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/5 April 2000

WCW Thunder




WCW logo - TV-PG-DLV

Opening Credits - Close Captioned symbol

From the giant WCW warehouse where the set is stored, it's WCW Thunder - the "Best of" Thunder taped to air 5.4.2K. Your hosts for this "very special edition" are MIKE TENAY & BOBBY HEENAN. Tonight, a look back at WCW and Thunder...and a whole lotta ass-kissing! Because, let's face it - why highlight wrestlers when you can talk about *bookers* for two hours? Tenay talks about the creation of Thunder, while Heenan tells us what a genius Bischoff is. Heenan also chips in his impressions of the first Nitro because he wasn't invited to Monday's show despite appearing in something like 96% of 'em. Tenay hypes an exclusive interview with Hulk Hogan later in the program and you can just SEE Heenan frown. Heenan talks about the first Thunder.

Here's a Special Video Look at the intro to the first Thunder ever, from 8 January 1998. Dig that crazy "rocks" set that lasted all of three weeks before being cast off as WAAAAY too lame! (:45)

Tenay lends us perspective - WCW was coming off it's biggest PPV ever, Starrcade '97 (oh MAN, don't get us started on THAT). Bischoff created the NWO, we are reminded.

Here's another Special Video Look at the first Thunder - Luger and Savage (and Chris Adams - look carefully), Hogan and Bichoff, Tenzan and Ohara (and Onoo), Flair and Jericho (Jericho jobs - and throws a tantrum), "Bill" Goldberg and McMichael, Bagwell and Konnan (with Vincent) vs. the Steiners (with Ted DiBiase) - Scott Steiner hogs the spotlight and gets the victory while Rick waits for never to unleash his bulldog. Highlights from Starrcade - Bischoff (with Hall) vs. Zbyszko, with Hart reffing, Norton (with Bagwell) vs. Luger (with Savage run-in - hey, Jimmy Jett!), Ultimo Dragon vs. Guerrera (Juvi wins Cruiserweight title), Hart and Flair squaring off in an interview with Mike Tenay, Hall vs. Traylor (with Zbyszko run-in), the Disco 3 (hey, Lee Marshall!), more Starrcade highlights - the Hogan/Sting main event (oh MAN, that's where it all turned south - at least THIS time they don't show Patrick's perfectly find three count) - amazingly, NO clips of the Louie Spicolli/Rick Martel matchup, though. This show was trounced on r.s.p-w at the time, both for it's high recycled content, high "Saturday Night" calibre content AND the lack of decisive finishes. No less notable luminaries than WrestleLine's very own mdb and Scott Keith gave words to the effect of "THIS is why they shouldn't expand Nitro to three hours." God bless 'em, it's STILL on Deja if you don't believe me. (3:00)

Our hosts talk about that first show - the first ever main event "had Bischoff's fingerprints all over it" - Kevin Nash vs. Diamond Dallas Page for the US title - Nash brought in by Bischoff, Page living next door - well, they don't SAY that but I think it's implied. Heenan tells us how Page never got over until Bischoff saw his potential. Woof.

From Daytona Beach, 8.1.98: DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE v. KEVIN NASH (with You Know Who) for the United States Heavyweight Championship - your referee is "Blind" Randy Anderson for the first main event in Thunder's history. With Bischoff and Russo returning...can Stagger Lee Marshall be far behind? Here's your trivia: Randy Savage defeated Chris Adams on a reversed decision in the first ever aired Thunder match. Commentators talk a lot about J.J. Dillon holding up the WCW title on this night - yet another step we all can look back on in the whole Sting/Hogan debacle. Commentators also hype a Giant/Nash confrontation at Souled Out '98. Hogan: "4 Life." This match isn't actually as sucky as you might think, as Nash didn't mind TRYING to show up to work, while Page duly sold all the "veteran" offense from Nash. Of course, Hogan draws a DQ (DQ, we saw 6:20) which was ANOTHER concept that had Bischoff's fingerprints all over it - the non-decisive finish. GIANT lumbered out post-match - I think we ALL like him better with long hair and less gut. Tony gives us a "fans, we are desperately out of time" and just as they start to trade blows, we fade out.

