TSO 5.26.02: The WCW Refugees
Posted by Vanderhorst on 05.26.2002
When Vince McMahon bought WCW, he purchased its brightest stars as well, in the hopes of shaping the best roster ever. Where are they now?
The Contest: Well, not many chimed in with their own thoughts, although reader FishGod had a bunch of funny ones. I ultimately went with Chris Spivey's suggestion of just shortening the name. Thanks to everyone that sounded off.
Song of the Week: "I Feel So" by Boxcar Racer. Tom and Travis from Blink 182 went out and got themselves two great backup guitarists and have put out a disc far better than anything their main band ever has.
This Week: I turned 17 on Wednesday, and got a GameCube. My buddy Mike and I have a deal where each game we own is also the other's (except for WMX8, which we'll both get). So I already have Smash Bros., Rogue Leader and Resident Evil. The only problem is, there aren't many other good games.
The reason for the ratings decline in the WWE is the fact that Stephanie McMahon is not on TV. She's the head booker, so when she's on TV, she's happier. Same for Shane, vince and co. They have huge egos, and when they get to feed the egos on national TV, they are more focused on booking a superior product. In early 2000, when all of the McMahons were on TV, the company was pulling in huge ratings and the midcard scene was damned incredible. Sure, Benoit, jericho and Angle were feuding with each other in it, but they also elevated turds like Rikishi and Chyna based on good angles alone.
If you're still reading, now's time for a person-by-person breakdown of all the wrestlers Vince bought from AOL time Warner 14 months ago.
Sean O’Haire - Since O’Haire was part of the WCW Tag Team Champions at the time of the purchase, he was brought in for a feud with the Acolytes, who became WWE Tag Team champions during the feud. After Kane and the Undertaker squashed them for the titles and brutalized them in a rematch inside a steel cage, O’Haire has been training in WWE developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, where his younger brother Shan recently debuted.
Mark Jindrak - The former WCW Tag Team Champ only made one definite appearance in the Invasion angle, as part of the 5 men on Shane McMahon’s WCW B-Team used in the Raw main event wherein ECW and WCW joined forces. He was sent to developmental federations immediately, and he was making good progress in OVW before a knee injury put him out.
Stacy Keibler - Stacy made an immediate splash as Shane McMahon’s escort in the beginning of the WCW invasion angle, and never lost steam, eventually being paired with the Dudley Boys until they were split up. She is currently Vince McMahon’s personal sex toy on SmackDown, and arguably the most popular woman in the WWE today.
Shawn Stasiak - Stasiak, the only WCW wrestler to have been int he WWE previously, certainly had his work cut out for him. He was put in the humiliating gimmick of doofus that never gets anything right for the duration of the Alliance angle, and disappeared after Survivor Series. He recently returned on the Raw brand as “Planet Stasiak,” a rhyming goof just stupid enough to get over.
Shane Helms - Helms had recently won the Cruiserweight Title at WCW’s last PPV, and his first act on WWE TV was to drop that title to Billy Kidman. His name was changed to Gregory, and his devastatingly cool Vertebraker finishing maneuver was taken away. helms floundered as the secondary Alliance Cruiser for awhile, until a Steve Austin promo led to his rebirth as a cartoony superhero named the Hurricane, who ended Matt Hardy’s agonizingly long run as European champion and formed a tag team with Lance Storm, the unnoficial National Disasters 2001. Shortly after the Alliance was defeated at Survivor Series, Hurricane returned as a full-fledged face, though not so popular. He is currently the focus of the SmackDown Cruiserweight division as its champion.
Shannon Moore - Helms’ old tag team partner from Three Count, the smaller Moore was kept off TV like most of the other hired cruisers. He was patiently waited in WWE developmental territory the Heartland Wrestling Association, where he was recently Cruiserweight champion. He could show up on SmackDown any day now.
Johnny the Bull - A big man, Johnny the Bull was kept around and is currently biding his time in the HWA, though he is listed as a free agent on several independent wrestling sites. it seems to be only a matter of time before he is given his release.
Lash Leroux - Yet another talented young Cruiserweight, who was sent to HWA with the purchase. However, the WWE felt there was something missing in him, and gave him his release last December along with many others.
Evan Karagias - The last member of Three Count, Evan Karagias spent some time in HWA and even had a run as its Cruiserweight champion before being released in December. Chances are, if Kevin Nash had started negotiating with the WWE a month earlier, Karagias might still be around due to their friendship.
Mike Sanders - Another friend of Kevin Nash, the verbally talented Sanders was also sent to the HWA, and was doing extremely well before a foot injury put him out. He is currently head booker of the HWA.
Kid Romeo - Part of the first-ever WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions, Romeo was kept around for a while at first. However, he ultimately didn’t interest Vince and company, for he was released in December after time in HWA.
Elix Skipper - Kid Romeo’s tag team partner and a promising young Cruiserweight, Prime Time was also cut in December.
