When one looks at the long history of WCW, the question is not how this company went out of business, it’s how they lasted as long as they did. They did a good job as a regional company under Jim Crockett but as they expanded, things got worse as they made a lot of mistakes. A big one was when Crockett bought out Bill Watts' UWF but except for Sting, basically left its stars hanging without using them right, a massive wasted opportunity. Yes, they had Flair, the Horsemen and so many more but the company still was notable for dropping the ball a lot with talent. Whether it was home-grown in WCW or big stars acquired from other companies, they would end up botching entries and not using them right.
It got worse in many ways after the sale to Turner and the Monday Night War. Yes, they had some great stars and huge pushes and such for Hogan, Hall, Nash and others. But a key thing repeated in books, DVDs and more is that during that massive success where they dominated in the ratings and such, WCW failed to push new guys. Yes, you had the cruiserweights stealing the show but the main event scene was dominated by the nWo and older stars like Piper and Flair and as numerous people in the industry have pointed out, WCW just kept going to these older faces time and again rather than really push any of the younger talent, talent that could have given them long life. Of all the fresh new guys they had, Goldberg was the only one pushed big time and even that was botched at the end.
That decision ended up ruining them in the end, of course. It’s not as if they’re the only promotion in history to fail to use talent properly (you can spend all day talking of WWE’s mistakes there) but WCW seemed to go out of their way to make the worst decisions possible in who to push, how to use them and failing to see future superstars in the making. Here are 15 cases of guys who could have boosted the company far more only to be misused or ignored and how that contributed to WCW’s ultimate fall.
15 Davey Boy Smith
Some may cite Smith’s signing by WCW in 1993 as a foolish move as the man hadn’t done that much in singles stardom. But at the time, Smith was still a good performer, a power man but could handle technical bouts too and if given enough rest time, he could be used quite well. But WCW failed to use him in anything really special aside from teaming with Sting for Beach Blast, the match less famous than the horrific mini-movie WCW made to promote it.
14 Jake Roberts
13 The Sandman
12 Brian Pillman
11 Eddie Guerrero
To be fair, a lot of the problems regarding Eddie’s WCW run were his own fault with his addictions and his nearly life-ending car crash. But the guy was still an amazing worker, good on the mic and winning over fans as both heel and face. His “Latino World Order” promised a nice boost but it basically went nowhere despite Eddie’s charisma and his battles with Bischoff were soon the stuff of legend.
10 Rey Mysterio
There’s no denying how great WCW did with Rey when he began his run in 1996. For the next two years, he’d be a star in their cruiserweight division, winning the belt a few times and true classics with Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero among others. The problem was when they came up with the idiotic idea that Rey wasn’t “marketable” as a masked figure and forced him to lose it in a match. Seriously, not marketable as a masked guy? Not to mention without the mask, Rey looked like a teenager and hard for fans to get behind.
9 The Ultimate Warrior
Granted, the Warrior wasn’t exactly known for playing with a full deck at the time. But there can be no denying that his 1998 run with WCW is one of the biggest disasters imaginable. His opening promo was long and meandering as he made the mistake of saying beating Hogan before was no big deal so fans wondered why they should care about a rematch. This led to some truly horrible vignettes and idiotic stuff like the infamous “mirror” bit and to his credit, Hogan has taken the blame for coming up with a lot of this stuff.
8 Mark Callous
The name not sound familiar? Just wait. Signed on in 1989, “Mean” Mark was pushed as a guy in black who enjoyed snakes and heavy metal music. He and Dan Spivey joined as The Skyscrapers, battling it out with their strength and size and even beating down the Road Warriors after a match. He even moved onto singles stuff, facing Lex Luger at the Great American Bash for the U.S. title. However, despite his appeal, WCW decided Callous was just not that special and cut him loose.
7 Jean-Paul Levesque
6 Madusa Miceli
5 Mike Awesome
4 Mick Foley
We all know the soundbite. Tony Schiavone announcing Mick Foley would be winning the WWE title on a pre-taped RAW and scoffing “that’ll put some butts in the seats.” It’s one of the bigger mistakes WCW made, totally underrating just how popular Foley had become. But then, they had already done a lot to hurt Foley during his run with the company as Cactus Jack. While Bill Watts enjoyed the hard-hitting Foley’s ability to take punishment, he wasn’t as popular with Bischoff who didn’t give him as much time to break out in promos and he’d be stuck in things like “managing” the Barbarian. His feud with Vader was saddled with the horrible “Lost in Cleveland” skits and their sensational final match not quite the winner Foley wanted.
3 Chris Jericho
Jericho’s autobiographies are fun reads with his WCW tenure and how bad things were. He was taking off with his arrogant heel persona, he and Dean Malenko tearing it up in a major feud and elevating himself more with fantastic promos. He began a big program mocking Goldberg to set up a title match, thinking (correctly) it was just the thing Goldberg would use to be boosted more. All for Bischoff to act like all that didn’t happen and making Jericho lose in a pedestrian squash match.
2 Steve Austin
Everyone who saw Steve Austin from his debut has said they knew this guy was going to be a superstar no matter what. He had good stuff in WCW as TV and U.S. Champion, a member of the Dangerous Alliance and he and Brian Pillman fantastic as the Hollywood Blondes. He was really looking to rise more with his good promos and heel moves. Reports are Flair was planning a big program with him as 1994 began but then Hogan came around and that was ended. Austin traded the U.S. title with Ricky Steamboat but when Steamboat was forced to retire by injury, Austin was forced to drop the belt in 20 seconds to “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.
1 Bret Hart
Nothing speaks more to WCW’s utter ineptitude than this. You had a huge star, a hero in Canada (a fanbase WCW could never quite crack), a brilliant worker and coming off the most controversial match in modern history. The ideas of the dream bouts with Hogan, Sting and others had fans salivating and awaiting a boost that would push WCW to utter dominance. Bret had a huge base behind him, a ton of hype and in his first appearance…he was the special referee for a match between Eric Bischoff and Larry Zybsko for the fate of “Nitro.”
It was just the beginning of a long and hard road for Bret as he was bounced between face and heel, often ignored, put into short programs that led nowhere and only getting the World title nearly two years after his debut, a reign which included a reenactment of the Montreal Screwjob. Not only that, he had to endure the death of Owen as well as his career-ending injury. As much as Vince McMahon can say he worried about WCW misusing Bret, even he never imagined they could drop the ball so badly and it’s sad to see how the Hitman’s legacy had to sink badly under the stupidity of this company.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!