10 Backstage Stories About WCW Thunder We can’t believe it

In January 1998, World Championship Wrestling expanded its program to include a new weekly program in the form of WCW Thunder, which was broadcast on Thursdays. Despite being WCW’s new primetime B show, it has fluctuated in quality and importance. In some years there were some major developments in the plot while in other years it was purely an undercard show.

RELATED: The 10 Most Embarrassing Things That Ever Happened on WCW Thunder

WCW in the late 1990s and early 2000s was a wild time. While the company was doing tremendous business, the internal machinery was a mess. The locker room was filled with great personalities and even bigger egos. As a result, there are some really fascinating stories about the behind the scenes world of WCW Thunder.

10 It was Ted Turner’s idea

Few fans like WCW Thunder, considering that a show is too much for a company that spreads too thinly. But the idea for it did not come from WCW, but from Ted Broadcasting boss Ted Turner.

Monday Nitro was a huge hit for WCW and Turner, who felt they could take advantage of the success by introducing another program. When Eric Bischoff heard the news, he thought he was playing a prank because he felt that WCW was already overwhelmed enough with all the content they were producing.

9 Raven is attacked in the middle of the promo

A bizarre moment occurred in the Thunder episode from April 9th, 1998: When Raven was cutting a promo in the corner of the ring, a fan jumped over the barricade and pulled his hair out of the ring. While fans getting involved in wrestling shows are nothing new, the interesting thing is that Raven actually planned to do the same spot with Chris Kanyon.

They decided not to do it that evening, but when Raven felt someone pull his hair, he only assumed that Kanyon decided to do it anyway. As a result, Raven actually sold it like it was a script only to realize it was a random fan.

8th The original plan for Donner

WCW thunder

For the most part, Donner is viewed as a redundant addition to WCW’s weekly schedule, but it originally had a clear schedule that would at least have justified its existence. At the time, the biggest story in wrestling was nWo vs. WCW, and so the idea was that the New World Order would take over Nitro while WCW’s roster would power Thunder.

There were attempts at nWo branded shows like the Souled Out pay-per-view in 1997, but the idea never came about as a weekly show.

7th The Bret Hart Show

When it comes to fans relicting WCW, one of their biggest problems is how the company booked Bret Hart, believing the former WWE Champion wasn’t used as well as he should have been. While the execution may not have taken place, WCW certainly had big plans for Hart.

RELATED: 10 Surprisingly Important Things That Happened on WCW Thunder

Hart signed with the company in late 1997 when WCW intended to build Thunder with him as a face. Because of that, the Starrcade ’97 episode saw Hart grappling with flair – to create a major headlining story for Thunder, which debuted shortly after on January 8th.

6th Ric Flair depicts Eric Bischoff’s anger

In terms of Ric Flair, Thunder was the source of serious beef between The Nature Boy and Eric Bischoff. Flair didn’t end up showing an episode of Thunder that he was booked to play in his son Reid’s amateur wrestling match.

Bischoff was furious about it and even threatened legal action against Flair. While this led to an on-screen feud between the two, the hostility persisted, and Flair attempted to fight Bischoff on Bischoff’s first day in WWE a few years later.

5 Goldberg almost loses an arm

Goldberg

A December 1999 Thunder episode resulted in one of the most serious pro-wrestling injuries on live television when Goldberg chased a limo with the newly formed nWo 2000 and knocked out some windows. Goldberg’s window punching was aided by a pipe in his hand, but after breaking a couple of windows he dropped the pipe and struck through a third unaided. It was impressive, but at a cost, when Goldberg cut an artery so badly that doctors thought they were going to amputate it. Fortunately, it didn’t work out that way, but it took Goldberg almost half a year to recover.

4th The radio operator and the horse

Chris Candido versus Terry Funk

Later on, WCW delivered a lot of crazy matches and determinations, many of which showed objects on a pole. But in the May 31, 2000 episode of Thunder, Chris Candido and Terry Funk had a hardcore match with horses in a literal stable in rural Idaho.

RELATED: 10 Facts Fans Need To Know About Terry Funk

It’s an odd segment in the history of WCW with strange segments, but it gets even stranger for eagle-eyed fans who noticed Funk was just inches away to die. When the action brought Funk and Candido into a stable with a horse, the horse kicked Funk and hit him in the arm. Funk bravely not sold the horse and screamed at it miraculously trying to avoid serious injury.

3 Ric Flair flies in

In 1999, Ric Flair had a feud with Chris Benoit and was booked to face Benoit in a giant lumberjack match in the Thunder episode on 6/10/1999. However, due to miscommunication, Flair was given the night off and the bookers had no idea.

WCW tried to get Flair to Syracuse via charter flight, but weather delays prevented it from reaching the venue in time. Instead, WCW sloppily put together a last-minute match in which Benoit and Saturn beat Kanyon and Diamond Dallas Page for the tag titles.

2 Nobody wanted to pay for thunder

Bischoff

Despite WCW’s success at the time and Turner’s insistence on the show, WCW Thunder wasn’t easy to produce. Time Warner, which owned Turner, had a hiring freeze, which meant WCW couldn’t hire new crew members for Thunder, and TBS didn’t want to pay the money it took to produce the show. As a result, Eric Bischoff had to figure out how Thunder could be funded with income from WCW house shows.

1 The story behind David Arquette’s title win

David Arquette

Every list ever written of WCW’s stupid decisions included the company that made the world title of actor David Arquette, who took part in WCW stories to promote the wrestling comedy Ready To Rumble.

While Vince Russo rightly believed the booking decision would result in a great publicity stunt to get more glances at WCW, Diamond Dallas Page – then world champion – thought it was a joke when he was told about it. DDP was nominated to deliver the news to Arquette himself, who hated the idea as he was a lifelong wrestling fan himself. He agreed, however, when told he was going to peg Eric Bischoff – a non-wrestler – in a tag match to win the title.

NEXT: 10 WCW matches that ended in nonsensical ways

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Danny Djeljosevic
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Danny Djeljosevic is a writer and lives in San Diego, CA. His last name is a little easier to pronounce than it looks.

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