Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.
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Tyler from Winnipeg is smashing through the fourth wall like the Kool-Aid Man:
To this day, when Jeff Jarrett pulled a stunt versus Hulk Hogan in WCW and Vince Russo was on camera, I still don’t know what actually happened?
I believe that what Tyler is referring to here is the Bash at the Beach pay per view on July 9, 2000, during which we were supposed to see a match for the WCW World Heavyweight Title between champion Jeff Jarrett and challenger Hulk Hogan as part of the ongoing Millionaire’s Club versus New Blood feud.
When the match was set to occur, Vince Russo first came down to ringside, followed by Jarrett and Hogan making their entrances. After a fair amount of stalling by Jarrett, he laid down in the middle of the ring as soon as the bell rang. Hogan appeared shocked, and Mark Madden on commentary made a comment about how this was “deviating from the script.” The Hulkster grabbed a mic and blamed Russo for this situation, claiming that the company was in the position it was because of “bullshit like this.” Then, Hogan placed his boot on Jarrett’s chest, the referee made a three count, and Hulk was declared the new World Heavyweight Champion.
After the match, Hogan and his buddy Eric Bischoff, who was doing some consultant work for WCW at the time but was not an employee, stormed out of the building in an apparent rage.
Later on the pay per view, Russo reappeared and cut a profanity-laced promo on Hogan in which he accused the Immortal one of holding down talent. He said that the belt Hogan won earlier in the night was worthless and that it was the “Hulk Hogan memorial title.” The actual WCW Title was going to be contested in a match between Jeff Jarrett and Booker T. Those two men did in fact wrestle and Booker won, capturing his first world championship.
Everything through and including Hogan and Bischoff leaving the building in a huff was part of a storyline agreed to by all of the parties involved. The idea was to do a “worked shoot” angle that would have fooled the other wrestlers and backstage staff as well as the fans.
According to Eric Bischoff on his 83 Weeks podcast, the idea behind the angle was that Hogan would have “quit” while champion in storyline, forcing WCW to hold a tournament to crown a new champ. Then, at the Halloween Havoc pay per view where the finals of the tourney would take place, Hogan would make a return with the belt and claim that neither of the finalists could be considered a true champion until they beat him.
Of course, none of that happened, and instead we saw the Russo promo later on the pay per view and the Booker/Jarrett match, which Hogan and his supporters claim were manufactured by Russo and put on the air without the Hulkster’s approval.
Thus, nothing on the program was really a shoot. It was all a storyline, albeit a storyline where one of the participants didn’t realize where half of the story was going.
The other noteworthy thing about this angle is that it resulted in litigation. There were legitimate hard feelings between Hogan and WCW about how things went down that evening, with Hulk never appearing on the company’s television for the remainder of its existence. Eventually, Hogan filed a lawsuit. In part of the suit, he claimed that the language Russo used in his promo at Bash at the Beach was defamatory, and in another part of the suit he alleged that WCW breached his contract by not giving him the “featured” bookings that were required and by not giving him an opportunity to exercise the creative control over the Russo promo that his contract allowed him. WCW counter-sued, claiming that they attempted to book Hogan to appear on their March 2001 pay per view but that he breached his contract by failing to appear.
Ultimately, the court threw out the part of Hogan’s suit that argued Russo’s comments were defamatory, deciding that they were all part of a wrestling storylines and/or Russo’s personal opinions about Hogan as a public figure. Hogan appealed, and the appellate court upheld the trial court’s summary disposition of the defamation claim. As to Hogan’s breach of contract suit against WCW and WCW’s breach of contract suit against Hogan, both of those claims survived motions to dismiss and continued in litigation until eventually there was a confidential settlement reached, with Bischoff claiming that Hogan got the much better financial end of the deal.
Night Wolf the Wise is getting territorial with two related questions:
1. In the History of professional wrestling, How many wrestling promotions have there been? Current, extinct, major, and Indie all count.
This is virtually impossible to answer because there has been little to no comprehensive effort to catalog them all. It would be just about as difficult as answering how many professional wrestlers there have been. No matter how hard you try to answer the question, you’re always going to miss a few obscure entries on the list.
With that being said, probably the closest thing that I’m aware of to an effort to catalog every promotion ever is the promotions database on CageMatch.de. There are currently 2,904 promotions listed in that database, covering everything from modern indies to territories from the first part of the twentieth century.
2. And How many were bought out by Vince McMahon?
Though you might not think about it initially, the very first wrestling promotion that Vince McMahon bought out was the WWWF, because he purchased the territory from his own father, though he did it on a sweetheart deal that he wouldn’t have gotten if he weren’t the guy’s son.
In 1984, the WWF under the guidance of Vince McMahon made its first promotional acquisition, that being Stampede Wrestling out of Calgary. However, subsequent transactions allowed the Hart family to resume use of the name for several relaunches of the territory in subsequent years.
