18 items from 2015
The WCW versus WWF Monday Night Wars were an amazing time to be a wrestling fan. Both Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon were constantly trying to get the upper hand on each other. The winner was usually the viewer, benefiting from WCW and WWF trying to put on the best product possible.
The wrestlers also benefited. All the big names, from Hulk Hogan to The Undertaker, played the field for what it was worth. There were major WCW stars who almost went to WWE, and big WWE stars who almost went to WCW. Some of the crazy moments that almost happened, you just wouldn’t believe how different things could have been.
Looking at a range of insider stories and backstage shenanigans, this feature will expose some of the less publicised moments of those Monday Night Wars. You won’t believe some of the things that almost happened, like »
- Grahame Herbert
Word Championship Wrestling came into existence after Ted Turner purchased Jim Crockett Promotions’ Nwa-affiliated pro wrestling territory (which was airing on TBS) on October 11, 1988. In this being the case, coming up with a list of “greatest matches in WCW history starts with anything televised by the promotion from the October 15, 1988 airing of “World Championship Wrestling” on TBS to the final Monday Nitro on March 26, 2001. In that 12-year run, there were certainly more than 30 amazing matches in WCW. However, these are the best.
In encapsulating what the “best matches” were in WCW, it’s an intriguing mix of performers that both defined what the industry had been all about before (Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Terry Funk, Ricky Steamboat, Sting, Rick Rude), redefined that established North American expectation (Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, Chris Benoit, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Goldberg) and also those who blew that expectation to the moon (Vader, »
- Marcus K. Dowling
Even though WCW went out of business in 2001, its legacy still lives on in WWE today. Through the direction of Eric Bischoff, Monday Nitro forever revolutionized the way professional wrestling is presented on television. Because of WCW’s flagship show, Raw started airing live every week. They also stopped airing regular squash matches and gave away pay-per-view quality ones instead, and they were forced to greatly improve their production values to compete with Bischoff’s vision.
Besides the presentation, we’ve seen one former WCW talent after the next appear in WWE and influence top storylines. The original Invasion of 2001 initially brought over 20 wrestlers into Vince McMahon’s organization, but many of the biggest names didn’t come along for the ride. Due to the top talent having contracts with AOL/Time Warner, and not WCW, they were paid to sit at home. Once those contracts ended, though, »
- Andrew Soucek
It didn’t make a whole load of sense, although there are some merits to WWE’s booking decision. For example, with Triple H tentatively scheduled to face The Rock in WrestleMania 32’s show closing main event, it makes sense that WWE had to give him a big Mania win this year. You also have the old issue of Vince McMahon not wanting to put a WCW talent over a WWE talent, which sort of makes sense.
Whatever the rights and wrongs, it was at least a very good match. The 56 year old Sting didn’t embarrass himself and he certainly looked in great shape out there. He definitely looks like he has another match in him, »
- Grahame Herbert
The WWE Network has been a great resource for wrestling fans looking forward to checking out older content that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see. When WWE Network launched last February the big selling point was that live PPVs were much cheaper thanks to the $9.99 monthly price and also the PPV archive included every WWE PPV. However, there were still things missing like some of the best Raw episodes from WWE’s greatest period, the Attitude Era.
It’s great news today to see that WWE Network has added a “Raw Attitude Era” section. If you have the full on demand library, click on Shows, then In Ring and then you’ll find Raw Attitude Era right there. The update includes every episode of Raw from December 15, 1997 to January 4, 1999. It’s basically a little more than a full year of WWE’s first official year »
- John Canton
So, we’re over a year on from the launch of the WWE Network. It launched in the United Kingdom (and some other places that didn’t get it when it initially hit the market) in January (2015) at the price of £9.99. The price-point annoyed plenty of UK consumers who are paying more than the Us customers due to the exchange rate, and WWE not making an effort to offer the UK market an in-line price of around £6.50. It still got plenty of customers though and is one of the reasons that the sign-ups for WWE Network grew at a decent rate in 2015.
