Wrestling / WCW

Where the Big Boys Played — 1988-2001
Here we are 15 years later and I can honestly say that it was the worst thing that ever happened in the history of wrestling.
Dave Meltzer on WCW going out of business

World Championship Wrestling (formerly Jim Crockett Productions, later operating under the umbrella of Turner Broadcasting, a Time Warner company) is a defunct pro wrestling company which, as Eric Bischoff famously put it, beat the World Wrestling Federation at their own game for 84 weeks in a row. Naturally, this success didn't come right away.

JCP had legitimate, top American stars such as Ric Flair carrying the company, TV deals and great name recognition in the states. They were trying to compete on a national level. However, the company was very careless with money. Following a string of financial and creative mishaps, it was sold to Ted Turner in '88 and re-named World Championship Wrestling.

WCW Saturday Night was the mothership show before Nitro. It was two hours long and always had more than a few squash matches, just like every other wrestling show at the time. However, there were times where they'd let a young nobody get a shot at Flair and actually give him a run for his money. It was also quite cheesy, with Dustin Rhodes, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Cactus Jack, and the Hollywood Blonds making their pre-"Attitude" debuts.

Nitro was a long-shot idea by Eric Bischoff (then-Executive Vice President) to compete with Raw in their own timeslot. Bischoff had the perfect blueprint for a three-hour show: He made sure there was variety, showcasing different style of wrestling. Plus they had a mega-angle going on with the nWo, which was original and, to this day, innovative. (Think "WrestleMania" hype, but weekly.) Pro wrestling was forever changed by the nWo in some ways; it began to reflect the American subculture, which used to be wholly owned by music. It also had a dose of 'reality' to it, as Cornette likes to emphasize.

Nitro was the superior product for years, but then it hit a creative wall. The trouble for Bischoff was that he measured everything by the ratings. So when Raw rebounded (and everyone knew it would eventually), he had no plan or faith in his own product. Guys like Jericho, DDP, Raven, and Booker T either a) didn't get elevated like they should have, or b) it was handled poorly and came about too late. The Cruiserweight Division went from being the "future of wrestling" (as Bischoff touted them as on his show), to being "vanilla midgets" who "couldn't draw", because he was listening to the wrong people. The dumping of WCW's babyfaces, and most of them forming the WolfPac (an nWo offshoot). The Horsemen as jobbers to the stars. Kicking Sean Waltman out, which gave D-X credibility as something on par with the nWo. They might have kicked Raw's ass in the ratings, but WCW couldn't put on a Pay-Per-View to save its life: Goldberg vs. Hogan should've been the main event at Starrcade. Instead, it was relegated to Nitro because they wanted to win the ratings war so badly.

That being said, their numbers at the end weren't far off from where Raw is today. (The difference is that WWE is making money, while WCW was losing it by the boatload.) Without WCW going under, though, we might not have current/former mega stars like AJ Styles or CM Punk, since it was the WCW void which promoted TNA and Ring of Honor to relevance.

WCW is often spoken of in hushed tones by marks and smart marks alike; but many choose to remember the classic moments and superstars that the company produced in its heyday. A 2004 book titled The Death of WCW, chronicles the company's struggles in the eighties and (temporary, alas) resurgence in the new millennium.

By the time WCW disbanded, it had the following Championships:

  • WCW World Heavyweight Championship. It was defended on WWE programming until it was merged with the WWE Championship to become the Undisputed WWE Championship.
  • The WCW Cruiserweight Championsip. It was defended in WWE before its retirement in 2008.
  • The WCW United States Championship. It is currently being used in WWE.
  • The WCW World Tag Team Championship. Were defended on WWE programming, and later retired when merged with the WWE (World) Tag Team Titles
  • The WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship. After WWE's purchase of WCW, this was one of two titles to be abandoned and never be defended on WWE programming.
  • The WCW Hardcore Championship. Much like the Cruiserweight Tag Team titles, after WCW closed, it was also abandoned and never be defended on WWE programming.

