World Championship Wrestling
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World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (WCW) is a defunct American professional wrestling promotion founded by media tycoon Ted Turner in 1988. For much of its existence, WCW was one of the top professional wrestling promotions in the United States, and was a significant competitor to the dominant World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), at one point surpassing it in terms of popularity.
|World Championship Wrestling|
|Founded||October 11, 1988|
|Fate||Deactivated and renamed by AOL Time Warner, later merged with Turner Broadcasting System; selected assets purchased by the WWF|
|Headquarters||One Centennial Tower|
Atlanta, Georgia 30303 United States
|Products||Television, Internet, merchandise|
Number of employees
|c. 150 (March 1998)|
WCW was founded in 1988, after Turner Broadcasting System, through a subsidiary named Universal Wrestling Corporation, purchased the assets of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) territory Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), which had aired its programming on TBS. After initial success through utilization of established wrestling stars of the 1980s, the company appointed Eric Bischoff to executive producer of television in 1993. Under Bischoff's leadership, the company enjoyed a period of mainstream success characterized by a shift to reality-based storylines, and notable hirings of former WWF talent. WCW also promoted multiple live events a year, and gained attention for developing a popular cruiserweight division, which showcased an acrobatic, fast-paced, lucha libre-inspired style of wrestling.
In 1995, WCW debuted the live flagship program WCW Monday Nitro, and subsequently developed a ratings competition now known as the Monday Night Wars against the flagship program of the WWF, Monday Night Raw. From 1996 to 1998, WCW surpassed their rival program in the ratings for 83 consecutive weeks, threatening to severely undercut their rival and disrupting the American wrestling hierarchy. However, WCW then endured significant losses in ratings and revenue due to creative missteps in the late 1990s, and suffered from the fallout from the merger of Turner Broadcasting parent Time Warner and AOL.
Soon thereafter, WCW went out of business, and the WWF purchased select WCW assets in 2001, including its video library, some wrestler contracts, and selected intellectual property, including the WCW name and championships. The corporate subsidiary, which was retained to deal with legal obligations and reverted to the Universal Wrestling Corporation name, officially became defunct in 2017. Its headquarters were located in Atlanta, Georgia.
The name "World Championship Wrestling" was first used as a television show title by Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) in 1982. Jim Barnett (who had briefly owned the Australian promotion of that name) came to Atlanta in the 1970s during an internal struggle for control of GCW. Barnett ultimately became majority owner of the promotion, and began using his previous promotion's name for GCW's weekly Saturday television program in 1982. Following the events that became known as Black Saturday, in which GCW and its television program briefly came under the ownership of the WWF, the promotion was eventually purchased by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), the promoter of the Mid-Atlantic territory immediately north of Georgia.
Influential wrestling magazine Pro Wrestling Illustrated and its sister publications thereafter habitually referred to JCP as "World Championship Wrestling", "WCW" and most commonly "the World Championship area" and continued to do so until early 1988 when it began referring to the company solely as the NWA, reasoning that "it has become apparent that the NWA and the World Championship area are one and the same."
Sale to World Wrestling FederationEdit
In 2000, several potential buyers for WCW were rumored to show interest in the company. Ted Turner, however, did not hold influence over Time Warner before the final merger of AOL and Time Warner in 2001, and most offers were rejected. Eric Bischoff, working with Fusient Media Ventures, made a bid to acquire the company in January 2001 (shortly following the AOL/Time Warner merger), and it appeared that WCW would continue.
