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  #1  
Old 03-07-2014, 08:53 AM
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Default WCW Nitro and Thunder roster split in 1998

Alright, so the previous thread on how to save WCW got me thinking. WCW in 1998 was extremely top heavy. By that I mean from the upper mid-card guys to the main event wrestlers you had so many competitors on that level that I think part of WCW's problem was an inability to manage these established stars and their egos.

One of the main problems was too many established, older, bigger stars.

My main point is this. Where most in the IWC recognize that the WWE needed a roster split in 2001 after acquiring ECW and WCW. I believe WCW 1998 warranted a roster split even more than 2001 WWE.

WCW Thunder was not intended to be a big "B" show. Like Smackdown, it sort of ended up that way later on once everything started going under.

If you look at late 1998, WCW had the following wrestlers on payroll.

Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, DDP, Rick Flair, Macho Man, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Bill Goldberg, The Giant, Lex Luger, Sting, and arguably; Henning and Scott Steiner.

If you contrast that with the WCW/ECW Alliance, it's apparent that the WWE did not get the best talent from the WCW. The only real main event wrestler they acquired was Booker T.

With a roster split, you actually give more opportunity to the rising mid card talent that the WCW missed out on. Especially Jericho, Mysterio, Guerrero, and Benoit. In addition, WCW still had Japanese and Luchadore wrestlers that were on the lower mid card. This ended up being a very bloated roster.

I would have had one Heavyweight title defended on both shows. The US title on Nitro. TV title (may need to be renamed), on Thunder, and the tag titles defended on both. I would have gotten rid of the Cruiserweight title, there were too many wrestlers that circulated between the TV and Cruiserweight belt.

I think with a roster split WCW may have been more sustainable in the long run. As it was, the same big names dominated TV time on both shows.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:34 AM
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Hmmm, I disagree. From the financial standpoint, all a roster split does is up your costs because you are now setting up two separate tours. It's also maintaining an overloaded roster when what was really called for was to hand out some pink slips. If WCW had been riding high, and had been bringing in WWF-level PPV buys, I could understand it as a means to get more growth, but I think they had to circle their wagons and cut costs more.

It's interesting that you bring up the WCW purchase and that all the WWE got was Booker T. Part of that was due to the fact that they simply weren't offering the money that a lot of those guys were expecting to make. The WWF didn't want to become too roster heavy either unless it was at bargain rates.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyJoeJoe View Post
It's also maintaining an overloaded roster when what was really called for was to hand out some pink slips.
Agreed, WCW needed to have a cull before any thoughts of a roster split.

WWE got the backbone of a cruiserweight division when they purchased WCW, they didn't know how to use it to their advantage. They also had Awesome & Storm who could have been used better.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:57 PM
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WCW Saturday Night was almost a roster split. You never really saw the big stars on the show. Hell, Jericho was practically born and raised there. As for an actual roster split, I hated the idea when the WWE did it and I would have hated it if WCW did it. The WWE should have trimmed the fat instead of creating two lack luster rosters. WCW on the other hand was hoarding talent with no intention of using them. It was just a strategy to keep them away from the WWF so I really can't fault that move.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:52 PM
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You lost me at the part where you said you'd get rid of the cruiserweight title.

The cruiserweights were the workhorses of WCW. I remember many of the cruiserweight matches overshadowing their main events, even at PPVs.

The crisuerweight division was one thing, I think, WCW did somewhat right the whole time.

I will agree with the previous poster who said that WCW really needed to be handing out pink slips like they were going out of style.
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:31 AM
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It's my understanding that WCW had over 200 performers on the payroll even though they hardly ever appeared on tv. I think the idea was that if they can horde as many performers as they can, then the WWF wouldn't be able to hire them. Plus one or two of them would spontaneously pop up as a random nWo member.

It's also my understanding that presenting Thunder was a logistical nightmare for Eric Bischoff as it was all Ted Turner's idea, but Time Warner wasn't willing to pony up any additional employees to run the show or even fork over any extra cash to fund the show. Bischoff had to run extra house shows to make up for the production costs and tax his staff even harder with hard labor to get it ready for tv.

I think it would have helped if all the maddening levels of stupidity Bischoff was putting up with actually started to serve a purpose. Half the crew is exclusive to Nitro, half the crew is exclusive to Thunder. Nitro is a showcase of stars, Thunder is a proving ground for newcomers and cruiser weights.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:22 AM
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While normally I hate the idea of a roster split, I think it was warranted for WCW in 1998. The nWo had become over saturated by then and it was unnecessary for them to appear on both shows. So perhaps nWo gains control of NITRO while WCW has THUNDER. The NWO could still keep a few WCW guys on the nitro roster just to torture them and make it impossible for them to succeed, while on Thunder it would be more of a pure wrestling show. If this had been done properly, theoretically Benoit, Eddie, Saturn, Malenko and Jericho may have never left seeing has how they wouldn't have constantly been in the shadow of the older nWo performers. A WCW championship could have been created specifically for Thunder while the old spraypainted title would be property of nWo Nitro.

NWO NITRO: nWo World Title/ U.S Title/ World Tag Team titles
Hulk Hogan/ Scott Hall/ Kevin Nash/ Randy Savage/ Scott Steiner/ Bagwell/ Brian Adams/ Scott Norton/ Konnan
Goldberg/ Sting/ Ric Flair/ Arn Anderson/ Lex Luger/ DDP/ Roddy Piper/ Ultimate Warrior/ Rick Steiner

WCW THUNDER: WCW World Title/ Cruiserweight Title/ Tag titles
Bret Hart/ Chris Jericho/ Chris Benoit/ Rey Mysterio/ Eddie Guerrero/ Raven/ Curt Hennig/ Saturn/ Dean Malenko/ Psicosis/ Jushin Liger/ La Parka/ Muta/ Steven Regal/ The Bulldog/ Jim Neidhart/ Marty Jannetty/ Billy Kidman

and, looking back now, it would have been a great idea for WCW to sign Kurt Angle and have him compete on the Thunder roster.