Tropes associated with WCW:

  • All There in the Manual: Whenever you felt a WCW storyline needed some extra flavoring, the official magazine had your back. For example: Frankly, it sounds like Nick Patrick's life was miserable before the nWo showed up and offered him a hand. Quoth Lisa Simpson, "I had no idea Disco Stu was so complex."note 
  • Amazon Brigade: WCW had two women's championships, though they were rarely showcased on television and almost exclusively defended outside of the United States, mostly in Japan (just like in AWA) so most viewers just saw Nitro Girls and nWo Girls, who were mostly there to dance for the crowd during the commercial break.
  • Anticlimactic Unmasking:
    • 1990's The Black Scorpion. Originally hinted to be an associate of Sting from his past (similar to WWE's Kane, who came later), he kept getting attacked before he could remove his mask. Ole Anderson, who had voiced the Scorpion and came up with the initial concept, suffered a career-ending injury before his unmasking could occur. This necessitated a total rewrite (the reasoning being that viewers would be flabbergasted to find a jobber under the mask), and Ric Flair took the bullet. Many elements from the angle, such as setting the ring on fire, multiple Black Scorpions etc. were integrated into Sting during his Crow gimmick.
    • 1993's The Shockmaster incident. After weeks of build-up, Sting stood before a live audience at Clash of the Champions and announced in his best hypeman voice: "All I have to say is our partner is going to SHOCK the world, because he is none other thaaannn—!" Then the wall came crashing down, and out waddled a doughy man who lost grip on his helmet, revealing... Fred Ottman, better known as the Popeye-themed wrestler Tugboat from WWF. He was wearing a black cape, Levi's, and an Imperial Stormtrooper helmet which had been dipped in glitter, making it impossible for him to peer through. The incident in Lego form.
      Taimapedia: Since that fateful day, the Shockmaster has kept a low profile. However, he could be lurking behind any wall, just waiting for the right opportunity to jump out.
    • In 1999, WCW forced Rey Mysterio Jr. to lose his mask in a bad match to end a worthless feud. In lucha libre tradition, losing a mask is something that happens very rarely and it is a HUGE deal, typically a culmination of a very long-running and bitter feud and once unmasked, the luchador is never supposed to wrestle masked again unless he wins back the right to do so, typically by defeating the guy who originally beat him for his mask. (luckily, Rey was able to convince Mexican organizations of his great opposition to the match and was given a reprieve). It also didn't help that Rey's masks were the most popular selling mask in the WCW shop and that without it, Rey looked like he was about 13 years old.
  • Artifact Title:
    • WCW began as a regional promotion which was closely affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance. The "World Championship Wrestling" name was used in various forms by various promotions affiliated with the NWA, starting as a brand and television show title in 1974. Jim Barnett (who had worked for a promotion named "World Championship Wrestling" in Australia) came to Atlanta during a power struggle over the NWA Georgia territory. Barnett ultimately became majority owner and began using the old territory name for the new TV show.
    • It was not until December 21, 1976 that an actual, National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)-affiliated promotion called "World Championship Wrestling" appeared on the national scene. This entity was under the ownership of media mogul and cable TV pioneer Ted Turner, based in Atlanta, Georgia. While initially the new company was called Universal Wrestling Corporation after its launch in October 11, 1973; very shortly following the purchase the decision was made to utilize the familiar "World Championship Wrestling" TV show name as the brand name for this new promotion. By mid-1989 all the NWA branding was replaced with WCW.
    • Turner was bought out by Time Warner in 1996; WCW's association with the NWA was dissolved in 1991, which resulted in the NWA's World Heavyweight Championship becoming a WCW belt, as WCW owned it (the "Big Gold Belt", as it came to be known); it once served as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship before being officially retired in 2014.
  • B Show:
    • Thunder, Worldwide and WCW Saturday Night.
    • The latter was originally WCW's flagship program before Nitro launched. These days it's remembered for the sheer volume of jobbers on display. Sgt. Craig "Pitbull" Pittman, the State Patrol, "Hardwork" Bobby Walker, Dean Malenko, Barry Darsow doing his golfer gimmick, Fidel Sierra, Mean Mike and Tough Tom, the masked Texas Hangmen, and the grandaddy of them all The Gambler. They put on a show, even if it wasn't about them. Many of those guys are still wrestling today.
      • However, they still referenced WCW Saturday Night frequently. Storylines, debuts and even title changes did occur on that show. They also had a lot of appearances by future stars of the industry. If not for Saturdays at 6:05 Eastern/5:05 Central, there would never have been any WCW.
    • WCW Worldwide '96 had a bunch of matches between future WWE Hall of Famers.
  • Bat Deduction: Used to explain Sting's face heel turn in a truly amazing hype video. In a nutshell: someone in a white hummer tried to run over Kevin Nash. On a different show Sting was seen coming out of a black hummer. So Sting must have been the one who ran over Kevin Nash. This after Hulk protested that he couldn't have run over Nash, because his hummer is black.
  • Bat Family Crossover: Regarding its "farm leagues", such as the Heartland Wrestling Association, which one could say remained as a remnant of WCW after it went under.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In 1994, when Hulk Hogan entered WCW, he pretty much insisted on going over all the top guys, including Ric Flair and Vader. This despite the fact that, although Hogan was the most recognized wrestler in the world at one time, he was a new face in the WCW locker room. Then the nWo hit it big, but unfortunately, none of the nWo (read: WWF) guys wanted to job to the WCW guys, so the "invasion" was pretty much a landslide victory for the nWo. By late 2001, Hogan was finally driven away by Russo and Nash was marking time until his contract was bought out by the new owners, the WWF. In the last episode, The Night of Champions, it was back to where it should be: Booker T won the world title, and the show capped with a sparring match between Flair and Sting, two WCW oldies who had stuck wth the promotion to the bitter end. Post-match, Sting and Flair embraced and shook hands — a genuine babyface ending.
