Scotty Riggs Talks The Monday Night Wars, Working For Eric Bischoff, Rise And Fall Of WCW
The interview was conducted before Riggs underwent gallbladder surgery last week. You can follow Riggs on Twitter at @REALScottyRiggs and send him your well wishes as he recovers from the procedure. We here at WrestlingINC.com would like to wish Riggs the best as he recovers.
WrestlingINC: That next year, business really caught fire with the nWo angle. What was it like when things really started to pick up? Because wrestling was definitely slow in the early '90's. WWF and Vince with his legal battles. It just seemed like it was very stale there for a little bit. Then, it just really caught fire very quickly.
Riggs: What really caught fire was going head-to-head in competition. That's why I give Eric Bischoff where he came up with an idea and pitched it to them. They had their flag ship show which was Saturday Night and we taped on a Tuesday. Then, we would do our house shows in between and that was about it.
When Bischoff came up with the actual idea of going head-to-head with Raw -- Raw was a one hour show, it was taped. It would be live one week, tape the next week. Bischoff said, 'Why don't we do a one to two hour show that we can air on TNT?' TNT is a television programming network and Ted Turner owned us. He owned the Braves, and he had the Hawks on his programming. He wanted more programming instead of having movies or anything else on there. A live show actually made sense to him.
We've got wrestling on Saturday night and it pulls in great ratings for us. Why don't we have a live show? Also, it was the right time, right place in that wrestling era to go with that spark of a live show. When the tag titles (switched) on the third ever Nitro, it just gave it credibility. The good thing about wrestling is that you never know what's going to happen. So, you want to watch it.
Then, you had your closet fans all of a sudden and wrestling became popular. I remember when we were first wrestlers, we were going to a club. That club didn't want us there because we had a bad reputation of being troublemakers. Then, all of a sudden with Nitro, we became quasi-celebrities since we were on every week. Then, with Thunder, the pay-per-views and everything else -- with the expanded audiences -- we started going to these small buildings to the Civic Centers. We started going to these arenas. We started going to the United Center in Chicago to do a Nitro. Or the Georgia Dome in front of 40,000 people and do a Nitro.
The Alamodome in San Antonio…. Tacoma, Washington. All these places where we were doing these big, huge arenas with 20-30,000 people. All of a sudden, wrestling just got that shot in the arm because we were doing it live. Nobody had done a live wrestling thing. Every now and then, there was a Clash Of The Champions or something of that sort would be live for TBS and WCW.