World Championship Wrestling
|World Championship Wrestling Inc.
|founding||October 11, 1988|
|resolution||March 26, 2001|
|Reason for dissolution||Acquired by WWE|
|Seat||Atlanta , Georgia , USA|
World Championship Wrestling (WCW) is a former wrestling promotion that competed with the then World Wrestling Federation .
It was the second largest wrestling promotion in the United States. Due to ongoing losses, the parent company AOL / Time Warner sold the WCW video library to the World Wrestling Federation in early 2001 .
The National Wrestling Alliance's first attempts at a banner called World Championship Wrestling began in October 1964, when Ron Miller first held this name in Australia . After the Australian banner was set (1978), the then NWA President Jim Crockett took over the name and from 1983 jointly organized a national TV format with the Georgia- based Promotion Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) called World Championship Wrestling / Georgia Championship wrestling wore. But the format had to be discontinued in July 1984, as this NWA experiment turned into a financial fiasco and the majority of the promoters employed in the GCW sold their shares to the World Wrestling Federation .
World Championship Wrestling (1988-2001)
In the late 1980s, media mogul Ted Turner was looking for a nationwide wrestling promotion. Turner has already broadcast various wrestling shows on its regional stations and now wanted to work nationally in this area. So he got into conversation with Vince McMahon , but McMahon refused to give Turner his World Wrestling Federation .
After the unsuccessful negotiations with the WWF, Turner turned to the then NWA President Jim Crockett. Crockett suggested Turner now his own promotion ( Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling ) for purchase. In November 1988, the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, which resulted from the Jim Crockett Promotions , became the property of Ted Turner and it was initially, as contractually agreed, organized under the banner of NWA World Championship Wrestling . But in early 1991, Turner broke with the National Wrestling Alliance.
In order to emphasize his independence, Ted Turner began to hold his shows from January 1991 only under the name of World Championship Wrestling and as a result also created an independent WCW World Heavyweight Championship in the form of the then WCW International Title , which, however, was not recognized by the NWA has been. Rather, the NWA leadership began to take legal action against Turner. Ted Turner began to build up the WCW as the second largest wrestling promotion in the USA.
On September 13, 1993, Charlotte, North Carolina Administrative Court ruled in favor of Ted Turner. On the same day, he officially resigned from the National Wrestling Alliance and began to do so by the end of the month.
WCW under Eric Bischoff
Under the former AWA employee Eric Bischoff , who worked there in sales, the WCW should quickly record successes. Bischoff began signing celebrities like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in 1994 . Bischoff relied on Hogan's popularity and granted him extensive freedoms in his contract. With events like the "Bash at the Beach 1994", where WWF superstar Hulk Hogan was able to defeat NWA top draw Ric Flair , the WCW quickly gained popularity.
Despite the good start of the young league, WCW did not meet Ted Turner's demands. Audience ratings and financial conditions were relatively poor, with a financial deficit running into the millions, and WWF continued to be the flagship of wrestling in North America. Even the top draw Hulk Hogan was initially unable to attract the fans' interest to the WCW. Hulk Hogan did not make it into WCW, as Ted Turner and other officials had hoped, to continue the already ailing Hulkamania . And although they had some top stars like Ric Flair or Sting under contract, the league could not keep up with the then World Wrestling Federation.
The "Monday Night Wars"
The next big step for Eric Bischoff was the introduction of a weekly show called WCW Monday Nitro . The choice of the name is no coincidence, but based on the name “ Monday Night Raw ”, the main show of the WWF at the time, and its pronunciation hardly distinguishable from the competing show. Unlike RAW, which was recorded, Nitro was broadcast LIVE.
Nitro became the figurehead of World Championship Wrestling and ran parallel and thus in direct competition with Monday Night Raw. Nitro made its debut on September 4, 1995 in the "Mall of America" in Bloomington, Minnesota and was able to record a first bang with a surprise appearance by Lex Lugers . A week earlier, Luger could still be seen at WWF SummerSlam and only one day before he did a house show appearance for the WWF. However, Luger's contract had expired a few weeks earlier and the WWF only booked him "with a handshake" from appearance to appearance. Due to the fact that WWF RAW was still being recorded at that time and not broadcast until later, Luger could be seen on both RAW and Nitro at the same time. For the next week, Nitro hit RAW in the ratings. Furthermore walked Eric Bischoff during his nitro LIVE broadcasts the results of the recorded RAW program ( "to on, did other show announce").