    • Ironically, the man who unified the WCW and WWF titles was Chris Jericho, the first major WCW acquisition by Vince McMahon. He defeated both The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the same night - in back-to-back matches, no less! - to unify the two titles.
  • Butt Monkey: Many wrestlers felt Ric Flair deserved better than to be publicly disparaged about his age, drinking problem, or finances, especially since it wasn't building to any storyline. As well as the Gladiator gimmick mentioned above, later storylines had him losing his mind, stripping and throwing his shoes into the crowd, being sent to a mental hospital and later being driven out to the desert and literally buried. None of these angles ever built up to any kind of meaningful feud or match.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Glacier for Sub-Zero.
    • Mortis also seemed to be a combination of Reptile and Scorpion, and Wrath's entrance attire was somewhat Shao Kahn inspired.
    • Dustin Rhodes briefly experimented with Seven, a puffy-looking Pinhead ripoff.
    • Christi Wolf as "Asya".
    • "Kwee Wee" (real name Allan Funk). You can read about him here: His gimmick is that he's a rogue fashion designer.
    • Arachnaman was such a blatant Spider-Man ripoff that Marvel Comics threatened legal action, and the character was quickly abandoned.
    • DDP briefly imitated The Rock for a while, doing the poses and rapping about how Flair likes to "spank it, whack it and jack it!"
    • After his initial debut, Goldberg was reminiscent of a bulkier "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (especially with the black trunks and bald head) before his ring character became a rampaging force of nature with an ever-increasing win streak.
    • Tony's schtick with Heenan was a VERY weak attempt at Gorilla Monsoon.
  • Cardboard Boxes: There were always plenty of them backstage for someone to be knocked into. Clangy poles were also featured, which served no other purpose than to be knocked down and make noise (at least the boxes could be justified as emptied of equipment used during the show).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Four Horsemen, Lex Luger and the nWo were all subject to this. Especially when it involved Sting.
  • Complexity Addiction: How David Arquette conned the Millionaire's Club into handing him the world title. Long story short, then-champion DDP rashly accepted a tag team challenge from Jeff Jarrett, with the added stipulation that whoever got the pin would take the belt. You can see where this going. DDP rescued Arquette while he was being brutalized by Jarrett in the basement and made him his partner. By all rights it should have gone to DDP, but Arquette just happened to get the pinfall on Eric Bischoff, Jarrett's tag team partner, becoming World Champion through a fluke win. David desperately tried to relinquish the title, but DDP continued to rope him into no-holds barred matches and then dragged his unconscious form over his opponent for the "pin". Later, it was revealed the Arquette ("the world's GREATEST actor!" — Schiavone) had been a plant all along, conspiring with the New Blood to put the belt back on Jarrett. In a now-infamous promo, he turned heel and boasted to the audience that the entire $24 million production of Ready to Rumble was A WORK designed to lure DDP to a Los Angeles film set and befriend him. The only reason they let Page win the title was so they could screw him, thus meaning that DDP is the first wrestler in history to get screwed into a title.
  • Continuity Reboot:
    • Vacating all the titles; never a good sign. Imagine watching Raw on Monday and them announcing that every championship was now vacant. If a wrestler can't book themselves to where they need to be without Creative taking a short cut of resetting everything, why should you get invested? Because maybe next year (or month in WCW-land) they'll reset it all over again.
    • After the Starrcade debacle, Vince Russo (credited as the "brains" behind the WWF's Attitude Era) was brought in as booker. In an attempt at re-invention, Chris Benoit was booked to win the World Heavyweight Championship at Souled Out 2000. However, this didn't do enough to satisfy him, so Benoit gave the belt back [!] and signed on with WWF the very next day. Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, and Eddie Guerrero soon followed; all four debuted on Raw two weeks later as "The Radicalz".
    • With the company hemorrhaging money, AOLTW went into panic mode and started taking a more active role in booking. The storyline was "reset" in April 2000, splitting the company into two factions: the "New Blood" (younger, newer stars) and the "Millionaires' Club" (older stars like Nash and Hogan). Unfortunately, this was perceived as a rehash of the nWo vs. WCW feud, and many fans never got it. It didn't help that the older stars were booked as faces and the New Blood were booked as heels (?).
  • Covers Always Lie: The VHS release of Slamboree 2000 sports a big picture of Jarrett and DDP. David Arquette is not pictured or even mentioned on either side of the box.
  • Cuckoolander Commentator:
    • Tony Schiavone, the greatest commentator in the history of our sport. He became a laughingstock for his apparent lack of wrestling knowledge (referring to most moves as a "slam" or "jam"), proclaiming each new wrestler was "undefeated" in their debut (presumably he meant undefeated in this wrestling promotion... but he often ignored losses on Thunder, too), and hyperbole that puts the Iraqi Information Minister to shame. He's also the one who suggested putting the belt on Arquette as a joke, so thank him for that.
    • The voice you are now hearing is Michael Buffer. (Spared no expense.) WCW signed an exclusive contract with Buffer to be their lead in-ring announcer. "....home of the NCAA Champions of the Universe...." $100K per night, folks.
