For a while during the “Monday Night Wars” WCW was dominating WWE. But eventually, Ted Turner’s promotion fizzled out, flopped, and was bought by Vince McMahon for pennies on the dollar.
But what killed WCW? That’s a question that is still hotly debated 16 years later. Some people blame the bloated guaranteed contracts of Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and others. Along those lines, some people think that Eric Bischoff was so desperate to beat WWF and keep his talent, that he let them run the show and squash any up and coming wrestlers.
But if you ask a lot of fans, they’ll blame it on one single person: Vince Russo.
Among wrestling fans, saying the name “Vince Russo” can elicit a cringe, a sigh, or outright anger. His name became synonymous with the type of “Sports Entertainment” that was more reality television than wrestling. When Russo ran the show, there was always a “swerve” or an element of a match that made the fan question what was really going on. Sometimes it worked. There were moments when a “Russo Swerve” left fans begging for answers.
But, especially in hindsight, Russo’s booking was mostly overwrought, unbelievable (even for wrestling) and downright insulting to the fans.
All of this can be de displayed by the “booking” decisions for the WCW Heavyweight Championship at the end of WCW’s time. Through swerves, contract disputes, and outright insanity the belt changed hands or was vacated 25 times in the year 2000 alone!
To fully grasp how ridiculous it feels, the guys at OSW Review put together this video package detailing every title change from WCW’s last full year as a promotion.
WARNING: included in this video are some of the worst decisions in the history of professional wrestling.
David Arquette AND Russo as champion, people literally being handed the belt, and of course all the guitars broken by Jeff Jarrett.
I miss WCW. Well, I don’t miss THAT WCW. I miss the idea of it and the competition it brought. Wrestling is at its best when companies are challenging each other and everyone is working their tails off to please the fans. We’re seeing that on the indie scene today as World of Sport Wrestling and What Culture Pro Wrestling forced WWE to devote an entire television series and belt just to the United Kingdom.
I don’t know if we’ll ever have a real “Monday Night War” again, but if someone is looking to take on WWE, please look how WCW failed and learn from their mistakes.
What are your favorite WCW memories? Was it really THAT bad towards the end of its run? Share your thoughts.