Life happened, and a lot of the site duties were put to the backburner while I sorted out things in my world that were changing very rapidly. Thankfully, not only are we on the other side with everything ok, but I’ve also been promoted to a new role at work. I’m on-the-road traveling more. I’m getting paid better. I now have some more personal time available now to work on things again.
The WCW Worldwide Patreon had updates as well along with the opening/closing of something called The Magnet Club. I was needing to find any way to produce anything as my website time had been completely reduced to zero. I appreciate all of those who signed up during that run and enjoy the 30+ unique steel magnets I ended up putting out there of various WCW adverts, video game art, and magazine covers. My fridge is littered with them, and I know a lot of yours are too.
— James Roberts (@JamesRo48794492) March 23, 2021
The site managed to pickup a new member of the crew in Ross Wheatley, a person who has completely taken over the role of WCW Worldwide Scanner-Man from me. Magazines are getting cranked out at a faster pace over on the Patreon. I now have the entire digital magazine archive that’s available for me to clean-up with Ross taken care of 95% of the hard work. I will continue to set things up the way we’ve always operated but expect some changes to come soon for make reading these easier.
When it comes to actual WCW news, what have I missed in the last year? Oh, yeah:
I figured that I have to lead with this specifically due to the fact that it was a monumental moment for wrestling history. As you probably already know, Ric Flair’s name and legend has lost all of its shine over the last couple of years due to the “WWE Plane Ride from Hell” being brought back into the public consciousness again. An episode of Dark Side of the Ring (airdate Sep. 2021) resurfaced details of what occurred during a 2002 nightmare flight coming back from an UK Tour involving several deeply intoxicated wrestlers.
Former flight attendant Heidi Doyle discussed how Ric Flair harassed her on the plane, cornered her, exposed himself, and forced her and another attendant to touch him in a sexual manner. A lawsuit over the incident brought by the two women against the WWE, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, and Dustin Runnels for their behavior was filed back in 2004:
While this suit ultimately ended up being settled out of court, the sexual assault claims re-surging managed to hit Flair in a way that didn’t when the allegations were fresh.
During the time the episode aired, Ric Flair had already requested his release from the WWE, and it would have seemed that a “Nature Boy” debut for AEW was inevitable. A month before the Dark Side episode, Flair had already made an appearance alongside his son-in-law Andrade attacking Kenny Omega during AAA’s TripleManía XXIX. You would have thought that the obvious next step would be to play this out on AEW Dynamite, but that never materialized.
Flair would be scrubbed from the intro to all WWE programming and have his merch removed from their online shop. Flair did respond to the allegations over on his Twitter, but the tone deaf tweet didn’t do much to slow the fallout over this episode. Even Tommy Dreamer ended up losing his gig at Impact over the outright dismissal of the allegations made against Flair during the program.
That said, Ric Flair spent some time in wrestling limbo with no company touching him, so he just got busy with putting his name on anything anyone would allow. Ric Flair NFTs, Ric Flair weed, Ric Flair chickenwings, Ric Flair Wholesale Direct Metals, and even a Ric Flair independent wrestling supershow extravaganza simply called Ric Flair’s Last Match.
Flair, aged 73 then, headlining a wrestling PPV just did not seem like the greatest of ideas ever cooked up by Team Conrad, but it happened.
The main event was a freakshow fight that ended up being a lot more disturbing to me than I expected. Ric Flair was in no shape to be inside a wrestling ring and no amount of smoke and mirrors involving the three other participants were going to hide that. I had the same anxiety for this match that I had when watching the mess that was Goldberg vs Undertaker. Same setup too; steaming a pirated version of the event while simultaneously praying that nothing terrible happens.
My eyes were glued to Flair the entire time, and he had moments where you had visible indication that the man was checked completely out. He was on auto-pilot just trying to get through, struggling to pull himself to his feet near the end. It’s been a while, but I remember a full section of the match where everyone is working around Flair on the ground in-ring for a good eight minutes. Overall reactions to the match were pretty much in the mud, but there were a select few out there who had more faith in Flair during it:
Ricky Steamboat had originally been talking about being involved in some way but declined to take a part of the match. Some of the Newz sites ran stories that it was all over an issue of money, specifically Steamboat asking for more than Team Conrad wanted to spend. The issue was set straight months later by Ricky admitting that he did not want to wrestle Ric Flair after learning about his pacemaker. He was worried about having his legacy tied into something that could potentially turn out deadly for Flair. He did not attend the show, but Bret Hart, Undertaker, Michelle McCool, and Mick Foley were shown in attendance to give support. Shockingly, The Hitman did not end up completely burying what he saw afterward when discussing the match with Bill Apter:
Bret Hart: There’s not too many guys that would have the guts to go in there and do what Ric Flair did, and I admire that about him.” [Sportskeeda Wrestling, August 11th, 2022]
Since then and in true huckster fashion, Ric Flair has seemingly spent time rethinking this whole retirement. The loud, negative reaction to his match really seems to have gotten under the Nature Boy’s thin-skin, so a redo might be in the works. If Ric Flair wants to die inside the squared circle, he might very well be trying to have another opportunity to do so. Over the last six months, he’s done the whole “never say never” thing when discussing a return to the ring, and even admitted regretting calling it his “final match”. Last August, there was even this slight brawl against Carlos Colon in Puerto Rico that raised a lot of red flags the second it occurred:
Thankfully, this was just a nod to their history together and not the setup for a future match between two men aged 70+. Time will tell if this does end up playing into the next Aniversario show coming up in June for their 50th anniversary special. Let us hope that Flair just continues to fight everyone only through his social media apps and never again in-ring.
