Scotty Riggs Talks The Monday Night Wars, Working For Eric Bischoff, Rise And Fall Of WCW
Believe me, when we sat in that front row and you actually heard what those fans were yelling at us, we were hated. When the nWo guys came out, the fans just swooned them and loved them. They were the cool heels. Man, there's no such thing as a cool heel. [Laughs.] You're either hated or you're loved. That's it, that's the way it's supposed to be.
Then, they took me from that image and wanted to re-package me back into being the pretty boy again. I was going, like, 'Wow. Talk about a roller-coaster ride.' You know? I wanted to keep the eye patch and got some approval. Then, we it finally got to Terry Taylor -- and I had disgruntles with him -- he just said, 'No. We're not going to do that with him. This is what we want to do.' I went, 'You want to do what?? That makes no sense.'
I went from having a bad eye, to all of a sudden having a good eye. I just went, 'Man. You're not making anything make any sense. Let me be who I want to be and develop this persona. You want me to be this.' So, I had, 'Do this, or we're just not going to do anything with you and you're just going to flounder.' So, I kind of had to do what they gave me.
WrestlingINC: That first run with Russo and Ferrara didn't last too long. They were gone and all hell broke loose when Benoit, Guerrero, Saturn and all those guys requested their releases and got them. What was it like during that time?
Riggs: At the time, everybody was walking on egg shells. Time Warner was being bought by AOL [and] the business side of it was; we started losing ratings. Again, there were so many people under contract and the company went from making money and being a high-rated program, to losing money. When AOL suits were coming in, they didn't want a program that was actually losing money. They didn't understand TV and programming or anything else, they just wanted everything to be in the black and everything to be making money with what they were investing in.
Again, that's when WCW started losing its steam because instead of keeping all these young guys, they were keeping these millionaire guys that were actually making a million dollars a year through Time Warner -- not a WCW contract, but a Time Warner contract -- but were only working Nitros or the live Thunders. Not the taped Thunders, but the live ones. They would never work a Saturday night program. They would work maybe a couple of house shows, but only the big ones. They wouldn't work the smaller towns.
They were making the most money. So, we started trimming the fat with the lower paid guys and the mid-pay guys and those were the ones that were getting the axe. Then, you also had everybody that was coming up for contract re-negotiations now wanting more money. It became an issue or where, 'OK. We're getting guaranteed money as it is.' But everybody wanted more of it. WCW just became a selfish place to work.
Nobody was worried about putting on good matches, they were just worried about getting their personalities over. It just became a selfish time for a lot of the people. I saw a lot of people -- at one point -- we [had] a team effort. All of a sudden, everybody was out for themselves. That's when it became a hard place to work. It really did. I was kind of glad, in a sense, to get out of there.
Click here for part one of our interview with Riggs. Make sure to check back tomorrow for part three of our interview with Riggs, where he talks about why he left WCW, being in ECW during their dying days, working with Paul Heyman and much more.
Also, you can follow Riggs on Twitter at @REALScottyRiggs and you can send him your well wishes as he recovers from his recent gallbladder surgery. We here at WrestlingINC.com would also like to wish Riggs the best as he recovers.
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