"Ready to Rumble" ad. If I have to hear "Buenos Nachos" ONE more time... ad - presumably it will still be up come Monday

"Ready to Rumble" promo

Tenay is remined of Eric Bischoff by that trailer - ugh. Tonight's the big premiere and it opens nationally this Friday. Heenan talks about fingerprints some more. "Now he's in the movie business - he has his hands in everything - that's how creative this kind of a man is with his kind of a mind." Tenay talks about the fact that as soon as it was done, it would only be seven days later to have another one...

From Lakeland, 15.1.98: RANDY SAVAGE & KEVIN NASH (with You Know Who & Liz) v. THE NARCISSIST & DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE - Luger is an uberface at this point. As Hogan breaks a crutch over Page's back, this match quickly turns into a handicap match for Luger. At this point, Savage and Nash weren't getting along for purposes of the storyline, and I dare say that THIS match actually WORKED for telling a story - something we just DON'T seem to get anymore. Hogan desperately tries to play peacemaker as he sees the NWO falling apart before his eyes. Tags are made with hard slaps. Savage actually threatens a top-rope-to-the-floor double axehandle on Nash, but Hogan fends him off - then Luger pulls him back into the ring. Luger finds the second wind and manages to handle things until.....yup, Hogan runs in (DQ, we saw...hmm, 3:16) - Randy Anderson asks for the bell to be rung but it never happens. Luger manages to rack Hogan and THEN Nash - Savage on top for the double axehandle, and then he actually feels *bad* that he ended up clocking Luger instead of Nash. Hogan ends up with an accidental gutshot to Savage, and before THEY can come to blows, GIANT again lumbers into the ring. Hogan does one of his melodramatic "gulps" before turning around and finding himself caught in ahhhhhhtheCHOKESLAAAAAM. Giant turns to Savage, who bolts. Nash, at this point, was working the "$1.5 million performance bond" angle where Giant couldn't touch him until Souled Out. The rest of the NWO ran out and attacked, black ninja style - Giant fended them off until the numbers finally overtook him. Hey, Tenzan's wearing a 6 ball shirt! (THIS IS) STING came out and silently helped Giant clear the ring with Luger. Marshall: "While the NWO's falling apart, WCW is coming together!" Oh, by the way, Tenay took Schiavone's seat this week. This was a case of a rare clusterfuck that actually WORKED.


DDP asks the kids not to try the Diamond Cutter at home.

Spring Stampede 2000 spot

Our hosts talk about the unpredictable nature of this switch at the top - we know NO matches for Spring Stampede - but it should be unpredictable and volatile! Tenay introduces this clip by saying that these combatants are now teamed. Heenan says by 10 April, that all could change. There could be no Team Package - and Liz could be saying "You want fries with that?"

From Oklahoma City, Lincoln's Birthday 1998: THE NARCISSIST v. THE MAN - a shame they skipped the Giant demolishing the "rocks" ring - that was always one of my favourite Thunder moments. Also that third week, Spicolli demolished Zbyszko's prized golf clubs! Commentators spend rougly half of this match hyping a Savage/Hogan vs. Luger/Sting tag main event for the next Nitro - another problem that hasn't really been addressed to this day. Flair's only a 13-time champion in this match. Luger forgets to make the comeback until the SECOND time Flair whips him into the corner. Flair takes a MONSTER superplex bump. Randy Anderson gets clobbered during the Torture Rack attempt, and Luger checks on HIM instead of keeping on the hold. Figure four! Luger fights it off, then makes the comeback and turns it. RANDY SAVAGE runs out (DQ, we saw 5:43) and takes out both men - are you sensing a PATTERN to the match choices here? - now YOU KNOW WHO is here and going after *Savage*. Various NWO FOLKS come out and work over Flair and Luger while Hogan continues on Savage. (THIS IS) STING runs out and the ring gets cleared - then they all brawl to the back. THIS would be a clusterfuck that DIDN'T work.

Jimmy Barron's Cheap Bastard Road Report - thanks, 1-800-CAL-LATT!