    • "Mongo" McMichael, an ex-NFL star, and his cosplaying pooch, Pepe. Although even Mongo was savvy enough to at one point ask why they were putting Luger v. Savage on free TV instead of PPV.
    • In the WCW Hotline commercials ("just 99¢ a minute!"), Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan use black ops training and subterfuge to spy on WCW talent and find out their darkest secrets. They eavesdrop on Disco Inferno while he hits on Kimberly Page, dress up like waitresses and hide under Sting's dinner table, and even infiltrate the American Males' lockers.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Bischoff era. Less emphasis on gimmicks and costumes (even Flair is wearing civvies), and an "all-shoot" booking style.
    • They completely redesigned the set and the company logo in April '99. WCW never advertised or gave any indication that they were re-branding at all, just BLAM! Nitro changed after that. The tone of the show became grey and industrial, far from the bright colours of the Crockett era, and the volcanic eruptions of the Bischoff era—yet very distinct from the grungy WWF presentation. (And for some reason Hulk Hogan was back in the red and yellow?).
    • The B-show, Thunder, went further with a bare-bones ring (no gaudy neon, just steel grey). Souled Out is another thing again.
      WrestleCrap: The show opened in a manner most bizarre, as Bischoff, Sean Waltman, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and the rest of the group circled the arena riding atop garbage trucks. Say what you want about him, but even the most jaded skeptic has to give Bischoff points for originality: certainly no pay-per-view in the history of pro wrestling had begun in such a manner.
  • Demoted to Extra: The reason why Goldberg losing is mentioned a lot is because HE NEVER BOTHERED TO GET HIS REVENGE. He just let Hogan take his title and feud with Flair, while he fought Bam Bam Bigelow for no apparent reason. Could you imagine Stone Cold Steve Austin getting screwed out of the WWF title and then feuding with Jeff Jarrett for a while?
  • Denser and Wackier: Russo wasn't the only foot on WCW's throat in the end, what with the million-dollar contracts being given out like candy. But but lest we forget all the pole matches, fifteen title changes in 6 months (nearly thirty in 2000), trying to revive the nWo with Jarrett and Bret of all people, the pole matches, the complete annihilation of kayfabe (along with Nash), the famous three-way with Nash, Steiner and Goldberg, not to mention...pole matches. Oh, and Judy Bagwell on a forklift. Russo started behind the 8-ball sure, but he also pocketed it with a bit of English.
  • Dream Team:
  • Enemy Mine: Once The Outsiders were established, they attacked the entire WCW roster indiscriminately, forcing faces and heels to unite and oppose the trio.
  • The Face: Sting was the whitebread hero on WCW. In the dying days of Saturday Night, Duggan main-evented seemingly every show.
    • By 1998, WCW had not only managed to secure a second major show in Thunder, but it was building up a new megastar in Goldberg. His biggest victory came on 6 July 1998, when he finally defeated "Hollywood" Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship... on a weekly episode of Nitro. The match gave Bischoff his last ratings victory against the WWF; it also cost him millions in pay-per-view revenue. This exposed a major structural flaw in Bischoff's business model, one which would eventually bring the company down.
  • The Gambler: Real name Jeff Genn, known throughout the wrestling world as "the jobber of jobbers". He was actually a good worker who never really got a chance. WrestleCrap published a whole feature on him.
  • Gimmick Matches: In the promotion's early years as WCW, it was horribly mismanaged and written by people who had no idea what wrestling fans wanted to see, relying on stunts and gimmicks to capture the glamour and flash of the WWF: such "matches" included a live appearance by RoboCop [!] at a pay-per-view event, and the infamous Black Scorpion mystery.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: Men such as Jim Herd, Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo served as the defacto leaders and movers of WCW but they all relied on and could be overruled by Ted Turner. Chris Jericho once tried to exploit this by going straight to Turner to get a shot at the Cruiserweight belt and Turner would have done it too, based on Jericho's sound logic. But Chris was so whiny Turner decided to go with his subordinate's decision instead.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door:
    • Bret Hart for his entire WCW career; It's one of the reasons why he couldn't get over as well as he did in the WWF.
    • Lex Luger, 1998-99.
    • Ric Flair, non-stop.
    • Any time he feuded with someone, Hogan would mysteriously start to turn face. Fans tended to lean Hogan's way, and once his opponent was buried, Hogan would go back to acting heelish.
    • He turned face for good in 1999 (with Sting briefly turning heel) and the Outsiders reformed... But Bischoff was reinstated in 2000 and brought with him a new stable, i.e. New World Order with a facelift, of which Hogan was a member. Hogan was not happy about it, as he'd already gone back to his Hulkamania gimmick ("The red and yellow will never die!") and was well over with crowds. Critics and wrestling journalists point to the Millionaires/New Blood feud as proof that Bischoff had only one trick (the nWo), and that he was more concerned with selling merch than putting on a good product.
    • Everybody had this problem in the Vince Russo era. Not a surprise, as Russo has infamously said he doesn't believe in "heels" or "faces".
    • The opening post of this thread highlights many of the fuck-ups that led to the company's demise.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover:
    • Their fortunes didn't really pick up, until Hogan, Hall, and Nash efected to WCW and formed their own coalition: the New World Order, who teased at a cross-promotional "invasion" (despite the WWF having nothing to do with the angle).
    • WCW was eventually sold to the WWF in early 2001 (weeks before WrestleMania X-Seven) at what amounted to fire-sale prices, mere days before the final Monday Nitro. The final show was a simulcast on Raw, with an appearance by Vince's son Shane Nitro.

