By April 2000, World Championship Wrestling had lost a good percentage of their viewers from their peak just a couple of years prior. The New World Order storyline had ran it’s course and the company could never find another way to draw in fans to their product. That failure led to Eric Bischoff going on a “hiatus” in September 1999 and Vince Russo was brought into the company. However, Russo wouldn’t fare much better and within a few weeks both men were not part of the company.
In a last ditch effort, WCW decided to bring Russo and Bischoff into the mix to oversee the product thinking that two men responsible for the rise in professional wrestling could lead WCW back into competition. After all, Bischoff was the mastermind behind the NWO and Russo was a major reason for most of the WWF superstars becoming household names. How would it work between Russo and Bischoff? Well, the infamous angle of the Millionaire’s Club vs. New Blood is their body of work and it’s a wild few months. Here’s the story…
On April 10th, 2000, WCW had an official restart to the company. All the championships were stripped and new champions would be crowned at Spring Stampede. Leading into the event, viewers were left wondering how the partnership between Russo and Bischoff would start off. In the very first segment of the 4/10 Nitro, Russo was in the ring with his new group of stars, the New Blood and was eventually cutoff by Bischoff. Initially, it was expected that Russo would lead the New Blood while Bischoff would lead the Millionaire’s Club, a group of men Bischoff relied on in the years prior.
That was not the case.
Instead, Bischoff aligned himself with Russo and they were both going to lead the New Blood against the Millionaire’s Club. Bischoff essentially believing that the overpriced veterans weren’t worth the price tag and wanted to rid them of WCW. He wanted to fix his mistakes, I suppose. Bischoff specifically said that Hogan was his biggest mistake while Russo hated Ric Flair.
In case you didn’t already figure out, the New Blood was a group of wrestlers that felt they were held back by the Millionaire’s Club over the past several years. Here’s a list of the men involved in each group as of the start April 10th edition of Nitro.
Chris Candido, David Flair, Dale Tolberg, Asya, Symphony, Stacy Keibler, Crowbar, Hail, Lenny Lane, Rick Fuller, Ron Harris, Don Harris, Kanyon, Shane Helms, JC Ice, Swoll, Lodi, Maestro, Horace, Lash LeRoux, Vincent, Meng, WCW Hardcore Champion Brian Knobbs, Jamie Noble, Kaz Hayashi, Jimmy Yang, Big T, El Dandy, Silver King Berlyn, Big Vito, Fit Finley, Shannon Moore, Evan Karagias, Kid Romeo, Johnny The Bull, Disco Inferno, Stevie Ray, Mona, Tank Abbott, Rick Steiner, The Wall, Scott Steiner, Vampiro, Booker T, Ernest Miller, Billy Kidman, Torrie Wilson, Van Hammer, and WCW United States Champion Jeff Jarrett.
Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sid, Diamond Dallas Page, Kevin Nash, Sting, and Lex Luger.
Russo vacated all the titles, including championships held by New Blood members. The championships would be determined at Spring Stampede in a tournament setting. April 10th show focused on determining the wrestlers to be involved in the WCW World Championship scene and here’s a brief rundown.
- DDP defeating Lex Luger, but the match saw Buff Bagwell get involved costing Luger the match. Bagwell is a member of New Blood.
- Jeff Jarrett defeated Curt Hennig to go right into the finals for the WCW World Championship, with help from Shawn Stasiak. Stasiak made his debut in WCW.
- Sting defeated Sid by count-out after the Wall chokeslammed Sid through a table on the floor.
- DDP pinned Sting to earn a spot in the finals against Jeff Jarrett at Spring Stampede. Vampiro interfered hitting Sting with the Nail in the Coffin effectively ending the “Brothers in Paint” alliance.
There were several other angle developments likely due to the fact that the pay per view was only six days away. Hulk Hogan started a program with Billy Kidman where Bischoff hit Hogan with a chair and then counted a pin for Kidman. Prior to the angle, Hogan had said that a guy like Kidman couldn’t draw at a flea market, so they naturally made it an angle on TV. Later on in the evening, the white hummer from 1999 returned and drove into Hogan’s limo in the parking lot. We had never found out who drove the hummer in 1999, but Bischoff steps out of the hummer and celebrates with Kidman. While on a stretcher, Kidman spray painted NB on a bloodied Hogan.
Ric Flair arrived late to the April 10th Nitro and called out Russo stating that he didn’t respect Russo compared to Bischoff walking up Sid to take the WCW World Championship. Scott Steiner came out and ripped Flair on the microphone with insults claiming that Flair tried to get him fired. Steiner notes that most of the men in WWF that are champions started in WCW, but Flair ran them off to be the top guy in WCW. Steiner put in some fake teeth and mocked Flair. Shane Douglas made his return to the company and attacked Flair. Douglas was interviewed moments later and said that he hated Flair’s guys from the beginning.
To prove that WCW doesn’t allow things to breath, Douglas and Flair proceeded to have a match against each other in their street clothes just a few segments later. Vince Russo came out and whacked Flair with a baseball bat. Douglas choked Flair with the bat followed by more strikes and Russo told Flair to “suck it!” Russo stole Flair’s $15k Rolex.
