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WCW News: Discrimination suit filed against WCW - 5 Yrs Ago

Jun 28, 2003 - 3:41:00 PM
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The following is a reprint of the Torch Newsletter WCW Newswire from five years ago this week.

-Jason Powell, Torch assistant editor

* * *

Torch Newsletter Archive
By Wade Keller, Torch editor
WCW Newswire
Originally published: Pro Wrestling Torch Weekly newsletter #500
Cover dated: June 27, 1998


RIC FLAIR UPDATE
During discussions between representatives for Ric Flair and WCW before Flair filed a lawsuit, Flair's reps contended that "an agreement to agree is not an enforceable contract." They said if he returned, he would want backpay retroactive to Feb. 15, but he would be willing to be part of a storyline that would make it appear Flair was fined or disciplined.

Now a hearing date is scheduled for August where a judge is to decide whether Flair's "letter of agreement" is binding, or if the note in the margin and WCW allegedly breaking verbal agreements wipes away any legal commitment Flair has to WCW. If the court finds Flair to be a free agent, he could start with the WWF right away. Sources in Flair's camp say chances are great he would quickly strike a deal with the WWF.

NITRO CLOSES RATINGS GAP
It seems strange to report about moral victories for Nitro over Raw, but Nitro closed the ratings gap to a fraction over one rating point. The June 22 Nitro posted a 4.2 rating in the two head-to-head hours while Raw posted a 4.3. Nitro drew 4.1 the first hour, then 4.0 and 4.2 in the two concurrent hours. Raw drew 4.1 and 4.5. Like the week before, Nitro won three of the eight concurrent quarter hours.

The key quarter-hour wins for Nitro came for the Tonight Show and Goldberg first quarter, Alex Wright vs. Eddie Guerrero (which edged Jerry Lawler interviewing Al Snow on Raw), and Eric Bischoff & Hulk Hogan (beating Dan Severn vs. Owen Hart on Raw). DX were the big ratings winners for Raw as members of DX starred in four of the five quarters that Raw won over Nitro.

ON THE ROAD
June 12 in Erie, Pa. (est. 2,500): Marty Jannetty beat Riggs, Norm Smiley & Ciclope beat Villanos IV & V, Chris Adams beat Barry Darsow, Public Enemy beat High Voltage, Chavo Guerrero Jr. beat Kidman, Dean Malenko beat Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit beat Booker T with the Crippler Crossface, and Goldberg beat Konnan in five minutes.

June 21 in Richmond, Va.: Hugh Morrus won a squash, Ernest Miller beat Alex Wright, Chavo Guerrero Jr. beat Kidman, Hacksaw Duggan beat Reese via DQ, Dean Malenko beat Fit Finlay with the Texas Cloverleaf (best match of night), Dallas Page beat Raven with the Diamond Cutter, Sting beat Giant. Overall, pretty weak show. [Richard Jasser]

BOBBY WALKER SUES WCW
Former preliminary WCW wrestler "Hardwork" Bobby Walker filed a discrimination lawsuit against WCW, claiming according to wire service reports that he was called a "token black" and was ordered to lose all of his matches. He said a white wrestler was instructed to "make him look bad." The suit says he was told he would never be "scripted as a champion." He said the promotion threatened to fire him when he complained about losing all of his matches. He says he asked for and was refused "reasonable involvement in the storylines." He was offered a month-by-month renewal on his contract, but turned it down as being "unreasonable."

If every jobber sued promoters for asking them to lose matches, there would be no squash matches anymore and perhaps all matches would end in time limit draws. That said, if Walker was referred to as a "token black," he may have a case for discrimination. Claiming that he deserved a say in his storylines is a ludicrous notion on par with an extra in a big-budget movie complaining that the director didn't give him enough speaking lines or refused to let him breakdance in the background of a restaurant scene set in the '30s. Walker is the nephew of Atlanta black activist and former WCW employee Thunderbolt Patterson.

Of course, the thrust of the newspaper story is that a wrestler acknowledged that pro wrestling is scripted rather than focusing on the relevant details of the lawsuit.

NITRO PLUS
The second edition of Nitro Blast, a special pay-per-view version of Monday Nitro available for $4.95 to Direct TV subscribers, was said to be much better than the debut last month. They showed clips of mid-card matches from the pay-per-view the night before during commercials. Also, when a match was taking place when Nitro cut to a commercial, the Nitro Blast telecast stayed with the match instead. During several segments the director's voice could be heard talking to Lee Marshall with timechecks. Exclusive Nitro Blast interviews included Chavo Guerrero Jr. (he barked during the segment), Public Enemy, Raven, Dean Malenko (one of the best of his career), Konnan (who shrugged off his loss to Goldberg and asked Goldberg how he was going to handle his first loss), Kimberly (who said she was concerned for Page having the cage match). [Rod Stetzer]

WCW NOTEBOOK
Behind the scenes, Hogan has really gotten behind pushing Scott Steiner...

