Inside Pulse 12

Voice Of Reason 1.20.01: Place Your Bets

While Eric Bischoff may not have as much money to spend with Fusient owning WCW as he did under the Turner/Time Warner banner, it is an almost certainty that he will be allowed to spend some money. Much of it should be used to beef up sets for WCW TV, theme music and overall production values, but of course new talent will also be brought into WCW to spice things up.

There are three distinct groups of “free agents” on the market now. There are former WCW stars who are either still under WCW contract or easily resigned. There are ECW wrestlers who are ripe for the Bischoff picking. And then there are young, independent guys who could get a big break in WCW. Since I don’t really follow the Indies, I will stick with the first two categories.

Hulk Hogan
Chances of a WCW Return: 3:2
Let’s face facts: there is very little doubt that Hogan will return to WCW at some point in the next 6 months. He might wait a few months so that Bischoff can rebuild the product a bit so Hogan won’t be on board for such low ratings, but he will be back. The major concern is in what capacity will Hogan come back? If it is for a limited main event run, and then some time building new stars (and don’t get me started on his ‘feud’ with Kidman), I’m all for a Hogan return. But wrestling fans have a right to be skeptical of Hogan and his motives for a WCW return, and I would prefer him not come back at all rather than risking a Hogan dominated 2001 in WCW.

Randy Savage
Chances of a WCW Return: 5:1
Savage would be in WCW or the WWF right now if he didn’t have such a high self worth. Savage was overexposed in his last WCW tenure and doesn’t have the big name top tier status that Hogan has anymore. Say what you want about Hogan, his return would be a big news, whereas as a Savage return would not be nearly as big.

Bret Hart
Chances of a WCW Return: 20:1
Out of everyone on this list, Bret is the person I’d most like to see return. He could still be a top player, and also could give a huge rub to Lance Storm and Team Canada. His concussion is a major factor, however, and he will probably never be able to wrestle again. Hart apparently has no hard feelings towards Eric Bischoff in particular, and I believe that if Bret does return to wrestling in any capacity, it will be for WCW. But at this point it doesn’t appear likely.

Scott Hall
Chances of a WCW Return: 2:1
With Kevin Nash still behind the scenes and with political power, it would seem very likely that Scott Hall would be brought back into WCW at some point. While he now claims to be headed for New Japan in March, keep in mind that New Japan is still associated with WCW in some capacity. If Hall stays clean, and that’s a big if, it would be shocking NOT to see him back in WCW by the summer.

Roddy Piper
Chances of a WCW Return: 10:1
Piper, unlike the other 4, has very little left to offer WCW. He presumably wants a huge payday for any appearances, and the reward from that huge salary simply isn’t there. It wouldn’t shock me to see Piper used sparingly late in 2001 when WCW has rebuilt itself somewhat, only to make a splash and be a “surprise” on a Nitro or PPV. But he is too old, too injured and too senile to make an impact on WCW ever again.

The Ultimate Warrior
Chances of a WCW Return: 15:1
Despite the failure of the actual match and the ridiculous booking, people fail to remember that the Warrior’s WCW appearances in Fall 1998 were the last time WCW beat the WWF on Monday Nights. Much of that victory was attributed to Goldberg, but the Warrior did create a buzz. After the initial excitement, the booking killed him, but since he stayed for such a short time, his credibility wasn’t totally destroyed. Like Piper, I could see Bischoff bringing back the Warrior after WCW was rebuilt to once again create a buzz. But like Savage, Warrior’s price tag is presumably very high, and his worth to the company could be lower than his asking price.

Rob Van Dam
Chances of a jump to WCW: 3:1
Out of all the ECW guys, RVD is the most desirable possible addition to WCW. He has a huge following, a great look and a unique in ring style. But much like Mike Awesome, WCW success is a question mark, because of his weak mic skills and the need for opponents willing to take his high spots. He is still the best talent on the ECW roster, and is prime for an Eric Bischoff raid.

Jerry Lynn
Chances of a jump to WCW: 5:1
With the rumors of Lynn going to the WWF, I’d say he is less likely to show up in WCW than RVD. Lynn is smaller, and would likely be grouped in with the newly revamped cruiserweight division in WCW. All things equal, I’d say Lynn would go to the WWF, whereas RVD would be better suited for WCW where his size and look would make him a star quicker.

Besides these 8 guys, there could be other ECW wrestlers on their way to WCW, in fact I would bet that some are already signed. And of course there is the possibility of a WWF wrestler to jump, but with the possible exception of Shawn Michaels, no big WWF name is eligible to be in WCW for a long time.