It is also worth noting that Ric Flair eventually made his way back into the WWE fold and is no longer persona-non-grata to the company.
Speaking of final Matches, the Great Muta has also said his goodbye to the wrestling world during The Great Muta Final “Bye-Bye” event (these names!) for Pro Wrestling NOAH.
The Great Muta shares similarities to Sting with the complete revitalization of his career by launching an entire new persona a decade into his status as a main eventer. Face-paint Muta becoming shaved-head, masked Muta was vital to keeping him a top star over the years. I’m not someone well versed in his history, but I can recognize the level of stardom he’s carried throughout the years for various promotions.
Muta launching a Farewell Tour that ended up with him also being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame 2023 class was fairly surprising to see:
When it comes to wrestling history as told by Vince McMahon, Inc., Keiji Mutoh has been mostly overlooked in terms of being a major name for NWA/WCW during its early years. Even though Ric Flair broke the news and was announced to be the one who would induct Muta, we all know who the true perfect choice for this honor would have been:
I’m realizing now that I haven’t actually sought Muta’s final match out, but I recall seeing positive takes from it. My current watching of wrestling is pretty much down to only just new Sting matches, so thankfully this meets all of my extensive requirements to view. It’s everywhere online at this point, but I might make a special case of seeking out an official Blu-Ray of the show from the Muta Store.
Speaking of Sting, he talked to Cameron Hawkins of The Ringer over what he views as his final run in wrestling happening now for him. There’s no official end date given, but you can consider this run alongside Darby Allin to be it for his career.
A post-WWE Sting has shown up every time he’s needed to and gone above what should have been expected of him inside the ring. It’s comforting to read how happy he’s been to be able to close his career in a satisfying manner. A singles bout against the Jerichos and Danielsons of the world will most likely never happen for him at this point, and he’s ok with that. The idea of being able to write your own end to your story instead of having it written for you seemingly means a lot to him.
In Sting’s case, a final match in his condition and age would most likely never reach the level of embarrassment of Flair’s Last Debacle. I can only hope that I get one more chance to see him when AEW comes back around.
Since my last update, the world of independent wrestling figures has exploded. There have been several lookalike Hasbro and Jakks figures announced featuring WCW names, but I have no real interest in the lot of them. Based on what I’ve seen/read, a lot of the sellers are pretty sus in their handling of licensing and following through with their announcements. I’ve seen people putting Zombie Sailor on a pedestal, and they almost got my ass for their Raven figure:
Realistically though, I have no real nostalgia for this particular style of toys. It’s just not my thing. I did not grow up collecting WWF figures of any era. The few WCW ones I bought were during the Toy Biz period and none of these independent guys are trying to ape those. Even when Figure Collections are hanging a Jakks Pacific Bone Crunching Superstars-like Ultimo Dragon and Sonny Onoo two-pack over my head, I still have no desire to start collecting these:
A brand-new item announced that has gotten my attention though was this pricey crowdfunded monstrosity put out by the bastards over at Mattel. I knew that my time was a-coming, especially after seeing other toy companies putting out Unicrons that take up an entire living room and Galactuses that can convincingly travel with you in the carpool lane. Mattel doing a RAW ring two years back was a sign that they would finally find the nerd thing I was into in order to hook me; a $400 WCW Monday Nitro set with working lights and WCW logo stage props.
- 5K Backers: Project is funded and will be made. Rey Mysterio Jr. and Stage will ship.
- 7K Backers: Diamond Dallas Page is added to the shipment.
- 9K Backers: Scott Steiner is added to the shipment.
- 11K Backers: Final tier unlocked with The [Denim] Warrior added to the shipment
Early Bonus: If 5K Backers is reached by April 9th, WCW Hulk Hogan will be added.
This is a set I would’ve have begged and pleaded my Mom to have gotten me back when I was a kid, but now? I mean, I am trying to buy a house. I have money people watching things like a hawk, and I do NOT want to be stuck inside of a cramped bank office trying to justify to them, my Realtor, and God himself why I spent $1200 on Mattel’s website for three of these things (one set for me, one set for a backup, and one set to sell in 2043).
The Nitro stage will be open to pre-order until May 5th, and we are now past the point of getting the set-exclusive Hulk Hogan (40% backed, so far). I can see this project being successful with the 5K clearing point, but anything past that is up in the air. That RAW set managed to clear at the last possible moment, if I recall correctly, and that was $200 cheaper than this!
At first glance, I wasn’t too thrilled about the versions they’re putting out, but I’ve walked that stance back. I’m realizing now that all of these figures are set to be Ultimate Editions with a variety of heads, hands, and accessories. Warrior will get his airbrushed duster jacket, Rey will get his entrance robe, DDP will get his vest, and Steiner will get his WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. When you put these parts all together with the actual size of the set, I see that appeal.
$400 seems kinda pricey for something I would ultimately stage my wrestling dollies on just for quick photo-ops, so we will see if they actually end up getting my money.
38-year-old World Championship Wrestling fanatic/collector/hoarder. Safety officer by day, scanner of wrestling magazine by night.
He’s got posters on the wall, his favorite rock group’s KISS.