There was a time when it looked like WCW was going to send WWE out of business and decisively win the Monday Night War. The New World Order was red-hot, and the company had a mix of the most recognizable veterans (Hogan, Nash, Hall, Savage, et al.) and most gifted, if under-pushed young wrestlers (Jericho, Benoit, Guerrero, et al.) in the business. WCW had storylines that made you want to tune in every week, while WWE had wrestling dentists and taxmen and bad comedic skits like Billionaire Ted's Wrasslin' Room. WCW had it so good for most of 1996 and 1997. Then the increasingly poor-quality matches, as well as the dumb, illogical, and/or offensive angles came into the picture and then some.
Take note that the angles and storylines in this list, and in a couple cases, actual gimmicks, are not necessarily WCW's worst ever, bad enough as they are. Sure, David Arquette winning the WCW World Championship was stupid, and the Fingerpoke of Doom was the first of many nails in WCW's coffin, but those angles weren't "offensive" in the true sense of the term. Besides, haven't we heard and read enough about how WCW in its latter years so often insulted the intelligence of wrestling fans? We're focusing on angles that intentionally or unintentionally offended fans and people in the wrestling business alike, so with that being said, get ready for another trip down bad memory lane as we look at 15 of WCW's most offensive angles ever.
15 Mike Jones (AKA Virgil) Trolls The WWE
Just think what WWE could possibly do to Mike Jones these days. Will they rename him Jeffrey, as in Jarrett, or Edward, as in Nordholm? They probably wouldn't, because WWE fans know him as Virgil, Wrestling Superstar. Years before he became that lonely guy at autograph conventions, Jones was Ted DiBiase's manservant, and his ring name of Virgil was a rib on WCW's then-head booker, Dusty Rhodes, aka Virgil Runnels in real life.
When Jones followed his old boss DiBiase to WCW in the mid-'90s, WCW took a page out of WWE's playbook, this time using him to troll Vince McMahon and company. And they didn't just do it once, they did it twice! Upon his debut as the nWo's Head of Security, Jones was renamed Vincent, but since that didn't actually get him over (duh), he was renamed Shane three years later. Yep, just like Mr. McMahon's daredevil firstborn.
Jones got renamed a couple more times before WCW folded, and while it probably wasn't the case, we'd like to think he was briefly known as Curly Bill as a jab at WCW's long-departed EVP, "Cowboy" Bill Watts.
14 Kevin Nash Mocks Arn Anderson's Drinking
When a heel group pokes fun at a babyface stable by impersonating them or having other people impersonate them, the results can be hit-or-miss. X-Pac's turn as "Mizark Henry" aside, DX's Nation of Domination impersonation was hilarious and spot-on, while Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson bringing out "The Old Day" to mock The New Day was bad comedy, plain and simple. But we're not talking WWE here – we're talking about its late, lamented competition, and a mockery that completely backfired.
With his nWo colleagues impersonating the other members of The Four Horsemen, Kevin Nash made fun of Arn Anderson’s in-ring retirement in 1997, crossing the line as he portrayed the Enforcer as a drunken, womanizing, overweight mess. Truth be told, this was an otherwise funny segment for the most part, but it was just too much for Nash to throw Anderson under the bus, even in storyline.
13 Bad Doggie
Al Green (not the "Let's Stay Together" singer) was a WCW journeyman who had previously tagged with Kevin Nash back when they were cheap Road Warriors wannabes The Master Blasters. Close to a decade after that, Green returned to the company, and after another infamous WCW angle also in this list, he was repackaged as The Dog, who teamed up with Fit Finlay in a tag team managed by Nasty Boy Brian Knobbs.
If Ernest Miller was called "The Cat" because of his quickness, Al Green was called "The Dog" because...he literally behaved like a dog, walking around on all fours and drinking water from a toilet. That was enough to presumably send fans to the toilet, not to drink from it but to throw up, naturally. But what makes things even worse is the fact that The Dog was a last-minute replacement for Sabu, who was tied up with ECW at that time. See why WCW fans couldn't have nice things in the company's final years?
12 Tank Abbott Threatens To Kill Big Al
Before Tank Abbott became 3 Count's all-around bodyguard, groupie, and backup dancer, and before "Big Al" Green became The Dog, both men faced off on WCW's SuperBrawl 2000 pay-per-view in a Leather Jacket on a Pole match. But let's forget for a moment that this was one of Vince Russo's trademark "something/someone on a pole" matches, and take note that WCW was still trying position UFC veteran Abbott as a legit ass-kicker.
After a quick, unsatisfying match that was over in just 4 and a half minutes, Abbott decided to add insult to injury by grabbing his leather jacket (the one that was earlier on the pole), pulling out a knife, and threatening to slit Big Al's throat, screaming the words "I could f**king kill you!" Turns out Abbott was simply trying to cut Al's beard off, which would have been fine (if still stupid) if only Al wasn't clean-shaven at the time.
