WHAT HAPPENED WHEN MONDAY WITH TONY SCHIAVONE & CONRAD THOMPSON
Episode 20: WCW Greed 2001
Release Date: June 12, 2017
Recap by: Dominic DeAngelo
Top Newsworthy Items:
-WCW’s last PPV
-Dusty Rhodes & Ric Flair’s first (and only) PPV match
-Buff Bagwell & Lex Luger “going into business for themselves”
-A.J. Styles brief stay in WCW
-Greed actually got good reviews
Subjects covered (with timestamps):
(2:30) Feedback on Slamboree 2000
(7:30) Russo came up with “seven deadly sins” PPV themes
(12:00) Nitro draws record low ratings
(16:13) A.J. Styles wrestled in WCW
(19:20) Arn Anderson was suspended by WCW for two weeks
(25:55) Backstage promos are done with the wrestlers looking off screen (with no interviewer)
(32:00) Tony thought WCW was salvageable
(43:10) Meltzer claims booking was good for Greed. A glowing review
(48:15) Tony’s thoughts on Lex Luger
(54:40) Crowd “sweetened”?
(1:00:40) Jason Jett (EZ Money) vs. Kwee Wee
(1:03:45) Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo vs. Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman
(1:13:55) Shawn Stasiak vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
(1:18:45) Skipper & Romeo in a backstage segment
(1:20:00) Lance Storm & Mike Awesome vs. Hugh Morrus & Konnan
(1:23:00) Dusty has 40 burritos backstage
(1:28:10) Totally Buff vs. Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo
(1:33:00) Ernest “The Cat” Miller (with Mrs. Jones) vs. Chris Kanyon
(1:36:55) Booker T vs. Rick Steiner
(1:39:00) Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs, Ric Flair & Jeff Jarrett
(1:44:40) Scott Steiner vs. DDP
(2:30) Feedback on Slamboree 2000 – Tony got a lot of David Arquette feedback (still being blamed for WCW’s downfall), Curt Hennig’s rib, and the controversial main event finish. Conrad was accused of being overly sensitive of the Owen Hart connection. It feels like one of the worst decisions. Tony agrees.
(7:30) Russo came up with “seven deadly sins” PPV themes. Back then Tony thought it was pretty cool. Conrad doesn’t think he ever saw this PPV and had his expectations low, but it wasn’t as bad as he thought. Tony thought the same thing (he doesn’t remember seeing this show). At this time, Tony was preoccupied with trying to find another job. He just wasn’t into the event. He doesn’t remember it. He remembers going to Gainesville, FL on Nitro and instead of going to hang with the announcers, he stayed in his rental car in the parking lot. Tony sees Jason Jett coming out and asks “who in the hell is Jason Jett?”
(12:00) Nitro draws record low ratings in February: 2.15 and 1.52. Bischoff rewrote the script in hopes of a “big bang” angle and Tony thought Eric couldn’t put this together. He would have worked for him but Turner Broadcasting was the problem. They decided they did not want to carry WCW anymore. He had confidence Eric could handle a revamp, but after he got that phone call from the standards and practices guy about Turner, he knew it was over. Tony was pretty upset. Lois told Tony if WWE bought WCW then they would not move back up to Connecticut. He probably would have worked for WWE if they offered.
(16:13) A.J. Styles wrestled in WCW. In 2001 he was in the Cruiserweight Tag Title Tournament. Tony remembers A.J. Styles and knew he was going to be a star. Watching this show it is pretty apparent how far WCW has fallen. Tony thinks Mike Awesome suffered from working with bad WCW talent. He thought Awesome was a tremendous performer. Another wrestling tragedy.
(19:20) Arn Anderson was suspended by WCW for two weeks. Tony remembers this and remembers Luger “going rogue” against Palumbo. The heat went onto Arn. This was all the kind of chaos going on in WCW at the time. Arn Anderson is always an agent for big matches for John Cena. Lash Leroux was asked to lose 20 pounds for the Cruiserweight division. This was told by Eric Bischoff. Conrad says if Tony and Leroux lost weight, then WCW would still be around.