As a further measure, chef booker Eric Bischoff began to poach various cruiserweight wrestlers from the hardcore promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling on a large scale in order to build an independent cruiserweight division in WCW. The audience ratings for the two competitors were therefore relatively close for the next few weeks.
WCW against nWo
1996 saw a turning point in the so-called Monday Night Wars when Scott Hall , who had just left the World Wrestling Federation, entered the ring during a match at WCW Nitro, and as part of a new one Storyline World Championship Wrestling "declared war". A few weeks later, Kevin Nash also joined Scott Hall and the two attacked the WCW wrestlers under the name "The Outsiders". That went on until Lex Luger , Sting and Randy Savage challenged them to a Six Man Tag Team match . Hall and Nash accepted, but announced that they would not reveal their third husband until later.
At the big event Bash at the Beach it finally came to the above. Match. However, the Outsiders only competed in twos without revealing their third husband. During the match Hulk Hogan came to the ring after a long break and attacked Randy Savage lying in the ring. This resulted in what was probably the most momentous heel turn in wrestling history: Hulk Hogan , who was the most popular star in the wrestling world for over 12 years, allied himself with the two "Outsiders" and founded the new World order group with them . He now called himself "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan , wore black clothes and grew a black three-day beard in addition to his characteristic, blonde mustache. The nWo was founded with the aim of taking over the wrestling business and ruining WCW. Although the WWF was never explicitly mentioned, the impression arose that Hall, Nash and later members such as Syxx or Ted DiBiase had been sent by the competition promotion to fight World Championship Wrestling. With this story about the rebellious outlaw group, which violated every previously established rule and convention, the WCW won the ratings compared to the WWF from mid-1996 to early 1998. The climax was the feud between nWo leader "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan and WCW flagship Sting. At the end of 1997 nWo even tried to turn “WCW Monday Nitro” into “nWo Monday Nitro” as part of a perfectly worked out storyline. This was designed by Paul Orndorff , Terry Taylor and Hulk Hogan. Eric Bischoff was responsible for hiring new wrestlers for WCW; and it was he who ultimately approved the storylines. Furthermore, the creative team developed the " gimmicks " with their agreement .
ECW also took up the success story of nWo as a parody in which it created the bWo (Blue World Order).
Between 1997 and 2001 the WCW had its own development territory with the National Championship Wrestling promotion . Since this joined the NWA in September 1999, the ties of the WCW to the National Wrestling Alliance became closer again.
The WCW Power Plant emerged from the former Good Ol 'Days Wrestling (GODW) promotion . After the promotion was bought up by WCW, it was converted into a wrestling school for World Championship Wrestling and was based in Atlanta , Georgia . Before the conversion to the WCW Power Plant, GODW merged with the doctorate Deep South Wrestling and their wrestling school of the former wrestler Jody "The Assassin" Hamilton. He was considered a senior partner and so the WCW Power Plant was also managed by him. Head coach was the wrestling legend Paul Orndorff . Students were tested and accepted until 1999, and in March 2001 it was closed after being taken over by the WWE .
Some of the wrestlers that emerged from this are Diamond Dallas Page , The Giant , Chuck Palumbo, and Bill Goldberg . The German-British young wrestler Alex Wright received further training in the American wrestling style here.
The turning point in Monday Night War
After WrestleMania 14 in 1998, the WWF regained the upper hand in the so-called “Monday Wars” with the heralding of the “WWF Attitude” era. Harder storylines and less unrealistic gimmicks were now developed, fecal language and more bare skin found their way into the programs and the previously common boundaries between good and bad were softened. The WWF hit the nerve of the times, as the viewers were tired of cartoon-like characters and classic good-versus-bad stories. In addition, superstars from WCW and ECW were recruited and built into WWF superstars. Two of them later turned out to be lucky: Mankind and Steve Austin became absolute top draws and crowd pleasers. Austin, who never made a big breakthrough in both WCW and ECW, was awarded the Stone Cold Steve Austin -Gimmick and rose to unprecedented popularity. He later even feuded with WWE owner Vince McMahon for over a year . Other turning points included the re-engagement of Sean Waltman , who was previously fired from WCW by Eric Bischoff while he was recovering from an injury at home. Waltman returned to RAW one day after WrestleMania 14 and joined the Degeneration-X , newly formed by Triple H as Babyface-Stable , after Shawn Michaels had to end his career and Ric Rude had already left the WWF in late '97. In addition, Bischoff's practice of announcing the results of RAW during Nitro turned out to be a boomerang: after he revealed on January 4, 1999 that the cross-league extremely popular Mick Foley would win the WWF championship at the parallel broadcast RAW for the first time in his career, Then hundreds of thousands of viewers switched to RAW. RAW achieved a record viewership rate of 5.7 rating points, beating Nitro by 0.7 points. This was the final turning point in the "ratings war", after which Nitro could no longer overtake RAW in terms of viewership until the WCW collapsed in 2001.
