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Where the Big Boys Played.

"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
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World Championship Wrestling was an American Professional Wrestling company which, as Eric Bischoff famously put it, beat the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) at their own game for 84 weeks. Naturally, this success didn't come right away.

Historically based out of Atlanta, it began as a regional NWA territory, first as Georgia Championship Wrestling and later Jim Crockett Promotions. From its inception, JCP had big names like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Ricky Steamboat carrying the company, along with up-and-comers like Sting and Lex Luger. They were trying to compete on a national level. Unfortunately, in spite of their TV deals and name recognition in the States, the company was very careless with money. In 1988, after a string of financial and creative mishaps, it was sold to cable TV pioneer Ted Turner and re-named World Championship Wrestling.

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WCW Saturday Night was the mothership show before Nitro. It was two hours long and had more than a few squash matches, just like every other 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 also served as a springboard for wrestlers who would go on to achieve fame in later years, with Dustin Rhodes, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Cactus Jack, and The Hollywood Blonds ("Stunning" Steve Austin and Brian Pillman) appearing for the first time on national television.

Nitro was a long-shot idea by Bischoff to compete with Raw in their own timeslot. He had the perfect blueprint for a three-hour show: Make sure there is variety, showcasing different styles of wrestling (often with interesting stipulations). Live TV in an age when viewers had their attention divided. Have a mega-angle going on with the New World Order, which was original and, to this day, innovative. Pro wrestling was forever changed by the nWo in some ways, with each show ending on a cliffhanger. Think WrestleMania hype, but weekly.

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Nitro was the superior product for years, until it hit a creative wall. Bischoff's problem 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. While established stars were given most of the screentime, up-and-comers like Chris Jericho, Diamond Dallas Page, Raven, and Booker T either 1) didn't get elevated like they should have, or 2) 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 over-reliance on the nWo storyline, complete with most of their babyfaces joining the Wolfpac (an nWo offshoot). The Four Horsemen as jobbers to the stars. Most notorious of all, Goldberg vs. Hulk Hogan was relegated to an episode of Nitro, rather than Pay-Per-View, because they wanted to win the ratings war so badly. These and more creative missteps led to significant losses in ratings and revenue, which resulted in the WWF purchasing WCW's assets in March 2001.

Even so, their numbers at the end weren't far off from where Raw is today. Furthermore, without WCW going under, we might not have stars like AJ Styles or CM Punk, since it was the void created by WCW's demise which led to the creation of TNA and Ring of Honor and promoted them to relevance.

By the time WCW disbanded, it recognized 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.
  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship - It was defended in WWE until its retirement in 2008.
  • WCW United States Championship - It is currently being used in WWE.
  • WCW World Tag Team Championship - Defended on WWE programming, then merged with the WWE (World) Tag Team Titles
  • WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship - After WWE's purchase of WCW, it was one of 2 titles to be abandoned and never mentioned again on WWE programming.
  • WCW Hardcore Championship - Much like the Cruiserweight Tag Team titles, after WCW closed, it was also abandoned and never defended on WWE.
  • WCW also 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 the WSL AWA) so most viewers just saw the Nitro Girls and nWo Girls, who were mostly there to dance for the crowd during the commercial break.

Tropes associated with WCW:

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     A–D 
  • Advertised Extra:
    • When Bret Hart jumped ship to WCW, he was still technically under contract with the WWF for a while, so they couldn't actually debut him. He also had a 90-day no-compete clause, so he couldn't really do anything other than talk, and be a special referee for Starrcade '97. And when he finally could wrestle, he was stuck in the United States title picture and as an nWo hanger-on (as opposed to his main event status in the WWF), not being pushed to the main event until a few months before his run ended.
    • 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 a deliberate plan on WCW's part: buy up competing talent for the sole purpose of keeping them from signing with the competition. While some were given spots on WCW programming, others (many of them way past their prime) got to lay back and collect paychecks while "working" under a non-compete agreement. Unfortunately for WCW, even this plan got away from them. 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 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.
  • All There in the Manual: Whenever you felt a WCW storyline needed some extra flavoring, the official magazine had your back. For instance, it sounds like Nick Patrick's life was miserable before the nWo showed up and offered him a hand.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: During the Monday Night Wars, there were numerous examples of this between WCW and WWF, with these most notable ones sticking out:
    • Goldberg to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Both were bald, goateed one-man armies who wore simple black trunks as wrestling gear, yet became immensely over with crowds due to their take-no-BS personalities and going against a large Heel Power Stable (the nWo and The Corporation). It went to the point that Eric Bischoff was accused of hypocrisy after it was alleged he told Austin that men in simple black trunks could not get over with the crowd, only for Goldberg to do the same thing.
    • Sting to The Undertaker. Both became famous for goth-themed gimmicks while also having at one point a more grounded one ("Surfer" Sting and the "American Badass"/"Biker Taker"), both were mostly-silent, and both had such a large following (and were so faithful to their respective companies) that they were believed to embody the 'soul' of their promotions. It got to the point where, after WCW went under, a bout between the two was considered a dream match for a long time.
    • Scott Steiner to Triple H. Both began as the lesser member of a tag team/stable (the Steiner Brothers and D-Generation X) before reinventing themselves as muscled-up trash-talkers and having breakout solo runs that made them main eventers.