(25:55) Backstage promos are done with the wrestlers looking off screen (with no interviewer). Tony found this peculiar and even more strange that they didn’t use Mean Gene. What was the tipping point for Scott Hall not coming back to WCW? Tony said Scott had a reputation as a sh*t stirrer, and that wore on some people. Combine that with his personal problems and it’s a bad story considering his full potential. Tony watched the DDP Jake ‘The Snake’ documentary. After hearing about this, Tony wanted to call him but was told Hall wouldn’t talk to anyone at the time.
(32:00) Tony thought there were some things salvageable here in WCW. It just boils down to the mismanagement of Turner Broadcasting (not Eric Bischoff). Meltzer criticizes Jeff Jarrett at the time. Tony was always a big Dusty Rhodes fan so feuding him with Jarrett made sense from a wrestling history standpoint. The crowd was into this whole match out of any of the others. Tony never heard of Hogan “trying to start” a new company with Fox but he did hear of the angle of Hogan “suing the company.”
(38:55) Tony always thought Llyods of London was a pretty good deal for wrestlers trying to get money. He also states that Ed Ferrara was a reluctant person in charge of the company. Crowbar was released because his contract was so high and Meltzer feels that they’re cutting younger talent in favor “higher paid, lazier talent” – Conrad and Tony both call Meltzer out for campaigning for the younger talent in this situation.
(43:10) Meltzer claims booking was good for Greed. He gave it a glowing review. This goes back to what Tony was saying how WCW was salvageable. Lots of good finishes and clean finishes on the show. In a PPV, Tony is for clean finishes. The biggest backstage story was between Luger and Bagwell. Both of them complained loudly of putting over Stasiak & O’Haire. Then Luger & Bagwell went into business for themselves by losing in 54 seconds. They over sold the finish too. Tony thinks Buff & Lex hurt themselves both backstage and in the ring.
(48:15) Tony’s thoughts on Lex Luger: Luger always had great conversations with him, he always thought Lex was always the same guy: never quick to follow others. Him and Buff were difficult to work with. Apparently (allegedly), Buff’s mom shaved his back. Tony says that sounds like a bulls**t story, but thinks it’s something Buff would embrace. Tony never understood why wrestlers would get upset at jobbing (like Kidman and Rey Mysterio putting over Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo), especially in that time where money was good. Titles are all a f*cking work anyways.
(54:40) Conrad asks Tony if he thought the crowd was “sweetened” (amplified). Tony confirms that was true. He doesn’t remember it but after watching this event he said it was so apparent that there was a “sweetening” of the crowd. No question. Meltzer notes this was Flair and Dusty’s first (and only) PPV match. Tony picked up on that at the time and Scott Hudson actually brought it up during the show. Tony makes note that some of the business people throughout the time (Bischoff, Jim Herd) would try to pull away from WCW’s root fan base. Conrad says own who you are, which could be nationwide. Look at WWE with Jim Ross and you’re telling me that didn’t work? Wrong thing to do on WCW’s part.
(1:00:40) Jason Jett (EZ Money) vs. Kwee Wee. 3 3/4 stars. Tony says it was a phenomenal match. Tony apologizes to Jason Jett for not remembering him at all. Tony admits he’s never watched one ECW event, ever. Conrad wants to fix that the next time they get together. Lots of high spots and it really gets attention. Set the pace for the event.
(1:03:45) Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo vs. Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman. Skipper and Romeo win in under 14 minutes. You can tell Mysterio & Kidman are much more experienced. Meltzer gave it four stars. Tony liked all the performers and if you’re into high spots this is a good match, but it really weighs down other matches. There was a point in the match where Tony was really confused. Conrad puts over the Shooting Star Press to the floor. Finish to the match was pretty scary: Kid Romeo drops Rey on his head. Tony said despite the risk and the pointlessness of it, the finish was good. Conrad and Tony both put over Elix Skipper. Mysterio and Kidman put those guys over good. What was the storyline with Buff having a crappy cameraman following him around? Tony says there was no payoff, but to be different. Conrad comments Ric Flair looks like Guy Fieri. He thought this stuff with Flair was entertaining.
(1:13:55) Shawn Stasiak vs. Bam Bam Bigelow. Stasiak wins in under 10 minutes. Stacy Keibler making out with Stasiak was not out of line or lewd, all things considered. Stasiak throwing out photos to fans was a great heel move. This was a sh*tty match.
