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  #1  
Old 05-14-2016, 08:23 PM
dsotm5150 dsotm5150 is offline
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Default 1998: Rebooking the WCW debuts of Bret Hart, British Bulldog & Jim Neidhart

First off I'd like to give The Brain credit for giving me this idea with his Davey Boy Smith 1999 WWF Run thread from earlier today.

We all know that the events of Survivor Series '97 would lead to Hart, Smith and Neidhart making the jump to WCW all within a month or two of each other. Knowing the political clusterfuck WCW had going on at the time they failed to realize that they had just acquired an instant baby face success in the man that got screwed over by Vince McMahon. The amount of baby face momentum Bret Hart had going following Montreal easily could have been turned into success for The British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart. WCW instead chose to waste Bret's time teasing an alligning himself with either Hogan or Sting through out much of 1998, while Smith and Neidhart would be sentenced to the almost non-existant tag team division.

I think I would have booked Bret to come in as a major baby face coming in, almost following the exact same format they used to debut Scott Hall. Knowing Smith and Neidhart weren't but a few weeks behind him, just bring Hart out every week building support and sympathy over what happened at Survivor Series.

The Starrcade Screwjob doesn't go down in fact Bret Hart doesn't even make an appearance at Starrcade, Scott Hall comes out to aid Hogan against Sting while the referee is down instead accidentally takes out Hogan leading to problems within the nWo, and leaving Sting to finally step away from the nWo storyline and giving us the finish that made sense. With Sting no longer focused on the nWo and the nWo focused on issues within its own organization, this sets the seeds for Bret to start bringing in Jim and Davey to take out the nWo once and for all.

So how would you book it? Would you have reformed the Hart foundation in WCW as a major face stable to battle the nWo or would you have done it differently?
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2016, 10:35 PM
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the hart foundation as a faction should have just joined the NWO as back up as an invading force.

bret got screwed by WWE he's not going to let Time warner do the same thing....

Oh wait.. they did.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:46 AM
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With the amount of talent WCW had at this time and Thunder debuting very soon, i'll save Bret for the first episode of Thunder, give him the title (that he never lost in WWF), split the roster in 2 shows, with Bret being the major main eventer on Thunder, and run with it.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:46 AM
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I would have had the fans guessing for 3 or 4 weeks what Bret was going to do with WCW & NWO figures calling for him to join them.

Bret makes his debut and takes out Goldberg, the next week on Nitro, Nash introduces Bret as the newest member of NWO only for Bret to attack him.

The next week Bret basically says that in times like these you need family more than the lackys of the NWO or WCW's jobbers and brings in Davey Boy Smith & Neidhart. Bret declares war on both NWO & WCW and The Family Dungeon adds Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho & Lance Storm to the stable.
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  #5  
Old 05-15-2016, 02:45 PM
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The biggest downfall for the NWO, IMO, was the lack of faces to go up against them. I would have reformed the Hart Foundation with Bret, Bulldog, Neidhart, Jericho, and Benoit. They should have took Montreal and ran with it. everyone knew Nash, hall, and Waltman were real life friends with Michaels....the storyline wrote itself. NWO was originally WWF defects and nobody was more anti-WWF then Bret. It would have worked well in my opinion.

Also Bret should have debuted the night after Montreal if it was contractually possible. IIRC, he couldn't debut for another month. In that case, his debut should have been annouced, it should have been annouced Bret will have a live mic to discuss all controversy. This should have closed the show. It all but guarantees a ratings win for WCW that night.
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Old 05-15-2016, 05:54 PM
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HBKperfect23 has it right, there is NO WAY that Bret Hart should have teased joining the nWo when he started. The promo that Bischoff and Hogan made the night after Montreal totally belongs - inviting Bret into the fold. But he should have declined and aligned himself with Sting - maybe by announcing himself as Sting's corner man at Starrcade to prevent any nWo shenanigans.

Sting wins clean at Starrcade as Bret fends off interference, and Hogan holds Hart responsible. Suddenly you have two top storylines: Sting as champion, defending against the likes of Nash and Hall; Hogan against Bret in the match that *should* have happened at Summerslam 1993. Maybe Bret can even reference that, break the fourth wall, when the nWo court him upon arrival - "you say it's a disgrace McMahon screwed me - well he obviously learnt his tricks from you, Hogan!"

