WCW was the second biggest professional wrestling federation in North America, trailing only the World Wrestling Federation.

Concerning the birth of WCW: The NWA never actually became WCW, WCW broke off from the NWA.

The company now known as WCW existed for years before as both Georgia Championship Wrestling and Mid-Atantic Championship Wrestling. The two companies were both under Jim Crockett Promotions and so amounted to being the same thing, despite the different names.

In November, 1988, Jim Crockett sold Jim Crockett Promotions to WTBS. Crockett promotions had been the promotion most widely associated with the NWA. In order to distance itself from the NWA, which still existed as a paper organization at the time, WTBS began to change the name of its titles and television programs from NWA to WCW. The change took place in late 1990. By January, 1991, the WCW name was fully in place and the NWA name was all but dropped by the organization.

On 01/01/1991, WCW officially dropped the NWA name entirely and operated without a World champion or World tag team champions for a period of 10 days. They continued to recognize the Mid-Atlantic version of the NWA US title, which was held by Lex Luger at that point, as well as the Mid-Atlantic version of the NWA World TV title, which was held by Tom Zenk. These two titles were renamed the WCW US title and WCW TV title, respectively, and have direct lineage to the original NWA versions of the titles.

On 01/11/1991, Ric Flair defeated Sting to win the NWA World title, and immediately after WCW named him as the first WCW World champion. It cannot be pointed out strongly enough at this point that these were TWO DIFFERENT TITLES. Ric Flair was simultaneously NWA and WCW World champion, and one title did not follow from the other. The WCW World title was created completely separate from the NWA World title and has NO direct lineage to the NWA World title, aside from the fact that the NWA champion happened to be the first WCW champion.

WCW's real claims to fame came in 1994 and 1996...first, when they were able to lure Hulk Hogan, wrestling's biggest star of the 1980's, into the federation in early ' 94. Then, in '96, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall also came over from the World Wrestling Federation, and along with Hogan they formed the New World Order, or nWo--one of the most popular angles in wrestling history, and basically what allowed WCW to achieve ratings dominance over the WWF until early 1998.

A lack of creative ideas has seen attendance and buyrates plummet since '98, and a veritable plethora of creative teams have been brought in and then replaced to try to solve the problem. First, Eric Bischoff (who had been booking since 1993) was replaced by Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara in 1999, both of whom had previously been on the creative staff for the WWF. Russo and Ferrara were later sacked in favor of Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan was himself canned just a few months later, and Bischoff and Russo--an unlikely pairing--booked together. That didn't last long, as both were released from their duties after another few months. Who's booking WCW now? The creative situation over there right now can best be described as "murky".

In addition, rumors began flying in mid-2000 that Ted Turner has been looking to sell WCW. Various potential buyers named at some point include Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff. Nothing has been officially announced as of this noding (1/3/01).

Some information gleaned from www.rantsylvania.com.

As of the week of March 25, 2001, Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation has purchased the WCW. As well, the WCW broadcasted its last Monday Nitro show on TNT on March 26, 2001. The finale involved an appearance (by satellite) of Vince McMahon who announced that he was going to shut down WCW for good. However, like a Greek play that it is, Shane McMahon (Vince's real life son) appeared at the live WCW event to announce that, in fact, he had purchased WCW out from under Vince's nose and was going to continue to run it as a competitor.

The status of the WCW involving wrestling contracts, television broadcasts, pay-per-view events and merchandising is still to be decided. There has been speculation that most of the mid-priced contracts will be picked up by the WWF/WCW, that the weekly WCW show will be moved to TNN at a different date/time, that there will be some sort of "invasion" at the WWF Wrestlemania X-7 show on April 1, 2001 by the "disgruntled" WCW employees/wrestlers, and that merchandising for the WCW will continue unabated (first by collectors looking for memorabilia, then by fans as the advertising arm of WWF takes over).

World Championship Wrestling is probably the most recognizable wrestling organization next to the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment). If the WWF was considered a mainstreamers organization, then WCW for many year could probably be considered “thinking mans wrestling.” Some of the greatest things about this organization was its rich and diverse talent pool. WCW always kept a working relationship with many promoters around the world (New Japan, AAA, El Azteca). With the exception of the New World Order, WCW will never go down in history as having the best plots and stories. WCW’s main draw was its competitive wrestling action. Unlike Vince McMahon, WCW was never too afraid to diversify. On one hand, WCW wrestlers had big shot, big name wrestlers like Sting, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Kevin Nash, just to name a few. But WCW also had an awesome mid-card roster: Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Brian Pillman, “Stunning” Steve Austin. And if you were tired of the mid-carders, you had a wealth of Mexican and Japanese wrestlers. For years, I preferred WCW over the WWF. In WCW you could see well-executed matches, which didn’t really need a storyline to be interesting. The Steiner Brothers were a blast to watch, and it was always a treat to see Sting mix it up with Flair. To the less demanding fan, there were “scrub” style wrestling with Hulk Hogan, and Paul Wight (now known as the Big Show). And of course watching wrestlers like Konan, Rey Mysterio Jr., Juventud Guerra, and Psychosis mix it up was just wrestling fan euphoria.

Why did it go out of business?

WCW, for all its worth, was stuck in a time warp. Around 1994, the organization started changing its brand to suit more mainstream audiences. Hulk Hogan probably was the worse thing to happen to the company (instead of the opposite). The management started recruiting former WWF stars left and right, offering them long-term contracts, less strenuous schedules, and mucho dinero. WCW actually started overlooking its vast talent pool, to cater to the needs of a bunch of spoiled wrestlers from Connecticut. What was the result? Matches were shorter, more useless storylines were created, commentators acted like cheerleaders for these newly recruited stars. It is quite an insult to a company like WCW for Hogan to come in at his first match and immediately get a title shot. Decisions like these made the loyal fan base turn against WCW.

Around 1996, the WWF took a new direction. Now the WWF was pushing more new talent. The matches started becoming longer and better. The wrestlers seemed a lot hungrier. Basically, the WWF was starting from scratch, pushing a new generation, and reflecting more realism, instead of the comical gimmickry that has the company has been associated with for a long time.

WCW at this time was just becoming the WWF of the 80’s. The whole organization was revolving around storylines were the great Hulk Hogan would fight the latest cream puff loser. The problem was, by the year 1996, fans had moved on, and no one cared about the Immortal Middle Aged White Guy Who Can't Live Up To His Own Hype. So of course, WCW tried to make the Hulkster more interesting. Turing a 12+ year babyface into a heel. It didn’t really work that well, since he was more annoying than he was evil. Sometimes Hulk Hogan held the heavyweight title, and hardly defended it within 8 month periods. What was going on in the WWF? Sean Michaels was defending his title every week, and putting on a damn good show at that. The New World Order angle worked great for about a year, and fans got bored with it. I can write an entire node about that disaster.

WCW unfortunately never recovered from its mortal mistake. Tons of HRS customers were signed to iron clad contracts. The creative team changed quite a bit, and at the end, they even started pushing the mid-carders. But alas, it was a little too late. The locker room was full of egos, and just plain saturated by politics. And since Time Warner was facing financial troubles, they sold the company. Of course Vince McMahon bought it, just to completely destroy it. I could write a node about that too. WCW was a great organization, and it’s still hard to imagine a wrestling world without it. Two years ago, I said, with great reluctance, “good-bye WCW, thank you for providing me with competitive wrestling since I was eight.” Of course after the botched Invasion angle, I said goodbye to wrestling completely.

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