WWF vs WCW - Shock Tactics | 5
It's Friday November first nineteen ninety six and in Walton Kentucky Vince McMahon's exploring the large colonial home of wrestler Brian Pullman the curly blond haired pullman is a rising star in the WWF but he's out of action after shattering his ankle in a car crash so McMahon's keeping him in the spotlight with the story line about a feud. He's having with thuggish. Wwf Star Stone Cold Steve Austin now to keep the fictional feud going McMahon's McMahon's planning a major surprise and that's why he's checking out Hillman's pad as pullman hobbled behind him with his foot and a cast McMahon demand surveys the basement lounge. He spots a side door with a glass window pane. We'll hear film and flops absolved. The cream colored couch to rest his broken ankle. So what do you need from me. Sit there like you are right now but with your wife at your side I will have the interviewer in this chair here and the angle is stone cold. Steve Austin's coming for you. He's going to invade your home and you've got to defend spend your castle. You gotta done yeah. I got a nine millimeter glock. Good good hold that in the interview okay show it off. Austin will break in by smashing the window that side door when he gets in. I want pandemonium. Your wife is screaming. You're waving the gun and and and then we cut will say the live feed went down okay anything else. The feed returns at the end of the show Austin. Austin fled after seeing your gun but then he returns your friends hold him back but you totally lost it. You're yelling. You're pointing your gun and threatening going to kill Austin. Okay and then just when it looks like you're gonNA pull the trigger. The show ends wow when we taping it. We're not it's got a feel real. will broadcast live on Monday so remember don't swear may man wants to step away from WWF W. Have PG rated thrills. WCW's beaten WWF in the Monday ratings for twenty weeks. Running man thinks shock tactics are no the answer when the scenes from films home air that Monday the viewers are shocked the action so convincing that some even call the police angry parents flood the USA network with complaints it USA Vice President Wayne Bekker's also watching as Ross final moments play out. He sees a wild eyed an armed pill mun yelling yellowing all right. Becker frowns did Perelman just dropping f-bomb for Becker. It's the final Straw he's had enough of McMahon's flirtations patients with bad taste. He wants USA to dump raw and if he gets his way the WWF is finished. There are a lot of news podcasts out there and if you're a news junkie like me. You probably listen to a bunch of them well. I'm going to tell you about the heat. It's a news podcast that tries to answer the hard questions behind the week's biggest global headlines. 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CGT In and you'll see the bright orange logo come up and if you like what you hear go ahead and subscribe from from wondering I'm David Brown and this is business on the last episode WCW concord Monday nights by inventing the N. w. o. a band of renegade wrestlers who WanNa take control of the company the WWF is down but not out out. It's boss. Vince McMahon is planning a comeback soaked in controversy but to make it work. He will shatter the boundaries of good taste and leave. The fans and wrestlers alike stunned. This is episode five shock tactics. It's November Fifth Nineteen Ninety six and in a conference room in midtown Manhattan in Hatton Vince McMahon is getting shooed out by USA CEO K. Koplowitz. She's on the warpath over yesterday's episode of Monday night. Aw the one where Stone Cold Steve Austin broke into the home of pistol packing Brian Pullman your stunt lit up our switchboard like time square we got not hundreds but thousands of complaints and I am sick of hearing complaints about your show. She grabs a remote control from the table and presses is play the TV behind starts playing. WWF's most outrageous moments from the past year footage androgynous wrestler gold dust pushing an opponent's on its face toward his crotch. Steve Austin giving fans the Middle Finger Roddy Piper beating gold dust with a baseball bat and promising to make a man out of him and last night's offering Brian Pill mean dropping the f word on live TV koplowitz pauses the video and turns back to McMahon. That stuff is not fun and it's not for kids not to mention. It breaches the standards in the contract that you signed with us. McMahon hold his hands up. You're Ri- You're right. We took things too far. Yesterday we wanted to get audience attention and it came across as more real than anticipated. I promise that the swearing was unintentional. That was unacceptable. I'll make public apology on the next episode but McMahon's remorse only goes so far the home invasions not help raw cut into WCW Monday nitro lead in the ratings during one quarter hour segment raw even tied with nitro convinces McMahon that he can win by outdoing WCW on outrage he figures that even if WCW chief Eric Bischoff follow suit the higher ups at Turner Broadcasting Asti will stop him even so McMahon knows. This is a high wire business strategy. He's got a dial up up the sex and violence without USA shutting him down and he's not the only man it's January nine hundred ninety seven and a police convoy heads through the dark snow covered streets in downtown Cedar Rapids Iowa behind the