World Championship Wrestling tried to counteract this by dividing the nWo into two factions: nWo Hollywood as heel-stable with Hulk Hogan and nWo Wolfpac as face-stable with Kevin Nash as the respective leader. The success for WCW was now lacking; the charms of the old nWo were used up and new ones could no longer be developed. In addition, the development of new, aspiring superstars was neglected and there was hardly any change in the program. With wrestlers like Eddie Guerrero , Rey Mysterio , Billy Kidman or Juventud Guerrera they had a strong cruiserweight division, which also regularly showed spectacular matches and drew corresponding audience reactions, but was presented almost exclusively at the opening of the respective events, during the main events were permanently reserved for old stars like Hogan, Savage, Nash or Goldberg. Although the odds were still strong and this competition gave wrestling an unprecedented popularity, the long-term decline of World Championship Wrestling was already foreseeable at this time.
The only top wrestling star that WCW could build itself was Bill Goldberg . A unique storyline was developed for him: Goldberg was mostly allowed to compete against unimportant wrestlers and also some big wrestling names, until he finally got 173 wins (according to the storyline) in a row. His matches were extremely short and usually won in well under a minute. After all, his popularity reached so far that he was able to clearly defeat Hollywood Hulk Hogan in July 1998 and thus win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in front of over 40,000 spectators in his native Atlanta, Georgia . Instead of showing this match in the pay-per-view Brawl case that followed shortly afterwards, however, and thus having a strong selling point for this event, Bischoff decided to have the match take place in a regular nitro edition on free TV, for which he is often criticized has been.
However, Goldberg was unable to meet the expectations placed on him, such as showing longer and better quality matches. Goldberg's storyline has now been changed: At a major event in December 1998, the winning streak was broken by Kevin Nash when Scott Hall attacked Bill Goldberg with a stun gun to his advantage. Goldberg has now become a heel , a villain. Nevertheless, WCW continued to lose ground. Goldberg's change of gimmick also didn't go down well with the WCW audience and the heel gimmick he designed flopped. So they reversed this a short time later and let Goldberg compete again as a good guy ( Babyface ).
Most recently, the league won the “Monday War” against the WWF in late 1998. But World Championship Wrestling increasingly lost contact with the World Wrestling Federation. Added to this was the problem that WCW now had many older superstars under contract who did not agree to lose matches against young, aspiring wrestlers. While a generation change was carried out at WWF with the engagement of Austin or The Rock , this was blocked by the old stars of WCW. The initiative was now entirely in the hands of the WWF. Interest in the aging WCW superstars waned and audience ratings began to drop rapidly.
This trend was to be stopped by hiring the leading bookers of the WWF, Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, for WCW at short notice in autumn 1999. After the initial euphoria, disillusionment soon followed, because Russo and Ferrara made World Championship Wrestling the worse WWF copy. For example, after the Samoan The Rock became WWF champion, the African American Booker T won the title in the WCW . Likewise, the gimmick of WWF Amazon Chyna , who also competed against men as the first woman, brought about the debut of WCW wrestler Asya and Ferrara appeared as a Jim Ross copy in Oklahoma , where he was Bell's Palsy Disease (a partial facial paralysis due to a malfunction of the facial nerves) in a tasteless way. Russo and Ferrara, however, always believed that it would take six months for the storylines to work properly. They justified their failures with the constant interference of the so-called "Standard & Practices", a group that paid attention to family-friendliness in the WCW product.
The six months they wanted were not given to Russo and Ferrara, however, and they were dismissed in January 2000 by the new WCW President Bill Busch, who had replaced Eric Bischoff in September 1999. The new chief booker was Kevin Sullivan, whom many saw as the worst alternative. The result were many changes to the WWF. Among other things, Chris Benoit , who was considered one of the greatest wrestling talents, moved to the competition together with his friends Eddie Guerrero , Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko .
The descent of the WCW
In the meantime, the WCW World Heavyweight title changed hands every month. In May 2000 there were even 5 title changes, which caused the title to lose any reputation. In April 2000, this title was even held by actor David Arquette for a little over a week, who came to the title through relationships with Hogan and other officials to promote the WCW-produced film Ready to Rumble . Not only people like Ric Flair were horrified by such and similar decisions by those responsible at the time, the title was in the tradition of NWA wrestlers like Lou Thesz or Harley Race . The title could therefore look back on over 50 years of history.
