What made WCW popular is also what killed them, Part 1
Wrestling was at the height of popularity when WCW began to compete directly with WWF/E on Monday nights. What is now dubbed as the Monday Night Wars, WCW was the smaller, southern-based promotion that began to take control of the wrestling universe. Backed by Ted Turner and his deep, deep pockets, WCW skyrocketed to success by getting known talent and creating compelling storylines. But for everything they did right, they did even more wrong. They even ceased to exist in 2001 after being bought by Vince McMahon and the legacy of WCW was dead. And while everyone has their views on why WCW died, I started thinking about some things and realized something strange. I thought of 5 situations in WCW that, in the beginning, gained them praise, but eventually also assisted in their downfall.
Here are 5 stories or situations that helped WCW to become the major player that they became.
The nWo was a ground-breaking storyline that forever changed the landscape of professional wrestling. When Hulk Hogan turned his back on all his fans and joined The Outsiders, Hall and Nash, it was the beginning of one of the greatest factions in wrestling history. The nWo would go on to control WCW and try to eliminate every threat they faced. One of those threats was one of WCW’s greatest wrestlers …
#2 THE BUILD UP OF STING VS. HOGAN
Sting had disappeared for a while and when he returned, he was a different man. Gone was the short hair, bright face paint, and the easy-going gimmick. The new Sting was dark and mysterious. He had long, dark hair and his face was painted similar to the title character from the film The Crow. He wore a long, black trench coat and was offend seen in the rafters of the arenas. Sometimes, he would descend to the floor and battle the nWo alone. This set-up the eventual showdown between Sting and Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Title. The match would be teased for a long time until it was set to happen at Starrcade 1997. Sting was not Hogan’s only nemesis in WCW however. Another man who came after Hogan’s title on Monday Nitro was …
In 1997, a wrestler debuted in WCW that went on an absolute tear. That wrestler, Goldberg, went on an unbelievable winning streak and mowed through all that WCW and the nWo had to offer. The eventually went 173-0, reportedly, and won the US title and the WCW World Heavyweight Title. Like all good things, his streak came to an end against Kevin Nash but that doesn’t take away from what Goldberg accomplished. He was pushed right and built up to be a big deal. And he was. But while he made his way to the top, there were many wrestlers below him that helped build the company from the bottom up …
#4 LUCHA LIBRE AND CRUISERWEIGHTS
WCW had THE absolute best lucha libre and cruiserweight wrestlers of any promotion in the US. Wrestlers such as Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, Psychosis, Kidman, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, and Ultimo Dragon constantly put on great matches that made WCW’s lower and middle cards just as exciting as the main-events. Their high-flying, risk-taking style was incredible to witness. And if they didn’t have a high-flying arsenal, they certainly made up for it with great mat-wrestling. Even other less successful wrestlers as La Parka, Ernest Miller, Alex Wright, Prince Iaukea, and Disco Inferno also put on quality matches. And while WCW had these talents on their roster, they didn’t start there. Most started their careers in Mexico or in promotions like ECW and were swooped away by one man …
#5 ERIC BISCHOFF
A small-time announcer by the name of Eric Bischoff was given control of WCW and, with Turner’s unlimited funding, began to sign top talent to WCW. The additions he made created competition for WWF/E and began the war. It was also his idea to go head-to-head with Raw on Monday nights and add fuel to the fire. He may have single-handedly been the reason for WCW’s rise to prominence.
Next time, I’ll look at why what made WCW also helped to break WCW. Thanks for reading and come back for more tomorrow.