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Gunz: WWE Is A Better WCW

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WCW

Most fans are familiar with the story of World Championship Wrestling- from its origins as a southern-based territory to its rise to the top of the wrestling mountaintop to its sudden fall, being eventually purchased by the WWE and essentially put out of business. The biggest criticism of WCW and the usual go-to explanation for its demise, with the benefit of hindsight as well, is paraphrased that WCW “was a TV company that had a wrestling show.” The WWF, on the other hand, “was a wrestling company with a TV show.” Vince McMahon owned and operated the WWE, using his own money to do so. WCW was operated by executive directors and presidents, while being financed by Ted Turner. Turner wanted to own a wrestling company because, well, he liked wrestling and wanted it on his television networks. It didn’t pay the bills, and for most of its existence WCW ran in the red, but Turner was a fan and enjoyed having wrestling in his portfolio. The WWE, on the other hand, WAS McMahon’s portfolio. It was and is his life blood. It’s his job. It’s his legacy. It’s his everything. And most feel that this is exactly why Vince ultimately won “the war.” He had no other choice but to win.

But we are now seventeen years removed from WWE buying its competition. There was no “war” to fight anymore. So naturally the way the WWE did business was bound to change and evolve eventually.

There is an accepted sentiment in wrestling that nothing is truly original. Everything has been done before. Every character storyline, and match finish is derivative of something we have seen previously, usually multiple times over multiple eras and decades. The same holds true today. Despite what hardcore fans, internet “experts” or even TV ratings might suggest, the WWE as a company is seeing success on a scale never achieved before. While I’m not discounting some of the legitimate gripes that some of the fan base rightfully has, the bottom line is that revenue streams, from TV network deals, advertising, and stock prices, are soaring at all-time highs. However, the strategy with which this has been done has, like most things in wrestling, been seen before. The WWE has made a mint utilizing, and perhaps perfecting, the principles once executed against them by its chief rival- WCW.

The Monday Night War really came to be because of the number one directive that WCW began to operate under- get the highest TV ratings you can. This has been confirmed by the man in charge of executing that directive at the time, Eric Bischoff, on his latest podcast. This was the reason we got matches such as Hogan vs Goldberg on free TV. It was in order to pop a big rating on television for Turner broadcasting. Nitro turned the tide in their favor in the mid 90’s by putting things usually reserved only for paying customers- main event matches, high profile feud blow offs, storyline progression or culmination- on broadcast cable television for all to see and enjoy. Remember, they were a TV company with a wrestling show. Nitro was a cog in the Turner machine. The purpose of Monday Night Nitro, and then later further evidenced by the creation of Thunder as well, was to supply content for TNT (and later TBS) that would score a large Nielson rating, thus attracting more eyeballs, advertisers, and exposure to the Turner network. Pay-per-view buys, merchandise sales, even house show attendance, was secondary. Icing on the cake.

Are we not seeing the same business model from the WWE right now?

Look at what is being given away on free TV on the regular. First time, “money” matches- AJ Styles vs Daniel Bryan for just one recent example. Titles are changing hands. Superstars debut or make triumphant, surprise returns. Why? Well, the FOX Network just gave them two billion reasons why, and NBC/USA a billion more.

Furthermore, this is what happens when the “wrestling company with a TV show” becomes its own TV company. When is the last time you even heard the term “pay per view” uttered on Raw or Smackdown? “Call your local cable company” has been replaced with “Get you first month of the WWE Network for free!” They don’t need to pay licensing fees for their big events to be promoted, carried and broadcast. They can do that themselves. Monthly pay-per-view events are now reduced to basically WWE Network Specials, and are usually filled with a card of matches that we’ve already seen on Raw or Smackdown in the previous weeks, save for maybe a special stipulation here or there. Feuds rarely come to a close. Storylines rarely meet a conclusion. Why give away the best stuff for ten dollars a month? More eyes will be watching the payoff on television than they would on the Network anyway. And those that do pay each month for the Network? Just icing on the cake.

House shows? Icing.

Merchandise? Icing.

The WWE has changed the landscape of the wrestling business several times over. It took wresting national. Then it bought its competition- all of its competition. And now, though no one would ever admit it, WWE is using the same principles that once almost put them out of business to their ultimate benefit. The emphasis is being placed on television now more than ever, even more so than during the Monday Night War. The ratings aren’t as high, but the content is much more lucrative.

The biggest difference is that the WWE owns its own production and then sells its product to the masses. WCW had to cater its content to the TV company that owned them, for better or worse. But give credit where credit is due- the decision by WCW to focus on delivering its best efforts on television as opposed to pay-per-view or other mediums was great foresight, and forced the WWE to change course and ultimately is what brought them to the position they are in today. When all is said and done, maybe the true legacy of WCW, even for all its faults, is that it was actually a bit ahead of its time.

WWE is no doubt blazing the trail in the wrestling industry today. But maybe the WWE owes WCW just a bit of credit for lighting the way.

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Chairshot Staff Picks: Survivor Series/NXT Takeover War Games

Who you got?

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WWE Survivor Series Becky Lynch
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Ladies and gentlemen my name is PC Tunney and welcome back to The Chairshot staff picks! I am thrilled to be reincarnating our PPV prediction series and bringing them to our very astute audience right here on THECHAIRSHOT.com. Survivor Series is a great place to kick things off again. The spirit of brand competition is back and with it comes the long running sibling rivalry between Stephanie and Shane. Not to mention we also have an excellent four match card for NXT Takeover War Games. So as we prepare for the final of the big four PPVs, I have only one question…  Are you ready?



