For the better part of the '90s, Vince McMahon and the WWE went head-to-head with Ted Turner's WCW for wrestling ratings supremacy. In the '80s, the WWF became the biggest wrestling promotion in the world, and there was simply no reason for anyone to believe that it would change.
Only, McMahon let a number of his top superstars walk away and join Ted Turner's company. This led to the infamous 'Monday Night Wars' where two professional wrestling giants tried to put the other out of business for a good seven or so years.
A great number of events and moments would take place. Main stars from each company would leave to sign with the other. the creative teams had to get, well, creative in storylines and had to do what was best for the fans. But as we all know today, the WWF came out on top. That's why we watch WWE Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live today, and not Nitro.
With their win, the WWE wants you to remember 10 specific things that happened in WCW, but they'd also like you to never know about 10 things that nearly put them out of business for good.
20 Want You to Know: Ignoring the Cruiserweights
As you'll read about a lot in this article, all Eric Bischoff and the WCW creative team wanted to do was have the New World Order highlight just about every single match, show and pay-per-view. This meant that Cruiserweights like Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and others were never going to get their big chance in WCW.
All of them grew frustrated and jumped ship, heading over to the WWE instead. Guerrero, Benoit and Mysterio all held the WWE and/or World Heavyweight Championship at least once in their tenures, becoming some of the top stars in the Ruthless Aggression Era.
One man's trash was another man's treasure, and WWE wants you to forever remember that they made talents out of guys who were wasted by WCW.
19 Don't Want You to Know: Hulk Hogan Arrives
The Hulkster was by far the most iconic figure in sports entertainment during the '80s and early '90s. He was picked by none other than Vince McMahon to be THE GUY that ran the show every night. But over time, Hogan and McMahon had a falling out, as the latter wanted to bring in younger talent to headline the WWF.
Hogan and McMahon parted ways in 1993, and the former began a brief acting career. However, WCW was bent on bringing Hogan on board, and after fierce negotiations, he signed with Ted Turner's company.
Hogan's debut on WCW was one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history, as The Hulkster was given a giant parade with thousands of fans greeting him. In WWE Network documentaries, McMahon himself admitted that he knew WCW was onto something when they got signed his old friend. Little did he know it would be a move that almost ruined his business.
18 Want You to Know: Forgetting Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho was the biggest overlooked talent on the WCW roster. He fought Gillberg! He had his own personal security and he even made a list 1,004 holds. However, the fans were never able to buy into Jericho, because WCW gave him the most minimal television and promo time possible. Why was this? You guessed it -- the nWo had to run absolutely everything!
Like the other Cruiserweights that were previously mentioned, Jericho got fed up and signed with the WWE. His debut with the company was arguably the most electrifying ever, as his Y2J countdown interrupted The Rock's promo and brought the crowd to its feet.
Next thing you know, Jericho is one of the absolute greatest superstars McMahon ever signed. For nearly two decades, Jericho has reinvented himself over-and-over again, and his three World Heavyweight Championships show just how much of a star he's been over the years.
WWE will always thank WCW time-and-time again for letting Jericho fall into their laps.
17 Don't Want You to Know: Hall and Nash Invade
Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were among the two brightest superstars in the WWE during the early '90s. Hall was the ultimate heel in his Razor Ramon gimmick, and Nash was a solid main event guy in his Diesel character. But the two men got big offers from WCW and McMahon was unwilling to match them.
In 1996, both Hall and Nash invaded WCW shows and announced to the crowd that they were "The Outsiders," and were there to take over the company. This storyline worked to perfection right away, as Nash and Hall became one of the top tag teams in WCW.
Meanwhile, losing two members of The Kliq was such a big loss for McMahon and the WWE. It was so severe, that McMahon introduced Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon in an attempt to offset the losses. Spoiler alert: It was a massive failure.
16 Want You to Know: The WCW Championship
The WCW World Heavyweight Championship was the ultimate prize of Ted Turner's wrestling company. 22 different wrestlers held the title at some point, while legends like Ric Flair, Sting and Hulk Hogan won the championship multiple times. If the WCW Championship brought so many memorable moments to the company, then why would you want to remember it?
