The Death of WCW is a book released in 2004 about the professional wrestling promotionWorld Championship Wrestling. It's written by WrestleCrap contributor RD Reynolds and figure4online.com radio host/dirt sheet writer Bryan Alvarez.The book is an in-depth look at some of the terrible booking and business decisions that saw WCW go from having the most-watched show on cable TV in 1997, and being the most successful professional wrestling promotion in the world in the process, to becoming little more than a laughingstock of a promotion that folded in 2001. The authors tend to blame the horrible booking decisions of Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff, and the egos of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and a few other backstage personalities (ultimately, the authors blame Time Warner management for finally deciding to pull the plug on the company just as it was starting to show signs of life again).In January 2013, RD and Alvarez announced on f4wonline.com that they will prepare a revised and expanded tenth anniversary edition to be released in 2014 in hardcover and e-book formats.
This book contains examples of:
Affably Evil: Kevin Nash was apparently very popular amongst his fellow wrestlers, even while he was booking their burials.
Yet he rejected being awarded the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Souled Out 2000, because he feared negative backlash by the locker room.
The authors of the book have firmly stated that they believe the reason for Kellner cancelling WCW wasn't due simply to the loss of money (especially considering that WCW was actually beginning to rise from the ashes when Kellner came in) but due simply to the fact that he hated wrestling in general. Even if ratings shot up overnight and WCW became a billion dollar business, it still wouldn't have pulled in the demographic that he wanted. He's known for this kind of thing, after all; This is the same man who cancelled Animaniacs, Freakazoid!, Road Rovers, and Histeria!, and had Pinky and the Brainretooled when they were pulling in critical acclaim and strong ratings, but not from their supposed demographic.
Deadpan Snarker: Used frequently, especially when the writers are pointing out stupidity in the booking, angles, and business practices. For example, Goldberg couldn't make it back to the arena in time for the main event after his infamous arrest, even though the police station was shown to be across the street. The authors suggest "Perhaps the crosswalk light was broken".
Demoted to Extra: Despite his immense popularity (and the huge paychecks WCW wrote for him), Bret Hart floundered in WCW after his arrival due to poor booking. Goldberg was buried after his initial rise to the top by Hogan and Nash's backstage pull.
In perhaps a foreshadowing of this, Vince McMahon allegedly told Hart that if he ever went to WCW, they wouldn't know what to do with him. Which is pretty much exactly what happened.
Enforced Method Acting: When WCW started airing more pre-taped segments, the announcers weren't allowed to see them. This left the announce team hopelessly confused, which made them sound like morons.
Follow the Leader: WCW tried (and failed) to emulate WWF Raw as close as possible after it started beating Monday Nitro in the ratings war (which was ironic, since Raw had been following the lead of both ECW and WCW to get to that point).
Mis-blamed: Invoked. The authors argue that the "guaranteed contracts" that so many blame weren't the reason WCW went under. As they argue, wrestlers had guaranteed contracts even when the company was making tens of millions at its peak, and were probably under-paid. They only were perceived to be over-paid once ratings fell, the result of horrible booking decisions, the reluctance to push new talent, and general behind the scenes chaos.
The Moral Substitute: Bischoff thought that WWF's edgier product would get them in trouble with sponsors and that WCW would be better off staying more family friendly (TV-PG rather than TV-14) and capitalizing once WWF's troubles began. He was technically right. It just took a few years longer than he thought it would, and by the time it happened, WCW was long gone and owned by WWE.
As much as the authors clearly dislike Vince Russo's booking, they go out of their way to say he's a human being who was geniunely putting his health, and even his life, on the line in WCW's later days, if foolishly. They even say his booking strategy is great for a short while, it's just that things fall to pieces the longer the angle goes.
The authors also clearly don't like Bischoff, but give him credit for the initial nWo idea, and talk about Bischoff's attempts to comfort Bret Hart after the death of his brother Owen.
Shocking Swerve: Mostly mocked, though the "ultimate swerve" is WCW going out of business for good in 2001. It didn't help that WCW was occasionally being written while it was on the air live. invoked
Small Name, Big Ego: This is cited as one of the causes of WCW's downfall. Creative control and backstage power given to a few wrestlers (like Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash) prevented newer, younger talent from being pushed when the company very badly needed to do so to compete with the WWF.
Take That: A few too many were aimed at Ric Flair over the course of WCW, particularly at Carolina shows where Flair and the company could have capitalized monstrous hometown popularity. They also managed to get in some at the WWF, though one claim in particular, that Foley winning the title on a competing channel was sure to put some butts in WWF seats, ended up biting them on the ass.
The authors themselves take several shots at some of the wrestlers. Hogan and Nash probably get the most jabs.
Unperson: Bischoff became this for a period of time when he was "reassigned" (sent home) following WCW's sharp decline in ratings.
Updated Re-release: A tenth anniversary, revised and expanded edition will be released in 2014 in hardcover form.
What Could Have Been: The original ideas for some angles are brought up. Still others have ways RD and Alvarez think they could have worked.