April was a busy month for former WCW talent; a potential retirement tour coming up, a long-retired group coming back from the beyond and a wrestling legend revealing that his brain is fucking pudding nowadays.
Oh, and that toy set from last month I was semi-excited for? Yeah – DEAD.
Despite Mattel trying to save this deal at the last second by making both Rey Mysterio and Scott Steiner available at 5,000 buys, the WCW Monday Nitro playset died at a little over 70% funded. I expected this thing to cross the finish line at the last possible moment but had zero hopes for any of the other Reward Tiers actually making it in (Warrior WCW Debut, Diamond Dallas Page).
Even with promotion going full-steam for the first time in the final days of this project (bizarrely), Mattel did not meet their goal:
I need all my Hulkamaniacs to head over to https://t.co/Y2O24ZSKOA for this crazy new WCW launch brother!!! pic.twitter.com/jVM8cc0hIR
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) May 4, 2023
With this failure and according to what Mattel reps have stated online, these Ultimate Edition WCW figures will never be made. There will be no repackaging of what was offered here. We will never see if Mattel would have completely bit off the 1999 Toy Biz WCW packaging for these toys. We will never get “White Thunder” Scott Steiner, which is probably the biggest gut-punch out of this deal.
I have seen a lot of blaming online about what went wrong. I don’t know if there was a single reason specifically, but the hefty price is probably where I would start at. $400 is an insane amount of money with no real guarantee on how many figures you would get beyond Rey. The funding never caught on fire, so people like me on the sidelines were anxiously watching to see if this set had a legit shot of becoming a realized, tangible product before buying in.
Imagine if they made a better attempt at getting more “first-time” figures for this set. Konnan did the WWE Hall of Fame. Billy Kidman is hanging out backstage at WWE events yelling at their crewmembers every week. WCW World Television Champion Booker T. I’m sure another WCW Macho Man wouldn’t have hurt things, he’s a well that hasn’t gone dry yet!
Mattel missed the mark on this one. It is what it is now, and I’m sure Broski is already begging his Mattel contacts to sell him the prototypes of everything at $$$. I don’t blame him. I would have enjoyed setting up this monster set in my garage and getting that sweet serotonin hit watching the lights go off around my Defining Moments Sting. Oh well.
There are still plans to release a WCW Monday Nitro ring with an exclusive Ultimate Edition nWo Eric Bischoff. There are still plans to release an upcoming wave of figures under The Monday Night Wars banner featuring both WWF and WCW stars from the late 90’s. I’m not sure anybody out there needs any more Takers or Stone Colds but a puffy-shirt Lex Luger WCW debut figure?
I’m definitely all-in on whatever WCW guys they throw at me here. Seems like a weird thing to attempt now that Sting is signed with AEW, but it will be fun to see how this line goes. Maybe the WWE will rewrite history to where Lex Luger and Goldberg were the main heroes against the villainous nWo. Maybe we end up getting attention put on the nWo B-Team, and we finally get a Vincent or nWo Stevie Ray figure. I definitely would not mind seeing an I.C.O.N. Roddy Piper or a Madusa complete with WWF Women’s Championship and a trash-can accessory.
This Monday Night Wars line has some pure potential to be amazing. There’s nothing keeping Mattel from releasing an Elite Glacier or Wrath, btw. Those two are active on Facebook all the time. If I can get a response from either one with my dumb bullshit, surely Mattel can do the same with a toy contract in-hand.
Just saying, I would like to spend the last remaining years we have left on a habitable Earth purchasing things like a WWE Elite David Arquette. No crowdfunding necessary there.
If not, I’ll start bugging Todd McFarlane on Twitter to release one under his Movie Maniacs line. He’s releasing Ted Lasso and Sloth toys, I’m sure he doesn’t need much convincing to see that Ready to Rumble Gordie Boggs is on that same wavelength.
Bill Goldberg wrapped up his recent wrestling run early last year in a match against the WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. After watching Goldberg get choked out, we didn’t hear much about him until it was quietly announced that the powers-that-be decided to not renew Bill’s contract at the end of 2022.