WCW only sent four wrestlers on the latest "Bruise Cruise" - Jim Duggan, Rick Rude, Disco Inferno, and Scotty Riggs. One report says Duggan was the only "approachable" wrestler and the WCW fans who hung out together were upset more "star" wrestlers weren't there as promised...

In dark matches after the June 8 Nitro in Buffalo, N.Y., Goldberg squashed Konnan in less than a minute and Dallas Page & Kevin Nash beat Bret Hart & Hulk Hogan when Page pinned Bret cleanly after a Diamond Cutter...

Dark matches at the June 18 Thunder: Kanyon beat Kidman in a long minute match that was the best of the night. After the event, Raven beat Saturn. Kanyon came out and gave Raven his Flatliner, but Horace Boulder hit Saturn with a stop sign. Lex Luger beat Giant...

Notice WCW announcers and wrestlers never say NBA, Chicago Bulls, or Utah Jazz. Part of the agreement of hiring Rodman and Malone includes a limitation on the trademarks they can use in promoting the match. They can refer to the individuals, but not their team or the league by name. Had WCW not hired Malone and Rodman, they could openly talk about "current events" and mention the NBA and Bulls, but now that they've hired Rodman and Malone, they can't. That's why Schiavone uses phrases like "basketball world." Strange but true...

Raven remains in fifth place as Time magazine's "Man of the Century" on-line voting. He is the only wrestler other than Ric Flair in the top 20...

Scott Hall got out of the chemical dependency treatment center in Minnesota on June 18. The proposed storyline for his return to TV was to show up with the WolfPac and explain that he didn't know what he was doing because he was "drunk" or "on drugs" when he hit Nash with the chair and then acknowledge he's been in rehab for for the last month. Since the interviews Hall taped before checking himself into rehab that were to air while he was in rehab never were aired, the idea for him to rejoin the WolfPac must have been decided a few weeks back...

On Thunder last week Schiavone said Goldberg hasn't done an interview in WCW yet. Actually, Lee Marshall interviewed him on WCW Saturday Night late last year. Goldberg gave a good interview...

After the WWF featured a performance by Sawyer Brown on a recent PPV, WCW signed country-music artist Travis Tritt to perform a 30 minute concert as part of its Aug. 8 Road Wild PPV...

Cable operators are hoping Bash at the Beach equals the reported 700,000 buys of Wrestlemania (w/Mike Tyson) thanks to the involvement of Rodman and Malone. WCW plans to spend in excess of $500,000 on national advertising for the event...

Ric Flair's "letter of agreement" called for him to get first-class air transportation, hotel accommodations, and $500 per appearance date for limousine service. He would get $3,750 for each appearance past the 130 date maximum in the third year of his contract which would have paid him $500,000 as a base salary...

WCW is preparing for Ultimate Warrior's debut in August by developing an elaborate ring entrance that would go beyond Glacier's. Glacier's ring entrances may be toned down as not to take away from Warrior. Jimmy Hart is working on customized entrance music for Warrior...

With Randy Savage undergoing major knee surgery that will keep him out of action until the end of the year, WCW could still use him as a color commentator (which he has extensive experience at from his days as co-host of Raw in the early '90s)...

With Savage's knee surgery, the scheduled Hogan vs. Savage cage match for July 7 in Los Angeles, Calif. at the Forum has been changed to Hogan vs. Sting. Sting was scheduled to face Bret Hart, but they shifted Bret to a match against Chris Benoit. Days later they realized Benoit will be on tour with New Japan during that week, so a different substitution will be made. Other matches scheduled are Eddie vs. Chavo Jr., Rey Jr. vs. Jericho, Dean vs. Ultimo, Konnan vs. Vincent, Finlay vs. Booker, Goldberg vs. Curt Hennig, and Luger & Nash vs. Giant & Bryan Adams...

The announcement of the dark Hogan vs. Goldberg match for the July 7 Georgia Dome Nitro hasn't increased the pace of ticket sales dramatically. Nearly 25,000 tickets are sold for over $700,000...

Nitro returns to Minneapolis, Minn. at Target Center on Oct. 19...

Possible Bash undercard matches: Goldberg vs. Hennig, Raven vs. Saturn vs. Kanyon, Jericho vs. Malenko



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