    • Buff Bagwell to Val Venis (and to an extent Shawn Michaels), all three being ladies' men (Bagwell and Michaels being a sort of "boy toys", as Michaels' theme proclaimed, while Venis had the gimmick of a wrestling pornstar). Ironically, Bagwell later became an escort in real life.
    • The nWo to D-Generation X. Both were industry-changing stables led by a then-world champion (Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels) who were all about disrespecting the established norms. Both also included members of The Kliq: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in the nWo, Michaels and Triple H in DX, and Sean Waltman in both (as Syxx in the nWo and as X-Pac in DX). Michaels would later join the nWo's WWE incarnation, albeit in a non-wrestling capacity.
    • Three Count to Too Cool, in terms of being trios with a music-related gimmick (Too Cool being a hip hop crew, while Three Count were a boy band).
    • Tank Abbott to Ken Shamrock, both being MMA fighters who became famous on the very early days of the UFC before making the jump to wrestling.
    • Dennis Rodman to Mike Tyson, both being sportsmen and bonafide mainstream celebrities who participated in wrestling matches (albeit Tyson only did so as an outside enforcer). Both even associated themselves with the aforementioned alternate equivalents nWo and DX, respectively.
    • Ric Flair to Jerry Lawler, in terms of being long-running territory wrestlers.
    • Tony Schiavone's banter with Bobby Heenan was a weak attempt at Gorilla Monsoon.
    • Asya (Christi Wolf) to Chyna: large female bodybuilders who fought men. WCW weren't shy about it, even claiming that "Asia/Asya is bigger than China/Chyna".
    • Booker T to The Rock, being one of the first African-American top draws their respective promotions had in a long time (Booker T was in fact preceded by Ron Simmons, but by almost a decade), having snappy catch-phrases and even similar finishers, both variations of the side slam (Booker T had the Book End, a kneeling side slam, and The Rock had the Rock Bottom, a falling side slam). In fact, Booker T was told to change to be more like The Rock.
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking:
    • 1990's Black Scorpion. Said to be an associate of Sting from his past, he kept getting attacked before he could remove his mask. Ole Anderson, who voiced the Scorpion and came up with the initial concept, suffered a career-ending injury before his unmasking could occur. This forced a rewrite, and Ric Flair took his place for the unmasking. Many elements from the angle, such as setting the ring on fire, multiple Black Scorpions etc. were integrated into Sting during his Crow years.
    • 1993's Shockmaster, with the added "appeal" that the unmasking happened completely by accident. After weeks of build-up, Sting stood before a live audience at Clash of the Champions and announced the arrival of his new partner. The wall came crashing down, and out waddled a man who lost grip on his helmet, revealing... Fred Ottman (better known as the sailor-themed wrestler Tugboat and later Typhoon during his time in the WWF). He was wearing an Imperial Stormtrooper helmet, dipped in glitter, which makes it no wonder why he botched the entrance.note  Since that fateful day, the Shockmaster has kept a low profile.
    • In 1999, WCW forced Rey Mysterio Jr. to lose his mask in a bad match to end a feud. In lucha libre tradition, losing a mask is something which happens very rarely and it is a big 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 the right to do so, typically by beating the guy who stole the mask. It also didn't help that Rey's masks were the best-selling masks in the WCW shop and that without it, Rey looked like he was about 13 years old. Luckily, Rey was able to convince Mexican wrestling authorities of his opposition to the match.
  • Anti-Climax:
    • When the Ultimate Warrior was brought to WCW (known as simply "The Warrior"), he was built up as a threat to Hollywood Hogan. Warrior pretty much got beaten all the time before being defeated by Hogan at Halloween Havoc 1998, even though Hogan was supposed to be super-scared of him.
    • After ruining Warrior v. Hogan and Sting v. Hogan, the only thing keeping WCW afloat was Goldberg's run in 1998. But even that managed to suffer an anti-climax of its own with the one-two punch of Goldberg's streak being broken by Kevin Nash at Starrcade 1998 (with help of Scott Hall and a cattle prod) and the Fingerpoke of Doom eight days later (see below).
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Diamond Dallas Page would travel quite the road to go from a manager who was a non-wrestler to world champion and becoming the ultimate face of WCW.
    • In the Fall of 2000, a dark time in WCW history, former tag team specialists Booker T and Scott Steiner became the main eventers who were holding the company afloat.
  • B Show: Thunder, Worldwide, and Saturday Night. The latter was originally WCW's flagship program before Nitro launched. It was actually a decent B-show: They featured a lot of good midcarders like Steven Regal and tag teams like Harlem Heat, and a lot of the newer and younger talents. However, Nitro still referenced 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 (all of the WCW videos with Triple H are from Saturday Night). Even the nWo would show up and have matches there now and again. If not for Saturdays at 6:05 Eastern/5:05 Central, there would never have been any Monday Night War. It's worth noting that WCW Worldwide '96 had a bunch of matches between future WWE Hall of Famers.
  • Beach Episode: Bash at the Beach was a pay-per-view with a beach theme. Heck, it took place at an actual beach once!
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • If it wasn't for the fact that it was the company's last show, Nitro's last episode, The Night of Champions, would've looked like the moment where things were going back on track for WCW: Booker T won the world title, and the show capped with a sparring match between Flair and Sting, two WCW oldies who had stuck with 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.
