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(Top) The original WCW logo, (Bottom) The logo used from 1999 to 2001
WCW offices were located within the CNN Center.
|World Championship Wrestling|
|Fate||Deactivated and renamed by AOL Time Warner, later merged with Turner Broadcasting System; selected assets purchased by the WWF|
|Founded||October 11, 1988|
|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) is a defunct American professional wrestling promotion. 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).
WCW was founded by Ted Turner in 1988, after Turner Broadcasting System, through a subsidiary named Universal Wrestling Corporation, purchased the assets of the nearly bankrupt major wrestling 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 1996–1998, 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 selected 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 brand and television show title in 1982. Jim Barnett (who had worked for the World Championship Wrestling promotion in Australia) came to Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970s during an internal struggle over Georgia Championship Wrestling.Barnett ultimately became majority owner of the promotion, and began using his previous employer's name for his new promotion's television program in 1982. The promotion was eventually purchased by Jim Crockett Promotions.
Influential wrestling magazine Pro Wrestling Illustrated and its sister publications thereafter habitually referred to Jim Crockett Promotions 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."
However, it was not until November 2, 1988that an actual, National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)-affiliated promotion called 'World Championship Wrestling' appeared on the national scene. This entity was under the ownership of media mogul and cable-TV pioneer Ted Turner, based in Atlanta. While initially the new company was called the Universal Wrestling Corporation (launched October 11, 1988), very shortly following the purchase the decision was made to utilize the familiar "World Championship Wrestling" TV show name, as the brand name for this new promotion.
WCW went through various changes in business and creative leadership during its existence. Some figures, like Jim Herd and Kip Frey, were mere TV executives completely 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).
While 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, TV advertisers. These changes including 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 (e.g., Rey Mysterio, Jr.).
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 the young 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, worldwide, 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 would not last long in this role (departing for the first time 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.
From 2000 to 2001, Monster Jam had a series of monster trucks based on wrestlers' names. These include nWo (2000), Sting (2000–2001), Nitro Machine (2000–present; currently Inferno), Madusa (2000–present) and Goldberg (2000–present; currently Max-D). The first to go was nWo, which only ran for a season. Next, all but Goldberg, Nitro, and Madusa were retired after the WCW sponsorship was lost. Nitro then became 'Flashfire', and then was converted into 'Inferno'. 'Madusa' has stayed the same since its creation, driven by its namesake Debrah Miceli. As for 'Goldberg', it was changed to 'Team Meents' in 2002, then into 'Maximum Destruction' (later shortened to 'Max-D'), which debuted in 2003 and 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 and 1990s, including WCW Mayhem , WCW/nWo Revenge , WCW/nWo Thunder , WCW vs. the World , and WCW Backstage Assault . Several other games were made as well.
In the early 2000s until the end of the year, a number of potential buyers for WCW were rumored to show interest in the company. Ted Turner, however, did not have influence at Time Warner prior to 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 founded W. Acquisition Company in late-2000 and 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. As a result, WCW programming was cancelled on TBS and TNT, leaving Vince McMahon's company, which at the time had an exclusive deal with Viacom, free to acquire the trademarks, video libraries and a few contracts of World Championship Wrestling through its new subsidiary W. Acquisition Company and was renamed WCW Inc. afterwards.
During the sale, WCW was in litigation, with various lawsuits pending, and AOL Time Warner still had to pay various performers their guaranteed deals, as many had contracts directly with the parent company, and not with WCW. Since WCW Inc. had acquired select assets, the company that was once World Championship Wrestling was reverted to the Universal Wrestling Corporation once again.
Two separate subsidiary companies existed as immediate successors to WCW. WCW, Inc. is the WWE subsidiary established in Delaware in late 2000, initially as W. Acquisition Company, which holds the rights to the WCW video library and other intellectual property.The former WCW entity, which retained liabilities not acquired by WWF, was renamed back to the Universal Wrestling Corporation; it was listed as a subsidiary of Time Warner until 2017, when it was merged into Turner Broadcasting System. Its only purpose was to deal with old contracts and lawsuits.
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 ironically 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 story lines; 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; plus eventual and sudden spending restrictions (imposed by corporate parent Time Warner), combined to eventually lead WCW to start operating at a quickly-ballooning loss. As a result, AOL Time Warner sold the trademark 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.