Hulk Hogan, who had had complete control of his character in World Championship Wrestling since his engagement in 1994, had continuously built a lobby within the league and had direct influence on the management and writers of the storylines. Many wrestlers, but also fans, accuse him to this day of being ruthlessly selfish in dealing with his ring character. It was therefore easy for him and his friends (including Kevin Nash) to veto appearances on Nitro's B-Show WCW "Thunder". In the then World Wrestling Federation with Vince McMahon there was only one person in charge who had the say, in the WCW there were about 10 people with different levels of competence who made decisions about corporate management (some new signings and dismissals).
Although the concept of nWo had long since run out of steam, the stable was brought back to life again and again with new members and the division into several subgroups due to the uninspired writers. At times more than 30 wrestlers belonged to the nWo, with which the group was increasingly watered down and thus also lost its once elitist status. Changes had to be made, especially since Kevin Sullivan's booking only damaged the company because it couldn't arouse the interest of the fans. The spring of 2000 held a big surprise in store for the wrestling world: Vince Russo returned to Eric Bischoff's side on April 10, 2000 and was supposed to bring about the long-awaited turnaround in the battle for the audience rating.
After a few weeks, however, Bischoff withdrew more and more from the action and let Russo run free because the two did not harmonize with each other. This led to further, questionable booking decisions, as Russo was now able to present his opaque storylines, which were often copied from WWF times and were structured far too confused to arouse the interest of the fans, unfiltered. His program was not infrequently geared towards short-term shock moments without considering the long-term effects. So it came about B. to various, so-called career-ending matches , in which the loser had to end his career , without a major build-up of feuds . Only a short time later, however, the loser reappeared in the WCW program as if nothing had happened. Furthermore, he wanted to take advantage of the openness of the wrestling business and the knowledge of the agreements, which had been introduced especially since the Montreal Screwjob (until then, wrestling was considered "real") and produced so-called worked shoots almost non-stop . These should give the impression that a wrestler had not kept to the previously agreed agreements and blurred the line between show and reality. However, this was mostly implemented in an amateurish way, with which one increasingly exposed oneself to ridicule.
The climax was finally reached when the "Bash At The Beach 2000" was about the WCW title between the champion Jeff Jarrett and his challenger Hulk Hogan. Russo had planned a defense of Jarrett's title that Hulk Hogan, still in full control of his character, refused to accept.
Together with Eric Bischoff he developed another scenario: Russo betrayed Hulk Hogan by instructing Jeff Jarrett to lie down defenseless on the ground immediately after the fight began. Hogan pinned Jarrett, took the microphone and announced, "Because of bullshit like this, this league is going downhill!", After which he left the hall with the title. Actually agreed as a worked shoot , Russo had a promo in the ring immediately afterwards, in which Hogan u. a. as a piece of shit ("You'll never see that peace of shit again!") and declared the title vacant. He then set up a "real" title match for the WCW title between Jeff Jarrett and Booker T , which he won and thus won the title for the first time. When Hogan found out about this on the drive home, he sued WCW for damages for breach of contract and damage to reputation and then stopped running for WCW. Bischoff now also finally withdrew from the WCW.
The complete lack of authority behind the scenes also left Russo the freedom to book himself into the events and secure the WCW World Heavyweight Title for a little over a week in September 2000. The consequence was that no new viewers could be won and the regular viewers were shocked to switch off this program, later often referred to as "Crash TV", which is typical for Russo. The worthless title, the bad booking and the aging main event wrestlers ensured that the WCW was heading for a financial collapse. In 2000 a loss of approximately $ 80 million was recorded.
In the course of the merger with AOL, the sale of WCW to a group of companies called Fusient Media Ventures was announced on January 10, 2001, after there had been sales rumors again and again in late 2000. Behind Fusient Media Ventures was a group of investors around Eric Bischoff. In the weeks that followed, it became clear that the takeover was not as secure as it initially seemed. The decision was made at the end of February and the beginning of March, respectively, when the WCW's broadcast slot was withdrawn. So it was pointless for the investor group to buy WCW. Since they wanted to get rid of the WCW financial debacle as quickly as possible, they sold it to the WWF. For the relatively very low price, the WWF not only acquired all rights to all WCW events, gimmicks and brand names, but also the entire video archive.
