Audio: Former WCW Ref Billy Silverman Talks WWE Locker Room Conflict, Where WCW Went Wrong

Apr 17, 2014 - by Atlee Greene

Former WCW referee Billy Silverman stepped IN THE ROOM with Brady Hicks and crew this past week to talk about his extended time in WWF, WCW, and WWE. Silverman talks conflicts with JBL, where WCW went wrong, how WWE would not have been able to save it, and his own legacy in wrestling.

IN THE ROOM airs live, Tuesday nights, 9 PM ET, as part of the VOC Nation Radio Network on Call in(855) VOC-RADIO. This week’s episode is now available for download.

On the WWE Locker Room After Acquiring WCW:
It was just a different time. It’s just like anything in the real world I guess, per se, that everybody [was] worried about their jobs. There’s only so many jobs and there’s only so many positions.You’ve got 50-70 guys coming in and at some point [WWE] can’t carry that. So everybody was worried about their jobs, even the guys there. And the WCW guys coming in they were just trying to get a spot or keep a spot. It wasn’t a good time to be there. Everybody was worried about their job. Who might get cut, who might not get cut. There was a lot of animosity. Certain friends may not have been so much friends at that point. I just remember it being very much survival of the fittest … in the locker room. I just don’t remember it being a good time. But again, looking back on it, there were just circumstances beyond everybody’s control.

Could Vince Have Saved WCW:
Do I think that Vince McMahon would have been the one [to keep WCW alive]? No, because he just produces a different kind of show. So I don’t believe that he could have kept WCW going. I think that Eric [Bischoff] was a creative genius, but I think [that] all that creative and all that genius somehow just kind of imploded. There was nobody there guiding the ship. There was never any one time where there was a captain, that was who the captain is, and that was who is in charge and we all have to go with the flow. That was always changing, constantly. There never any one influence where it was for a period of time. It just was always changing. So it was always so volatile.

On WWE’s Attitude Giving it an Unfair Advantage:
WCW just could not do a lot of the content that WWF was allowed to do because Vince McMahon was there. We had a guy who used to be at the shows from the … Standards and Practice department to make sure we didn’t say certain words on the air … That thing with Mae Young and … Mark Henry … wouldn’t have flown in WCW. But Vince [McMahon] was on the end of the line I guess to approve that to let that go on TV, and he was on networks that were more progressive with language and nudity and content, whereas WCW didn’t have that latitude. We definitely pushed the envelope as much as we could, but I think that’s why WCW was so good as it was, because we had certain standards and practices to adhere to . So creatively we had to figure out how to compete with [WWE] and still be creative and innovative and new and fresh.

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