      WCW stuck around in-name-only, as the titles were unified with their WWF counterparts, culminating with the unification of the WCW and WWF Championships at Vengeance 2001 (the "WWF Undisputed Championship"). With both WCW and ECW (which had gone out of business just a couple of months prior) in their back pockets, the WWF was left as the lone major professional wrestling promotion in the United States.
  • It Will Never Catch On:
    • Among the various people that WCW thought weren't worth a main event push was "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who was promised a World Title run. That run never happened, because Hogan was brought in to main-event Bash at the Beach '94. Austin saw the writing on the wall and left for WWF to become the biggest star since, well, Hulk Hogan. Soon to be followed by Mick Foley, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Triple H, and Rey Mysterio, Jr. (and Austin was preceded by the guy who would become The Undertaker). All of these guys became celebrated world champions when they went to the WWF. Bischoff also let Jim Ross go because he thought he wouldn't go over well with mainstream America.
    • For an added twist to the above, it was reportedly Hogan himself who brought Undertaker to see Vince McMahon after 'Taker, then known as Mean Mark Callous in WCW appeared in Hogan's movie Suburban Commando. The rest is history.
    • Inverted with Brian Pillman. They wrote Pillman out and let him go work for ECW for a few months and get the "Loose Cannon" gimmick down to a science because Eric Bischoff expected to be able to resign him. Bischoff, being Bischoff, did not consider the possibility that Pillman might want to go work with his best friends in the business (Austin, Dustin, Foley, and the Harts) in the WWF, the former three having left WCW because they hated the direction in which it was going under the Hogan Regime, not unlike Pillman himself.
    • How many times has that killed an entire company? WCW might well be the first when they revealed that Mick Foley would win the WWF Championship, which caused over half a million fans to switched over to Raw after Schiavone insulted him.
  • Lensman Arms Race: Initially only sixty minutes in length (as was Raw at the time), Nitro grew to 2 hours to compete with the 1996 NBA Playoffs. Raw waited until nearly a full year later to expand to the second hour. Nitro remained a two-hour program until 1998, when Bischoff lobbied for a third hour for the #1 wrestling program in the country. Within a month or two, Bischoff was starting to realize his mistake and scrambled to fill 180 minutes of programming in addition to the preexisting WCW Saturday Night. And then TNT ordered another two-hour show (Thunder) to air on Thursdays. Beginning in 2000, the mothership got downgraded to 2 hours again while the poorly-performing Thunder was moved to Mondays, airing directly after Nitro — essentially giving us a 4-hour show. This tap dance continued for two years until WCW died. (As of the show's 1,000th episode which aired in 2012, Raw is now a 3-hour broadcast.)
  • Licensed Game: More than you might expect.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters/Out of Focus:
    • At its height, WCW had over 240 wrestlers on its roster. Unlike most examples, though, only perhaps half of them were ever actually seen on television. This was both a deliberate plan and a grievous error on WCW's part. Part of their plan on competing with the WWF was to buy up competing talent for the sole purpose of keeping them from signing with the competition. While some were given spots on WCW programming, most others (mostly C-List Fodder) simply got to lay back and collect paychecks while "working" under a non-compete agreement.

