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WCW Thunder is a professional wrestling show that was produced by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) which aired on TBS from January 8, 1998 to March 21, 2001.

WCW Thunder
WCWThunderLogo.png
Created byEric Bischoff
Directed byCraig Leathers
StarringWorld Championship Wrestling alumni
Opening theme"Out to Lunch" by Steve Everitt[1][2](January 8, 1998-February 9, 2000)
"Here Comes the Pain" (instrumental) by Slayer (February 16, 2000–March 21, 2001)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes146
Production
Camera setupMulticamera setup
Running time120 minutes
Release
Original networkTBS
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Original releaseJanuary 8, 1998 (1998-01-08) –
March 21, 2001 (2001-03-21)
Chronology
Related showsWCW Monday Nitro
External links
Website

The huge popularity of WCW in 1996 and 1997 allowed for the creation of a new show, which became WCW Thunder. Thunder was taped on Tuesday nights and then aired on Thursday, a change for WCW as Bischoff was very keen on its primary show WCW Monday Nitro being aired live every week (as opposed to rival WWF Raw is War, which, at the time, was live every other week). The rights to Thunder now belong to WWE.

The first 117 episodes of WCW Thunder are available to stream on the WWE Network.[3][4][5]

Contents

HistoryEdit

CreationEdit

The popularity of World Championship Wrestling's primary show, WCW Monday Nitro on TNT, led Ted Turner to create a new show, which would eventually be named Thunder, that would air Thursdays on TBS.[6]

WCW Executive Vice-President Eric Bischoff was originally reluctant to produce another two-hour weekly television show for a variety of reasons. First, Time Warner (WCW's parent company) was under a hiring freeze[7] which prevented Bischoff from bringing in additional production people to run the show. Second, he felt WCW did not have enough talent to produce another show and risked overexposing them and making storylines less significant.[8] Third, according to Bischoff, TBS refused to pay the cost of producing Thunder which was between $12 million and $15 million per year.[8]

Bischoff eventually decided that he could make the new show work and help pay for it by expanding revenue from increased house show business.[9] Bischoff was also given permission to sign Bret Hart, specifically as a high-profile talent to perform on Thunder.[10][11]

The first match to take place in Thunder featured Chris Adams against Randy Savage with Miss Elizabeth. Adams pinned Savage after a chairshot from Lex Luger. The match decision was reversed by WCW Commissioner/Chairman of Executive Committee James J. Dillon.

Edit

TV commercials for Thunder featured top ring talents such as Hulk Hogan saying "Observe this, brother!" and The Giant with "This forecast definitely calls for pain!"

2000–2001Edit

Thunder switched from Thursday evenings to Wednesday evenings on January 12, 2000, but little was gained by the change of schedule. Since WWF SmackDown! debuted on UPN in the same timeslot as Thunder, WCW had been trailing the WWF in the ratings on Thursdays as well as on Mondays, as this was during the time WCW's ratings began their steady decline that would eventually lead to the company's demise. The WWF also had a slight advantage as SmackDown! was available over broadcast signals and cable was not needed to view the program.

On October 9, 2000, WCW moved the Thunder tapings to Monday nights, the same night as Nitro. After the live Nitro broadcast ended, the Thunder taping would commence. This practice continued until March 19, 2001, when Thunder taped its last episode. It was said[12] that the reasoning behind the tapings was that attendance at Thunder tapings had dropped considerably over the previous twenty-one months.

Final broadcastEdit

In an attempt to save WCW, Bischoff attempted to purchase the company with a group of investors. However, although Bischoff's offer had been accepted, recently appointed Turner Broadcasting executive Jamie Kellner announced shortly after his arrival that Thunder and all WCW programming was immediately canceled on TBS. Bischoff's group then withdrew their offer, as it was contingent on keeping WCW programming on some outlet. WCW's trademarks and certain assets (such as its video library and the contracts of 24 wrestlers[13]), though not the company itself (which still exists as a Time Warner-owned legal entity under the name Universal Wrestling Corporation[14][15]), were bought by the WWF, its long-time competitor.

ReceptionEdit

Veteran industry journalist Wade Keller said that the introduction of Thunder could be called "the beginning of the end" for the now-defunct WCW, adding that the program's debut "is probably as good of a turning point as you could pick out".[16]

Color schemeEdit

Thunder utilized a primarily blue color scheme for its production graphics and ring designs, a design which was later emulated by SmackDown! and Impact Wrestling, as compared to the primarily red designs of the Monday Night shows, Raw and Nitro.

On-air personalitiesEdit

Commentary teamsEdit

Commentators Dates
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall January 8, 1998
January 22, 1998 – April 9, 1998
May 21, 1998 – November 12, 1998
December 17, 1998
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan and Lee Marshall January 15, 1998
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay and Lee Marshall April 16, 1998 – May 14, 1998
Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko and Mike Tenay November 19, 1998
Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko April 7, 1999 – October 7, 1999
Mike Tenay, Kevin Nash and Larry Zbyszko October 14, 1999
Scott Hudson and Larry Zbyszko October 21, 1999 – December 2, 1999
Mike Tenay and Juventud Guerrera December 9, 1999
Mike Tenay, Scott Hudson and Juventud Guerrera December 16, 1999
Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson and Mike Tenay December 23, 1999 – February 2, 2000
Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan February 9, 2000 – March 29, 2000
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay December 3, 1998 – December 10, 1998
January 7, 1999 – April 1, 1999
April 12, 2000 – July 19, 2000
Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden and Mike Tenay July 26, 2000
November 1, 2000
November 29, 2000 – December 6, 2000
Tony Schiavone, Jeremy Borash and Mike Tenay September 20, 2000
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Konnan December 13, 2000
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Stevie Ray August 2, 2000 – September 13, 2000
September 27, 2000 – October 25, 2000
November 8, 2000 – November 22, 2000
December 6, 2000
December 20, 2000 – January 10, 2001
Tony Schiavone and Mike Tenay January 17, 2001 – March 21, 2001

Ring announcersEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ WCW Thunder Theme (1998-2000)
  2. ^ WCW Thunder Early 1998 Intro (HD Remastered)
  3. ^ "UPDATED x2: WWE Network Officially Adds 77 Episodes of WCW Thunder Including all of 1998; Links Included". 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Episodes of WCW Thunder From 1999 and 2000 Now Available On WWE Network – Links Included | WWE Network News". www.wwenetworknews.com. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  5. ^ "Twenty Episodes of WCW Thunder From 2000 Made Available On WWE Network – Links Included | WWE Network News". www.wwenetworknews.com. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  6. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. pp. 255–256. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
  7. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 255. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
  8. ^ a b Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 257. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
  9. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 258. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
  10. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 261. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
  11. ^ Bischoff, Eric (2006). Controversy Creates Cash. Pocket Books. p. 271. ISBN 978-1-4165-2729-9.
  12. ^ Reynolds, R.D.; Alvarez, Bryan. "The Death of WCW", ECW Press 2004.
  13. ^ Callis, Don (2001-03-25). "Deal leaves wrestlers out in cold". Slam! Sports.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2014-06-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "FindLaw's Court of Appeals of Georgia case and opinions". Findlaw. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  16. ^ Wade Keller (August 24, 2017). "Ask the Editor". Wade Keller Hotline. 21 minutes in. Pro Wrestling Torch.

External linksEdit