By Mike Mooneyham
April 8, 2001
Vince McMahon’s recent acquisition of World Championship Wrestling gave the third-generation promoter something he has wanted since he began his national expansion in 1984. And that’s total control of the wrestling business.
While WCW will, for storyline purposes, run independently of the WWF, the truth of the matter is that Vince McMahon remains master of a great wrestling universe. Al though there will be a sense of competition among the two organizations, in reality both will be operated out of WWF head quarters in Stamford, Conn.
With Paul Heyman having all but officially closed the casket of ECW, what remains is a big void in the national wrestling scene. That vacuum does, however, open the door for an ambitious upstart promotion to make a dent, regionally if not nationally.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]One of the more interesting possibilities, especially for fans in the Carolinas, surfaced last week. Fourteen-time world heavyweight champion Ric Flair announced on Mark Packer’s “Primetime Sports” radio show in Charlotte on Thursday that he would be interested in starting his own promotion. Flair, who appeared as the in-studio guest co-host of the sports talk radio show that is hosted by the son of CBS basketball analyst Billy Packer, said that while he still held out hope of signing with the WWF, he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of forming his own regional wrestling company based out of Charlotte.
“Actually, what I said,” Flair emphasized, “is that if I wasn’t working for a major company, I thought the Mid-Atlantic area would reopen. And I meant that seriously.”
Flair, who confirmed that he has been approached by a number of major personalities (including John Boy & Billy) about cross-promoting, said he has talked to David Crockett about the possibility.
“I would consider it only if one promotion continues to run around the world, and I’m not a part of it,” said Flair. “Then I’d be involved in that other promotion. We could drive around the Carolinas and do 10 towns a month. It could really be successful.”
Among the many names looking to form their own promotions are Jeff Jarrett and J.J. Dillon. Dusty Rhodes also plans to expand his Georgia-based Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling outfit. Rhodes has booked a major show May 12 in Dothan, Ala., which will include Scott Hall’s debut with the promotion. Rhodes, who hopes to do a pay-per-view in the fall, lamented the demise of wrestling on the Turner networks, but said that his own promotion will be getting television soon and that he planned to use some of the company’s names, like son Dustin, on his shows on a regular basis.[ad#MikeMooneyham-468×15]
“There are a lot of guys out there who want to do stuff,” said Flair. “They’re not going to sit around and wait. There are tons of opportunities.” Flair, who falls in the category of a number of WCW’s top stars who have consider able time remaining on their Time Warner contracts, said he would love to work for Vince McMahon if things worked out.