On March 1, 2001, it appeared that a company fronted by Eric Bischoff would purchase World Championship Wrestling. On that day Johnny Ace gave a rare shoot interview to Wrestling Perspective.
As it turned out, the WWF would purchase WCW's assets. On April 4, 2001, shortly after the purchase was finalized, Johnny Ace spoke to Wrestling Perspective once again.
This two-part interview is a must read for anyone who wants a glimpse behind the scenes at what was WCW.
Johnny Ace On ...
Why Eric Bischoff was unable to purchase WCW:
"I think AOL-Time Warner decided not to have programming on their system anymore. That opened the doors up. Fusient and Fox was included in it. Fusient and Fox were going to do a deal to keep the programming on. But with programming off of Time-Warner, that opened up the opportunity for Vince McMahon and the WWF to find a way to pick it up. There's no problems between TNN and Vince and UPN because then they would own another company that would have shows on TNT and TBS."
Whether the WWF's purchase of WCW will prove to be beneficial to the
"I think it's a positive step for wrestling because on TBS and TNT there were so many restrictions about what you could and couldn't do. They had Standards and Practices at the shows. You were so guided by guidelines that it was hard to give the people exactly what they wanted on some of the edgy stuff. I think it opens up a whole new avenue. Obviously, Vince McMahon is a very successful man and he knows wrestling. It's a wrestling company whereas TBS and TNT, Turner before it was Time-Warner, is basically a TV company. The philosophies are different. Vince really seems sincere in wanting WCW to be very successful and its own entity and to build it like he built the WWF."
On his future in the wrestling industry:
"I can sit at home for two years and not have to do anything and not have to worry about it. But that's not really my type of personality anyway. To me, I went up to see Wrestlemania and spoke with Vince and everybody and I got excited about actually doing something. But there's a lot of particulars that have to be worked out and hopefully, they will."
On his first impressions of WCW when he was hired last summer:
"I thought it was being hot-shotted and under utilized and there were no stories that went past tonight. It would start at 8 o'clock and be done by 10. (laughs) They were burning out all their talent in the sense that half of their guys would be working with somebody one week and then work with somebody else the other week. That was basically under the guidance of the Vince Russo deal. (Eric Bischoff and I) talked and he asked what I thought about the work rate in WCW and I told him the work rate was poor at the time. It needed to be uplifted. There were too many run-ins and not any conclusions to any of the matches. I said, 'There's a way to do the run-in after you do the one, two, three. At least you're not screwing the people.'"
On why he joined WCW:
"Because I think the ratings were low and the talent roster was fairly still good. They needed some structure and some organization and for me, who could go in and just do finishes and learn more about the United States style, it looked like a great opportunity if they could afford to pay me. That was the whole bottom line with me. I just saw WCW as a place that if I went in and I could contribute, like I told Brad Siegel, 'I'm not the answer. I'm just a piece of the puzzle that you need.' If I was a piece of the puzzle and the puzzle was put together, WCW could really become the dominant force in the wrestling industry again.
On his first weeks on the job:
"When I first came in, I was probably a little bit overzealous in a way that I did a lot of finishes that guys weren't able to do to be honest with you. They couldn't understand the psychology behind it. They couldn't physically do the moves, which then I had to tone down. I went to shorter finishes, more basic, simple deals with swerves in them, but that the guys could actually do. There are some guys in WCW who do whatever you want. There are some guys who are just limited and that just happens in any business."
On who he sees as the next big star in wrestling:
"I really see Shawn O'Haire as a future star in this business because athletically, his size is perfect, right, 6'-5'', 270, perfect height."
That's not all.
In this 15,000+ word interview you'll read Ace's thoughts on the biz and the people in it.
What does Ace think of Vince McMahon?
Where, if anywhere, does he sees himself in the new WCW?
What is the future of the new WCW?
These questions and more are answered in this phenomenal highly inside interview.
Issue #90 is another groovy piece of work from the Wrestling Perspective staff.
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