There was a time only a couple of decades ago when World Championship Wrestling was the hottest professional wrestling company in all of North America. WCW jumped ahead of the World Wrestling Federation in the so-called Monday Night Wars in the 1990s, and the now defunct organization had such an advantage that there were real worries that the WWF would have to close up shop and admit defeat. That, of course, did not happen. The WWF launched the widely successful “Attitude Era,” one that ultimately won the company the battle over WCW and changed the face of pro wrestling on the continent.
Those running WCW in the final years of the company’s existence made some questionable decisions, moves that sunk the organization to the point that it was eventually bought out by Vince McMahon. There were ridiculous and downright laughable booking choices that pushed guys who didn’t deserve such chances considering the amount of talent that was on the WCW roster at the time, and editions of Monday Nitro were close to unwatchable during the company’s public demise. It was almost as if WCW was put out of its misery when the news broke that McMahon was the last man standing in the pro wrestling war.
That WCW is still talked about nearly 15 years after its demise is a sign that some are still nostalgic about what were brighter days in the North American pro wrestling scene. The organization that clung on to life for years nearly experienced multiple rebirths before it was finally shelved by the WWF. One of those was a possibility even after WWF had bought out their former competitors. At least one person’s life was forever changed, and not for the better, because of a deal that never happened. There is also still a WCW champion out there who never lost his title, a man who has not been an active wrestler for some time.
10. Eric Bischoff Nearly Saved WCW
The former Executive Producer and later the president of WCW attempted to rescue the promotion from itself in January of 2001, and Bischoff was reportedly close to a deal that would have resulted in a relaunch for the organization. One of the backers in that possible acquisition pulled out at the midnight hour, however, and Bischoff was unable to launch a fresh proposal because all WCW programming was taken off of TBS and TNT. With no television exposure for the organization, Vince McMahon and the WWF were left free to acquire the tape libraries, trademarks and desired WCW wrestler contracts.
9. WWF Nearly Saved WCW
Some forget that the original plan after WWF bought their former competitors was that the company would, after some time, relaunch WCW under the WWF brand. Then came a disastrous match involving Buff Bagwell and Booker T on Monday Night Raw, and plans quickly changed. Instead of WCW being given one final chance to survive, the WWF went with the Invasion angle, one that was a massive fail because of horrible booking. Fans tuned out, some who still haven’t returned to pro wrestling, and the angle and WCW were both killed off for good in November of 2001. Oh, what could have been.
8. WCW had Edge and Christian
WCW failing to spot and feature young talent over veterans who were well past their primes played a massive role in the company losing the Monday Night War to the WWF. Edge and Christian spent a short stint in WCW, during which they were mostly ignored by the higher-ups in the company. The two eventually went on to the WWF, where they became stars during the Attitude Era. They won the tag-team titles on multiple occasions, and both also had WWE/World Heavyweight Championship runs during their active in-ring careers. They are two of many cases of WCW not knowing what the company had during its successful years.
7. Could WCW Have Saved Owen Hart?
It was widely believed at the time that the entire Hart Foundation was going to jump from the WWF to WCW following the infamous Montreal Screwjob. Vince McMahon did not allow Owen Hart to make the switch, however, and Hart did not push the issue because he was not fully sold on joining his family members in WCW. Hart was quickly pushed down to midcard mediocrity after one match with WWF Champion Shawn Michaels, and he was then given the gimmick that would ultimately cost him his life. It is possible that Hart would be alive and well today had he been told that his services were no longer needed by the WWF in the fall of 1997?
6. Scott Steiner Spoiled the Final Monday Nitro
In the days before Facebook and Twitter, wrestlers used personal websites and blogs to advertise merchandise and to post their thoughts. On the day of the last ever Nitro, Steiner took to his website to announce that he had been informed that he was going to lose the WCW Championship to Booker T that night. Steiner also hinted that he was not going to follow the written finish of the match. Cooler heads prevailed in the end, for one reason or another, and Steiner did the job for Booker T. Both wrestlers eventually linked up with the WWF, and Booker T remains with the now-WWE to this day.
5. The Chris Benoit Championship Run
Wrestling fans likely remember that Chris Benoit left WCW in 2000 immediately after the company made him the world champion. What you may not know is that those running WCW knew very well that Benoit was planning on making an exit, and yet the company still put the belt on him without securing him to a long-term contract that would have financially hurt him if he left. Winning the championship was not enough for Benoit to remain with the struggling organization, and he and friends Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn all left WCW, eventually to join the WWF.
4. WCW Didn’t Overpay to Get Hall and Nash
The perception that has been put out there is that WCW splashed large amounts of money to bring Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to the company in 1996. Eric Bischoff remembered the situation differently when speaking with Alternative Nation in 2014:
“They chose to leave WWE and come to WCW, not for the money, because the truth and the facts are that I probably didn’t offer them any more money than they were already making. I couldn’t really speak to this, because I wasn’t doing their taxes at the time, but I’m pretty sure that they were probably making more money. But the real reason I remember, having firsthand discussions with both of them, they didn’t leave WWE for the money. They left WWE to come to WCW for the lifestyle, because we had a maximum of 180 days in their contracts.”
3. Sable and WCW
Sable left the WWF in 1999 after she filed a $110 million lawsuit and claimed that she had been the victim of sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions while with the company. The former Diva then appeared on WCW Nitro in June of that same year, leading fans to believe that the company had acquired her services. The problem was that no such deal had been made. While Sable alone would not have saved WCW from going out of business, the organization could have used the famous model and wrestler to at the very least get some press. They didn’t, of course, because… WCW.
2. WCW and Shawn Michaels
It has been claimed for years that the Heartbreak Kid was never anything but faithful to WWF/WWE, but Michaels has recently admitted that he had talks with WCW during his career. In a time during which some of his real-life friends were getting guaranteed contracts from the main rivals of the WWF, WCW apparently never made Michaels a good enough offer, as he remained with the WWF until he suffered a serious back injury that cost him four years of his career. Just think: WCW could have put an end to D-Generation-X before it ever even started.
1. Meng is Still the WCW Hardcore Champion
Meng won the WCW Hardcore Championship in January 2001 at the Sin pay-per-view. He then jumped ship to the WWF and appeared at that company’s Royal Rumble show later that same month. The title was vacated, and nobody ever won it in a match before WCW went under. Meng’s days as an active wrestler have since come to an end, but WWE could use this opportunity for a one-off comedic event. His run as WCW Hardcore Champion has run for over 14 years now, one of the most impressive feats in the history of North American professional wrestling. The man should be in the Hall of Fame for this.
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