Because, once WWE purchased WCW, they also acquired the WCW Championship. This became one of the top titles available during The Invasion storyline. Kurt Angle, The Rock, Chris Jericho and Booker T all held the championship in the WWF at some point. WWF then unified the WCW Championship with the WWF Championship.
So basically, the WCW Championship provided some iconic moments during closing days of the Attitude Era (like when Jericho became the first Undisputed Champion), and its unification formed another major WWE title. That was a victory for McMahon and the WWE.
15 Don't Want You to Know: Leg Luger Appears on Nitro
When Hogan left the WWE, Vince McMahon turned to Lex Luger as his next main star. He tried to get Luger over by billing him as "The All-American," and gave him his own bus called "The Lex Express." The only problem was that the fans didn't accept Luger, who really could not put on a good match and had very little talent overall in the ring.
But McMahon valued Luger as one of his main stars, except The Total Package told his WCW friend Sting that he wanted to leave the WWF. Sting got Eric Bischoff to set up a meeting with Luger, who eventually signed a deal with WCW.
Without anyone in WWE knowing ahead of time, Luger appeared on the very first episode of Nitro -- blindsiding his old employer and giving WCW some much-needed momentum. This was yet another major victory for Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff that McMahon had troubles overcoming.
14 Want You to Know: Bischoff and Flair's Feud
Ric Flair was arguably the biggest draw in both the WWE and WCW during his prime years. The Nature Boy wrestled in the WWE from 1991 to 1993 but came back to WCW in 1993, and easily was among the most popular wrestlers at the time. His feuds with Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and the nWo helped The Nature Boy become a main event superstar during the prime years of WCW TV.
But Flair and Bischoff had a major falling out, with the former skipping an episode of Thunder (a secondary WCW show that the main stars almost never competed in). Bischoff called out Flair multiple times on television, and when The Nature Boy returned in 1998, he and his boss got into a heated promo.
The hatred between the men was believed to be real. Flair and Bischoff were a classic case of two egos clashing. This was a start in Bischoff losing trust from some of his top stars and the WCW fans. This led to another major win for the WWF, so they obviously want you to remember this.
13 Don't Want You to Know: Formation of the nWo
At the 1996 edition of the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view, Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage faced The Outsiders in a Tag Team match. Nash and Hall warned the audience that their partner was going to appear later on in the evening. As The Outsiders gained momentum in the match, Hulk Hogan appeared and caused a thunderous eruption from the fans.
Only, Hogan used his signature Leg Drop finisher on Savage three times, turning heel and causing fans to boo him and pelt the ring with garbage. Hogan claimed that he had joined Nash and Hall to form the "New World Order," alliance, denouncing the fans and Hulkamania.
This became one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history, and it was only the start of WCW's rise as the top wrestling promotion in the world. There's no doubting that the WWE doesn't want you to know about what happened at Bash at the Beach..
12 Want You to Know: Vince Russo Joins WCW
Vince Russo was one of the main writers for the WWF in the '90s but opted to leave because of his demanding work schedule. It appeared to be a huge win for WCW when they signed away one of the top guys working for Vince McMahon. But Russo got too much power and formed many disastrous storylines.
Among them, Russo had Hollywood actor David Arquette hold the WCW Championship, which is among the most embarrassing moments in professional wrestling history. Russo also had himself win the WCW Championship, because what could have possibly gone wrong with a writer winning the title?
Russo also clashed with some of WCW's top stars, including Hulk Hogan. We won't mention what happened at Bash at the Beach 2000 just yet, but it became a key turning point in WCW's downfall.
11 Don't Want You to Know: Bret Hart's Arrival
Oddly enough, it was McMahon who convinced Bret Hart to go to WCW. Leading up to The Montreal Screwjob, Hart was under a 20-year contract from the WWE. But McMahon was losing the Monday Night Wars and told Hart he couldn't afford the contract, and The Hitman reluctantly chose to jump ship and join WCW.
