Well, it’s finally official. We have another Monday Night War.
Ok, ok…I know. One side thinks it’s a war. The other side seems unaware that it is even being attacked. I think Lance Storm put it best with his analogy that this was like “Canada declaring war on the USA, with Canada deciding to lead the charge with mainly veteran soldiers from WWII, because none of the current soldiers in the Military have big war experience.”
And spare us the hate mail, Nathaniels of this world. Look at the Nielsen ratings. WWE’s Raw did a 3.4 to TNA Impact’s 0.98. Now if you want to break down ratings for quarter hours and particular segments, go to Bryan Alvarez’s Figure 4 Daily and see how everything scored. But here’s a sneak peak for you: in the first Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair match in over a decade, the pair combined to score the lowest ratings of the night at a 0.76.
That, friends, is an amazing, complete, and utter failure. Seriously, that’s two of the biggest stars in wrestling history, and now they are at the very bottom of the ratings barrel. That, honestly, is astounding.
But I can hear all of you passionate TNA fans out there. “It’s the first week! It doesn’t happen overnight!” and “WWE is building up Wrestlemania! Wait til after!” Okay, fair enough. But…in my lone opinion (Note from RD: you are definitely not alone in this opinion), I don’t think much is going to change. “The more things change, the more they stay the same” is an apropos quote in this situation.
(Note from RD: I’ll stick with my motto here: The less things change, the more they stay the same.)
Along with Flair and Hogan on this nonsensical ride is none other than the man who masterminded WCW’s rise in the mid ’90’s: Eric Bischoff. A lot has been written about the guy over the years, but you have to give the devil his due: when the original Monday Night War started, no one gave WCW a chance against the WWF. Bischoff, though, made all the critics eat their words by creating a revolutionary product, one completely different from that which wrestling fans were accostumed to seeing.
As WCW stomped the WWF every week in the ratings, Bischoff would gloat about how he was sticking it to the WWF, and in particular, to Vince McMahon. In fact, McMahon seemed to be an obsession with Bischoff, and soon enough, Vince was firing shots back at the competition in return.
I should note that while Bischoff was corking off at Vince, Vince never really retuned the favor.
You see, Bischoff was at war with McMahon.
McMahon always claimed to be at war with Ted Turner.
And I’ve gotta believe that ate Eric alive.
Regardless of who viewed who as the general in each army, it truly became a war. Silly antics were played on both sides, with one memorable night seeing D-Generation X show up at a WCW Nitro at the Norfolk Scope.
Natuarlly, the group was barred from the arena so the next week they decided to “invade” WCW’s modest looking headquarters in Smyrna, GA.
You know, even though I knew better, I always liked to think WCW was located at the Techwood drive studio. Guess it’s the old WCW Saturday Night girl in me.
Pity we were shown otherwise.
So anyway, DX got no further at the headquarters, fended off by a security guard who honestly had no idea what was going on.
The cops were called and told that “twenty-five guys” were “attacking” their offices.
If Shawn were around, I bet they would have been Marines.
So yeah, the crew rolled around, looking for WCW, in what was unquestionably the weirdest remake of Hogan’s Heroes you could ever fathom.
Denied entrance at both the arenas and WCW HQ, DX resorted to heading to CNN Center.
There they were joined by two elderly women who appeared to be Clare Peller (former WrestleMania time keeper and Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” shillmeister) and the creepy preacher guy from Poltergeist 2.
(Quick note from RD: A lot of people have fond memories of these skits. I do too. Something those of you who haven’t read Death of WCW may not know is they actually led to a lawsuit, as the WWF went so far as to digitally alter the sign outside the Scope to read that “Tickets are still available” when in fact they weren’t. This led to one of many real-life lawsuits between the two companies.)
The DX bait was taken as that evening on Nitro, as Eric Bischoff decided enough was enough and decided he just had to respond to these attempts by the WWF to “invade” WCW by riding out to the ring on his Hog.
Note the “Hogan is Just Too Old” sign there.
This, I should note, was 12 years ago.
Bischoff addressed DX’s “invasion” attempts by saying that Vince has been conveeeeniently sending DX to places where Vince knows he will not be and by calling the members of DX “puppets”. This from a guy who was the Woozel named Peanut to Kevin Nash’s Jeff Dunham.
He says that this situation could be rectified easily because WCW’s Slamboree PPV will be coming to the WWF’s “backyard” of Worcester, Massachusetts this upcoming Sunday.
So he issues an open invitation to Vince to fight him in the ring at the PPV.
He then adds the brilliant selling point that if the fans expect Vince to show up to not buy the PPV.
That bait and switch claim came up a few days later on WCW Thunder, with Bischoff reading a letter in the middle of the ring from Vince’s attorney “the famed and terrifying” Jerry McDevitt, saying that Vince won’t be showing up to the PPV (and stated as much on the WWF’s official website).
McDevitt also claimed that Bischoff, by telling the fans a match WON’T happen EXPECT the match to happen.
See, because wrestling is built on lies.
Wouldn’t you have loved to see that statement argued in a court of law?
Bisch reiterates his challenge and says Head of Security Doug Dillinger will be looking out for Vince at the building.
Not to cast aspirsions, but I wouldn’t count on Doug to look out for anything, as he was known to take naps many times as fans raided the wrestlers’ locker rooms.
The pitiful desperation continues as Bisch does a Frank Miller-directed nWo “paid announcement” taunting Vince and training incredibly hard for this fight that isn’t going to happen.
This kinda reminds me of an incident around the same time, when Jim Cornette challenged Paul Heyman to a “shoot fight” at the Eddie Gilbert Memorial Brawl to draw a few more people in attendance for the show that was scheduled to run in ECW’s backyard of Philadelphia.
Paul E’s response: he told Cornette to go f*** himself.
The day of the PPV comes and Bischoff is given a modest introduction on his way to the ring by Michael Buffer.
Bisch is gearing up to do battle as Michael Buffer announces, “From Stamford, Connecticut: Vincent K. McMahon.”
Just as predicted, no one steps through the smoke-filled door. Nowadays if this sort of angle is done, they’ll have a crummy impersonator and have a bad 10 minute match as the fans boo and chant.
Buffer announces him yet again and still, Vince doesn’t come through the door. Even Tony Schiavone sounds annoyed that they’re going through this whole charade.
If you want real comedy, kids, then you owe it to yourself to watch this match on WWE Classics On Demand. Instead of silence for Vince’s ‘entrance’, we are treated to his entrance theme, “No Chance in Hell!”
I’ve heard of people taking WWE to court for their revisionist history, but that is such a bizarre edit that I am honestly left speechless.
So Bischoff argues with the referee like it’s his fault Vince isn’t here and says that they have no choice but to count Vince out.
I’d mock Eric for this, but really, how much more silly is it than the Billionaire Ted skits?
Oh right – we’ve inducted that too.
You stink, Bischoff!
If you thought everyone in the crowd hated this, you’d be wrong.
As you can see, Corky was very happy with the match.
One count out later, Eric is awared the match as the fans boo.
Eric revels in the victory…one of the last he’d get over Vince, real or imaginary.
To think, years later when Vince finally bought WCW and Bischoff joined the company he competed with and obsessed over…they hugged in the middle of the ring. As RD once stated, that was like taking a barrel filled with money and setting it ablaze.
And now it looks like Bischoff wants to compete with Vince once again, 12 years later.
Good luck, Uncle Eric.
You’re gonna need it.