Looking Back 20 Years Later: David Arquette Wins The WCW Title
Sometimes pro wrestling memories are better off forgotten. But lots of times, those memories are also some of the most fun ones to talk about! That is where I think this memory falls.
Today is one of those “what the fuck” days in WCW History. On this day 20 years ago, David Arquette won the WCW World Title. That’s right, a movie and TV star became the Champion of a pro wrestling company. On WCW Thunder. In a tag team match. Lets take a look at how this all played out.
The Back Story
David Arquette filmed a movie called Ready to Rumble with WCW stars. The movie came out in early April. So naturally, WCW wanted to cross promote the movie on TV since they had some of their wrestlers in it. David Arquette started appearing on WCW programming during this time. Arquette confronted Eric Bischoff on an episode of Thunder two weeks earlier. On the Nitro before this episode of Thunder, David Arquette beat Eric Bischoff in a match with the help of Diamond Dallas Page. This lead to DDP getting a Title shot that night inside of a steel cage in which he won the WCW Title.
The April 26 episode of Thunder started with Jeff Jarrett, Eric Bischoff and Kimberly Page arriving with David Arquette kidnapped. They went to the ring where Jarrett demanded a rematch. Not only a one-on-one match, but a tag team match: Jarrett and Bischoff against Page and Arquette with the WCW Title on the line. DDP didn’t accept at first. But after Mike Awesome attacked Kanyon later in the night, DDP finally accepted it.
Before the match starts, Kimberly Page is made special referee. Arquette and Bischoff wrestle to the back. Bischoff reemerges a few minutes later. Arquette does a few minutes later as well. Kimberly of course is doing the whole heel ref gimmick. Arquette spears Bischoff as Jarrett hits DDP with the belt. Kimberly is down, so another ref comes in. I think he was suppose to go to the middle of both pins to count. Instead he goes over to Arquette as you see DDP kick out in the corner of the screen. DDP and Arquette leave through the crowd.
Arquette appeared in vignettes with Kurt Russell and his wife, Courtney Cox, on Nitro the next week while on set for the move 3000 Miles to Graceland. Russell made fun of Arquette in them. Later that night, Arquette beat Tank Abbott in a singles match with the help of DDP. Of course they were building up Abbott to fight Goldberg, which essentially killed that program. Goldberg was pissed about it as well.
Arquette defended the WCW Title in a Triple Cage Match at Slamboree against DDP and Jarrett. Arquette did nothing for most of the match. With both DDP and Jarrett climbing to the top, Arquette hit DDP with a guitar because SWERVE BRO, giving Jarrett the win. Of course this is also the PPV and match where Mike Awesome tossed Kanyon off the cage onto the elevated ramp, in the same arena Owen Hart fell to his death. Arquette cut a promo the next night talking about the swerve. DDP attacked and hit a Diamond Cutter on him, ending Arquette’s run in WCW outside of one more appearance at New Blood Rising.
Behind The Scenes
I’ll give you one guess whose bright idea this was? If you didn’t guess Vince Russo then you should question your wrestling knowledge. Russo didn’t care about the history of the business. He looked at the Title as a prop and not a sign that you were the best in the business. Russo thought Arquette winning the WCW Title would get mainstream media talking and boost the ratings. It didn’t do the latter, and the mainstream media shit all over it. There is also talk about DDP not wanting to drop the Title back to Jarrett so quickly after winning it on Nitro, so this was an alternative. Of course, quick Title changes is another Russo trademark so that wouldn’t surprise me.
It is important to remember to not fault David Arquette in all of this. Arquette was 100% against the idea. Arquette is an actual wrestling fan and he knew wrestling fans would not approve of him winning. Arquetter went along with it. But he also donated all the money he made from being on TV to the families of Owen Hart, Brian Pillman and the recently paralyzed Darren Drozdov. Arquette also paid the entire bar tab the night he won the Title. Arquette still works the Indie scene to this day and has a love for the business. He is blameless in this situation. None of the wrestlers in WCW put the blame on Arquette.
Justin C’s Take
People like to point to this as the downfall of WCW. WCW was already heading downhill long before this. This was just another nail in the coffin. It didn’t help in any way but it isn’t like this accelerated things. I’ve been on record as saying that I think Russo and Bischoff actually did a good job booking WCW from the episode after the Reboot to about June, outside of this angle. The problem ends up being a lot of the people in the Millionaire’s Club didn’t want to put over the younger guys still. it was a giant mess but they made things work for the first few weeks.
I saw Arquette Wrestlemania 35 weekend. He was in a bar I was in and couldn’t have been a nicer guy. While I didn’t interact with him personally, he was sociable and nice to every person I saw him interact with. He was also drunk by the time I left, but hey, it’s Wrestlemania weekend. Arquette definitely has a love for pro wrestling and it shows with him working the Indie scenes to this day.
Also in traditional WCW Thunder fashion, this episode SUCCKKKS. Do not watch it if you want to relive this moment.
Until Next Time,
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