Now available in many countries, and expected to launch in those yet to receive it, the WWE Network has received plenty of press since its inception, with much of that being related to its disappointing subscriber numbers, or its very-good amount of content. Yeah, however you slice it, »
- Chris Cummings
WWE’s flagship programme has ruled the airwaves for over two decades now, its blend of exciting storylines and explosive in-ring action a key factor in the promotion’s continued success over the years. It has thrown up countless iconic moments in wrestling history, easily more than any other show could lay a claim to (with Nitro coming a distant second). Who could forget Jericho’s debut, Austin’s beer truck, Mike Tyson’s appearance and Mankind’s title win? It’s fair to say that Raw has changed the face of wrestling history. Without it a programme as popular and consistently exciting, who could foresee Vince McMahon winning the Monday Night Wars (or even the existence of the Wars in the first place)?
There are, however, two sides to every coin. For all of Raw’s groundbreaking moments of genius, there have been just as many atrocious incidents. »
- Jack G King
WWE announced on Monday that former WWE, WCW and Awa superstar “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in San Jose on Saturday March 28.
Zbyszko joins a class that already includes Randy Savage, Rikishi, Alundra Blayze, The Bushwhackers, Arnold Schwarzenegger in the celebrity wing and the inaugural “Warrior Award” inductee Connor “The Crusher” Michalek. It’s expected that Kevin Nash will also be added next week, which will be the last episode of Raw before WrestleMania.
These days Zbyszko is 63 years old and helps out WWE’s developmental talent by heading to the Performance Center on a regular basis. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Larry Z said that he had a feeling he’d get in one day: “My gut feeling over the years was that probably someday, sooner or later, I’d be getting in – and not just because »
- John Canton
March 26th, 2001, the date of the very last ever broadcast of World Championship Wrestling’s flagship show, Monday Nitro. Dubbed the ‘Night Of Champions’, this one last hurrah for the original WCW roster was shrouded in uncertainty for many behind the scenes.
Incredibly, there was still hope that someone like Eric Bischoff, a fresh investor, or absolutely anybody apart from Vince McMahon would swoop in and magically take the promotion back to the top of the mountain. Much has been written about how down and out WCW were by 2001, but the fact remains that there was still a big audience craving WCW’s brand of wrestling – even right to the bitter end, there were loyal fans who remembered the glory days.
It must have been fascinating to be backstage at that final Nitro show in Panama City Beach in Florida, the sheer intensity and contrast of emotion between »
- Jamie Kennedy
The WWE Hall of Fame usually inducts one female performer every years and this year their choice was a bit of a surprise, but not because of her credentials. She definitely deserves it. The reason it was a surprise is because Debrah “Madusa” Miceli (aka Alundra Blayze in WWE) has been ignored by WWE for nearly 20 years. Apparently those days are over with the expectation that she is a part of the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame class.
When fans think of Madusa, which was the name she was most known for, the first thing they think about was when she dumped the WWF Women’s Title in a trash can on the December 18, 1995 edition of WCW Monday Nitro. It was one of those things that was unbelievable to see because they were rival promotions and it was a huge insult to WWE. It’s taken this long for WWE to welcome her back. »
- John Canton
Fresh off of the creative momentum that the WWF saw in 1997, the company had a lot to prove in 1998. They needed to prove the previous year wasn’t a fluke, and they had to build on said momentum to try and bridge the gap between Raw’s ratings and the numbers that WCW’s Monday Nitro was bringing in every week. Nitro was still on fire, as well, as the rise of Goldberg was a huge story, so the WWF couldn’t afford to slip up.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was still on his quest to dominate the wrestling world. Degeneration X was still pushing all the boundaries they could. Coming off of the Montreal Screwjob, Vince’s Mr. McMahon character was, perhaps, the biggest heel in the business. The Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker, Kane, Mankind and more were all helping to round out one of the »
- Aaron Hyden
The World Championship Wrestling brand name is still something that WWE likes to promote even though the company died 14 years ago. In the buildup to Triple H’s confrontation with Sting, Hunter loves to mention that Sting was the main guy in WCW and that Sting avoided going to WWE because he was scared of Hunter. It’s a decent selling point for what will be a big match. It’s also another example of WWE trying to make money off the WCW name.
