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" The Gravel Pit "
WWE Confidential February 15, 2003 (Repeat August 3, 2002)
Posted by Retro Rob on Feb 16, 2003, 10:49
WWE Confidential August 3, 2002
Gene kicks it off this week with a quick review of what led to WCW's demise. This segment (and the 4th one) consist of former WCW wrestlers talking very candidly about WCW, so I'll just transcribe what each guy says and then comment on it if I feel like doing so. Lot's of old WCW footage is shown too. I'm seriously marking out just watching this.
Booker T: When Hogan came aboard things started changing. Things happened. The crowds started getting bigger.
I would hope so Booker considering you were used to wrestling in front of less than 8,000 people on a daily basis.
Eric Bischoff: That's [The nWo] when things began to turn for us.
Chris Jericho: I don't think he [Eric Bischoff] realized what he had. I think he got very cocky at certain points. I think he got very egotistical because he thought that he was the reason WCW was doing so well, but really it was an effort on everybody's part...And everything just went out of control.
Very well put.
Big Show: Running with the nWo I think was one of his [Eric Bischoff] best decisions. At the same time that decision kind of manifested itself into a cancer.
Didn't the same exact thing happen about 3 months ago? Too bad Vince doesn't take advice from his wrestlers because it seems like the Big Show knew what would happen with the nWo revival.
Booker T: I think the nWo was something that worked out very, very well, but they didn't know how well it was going to work out. It blew up the whole scene, but then when you look at it in retrospect it was the same thing that killed you.
Booker, once again, thank you for stating the obvious.
Eric Bischoff: I think it [the nWo] worked. It worked for a while. You know, too much of anything isn't a good thing. I think there were some times during that period where I was too involved. There were a number of things that led to the demise of WCW.
Speaking of the obvious...If Eric knows that too much of anything isn't a good thing, than why did he drag out the nWo for THREE FUCKING YEARS?? Hold on. Stop the presses. Eric thinks that he may have been a little too involved back in 1997-1998. One third of the three hour Nitro was usually devoted to Eazy E! Do you THINK that may have been a little excessive considering you had over 70 wrestlers on the active roster?
Big Show: I think one of his [Eric Bischoff] downfalls was that sometimes he was too infatuated with his own ideas. Eric didn't have any people skills and quite frankly sometimes Eric was an ass.
The Big Show is finally entertaining me. Too bad it's three years too late.
Chris Jericho: I never really felt that he [Eric Bischoff] was really much of a people person. I think most people kind of felt that...at least the people that were on my level.
Chris and the Big Show are pulling out all the stops. I just had an idea as to how Eric could have saved WCW. Remember how Russo would air all of those worked shoots on TV? Well, what if WCW actually let the mid-carders talk about what it is like working for Eric Bischoff? I personally would rather watch what that than Austin vs. McMahon.
Big Show: I sometimes believed that Eric did cater the top talent. Just like any other big corportation. The main talent that draws the houses and put the asses in the seats...they deserve the attention.
Hulk Hogan: He made sure the top talent knew what they were doing. He always had time for the top talent. I saw moments where Eric didn't cater for the other talent and a lot of that was he had everything on his shoulders.
PUH-LEASE! Hulk Hogan is the last guy they should be talking to about WCW. He was almost worse than Bischoff, not to mention he seems like the only the Bischoff defender in the WWE locker room.
Eric Bischoff: Quite honestly there was not a lot of infrastructure in that company. There wasn't a lot of support.
Didn't Eric have the power to hire whoever the hell he wanted to? If so why not hire some assistants when he couldn't handle the responsibilities himself?
Hulk Hogan: In the WCW people looked at it like, I'm gonna get whatever I can out of this and when it ends it ends.
At least Hogan doesn't deny that fact that he and the rest of his buddies didn't really give a damn whether or not they put on a good for show for the fans.
Big Show: There was no day-to-day business...there was day-to-day chaos because no one knew where to go or what to do. When I was told something I gave it 5 minutes and it changed already.
I always thought Paul Wight was friends with Eric Bischoff, but I guess times have changed.
Eric Bischoff: We would go into TV knowing in a general sense what we were going to do. I would have a pretty good idea of the top two or three matches, but beyond that we were thinking about on the way to the building, figuring it out over lunch and twenty minutes before the first match.
Sounds like what Vince & Co. have been doing for all of 2002. No long term booking past that night's main event.
Booker T: Storylines were thought up on the spur of the moment. Sometimes the show would be starting and you wouldn't know what you were doing.
No wonder why all the matches sucked...
