Alan Wojcik: What level of interaction did you have with Eric Bischoff and was he the big jerk he’s made out to be by former employees?
Scott Hudson: I spoke earlier about my first conversation with Eric. I have nothing but high praise for Eric personally and professionally. During my time with WCW I was a part-time employee so my view of him as an employee may be skewed but he was a great boss to me. He treated me with respect and I never had a cross word with him. He also takes a lot of heat for what happened to WCW and, admittedly, he deserves some. But he admits that himself.
He was (and is) a great idea man. He was always thinking of the big picture. The nWo angle and its permutations (good and bad) were his. He knew he had lightning in a bottle and, more importantly, knew how to manage it.
As an analogy, compare the nWo angle to the WWFâ<80><99>s invasion angle. Basically the same overarching storyline with a different cast of characters. Why did the nWo succeed so wildly and the invasion crash and burn after a month? Because of the difference between Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon as people. Eric always had the best interest of the company and the business at heart while Vince cared about Vince and nothing else. But, as we sit here, the WWE is still around and Eric is producing non-wrestling TV. You cannot ignore that. Regardless, I trust Eric and would work with him again in a minute.
Alan Wojcik: The WCW locker room at that time had several factions due to Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bill Goldberg, Lex Luger, Sting, Kevin Nash and Kevin Sullivan being part of it. Did you interact with any of these superstars and what kind of politics did you witness?
Scott Hudson: I interacted with all of them at the live events but not otherwise. Honestly, I had WAY to many responsibilities to hang out with the guys other than at the buildings or the hotel bar. Obviously there were very fractious factions within WCW but my only exposure to them was in the product we put out. I purposefully insulated myself from those shenanigans and life in WCW was much easier.
Alan Wojcik: Many people called Bill Goldberg a “Steve Austin ripoff” but no one can deny he was at the right place at the right time. What did you think of the Goldberg undefeated streak that ended at the hands of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and a cattle prod?
Scott Hudson: There is a misconception that when the nWo angle died – WCW died. Not true at all. We had a really hot commodity in Bill Goldberg and his undefeated streak (an idea hatched by Mike Tenay) gave us a soft landing following the nWo crash. We should have ridden the Goldberg storyline for at least another 6 months or maybe even a year. WCW remained hot and so did Goldberg. The end of the streak, in my opinion, is what killed WCW creatively. Not so much that is was SO popular, but that we had nothing underneath except great workers to fill out the card. No â<80><9c>big story.â<80> Eric and Vince tried several ideas (Millionaires Club vs. The New Blood among them) but nothing could kick-start the company again after we killed off Goldberg.
Even after the end of the streak, we continued to book Goldberg poorly so the downward spiral continued. It seems like nothing would have worked and, ultimately, nothing did.
Alan Wojcik: In the late 90’s the company changed directions several times in a short time span. How did things change when Vince Russo & Ed Ferrera came over from the WWF?
Scott Hudson: For me it changed dramatically. Vince and Ed were the ones who elevated me to â<80><9c>Nitro,â<80> albeit on the internet-only â<80><9c>Nitro Backstage Blastâ<80> with Chad Damiani and Jimmy Baron (loved working with both guys). I learned live television by doing a live webcast so when I was brought up to the TNT broadcast I was more than ready. Creatively I think Vince and Ed could have helped WCW thrive but there was one thing missing – a boss. In the WWF, they had Vince McMahon to tell them no. In WCW they had no one. So the crap they booked in the WWF ended up being tossed onto the streets of Stamford and never heard from again. The crap they booked in WCW ended up on â<80><9c>Thunder.â<80>
But, all in all, I have only respect for both Russo and Ferrara. We have seen over the last 10 years what Russo has done – some bad but mostly good. Ed seems to have vanished but his creativity is something wrestling could use again in a big way.
Alan Wojcik: What did you think of WCW’s attempt to enter moviemaking with the “Ready to Rumble” flick? Have you read anything about the new Mickey Rourke film “the Wrestler?”
Scott Hudson: â<80><9c>Ready to Rumbleâ<80> was a bad idea well-executed. If you watch it now its pretty damn entertaining. But considering we built our television around it for months and even â<80><9c>cross-promotedâ<80> David Arquette as the WCW World Champion – it sucked. Taken strictly as a NetFlix movie for a Friday night – its perfect. As a vehicle to support a wrestling company – it was terrorism.
Alan Wojcik: Mike Tenay is still working in wrestling as the voice of TNA Wrestling. Is he truly a professor of wrestling or is he a real good researcher?
