There are many incidents in the world of professional wrestling that is talked about to this day. From the Montreal Screwjob, to CM Punk walking out of WWE, and even the Owen Hart tragedy, These key moments are never forgotten from the old generation of fans, and the current generation once they do their research on these topics. One of these key moments happened in WCW on this day 20 years ago which has since been named the “Bash at the Beach 2000 incident” by the fans. It is time to revisit this moment that is not only talked about to this day, but also debated on which parts of this incident was planned or not.
WHAT LEAD TO THIS INCIDENT
Vince Russo returned to WCW in June 2000 after taking a brief hiatus. At this point, WCW was already in it’s worst year and the damage of the company itself left everyone uncertain. Vince Russo wanted to push the younger talent that has not had the chance to the main event status. He began this a few months earlier when he pushed for Jeff Jarrett to win the WCW Championship and he did exactly that. There was no problem with Russo doing this because the majority of the fans wanted to see more talent that they already had become main eventers and some of the talent they already had before Russo came to WCW left for WWE and became bigger stars. The only thing that was somewhat preventing this, was the big name talent such as Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Sid were all still in the main event scene that year. You could imagine the politics going around backstage during this time with those bigger names over the mid to lower card names.
The week of the show, John Laurinaitis had a meeting with Hulk Hogan. John told Hogan that Russo wanted Hogan to lose to the WCW Champion Jeff Jarrett at the show. Hogan did not like this idea and called Eric Bischoff to talk to Russo about another idea for the match. The plan that was purposed was for Hogan to win the title, leave WCW with the Championship, have Vince Russo set up a new tournament to crown a new champion, and then have Hulk Hogan return at a later date as the “real” champion (Similar to how CM Punk and John Cena were both WWE Champions at the same time in the summer of 2011). Hulk Hogan as the real champion vs the current champion would have then be booked at either Fall Brawl, or Halloween Havoc at that year.
Vince Russo did not like this idea. But due to Hogan using his creative control clause in his contract, Hogan figured that Russo would not change that plan. Vince Russo stated on Kayfabecommentaries that his plan the entire time is that no matter what, Hogan was not leaving with the belt. Booker T was.
THE DAY OF THE SHOW
At the day of the PPV and about two hours before the show began, Eric Bischoff talks to Vince Russo the moment he arrived to the arena. Bischoff told Russo to talk to Hulk Hogan about the match. Hogan told Russo that he should win the WCW Championship because he needed the title again, or else he will not work the show in protest. Hogan then asked Russo what would happen if it was real that he beats Jarrett in a shoot. Vince Russo then told Hogan if it was real, then he would go out and cut a promo towards Hogan. Vince Russo then pitched the Booker T vs Hogan match for both WCW Championships down the line and Hogan liked the idea. But what was about to happen, was not what they expected.
The match then started. Jeff Jarrett’s music played, but Vince Russo made his entrance followed by Jarrett. Hulk Hogan then made his entrance. As soon as the bell rang, Russo told Jarrett to lie down which stunned Hogan, the announcers, and even the crowd. Russo then threw the belt in the ring and walked off. Hogan then got a microphone and said that infamous line “That’s why this company is in the damn shape it’s in because of bull**** like this” as he put his foot on Jarrett’s chest for the three count. Jarrett left the ring afterwards as Hogan became the new WCW Champion. Hogan then left the ring to walk to the back. What happened next during the Sting and Vampiro skit, is that Hogan and Bischoff left the arena to go to their plane. Vince Russo returned to the ring to not only cut a scathing promo on Hulk Hogan, he fired him as well and rebooked the main event as Jarrett will now face Booker T. Hogan and Bischoff was not aware of the promo Russo cut until they landed at their location a few hours later. Booker T defeated Jarrett to win his first ever WCW Championship.
Everything that happened before Jarrett lied down was part of the pitched plan. The only people that knew about this, was Hogan, Vince Russo, and Eric Bischoff. This was an example of massive communication as nobody knew what was real, and what was not in that situation. Hogan then sued Russo for defamation which was settled a few years later. Hogan would never return to WCW. Vince Russo stayed for a few more months. Booker T would then win the WCW Championship three more times in WCW, and be signed to WWE after they brought WCW. It was in WWE when Booker T won his fifth WCW Championship. And Jeff Jarrett stayed in WCW until the end, but WWE did not sign him. But he eventually founded Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, which is now Impact Wrestling. To this day, there are different versions of the story told by Vince Russo, Jeff Jarrett, Booker T, and Eric Bischoff. Between the parties involved, it is up to you on which take of the story about the incident that you side with. I remember watching this show live on Pay-Per-View with my brother and cousin and they both had a hard time piecing out whether if this incident was part of the show, or not. This was, until the next day, we realized that Hogan was really gone from WCW. The way you can sum up this incident, is that it was a work, presented as a shoot, that then became a shoot.