  • Bowdlerise: Since WCW were strictly anti-blood at the time, the spot in the infamous match between Vader and Cactus Jack where Vader made Jack bleed had to be edited out of the match when it was broadcast. Mick Foley asked Vader pre-match make him bleed a bit for dramatic effect. When Mick called the spot in the turnbuckle, Vader drove the bottom of his fist down onto Mick's nose, shattering it and causing him to bleed profusely. The latter doesn't explain that in the DVD (Mick Foley's Greatest Hits and Misses), so it just looks like Vader dickishly broke his nose. It says something that Mick let Vader powerbomb him on the floor twice, but those punches are still among the worst ever seen in wrestling.
  • 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 Khan-inspired.
    • Dustin Rhodes briefly experimented with Seven, a Pinhead lookalike.
    • "Kwee Wee" (real name Allan Funk)note  had a gimmick of being a rogue fashion designer, which appears to be based on Chris Kattan's Mango character from Saturday Night Live.
    • Arachnaman was such a blatant Spider-Man ripoff that Marvel Comics threatened legal action, and the character was quickly abandoned.
    • Mike Awesome doing his "That 70s Guy" gimmick.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Reboot: In 2000, Time Warner started taking a more active role in booking. They vacated all of WCW's titles on the April 10, 2000 episode of Nitro as part of a "reboot", then split the company into two factions: the "New Blood" (up-and-comers) and the "Millionaires' Club" (the veterans). Unfortunately, this was perceived as a rehash of the nWo vs. WCW feud, and many fans never got it.
  • Corpsing:
    • Halloween Havoc '97: Diamond Dallas Page vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage. DDP smashes Savage over the head with a glass plate, and Dusty Rhodes, doing color commentary, can't stop laughing.
    • Aside from the botch itself, the Shockmaster segment is one of the best pieces of unintentional comedy ever created. Davey Boy Smith and Sid Vicious have their backs to the hard camera while the others cut the promo (which consists of insane shouting), but they leave the mic on so you hear them ripping on Fred as soon as he falls. It's made hilarious due to the off-camera comments of Ric Flair ("I told you...oh God..."), Stevie Ray ("Who is this motherfucker?"), and best of all, Davey Boy Smith ("He fell on his arse! He fell flat on his fucking arse!"). Ole Anderson, who provided the voice of the Shockmaster, snickered into the mic before composing himself.
    • When "The Cat" (Ernest Miller) fought The Dog (Al Green), even Tony Schiavone couldn't keep from laughing.
    • The infamous clip of Torrie Wilson getting slapped by the Macho Man for laughing during a backstage segment. Wilson didn't know Savage was going to smack her, so it wasn't planned. Eric Bischoff in particular got a lot of heat for it since it was at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and a lot of the Time Warner higher-ups were there to see it. Nowadays, it's mostly remembered for being a Botchamania meme.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The VHS release of Slamboree 2000 sports a big picture of Jeff Jarrett and DDP. David Arquette is not pictured or even mentioned on either side of the box.
    • New Blood Rising. Best thing about the title: The New Blood stable broke up before the PPV.
  • Crossover:
    • On the February 19, 1996 episode of Baywatch, fittingly and amusingly titled "Bash at the Beach", Hogan and Savage had joined forces and worked alongside with the Baywatch lifeguard crew in order to help save the Beachfront Boys' Club from evil condo developers Flair, Vader, and Kevin Sullivan.
    • On the February 2, 2001 episode of Charmed (1998), titled "Wrestling With Demons", Scott Steiner and Booker T were demons who had fought the Charmed Ones in a wrestling match for someone's soul. Oh, and Ron Perlman had also guest starred as the episode's main antagonist. It goes to show how over wrestling was back in The '90s, with two wrestlers from a dying company roping a major network into a cross-promotion. Near the end of the episode, the Charmed Ones had emerged victorious over their opponents, with Steiner and Booker GETTING PINNED BY THEM AND THEN SENT STRAIGHT TO HELL.
    • In the Arliss episode, "To Thine Own Self Be True", Eric Bischoff, Lex Luger, Randy Savage, and Rick Steiner made cameos after a hockey player tried to cross over into professional wrestling. In exchange, actor Robert Wuhl appeared in-character at Orlando to hype the wrestling debut of Dennis Rodman. This was only the umptenth weirdest thing that happened in WCW.
  • Crushing Handshake: Played with at Bash at the Beach '98. Stevie Ray faced Chavo Guerrero Jr., with the stipulation that if Chavo didn't win the match, he had to face Eddie Guerrero in a "loser gets their head shaved" match immediately following. Chavo, wanting to be fresh for the next match (and really wanting to get to Eddie after weeks of abuse at his hands) offers Stevie a pre-match handshake and immediately taps out once a shocked-looking Stevie takes his hand. Chavo would proceed to lose to Eddie and shave his own head, then try to shave Eddie's head while shrieking, "WE CAN BE TWINS, EDDIE!"
  • Cuckoolander Commentator:
    • There's a reason Botchamania used to have a dedicated segment called "Insane Dusty Commentary".
    • Mark Madden as the heel announcer. "Fatty-boom-batty", indeed.