Our hosts tell us that Colorado Springs will host Thunder next week - both men wonder aloud whether or not they'll actually be part of the program. Has anyone yet dared to utter aloud the thought that perhaps our new permanent commentary team on all shows will be.....Bischoff (play-by-play) and Russo (colour?)

From Baton Rouge, 12.3.98: RANDY SAVAGE v. (THIS IS) STING for the World Heavyweight Championship - Hey, remember when Savage turned on Sting for no apparent reason - one week hanging out with him in the rafters, then the next week back all chummy with Hogan in the NWO? mdb STILL thinks that turn made sense at the time, no matter HOW hard I've tried to convince him otherwise. Commentators (the Disco 3) hype the Sting/Hall title match set for Souled Out "in three days" - and also the Savage/Hogan cage match. SCOTT HALL runs in (DQ 1:42) - YOU KNOW WHO runs in - I think by now, it's time to ask ourselves if we'll get ONE clean finish tonight. This show's almost half over! I ALMOST think a "White Thunder" was edited out here. Disciple is only know as "the Apocalypse" at this point. The NWO kinda stands around while Sting SLOWLY attaches himself and Savage to a line to be pulled into the rafters...

TONIGHT: Hulk Hogan offers sage advice!

"Ready to Rumble" ad

Sid Vicious, Sting, Nitro Grrls videos ad

TV-PG-DLV ratings box reappears as our hosts discuss the burnout Eric Bischoff must have gone through - which, of course, he won't POSSIBLY go through again. While WCW's ratings went down, the WWF's ratings went up - because of Vince Russo. Tenay talks about Russo being brought in - Heenan talks about the first three hour Nitro they did - it flew by and felt like an hour. "It was just so fresh and exciting..." mmm, and the ratings sure bore that out, didn't it? Talk turns to the huge blow dealt WCW when Goldberg was taken out with a sports entertainment related injury.

Here's a Special Video Look at Goldberg's quest to take out the NWO, one by one - that Nash "shower scene" is still chilling, isn't it? Goldberg takes the windows of the PTB limo with his arm, severing something very imporant in the process... (1:00)

From Salisbury, 23.12.99: BRET HART v. CHRIS BENOIT for the World Heavyweight Title - we REALLY just skipped fifteen months of Thunder because *hardly anything worth mentioning happened.* I would have liked to have seen Arn Anderson's pinch hit for Ric Flair the night he no-showed to see his son wrestle, but oh well. Commentary team here is Tenay, Hudson and Schiavone. Hart's a member of the NWO, if you recall, with all the logic that came with him joining still making our collective head spin. "It was such a well thought out, elaborate plan!" says Schiavone. Mmmm. As Benoit slaps on the Crippler crossface, JEDOUBLEF JADOUBLEREDOUBLET comes out to Kabong Benoit with a silver NWO gee-tar (DQ, we saw 5:16) - no sooner has the spray paint left the can than COLD BEER comes out to spear Jarrett. Hart runs to his limo and drives off - Goldberg follows but it's gone - so he turns his attention to the limo of the Powers that Be - we've already seen what happens next. This is the colour version, but they cut out before he leaves his blood all over the hood. Not only was this the last time we saw Goldberg, but it was ALSO the last time we (indirectly) saw the Powers that Be!

"Ready to Rumble" ad

Our hosts talk about Russo's reign - Heenan laughs at Duggan being made a janitor, while Tenay points to Jarrett being designated "the Chosen One." Tenay mentions Bill Busch bringing in Terry Funk as WCW Commissioner.

From Florence, 6.1.2K: BRET HART v. TERRY FUNK - this was the final Thursday show. It makes me cringe to see Hart take hardcore cookie sheet bumps knowing now that back THEN, he had a concussion. I think when Hart chaired Funk, he was saying "you told me you were retiring! You dragged my ass to Tejas!" Hart gives Charles Robinson a right cross, for an encore. Backstage, we see Arn Anderson attempt to put the zebra shirt on, but he's still suffering the effects of a kidnapping and beatdown. David Flair appears and relieves him of the shirt - then locks him in. Flair has his golden crowbar. Back at the ring, out come JEDOUBLEF JADOUBLEREDOUBLET, SUPERSTAR SCOTT STEINER and KEVIN NASH. Baseball bats all around! Spray paint! DAVID FLAIR comes out but Kevin Nash has no problem overpowering him. Nash drags off Funk to the stage while Flair is worked over. DAFFNEY & CROWBAR can't help matters. Funk gets jackknifed through the stage. Hey, no clean finish - AGAIN!!


