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  #1  
Old 12-15-2015, 07:52 AM
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Default Could and Should WCW Still Be Around Today?

The late Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace once said, "It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better."

Vince McMahon and the WWE has been seeing a ratings decline in the product for some months now. According to several news outlets, the Survivor Series aftermath edition of Monday Night RAW drew about 2.9 million viewers - its lowest viewership since 1997. This is quite the fall from what it was drawing 15 years ago when it reached record ratings as high as 7 to 8 million viewers a week.

During that time, however, McMahon and the WWE was competing against rival Ted Turner and his World Championship Wrestling promotion in what became known as the Monday Night War.

What can be said about the Monday Night War that hasn't been said already? From the fall of 1995 to the spring of 2001, it was a great time to be a wrestling fan. As the war waged on, wrestling became white hot and popular in the mainstream. Gone were the cartoony gimmicks and storylines from the 80s and early 90s and replaced with a more gritty, realistic and mature product. With no DVRs or TiVo, wrestling became must-see television as it happened live for WCW Nitro on TNT or WWE RAW on USA/TNN. Battlelines would be drawn as there would be those who solely watched Nitro while others solely watched RAW. There would be others like myself who would be constantly changing back and forth between the two as not to miss anything. As I said, a great time for wrestling fans.

At one point, the WWE had its back against the wall as WCW dominated in the ratings war. At one point, WCW had an 84-week winning streak from the summer of 1996 to the spring of 1998. The WWE was forced to make a change in what became known as the Attitude Era. Having lost many established stars to the competition, the WWE created new stars and instituted a new product style aimed for mature audiences. With this change, as well as many mistakes and fuckups by WCW management, the war came to end in March 2001 with McMahon purchasing the competition.

It can be said that McMahon got complacent following the WCW purchase. With no real competition nipping at his heels, he had no reason to really put out a great product anymore. TNA has proven that it will never be considered true competition and Ring of Honor is just too niche to be considered competition.

But what if WCW didn't go under back in 2001? What if Eric Bischoff and Fusient Media Ventures successfully purchased the company before McMahon could swoop in? Would WCW not only survive but thrive? I'm not suggesting that WCW win the Monday Night War and put WWE out of business. But rather, the Monday Night War would still wage on to this very day.

Now let's say Bischoff kept the promotion alive long enough for someone like Donald Trump or Mark Cuban to buy it. After all, Cuban had turned a joke of a franchise in the Dallas Mavericks into perennial NBA title contenders under his ownership. It was not because he knows a lot about basketball, but because he hired people who did know about basketball. Under the right ownership and guidance, could WCW have been reinvigorated?

But then there's the case of whether or not WCW should have continued operations past 2001. Forget the Fingerpoke of Doom, the departures of Chris Jericho and the Radicalz or even David Arquette winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Many argue that the real death of WCW came at the hands of the AOL-Time Warner corporate merger. With Ted Turner no longer in power and new leadership wanting nothing to do with wrestling, WCW was dead. In comparison to TNA, it can said that the only reason TNA is still around is because they're fortunate or lucky enough to find television networks willing to air the product.

But with the many creative blunders, money wasting, talent departures, corporate mismanagement and all-around poor product in its final years, it can be said that WCW deserved to go under.

But what do you guys think? Under different circumstances, could WCW still be around today to spur the WWE to put out a better product? Would the Monday Night War still wage on and create another boom period? Would Bischoff's purchase of WCW have been simply putting off the inevitable? And finally, did WCW deserve to go out of business when it did?
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:31 AM
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I don't know if WCW would still be around today, as of this very minute, but I do very much believe that it could've continued on for quite some time after its purchase by Vince McMahon.

Vince approached pro wrestling from the perspective of a corporate businessman and the mind set of many corporate businessmen, particularly during the 80s, is that they wanted as close to a monopoly of their particular field as they could get. Vince wanted his company to be THE wrestling company that people thought of, he didn't want WWE to be just another territorial promotion for various reasons, including the fact that he knew that the territory days were dying out due to the wider spread availability of cable, satellite and syndication; after all, by circa 1985, it was now possible for someone in Minneapolis to watch WCCW even though it was filmed in Dallas. The notion of only being able to see certain stars for brief periods during the year when/if they came to your geographic area was quickly becoming a thing of the past. Vince knew that and he knew that wrestling companies were gonna have to grow or die.