    • When Scott Steiner was invited to be a guest announcer, he spent most of the time running down Hulk Hogan rather than calling the match.
      Scott Steiner: Hulk Hogan worrying about his "spot". Well, he can have his spot! His bald spot! His limp-gimp-to-the ring spot! His age spot!
    • WCW signed an exclusive contract with Michael Buffer to be their lead in-ring announcer. He made $100k per appearance just to call guys' names, and even then, he'd occasionally get them wrong (notable examples including "Bret 'The Hitman' Clarke" and "...home of the NCAA Champions of the Universe!").
    • Steve "Mongo" McMichael, an ex-NFL star. He would bring his chihuahua to the announcer's table and dress him up in funny outfits. Steve wasn't so cuckoo, though: Even he asked at one point ask why they were putting Luger vs. Savage on free TV instead of PPV.
    • In late 2000, Thunder was the beneficiary of Stevie Ray calling people a "Fruit Booty".
      The Death of WCW: Later, he would call Scott Steiner both "synthetic" (seemingly an accusation of steroid use) and also a "sad, sack-ass fruit booty" (seemingly an accusation of...well, we have no idea).
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The New World Order became a famous case of this, as it forced the competition to follow their lead. Gone were the colorful characters Hogan, Nash, and Hall played in WWF; now they were akin to a biker gang running roughshod over WCW. Sting was facing the same crossroad that Hulk Hogan did years earlier; the only problem was that Sting was the face of WCW, so a heel turn for him was out of the question. Instead, they started a different angle in which the paranoia surrounding the nWo broke Sting's spirit, and provided a reason to take him off TV for bit. They also took inspiration from The Crow movie and had Sting emulate that. The black & white theme was a tease, because some thought Sting was slowly turning heel—and WCW did tease his defection. However, Sting essentially became 'chaotic good', and sold a ton of merch.
    • 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 BAM! Nitro changed after that. The tone of the show became grey and industrial, far from the bright colors of the Crockett era, and the volcanic eruptions of the Bischoff era, yet very distinct from the grungy WWF presentation. (But for some reason, this coincided with Hulk Hogan being back in the red and yellow.)
  • A Day in the Limelight: ¡ÓRALE! ¡ÓRALE! ¡ARRIBA LA RAZA! Adding Luchadores and cruiserweights was very refreshing, and they got some of their first nationwide appearances on WCW. La Parka, Psicosis, Chris Jericho, Juventud Guerrera, Billy Kidman, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Ultimo Dragon, Jushin Thunder Liger, and Rey Mysterio Jr. were the cream of a very deep and talented pool of guys.
  • Denser and Wackier: Vince 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 lest we forget all the pole matches, fifteen title changes in 6 months (nearly thirty in 2000), trying to revive the nWo with Jeff Jarrett and Bret Hart of all people, the complete annihilation of kayfabe, the infamous three-way with Nash, Steiner, and Goldberg (see below), and Judy Bagwell on a forklift. Russo started behind the 8-ball sure, but he also pocketed it with a bit of English.
  • Double X:
    • Max Pain, as he was billed in USWA, apparently wasn't edgy enough, because in WCW he became Maxx Payne!
    • Also, Sean Waltman (aka The 1-2-3 Kid) became Syxx in WCW.
  • Dream Team: With Turner's money, Bischoff could basically match any offer Vince made and even exceed it. Within a year, he'd assembled the greatest roster in the annals of professional wrestling. Big names like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth, Lex Luger, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Ted DiBiase, Virgil, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, Mike Rotunda, Brutus Beefcake, The Road Warriors, The Nasty Boys, Bobby Heenan, "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Madusa, Sherri Martel, and others made news with their defection to WCW. Only The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kane, Mark Henry, and a few others remained loyal. However, it came with its downside; the fact that some of these contracts, particularly those used to lure away WWF talent, were so exorbitant is often cited as an important reason for why WCW was eventually sold to McMahon for a paltry $2.5 million. It backfired in another way, though. WCW dedicated so much time to its big stars that WWF assembled their own team out of people who had been buried and/or ignored by WCW.

     E–M 
  • Evil Foreigner: Lance Storm was one of the most hated and cowardly heels in the company. His rulebook was a contributing factor: "Please rise for the Canadian National Anthem", holding the Saskatchewan Hardcore International Title, no foreign objects to be used in hardcore matches, converting the US Title into a Canadian one, re-naming the Cruiserweight Title the "100kg and Under Championship", etc. And then there was his "Canadian Rules" match vs. Mike Awesome. (It's common knowledge in Canadian wrestling that you need to pin your opponent for a 5 count, then give them a 10 count to answer the bell!)
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The Trope Namer. 1998 saw other decisions that accelerated the decline: At Starrcade '98, Nash defeated Goldberg after Goldberg was tazed by Scott 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 came to be known as the Fingerpoke of Doom. Prior to the main event, Tony Schiavone (under orders from Eric Bischoff) 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.
    Tony Schiavone: That's gonna put some butts in the seats, heh!
  • Garbage Wrestler:
    • The Sandman had a brief run in the Hardcore Division, as did David Flair. The Hardcore matches were a "love-it-or-hate-it" affair. Probably because no one backstage gave a damn, so the talent did what they wanted (kind of like the cruiserweights). Like when Norman Smiley came out dressed as an Ice Hockey goalie, or when Terry Funk got kicked by an actual horse in Boise, Idaho. And he no-sold it. Just another day for Terry Funk.