All that offensive, psychotic behavior for a dumb fake-out? Welcome to WCW's last full year in business, everyone.
11 Last Call For Scott Hall
Kevin Nash sure had a thing for making fun of other people's drinking problems. That even included his fellow Outsider, Scott Hall, who had spent the final years of WCW as a real-life drunken mess, becoming increasingly unreliable as the company kept shooting itself in the foot. So what was WCW to do in such a situation? Why, turn Hall's drunken antics into a storyline, that's what!
Instead of asking Hall to take some time off to fight his personal demons, said personal demons were showcased in front of the fans, as "Last Call" Scott Hall began to bring booze to the ring, even going as far as to throw up on Eric Bischoff at one point. It was a tasteless way to punish Hall, if it was indeed punishment, and it didn't do him any favors, as he continued to battle with the bottle even after WCW had folded.
10 Nitro Girl Beef
It's a pity that the late Rhonda Singh competed for wrestling's biggest companies at a time when being a larger woman was comedy gold for juvenile-minded writers. In WWE, she was trailer park girl Bertha Faye, who briefly held the Women's Championship while, of course, being managed by, and being in a storyline relationship with a man half her size in Harvey Wippleman.
After a brief return to Japan, where her talents were truly respected, Singh returned to North America in 1999, making a few appearances for WCW as Nitro Girl Beef. Again, this was a comedy gimmick meant to poke fun at her ample size, and it's no surprise that it didn't last long and didn't get her over. It's truly a good thing Awesome Kong, and later on Nia Jax, didn't have to suffer through such indignities as plus-sized female wrestlers.
9 Mike Awesome, Fat Chick Thriller
While wrestling for ECW, Mike Awesome established himself as one of the hottest prospects who had yet to sign for WWE or WCW. He was a fantastic athlete and a well above-average worker for a big man, a true badass in the ring. So what does WCW do when they finally sign him to a contract? They give him the downright awful gimmick of a chubby chaser. Or, should we say, a "Fat Chick Thriller."
The above-mentioned Nitro Girl Beef, of course, was one of the many plus-sized women Awesome tried to "thrill" while working this ill-fitting gimmick. And when we say "thrill," we mean feeding them on live TV, an effective form of fat-shaming well before it became a term. The good news was that this was just a short-lived gimmick for Awesome, but the bad news...was that it was replaced by something even worse, as WCW capitalized on the popularity of That '70s Show by turning Awesome into "That '70s Guy."
8 Ric Flair's Fake Heart Attack
Toward the end of 1998, Ric Flair had legitimate heat with Eric Bischoff, with the latter upset that the former missed a TV taping to attend his 10-year-old son Reid's amateur wrestling meet. That real-life heat was somehow turned into a television storyline between both men, and on the December 14 episode of Nitro, Flair had just chased Bischoff out of the ring, and was cutting a fiery promo on Uncle Eric when he suddenly grabbed his chest and collapsed in the ring.
It's easy to see why this angle is offensive – WCW tried to sell the heart attack to everyone, including the company's wrestlers, as a real-life medical situation. As veteran wrestling writer Mike Mooneyham recalled, the jig was soon up when he spilled the beans to a reporter, admitting that Flair was, in fact, partying it up in true Nature Boy fashion, showing no signs of a heart attack. WCW was forced to eat crow and admit on Nitro that Flair was, in fact, faking it just one week prior.
7 Dustin Rhodes' Vignettes As "Seven"
It was a mild surprise to see Dustin Rhodes return to WCW in 1999, as his Goldust character enjoyed a fair bit of success in WWE's upper mid-card. Furthermore, WCW was on the slippery slope to mediocrity post-Fingerpoke of Doom, while WWE was red-hot with the Attitude Era at its peak. You also had Dustin's then-estrangement from his dad Dusty, who was still loyal to WCW around that time. It was truly a baffling decision, especially when you consider what WCW had planned for the Bizarre One.
Keeping in the tradition of oddball Dustin Rhodes gimmicks, WCW brought him back as Seven, a creepy character whom many believed was meant to be a child abductor. It truly had some line-crossing potential, and when the gimmick was ultimately decided to be unfit for WCW television, Rhodes cut a worked shoot denouncing Seven, Goldust, and other unrealistic gimmicks. That kicked off an underwhelming two-year run that lasted till the fall of WCW, and Rhodes was thankfully back playing Goldust in WWE by the end of 2001.
6 Scott Steiner Goes Off On DDP And Flair
Oh, we all remember that nice, mullet-wearing young Scotty, don't we? Then again, we probably don't. As Scott Steiner grew in muscle mass and confidence, he ultimately shed his All-American amateur wrestling standout persona in place for something that matched his much larger physique and ego. It's the Big Poppa Pump character we remember the most when it comes to Scott Steiner, as well as those rambling, ranting promos that included a couple shoots on a couple of WCW's biggest names.
