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Voice Of Reason 7.09.01: The Real Star Power

In the continuing online debate about the viability of WCW in the current wrestling landscape, most often the argument is being used that the new WCW “lacks star power.”

Up until a couple weeks ago, I was part of those who cried for Goldberg, Nash, Hogan or anyone else to make the WCW vs. WWF Invasion feud interesting.

But then, slowly, it dawned on me. The Invasion PPV on July 22 is not about Goldberg vs. Austin. It’s not meant to be a super card, even though that’s how the WWF is advertising it.

The Invasion PPV is meant to do one thing: establish WCW as a separate promotion that current WWF fans will not only not hate, but get behind and support as much as they do the WWF.

Up until March 2001, WWF fans were conditioned to hate WCW. They were encouraged to call it “Wheel Chair Wrestling.” WWF fans hated their big stars going down south, where they were given tons of money to reprise their WWF gimmick until they deteriorated without the discipline of the WWF to support them.

If the WWF had no plans to run WCW as a separate promotion, having WCW, with all the big names, invade Raw would be the ideal solution. The WWF could put on several months worth of super cards featuring huge dream matchups like Goldberg vs. Austin and HHH vs. Big Poppa Pump. The WWF could pony up short term, large money deals for Hogan, Piper and Savage as well, and really get a few months of big payoffs.

At the end of this scenario, the worth of WCW would be entirely used up. Since there were basically no new stars made in WCW in the past 2+ years, having all the big names from the past would only have a short shelf life. In addition, dealing with the egos of these big names, who would obviously have to lose in the end, would be unbearable for the WWF.

Sure, a quick supercard featuring the WCW “Brand Names” would assuredly pop a huge buyrate for one, two maybe three big PPVs here this summer. But where would that leave WCW? The big names who’s egos and political agendas destroyed the promotion from the inside would now be under contract. Not even Vince McMahon could fully control a lockerroom with Hogan, Nash, Goldberg, et al.

The old stigma of WCW would be perpetuated. Instead of rebranding WCW as a cool hip promotion just like the WWF, the new WCW would be just like the old WCW, with the same stars that WWF fans rejected in 1997.

Old WCW fans will never accept a McMahon-owned WCW, and McMahon himself knows that. He has to remold WCW into a ‘cool’ federation, and there is no way that’s possible with the burden of a dozen big money, low workrate names from WCW’s past.

If the proposed ‘draft’ of all major WWF and WCW names does go down, and the WWF and WCW are both hybrids with totally mixed rosters, the plan will become crystal clear. Vince McMahon would then be using his WWF brand names, and his WWF superstars to remake the new WCW in the WWF’s own image.

Instead of retaining the tradition and style of the old WCW, the new WCW will be the WWF 2. Is that what online fans wanted when McMahon bought WCW? Probably not, but from a business standpoint, it’s the only way a WWFE-owned WCW could survive and prosper.

There was no way that McMahon would use the same, tired roster than ran WCW into the ground, and there was also no chance that a new WCW without star power could succeed on its own.

The solution was to use the WWF’s own star power to raise WCW up. McMahon rejected the notion that the old WCW guys even had star power left. Eric Bischoff was going to run WCW with Fusient using his ‘Brand Names’ as cornerstones, but Vince McMahon knew better.

Many online pundits are screaming that the new WCW lacks star power it needs to survivoe on its own. But they are forgetting something very important. The old WCW stars burned out long ago. Even Goldberg was no longer a ratings draw by the end of his WCW career.

Vince McMahon knew this when he bought WCW. He knew that there was very little money left in Nash, Sting, Hogan and the others. The money that was left in them (in matches with Austin, Rock, HHH and Undertaker) would be almost impossible to get knowing the egos of those old stars.

No, Vince McMahon knows where the real star power lies in wrestling- it’s in the WWF.

And what better way to boost the star power of WCW than with the exact same way Eric Bischoff brought WCW out of the cellar years ago- using the WWF’s own stars.