As WCW slowly turns the corner into respectability, many on the promotion’s roster are enthusiastic about the company’s future.
Count Shane Douglas among them. This Sunday, Douglas takes on Billy Kidman as part of the under-card at WCW’s New Blood Rising pay-per-view from the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Pittsburgh native has been feuding with Kidman for the past several weeks and is looking forward to the showcase provided him on pay-per-view this weekend.
“I love (working with Kidman),” Douglas told SLAM! Wrestling in an exclusive interview yesterday. “There are certain guys in the business you gel with and some you don’t. Billy and I have a good chemistry together. I think the outcome (has been) great, entertaining matches for the fans and the storyline, including Torrie, I think it makes it that much more complete.”
Douglas and Kidman have received praise for their work together from WCW booker Vince Russo.
“One of the things Vince Russo has told me is because he likes the quality of matches he’s now been able to do something he couldn’t do with Hogan and Luger and a bunch of the rest that were so limited; that all the angles had to be short range because they were so unexciting and uninspiring that they just wanted to get into it and get out of it.”
Russo has promised them that this feud will be allowed to fully develop and play out over time.
“With Billy and I, ours will be the first angle out of the New Blood that will go multiple pay-per-views.”
The Douglas-Kidman feud has received critical acclaim from fans on the Internet who appreciate the athletic composition of their matches. What’s also intriguing about the feud’s storyline is that Torrie, who is in real life romantically involved with Kidman, recently turned on him and now manages Douglas.
Such an arrangement may seem awkward and pose potential real life problems. Douglas insists the arrangement is strictly professional.
“It’s not (a problem) at all,” maintained Douglas. “First of all, I have a reputation in the business for having worked with women and making them count. Torrie, I think realizes that when she was Billy, no knock on Billy, but Billy really didn’t know what to do with her to really showcase her. He was so busy working at getting himself over.”
“Having been in this business going on twenty years now, and having done this several times with other (women), I’ve got the experience of making them count,” continued Douglas. “Torrie is a high priced talent for WCW so obviously they want the most out of her they can get. Obviously, her with David Flair didn’t make much of a difference to anybody. With Billy it didn’t really make much of a difference. But certainly with us the feedback from the Internet, has been pretty positive and from the fans it’s been pretty strong and Vince loves it. So, Billy I think is cool with the whole idea and my reputation I have in the business is somebody who doesn’t f–k around with the rats and my wife’s cool with it.”
After suffering through a litany of serious injuries the past few years working for Extreme Championship Wrestling, Douglas now finds himself in terrific shape.
“I feel great, knock on wood. This is the first time in the last several years that I’ve been relatively injury free for an extended period of time.”
Although he’s not hurting from any major injuries, there are those nagging injuries that are part and parcel of being in the wrestling business.
“I’ll always have those. My elbows will always hurt,” confessed Douglas. “I remember Terry Funk telling me several years ago ‘you’ll come to a day when you’ll won’t ever feel good again.’ (laughs) I’ve gotten there but as far as the little nagging stuff when you’ve been through 24 broken bones and 12 major surgeries and 14 concussions, all of a sudden the little aggravating injuries don’t matter anymore, they don’t bother you as much. Those are the good days.”
“I’ve been having a great time and I think my body has been getting in a lot better shape because of it. A lot of the fans are pretty critical, and have reason to be, because I had gotten out of shape. What they don’t understand is in order to keep yourself in shape, it’s pretty much impossible to do when you have bicep reattached and you can’t lift or your joints are all torn up and screwed or your in a cast it’s pretty hard to stay in shape and over the last several years that had been a big issue with me being injured so often.”
Part of the problem according to Douglas was he always came back too soon.
“Those injuries were sparked out of the fact I never let myself heal. I was always going back to the well to early to try help (ECW owner) Paul Heyman and his company out and in hindsight I really ended up kicking myself in the ass for it. It’s behind me, and where you are today and where I am today is all a result of what we did before so I’m not embarrassed by what I did for ECW. If I were to go back and do it all over again I would make sure I’d be a whole lot more judicious on working and letting him fall behind on payments to me.”
Looking past the program with Kidman, Douglas has some thoughts on who he’d like to work with next.
“I’d like to work with Sting,” admitted Douglas. “I think Sting is one of those guys, and these are Arn Anderson’s words and not mine, Sting is a guy who if he’s lead by the right talent, can put on an incredible match. But if you leave him up alone in the ring he’s ok. I think my character, the way I play it, with the precipitating factor of the Franchise moniker and everything involved, and I think we could have a pretty interesting and entertaining angle. And the fact that he’s so over.”