Note from RD: As I look back over this induction, I find it not only ironic that it was originally written on the eve of the last ever Nitro, but also that it was a huge focal point of my second book, The Death of WCW. Since many of my fellow Crappers have emailed me that they enjoy reading the old posts unedited, I have left this one as is. The one thing I would like to mention, however, is that Arquette not only fought Russo on the title switch (as he, being a wrestling fan, knew folks would hate it), he also donated all the money he earned in wrestling to the families of Darren Drozdov, Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart. And for that, he should be commended. Enjoy.
As I write this, we are just hours before the final Nitro ever to air on TNT. Fingers will forever be pointed at the various causes of WCW’s demise. Eric Bischoff giving huge contracts to lazy workers. Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash and their massive politcking behind the scenes. Vince Russo and his horrible storylines.
Make no mistake about it – WCW did a lot of really bad things in the year 2000. “That 70’s Guy” Mike Awesome and the Lava Lamp Lounge. Booker T as GI Bro. Vince Russo … Vince Russo … Vince Russo just being Vince Russo.
But according to readers of this very site, the David Arquette WCW World title reign was indeed the worst of the worst in 2000 edging out the WWF’s Mae Young by less than 1% of the vote.
Arquette, for those of you who don’t know, is the goofball in those horrible collect call commercials. No, not the hot chick – that’s Alyssa Milano. No, not the black guy with chains – that’s Mr. T. No, Arquette is the annoying twig of a man that is famous for almost nothing, save for being married to Friends star Courtney Cox.
Leave it to WCW, then, to come up with the idea that a title reign by this minor, borderline celebrity was the way to pop ratings and increase buyrates.
As is often the case with situations like these, things started out innocently enough. Arquette showed up on WCW television to promote the WCW movie Ready to Rumble. The movie itself was an abomination, a black eye on wrestling fans everywhere.
So of course, we’ve included it in this update as well.
No, the problem wasn’t the promotion of some grade B movie. The problem was that WCW actually began to put Arquette in the ring (with his entrance music being this pathetic remake ofTwisted Sister’s heavy metal classic “We’re Not Gonna Take It”), taking on fellow non-wreslters like Eric Bischoff.
Still, no harm, no foul, right?
Arquette was befriended in storylines by Diamond Dallas Page, Arquette’sR2R co-star. A tag match was set up for Arquette and Page to take on Jeff Jarrett and Bischoff, with the WCW World belt on the line.
It what can only be termed as the single dumbest promotional move of all time, Arquette actually wound up pinning Bischoff to become the WCW World Champion. Here’s Tony Schiavone’s call of the action.
Yes, fans, take a good, long look at the picture to the left. That image, more than anything, was the cause of WCW’s downfall: horrible, horrible booking that no one wanted to see.
As if it weren’t bad enough to have Arquette as a fluke champion, WCW actually continued the storyline, and Arquette began to defend the title against legitmate contenders…
…even going so far as to pin Tank Abbott.
If you listened closely in this match, you could actually hear the toilet flush on Tank’s career.
As was often the case in WCW, things went from bad to worse. Arquette defended the title at Slamboree 2000 in a triple decker cage match (much like the one in the movie) against DPP and Jeff Jarrett.
But, and I know this will come as a shock to anyone who followed Vince Russo’s booking of WCW – Arquette was with Jarrett and company all along!!
It was all a big SWERVE!!!
In fact, it was the “ultimate swerve” according to Tony!!!
Arquette proceeded to come out on Nitro and cut the single worst heel promo in the history of the sport, sounding like he was hanging out with Jake Roberts before the show.
So the question at the end of the day is “Why? Why did WCW do something so stupid?”
The answer, it seems, is that Vince Russo wanted to screw all the hardcore fans. He wanted to prove that he could do whatever he wanted, hardcore fans be damned.
WCW proceeded to go out of business, and Vince Russo is now unemployed.