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Rebooking WCW in 1993


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So for this week's podcast, we're attempting to Rebook WCW in 1993, and would love to get your thoughts on what you'd have done to try and prevent one of the worst years in company history.

If you had to take control in February 93 (after Bill Watts was turfed out), what moves would you make to turn things around for the rest of the year? The talent seems to be there - the returning Ric Flair after his WWF stint, the awesome Big Van Vader in his prime, the red-hot Hollywood Blonds, along with other top names like Sting, Rick Rude, Davey Boy Smith, Cactus Jack, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Underneath you have guys like Paul Orndorff, Chris Benoit, 2 Cold Scorpio, Scotty Flamingo, Johnny B. Badd and Steven Regal. Yet somehow WCW turned out a dire year, filled with Shockmasters, exploding boats, and lacklustre shows. Who do you push and how? What do you do with the titles? What do you build around? How would you try to bridge the gap between WCW and the WWF with McMahon on the back foot in 93?

As always, we will be reading the best contributions on the show and you'll be credited accordingly. So what would you have done to salvage 1993?

EDIT - The show Rebooking WCW in 1993, featuring many of your contributions, is now available at the following link: https://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/download/8vmasv/SCG_Radio_118_-_Rebooking_WCW_in_1993.mp3
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In my scenario, you have Vader, Windham, Rude and the Hollywood Blondes running amok at the top of the card throughout 1993. To combat this, Sting and Davey Boy Smith are aligned as a unit, and Flair also returns as a babyface, forming a babyface Horsemen team of Flair, Arn, Dustin and Steamboat, leading to Vader, Windham and the Blondes versus the babyface Horsemen at War Games.


Vader enjoys a long run as champion throughout 1993, turning back challenges from Sting and Davey Boy at the start of the year, Cactus in the Spring and then maybe even Dustin, Steamboat and Arn at Clashes. This builds to Flair winning the title as he did at Starrcade 1993. After dropping the title, Vader is kept strong for a future series with Hulk Hogan by going over Sid at Superbrawl 4. Sid then leaves the company, as I can't see him a logical role for him beyond that. Vader also goes over the Bossman and Ron Simmons, amongst others, throughout the year in an attempt to keep him strong for the eventual Hogan feud, building to Hogan/Vader at Starrcade 1994.


The Hollywood Blonds drop the tag titles (after a long run) to Sting and Bulldog in late 1993 (maybe around Halloween Havoc) and then split, leading to a match at Starrcade between Austin and Pillman. Both then transition into the US Title picture in 1994. Having Sting and Bulldog as Tag Champs keeps them near the top of the card and gives the belts even more credibility.


The NWA Title is retired at the earliest opportunity, Barry Windham wins the US Title from Dustin Rhodes early in the year (maybe at Superbrawl 3) and unifies the belt with the NWA title. Rhodes and Windham have a proper feud culminating in Rhodes winning the title and establishing himself as the US Champion.


Flair turns heel as Champion sometime in early 1994, wIth Arn in tow. This leads to a short series between Flair/Arn and their former stablemates Dustin and Steamboat, and if time allows, also a run against Sting/Davey, with Dustin and Steamboat being replaced in the Horsemen with Austin and another (maybe Orndorff or Regal). Hogan comes in and then feuds with Flair, winning the title and building to the aforementioned Hogan/Vader match at Starrcade 1994.


Most importantly though, there is no Erik Watts, no Shockmaster, no Lost in Cleveland and no Paul Roma in the Horsemen!

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The babyface Horsemen is dead in line with what I'd want if that was the direction I chose. I think my issue in trying to plan this pod is that the obvious direction is a megapushed Vader in a well promoted showdown with Flair, but WCW 93 felt like it needed a major shakeup beyond that is freshen up and feel relevant again, and I'm not sure that's the best answer....

