10 Good WCW Wrestlers Who Needed Better Booking To Be Great
Having exceptional in-ring abilities is only part of the equation for becoming a great pro wrestler. The ability to cut a captivating promo is also necessary. However, possibly the most important element is the booking. A performer can come fully equipped with every tool necessary to become a star but if they’re not booked correctly, it’s all irrelevant.
With the proper booking, a good performer can easily become a great performer. Every major wrestling promotion in history has dropped the ball before in terms of booking. However, in their hay day, WCW mishandled the booking of some extremely talented performers, preventing them from reaching their potential while in the promotion.
Before Buff Bagwell became the character most fans remember from the nWo, he was one of WCW’s bright young stars. He signed with WCW in 1991 and slowly climbed the ranks. Bagwell’s momentum picked up when he joined WCW’s tag team division. After brief partnerships with Tom Zenk and Brad Armstrong, Bagwell would begin tagging with 2 Cold Scorpio. Bagwell and Scorpio would eventually win the WCW World Tag Team Championships before disbanding.
After a couple more attempts at a tag team, Bagwell switched gears and became a singles competitor. The potential was there but unfortunately, bad booking failed him in the end. Bagwell’s character could generate heat but there wasn’t much substance behind it. Unfortunately, Bagwell would never live up to his full potential in the wrestling business.
Alex Wright began his WCW career with a huge endorsement from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Flair urged WCW to sign the young German performer. Wright arrived in WCW in 1994 and enjoyed a strong early push. He would go undefeated until Slamboree 1995 where he lost to Arn Anderson in a WCW World Television Championship match.
Wright’s strong push essentially ended there. He wouldn’t become a jobber but he definitely would never be booked as strong again. He would go on to capture both the WCW Cruiserweight and World Television Championships during his career. Wright’s WCW career would plateau from a combination of bad booking on WCW’s part and a lack of character development on his end.
In ECW, Perry Saturn was one half of The Eliminators. Despite Saturn’s jaw-dropping performances in ECW though, his frustrations with his partner’s lack of motivation eventually led to him signing a deal with WCW in 1997. Almost immediately upon arriving in WCW, Saturn joined Raven’s Flock. He remained with The Flock until Fall Brawl 1998, where he defeated Raven to disband the stable.
Beginning in 1999, Saturn would jump into another stable, The Revolution. The group boasted a lot more talent than The Flock but in the end, Saturn was just another face in the crowd. Despite his incredible ring-work, WCW management never deemed Saturn worthy of a strong singles push. The bad booking led Saturn and several other talented performers to leave WCW for WWE in late 1999.
From a pure in-ring talent standpoint, Kanyon never got the respect he deserved. He was an incredible performer inside the squared circle. Unfortunately, Kanyon was never treated as anything remotely resembling a star. Instead, his superb ring-work made him the perfect guy to repeatedly put other performers over in WCW.
To be fair, Kanyon’s character work was nothing to brag about. That’s probably why WCW originally opted to hide him under a mask as Mortis. However, his skillset inside the ring should’ve made up for a lot of his shortcomings. Despite his talent though, WCW never booked him as a serious threat to anyone. He would have a brief run in WWE during the Invasion angle but wouldn’t fare much better there. Sadly, Kanyon would take his own life in 2010.
62 Cold Scorpio
2 Cold Scorpio is widely recognized as the innovator of the 450 Splash. He got into the wrestling business in the mid-80s, working independent promotions before joining NJPW. After honing his craft internationally, Scorpio Made his way to WCW in late 1992. He had a strong debut as Ron Simmons’ mystery partner at Clash Of The Champions XXI and finished the year strong.
In 1993, Scorpio’s singles push was put on hold in favor of a tag team run with Marcus Alexander Bagwell. The duo would win the WCW World Tag Team Championships once. Despite the success, some fans believe Scorpio should’ve remained being pushed as a singles competitor. Considering his future success in ECW, it’s hard to argue that line of thinking.
After an impressive run in ECW, Mike Awesome signed a lucrative contract with WCW. He debuted on the April 10, 2000 edition of WCW Monday Nitro by attacking Kevin Nash while still the reigning ECW World Champion. Awesome would drop the ECW Championship a few days later and focus solely on WCW. Unfortunately for Awesome, his WCW career didn’t go as he had hoped. He was a major player early on but his character eventually took a whacky turn for the worst.
Awesome would go from a respectable “Career Killer” gimmick to “The Fat Chick Thrilla.” Even worse, Awesome’s next gimmick would be “The 70s Guy,” a parody of the popular program, That 70s Show. Not surprisingly, Awesome was never able to replicate his ECW success in WCW, with bad booking mostly to blame.
Before ever setting foot in WCW, Vampiro was one of the biggest stars in Mexico. The former CMLL performer made his way to WCW in June of 1998 but only competed in one match until March of 1999. Later in 1999, Vampiro formed a short-lived stable with a musical act, Insane Clown Posse, and Raven dubbed “The Dead Pool.” The group had a brief feud with The Filthy Animals before disbanding.
In 2000, Vampiro entered the biggest feud of his career against Sting. The two started as allies before Vampiro turned on Sting. The feud was the perfect opportunity to elevate Vampiro but sadly WCW didn’t capitalize. Sting would win most of their matchups, with Vampiro’s biggest win coming in a Human Torch Match where he didn’t pin Sting to win. Vampiro is just one of several talents from Mexico that WCW booked poorly.
In the early 90s, Brian Pillman was one of the first American wrestlers to incorporate Lucha Libre maneuvers into his repertoire. With a groundbreaking move set and a charismatic personality, Pillman seemed poised for future success. After being a focal point of WCW’s short-lived Light Heavyweight division, Pillman formed the legendary Hollywood Blondes tag team with Steve Austin. The duo impressed many fans and enjoyed great success but ultimately broke up prematurely.
From there, Pillman would form a partnership with Arn Anderson, eventually joining The Four Horsemen. In late 1995, Pillman would develop his “Loose Cannon” character and start shaking up the wrestling world. Regrettably for WCW, they wouldn’t fully capitalize on the character, causing Pillman to force his way out of the company. Despite the future success of The nWo, not properly pushing Pillman was definitely a missed opportunity for WCW.
Lance Storm is one of those rare cases where WCW executed both good and bad booking. After jumping ship from ECW in 2000, Storm arrived in WCW and made an immediate impact. The former Impact Player would embark on an impressive singles run. Storm would win the WCW United States, Cruiserweight, and Hardcore Championships rather quickly. He’s the only competitor in WCW history to hold three championships simultaneously.
Strom was one of the few bright spots during the final days of WCW. WCW’s lone booking mistake with Storm was not going all the way with him. After such a hot start, Storm should’ve capped off his run with the WCW World Championship. No telling what might’ve been of Storm’s career had WCW pulled that trigger.
1“Stunning” Steve Austin
When it was all said and done, Steve Austin went down as arguably the biggest star in pro wrestling history. He was undeniably the catalyst that drove WWE past WCW during the Monday Night War. That had to be an especially hard pill to swallow for WCW, who had Austin under contract and fired him in 1995. The move came on the heels of a disappointing singles push for Austin which was cut short by injury.
It’s crazy to think how different the pro wrestling landscape might look today had WCW properly pushed Austin when they had him. In hindsight, mishandling Austin and then cutting him loose might’ve been the biggest mistake WCW made during the Monday Night War.