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What Could Have Been / WCW

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There are so many examples that it could fill its own page. Or a book. That too.

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    Main Roster 
  • In the early-mid 1990s, WCW signed Swedish amateur wrestler and Olympic bronze medalist Frank Andersson to a contract. Andersson was very good in the ring and got great reactions, but lasted less than a year. Had he stayed on, WCW might have had an amateur-turned-pro wrestler half a decade before Kurt Angle signed with WWF.
  • In 1995 when Greg Gagne was working for WCW he and his father Verne had several meetings with Aleksandr Karelin, the most decorated amateur wrestler in history. (Best known in the United States as the man Rulon Gardner beat for his 2000 Olympic gold medal upset.) Karelin was interested in retiring from competition and getting into professional wrestling after the 1996 Olympics. Karelin was a freakish athlete and would have been built into a monstrous heel challenger for Hulk Hogan. This would have led to a three-match series starting at the Great American Bash, a hypothetical pay per view event in Russia, and culminated at Starrcade '97. However, since Greg Gagne met with Karelin behind Eric Bischoff's back (after Bischoff had stolen credit for Gagne's ideas twice before, Gagne alleges), Gagne was fired. Karelin was only interested in being trained by Greg and Verne Gagne (he respected Verne's amateur background). Once the Gagnes were out of the picture, Karelin decided not to get involved with professional wrestling.
    • Karelin would have been only 31 in 1997. He was renowned for his freakish strength and endurance. Greg Gagne has said in shoot interviews that his push would have been a lot like Goldberg's, only as a heel. And instead of being rushed through the power plant, he would have been trained by Verne Gagne, who trained most of the biggest names of the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Aleksandr Karelin would have been young, well-trained and could have carried the company for the next 10-15 years.
  • The Rock was nearly poached by Billionaire Ted.
  • Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends episode on wrestling takes place at the WCW's training ground, The Power Plant, as staffed by DeWayne Bruce a.k.a. Sarge. It features rare footage of some now familiar wrestlers such as Chuck Palumbo being trained. There are strong hints that Sarge's brutal training regimen was to blame for WCW's failing ability to build its own new stars, as many wrestlers (such as Dave Batista) walked out before they got a chance to sign with the company.
  • Dusty once pushed for Rick Steiner to win the World Title from Ric Flair at Starrcade '88 because Flair and Luger couldn't agree on a finish. Before the idea could come to fruition, Dusty was fired (WCW went through a revolving door of bookers and presidents in those days). His replacement, George Scott, decided to keep the title on Flair and brought in Ricky Steamboat for a series of matches that wound up being legendary. However, think about how much different history might have been if Rick had won the title back in 1988. Would The Steiner Brothers have quickly reunited once he lost the title? Would Scott Steiner have broken out ten years sooner as a singles star in his own right? Would the Steiners have gone to WWF? How much different would the tag team landscape have been without them in the 90's if one or both of them had been singles stars?
  • Among the various people that WCW didn't think were worth a main event push were:
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who was promised a World Title run. That never happened, because Hulk Hogan main-evented at Bash at the Beach '94. Austin saw the writing on the wall and left for WWF to become the biggest star since, well, Hulk Hogan. From World of Wrestling in 1995:
      When the Hogan camp got into power, they dismissed Austin as a highly-paid wrestler who was a good worker with no charisma and in their view of wrestling, workrate meant next to nothing. The Hogan clique basically consisted of WWFers from the mid-80s when wrestling was hot and thus, could dismiss any wrestler who came along later as being 'unable to draw money' (forgetting that most of those who drew money in the mid-80s became suddenly unable to draw money either when the business lost popularity).
    • Either preceded by or soon to be followed by Mick Foley, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Triple H, Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Jr., and the guy who would become The Undertaker. ALL of these guys became celebrated world champions when they went to the WWF.
  • Bischoff also fired Jim Ross because he thought he wouldn't go over well with mainstream America. Of course, now Jim Ross is widely considered the best commentator of all time.
  • When Psychosis finally won the Cruiserweight Title, the initial plan was for him to have a multi-month reign. Then, Vince Russo decided that having tons of rapid title changes would be good for business, and Psychosis dropped the title back to Rey a week later.
  • In the year 2000, WCW considered building a proper women's division around Madusa and Mona. They brought in several female wrestlers based on talent, and had some good matches on WCW Saturday Night and even a few on Thunder. Then someone (probably Vince Russo) decided to try and compete with the WWF's eye candy and built the division around Miss Hancock, Major Gunns and some of the former Nitro Girls. Mona got released and went to the WWF, Madusa retired, and in early 2001 a decree from TBS resulted in almost every woman employed by WCW being fired. The Women's Championship (held by Akira Hokuto) and Women's Cruiserweight Championship (held by Toshie Uematsu) were stranded in Japan as a result.