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The babyface Horsemen is dead in line with what I'd want if that was the direction I chose. I think my issue in trying to plan this pod is that the obvious direction is a megapushed Vader in a well promoted showdown with Flair, but WCW 93 felt like it needed a major shakeup beyond that is freshen up and feel relevant again, and I'm not sure that's the best answer....

1993 is very tough to book in truth. Although the top of the card was loaded on paper, they had all worked against each other in some form or fashion at length.


Sting had already feuded with Vader on and off since mid 1992. He had feuded with Rude in 1991-92. Flair on and off since 1988.


Rude had already feuded with Steamboat in 1992 as well.


The Blonds were a hot act for sure, but nowhere near hot enough to be at the top of the card at that point. Dustin wouldn't be ready until mid to late 1994 after the Studd Stable feud, and Windhams time had come and gone.


The only fresh act was Bulldog (and I suppose Cactus, if he counts), but they wouldn't be major ratings grabbers in 1993.


I honestly think the best WCW could hope for in 1993 is to get all of the pieces put in place ready for Hogans arrival. They may not have been able to do red hot business based on that, but they could have easily have served up better than what they did in real life whilst Ina holding pattern. I suppose WCW could have made a play for Hogan after he leaves the WWF in 1993 instead of 1994, which may have been the answer you're looking for.


In that scenario with Hogan joining in 1993, you could still do most of what of I laid out in my earlier post, running Vader/Flair at starrcade as that was the best available story to be told, and having Hogan win Battlebowl to become the number one contender to the World title. Then because of Hogan now being the number one contender, you have a little bit of extra intrigue added to the Flair/Vader match as any outcome would lead to a big (and fresh) main event (Hogan/Vader or Hogan/Flair). Flair wins the title, but then turns heel on Hogan after becoming increasingly paranoid as he sees him as a threat to his position as top babyface and his title. You then go with Flair/Hogan at Superbrawl 4, and also keeps a Hogan/Vader match in your pocket for Starrcade 1994.

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I did a detailed WCW rebook on another forum running from Slamboree '93-Starrcade '94. http://forums.prowrestling.com/showthread.php?t=121714&highlight=rebooking+wcw+1993 Here are some 1993 highlights...


-Paul Roma coming in as Romeo (think a Sal Sincere type) instead of a Horseman.

-My man Bobby Eaton got Roma's Horseman spot and his last big run. Had a brief tag title reign with Arn before dropping the belts back to the Blondes and becoming a part-time lower card guy/Power Plant trainer.

-War Games had Flair/Arn/Eaton/Dustin/Sting as a super babyface team vs. Sid/Vader/Blondes/Rude with the heels going over on Eaton. Many stipulations were involved.

-Scorpio had a transitional TV title reign to bridge the gap from Orndorff to Regal.

-Dusty comes out of retirement to team with Dustin and dethrone the Blondes at Starrcade leading to the Blondes split in early '94.

-Brought Dibiase in to job to Flair at the November Clash. I needed a Flair opponent. Teddy was available. This was probably my biggest deviation from real life.

-As an unabashed lover of wacky sports entertainment, I kept the Beach Blast mini-movie but (sadly) ditched the Lost In Cleveland stuff for a more straightforward Cactus return.

-Masters of the Powerbomb exploded when Vader squashed Sid at the November Clash leading to Sid leaving the company.

-Vader vs. Flair took place at Starrcade with the only difference being Flair was still NWA champ. See, it was title vs. title. Heels winning at War Games meant the babyfaces couldn't challenge for Vader's title BUT the lure of unifying both titles was too much for Vader so he challenged Flair. Flair would only put his belt on the line if Vader did the same. Flair won just like in real life.

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In terms of other moves, this is early enough in Arn's career where I think maybe you can try pushing him as one of your top heels and see if he's got steam in the main event picture. He's a great promo and worker, and hasn't been pegged by the audience as forever midcard yet, then you can try running a Arn vs. Flair program in fall of 1993 instead of the drizzling shits that was Flair vs. Rude. You could try him as a face too, but my guess is he'd work better as a heel.


