WCW supplied no shortage of good wrestling memories, however, there were a few moments in its history that are best not mentioned. And the Ultimate Warrior's brief stint with the company is one of them.
In what was supposed to be the continuation of WrestleMania VI's magic, Eric Bischoff had Hulk Hogan and Warrior set up for a 1998 feud. As one of the more iconic rivalries in WWE history, WCW didn't have to do much to get fans invested.
"There was a lot of anticipation," Bischoff said on his 83 Weeks podcast. "Look, Warrior had a lot of equity built up with the WWE audience. He was a known commodity. Nobody would have ever expected-with all of the heat between him and Hulk Hogan-nobody would have expected him there. There was this built-in, natural, promotional effort without having to expand any promotional effort on our part. It was automatic. The wrestling audience wanted to see what the hell is going to happen when these two come together because there was so much natural heat and story in the WWF."
However, those lofty expectations were derailed the night Warrior made his WCW debut. In what was supposed to be an eight-minute promo, Warrior instead opted for a 22-minute filibuster. While fans may have left the segment confused as to WCW's plans, Bischoff knew any plans involving Warrior were doomed.
"On his first Nitro appearance was when I knew I was in trouble," Bischoff said. "Everything else that happened after that was a decree of how bad it was going to be ultimately. When he first showed up and we walked through it and blocked it, everybody had a good idea of what the first promo was going to be. We knew that we had 8-10 minutes. Again, we had flexibility. We worked for the television company that owned us so there was a little room for margin of error when you are on
Warrior's marathon of a promo sent signals to both Hogan and Bischoff that the likelihood of them having a good experience was all but impossible.
"We were completely lost, and so was the audience, and director, Craig Leathers is screaming in my ears, we were going so far over that even the margin for error that we had built in that the first promo that Warrior had shot went beyond 20 minutes. For a promo, I don't care who it is, that is a long promo. Everything that happened after that was confirmation that it was going to be really bad," he said.0comments
Warrior would only have three matches as a WCW employee before leaving the company later that fall. Warrior's WCW arrival and departure came around a pivotal time in the Monday Night Wars. While WWE's ultimate victory was multifaceted, Warrior's "era" in WCW came just before WWE took control of the ratings. Obviously, Warrior alone didn't initiate the shift, but perhaps his time in WCW was so bad that some fans saw that as an indication that WCW was the lesser product.
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