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.