Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: The Major Acquisition
We’re going to be doing things a little differently this week. As you well know, major news was made a few weeks back by Christian walking away from the WWE and jumping to TNA. This was newsworthy because unlike all the other former WWE wrestlers, Christian was not fired and jumped on his own. This week I thought we could take a look at how other jumps went.
For the purpose of this article, I decided to take a look at wrestlers who jumped from WCW to the WWF. (The reason I didn’t do it the other way is because we all know how many jumped from the WWF to WCW, and with guys throwing their weight around like Nash or Hogan, the results would have been skewed.)
There was one other rule I followed – the wrestler had to be going from WCW to WWF for the first time, and they had to stay there through the end of the buyout, although I did allow wrestlers who left WCW and went to ECW before the WWF were okay. So for the purpose of this article, there won’t be any Jeff Jarrett or Steven Regal. Also, we are only looking jumps that occurred in the time period leading up to the buyout and none of the Invasion storylines. In no particular order, away we go:
1) Too Cold Scorpio
In WCW known as: Too Cold Scorpio
WCW titles won: World Tag Team 1x
In WWF known as: Flash Funk, Scorpio
WWF titles won: None
Analysis of jump: Bad idea. Although Scorpio would have likely done better in WCW, he may have wanted to think again before leaving ECW. Scorpio showed at the recent Hardcore Homecoming show that he can still go with the best of them, and almost anything is better than Flash Funk (or being put in the JOB Squad).
2) The Patriot
In WCW known as: The Patriot
WCW titles won: World Tag Team 2x
In WWF known as: The Patriot
WWF titles won: None
Analysis of jump: Although the Patriot did have did a decent chance of a feud with Anti-American Bret Hart, his chances were about equal whether he stayed or went.
3) Mark Callous
In WCW known as: Mean Mark Callous
WCW titles won: None
In WWF known as: The Undertaker
WWF titles won: WWF Heavyweight 3x, WWF Tag Team 6x, WWE Hardcore 1x, WWE Undisputed 1x
Analysis of jump: The Undertaker went from being a replacement member of the Skyscrapers to the WWF champion. What else can I say? Definitely the right move.
4) Cactus Jack
In WCW known as: Cactus Jack
WCW titles won: WCW tag team 2x
In WWF known as: Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love
WWF titles won: WWF Heavyweight 3x, WWF Tag Team 8x, WWF Hardcore 1x
Analysis of jump: Cactus Jack should have been a star in WCW following a match with Vader in which he lost an ear. WCW instead would use Cactus in nonsensical angles such as the infamous “Lost in Cleveland” sketches, where we discovered that he had amnesia and was living under a bridge in Cleveland. The WWF took Jack and not only turned him into a legit main event, but turned Mick Foley into one of the wrestling business’s most loved people. No doubt this was the right choice.
5) Steve Austin
In WCW known as: Stunning Steve Austin
WCW titles won: WCW Television 2x, WCW Tag Team 1x, WCW United States 2x
In WWF known as: The Ringmaster, Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWF titles won: King of the Ring 1996, WWF Tag Team 4x, WWF Intercontinental 2x, WWF Heavyweight 6x
Analysis of jump: Steve Austin started off with an incredible WCW run. He was part of the Dangerous Alliance (managed by a young Paul Heyman), and defeated stars like Ricky Steamboat to win his titles. He and Brian Pillman were the Hollywood Blondes, arguably one of WCW’s most popular teams at the time. However, in 1994 Austin was injured during a tour of Japan and, in an infamous phone call, Eric Bischoff decided that Austin would never amount to anything and fired him. Austin went to the WWF, after a brief stop in ECW, then began his climb after a WWF Creative misfire as the Ringmaster. Austin, who Bischoff was convinced would never amount to anything, would become one of wrestling’s best known stars. Definitely the right move.
6) Brian Pillman
In WCW known as: Flyin’ Brian Pillman
WCW titles won: WCW Light Heavyweight 2x, WCW Tag Team 1x
In WWF known as: Loose Cannon Brian Pillman
WWF titles won: None
Analysis of jump: Pillman should have been a star long ago. He was a shining star of the WCW Light Heavyweight division, until Bill Watts was brought in to slash the budget (Pillman was jobbed out to try and get him to renegotiate his contract – Pillman refused). Pillman would go on to leave WCW in a stunning coup – while feuding with booker Kevin Sullivan, Pillman convinced Sullivan to give him his release “to make it look good.” Pillman then signed a contract with the WWF. Unfortunately, soon after Pillman arrived, he was involved in a serious automobile accident which forced him to slow down his ring style. Sadly, Pillman passed away on October 5, 1997. Pillman would have doubtlessly seen his star continue to rise in the WWF, although it is a question mark as to how Bret Hart’s departure in November would have affected his career. Overall, I have to say that Pillman made the right decision, if only for the potential of what might have been.
