On episode 304 of Talk Is Jericho, six-time world champion Chris Jericho interviewed WCW veteran, Glenn Gilbertti, also known as Disco Inferno. Among other things, the two-time WCW Television Champion talked about his six-year run with WCW.
During the show, Gilbertti recalled that he was with WCW from a week before the first WCW Monday Nitro episode till the very end.
"I got hired the week before Nitro went on the air, so I was basically just hired for the Nitro years. So yeah, I was there for the rise of the nWo and stuff and everything, the whole thing. I was there, start to finish, with only a six-week period when I wasn't on TV when I was hurt with my back. So I was like a regular performer for seven [years]."
Apparently, Gilbertti was fired for refusing to put Jacqueline over. Gilbertti suggested that he saw the writing on the wall when WCW did not have plans for him beyond his rapidly expiring contract.
"I got fired, fired for that. Yeah, I got fired because, here's the deal with that. When they, when Eric [Bischoff] and Kevin [Sullivan], brought me in to explain the angle to me, I had four months left on my deal, okay? So they're basically not on the same page when they're explaining it to me. That's one thing I've realized right off the bat. But so, I ask, 'what happens to me after this?' and Eric says, 'well, I can see doing an angle where the guys are saying stuff to you, and you're punching,' and Kevin Sullivan, who's the booker, says, 'I see you going away for six months.' Do the math, brother. Like, I have four months left on my contract, and 'go away for six months', I'm like, 'alright'. So when I left the room, [Dallas] Page was a good friend of mine. Terry Taylor, who was on the booking committee, was a good friend of mine. Bro, everybody I talked to said, 'don't do it.' They said, 'do not do that. Tell them you're not doing it.' Every single person, the boys, the office guy was telling me not to do it, one of the bookers told me to tell the other bookers you're not doing it."
Gilbertti continued, "they're telling me, 'I see you having a hell of a match with her' and I'm like, 'guys, I'm 220 [lbs.]' I go, 'you're presenting her on TV as tough. She's a 120-pound girl.' I'm, like, 'I'm sorry. We can go out there and shoot and she might be able to hold her own for a minute, but it'll be domestic abuse.' Right? I mean it is what it is. So I basically got fired. Okay? I said, 'I'm not doing it' and Eric said, 'you're fired.' That quick."
According to Gilbertti, WWE wanted to bring him in as Honky Tonk Man's protege, but that opportunity dissolved following a conversation with Bruce Prichard.
"And they kind of screwed me because Eric told me they were going to let me go, okay, because I had four months left. But they hit me with the no-compete [contract clause], okay, so I get the four-month no-compete. So at that time, [Vince] Russo was writing for them, writing for Vince [McMahon], yeah, and so, he didn't call me directly, but, like, I'd heard that they wanted to bring me in. Okay? I'm like, 'alright,' to the point that they actually put a silhouette of me, my character, a silhouette in the WWE Magazine because Vince thought I was going to be coming in. He liked my character, yeah. So the Honky Tonk Man's protege was going to be the actual gimmick. Absolutely, and I was a huge mark. I was like, 'yeah, okay,' but I never talked to Russo, so [Jim] Cornette had called me up a couple of times. He was in Talent Relations then and he asked, 'so what's your status? Okay, you got the four-month no-compete,' 'here's the date I can [start].' And I had, probably, two or three conversations with him over the course of the few months. And I had to reiterate every time, 'my four months is coming up,' 'now the date is this date.' And then, I finally talked to Bruce Prichard and I just reiterated the exact same conversation I was having with Cornette with Bruce Prichard. I told him and they didn't hire me. Okay? And Bruce Prichard, I found out later that Bruce Prichard told Vince that he didn't like what I told him. I'm like, 'whatever.'"
Gilbertti divulged that Sting got him his job back, but under the condition that he put over Jacqueline. Moreover, Disco claimed that Terry Taylor put the WCW Television title on him to make it difficult for him to put over Jacqueline.
"I saw Sting in the gym and Sting and me were always cool and he told me… and I told him my situation because I'm out of work right now, so he says, 'let me see what I can do,' okay? And he got me my job back, but they brought me back under the condition that I had to put over Jacqueline. Okay? So now I come back, okay, and it's four, four-and-a-half months later. It's four-and-a-half months later and Eric is just adamant on this, making me [lose to Jacqueline]. Yeah, the principle, but because [Jericho knows] how they were with the midcard guys, they didn't really care. You could do angles with us and they'd be like, 'okay'. I don't even know if they would watch on the monitor or even pay attention because all they care about is the big stuff. So I don't think Eric realized this, but they knew I was going to have to put her over, so Terry Taylor put the TV title on me. Okay? So I got the TV title and they're trying to, like, 'we can't beat him with a girl because he's the TV Champion.' They're trying to work Eric!"
On the subject of the downfall of WCW, Gilbertti suggested that WCW should have pushed midcard talent instead of holding them down. The former WCW Cruiserweight Champion said that there were future WWE world champions that were not utilized in WCW and that there are only so many times fans are willing to watch the same feuds time and again.
"The inevitability, bro, when you see the glass ceiling and you never break it, then it comes too late. Like I've said, you've got to let guys [get over]. You've got to let the people book the show. If a wrestler is becoming popular, okay, continue, push, push, push, push. Don't push him to a point. Okay, because, then, what's going to happen is that those guys are always going to get stuck in the middle, so when it comes time, when all the top guys are, they're popularity fades, okay, it affects the rest of the roster to where these guys aren't going to be over because the show's not over as much. So I just think them not really integrating, pushing the midcard talent, like, we had future WWE [World] Heavyweight Champions on the roster that we were suppressing for a long period of time that if we would've integrated and continued to use creatively to open up things because you have new guys like [Jericho], Eddie [Guerrero], [Chris] Benoit, and everything, you could start integrating with the 'Top 12' and doing angles with them, and making the show more over. But what happens is what happened. They never did that."
Click here to listen to the show. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Talk Is Jericho