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Rebooking WCW in 1993


Liam O'Rourke
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So for this week's podcast, we're attempting to Rebook WCW in 1993, and would love to get your thoughts on what you'd have done to try and prevent one of the worst years in company history.
 
If you had to take control in February 93 (after Bill Watts was turfed out), what moves would you make to turn things around for the rest of the year? The talent seems to be there - the returning Ric Flair after his WWF stint, the awesome Big Van Vader in his prime, the red-hot Hollywood Blonds, along with other top names like Sting, Rick Rude, Davey Boy Smith, Cactus Jack, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Underneath you have guys like Paul Orndorff, Chris Benoit, 2 Cold Scorpio, Scotty Flamingo, Johnny B. Badd and Steven Regal. Yet somehow WCW turned out a dire year, filled with Shockmasters, exploding boats, and lacklustre shows. Who do you push and how? What do you do with the titles? What do you build around? How would you try to bridge the gap between WCW and the WWF with McMahon on the back foot in 93?
 
As always, we will be reading the best contributions on the show and you'll be credited accordingly. So what would you have done to salvage 1993?
 
EDIT - The show Rebooking WCW in 1993, featuring many of your contributions, is now available at the following link: https://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/download/8vmasv/SCG_Radio_118_-_Rebooking_WCW_in_1993.mp3
Edited by Liam O'Rourke
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I'd have definitely kept the Hollywood Blonds together. They delivered big time in the first half of 93 with tremendous matches with Steamboat/Douglas. Flair/Anderson, Anderson/Roma and Scorpio/Bagwell. They were the hottest thing in the company at that time. I think they could've done more with them vs Flair and Arn and I'd have paired them up against Sting and Bulldog (who were teaming at the time) in main events as well to elevate them even more. You'd have had to split them up eventually but they seemed to cut them off when their run still had legs and it's not even like they had any real plans for either Austin or Pillman post-break up anyway. Think they had one singles match on a Clash then they were both lost in the shuffle soon after. 

I'd also have done a long feud between Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes in 93. They were such a great tag team in 92 and were a fixture pretty much all of that year. Teaming together on PPVs, TV, winning and dropping the titles etc. Then Windham turned heel right at the end of 92 and him and Dustin barely interacted after that. I think they could've had brilliant series of matches and angles after the split. 

 

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Man, I feel like this is by far the hardest Rebooking show I've personally had to prep for. The Blonds are a sure-fire winner, but I seem at odds with myself over the main direction. Vader and Flair as the top two seems obvious, but it feels like the company needs a drastic slap in the face to feel relevant at this point...

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I guess the obvious answer is to look at what the WWF is putting out - increasingly cartoony, dying days of Hulkamania, beginnings of Raw, first inklings of the New Generation - and counteract that by going in the opposite direction. People getting sick of the old guard? Find a new guy with promise and push him big time. Tag team scene not what it was? Be the place to go for tag wrestling. That kind of approach. But I didn't watch either company in 93 so maybe that's exactly what they did in reality, I don't know.

The real question is, are you rebooking based on what was going on in real life 1993 WWF or your own rebooked version from an earlier podcast? Now that would be interesting!

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The biggest problem I feel is that Vader/Flair never felt like a direction. It felt like a panic move for Starrcade. I'd look to address that from Flair's return when it would be his focus but I'd keep holding it off until Starrcade. The other problem with that focus is the two World Titles. I'd unify them early in the year and take away any confusion. I'd still have the Horsemen feud with the Blondes and with a Windham & Rick Rude led stable to keep Flair and Vader apart until the big show. Here's a revelation though - Paul Roma wouldn't become a fucking Horsemen. As the Horsemen are faces, I'd go with Dustin Rhodes and build in his Dad's history with the group. Dustin would be US Champ and his title matches with Rude and Windham would form the backbone of their feud with the Horsemen. I'd use that feud for Wargames and would keep the Battlebowl but team Vader and Ric Flair in the "random" draw ahead of Starrcade.

Some vaguer points:

* Austin & Pillman had so much more juice left so I'd obviously keep them together and build the tag titles up around them. Starrcade would be the earliest I'd consider them dropping them.

* The mini movie shit would obviously never see the light of day.

* Sting would be my US Title challenger at Starrcade taking the title from Rude or Rhodes depending on how well I thought a face vs. face match would go.

* I'd slow down the level of WWF cast offs watering shit down. Nailz and Typhoon would be fucked right off. Never liked the Nasty Boys either. I'd still make a big deal of Davey Boy and have him challenge Vader in the summer but with a view to running a show in the UK and making some actual money.

* Five less jabronis on every PPV. That's another thing I think about when I think of 1993 WCW. Some absolute shitarse on PPV. Erik Watts, for fuck sake.