Kevin Nash made an appearance sporting crutches and got a big ovation. Nash shared his thoughts regarding Russo and Bischoff acting like wrestlers and getting involved in the ring. Nash wonders what happened to the “sweet wrestling show” they had been doing on Monday’s. Nash claimed that Scott Hall was sober and in a bad mood. In a shocking turn of events, ECW World Champion Mike Awesome made his debut and attacked Nash. Awesome got a microphone and said that it was just too sweet of an opportunity to pass up when he knew that Bischoff and Russo were back in the company.
Following, the DDP/Sting main event, Jarrett smashed a guitar over Kimberly’s head when DDP moved out of the way. Kimberly covered her face to kind of spoil the moment. Naturally, the next segment has a brawl between Jarrett, DDP, Scott Steiner, Lex Luger, Buff Bagwell, Vampiro, The Wall, Sting, Booker T, and the Cat. The New Blood stood tall with Bischoff and Russo appearing on the entrance happy. However, Bret Hart appeared from behind to confront them to end the show.
That’s a lot of happenings for one episode, isn’t it? I understand that they had to rush some things since Spring Stampede is less than a week away, but rushing some of the angles hurt the flow of the programming. Several wrestlers debuted in the same fashion with really only Mike Awesome being a shock or interesting one. Also, the New Blood shouldn’t have a problem with the Millionaire’s Club considering it’s thirty members of the group against less than ten Millionaire’s Club.
To open the 4/12 Thunder, Scott Steiner, Shane Douglas, Vampiro and Buff Bagwell joined Bischoff and Russo to officially join the New Blood stable. Bischoff decided to put Madusa in a match against Kimberly, DDP’s wife. That didn’t sit well with DDP, but the match is going to happen. DDP’s former friend, Bam-Bam Bigelow, attacked DDP from behind leading to a massive brawl to begin the program. Later on in the show, Madusa was stopped by DDP who hit her with a diamond cutter to put an end to the match with Kimberly after a very brief amount of time.
Bischoff gives Harlem Heat 2000 the task of taking out Sid Vicious and warns them to not disappoint him. Booker T ended up coming out during the match and attacked Harlem Heat 2000 to help Sid Vicious. Booker and Harlem Heat 2000 are both members of the New Blood, but perhaps Booker is already leaving the group? The Wall attacks Sid with a chair after the bout. Russo and Bischoff are not happy with Booker’s actions. Bischoff came to the ring while Sid was knocked out. Bischoff declares that Sid has been disqualified due to Booker’s interference and now Sid doesn’t have to be at the PPV. Bischoff scolded Booker backstage.
Ric Flair attacked Shane Douglas during Douglas’ match against Lex Luger allowing Luger to win with the Torture Rack. During Flair’s match with Bagwell later on in the show, Russo again appeared and attacked Flair while dressed as a fan who supported Sting, which is a very original idea.
Jimmy Hart demanded some answers from Eric Bischoff wanting to know why Bischoff did what he did to Hogan on Nitro. Hart takes credit for the relationship between Bischoff and Hogan. Bischoff comes out with Billy Kidman. Kidman runs into the ring and attacks Hart. Kidman spray paints NB onto Hart’s back.
There was a Colorado Collision match featuring all the men involved in the WCW United States Title Tournament, but it featured all New Blood wrestlers. The group is actively fighting against each other, which is something the New World Order, would never do. Sting attacked Vampiro with a Scorpion Death Drop allowing Scott Steiner to lock in the Steiner Recliner.
Eric Bischoff recruited the Villano’s to takeout Sting. I had always been aware of two Villano, but now there’s three of them. As you’d expect, Sting had no problem taking all three men out in short order. David Arquette, the star of Ready To Rumble, was shown in the crowd during the contest. Wait a minute, the third Villano was Jeff Jarrett under a disguise and used a guitar to smash Sting over the head. DDP came out and hit the cutter on Jarrett to allow Sting to earn the pin and will be at the PPV.
In the main event, Eric Bischoff screwed over DDP on a pin attempt on Bigelow allowing Jarrett to smash a guitar over DDP’s head. David Arquette jumped the railing and was attacked by Jarrett on the floor. Jarrett hit the Stroke on Arquette. Kanyon entered the ring and hit a swinging neckbreaker on Jarrett to help his friends. Bischoff slid in with a chair and whacked Kanyon over the head. The New Blood stands tall as WCW heads into Spring Stampede.
TV Ratings: Nitro: 3.1 / Thunder: 3.10
There’s quite a bit going on in World Championship Wresting with the reboot having just six days before the PPV. That’s probably poor timing to do a complete reboot. There were multiple debuts and returns, which is fine. New Blood grossly outnumbers the Millionaire’s Club and I wish it would be a little more even.
They are already promoting some dissension between members with Booker T appearing to already rebelling. Plus, Kanyon was in the opening segment on Nitro associated with the New Blood, but now on Thunder he’s helping DDP against the New Blood? Details like that are important to remember. It took three days for the New Blood to already show some cracks.
The focus on Russo and Bischoff feuding with Flair and Hogan respectively is a little misguided and I wish that the focus would be put on wrestlers in the group. Sure, Kidman is going after Hogan and Douglas is dealing with Flair, but they are secondary to the non-wrestlers. I don’t think Kidman was a smart choice to feud with Hogan out of the gate in this angle. I’ve never liked it.
Considering how there is a lot of stuff going on in this series, I’m likely going to keep these to focus on each week. So, the next installment will be Spring Stampede and the following week of TV. That will continue until the angle is dropped.
What were your initial thoughts on the angle? Did you think it would bring WCW back to being respectable in the ratings?
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.