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Issue # 440

Date:  Sunday December 19th, 1999  9:32 am

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

WCW Creativity In Question
By Mike Mooneyham
Sunday, December 19, 1999

A veteran wrestler cleaning toilets with a toothbrush. A mean-spirited
parody of the booker mocking an ex-colleague's physical disability. A
couple of horizontally challenged lady grapplers fighting it out in the
mud. A surgically enhanced ex-women's champ seducing an underachieving
rookie. And a hearty dose of T&A with the company's dancing troupe
providing some of the worst acting this side of the Mississippi.

Now that's entertainment.

Or is it?
Hacksaw Jim Duggan is relatively funny, but does anyone really care to
see him cleaning toilets? And can they possibly dislike Jim Ross enough
to spend 15 or 20 minutes of the show spoofing him?

Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling heralded the arrival of
former WWF bookers Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara as a bold move that would
turn around the sagging fortunes of the company. Most agreed that it
would take time - lots of time - to undo what had been done during the
last year of Eric Bischoff's overly lavish and sometimes tyrannical

There are now disturbing signs, however, that the new creative chiefs
may not be sure where to go with the product. Russo and Ferrara were
hired to bring about a resurgence in ratings. Their version of crash TV
has produced little bump in the ratings, which hit one of its lowest
points in the past three years when Nitro fell to a 2.82 for its three
hours last week, and lost to Raw going head-to-head by an alarming
6.01-2.46 margin.

Today's WCW product is a lot like clothing that just doesn't quite fit.
Instead of making what he does fit who his performers are, Russo has
tried to make his performers something he wants them to be, but often
something they're not.

Most of the interviews are now carefully scripted, making the promos
sound forced and contrived. Viewing Nitro these days is like watching
an Elvis impersonator. The segments look strangely familiar, but the
characters and the execution are different. Sadly, there's neither a
Rock nor a Stone Cold on WCW's roster, and the difference in intensity
and performance level is painfully obvious. Steve Austin and Mick
Foley, as banged up and hobbled as they might be, come with much more
fire and enthusiasm than any of their counterparts in WCW.

Conversely, overpaid and overpushed WCW talent like Kevin Nash
consistently drags fellow stars down, including partner Scott Hall, who
still gets major pops in arenas where fans remember his better days as
Razor Ramon and one of the founding NWO members. Nash's insistence on
being a "cute heel" and his lack of enthusiasm inside the ring, as well
as in the booking office, has done little to enhance WCW programming,
solidifying Nash's spot as not only the poorest drawing world champion,
but also the worst worker to hold a world title.

While a small portion of the audience has embraced the new product and
there has been a greater emphasis on character development (for better
or worse), it has come with an increase in profanity and a greater
latitude in language and sexual content. Ironically, while WCW is
attempting to duplicate the WWF's success, the WWF has been toning down
its network show, having had its hand forced by pressure from
conservative lobbying groups and advertisers.

A number of WCW performers have been vocal in the past about not
approving of the WWF product. Wrestlers such as Steve Borden (Sting),
Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) and Bret Hart publicly made known their
distaste for what they considered lowbrow entertainment while
advocating a product that would be distanced from the WWF. Some even
said they wouldn't let their own children watch WWF television. Now
most of these same performers (with the exception of Hogan who, despite
the angle, will be back), are a part of the same mix at WCW.

An even more amazing fact is that WCW has chosen not to utilize the
ratings power of Ric Flair at a time when his presence could make a
difference. Not unless, of course, one counts his anticipated return as
figurehead commissioner, amid reports from the "powers that be" that
performers like Flair are past their prime as main-event draws and will
be saddled into an "over the hill gang."

The one saving grace so far for the new booking team is that they have
gotten Hogan off television. Hogan is far past the point of having a
major impact and does not justify his current salary, which nearly
equaled WCW's total profit margin this past year. Ironically, Hogan
once again finds himself in a power position as ratings fall, ready and
waiting to assert his dominance and "save the company."
None of this bodes well for the long-term success at WCW.