After the closure of WCW, two new wrestling promotions, World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA) and Xcitement Wrestling Federation (XWF), were formed in 2001. These companies took WCW performers who did not sign with the WWF after the merge. XWF hosted events until 2002 and WWA closed in 2003. 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 2000's as the secondary wrestling promotion in North America, before it was overtaken by Ring of Honor in the mid-2010s.
WCW started out as a regional promotion in the late-1980s, focusing mainly on the Deep South. It started growing nationally a few years later, which led to its rivalry with the WWF – the major wrestling company left in North America (after almost single-handedly wiping out the old regional territory system it was born from). Even though WCW folded in 2001, its legacy lived on in the WWF. The WWF initially kept the WCW United States Championship, the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, the WCW World Tag Team Championship, and even the WCW World Heavyweight Championship active. 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, Select episodes of WCW Thunder from 1998-2000, 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.
|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 in 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||1958||September 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|
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 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. With an amateur background in taekwondo, Bischoff also sporadically performed as an in-ring competitor, and is a former WCW Hardcore Champion. He wrote an autobiography, titled Controversy Creates Cash, which was released in 2006 under WWE Books.
The New World Order is a professional wrestling stable that originally consisted of "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
WCW Monday 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, when WCW's assets were purchased by the WWF. For its entirety, the program went head-to-head with the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw.
Vincent James Russo is an American author, podcaster, professional wrestling booker, writer, and pundit.
Joseph Nicholas Patrick Hamilton Jr., better known by his ring name Nick Patrick, is a semi-retired American professional wrestling referee. He is a former referee for World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment. He has also served as head referee for former WWE developmental territory Deep South Wrestling until that company's closing, and is former head referee for Florida Championship Wrestling.
WCW 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.
Michael Laauli Hayner is an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with World Championship Wrestling from 1995 to 2000 under the ring name Prince Iaukea and later The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea or simply The Artist.
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, and was the final WCW pay-per-view.
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.
Noah Anthony Schiavone Jr. is an American broadcaster. He is the play-by-play broadcaster for the Gwinnett Stripers of Minor League Baseball's International League, a commentator and podcaster for Major League Wrestling (MLW), and commentator and senior producer for All Elite Wrestling (AEW). In the past, he has been a sports radio host and worked as a professional wrestling commentator in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). A 2013 WWE.com article noted: "At the height of the Monday Night War, veteran broadcaster Tony Schiavone's voice was as vital to the onscreen product of World Championship Wrestling as Jim Ross' Oklahoma growl was to WWE."
In professional wrestling, a cruiserweight is a wrestler who competes in a Cruiserweight division. The term was first coined in United States in 1996 by World Championship Wrestling. Prior to this, the terms "Light Heavyweight" and "Junior Heavyweight" were more commonly in use. A cruiserweight division is traditionally open to wrestlers weighing 220 lb (100 kg) or less. The older term junior heavyweight is still favored in Japan, where many titles for lighter-weight competitors are called junior heavyweight titles. Prominent titles include New Japan Pro Wrestling's IWGP, Pro Wrestling Noah's GHC, and All Japan Pro Wrestling's World championships.
The Misfits in Action (MIA) were a stable in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) formed in 2000. They had the shortest reign for the now-retired WCW World Tag Team Championship, which was held by Corporal Cajun and Lieutenant Loco.
The Millionaire's Club was a professional wrestling stable in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 2000.
The nickname Fingerpoke of Doom (FPOD) refers to an infamous incident in American professional wrestling which occurred on January 4, 1999 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, during a live broadcast of Nitro, the flagship show of World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Billionaire Ted is a series of comedy parody sketches that ran on World Wrestling Federation (WWF) programming in 1996. They were created to parody Ted Turner and his World Championship Wrestling (WCW) wrestlers. The skits were ended by USA Network president Kay Koplovitz, who felt they had moved away from parody and towards mirroring WWF chairman Vince McMahon's personal opinions on Turner and WCW.
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.
Starrcade (1997) was the fifteenth annual Starrcade professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event, produced by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) on December 28, 1997 at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C.
The Monday Night Wars were a period of mainstream televised American professional wrestling where 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.
WCW Inc., is one of WWE's subsidiary companies. It consists of video archives and intellectual property of the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) promotion, acquired from AOL Time Warner in March 2001. The corporation itself was founded in 2000 as W. Acquisition Company.
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