On March 26th 2001, WCW produced it’s final show. After spending most of the 90s battling the then WWF for wrestling supremacy, the financial strain finally took it ‘s toll on the former NWA affiliate. To this day, many wonder why WCW fell from grace so quickly, just under three years after they were the top rated wrestling show in the USA. In the first of our history pieces, we look back at some of the key mistakes that helped to kill off World Championship Wrestling.
The NWO are forever remembered as WCW’s, if not wrestling’s, greatest stable. For two years, Scott Hall, Hollywood Hogan and Kevin Nash terrorised the WCW roster. The fans needed someone to believe in to defend the company and take down the NWO. That man was Sting. For a year and a half leading up to the 1997 Starrcade, WCW’s Wrestlemania, Sting stalked the NWO from the shadows, appearing once a night to take them out with his signature bat. The stage was set for him to win the world title and end the NWO. What happened that night? Sting lost. Cleanly. Nick Patrick the referee was meant to do a fast count, only for the match to be restarted and Sting to win. However, Patrick’s count was nowhere near fast, making it look like Hogan had beat Sting properly. The rest of the script continued as normal, but Sting’s momentum was gone, whilst the NWO would continue on-off until WCW shut it’s doors.
Hogan vs Goldberg
WCW’s last great act was building up Bill Goldberg as an unstoppable and unbeatable force. After less than two years in the company and with an 100+ unbeaten streak, he was set to face Hogan for the World Title, a match that should have drawn millions for them on PPV. The mistake the company made was to choose ratings over money, and air the match FOR FREE on Monday Night Nitro. It can’t be denied that the atmosphere that night for Goldberg’s win was amazing. However, in a long term business strategy, the decision was poor. WCW beat WWF in the ratings that night, one of the final times they did so, but the amount of money they lost that night led to their demise.
Fingerpoke of Doom
Anyone with a working knowledge of wrestling is aware of this night. The night millions changed the channel. January 4th 1999. WCW advertised Goldberg challenging Kevin Nash in his World Title rematch on Nitro. They went on to make three mistakes that evening. One, they ran an angle where Goldberg was arrested, replacing him with Hogan in the main event, screwing fans out of the match they were expecting. Two, head of WCW Eric Bischoff instructed Tony Schiavone, their head commentator, to give away the results for WWF Raw, that being Mankind, Mick Foley, winning the WWF Title. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of fans changing the channel, giving the WWF a massive ratings win. Third and finally, for those who stayed with Nitro, they were treated to Hogan defeating Nash, BY POKING HIM IN THE CHEST. Many fans felt cheated by this blatant example of creative control, and switched allegiances to Vince McMahon and the WWF. WCW would never win the ratings again, and effectively had lost the war.
Giving Vince Russo control
As a final roll of the dice in 2000, WCW hired Vince Russo as their head of creative. Russo had just left his role as Head of the WWF creative, where he was in charge of the change in direction known as the Attitude Era. A fine thing to have on your CV. However, to those within the wrestling circle, it was known that only a small amount of Russo’s ideas made it to final cut. A lot of them were vetoed by Vince McMahon. At WCW, he would have no one blocking his ideas. This led to a number of the worst decisions, matches and segments in wrestling. From Viagra on a Poll matches, to Buff Bagwell mum on a cranes matches. From David Arquette, the actor from Scream, winning the WORLD TITLE, to the infamous Bash at the Beach incident where Jeff Jarrett lay down for Hogan, leading to Hogan walking out and Russo bashing him on live PPV. In the months where Russo was in charge, WCW lost $62 million. This made them a major risk to both buyers and to TNT, resulting in them being cut from TV in March 2001 and with that, cut from the wrestling world.
The founding father and ‘higher power’ of the ESSR army, Steven oversees the operation of the Suplex Retweet podcast series and is the show’s primary host. With a broad knowledge of the industry, Steven leads discussions on a wide range of subjects from stables to WCW.
For some reason, he thinks John Cena’s real name is Allen Jones and is madly in love with Becky Lynch.