By the time WCW became a genuine threat to WWE's superiority, Vince, who had a massive ego to begin with, had an even more massive one and it was severely bruised by not only being beaten in the ratings, but also by some of the comments of his rival. Eric Bischoff came right out and said that he wanted to put Vince out of business and that may be the supreme insult any person can make to Vince. You could call him a son of a bitch, his daughter a slut, his mother a whore, his wife as cold as a dead fish and while he'd be upset, telling him you were gonna put him out of business is the knife in the gut. I don't know if it was mere bravado on Bischoff's part or if he really meant it, but Vince not only believed it was sincere, it was personal.

Bischoff had the near limitless financial backing of Ted Turner, WCW was winning the ratings war and there was some degree of possibility of WWE being put out of business. So when WWE claimed final victory once and for all, I think Vince reacted out of emotion rather than logic when it came to the WCW brand. WCW was still a highly viable brand in terms of recognition and audience, the quality was about as low as it could get, but that could be improved upon. Instead of continuing WCW as its own entity, at least to some degree, Vince went the route of making WCW just another property just as he did the various other wrestling promotions WWE had purchased. I've little doubt that Vince and NBC Universal could have reached an agreement to broadcast WCW programming, and later Spike if WWE's move from USA would've still happened.

However, you have to ask whether it would've made as much sense in the long run. After all, the Monday Night War was over and WWE had definitively claimed victory. It wasn't as if it could be continued in the same light because the entire world, not just the wrestling world, knew that WWE now owned WCW lock, stock and barrel. As a result, any attempt at keeping some sort of rivalry going wouldn't have been genuine. Now MAYBE it's something that could've been rekindled at some point later down the line if the WCW programming was still drawing strong ratings, fans enjoyed the product and still debated on which roster was the best. It wouldn't have been the same, but it could've potentially been entertaining all the same.

Of course, the whole situation may have been moot if someone else had purchased WCW but that still raises questions as to whether or not said someone would've had not only the necessary finances, financial backing, knowhow to implement a restructuring of WCW, knew who to hire if they themselves didn't have said knowhow and had the necessary connections/credibility with television networks for a lucrative TV deal.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2015, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by The Scarred One View Post
Many argue that the real death of WCW came at the hands of the AOL-Time Warner corporate merger. With Ted Turner no longer in power and new leadership wanting nothing to do with wrestling, WCW was dead. In comparison to TNA, it can said that the only reason TNA is still around is because they're fortunate or lucky enough to find television networks willing to air the product.

But with the many creative blunders, money wasting, talent departures, corporate mismanagement and all-around poor product in its final years, it can be said that WCW deserved to go under.

But what do you guys think? Under different circumstances, could WCW still be around today to spur the WWE to put out a better product? Would the Monday Night War still wage on and create another boom period? Would Bischoff's purchase of WCW have been simply putting off the inevitable? And finally, did WCW deserve to go out of business when it did?


1 - It did. AOL no longer wanted it because it was a money loser. The HUGE difference between TNA and WCW is that Panda Energy likes having TNA around, don't over spend, keeps to a strict budget. And since it's Dixie pet project, it's a part of the family.

AOL - Timewarner had no connection like once they pretty much removed Ted Turner from all power. WCW was his pet project but as he got older, he lost power within AOLTW.

2 - WCW did not deserve to go under. But they had so much poor mismanagement and no real leadership that it was inevitable.

3 - No. If WCW was still around today, it would be like every other current wrestling promotion. It would get no attention, poor ratings and poor viewership. WCW would lose every single star to the WWE like other independent companies are losing their stars. Eric Bischoff would be useless because he does not have the same wherewithal like Vince McMahon has.

So no. WCW would be useless in 2015 the way it was useless in 2001.
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:34 AM
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I was a WCW fan from the Mid-Atlantic to Crockett and all the way through. Had Bischoff and his backers purchased WCW I don't think it would exist today regardless. I felt Bischoff was the biggest part of the problem. Just look at his track record as recently as TNA. I felt NWO was the bigger part of WCWs success but also a larger part of it's failure. Just about every top star at some point was part of NWO.

Here are my reasons why I feel it wouldn't have mattered. WCW was done for and factors that played it's part.

For one Goldberg was the biggest star they could build coming out of the Power Plant. Extremely over just to have Kevin Nash decide to go over on him.

Of course I will throw in putting the title on David Arquette which ruined the credibility of the belt afterwards.

Hulk Hogan being in the main event picture far too long. Which played a large part in why Millionaire's Club despite being a heel stable full of aging veterans was more over than the stable that represented the young core. WCW failed to push on this early on in the Ratings War.

