The World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA) was a professional wrestling promotion founded by Australian concert promoter Andrew McManus in 2001. The promotion was operated by McManus' International Touring Company. WWA was one of several promotions to come into existence shortly after the closings of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The company was in existence from October 2001 to May 2003.
WWA recruited TNA ring announcer and commentator Jeremy Borash as booker and head of talent for its shows. He also acted as Ring Announcer and Commentator. Borash was recommended to the WWA by Vince Russo, who was not able to work with the company as originally planned. WWA focused on signing the wrestlers that did not get signed by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) after the WWF-WCW merger. They aimed to fill the gap left by the demise of WCW and ECW and provide an alternative to WWE.
Many popular former WWF and WCW wrestlers wrestled for the company during its nearly two-year existence. These included Jeff Jarrett, Road Dogg, Scott Steiner, Sting, Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera, Rick Steiner, Jerry Lynn, Shane Douglas, Buff Bagwell, Lex Luger, Stevie Ray, Sabu, Disco Inferno and Gangrel.
They also brought in relatively unknown wrestlers, many of whom went on to make names for themselves for other promotions like TNA. These included A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Shark Boy and Nathan Jones. Further big names like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Randy Savage were scheduled to appear for WWA at some point but their appearances did not happen. The promotion had three in ring commissioners during it time, these were Bret Hart, Sid Vicious and Mike Sanders.
First Tour and The Inception PPV
The WWA held its first tour in October 2001, covering dates across Australia. During this time the Road Dogg allegedly defeated Jeff Jarrett to become the first WWA World Champion. However this claim is disputed. Either way the title was then vacated to allow for it to be competed for during a title tournament at their first PPV, The Inception. This tournament involved 4 quarter finals matches (one of which was a battle royal), 2 semi finals and a final held inside a steel cage.
This debut PPV can be considered a decent effort for the WWA's first show. The event was held inside a full sized arena in Sydney and production values were of a decent standard. However the event was universally panned by the critics. The event was generally rather short at 2 hours and a number of the matches were too short to be able to allow them to run to their full potential. The use of WCW style comic story lines also did little to endure themselves to the viewing public as a serious alternative to the WWF.
Some such comic storylines involved Australian kids TV performers, The Fruits in Suits, interfering in matches and former WCW joke team Lenni and Lodi being allowed to compete in the semi final after an injury. The final of the title tournament predictably saw the Road Dogg face Jeff Jarrett. Commissioner Bret Hart was at ringside for the match and interfered on two occasions to prevent either man from winning the match using his sharpshooter move. In the end Jarrett won the match with his trademark guitar shot and became the champion.
Next the WWA toured the UK in December 2001. This tour largely included the same line up as the Inception PPV tour. Additions to the card were former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner and former WWF tag team competitor Brian Christopher. Although wrestling is well supported in the UK, this new organization failed to draw big crowds for this tour. The main event on this tour was usually Jeff Jarrett v Road Dogg v Scott Steiner for the title in a three-way dance. Jarrett successfully defended his title each time.
In February 2002 the WWA held its second PPV, The Revolution. This took place in the Aladdin Casino in America. This was a smaller venue, which reflected upon the look and style of the show. However this can be considered as WWA's best event in terms of the matches and the longest at 2 hours 50 minutes. A number of high quality matches took place at this event, including a 6 way Cruiserweight survival match, a three-way dance for the cruiserweight title and a hardcore match between Sabu and Devon Storm.
However erratic booking continued to have an effect on the company. The event was originally to see the return of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, however this did not happen. Then Randy Savage was advertised to be appearing, this was only canceled shortly before the show. This led to some fans feeling cheated. A significant amount of talent was underutilized on the show. Former WCW World Tag Team champions KroniK wrestled an unknown gimmick tag team and Scott Steiner only attacked the Disco Inferno instead of being used in the main event.
Eruption PPV and Australian Tour
In April the WWA returned to Australia for a tour and to film its third PPV, the Eruption. During this tour Nathan Jones won the WWA title after winning a 4 corners match against Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner and Brian Christopher. It is believed this happened before the PPV as Jarrett was not available for the PPV due to TNA commitments.
The Eruption PPV was held at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. The show started with Jeff Jarrett being escorted away from the building proclaiming he'll be back (Jarrett never appeared after this). It is presumed that this was prerecorded earlier in the week. A new Cruiserweight Champion was crowned at the show after Eddie Guerrero had returned to the WWF. A.J. Styles defeated Jerry Lynn in a four-man tournament in the final to win the title. Another match of note was a cage match between Sabu and Devon Storm. Sabu won the match after leaping from the top of the cage onto Devon Storm, who was laid on top of a double deck of tables. In the main event Scott Steiner defeated Nathan Jones to win the title. He would later give up the title to sign with the WWF.
