|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)|
World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (WCW) was an 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.
WCW was founded in 1988, after Turner Broadcasting System, through a subsidiary named Universal Wrestling Corporation, purchased the assets of the nearly bankrupt major wrestling National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) territory Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), which had aired 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 television 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, intellectual property (including the WCW name and championships), and some wrestler contracts.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. All Elite Wrestling succeeded WCW somewhere around 2019.
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."
By late 1988, JCP was financially struggling after further territory acquisitions. Ted Turner, the namesake principal owner of Turner Broadcasting, did not want to lose pro wrestling on his network, as it was a steady ratings draw. So in October 1988, Turner Broadcasting formed a new subsidiary to acquire most of the assets of JCP, continuing the television shows without interruption, with the acquisition being completed on November 2, 1988. While initially the subsidiary was incorporated as the Universal Wrestling Corporation, following the purchase the decision was made to utilize the familiar "World Championship Wrestling" as the name for the promotion.
Topps had been making professional wrestling cards from 1998 to 1999.
WCW went through various changes in business and creative leadership during its existence. Some figures, like Jim Herd, were television executives lacking in wrestling-promotion experience; others, like Bill Watts, Ole Anderson, and Dusty Rhodes had extensive experience in the business, but were so entrenched in the outdated "territory" ways of operating (which their respective careers had thrived under) that they were ineffective at growing WCW's largely regional audience, into a national—and international—one (as Vince McMahon had successfully done with the WWF).
Although Eric Bischoff has received much criticism for some mistakes in judgment as executive producer and later WCW president, he combined an understanding of wrestling (largely gained as a staffer with Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association) with a willingness to make the changes needed to raise WCW's profile with mainstream media, its target audience, and especially television advertisers. These changes included moving some television tapings from Atlanta to Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida, and signing a mix of veteran U.S. main-event performers and younger stars from promotions around the world (such as Rey Mysterio, Jr.). He also launched WCW Monday Nitro in 1995, sparking the Monday Night Wars, a period of intense competition between WCW and the WWF that became the most-watched period in televised professional wrestling history. A second prime time series, WCW Thunder began in January 1998.
Some of the creative freedoms that Bischoff granted main-event-level talent hurt the promotion, as such performers were less-than-cooperative in making stars out of younger performers – even though doing so, known in the industry as "doing what's best for the business instead of for just yourself", has been a staple of the industry since its inception. Once Bischoff was relieved of his duties in 1999, Vince Russo, a former senior storyline writer for the WWF, came aboard as lead writer of all of WCW's storylines. Although Russo did not last long in this role, departing in January 2000, WCW opted to bring Russo and Bischoff back in April 2000 in hopes that the duo might re-spark flagging fan interest in WCW. The two, however, did not get along well and Bischoff soon resigned from the sinking company. It was only a few months later that Russo would also depart after suffering from a concussion at the hands of Goldberg, although he remained under contract for the rest of WCW's existence. Following Russo's departure, creative was handled by a booking committee which included John Laurinaitis and Terry Taylor.
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.This identity persisted into the 1990s, even as the company signed stars whom their audience had only ever known as WWF-only stars (e.g., Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage). WCW dominated pro wrestling's television ratings from mid-1996 to 1998 in the U.S. (i.e., for 84 straight weeks) mainly due to its incredibly popular New World Order storyline; but thereafter, began to lose heavy ground to the WWF, which had successfully rebounded from the WCW threat with its edgy, antihero-driven Attitude Era that saw the rise of former WCW workers as WWF superstars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Mick Foley, and Chris Jericho, as well as fresh, young talent including The Rock. Stale storylines, unimpressive pay-per-view main event performances, a policy of vastly overpaying all headliners – and even many middle-tier performers – exorbitant, guaranteed salaries, questionable booking decisions, and eventual and sudden spending restrictions imposed by corporate parent Time Warner caused a quickly-ballooning loss. As a result, AOL Time Warner sold the trademarks for WCW's name and logo to the WWF for $2.5 million, in 2001. Shortly after the purchase, Vince McMahon purchased the entire WCW videotape library for an additional $1.7 million, bringing the final tally of World Championship Wrestling's sale to $4.2 million. The WWF initially kept the WCW United States Championship, WCW Cruiserweight Championship, WCW World Tag Team Championship, and WCW World Heavyweight Championship active as part of the Invasion storyline. Eventually, the titles were unified into their respective WWF counterparts. In 2003, by which time the World Wrestling Federation was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the company resurrected the U.S. title.