Outside of trying to get Savage and Hogan (without the absurd contract terms) and bringing Flair back as an active wrestler sooner, the best business popping that I can think of is running more events in Europe and the UK. They did good numbers there in 1993. That means you've probably got to protect Davey.


edit: random thought. Maybe if WCW pushes Davey hard enough, not only will he stick around, but Vince will fight putting the world title back on Bret because of the summerslam 1992 job. If so, and you get a 1994 without Bret as champ, that likely damages WWF and makes it even easier to flip eyeballs when WCW eventually acquires more WWF talents. (But maybe not if Europe becomes a bigger battleground area.)

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If I'm Bischoff, I want Starrcade to become THE annual event in all of wrestling. Although 8 months later, there's a huge opportunity, and an easy one at that, to completely shit on WrestleMania IX.


So I want the card to be stacked. I'll have to take another close look to go into detail, but having Benoit, Steamboat, Austin, Foley, Pillman, Regal, Rude, Davey Boy, there's no excuse for the shitty undercard that was bailed out by Vader vs. Flair.

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(I might be nerding out too much on this. Fair warning.)


My two main feelings on this would be that babyface '93 Flair was kind of the drizzling shits. I didn't like A Flair for the Gold, and while he had some good matches, heel Flair is just so much more fun. And while him coming back, there was no way they would boo him right away, I'd want to get to that point fairly quickly.


And I want to try to make a real star. To me, the untapped possibility is Dustin Rhodes. I feel like he's someone who's a great babyface worker, has good blue collar charisma, and while his mic skills weren't great, I still think he could be made.


So Flair comes back, and is basically working two angles at the same time. He never lost the WCW World Title, so in his eyes, he belongs at the front of the line, and is willing to use his dirtiest player in the game tricks in order to do so. He's also very openly scouting with Arn for the next generation of Horsemen.


He wins the World Title fairly quickly, let's just say.. the June Clash. It's not 100% clean, we'll give Vader his next program out of it... maybe Cactus interferes and costs him.


So Flair has the title, and he's also very openly recruited Dustin Rhodes. He's given Dustin plenty of time to make up his mind.


This infuriates Dusty, who tells his son that he can never trust Flair, to remember everything that Flair did to him in the 80s. As Dusty tries more and more to dissuade his son from joining up with the Horsemen, he even brings out Barry Windham, who agrees that Flair is a snake.


Flair swears he is a changed man, and starts using his status with the WCW Matchmakers as Champion to benefit Dustin. Singles title shots, a tag team with Arn. It leads to a tag title match, Dustin and Arn against the Hollywood Blondes, for Beach Blast. Flair at the show has a successful defense against Windham, with the story being that Windham was truly after Flair's title, not any kind of honesty about Dustin. Also, earlier in the card, there's Cactus vs. Vader in a cage. Vader hurts Cactus, writing him off TV and giving him some time to spend with his family (but no Lost in Cleveland this time). He would come back in November, and it would lead to some kind of gimmick match against Vader for Starrcade (I know in 93 WCW I could never get away with like a barbed wire match, but maybe a Falls Count Anywhere?)


During the main event, the cage seems to malfunction and starts coming down. With the cage match already over, the door is swinging wide open. The referee attempts to motion to the production team to get the cage up, but it won't. Flair hits the ring, grabs a pair of steel chairs at ringside, He slides in, and holds up the Four Horsemen hand sign. Rhodes, in a big pop, reciprocates, but he slowly realizes that Flair isn't doing it to him, but rather to the three other men in the ring. The Blondes, Arn, and Flair jump Dustin. As Sting, Bulldog, and Dusty try to open the cage, Flair pulls out a chain and locks the door. Telling Dusty that he'll want to see this, in a recreation of the 85 Omni angle, the new Horsemen break Dustin's leg.


This sets up War Games, where the Horsemen face Dustin (who still hasn't officially been cleared by doctors), Sting, Bulldog, and Steamboat. The Horsemen declare war on anyone willing to team with a Rhodes, and actually take out Steamboat the night before on WCWSN leaving them down a man.