After an actual backstage fight with Diamond Dallas Page where Steiner reportedly tried to gouge DDP's eyes out, the Big Bad Booty Daddy took to the mic and attacked DDP's manhood, suggesting that he needed to get a sex change. Months before that, there was also that time when Steiner called Ric Flair the "biggest ass-kissing, back-stabbing bastard" in WCW, and that too was apparently a shoot.
WCW being WCW, they suspended Steiner for those outbursts, or should we say, sent him off on a paid vacation.
5 Naitch Gets Institutionalized
The fake heart attack was bad enough, but it was just one of the many examples of how WCW mistreated Ric Flair as his issues with company officials escalated in its dying years. As WCW's corrupt storyline president, the Nature Boy played his role to the hilt as he continually abused his power. And as things were coming to a head with Commissioner Roddy Piper, Flair was so passionate in defending his position that he stripped down to his boxers and threatened to expose himself in full. Well, that escalated quickly.
With Flair seemingly too crazy to run WCW, Piper had him institutionalized, and that led to a segment where he was dancing and screaming "WOO!" in a mental hospital with his fellow patients. Interestingly, a wild Scott Hall appeared in that same institution during that segment, but just as it often was during those days, his random appearance was never explained.
4 Cactus Jack Gets "Lost In Cleveland"
Thanks to Mick Foley's first autobiography, Have a Nice Day, even those who weren't WCW fans back in the early '90s know of this infamous storyline. But to jog your memory on this atrocity, it took place way back in 1993, when Foley was wrestling as Cactus Jack, and needing some time off to recuperate from a legit concussion. Head booker Dusty Rhodes came up with what he thought was a great idea to sell his absence, but there was one little problem – Foley hated it. That didn't stop WCW from running the vignettes, though.
That idea was to have Cactus Jack go crazy and develop amnesia, wandering off to the streets of Cleveland, thinking he was a sailor with a new girlfriend named "Bang Bang," just like his catchphrase. Not only are these vignettes offensive in hindsight due to what we now know about the dangers of concussions, WCW also thought it would be unrealistic to have Foley's wife Colette play herself, thinking she was too beautiful to be a plausible Mrs. Cactus Jack.
3 Vince Russo's Bash At The Beach Rant
When looking back at the havoc Vince Russo wreaked on WCW, there are two things, among others, that stand out. First was his swerve-heavy, ADD-fueled "Crash TV" style of booking. Second was the lack of a fourth wall in his booking vision – everyone knows wrestling is scripted, so why not admit it on live TV and make storylines out of backstage politics? Sometimes, however, things got too real with Vinny Ru, and the most notorious example came at Bash at the Beach 2000, as he asked Jeff Jarrett to lie down for Hulk Hogan, then later on eviscerated, and fired the Hulkster in front of an audience that couldn't care less.
Although some insist that Russo's Bash at the Beach rant was a work, most still agree that it was what it was – a barrage of below-the-belt comments that exposed Hogan as a "g*ddamn politician" and a "big, bald SOB" who held so many wrestlers down. Sure, there was a lot of truth to what Russo had to say, but did he really have to create such a scandal on live pay-per-view?
So you think Vince McMahon is the only person out there who enjoys getting a rise out of Good Ol' J.R.? Think again, and think back specifically to the time when Vince Russo's buddy and fellow writer Ed Ferrara assumed the role of "Oklahoma" upon the duo's defection to WCW. Oklahoma was a straight-up parody of Jim Ross, and it wasn't just his Southern accent and excitable commentary style that Ferrara was lampooning, but also J.R.'s Bell's palsy, and his real-life friendship with Steve "Dr. Death" Williams.
Just like most of Russo's other ideas he unleashed as part of his WCW reign of terror, Oklahoma reeked of juvenile humor, on top of being a very offensive jab at one of the best announcers in the world of professional wrestling, past or present. But it doesn't end there, as the heavily-built Ferrara won WCW's Cruiserweight Championship, defeating Madusa for the title. A 300-pound man beating a woman for an all-male division's belt. Seriously. You can't make that stuff up.
1 Madusa Trashes The WWE Women's Championship
WCW's period of dominance in the Monday Night War wasn't done without any underhanded, dirty tactics. Of course, you had Eric Bischoff leaking the result of taped Monday Night Raw episodes on Nitro, to convince viewers not to change the channel. But there was another, far more offensive thing Uncle Eric had a WWE defector do upon her arrival in Atlanta. You probably know what it is because we had used a female pronoun to refer to said ex-WWE Superstar.
That thing was to ask Madusa, aka Alundra Blayze in WWE, to dump her WWE Women's Championship belt, which she still held at the time of her departure, in a trash can on live television. We're sure there were a lot of WWE fans who were offended by this gesture, but the ones who were most offended were Vince McMahon and his fellow WWE higher-ups, who declared Madusa persona non grata for several years thereafter. In this case, however, time healed the old wounds, as Madusa was inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame in 2015.