In 1991, Eric Bischoff was hired by WCW as an announcer. In 1993, he interviewed for the vacancy created by the resignation of Bill Watts. Bischoff was hired as the new Executive Producer for WCW and was later promoted to Executive Vice President in 1994. Bischoff maintained his position as Executive Vice President until September 10, 1999.
Throughout Bischoff’s charge atop the company, Hulk Hogan held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on six different occasions for a total of 1,177 days as champ. Bischoff preferred established stars as his champions of choice, which had a very beneficial effect on the company, as he led WCW out of the red and into the nWo black and white. Under Bischoff’s leadership, World Championship Wrestling saw unprecedented levels of revenue and popularity.
WCW had a loaded roster of talent under Eric Bischoff. He signed international talent from the World’s top promotions and created the Cruiserweight division, which became a staple of WCW’s programming. As a result of the influx of talent on the roster, WCW had top-level talent opening shows and carrying the mid-card. The loaded roster was a major part of the appeal of Monday Nitro and no doubt had a big hand in helping WCW seize the top spot from WWF.
This article will take a look at some of the early to mid-card wrestlers that had the talent but were never able to make it to the top of the WCW mountain during Bischoff’s reign as Executive Vice President.
#3 Arn Anderson
Arn Anderson is a true legend of professional wrestling. Between NWA and WCW, he is a 10-time Tag Champion and a four-time Television Champion. He was a constant figure in the main event picture as one of the spokesmen of the Four Horsemen. Anderson could always be found at Ric Flair’s side.
Arn Anderson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of the Four Horsemen in March of 2012. Adding to his resume, Anderson even owns a pinfall victory over the man who held the WCW Heavyweight Championship longer than anyone in history, Hulk Hogan.
His in-ring career came to an end in 1997 due to a severe spinal injury. Anderson was one of the top heels in the history of wrestling. He was convincing and passionate on the microphone and just as convincing in the ring. The master of the Spinebuster would have been a capable and believable champion for the WCW, but it never came to pass.
#2 Rey Mysterio Jr.
Despite standing just 5’6”, Rey Mysterio’s talent towered over the competition in the ring. Mysterio was one of the most electric performers fans had ever seen at that point. WCW gave him a huge platform to show the world what Lucha Libre style wrestling was all about. Rey was able to go toe-to-toe with opponents who were much larger than he was, and yet it was still believable thanks to his incredible skill set.
In working with some of the Cruiserweight talent, Rey was already working with future Heavyweight Champions and Superstars in the WWE, like Eddie Guerrero and Chris Jericho.
Mysterio may not have achieved the top title in WCW, but it’s likely he would have eventually climbed the ladder had WCW’s fate been different. While he was in WCW, he had a run where he became known as the “Giant Killer.” Mysterio defeated a string of the company’s biggest wrestlers, including top star, Kevin Nash. The eight-time Cruiserweight Champion even challenged for the World Title in 1999 against Champion, Ric Flair.
Alas, he was never crowned WCW World Heavyweight Champion. This was a real missed opportunity for WCW as Rey was one of the biggest attractions for Nitro. It did not take long for Mysterio to establish himself as one of the true stars of the company. If WCW would have embraced it to the full extent, the possibilities would have been truly tantalizing.
Rey proved throughout his time in both WCW and WWE that he could carry matches with the big men, and they could still work their style. Imagine Rey taking the lead for WCW in the battle against nWo, somehow earning a shot at the Heavyweight Title against Hollywood Hogan. There may have never been a bigger underdog story. The response to him winning the Big Gold Belt would have been astounding, now when you add in the tension between WCW and nWo, it would have made it all the more epic.
Much like the other previously mentioned Cruiserweight stars in WCW, Rey went on to become a World Champion at WWE. Rey ended up winning the Heavyweight Title three times in his career.
Did WWE think he was too small to win the World Title?
In 2006, Rey Mysterio went toe-to-toe with the biggest men WWE had to offer in the Royal Rumble. Rey lasted 62 minutes and won the match. Rey was now the number one contender for the World Title. The Big Gold Belt from WCW was still in play at that time, and ironically, it would be Rey's first World Heavyweight Championship Title. The Master of the 619 went on to become a three-time WWE Champion.
Rey was definitely one of the best WCW had to offer during that period. The company had great opportunity to freshen up the look of the main event scene. Alas, not inserting Rey Mysterio in the Heavyweight Title picture could go down as one of the greatest missed opportunities in WCW's history.
#1 Scott Hall
Scott Hall may be the most surprising name on this list. He was a headliner for the company from the moment he walked through the crowd in that denim outfit. Hall was at the forefront of the nWo invasion angle. Scott Hall won the Television Championship, the United States Championship, and the Tag Titles while he was in WCW. Hall was the victor of a 60-man Battle Royal to earn a shot against Sting for the World Title. Hall went on to lose his attempt at the World Title at Souled Out 1998.
Hall ended up being a two-time US Champion, a seven-time WCW Tag Champ, and one reign as the Television Champion. He was at the head of one of the biggest storylines in the history of wrestling. Scott Hall is arguably the biggest star to never win the WCW title based on his position in the company. Hall certainly had the skills to carry the “Big Gold Belt” but it never happened.