      Terry Funk: YOU FUCKING HORSE! I'LL KICK YOUR ASS!
    • Blacktop Bully vs. Dustin Rhodes inside of an actual, moving truck at Uncensored 1995. They bladed, as well and this match got both wrestlers fired.
    • Bash at the Beach '99: The Junkyard Invitational, which had a bunch of luchadores (La Parka in street clothes!) getting suplexed and doing flips off of cars. It was such a clusterfuck, almost everyone ended up with some sort of injury.
    • Brian Knobbs teamed with someone called "The Dog" (a guy who actually behaved like a dog, wore a leash, and chewed on wrestling gear) as the Hardcore Soldiers, who were actually managed by Fit Finlay. The Dog was played by Al Green: he was one half of the Master Blasters with Kevin Nash, and was once involved in a worked shoot with Tank Abbott.
  • The Giant: The Giant (of course), Goldberg, and... Ice Train. The only cool thing about Ice Train was his theme.
  • Gimmick Matches:
    • WarGames. Two rings placed side-by-side and enclosed in a cage, with wrestlers battling inside, outside, and over the cage. You can't win or get disqualified until everyone is inside the cage, and then it's suddenly a one-fall match. It's a festival of brutality, and it was a recipe for success in the early years. (The one bad thing about it was the explanation of the rules, which took about 5 minutes.) The Elimination Chamber was designed by WWE as a spiritual successor, but nothing beats the original, to the point where Triple H finally brought the Match Beyond back for NXT in 2017.
    • The Uncensored pay-per-view was built on these. The entire concept of these PPVs was that they would be "unsanctioned" shows where matches that couldn't be on any other show would take place. One of them was the Doomsday Cage. The idea is to climb through each cage to get to the belt at the top. It was a really cool visual to have steel cages stacked on top of each other, but 3 cages may have been one too many.
    • Like AAA, they had a "Thundercage", which was a send-up of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
    • Nothing says WCW like "on-a-pole" matches. They were to the 90s what scaffold matches were to the 80s. So many poles.
    • The "graveyard match" between Vampiro and "The Demon." The Demon was intended as the beginning of a KISS-themed stable, in which each member of the band would have their own self-insert wrestler.
    • David Flair proposed to Miss Hancock after she announced she was pregnant. Which led to the Wedding Dress match (really a bra and panties match) between him, Miss Hancock, and that goth chick Daffney. The kicker was when Crowbar hits the ring, discovers that everyone is lying on the mat (selling their injuries) in their underwear, he then smiles and proceeds to remove his own pants.
  • 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.
    • Hogan 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 heel stable, of which Hogan was a member. Hogan was not happy about it, as he'd already gone back to his Hulkamania gimmick.
    • 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".
  • Intercontinuity 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.
    • WCW in 1994 had produced the AAA When Worlds Collide PPV, which helped introduce lucha to US audiences, and in late 1995/early 96, while planning the launch of their cruiserweight division, and needed talent to fill it. Konnan was big in Mexico, popular enough to get away with being called "The Mexican Hulk Hogan". But the real reason WCW originally signed him is that he was tight with other Mexican wrestlers. They also pulled talent from New Japan Pro-Wrestling due to Bischoff's relationship with Sonny Onoo, but a majority of the division was made up of luchadors.
    • Vince McMahon used to, and kind of still does, struggle with the idea of putting his belt on someone who was a champion in another promotion. Eric Bishoff, on the other hand, pretty much built Nitro on the backs of WWF World Champions (or just about any wrestler who became big in another promotion). Hogan became the world champ on his first match, the nWo came after that, and then ECW talent came over. Bischoff did not have a suspicious nature like Vince, and though it came back to bite him in the end, it helped WCW quite a bit. Their fortunes didn't really pick up until Hall and Nash defected to WCW and formed their own coalition: The Outsiders, who teased at a cross-promotional "invasion" (despite the WWF having nothing to do with the angle). People in the south hated Hall and Nash. The trash thrown at them was real, they were genuinely seen as invaders.
    • WCW was eventually sold to WWE in early 2001 (weeks before WrestleMania X-Seven) at what amounted to fire-sale prices, mere days before the final Monday Nitro. What was supposed to be a battle between WCW/ECW and the WWF ended up being a battle between the McMahon clan: The final show was a simulcast on Raw, with an appearance by Vince's son Shane on Nitro. WCW stuck around In Name Only, the kayfabe reasoning behind this was that Shane and Stephanie were the owners of WCW and ECW respectively, but still had some pull in the Federation (which is why they let these guys run roughshod over the WWF guys every week). 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, WWE was left as the lone major professional wrestling promotion in the United States.
  • Invisible President: Men such as Jim Herd, Eric Bischoff, James J. Dillon, and Vince Russo served as the de facto leaders and movers of WCW, but they all depended on Turner, and could be overruled by him. Jericho once tried to go over Dillon's head to get a shot at the Cruiserweight belt, and Turner would have done it too, based on Jericho's sound logic. But Chris was "such a crybaby" that Turner wrote back that he'd sided with his subordinate instead.