In the meantime, Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart secure their releases, which actually took a lot longer than people realise, hence they didn't debut together. Davey had to buy out his own contract, and Neidhart, though clearly regarded as the 'weak link' of the Hart Foundation (only three multi-man match ppv appearances since his return to WWE), he was used briefly to further the storyline a week after Montreal when he actually joined D-X before they turned on him the same night, and I think he had a match with one of Michaels and Helmsley a week later in his final WWE appearance. Owen Hart tried quitting as well but couldn't raise the funds to buy out his contract, I believe (I assume his contract was longer than Davey's) - in lieu of Owen, WCW had a ready-made replacement in Chris Benoit. So the Hart Foundation version 3 could have lived on 'down south'. Benoit and Davey Boy could easily have taken on the role that Benoit and Malenko later played.

I've always thought that, like the final Survivor match at which ended the Invasion storyline, the nWo story arc should have reached a natural conclusion like that. It's WCW though, so maybe a War Games match would have made sense. Back to basics though, strip the nWo of their dead weight and have their key members fight against WCW, maybe Hogan, Savage, Nash, Hall and Scott Steiner (who is a natural heel so I don't mind that he turned) against Sting, Luger, Flair, DDP and the Giant. However, this idea makes it quite interesting. Maybe in place of Luger and the Giant, we could sub in Bret and Davey Boy?

Whatever, the fact is irrefutable. WCW badly mishandled all three of the Hart Foundation members when they joined, and had they booked them better, the company *might* have survived longer.
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:13 PM
dsotm5150 dsotm5150 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrestlingaholic View Post
HBKperfect23 has it right, there is NO WAY that Bret Hart should have teased joining the nWo when he started. The promo that Bischoff and Hogan made the night after Montreal totally belongs - inviting Bret into the fold. But he should have declined and aligned himself with Sting - maybe by announcing himself as Sting's corner man at Starrcade to prevent any nWo shenanigans.

Sting wins clean at Starrcade as Bret fends off interference, and Hogan holds Hart responsible. Suddenly you have two top storylines: Sting as champion, defending against the likes of Nash and Hall; Hogan against Bret in the match that *should* have happened at Summerslam 1993. Maybe Bret can even reference that, break the fourth wall, when the nWo court him upon arrival - "you say it's a disgrace McMahon screwed me - well he obviously learnt his tricks from you, Hogan!"

In the meantime, Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart secure their releases, which actually took a lot longer than people realise, hence they didn't debut together. Davey had to buy out his own contract, and Neidhart, though clearly regarded as the 'weak link' of the Hart Foundation (only three multi-man match ppv appearances since his return to WWE), he was used briefly to further the storyline a week after Montreal when he actually joined D-X before they turned on him the same night, and I think he had a match with one of Michaels and Helmsley a week later in his final WWE appearance. Owen Hart tried quitting as well but couldn't raise the funds to buy out his contract, I believe (I assume his contract was longer than Davey's) - in lieu of Owen, WCW had a ready-made replacement in Chris Benoit. So the Hart Foundation version 3 could have lived on 'down south'. Benoit and Davey Boy could easily have taken on the role that Benoit and Malenko later played.

I've always thought that, like the final Survivor match at which ended the Invasion storyline, the nWo story arc should have reached a natural conclusion like that. It's WCW though, so maybe a War Games match would have made sense. Back to basics though, strip the nWo of their dead weight and have their key members fight against WCW, maybe Hogan, Savage, Nash, Hall and Scott Steiner (who is a natural heel so I don't mind that he turned) against Sting, Luger, Flair, DDP and the Giant. However, this idea makes it quite interesting. Maybe in place of Luger and the Giant, we could sub in Bret and Davey Boy?

Whatever, the fact is irrefutable. WCW badly mishandled all three of the Hart Foundation members when they joined, and had they booked them better, the company *might* have survived longer.
Probably the best one I've read yet. Like i said in the original post, WCW couldn't have asked for an easier storyline in Bret Hart. Yes Hart was a WWF guy and we'd been trained to assume all WWF guys belonged nWo, but you couldn't have gotten a more anti-WWF player at that time than Bret. Play on the fact Hogan was McMahon's right hand man, and Nash & Hall were part of the Kliq and you've easily got you're next feud for the nWo. With both Jericho and Benoit having ties to the Hart family, and then adding in Bulldog and Anvil, you've got a stable that actually would have looked strong against the nWo. It would have brought Benoit and Jericho up the ladder towards superstardom which desperately would have helped WCW hold onto both Benoit and Jericho.

