Play Misty for Me

Mark Madden

great mutaAt a Nitro production meeting while I was announcing for WCW, the following skit was outlined: Great Muta was going to be near the announcers’ desk and, under some goofy pretense, was going to spray green mist at my chest.

Not in my eyes. At my chest.

After years of misting people right between the eyes, Muta was going to miss. My Hawaiian shirt would be ruined and – since my impeccable wardrobe was so important – I would go backstage mid-show and interact with Kwee Wee.

That’s right, an announcer was going to abandon his mic during a broadcast to go change his shirt, thus looking good for the on-cameras I never did.

This occurred after the Vince Russo/Eric Bischoff WCW re-launch in April, 2000. This particular absurdity took place in July.

After the production meeting, I said, “Muta’s not going to miss my eyes and hit my shirt. He’s going to spit the mist right in my face.” I think I was talking to Russo, but I’m not positive. I was told, “No, he’ll hit you in your chest. We’re going to explain it to him.” I said, “OK. But he’ll spit the mist in my face anyway.”

Of course, he did. Right in the face.

Muta is a legend. You think he’s going to misfire a gimmick he’d been doing for years for the sake of a skit involving a nobody announcer? No way.

I salvaged things – kind of – by wearing sunglasses. That way, the deadly green mist wouldn’t blind me – not too much – and I could still go backstage and change my shirt, albeit for no discernible reason. But boy, Kwee Wee was charismatic.

The point: Sometimes the booker needs to listen to someone else. Most don’t.

The creative process shouldn’t involve territorial pissings. But it always does.

The creative process also shouldn’t involve cronyism. But it always does.

When Bret Hart came to WCW, he was badly misused. He arrived as the “real” WWE champion after the Montreal Screwjob, but that was never even mentioned. Hart started as a babyface but turned heel relatively quickly. That was idiotic. Montreal made Hart a sympathetic figure. Being a recent defection from the “real” promotion made him a ‘face.

Hart spun his wheels. I occasionally invented scenarios, so I proposed one that would see Ric Flair award Hart a “real” world championship belt – thus playing off Flair’s scenario when he jumped from WCW to WWE in 1991 – and align Hart with Flair, thus turning him back babyface and sticking it to WWE.

Hart liked it. Bischoff liked it. Bischoff said they were going to do it.

The next week, Hart said, “They’re not doing it.” When I asked why, Hart shrugged his shoulders.

Later, I found out why: Hart’s next feud was supposed to be with DDMe, Bischoff’s crony and neighbor. Turning Hart ‘face would have kiboshed that. DDMe whined, as he always did, and got his way, as he always did.

Bischoff was real smart, and mostly did a great job. But his friendship with DDMe was too often his weak spot.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX

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