Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Behind the scenes.

I just amazes me how many behind the scenes antics took place between the WCW and WWF, as mentioned in Sex, Lies and Headlocks. First, Bischoff gets Hogan to come over to the WCW camp, complete with a ticker-tape parade announcing his return to wrestling. Bischoff gave up a couple of million dollars for six months work and a cut of the pay-per-view to Hogan for the privilege, as well as boosting Hogan’s already huge ego. This led to the Flair / Hogan matches in which Hogan worked light. WCW had heavily spent on publicity, but it paid off.

In the meantime, WWF on USA network was breaking cable viewership records, thank you very much, even though McMahon was upset that Hogan was trying to recreate the WWF of old within the WCW. Meanwhile, Lex Luger who was working for WWF, secretly left that camp as McMahon watched Luger perform on TV for the WCW, and so the Monday night wars began.

Now, both the WCW and WWF were opposite shows on Monday night. McMahon, in order to cut costs, taped most of the show earlier.  WCW’s Bishoff picks up on this, and during the WCW live broadcast, tells the audience that there is no need to switch channels, and proceed to tell the audience the results of the WWF’s wrestling card which was held a few weeks before. The first salvo goes to WCW and Bishoff for preempting the competition.  

This was at a period in our political history where Congress was taking up the issue of violence in the entertainment industry. McMahon picks up on this and starts writing “Dear Ted” missives, such as … Turner Broadcasting will be presenting the most violent pay-per-view ever—WCW Uncensored… this tasteless event … Of course, McMahon and the WWF would never be a part of such violence. Round two to the WWF.

Later, McMahon did some personal lampooning of Billionaire Ted in a series of TV shows. These really became personal attacks on Ted Turner himself with racial and violence against women overtones. When the skits ran deep, McMahon pulled the show, but not before petitioning the FTC to go against the merger of Turner and Time-Warner, as McMahon said, Turner was “engaged in a systematic plan to destroy the WWF.”  How hypocritical is that statement. Did McMahon make that statement while talking to a mirror about himself? Round three to WWF.

These middle chapters in the book really give us a huge insight as to the events that unfolded, as well as the backstabbing between Turner and McMahon during this time period of wrestling history. The reading itself is like watching a match!


Timothy S. Rich said...

Reading this I'm reminded not only of the cutthroat nature of the wrestling business, whether in was 50 years ago or last week, but also the shear amount of money necessary to compete with Vince McMahon. Think about it: the only company that came even remotely close to beating the WWF (and did in terms of ratings for over a year) was backed by a billionaire who owned a cable television station. Forget winning Powerball or MegaMillions and starting a national promotion!

Sam Ford said...

Gary, what really fascinates me is the balance between Vince as tyrant company overthrowing regional promoters versus Vince as little family business owner against a billionaire conglomerate owned by Ted Turner. The back-and-forth, from a business perspective, is hysterical. Tonight, we'll begin our look at the WWE's version of all this, in their documentary, "The Monday Night War."

Gary said...

Sam, what you say is so true. I mean Vince even framed many of his TV parity shows showing "Billionaire Ted." All of a sudden his marketing was framed as David vs. Goliath. Also the Dear Ted letters were hilarious.