You could easily have run the feud until Fall Brawl, have the two factions fight a "Loser Leaves WCW" match taking the nWo off TV for a period off time and saves WCW the embarrassment of two travesties. Nash ending the streak, and the finger point of doom.
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  #8  
Old 05-16-2016, 02:59 AM
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It would have been smart to have another 'WWE invasion' type angle- much like the original NWO of Hall, Nash, Hogan.
The Hart Foundation had been red hot just months earlier in 1997- and all 3 had long term careers in the WWE.

Bret debuted in December 1997- and could have played the Hall role... teasing the arrival of more of his buddies (Davey wanted out of WWE right after survivor series and Jim would also be free in very early '98).
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Old 05-16-2016, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsotm5150 View Post
First off I'd like to give The Brain credit for giving me this idea with his Davey Boy Smith 1999 WWF Run thread from earlier today.

We all know that the events of Survivor Series '97 would lead to Hart, Smith and Neidhart making the jump to WCW all within a month or two of each other. Knowing the political clusterfuck WCW had going on at the time they failed to realize that they had just acquired an instant baby face success in the man that got screwed over by Vince McMahon. The amount of baby face momentum Bret Hart had going following Montreal easily could have been turned into success for The British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart. WCW instead chose to waste Bret's time teasing an alligning himself with either Hogan or Sting through out much of 1998, while Smith and Neidhart would be sentenced to the almost non-existant tag team division.

I think I would have booked Bret to come in as a major baby face coming in, almost following the exact same format they used to debut Scott Hall. Knowing Smith and Neidhart weren't but a few weeks behind him, just bring Hart out every week building support and sympathy over what happened at Survivor Series.

The Starrcade Screwjob doesn't go down in fact Bret Hart doesn't even make an appearance at Starrcade, Scott Hall comes out to aid Hogan against Sting while the referee is down instead accidentally takes out Hogan leading to problems within the nWo, and leaving Sting to finally step away from the nWo storyline and giving us the finish that made sense. With Sting no longer focused on the nWo and the nWo focused on issues within its own organization, this sets the seeds for Bret to start bringing in Jim and Davey to take out the nWo once and for all.

So how would you book it? Would you have reformed the Hart foundation in WCW as a major face stable to battle the nWo or would you have done it differently?
Let me get this straight, you have the hottest angle in wrestling going and you're going to build another angle around a story that only the smart fans know about (probably less than 5% of the audience at the time) and give the #1 babyface in wrestling (Sting) a non-clean finish with a run-in on PPV to win the title?

No offense, but booking Bret Hart is not as easy as it sounds on paper when everything else going on at the time gets factored. You had Rick Rude showing up out of nowhere the night after the show happened, so you have to find a way to use him. They had no idea if Anvil and Davey were going to get their releases until later. I think by the time Bret had his first match Goldberg was starting to pick up steam so now you have his push you have to deal with. They also had a Scott Steiner heel turn that took MONTHS to develop and on top of that Hall & Nash were playing shenanigans like Nash not jobbing to the Giant.

I'm a huge Bret fan, but objectively looking at the situation, he should have never signed that contract with the WWF in 1996. His heel run in 1997 was great, but he really had no where to go once it was over and the timing to jump was right before the hottest angle in wrestling took off in the nWo. Now that would have been interesting because you have Hogan or Hart a choice for leader and it gives Bret an extended babyface run if he goes WCW, which he did not have in the WWF (only lasted about 5-6 months before going heel).

No one really knew about Montreal other than insiders until the documentary is shown on television. I barely knew about it because once he left the WWF, I never tuned into Raw again until Owen came back and then I sort of knew what happened, but not really until the documentary came out. I even missed the midget skit because I was watching Nitro. Playing monday morning quarterback, the best thing to do was to let Sting beat Hogan, CLEAN. Then, he holds the belt until Goldberg comes in and have another CLEAN finish. Then, you have Bret Hart beat Goldberg. Another scenario would be to have Hogan beat Sting. Immediately build Bret to take out Hogan within 4-6 months, then have Bret job to Goldberg at Starrcade 98. I can see the last minute switch to have Sting lose to Hogan because even at that time Sting was not a very good world champion. His crow gimmick was better for kicking ass without getting in the ring, but once he wrestled a lot of that mystique went away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HBKperfect23 View Post
The biggest downfall for the NWO, IMO, was the lack of faces to go up against them. I would have reformed the Hart Foundation with Bret, Bulldog, Neidhart, Jericho, and Benoit. They should have took Montreal and ran with it. everyone knew Nash, hall, and Waltman were real life friends with Michaels....the storyline wrote itself. NWO was originally WWF defects and nobody was more anti-WWF then Bret. It would have worked well in my opinion.