There have been numerous WWE DVDs produced in the last 14 years featuring WCW performers. Whether it’s tribute DVDs about the New World Order, Goldberg, Sting, Ric Flair or compilations about the very best of Monday Nitro, WWE has tried to milk WCW for all its worth. One of the big selling points of WWE Network was the “Monday Night War” documentary series that featured the Raw vs. »
- John Canton
It’s hard to put into words for the younger generation just how massive a moment it was when Vince McMahon was addressing fans on Raw in Cleveland, Ohio, also appearing on the big screen at WCW Monday Nitro in Panama City, Florida on March 26, 2001.
That date was the final episode of World Championship Wrestling flagship telecast, and the show was notable for ending with a match between two men who perhaps personified the promotion more than any other, Ric Flair and Sting. McMahon announced on the show that he had bought WCW, and now held the fate of the company in his very hands – it was groundbreaking news, and history in the making.
Finally, in 2015, it seems like Sting will have his first match in WWE. It’s been a long time coming, many fans felt he’d surely make the jump once McMahon bought over his competition, »
- Jamie Kennedy
After two full years on the air, 1995 really changed things for Monday Night Raw. The WWF was still trying to make things work for themselves, but the introduction of Nitro from WCW brought on the “Monday Night War”, and things simply took off from there.
Gone were the stars of “yesterday” like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, and Vince McMahon was out to create the next batch of stars that would help carry the promotion moving forward. People like Shawn Michaels and Diesel became especially important coming into the year, with Bret Hart continuing to shine brightly.
While the Attitude Era had yet to officially get underway, the seeds for it were planted in 1995, as the company began to slowly move away from the cartoony product of past years, into a more adult-friendly product. It would be a slow transition overall, but this is the year it began, »
- Aaron Hyden
When wrestling fans think back to the days of World Championship Wrestling, negativity is almost always the first port of call. It seems to be in vogue to laugh at WCW, because, let’s face it, the company did some truly laughable things. Towards the end of the promotion’s shelf life in 2001, the place was a complete mess, Nitro was unwatchable, and Pay-Per-Views were a complete wreck.
It’s fascinating to look back on this time, because just a few years prior to WCW’s collapse, the company stood tall as the hottest thing pro wrestling had to offer. Creations such as the nWo caught on quick, and turned the group from a cash-bleeding failure into a money-making success.
It’s not unfair to say that some of the absolute worst moments in wrestling history took place under the WCW banner, including the likes of actor David Arquette winning the World Title, »
- Jamie Kennedy
The 1999 Royal Rumble took place at a time when WWE was firmly in control of the “Monday Night War” with rival WCW Monday Nitro. Thanks to the emergence of Steve Austin as the top babyface in the business and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon as his chief rival, most wrestling fans were tuning in to see what was going to happen from week to week.
Going into the Rumble match, the big story was that somebody would get $100,000 for eliminating Austin from the match. Austin won the Rumble match the previous two years, so most people expected him to win it again just because we all figured he would main event WrestleMania 15. WWE knew what was obvious, so they decided to swerve us.
- John Canton
It wasn’t the best of times for WWE as they headed to the 1995 Royal Rumble. Business was down and there was a lack of excitement towards the product. Sound familiar?
Diesel became the next man up because he won the WWE Title a few months prior to this. It was one year earlier at the Royal Rumble where he really got a chance to shine by eliminating seven guys within a few minutes. This was his first PPV title defense and it came against one of the best in the business in Bret Hart.
Another factor hurting WWE was that WCW had a lot of momentum. They signed Hulk Hogan in the summer of 1994 and then Randy Savage left too. They were doing good numbers on PPVs. Later that year they launched WCW Monday Nitro, which was another blow to WWE.
Due to everything that was going on, »
- John Canton
The most recent wrestling personality to appear on Chris Jericho’s Podcast One show was former WWE Champion and current announcer John Layfield, better known to fans as Jbl. The man formerly known as Bradshaw has had a lengthy career with WWE, dating back to late 1995 when he signed his contract, debuting the following January as Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, a Texan roughneck heavily inspired by Stan Hansen.
He had a respectable career as a tag team wrestler, most notably as one half of the Apa (Acolyte Protection Agency) with Ron Simmons before a sudden dearth of name talent forced WWE to repackage him as John Bradshaw Layfiend–Jbl, for short–and shove him into the main event scene.
While his matches may not have been lighting the world on fire, he was doing his job in the ring and getting tremendous heat through his promos. The character was great at infuriating the audience, »
- Brad Hamilton
18 items from 2015
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