Technically, World Championship Wrestling started in 1988, although the roots of the wrestling company date a few years back in various forms, such as Jim Crockett Promotions or its time as an NWA affiliate territory. But once Ted Turner pumped a whole load of his billions into WCW, that’s when business began to pick up.
By the time the mid-'90s came around, WCW would soon be rivaling (and besting) Vince McMahon’s famed World Wrestling Federation when it came to fanbase, TV ratings, and its place in the public consciousness of the United States and beyond. The infamous Monday Night Wars between the WWF and WCW is a huge part of wrestling history, and that period in time has been discussed time and time again by now.
What hasn’t always been talked about, though, are some of the backstage goings-on and real-life happenings that played out in and around WCW from its humble beginnings right up until the company was bought by Vince McMahon in 2001.
So, with that in mind, here are 15 shocking backstage WCW secrets and stories for you to discover. And yes, Sid Vicious and his crazy behavior are featured a fair few times…
17 Scott Steiner Tried To Blind DDP
When it comes to wrestlers whom you don’t want to cross, Scott Steiner should be right at the top of the list. The former World Champion has a legitimate wrestling background, a hulking frame, a short temper, and is famous for being one of the toughest SOBs in the business. That didn’t matter to Diamond Dallas Page, though.
Back in 2001, DDP’s wife, Kimberly, went to WCW management about some drugs that were found backstage. Pointing the finger at Tammy “Sunny” Sytch (who subsequently took and passed a drug test), Kimberly drew the ire of Big Poppa Pump -- so much so that he scared her out of the building, and she never appeared on WCW TV again.
The next week, Steiner cut an in-ring promo mocking DDP and his wife, which infuriated Page to the extent that he waited backstage to confront Freakzilla. Heated words were exchanged, the two began to brawl, and Scott actually tried to rip out DDP’s eyes! Luckily, other wrestlers managed to separate the two former World Champions, although DDP won a lot of respect for standing up to Steiner.
16 Sid’s Secret Squirrel
It almost feels harsh to include Sid Vicious so many times in this article, yet you can’t do such a feature without Sid coming up so often. And this particular tale relates to the Master and Ruler of the World and his pet squirrel. Yes, you read that right: Sid Vicious had a pet squirrel.
Sid had a spell of taking said squirrel out on the road with him, which, in turn, led to some wrestlers daring the former Sid Justice and future Sycho Sid to put the pet down his trunks (as you do!). Unfortunately for Sid, he foolishly took this offer up, which then saw the squirrel do what comes naturally to them: eat some nuts.
So there you have it. Sid Vicious, multiple-time World Champion in various companies, was bitten on his Little Sid by a squirrel, which he bizarrely stuffed down his pants.
15 Diamond’s Excessive Pages
When it comes to putting a wrestling match together, some performers prefer to go out onto the ring and just improvise the entire match on the fly, while some other superstars prefer to plan the match out beforehand. Diamond Dallas Page, though, was famous for just how much planning went into his bouts.
Randy Savage was another famous for planning out every single moment of his matches, but DDP took this to an entirely different level as he’d pen multiple-page scripts for each of his bouts… which is something that infuriated many of his opponents.
One particular time, Page had put together a hefty script for an upcoming match against Chris Benoit. The Crippler would purposely avoid DDP all day so that he didn’t have to deal with Page’s meticulous ways, that is, until Page snuck up on him. Benoit promptly took DPP’s lengthy instructions and tore them up in his face before walking off in silence.
14 Sid Gets Stabby
One of the most “vicious” and infamous incidents in WCW’s history dates all the way back to 1993 when Arn Anderson ended up with 20 stab wounds. Who caused such brutality, you ask? Well, that’d be Sid Vicious, who’d not long returned to the company following a cup of coffee in the WWF. What exactly sparked the attack is unclear, but it took place in Blackburn during a UK tour. Sid attacked the Enforcer with some scissors, stabbing him 20 times and ending up with 4 stab wounds of his own.
Sid was scheduled to dethrone Vader for the WCW Championship at Starrcade that year, but he was promptly released from the company following his attack on Anderson. After a stint in the USWA, the Master and Ruler of the World would resurface in the WWF in 1995 as “Sycho” Sid.
13 Scotty Riggs Loses His Push
For poor Scotty Riggs, there was a moment in time when it looked as if WCW had some big plans for him. A former Tag Team Champion, it looked like a strong singles push would be on the way for Riggs following the splitting up of the American Males and then later when Raven’s Flock folded. Unfortunately, Riggs would largely just tread water in the lower end of the card before being released in 1999.
