August 8, 2000
Storm's anti-USA war could be WCW's answer
So Lance Storm is now a triple crown winner? WCW United States title (Or Canadian if you prefer), WCW Hardcore champion and now WCW Cruiserweight champion. Depending on your viewpoint Storm has either earned his massive push through years of paying his dues or he has been given a ridiculous amount far too soon by a company starved for ideas. Personally, I think Storm should lose all his title as quickly as possible, preferably in one night...in Canada. Insanity you say? That would destroy his career? Not necessarily.
I remember when I first started watching wrestling, it wasn't that long ago, late 1996. Unlike most 'instant' fans from the mid-nineties, I didn't tune in to WCW to watch the nWo (I didn't even know Hogan was a heel until early 1998). I was glued to WWF programming and watched with fascination and huge enjoyment the Canada-America war instigated by Bret Hart and his Hart Foundation. Hart proved to be one of the greatest heels of all time by presenting a realistic (at least in wrestling terms) and logical portrayal of a man betrayed by his fans for foulmouths like Steve Austin and a prettyboy punks like Shawn Michaels.
Is it conceivable that such an angle could work in WCW? The answer is yes and no. Hart was a hero betrayed by America, Storm has showed nothing but disdain for America for years. Remember in wrestling there are no new stories, just new angles. Which brings me to the point of Storm losing his titles. The best characters have motivation to do what they do, what better motivation to start a war than being embarrassed in front of your countrymen?
Could Storm fight this war alone? No, he would need help but WCW is a little short of Canadians right now, apart from one...Bret Hart. Oh but Bret's injured you say? It doesn't matter, by being Storm's mentor Hart wouldn't need to wrestle and there would be benefits for both men: Hart would stir up some interest in himself before his contract expires and Storm would get the superstar rub. What would Bret's motivation be? To destroy the man who 'ended' his career, Goldberg.
So now Canada has a leader and a lieutenant, but it needs an army. Where could that come from? Simply those wrestlers who are talented but underused. Berlyn for example would be an ideal addition. Jeff Jarrett is another possibility, he's been overexposed recently and as a former tag partner of the late Owen Hart a union with Bret would be logical. The only other Canadians currently on the WCW roster are Vampiro and Shawn Stasiak. Vampiro probably wouldn't fit in well but Stasiak could benefit from being teamed with a veteran like Bret. He could even bring along his 'Perfect Event' partner Chuck Palumbo and thus life would be breathed into a lime green team which, though it has potential, isn't over in the slightest with the fans. And what about Pierre Carl Ouellet? He's a talented veteran who's looked great in ECW so far and would surely relish one last crack at the big time.
So now WCW has a monster heel group loaded with talent and a mixture of youth and experience, now they need a storyline. Here's a suggestion, a week after losing his titles Storm comes out and launches a direct attack on Americans, claims he was close to retirement until he was convinced otherwise by the Canadian hero...Bret Hart. Bret makes several 'unauthorised' comments on air about what he thinks of Americans, he could even accuse WCW management of trying to get rid of the Canadian wrestlers (i.e. Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho) and together Hart and Storm declare war on the American wrestlers gathering allies as the weeks go by. They torment Goldberg, which makes him a white hot face again as well as world champion Booker T and an elevated Mike Awesome. With the talent involved the matches should be great and, while it wouldn't make WCW number one again, the angle would give the promotion some much needed momentum and get it's most talented wrestlers over with the fans, PPV buyrates would increase and the promotion would garner greater interest in Canada.
Of course there could be problems, Kevin Nash for one. Nash's needless attack on Storm on Nitro could have already impeded his growth, but not if this new group attacked Nash and sent him packing (at least for a while). Again, this would make perfect storyline sense as there is well known animosity between Hart and 'Big Sexy'. For the angle to work a lot of people would have to bury their egos but if that happened the angle could be the hottest WCW has had since the early days of the nWo.
How would this story end? With a whimper like the nWo? Quietly disband like the Four Horsemen? No, unlike most of the recent WCW cliques the group could implode with the inevitable clash of Hart and Storm's egos which could result in a retirement match for Bret and opportunity for him to leave as a hero while simultaneously making Storm more despised than ever. From here Storm could continue as sole leader of the group or they could disband leaving all the member with the experience of being top flight heels and the chance to elevate their careers using the experience they have gained.
Or WCW could continue to push The Cat.
Mark Boardman is from Lancashire, England, and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.