James Brown? Sure, Miller was never going to main event Starrcade. That was clear all along. However, “The Cat” was entertaining.
Following the demise of WCW, Miller was brought into WWE for a short run. And of course, the company did nothing with Miller. No surprise there. This was simply another WCW guy who played for the wrong team for too many years.
13. Fake Name: Tank Abbott
Tank Abbott was signed by WCW for one reason, and one reason only: to pose as a legitimate opponent for Goldberg, who at the time had fizzled out with the audience. This was supposed to get Goldberg back on track.
However, nothing put Goldberg back on the right track. While Goldberg was not a one-hit wonder, he was certainly more along the lines of a one-album wonder. Not quite Vanilla Ice. More like the Sex Pistols.
When WCW realized that Abbott (a UFC fighter) would not help with Goldberg’s second act in the company, he was bumped down to the mid-card, where he would remain until he was released from WCW.
During his final storyline, Abbott was portrayed as the “biggest fan” of a parody boy band known as 3 Count.
12. Real Name: Torrie Wilson
Long before Torrie Wilson was making headlines with Alex Rodriguez, she was employed by WCW. Unfortunately for Wilson, her debut with the promotion came during the company’s decline.
WWE had a firm grasp on the ratings war while Wilson was being used on WCW television to seduce and valet Flairs. Wilson was then paired with real-life boyfriend, Billy Kidman.
When the lights went out on WCW, it was a sure bet that Wilson would join the WWE roster. At the time, Wilson fit perfectly into the image WWE wanted for its female employees. So, Wilson was signed.
11. Fake Name: Billy Kidman
Now, on to Torrie Wilson’s ex-husband, Billy Kidman (the couple married in 2003). In WCW, Kidman was often an afterthought. Nothing more than a Cruiserweight wrestler who would never main event a show (half true).
This was simply a result of WCW booking and their persistence on using washed-up wrestlers over fresh-faced stars. When it came to Kidman, he was more than a Cruiserweight and fit the look and style of the young wrestling fan from that time period.
Kidman was a good wrestler, but, let’s be honest: Kidman was never going to sell out a pay-per-view. Sure, he might have work as a transitional WCW Champion, or the underdog, constantly on the chase, but not the top guy.
Near the end of WCW, Kidman would feud with and actually defeat Hulk Hogan. Which must be the highlight of his career.
10. Real Name: Norman Smiley
Norman Smiley was what one could call a “Saturday Night Main Event Delight.” Smiley spent a number of weekends coming into the homes of professional wrestling fans via the WCW Saturday Night program.
Smiley wasn’t a superstar in WCW. However, he was fun to watch. There was nothing too serious about Smiley (even as a heel). In 1999, Smiley entered the poorly executed Hardcore Division of WCW.
This entire division was an attempt to duplicate the success WWE was having with hardcore wrestling, but ultimately, flopped. For the most part, matches were weak, but Smiley was entertaining.
9. Fake Name: Scotty Riggs
Scotty Riggs, one half of The American Males tag team (alongside Marcus Bagwell) was a one-time WCW World Tag Team Champion. Following their break-up, Riggs did what many wrestlers were doing at the time: joined the nWo.
When Riggs’ nWo stint was complete, the former American Male found himself running with a different kind of crowd. Riggs would join the eccentric faction known as Raven’s Flock, where his character would develop a darker persona.
When Raven’s Flock (an underrated faction with whom WCW squandered an opportunity) came to an end, Riggs was left with nowhere to go, and floated around the undercard for a while.
When Riggs was released from his WCW contract, he joined ECW. However, it was too late. The promotion was nearing an end.
8. Real Name: Ron Simmons
During the Attitude Era, Ronald “Ron” Simmons (working as Faarooq) would help shake-up professional wrestling, as the leader of a defiant and militant faction known as The Nation of Domination.
Along with Bradshaw as a tag team partner, The Acolytes or Acolytes Protection Agency will go down as one of the most dominant duos in WWE history. Yes, Simmons sure left a mark on WWE.
However, Simmons’ greatest moment came back in 1992, working for WCW, when he challenged Big Van Vader for the promotion’s top prize. And, in a history making moment, Simmons pinned Vader.
7. Fake Name: Arn Anderson
The Four Horsemen are regarded by most as the greatest stable in the history of professional wrestling. It’s difficult to argue against the Horsemen. They laid the foundation for all future factions.