Lack of knowing what to do with Bret Hart during his time there.

Failure to capitalize on Chris Jericho's potential and instead pushing Jeff Jarrett to the moon. Not even just Jericho but guys like Curt Hennig weren't used to their full potential and became one of many to be thrown around in NWO.

Vince Russo being in an on-air role.

Unmasking Hispanic wrestlers.

Not knowing how to properly use the guys they got from ECW.

Ridiculous contracts

Last - TANK ABBOTT. Terrible push they gave this guy in WCWs last days.

There are many other factors I can factor in but ultimately Bischoff definitely played a larger part in most of what I listed above. The question would've been what network was going to air Nitro and Thunder since it was already going to be dropped from Turner's network. I feel there was no way of saving it period.

As for today's ratings I still think it's good they draw what they do. As you pointed out there was no DVR or TiVo back then (unless you were recording with a VCR). Many more options on TV now. I have way more networks I can watch now on TV, including Netflix, online gaming, ect. I hear a lot of people say; "I watched wrestling back in the day" then followed by "I outgrew it" or "it ain't the same". People just find other interest - which is why I say the numbers are good in my eyes.

WCW stopped being a true threat to WWE at the turn of the millennium. People are quick to point out the ratings but overall the core fan base has declined since the territory days. It was happening long before the last 15 years. Live programming multiple times a week is what made it look like it was so much more.

Growing up I used to see Mid-Atlantic get aired once a week. Taped in Raleigh on Tuesdays and aired Saturday. Greensboro Coliseum would be packed every event - the key was there would be shows in smaller towns that featured wrestlers. My town had less than 80,000 people and I would see Flair in his prime wrestling at one of the local High Schools. It was more direct fan interaction where as today social media is heavily emphasized. The territories going away took those core fans away.

Good quality matches been replaced with a forum full of critics that are criticizing how wrestler A cuts a promo and wrestler B can't. I've seen the old Hornets arena in Charlotte packed to point where they had to turn away thousands of people. I respected Brock during his last title reign because he was booked dominant, he wasn't seen every week so whenever he did make his once a month appearance with the belt it reminded me of the territory days.

Granted those days are long gone, we rejected WWE when it first came down and was broadcasted on Turner's network in the mid 80s. Nonetheless, Vince wasn't appealing to the crowds down here in the south and Georgia Championship Wrestling was gone as ways many core fans. Even with it's second carnation it wasn't ever going to be the same.

Ultimately even after Crockett started becoming the main company out the south I felt their last chance at slowing down WWE's momentum is if Magnum TA had never got in that car wreck. He was the last big star that could've slowed down WWEs momentum at the time and perhaps put the clamps on WWE.

Expensive travel accommodations, ridiculous contracts(I've had the lowest of guys tell me they were making $13k per match at fan conventions years later). They still wanted to continue to push older veterans.

The whole point is the same issues that killed WCW are same ones that killed JCP that really could've went over WWE. So no, I don't think WCW would've lasted 4 more years had Bischoff taken over.
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:41 AM
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my guess is that if WCW were still around today, the company would still be alive, but would suffer from a major star's "tape."

my guess is that WCW would've quickly given Hogan a few more title runs before eventually moving on (when Hogan can't go in the ring anymore) and would be given a major role in running the company with Bischoff, but due to the tape (if it were still made), that would hurt wrestlers wanting to come to the company because they wouldn't want to work with Hogan.

as for what i think WCW would be today (if it were still around), my guess is a lot like TNA except, no 6 sided ring. Jarrett would've hung around WCW for a few years before moving on to trying to create his own company....AJ Styles would've dominated the Cruiserweight division before likely moving on to another company and WCW would find more ex WWE stars to push to the moon.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:01 AM
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my guess is that if WCW were still around today, the company would still be alive, but would suffer from a major star's "tape."

my guess is that WCW would've quickly given Hogan a few more title runs before eventually moving on (when Hogan can't go in the ring anymore) and would be given a major role in running the company with Bischoff, but due to the tape (if it were still made), that would hurt wrestlers wanting to come to the company because they wouldn't want to work with Hogan.
Hogan was already gone from WCW mid 2000. He refused to let Jeff Jarrett go over on him(which I actually agree with because Jarrett wasn't a draw). By time WCW was purchased he was in the midst of a law suit against Vince Russo and dealing with his own injuries. Regardless I felt he would've ended up back in WWE at the time that he did. I don't think we would've ever saw him compete in WCW again.
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Old 12-15-2015, 11:45 AM
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As a wrestling fan answering, WCW should be around today.