During the sale, WCW was in litigation with various lawsuits pending, and AOL Time Warner was still having to pay various wrestlers as many had contracts directly with the parent company rather than WCW. After WCW Inc. acquired select assets, what was once World Championship Wrestling was again transferred to Universal Wrestling Corporation. Its sole purpose was to handle old contracts and litigation. Universal Wrestling Corporation was merged with Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. in 2017 and no longer existed as a separate entity.
Finally, on March 26, 2001, the last " Monday Nitro " issue was broadcast. In the final match, Sting defeated Ric Flair, after which the two of them ended their feud, shaking hands and hugging. In the end, RAW and Nitro were merged and Shane McMahon announced in the course of a new storyline that he owned WCW and not his father; after all, he signed the sales contracts.
The following storyline , now known as the Invasion , in which an alliance of former WCW and ECW stars (the ECW had gone bankrupt around the same time and was also bought by the WWF) under the leadership of Shane and Stephanie McMahon tried to take over the WWF , is regarded by fans and wrestling experts as a prime example of wasted potential. Not only could the best-known WCW stars such as Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Kevin Nash or Goldberg not be signed due to their still existing guarantee contracts with AOL / Time Warner, all WCW stars were also significantly weaker and at almost all times Inferior to the stars of WWF and mostly suffered clear defeats. Only the former ECW star Rob Van Dam and Booker T were able to achieve Main Event status in the long term. The storyline ended at the end of 2001 at the Survivor Series with a win for Team WWF against Team Alliance.
At times it was planned to hold the WCW as a weekly TV show with its own stars and titles in "competition" with WWF SmackDown! to present (a concept that was taken up again in 2002 with the separation of RAW and SmackDown! into separate cadres). As a kind of test run for this, Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell a match between two former WCW stars in the main event held by RAW. However, the match met with a generally negative response, which is why the plans in this regard were rejected again. Bagwell was also dismissed from the WWF shortly after this match due to his backstage behavior.
It is worth mentioning that wrestling during the Monday wars for audience ratings achieved unprecedented popularity and at times over 10 million people tuned in either RAW or Nitro due to the sometimes very spectacular angles.
As WCW grew in popularity with the broadcast of Monday Nitro, Ted Turner wanted to create a new television show for his promotion. Thunder was broadcast from January 8, 1998 to March 21, 2001, initially every Thursday, later every Wednesday evening at prime time on TBS .
Hall of Fame
The WCW Hall of Fame was introduced in 1993 and reinstated in 1995. The ceremony took place every May as part of the Slamboree PPV.
Members of the Hall of Fame
|WCW World Heavyweight Championship||As the world heavyweight title of the WCW, the championship was introduced on January 11, 1991. It was united on December 9, 2001 with the WWF Championship .|
|WCW International World Heavyweight Championship||Introduced in September 1993 as the successor to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship , merged with the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in June 1994 .|
|WCW World Television Championship||JCP introduced the championship on January 1, 1975. She was later defended within the WCW and discontinued on April 10, 2000.|
|WCW United States Heavyweight Championship||JCP introduced the championship on January 1, 1975. It was the secondary title of WCW and has been active in the WWE since 2003 as the WWE United States Championship .|
|WCW Cruiserweight Championship||The WCW introduced the championship on March 20, 1996. She was later defended within the WWE after the purchase of WCW and discontinued on March 3, 2008.|
|WCW Light Heavyweight Championship||The WCW introduced the championship on October 27, 1991. It was discontinued on September 2, 1992.|
|WCW Hardcore Championship||The WCW introduced the championship on July 11, 1999. It was discontinued on January 21, 2001.|
|WCW Women's Championship||The WCW introduced the championship on December 29, 1996. It was discontinued in 1997.|
|WCW Women's Cruiserweight Championship||The WCW introduced the championship on April 7, 1997. It was discontinued on April 3, 1998.|
|WCW World Tag Team Championship||JCP introduced the championship on January 29, 1975. It was later defended within the WCW and united on November 18, 2001 with the WWF World Tag Team Championship .|
|WCW United States Tag Team Championship||JCP introduced the championship on September 28, 1986. She was later defended within the WCW and discontinued on June 25, 1992.|
|WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship||The WCW introduced the championship on March 18, 2001. After the purchase of WCW by the WWE , it was discontinued on March 26, 2001.|
|WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship||The WCW introduced the championship on February 17, 1991. It was discontinued on December 1, 1991.|
- Monday Night Wars Ratings. Retrieved May 20, 2020 .
- Eric Bischoff / Jeremy Roberts: Crontroversy Creates Cash . Pocket Books / World Wrestling Entertainment , New York 2006, ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9 .
- WCW profile on wwe.com