10 WCW Concepts WWE Need To Bring Back

WarGames, Starrcade... what's next?

A buddy of mine on Facebook asked in a post if he knew anybody that was going to Starrcade this weekend. I have to admit, the sentence gave me a little pause because 1) it's not every day that somebody asks friends on social media if they're going to "Starrcade", and 2) I'd forgotten it was even happening. A glorified house show that cashes in on a wrestling event stepped in heritage that just so happens to be the same weekend as the popular WrestleCade does make one go, "Hmm."

It's not the first time that WWE has lifted an old WCW concept. Seeing WarGames down in NXT comes to mind. An event like The Great American Bash, despite the WWE versions steering clear of the show's Baltimore heritage, is another NWA/WCW standby that was brought back to life. Even "Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal" would see new life under the name "Raw Roulette".

Since WWE is still willing to conjure up old WCW names, concepts, and the like, may I suggest just a few more that deserve to see the light of day again. WCW may have been gone for 17+ years, but we could always use a few more nods to a sorely-missed promotion (warts and all)...

10. Main Roster WarGames


Triple H was reportedly a major advocate of the two-ring, steel cage melee that would be used to settle scores between two bloodthirsty groups of warriors. His proposal to have just such a match at the 2002 Survivor Series was turned down, although in the compromise, we were given the Elimination Chamber, so there's that, at least.

NXT has done well using the match twice (the traditional rules match of 2018, however, was muuuuuuuuch better than the 2017 version), but it's something worth visiting on the main shows. Given WWE's premium on war between the brands, a definitive blowoff match like WarGames would fit perfectly. And let's be honest here, wouldn't the WWE/Alliance feud have been better served by having the McMahon army beat the opposition at their own game?

9. The Lethal Lottery


Speaking of random matches, how about a concept that guarantees them? For those of you who've never seen a Lethal Lottery, the idea was part of a concept called BattleBowl, in which 40 wrestlers had their names randomly drawn from a tumbler, and were put into tag team matches with random partners. They could team with a foe, and/or their regular tag partner could be on the opposing team. Winning teams advanced to a 20-man battle royal to determine one ultimate winner.

While it's true that WCW never had a Lethal Lottery that was critically-acclaimed, with the technically-skilled performers on WWE's roster today, you'd probably be able to pull off the concept. And plus, the randomness of it all would be a break from the norm.

8. Really Random Locations That Provide A Cool Aesthetic


What was the best Road Wild PPV? That's a trick question, because all of them sucked. However, Eric Bischoff kinda had the right idea by taking his one-ring circus out to Sturgis every August, because now you had a show that looked different from every other PPV on the calendar. Bash at the Beach *on* a California beach, episodes of Nitro at spring break outdoor destinations, etc. These were all breaks from the norm.

WWE's fallen into the pattern of having all of their shows look the same, with roughly the same entrance sets and set-up, and it's not exactly any fun. Something like Beast in the East was a step in the right direction. Get a little crazy for a change.

7. Slamboree: The Legends Reunion


WWE's always looking for a way to inject nostalgia into the product, milking curdled drops out of the Attitude Era, among other periods, every so often. The arbitrary nature of such infusions, like DX vs. The Brothers of Destruction at Crown Jewel, can leave some feeling sour when they take precedence over the main product, and that's understandable.

If WWE wants to feed that nostalgia maw, why not base an entire show around turning back the clock, as the earlier Slamboree events did in the mid-nineties? The original One Night Stand was essentially the ECW version of the idea, so why not something for WWE diehards that enjoy a little New Generation or Attitude or Ruthless Aggression-based lookback? Austin beating up McMahon in 2018 drew an ungodly rating, so in doses, something like this could be a lot of fun.

6. More Diverse Matchups


WWE employs approximately 1,528 wrestlers, and yet we're up to about 200 straight episodes of Raw in which Bayley and/or Sasha Banks have faced members of The Riott Squad. How is this week's SmackDown any different than last week's? When wrestlers face off at consecutive PPVs, what stands out? There's so little risk being taken.