      Unfortunately for WCW, even this plan got away from them, as the sheer number of wrestlers became unmanageable on a week to week basis. At the time, wrestlers were paid on a per-show basis, whether or not they actually worked on that show. Attendance was taken by signing your own name in on a clipboard. A fair number of genre savvy workers, knowing full well that WCW didn't have any intention of actually using them, simply stayed at home and had friends of theirs on the roster sign in their names in their place.
    • There were also many who would still travel in a full-time schedule on the company's dime without working any matches. Only in 2000 did they start to only fly out any talent who were actually regularly being booked.
    • Madusa took one look at the names attached to WCW's new women's division and signed at once. She defected, dropped the WWF belt in the trash can, and never once held the women’s title (which became a complete afterthought the second it was revived, and lasted only a few months anyway). They had a solid roster, with half the women being from GAEA Japan, and they did nothing with it. So her famous rant was all for nothing, it was essentially Bischoff giving the finger to Vince again.
  • Monday Night Wars: Determined to bring the fight to WWF's doorstep, Ted Turner asked Bischoff what needed to be done in order to compete with the WWF. In response, and thinking it would never happen, Bischoff asked owner Ted Turner to give them Prime time. To Bischoff's great surprise, he was granted two hours on Monday nights to run against longtime Monday night mainstay Monday Night Raw. WCW debuted Monday Nitro in 1995. The two shows would trade occasional ratings victories, but the WWF was still largely considered the winner despite WCW acquiring a number of stars who had once wrestled for the WWF.
  • Mascot: Wild Cat Willie! ("W.C.W." - get it?)
  • Money to Throw Away: WCW from mid-1999 until the bitter end took this into new heights. For the year of 2000, WCW managed to lose $80 million. The reason for the shortfall is simple: profits and buyrates were way down, but the annual budget stayed at the same level as WCW's peak in 97-98.
    V1: Monster trucks, helicopter shots, Harley-Davisons. One being squished, one being given away... [blows raspberry] This company is well on its way to going out of business.
  • The Movie: Ready to Rumble, as much as fans would rather not acknowledge this (leading as it did to the David Arquette title run).
  • Parts Unknown:
    • Various members of the Dungeon of Doom including "The Taskmaster" Kevin Sullivan, from "The Iron Gates of Fate" and The Zodiac (Brutus Beefcake), from "The Land of Yin and Yang".
    • Masked wrestler Blitzkrieg, who had a brief run in 1999, from "The Cosmos".
    • The Patriots (Firebreaker Chip and Todd Champion), from "WCW Special Forces".
    • The Yellow Dog (Brian Pillman under a mask), from "The Kennel Club".
  • Power Stable: Four Horsemen (the Ur-Example), New World Order (and its various spinoffs), and the New Blood.
  • Put on a Bus: Sting took six months off every year despite being completely healthy. This coincided with Hogan returning from his vacation.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell:
    • Scott Hall was arrested countless times for drunkenness and other bad behavior. It got so bad that his wife Dana wrote in to the office and pleaded with them do something, and something they did: WCW Creative made it part of his gimmick, with Hall tip-toeing out of the ring for a tipple. Eric Bischoff did indeed come downstairs to talk man-to-man with Hall — in a promo, mind you — to which Hall responded by vomiting on him. The nWo, eager to cut Hall loose, sent Nash to play some sweet chin music on him, and he disappeared from WCW programming.
    • "The Madness of Ric Flair" storyline. Almost as soon as he reformed the Horsemen on Nitro, Flair went bananas, declared himself the U.S. President (in reaction to Hogan's and Macho's competing Presidential runs), and was carted off to the "Central Florida Mental Hospital" to treat his senility — where he bumped into Hall, oy vey.
  • Ratings Stunt:
    • Hogan selling an arm bar from Jay Leno. At least Rodman or Malone made an ounce of sense since they were giant, professional athletes!
    • RoboCop and David Arquette, World Champion spring to mind. Both sold out the arena.
      • Ticket sales immediately plummeted and ratings dropped a full five points after the Arquette case though.