While the company harps on doing logical things, they don't. Angles
that could be successful aren't because they aren't given time to
develop. A Larry Zbyszko-Curt Hennig match is booked and shown minutes
later following a commercial break. There's no pop, and there's no
wonder why. Two former champs with a long history square off, and it
means nothing. "Look at Hennig, he used to be a world champion. These
guys are ruining the show, and you're falling for it," Zbyszko tells
Hennig in what had to be a shoot comment.
Certainly there are those in power at WCW who have grown up in the
business and have new executive vice president Bill Busch's ear. They
can't be buying any of this. Perhaps they rationalize it for a
paycheck, but they can't believe it for a moment.

The veterans know better. For now, however, they'll take the money and

Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at 937-5517. He can be heard
every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on "Ringside Wrestling Talk" on WQNT ESPN
Radio 1450-AM (call in at 763-6631). For wrestling updates during the
week, call The Post and Courier Info Line at 937-6000, ext. 3090.

Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at (843) 937-5517 or by e-mail
at mooneyham. More wrestling news with Mike
Mooneyham is available every Monday on The Wrestling Observer Hotline.
The number is 1-900-903-9030. Calls are 99 cents per minute, and
children under 18 must get parental permission before dialing.
Below we present Chris Jericho's latest commentary to his fans, found


NP: Blondie-Live
Merry Christmas Jerichoholics!

Well this is it, the last commentary of the millennium...and if Y2K
hits us hard, the last commentary ever!

I don't have a lot of time, but I would like to wish each and everyone
of you a very merry Christmas and all of the best in the new year.

I also want to remind you that Jesus is the reason for the season and
to give thanks to him for all we have. Make sure to try and be good to
each other and never EVVVEERR take anything for granted!

The movie of the week is the Shawshank Redemption, starring my new
friend Tim Robbins. More about him and the celebrity hockey game at MSG
next commentary.
As far as the latest rounds of rumors on the net, remember not to
believe everything you read!

I have the utmost respect for Vince McMahon and I'm looking forward to
having a long and successful business relationship with him and the
WWF...MY company!

As far as DX goes, I've had great matches with all of them in the past
(except for HHH whom I haven't wrestled yet) and I can't wait to work
with all of them and the rest of the WWF roster in the future.

No matter what's been said, Y2J has become a better wrestler in the
past four months and with further help and guidance from everyone in
the company, I expect to get better and more polished than ever!

God bless you and happy holidays, jerky!!!

-Chris Jericho
Posted on the Parents Television Council Website:
1. The WWF Disregards TV-14 Standards
The WWF revealed its true self this past Sunday during its pay-per-view
event, Armageddon. Despite a TV-14 rating indicating to parents there
would be no nudity, female wrestler Miss Kitty flashed her breasts
after winning the Four Corner Evening Gown Pool Match. The WWF issued
an apology for the "unauthorized exposure" and denied that it was
planned. An online story posted on, however, stated,
"The WWF in the past has claimed breasts being briefly exposed have
been 'inadvertent,' but former WWF employees have said they were
actually planned ahead of time, with the idea being to deny it publicly
to protect their business associates (sponsors, Viewer's Choice, USA
Network, UPN, etc.)." While this instance of nudity occurred during a
pay-per-view event, frontal nudity has already appeared on WWF
Smackdown! (October 7, 1999) which airs on network television and
begins in the first hour of prime time.
This is the #1 Alert on The PTC site this week. Did you people didn't
think they just went away? The PTC has said numerous times that they
only monitor "broadcast" television. (ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox/UPN) So what is
up with them now monitoring PPV's? Also if you notice they speak of the
USA network which is also not "broadcast" television, it is cable. Why
are they doing this?

The answer is simple, their agenda is against the WWF and pro

There is huge list of businesses that sponsor the PTC. Some even sell
WWF merchandise. (how ironic is that, huh?)