"Ready to Rumble" ad

Looking to server penance this Lent? WCW appears LIVE Saturday in Chattanooga, Sunday in Huntsville, Monday in Denver for Nitro, and tix on sale Friday for Kansas City for Slamboree and St. Louis for Nitro!

Promotional consideration paid for by Slim Jim (Savage-free), Lean Pockets from Hot Pockets, GEICO insurance, GEICO insurance (again), and Croissant Pockets from Hot Pockets!

Tenay reminds us that later tonight, he'll have his exclusive interview with the Immortal Hulk Hogan. Heenan: "Well, that should be very interesting to hear what (a beat) Hulk Hogan has to say about Eric Bischoff, and how his feelings are about Vince Russo - that should be very interesting." Make your own subtext here. Tenay does an interesting bit of spin-doctoring with " was almost as if, as soon as Vince Russo came in and got things headed in the right direction, he was gone from WCW - just like that!" By "the right direction," did Tenay possibly mean "into the crapper, numbers-wise?" Heenan tells us that Russo was creative, so so creative. Talk shifts to "April the Ten" and the big unknowns.

From Las Vegas, 26.1.2K: SID VISCOUS v. KEVIN NASH & RON HARRIS for the World Heavyweight title with the powerbomb outlawed in a STEEL cage, Vicious must pin Nash to win the title - In the midst of StipulationMania, and a week that saw Sid win the title one night - only to be stripped so he could win it in another town the next. Of course, the whole shebang STARTED when Benoit won the title and promptly left. Correct my fuzzy memory, but I *believe* that places this show in the post-Russo era. Final indignity sees Vicious slap on his crappy version of the Crippler Crossface on Nash to win the title (we saw 3:08 - FIRST "clean" finish!!) and scare practically all of us in the process, thinking that Nash would strip him *again* because he didn't actually PIN Nash. Post-match, THE MAN walked out to applaud, making yet another "return" and causing us all to wonder if this would be a return for good, or a one-time only thing for the commentators to invent a "passing of the torch" in front of our very eyes. Was this the last title change to today? I think maybe.....yeah! (Please don't write me if I'm wrong, I'll figure it out eventually on my own)

"Ready to Rumble"/1-800-CAL-LATT promo

WOW! VH-1 DIVAS 2000 LIVE is next Tuesday! I bet Whitney Houston won't make it this year, aw shucks!

Advance Auto Parts still gets "This Week in WCW Motorspots" even though it's only a "Best of" week! Sting was on hand last week for another one of those nebulous "Top 20 finishes" as the 81 car had a Sting paintjob - woo, scary!

Jeff Jarrett T-shirt ad

Tenay asks Heenan for his first reaction when he learned Bischoff was back. Heenan sneaks in an insult of Penzer, then proclaims "the biggest shot in the arm this company's ever had." Then again, he's got a lot of enemies... Regarding Russo JOINING Biscoff, Heenan says there's only one president of the United States, and companies have only one CEO - how will these two guys butt heads? Tenay says that's the big question - *can* these guys stay on the same page and coexist?

From Oklahoma City, 9.2.2K: JEDOUBLEF JADOUBLEREDOUBLET (with Harris Bros) v. SCOTT HALL for a World Heavyweight title shot - Mickie Jay goes down, missing a chance to count a fall for Hall - Jarrett puts on the Stroke, Mark Johnson sprints out to count 3 (2:02) but Mickie Jay says the match will continue as HE'S the official ref for this match. Unfortunately, he's wrong in this instance. Harris on the ramp - Jarrett with a mic shot - 1, 2, kickout! Harris on the ramp AGAIN, Jarrett with the belt, Hall ducks and gets his OWN belt shot in - Jay over to count - 1, 2, Johnson pulls him out. As the refs argue, SID VISCOUS comes out to add HIS voice to the party. Hall puts Johnson in the Edge as Vicious hits the Millennium Bomb on Jarrett. Of course, the official decision is (no contest, we saw formula 4:09) and it'd end up a three-way at SuperBrawl - and THAT was Hall's last match, to this day...