Chris Jericho: It was very weird...very backwards. There were many times they would bring 65 guys to TV tapings and 30 would work. I remember getting a royalty check from WCW for $0.00. I remember getting a FED EX from WCW with nothing inside. Just things like that that made no sense at all. There were just some many guys working there that things fell through the cracks. So much extra spending was going on.
Didn't WCW screw around with the Chris Jericho-Dean Malenko action figure two pack so that someone would buy it the cash register would ring it up as "Hulk Hogan". I could just imagine what Chris felt like when he got the FED EX..."Oh shit. A FED EX from WCW. They have to be firing me...wait a second...it looks like they forgot my release!!"
Hulk Hogan: The biggest problem in WCW beyond a doubt was the guaranteed money.
Hmmm...and who had the highest guarantee in all of WCW again? Oh the irony.
Chris Jericho: I remember asking for $100,000 and Bischoff was generous, he gave me $165,000. At first I wondered if I screwed myself asking for so little, but I was just so happy that I was making so much money.
Cute little story there.
Eric Bischoff: That's been blown out of proportion conveniently by some people that I did have a large paycheck to work with and I had a guy like Ted Turner who put so much interest in this project.
Hulk Hogan: It was unbelievable. It was like the largest ATM machine I ever saw. The money was double and sometimes triple what I made in the WWF.
Eric Bischoff: In order to attract talent, I had to give them a guarantee. The talent knew how much money they were going to make when they signed on the dotted line, which was especially attractive to guys who have been in the business for a while.
Big Show: At the time I was pretty miserable. How could some guy make $450,000 a year and I make $175,000 a year when I was the World Champion? I was pissed off about it and I was angry about it.
What are you complaining about? You still made more than Jericho.
Booker T: Guys having that big contract and no incentive to go out there and rock the house. It was very low morale. Guys would go out there, walk through the matches and make sure they got to the bar on time.
Sometimes Scott Hall didn't even wait until after walking through his matches to go the bar.
Chris Jericho: Guys did what they wanted. They didn't care. They didn't have any respect for management or Eric Bischoff. Basically they got their big paycheck and ran rampant. They did whatever they wanted to do and that was a big problem, especially in 1998.
Eric Bischoff: I knew it was the beginning of the end in August 1998 when we were still rolling.
Yet like a captain you never fled your own Titanic.
This was interesting and pretty funny at times. Jericho and Big Show are really letting it all hang out. Meanwhile Hogan is pretty much pretending that he wasn't one WCW's main problem.
Segment 1: 1/1
Before They Were Superstars: Edge & Christian
Christian was an instigator as a child and would get his brothers in a lot of trouble. Edge and Christian walk around their old school. Edge used to enjoy super heroes and comic books. He was also good at drawing. His mom remembers that Edge never studied, yet still pulled 80's and 90's. Christian takes a stroll around where he used to play hockey. He actually won the "Gary Copeland (Edge's late uncle) Memorial Award". Once Edge's uncle died he got hooked on wrestling. Wrestling filled the void in his life. Christian broke his arm and had to stay at home for eight weeks. That was when he began to watch wrestling. He and his brothers used to wrestling in the basement. E & C tour the hallways of their high school. They talk about their social lives. Me and my friends do almost the EXACT same things that E & C used to do. Very creepy. Christian recalls all of their old wrestling gimmicks. Edge was reading the Toronto Sun and saw an advertisement for getting a full ride to a wrestling school. It was an essay contest, which he won. The school regularly costs $3,000 which he and his mother couldn't afford. I think that is Tiger Ali Singh standing next to Edge in one of the pictures from the school. Christian actually applied for financial aid in college, dropped out of his last semester and put the money towards wrestling training. He didn't tell his parents, who thought that he was in college all that time. E & C used to get a bunch of wrestlers together and they would ship a ring up to Northern Canada where they would wrestle in high school gyms. I don't really see the point in that, but who am I to judge? Some little kid sees E & C in the high school and starts marking out. Edge never even thought of not making it to the WWF.
Segment 2: 1.5/2
Next up is "WWE Cribs with Booker T". The Book has a huge house considering he lives alone. It kind of reminds me of Trish Stratus' house, just not as colorful or bright. Booker seems to like fish. His kitchen is pretty run of the mill, but he actually COOKS FOR HIMSELF! Very cool. The gym looks like the biggest room in the house. Booker idolizes Muhammad Ali. He also has a lot of clothes. Here we go...the highlight of the house..."The Booker T Pebbles Lake" AKA Booker's one-hole golf course.
Segment 3: 2/3
More WCW fun. Gene informs that WCW demise all started at the Survivor Series of 1997. According to Gene, Vince McMahon didn't screw Bret Hart that night, he screwed Eric Bischoff.
