Dave Meltzer Discusses The Monday Night Wars, Three Hour RAWs, UFC's Rise, WCW Folding, More
|By Raj Giri||September 12, 2012 | Comments|
Make sure to check back here later this week for the third and final part of our interview with Mr. Meltzer.
WrestlingINC: When the Monday night wars started and really kicked off in 1998 and the ratings really went through the rough; was that something you saw coming, or were you taken by surprise?
Meltzer: No, no, no. The common thing when the Monday night wars started was that it was going to split the audience in half like when TNA tried to go against them [in 2010] and nothing happened. But, as far as it going back and forth and it fueling this popularity and business -- I will say that when I saw the first Nitro, I thought that Bischoff was really on to something. And that they were going to be more competitive than I first thought.
But as far as fueling wrestling and it getting as big as it got? No. I didn't envision it getting that big. Again, the late '90s was the biggest period in wrestling probably ever. At least in this country. I'm trying to think as far as seeing it happen. I would say in late '97 when DX started and Austin was starting to get big and WCW was already on fire, I saw that the momentum was really big. So, I guess at that point, I could see that it was going to get really big. But, I mean, in '95? No, I didn't see.
WrestlingINC: What were your thoughts of WCW's dying days and the booking decisions they were making? Did you think that they were heading towards going out of business or...
Meltzer: Yes, yes, yes. I just thought that 1999 watching WCW -- I remember it was March of 1998 when I really thought that they were really going down. As far as going-out-of-business down? No. But I thought they were going down and this was when they were at their peak. I just thought they were making so many mistakes.
The main one was not preparing for the future. In wrestling, you've got always prepare for the future or you're not going to have a future. They mortgaged their future in order to protect their present or whatever it was. It was a mentality that was going to kill the company. That was there when it was there on top, just not understanding the long-term at all. I saw that, a lot of people did.
But as far as going out of business? Not then, but in 1999 when that thing was just going down the tubes and you could just see that they were going to lose money... The amount of money they were going to lose -- Vince, at his worst, I think he had a year when he lost $6.5 million. Which, for Vince, that was significant money back then. But, these guys, when they were out there losing $5 million a month, that's a different ballgame. When you're losing $5 million a month -- yes. I thought there was a very good chance that they were going to go out of business.
Now, I thought that somebody would probably buy them. But, I also thought that there was a very good chance that the person that bought them would lose so much money that they would give up, too. I would say from '99 and on, I thought there was a chance of them going out of business.
The way they went out of business, at the time, that was a shock because it happened so quick. Again, they were going to be sold and all that. I didn't have confidence that Bischoff, if he would have bought it, would have been able to turn it around. I hoped he could. I thought that Eric was, at that point in time, was very rational about his approach and what he wanted to do. I was hoping it would work, but I did think the odds were strongly against it working.
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