Close captioning where available brought to you by America (ha!) Online

DDP once again asks us to not feel the BANG unless we're professionals

Our hosts again return to Bischoff's creation of Thunder - first on Thursday, then on Wednesday - Tenay's been counting down the days, hours, minutes until 10 April and the NEW era for WCW. Heenan talks about all the buzz surrounding the new era as Tenay makes one of his infamous "mmmm yes I see" faces. Monday will be the "biggest beginning you've ever seen." No ideas as to the World title picture on Monday. Tenay: "Something tells me we'll get ALL of our questions answered." Me: "Mike, when exactly did you lose your testicles? Can you pinpoint the exact moment?"

From Reno, 23.2.2K: SID VISCOUS v. THE NARCISSIST (with The Man & Liz) in a nontitle match - Flair comes in and has no effect. Sid cleans house, 'cause he's the master and the ruler of - whoops, Liz just passed a baseball bat to Package. There's your DQ (DQ, we saw :58). Backstage, Jarrett and the Harrisses try to get them some, but a cadre of refs and security tells them they ain't gettin' by, so Jarrett kabongs Mickie Jay. This segment is notable because it was the last one Keith wrote up as Thunder recapper of record for WrestleManiacs before his resignation. And don't think I haven't thanked him EVERY WEEK THEREAFTER for doing so.

Promotional consideration paid for by America (ha!) Online, Targon smokers' mouthwash, the Super Soaker CPS 2500 & 3000, Lean Pockets from Hot Pockets (again), and the kid who sees them dead people, yup

"Ready to Rumble" promo - again "Buenos Nachos" AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Commentators tell us this is going to be huge - what, huge?

Reruns of superstars reacting to the news - Curt Hennig, the Cat, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Johnny "the Bull," and Stacy/Skye.

Hosts talk about Hulk Hogan and WCW - and Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. Heenan says he's not sure that Russo and Hogan don't have much of a relationship. Tenay says there were rumours that they *couldn't* coexist. After this commercial break, that exclusive interview with Hulk Hogan. Heenan offers his hand and says "Good luck to tenth, Mike." When have you EVER seen Heenan give ANYBODY a serious handshake? Will we ever see him again?


"Ready to Rumble" ad

"Ready to Rumble"/1-800-CAL-LATT contest ad

Spring Stampede promo - card subject to change - haaaaahahahahaha

Okay, time for the big interview. You've seen Bischoff and Russo all over the 'Net (hmm, not on WrestleLine - oh well) with their "exclusive" chats and interviews, and this Hogan interview has to be blended in with all that you've paints a grim (well, that's only MODO, of course) picture of what's to come. I can pick out at least three layers in what Hogan's saying and might find some more tomorrow. Hogan's in black with special SHAZAAM! lightning bolt on his shirt. Both men wear sunglasses (Teny opts for mirror lenses, ALWAYS hip). No smartass comments from me TONIGHT - here follows the unadulterated, unedited transcript of Mike Tenay's sitdown with YOU KNOW WHO:

Hulk, initially we want to thank you for allowing our WCW cameras the access to your beautiful home here in the Tampa, Florida area, and you know over your career you have probably seen more changes than anyone else. Right now, WCW is going through, well, one of their own... sort of a renaissance with the return of Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo. You've been close friends with've worked with Russo...I need to find out what your opinion is of them professionally and what your feelings are about them returning to WCW.

