Wrestling/{{WCW}} was once the second-most popular wrestling/sports-entertainment promotion in the United States (and even ''beat'' its chief rival, Wrestling/{{WWE}}, for a decent stretch of time), but it made so many mistakes that Website/{{WrestleCrap}} and Figure Four Weekly were able to write a book about the company's downfall (''Literature/TheDeathOfWCW'').

The sheer amount of [[DorkAge terrible angles]], Wrestling/VinceRusso's booking, GimmickMatches, [[WagTheDirector backstage politics]], [[SoGoodWeMentionedItTwice Vince Russo's booking]], [[AFoolAndHisNewMoneyAreSoonParted horrendous business decisions]], [[TroubledProduction bi-yearly fatalities]], and [[RuleOfThree Vince Russo's booking]] led to a company worth $500,000,000 and backed by Ted Turner becoming, in a few short years, a hollow shell of a promotion bought by Wrestling/VinceMcMahon for just $3,000,000.


* To promote the film ''Ready To Rumble'', WCW allowed actor David Arquette to win their heavyweight title, keep it for a good clip of time, then [[FaceHeelTurn turn heel]] as part of one giant ShockingSwerve (with [[YesMan overzealous announcer]] Tony Schiavone branding it "the ''ultimate'' swerve!!"). This was the angle that cemented booker Vince Russo as being certifiably insane amongst wrestling fans. Even [[OnlySaneMan Arquette]] protested it, since he ''[[GenreSavvy knew]]'' it would [[XPacHeat infuriate the fans]], but it was in his contract. Arquette also quietly donated the paychecks he received during his WCW tenure to the families of Wrestling/OwenHart, Wrestling/BrianPillman, Bobby Duncum Jr., Brian "Mark Curtis" Hildebrand (all deceased), and Darren "Droz" Drozdov (paralyzed from the waist down following an in-ring accident).
* As bad as David Arquette as WCW champion was, it was only the second most idiotic championship reign in WCW history -- second only to ''Vince Russo's''. Yes, Russo gave ''himself'' the WCW Championship not long after he gave it to Arquette. Unlike Arquette, he felt absolutely no regret for doing it and could've stopped it from happening at any time because '''he was one of the bookers.''' Vince Russo is, to this day, one of the most despised figures in wrestling somehow. Funny, that.
** Eric Bischoff himself held the WCW Hardcore Championship at one point. He gave it up a day later, but he defeated Wrestling/TerryFunk(!!!!) to win it in the first place. Although to be fair, even he didn't have the ego of Vince (Russo ''and'' [=McMahon=]) to crown himself the world champion of the company he was booking.
* Of almost equal importance was the fate of the [=WCW=] Television title. True, it was secondary silver in the championship hierarchy, but it had an uninterrupted history of over twenty-five years dating back to the company's [[Wrestling/NationalWrestlingAlliance NWA]] days, longer even than [=WWE's=] Intercontinental title. It was abandoned on November 29, 1999 by Wrestling/ScottHall, who [[ItsAllJunk literally threw it in a dumpster]] after he decided on-screen that it was not worth defending. Acts taken with the World Championship above reduced its value to that of scrap metal, but never before has [[WhoWouldWantToWatchUs a title belt been treated literally as garbage.]] It was fished out of the garbage by Wrestling/HacksawJimDuggan a few months later, but he never defended it again before the belt itself was deactivated.
** A few months before that angle, Wrestling/ChrisBenoit was on WFAN in Toronto and asked if he thought that there was a conspiracy to destroy the company from within. He said, "It appears that way".

