There is no doubt in my mind Eric Bischoff had something very big in mind when he boldly said, during his Thunder interview in May, that at the Great American Bash last month he would make an announcement that would change the landscape of the industry. Whatever the plan was fell through, and that plan was probably a Fox deal.
WCW instead turned Goldberg and insisted, with a straight face no less, that that was their Big Plan all along. Only the most gullible of people bought that story. Only the most shameless of shills passed that off as believable.
Last night Plan B went into effect. Actually, Plan B has been in effect for the past few weeks. I think there is a good chance that Russo's mysterious hiatus was part of a work all along. If it wasn't, it was the impetus for a solution that began playing out publicly last night, a solution that can make both Russo and Bischoff, and more importantly Brad Siegel, happy.
The solution can be revealed with an announcement on WCW TV, perhaps tonight or perhaps within the next week or two, that because of internal politics, WCW is splitting into two promotions. They can blame WCW's struggles on internal politics, and suggest that if the two warring philosophies are given their own promotion, both can work. One will operate Nitro and the other will operate Thunder. Each will run PPVs on alternate months. Each will have a completely separate roster and separate storylines.
The split-up will be real, but it will be the result of a cooperative effort behind the scenes. The two groups will operate independently of each other on every level creatively,
although likely share the same front office staff when it comes to advertising and legal matters. Many former rival newspapers across the country operate this way, with each paper having completely separate editorial staffs, but sharing the same printing, distribution, and advertising staffs.
Terry Taylor and Ed Ferrara's run the last three or four weeks has been nothing but a dress rehearsal for being the head writer for the Thunder-based promotion run by
Bischoff and Hogan. (Perhaps they call it the NWO, perhaps Thunder Wrestling Association, perhaps WCW2.)
Russo then continues to write Nitro, but he no longer has the burden of also writing Thunder. Russo got burned out writing two shows a week. Remember, most of the time he
was in the WWF he only had to write Raw, not both Raw and Smackdown. With this new WCW-split set-up, he only has to write one show per week. Taylor and Ferrara showed the last few weeks he can write a TV show themselves. (Although, inside sources say Russo has had considerable input the last two weeks on the TV shows.)
Hogan no-showing Nitro and Thunder this past week was a work. Russo and Bischoff weren't upset. They just wanted to perpetuate the idea that they were upset with Hogan to bring into question whether or not Hogan would even show up. The announcers were told to play up that element of backstage controversy on the air.
Remember, Bischoff and Russo did have legitimately differing views on whether big name talent should be babied or not. Just last week Bischoff pushed for Scott Steiner to be forgiven for his verbal assault on Taylor. Bischoff spoke out in favor of Lex Luger and Liz, and Kimberly and Dallas Page. The perfect compromise is to split WCW and let
Bischoff do things his way and let Russo do things his way.
The scaled back schedule (only one show per week, only one PPV every two months) for each creative team will allow them time to think, proofread, recharge, and pace
things better. The competition between the two crews to improve ratings at a faster pace could lead to "good business sense" rather than "internal politics" dictating what decisions are made by both Russo and Bischoff for once.
Can WCW's roster, split in half, be enough for either promotion to thrive? One answer is: Who cares because WCW couldn't be worse off than they are now. The real answer
is: Each promotion could survive with half the talent because they only have to put on half as many shows.
Of course, in the long run, there will be an interpromotional feud. Brad Siegel is known for liking "Big Concepts." Bischoff and Russo, to keep Siegel happy, came up with a
big concept that, even without Fox as part of the equation, can keep Siegel happy for at least a few more months.
After all, even if the ratings are mediocre for split crews, the real payoff, according to Bischoff and Russo, is next year when they feud the two promotions against each other.
Imagine the money behind Jarrett vs. Hogan or Booker vs. Nash when the two promotions finally cross paths.
After Jericho's big anti-Internet rant after King of the Ring 2002:
A number of people who were around Jericho and talked to him Sunday night said that without question Jericho was legitimately upset with the lack of overwhelming unanimous praise for a match that, frankly, he thought was better than most others did. His comments on his website were milder than his mood, actually. His rant wasn't a work... although at this point, it's probably in his best interest to turn it into one.