    • Mike f'n Awesome doing the "That 70s Guy' gimmick and facing off against Insane Clown Posse.
    • Unorthodox, illogical, and just plain stupid angles continued as WCW slid into a resigning self-parody, with the final straw for many fans being the crowning of actor David Arquette as World Champion.
    • Bischoff relied on a Shock and Awe approach to WCW, booking PPV-quality matches almost every week (usually in the last hour or so) to keep people from switching to Raw. So you end up getting Hogan v. Goldberg on Nitro for free, despite the vast sum that match was worth in buys. There were several flaws in this plan:
      1. With so many spectacular match-ups crowding the schedule, there wasn't much room for the cruiserweights to compete for attention (Rey, Juvi, and Kidman traded the CW belt back and forth, while Benoit and Jericho defected to the WWF; the rest languished in the midcard).
        DDT: How can you protect Vampiro's credibility when he gets beaten up by a fat, out-of-shape Jim Ross imitator (and, gee, one of the bookers at that), and has to rely on a rock band for the save?
      2. Tortoise and the Hare. Buyrates suffered because there was no real incentive to watch PPVs, whereas Raw built up to them at a more methodical pace.
      3. WCW was bursting with title changes every week. (DDP once regained the World Title from Sting on the same night he lost the World Title to Sting.) Not only did it make Nitro near-impossible to follow, it removed any sense of stature from the belts and (ironically) made the WWF World Title seem more vaunted in comparison. This ensured WCW would always be seen as a pale copy of WWF, rather than the future of wrestling.
  • Reset Button: Unfortunately for WCW, their success didn't last. As the WWF reinvented itself with a new darker and edgier image lifted in part from ECW, WCW kept milking the nWo for all it was worth. The group was originally planned to dissolve after Starrcade 1997, where WCW mainstay Sting defeated Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Instead, the group split into two factions (the nWo "Hollywood", led by Hogan, and nWo Wolfpac, led by Kevin Nash), which feuded with each other throughout 1998. The group re-unified following the Fingerpoke of Doom, before being split again and reshuffled into the Millionaires' Club and The New Blood.
  • Shout-Out: Like AAA, they had a "Thundercage", which was a send up to the Mad Max Thunderdome.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • The Outsider invasion angle that lead to the nWo and the Heartland Wrestling Association, which both started in 1996, were successors to the failed invasion and talent exchange WCW had earlier started with Smokey Mountain Wrestling, which shutdown in 1995.
    • TNA, both the good (like its early focus on the X-Division / cruiserweights) and bad (like the over-emphasis on kayfabe-breaking storylines and reality TV smut). Bonus: Jarrett founded it to replace WCW in the first place.
  • Squash Match: An example of Tropes Are Tools. The abundance of squash matches on WWF programming lead viewers to jump ship to watch WCW, which mostly showcased competitive matches. WCW did use squash matches to create its top draw, Goldberg, though.
  • Status Quo Is God: This had always been present to some degree. The downfall of Jim Crockett Promotions was that there were no clean finishes, which ultimately fell on Dusty Rhodes' shoulders. Nobody wanted to job because of backstage politics and Rhodes found that screwjob finishes were the best way to keep everyone happy (the shape of things to come), but fans felt robbed.
  • Strictly Formula: Without the Outsiders, there would be no Attitude Era and professional wrestling might not have survived as long as it has. That said, there is an added irony to WWF rolling the dice with former WCW talent while Nitro kept spinning its wheels with the nWo. WWE had their own veteran stable in D-Generation X, sure, but they also experimented with new and unusual characters like The Rock, Stone Cold, and Mankind; something WCW would not experiment with. They lost a lot of their novelty and with it their once-mighty audience.
  • Worked Shoot: Flyin' Brian "quit" the company in the one of the most bizarre shoots ever. He pretended to be crazy, jumped the divider and left, and the wrestlers had to fill time somehow. (The sight of Arn Anderson hurrying to the ring in a dress shirt, shorts and hiking boots was awkward.)