Also Bret should have debuted the night after Montreal if it was contractually possible. IIRC, he couldn't debut for another month. In that case, his debut should have been annouced, it should have been annouced Bret will have a live mic to discuss all controversy. This should have closed the show. It all but guarantees a ratings win for WCW that night.
They had babyfaces, but they jobbed all of them out. Lex Luger was over as hell in 1997, but he jobbed a week after beating Hogan. DDP was also easily ready to get pushed if Sting didn't take the win.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrestlingaholic View Post
HBKperfect23 has it right, there is NO WAY that Bret Hart should have teased joining the nWo when he started. The promo that Bischoff and Hogan made the night after Montreal totally belongs - inviting Bret into the fold. But he should have declined and aligned himself with Sting - maybe by announcing himself as Sting's corner man at Starrcade to prevent any nWo shenanigans.

Sting wins clean at Starrcade as Bret fends off interference, and Hogan holds Hart responsible. Suddenly you have two top storylines: Sting as champion, defending against the likes of Nash and Hall; Hogan against Bret in the match that *should* have happened at Summerslam 1993. Maybe Bret can even reference that, break the fourth wall, when the nWo court him upon arrival - "you say it's a disgrace McMahon screwed me - well he obviously learnt his tricks from you, Hogan!"

In the meantime, Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart secure their releases, which actually took a lot longer than people realise, hence they didn't debut together. Davey had to buy out his own contract, and Neidhart, though clearly regarded as the 'weak link' of the Hart Foundation (only three multi-man match ppv appearances since his return to WWE), he was used briefly to further the storyline a week after Montreal when he actually joined D-X before they turned on him the same night, and I think he had a match with one of Michaels and Helmsley a week later in his final WWE appearance. Owen Hart tried quitting as well but couldn't raise the funds to buy out his contract, I believe (I assume his contract was longer than Davey's) - in lieu of Owen, WCW had a ready-made replacement in Chris Benoit. So the Hart Foundation version 3 could have lived on 'down south'. Benoit and Davey Boy could easily have taken on the role that Benoit and Malenko later played.

I've always thought that, like the final Survivor match at which ended the Invasion storyline, the nWo story arc should have reached a natural conclusion like that. It's WCW though, so maybe a War Games match would have made sense. Back to basics though, strip the nWo of their dead weight and have their key members fight against WCW, maybe Hogan, Savage, Nash, Hall and Scott Steiner (who is a natural heel so I don't mind that he turned) against Sting, Luger, Flair, DDP and the Giant. However, this idea makes it quite interesting. Maybe in place of Luger and the Giant, we could sub in Bret and Davey Boy?

Whatever, the fact is irrefutable. WCW badly mishandled all three of the Hart Foundation members when they joined, and had they booked them better, the company *might* have survived longer.
It would have been interesting to see Bret booked differently, but most of his heat goes away once Shawn Michaels is injured. Bret's sympathy comes from Shawn not being the real world champion. Obviously it's really from Vince, but the likelihood of those 2 having a showdown back then was nonexistent so once Shawn is gone Bret loses steam unless HHH becomes champion.
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  #10  
Old 05-17-2016, 09:15 AM
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Personally....i would've debuted Bulldog and Neidhart as a tag team and maybe down the road have them join up with Bret...but i would've had them as a major tag team and had them climb the ladder and eventually grab the tag team titles.

As for Bret Hart, i would've not even mentioned his name until it was close to his (in ring) debut, then have nWo recruit him..then on the day his non-30 day compete clause was out of the way, have him decide to not join the nWo and attack Hogan, then have Bret claim that he's an uncrowned true world champion since he never lost his title and have him battle Sting where Hogan gets involved and it ends in a double dq and then have Hart run through the nWo stars like Hall, Steiner and Nash until Sting's run with the title ends to Macho Man, then (if WCW really didnt want to give Macho a run with the title) have a 3 way for the title where Hart defeats Macho and set up a match with him and Hogan.

now i doubt WCW would've ever done that, but that would've been better than having him debut like he did. i wasnt a fan of the Starrcade play on the screw job.
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