* There's WCW's ''Great American Bash 1991'' PPV, which had the entire Baltimore audience switching back and forth between two reactions--sitting on their hands and chanting "''WE WANT FLAIR!''" ('''especially''' during the main event) to protest Wrestling/RicFlair's firing from WCW just days before the event. Flair, meanwhile, would join the WWF, taking the NWA World Heavyweight Championship with him (because he wasn't paid back the $25,000 deposit he put down on the belt when he received it for the first time) and calling himself "The ''Real'' World's Heavyweight Champion" (a TakeThat aimed at then-WWF champ HulkHogan and at booker Jim Herd, who was running WCW at the time).
* Uncensored 1995 and 1996. The entire concept of the PPV was that it would be an unsanctioned show where gimmick matches that wouldn't be on any other show would take place. The 1995 show featured great bouts like Dustin Rhodes vs Blacktop Bully (Demolition Smash/Repo Man) in a King of the Road match, which was a match taking place in an open air, moving semi truck full of hay. The winner would be the first one to ring a bell at the front of the truck. Other matches would include Meng vs Jim Duggan in a karate match, Johnny B. Badd vs Arn Anderson in a boxer vs wrestler match, and Hulk Hogan vs Vader in a strap match where Hogan's title was inexplicably NOT on the line, and he defeated Ric Flair to win. 1996 featured the Doomsday Cage match, where Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage would defeat 8 men from the Dungeon of Doom and Four Horsemen inside of a 3 tiered giant cage.
* Spring Stampede 2000 is about as bad as it gets. It took place 6 days after the reboot. This meant that that all the storylines heading into the show had one night to build, except the Dustin Rhodes/Terry Funk feud which for some reason was the only storyline to make it through the reboot. Since all titles were vacated, there were tournaments for the US and Tag Team Championships, a tournament finals for the WCW Championship, a multi-man match for the Cruiserweight Championship that had more men than minutes allotted, and a Hardcore Championship match. What fans ended up getting was a 14 matches show with only one match going more than 9 minutes. Almost every match had interference and there was also a match between Jimmy Hart and radio shockjock Mancow Muller.

[[folder:Angles and Gimmicks]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5oMiqJRVqs&feature=fvwrel The Shockmaster]], a wrestler whose career literally ended in seconds. For weeks, a mystery man had been built up as [[SummonBiggerFish the difference maker]] in a huge WCW feud. During the much-hyped reveal (a PPV, no less), Shockmaster plowed through a wall like the Kool-Aid Man and tripped over a two-by-four some stagehand nailed to its edge. The wrestler fell flat on his face and his ''[[FashionVictimVillain purple glittery Stormtrooper helmet]]'' fell off, revealing Wrestling/FredOttman, aka Tugboat or Typhoon. The applause (and Ottman's career) ended right then and there, but the promo had barely started, so he had to recite the rest of his [[DarthVaderClone leaden, audio-enhanced diatribe.]] Flair and Davey Boy Smith had to flee the stage to keep from {{corpsing}}; only [[Wrestling/SidEudy Sid Vicious]] could keep any sense of composure during it all.
* Russo and Ed Ferrara's angle of "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=265cQznMJbI Oklahoma]]", which consisted of Ferrara dressing up as a parody of Wrestling/JimRoss complete with BBQ sauce and mocking JR's Bell's palsy (and calling matches just by yelling things repeatedly), was a [[DudeNotFunny completely tasteless gag]] that nobody thought was funny; many people within the company (including Wrestling/RicFlair) were livid at Russo and Ferrara for cooking this one up. You can even hear Tony Schiavone utter a legitimately shocked "Oh, '''''[[NoJustNoReaction no]]'''''..." the first time Oklahoma came out during ''Mayhem 1999'', and he seems beside himself the whole time the mockery is going on. Even Ed Ferrara has since admitted that the whole thing was in horrible taste. When Wrestling/JimCornette slapped him across the face, he admitted that he deserved it rather than retaliating.
* The famous attempt to play BookerT and his brother Stevie Ray as what appeared to be '''slaves''' (they were called "The Posse" and supposed to be convicts). Stevie was to be called "Kole" and Booker was to be called "Kane". This was tried at a house show and met with such vehemence that it never made it to TV, as the image of two black men in shackles led to the ring by Col. Rob Parker (a rich white Southerner) [[UnfortunateImplications raised way too many red flags]]. Booker and Stevie did initially come out as Kane and Kole, just not with the slave gimmick.
* The infamous "Drunk Wrestling/ScottHall" angle from 1998 is seen as this by many now, though unlike WWF's treatment of Wrestling/JakeRoberts, the company [[HarsherInHindsight didn't know the depths of Hall's disease]] before the mockery began. Lowlights included Hall juking and stumbling around like a Parkinson's patient (often while slurring promos), some very awkward "acting" from other wrestlers (especially Wrestling/KevinNash) and, of course, Hall "vomiting" all over Eric Bischoff. Hall's ex-wife went so far as to write [[http://www.fortunecity.com/olympia/wolfpac/107/hall.html an open letter]] on the subject.
* It seems odd that WCW tried to regain the lead in the Wrestling/MondayNightWars by un-retiring someone whom WWE had already un-retired earlier, with little success: The Wrestling/UltimateWarrior. Warrior's stint in WCW did not go well, from a needlessly long and confusing introduction packed with iconography stolen from ''Batman'', to his paucity of in-ring skills, fans were treated to a show more bush league than ever. The climax was a notoriously bad match between Warrior and Wrestling/HulkHogan at ''Halloween Havoc 1998'', which Hogan won after a cheap run-in. Just to twist the knife a little more, Hellwig's contract included a number of perks and salary hardly proportionate with his lax workload.
** Also of note: Davey Boy Smith badly injured himself on a trap door that Warrior used to enter the ring; he was hospitalized for more than six months with a severe spinal injury and a full-body staph infection (requiring a body cast). He was fired via the usual method, [=FedEx=]. While training to make a comeback in WWE, Smith developed an addiction to painkillers that caused his death by heart attack in 2002.
* In the summer of 2000, WCW began advertising something that would happen at The Great American Bash pay per view that would "change the face of professional wrestling forever". What it turned out to be was turning Wrestling/{{Goldberg}} heel. Goldberg was the top drawing wrestler and top face in the company at the time, and the massive credibility loss from their thing that would change the face of wrestling forever being a simple heel turn didn't boost the company at all -- only Hogan and Nash. As an added bonus, Goldberg dragged his feet from start to last, and when it came time to do anything heelish (as much as could be expected of him, anyway), it paled in comparison to some of the stunts the [=nWo=] had pulled, so the fans weren't inclined to start booing. When Goldberg suffered an injury the whole thing got cut short, and when he came back he was back to being a face. Whatever.