A further UK and European tour was planned for after this event. The WWA canceled this, citing injuries to its major stars as the reason. However it is believed that poor ticket sales was the more likely explanation.
Retribution PPV and European Tour
The WWA eventually toured the UK only in December 2002, filming the Retribution PPV in Glasgow, Scotland. The WWA title remained vacant for the first half of the tour, with it being held up to be decide at the PPV. Mike Sanders took over as commissioner for this tour and fought Joe E. Legend each night. Memorable matches on this tour included a three way hardcore match including Sabu, Perry Saturn and Simon Diamond.
The Fourth PPV, the Retribution was filmed in Glasgow in early December 2002. This was later broadcast in February 2003. The card included 9 matches and two title matches (WWA and TNA), however it only ran for 1 hour 45 minutes. This was in fact 15 minutes shorter than the house show in Newcastle the night before, which only included 6 matches and no title matches.
This tour included an infamous dispute with a seemingly badly out of shape Lex Luger. He reportedly missed shows due to illness and refused to wrestle more than 5-minute matches despite being in the main events. He faced Sting for the vacant WWA title at the PPV. This was very poor 7 minute match, which largely involved Luger pacing around and avoiding wrestling. In true bizarre WWA tradition Luger won this match and became WWA Champion after a trademark interference from Jeff Jarrett with his guitar. He lost this title to Sting a few days later at a house show in Zurich, Switzerland.
Final Tour and The Reckoning PPV
In May 2003, the WWA embarked on its final tour. This visited Australia and New Zealand. The Reckoning PPV was held in Auckland in front of a vocal crowd. This show was actually the best in terms of production values from the WWA. It was the first to include replays and split screen shots. Before the PPV the decision had been made to fold the WWA, hence the titles were to be unified with the TNA titles. Chris Sabin won an excellent four corners cruiserweight match to unify the TNA X-Division and WWA Cruiserweight titles. In the main event Sting was defeated by TNA champion Jeff Jarrett to reunify their two world titles.
During its short history the WWA may not have achieved its goal of establishing itself as an alternative to the WWE, a mantle which TNA eventually took up. However it did provide the chance to see many former favorites from WCW/WWE/ECW again and provide a number of high quality matches and humorous moments.
Classic Quotes and Fluffs
It can commented that although the WWA had its faults, its comic nature was one of the main things that endeared it to its fans. A selection of some of these funny quotes are presented below.
- " He's not a man, he's a fish ! " Borash takes Shark Boy's gimmick a bit too far.
- " When was the last time you won a match Disco ? last time I saw you, you were throwing a banana off a cage " Borash comments on the Disco's feud with the Fruits in Suits at the Inception PPV.
- " Oh my god, he must be at least 6 feet high up there " Disco mocks the Hardcore Midget's leap from the top turnbuckle.
- " It shocked me what happened with Hall and Nash " Borash, not noticing his mic was live, discusses the failure to secure Scott Hall and Kevin Nash for the Revolution PPV.
- " We have just heard from the back that Shark Boy has eaten creative consultant Terry "The Rooster" Taylor " Mark Madden takes the Shark Boy gimmick even further.
- " Hey, that's Judy Bagwell's kid ! Buff is the son of a former WCW Tag Team champion ! She must be so proud " At the Eruption PPV Disco mocks the old WCW story line involving Buff Bagwell's mother Judy.
- " Stevie Ray has just informed me that unless you people show him some respect, he is leaving here and never coming back " A regular line used by Borash on the WWA tour of 2001.
- " Do you know anybody else from 20,000 leagues under the sea Jeremy ?" Disco further mocks Shark Boy at the Retribution PPV.
- " Lenni and Lodi are trying to prove themselves worthy of a shot at the WWA Tag Team Titles " At the Revolution PPV, Borash forgets that the WWA does not have Tag Team Titles.
- " Joe E. Legend is just another in a long line of great Canadian wrestlers, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho and.... Scott D'Amore " Disco humorously bigs up the career of jobber Scott D'Amore, then employed as a creative consultant by the WWA.
- " Did you get the names of those kids ? I have just been violently assaulted by a gang of yobs ! Disco complains after being attacked by Brain Chrisopher, Ernest Millar and some small children during an in ring dance-off at the Eruption PPV.
- " A big chair shot there from Chris...er...Crowbar...er..Devon Storm Borash forgets what name Chris Ford is competing under at the Revolution PPV.
- " Mee mee...I beat the Stinger..me...I beat Lex Luger...me....I slept with the Disco Inferno " Commissioner Mike Sanders mocks Joe E. Legend's in-ring promo at the Retribution PPV.
- " Go on ! Kill him ! " Mark Madden gets rather over excited during the hardcore midgets match at the Revolution PPV.
- " These Guys are not from Wales " Disco reacts to the crowd's suggestion that Lenny and Lodi are gay, when they are caught in a compromising position during the UK tour of 2001.
- " WWA regulations state that Referee Mike Sparks must wear a hard hat at all times during hardcore matches " Borash for some reason refers to Head Referee Mark 'Slick' Johnstone as Mike Sparks for the whole of a house show in Newcastle, England in 2001. It is unknown why he did this as Referee Mike Sparks appears with the WWE and never with the WWA.
- " Ladies and Gentlemen, a round of applause for a legend all over Europe - Referee Tony St. Clair " Disco randomly introduces former British Wrestling great Tony St. Clair before a match on the WWA Tour of 2002.
- " Look at Lex Luger, he is jacked, he has been working out big time. I have never seen him so big " Borash attempts to cover up the seemingly out of shape appearance of Lex Luger during the WWA title match at the Retribution PPV.
- " Because you people showed him no respect in the first half, joining me on second half commentary....the Disco Inferno " Borash explains the Disco Inferno appearance on commentary.
- " I would like to dispel the rumor that it is Alan Shearer under Shark Boy's mask " Disco attempts to get a pop from the Newcastle, England crowd by mentioning a local footballer.
- " Have you ever been to a Glasgow bath house Jeremy ? Is it true that Johnny Swinger has been hanging around them while we have been here ? " Disco suggests that Johnny Swinger may be gay at the Retribution PPV.
- " The people of Liverpool love me ! " Disco for some reason enters the ring in a Liverpool football shirt, proclaiming that the people of Liverpool loved him, despite the 2001 tour not actually going to Liverpool.
- " Earlier when I said that all 6 of these men had never appeared on PPV before, I was lying to try and make our promotion look better " Mark Madden admits that he was talking rubbish by declaring that all 6 men in the cruiserweight survival match at the Revolution PPV were debuting on PPV.
- " Is 20,000 leagues under the sea anywhere near 'Parts Unknown' ? " Disco is further confused by Shark Boy's birthplace at the Retribution PPV.
- " This place has no class, in fact I was glad that Liverpool was awarded the Capital of Culture instead " Disco insults Newcastle during a house show in 2002, after Liverpool beat Newcastle to the European Capital of Culture award for 2008.
- " Of course we saw a great three way hardcore match tonight, Sabu won that one " Borash recalls the evenings matches after the WWA title match at the end of the Retribution PPV. The only fault was that the hardcore match actually took place after the WWA title match on the night, resequenced for the PPV broadcast.This was after this segment was filmed, so Borash declared the result of a match that had not actually taken place yet. This also explains why the crowd were all still sat in their seats after the event had apparently finished, as there was still the hardcore match to come after the WWA title match.
- " I would like to welcome you to the show on behalf of the World Wrestling Allsports..er..er...Allstars Organization " The Australian ring announcer makes a good start to the Eruption PPV.
- " Look at Brian Christopher there, does he not know that there is no place for ridiculous dance moves in the professional wrestling ! " Disco mocks Brain Christopher's dancing while also mocking himself.
- " Norman Smiley and Devon Storm, are they still alive ? " Borash somewhat overplays the effects of the Smiley v Storm hardcore match at the Inception PPV, as they reappear for the battle royal match.
- " If one of these midgets dies and needs cremating, I have a spare Bic Lighter " Disco pokes more fun at the hardcore midgets.
- " Perry Saturn ! he is not supposed to be here ! " Disco proclaims shock at Perry Saturn's appearance on the WWA tour of 2002, suggesting he had just turned up and invaded the show. This line was used every night, including the Retribution PPV, despite Perry Saturn being advertised to be on the tour and appearing on the WWA t-shirts of the fans in the front row. It was later claimed every night that he had signed a contract in the interval to allow him to compete in his match.
- WWA World Heavyweight Championship – last held by Jeff Jarrett; unified with Jarrett's NWA World Heavyweight Championship
- WWA International Cruiserweight Championship – last held by Chris Sabin; unified with Sabin's TNA X Division Championship
- WWA Hardcore Championship – Crowbar defeated Danny Dominion in a tables match to win the title on October 25, 2001 in Wollongong, Australia. Title was then abandoned.