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.
Though the Great American Bash pay-per-view has since been retired, WWE resurrected the Clash of the Champions name as a pay-per-view (WWE Clash of Champions). In 2017, WWE brought back Starrcade. Also that year, WWE brought back the WarGames match as part of their WWE Network series NXT TakeOver featuring their NXT brand.
WCW was a major focus in the WWE '12 video game released by THQ for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii in 2011. In the game's "Road to WrestleMania" Story Mode, many WCW superstars are featured (e.g., Arn Anderson, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Road Warrior Animal, Kevin Nash (a.k.a., Diesel in his initial WWF run), Booker T, and Vader).
WCW has also gone on to be featured in various modern WWE media. Various WCW programs can be seen on the WWE Network, including all episodes of WCW Monday Nitro, All episodes of WCW Thunder, most WCW pay-per-views, and every WCW Clash of the Champions. WWE also has dedicated a section of their website specifically for WCW programming directed from WCW.com.
After the closure of WCW, multiple start-up promotions began whose initial rosters included former WCW wrestlers who had not gone to work for the WWF. The formation of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling by WCW's 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 was overtaken by All Elite Wrestling, which airs on former WCW broadcaster TNT.
|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|
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.
Several WCW video games were made in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, including WCW Wrestling , WCW SuperBrawl Wrestling , WCW vs. the World , and WCW Mayhem .
Eric Aaron Bischoff is an American entrepreneur, television producer, professional wrestling booker, podcast host, and on-screen personality. He is best known for serving as Executive Producer and later Senior Vice President of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and subsequently, the on-screen General Manager of WWE's Raw brand. Bischoff has also worked with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) where he served as Executive Producer of Impact Wrestling.
The New World Order is a famous professional wrestling stable that originally consisted of "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
Jim Crockett Promotions Inc. was a family-owned professional wrestling promotion headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. Founded in 1931, the promotion emerged as a cornerstone of the National Wrestling Alliance. By the 1980s, Jim Crockett Promotions was, along with the World Wrestling Federation, one of the two largest promotions in the United States. The Crockett family sold a majority interest in the promotion to Turner Broadcasting System in 1988, resulting in the creation of World Championship Wrestling.
WCW Monday Nitro, also known as WCW Nitro or simply Nitro, is a professional wrestling television program that was produced by World Championship Wrestling and broadcast weekly every Monday night on TNT from September 4, 1995 to March 26, 2001. For its entirety, the program went head-to-head with the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw.
The WCW World Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship originally used in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and later, the World Wrestling Federation. It was the original world title of the World Championship Wrestling promotion, spun off from the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. It existed in WCW from 1991 to 2001.
The World Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship owned by WWE. It was one of two top championships in WWE from 2002 to 2006 and from 2010 to 2013, complementing the WWE Championship, and one of three top championships from 2006 to 2010 with the addition of the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
WCW Thunder, or simply 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.
Debrah Ann Miceli, better known as Madusa, is an Italian-born American monster truck driver and former professional wrestler. As of 2015, she has been the commissioner of Japanese promotion World Wonder Ring Stardom. In professional wrestling Miceli is also known by the ring name Alundra Blayze, which she used while in the WWF/WWE. Outside of the WWF, she wrestled under her professional name of Madusa, which was shortened from "Made in the USA". Her early career was spent in the American Wrestling Association, where she once held the AWA World Women's Championship. In 1988, she was the first woman to be awarded Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Rookie of the Year. The following year, she signed a contract with All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling, making her the first foreign wrestler to do so.
Joseph Dorgan is an American professional wrestler currently under contract to Impact Wrestling, using the ring name Johnny Swinger. Dorgan is also known for his appearances with World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling under the Johnny Swinger name and with World Wrestling Entertainment as Johnny Parisi.