During the show, when the time comes for the final spot in War Games to come up, Dusty Rhodes hits the ring and says he's their partner. The faces go over, with some kind of viciousness to either Pillman or Anderson.


Flair would defend against Dusty at the November Clash, under the stipulation that if Dustin interfered at all, he would be fired from WCW. Flair would go over in a violent brawl.


On the smaller end, I'd work on making 2 Cold a midcard staple and keep him undefeated for the year, not really beating anybody above the like Maxx Payne level, but definitely showing that he's someone that I have bigger plans with.


I'd also diversify Harley Race a little, give him a few more clients. The first one would be the team of Eaton and Benoit, who I would put up as a likely heel challenger to any babyface team that could dethrone the Blondes. I'd also put Vinnie Vegas with him as a bodyguard type role. Kevin Nash as a bodyguard, feels like it might work from somewhere.


My TV Title picture wouldn't look incredibly different than the real one, with Regal holding it by the end of the year, maybe using Simmons as the babyface catalyst to get it there.


I'd also want to bring in some NJPW guys at certain points, for example, definitely want to run Sting-Muta over the summer.


So for Starrcade:


Flair vs. Rhodes - Flair keeps the title via some insane chicanery. Rhodes would continue to challenge into '94.

Vader vs. Cactus - FCA.

Rick Rude vs. 2 Cold Scorpio for the US Title.

Blondes vs. Sting and Bulldog - Babyfaces win. Sometime in '94, I'd run the Austin has solo ambitions angle that would give me a few possibilities

Anderson vs. Dusty - this would be Dusty's last wrestling appearance. I don't love the idea of putting a part timer in such a big role, but I figure 3 matches isn't horrible.

Steven Regal vs. Ricky Steamboat for the TV Title

Benoit and Eaton vs. Marc Bagwell and Ron Simmons (with Scorpio getting a push, these two end up stuck together. Simmons would probably turn heel on him sometime not long afterwards)

Hell Raisers vs. Nasty Boys

Big Bubba vs. Paul Orndorff (I'm an unabashed Traylor mark, and so The Boss as a name goes, but he comes back and gets a push).

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If I took control in 1993 I would have focused on the in ring product. Vader has a year long reign as WCW champ defending against Sting, Bulldog, Steamboat and Cactus Jack. The biggest turn of the year would be turning Rick Rude face. Rude wins the NWA title from Windham at the Bash due to interference by Ricky Steamboat (who had been gone awhile due to injuries suffered at the hands of Windham earlier in the year). Rude holds the title the rest of the year setting up Vader/Rude in a unification match at Starrcade. Ric Flair returns to WCW as a heel and his Flair for the Gold show is a heel hosted show like an 80s Pipers Pit. This is used to build to his return. He has Dusty Rhodes on his show. He mocks Dusty and instigates a fight. Dusty hits Flair then Arn Anderson attacks Dusty. Flair and Arn beat Dusty bad until Dustin runs out. I keep pushing the Hollywood Blondes and let them go all the way with their characters. Sting and Bulldog are the top faces and sometimes All-Star tag team. Cactus Jack gets to work his way up the card. Sid remains a top heel. Lord Steven Regal is the US champ because I think he would do great things with that title and his gimmick. This sets up a textbook feud with the All-American Ron Simmons. Paul Orndorff is the TV champ managed by the Masked Assassin (I really did love this alliance). I push the younger high flyers especially 2 Cold Scorpio who works his way to a TV title shot at Starrcade. I also want to push the tag team division so I have 3 or 4 serious contenders at all times. One of my biggest goals is to bring prestige back to Starrcade making it the Granddaddy of them all again. Treating it like the Super Bowl that it once was. So after months of build and trying to put a fresh spin on things here is my Starrcade 93 card,


Vader vs Rude- World Title Unification


Hollywood Blondes vs Sting/Bulldog- World Tag Title


Ric Flair vs Dustin Rhodes - Steel Cage Bout


Lord Steven Regal vs Ron Simmons- US Title Bout


Paul Orndorff w/The Assassin vs 2 Cold Scorpio- TV Title Bout


Barry Windham vs Ricky Steamboat


Sid Vicious vs Cactus Jack


Arn Anderson vs The Boss (Mystery opponent set up by Dusty Rhodes)


Nasty Boys vs Harlem Heat vs Tex Slazenger/Shanghai Pierce vs The Taylor Made Men (Terry Taylor/Z-Man)- 4 Corners number 1 contenders match.

