Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Monday Night Wars

Since I found "The Monday Night Wars" in that $5 bin at Walmart, I have been dying to give it a look. Actually, I have wanted to see this DVD since it was announced. Oddly enough, I just now got around to it. It was definitely an enjoyable documentary to watch, but as a WCW/Southern Wrestling guy there were some things that I did not like. 
During the show, I took to Twitter (@mckinneydg) to discuss some of these things. I will certainly spend more than 140 characters here to tackle those thoughts. I will also have some other insight I would like to share that I did not share on Twitter.

Let's get started.

Yeah, for whatever reason I never picked this up. I don't know if it's just because I rarely purchase wrestling DVDs or what. I put it on my Christmas list a couple of times etc., but I never ended up with this DVD. I think the most annoyed I got about it is when I had preordered the Smackdown game one year and another store gave you a free copy of this DVD with a preorder there. I didn't bother with switching my order so I was once again denied. I have, however, seen The Rise and Fall of WCW which touched on several of these issues. I believe some of the comments, specifically Bischoff's, were used in both documentaries.

This was probably the biggest issue WCW had and they had many. There are a variety of reasons for it (arrogance, creative control, inmates running the asylum, etc.). The problem was an even bigger issue if you had emotionally invested on the side of WCW. It would straight up legitimately piss me off watching the same stupid nWo dominance week-after-week. Sure the WCW faction got the better end of it, but never really when it mattered. There really is a parallel that can be drawn here between the nWo and John Cena as it relates to the repetitive nature of their dominance. The fans need a payoff, they needed a blowoff and it never really came.

It's no secret that I'm a huge Ric Flair/IV Horsemen mark. That is undeniable. Now I've heard the argument that the concept of the Horsemen had run its course by the late-90s. I've heard that argument from some sharp wrestling minds that I really respect even. I simply disagree with it. Did we need to see Ric Flair and the Horsemen standing around holding all the gold like they did on the glory days of the Saturday night show? Absolutely not, but I think there was a place for this group. For one, as demonstrated by Fall Brawl 96's War Games match, the Horsemen could be the street-wise counterpoint to the nWo. Flair and Arn both mentioned in promos that they were the first gang. They were the nWo before the nWo was even thought of. That's the truth.

Back to the Horsemen/Ric Flair with this comment really. Bischoff says he was trying to show a point/counterpoint with the WCW traditionalists and the nWo. The fact is there was no balance between the two. The nWo ran roughshod over the traditions of WCW. Again if you look back at the Horsemen reformation, you will see that the crowd was into it. The crowd at large was chomping at the bit to see the Horsemen come back and start to even the score. Instead they Horsemen were essentially jobbed out and forgotten about. It was like John Wayne/Clint Eastwood came riding in to save the day and got their asses kicked. Stupid, stupid booking if you ask me.

This is a minor point, but there were handful of other guys that were around in the old NWA days besides just Flair. To the greater point though, Flair was the standard bearer of the old NWA vs the current day WCW/nWo product.

If you look back at the Monday Night Wars version of WCW it really did appear that they weren't only unable to create new stars. It seemed to many that they flat out refused to do so. As the boss Eric Bischoff deserves the most blame of course, but I think Hogan and his ego deserves a ton of blame as well.

This is a reference to the famous "worked shoot" that apparently turned into a "shoot" where Vince Russo buried Hulk Hogan who I really believe deserves a ton of credit for destroying WCW and is politicking piece of crap who couldn't live with the fact that he had overstayed his welcome.

Now looking back through this there were a couple of things that crossed my mind that either I didn't tweet about or the documentary did not touch on:
  • Fingerpoke of Doom
  • Starrcade 97 Debacle
  • Beating Ted Turner/Portrayal of Vincent K. McMahon
Fingerpoke of Doom

I've already spent some words discussing how awful this moment was for WCW. They killed their home territory with a godawful angle that looked like more Hogan ego stroking.  It is alluded to in the documentary because that was the night of the Goldberg/Elizabeth "false rape accusation" angle, but it's odd that they didn't mention this actually event to me.  This is the moment that effectively killed WCW in my opinion.

Starrcade 97 Debacle
The Fingerpoke of Doom killed WCW, but the downward spiral started with Starrcade 97. They overbooked the main event, made Sting and Bret Hart look like chumps and refused to payoff one of the hottest angles in the history of wrestling.

Beating Ted Turner/Portrayal of Vincent K. McMahon
I'm a Ted Turner guy. He's one of Atlanta's "favorite sons" so it's entirely possible that I'm taking this too personally. The idea that big bad Ted Turner picked on Vince and his wrestling promotion is laughable. The idea that they "beat Ted Turner" as Gerald Brisco references is silly too. For one thing, if Ted Turner still had full control of the Turner Empire that he had created I can just about guarantee that WWE doesn't buy WCW for $2.5 million bucks after TNT cancels Nitro. Another thing is that while Ted Turner wanted to win the Monday Night Wars, he had much bigger fish to fry than beating Vince McMahon. Ted Turner's doing just fine, but Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff came really close to bankrupting Vince McMahon.

Vince complaining about dirty tricks and not harming his competitors is probably the most laughable thing in this whole DVD. Vince is a business man just like Ted. Vince wants to win just like Ted. Vince has done a ton of harm to people on his way to the top. To hear him and his stooges cry about unfair treatment is hilarious. His poor treatment of Bret Hart in large part helped his product after the initial shock and disgust wore off for example, but you would think Saint Vince did no harm throughout this documentary if you did not know better.

I hope I have managed to hit most of the major points that I setout to touch on here. I'm sure I could go on for days about this DVD, but as of right now I will leave it there. 
Hope you enjoyed.

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