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.