  • Jobber:
    • Saturday Night is 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 granddaddy of them all: The Gambler (he was actually a good worker who never really got a chance. WrestleCrap published a whole feature on him.). They put on a show, even if it wasn't about them. That's because WCW was always generous to its workers. Many of those guys are still wrestling today.
    • The nWo "B-Team" with Horace Hogan, Vincent (aka Virgil), and a few other jobbers of the squad. If someone from the nWo lost regularly, chances are it'd be one of them.
    • Goldberg was 174-0, and half of those matches were against poor Bill DeMott (known at the time as "The Laughing Man" Hugh Morrus), who was speared and jackhammered into hell.
  • Large Ham Announcer:
    • DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE PENZERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
    • Tony Schiavone, the greatest commentator in the history of our sport! A lot of smarks never liked Schiavone, but he definitely had one great call: "THE YETAAAAAAAYYYY!!!"
    • No matter the announcer, the WarGames match was always announced as "WAAARGAMES"
  • Licensed Game: More than you might expect.
    • Nintendo Entertainment System: WCW Wrestling, which was based on the Japanese Super Star Pro Wrestling.
    • Game Boy: WCW The Main Event.
    • Super Nintendo Entertainment System: WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling.
    • PlayStation: WCW vs. the World, which features several Ersatz versions of NJPW wrestlers. Japanese-developed and distributed by THQ.
    • Nintendo 64: WCW vs. nWo: World Tour and its sequel, WCW/nWo Revenge (THQ again).
    • Multi-platform: Nitro (THQ), Mayhem, and Backstage Assault (Electronic Arts). THQ also released Thunder, which ran on the same engine as Nitro, but it was only ported to PSOne.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: We're talking about a promotion that, at its height, had over 240 wrestlers on its payroll. The upside is, the matches and segments were short enough to make full use of their huge roster, and the Cruiserweight and Hardcore divisions are well-remembered.
  • Lost in Translation: Vampiro was printing money back in the day; we're talking Hogan-levels of fame in Mexico. He was doing ventures outside of wrestling; movies, music, everything. His promos in Spanish were incredible, but it didn't transfer. (Made all the more weird when you consider that, despite his name, he was actually Canadian, meaning that he was less over in his native tongue.) His in-ring work ethic, however, did. Vampiro didn't hit the big-time until he joined Lucha Underground; since then the guy has been the most over than any other time in his career.
  • Mascot: Wild Cat Willie! ("W.C.W." Get it?)
  • The Movie: Ready to Rumble, as much as fans would rather not acknowledge this.

     N–R 
  • Out of Focus:
    • The Cruiserweight Division gradually lost airtime to the old established stars. "THOSE CRUISERWEIGHTS CAN CRUISER-WAIT, BROTHER." That's not a joke; Hulk Hogan, a believer in Muscles Are Meaningful, actually said that.
    • Sting hated Hogan and the Wolfpac was formed with the sole purpose of ruining Hogan's day. As soon as the nWo reconciled, Sting split.
    • After Goldberg lost the world title and his streak to Kevin Nash, who in turn dropped the world title to Hogan, he actually 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.
    • Flair was absolutely buried when Bischoff took over WCW, to the point where Flair successfully sued TNT for defamation. He had previously helped install Bischoff as Vice-President and scouted Hulk Hogan (and later Randy Savage) on behalf of WCW, and what was his reward? a) Receiving a tenth of the pay Hogan did, b) Jobbing to both Hogan and Savage multiple times, and c) Being publicly disparaged about his age, drinking problem, or finances—especially since it wasn't building to any storyline. Flair was massively underpaid, as well. (Even less when you consider he was buying sea breezes for everyone every night.) He was also the biggest ratings draw WCW ever had, if Meltzer is to be believed.
  • 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: The Four Horsemen (the Trope Maker), New World Order (and its various spinoffs), and the New Blood.
  • Produce Pelting: Nitro crowds seemed to love throwing concessions at the wrestlers and into the ring. It seemed like the end of every Nitro had the nWo standing ankle deep in trash that fans threw into the ring at them because of some rottenness. Go watch Bash at the Beach '96 when Hogan joined the nWo. It was even lampshaded by Hogan at said event:
    Hogan: As far as I'm concerned, all of this crap in the ring represents these fans out here!!!
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Sting found God in August of 1998. He reveals in his movie Sting: Moment of Truth that he confessed all of his sins (drugs, womanizing, etc.) to his wife. Bret Hart "injured" him at Halloween Havoc '98 as an excuse to write him off TV. He was given time off to deal with "personal issues" at home. Other than a few house show appearances in early '99, he didn't make his return until April of that year.
    • On Thanksgiving night 1998, Hogan announced his retirement on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In reality, Hogan and Bischoff came to the conclusion that he had been overexposed to the point of being ineffective. Ultimate Warrior was an earlier attempt to give Hogan a burst of life. But when the Halloween Havoc buyrate flopped, and Nitro continued to lose to Raw in the ratings (despite his repeated appearances), he left just soon enough so they could find his replacement: In this case, Kevin Nash. Hogan was in-and-out in '99 mostly due to injury and no creative direction.