According to Riggs, one of the reasons why he was hindered in WCW was down to Terry Taylor taking a dislike to him. The story goes that Riggs was on a flight with Taylor when a stewardess gave Scotty an upgrade to first class. It was just a case of Riggs being the lucky one who was next on the list for an upgrade, and Taylor was annoyed that he didn’t get the nod. From that moment on, any show that Taylor was an agent on saw Riggs lose.
12 Mr. Wonderful Takes Down Vader
Paul Orndorff is always referenced as one of the legit toughest men to ever grace the squared circle. Seemingly, Vader didn’t get the memo on that.
By the time Orndorff was working as an agent in WCW in the 1990s, he and Vader had already butted heads several times before. That animosity was to be taken to the next level. With Vader arriving late to a TV taping, Mr. Wonderful started chewing the Mastodon out for his behavior. Not taking kindly to this, Vader got in Orndorff’s face. From there, Orndorff reportedly begged Vader to start a fight, which he promptly did as he put Orndorff on his backside. Undeterred, Mr. Wonderful popped back up and laid Vader out with a punch then began kicking him in the face before he was dragged away.
11 Steve Austin Was Fired When Out Injured
As “Stunning” Steve Austin, the future Stone Cold was a hugely impressive cocksure heel in WCW in the early ‘90s. But while many admired Stunning Steve, it turned out that the WCW brass didn’t really see all that bright of a future for Austin when it came to being a main event talent. Despite being a former United States, Tag Team, and TV Champion, WCW thought that Austin wasn’t a marketable star and thus decided to release him in 1995. What left such a bad taste in the mouth, though, was that WCW chose to make this call while Austin was actually out injured and unable to compete. A triceps injury had put him on the shelf, and WCW made the classless move to fire him while he was still recovering. In hindsight, this proved to be the best thing to happen to Austin for this would ignite the spark in him during a spell in ECW that sowed the seeds for what was to come down the line as Stone Cold Steve Austin.
10 They Stole The nWo Idea
There’s no doubting that the initial formation of the New World Order was a huge moment in wrestling history and was a major catalyst for the Monday Night Wars. Granted, the group became almost a joke as the years went on, with pointless additions and misguided calls diluting the relevance and legacy of the stable. Still, when it was hot, it was super hot! What some people don’t know, however, is that the nWo concept wasn’t actually a WCW original idea. In fact, the concept was stolen from Japan with New Japan running a cross-promotional angle with UWF International in 1995. Given that international wrestling wasn’t as widely available at that time as it is these days, very few had actually seen the happenings over in New Japan, and so WCW’s whole nWo angle was fresh and unique to most wrestling fans.
9 Sting’s Honesty Ruins Marriages
When it comes to icons of WCW, they don’t come any bigger or more iconic than Sting. But while he was a mainstay of the company and was one of its biggest stars, the Stinger also had his years of battling his own personal demons.
During the mid-'90s, Sting was one of many wrestlers who developed a drug problem and who would frequently be sleeping around when out on the road. Of course, the multiple-time World Champion would find God and change his ways towards the end of the decade. In doing so, he confessed his sins to his then-wife Sue. But not only did he tell her of his affairs, he also mentioned how fellow stars Lex Luger and Rick Steiner were cheating on their wives. When the word got out, both Luger and Steiner were divorced shortly after.
8 Rip Rogers Rips On Sid
Rip Rogers may not be a name familiar to casual wrestling fans, but the Indiana native carved out quite the career for himself in the likes of ICW, WWC, Stampede Wrestling, and the NWA before he turned up in WCW in the early ‘90s. It was there that he saw the shenanigans of Sid Vicious and decided to make a stand. With Sid constantly hazing the younger talent in the company, Rogers saw what was going on and soon became fed up of the hulking Vicious. Turning the tables, Rogers decided to play a prank of his own on Sid, mushing together a bunch of protein bars. From there, he pulled the messy concoction out of the back of his trunks and chased Sid around with what Vicious thought was a turd.
7 The Flock’s On-Screen Drug Habits
Many a wrestling fan still has a soft spot for Raven’s Flock to this very day. The counter-culture, brooding group had a cool, calculated vibe to them that struck a chord with plenty of fans back in the ‘90s. But what those fans didn’t realize was that the stable would often openly partake in their vices right in front of them.
In a later interview, Flock member Scotty Riggs revealed that the group would actually pop pills and drink beers when they were sitting in the audience watching the in-ring action play out. Whether WCW brass knew about any of this or not we’ll never know, but nothing was ever done until Van Hammer lit up a cigarette.
Yes, beers and drugs are fine, but apparently, a cigarette is strictly a no-go. The issue came about when Van Hammer refused a request by arena management to put out his smoke, which in turn caused problems for WCW higher-ups.
