The branding of the “new era” in the WWE has shaken up the wrestling world. Fans have shown excitement and optimism about changes to the product, which has made it more interesting than the standard routine WWE has gotten into the past few years. The appeal is mostly the fact that we have hope and the future is actually a mystery for once. This isn’t the first time a wrestling promotion has tried rebooting to freshen up things. WCW rebranded their product in 2000 with the “New Blood” angle setting the table for the show to restart all new.
Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo led all the young talents on the roster to rebel against the main event legends occupying the top spots. The idea was promising on paper, but the writing of it killed the New Blood performers. Fans were conditioned to dislike them by seeing them associated with the two hated figureheads and opposing the most popular stars in the company out of bitterness and jealousy. WCW's approach to making new stars led to disappointment after disappointment, as the stars were presented poorly for the most part. We’ll take a look at the failed potential with the top fifteen wrestlers to flop during WCW’s so called “new era.”
15 Tank Abbott
Tank Abbott's legitimate fighting background in the early stages of MMA earned him a reputation as a tough guy. WCW signed him to an impressive deal with the hopes of making him a star performer for the company. Vince Russo had high praise for Abbott and put over his ability to step outside of his comfort zone. The early stages of the New Blood featured Abbott as a background member of the stable.
14 Chris Kanyon
Chris Kanyon was one of the most underrated performers in WCW for a couple of years. From his time as the masked character, Mortis, to being himself, Kanyon always delivered a good in-ring performance. WCW attempted to elevate him as a heel, by having him turn against his best friend Diamond Dallas Page to join the New Blood. The booking was all over the place as the New Blood tossed Kanyon off of a cage on the show before his eventual turn. Jumping off of a cage and risking your life all to screw over DPP is true commitment.
13 Big Vito
Vince Russo is loyal to three things in life – New Yorkers, Italians and pole matches. He got two out of three when he pushed Big Vito as a stereotypical Italian from New York. Big Vito received a push as the leader of an Italian faction, The Mamalukes, that was very similar to ECW’s Full Blooded Italians stable. Johnny the Bull and Tony Mamaluke entered the group but Vito would shine on his own as we entered the New Blood days.
12 Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch
The signings of Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch should have been a no-brainer, but ended up looking like a poor decision. Candido never fulfilled his potential in the WWE but was one of the best in-ring workers of his time. WCW signed him to help establish the Cruiserweight division again. Tammy Sytch was his real life girlfriend and they made a perfect pairing for television. Unfortunately, WCW could not find the magic and they turned into another New Blood flop.
11 Shawn Stasiak
WCW wanted a few of their young talents to progress and become the future main eventers of the company. If the company didn’t go out of business in 2001, they wanted guys like Shawn Stasiak to become main event stars going forward. Stasiak sadly didn’t have the talent and could not get over enough to warrant any sort of a push. WCW signed the son of former WWE Champion, Stan “The Man” Stasiak, after he had a poor run with the WWE.
10 David Arquette
Okay, David Arquette should not be classified as a wrestler, but his run in WCW is arguably the worst part of the New Blood rebranding. Arquette appeared on television to promote the Ready to Rumble movie associated with the WCW world. The B-list actor actually won the WCW Championship thanks to Vince Russo making poor decisions with no one to stop him. Arquette turned on his friend and co-star Diamond Dallas Page at the end of the storyline to join the New Blood faction.
9 Vince Russo
You can’t have David Arquette on the list without Vince Russo. The main reason for the new era movement was Russo failing horrendously after leaving WWE for WCW in 1999. Russo sold WCW a bill of goods and took credit for WWE’s Attitude Era success. The ratings and content on WCW television were a mess under Russo and the company decided to change things up. Russo and Eric Bischoff were forced to work together and co-run the show.
8 Chuck Palumbo
Chuck Palumbo's career is forgettable, despite him spending many years on national television. It started on WCW during the New Blood era, when he entered a feud with Lex Luger. Palumbo would get most of his notoriety in tag teams with Shawn Stasiak and Sean O’Haire, both under the Natural Born Thrillers stable. There was nothing outwardly terrible about Chuck, but he lacked anything special to make him stand out.
7 David Flair
The experiment of signing a legendary wrestler’s son to a big contract and giving him a big opportunity doesn’t usually work out. Ric Flair is arguably the greatest performer in wrestling history, but his son David Flair did not have the chops to follow in the footsteps of the legend. David instantly flopped prior to the new era rebranding, but still managed to get a spot in the New Blood stable. The greatest success of David’s career came when teaming with Crowbar and Daffney in their charmingly, insane act.
6 Mike Awesome
Mike Awesome was a hot commodity in ECW as one of the most exciting performers to watch in the wrestling business. The big man made one of the most controversial moves of the time by signing with WCW while still holding the ECW Championship. Awesome planned to drop the title in the garbage on Nitro, but ECW threatened lawsuits. Following the big story about his new home, WCW managed to do absolutely nothing with him.
Goldberg's career was at a high in 1998, as he was the first homegrown star in WCW in a long time. Fans rallied behind Goldberg and his destruction as a powerful face always provided excitement. No one wanted to root against him and he has gone on the record to say he fought the idea of turning heel. Sadly, it could not change the minds of those in charge and Goldberg turned into a villain by joining the New Blood following his return from injury in 2000.
One of the main feuds WCW wanted to establish during the New Blood storyline was Vampiro vs. Sting. Vampiro entered the company after a hugely successful stint in Mexico as one of the biggest wrestling stars outside of the United States. His unique look and mysterious personality made him a perfect young opponent for Sting. Things were growing stale for Sting as he was the only top star to spend the entire decade in WCW, but a new rivalry added intrigue.
3 Billy Kidman
Billy Kidman’s story during the New Blood is somewhat depressing, considering he was actually one of the better talents in the company at the time. Kidman always delivered in the Cruiserweight division and held a great reputation for being able to pull a great match out of anyone. That theory was exposed when he entered a storyline with Hulk Hogan. Kidman held an important spot in the New Breed faction as the heel trying to ruin Hogan’s legendary legacy.
2 Shane Douglas
WCW actually tried to deliver a cool program during the New Blood angle by having a disgruntled Shane Douglas return to feud with Ric Flair. Douglas became a top star in ECW and used his frustration towards Flair to channel his promos. The majority of talking segments with Douglas featured him calling out Flair for holding him down during his initial WCW tenure and threatening to beat him up any time they crossed paths.
1 Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett made a drastic decision by leaving the WWE high and dry for a bigger push in WCW. Vince Russo always held Jarrett among his favorite performers. That naturally led to Russo recruiting Jarrett into the company as an upper carder. Jarrett would become one of the biggest stars of the new era in WCW. The first PPV following the changes saw him win the vacated WCW Championship to become the face of the New Blood faction.
Many believe the push of Jarrett was undeserved as there were better performers on the roster and Jarrett never spiked the ratings or buyrates. Jarrett would go on to win the WCW Championship a total of four times during the new era. The company went all in but was met with little reward. Jarrett’s title reigns are associated with failure and showed why WCW was falling further away from WWE in the Monday Night Wars. Jarrett's flop summarized why the new era in WCW never worked and why the New Blood was a disaster.
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