One of the primary backers in the WCW deal backed out after AOL Time Warner refused to allow WCW to continue airing on its networks, leaving Fusient to take that offer off the table while it attempted to bring a new deal around. In the meantime, the World Wrestling Federation began speaking to the new AOL Time Warner about acquiring the WCW brand. Jamie Kellner was handed control over the Turner Broadcasting division, and deemed WCW, along with Turner Sports as a whole, to be out of line with its image and said it would not be favorable enough to get the "right" advertisers to buy airtime (even though Thunder was the highest-rated show on TBS at the time). As a result, WCW programming was cancelled on TBS and TNT. In the book NITRO: The Incredible Rise and Inevitable Collapse of Ted Turner's WCW by Guy Evans, it is said that a key condition in WCW's purchase deal with Fusient was that Fusient wanted control over time slots on TNT and TBS networks, regardless of whether these slots would show WCW programming or not. This influenced Kellner's decision to ultimately cancel WCW programming. WCW's losses were then written-off via purchase accounting; according to Evans: "in the post-merger environment, the new conglomerate was able to 'write down' money losing operations, essentially eliminating those losses because of their irrelevancy moving forward."
The cancellation of WCW programming left the WWF free to acquire the trademarks, video libraries, and some contracts of World Championship Wrestling through its new subsidiary W. Acquisition Company, which was renamed WCW Inc. afterwards. AOL Time Warner maintained its subsidiary, which reverted to its original legal name of Universal Wrestling Corporation, to deal with legal obligations and liabilities not acquired by WWF. The UWC was listed as a subsidiary of Time Warner until 2017, when it was merged into Turner Broadcasting System.
At the outset of WCW's existence, as well as that of its predecessors, the company was strongly identified with the Southern style of professional wrestling (i.e., "rasslin'"), which emphasized athletic and competitive in-ring performances over the showmanship and cartoon-like characterizations of the WWF.
When Hulk Hogan returned to WWE, it billed him as "Hollywood Hulk Hogan", his WCW nickname. In 2004, WWE brought back WCW's Great American Bash pay-per-view; also that year, it released Starrcade: The Essential Collection as a three-disc DVD set. In August 2009, WWE released a DVD set, The Rise and Fall of WCW. Commemorating the 10th anniversary of purchasing WCW, WWE re-opened WCW.com, highlighting the history of the company that had once had the upper-hand in the professional wrestling marketplace, at one point, even threatening to drive WWE out of business. WWE released three documentaries showing highlights from WCW Nitro's history, The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro, The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2, and The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 3. All three documentaries are hosted by Diamond Dallas Page.
After the closure of WCW, multiple promotions would be founded whose initial rosters included former WCW wrestlers. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) (now Impact Wrestling), founded by Jeff Jarrett in 2002, would take WCW's market position in the mid-to-late 2000s as the secondary wrestling promotion in North America before it fell into a decline from 2015-2017. Impact has since been viewed to have been surpassed by All Elite Wrestling, which outlets such as CBS Sports describes as "the first company with major financial backing to take a swing at beginning to compete with WWE on a major level in nearly two decades". Its flagship series, AEW Dynamite, became the first professional wrestling program to air on TNT in almost two decades.