As for could WCW been around today, I don't know. Bischoff was in prime position to head a consortium to buy WCW, so it could have been more of the same and they would have went out of business.

If they would have decided to continue with the fresher faces and made some cuts and let big contracts lapse then WCW may have been able to survive, do a bit of reconstruction to the roster and go again.

Would the then roster have moved to WWE if WCW was still going, I don't think they would have apart from Hogan, Nash and maybe a couple of others on big deals.

WCW had a roster able to move towards a new era - Booker T, Rey Mysterio, Lance Storm etc, they had veterans like Sting, Ric Flair, DDP, Scott Steiner so the spine of a good squad was there.
TNA more than likely wouldn't have been formed so Jeff Jarrett would probably have been part of WCW, the chances are he may have been a shareholder in WCW.

There's a couple of other questions as well:-
- How would WWE be now if WCW was still around? (The Brand split wouldn't have taken place for instance).
- Would Kurt Angle, The Dudley's etc. jumped to WCW when their contracts ended/terminated with WWE?
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:09 PM
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I was an avid fan of WCW growing up, and still enjoy the nostalgia of it today. Did they do everything right? No, they missed the mark 9 times out of 10, but when they nailed it, they nailed it. In ring product, bar-none for years I always felt was head and shoulders above WWF/E. Gimmick matches, characters, outside of the ring antics and all out presentation.....well lets face it, they usually fell flat on their faces, but when it came down to the wrestling, it couldn't be beat with guys like Benoit, Guererro, Malenko, Mysterio, Kidman, Jericho etc. They had such a talented pool from which to draw that its asinine to think they could have failed. The failure really just comes down to two major reasons(and dozens of minor ones that wouldn't have even been noticed were it not for the big ones)

1. The inmates, so to speak were running the asylum. Guys like Dusty Rhodes, Kevin Sullivan, Kevin Nash etc all who have a great mind for the business, but were so stuck in either the old territory ways of attack, had personal vendettas or just out for themselves just weren't looking at the big picture. Wrestlers have a shelf life, especially once both companies went live weekly, you no longer could really run a long drawn out feud because you had so much exposure, and these guys really were just looking out for their friends and themselves. Yes Hogan, Flair, Sting etc are always going to be big name draws, but they couldn't go forever and it was obvious that creatives big fix whenever one of these guys was injured was to feature the other vets even more. Not a great contingency plan.

2. They were featured and later owned by a company that no one besides Ted Turner wanted them on, Ted was no spring chicken so irregardless at some point he would have stepped down and WCW probably still would have been gone from the Turner networks. Which was very apparent by the fact that all WCW programming was pulled despite the fact that they were still pulling the highest ratings of anything else on the TNT/TBS networks, and investors looking to buy it. Live programming is so much harder for the suits and ties to wrap their heads around than a scripted, in the can weeks ahead of time product because S&P wants to be able to yes and no things, etc etc and I think that the guys at Turner just really didn't like the fact that they have so little control over a live broadcast.

Had issue number 1 been taken care of early on, then yes I think WCW could have and would have existed long past 2001, whether it would have continued on TNT/TBS probably not but I think it definitely could have been around much longer than it had.
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Old 12-15-2015, 01:33 PM
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It was all really a matter of timing.


Had this all occurred closer to the modern age, with more major networks with need for content, WCW could have scaled down, used the guys not signed to AOL-TW contracts, and probably still made it along.


I never got why Bischoff didn't go ahead with the purchase anyways, and see if he could shop the brand to other networks, even in the 2001 climate. Sure lots of damage had been done, but if you trim the fat of those big AOL-TW contracts and sort of reboot things, then who knows. Better than having it simply disappear, and us having what we have (or don't have) now.
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:51 PM
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I never got why Bischoff didn't go ahead with the purchase anyways, and see if he could shop the brand to other networks, even in the 2001 climate. Sure lots of damage had been done, but if you trim the fat of those big AOL-TW contracts and sort of reboot things, then who knows. Better than having it simply disappear, and us having what we have (or don't have) now.
Bischoff was the problem and the central reason why the company was in the position it was in. The damage had been done for quite some time. If they were losing ratings on TNT and TBS and money, how was it going to be convincing to put it on another network? What network were they going on? Whose to say they'd be able to air on Monday nights? Bischoff didn't back off it was one of the investors backing him.
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