wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Why Did Vince End Nitro When He Did?

December 22, 2018 | Posted by Ryan Byers
WCW Nitro

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

If you have one of those queries searing a whole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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Adrian from Ireland is still hung over from his time at Club La Vela:

Is there a reason Vince McMahon did the whole simulcast with WCW the week before the biggest show of the year, Wrestlemania X-7? It distracted from the build up to X-7 somewhat and also diluted the whole buying WCW. Could he not have held off until the RAW after?

Vince McMahon had no choice but to run the Raw/Nitro simulcast on the final Monday before Wrestlemania in 2001. The reason behind that is that the Turner networks had cancelled all of WCW’s wrestling content, including Nitro, and that evening was the show’s swan song. Thus, if you wanted to produce an angle in which the two shows were running parallel to each other, you HAD to do it on that night, because, a week later, you weren’t going to have Raw and Nitro going head-to-head with one another.

Some people might be reading this and saying to themselves, “Wait a minute, couldn’t Vince McMahon just convince TNT to run Nitro for one or two more weeks so that the simulcast could occur after Wrestlemania?”

The answer to that question is a pretty simple, “No.” TNT brass had absolutely zero reason to do any favors of that nature for WWE.

Uzoma wants to talk current events:

As a result of pinning Daniel Bryan this past Tuesday on SmackDown, will Mustafa Ali get a WWE Title shot against him?

The answer is almost assuredly yes. In fact, if WWE doesn’t do that, it’s just a matter of bad booking. Keep in mind that professional wrestling is supposed to be a scripted sport, and, from a pure athletic standpoint, it would make zero sense for somebody to defeat a champion and then not get an opportunity to take a crack at the belt himself.
Granted, Mustafa Ali probably isn’t a big enough star at this point that he will be getting his championship match on a network special or some other big show, but it would make for a fine enough segment on an upcoming episode of Smackdown.

This is the sort of thing that well-booked wrestling used to do all the time that we no longer get anymore, i.e. a world champion or main event level star having a small, less important side story or feud with another wrestler that runs at the same time as and in some respects plays into their primary feud with another main eventer.
In other words, Mustafa Ali almost surely get his title shot, I certainly hope he does, and we should get more angles like this going forward.

Will S. is coming soon to Monday Night Raw:

I am wondering you opinion on the ‘vignettes’ that WWE sometimes does, or has done in the past, on certain guys. What is the purpose behind them? A few years back they did them for guys like Fandango and Adam Rose, only to make them jobbers when they actually appeared. If they want us to accept them as stars then why make them jobbers? And if they’re jobbers why make a big deal out of them? They’ve also done it with legit stars like Mr. Perfect, so there seems to be no consistency.

Vignettes are almost always intended to make a debuting wrestler into a bigger star than what they would be without the vignettes. It is true that there are some wrestlers who have had extended runs of vignettes but then went on to have very lackluster careers, but that is almost never because the company sunk time and money into the vignettes knowing that they weren’t going to push the wrestler in question.

Let’s use Fandango as an example. He was hyped up for quite some time before he ultimately showed up on WWE television. Some might forget this because of how he is pushed now, but, when the character first debuted, he really did seem like somebody who the company was going to get behind. After all, the very first match he had was at Wrestlemania XXIX, and he defeated Chris Jericho of all people in that bout. From there, Fanny was moved into the Intercontinental Title scene and competed in a Money in the Bank ladder match, so he wasn’t doing too badly for himself all things considered.

Over time, he did seem to fall out of favor with the company for whatever reason, and his push was greatly diminished, but you can see from how he was used in the months immediately following his debut that the Fandango we now know was not the plan right out of the gate.

A similar thing could be said about Adam Rose. Granted, he didn’t debut with a pay per view win over a former World Champion, but he did have a months-long undefeated streak and could have slowly climbed his way up the cards if not for the fact that, after a while, he wasn’t a particularly good wrestler who had just gotten over based on his entrance.

Of course, there are also plenty of examples of wrestlers who were planned to be stars, got vignettes to promote them as such, and the push worked out according to plan. Mr. Perfect is an excellent example of that, as are Dusty Rhodes, Razor Ramon, Goldust, and Mankind.

Keith knows that a house divided cannot stand:

Which state has produced the most world champions?