    Kevin Sullivan was in on it with Pillman, they were the only ones that knew. Pillman was under still contract when he went to ECW. To guarantee that he'd go to New York once his contract with WCW ran out, WWF was paying him as well! Bischoff had an elaborate plan to bring him back with the 'Loose Cannon' gimmick, but he didn't expect him to jump ship to WWF. (Heyman was too smart for him, though. According to the Ladies and Gentlemen DVD, ECW didn't pay a penny for Pillman due to his unique status as both WCW and WWE property.)
    • It was (arguably) the first worked shoot, it involved two brilliant people, and it got over huge, making Pillman the biggest free agent in wrestling and drawing attention to the company. Sullivan and Pillman would call each other and talk about people going up to each one of them and calling the other an asshole, and hoping they'd kick the other's ass. Jericho even said he caught them one time during a 'crazy' episode. and in the middle of it Pillman winked at him.
    • Starting in the late 90's, management did not allow announcers to view the pre-taped segments. The idea was that it would make their commentary "more spontaneous". As a result, they had no idea how to sell the angles that were taking place. One of the more notorious examples of this was when the nWo beat up Ric Flair in a field somewhere. He hitchhiked to the arena in a turnip truck. When Flair got back to the arena, dirty and clutching an axe handle, the commentators, having been briefed on none of this, decided he must have fallen asleep drunk.
      • When The Giant fell off a building at Halloween Havoc '95, they had a guest commentator who was only there because he knew about monster trucks. He thought a man had fallen to his death and the other announcers just let him believe it. There will truly never be anything like WCW again.
    • The commentators got off easy: Bischoff was constantly working the wrestlers. For instance, according to Sherri Martel, everyone assumed that Nancy Sullivan's affair with Benoit was a work.
    • 1998 saw other bad decisions that accelerated the decline: At Starrcade '98, Nash defeated Goldberg after Goldberg was tazed by Hall to claim the World Heavyweight Championship, which also ended his undefeated "streak." Eight days later on Nitro, Nash and Hogan were scheduled to have a match for said title, but instead, Nash took a poke to the chest from Hogan and sold it like he'd been shot with a cannon, lying down on the mat. This incident, orchestrated by Hogan behind-the-scenes, came to be known by all as the Fingerpoke of Doom.

      Prior to this limp main event, Tony Schiavone (per Bischoff's orders) revealed that fan-favorite Mick "Mankind" Foley would be winning the WWF Championship on a pre-taped edition of Raw, essentially inviting over half a million viewers to change the channel — which they did.
      "That's gonna put some butts in the seats, heh!"
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The video game 'WCW Backstage Assault' was considered just a spinoff whilst EA worked on Mayhem 2, but ended up being the last WCW game ever. The roster captures the many people / gimmicks WCW had on its roster in 2000/2001 such as Tank Abbott, The Harris Twins, David Flair, Vampiro, Crowbar, Daffney, 3 Count, Kronik, Misfits In Action and even Vince Russo. Most of these were not considered good enough to be hired by WWF when it bought out WCW, though some would later turn up in TNA. The game showed WCW's cost-cutting and rushing, with only being able to fight backstage whilst the competing WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role featured numerous arenas, more backstage areas, more moves and better graphics. What makes this sad is, the preceding game WCW Mayhem had been regarded as better than its competitor WWF Attitude, and THQ proceeded to copy and refine its simplified style for its own WWF games whilst WCW actually managed to produce a worse game due to t having it Christmas Rushed.

Alternative Title(s): World Championship Wrestling