WCW 2000 by Emerson Witner
In his critically acclaimed tome A Lion’s Tale, Chris Jericho told the story of him trying to get a pay per view match with WCW Champion Goldberg coming on the heels of a really fun storyline where Jericho kept challenging Goldberg to a match, mocked his entrance and beat a midget version of him.
Anyway, Eric Bischoff tried to have it happen on Nitro, but Jericho begged and pleaded to Bischoff, Goldberg and Hulk Hogan to let it happen on the World War 3 1998 show. Long story short, Hogan told him he needed to raise the bar by wrestling Bobby Duncum Jr.
Just kidding. He said “It’s never bad to lose to the champion.” Despite that, Jericho didn’t wrestle Goldberg until 2003 and, in fact, did wrestle Duncum on the ppv.
With that in mind, we go back in time to May 1, 2000. Both WWF and WCW just crowned new champions on the last show that aired. WWF put their title on future A-List actor The Rock.
WCW put their title on past, present and future D-List actor David Arquette.
For the past 13 years almost every interview Vince Russo does, the host asks him about Arquette winning the title. One of the reasons Russo gives in defense is Arquette won the title not by pinning Jeff Jarrett or Diamond Dallas Page. He won by pinning non-wrestler Eric Bischoff. Okay, if you are going to put the title on him, regardless of what common sense tells you, that is a good idea.
With that in mind, we go to Nitro where Arquette cuts a promo bad enough that DDP face palms. He then announced that he is forfeiting the title and putting it on the line in the Triple Cage Match at Slamboree with DDP and Jeff Jarrett. Okay, good idea. The guy is gonna get hurt, no one wants to watch him defend the title. Smart man.
Unfortunately Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo disagreed. They not only added Arquette to the afore-mentioned Slamboree Main Event and kill that buy rate, but kill the push of another WCW star: Tank Abbott by making Arquette vs Abbott.
Abbott was being built to be the jobber to Goldberg for Bill’s return after slicing and dicing his arm five months earlier. Much like Jericho, he made weekly challenges to Bill, mocked his entrance (as Tankberg) and beat up Mark Madden, which is much more fun than beating up pint sized Goldberg’s.
After some dilly dallying around with DDP, Kanyon, Jarrett and crew, Russo and Easy E agreed to a stipulation where Tank would first wrestle DDP and if Page wins, then Arquette doesn’t have to wrestle Tank later.
I don’t care if he is 10-15 as an MMA fighter, he would still kick my ass.
Short story shorter, Tank knocked Page out after Jarrett hit Dallas with Something.
Tank! That’s who!
Before the semi-main event of the go-home Nitro before the Slamboree pay per view (Hulk Hogan vs Mike Awesome went last), we got Vince Russo’s crowning achievement of 2000 where Courtney Cox did a pre-taped segment for free, telling David not to wrestle.
This was actually the second time Courtney was romantically linked to someone who had to fight Tank Abbott. On the episode of Friends titled “The One With The Ultimate Fighting Champion”, Monica (Cox) dated a guy named Paul who decided his mission in life was to be a UFC Champion. He then got destroyed by Tank in the cage.
By the way, Monica is only my third least-favorite character on Friends. Chandler and Ross were so much more annoying.
Back from that tangent, Tank Abbott isn’t even getting a World Title shot after knocking out one of the #1 Contender’s to the championship.
The match almost started great. Kanyon stormed to the ring with brass knuckles, but before he could get knocked the fuck out, WCW’s Red Headed Referee caught him and sent him to the back.
Tony told us to look away from the screen and for a show that was doing lower and lower ratings each week, is that really a smart idea.
Arquette tried a Spear. Edge can relax because his is better than David’s.
They proved that TNA stole WCW’s production team by twice in thirty seconds missing key moments. The first being Tank knocking Arquette out and the second being Page dropping Tank with a Diamond Cutter.
Unlike TNA they did make up for it by showing a replay of the Diamond Cutter after wards.
Anyhoo, Page dragged David over and the World Champion moves to 2-0.
So was a 45 second match really bad enough to be inducted? I mean I am not going to induct King Kong Bundy vs SD Jones or Diesel vs Bob Backlund.
I answer in the affirmative. 45 seconds was just enough to ruin whatever credibility Tank had built up. The show did a rating of a 2.5, which was down from the prior weeks 3.1 and 5 weeks later the show with Goldberg’s return did a 2.8, down from the prior weeks 3.0. in the interest of fairness, the Goldberg vs Tank match did a 2.9, which yes, is higher than the rating for the show. Slamboree, with Arquette defending did a buyrate so low, that WCW refused to release it (estimated at a 0.14 or 56,000 buys in Death of WCW (10th Anniversary Edition coming soon))
The sign asks a serious question.
There were 18 WCW Title victories in the year 2000. at 12 days David Arquette had a longer reign than Chris Benoit (who admittedly quit the day after winning), Sid Vicious, Jeff Jarrett three times, DDP, Ric Flair twice, Kevin Nash, Booker T and Vince Russo.
Since the graph I did for Survivor Series 1991 got over so well, I made this graph of everyone who won the WCW Title in the year 2000. A full asterisk denotes that this reign was during a period when Russo left WCW. Half an asterisk denotes that they won the title under Russo’s watch, but Vince left during the reign.
And no, Jeff Jarrett at 8 days being listed twice isn’t a mistake.
It never hurts to lose to the champion, but in the year 2000 very few people did. Tank Abbott was one of them.