6 The Flock Were Drug Dealers
The landscape of the 1990s wrestling scene was littered with demons of a wide variety, with many grapplers having developed their own battles with certain vices. In WCW, during the second half of the decade, though, a lot of the drugs that were doing the rounds came courtesy of Raven and his Flock.
According to Perry Saturn, he and Raven would often fly out to Philadelphia to buy enough ecstasy to keep the locker room happy. As per Saturn, the pair would reportedly pick up 5,000 ecstasy tablets at a time, which is a ridiculous amount and enough to land some serious jail time. Adding further to this, Saturn claims that himself, Raven and various other talents of the day would then each take up to 20 tablets a day.
5 Curt Hennig’s Impromptu Bathroom Break
Curt Hennig is notoriously one of the biggest pranksters in wrestling history, but the joke was on him during one particular WCW show. With Hennig, Scott Norton and Ultimate Warrior all hiding under the ring as they waited to do an elaborate run-in, trouble was brewing for the former WWF Intercontinental Champion. Hennig suddenly felt a strange rumbling in his stomach, which was quickly followed by the sudden urge to find a bathroom. Having to make the best of his surroundings, Curt instinctively took a dumpski where he was, which certainly gave a new meaning to the famed wrestling term “the drizzling sh*ts.” So bad was the smell that poor Scott Norton threw up under the ring as the Ultimate Warrior had to grin and bear the whole situation.
4 Sid’s Bizarre Weapon Of Choice
Another entry, another Sid Vicious story.
Back in 1991, Sid was out partying with famed party animal Brian Pillman. At that point in time, there was talk of having Vicious feud with Flyin’ Brian down the line, and so Sid started discussing ideas for any possible matches between the pair. The problem was, though, that those ideas mainly involved Sid destroying Pillman… to which the Hart Dungeon-schooled Pillman took exception. After Sid was verbally berated and embarrassed in front of a full bar, he lost his cool and wanted to fight Pillman. It was then that he left the bar and said he’d be back with a weapon. What could it possibly be? A baseball bat? A knife? A chain? Any other assortment of weapons featured in Double Dragon II? No, it was the only thing Sid could lay his hands on – a squeegee! Safe to say, any chance of a fight happening went out of the window when Sid made a fool of himself.
3 The Lawsuit Against The WWF
Upon re-debuting in WCW back in 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash initially remained nameless for a short while, simply referring to themselves as “outsiders.” For Vince McMahon and Co., legal action was the order of the day, though, for they sued WCW for depicting Hall and Nash as rogue WWF employees. The logic was that Hall was acting the same as Razor Ramon and Nash was acting as Diesel, although WCW countered this in the case of Hall by claiming that he was actually using mannerisms of the Diamond Studd, Hall’s previous gimmick in WCW earlier in the decade. Nothing would come of this from either side with the lawsuits dragged out for years before an out-of-court settlement was agreed upon where the WWF reportedly secured an option to purchase WCW if the company was ever sold.
2 Sid’s Leg Break
As we’ve been constantly told over the years, wrestling is not ballet. As such, injuries are part and parcel of the game. Even with that said, though, the broken leg suffered by Sid Vicious at WCW’s Sin PPV in 2001 is the stuff of nightmares. To make matters worse, Sid himself didn’t actually want to do the spot that caused this horrific leg break. WCW management felt that Sid needed to expand his arsenal and incorporate more high flying maneuvers… because obviously a 41-year-old who’d made a name for himself as an intense, impactful monster of a man clearly needs to start taking to the skies.
WCW management felt that Sid needed to expand his arsenal and incorporate more high-flying maneuvers… because obviously, a 41-year-old who’d made a name for himself as an intense, impactful monster of a man clearly needs to start taking to the skies. Uncomfortable with WCW’s illogical proposition, Sid nevertheless relented and agreed to an aerial attack from the second turnbuckle. As we all saw, the former World Champion would snap his leg in half upon his landing.
1 The Renegade Ends His Life
Rick Wilson's tenure with WCW was an odd one. Brought in by Hulk Hogan in 1995, Wilson was an Ultimate Warrior knock-off known as the Renegade.
Throughout his 3-year stay, Renegade initially got a big push and even took Arn Anderson’s TV Title, but by September of ’95, the writing was already on the wall. After the real Ultimate Warrior publicly slammed the gimmick, all momentum was lost for the Renegade, and he’d spend the rest of his WCW time as a jobber to the stars if he was even lucky enough to be featured on TV at all.
December of 1998 saw Renegade released from the company, which made Rick Wilson severely depressed. As a result, Wilson would tragically kill himself via a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February 1999 at the age of just 33.
Sources: WWE, The Wrestling Observer, Wikipedia