    • Pillman was supposed to go work for ECW for a few months and get his "Loose Cannon" gimmick down to a science. Eric Bischoff expected to resign him. He 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 in, not unlike Pillman himself.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell:
    • Scott Hall was arrested a number of times for drunk driving. 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. Eric Bischoff did indeed come downstairs to talk man-to-man with Hall — in a promo, mind you — to which Hall replied by vomiting on him. He then disappeared from WCW programming. Later, after Flair went bananas, he was carted off to a mental hospital...where he bumped into Hall.
    • The first Nitro of 2000 took place in Charlotte, North Carolina. A new WCW Comissioner was to be announced. The plan was originally to have Flair as the new Commissioner; unfortunately he was still in legal dispute and buried in the desert (don't ask), so instead they announced Terry Funk. (Like most episodes taking place in Charlotte, Flair was booked to get beaten up in his hometown. Instead, Funk took the beating.)
    • Near the end, we got the Miss Hancock pregnancy angle. David Flair went on the warpath, challenging any wrestler he suspected of fathering the baby. According to rumor, Vince Russo had booked himself as the father. This would have been followed by David's father announcing that Hancock was the product of an affair he had some 20 years before, which would've made her and his son David half-siblings. The story was abandoned once Hancock turned out to have faked the whole pregnancy. She became Shawn Stasiak's valet for a brief feud with Bam Bam Bigelow, then vanished right before the promotion died.
  • Ratings Stunt:
    • In the promotion's early years as WCW, it was terribly mismanaged and written by people who had no idea what fans wanted to see, relying on stunts and gimmicks to capture the glamour of the WWF: such events included a live appearance by RoboCop (at a pay-per-view, no less), and the infamous Black Scorpion mystery.
    • Hogan selling an arm bar from Jay Leno. At least Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone made an ounce of sense since they were giant, professional athletes!
    • Chucky cutting a promo on Rick Steiner and making him look like a jabroni.
    • WCW had Mark Martin driving their car for NASCAR.
    • WCW tried to capitalize on Mancow, a national radio DJ, and his popularity by having him "feud" with Jimmy Hart. Hogan and Hart did a spot on his radio show where Hart attacked Mancow, and this is what we get. What's interesting is at the end of this match it's pretty clear that Mancow doesn't know the finish and Jimmy has to physically hold him on top of himself. Mancow had worked a short program in ECW the previous summer so this is technically another occurrence of WCW poaching talent from ECW.
    • Vampiro had musical guests like Insane Clown Posse and The Misfits to back him up. WCW also paid KISS one million dollars to play two songs, and as part of the agreement WCW had to make a KISS-themed wrestler, and that wrestler had to headline at least one PPV.
    • The final straw for many fans was the crowning of actor David Arquette as World Heavyweight Champion. It had less to do with Arquette himself (though he was a star at the time) and more to do with his wife, Courteney Cox, who was one of the highest-paid women on TV. There is also the video packages they did with David after he won the title. There was one where Courteney is shouting at him, trying to beat (or shout) some sense into him, telling him to give up the title, and Kurt Russell randomly walks by. David explains to him that he's a pro wrestling champ, and Kurt just laughs at him.

     S–Z 
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The first hour of every Nitro was seemingly spent on the freakin' pyro display. WCW even set off pyro in the middle of matches. (Chris Jericho's pyro failed to impress.)
    • Halloween Havoc with the giant pumpkin, Bash at the Beach with the beach setting, Road Wild at the motorcycle rally and so on. Even the announcers would be dressed up in appropriate attire to go with the themes. Especially when some of the props could be used to beat people up with. Audiences may never again see somebody beat a man with a rubber shark. In Spring Stampede, Macho Man hit someone with a wooden wagon wheel.
  • Sex Sells: Kevin Nash and Scott Hall vs. ... Porn Stars! Brought to you by the Russo-Ferrara Laugh Factory.
    WrestleCrap: The woman in question was the adult film actress Minka, owner of the world's second-largest pair of breast implants (WCW couldn't be #1 in anything at this point).
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic:
    • Usually the commentary desk is about plugs and selling products. Between Michael Buffer, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, and Gene Okerlund, they set a tone of importance for "our great sport." Buffer is known for his pomp and circumstance regal announcing. You had Tony selling the drama and wrestlers, Heenan with the history of the business (and jokes), Tenay with stats and data, and Mene Gene with his 'breaking news' interview style. They made the matches seem more real than they were. (The announcers would mention it if someone botched a move.)
    • All in all, before the abortion of 1999-2001, it can be said that WCW did an OK job of making the matches feel like competitive contests. (By then WWE had shied away from describing their show as a sport for a long time.) Their style also had a dose of 'reality' to it: rather than a variety show with wrestling, it was about presenting it as a sports competition, and the company promoting itself as prestigious. A place where wrestlers from all over the world fight to prove their worth, hence the international flavor.
    • The ring itself was smaller than the one WWE used, with a nice "sssssspring" sound which made the moves seem more devastating. This is something Steve Austin always brings up: due to the fact that it was smaller, the wrestlers looked bigger. For some reason, WWE has always insisted on using a bigger ring than every other promotion. (20ft x 20ft versus everybody elses' 18 x 18.) As mentioned by Cornette and Austin among others, the thing which slows down WWE matches is that they use ropes, whereas everyone else uses thick wires covered in a rubber coating, and the metal ring ropes give so much more bounce; hence why if you watch an old WCW match, they seem a lot faster.