“The Enforcer” of the group, Arn Anderson, was never a World Champion, and was always overshadowed by the great Ric Flair. However, Anderson was a necessary component to the faction.
At the conclusion of his career, the highest solo title Anderson achieved was the NWA/WCW World Television Championship. Anderson was always more of a team player than a solo competitor.
And that’s just fine. Not everybody shines on their own. Nevertheless, Anderson is a legend and forever a Horsemen.
6. Real Name: Brian Pillman
At the age of thirty-five, the professional wrestling world lost one of its rising stars in Brian Pillman. Given the nickname “Flyin’,” Pillman was making a name in WCW, and was even paired with a future legend in Steve Austin.
Aside from capturing the WCW World Tag Team Championship with Austin (collectively known as The Hollywood Blond), Pillman was also a two-time WCW Light Heavyweight Champion.
When Pillman switched over to WWE, he played a huge – yet often forgotten role – in helping to kick-start the Attitude Era. The entire “Pillman’s Got a Gun” segment set the tone for the new direction of WWE.
5. Fake Name: Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner loves to run his mouth whenever possible. Sometimes, even during a promo on live television; even if he can’t exactly get the words out. That’s just Steiner being Steiner. Nobody is actually listening, anyway.
In WCW, Steiner eventually moved away from the All-American boy image and transformed into “Big Poppa Pump.” And while the look and size were there, the charisma was not.
The company did allow Steiner to hold the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on one occasions, but once again, this would occur after the ship had already hit the iceberg. And there was no way, Steiner as top guy would repair the damage.
Nowadays, you can find Steiner hanging around Impact Wrestling or going crazy in true Steiner fashion.
4. Real Name: Owen Hart
Is there any doubt that Owen Hart would have become WWE Champion had his life not been tragically cut short back in 1999? Another Hart at the top of the company seemed like a logical enough step.
Hart was only thirty-four-years-old when he died as a result of The Blue Blazer stunt; a gimmick which probably should have never gone down in WWE. It’s a true shame that Hart never topped the card in WWE.
However, a lesser-known fact about Hart comes in the form of WCW. Back in 1991 – after leaving WWE – Hart had a very short stint with the promotion. In WCW, Hart did little of note and was quickly out the door.
3. Fake Name: Randy Savage
“Macho Man” Randy Savage was a hero to many children in the ’80s and early ’90s. However, Savage was soon pushed aside in WWE to help make way for the New Generation of Superstars.
That’s when Savage made his way over to WCW, becoming a four-time World Heavyweight Champion, and proving to Vince McMahon that he still had a lot to offer to the business.
In terms of the all-time greats, Savage makes every list. The colorful, crazed character Savage portrayed helped inspire future generations of wrestlers. All of whom hoped to obtain at least a morsel of Savage’s ability.
After all, Savage was the cream who rose to the top of the industry. Never forget about that little, truthful/crazy promo.
2. Real Name: Eric Bischoff
The man who made WCW a success. The man who once took Vince McMahon the distance in the ultimate title fight. The man who almost, almost put WWE out of business. Eric Bischoff.
If not for Bischoff, The Monday Night War may have never taken place. If not for Bischoff, the Attitude Era may have never occurred. If not for Bischoff, Mantaur may have become WWE Champion.
It’s easy to hate on Bischoff, but this man helped make wrestling fun again during the ’90s. McMahon will claim otherwise, but, had WWE not been pushed, the company would have continued on with their same, old nonsense characters.
1. Fake Name: Paul E. Dangerously
Paul E. Dangerously, former CEO of The Dangerous Alliance; a group that helped WCW along during it’s formative years. The Dangerous Alliance is of course, no more, and their CEO moved on to bigger things.
Those bigger things? Running the coolest wrestling company around, ECW. And then, serving as the mouthpiece for a certain, “Next Big Thing” WWE Superstar. Now known as “The Beast Incarnate,” Brock Lesnar.
Dangerously and his big cell phone were ahead of the times. Always looking for new stars. Always looking to help turn somebody into a main event play. And, that’s what great promoters do for the business.
Dangerously is gone, but the Hustle continues. The voice is always heard, and The Advocate cannot be silenced.
Real Name: Paul Heyman
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