The New Blood Angle: Good on Paper, Bad in Reality"
August 17, 2006 by Josh Asplund
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I'm sure many remember the year 2000 of WCW. The year they may have had the chance to turn the company around one last time, but which they eventually blew. The chance I'm talking about was The New Blood angle; the New Blood, consisting of younger guys, against the Millionaire's Club of older guys. What I'm doing here is analyzing and speculating what could've possibly worked in that angle with the right booking and planning.
First, a little background story. It all started in Nitro, April 10th of 2000. All the talent, except some of the older wrestlers, were standing in and outside of the ring. Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson and Mark Madden, the announcers at that time, were hyping how they didn't know what was going on and that Vince Russo, The powers that be, had called the meeting. When all the wrestlers had arrived, Jeff Jarrett took the mic and introduced Vinny Ru. Russo ranted for a while about how the old guys had kept the younger guys down for years, which was actually true. He vowed that it was all over now and that he was back in charge. Suddenly a voice interrupted him saying: Are you done yet" It was Eric Bischoff, who started walking down the ramp. "This is it, Bischoff vs Russo, round 1!", shouted the ever stupid comments calling Mark Madden. But no. When Bischoff stepped into the ring, he shook hands with Russo and they hugged. Then it was Bischoff who ranted against the old guys and called them out to the ramp. He took shots against all the guys standing on the ramp: Sting, Luger, DDP and Sid Vicious. Then Russo took a shot against the one that hasn't arrived yet: Ric Flair, saying he was a "piece of shit at the bottom of my shoe!" After that all titles were stripped so there would be a brand new playing feild. During that Nitro many new feuds started as well as angles that were in many ways shocking. I'm going to analyze them now and speculate a bit.
Ric Flair vs Shane Douglas
These two were (and maybe still are) rivals in reality for some reason in the past. The feud started when Flair was in the ring cutting a promo on Russo and Bischoff and Douglas attacked him. At Spring stampede these two fought each other in a tag team tournament finals. Hmm, maybe that was a bit odd start to the feud but still build up for their other match in Slamboree. Douglas beat Flair in that match when Buff Bagwell and Flairs son David interfered and the feud ended short. And the stupid part was that Russo was interfering to almost every match they had. He was swinging the baseball bat even more than Sting that time. Maybe with more length and build up this feud could've been way better.
Kevin Nash vs Mike Awesome
This wasn't exactly a feud as these two never had a one-on-one match. Still, it started in a bit controversial way. Mike Awesome had just left ECW and appeared on that April 10th Nitro to attack the already crippled Nash. Awesome was one of the hottest topics in wrestling since he had left ECW as their heavyweight champion. Luckily for ECW, he couldn't appear with the belt on Nitro, so Bischoff couldn't do what he had done with WWF Women's title years ago: Throw it in the trashcan. The feud itself wasn't much. Nash appeared in Spring stampede to do a revenge attack on Awesome, costing him a match in the ongoing US-title tournament. If they'd really build this one with angles other than attacks and added matches, this could've been a success on some way.
Jeff Jarrett vs Diamond Dallas Page
This feud might have been a few of the better feuds, though Russo did one fatal mistake: He brought in David Arquette and even made him the World champion. Both Jarrett and DDP were quite good in the ring and had pretty good mic skills so the feud could've been made for months. But bringing Arquette in may have screwed it all up. Of course Russo and Bischoff were all over it and DDP's wife who turned heel and joined the New Blood didn't do much else other than cost DDP the World title match at Spring stampede...
Sting vs Vampiro
This was perhaps the longest actual feud going on during the New Blood angle, and one of the most interesting in my opinion. This feud started at that same Nitro on April 10th when Vampiro attacked Sting during his match against DDP to determine who would face Jarrett for the World title in Spring Stampede. Sting and Vampiro would then face off at the Stampede in the US-title tournament in which Sting won and went to finals against Scott Steiner. During the final however, Vampiro came from under the ring and pulled Sting into that hole. When he finally lifted Sting back up, he was bleeding from the mouth. So he lost the match. Vampiro claimed in the later shows that he was Stings anti-hero and the monster that Sting should've been. Sting then suffered a loss to Vampiro when the mysterious blood fell from the ceiling and covered him. Actually the result was a no contest, in a 1st Blood match. Later on these two battled in a graveyard and Vampiro tried to bury Sting alive, unsuccessful. Sting beat Vampiro at Slamboree and beat him up even more after the match. At Great American Bash these two faced again in an inferno match, not the same one WWF had had couple times in the past though. They brawled to the balcony of the arena where Sting switched to a stuntman who was then lit into fire and tossed down. Nice concept, but since Sting kept returning it wasn't very convincing. The feud continued for a while when Sting battled with the KISS Demon ,who was part of Vampiros group called Dark Carnival, in New Blood Rising PPV. At Fall Brawl Sting finally defeated Vampiro in a three way match where The Great Muta was also involved. This feud really was quite good, though some changes should've been made, like lesser stipulation matches.
Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig vs "The Perfect One" Shawn Stasiak
Another feud that started with a bit of controversy. Stasiak had just been fired from WWF and appeared to attack Hennig in his match with Jeff Jarrett at the April 10th Nitro. This feud was also quite short lived since these two battled only in Slamboree. Stasiak won by using Hennigs own finisher, the Hennig plex and the feud ended right there. Stasiak later on joined the Natural Born Thrillers, a group of Power Plant rookies consisting Mark Jindrak, Mike Sanders, Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire among few others. Hennig's contract expired on summer of 2000 so he was gone.
Hulk Hogan vs Billy Kidman
"Hulk Hogan is the biggest egomaniac there is", stated Billy Kidman in that same Nitro that started a lot of things. Hogan came out and the two had a brawl. Hogan was beating up Kidman pretty well until Eric Bischoff, Hogan's supposed friend ran in with a chair and hit Hogan with it. "Oh my god he hit Hogan!", screamed Schiavone. Then Kidman "pinned" Hogan by Bischoff counting the fall. Hogan got his revenge on Kidman at Spring Stampede by interfering in Kidman's match in the US-title tournament and costing him the match. At the Nitro following, he threw Kidman into a dumpster and ran a Hummer into it. So Kidman was "dead", but eventually came back.Then Kidman had another "big win" in a handicap match with him and Mike Awesome against Hogan. The two had one more match in Slamboree, which Hogan won with the help of his relative Horace. Later on Kidman and Hogan all of a sudden joined forces when Kidman turned face while refereeing a match with Hogan and Jarrett.
To the end I'll add some other memorable concepts in the New Blood angle.
Goldberg's Heel Turn
Goldberg had been away for a while in 2000. He returned at the Great American Bash to interfere in the WCW title match between Kevin Nash and Jeff Jarrett. To everyone's surprise, he speared Nash (who was face at that time) and joined New Blood. Unfortunately, the fans aggressively rejected the turn, throwing trash to the ring. Since the turn wasn't successful, Goldberg was quite soon turned back to face.
This guy had been around in several angles since 1999. Even in January 2000, when Benoit left WCW, Russo had planned to put the WCW world title on him, since some of the others were injured. Luckily Russo was temporarily removed from his position before he had the chance to do that. Later on Abbott battled with the Steiner brothers and Goldberg and then he had become a groupie for the stable Three count.
The Bash at the Beach "screw job"
There are many speculations about this. I'm backing the theory presented in the book Death of WCW: This was a half work, half-shoot that turned into a full fledged shoot. Hulk Hogan was supposed to lose to Jeff Jarrett in a title match at BATB. But of course that didn't happen. So Russo decided to put him in order. So, when the match begun, Jarrett laid down for Hogan, Russo came in, threw the belt to the ring and left. Hogan took the mic and told Russo that because of bullsh*t like this, WCW was in the state it was in. Then he covered Jarrett, took the belt and left WCW for good. Later on, Russo cut the infamous shoot on Hogan. He exposed what was going on backstage between him and Hulkster and swore the audience would never see Hogan again. Then he vacated the title. The conclusion was: "Hogan, you bald son of a b***h, kiss my a**!!!" Shocking event to say the least but so it goes in the world of professional wrestling.
As a conclusion to this column I can say: The New Blood angle was a pretty good plan on the paper. It was just too hard to make happen in reality, because of the backstage politics and the lack of planning, concentration and thinking. It was still more about the ratings than the actual shows. There are some concepts missing in this column so feel free to send add-ons to this.
by Josh Asplund ..
good article, very well put together. I admit when WCW was having so many more problems than before i was about to give up on it completely, the new blood angle did catch my though. All the feuds that were going on along with the planning got screwed up by accident though, when Eric Bishoff was gone and Vince Russo came in, of coarse there were more problems because of the politics of Billionaire Ted's(just had to say that) network since it was a new environment and didn't know how to handle it, but when Bishoff came back in and just like before had nothing but meetings with politics who he's never heard of or seen before telling both Russo and Bishoff how to run there wrestling show. The biggest problem was that wrestling "didn't" fit into their portfolio and the ratings and they never gave Bishoff and Russo too much input on the planning for the angle accept the concept and it was made up by the politics from there. Another problem that i think everyone knows is the money part, too much money going into production and not enough coming back in.