Greed was the final professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Championship Wrestling (WCW). It took place on March 18, 2001 from the Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida. Greed replaced the promotion's March PPV event Uncensored which was held from 1995 to 2000. The pay-per-view event took place three days before the final episode of Thunder and eight days before the final episode of Monday Nitro.
The Invasion was a professional wrestling storyline in the World Wrestling Federation that ran from March–November 2001 and involved stables of wrestlers purporting to represent World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW)—which merged to form The Alliance—placed against a stable of wrestlers purporting to represent the WWF. The storyline began shortly after the WWF's acquisitions of WCW and ECW in March and April 2001, respectively, and concluded with a "winner takes all" match between The Alliance and the WWF at Survivor Series.
The World Championship Wrestling (WCW) Hardcore Championship was a title in World Championship Wrestling. The title was defended in Hardcore matches, in which there were few rules and restrictions and weapons were allowed. Eventually, the rules were changed so that matches began in the backstage area but would only end by pinfall in the ring, but later were changed back to 'Falls Count Anywhere' rules. The belt was created in response to the growing popularity of hardcore wrestling in North America.
Craig Leathers is a wrestling director and producer best known working for World Championship Wrestling's telecasts. He worked with Eric Bischoff for many years during the mid to late 1990s. In 1995, Leathers was hired as television director for Ted Turner's WCW Monday Nitro, and later became executive producer of the show.
Billionaire Ted is a series of comedic sketches that ran on World Wrestling Federation (WWF) programming in 1996. They were created to parody media mogul Ted Turner, who owned rival World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and several WCW wrestlers. The skits consisted of mocking Turner and WCW by referencing the age of their wrestlers as well as bringing up concerns about steroids. The skits were viewed as gradually becoming more malicious rather than parody, as they were broadcast in addition to the WWF chairman Vince McMahon complimenting them with anti-Turner press advertisements outside of WWF programming. The skits were ended by USA Network president Kay Koplovitz, who felt they had moved away from parody and towards mirroring McMahon's personal opinions of Turner and WCW.
WCW Saturday Night is a weekly Saturday night TV show on TBS that was produced by World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Launched in 1971 initially by Georgia Championship Wrestling, the program existed through various incarnations under different names before becoming WCW Saturday Night in 1992. Although initially the anchor show of the Turner Broadcasting-backed wrestling company, the September 1995 premiere of WCW Monday Nitro airing on sister station TNT usurped the show's once preeminent position in the company, as the primary source of storyline development and pay-per-view buildup.
The Big Gold Belt is a historic professional wrestling championship belt that has represented multiple world championships throughout its history.
In professional wrestling, the term Black Saturday refers to Saturday, July 14, 1984, the day when Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF) took over the time slot on Superstation WTBS that had been home to Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) and its flagship weekly program, World Championship Wrestling, for 12 years. McMahon's purchase led to a longstanding rivalry between himself and WTBS owner Ted Turner, who later bought GCW's successor Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) and formed his own company under the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) name.
Jamie Kellner is an American former television executive. He was chairman and chief executive officer of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a division of Time Warner which includes TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network. Kellner took over the post in 2001 and handed over the company to Phil Kent in 2003. He was the chairman of station ownership group ACME Communications, a post held from the company's founding until its folding in 2016.
World Championship Wrestling (WCW) is a defunct American professional wrestling promotion that existed from 1988 to 2001. It began as a promotion affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) that appeared on the national scene under the ownership of media mogul Ted Turner and based in Atlanta, Georgia. The name came from a wrestling television program that aired on TBS in the 1980s, which had taken the name from an Australian wrestling promotion of the 1970s.
The Monday Night Wars were a period of mainstream televised American professional wrestling in which the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw and World Championship Wrestling's (WCW) Monday Nitro were broadcast opposite each other in a battle for Nielsen ratings each week. The ratings war lasted from September 4, 1995 to March 26, 2001.
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.
[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.
The cruiserweight division had become the most exciting aspect of WCW.
WWE was looking to start a new cruiserweight division like the one that was popular in WCW.
The light heavyweight division, like WCW's cruiserweight division, can be a rousing success