(1:18:45) Skipper & Romeo in a backstage segment full of homoerotic sexual innuendos. Conrad has a very funny line here and Tony almost dies.
(1:20:00) Lance Storm & Mike Awesome vs. Hugh Morrus & Konnan. Storm & Awesome win after an Awesome Bomb on Morrus. Conrad’s a fan of everyone in the ring. Tony thought the whole Lance Storm “I’d like to be serious for a minute” was good heel heat. Although Tony didn’t think we should angle it as booing Canadians. 1/2 star. Tony thinks it was better than that. Konnan was able to change his character as time went on.
(1:23:00) Dusty has 40 burritos backstage so he can pass wind during his “kiss my ass” match on demand. They bleeped “ass” several times throughout this. Tony tells some Dusty fart stories. Shane Helms captures the WCW Cruiserweight title from Chavo Guerrero. Helms was presented with a big entrance here. 3 stars. The Vertebreaker is one of the most scariest looking moves in all of wrestling. This was Tony’s favorite match on the show. He loved it. When did Tony know that Shane had a personality? Conrad said Shane should have a bigger role in wrestling announcing. Tony knew he had a big presence during his time with Three Count.
(1:28:10) Totally Buff vs. Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo. Promo was super long and it was a terrible match. Negative one star. Totally Buff playing up their arrogance worked, but the length of the promo was a detriment to the match (which was intentional).
(1:33:00) Ernest “The Cat” Miller (with Mrs. Jones) vs. Chris Kanyon. Miller wins. 1 3/4 stars. Ernest Miller was like that backstage too and Tony liked his stuff. Tony sings some “Mrs. Jones.” She was pretty hot. Tony never had Mrs. Jones kick her.
(1:36:55) Booker T vs. Rick Steiner. Booker T wins with a Book End. 1/4 star. Crowd noise being plugged in bothered him. Match was disconcerting. This match made Tony long for classic Steiner Brothers. Fans weren’t into it. Booker T’s entrance was really cool.
(1:39:00) Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs, Ric Flair & Jeff Jarrett. Ten minutes. Crowd was more into this than any other match. Style was very old school. Two & 1/4 stars. Dusty gave Jarrett a stinkface. Most entertaining part of the night for Tony. Tony would have given it five stars for entertainment value. One thing that really surprised Tony about this was that Dusty never wore underwear, so when the pants went down he was surprised to see them. Tony knew that. Conrad feels like there’s more to the story. Tony says way back when, he did an interview with Willie Nelson and Dusty in Tuscon, AZ. Willie walks out to a pool for an interview. Dusty’s up in his hotel room and Tony goes to get him to let him know Willie is downstairs for the interview. Dusty says, “good – we gotta have the star come out second.” Dusty gets out of bed with no pants on. He puts jeans on without any underwear and Tony asked if he’s going to do the interview bare back. That’s when Dusty says he never wears underwear.
(1:44:40) Scott Steiner vs. DDP for the WCW World Title. Steiner wins in 14 minutes. Meltzer says this was a good match. There was a plant in the crowd with crutches. Conrad thought this was a fun match for what it was. Fans were chanting for Goldberg. 3 1/2 stars. DDP won’t quit, but passes out to the Steiner Recliner. PPV over. Tony reiterates how WCW still could have been something if Turner allowed it. This match was a good way to end the PPV.
Score and review (9.2)
For what I just assumed to be a horrible PPV event, WCW Greed was surprisingly well-praised by Conrad & Tony. There were a lot of interesting and funny stories Tony was able to dig up from the show that paints a pretty clear picture of why the company was where it was in March of 2001. Tony’s extremely smart and old school to the business and it comes through on this episode. The Dusty Rhodes “no underwear” story was quite the gem.
About the Author
Dominic DeAngelo has a weekly column on PWTorch.com, “Rising Star, Fading Star” and runs a sports, entertainment and lifestyle blog in the Pittsburgh area called The Keystone Statement. In addition, he writes book reviews for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His wrestling top three are Scott Hall, Bret Hart & Bruno Sammartino. Follow him on Twitter @DominicDeAngelo and visit his site www.keystonestatement.com for good articles and the two podcasts he hosts, “The Keystone Cast” & “Here Comes Everybody”