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The babyface Horsemen is dead in line with what I'd want if that was the direction I chose. I think my issue in trying to plan this pod is that the obvious direction is a megapushed Vader in a well promoted showdown with Flair, but WCW 93 felt like it needed a major shakeup beyond that is freshen up and feel relevant again, and I'm not sure that's the best answer....

Just listening to the podcast now, and it was interesting to hear the direction you took. Sadly I found myself disagreeing with a lot of your booking, although as always, I did enjoy listening to the show itself.


I don't know if you've quite hit the mark in giving WCW the major shakeup you alluded to in your earlier post. The Blonds, Douglas and Benoit all get big pushes, but I don't think that is enough to shake things up. I appreciate you are booking on the fly but I think the Blonds are over pushed in your scenario, and Douglas and Benoit were nowhere near ready for the level of push you've given them. Having the Blonds captain a Wargames team including Benoit and Douglas and expecting them to be competitive against Sting, Simmons, Dustin and Steamboat was a bit of a reach too.


I mentioned before in an earlier post that WCW was a tough year to book in 1993, but Bulldog is given a title win and then nothing, Rude drops down to a feud with Badd, Steamboat is tied up with Douglas, Dustin and Benoit in a Bullrope match at Starrcade, Sting is tied up in a tag feud for most of the year and goes through multiple partners and losses, Windham drops the NWA strap and is then jobbed out, Scotty Flamingo gets a long TV Title run whilst Lord Steven Regal and Paul Orndorff were largely ignored. I did like your Flair/Vader arc a lot and the almost year long build was a great improvement.


I always find the rebooking shows interesting, even if I feel they generally suffer from the panel more often than not strongly pushing their favourites (The Blonds here, Shelton Benjamin in WWE 2006, Power and a Glory in WWF 1991), and marginalising others (Simmons here, Slaughter in WWF 1991).


To end on a more positive note, I'm really looking forward to the next show and the RuView, especially with Matt Holt being back!

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Thanks very much! No issues with the disagreement at all from me - I think what's interesting about doing these is how different things end up in a committee format from what you originally want on your own. I'd agree that it wasn't the drastic shake-up, but rather streamlining the top angles with a longer focus. It also becomes quite clear when you put entire cards together rather than single storylines how logistics don't allow for everybody to be used to the maximum - you do have to pick and choose. The big issue that came out of the show for me was that, as long as the direction is Flair and Vader, there's really only so much things can really evolve, since the top two spots are taken.


Just wanted to thank everybody for the contributions - the show looking at Rebooking WCW in 1993 is now available at the following link:




Join us as we face one of the tougher "Rebooking" challenges yet - World Championship Wrestling in 1993! Looking at a year containing Cactus Jack getting Lost in Cleveland, Paul Roma as a Horseman, the Shockmaster falling flat on the fucking arse, and luminaries such as Big Sky, the Colossal Kongs, Ice Train and Charlie Norris making frequent PPV appearances, it seems a shoo-in to improve upon it. The panel tries to tackle the return of Ric Flair, correctly building the Starrcade 1993 main event, how to use the Hollywood Blonds, dealing with two World Titles, utilising the UK at a time when Davey Boy Smith was on fire, and desperately trying to make some fresh names into more key players. And as always, we reach out to you, the loyal listeners, to see what you'd like to have seen in one of the more pitiful years in WCW history. Check it out and let us know what you think!

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