Truth With Consequences – The Vinces Destroy WCW – Vince’s First Nitro
Release Date: 01/22/19
Running time: 3:01
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
-On today’s podcast, Matt and Vince discuss how Vince ‘ruined’ WCW.
-Dave Meltzer has reported that Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff ruined an industry.
-Matt says Vince McMahon sent Vince Russo to the WCW to destroy the WCW from the inside (jokingly of course).
-Vince says the notion that a writer cost Turner sports and WCW millions of dollars is asinine. When Meltzer says this, it gives him no credibility.
-The belief from people like Meltzer, Bryan Alvarez and Bruce Mitchell is that on-screen product that Vince came up with was a primary factor in why WCW went out of business.
-Vince says there’s no point in responding because they don’t want to look at numbers and facts. When you present numbers and facts, their case is dead in the water.
Vince and Ed Have a Gameplan
-Vince and Ed Ferrara had a game plan when they came into WCW. Goldberg was past his popularity, the NWO had played its course, and there was nothing going on.
-Vince and Ed knew what they are walking into and knew wanted to do. They presented their plan before coming into WCW.
-Vince felt his responsibility was to the WCW who were paying their checks. When they walked in, guys who were past their primes were on top such as Flair and Hogan. These top guys were blocking the younger guys.
For the good of the company, Vince and Ed wanted to bring up the younger guys and create new stars for the future. This was what they wanted to do creatively to get company back to prominence. Ed and Vince were brought in to rebuild. They made it clear they weren’t going to build ratings overnight. It was going to take some time. They wanted to reposition everyone and getting everyone in the right spots
-In the first three months, they were slowly bringing the numbers back up. Meltzer and Alvarez argue that TV numbers were up but PPVs numbers were down. Vince says the PPV numbers were bad because the company was in a nosedive since January of that year. Additionally, he didn’t care about the PPVs, he was more concerned about rebuilding the TV product which would eventually bring the PPV numbers back.
-Fall Brawl in September 1998 had a buyrate of 0.70. In 1999, it had a buyrate of 0.29.
-House Show business was drawing an average of 8,086 in September 1998. In September 1999, average attendance was 3,155. This was all before Vince Russo joined the WCW.
-Eric Bischoff has said the issues in 1999 were because of 1998 booking. The book ‘Death of WCW’ has stated that the company was already in dire straits before Russo entered the company.
-Around the time Vince joined the company, the merger with AOL happened and they made it clear they did not want to be in the wrestling. Both Eric Bischoff and Tony Schiavone have confirmed that.
Standards And Practices
-People have written that Vince blames standards and practices that hindered his plan for WCW.
-Vince says his issue with standards and practices was that you never knew what they were going to have a problem with. Vince asked them for a rulebook but never got one. However, he also never blamed standards and practices and says they were never a factor with his lack of success in WCW.
-If Vince had blamed standards and practice, he would be saying he was not creative to work around that which is not something Vince would say.
-Vince says the reason he wasn’t successful in the WCW was paranoia. Wrestlers were paranoid about people taking their spots.
-As Vince and Ed started their plan to build the undercard but veterans (mainly Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan) convinced Bill that Russo didn’t know what he was doing. Bill Busch was the head of WCW at the time. He was being worked by Flair and Hogan and did not know anything about the wrestling business.
-Vince wasn’t naive to this and knew it was going on but was going to stick to his plan.
-The veterans like Flair and Hogan felt threatened by Russo’s creative and played politics to get rid of him.
Vince and Ed Start Writing
-Vince’s philosophy when he started writing at WCW he and Ed wanted to get viewers back. They wanted to be a runaway train, give them a bunch of different looks and did not want to bore the audience. They wanted everyone involved in the show and wanted to do Crash TV which is what worked in WWE
-At the same time Ed and Vince started writing, wrestlers were involved in the filming of the Ready To Rumble movie and weren’t always available for TV at various times.
-When Vince walked into the locker room, it was a separated locker room. The stars were in one locker room and everyone else was in another locker room which was not the case in the WWE
-Guys like Konnan, Rey, Benoit and Guerrero would introduce themselves to Vince because they felt this was going to be something new and promising. On the other hand, when Vince met with Hogan, he could tell Hogan wouldn’t trust him.
-In 1999 there were 156 wrestlers on the roster which would make it difficult to get everyone on the show. Also, those that didn’t make it on TV had heat with Vince. It was a no-win situation.
-Vince cared for the wrestlers and wanted to get as many as he could on the show and give them all a shot but it was impossible.
-Vince’s first Nitro was October 18, 1999 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. 7000 people were in attendance.
-The first shot was Sid coming out of a limo in a suit and tie with his lawyers. Vince had worked with Sid at the WWE and knew what he was capable of. He was comfortable with Sid.
Juventud Guerrera vs. Evan Karagias
-The next match was Juventud Guerrero vs. Evan Karagias with Bret coming out and interrupting the match. He cut a promo about wanting a match with Hogan.