  • Spin-Off: Spring/summer 1989 was kind of a weird time where TBS made it a point to substitute "WCW" for "NWA" whenever possible, title belts excluded. By mid-'89, all the NWA branding and graphics were replaced with WCW. WCW's association with the NWA was dissolved in '91, which resulted in NWA's championship belt becoming the WCW equivalent (or the "Big Gold Belt", as it came to be known).
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • The Outsiders invasion angle (which led 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 shut down in 1995.
    • TNA, both the good (like its early focus on the X-Division / cruiserweights) and bad (kayfabe-breaking and Reality TV smut). Bonus: Jarrett founded it to replace WCW in the first place. As of 2016, TNA has officially been in business longer than WCW, as has ROH. And both companies have been around almost twice as long as ECW. Crazy, huh?
  • Squash Match: The abundance of squash matches on WWF programming led viewers to jump ship to WCW, which mostly showcased competitive matches. As an example of Tropes Are Tools, WCW did use squash matches to create its top draw, Goldberg.
  • 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, but some fans felt robbed.
    • As WWE reinvented itself with a new darker and edgier image (lifted in part from ECW), WCW kept milking the nWo for all they were worth. The group was originally planned to dissolve after Starrcade '97, where WCW mainstay Sting defeated Hogan for the world title. Instead, the group split into factions: nWo "Hollywood", led by Hogan, and nWo "Wolfpac", led by Kevin Nash, who 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 New Blood.
  • Take That!:
    • How many times has this 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 switch over to Raw.
    • Both companies had mostly-baseless lawsuits against one another, and for every sleazy business tactic by one side, you could counter with an equally sleazy tactic by the other. The week after Tony Schiavone warned viewers not to turn the channel to the competition because Foley was going to win their world heavyweight title, WWF mocked Goldberg by having Duane Gill impersonate him and lose to a woman. Now, let's rewind to October 1997, when Jim Cornette ripped the two most influential stars of pro wrestling's boom period, who helped transcend the genre into the mainstream (Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper), in addition to burying their cage match at Halloween Havoc, whilst putting over Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at Bad Blood that same month. Point being, the inside barbs and jabs each company gives each other was a weekly occurrence.
  • Worked Shoot:
    • Hogan and Bischoff were negotiating the details of the heel turn as late as the afternoon of the show. The plan was kept secret from most people, although in the days before the show, most people in WCW strongly suspected it would be Hogan, but no one knew for sure. Scott Hall claims he didn't know until two hours before the match.
    • According to the Monday Night Wars documentary, during the conclusion of the episode of Nitro in which Nash and Hall wrecked havoc with baseball bats and then lawn-darted Rey Mysterio into a nearby trailer, residents in Orlando watching the events unfold on TV called the police to report a gang war, and as a result, the firetrucks and ambulances seen pulling up as the show closed were not scripted, but instead were real.
    • Flyin' Brian Pillman "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. This was arguably the first worked shoot; 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.
    • Madusa took one look at the names attached to the new women's division and signed at once. She announced her arrival, 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.
    • 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.
    • At one point, Nash and Goldberg had a feud based around Goldberg not wanting to follow the script and lose the match. There was also a "shoot interview" he did on Nitro, half in character, half not, where he talked about how uncomfortable he was playing a heel. In the middle of the match, Goldberg loses interest and just walks away. Russo comes out and yells at Goldberg to get back in, and Goldberg yells "FUCK YOU!" (Russo experimenting with the 'meta' premise had some moments, but overall came off awkward at best.)
    • Bischoff was constantly working the wrestlers. For instance, according to Sherri Martel, everyone assumed that Nancy Sullivan's affair with Chris Benoit was a work. Some of them even thought that WCW's bankruptcy was a work!
  • Wrestling Monster:
    • Vader was portrayed as an incredible monster heel in WCW; from Starrcade '92 (vs. Sting) to Starrcade '93 (vs. Flair), Vader did not take a clean loss. He also got big wins over Cactus Jack, Sting, Ricky Steamboat, and Davey Boy Smith.
    • Raven, along with The Flock, was a hated heel and a popular face. He was an upper-midcard staple with the US Title for a long time, and also arguably the making of Goldberg. Raven also had a pretty fun, weird, and stupid run with Perry Saturn, Vampiro, and the ICP. But his "Raven's Rules" gimmick was by far the most memorable part of his WCW stint: Just stating any match I'm in is no DQ, no countout made him a real threat.
    • Goldberg, who later became a face by default. They took a no-name green wrestler with no promo skills and turned him into an unbeatable colossus. He probably spoke no more than 10 words in his first year, and they made him a superstar.
    • Bam Bam Bigelow, who had a history of being loyal to NJPW up to this point, was a different type of 'enforcer'. A straight-up brawler with head tattoos who made his debut by calling out Goldberg, and even got the drop on Raven once.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: They kept coming up with entirely new and inventive ways to screw guys like Benoit and Jericho over.
  • You Have to Have Jews: While many started to get bored with Goldberg, he was still a main eventer at a point when people were sick of the nWo and its factions within. Also, as Heenan pointed out, he was the first high-profile Jewish champion.

Alternative Title(s): World Championship Wrestling

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