It is time that we as a united group write each and every company that
supports the PTC and collectively tell them that we will boycott their
products until they change their support of this self serving self
appointed watchdog group.
Go to (Wrestling Fans Against Censorship)
to speak you mind to these companies. It is time to fight fire with
Written by reader: Patty Therre (WCWNWOEdit)
This letter was printed by the 13 year old wrestling fan who's father
would not allow him to watch wrestling but who's mother now does.

<< My Mom on the other hand lets me watch it because she watched it
when she was a kid, although I doubt she has really knows just what's
on PPV's now-a-days.

Well, I've watched 2 PPV's where there's been non-accidental nudity on
it (and I'll probably get Armageddon), not that my Mom noticed. >>

The two lines above from this 13 year old, albeit very bright, boy say
so much. Moms SHOULD notice. They SHOULD be watching what their
13-year-old kids are seeing. This boy is exceptionally intelligent but
not all 13 year olds have the sensibilities of this one. My son is 14
and you better believe I watch what he does and if I allow him to watch
wrestling, at least I know I made the decision based on what I know.

It is scary to think there are parents out there who don't monitor what
their kids are doing. Later in the letter, Cammo states that he feels
it is fine to call his brother "slapnuts" and to tell another kid to
"suck it." He also says he would not hesitate to say it to his teacher
if he got angry.

I think, perhaps, this is the most telling of all. These shows DO
influence our kids and we parents are responsible for how they perceive
wrestling and what they mimic.

Sure, kids will find a way to see and hear whatever they want. I am not
so stupid as to think my son is not saying and seeing things that I
would not want him to. But as a role model, I feel that I should know
as much as I can about him and his viewing habits so I can better
parent him.

I stress that * I * want to parent him. Not the PTC. Parents need to
recognize that we have a responsibility to our kids whether they like
it or not. And we also need to recognize that there is a group who is
trying to do it for us and we need to become educated and aware so
these self-proclaimed "protection groups" don't feel justified in
throwing their weight around.

If you watch a wrestling show WITH your kids, you can better explain to
them what is right and wrong and why. If you allow very young kids to
watch and draw their own conclusions, then the PTC will have proven
their point
and that is the last thing I want to see happen.
-Patty Therre
*** Please visit my website at ***
Written by reader: Nicholas Rizzuto (Primus573)
I am getting sick and tired of people putting down American wrestling
fans. Just because people don't particularly like a wrestler does not
mean that they are not "real wrestling fans", even if that wrestler is
at the talent level of say, a Chris Benoit.

American wrestling fans seem to enjoy wrestlers with personality,
someone who entertains them and sometimes someone they can relate to
(Steve Austin's kill the boss routine). Does this make them any less
fans than Japanese fans, NO. Let me bring something to the attention to
all of the "real wrestling fans" out there. I can't stand these people
who claim to be "real wrestling fans" just because they respect
wrestlers for their wrestling talent.

On a personal level, I consider myself a real wrestling fan because I
enjoy wrestling for its entertainment value, and the talent of the
performers. Someone else may consider themselves a real wrestling fan
because they enjoy watching the Rock coming out every week, doing his
shtick, and dropping the peoples elbow. This does not make them any
less of a fan than a Japanese person who enjoys watching wrestling tear
into their opponent with shards of glass or barbed wire.

In closing I'd just like to say that just because you've seen a few
Japanese Wrestling programs, don't make yourself think you are a real
wrestling fan, you're no more real than the rest of us.
-Nicholas Rizzuto (Primus573)
Written by reader: SCG8699
If Bruno did come to WCW, even for a one-time shot, I'd buy every WCW
tie-in product available. To those of us in the Northeast (Even though
I'm in Tampa now), Bruno is still the GOD of wrestling. Meltzer and the
other critics can go on about workrate and whatever, but BRUNO is the
GOD of wrestling....