In a radio interview with The Adam Carriker Show, Goldberg went over why he came back to the WWE after a twelve-year absence and where his wrestling career is heading now:
Goldberg: “It’s widely known that the only reason why I came back was because of [my son, Gage]. I could only take so many days of him questioning what I used to do leading up to me making the decision to come back. So, I figured, why continue to tell this kid, when I could just show him, right? I made the decision and came back. It was a great time with my family. That’s how I look at my WWE run, this latest one. As a father, it was a dream come true in a lot of ways. It was pretty damn cool, man.” [April 17th, 2023]
Goldberg: “I’ll stop the rumor mill right now. The reason why these rumors are out there [of my possible return] is because Vince McMahon and I had a handshake understanding that after the Roman Reigns match, I would have a proper retirement match. That hasn’t come to fruition through them, and so, therefore–nobody puts a stamp on my career. Nobody tells me when I’m done. Period. End of story. And when somebody tells me that, I kind of like to fight against it. I like to take my own way. I go out my own way, and I surely don’t go out under Roman Reigns three weeks after I have Covid and agree to a match.
If I go on a world tour and promote it myself, that’s a possibility. Hey, I’m a businessman, and I’m fortunately in the position I firmly believe to where I can still make it happen. At the end of the day, like I said, I do believe that my character deserves a proper send-off. Until that happens, I don’t believe I’m hanging it up. Anything and everything is an option. Like I said, I’m very much leaning towards promoting it myself and doing a four-city world tour. Let the rumor mill start up after that.” [April 17th, 2023]
I don’t think it’s out-of-line to describe Goldberg’s 2016-2022 WWE run as a bright and unexcepted break from the standard that ultimately fizzled out. Reducing him down to just spear/jackhammer completely limited a lot of where his matches could go, but it wasn’t all terrible. Right off the bat, I could easily give you the best and worst of this batch, but all the ones in between? Uhh… Dolph Ziggler getting rightfully folded in half with a spear was somewhere in there, I think. Braun beating him in an empty arena. That Taker match where everyone almost died!
One of these days, remind me to revisit this entire run for the site, because my memory is a bit hazy over this.
As far as the Goldberg: World Tour goes? He’s probably better off with doing a few one-offs and negotiating for one major payday with AEW at Wembley Arena. Near the end of his radio interview, he hints at having a few names in his back pocket to have for this promotion, but there’s no telling who that would even be. Throughout the years, the only thing about Goldberg that has been consistent is how wrestling to him was a fun way to make millions and become someone that kids could look up to. I have no idea who the Brian Knobbs is to Hulk Hogan as [BLANK] is to Bill Goldberg would be. Who is Goldberg’s Ed Leslie? The Cat??
The Goldbergmania World Tour might be coming to a city near you, but I’d pay more attention to TBS and TNT leading into the summer…
One of the strangest things to come back from the wrestling grave is the Latino World Order, led by Rey Mysterio over on WWE SmackDown. Mysterio gave the branded lWo shirts backstage to the Legado Del Fantasma group the night before WrestleMania:
I did not expect this revival to go beyond that weekend, but the new lWo have stuck around as a legitimate stable and not a one-time cheap pop. The team of Rey Mysterio, Joaquin Wilde, Zelina Vega, Santos Escobar, and Cruz Del Toro have spent most of their April slowly gaining traction over on SmackDown. The WWE even released a version of the Latino World Order shirt with the Puerto Rican flag in place of the flag of Mexico, signaling that they might become a focus of the Backlash PPV.
Turns out that’s exactly what happened and in early May, the Latino World Order became the actual event highlight when they joined forces with Bad Bunny, Carlito, and Savio Vega to put down Damien Priest and Judgment Day.
The multiple Grammy award-winning Bad Bunny becoming a member of the Latino World Order should have been major pop culture news item, but it just did not break through into the mainstream. Bunny starting his match at Backlash by hitting a perfect Michinoku Driver against Priest should been played nationwide on the nighttime news while the local broadcast goons guffaw’d at the footage.
Bad Bunny has been the number-one most streamed Spotify artist now for three years running with 18.5 BILLION listens worldwide last year. The man just came from the Met Gala to star on a show where he beat up another man with kendo sticks and trash can lids. Even if this Latino World Order thing sunsets over the next month now that we’re post-Backlash, this is still an amazing thing that needs to be recognized. Imagine if Ricky Martin or Usher came in for a match in 1999 at their apex of initial wave of superstardom? Jay Leno holding Hulk Hogan’s in an arm wrench for eighteen seconds ended up being featured in Sports Illustrated, for Christ’s sake.
Life just isn’t fair sometimes.
Speaking of the Latino World Order, it is kind of funny to see how the WWE made Mysterio the head of it when, in-storyline, the group was a punishment to Rey originally back in 1998. Now, it’s a tribute to Eddie Guerrero and somehow the continuation of the legacy left behind after his death. At least, that’s how we are supposed to see it. Chavo Guerrero Jr. might not agree:
Chavo Guerrero: If [Rey Mysterio] is really mentioning the Guerrero name only in tribute & not to line his own pockets with case, maybe he’ll donate some of that money to charity, or even better, how about Eddie’s daughters. That will show myself & the fans that he’s not prostituting the family name. – @mexwarrior [April 24th, 2023] (Original tweet has been deleted)
Chavo Jr. spent the rest of April patting himself on the back for “working the fans” and celebrating getting heel heat, but how does he really feel about this return? No telling, but this isn’t the first time he’s said something outlandish I’ve just given pause to.