Besides the Mike Awesome controversity, The Hulk Hogan BATB screwjob was yet the 2nd screwjob that Russo has done to somebody and gave him more bad carma in the industry and it was also a shocker, he was responsible as much as Vince MacMahon when the Montreal screwjob happened. Mike Awesome was just the Federal Injunction part of controversity just to kill ECW.
One thing that was missing from the angle was Raven, Raven was actually gonna be offered to do some of the writing on the angle but left when it was just the concept of it.
Brian Bertrand wrote:
One thing that I hated about WCW was it's downward spiral to it's puddle of New Blood. I personally didn't like the way it turned out. Yes, a lot of of these rivals would have been better (Flair vs.
Douglass for one...Sting vs. Dark Carnival) but it just became another one of those things where they write it out long before they see it played out.
That's what's hurt WCW during that time because of Vince Russo. Yes, I blame Vince Russo because he went and turned what was a good company with the slight re-embergence of nWo 2000 into the moronic company that gave their World Title, which was held by many, many, good wrestlers, to an actor just to promote their movie.
I, along with many die hard ECW fans were more than pissed when Mike Awesome went and jumped ship to WCW.
I get that he got more money out of it but, damn, they gave him the "That '70s Guy" gimmick. That alone was punishment enough for him.
The Sting/Carnival feud was by far the only part of the feud that I looked forward to watching. I loved how they gave The Demon a more demonic image than Gene Simmons himself intended. It was just one o those darker storylines that gave the fans something cool to watch besides the Corporate Ministry angle on WWF.
Too bad that it was way too short for them to continue on. I am a big KISS fan and loved to check out Dale Torborg as a gimmick from them. To see him become a rather powerful force in WCW and the Dark Carnival was just something that really worked well for him.
All in all, the New Blood angle had stupid twists and awkward/unnecessary turns and it turned out in a worse direction that Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff had in mind. I don't blame Easy E. for any of this. He just ran out of ideas once nWo 2000 came back for a while.
That's why he brought in Vince Russo. Unfortunately, Russo had a bad tendency of going with his "shock and awe" value in wrestling production. It just didn't work out and Vince McMahon obviously noticed that so he just bought it and killed it because he had to take out Russo's trash.
Brian J. Adkins wrote:
An okay article as it covered the basics of the storyline. I say it was both a bad idea on paper and reality for a few reasons.
1) We had two factions/gangs against one another. This was a formula far too similar to the nWo vs. WCW storyline that ran for far too long in the company.
2) Too many inconsistencies in regard to whom would be "New Blood" and whom would be in "The Millionaires Club." The main idea was that the younger guys were being held down by the older ones,yet Goldberg,who was only on his third year of wrestling,was making money well above anything an actual rookie would make due to his popularity. DDP certainly looked his age but was in reality only entering i believe his fifth year as a full-time wrestler. Scott Steiner was had been in the sport for at least 14 years but was considered "New Blood."
3) Using off-camera,internet,"insider" (whatever you want to call it) comments and feuds that a majority of the audience did not understand such as the Douglas-Flair feud which ws started with interviews in other companies by Douglas against Flair and never fully explained within the WCW storyline except that Douglas felt he had been held down by Flair when he was there back in 1989.
4) Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff using unoriginal ideas. Vampiro-Sting was another case of Kane-`Taker. David Flair betraying his dad Ric had been done over a year before this. Plus any of the other "Crash TV" style he used for the shows that had been prominently used in the then-WWF. Bischoff wanting his guys on top of the card. (See No. 7.)
5) Not allowing feuds to grow organically within the storyline. What i mean by that is that they seemed to have guys fighting for no discernable reason. Look at Mike Awesome and Kevin Nash. I don`t think there was ever a reason given as to why Awesome came out and attacked Nash. It couldn`t have been because Awesome felt held down by Nash,because Mike had just entered the company.
6) Hitting the "re-start" button. Stripping everyone of their titles was a huge mistake. It was telling viewers none of these guys deserved to be champions and that the company didn`t know what it was doing. The fact that they didn`t is a moot point as the fans shouldn`t be able to realise it. A better route would have been to slowly and patiently develop feuds and storylines to where we would have new champions. Look at the mid to late 90`s WWF,when it was in trouble it didn`t vacate all their titles they simply went in another direction which can be seen in small amounts from roughly `96 until it became the full-blown "Attitude" era.
7) Politics. From many different people and many different reasons.
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