  • Interesting fact: "The Dog" (Al Green) was a last-minute replacement for Sabu, who was originally supposed to be in a "Hardcore" faction alongside Brian Knobbs and Fit Finlay. Sabu was supposed to jump to WCW, but contract issues put an end to that.
  • Rick Martel was something of a hot up and comer in late 90s WCW, working a "good guy with a temper" gimmick. He won the WCW Television Championship and was booked to retain it against Booker T and Perry Saturn in back-to-back matches. Booker screwed up a Beal toss on Martel due to the smaller-than-average ring, and Martel hurt his knee on the ropes badly enough that they had to re-book the match then and there, with Booker winning (and winning the followup match against Saturn, too). Martel's knee never really recovered and after a short attempt at a comeback months later, he retired.
  • The Quebecers/The Amazing French-Canadians (Jacques Rougeau and Carl Oulette) were brought back to WCW to be part of Lance Storm's Team Canada. However, after his first night, Rougeau refused to job to Ernest "The Cat" Miller and was fired. Shortly after that, Oulette came down with Visa issues and had to quit.
  • When Buff Bagwell suffered a devastating neck injury in the ring, the show was put on hold while he was tended to. The match which was to have followed the Bagwell match was cancelled. That match was going to be Chris Benoit vs Psychosis - both top quality wrestlers and smark favorites - and had been allotted 15 minutes. Had the match happened, it would have been the only time that Benoit and Psychosis ever wrestled each other.
  • Sometime in 1989 or 1990 The Four Horsemen had been reduced to only Ric and Arn and there was a plan to add The Midnight Express and reform the Four Horsemen with them. Flair, Arn, Eaton, Lane and Midnight Express manager Jim Cornette were all very enthusiastic about the idea. Apparently they pitched the idea to then-WCW president Jim Herd who signed off on it. Then Cornette went on vacation and came back, and Herd decided not to form the stable. This ultimately led to Jim Cornette and Stan Lane leaving WCW and Flair going to WWF for three years. Arn would team with Bobby Eaton and win the tag team titles in the interim.
  • WCW almost got The Undertaker back from WWF when he was sidelined for injury in 1999, according to Kevin Nash. The near-jump led to 'Taker overhauling his gimmick from the Deadman to the biker-centered American Bad Ass when he returned to the WWF ring the following summer.
  • Sometime in the mid-90's, a young wrestler named Adam Copeland was hired by WCW as a jobber under the ring name Damon Striker. WCW considered signing him but ultimately deemed Copeland's gimmick worthless, and he was fired after two shows of WCW Pro. Copeland, who was struggling with debt, nearly spiraled into depression until he was encouraged by Bret Hart's agent to send one of his house matches to the WWF. Eventually, the WWF found talent in Copeland, sent him to a two-year training program, signed him to a contract, and Copeland used his personal struggles to rechristen himself under a new ring name, Edge. The rest is history.
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    New World Order 
  • Scott Hall was supposed to be part of WCW's Dangerous Alliance in 1992.
  • Before the Outsiders angle even begin, Bret Hart was approached about jumping ship to WCW to be the third member, but he said he was comfortable where he was. This inadvertently set into motion events which culminated with the Montreal Screwjob.
  • The original plan would have had Lex Luger or Randy Savage turning heel, but since so many people had already guessed those two names, WCW toyed with turning Sting heel. The shock of the industry's biggest icon turning heel would never have happened, and the nWo wouldn't have had the same impact it actually did. There was also concern that Hogan may change his mind at the last minute, as he's been known to do that, and plan "B" was for Sting to turn heel if that happened.
  • According to his book, Shawn Michaels asked for his release from WWF shortly after the nWo started, and would have likely signed with WCW since he missed travelling with The Kliq. Instead, Vince turned him heel and pitted him vs. Bret Hart, which ultimately led to The Montreal Screwjob. While WCW still got a top star in Bret Hart, it would be interesting to see how HBK would have done in WCW.
  • Davey Boy Smith was originally intended to be a member of the nWo in its early days (as a stable of elite "invaders"), but Vince McMahon refused to let him leave the WWF, likely for that reason.