Well, the first thing I have to say, Mike, is hallelujah. I mean, the barn is on fire and somebody needs to throw a bucket of water on it. And when I think about Bischoff and Russo, maybe THESE are the guys that can help put this fire out. I think about the beginning of WCW for me when I came here was a very Southern-based "rasslin'" company and - small crowds, small arenas, and when I first came in I thought maybe if I had brought some star power with me, it might help, and with Eric at the helm - he was the visionary that knew how to use these tools, so Eric did a lot of good things to make the WCW a major player, but as the business got larger and larger, faster and faster, I think we lost focus of the *wrestling* aspect of this business. A lot of the deals and Hollywood came into play and Eric was torn in several different directions. With all of the good things that he did, I think he got sidetracked, and now with him coming back, I think he's learned from his mistakes, and with the help of Hulk Hogan, I think we can, uh, put the fire out completely. As far as Russo goes, uh, I don't know the man very well, I've had a couple of conversations with him, seems to be a very intelligent human being. I saw what he did in the WWF with the TV-14, the T&A, the uh, the violence. I saw him try to implement these things here and everything went awry. Now, if he's learned HIS lessons - if he realises that he has to tone it down a bit, I think with Eric acting as the filter, they may be one heck of a combination.

There are wrestling fans that have been very critical of Eric Bischoff for giving established superstars such as yourself the spotlight, instead of, let's say, maybe some of the younger, up-and-coming athletes. How do you respond to such criticism since much of it has been focused on you, as well as on Eric?

Well, Mike, you have to go with what got you to the dance. I mean whenever Hulk Hogan was on a pay-per-view, whenever Hulk Hogan was on a house show, the things went through the roof, the numbers went through the roof. Everybody made money - WCW made money and I made money. Umm, with the younger guys, I mean they've been on TV three years getting a so-called "push" from the office and I've been watching the numbers at the house shows with everybody that's been on TV the last three years, there may, there may be a thirty or forty thousand dollar house. For example, two weeks ago I went to Chicago for an onsale - one match announced, Hulk Hogan vs. Sid - the old "bad guy turns on the good guy" scenario. And the next thing you know there's $200,000 in the first day of sales. Umm, you've got to go with the guys that are established. The young guys, if they're gonna get established, they need to ...right now, jump on the bandwagon. This is the new day for WCW, this is the time for them to show what they've got, and ... the young guys like Billy Kidman, that, uh, you know if they don't get the push they're gonna pack their bags up and go elsewhere, I have th- the same thing to say to him that I've said before - you couldn't sell out a flea market on your best day. You're not even good enough to be the flea market champion. Until you PROVE yourself, until you outshine Hulk Hogan, until you outwrestle Hulk Hogan, until you fight your way, drag yourself with one arm over bl- broken glass to get to the top, it doesn't mean anything. And just a push from the office won't get it. You have to PROVE you're the best. You have to prove you'll go above and beyond and see the Make-a-Wish kids on your days off, you have to prove that you'll, you know, sign autographs for an extra couple hours if there are more fans to see you, and more than that you have to work real hard to take my job, because I'm not moving aside for anybody. That's what I have to say to all the fans, and everybody that's been critical of me as far as myself and my position and the younger athletes that are so-called "hungry." I don't think they're that hungry.

This past October, when Vince Russo came into World Championship Wrestling, he asked you to step aside from the WCW spotlight for some time; now that was obviously a risky move for you - and for World Championship Wrestling - but to the surprise of many, you trusted in Russo and his decision and I'm curious why.

I didn't trust in Russo; I trusted in Hulk Hogan. There's nothing they can do to Hulk Hogan that will ever ruin the legacy that Hulk Hogan was the Babe Ruth of wrestling, the Muhammed Ali of wrestling, the Michael Jordan of wrestling. Hulk Hogan is bigger than the WCW itself.

Hulk, what if Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff can NOT coexist as the new WCW creative team? What kind of a position does that put you in, as well as the company overall?

Well, I mean my - my situation is wide open. I mean, you know I can do whatever I want, I mean if I want to walk in that house right now and never wrestle again, I can do that. But I love this business, it's in my blood and there are very few wrestlers in the WCW that really have this in their blood, there- there's something that I call a breed of wrestler. Umm, as far as I'm concerned, Bill Goldberg is a young guy that has it in his blood - ahh - I think there are a lot of young guys coming up that have it in their blood, but they need to really really prove themselves.