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Yeah you had those two fat fucks in funny masks as well. The Kongs or whatever they were called. And the Cole Twins. And Ice Bastard Train going "choo choo" all the while. Big Sky was shite as well. They saddled Nash (Vinnie Vegas at this time) with him. No wonder Big Kev got the fuck out of there sharpish as soon as the call from WWF came. From teaming with Big Sky on Worldwide to being Shawn Michaels' bodyguard at SummerSlam within a matter of months isn't bad going. 

I'll admit I did love Scott 'Flash' Norton in his brief WCW run at this time though. He didn't do anything really. Just came in and killed a few jobbers really quick. But he just looked triple hard doing it. Beating them 'in a flash'. Then the planned Slamboree match with Sting never happened and that was that until he was back pissing about a few years later with Ice Train (choo choo) as Fire & Ice. 

I'd have done more with 2 Cold Scorpio actually. I thought he was fucking amazing. Still do, to be honest. Think they could've got more out of him. As much as I loved his and Bagwell's matches against the Blonds, I wouldn't have had him anywhere near Bagwell or wearing those goofy pink and white tights. I'd have probably stuck the TV title on him at some point. Or let him chase Regal for it or something. Although, that sounds like a bit of a dodgy clash of styles. You could never go wrong throwing him out there with Benoit and Eaton. 

You still had Steamboat in 93 as well remember. Making Shane Douglas look like he was worth a shit for the first and maybe only time in his career. Steamboat vs Benoit wouldn't have been a bad idea around this time. 

Was The Barbarian still around in 93, I can't remember? Cactus Jack was still knocking about forgetting where he lived and stuff as well. 

It's hard this, isn't it? Can't think where I'd plug half of these guys in feud and storyline wise. 

Edit - Orndorff! He was in tremendous form back then. Totally forgot he was there in 93. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Just wanted to thank everybody for the contributions - the show looking at Rebooking WCW in 1993 is now available at the following link:
 
 
Join us as we face one of the tougher "Rebooking" challenges yet - World Championship Wrestling in 1993! Looking at a year containing Cactus Jack getting Lost in Cleveland, Paul Roma as a Horseman, the Shockmaster falling flat on the fucking arse, and luminaries such as Big Sky, the Colossal Kongs, Ice Train and Charlie Norris making frequent PPV appearances, it seems a shoo-in to improve upon it. The panel tries to tackle the return of Ric Flair, correctly building the Starrcade 1993 main event, how to use the Hollywood Blonds, dealing with two World Titles, utilising the UK at a time when Davey Boy Smith was on fire, and desperately trying to make some fresh names into more key players. And as always, we reach out to you, the loyal listeners, to see what you'd like to have seen in one of the more pitiful years in WCW history. Check it out and let us know what you think!
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I enjoyed the show. Was a big old beast but a good listen. Lots of great nostalgia, of course, but a very good attempt at booking better than they did.

I'd say the goal was acheived overall. Certainly the resulting Starrcade and build was far better as were most PPVs on paper. I liked the point made towards the end about the opportunities for great promos. Rang very true.

Slight criticisms - I thought you sidelined the Bulldog for the second half of the year when he could have been a tremendous asset. Wasn't there a UK tour in October? The one Sid stabbed Arn on? Bulldog should have been built huge for that.

A few of the pushes felt a bit hindsighty. Scotty Flamingo and Shane Douglas particularly. I thought the Flamingo push with the bodyguard was explained Ok but not enough on why anyone would care about Scorpio, Benoit, Douglas, etc.

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One thing I will say - when you're doing it in this fashion, you absolutely miss stuff. When I was editing the show, I was looking through the sheets we were writing on, and I'd made a note that I wanted Benoit managed by Harley Race to give him an instant burst of credibility. I wanted to pitch it early and never did, and we got detoured enough to where it never really fit in afterwards. Not sure it would have worked, but considering Harley got lumbered with Yoshi Kwan and the Colossal Kongs, I felt it would eek over that high bar. 

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I like the idea of putting Harley Race with Benoit. Not only for the credibility factor but it would've helped in that Benoit wasn't good on the mic and Harley could've carried that side of things for him. Guess they could've even used some logic of Race passing down the diving headbutt to his future wife and child murdering protégé as well. 

Only thing is it's hard to see where Benoit would've fit in in the pecking order at the time. It's easy to see the potential matchups for him as a mid/upper midcard heel. Matches/feuds with the likes of Scorpio, Steamboat, Rhodes and Davey Boy would be no brainers. But they already had Rude, Orndorff and Regal. 

It's a weird situation because the roster at that time (aside from the shitehawks mentioned earlier in the thread) is phenomenal. But it's almost like it's too good, it's like they had too many great wrestlers and not enough important roles to put them in. Guys like Windham and Rude, for example, were ready for a proper main event run but they both kind of got lost in the shuffle with Flair coming back and then the booking having to fit in Vader, Sting and Sid somewhere as well. You had Arn Anderson stuck with Paul Roma nearly all year too, which feels like a real waste. It's like they had so much talent on the books they had no clue how best to use them all. Add to the fact the company had no sense of direction at the time and there was a revolving door of bookers, it was a mess. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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