cops are garbage trucks and hanging off the back of the are the rebel wrestlers of the N. w. o. WCW's pretend enemies within BISCHOFF. Thanks garbage trucks trucks are a good fit for N. W. Os image gritty anti-establishment cool wrestlers cling to the dust cards whooping and cheering and trying to ignore the freezing reason cold it's twenty below zero and they're wearing jeans t shirts and leather jackets the procession of garbage truck stops at the five seasons center arena and the NWF squad swarm in through backstage door viewers at home see the w. co-stars entered the arenas swaggering and posing like a street gang leading them is Hollywood Hogan as Hulk Hogan is now no tonight right is a WCW pay per view but it's not billed as one instead. It's branded as an N. W. O. Show since its inception six months ago the N W O's renegade wrestlers have been electrifying fans. They're manufactured rebellion is lighting a fire under WCW TV ratings live ticket sales and merchandising revenues black t-shirt stamped with the WWL's quite spray painted logo are are now must have items for WCW fans WCW thought would lose a million dollars nineteen ninety-six but thanks to the N. W. wwl it delivered profits of more than three point five million dollars now bischoff wants to build on that momentum he plans to split WCW and N. W. O. into two separate wrestling promotions. WCW shows will cater to the the PG FAMILY AUDIENCE IN W. O. Will be the alternative for young adults together. They will assault the WWF from two fronts. It's Bischoff hopes this dual attack will push the WWF into being too edgy for families but to juvenile for everyone else however for the plan to work. He's got to be sure the N. W. O. can stand alone from the WCW and that's what tonight all about over the next two and a half hours viewers get a taste of wrestling in W. O. style. There's is an industrial looking set in strobe lights explosions thundering drums and crunching guitar riffs. It's enough to make the everyday families in the Iowa arena look like hostages in Maryland Manson video. As the show continues the audiences expression slowly changes from bewildered two board. They expected a wrestling show instead. They're enduring cringe. Inducing sideshows like the Miss in W. O. contest where local Nicol female bikers straddle motorcycles while answering Innuendo laden questions by the main event. The audience seems half asleep. They chat among among themselves in cheer halfheartedly. Even the firecrackers signaling the entrance of Hollywood Hogan failed to ignite any enthusiasm when Hogan celebrates his victory by Yanking off his opponents trucks to expose his buttocks comatose crowd barely responds the pay per view use sales compound the disappointment only one hundred and seventy thousand people paid for the show far below. The two hundred and fifty thousand buys the average. WCW would you pay per view gets. It's a setback that forces. Bischoff to shelve his plan to crush the WWF between the WCW and the end of what you owe but while Bischoff hits a roadblock in Iowa Vince McMahon has been making friends. It's February twenty fourth nineteen ninety-seven and backstage at the Manhattan Center in New York City. WWF Announcer Jerry lawler is trying to wrap his as head around McMahon's latest stunt. I don't get why do you want easy w here they're small enough to live in an F. R. McMahon's has been flirting with the idea of bringing extreme championship wrestling onto his show for months EC. W is an underground wrestling promotion that works out of a former Bingo Bingo Hall in Philadelphia and it's one a cult following with its brutal anything goes brand of wrestling McMahon peers over his thin rim spectacles at the round-faced ex-wrestler yes easy. W. Isn't on par with us not even close but they bring energy and unpredictability. We need that EC. CW will also show viewers what a sham in W. O. is. I still don't like it. I hate what they do good. It's supposed to be a rivalry rate. US THAT E C W matches vicious and bloody wrestlers battled rings with Matt's covered in thumb tacks in ropes made a barbed wire wrestlers have been set on fire bashed with frying pans cut with knives and punctured with staple guns. One fighter Hadarim stubbed a cigarette out on his opponents. I the cigarette incident was faked. Given the promotions reputation for violence. The crowd left the match convince. It was real. McMahon doesn't want anything that extreme but he does want e C. W Street cred to RUB OFF ON. WWF HALF IN RETURN E C W gets to hawk its first ever pay per view to the million plus viewers of Monday night raw eight minutes into that night's show the e C W invasion begins to e CW wrestlers storm into the Ring Ravis Rabba scared looking ring attendant and kick him to the floor next a man wearing a black trenchcoat in baseball cap enters the rate. He's Paul Hainault the boss of e c w what did I tell you McMahon after the dramatic entrance Heyman joins McMahon and lawler at the ringside announcers desk as viewers watch a mix of WWF matches and safe for Primetime E C. W belts the three announcers trade insults. Hey McMahon. I gotTa tell you something you and I could announcer. WWF thing does not work out for you. Yeah we give you a job any joke crossover with E C. W doesn't didn't do much for Ross ratings but it sends a message to hard core fans that WWF is moving on from its reputation as a kids wrestling