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Jim Butler




My name is Jim Butler and this is my space...for the time being

This is my first column for the god that is CRZ.... If it works out there will be more, if not then there will be!

I'm in my mid thirties live with my partner Mellanie and have a six year old son Timmy who occasionally watches (censored) WWF with me and Mellanie. Yes she enjoys watching wrestling too...sometimes...

How long have I been watching wrestling? Well, I grew up in the northeast so I was weaned on Vince and his crew, but I just rediscovered wrestling about a year and a half ago, when some friends started watching it and I was sucked in again just like when I was a kid...

So what will I be discussing? Just about anything that has to do with wrestling and the world around us!

Today's topic: If I was Ted Turner how would I salvage WCW! I know everyone has an opinion about this but I'm going to look at it from a business point of view, not so much from a talent standpoint.

So what do you do when a business does not make money, the people who frequent the business do not want to buy what you are selling, and the employees who work for you do not seem happy in their jobs?

1...Shut Down!!!!...Actually it needs to be retooled. Just stop production and show reruns of old PPV's and Nitro's and Thunder's for about a month or two, take stock of what you have and get rid of the baggage. A good analogy would be a restaurant. You have an Italian restaurant that no one frequents anymore, the food isn't as good as it should be, the wait staff is a little shabby, and the décor is from the 1970's. What does the owner do? He (or she) closes and rebuilds, evaluates the employees who were taking up space and keeps the people that are hungry for the work. The owner decides to try a Mexican restaurant instead. The decor changes, they keep the people who want to work and get rid of those old managers that bullied everyone around and just took up space! It's amazing what how the morale would change when you get rid of the old guard and bring in some fresh blood!

2...Move Nitro to Sunday Nights... Nitro gets destroyed every Monday night, regardless if the show is quality or not. If the company were going in the right direction, there would be a reason to fight, but why go through the trouble? On Sunday night they could take the 3.5 or so rating that Sunday Night Heat has and maybe carries some of those people over. They need the night to themselves, to rebuild their audience, then when the program is strong again Go after WWF!!!...But What about WCW's PPV's? Then show Nitro on the Saturday night before, produce a strong, solid show and carry it into the PPV! Also use WCW Worldwide to showcase the new talent. Give the men and woman who are hungry and want to work the chance.

3...Have a Tournament For ALL The BELTS....At least give the ILLUSION that everyone has a shot at a belt. BUT, you cannot let Hogan, Nash, Hall or Flair hold them. That would just be defeating the purpose of shutting down and restarting, and they all have to be in the tournament and job to an up and comer. First this would bring that element of surprise back to the WCW. How many times have you seen Hogan or Nash walk into the ring and you know they will not lose cleanly. Second this would bring the wrestlers together as a coherent unit. Who wants to work someplace where they know if they speak up or try to do a good job they will get squashed, especially by your co-workers? I wasn't actually going to get into the talent but I felt this is an important point.

4...The Booking should be done by the Bookers and Not the Wrestlers!!!.... This might be the most important step to follow through on. In our hypothetical restaurant, the waiters and the waitresses do not select what will be served, nor do they decide when the restaurant will be open, or make their own schedule. The chef and the mangers run the restaurant. The waiters and waitresses are the employees that you see every day and they are the ones that basically sell the companies services. It's the same with wrestlers; they sell the story lines, do the grunt work, and are the ones that have the most contact with the public. Everyone wants to have the easiest schedule, be on TV the most and put him or herself over. But as the old adage goes the "inmates cannot run the prison." The wrestlers should not be the ones who decide who is on TV and at the house shows. Respect needs to be earned; you cannot force someone to respect you. When one wrestler is given a push because of who he is friends with, all it does is breed jealousy and contempt. Just a last thought on this. The booking has to make sense, if it is without logic, the fans and the wrestlers will see right through it. Two months should be enough time to plan and write.

So in a perfect world, Madden would come on and say that WCW is shutting down because Hogan is taking control of the company or something bizarre like that. A month later they start showing the new promos and promote the living hell out of it. Hopefully everyone would be healthy within two months, and you can start story-lines fresh, forge new alliances etc, etc. Build up the tournaments to conclude on the first new PPV and I think it would make a world of difference. It would give everyone a fresh start; the wrestlers and the fans could be rewarded with something to root for. I understand they would lose money, but aren't they losing money now? Then when they are back up and running, then they can go after RAW. Everyone likes a good challenge, and I think that will bring out the best of each company.

Hopefully that wasn't too rambling and incoherent

Just a few random thoughts

If WCW can't sell out an arena, then why book a show there, why waste the money in renting the Meadowlands or Madison Square Garden? Then rent a smaller place and have the audience Closer to the ring. Look at how insane the ECW crowds are some nights. I'm sure they are louder than the anemic crowds that are showing up for WCW shows....

If Ted Turner really cared about WCW he would do something about the slide they have taken. But I guess he doesn't..........

These are my opinions and I'm sure none of the above will happen!

If you want to tell me to step away from the keyboard, and not hurt anyone else Or if you have a better idea or anything else the e-mail is

    Whiskey don't make liars, It just makes fools
    I didn't mean to say it, but I meant what I said
    I've been too long in the wasteland
    Too long in the wasteland
    I Believe I have to stay

            James McMurtry

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Guest column text copyright (C) 2000 by the individual author and used with permission