WWE History: Ranking Ex-WCW Attitude Era Wrestlers That Helped Bring Down WCW!
What do Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan and Macho Man have in common? Well, if you read the title you probably already know–they jumped ship from the WWF to WCW.
If the three most iconic WWF superstars of the '90s jumped ship and joined already established WCW stars like Sting and Ric Flair, just how the heck did WCW lose the Monday Night Wars?!
The truth is WCW had an abundance of established superstars but were lacking when it came to developing and booking their young guns. This gave rise to the phrase "WCW is where old wrestlers go to die."
Due to the over-saturation of legends and limited airtime, some of these young guns ended up leaving WCW and signing with the WWF for the sake of their careers. Furthermore, some of these wrestlers became instrumental in helping the WWF win Monday Night Wars.
Combine this with the AOL-Time Warner merger and a sub-par creative staff, we end up with a doomed company.
So let's acknowledge the wrestlers that WCW dropped the ball with.
People who had virtually no impact in the Attitude Era WWF (Vader, Brian Pillman, Dean Malenko, etc.) will be omitted.
Obviously WCW superstars who came to the WWF as a result of the buyout will be omitted (Rey Mysterio, Booker-T, Goldberg, etc.)
Must be solely employed by the WWF during the Attitude Era. In other words, they can't switch companies more than 2 times in the 90's so no Jeff Jarrett, Lex Luger, etc.
The Attitude Era in my eyes ended right after WCW was bought out. So things like Jericho winning the Undisputed Title and the entire invasion angle will NOT be taken into consideration.
"Dropped-the-ballness" is a scale from 1-10 grading how much WCW dropped the ball with that particular person.
"WCW Killing Power" is a scale from 1-10 grading how much the particular superstar killed WCW while in the WWF. You can also interpret it as how much TV ratings they brought in.
By combining how much WCW dropped the ball and how much that wrestler killed WCW, we end up with the "U F'd Up Number." The results will be in the last slide.
DQ: William Regal
Thank you dgettel2008 for the video.
Here we have Steven (William) Regal giving WCW golden boy Sting a beautiful out-of-nowhere backhand. The dialogue is pretty awful so you might just want to skip to around 1:10 or so. Hey Sting, "Where's my money!?"
Regal actually flip-flopped several times between WCW and WWF during the Attitude Era, so he's technically eliminated from my list. However, I really like the guy so I'll give him his props.
Dropped-the-ballness: 6/10. With WCW, Regal was mixing it up with the likes of Sting, Ric Flair and Jim Duggan.
Considering the heat he got, the caliber of wrestlers he was facing and the way he was unfairly released (going stiff vs Goldberg), WCW dropped the ball with Regal. However, it's not like Regal became legendary or anything.
WCW Killing Power: 2/10. Regal had some decent mid-card title reins and had a nice run as commissioner, but I doubt people specifically wanted to see William Regal. Hence, his WCW killing power is pretty low.
Thank you alntorias for the video.
*Warning* Contains adult content, profanity and Attitude Era awesomeness!
Ah, my main man Goldust makes it into another one of my articles!
He's eliminated from this list because he flip-flopped quite a bit, but come on, it's Goldust!
Dropped-the-ballness: 3/10. I don't think WCW dropped the ball with Runnels. As far as I'm concerned he was just another GWG (generic white guy) who happened to be the son of Dusty Rhodes.
Without his family ties, he would've had no chance shooting up the pecking order vs guys like Guerrero, Jericho, and Benoit who were already being overshadowed by the NWO feud.
Another thing to take into consideration is that Runnels went back to WCW during the Monday Night Wars—so it's hard to make a strong argument WCW dropped the ball with him.
WCW Killing Power: 7/10. Call me crazy, but I'm going on record as saying Goldust was the FIRST Attitude Era wrestler. He bridged the gap between the New Generation and the Attitude Eras with such a perverse and outlandish character.
Now, Goldust himself gave us only one great feud with Val Venis, but he showed the wrestling world that there are no limits to how obscene a character can be. Maybe this gave Steve Austin inspiration to evolve from The Ringmaster to Austin 3:16?
If this is true, then Goldust had some massive WCW Killing Power, even though he jumped ship to WCW in the middle of Monday Night Wars.
Thank you roofusgooner for the video.
This match wasn't all that interesting, but it is a significant moment in wrestling history. Also, look for a Goldust cameo!
To its credit, WCW treated their minority wrestlers right. Unlike WWE, they didn't burden them with characters revolving around stereotypes. This resulted in guys like Masahiro Chono (Japanese NWA World Heavyweight Champion) and Ron Simmons (African-American WCW World Heavyweight Champion) ascending to the top of the wrestling ladder.