And yeah, that whole Montreal Screwjob thing became one of the worst and devastating moment's in the history of the WWE. Though Hart's tenure with WCW can be considered a massive disappointment, the WWE could not replace the charisma and talent that The Hitman brought into the ring.
Hart going to WCW didn't end up being a top Superstar working for Bischoff. It was simply more about the WWE losing one of their main event stars. And what's sad is that McMahon had to reluctantly give up Hart to WCW any way.
10 Want You to Know: Fall of the nWo
The nWo undoubtedly was the driving force that made WCW one of the top companies in the world for much of the late '90s, but ironically enough, the nWo was also somewhat responsible for the company's downfall.
Fans were naturally getting bored of seeing Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash recruit new members non-stop to beat up other wrestlers. As the group lost its steam, WCW had them divided into nWo Hollywood -- led by Hulk Hogan, to have a rivalry with nWo Wolfpac -- led by Kevin Nash. The nWo kept breaking up and reuniting all over again to the point where they were no longer relevant. All this time, WCW ignored other top-notch talent.
While WCW kept relying on wrestlers who were in their mid-to-late 40s, Vince McMahon was introducing D-Generation X, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin to the WWF fans. WCW's reliance on the nWo led to their downfall -- and WWE will be happy to discuss it with you any time.
9 Don't Want You to Know: Bischoff calls out Vince
Eric Bischoff was known as being the mastermind of both WCW and the nWo. He got so much money and power from the company and has admitted on the WWE Network how big of a rush he got from being on top of the world.
You see, during the days of the nWo, they would have aired announcements that were "paid" by the faction themselves. Bischoff tried to rub his ego in so hard that the nWo shared a commercial where he called out Vince McMahon to have a fight. The commercial showed Bischoff training extensively hard in martial arts, and teased McMahon about getting the chance to choke him or break his leg.
Obviously, this fight never took place. But it was another one of Bischoff's ways to show the world he was beating Vince in the wars, and decided to show nothing but arrogance to make the WWE owner look bad.
8 Want You to Know: Tony Schiavone Shares Spoilers
WCW ran a dirty but rather genius tactic of having their announcers tell the audience about spoilers for the WWE show that was airing that night. Back then, Raw is War episodes were pre-taped and aired on Monday Nights.
On the January 4, 1999 edition of Nitro, WCW told play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone to tell the fans what was going on Raw that night. It turned out to be a huge turning point in the wars, but this time it backfired on WCW. Schiavone told the audience that Mick Foley (in his Mankind gimmick), was going to beat The Rock for the WWE Championship that night.
It was reported, however, that WCW lost 600,000 viewers who immediately flipped over to Raw, seeing Foley indeed beat The Rock to win the championship. And after that, WCW saw its ratings go way down hill from there. Vince McMahon and the WWE will happily tell you how thrilled they are that WCW chose to shoot themselves in the feet.
7 Don't Want You to Know: Madusa Embarrasses WWE
Madusa was one of the first WWE female superstars to put the diva's division on the map, winning a trio of WWF Women's Championships and being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015. But the WWF chose to release one of their most talented female stars, and Madusa signed with WCW.
In order to stick it to her old employer, Eric Bischoff had her come out during a broadcast of Nitro where she brought the WWE Women's Championship and threw it in the trash. She shared her loyalty to WCW and said "This is where the big girls play."
This was yet another blow to WCW, as Madusa flat-out embarrassed Vince McMahon and the WWF. It was yet another moment where WCW was able to show that they were on top, having picked up one of the top competitors from WWE.
6 Want You to Know: Bash at the Beach, 2000
So about why the WWE is thrilled today about Vince Russo leaving to head over to WCW, here is the greatest incident of all.
Russo booked Jeff Jarrett to beat Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at the 2000 pay-per-view edition of Bash at the Beach. But Hogan had a lot of power in his contract that allowed him to control his character -- simply called "creative control". Hogan refused to let Jarrett defeat him, so Russo had to go to Plan B.
Plan B was to have Jarrett simply lie down in the ring and let Hogan pin him to win the championship. Hogan took a microphone and denounced Russo, saying "bull (expletive) like this" was the reason WCW was in such a rough shape.