  • WCW came up with the SmackDown vs RAW idea first: Thunder was originally going to be an nWo show. Bischoff was trying to build up the nWo as a true separate brand from WCW. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too. You'd have the standard WCW, and then the more adult-oriented nWo. You'd have brand warfare from time to time, even huge events where they clashed. (At its peak, WCW's roster probably could have supported three brands.) That changed when nWo Souled Out didn't perform as expected.
  • The nWo itself was supposed to end at Starrcade '97, which would have erased the Fingerpoke Of Doom from history. We live in the worst timeline.
  • In 1998, Hogan wanted to turn Wolfpac Sting heel as part of the feud with Kevin Nash. Sting refused despite heavy lobbying. The next two ideas were Lex Luger or The Giant. The Giant is who Hogan "settled for."
  • The original idea was that splitting into nWo into halves would break their monopoly, with Hall and and Nash running the Wolfpac. Basically, it would been a pissing contest between former Kliq members, like a feud carried over from the dorms of an Ivy League school. In hindsight, Nash was going to build a new Kliq using undercard wrestlers. The Fingerpoke of Doom ended up damaging people other than just Goldberg.
  • WCW planned its "White Hummer" angle (a mystery man driving a white Hummer who intentionally rammed Kevin Nash) around Sable being the driver. Sable was in talks with WCW, and was even spotted in the stands during a June '99 episode of Nitro. Those plans were shelved due to a no-compete clause in her WWF contract. The angle bounced around with no resolution and repeated pointless callbacks while bookers tried to figure out an appropriate finish, but never did. It ended up being a triumphant example of WCW's scattershot booking. The resolution was so anti-climactic that many fans don't even remember it. (Eric Bischoff was revealed as the instigator the same night the New Blood/Millionaire's Club angle started.)
  • During the height of the nWo's popularity, Booker T was approached with the opportunity to join. He turned the offer down because he felt the group had too many members.

    Crossovers 
  • WCW tried to negotiate a talent exchange with All Japan, but internal politics brought an end to it.
  • WCW's partnership with SMW was killed before it could get off the ground, due to Bischoff feuding with Cornette and Ole Anderson. Also, some people on the side of Management were offended by what Cornette said about them in a promo, which was supposed to kick off the angle. Russo, genius that he was, told Corny to go out and trash talk the company because he thought the general public would disagree with him, causing him to be a heel and setting up the NWA Invasion (which was basically old-School wrasslin' vs Sports Entertainment). Turned out, not only did Russo's idea fail, but people sent in letters and emails agreeing with Cornette's opinions on the nWo, Bischoff, Sports Entertainment, how the wrestling aspect was being diluted for the sake of shock value storytelling, on people calling themselves "Icons" because they think they're rock stars, and so forth.
  • Brian Pillman was under still contract when he went to ECW. To guarantee that he'd go to New York once his contract with WCW ran out, WWF was paying him as well! Bischoff had an elaborate plan to bring him back with the 'Loose Cannon' gimmick, but he didn't expect him to jump ship to WWF. Side note: According to the Ladies and Gentlemen DVD, ECW didn't pay a penny for Pillman due to his unique status as both WCW and WWE property. Basically, Paul Heyman is a clever bastard.

    Other Angles 
  • Jim Herd, a TV station manager and Pizza Hut executive with no experience in wrestling, made the biggest blunder of all. He asked Flair to drop the "Nature Boy" persona, shave his head, and take up a gladiator gimmick. On top of that, he wanted to remove Flair (his biggest draw) from the main event, and he wanted him to drop the belt to Lex Luger. Flair refused, because he wanted Sting to win the World Title. This led to Flair begin fired prior to the Great American Bash in summer '91. Flair jumped ship to the WWF, taking the Big Gold Belt with him. (WCW didn't return the deposit he'd paid on it, so he didn't have to return it.) Not long afterward, Jim was let go from WCW.
  • Jim Herd came up with the tag team group The Hunchbacks, with their gimmick being that they couldn't be pinned due to their humps on their backs, but after it was rejected outright by WCW's booking committee, he came up with the bell-wearing Ding Dongs.
  • The Black Scorpion angle, in which Sting was tormented by a masked and shrouded figure who kept making references to having known Sting in the past, was originally planned with the Ultimate Warrior (Sting's former tag partner when they were the Blade Runners) in mind. However, WCW was unable to poach Warrior from WWF, and so the angle floundered around for several months with no plan, until Creative decided to make Ric Flair the Scorpion.