show and it's just as well because the WCW is about doing crease the pressure. It's summer nineteen nineteen ninety-seven and in the C. N. N. center in Atlanta. WCW Boss Eric Bischoff and a group of senior Turner Broadcasting Executives are grappling with Ted head-turners latest edict Turner's so pleased with Monday nitro ratings that he's decided there should be a second prime time. WCW You show he wants a live two hour broadcast every Thursday to soak up AD dollars from car dealerships movie studios and other advertisers. That's been big in the lead up to the weekend now. It's up to Bischoff and these executives to make Turner's orders reality. One executive asks Bischoff to estimate the cost of the new show well. We're we're GONNA need a bigger production team. Maybe another forty people you will need to expand our roster of talent to if we just use the same wrestlers over and over the fans will lose interest all together. I guess we're looking at twelve to fifteen million a year to make the show the executives around the table recoil since Time Warner took over life at Turner Broadcasting has gotten more corporate they've got double digit profit growth targets to meet the cost of WCW's Thursday night show could be the difference between hitting or missing their targets the head of tbs the Turner Network that will broadcast WCW's new show jumps in first off Eric. You cannot hire hire more staff time. Warner's imposed recruitment freeze also. I'm not paying for the show. Bishops jaw drops why you're the network. WCW Is the production company technically. You're buying the show from us. I don't care I'm not paying for it. BISHOFF freezes. He doesn't want to foot the bill after all. He's only just steer. WCW into the black after years in the red he's not even ensure he wants to make this show given the extra workload it will pile on his overstretch team. But what choice does he have. Ted Turner wants this show and it's his name above the door besides Turner's always been. WCW's biggest champion surely surely he would understand if WCW faults back into the red but what the Turner Broadcasting Executives in the room aren't telling alling bishop is that Time Warner regards Turner as yesterday's man having bought his company last Fall Time Warner is is already freezing turner out and stripping him of his power and as Turner's power seeps away those within Turner Broadcasting Odd casting who want to kill off WCW are sharpening their knives shipping and mailing from your desk has never been simpler than with sent pro online from pitney bowes with central online from Pitney bowes is just click sand and save for his lowest lowest four ninety nine. That's four dollars and ninety nine cents a month. Send envelopes flats and packages right from your desk and you are back to business in no oh time and for being a business worse listener you'll receive a free thirty day trial to get started and a free ten pounds scale to ensure that you never overpay. Hey starting at four ninety nine per month. You can also qualify for special. USPS rates for letters and priority mail shipping calculate exact postage online and print posters posters right there from your pc save time and money on mailing and shipping with semi pro online go to PB DOT COM slash BWI access this special offer for a free thirty day trial plus a free ten pounds scale to get started. That's PB DOT com slash. Vw Experience Shipping made simple with a free retrial of sent pro online from pitney bowes growing. 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You can try Zappia for free but only when you go to Zappia dot com slash Ashby W that's Z. A. P. I E. R. dot com slash. VW for Your Free Fourteen Day trial Zappia DOT COM Tom Slash VW it's October sixth nineteen ninety-seven and the WWF is in a state of shock. Is it prepares here's to fill Monday night raw in Kansas City last night. Brian Pullman was found dead in an Indiana Motel Room. The autopsy will later find thirty five year old wrestler died from an undiagnosed heart condition but right now everyone thinks he died from a drug overdose films being going off the rails for months the line between him and his loose cannon wrestling persona melting away in a haze as a prescription drugs and wrecked rental cars for Vince McMahon pullman sudden debt spell trouble he fears it will spark new drug scandal scandal at the WWF so he's moving fast to ensure that the WWF doesn't get blamed for films debt and that's why he's lined up a live interview with Films Wife Melanie less than twenty four hours after her husband's death as the commercial break draws to an end McMahon checks the monitors showing the live feed with Melanie at the pigewoman residents melanie. You know you could still back out. He here's Melanie's response through his headset. Now it's fine. The interview is straight out of the Jerry Springer playbook after Melanie notes how injuries from a car crash contributed to films USA painkillers McMahon probes deeper knowing how power the children taking just news and and do they understand well a four a year old doesn't understand but Brittany understand and she just screamed for about fifteen minutes. If you had any the opportunity to think about what you now is a single parent will do to support your five children. I don't even really know what day it is so backstage horrified. WWF Wrestler Watch as Tillman's widow is served up as mass