-Vince felt Bret was underutilized in the WCW. Bret wanted a match with Hogan but said he wouldn’t get a shot at Hogan because of the new creative team coming in.
Vince wanted to bring wrestling into a more reality based product which is why Bret mentioned the new creative team.
Sting came out and offered Bret a title shot. Vince felt Sting could be a top guy. Sting did not have preconceived notions about Vince and was willing to work with him.
Disco Inferno vs. Vampiro
-Disco Inferno beat Vampiro and Lash Leroux came out and attacked Disco after the match. Vince felt Vampiro was a little bit of a headcase and could be his own worst enemy. But with regards to looks and talent, he was great.
-Vince is friends with Disco and he wanted to originally bring Disco to the WWE. Bruce Prichard, who was talent relations at the time, convinced Vince McMahon not to hire Disco. Russo thinks the reason Disco didn’t get hired was because he was a Russo guy.
Vince thought Lash was unique and underutilized.
Disco likes Vince and like Vince, looks at wrestling as a TV show. He also never had a political bone in his body. These two things drew Vince to Disco.
-Madusa came out and said she did not want to do the evening gown match.
-Vince wanted to get her on the show in a prominent role. Vince says she was a great wrestler, however on the other side of the coin, she got enhancements and seemed to be thinking about the cosmetic side of things which confused him.
-Vince doesn’t feel this is objectifying Madusa as it’s the same as Finn Balor coming out in tight tights. He doesn’t feel she was being objectified because she didn’t want to be in matches with Oklahoma either. She wanted to be in wrestling matches.
Nitro Girls Search
-Vince kept this in the show because WCW had invested a lot of time in this. There was a commitment made and Vince had to respect that.
-This was the first appearance of Stacy Keibler who Vince said had the ‘it’ factor.
-Bagwell came out and did a heel promo that he was in line for a big push.
Kimberly and David Flair
-Up next, Kimberly Paige was looking for David Flair.
-Vince felt sorry for David because he was never going to live up to his father’s name. Vince really wanted to help him because David was a nice guy
Harlem Heat vs. Konnan/Rey Mysterio Jr.
-Konnan and Rey won the titles from Harlem Heat.
-Vince loved the Filthy Animals gimmick and felt it was important to put the belt on Konnan and Rey to give them a little power.
-Konnan was always honest with Vince and Rey was an unbelievable athlete and the potential of what you could do with Rey was unbelievable.
-Vince says it took Vince a week to figure out that Booker T was going to be a star. Booker was humble and never tried to politic his way Vince.
-The rest of the Filthy Animals were on commentary so Vince could get a feel for everyone and see who needed work.
Meng vs. Hugh Morris (with Jimmy Hart)
-Vince was a huge Jimmy Hart fan from from around the time of the Andy Kaufman/Jerry Lawler angle.
-Vince likes people who look unique and feels anyone on TV should look, act and feel special.
-Vince thinks Meng could have been used more. If they portrayed him as he was in reality, he could have been bigger.
-Prior to this segment was Kimberly trying to seduce David Flair and giving him a room key. Vince doesn’t remember exactly where they were going but he wanted to get Kimberly on TV and help David out.
-Hugh Morris and Brian Knobbs were already a team which was set up before Vince got to WCW. Halloween Havoc had already been booked when Vince and Ed got there so they weren’t looking at that PPV at all.
-Because Halloween Havoc had already been booked and because of wrestlers were being used for Ready to Rumble, Vince said the first few weeks at WCW were a feeling out process and they would start fresh after the PPV.
-Vince had plans for Harlem Heat. He knew they were stars and players but hadn’t gotten to them yet.
Sid and Goldberg
-Sid came to the ring with his lawyers and called out Goldberg. Goldberg speared one of the lawyers but got powerbombed by Sid who stuffed the contract in Bill’s mouth.
-At this point, Bill was being a good soldier but if Vince were to suggest this a second time, Bill would have said no.
-Vince says a big part of wrestling is getting in each other’s ears and getting each other worked up. Some do it as a rib and some do it to be funny.
-Goldberg at this time was vulnerable. He was getting worked by some of the best workers in the world.
-After the in ring incident with Sid, Bill got into an issue with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash who were in the audience.
-Vince said the best way to approach Scott and Kevin was to give them a destination and have them figure out how to get there.
-Hall and Nash were acting drunk but they were high on cough syrup from a storyline perspective.
Berlyn vs. Rick Steiner
-Berlyn had a high opinion of himself which Vince didn’t and may have created heat with Vince early on.
-Vince saw Rick as a legend that could still go but couldn’t tie him to Scott Steiner who had exploded. Rick could cut a promo but did not have the charisma of Scott.
-Berlyn’s bodyguard (who ended up being the Wall), was big and green but Vince felt had a lot of potential.
Kimberly In A Hotel Room
-Kimberly went to a hotel room where she thought David would be but Ric Flair showed up.
Goldberg Destroys The Insane Clown Posse Backstage
-Vince stayed away telling guys if they were too stiff in the ring. That was up to the agents and the boys.