|NWA Western States Heritage Championship||A National Wrestling Alliance championship intended for mid-card wrestlers. It was used in WCW from 1988 to 1989.|
|NWA World Heavyweight Championship||The world title of the National Wrestling Alliance. It was defended within WCW from 1988 until 1993.|
|NWA World Tag Team Championship||The world tag team title of the National Wrestling Alliance. It was defended within WCW from 1992 through 1993.|
|WCW Cruiserweight Championship||The title was established under WCW in 1996 and would continue to be used after WCW's purchase by the WWF until March 2008, when it was retired as the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.|
|WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship||The title was established under WCW on March 18, 2001, but was retired eight days later after the WCW's purchase by the WWF.|
|WCW Light Heavyweight Championship||The title was established under WCW in 1991 and was defended until September 1992, when the title was retired.|
|WCW Hardcore Championship||The title was established under WCW in 1999 and was defended until January 2001, when the title was retired later that year due to WCW being bought by the WWF.|
|WCW International World Heavyweight Championship||The second world title of WCW. It was established in 1993 under WCW and was defended until 1994 when it was unified with the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.|
|WCW United States Heavyweight Championship||The second highest ranked title used in WCW. It was established in 1975 under NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and would continue to be used after WCW's purchase by the WWF until November 2001, when it was unified with the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Under World Wrestling Entertainment, the title was revived as the WWE United States Championship in 2003.|
|WCW United States Tag Team Championship||The title was established in 1986 under NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and was defended within WCW until July 1992, when the title was retired.|
|WCW Women's Championship||The title was established under WCW in 1996 and was defended until 1997 when the title was retired.|
|WCW Women's Cruiserweight Championship||The title was established under WCW in 1997 but was retired the following year.|
|WCW World Heavyweight Championship||The primary world title of WCW. It was established in 1991 under WCW and would continue to be used after WCW's purchase by the WWF until December 2001, when it was unified with the WWF Championship.|
|WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship||The title was derived from the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship of NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and was defended within WCW until 1991 when the title was retired.|
|WCW World Tag Team Championship||The world tag team title of the WCW. It was established in 1975 under NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and would continue to be used after WCW's purchase by the WWF until November 2001, when it was unified with the WWF World Tag Team Championship.|
|WCW World Television Championship||The title was established in 1974 under NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and was defended within WCW until April 2000, when the title was retired.|
|Program||Start date||End date||Notes|
|WCW Pro||January 11, 1958||September 27, 1998||Also known as NWA Pro Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling|
|WCW Saturday Night||December 25, 1971||August 19, 2000||Also known as WCW Saturday Morning, Georgia Championship Wrestling, and World Championship Wrestling|
|Best of World Championship Wrestling||1973||1987|
|WCW WorldWide||1975||April 1, 2001||Also known as World Wide Wrestling|
|WCW Clash of the Champions||March 27, 1988||August 21, 1997||Also known as NWA Clash of the Champions|
|WCW Main Event||January 21, 1988||January 3, 1998||Also known as NWA Main Event|
|WCW Power Hour||June 23, 1989||March 5, 1994||Also known as NWA Power Hour|
|WCW All Nighter||March 6, 1994||January 10, 1995|
|WCW Prime||February 6, 1995||1997|
|WCW Monday Nitro||September 4, 1995||March 26, 2001|
|WCW Thunder||January 8, 1998||March 21, 2001|
WCW in other mediaEdit
From 2000 to 2001, Monster Jam had a series of monster trucks based on wrestlers' names. These included the nWo, Sting, Nitro Machine, Madusa and Goldberg. Following the end of WCW, Debrah Miceli, the only one of the truck's namesakes to actually drive them, remained in monster trucks. The legacy of the other trucks is most prominent with Goldberg. Driven by to great success by Tom Meents (including Monster Jam World Finals championships both years the truck ran), after the end of the sponsorship Meents continued to run the truck as "Team Meents" in 2002 before debuting its new name Maximum Destruction in 2003. Max-D continues to compete in the series and rivals the legendary Grave Digger in popularity on the circuit.
WCW also had a presence in NASCAR from the mid-1990s to 2000, sponsoring the #29 team in the Busch Grand National Series full-time and the #9 Melling Racing team in the Winston Cup Series part-time. In 1996, Kyle Petty's #49 car in the Busch Grand National series was sponsored by the nWo, and Wally Dallenbach Jr. briefly drove a WCW-sponsored for Galaxy Motorsports.
- "Universal Wrestling Corporation". georgiacompanieslist.com.
- "Eric Bischoff". Off the Record with Michael Landsberg. March 18, 1998. TSN.
Monday night is that one time during the week when I can forget that I'm the president of WCW, that I've got 150 employees to worry about.
- Jericho, Chris; Fornatale, Peter Thomas (2007). A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex. Grand Central. ISBN 0446408905.
[Bischoff] constantly trumpeted to anybody who would listen that Hogan and the nWo were the sole reason why WCW had pulled ahead of WWF in the ratings war. He never stopped to think that another reason may have been the hard work of the leprosy-afflicted cruiserweights.