entertainment but McMahon's hunger for controversy is just beginning. It's November remember night nineteen ninety-seven and in Montreal Canada. WWF champion Canadian Wrestling Hero Bret Hart is defending his title against pretty boy grapplers. Shawn michaels taken weeks for McMahon Hart and Michaels to agree how this fight will play out hard is about to join WCW so Kabq man wanted him to lose to Michael's tonight but Hart refused he can't stand michaels and he doesn't want to lose the belt in his homeland so so the three made a deal tonight's match will end in a disqualification that way heart can forfeit his title at a later date outside candidate ended in the final moments of the fight Michael's pins face down on the map and that's when heart notices something strange enj- McMahon's standing at the side of the ring instead of being at the announcers desk McMahon turns to the Bell Ringer Ring. The Bell Doc read the bell as the Bell Tolls Heart Stares in shock McMahon's double vote crossed it and given his title to Michaels in front of his home crowd outraged fans build the arena with angry cries part leaps to his feet overwhelmed with rage he lunges to the ringside leans over the ropes and spits into McMahon space. The McMahon wipes the spittle from his eyes yells at Michael's take the belt and get the hell out of here as Michael whisked away heart goes on a rampage he jumps from the RIM and start smashing TV monitors and flinging headsets into the crowd then he notices McMahon's gone. He storms backstage. McMahon is barricaded himself in his office HEART TRIES IN VAIN TO SMASH DOWN THE STEEL DOOR before stopping off to the locker room after taking a shower heart emerges to find McMahon man standing in the locker room. McMahon breaks the silence. You left me no choice. I'm sorry it had to happen. This sway heart explodes. Who are you kidding you. Lying pieces part lunges slams his fist. I into McMahon's jaw the WWF boss is sent flying. He crashes onto the floor. Unconscious heart screams at the wrestler stepping into protect their boss. Get him out of here or I will finish him. The wrestlers pull McMahon onto his feet and help him out of the locker room in the weeks that followed double cross. WWF FANS turn on McMahon at every event McMahon finds himself greeted with boos and insults Internet. Wrestling forums are filled with vitriol against the wrestling mogul McMahon's shocked. He's used to being the straight man the neutral observer now he's the most hated man in wrestling but rather than apologize he turns it to his advantage he becomes. Mr McMahon the corrupt corporate puppeteer who screws over the fans favourite wrestlers in the wake of the betrayal in Montreal raw ratings start climbing by turning himself into the ultimate he'll McMahon's finally hit on a storyline powerful enough to tell your viewers away from WCW Monday nitro and with WCW's WCW's lead crumbling McMahon finally feels ready to shed WWF P G skin on December Fifteenth Nineteen ninety-seven Monday night raw opens with an address from McMahon. He stands in front of the camera in a checked based suit and promises a new era at wwf we in the WWF think that you the audience are quite frankly tired of having in your intelligence insulted. We also think that you're tired of the same old simplistic theory of good guys versus bad guys surely the era of the superhero the hero urge you to say your prayers and take your vitamins is definitely passe for years. McMahon chased the family audience and sought to make WWF entertainment for all but now he's going to use Monday night raw to reach out to a new audience young men who watched WCW McMahon knows that he can only win them over by pushing the boundaries and cutting loose from the family viewers so so he's going to make raw more outrageous more raunchy and more aggressive and his break with the past has come just-in-time just-in-time after months of preparation. WCW is ready to launch its new Thursday night. Show the show. It hopes will cement. WCW's he ws ratings dominance once and for all the final showdown between the WWF and WCW is it's beckoning and only one will survive on the next episode. WWF embraces the dark side Eric Bischoff fights to save WCW and a wildlife charity forces a big change at the WWF hello from one day. This is business wars. We hope you enjoyed this episode and we invite you to subscribe on Google podcast. Stitcher spotify apple podcasts iheartradio or wherever you get your podcasts there's a link on the episode notes and if you tap or swipe over the cover art you'll see some offers more sponsors. We hope you'll support our show by supporting them. It would be terrific if you could give us a five star rating and tell your friends how to subscribe to there's it's another way that you can support business worse and that's by answering a short survey at one dot com slash survey and don't forget to tell us what business war stories you'd like to hear. We should say say something about the conversations in this episode. We can't know exactly what was said but this dialogue is based on our best research. I'm your host David Brown. Tristan Donovan wrote this story. Karen and low is our senior producer and editor donahue. -Times edited the story. Our editor and producer is jenny lower beckmann sound design by Kyle Randall for Bay Area Sal. Our executive producer is Marshall. Louis created by earn on Lopez four wondering.