-Lex Luger does an interview acting nervous about a match with Goldberg.
Billy Kidman vs. David Flair
-Kidman won with a Shooting Star Press and his knee hit David Flair.
-When stuff like that happened, the wrestlers would handle it behind closed doors. They would pull guys to the back and talk man to man. This was how Undertaker would handle things.
Mona vs. Madusa – Stripper Match
-Mona beat Madusa after the Filthy Animals interfered.
-Madusa was legitimately angry about doing this match and didn’t wear an evening gown. Vince loves Madusa but feels she needed to get over herself. When wrestlers take themselves too seriously, this causes problems.
Sting vs. Bret Hart
-This was a really good match, Luger interfered hitting Hart in the ankle with a baseball bat and Sting got the submission win with the Scorpion Death Lock
-Bret Hart, Sting, Goldberg and Sid were guys Vince said were in the sweet spots of their careers. They were the guys who were underutilized but could be the main event.
-Hall and Nash came out Villanos masks and trying to speak Spanish.
-Matt and Vince thought this was tremendous.
Buff Bagwell vs. La Parka
-Bagwell was supposed to do the job to show he was a company guy. During the match, he made a show of the fact he wasn’t happy with the match. Jeff Jarrett came out and hit Bagwell with a guitar. Vince didn’t know Jarrett was coming.
-The Bagwell idea was an attempt to break the fourth wall. Vince thought it was a pretty big spot and breaking the fourth wall was something they didn’t do often. They had big plans for Buff and this was a good spot for him.
Chavo Guerrero vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Perry Saturn
-Chavo won the match. Meltzer said this was a good match but there was no heat.
-The match featured a superplex spot which ended badly. Vince says he would give his opinions about doing certain spots he thought might be dangerous if he heard them putting a match together but left it up to the talent.
-The point of the first couple of shows was to get a feel of the roster. They were still competing with the WWE and wanted to write the best shows they could but it was like scouting.
-Vince says when they first showed up at a WCW building, he found out there were no production meetings the day of the show. You can’t just sit in an office with Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash writing a show then give it to everyone half hour before the show.
-Tony Schiavone said when Vince came it became more professional. There were plans, production meetings and communications.
-Vince says this was an issue because guys were getting paid a lot of money but didn’t want to do work such as pre-tapes. The minute someone like Vince came along and wanted to work, he got labelled as hard to work with
-Vince tried to be one of the boys but also feels they already had preconceived notions about him.
Norman Smiley vs. Horace Hardcore Match
-This was a ‘throwaway’ match prior to the main event but Vince says there was no such thing as a throwaway match.
-Vince had a ton of respect for Ric Flair. Vince says the idea to shave Ric Flair’s head came from Ric himself and was something Vince would never suggest.
-At the time, Ric was friendly with Jim Cornette and thinks he was getting his info about Russo from Cornette.
The Flairs And The Filthy Animals
-Ric Flair came out and cut a promo. The Filthy Animals came out and beat up both Ric and David who tried to make the save.
Goldberg vs. Luger
-They showed Ms. Elizabeth laid out with a broken guitar beside her.
-Goldberg won with a spear and a Jackhammer.
-Hall, Nash, Sting and Bret Hart came out for a bunch of interference.
-Many people might think there’ was too much going on but Vince says that’s people in the wrestling bubble. Vince says in reality, these characters wouldn’t not fight because there was too much going on.
-Vince was happy with the show and felt they did a good job. The rating on this show was better than the previous weeks. He felt they had changed the feel and direction of the show.
-Meltzer reported this was a better show than most of the recent Nitro shows but says the booking style would burn out the audience.
-The ratings were going up slowly but surely during Russo’s first 13 weeks. It takes months and months of good shows in order to increase ratings and they were on the right track.
-Vince says it’s silly that people thought he was in charge as Bill Busch was in charge however, Matt argues that he had never heard about Bill until he started researching while he and many others knew who Vince Russo was.
-Matt challenges anyone to contact them the prove how Russo ruined an industry.
Rant Of The Week
-Vince says AEW has done everything wrong out of the shoot.
-They shouldn’t have told people who much money they had. They didn’t hire a wrestling person first and they aren’t hiring writers which Vince thinks is insulting. He says they will be nothing more than ROH 2.0.
-If they want to change the industry they either have to go to a more reality based product or get into shoot fights
-Matt thinks they will be successful and they agree to disagree
Rating – 7/10
To start, even though this wasn’t a watch along, I’d suggest having this show on in the background (if you can) as it did help with listening through the podcast. I’ll admit, there was a lot of information being thrown around fast and watching the show helped (although, that also could have been because I was listening at 1.5x speed). Generally I did enjoy this podcast, especially the first part where they were disputing the ‘dirt sheet’ narrative with actual numbers. There were a lot of things I agreed and disagreed with but that kept it entertaining. That said, Vince’s rant of the week was pretty epic. I don’t agree with any of it but I respect and understand his position…overall, solid recommend.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.