7) Marc Mero
In WCW known as: Johnny B. Badd
WCW titles won: WCW Television
In WWF known as: Wildman Marc Mero, Marvelous Marc Mero
WWF titles won: WWF Intercontinental
Analysis of jump: Mero had worked as the Little Richard-inspired Johnny B Badd in WCW when he jumped to the WWF in 1996. Unfortunately, the high-flying Wildman would soon find himself grounded by injuries, which would result in his transformation into Marvelous Marc Mero (playing up his stellar amateur boxing career). Unfortunately, Mero would also wind up in a feud with manager and real-life wife Sable, which he would come out on the losing end of. Overall, Mero had a ton of potential, but saw WWF Creative simply unable to find a winning character for him. He probably would have been better off staying put in WCW.
8) Chris Jericho
In WCW known as: Chris Jericho
WCW titles won: WCW Cruiserweight 4x, WCW Television
In WWF known as: Chris Jericho
WWF titles won: WWF Intercontinental 2x, WWF European, WWF Hardcore, WWF/WWE Tag Team 4x, WWF Heavyweight, WWF Undisputed
Analysis of Jump: Jericho had a right to be disappointed with WCW. He’d gotten himself over as the cocky heel with angles like his feud with Dean Malenko (Malenko was the man of 1,000 holds, so Jericho had 1,004) and the addition of his “bodyguard” Ralphus. The problem occurred when Jericho had begun a feud with Goldberg, only to have it pulled out from under him by Eric Bischoff, because Jericho was “too small.” Jericho went to the WWF, and had a red-hot debut with a verbal duel with the Rock. From there it was up and down. He was the first WWF undisputed champion, then saw a feud with HHH changed into a feud between HHH and Stephanie McMahon, with Jericho involved due to getting HHH’s dog run over. Got to call it a good move – if only because he did get to run with the world title here.
9) Chris Benoit
In WCW known as: Chris Benoit
WCW titles won: WCW Television 3x, WCW Tag Team 3x, WCW World Heavyweight 1x
In WWF known as: Chris Benoit
WWF titles won: WWF/E Intercontinental 4x, WWE Tag Team 1x, WWE World Tag Team 2x, WWE United States 1x, WWE World Heavyweight 1x
Analysis of jump: Benoit had little choice. He won the WCW heavyweight title at Souled Out 2000, presumably in preparation for a run at the top. The problem was that the same day Kevin Sullivan (ex-husband of Benoit’s real-life wife Nancy (who managed as Woman)) was named head booker. Benoit left and found himself mired in the WWF midcard. Still, the fans were behind Benoit, and he wound up winning the World Heavyweight title in the main event of Wrestlemania XX, by defeating both HHH and Shawn Michaels. Since he lost the title, however, Benoit has found himself back in the upper midcard. Still, he is on Smackdown, and with the main event on that show getting depleted, it is not inconceivably to think that Benoit may win that world title again. Overall a good move, although Sullivan’s reign didn’t last long (by April he was long gone and Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff were back in charge of WCW).
10) Dean Malenko
In WCW known as: The Iceman Dean Malenko
WCW titles won: WCW United States 1x, WCW Cruiserweight 4x, WCW World Tag Team 1x
In WWF known as: Dean Malenko
WWF titles won: WWF Light Heavyweight 2x
Analysis of jump: Malenko was the second of the four wrestlers who jumped due to Kevin Sullivan’s becoming booker (the departure of these four was doubtless a huge nail in WCW’s coffin). On the surface, it appears easy to argue that Malenko should have stayed in WCW. The WWF usually has a lot of trouble figuring out how to push wrestlers who are not good on the microphone and instead rely on their mat skills to tell a story. However, Malenko decided to retire from in-ring competition in 2001, and has since continued to work for the WWE as a backstage road agent.
11) Eddie Guerrero
In WCW known as: Eddie Guerrero
WCW titles won: WCW United States 1x, WCW Cruiserweight 2x
In WWF known as: Latino Heat Eddie Guerrero
WWF titles won: WWF Intercontinental 2x, WWF European title 2x, WWE Tag Team 3x, WWE United States, WWE Heavyweight 1x
Analysis of jump: Eddie was the third Sullivan-inspired jump, and again, on the surface it’s hard to make the call. He won more prestigious titles in the WWF/E, but with Benoit holding the WCW title instead of the familiar names like Hogan or Nash, it’s completely possible he (as another rising WCW star) would have gotten a shot at or run with that belt as well. However, backstage, Eddie’s issues with alcohol and painkillers are well known, and he has publicly credited the WWE with pushing him to get himself cleaned up – something which WCW would likely not have done (anyone else remember Hall’s gimmick where he acted like he was drunk?). Overall, another good move.
12) Perry Saturn
In WCW known as: Perry Saturn
WCW titles won: WCW Television, WCW Tag Team 3x
In WWF known as: Perry Saturn
WWF titles won: WWF European 1x, WWF Hardcore 1x
Analysis of jump: The final departure motivated by Kevin Sullivan. Saturn had been in a hit-and-miss period in WCW. He went from being the man who both escaped and destroyed Raven’s Flock to being the loser in a loser wears a dress match with Chris Jericho who decided he liked it. At the time of his departure, he, Malenko, and Benoit were teamed with Shane Douglas in a stable called the Revolution, which was feuding with the Filthy Animals, and putting on decent matches. Saturn went to the WWF and soon acquired Terri Runnels as a manager, then dumped her for the ever-alluring Moppy. In 2002, Saturn suffered an ACL injury that required surgery, and was released by the end of the year. Overall, Saturn would have been better suited to have stuck with WCW – at least there they likely would have used his unique look to build him up as a great heel (let’s face it – I wouldn’t want to get in a fight with the man).