He should go on badmouth the WWF, badmouth WCW, beat the crap out of
Zbyszko one more time...not a match, but just Bruno in street clothes
ko'ing Mr Handicap Golfer..and then Bruno can be a figure head
president... Considering how WCW's main goal lately is to emulate
everything about the WWF, the idea of getting Bruno is hypocritical.
Written by reader: Kshi8762
This is in regard to the UK fellow trying to bring up a controversy
surrounding Billy Gunn and his kids at RAW. What the heck is wrong
with it?

Yes, the WWF says they don't aim their product at children, and yes
these may be young kids, but these are Bill's kids. With all the
travel that is involved in being a big modern federation wrestler, one
probably rarely gets to see his children, and they probably rarely get
to see their father work.

Billy chose to let his children attend the event so that they could see
and be proud of their father. Get over it, their HIS KIDS, NOT YOURS,
you have no right to question his actions or motivations.
Written by reader: BretHartHA
As soon as I finished calling in and listening to Wednesday's WCW Live!
broadcast, I've visited several newsboards and read even more
newsletters about The Warrior negotiating with WCW. But instead of
giving the guy another chance, I read people saying unnecessary things,
such as, "So?", "Bad worker," "The gimmick is old," and all of that
other crap.

I'm simply sick of it, and I honestly don't see why people have to jump
on The Warrior. Maybe because he chose to go to WCW last year rather
than going back to the WWF, but whatever the case, everyone has to give
him the credit he deserves, because there's no way that the general
wrestling fan could say that he/she didn't enjoy watching wrestling
when The Ultimate Warrior was the WWF Champion.

He's done enough where he has made a big mark in the sport, and if he
resigns with WCW, I bet he'll make another. Yeah, the gimmick is old,
but correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Vince Russo himself say that
he'd rejuvenate the gimmick into a more modern character? He has the
reputation of being a bad worker. If memory serves me correctly (As I
heard this story about 3 or 4 years ago), didn't The Warrior not show
up to WWF house shows because his father passed away? And in WCW, if
anyone works under Bischoff, expect the worst and never hope for the

Given the right opportunity, The Warrior could prove to be one of the
greatest wrestlers – again -- this sport has ever had. Think about the
matches he would have against people like Shane Douglas, Bret Hart,
Chris Benoit, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Goldberg, etc. The
only reason I can think of, of why The Warrior hasn't been able to
re-mark himself in this sport since he left the WWF the first time is
because of lack of opportunity.

Let's face it: working a match against someone like Hulk Hogan nowadays
isn't going to get anyone anywhere. Putting up a mike duel for a month
isn't going to give anyone hype unless you're Steve Austin or The Rock.
If Russo gives The Warrior the opportunity, we just might see that big
6.7 rating come along, only in this time it would be in WCW.
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The staff of The Wrestling Booking Sheet
Editor: Steve Appy
Columnist: Mark George
Columnist: SamJerry
Columnist: Fritz Capp
Columnist: Rick Phelps
Columnist: Cindy Barnes
Columnist: Josh Hewitt
Columnist: Swami
Columnist: Tom Misnik
Columnist: Nate Pelley
Columnist: Robert Troy (Osiris)
Tom Kirkbride
Columnist: Ryan S. Oaks
Columnist: Darren Kramer

Any submissions sent in by readers or columnists become the property of The Wrestling Booking Sheet, and are subject to editing due to grammar, spelling, or content. Any information taken from The Wrestling Booking Sheet must be credited properly, with our E-Mail address listed. We have no problem if you want to use our stuff; just credit it properly.

Copyright- Steve Appy of The Wrestling Booking Sheet ©1998, 1999, 2000


"When you're young and you pick up a guitar, it feels so powerful. It feels like you pulled the sword from the stone. I used to believe that it could save the world. But I don't really believe that anymore." - Bruce Springsteen

"The greatest challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism
after you lose your innocence and believing in the power of the human
spirit after you come crashing into the limits of the real adult
world." - Bruce Springsteen


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