Russo cut a promo and said Hogan would never be back in WCW -- and indeed The Hulkster never fought for the company again. This was essentially the dagger of WCW in the Monday Night Wars. Once again, they shot themselves in the feet while WWE just got to lay low and run their own program.
5 Don't Want You to Know: Rise of Goldberg
Though WCW was built around former WWE stars like Hogan, Nash, Hall, Randy Savage, Lex Luger and Ric Flair, there's no doubting that they did a great job in growing their own talent -- Bill Goldberg. The former NFL player started appearing on Nitro in 1997, and instantly became the new face of WCW.
Goldberg seemingly went on an incredible win streak that is disputed to this day, but it's been widely reported to be at 173-0. Goldberg squashed all of his opponents -- and though the match quality was quite poor -- it was enough to win the crowd over big time. Goldberg gave WCW a new star to build around. He wasn't old and boring -- he brought new energy and excitement to the crowd.
And it was Goldberg who nearly put WWE out of business. Though Goldberg is in his second stint with the WWE today, they undoubtedly will not want to ever acknowledge his early success in WCW.
4 Want You to Know: The Fingerpoke of Doom
We talked earlier about WCW doing more harm than good to themselves on January 4, 1999 during the Nitro broadcast -- when Tony Schiavone gave Raw Spoilers that caused 600,000 people to change the channel. But that's only half of the story that took place on that infamous night.
In a widely hyped up match, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan were to face off for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Once the bell rang, Hogan gave Nash a light poke in the chest, and the latter fell to the ground. Hogan pinned Nash to capture the championship, and the two parties reunited their faction once again.
Fans shared their frustrations by throwing garbage in the ring. This was nothing but a huge insult to the audience that paid good money to watch. Once again, WWE has no problem telling you about this particular incident that really ruined WCW.
3 Don't Want You to Know: Sting
The face of WCW was truly none other than Sting. He was the one who was with WCW when they were starting out. He was the one that never joined WWF as he was bent on helping WCW win the Monday Night War. He was the one who stayed with WCW until the very final episode and refused to join WWE after they bought out Ted Turner's company.
Sting, a six-time WCW Champion, was undoubtedly the best Superstar WCW ever had. His surfer gimmick was good, but wrestling history changed forever when he transitioned into The Crow character. Sting gave WCW fans someone to cheer for every night, as he was practically the only wrestler that never joined the original nWo.
And just how bad does the WWE want you to forget Sting? When he finally signed with them in 2014, he never won a match there -- losing to Triple H at WrestleMania 31 in an angle that was directed at the Monday Night War. We're sure Vince McMahon is always better about The Icon nearly ending the WWE's operations.
2 Want You to Know: The Final Episode of Nitro
With all you've read up to this point, the WWF simply gained too much momentum and WCW fell apart entirely with financial issues and strained relationships with all of the wrestlers. With no more fight to give in, WCW was sold to Vince McMahon -- ending the Monday Night Wars once and for all.
On March 26th, 2001, WCW had its final broadcast. A number of exciting matches took place, and it ended with Sting beating Ric Flair via submission. That was the final broadcast of WCW, and with that, the company formally went out of business once and for all.
So why would Vince McMahon want you to remember this honourable day? Because, it was the official moment where WCW was no more. After being on the bring of losing his promotion, McMahon took down Ted Turner's company.
1 Don't Want You to Know: WCW Leading the Ratings
We've seen McMahon's ego show its true colours many times over the years -- believing he could replace Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan immediately and therefore cutting ties with them. Oh, and how about shoving Roman Reigns down our throats when fans really are sick and tired of him? It never ends!
So with all the swagger and arrogance McMahon and the WWE have, there's no way they want you to remember that his company was almost put away for good. Throughout most of 1996 and almost all of 1997, WCW had much better ratings. In 1996, WCW ratings had no problem hovering over 3.0, while WCW often struggled to reach 2.0.
The playing field became more even in 1998, before 1999 and 2000 helped WWF get the momentum to win the wars once and for all. But given how the WWE is easily the greatest wrestling promotion in the world, there is no way you should know that they almost had to cease operations two decades ago.
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