  • Diamond Dallas Page was considered when debating how to end Goldberg's streak at Halloween Havoc (1998). Dusty Rhodes pulled Page aside and told him he would go to bat for him: his idea largely centered around the shoulder injury spot Goldberg and Page had already built into the match. However, since Goldberg was going to be appearing on the next week's Entertainment Weekly with the World Title belt, Page and Bischoff agreed that it was best to leave the title on Goldberg for the time being. Given how Goldberg's streak actually ended up being broken, Page probably would have been the best choice after all.
  • Russo wanted to do a Royal Rumble-style match with Tank Abbott: go one-on-one with the last few guys, knock them out clean, and win the vacant world title. Considering the stuff WCW would do later, it's actually not that bad an idea, if it weren't for the fact that Tank Abbott was an actual borderline psychopath who made New Jack look calm and reasonable. There's also the fact that Tank hadn't remotely connected with WCW fans up to that point and was about as over as your average lower-midcard act.
  • According to Jeremy Borash, a WCW employee floated the idea of attacking Shane McMahon during the Raw/Nitro simulcast on the latter's final show. Borash convinced the employee to stay put since he felt it would ruin the whole moment.

    Planned Revivals 
  • Eric Bischoff’s vision for a "new" WCW would have taken them off the road. The idea was to host it in a single venue, with a steady stream of tourists. This would allow WCW to rebuild their audience so they could tour again. Las Vegas and Orlando were among the locations mentioned.
  • To the very end, management hoped to find a home for Nitro on another network, and even had more Sin-themed PPVs in the works to compliment March 2001's Greed: Envy (April), Deceit (May), and Pride (June).
  • Even after it was announced that WWE had purchased them, there were rumors of Bischoff and Fusient entering talks with Fox over a possible new promotion. It never came to fruition. Funny enough, Jeff Jarrett took his idea and used it to launch Total Nonstop Action wrestling in Orlando.
  • Before it was acquired by the WWF in March 2001, WCW had a PPV called The Big Bang to be broadcast on May 6, 2001, which would have marked a "creation of the New WCW"; advertisements were featured in the second-to-last issue of WCW Magazine. You can learn more about it on WWE's website. Big Bang would have been greenlt if Fusient had agreed to purchase WCW.
  • The "Alliance" (WCW and ECW wrestlers). There is a reason it is considered one of the greatest What Could Have Beens in pro wrestling:
    • WWF hired 25 WCW wrestlers. They owned the tape library. They had several former WCW talents under contract already. They had the trademarks, music, and the advantage of owning the brand. In comparison, WCW hired Razor Ramon, Diesel, 1-2-3 Kid, and an old, tired-looking Ted DiBiase. They had no rights to any WWF trademarks, music, or branding, and had to rely on washed-up former WWF stars. Even with all these disadvantages, they created one of Top 3 money-making story lines in wrestling history. So... No excuse. And WWF could have hired more WCW stars if he wanted to. Would they have had to pay big money? Probably, but everybody knew at the time it was worth it. InVasion got 750,000 buys with the people they had, plus the awful booking, but Vince was apparently worried about locker room morale if he paid the WCW guys more.
    • WCW jobbers were supposed to do a run-in at WrestleMania X7, but Shawn Stasiak blabbed about it on the radio, so they were resigned to cameos. (Buying tickets for a skybox is "invading"?)
    • WWF made tentative plans to revive WCW on another network, but still under their umbrella. But when UPN (Who had ironically aired WCW Worldwide in some markets at around 1:30 in the morning) took one look at WCW's books, they crapped their pants and decided they wanted nothing to do with it. To this day we have no idea what Vince would have actually done with the company had he managed to find a network for it, but the rumor is the new show would have competed with the WWF during the whole Brand Extension stuff they've done on and off in the last decade.
    • And the biggest "what if?" of all: what would WWE look like today if WCW hadn't folded like soggy cardboard? Both companies had their renaissance at the same time. Now that one is gone entirely, the other can't recreate the magic.

    Miscellaneous 
  • In 1993, Jim Crockett launched an ambitious new company, the World Wrestling Network, in cooperation with Paul Heyman. They hoped to create a HDTV wrestling show which would also utilize the internet. Sounds like they were a bit too ahead of their time for it to work. By about 20 years. (HD wasn't even a thing yet in 1994, and the internet was nowhere close to being able to handle video since most people were probably still on 28.8 modems.)
  • Bischoff talked Stacy Keibler out of a Playboy spread because her father was against it, and there would have been no benefit for her career aside from a small payday. Biggest heel in the history of the business. Side note: Stacy became one of the more wholesome divas to come out of that raunchy era of women's wrestling. (And we also know how many bigger and better things Sable, Chyna, Torrie Wilson, Candice Michelle, etc. got up to after posing nude.)
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