- "Sting". WWE.com. WWE. 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
- Mudge, Jacqueline (2013). Billy Kidman. Infobase. ISBN 1438146469.
The cruiserweight division had become the most exciting aspect of WCW.
- Bryan, Daniel; Tello, Craig (2015). Yes!: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania. St. Martin's. p. 70. ISBN 146687662X.
WWE was looking to start a new cruiserweight division like the one that was popular in WCW.
- Green, Jordan (December 14, 2005). "I was famous for getting beat up': The glorious and tragic story of Carolina wrasslin". YES! Weekly.
- Assael, Shaun; Mooneyham, Mike (July 16, 2002). Sex, Lies and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation. Crown Publishers. p. 252. ISBN 0-609-60690-5.
- "The WWF's Light Heavyweight Division: The 10 Ways to Make it a success". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. London Publishing Co. 17 (12): 33. December 1997. ISSN 1043-7576.
The light heavyweight division, like WCW's cruiserweight division, can be a rousing success
- "1980's TV Wrestling / 1970's - 1980's Mid-Atlantic Wrestling". tvparty.com.
- Ratings Analysis, Pro Wrestling Illustrated May 1988
- "NWA and WWF gain momentum - Is Wrestling Headed Towards A Two Party System?" Pro Wrestling Illustrated October 1987. Article contains copious examples of references to Jim Crockett Promotions as "World Championship Wrestling"/"WCW"/"the World Championship area".
- "Time Warner Sells Ailing WCW". Classic Wrestling Articles. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- John M. Higgins (March 19, 2001). "WCW on the ropes" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Cahners Business Information. p. 8. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2018 – via World Radio History.
- Jim Rutenberg (January 11, 2001). "Turner to Drop Wrestling, Shed Jobs". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 22, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
- Evans, Guy (2018-07-06). NITRO: The Incredible Rise and Inevitable Collapse of Ted Turner's WCW. WCWNitroBook.com. ISBN 978-0692139172.
- "Worldwide Subsidiaries and Affiliated Companies List" (PDF). Time Warner Inc. June 19, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
- "Certificate of Merger". State of Georgia. December 17, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- Assael, Shaun; Mooneyham, Mike (July 16, 2002). Sex, Lies and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Federation. Crown Publishers. p. 61. ISBN 0-609-60690-5.
- Ross, Jim (May 3, 2009). "J.R.'s Place". J.R.'s Barbq. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
- "WWE: The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 3". August 11, 2015 – via Amazon.
- Meltzer, Dave (June 19, 2017). "June 19, 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather on, Okada/Omega classic, more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California: 6. ISSN 1083-9593.
Okada’s next title defense will be on 7/1 in Long Beach against Cody ... There is a very good chance that Cody will be winning the ROH title from Christopher Daniels ... If he does ... that creates the unique situation of the world champion of Japan’s No. 1 organization against the world champion of the (very distant) No. 2 organization in the U.S.
- "Ring Of Honor Plans Streaming Service, Possible Tour Expansion". November 9, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
Ring of Honor is undeniably WWE's chief competitor.
- "ROH announces streaming service similar to WWE Network with live events, archives, and live PPV access". pwtorch.com. February 2, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
Although there aren’t comparable metrics, at some point since TNA Impact Wrestling left Spike TV and ROH continued to stabilize itself with the Sinclair partnership and New Japan relationship, ROH easily became the no. 2 pro wrestling company based in North America, behind only WWE – although by a big distance.
- "Bracing for Impact Wrestling: once the world's number two company, 2018 is critical to its survival". Newsweek. February 10, 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
and, at one time, the second most popular promotion in the United States behind industry leader World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) .. a few months later, Impact Wrestling imploded. Again.
- Silverstein, Adam. "AEW TV deal: Weekly show to air live on TNT with Turner also streaming pay-per-views". CBS Sports. Retrieved 21 May 2019.