Dropped-the-ballness: 5/10. It did seem like Simmons' WCW character was going stale so I don't think WCW entirely dropped the ball with him. Unless a character revamp was in store for Simmons, we can't really blame WCW for letting him go.
Despite being a college football legend, he wasn't that great in the ring and didn't have the charisma of a top draw. He is a future hall of famer though, so WCW isn't scot-free either.
WCW Killing Power: 3/10. Faarooq was instrumental in The Rock's development as a marquee name, so he gets points by association. Other than that, his Ministry of Darkness and A.P.A. characters weren't big enough to influence the Monday Night Wars.
Thank you Keefster for the video.
Part 2 is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBdDkp19hW8&feature=related
*Warning* This video contains some profanity!
This is a typical quality match from Benoit and Jericho during their NJPW days. I chose this match because Jericho is completely over the top in a good way. He's like a campy cartoon character which is what I think he was going for.
Dropped-the-ballness: 5/10. It seemed like WCW was begging Benoit to stay...they even put the WHC belt on him and he still left! So I can't really blame WCW for dropping the ball, since they did everything they could to keep him around and he still walked.
WCW Killing Power: 5/10. The fact that Benoit vacated the WHC was a huge slap in the face for WCW. To put it in modern day terms, WCW was the Cleveland Cavs, Benoit was LeBron, and the WWF was "South Beach". However, like Eddie Guerrero, Benoit's major accomplishments would happen after the buyout and didn't play much of a factor in bringing WCW down.
Thank you WrestlingandMMA for the videos!
*Warning!* Contains blood!
This is one of my favorite matches. It really gave HHH credibility as a champion.
Dropped-the-ballness: 3/10. According to Wikipedia, HHH signed a 1-year contract with WCW. After requests to be pushed as a singles wrestler were denied, he left. This is completely moronic by HHH. In virtually any company, you can't work for a year and then start telling people what to do. He should have been happy just to have a job. HHH was just beginning his blue-blood character (alongside William Regal) and he wasn't that impressive. He was on the small side in terms of physique, and didn't find his identity in the ring. I'm sure WCW was more than happy to release HHH.
WCW Killing Power: 10/10. When you drive to the opposing companies' arena in a tank, you get a perfect score. End of story. HHH may not have been as good on the mic as Austin or The Rock, but he was a ratings machine nonetheless. After shedding his aristocratic snob character, HHH cemented himself as one of the best ever.
Thank you itsclairebitch1 for the video.
Well, half of this video is unwatchable but the other half is just so over-the-top, borderline racist, and 100% entertaining. If Jerry used that Spanish accent anytime during the last 5 years he would have been fired on the spot...but this is the Attitude Era baby! Racism is good! (That was sarcasm by the way.)
Dropped-the-ballness: 10/10. WCW completely dropped the ball with Guerrero. He was the complete package and had a sustainable character which largely remained unchanged throughout his entire career. Although he chose to leave because of backroom politics, WCW should have realized Eddie's potential and done everything it could to keep him around. Yet another hall of famer that slipped through WCW's grasp.
WCW Killing Power: 4/10. He wasn't a huge player during the Attitude Era but did enjoy some good feuds with Chyna and Chris Jericho. However, most of his accomplishments with WWF happened after the buyout which is why his score is so low.
Thank you wrestlaz for the video.
*Warning!* Contains a heart punch! Skip to 1:30 for the insanity!
I would love to see some videos of Crush doing the heart punch, but this will suffice. The heart punch is so devastating! IT PARALYZES YOU (according to the video).
Dropped-the-ballness: 5/10. I don't really blame WCW for letting Mean Mark Callous go. He was obviously just a scab for Psycho Sid and didn't garner much of a crowd reaction. He also wasn't that big. He was billed as 6'9" in WCW (as stated in the video), then he gets billed as 7' in WWF a year later? SOMEBODY was lying to us. His gimmick was unsustainable and he didn't have a good look. His agility was uncommon for somebody of his size, but when you're a big man, you're expected to make bodyslams–not walking on the top rope. I can't remember a successful red-haired guy before Sheamus, so marketability in his present state was out of the question. He was big though...and big men always have a spot in the wrestling industry. I'm sure Bischoff will remember this in his next life.
WCW Killing Power: 9/10. Undertaker was a huge force in bringing down WCW. Whether it was crucifying people, burying them alive, almost killing Mick Foley, or simply winning belts, he did it all and generated huge ratings. I can't give him a 10 though because he missed a large chunk of the Attitude Era due to injury.
Thank you L3GEND3SIXTEEN for the video
Austin vs. Vince was by far the best feud of the Attitude Era. Zamboni's, hospital beat downs, guns, this feud had it all and perfectly encapsulates the Attitude Era.
Dropped-the-ballness: 5/10. Sure he had a little more charisma than the rest, but in reality he was just another GWG in WCW. Honestly, Disco Inferno was more interesting than Stunning Steve Austin.
