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Five things I miss about WCW
By Scott Fishman |
Every time I pop in a WWE DVD release chronicling someone, an event or anything related to WCW I get a little nostalgic. The now defunct promotion definitely had its flaws, which are well-documented. However, there were some really great things about WCW that I miss. Competition is always good, and when they were around it was one of the funniest periods in pro wrestling and sports entertainment.
Here are five things I miss about WCW:
The Cruiserweight Division: This was something to this day no other organization could replicate how good the cruiserweight division was. It was such a diverse group of talented performers, and they all pretty much stole the show on whatever event they were on. Many of these incredible athletes event went on to win the WWE or world championship such as Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero. A lot of times they were in the opening bout, but kudos to Eric Bischoff and WCW for seeing how spectacular they were and giving them the 20 or so minutes to impress the crowds. You had wrestlers from all over the world, each with their own different style. Ultimo Dragon, Jushin "Thunder" Liger and Dean Malenko were among my favorites to watch. A lot of what they did was so ahead of its time and inspire high-flyers today.
Nitro/Saturday Night: Whether it was Monday night on TNT or "The Mothership" at 6:05 p.m. Eastern on TBS, I was hooked on WCW. Nitro helped WWE and Raw become the global phenomenon it is today. They pushed Vince McMahon to strive to be better. Would Raw have gone two or three hours if Nitro hadn't done it first? Would Raw have an overrun or even be live if Nitro hadn't forced their hand? Would Raw or WWE in general stopped using squash matches if Nitro hadn't been putting on PPV quality bouts on its show for free each week? Maybe, but the fact that WCW was doing all these things on their programming made WWE step up their game. One of the reasons I enjoyed Saturday Night was listening to Dusty Rhodes, who made any match entertaining for me. The early days of Saturday Night also had some great matches involving "Stunning" Steve Austin, Sting, Ric Flair, Dustin Rhodes, Cactus Jack, Vader and other top tier talent. It was the destination for your pro wrestling fix for quite some time. On top of all that Nitro and Saturday Night both had killer TV themes.
TV title: I think the television championship was the most underrated title going for a long time. There have been so many great men to hold the gold over its run in the NWA and WCW like Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. Those are true legends of the business, but my favorite TV champion was William Regal or Steven Regal. I love they used the 10-minute TV time limit as a way to build suspense for his title defenses. There was more than one occasion I was on the edge of my seat thinking someone like Psychosis was going to win it from him.
War Games: This is an obvious choice. "The Match Beyond" was a shell of its former self at the end of WCW, but it was such an awesome concept. It was the ultimate battle ground for factions or rivals to settle the score. There were so many classic War Games, majority of which involving the Four Horsemen against their enemies at the time. I would love to see this match brought back in WWE at some point and think now is the perfect time for it.
Factions: WCW had some of the best groups over their decades in existence. There were none greater than the Four Horsemen from an historic perspective. That said, there were others who stood out for me such as Paul Heyman's Dangerous Alliance. I would love for WWE to release a set revolving around this impressive assemblage of talent. It doesn't get much better than Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton and Madusa. The New World Order headed up by "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash broke relatively new ground. An "invading" group that wanted to take over a wrestling company was a new concept on U.S. soil. It helped transition Sting into a new evolution of his character and helped elevate Diamond Dallas Page as they fought the group. Lex Luger's popularity was off the charts when fighting the NWO. They changed WCW, putting them on the map to a growing audience.
Runner-Up: WCW/nWo Revenge: I was obsessed with that game. My friends would spend hours playing N64 just because of that. We set up storylines and made matches. It had one of the best rosters in the history of wrestling videogames. Technology may have improved substantially since this game came out, but it still holds a special place in my heart.