Last edited by MMK : 03-08-2014 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:37 AM
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I don't think a roster split would have worked in WCW. Can you imagine how mis managed that would have been?
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:54 AM
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This is all in hindsight but I'd have gone full hog with the idea that WCW was in competition with itself and made Nitro the sports entertainment show, Thunder the old school wrestling show and Saturday Night their less violent version of ECW.

If you look at the WCW roster at the time you could have had the cruiserweights, tag teams like Public Enemy, The Faces of Fear and hardcore guys like Scotty Riggs, Sick Boy, Hugh Morrus etc. all work primarily on the Saturday show. Rip off early Raw and run it from a small arena in a hot market even, keeps costs down.

Thunder could have been the home of Flair, Bret Hart, Benoit, Jericho, Malenko and tag teams like Harlem Heat, the Steiners & Windhams, Piper, Perfect, Regal and more cruiserweights and made it more like an old school show to keep the NWA fans happy and bring over the WWF fans leaving because of the Attitude Era.

Nitro could have been stacked with Hogan, DDP, Sting, the Outsiders, Goldberg, Giant etc. and been more storyline based to compete with Raw.
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMK View Post
While normally I hate the idea of a roster split, I think it was warranted for WCW in 1998. The nWo had become over saturated by then and it was unnecessary for them to appear on both shows. So perhaps nWo gains control of NITRO while WCW has THUNDER. The NWO could still keep a few WCW guys on the nitro roster just to torture them and make it impossible for them to succeed, while on Thunder it would be more of a pure wrestling show. If this had been done properly, theoretically Benoit, Eddie, Saturn, Malenko and Jericho may have never left seeing has how they wouldn't have constantly been in the shadow of the older nWo performers. A WCW championship could have been created specifically for Thunder while the old spraypainted title would be property of nWo Nitro.

NWO NITRO: nWo World Title/ U.S Title/ World Tag Team titles
Hulk Hogan/ Scott Hall/ Kevin Nash/ Randy Savage/ Scott Steiner/ Bagwell/ Brian Adams/ Scott Norton/ Konnan
Goldberg/ Sting/ Ric Flair/ Arn Anderson/ Lex Luger/ DDP/ Roddy Piper/ Ultimate Warrior/ Rick Steiner

WCW THUNDER: WCW World Title/ Cruiserweight Title/ Tag titles
Bret Hart/ Chris Jericho/ Chris Benoit/ Rey Mysterio/ Eddie Guerrero/ Raven/ Curt Hennig/ Saturn/ Dean Malenko/ Psicosis/ Jushin Liger/ La Parka/ Muta/ Steven Regal/ The Bulldog/ Jim Neidhart/ Marty Jannetty/ Billy Kidman

and, looking back now, it would have been a great idea for WCW to sign Kurt Angle and have him compete on the Thunder roster.
If I recall correctly the idea of getting the NWO their own show had been tossed around. Although I am not sure how this would have worked. If the NWO was supposed become some kind of separate brand how would their 20+ wrestlers transition from wrestling against WCW to each other?

I was never a big fan of the WCW/NWO marketing because eventually the NWO had to go away. This meant that old n64 games like Revenge and the NWO NASCAR does not make much sense now.

What I neglected to mention that I hope strengthens my argument, is that the NWO Black and White and Wolfpack split could have coincided nicely with this roster split. Now I don't know how it would have panned out. I would have put the newer Wolfpack on Thunder. They may have been a heel group or they may not. The smaller 4 Horsemen could have feuded with the Wolfpack on Thunder while the main event WCW guys feud against the NWO Black and White.

As stated I would make the World Title fluent on both shows. I ax the Cruiserweight title because those guys do not compete with only cruiserweights and many of the champions moved in and out of title scene for the TV title and Cruiserweight belt.

Heavyweight Title: Both shows
Tag titles: Both shows

Nitro

TV title exclusive.

Because the show is three hours it needs longer in-ring action provided by lighter, more entertaining, and in shape wrestlers in the cruiserweight division. Therefore the Luchadores, and Japanese wrestlers would be on this roster in addition to the American cruiserweights. Nitro would be highlighted with longer matches and more high flying mid card guys.

The NWO Black and White would be exclusive to Nitro. Hogan would lead the NWO Black and White with The Giant as his muscle, Steiner as his second, and the large host of midcarders as the backbone.

WCW main event wrestlers would be Hart, DDP, Sting, Goldberg, and eventually The Warrior. Hart may or may not lead a faction with Bulldog and Neidhart.

Jericho, Mysterio, and Guerrero would be my rising stars on this show.

Thunder

Would US title exclusive.

Thunder would be my grittier, more story-line driven show. It would be answer to the Attitude era and suffice the fans who prefer grittier story lines and theatrics over the match driven programming of Nitro.

The Wolfpack would be smaller than the Black and White but still heels. Macho Man would be the leader, with Hall, Nash, and Konan comprising the rest of the group.

The 4 Horsemen would be Flair, Luger, Benoit, and Mongo and feud with the Wolfpack.

The Wolfpack and Horsemen would have gang style brawls and stable wars and end up headlining War Games.

I would also take the page from ECW that WWF noticed first, and include hardcore wrestling as a stable on Thunder to add to add the heat to the grittier story lines.

Benoit would be my rising superstar on this show based off his past in ECW and main event involvement with the Horsemen.
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