The element of suprise--today it seems like a staple of professional wrestling. The success of this entertainment business just doesn't seem to be able to live without it. But after reading Bischoff's take on the rise of WCW Monday Nitro, it appears that this was not always the case.
With the WWE established well as a veritable institution of professional wrestling, the up and coming WCW could not exactly go head-to-head with McMahon's wrestling giant. What it could do--what it in fact did--was come in at an angle...a rather unexpected, even extreme, angle.
The success of the WCW hinged on Bischoff's ability to comman professional wrestling as a businessman in the entertainment business. Although run under Turner sports, Bischoff knew his product would fair better if managed as a form of entertainment. As the head of the WCW, Bischoff knew his limits and the limits of his program. When prompted to compete against the WWE, Bischoff suggested a prime time slot. Much to his own surprise, Turner granted him the time, but this merely put them on the same playing field as their competition.
The war Bischoff waged against the WWE was based on his ability to differentiate his product to give his audience spectacles the likes of which had never been seen before. The mainstay of his program was the live broadcasting of every Nitro show. What better way to deliver the element of surprise than to let unravel before a live stage?
Today it seems wrestling could never have survived without the unpredictability of its characters and the spontaneity of its matches. Its truly something we have taken for granted. With the heavy promoting that wrestling was used to, however, and the vestiges of the formulaic travelling show, we can understand and appreciate the novelty of Bischoff's vision of the WCW.