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CIRCA
Redux: the 2001 WCW inVasion
June 30, 2004

by Denny Burkholder
Courtesy of WrestleLine.com

 

If ever there were an appropriate forum for old stuff, it's Circa.

And yet, this column was about the only place on the 'net where you would not find a feature on the History of The Great American Bash last week. It's not that I don't share in the longing for a day when the Bash was something revered. It's just that I expressed my displeasure with its resurrection by ignoring the subject altogether. Honestly, I was having way too much fun sifting through old theme songs for two straight weeks to switch gears and dwell on something that depressed me.

But I am somewhat reflective on the past of the NWA and WCW. Things were so much more wonderfully complicated then. More workers, more diversity, more options, more television, and more promotions. Yet it still seems like a simpler time, probably just because it's in the past. The grass is always greener, as they say.

Even in 2001, at the dramatic conclusion of the Monday Night Wars — which, of course, was the WWF's purchase of WCW — things were still exciting. The business was going through a very unique time with the apparent merging of the two North American superpower promotions (which was actually more like the WWF swallowing WCW and ECW whole than a mutual merging of competitors). Many predicted the failure that became of that event, but even in forseeing the problems with the WWF's self-styled WCW (and ECW) "Invasion," the pundits were still interested to watch it all unfold. You might even say a lot of people were downright excited about the WWF buying WCW and pillaging the remains of ECW, even those who were fans of the latter two companies. We simply had not seen anything like this before. Whether that was a good or bad thing, it certainly had our attention in 2001.

I was digging through the musty archives of WrestleLine.com's past the other day and came across an old "WCW Ringside" column from June 27, 2001. Over the course of WrestleLine's existence, the WCW Ringside column had been written by everyone from Bob Ryder to Steve Anderson, who most recently helped pen Bobby "The Brain" Heenan's two books. This edition of WCW Ringside was the first written by me, with a small cameo by Steve Anderson just to re-acquaint people with the format. The column went dormant around the same time the Turner version of WCW became extinct in March, and was revived briefly after it looked like the WWF was actually serious about trying to run a version of "WCW."

I had fun reading it, and remembering all the faces that were SUPPOSED to have made an impact. Let's have another look.

*****

WCW RINGSIDE: It's Baaaack!
(Originally Published on WrestleLine.com on June 27, 2001)

By Steve Anderson
WrestleLine Staff Writer

Let me start by saying that it's great to be back in the saddle again with WCW Ringside. Now that WCW has returned to prominence, it is time for this writer to roll up his sleeves and...wait a minute...what the -

By Denny Burkholder
WrestleLine Staff Writer

Mr. Anderson, you are dismissed from your WCW Ringside duties. It's time for a little shakeup around here. It's invasion time!

Do you remember ECW Ringside? Remember when the untimely finish of Extreme Championship Wrestling robbed a WrestleLine writer of his weekly opinion column? Did you really think I was content to hide behind my low profile, writing only the occasional feature, and a weekly column dwelling on the PAST?

Shane-O-Mac stated on Monday that the key to getting WCW off the ground lies in TV exposure. And if WCW can't get TV exposure, then survival of the fittest kicks in. They resort to Plan B, and cannibalize the WWF's programs. They invade the WWF. Like a wrestling company, a writer also needs an audience — which I had before ECW folded. Now it's time for me to take my spot back. In the words of Blue World Order founder Stevie Richards (you can keep "Steven") — I'm taking over. Welcome to the new WCW... and welcome to the new WCW Ringside. Keep your head and arms inside the ride at all times, and please — no foreign objects.

The WCW invasion is in full swing, and it appears the buildup to the July pay-per-view (what's it called again? Oh yeah...) has the full attention of bookers. Heh heh... while I'm on the subject of "Bookers," let me take this opportunity to say "BOO-YAH." Partly because it's one of WCW Champion Booker T's favorite things to say when he's got someone's number... and partly because I just like saying "BOO-YAH." Go ahead and try it. BOO-YAH! Boo-YAH! Buh-buh-buh-buh-buh BOO-yah! Fun, isn't it?

Indications at this early stage of the WCW-WWF "war" are that the July pay-per-view main event will be Steve Austin vs. Booker T. As it stands now, that would be Champion vs. Champion. That doesn't necessarily mean Title vs. Title, and honestly, I wouldn't expect them to drop that bomb just yet. WCW belongs to the McMahon clan indefinitely, so there is no need to rush into the good stuff right away. I'd expect to instead see Austin vs. Booker with the rights to a WWF show (think RAW) on the line, or perhaps several WWF vs. WCW matches to determine TV rights (Best of five series? A Very Special TNN "Pop" on a Pole Match? Possibilities abound.)