WWE NXT Takeover War Games 2018

NXT TAKEOVER WAR GAMES – Staples Center Los Angeles, CA

Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano

STAFF PICKS

  • Carter: Gargano
  • Cash: Black
  • Cassada: Gargano
  • Gunz: Black
  • Mcleod: Gargano
  • Sarpraicone: Black
  • Scopelliti: Gargano
  • Weigel: Gargano
  • Ames: Gargano
  • Cook: Gargano
  • Mitchell: Gargano
  • Platt: Gargano
  • DPP: Black
  • Balaz: Black
  • DeMarco: Gargano
  • Tunney: Black

10-6 JOHNNY GARGANO #UseYourHead



2 out of 3 Falls for the NXT Women’s Championship

Shana Baszler (c) vs Kairi Sane

STAFF PICKS

  • Carter: Sane
  • Cash: Baszler
  • Cassada: Baszler
  • Gunz: Baszler
  • Mcleod: Sane
  • Sarpraicone: Sane
  • Scopelliti: Baszler
  • Weigel: Baszler
  • Ames: Baszler
  • Cook: Baszler
  • Mitchell: Sane
  • Platt: Sane
  • DPP: Sane
  • Balaz: Baszler
  • DeMarco: Baszler
  • Tunney: Baszler

10-6 Shana Baszler #UseYourHead



NXT Championship

Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Velveteen Dream

STAFF PICKS

  • Carter: Ciampa
  • Cash: Dream
  • Cassada: Ciampa
  • Gunz: Ciampa
  • Mcleod: Ciampa
  • Sarpraicone: Ciampa
  • Scopelliti: Ciampa
  • Weigel: Ciampa
  • Ames: Ciampa
  • Cook: Ciampa
  • Mitchell: Ciampa
  • Platt: Dream
  • DPP: Ciampa
  • Balaz: Ciampa
  • DeMarco: Ciampa
  • Tunney: Ciampa

14-2 Tommaso Ciampa #Use Your Head



WAR GAMES

The Undisputed Era vs War Raiders, Ricochet & Pete Dunne

STAFF PICKS

  • Carter: War
  • Cash: War
  • Cassada: Era
  • Gunz: Era
  • Mcleod: War
  • Sarpraicone: Era
  • Scopelliti: War
  • Weigel: War
  • Ames: Era
  • Cook: War
  • Mitchell: Era
  • Platt: Era
  • DPP: Era
  • Balaz: War
  • DeMarco: Era
  • Tunney: Era

9-7 THE UNDISPUTED ERA #UseYourHead




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Booking The Future Of Gargano & Ciampa at NXT TakeOver: WarGames

Their story is not over…

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Tommaso Ciampa Johnny Gargano NXT Takeover
Image Credit: Big Gold Belt
Some may think that the Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa storyline has been tossed aside, but the card for Saturday at NXT TakeOver: War Games provides the perfect stepping stones toward their final encounter. 




Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano

A lot of fans may feel that Gargano is a heel now but I don’t think he’s fully turned. At first glance, it seemed like Gargano was turning into Ciampa when he attacked Aleister Black. But remember, he attacked Black just so he could get his hands on Ciampa. 

Booking It: Aleister has the more legitimate gripe in this match so he’s winning. Johnny robbed him of his championship and his rematch. We’ve never seen a feud get Black more fired up than this one. That’s why I want the fans to be able to feel Black’s anger in the finish. When Aleister Black hits Gargano with the Black Mass kick, I want Johnny to fall back into the ropes, bounce off, then take a second Black Mass on the rebound. Black purges his anger and earns a chance to reclaim his championship.

NXT Championship – Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Velveteen Dream

I’ve been anxiously waiting for Velveteen to get a chance at the NXT Championship but I don’t have a good feeling about this one. As much as I want Dream to get his first championship, this match had the “weakest” build among the four matches on the card. Everything Velveteen does is magic but Ciampa is on another level right now. 

Booking It: So yes, Ciampa is winning here. But I want Ciampa to have as difficult of a time as possible. Velveteen makes sure to always have the best ring gear for every TakeOver event. I’d like to use that to get into Ciampa’s head. When Dream enters the ring, I want him to be wearing a vest or jacket. He won’t take it off until Ciampa is in the ring. Underneath he’ll be wearing a DIY shirt. That will clearly leave Ciampa flustered and immediately set him off to the point of trying to rip the shirt off. Fast forward to the end of the match. Ciampa has won but is still fixated on the shirt. He recovers it but throws it into the audience before exiting the building. 



Booking Forward: Black and Ciampa were the two winners on the night. That will set up the rematch for the NXT Championship that Aleister Black never got to have. Even their first match wasn’t a clean victory since Gargano got involved. This rematch will take place at the TakeOver before the Royal Rumble. 

After the dust is settled from War Games and they’re back at Full Sail, Johnny Gargano will confront Velveteen Dream backstage. He’ll ask where Dream got the DIY shirt. Dream will say he has no memory of it, then Gargano will conclude by saying to stay out of his business. Tensions rise between the two over the ensuing weeks, also leading to a match at the next TakeOver. 

Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa will each win those matches, leaving their final encounter for the TakeOver before WrestleMania. Here, Johnny Gargano finally wins the big one. 




How does NXT Takeover War Games play into the long-term story with Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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