Also in 1984, the WWF purchased a controlling interest in Georgia Championship Wrestling from Jack and Jerry Brisco (getting the Briscos WWF jobs for decades), though the Fed’s time on Georgia television was limited, as their product didn’t play well in the south and the television slot was eventually sold to Jim Crockett.
After that, you don’t see Vince acquiring another promotion until 2001, when WCW went out of business. Just about everybody reading this is well aware of that transaction, so I won’t go into much detail.
Another WWF acquisition in 2001 was the majority of the assets of ECW, though in that case the WWF made the purchase out of bankruptcy court as opposed to buying out the company itself.
Most recently, WWE acquired the independent wrestling promotion EVOLVE just this past summer.
That does it, and our total number is six purchases, unless you don’t want to count Vince Jr.’s acquisition of the WWWF, in which case you can bump it down to five. Though WWE currently owns the rights to the video libraries of far more promotions than the ones listed here (such as the AWA and World Class), those are mostly circumstances where the libraries were acquired singularly well after the promotion had folded.
Bryan is hitting the snooze button:
Do you think wrestling will ever see a return to the “drop the arm 3x submission holds,” you know like they used to do with the sleeper? I know a sleeper wouldn’t work in the 2020s, but some sort of move that incapacitates the opponents. Tapping out I think hurts credibility ESPECIALLY faces, because the fans see you as quitter. Being rendered unconscious i.e. Austin at WrestleMania 13, protects you. What do you think?
I doubt that we will see the three drops of the arm return, mainly because of wrestling’s transition from primarily being a live event product to primarily being a television product. Dropping the arm worked because it was an effective way of demonstrating to a large venue full of fans that a competitor had lost consciousness, but now that wrestling shows are mostly TV spectacles, all you have to do is get the camera in tight and have the announcers tell the story of somebody passing out. Checking the arm just isn’t necessary.
Brad is looking for some updates:
Last year you answered my question by listing former WCW wrestlers who were still active in a decent sized company. Now that this year is drawing to a close, could you update the list for 2020? For example, HHH and Kane seem to have dropped off, while Scott Steiner (NWA), RVD (Impact), and Undertaker managed to stay on. Then you have the obvious holdovers like AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Jericho, etc.
Let’s look for updates on a promotion-by-promotion basis.
At the time of my original column, I listed the following individuals as still being active for WWE: AJ Styles, The Big Show, Booker T., Kane (who had one WCW match as a job guy), Goldberg, Paul Heyman, Rey Misterio Jr., Triple H, and the Undertaker.
In the last year and change since I put together this list, Triple H and Kane have not wrestled while Booker T has had only one match for his Reality of Wrestling indy promotion, so I think that we can easily scrap all of them. Plus, the Undertaker has more or less come out and said that his in-ring career is over, so he’s gone too.
That whittles us down to AJ Styles, Big Show, Goldberg, Paul Heyman, and Rey Misterio Jr.
HOWEVER, in a bit of a surprise, we’re going to put a name back on the list who wasn’t here last year:
Edge returned to the ring and wrestled three high profile matches in 2020 and likely would have wrestled more had he not suffered a triceps injury. Also, if current backstage reporting is to be believed, Edge will be involved in a key match at 2021’s Wrestlemania.
Don’t remember Edge being in WCW?
Well, he was. He had at least two matches for them as an enhancement talent in 1996, wrestling under the name Damon Striker.
So that’s AJ Styles, Big Show, Edge, Goldberg, Paul Heyman, and Rey Misterio Jr. as your WCW alumni active in WWE.
Last time around, I named Konnan, Rhyno, and Rob Van Dam as former WCW wrestlers who were still active in TNA. Rhyno is still there and RVD was recently, though word is that he left the promotion in September. Konnan, meanwhile, hasn’t wrestled anywhere since the last time that I answered Brad’s query.
However, as with WWE, we’ve got some names to add to the list this year: Johnny Swinger, Disco Inferno, and James Storm.
Swinger had numerous matches with WCW between 1995 and 1999 and also popped up for a couple of bouts during the promotion’s dying days in 2001. Nowadays, he’s bouncing around TNA doing a throwback wrestler gimmick.
James Storm was on WCW’s c-shows at the very end of the promotion, and, after some time away, he came back to TNA in November of this year.
Of course, Disco was a WCW stalwart, so I don’t think I need to explain his involvement in the promotion, but I will note for those who may not recall that he returned to TNA in 2019 under his real name of Glen Gilberti, though at this point he’s not made any post-pandemic appearances.
So that makes Disco Inferno, James Storm, Johnny Swinger, and Rhyno your list of WCW alumni who are active wrestlers in TNA.
This list is unchanged from last year, with PCO being the only WCW alumnus in Ring of Honor. Granted, PCO hasn’t wrestled for ROH since February, but I believe that has much more to do with the COVID-19 pandemic than it does with his status with the promotion, so I’m going to keep him here for the time being.
