The National Basketball Association's recent
lockout-ending agreement has apparently saved a potentially ugly February scheduling
situation between the two major wrestling organizations.
Following the NBA deal, NBC will not telecast a primetime
Valentine's Day World Championship Wrestling show directly against a World Wrestling
Federation pay-per-view event. The network and WCW, however, are negotiating several other
dates for a first-ever WCW broadcast show, wrestling officials said.
The deal for a Feb. 14 event, which would have replaced
NBC's telecast of the NBA All-Star Game, was nixed after the league settled its
six-month lockout two weeks ago. While the All-Star Game will not be rescheduled, NBC will
air an NBA primetime telecast that night.
"The first date is a no-go, but the deal has only been
postponed," said Jay Hassman, newly named director of corporate marketing and PPV
operations for WCW. "The thinking was that the NBA would not be back in 1999, and the
network was looking to replace its All-Star Game telecast with another male-targeted
program, such as the WCW. With the NBA coming back, the league has scheduled games on that
If WCW would have offered a show Feb. 14, it would have
likely drawn the ire of operators for going head-to-head with the WWF's $29.95 Saint
Valentine's Day Massacre: In Your House event. Some operators are still upset at
WCW for going well over its two-hour allotted time during its Oct. 25 Halloween Havoc
Hassman said WCW didn't deliberately go after the
date, but rather, NBC chose Feb. 14 because of its scheduling hole due to the lockout.
"We expressed our concerns [to NBC] about the issue,
but this was a replacement for their programming schedule," Hassman said. "The
WCW is a programming supplier, and it is not our duty to pick the date that the show was
NBC representatives could not be reached for comment by
Nevertheless, Hassman said, WCW is still in negotiations
with NBC for future telecast dates, although he would not provide specific details.
Over-the-air coverage of WCW would significantly boost awareness of the wrestling
organization, as well as providing a springboard to promote upcoming PPV events.
"Obviously, a show on a broadcast station, available
to every household in America, would generate awareness and ultimately bring new viewers
to our cable shows, as well as to our PPV events," Hassman said.
In other WCW-related news, the organization broke ground
last week on a Las Vegas-based restaurant. The WCW Nitro Grill Restaurant, located in the
Excalibur Hotel & Casino, will open later this spring, featuring WCW decor and
memorabilia, as well as live and taped WCW shows, company officials said. The grill will
also serve as a venue to help promote the company's cable and PPV shows.