* Jim Herd was the president of WCW during the early part of the 1990s. He had no previous experience with wrestling, and despite Flair being a world-famous World Champion, was convinced that Flair was too old to draw. First he tried to {{retool}} Flair into a Roman gladiator named Spartacus (to which Kevin Sullivan famously replied "while we're doing this, why don't we go down to Yankee Stadium and change Mickey Mantle's number?"). Then he simply fired Flair. The problem? Flair was WCW World Heavyweight Champion at the time. And since he had put down a $25,000 deposit on the belt, which WCW did not refund to him after he was fired, Flair decided he owned the physical title belt. He then showed up on WWF television with the WCW belt. Flair went on to be promoted as "The Real World Champion" by heel manager Wrestling/BobbyHeenan and work a great (and financially successful) program with Hulk Hogan. WCW, on the other hand, was devastated by the loss of their top draw and their inability to find anyone to replace him. At the nadir, fans were ignoring the actual matches and chanting "We Want Flair". Herd would eventually resign in disgrace.
* In the 1990s, Tony Schiavone was an adequate, if not good, commentator with a pair of bad habits in irrational exuberance and calling just about every move he didn't know the name of [[WelcomeToCorneria either a "sidewalk slam" or a "face jam"]]. But as WCW hit the skids and management began to fall apart, so did Schiavone's commentary. Part of this was due to the EnforcedMethodActing that WCW used on the commentators to keep their commentary "more spontaneous" - they never allowed them to see the pre-taped segments, so they would then not know how to sell them and make stupid banter. Left to his devices, however, Schiavone was uniquely bad all on his own: He proclaimed every episode of ''Nitro'' to be "[[ItsTheBestWhateverEver the greatest (moment/night/event) in the history of our sport!]]", for which he ([[MemeticMutation and the phrase]]) was mocked mercilessly. He also proclaimed just about everything "the most shocking SWERVE ever" after Vince Russo came in. This went over even less well, and eventually it became [[ShockingSwerve a Trope of its own]]. (So much so that Russo, who probably spends an inordinate amount of time Googling himself, later [[AscendedMeme acknowledged the meme]] on ''Impact.'')