Last years AEW list was Chris Jericho, Christopher Daniels, Dustin Rhodes, and CIMA. As with PCO in ROH, we’ve not seen CIMA in AEW since February, which again is probably a result of the pandemic and nothing more. For what it’s worth, CIMA has been very active in Japan since that time, so I’m still going to keep him here.
We have one addition to this list as well, that being Chris Jericho’s old running buddy Luther. Luther, who wrestled most of his career under the name Dr. Luther, had one WCW match on August 15, 2000, losing to Vampiro in a match taped for WCW Worldwide under the name Mad Jack.
The NJPW list last year consisted of Gedo, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Liger, Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima, and Yuji Nagata.
Since that time, Nakanishi and Liger have both had their formal retirement matches. The others are still at least semi-active with New Japan. There are no additions, so Gedo, Tenzan, Kojima, and Nagata are your list.
Last year, we listed Osamu Nishimura and Ultimo Dragon here, and both men are still active wrestlers, though Dragon has moved on and only rarely appears for All Japan. Thus, Nishimura is probably the only wrestler who can be credibly put here, though we’ll see Ultimo again in a few moments.
Two of Ultimo Dragon’s original trainees, Don Fuji and Dragon Kid, were on last year’s list as Dragon Gate representatives due to Ultimo bringing them in to WCW early in their careers. They’re still active in DG and will remain here, BUT they’ll be joined by their trainer, as in the last year Ultimo Dragon has returned to Dragon Gate on a near full-time basis. I told you that we’d see him again.
Pro Wrestling NOAH
Last year, I didn’t include a Pro Wrestling NOAH section on this list, as there were no former WCW wrestlers competing for them. Since then, Keiji Muto (a.k.a. the Great Muta) and former Jung Dragon Kaz Hayashi have started competing for NOAH due to the fall of his last home promotion, Wrestle-1, which Muto operated.
Additionally, Kendo Kashin, who had previously vanished from wrestling for about a year, started wrestling for NOAH in 2020. Kashin was on the co-promoted WCW/New Japan Collision in Korea shows back in 1995 under his former ring name of Tokimitsu Ishizawa.
Felino made the list last year because he appeared on a short-lived show that WCW ran called Festival de Lucha, and he’s still active in CMLL, so he remains here.
Much like NOAH, there was no AAA list in 2019, because it didn’t appear to me that there were any WCW alumni hanging out there on a regular basis. However, since that time, the original La Parka (now known as LA Park) has become more of a regular, so I’ll move him off of the “miscellaneous” list and in to this category for the lucha promotion.
And the rest . . .
Though Brad’s question only asked about major promotions, both last year and this year I decided to list any WCW alumni who I could find still actively wrestling on a somewhat regular basis, anywhere else in the world.
Last year’s list of our miscellaneous wrestlers was: Buff Bagwell, Lizmark Jr., Sabu, Lodi, Damian 666, James Storm, Jim Duggan, Sandman, Disco Inferno, Juventud Guerrera, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Kaz Hayashi, Rock n’ Roll Express, The Maestro, Shannon Moore, The Great Muta, Halloween/Ciclope, Scott Steiner, Tracey Smothers, the original La Parka, and the original Psicosis.
Unfortunately, Tracey Smothers passed away very recently, so he is off the list – though he was active until near the end.
As noted above, La Parka is still active, though I’ve moved him from the miscellaneous list to the AAA list because of where he’s currently working. The same is true of James Storm and Disco Inferno being moved off of this list and on to the TNA list and Muta and Hayashi going to the NOAH list.
As to the remainder, in some respects it’s hard to tell whether many of these guys should still be considered active, because their opportunities to wrestle in 2020 have been significantly reduced, particularly at the independent level. The only one who I would be totally comfortable removing is Jim Duggan, who at this point hasn’t wrestled since May 2019 and had some health problems in September of last year that may have brought his career to its end.
Also, to be totally honest, I did a much more thorough review of names this year than I did the last time that this question came up, and I’ve located several others who wrestled in WCW and are still going at least somewhat regularly. Those additions are: Malia Hosaka, Meiko Satomura (who the comment section pointed out last year), Dave “Gangrel” Heath, Fidel Sierra, George South, Johnny Gunn (a.k.a. Tom Brandi), Koji Kanemoto, Mayumi Ozaki, Shane Douglas, Shinjiro Otani, Villano IV, and Chigusa Nagayo.
With all of those additions and deletions, the current list is:
Buff Bagwell, Lizmark Jr., Sabu, Lodi, Damian 666, Sandman, Juventud Guerrera, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Rock n’ Roll Express, The Maestro, Shannon Moore, Halloween/Ciclope, Scott Steiner, Psicosis, Malia Hosaka, Meiko Satomura, Dave “Gangrel” Heath, Fidel Sierra, George South, Johnny Gunn (a.k.a. Tom Brandi), Koji Kanemoto, Mayumi Ozaki, Shane Douglas, Shinjiro Otani, Villano IV, and Chigusa Nagayo.
That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected].