Hard to believe another wrestling company beat the WWE for 84 weeks in a row, especially when looking at the state of pro wrestling today (with no company in sight of the WWE). So many have tried, only to fail; TNA came close several times, only to see their show flop creatively and lose some big network deals. According to rumors, the WWE can buy TNA for the same price as it did WCW, for $4 million. The company looks like a liability more so than anything today.
Unlike TNA, WCW had some massive upsides, which included the uprising of a faction that forever changed the landscape of the wrestling business. But what if I told you that the idea was actually stolen? This article will take a further look at that fascinating fact. It will also look at so many other variables, like WCW forcing their fans to watch Robin Hood and the company potentially being saved during its final days. This article will take a look at some of the most fascinating facts from the company, ranging from its early origins to its final hours. Enjoy this list of 15 fascinating facts you never knew about WCW!
15) Total NWO Members: 56
The nWo was born on July 7th, 1996. The group was so ahead of its time, making it must-see TV for the WCW promotion on a weekly basis. This factor would eventually cause Nitro to take the lead in the ratings war, after a while however, it was evident that the company was milking this idea for way too long. It seemed like every week the faction had a new member, and at times it was even hard to figure out who was with the group. Combining the time spent with WCW, WWE, TNA and New Japan, the group saw 56 different wrestlers join the stable. Some notables you may have forgotten include The Great Muta, Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham, David Flair, Disco Inferno and even a referee, Mark Johnson. The nWo 2000 actually featured “nWo girls”, which included the likes of Midajah, Pamela Paulshock and Major Gunns.
14) WCW Made Its Audience Watch Robin Hood
This is something you’ll probably never see again, but WCW used a clever tactic to make its viewers watch the premier of The New Adventures of Robin Hood. Two minutes into the Nitro main event (which featured Hogan against The Giant), the company announced the match would continue following the Robin Hood premier. This caused viewers to stay on the channel resulting in the new program’s highest rated episode ever. Following the show, the main event continued with most WCW fans still on the Network waiting for the main event to start. Call it a cheap tactic, but it worked wonders. However, you’ll see later in this article that it didn’t on a second try.
13) Name Was Used In 1982
Before officially converting to WCW in the late 80s, the company had actually already used the name “World Championship Wrestling” in 1982, as the name of a brand and television show. Jim Barnett was the first founder of the name, changing it from its NWA roots. Eventually however, the company went back to its NWA origins when it was bought by Jim Crockett Promotions. Once Ted Turner bought the company in 1988, he originally changed the name to UWC, Universal Wrestling Corporation. It was later changed to a familiar name known as World Championship Wrestling.
12) Jim Herd Almost Killed WCW
Early on, WCW struggled to find any type of identity due to some poor leadership within the company. Ideas were extremely outdated, making WCW just another promotion. Jim Herd was a big part of the problem early on; wrestlers and management strongly disliked Herd’s old school wrestling mind which was plaguing the company. Wrestlers like Ric Flair, had some serious heat with Herd who attempted to change Flair’s entire look. Can you imagine Flair wrestling under anything other than ‘The Nature Boy’ gimmick? Well, Herd thought so. With an impatient owner at the helm, Turner was fed up with the state of the company that possessed absolutely no threat to the WWE product. Taking a big risk, Ted decided to go a different direction by hiring WCW employee Eric Bischoff, as the company’s Executive Producer. This gamble would pay off instantly.
11) Moving It Out Of Atlanta
A struggling company out of Atlanta, it seemed like WCW was turning into yet another wrestling casualty. Enter Eric Bischoff, who made it a priority of his to completely revamp the company from top to bottom. His first act as the new producer was to get the company out of Atlanta. This was easier said than done though, as old school wrestling minds were infuriated by this, although Bischoff knew this was absolutely necessary in order for the company to receive some much needed national exposure. Bischoff officially switched the location to Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. This move not only sparked mainstream media attention, but it also helped to reach more advertisers who were now able to see the product on a bigger stage. Following this move, Eric’s next act as Executive Producer would be to hire new talent, which he certainly succeeded in doing.
10) Had A Sponsorship Deal With NASCAR And Monster Jam
It was well documented that WCW made some odd business deals during its time in an attempt to get any national exposure possible. The company thrived on deals that would put them in the spotlight. During the 2000-2001 time period, the company would join forces with Monster Jam in a rather peculiar move. The monster truck company would make trucks based on WCW talent like Sting, the nWo and Goldberg. Most of the trucks faded away, Madusa however, continued her career with the company becoming a full-time Monster truck driver. The company would also branch out into NASCAR during the mid-90s, sponsoring several drivers. One car in particular was actually sponsored by nWo.
9) Absurd Financial Loses
An absurd amount of talent, along with guaranteed contracts and a limitless check book, eventually caused the demise of WCW. The company made several attempts to revamp things, only to see more money being lost. Eventually, the company had no value left and was forced to sell its rights which were limited to a video library containing historical footage from the company. During its final stages, Turner’s wrestling promotion was losing millions every year. In order to stop the bleeding, the company decided to step out of the ring and leave the wrestling business for good. As you know, the company would be sold to WWE chairman, Vince McMahon.
8) Michael Buffer’s Ridiculous Terms
Unnecessary: this sums up so many aspects of the WCW product; including the contracts they gave out which were financially mind-blowing, adding in some other unnecessary terms like guaranteed contracts which destroyed the company on a financial basis. Michael Buffer was part of the ridiculousness. Buffer was limited to calling main event matches and was making wrestler-type of money. Buffer stayed with the company till it was finally sold to the WWE. His catchphrase today is worth over $400 million, if you can believe it. His net worth today is an estimated $120 million, along with a salary of $5 million for saying those five historical words in a public setting.
7) Final WCW Thunder Main Event
In true Thunder-like fashion, the show aired its final program with a less than stellar Handicap Match featuring Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner taking on Dustin Rhodes. This main event put an end to the absolute bust of a program that never seemed to grab the potential it could have had. It became rather evident quickly that Thunder was the promotion’s “B” show. Wrestlers refused to show up, signing deals that limited them to Nitro appearances. The show was unwatchable in terms of star power and lost so much of its viewers over time. WWE instead thrived on this bringing their biggest stars to SmackDown on a weekly basis. This was yet another factor that caused the demise of the program.
6) Lowest Rated Segment Ever
WCW thrived on the idea of having mainstream entertainment on their program. In one instance however, this backfired horribly for the company. According to former WCW star Dean Malenko, the KISS segment that closed out Nitro was the lowest rated segment in the company’s history. The show closed out with the unveiling of a new KISS based wrestler “Kiss Demon”, along with a concert. How WCW thought this would ever work is rather baffling, to say the least. Fans are tuning in to watch wrestlers wrestle, and not a concert. Especially during such a hot time in pro wrestling, this was such a fail on so many levels. Not only would the show flop, but the KISS Demon gimmick would go down as one of the worst in pro wrestling history.
5) nWo Idea Was Stolen
The groundbreaking idea for the nWo was actually inspired by a New Japan angle. While attending an event in Japan, Bischoff drew inspiration from a battle waging between New Japan and rival UWF International. This invasion type of storyline inspired Bischoff to work something similar that would see a new hierarchy take over WCW. It was something new, rebellious and unseen at the time. WCW creative members Craig Leathers, Terry Taylor, Kevin Sullivan and Paul Orndorff, would also aid in putting the final touches on this historical faction.
4) Bischoff Almost Saved The Company
With WCW fading away, it would take a big investment to keep the company alive. Eric, along with a big investment from Fusient Media Ventures, sent a letter to WCW with the intent of buying the wrestling promotion. It seemed like a layup at that point, and it looked like WCW was once again going to be saved. This time around though, the company would not escape death. New head of Turner Broadcasting Jamie Kellner, pulled the final plug announcing that WCW would be cancelled from all its networks. With no TV deal, the investors left Bischoff to fend for himself. With really no legitimate value, the company would later be sold to an unlikely buyer.
3) Vince Only Bought The Company Because Of Its Library
With really no other incentive, Vince bought WCW because of its historical library, which is currently being put to use on the WWE Network, something you have to believe Vince envisioned way back when he purchased the company in 2001. McMahon became the frontrunner for the purchase of the company when it was deemed that WCW would no longer have a network deal with Turner broadcasting. This scared all potential buyers away. Not Vince though, who already had an established network and saw the bigger picture of being able to own all of WCW’s valuable content.
2) WCW Sold For Practically Nothing
With no station, WCW’s net worth took a huge leap downwards. The company was basically selling trademarks, a video library and some contracts of various talents (which didn’t include guaranteed contracts, so upper-card talents like Sting and Goldberg were pretty much staying at home while getting paid following the purchase). With this in mind, the sale was incredibly cheap with McMahon purchasing everything for around $4 million in total. When all these terms were finally made public, it is reported that countless wrestling personalities were shocked to find out how cheap the company sold its rights for.
1) WCW Could Have Been Easily Saved
When your owner is worth over $2.2 billion, losing a couple of millions isn’t really too much of a concern, right? For this reason, Ted Turner didn’t really care how much he got for the company, he really just wanted to cut ties since his investors were not interested in pursuing the world of wrestling. For this reason, the company sold for next to nothing. So many wrestling personalities claim that the company could have been saved had they known the price tag was so small. In fact, former WCW star Chris Jericho claims he would have bought the company had he known it was selling for so cheap. The bitter part about WCW’s death was the fact that it could have been salvaged so easily.