Here's on old school photo from his tag team days:
There's no way you can tell me the man in that picture is marketable.
Austin did enjoy some success in WCW (he enjoyed several mid-card title reigns) but seemed destined to remain in mid-card limbo. His character was too boring and he just didn't have "it" at the time. Famously, WCW head honcho Eric Bischoff fired Austin because he didn't see him as marketable. Austin went to ECW for a bit before going to WWF.
WCW Killing Power: 10/10. Steve Austin IS the Attitude Era. There's really no debate, so I won't waste anybody's time. Austin broke his neck and missed quite a bit of Attitude Era time–which is why he doesn't get a 20/10.
Thank you skieryz for the videos
Foley takes a backseat in this video but it was also the highest rated segment in Raw history so I had to include it.
Dropped-the-ballness: 6/10. Foley didn't really fit the mold of WCW wrestling so you can't really blame them. WCW was more into actual wrestling, instead of gimmick matches, hardcore matches, and soap opera-type stuff, which Foley was a master at. He would fit in better with ECW which is where he eventually went. Still, the Vader-Cactus Jack feud brought in good ratings and he ended up getting over with the crowd–so I would have tried to hang on to him if I were WCW.
WCW Killing Power: 9/10. While he was featured prominently in the Attitude Era, he retired from wrestling and took a role as commissioner right when things were heating up. He also missed a bit of time from his "firing" angle.
The Big Show
Thank you DarkSamPL for the video.
As a kid, I thought this was the coolest thing ever. I also thought The Giant really died. Now, I see this whole segment was extremely stupid and a complete waste of time. It does bring back memories though.
Dropped-the-ballness: 10/10. Big men in wrestling are like running-backs in fantasy football–you get as many as possible even if it's just to ensure your opponents don't get him. You can never go wrong with a solid big man...which is why WCW dropped the ball with The Big Show. There's no way you let go of the largest athlete since Andre the Giant! Completely inexcusable. ANOTHER hall of famer down the drain!
WCW Killing Power: 6/10. Big Show quickly rose through the ranks in the WWF. He started out as Vince McMahon's lackey until he eventually won the WWF Championship. When you think of the Attitude Era, Big Show doesn't really come to mind, but he was there (he also had hair!).
Thank you TheAwesomeOne92 for the video
The man, the myth, the legend! Anybody else still get goosebumps over this? Here we have probably the best debut ever. If not, it was only outdone by Chris Jericho's return video in 2007.
The Internet would have completely destroyed this debut so I'm glad it happened a long time ago!
Dropped-the-ballness: 10/10. From Super Liger, to the Man of 1004 Holds, to Y2J, his character was mostly unchanged until 2008 when he began the whole "best in the world at what I do" phase. Unlike HHH or Steve Austin whose legendary characters arose from moving to different companies, Jericho found his niche while in WCW and they still let him walk. He had legions of fans even though he was a heel...similar to how people nowadays cheer for CM Punk. Like Eddie Guerrero, he had it all: mic skills, grappling skills, high flying ability...you name it, he had it. Completely inexcusable on WCW's part.
WCW Killing Power: 8/10. I regard Jericho as the last great Intercontinental Champion. After he moved on to the main event scene, the IC belt drastically lost value (Hardy and Mysterio were good, but not great). Still, I need to knock off some points because he wasn't really a main event player during the Attitude Era. He had great backstage segments and put on good matches, but they were usually for the IC or European Championships (remember his Undisputed reign would happen after the buyout). I'm sure he converted many WCW Jerichoholics into WWF fans and got huge ratings, but you always got the feeling he played second fiddle to Steve Austin, The Rock, and HHH.
Thank you TheGame173 for the video
2 more big players of the Attitude Era who aren't in this list are Kurt Angle and Edge so here's a video with them.
Here is a list of the U F'd Up Number (UFUN for short) for each superstar:
William Regal 8/20
Chris Benoit 10/20
Eddie Guerrero 14/20
The Undertaker 14/20
Steve Austin 15/20
Mick Foley 15/20
The Big Show 16/20
Chris Jericho 18/20
Thank you rumycube for the video
Just a little bonus video since there's room. Some of this video doesn't work, but it's a good compilation nonetheless.
There was no way for WCW to know Stunning Steve Austin would evolve into Stone Cold. Also, WCW would have never dreamed of turning Mean Mark Calloway into The Undertaker, but a great character and talent in Chris Jericho was in WCW's grasp, and they fumbled him away.
According to the UFUN, letting him walk was the biggest mistake WCW made. They should have pandered and been sycophantic to the great Chris Jericho while they had the chance.
It is also worth noting that all nine of these men are or will be in the Hall of Fame someday. So way to go, WCW!