Other former members of the Latino World Order like La Parka have tweeted their blessings over the new version of the group, calling a photo of them at Backlash “beautiful” before correctly reminding everyone that the lWo in WCW was something else entirely.
— adolfo tapia ibarra (@laparktapia) May 7, 2023
Time will tell if the WWE chooses to acknowledge this history of the Latino World Order as well or if we are going to pretend that it was a legendary Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio group only. Maybe a PPV in Mexico should be next? I mean, we got to get to Survivor Series with this group to setup a potential War Games match, right?
I haven’t paid too much attention to the release of the WWE 2K23, but I did find it hilarious when people on Twitter were tagging me in their complaints about the in-game WCW Women’s Championship:
As far as anyone could tell, 2K did a quick Google Image Search and stole a fan-made render that just slaps two WCW logos onto the Attitude Era’s WWF Women’s Championship. This WCW belt was not a thing, this was never real! The real WCW Women’s Championship was a short-lived deal that was held by TWO stars, TWO women who will never be in a 2K game: Akira Hokuto and Devil Masami.
The initial champion was crowned with WCW and GAEA Japan talent competing in an eight-person tournament. Even though the entire concept was seemingly built around Madusa jumping over to WCW, she never actually ended up winning the championship. She lost in the finals at the ’96 Starrcade against Hokuto, and the entire belt was quietly retired within the year.
An April 18th update to the game fixed this blunder and actually put the legit design in the game:
The belt was originally designed by beltmaker J-Mar (real name Joe Marshall) for WCW, someone who already has their championship designs being used in-game. 2K must have cut another check to him in order to add just one more title to the list of in-game options for players. Other J-Mar designs featured in 2K23 include the 1995 WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship, and the 1997 WCW World Tag Team Championship titles.
While on the subject of 2K23, The Steiner Brothers DLC also dropped the same day as the revised women’s title. The content pack includes both early 90’s WCW versions of Rick and Scott with their 1990 WCW “Swamp Dog” entrance theme.
I’m sure the game is fine, but the 2K series haven’t really done much for me overall. 2K22 was fun, but my enjoyment from these titles comes purely from seeing how crazy the custom creations get. When I do purchase one of these games, I spend weeks recreating the WCW roster and setting up the best WCW Universe mode possible before completely shelving it completely away forever. Basically, the digital version of setting up all my wrestling dollies on ugly IKEA shelves to display to no one but myself.
Rick and Scott Steiner being in a WWE game for the first time together since… well, ever, is a cool thing to have for modern fans. The Steiner Brothers were never playable in any WWF title during their cup of coffee there. Rick Steiner never made it into any game for the company. Scott Steiner only appeared in three WWE games twenty years ago when he was active (WrestleMania XIX, WWE RAW 2, and WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain), and one game as a WWE Legend nearly ten years ago (WWE 2K14 DLC).
The Steiners going into the WWE Hall of Fame and signing Legends deals will undoubtedly usher a wave of WWE merchandise featuring them. A Mattel WWE Elite Rick Steiner has already been shown to be in the works showcasing Steiner’s 1999 look complete with blonde goatee stripe and airbrushed leather jacket:
#Mattel #WWE WrestleMania 39 Panel Figure Reveals! Elite 104 Rick Steiner!
Shop @Mattel @WWE Figures at https://t.co/u2iD9lORTT#RingsideCollectibles #WrestlingFigures #WWEEliteSquad #WWERaw #SmackDown #WrestleMania #WrestleMania39 pic.twitter.com/kxYIrHq4sY
— Ringside Collectibles (@RingsideC) April 1, 2023
Unfortunately, Rick Steiner did not do him or his brother any favors by revealing himself to be a Fox News brain’d dipshit over WrestleMania weekend when he reportedly harassed Impact Wrestling’s Gisele Shaw for simply existing near him. The incident occurred during WrestleCon where Rick Steiner verbally accosted Gisele and another unnamed Impact Wrestling employee. Shaw, who publicly announced back in Summer 2022 she was transgender, posted her story on Twitter:
Gisele Shaw: “I have been bullied all my life and have never stood up for myself because I’m scared that I would get beat up physically, mentally, or emotionally. The bullies in my life have always silenced me, but that ends today!