If getting a decent TV deal for WCW is going to take a few more months, I'm all for the rumored inception of WCW Raw, and the WWF just keeping Smackdown! for its own major program. That's a move that takes guts, and might possibly become a huge disaster for WWFE if WCW doesn't start appealing to a lot of fans very soon. Regardless of its past history as a WCW competitor, the WWF has spent a great deal of money already on WCW. It's theirs, for better or worse. Now they've got to do something with it and make it succeed. And if making WCW succeed requires a drastic measure such as giving Raw to WCW, even temporarily — I think WWFE has to take its chances, and take them early.

They seem to be on the right track so far, but the next few weeks of booking — and how crowds react to that booking — will be crucial to whether or not WCW can carry its own program immediately. In terms of ratings, the success of WCW wrestlers at rebuilding their fan base, and the always-important creative direction WCW is set off on for it's re-introduction, there are a slew of factors in how this thing will turn out. There are FAR too many intangibles and blanks to fill in to forecast success or failure at this stage. This is a brave new world, folks... your guess is as good as any.

For the benefit of those who somehow missed EVERY SINGLE WrestleLine update on WCW's ever-growing roster since the month of April and continue to ask for the esteemed "list," here is what the current WCW locker room looks like, as far as anyone knows. (Bookmark this page for future reference, since any further e-mails on the matter will be met with INSIDIOUS LAUGHTER and RIDICULE throughout the CBS SportsLine offices.) Here we go:

ALREADY ON BOARD:

Booker T (WCW Champion & U.S. Champion)
Diamond Dallas Page (famous)
Rob Van Dam (w/ pony tail)
Kidman (half of WCW Cruiser Tag Team Champions w/ the unsigned Rey Mysterio)
Torrie Wilson (she's pretty)
Kanyon (innovative)
Buff Bagwell (irritable)
Mike Awesome (new WWF Hardcore Champion)
Lance Storm (serious)
Hugh Morrus (jocular)
Stacy Keibler (Yeeow!)
Mark Jindrak (green)
Sean O'Haire (scary) (WCW Tag Champ)
Mike Sanders (above average)
Shawn Stasiak (below average)
Chuck Palumbo (ask Downtown Dave) (WCW Tag Champ)
Elix Skipper (HE built this list! This is PRIME TIME's list!)
Kid Romeo (hey... hey... hey...)
Jason Jett (EZ Money)
The Wall (comfortably numb)
Kaz Hayashi (crouching)
James "Yang" Yun (hidden)
Jaime Knoble (the K is silent)
Evan Karagias (the third A is silent)
Shane Helms (WCW Cruiserweight Champion)
Shannon Moore (knows Shane Helms)
Chavo Guerrero Jr. (cheats to win)
Lash Leroux (Cajun)
Allen "Kwee-Wee" Funk (angry)
Johnny the Bull (huge)
Reno (don't call him Rena)

BACKSTAGE:

Arn Anderson (Enforcer)
Johnny Ace (Booker J)
Dave Finlay (fit)
Ricky Santana (enigmatic)

PROBABLY SOMEDAY, BUT NOT YET:

Scott Steiner (healing)
Ric Flair (waiting)
Disqo (dancing)
Rey Mysterio Jr. (flipping)
Konnan (rapping)

ON VACATION:

Kevin Nash
Bill Goldberg

ON PROBATION:

Scott Hall

IN OPPOSITION:

Hulk Hogan (meeting with Universal)
Randy Savage (fighting with Spider-Man)

IN CONTEMPLATION:

Sting (might hang ‘em up)

WILDCARD:

Jerry Lawler (negotiating?)

D'OH!

Jeff Jarrett
Shane Douglas
Vince Russo

SEEKING BACKSTAGE PASSES:

Stevie Ray (Booker's brother)
Kimberly (DDP's squeeze)
Rick Steiner (the big bad booty brother)
David Flair (Whoo!)

KEEP DREAMING:

Bret Hart

MIGHT I SUGGEST:

Joey Styles
Norman Smiley
Tommy Dreamer
(come on, Heyman, you owe him one)
Danny Doring & Roadkill (CHICKENS)
Scoot Andrews
Super Crazy
(clap clap clap-clap-clap)
Low Ki
C.W. Anderson
(Vadercito shall rise again)
Billy Fives
Davey "Kid" Kash
Steve Corino
(charisma for DAYS)
Anthony Michaels (I most certainly AM biased)
Christopher Daniels
D-Lo Brown
Little Guido Maritato
Tony Mamaluke
Big Vito
Bobby Heenan
La Parka
Masato Tanaka

And, if there's any justice....

Tygress. Put a little gitchy-gitchy in WCW's yah-yah.

And I'm out. Set your VCRs for Smackdown. See you next week.

E-MAIL DENNY
BROWSE THE CIRCA ARCHIVES


  
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