Lance Storm - Arguably the most talented wrestler culled from the ranks of the standard-contract WCW wrestlers, Storm debuted to modest success, defecting from WCW to ECW on the night the Alliance was born, and shortly after that capturing the Intercontinental Title from failed champion Albert. He lost the title to Edge and formed a team with Hurricane before disappearing with the rest of the Alliance. Storm resurfaced at the end of last year, and has done very little since. He is currently on the SmackDown brand.
Mike Awesome - Former ECW Champion Awesome had a stunning debut by appearing from out of nowhere and Awesomebombing Rhyno onto a ladder to capture the Hardcore Title, but with the advent of the WCW-ECW Alliance, a match between the two was canceled and Awesome quickly lost the title to Jeff Hardy, who went on to a feud with another newcomer, Rob Van Dam. Awesome went nowhere after this, and has been recovering from surgery on an ACL tear since November.
Chuck Palumbo - Sean O’Haire’s tag team partner, Palumbo fared far better. When O’Haire disappeared, Palumbo became a singles wrestler, and was kicked out of the Alliance after standing up to Stephanie McMahon. He formed a team with Billy Gunn immediately, and they were turned into a gay heel archetype. They were recently WWE tag team champions for over two months, and incredibly long reign considering the hotshot title changes all over the place during the Invasion angle.
Hugh Morrus - The owner of the awesome No Laughing Matter Moonsault, Hugh was one of the first WCW stars to attack WWE wrestlers. Other than that, though, he hasn’t done much of anything. He was “fired” from the Alliance along with Chavo Guerrero Jr. for stooging to Vince McMahon, yet he somehow showed up on Metal after the roster split.
Chavo Guerrero, Jr. - Guerrero never really did much of anything in his first run during the Alliance angle, other than get fired. He did, however, earn himself some brownie points by acting as a trainer for Tough Enough 2, and as a result, got to be on SmackDown twice. Pepe must have been so proud.
Reno - Armed with a unique look and a potentially crippling finisher, Reno was cut loose from the WWE in December after time in HWA. He appeared at the WWA Revolution PPV, but other than that has been pretty much silent.
Kwee-Wee - Allan Funk changed his gimmick to that of a Hulk imitator named the Funkster, but still managed to get the ax in December. He has since shown up at the last two WWA PPVs, kicking the asses of far more talented guys. The bookers don’t understand that in order for the gimmick to be an effective parody of Hogan, he has to LOSE matches.
Jamie Knoble - Foreseen as the future of the WWE Cruiserweight division, Jamie “By God” Knoble is enjoying great success in the HWA and waits daily for the call up to the SmackDown roster.
Jimmy Yang - Unfortunately for this Cruiser, the WWE released him in December. He had officially changed his name to “James” though, for those that keep score on stuff like that.
Kaz Hayashi - The WWE recognized Hayashi’s talent, but have a strict policy about all their wrestlers knowing English (likely so they don’t have to pay for translators). They told Kaz to learn English, but he chose instead to quit and return to Japan.
A few WCW wrestlers also opted out of their contracts to sign with the WWE immediately.
Diamond Dallas Page - After being part of the last WCW PPV main event ever, DDP was introduced on WWE TV as the Undertaker’s wife’s stalker. This got him nowhere, although he did get to be in the main event of Invasion, his only WWE PPV main event, likely ever. DDP was injured soon after and repackaged as an annoying happiness guru, although he disappeared after Survivor Series. He returned in January, and won the European title. He was drafted to the SmackDown roster almost immediately after losing the title, and locked into a feud with the returning Hardcore Holly. However, a freak injury may have sidelined DDP’s career forever.
Billy Kidman - Kidman was brought in as the leader of the Alliance Cruiserweights, which meant he got to feud with X-Pac. For a reason no doubt lost on the WWE, this got him no heat, so he left to have surgery on his knees. He recently returned had a short run as Cruiserweight champion, feuding with Tajiri.
Booker T - Booker is perhaps the biggest tragedy. WCW champion and apparent leader of WCW, Booker was brushed aside for Steve Austin. He lost his WCW title to Kurt Angle and then the Rock within the same month, and subsequently made to look weak. He left with the Alliance, but returned at Vengeance to prevent Steve Austin from becoming the first Undisputed Champion. That feud went nowhere, though, and Booker was buried, jobbing to Spike Dudley, and then to Edge at his first WrestleMania. He was even left off of Backlash, and is currently feuding with Goldust, who will probably be fired by King of the Ring. Things are looking bad for the 11-time WCW tag champ. Recently, Booker was inducted into the nWo when Kevin Nash rejuvenated the dying stable.
Buff Bagwell - No story of a WCW wrestler bombing in the WWF is worse than this. buff was brought in as a contender for the WCW World Title, a position he was never anywhere near while there, and in the first WCW match ever on WWE TV, he stunk up the ring against Booker. He was fired a few days later. He’s currently in the WWA, although he is so UNpopular in the US that promoter Andrew McManus doesn’t hire him for American shows.
Of the 27 people hired (by my count, I may have missed a few), only 15 are still in the WWE, and only nine of them are on TV. And Vince bought en entire promotion. So much for the young talent in WCW.