Probably the most difficult part of answering this question was deciding what to count as a world championship. Ultimately, I decided to focus only on U.S.-based promotions, not because I don’t think other countries have produced world championships but rather because Americans don’t tend to win those championships too often. Within the United States, it was a no-brainer to include the various versions of the WWWF/WWF/WWE World Title and the AWA World Title as well as the WCW World Heavyweight Title. The NWA Title also clearly qualifies for at least part of its existence. I always have some question as to whether the latter-day NWA Title, the TNA Title, and the ECW Title should really qualify for the “world title” designation, but I did decide to include them in the count here in part because they didn’t add that much work to answering the question and in part because, if you don’t care for their inclusion, it’s easy enough for you to delete them from my answer and come up with your own numbers.

There is also one other factor to consider here: What do we mean when we say that a state has “produced” a world champion? After giving it some consideration, I decided that we would have to use the state in which a wrestler was born, not the state that he lived the majority of his life in or the state that he’s most commonly associated with. To do it any other way would leave the process open to too much subjective interpretation. That’s why you’ll see a few wrestlers being listed alongside states that you might not necessarily expect, like Ric Flair getting credited to Tennessee as opposed to North Carolina or even Minnesota.

Using all of those criteria, the answer to the question is Texas with twelve world champions to its credit. It makes sense that the Lone Star state would top the list, because it’s a large state with a high population and is known for producing quite a few collegiate football players . . . and, at least at a certain point in wrestling’s history, college football was basically the number one pool that prospective wrestlers were recruited out of.

New York is a close second, having produced eleven champs. Again, this seems to be driven primarily by the state’s high population, though another factor is that NYC has been the epicenter for both WWE’s operations and also was, to a lesser extent, a regular ECW city.

Rounding out the top five are Michigan, Tennessee, and California, which again are either states that have large populations and/or have been the home of significant wrestling territories, which now seem to be the keys to moving up on this list.

If you want to take a look at the full list of world champions by state that I put together, you’re welcome to peruse it below. Interestingly, by my count, there are still seventeen states that have never birthed a world champion. Come on, Vermont. Pick up the slack.

Texas (12): Fritz Von Erich, Stan Hansen, Dick Hutton, Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Eddie Guerrero, John Bradshaw Layfield, Mark Henry, Tito Santana, Chavo Guerrero Jr.

New York (11): Dick Beyer, Vince Russo, Mikey Whipwreck, Tommy Dreamer, Kerry Von Erich, Ricky Steamboat, Sabu, Lex Luger, Chris Jericho, Tazz, Bubba Ray Dudley

Michigan (8): Mighty Igor, Lou Thesz, Dan Severn, Rhino, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, Rob Van Dam, Chris Sabin

Tennessee (7): Jerry Lawler, Tommy Rich, Ric Flair, Jeff Jarrett, Jax Dane, Randy Orton, James Storm

California (7): Mike Rapada, Vader, The Rock, Yokozuna, Rey Misterio Jr., Johnny Nitro, Samoa Joe

Ohio (6): Bill Miller, Randy Savage, The Miz, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Ethan Carter III

Minnesota (5): Verne Gagne, Curt Hennig, Bob Backlund, Sergeant Slaughter, Jerry Lynn

Indiana (5): Dick the Bruiser, Dory Funk Jr., Terry Funk, Ultimate Warrior, Mick Foley

Pennsylvania (5): Shane Douglas, Raven, Rob Conway, Kurt Angle, Johnny Hot Body

Georgia (5): Ken Shamrock, Ron Killings, Cody Rhodes, Ron Simmons, Hulk Hogan

Illinois (4): Larry Zbyszko, Adam Pearce, Colt Cabana, CM Punk

New Jersey (4): Buddy Rogers, Chris Candido, Diamond Dallas Page, Bam Bam Bigelow

North Carolina (4): AJ Styles, Vince McMahon, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy

Florida (4): The Almighty Sheik, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Mike Awesome

Wisconsin (3): The Crusher, Ken Kennedy, Austin Aries

Oklahoma (3): Jack Brisco, Bill Goldberg, Jack Swagger

Missouri (2): Nick Bockwinkel, Harley Race

Kansas (2): Orville Brown, Bobby Lashley

Louisiana (2): Brent Albright, Booker T.

Arkansas (2): Tim Storm, Sid Vicious

Arizona (2): Billy Graham, Shawn Michaels

Massachusetts (2): John Cena, Eddie Edwards

Nebraska (1): Sting

South Carolina (1): The Big Show

Virginia (1): David Arquette

New Hampshire (1): Triple H

South Dakota (1): Brock Lesnar

Washington (1): Daniel Bryan

Iowa (1): Seth Rollins

Hawaii (1): Don Muraco

Utah (1): The Sandman

Connecticut (1): Justin Credible

Maryland (1): Eli Drake

And that will do it for this week. We’ll be back with more questions and more answers in seven days, and you can keep
those answers coming by sending them in to [email protected].