In WCW known as: Big Van Vader
WCW titles won: WCW World Heavyweight 3x, WCW United States 1x
In WWF known as: Vader
WWF titles won: None
Analysis of jump: Vader was an unstoppable heel in WCW. He seemed to always be a top level threat to the title, no matter who held it, and the injuries he was involved with (including the loss of one of Cactus Jack’s ears) only added to the mystique. Unfortunately, in 1995, there was an incident backstage between him and Paul Orndorff which resulted in his termination, and Vader jumped to the WWF. Once there, he competed in several top level matches against guys like Razor Ramon, Yokozuna, Sid, and Shawn Michaels. Unfortunately, in 1997, a host of a Kuwaiti talk show asked him if wrestling was fake and Vader slapped him out of his chair. Vader was arrested and eventually returned to the United States. In a boneheaded move, he was turned face and slid down the card until he was quietly released in 1998. A good move? Vader should have apologized to Paul Orndorff and worked his way back in to WCW or simply headed to Japan to compete.
14) Jean-Paul Levesque
In WCW known as: Terra Ryzin, Jean-Paul LeVesque
WCW titles won: None
In WWF known as: Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Triple H
WWF titles won: King of the Ring 1997, WWF Intercontinental 3x, WWF European 2x, WWE Tag Team 1x, WWF Heavyweight 4x, WWF Undisputed 1x, WWE World Heavyweight title 5x
Analysis of jump: Jean Paul LeVesque never did much in WCW. As a matter of fact, he lost his first pay-per-view match to Das Wunderkind Alex Wright. Once he jumped to the WWF in 1995, he seemed to be on the rise only to have the rug pulled out from under him after the infamous Madison Square Garden goodbye for the departing Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. It would take a year for him to recover from that as he won the 1997 King of the Ring. After that, he found himself as one of the founding members of D-Generation X (one of the WWF’s top stables at the time) and even became leader after Shawn Michaels left due to injury. From there HHH found himself climbing to become WWF champion, and his recent marriage to Stephanie McMahon seems to have cemented his spot as one of the WWE’s top guys for years to come. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that he made the right decision when he jumped.
15) Paul Wight
In WCW known as: The Giant
WCW titles won: WCW World Heavyweight 2x, WCW Tag Team 2x
In WWF known as: The Big Show
WWF titles won: WWF/E Heavyweight 2x, WWF Hardcore 3x, WWF/E World Tag Team 3x, WWE United States 1x
Analysis of jump: Talk about debuting with a bang. The Giant debuted in WCW and won the WCW World title in his first match (and defeated Hulk Hogan, to boot). After that auspicious debut, the Giant would find himself sliding down the card by flip-flopping between supporting WCW or being a member of the NWO on what seemed to be a weekly basis. In 1999, he jumped to the WWF and signed a reported 10-year deal. He debuted as part of Vince McMahon’s Corporation, interfering in the Stone Cold Steve Austin-Vince McMahon steel cage match at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre pay-per-view, then lost clean to Austin the next week on Raw. Ever since, the Show has ridden a roller coaster from winning the WWF title to feuding with the Big Boss Man over his dead father. Currently, the Big Show and Kane hold the World Tag Team titles, making this Show’s third run with the title. Still, I think that he would have done better to stay in WCW. WCW had a ready-made group of big men ready for Show to feud with, including Hogan, Nash, Goldberg, and Sid – if only they could have settled the whole New World Order thing once and for all.
And now we come to the subject of our column:
In WWF/E known as: Christian
WWF/E titles won: WWF Light Heavyweight 1x, WWF Tag Team 9x, WWF/E Intercontinental 2x, WWF European 1x, WWF Hardcore 1x
In TNA known as: Christian Cage
NWA/TNA titles won: None … yet
Analysis of jump: It’s too early to tell. Still, Christian had been noted as growing unhappy backstage lately, especially since a very promising feud with John Cena was blown off and he was sent to Smackdown. Did Christian make the right choice? He’s certainly got the right tools. He’s solid in the ring. He’s excellent on the microphone. And, most importantly, he holds a singular distinction to all of the other former WWF/E names on the TNA roster: the WWE did not fire him. He walked away, just like so many guys had before him. Is the WWE going to die because Christian walked? No. Not unless a lot more guys go (and take viewers with them). Still, Christian’s thrown away his old hand and gotten a new one from the dealer that looks extremely promising.
We’re back to normal as we take a look at Chavo Guerrero Jr.’s second career. As always, keep your thoughts and requests coming!
Tags: TNA, WCW, WWE