Hulk, in a business which has evolved to the point where the wrestling fans demand that their favourite superstars be edgy, hip, and sometimes even there a place in this business for an All-American character like Hulk Hogan?

No. But there's a place in this business for an All-American character like Hulk Hogan with an edge, because, you know, the training, the prayers, the vitamins of the 80's is boring, you know, it's repetitive, but the training, the prayers, the vitamins, and "I'm gonna kick your ass" is the edge that Hulk Hogan has - I've always had that in me. Even as a good guy I've had that edge where, you know, I had to hold my tongue, bite my tongue, not really knock somebody right between the eyes when I felt like it. I think the transition I made with the Hollywood Hogan was reinventing myself at the genius level - I think that even the red and yellow today, I have that edge in me.

Personal question, if I can: does Terry Bollea think that he needs to reinvent the persona of Hulk Hogan for the new millennium; and if so, how do you go about accomplishing that?

Oh yeah, Terry Bollea DEFINITELY needs to reinvent the Hulk Hogan persona for the new millenium. Umm, I'm already - preparing for the first move. I just want to see the temperature of the wrestling business, how the fans accept the new regime of Russo and Bischoff. And as they do, I will turn the dial up, and as they do, I will be as edgy as I need to be. I will make any physical, uh, changes I need to make as far as "the look," the attitude, you know, and I'm there for the long run, and I'm there to prove a point, and I'm definitely gonna change the character and it's gonna an in-your-face, very edgy good guy/bad guy, just watch out, you don't know where I'm coming from. I'm ready for this new character for the new millennium - I'm ready for the WC- the NEW WCW. I pray to God I'm ready for the new WCW.

Hulk, who are some of the up and comers in WCW that you one day envision attaining some of the same success in the wrestling business that you have?

Well, you know, you've got a lot of monsters coming up, you know, you've got- like the Wall, nobody can even handle this guy right now. If he keeps his head right, if he stays focused, he could be a MAJOR player in the wrestling business for as long as he wants to be. Right now, he's, uh, he can't, he can't handle it. He's just way over the top with his strength, his power, and uh, he's - he definitely has the killer instinct. Umm, Goldberg is another new guy that is just starting to cross the media barrier, he needs to do movie after movie; he needs to be involved with commercials, with public appearances. Some of the other guys, you know, Billy Kidman and some of the smaller wrestlers, you know, first off they need to spend more time in the gym, you know, they need to - physically, their stature has to be much larger, they have to be more aggressive physically, and they can only get that by training hard. I mean they haveta get their - their heads outta their rear ends and realise the ego - check and the fact that, ah, they think they should get a push, they need, they need to earn the push. You know, there should be no more crybabies - I've heard so much about Billy Kidman whining and crying and wantin' to be a major star - you know - these guys need to prove themselves, you know - ahh, let Kidman take MY spot.

As you look back at your career in sports entertainment in general, and in WCW in particular, what have been some of the highlights - and some of the low spots as well?

Well, some of the highlights have been basically coming to this company when it was down and out on its luck - and it was just a Southern wrestling company, and taking this company and making it a major player. With the help of Eric Bischoff and his instincts ... umm, the tangible things I had to offer, I think that has to be the highest thing of all is to see this company come from the depths of the valley and go all the way to the top of the mountaintop.

What's left for Hulk Hogan to do in the wrestling business?

I'm gonna be the powerhouse, I'm gonna be the engine, I'm gonna lead by example like I said before and I am gonna take us back to where we need to be, to the promised land and to a higher level. I'm gonna reinvent myself. I'm gonna show you a new Hulk Hogan with an edge. I'm gonna show these young guys that need to earn their spots such as the Kidmans and the Vampiros - and the Wall - how to make this work. And I tell you what, they're gonna have to go through me to get there. So I'm gonna do one last thing in this business - I'm gonna end on a positive note, I'm gonna take the WCW to the top, and I'm gonna use the WCW to put the period at the end of my legacy.

[slash] wrestling



Copyright (C) 1999, 2000 Christopher Robin Zimmerman & KZiM Communications