Scott Hudson: Whatâ<80><99>s the difference? Mike is that rare breed (maybe the only) person who combines a broad knowledge of wrestling history with an appreciation for the skill involved in the ring with a little bit of hucksterism thrown in to make him believable as an announcer. I thought I knew a lot about wrestling (and, to pat myself on the back – I do) but I found out how little I really did know when I got to be friends with Mike. Heâ<80><99>s a genius.
Alan Wojcik: I grew up watching Bobby “the Brain” Heenan on WWF TV as a manager and commentator with the late Gorilla Monsoon. What was it like to interact with a true legend on a weekly basis?
Scott Hudson: I hate to burst your bubble. Brain was okay to work with but he was just SO bitter. For a man who, by his own admission, could not do anything else, to be so vitriolic about the sport that paid him a huge salary for quite a few years is beyond me. He harbored (and may still harbor) resentment toward me because I â<80><9c>devalued announcersâ<80> – not by my performance but by what I was paid. Earlier I described what my pay-per-view week entailed. For that I was paid $1,500 per week. Brain, for doing two shows (two shows that I did with him in addition to a million other things I did) was paid about four times that. He thought I should have been paid more and, more importantly, I should have quit if I was not. I knew my role and knew they could find anyone to fill my shoes at or below what they were paying me and I was having a blast.
With Brain the bitterness was deeper than just that though. Iâ<80><99>m sure heâ<80><99>s long since forgot I ever existed. He was just an unhappy person. I love Bobby and hope heâ<80><99>s doing well. I also hope heâ<80><99>s happy.
Alan Wojcik: There have been rumors of issues between you, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan with the main WCW voice at that time Tony Schaivone. Is there any truth to this rumor and if so what was the main issue at the front of the list?
Scott Hudson: I watched Tony from his first appearance on WTBS until his last. Tony gets an awful lot of heat from smart fans and it is wholly without merit. There is not a bigger fan of the sport ever to sit behind a mic. In addition to his play-by-play duties, he was also an executive producer of all WCW TV while I was there. He may have been the hardest working man I have ever encountered in wrestling. Personally, he is a funny as hell guy. During road trips, Tony, Mike Tenay and I seemed like we were always playing who can crack each other up the most. Tony offered volumes of sage wisdom during my 4 years with WCW but the one I took to heart above all others (and remember until this day) is this one: â<80><9c>A good announcer will not bring in more viewers – but a bad announcer will chase away every one.â<80> He also gave me counsel on how much working a match as a wrestler was mirrored by the announcer. When the guys slow down to catch their breath or work out a spot in the ring, thatâ<80><99>s when the announcer cranks it up. Keep the viewers interested until the wrestlers crank it back up themselves. And when the match is super hot, the story can tell itself. It doesnâ<80><99>t need our help. He is a tremendous talent who taught me so much. I am proud to call him a friend and mentor.
He is now working for WSB radio as a sports anchor and, based on my conversations with him, completely consumed with college football. He travels a great deal covering sports for the station (which is the University of Georgia flagship) and is happier than Iâ<80><99>ve ever heard him. He deserves that and so much more. One day, I fully expect him to be a MLB or college football play-by-play voice. Sooner rather than later. In fact, I think he about to become the voice for the Gwinnett Braves, a AAA affiliate of the major league franchise. At least thatâ<80><99>s the rumor.
I cherish every moment I got to spend (and still spend) with Tony and Mike. I learned so much from both of them. Plus I was a fan of both before I ever met them. Iâ<80><99>m still humbled that either took an interest in getting to know me much less offer me advice. Like I said earlier, the issue with Brain was not with any of us personally (I donâ<80><99>t think) but just more of his personality.
Alan Wojcik: Some books have been written about the “Monday Night Wars” since it ended in 2001 and even WWE released a DVD on the topic. Have you checked any of them out and if so how accurate were they on the backstage politicing that was going on?
Scott Hudson: â<80><9c>The Death of WCWâ<80> got it right. Obviously there were some minor inaccuracies but, overall, that book fairly portrayed what I remember. Eric Bishoffâ<80><99>s book likewise was a brutally honest re-living of that period as well. Finally, Larry Zbyskoâ<80><99>s â<80><9c>Adventures in Larrylandâ<80> was great too. He took a different perspective but he also pulled no punches. The WWE DVD should have episodes of â<80><9c>The O. C.â<80> recorded over it. Simply trash.
Friday: Part Three – The WWE and TNA