They were doing all of these skits instead of doing wrestling. They were using all these girls, you know? The Nitro girls went from being a dance group that performed during commercial breaks and 30 second dance routines in the ring or on the stage [into] valets and wrestlers. That was not their thing. All of a sudden, they wanted to be a part of the program. They all wanted to have their personas. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to be a star on TV instead of a part of the team.
As soon as that started happening, that's actually when I left. January 1st of 2000 was when my contract ran out. I left there and went to ECW and everyone was questioning me about leaving. That's a whole other story but I was promised another contract with a raise. Then when they told me Jeff Jarrett was coming in that they couldn't give me a raise. Their money started becoming limited because they were handing out all these huge contracts.
Turner finally started going, 'Hey, we need to start rolling in some of this money.' So, they started getting rid of all these guys. Not to point fingers or anything, but there were guys under contract -- I was number 47 in '95 when I got my contract. I was the 47th wrestler under contract. By '99 when I left -- including referees, the Nitro girls, valets and everything else -- there were almost 200 guys under contract. They were getting paid guaranteed money. Whether they worked or not. I know a guy that was there for two years. Never even put his boots on but he was making $85,000 a year. There's a guy that cost you $170,000 in two years and never worked once? He was still getting a paycheck. That's the thing that was killing WCW.
Eric went out and started hiring everybody so Vince couldn't get them. Then, they had this talent pool and used none of them except for the same guys every week on Mondays and Thursdays. They used some of the new talent on the Saturday night show, but it wasn't being watched because everybody knew it was taped.
WrestlingINC: When Kevin Nash was booker and things were blowing up but also spiraling out of control a little bit, were you younger guys ever asked for input as far as angles go or suggesting angles for yourselves?
Riggs: No. [Laughs.] That was one thing that was almost frowned upon. You almost felt entitled if they put you in a match -- Nash was good about trying to help the younger guys to a certain point. But, he wasn't going to give up his, especially with him being the booker and being the World Heavyweight champion and everything else. Him and Hall wanted to end Goldberg's streak even though Goldberg didn't want the streak to keep going. He was getting tired of it himself. But it should have meant something.
Bill had that credibility. He wasn't the most talented guy, but he still believed that he was a machine. All of a sudden, it was two guys that ended that and everybody in the world knew -- because of the internet and all and the sheets that were out there and everybody talking about this and that -- that Nash taking over.
All of a sudden, when he was world champ, everybody went, 'Ahh. We see why everything happened the way that it did because certain people wanted to keep themselves in the spotlight.' That was the thing that really started hurting wrestling. Guys were just keeping themselves in the spotlight and they weren't listening to the younger guys. Instead of generating new ideas and asking for input -- if you did give it, you were applauded for it and it was never used or you were applauded for it and somebody else used it.
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