Turn on an old Nitro or Thunder and you get some truly random, highly-bats**t matches. Ever think you'd see David Sammartino wrestle for the WCW Cruiserweight title in a one-off? How about Marty Jannetty just showing up on Nitro in 1998 to wrestle Chris Benoit? Part of WCW's charm (if that's what it was) was the helter-skelter booking of just picking random guys to have a match. How about Bill Goldberg defending the WCW World Title against longtime underneath guy Al Green? I'm not saying this is pro wrestling academia here, but just hit the damn randomizer button once in a while. It'll snap viewers out of their malaise.

5. Cruiserweights Showcased On The Main Roster Properly


There are, admittedly, some flaws with this idea. With 205 Live as a weekly show, there's really no need to integrate the cruiserweights with the main roster shows, since they have a show of their own. Additionally, there are plenty of "heavyweights" that can do tricky, spotty matches anyhow, so the 205 Live crew aren't necessarily bringing something different to the show, as was the case when the likes of Mysterio, Guerrero, and Jericho were the hour-one "car crash" on Nitro.

But for the sake of making the shows feel a little different from week to week, why not throw a Cruiserweight match or two on Raw, just as they did when 205 Live was getting started? The division's better now than it was in its larval stages, and having Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander, and others on Monday nights would liven things up. They're already putting the Lucha House Party members in action with the regular teams, so maybe they're headed in that direction anyhow.

4. A Commentator That's An Expert


This isn't to diminish the intellect of gifted gabbers like Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves, but is instead a shout to the three-man booth as WCW would present it. Today's three-person teams are mostly cliche-spouters that have a little too much producing in their ears, so it's hard for someone like Renee Young or Byron Saxton to sound authentic or informative.

In WCW, the most common three-man team would feature Tony Schiavone (lead voice), Bobby Heenan (colour commentator/agitator), and Mike Tenay, who was featured as a "cruiserweight/international expert", as well as a historian. Tenay's contributions to the product then were much more effective than when he was the poor soul that had to play tour guide for TNA's silliness. Tenay in that classic form could educate the audience, adding context and insight to lesser-known talents, and not sound forced like Michael Cole is when he's reading approved lines.

3. Thunderdome


While some would say that at this point in time that wrestling is "beyond Thunderdome", I'm always down for steel cage matches that are a break from the usual. Take the Thunderdome that WCW used for Halloween Havoc in 1989. What we had was a domed steel cage that was electrified at the top, making it impossible to escape from. The only way the match could end would be if a team's cornerman surrendered on their behalf, via the throwing in of a towel.

Ric Flair and Sting took on Great Muta and Terry Funk inside said contraption, and it was quite a spectacle, despite the limiting of planned special effects. The idea of a match ending via a cornerman's discretion could lead to some unique drama, and is a road WWE rarely ever went down (aside from Survivor Series 1994).

2. A Sense Of Chaos


WWE had the right idea when The Nexus came together in 2010, having the eight belligerents destroy John Cena, CM Punk, and the ringsiders before tearing apart the ring itself. Problem is, because WWE's mode of production is so tightly planned, it always seems like the cameras are in the right spot to catch "surprise" run-ins or big dives or whatever. Nothing ever feels spontaneous.

While being as generally disorganized as WCW was would have many detriments, that could actually lend a chaotic feel to the programming. Moments like the nWo run-ins or general moments of improvisation made the shows far less predictable, giving a legitimate "anything could happen" feel to the shows. WWE has a hard time replicating that when their shows are bullet-pointed to the nth degree. This is a habit they'll probably never break, but being a little more lax has its benefits.

1. Halloween Havoc


Starrcade and Great American Bash have been accounted for, leaving just one WCW event name that's unique enough for WWE to put its own spin on. The company already makes use of the Halloween holiday, giving us one hackneyed Trick or Street Fight after another. Halloween Havoc, meanwhile, was a special venture unto itself, and was always a WCW PPV that I really looked forward to.

From the ghoulish entrance set, to the gimmick matches (the aforementioned Thunderdome, the regrettable Chamber of Horrors, plus Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal), WCW always had fun with the idea, and seemed to produce some of their more fun events under the Halloween banner. WWE could take that to another level, especially since they're always keen on doing something special come the holiday anyway.

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.