Why can't Vince McMahon just accept the fact that he didn't kill WCW? Even if there was no WWF, Bad management and excessive spending alone would have led to the end of WCW.
Hulk Hogan: When Eric brought him [Bret Hart] in and paid him that money I had a couple of thoughts. I thought how lucky and how happy Bret must be because he never saw that much money before.
Eric Bischoff: I knew that when the rest of my talent found out how much I paid Bret there would be a huge probelm internally.
Then why would you have paid Bret so much too begin with if you knew it would cause your company to self-destruct?
Hulk Hogan: What's the rationale? Usually if you are going to pay somebody millions and millions of dollars there has to be a track record. Like Hulk Hogan drew 94,000 in the Silverdome. There has to be some sort of rationale. I realized that instead of making 10 or 20 million a year I should have been making 50 or 60. WOW, I sold myself short.
Give me a fucking break. Bret maybe not have drew large crowds, but he helped keep the wrestling business afloat from 1992-1996.
Big Show: Good for Bret Hart. If someone is dumb enough to pay the money you're asking good for you. It's all about being a businessman.
Chris Jericho: They brought him in and basically did nothing with him for 9 months. They wasted their money. They never got anything out of him.
Hulk Hogan: That was the single biggest thing that destroyed WCW...guaranteed money.
I think you said that already.
Booker T: The reason why it failed was because there was too much money going out and not enough coming in.
Eric Bischoff: The Time Warner merger was imminent. I remember I got called into a meeting and there were 15 people sitting at a table that I never even seen before and I listened to them tell me how I was going to run my wrestling show.
Hulk Hogan: And it really hurt when we had so many who wanted answers and so many people taking credit.
Big Show: The Turner corporation always though of us as the bastard child that nobody wanted to recognize. Ted Turner loved us, everyone else...we were a mole on their back.
Eric Bischoff: A lot of people love him a lot of people hate him. I really admire Ted Turner for a few reasons. One was that he was a risk-taker and it was fun to work for him because of that. But once Time Warner and AOL came in it quickly became no more fun. The reason why was because the company was no longer in Ted's image.
Now all of a sudden Ted is a “risk-taker”? This is the guy who was afraid to have BLOOD on a WRESTLING show.
Hulk Hogan: As far as his demise, I have to be on Eric's side. A lot of it he had no control over. The people from TBS would tell him what he could and couldn't do.
That may be true, but if Eric did a better job handling the talent there is a good chance WCW would have survived longer than it did.
Booker T: I think they thought very low of it. They didn't think wrestling had much longevity. They would let it run for as long as it could and then move on to something else.
Hulk Hogan: They didn't think that wrestling fit into their portfolio, it was beneath them to be part of the wrestling clique.
Eric Bischoff: A lot of the things that happened weren't things that I wanted to happen, but that's how life is.
Chris Jericho: Early 1999 was when things started getting a little wonky and that’s when I knew I wanted to get out. That was January 1999 and my contract wasn't up until August 1999, so it was a little bit of time before I was able to escape.
Big Show: At the point that I was leaving I was so fed up they could have offered me anything and I don't think I would have stayed. I had many conversations with Eric before I left and they weren't good ones. Eric wanted me to resign a year before my contract was up, so I said that I wanted a raise. Eric told me that I wasn't over enough to deserve a raise, so I'll go somewhere and get over. I'll do my best to bankrupt this fricken company.
The Big Show is kicking ass tonight
Eric Bischoff: [On the WWF Buying WCW] Part of me was very disappointed because I spent 6 months trying to buy the company. I found a financier and a good group of people with money, expertise and resources to make this thing work. In that sense I was devastated because we spent so much time and money on it. On the other hand I was almost happy because I believed that at least now someone is going to do something with it. At least it wasn't going to just disappear because I felt that it was my company. It had a lot of me in my legacy and now it still had a life.
Segment 4: 3/4
Rhyno injured his neck in mid-2001 mainly from wear and tear. He has been sitting at home for 9 long months. Everyday though the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and closer. Rhyno should be back in about 3 1/2 months. He was at Vengeance a couple of weeks ago. We see him talking to a bunch of the wrestlers. He ran into Bruce Prichard who said, "We have you written in for tomorrow's Raw." Rhyno, "Do I get to hug Trish Stratus?" Bruce, "Close. Eric Bischoff."
Segment 5: 3.5/5
Al Snow is at home again. Now he is seeing how many hockey jerseys he could wear at once. The answer to that would be 21. That's just great...
Next week on Confidential you will hear the story of a WWE Superstar's recovery after being shot in a drive-by. You will hear the story of RIKISHI!!
Segment 6: 3.5/6
The show was good enough this week even though they did gloss over a lot of WCW’s other problems (see Russo, Vince).
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