I was at an autograph signing event today at WrestleCon, and while I was walking to my table, I hear someone yelling ‘you’re a man,’, ‘you’re a dude,’, ‘you’re a piece of trash’, ‘you are filth’, ‘get the fuck away from here.’
I kept my head down and kept walking as I did not want to acknowledge that hate. When I arrived at my table, I spoke to anther IMPACT Wrestling talent who was at the signing with me and mentioned the incident. It didn’t sit well with me, and I wanted to know who was saying that because it’s unacceptable, so I decided to take walk in that area and I hear that same person saying the same derogatory comments. I looked at the person and it was Rick Steiner saying those statements. I was shocked and could not believe that this was even happening. To have someone saying those comments who a lot of people look up to and consider their hero was quite shocking and disheartening. I was in disbelief, so I asked him, ‘excuse me?!’ He kept repeating those hateful phrases and started yelling at me in a public setting. It was inexcusable and unacceptable!
Another disappointing part about this whole incident was that there were other wresting legends who just sat there, turned their heads away, did not want to get involved, or stand up for what’s right because it involved ‘one of the boys’. Judging from that experience, it was more important for them to watch something wrong go down as [opposed] to standing up for someone who’s being bullied and doing what’s right.
I am not writing this because I want sympathy. I am writing this because I am done being bullied to silence. Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility, and I am standing up for myself and for other people who go through the exact same situation on a daily basis. I want everyone to know what kind of a deplorable person Rick Steiner is and that this cannot be tolerated. This keeps happening because people let it slide and do not take any action. If you do business with these type of people, then I will not do business with you.
I want to thank all my IMPACT peers who were present during the incident and tired to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately, a member of that same peer group was also verbally accosted by Rick Steiner being called a ‘f*ggot’ earlier in the day. I am very fortunate to be working alongside such incredible people in a company that has no room for hate, bullying, or judgement. We’re not just co-workers, but a family.” – @GiseleShaw [May 31st, 2023]
Shaw hasn’t returned to Twitter since posting but set off a firestorm of transphobic assholes defending Steiner towards her. WrestleCon officials confirmed the stories before announcing that Rick Steiner would no longer be welcomed at their events in the future.
“WrestleCon regrets the events that took place at yesterday’s convention and apologize to Gisele Shaw. We aim to promote a safe and inclusive environment for all LGBTQAI+ members of the wrestling community. The issue has been addressed and we hope the remainder of the convention can be a positive experience for all.” – @Wrestlecon [April 1st, 2023]
I don’t expect anything to come from this at all in the form of a consequence for Rick Steiner. The WWE will ignore it, let time pass, and he will pop up on the next big show where his son defends the NXT Championship. Mattel will release his figures and Steiner Brothers two-packs. He will become someone that pops up a few times a year for a nostalgia segment.
Gisele Shaw stood up for herself, said her peace, and made sure we all knew without a shadow of a doubt who Rick Steiner really is.
Sadly, Steiner is just another person to add to the fucking dump pile when it comes to wrestlers I used to enjoy watching when I was a kid. Nostalgia-tinted glasses only go so far, and eventually reality sets in regarding who these wrestlers are as human beings. Dark Side of the Ring has been immensely successful telling stories that shatters the illusion of wrestling’s “heroes” and finding a person who isn’t an outright scumbag from this era is becoming more and more rare as time goes on.
I also recognize that myself and this site are guilty with cashing in on nostalgia and bringing attention to widely-reviled people like Rick Steiner, Hulk Hogan, etc…
It’s one of those things that is unavoidable when looking back at World Championship Wrestling in a historical sense. I cannot avoid posting scans of Warrior, Flair, or Chris Benoit articles or posters. All I can do is put it out there but try to not specifically highlight the bigots, the racists, the sexual predators, or the murderers where I can. Even a recent WCW Magazine upload to the Patreon from 2000 where Sting talked about his faith had me side-eyeing him when he starting to bring up Pastor John Hagee and Billy Graham as people he looked up to.
I believe trans rights are human rights and I put enough of myself on here and on social media for those to recognize who I am. If anything, I’m always trying to do better in my life and hope you all are too out there.
I guess it’s better to know now about Steiner then never catching on and having this potentially play out again to someone else. I hope Gisele Shaw never gets any kind of blowback from any promoters beyond Impact that she could work with. I hope she can have a career and that other transphobes in the industry don’t manage to completely keep her from attaining further success.
And now that I’ve said all this, feel free to flame me in the comments below for being #woke for actually having empathy.
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.
Agree with you 100% about Gisele Shaw. Well written!
Another great read!